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Types Of Sprinkler Heads And Sprinklers Buying Guide

Types Of Sprinkler Heads

There are numerous types of sprinkler heads available for purchase. Choosing the appropriate sprinkler head for your irrigation requirements requires time and effort. This article will help you understand the fundamentals and apply them while purchasing sprinklerheads. We will also cover all you need to know about sprinkler heads, from their basic anatomy to the various types currently available.

The Sprinkler Head Buying Guide

The Basics of Irrigation

Sprinkler heads are specialized equipment designed to spray water over a specific region. A subterranean sprinkler system consists of a main line that branches out into several branches. This type of system is used by homeowners who want to take care of their landscaping but don't want to stand in their yard and spray water from a hose.

Sprinkler Head Components

Each sprinkler head consists of two primary components: the body and the nozzle. These two components can be extremely basic or quite complex.

The Structure Of An Above-Ground Sprinkler Head

Above-ground systems, in which you just bolt a gadget onto your garden hose, are typically fairly simple. You might have a body that provides a platform and a nozzle with tiny holes that distribute water when the hose is turned on.

The structure of an in-ground sprinkler head is intricate.

The nozzle of a sprinkler head will be formed according to the spray pattern it is intended to give and the number of water streams it can pump out simultaneously. Pop-up sprinklers, which will be discussed shortly, have a body that is wider at the bottom because the upper piece retracts into it when not in use.

Sprinkler Heads Spray Pattern Rotating

Different Spray Pattern Options

The spray pattern is one of the main distinguishing aspects between sprinkler heads. Each head is designed to produce a stream of water that shoots out of the nozzle and onto the nearby vegetation. Fixed, revolving, and mist are the three fundamental spray pattern kinds.

1. Fixed

A set spray pattern is intended to remain fixed. It typically consists of many thin streams of water that radiate from the center of a circular nozzle. Typically, the height of water blasted out is between 3 and 15 feet. The fixed spray can be changed to fit the area, and it can go from 40 degrees to a full 360 degrees.

2. Rotating: Effect

A typical impact-rotating sprinkler is constructed mostly of bronze or brass. The impact rotor mechanism is extremely solid and resilient, and it can hurl water a considerable distance—often between 20 and 150 feet. Impact rotor heads often need regular maintenance because they have a lot of finely tuned moving parts that can wear out and stop working over time.

3. Gear-Driven Rotation

Gear-driven sprinkler heads are designed to rotate between 40 and 360 degrees and have a typical radius of 18 to 55 feet. Consequently, they are ideally suited for huge yards or industrial or commercial sectors. Their technology is housed within the device's body, making it significantly quieter than impact-rotors. They are often less expensive than impact rotors.

4. Large Rotating Turf Rotor

The final form of the spinning spray pattern is a turf rotor with a large diameter. This type of equipment is utilized in regions such as golf courses where a large quantity of mowed grass needs watering. One head may have a 100-foot flow radius.

5. Micro/Misting

Certain plants demand a fine spray pattern, which a micro-spray or misting spray head provides. This sort of head is particularly cost-effective because mist supplies less water per hour (typically measured in gallons per minute, or GPH). A small garden, such as a flowerbed, may benefit from micro or mist sprinklers.

Sprinkler Heads elevation pop up


In addition to the spray pattern, it is essential to consider the height of each head. Some sprinkler heads are meant to stick out of the ground, while others are designed to go down into the ground and disappear.

Two inches of Pop Up

The most prevalent type of sprinkler for in-ground irrigation systems is the pop-up variety. They consist of a low, solid component that can be inserted into the ground. It appears after being enabled. Most of the time, these things last longer because lawnmowers and other nearby activities can't hurt them.

Common pop-up devices range in height from 2 to 20 inches. Typically, each body and nozzle is designed to provide water between 3 and 15 feet. The two-inch design is ideal for yards with rocky, difficult-to-dig soil.

Pop-up: 4 or 6 inches

The heads that rise to a height of four inches are ideal for grassy lawn regions where blades are typically trimmed to three inches, allowing the sprinkler to rise above the grass and spray.

Six inches is also the usual height for turf zones. This allows for additional clearance above the grass, allowing the sprinkler to function even if the grass grows a bit longer.

Pop-Up Size: 8 to 20 Inches

Taller sprinkler heads will be able to clear substantial obstructions and will also be able to reach into the foliage of plants and bushes. It is ideal for a zone with elevated planters, rock features, long decorative grasses, organic gardens with reaching plants such as peas and tall hedges.

PVC Vertical Riser 4

You may decide to use a PVC vertical riser on your head to elevate it. If you want to avoid using pop-up sprinklers but need to make clearance over a stone wall or other obstruction, this is a suitable option. But in an open area, PVC vertical risers might be ugly or cause people to trip.


Those sprinkler heads that do not retract into the ground when they are not in use have a "raised" elevation. The precise dimensions depend on the type of sprinkler head you choose. For instance, a head attached to a hose may extend from the ground anywhere from a few inches to more than a foot. Many sprinklers are height-adjustable, allowing you to tailor them to your needs.


Over time, sprinkler heads commonly settle into the ground. Consider this when determining the height of your sprinkler head. If you need at least four inches of space to reach over a bed, you might want to buy a head that is at least six inches longer to allow for settling.

If the head settles excessively, it can be raised with some digging and repositioning.

Matching Products to Irrigation Needs

There are numerous sorts of sprinkler heads, and this section of the book will assist you determine which type corresponds with the landscape you're applying to. Unless you purchase a sprinkler head that is tailored to your specific needs, you will wind up with an ineffective product. Since different parts of your yard may have different watering needs, it is best to only use one type of spray pattern per zone.

Lawn Dimensions

Depending on the size of your outdoor space, you may choose a certain type of equipment.

Small to medium-sized yards

Pop-up sprinklers with predetermined spray patterns might work nicely for a small yard. If you have less ground to traverse, the limited throwing distance will not be an issue. If you have planters, you may want a micro-spray pattern that focuses on the immediate vicinity. A possible alternative is an above-ground hose attachment.

Big Areas

large yards or business locations. Consider gear-driven rotor heads if you need to cover a big area, as they are quiet and have a maximum throw distance of up to 55 feet.

Irregular vs. regular

As we have discussed, the majority of spray heads produce circular patterns. Nonetheless, some more recent models can cover rectangular areas. If your yard has an irregular form, a circular head may serve you well. Rectangular patterns, on the other hand, cover the most area without overlap and have many even, straight edges.

Consider the Irrigation Zones

Consider your property in terms of zones. These zones will have plants of the same species. One zone could be the grass-covered lawn, while another could be the flower garden in front of the house.

Determine the water needs of each zone.

Not all plants drink the same quantity of water. A vegetable garden may require twenty gallons of water each week, whereas a lawn may require less. Determine the needs of your plants through online studies or by consulting a landscaper. Experts in irrigation frequently discuss the GPH that each head can give. This abbreviation stands for gallons per hour.

Calculate the size of each zone.

The manufacturer will propose a "maximum throwing distance" for each nozzle. This will indicate how far apart your heads must be in order to create head-to-head coverage within the zone. If the heads are too far apart, you will create dry areas in your yard where plants cannot grow.

Think about your climate and rainfall requirements.

Consider the climate in your area when shopping. The amount of precipitation the sprinkler is able to give indicates if it will be sufficient for watering your plants. A plant with a large root system, such as a tree, in a hot, dry region may require more inches per hour (IPH) of precipitation than a small plant in a wet or humid climate.

More Details

Here are some more details to keep in mind.


Typically, the price of a sprinkler head ranges from three to nearly twenty dollars per head. This pricing range is due to changes in the design of the body and nozzle. A simple hose connection with a few moving parts will cost less than a huge turf rotor with several small, exposed working parts.

The maintenance aspect

Pop-up sprinklers are initially more expensive than stationary heads, but they may require fewer replacements because they are less likely to be damaged by the lawn mower. In many places, you have to "blow out" your sprinkler system every year so that there is no water left in the sprinkler heads when it gets cold enough to freeze.


Is the aesthetic appeal of your landscaping important to you? If so, make sure to consider aesthetics when selecting a sprinkler system. Some alternatives have sleek, sophisticated features, while others are massive or rustic-looking.

Important Features

Some manufacturers incorporate essential characteristics that improve the product. Here are some examples of characteristics to search for.

Rain-Stopper Device

Look for gadgets compatible with a rain sensor if water saving is important to you. This type of sensor will deactivate the irrigation system on days when natural rainfall has provided sufficient water and irrigation is unnecessary. Some brands support this device type, while others do not.

Special Patterns

If portions of your yard require specialized patterns, such as a spray pattern with an angle of less than 40 degrees, you should check for spot-specific spray patterns. End-strip patterns are a design that works well in confined spaces.

Irrigation Equipment

Occasionally, sellers also include a timer, tubing, and connectors with sprinkler heads in their bundles. This bundle simplifies the process of purchasing sprinklers because it contains all of the necessary components for watering the lawn. A kit might not be the best choice for a large property with different landscaping needs in each zone.


How Do Sprinkler Heads Perform Their Function?

Sprinkler heads are meant to operate using water pressure as opposed to dragging hoses around the yard. With a controller, underground sprinkler systems can be turned on and off electronically. The controller sends a signal to the valves and water pressure to open and close, which raises sprinkler heads or spigots off the ground.

Why Do Sprinkler Heads Leak?

Sprinkler heads may leak due to a variety of causes. They have valves that are susceptible to leaking if they are worn or soiled. There may be a ruptured pipe in the irrigation system. When the valves are turned off, any water left in the pipes flows to the lowest sprinkler head and leaks out until the pipe is empty. This is called low head drainage.

What is the lifespan of sprinkler heads?

An irrigation system for a lawn is an investment. How long sprinkler heads survive depends on the quality of the product, the water, and how well the sprinkler heads are maintained. The lifespan of a high-quality spigot may be up to ten years, although cheaper heads may not last as long.

Do Sprinkler Heads Leak?

Sprinkler heads can indeed leak. If you have an in-ground lawn irrigation system, the need for frequent maintenance may not be immediately apparent. In addition, I would suggest flushing your irrigation system at the start of summer. This removes any old water and prevents nozzles from becoming clogged.

How Do You Know When Sprinkler Heads Need to be Replaced?

Regularly inspect your irrigation system when it is on and off to determine when to replace the sprinkler heads. Sprinkler heads may require replacement for a variety of reasons, including general deterioration. This includes if the sprinkler head doesn't move forward or backward or if it sprays too much or too little water.

Why Do Sprinkler Heads Remain Elevated?

The most common cause of sprinkler heads remaining elevated is dirt and debris. If cleaning the sprinkler head does not fix the problem, you might consider the possibility that it is just worn out.

Which lubricant is best for sprinkler heads?

Personal preference determines the best lubrication for sprinkler heads, and my personal preference is to not use any lubricant. It should not be necessary to lubricate sprinkler heads. It is more likely that they need to be cleaned, as lubrication will exacerbate the problem and override the sprinkler head's SOS message. If you must have a lubricant, try a spray made of water-resistant silicone.

How are sprinkler heads triggered?

Sprinkler heads are activated by water pressure and extend if the hose faucet is turned on. Or if the electrical controller has activated the valves, allowing water to flow through the pipes to the faucets. Motion sensors are responsible for triggering sprinklers in movies.

Is it possible to mow over sprinkler heads?

Yes, you may mow over sprinkler heads that have been retracted with caution. Please ensure that your sprinkler system is turned off during your work. If the lawnmower is striking the sprinkler head when passing over it, you must modify the height of the cutting blade and retest.

Where to Purchase sprinkler heads? 

Online shopping enables easy comparisons between various designs and prices. Lowe's, Home Depot, and Amazon are among the best retailers for sprinkler head purchases. Prices range between a few bucks and twenty dollars. Make sure to read the reviews so you can buy from a trustworthy seller and get a good product.