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What Kind of Sprinkler Head Do You Need for Your Backyard?

Choosing the right sprinkler head for your yard is really important and some people actually undermine that importance thinking that they’re “just sprinklers”, so why does it matter? Well, opting for wrong sprinklers can lead to a number of frustrations: plants are being watered too much/not enough, the sprinkler doesn’t have the right coverage, it doesn’t offer enough spraying patterns, there’s no way to adjust the distance and pattern, and so on.

Sprinkler Head

Today, we’re going to talk about the best sprinkler heads on the market, but not before we talk a little bit about the adjustment options of the two major players on the market.

Top Picks

Bargain buy: Melnor 65067-AMZ Pulsating Sprinkler

With a quality metal construction, the Melnor 65067 sprinkler offers quality for a very reasonable price.

Best pack: Hunter PGP-adj Rotor Sprinkler Heads

“I’ve been using these for years (22 years since installed system) and love the variety of head nozzles that came with this pack.” (customer review)

Most durable: Orbit 55032 1/2″ BRS Sprinkler Head

Orbit’s brass sprinkler let’s go of all plastic components to deliver a sturdy and long-lasting sprinkler head.

High water pressure: GrowGreen Sprinkler

This sprinkler head features 360-degrees rotation and 80 PSI water spraying for maximum power and coverage.

Best overall: Rain Bird 5000 Series Rotor Sprinkler Heads

“While some do seem to water more thoroughly than the Rainbird heads, I’ve found the ease of installation, adjustment, and durability of these heads makes them my go-to replacement heads.” (customer review)

Easiest customization: Melnor 95548-IN Multi-Adjustable Garden Above Ground Sprinkler System Kit

The Melnor 95548-IN offers pretty much everything needed in terms of customisation thanks to the 360-degrees rotating head.

Multiple connections: Melnor 65065-AMZ 6 Pattern Turbo Rotary Sprinkler

If you ever find yourself in a situation where you have to connect multiple sprinkler heads in a row, the Melnor 65065-AMZ is surely worth checking out.

Best pop-up: Rain Bird 1800 Series Pop-Up Sprinklers

“With just pressure from the house, they spray with a water and a mist which is what I was really looking for.” (customer review)

How to Adjust Rain Bird Sprinkler Heads

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Rain Bird is one of the most popular brands of sprinkler heads on the market, so a lot of people wonder how easy they are to adjust or what the exact adjustment process is. Naturally, the exact instructions depend on the specific model of the sprinkler, but we wanted to show you how these usually work:

  • You can usually change the watering direction and the distance by setting the fixed the left edge on the sprinkler head. The center cap that’s positioned on the rotor case needs to be moved all the way to the right, and then all the way to the left. If you rotate the entire rotor case, you will line up the left edge in the correct position.
  • If you’re looking to adjust the watering direction, you need to grab the spray head with two of your fingers and rotate to aim it wherever you want it to spray.
  • It usually takes a flat blade screwdriver to adjust the spray distance. Use the screwdriver on the center screw, the one located right on the head of the sprinkler. Turning the screw clockwise will cause the spray distance to decrease with 25 percent.

How Many Sprinkler Heads to Place Per Zone

This topic has a more complicated approach because there are many unknown variables that we need to consider when writing this. Not only does the number of sprinkler heads depend on the size of the yard/garden, but it also depends on the individual requirements of your plants. The total number of sprinklers you choose to install needs to take into consideration the layout of the area you want to water, but also needs to consider the water pressure, the spraying range of the sprinklers, as well as their pattern.

Depending on the water pressure in your home, your sprinklers will distribute more or less water in a given amount of time. Most sprinkler systems are designed to work at a water pressure of 30 PSI.

Related: 7 Best Water Timer for Garden and Lawn

Measuring the water flow is also important (this is a measurement of how much water a system distributes in a specific timeframe). To know the exact number, you can check and see how much time it takes for a bucket to fill up. The exact formula is Gallons (bucket size) / Time (seconds) * 60 = GPM (Gallons Per Minute).

You also have to know the required flow rate of the sprinklers. To figure this out, you have to divide the GPM to the actual amount of water that a sprinkler uses per minute (which is also measured in gallons). Then, adjust the number of sprinklers you have to place per zone accordingly.

How to Adjust Hunter Sprinkler Heads

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Hunter sprinkler heads are available in different types and specific models, so there aren’t any universally-applicable rules that we can tell you to teach you how to adjust every Hunter sprinkler head. If you’re looking to make adjustment on a Hunter pop-up sprinkler head, you have to:

  • Make sure you’ve selected the right nozzle that offers head-to-head coverage. Hunter rotor sprinkler heads usually come with a variety of different nozzles, with each of them having opening sizes that determine the radius control. That means that a nozzle with a larger opening will be able to throw the water at a farther distance if there is enough water pressure.
  • The nozzle is installed by pressing it on the opening so that it flushes with the rotor body. The metal end of the rotor key needs to be placed into the rubber’s cap arrow to make sure the nozzle is secured in place. Make sure that you turn the set screw clockwise.
  • Manually turning the rotor will reveal the fact that you can only turn it in one direction until it reaches the limit, and then to another direction to the same effect. You will notice there is an arrow that indicates the spray’s direction.
  • You will find there is a collar that locks the rotor body into the housing. You will have to turn it counterclockwise to free it. Proceed by lifting the rotor body until you notice that the bottom gear clears the two housing ridges.
  • Point the spray arrow into the direction of your choices, then lower the body again and lock it in place.
  • The rotor body now needs to be turned counterclockwise with your hand up until its left limit. Look at your desired left edge and compare it with the direction of the spray arrow. You can move the body about halfway its travel, then proceed to inserting the plastic end of the rotor key into the cap’s hole (you will notice that it has a couple of arrows pointing to + and – signs). If you turn the key to the + sign, you will notice the left travel limit moves away from the right one, increasing the coverage.

How to Replace Sprinkler Heads

Replacing above-the-ground sprinkler heads is as easy as disconnecting the old sprinkler from the watering source and coupling a new one. However, if we’re talking about under-the-ground sprinklers heads, then it’s a whole different story:

  • Before you start digging, make sure that you have a compatible sprinkler head replacement.
  • Grab a trowel and dig the ground around the damaged sprinkler head. Be really careful how to dig because you won’t want to damage the water line in any way. Save the soil that you’re digging out for later, so you may put it back whenever you install the new sprinkler head.
  • Now you have to unscrew the damaged sprinkler head which is located on a pipe called a riser. The riser is what connects the sprinkler head to the water pipes so, when you’re removing the head, you’re going to have to twist it counterclockwise and make sure that you detach it from the riser, should the two parts come off at the same time.
  • Place the new sprinkler head in the place of the old one, and make sure that the riser is attached properly (by using seal tape wrapped around the threads). Before you put in the sprinkler, turn on the water to make sure there isn’t any dirt in the pipe. When the pipe is dirt-free, you can proceed to tightening the new sprinkler.

The Best Sprinkler Head Reviews

Melnor Pulsating Sprinkler with QuickConnect Product Adapter

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Melnor is kind of a pro when it comes to sprinkler heads, so it should be no surprise that one of their products made it to this list. This particular model we wanted to suggest today measures 7.91 x 8.97 x 5.07 inches and it’s made entirely out a metal, with a metal base that adds durability and stability to the product. The sprinkler promises to cover areas of up to 85 feet in diameter, and it’s available in multiple versions, including one with a metal head and a wheels base. The sprinkler is designed for easy connect/disconnect thanks to the designated adapter that’s available as a separate purchase.

Hunter PGP-adj Rotor Sprinkler Heads

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Next up, we wanted to show you this pack of four-rotor sprinkler heads made from black plastic. This basically a good buy for people who are attracted to the idea of bulk purchases, offering a good price per each sprinkler head. Every pack contains an adjustment tool, alongside the actual sprinkler heads. They have a full-circle adjustment from 50 to 360 degrees, and each head has a preinstalled nozzle.

Orbit 55032 1/2″ BRS Sprinkler Head

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The Orbit 55032 isn’t the sprinkler head you wanted, but it’s the one you deserve. Granted, due to its full metal construction, it doesn’t even come close to what an aesthetic sprinkler should look like, but it surely gets the job done. It can cover areas between 20 and 40 feet in diameter and is designed with an anti-backsplash arm. You have multiple pack options if you’re interested in buying in bulk for a more convenient price per sprinkler. This sprinkler head allows you to adjust the spray distance by screwing the diffuser pin into the stream to reduce the coverage. You can also benefit from part circle adjustment by pushing the trip pin to the down position and sliding the friction collars to adjust the pattern.

GrowGreen Sprinkler

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The GrowGreen Sprinkler comes close to what you would expect a sprinkler head to look like. It is designed to provide water spraying of up to 80 PSI, which is nothing short of amazing considering its rather low price. You can adjust the nozzles to spray in the direction of your choice, customizing the way you water the lawn. The weighted base is there to add stability to the product and prevent tip-overs. The spray head has a 360-degree rotation for more coverage and can spray away to areas that are 32.8 feet away. The head is made from ABS plastic and promises to prove long-term durability.

Rain Bird 5000 Series Rotor Sprinkler HeadsView in gallery

When it comes to rotor sprinkler heads, few can beat the amazing quality of Rain Bird’s items. Designed to be useful for those looking to water medium and large-size shrub areas, these rotor sprinkler heads have a spraying length of 25 to 50 feet, and promise to deliver a uniform spraying pattern so there will be no dry or over watered spots. The technology behind the watering system is focused on large droplets that can’t easily be carried away by the wind. Thanks to the self-cleaning arc adjustment screw, maintenance of these rotor heads should be easier than ever.

Melnor 95548-IN Multi-Adjustable Garden Above Ground Sprinkler System Kit

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Here is yet another Melnor product because why not? They do make some quality sprinklers and this above-the-ground kit is proof of that. You basically get three adjustable sprinklers plus two adjustable 15-foot hoses that allow you to place the sprinklers wherever you want. Each of these three heads promises to cover an area of up 800 square feet. The heads allow you to adjust the spraying angle to cover the areas that you need them to.

Melnor 65065-AMZ 6 Pattern Turbo Rotary Sprinkler

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Capable of covering areas of up to 70 feet in diameter, the Melnor 65065-AMZ sprinkler head is a regular beast amongst its peers. It features some of the specifications that you usually see in other Melnor sprinkler heads, including the quick connect feature that requires the adapter which is sold separately. It is ideal for small to medium-sized lawns, and the head can provide you with 6 different spray patterns to choose from. The turbo motor promises to ensure a longer lifespan.

Rain Bird 1800 Series Pop-Up Sprinklers 10 PACK

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Pop-up sprinklers are often underrated products and we’ve come to show you how practical they can actually be. These ones made by Rain Bird are designed with strong stainless steel springs that promise on-point retraction. They are made from UV-resistant plastic, so you won’t have to worry about them being exposed to the sun for too long. The seal is designed to respond to pressure and integrates a system that allows you to connect multiple heads to the same valve. We also have to talk about the precision controlled flush at pop-down which helps remove the debris from the sprinkler head.

FAQ

Which is better: Rainbird or Hunter?

As you can imagine, it really depends on who you ask. Some people claim that Hunter products are better in a sense that they are more durable compared to sprinkler heads made by Rain Bird.

Can I mix and match my sprinkler heads?

It’s typically recommended to choose a single brand for all your sprinklers if you want to maximize the performance of your system and keep it at a constantly high level.

Where do I buy the best sprinkler heads?

Amazon is usually the best place to buy sprinkler heads, or at least the best place to start looking because they offer a wide range of products from different brands and available at really good prices.

Bottom Line

Having the wrong sprinkler head is the kind of thing that can make you lose faith in these trusty garden helpers and go back to manually watering the lawn. Because we want you to make the best out of all these tools designed to ease your work, we encourage you to look for products made with good materials, from manufacturers that have experience in making and selling sprinkler heads and, whenever it’s time, to perform proper maintenance to ensure that your sprinkler system has a long lifespan.