The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Four types of sprinklers

Since drip irrigation didn't work for the majority of our garden, we turned to sprinklers.  We probably spent over a hundred dollars over the last two summers searching frantically for a sprinkler that fits our needs.  Here's what we discovered about the four major types of sprinklers:

Rotary sprinklerRotary sprinkler --- water gets forced out of two or three spinning arms, irrigating a circular area.  The problem is that the water outlets are very small and clog easily in turbid water.  When one arm clogs, the sprinkler stops spinning and just sits there soaking two spots in the garden until you run out and poke at the clogged arm with a pin, getting soaked in the process.  (Yes, I speak from personal experience.)

Oscillating sprinklerOscillating sprinkler --- water comes out of several holes along a metal tube, which moves from side to side so that a rectangular area is watered.  This has the same clogging problem as the rotary sprinkler, although at least the tube keeps moving when one hole clogs.

Pulsating sprinklerPulsating sprinkler --- our pride and joy!  Water comes out of a big hole in a steady stream so that the sprinkler never clogs, then the water is broken up by moving parts into a gentle mist.  You can set the sprinkler to water a full circle or any type of semicircle and can also set the diameter of the circle as well as the size of the water droplets.  These sprinklers have the bonus of being able to water areas as large as 100 feet in diameter.  We started with a cheap plastic version, then upgraded to the metal version shown here, which cost us about $10 per sprinkler (bought in two-packs at the big box store.)

Stationary sprinklerStationary sprinkler --- this is merely a chunk of metal with no moving parts, so it's pretty indestructible.  Like the pulsating sprinkler, there is no clogging problem, and the kind we bought has the major bonus that it will run on low water pressure.  (We had to hook the other three types directly to the big pump to make them run, but our stationary sprinklers run on gravity from our thousand gallon tank.)  The downside to stationary sprinklers is that they only water small areas, but I like to use them to fill in gaps in our irrigation setup, watering solitary beds which would be wasteful to water with the pulsating sprinkler.

This post is part of our Irrigation lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

Anna Hess's books
Want more in-depth information? Browse through our books.

Or explore more posts by date or by subject.

About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

Want to be notified when new comments are posted on this page? Click on the RSS button after you add a comment to subscribe to the comment feed, or simply check the box beside "email replies to me" while writing your comment.

profile counter myspace

Powered by Branchable Wiki Hosting.

Required disclosures:

As an Amazon Associate, I earn a few pennies every time you buy something using one of my affiliate links. Don't worry, though --- I only recommend products I thoroughly stand behind!

Also, this site has Google ads on it. Third party vendors, including Google, use cookies to serve ads based on a user's prior visits to a website. Google's use of advertising cookies enables it and its partners to serve ads to users based on their visit to various sites. You can opt out of personalized advertising by visiting this site.