When you’re a kid, sprinklers are about water fun in the backyard. When you grow, they’re all about irrigating your lawn and gardens to create a beautiful oasis of a property. However, there are many different types of sprinkler heads you can buy.
Find products here at Hunter websites.
Find products here at Hunter websites.
Choosing the right sprinkler head for your irrigation needs takes time and effort. To pick the best option, you have to know some basics of irrigation and landscaping. These topics are so complex that there are whole industries dedicated to specializing in them.

Though you won’t be able to learn all of the details of each discipline in one sitting, this article will help you to grasp the basics, and apply the knowledge to buying your sprinkler heads. We’ll go over everything you need to know about sprinkler heads as well, from the basic anatomy to the different types on the market today.

Table of Contents [hide]
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I. Sprinkler Head Buying Guide
A. Irrigation Basics
B. Parts of a Sprinkler Head
1. Simple: Anatomy Of An Above Ground Sprinkler Head
2. Complex: Anatomy of an In-Ground Sprinkler Head
C. Different Spray Pattern Options
1. Fixed
2. Rotating: Impact
3. Rotating: Gear-Driven
4. Rotating: Large Turf Rotor
5. Micro/Misting
D. Elevation
1. Pop Up: Two Inches
2. Pop-Up: Four or Six Inches
3. Pop-Up: Eight to Twenty Inches
4. PVC Vertical Riser
5. Raised
7. Settling
II. Matching Product To Irrigation Needs
A. Size Of Lawn
1. Small to Medium Yards
2. Large Areas
B. Think In Terms Of Irrigation Zones
1. Learn The Water Needs For Each Zone
2. Measure The Area Of Each Zone
3. Factor In Your Climate and Precipitation Needs
IV. More Details
A. Cost
B. The Maintenance Factor
C. Appearance
D. Key Features
1. Rain Shut-Off Device
2. Special Patterns
3. Irrigation Kits
E. Where To Buy Online
1. Lowes
2. Home Depot
3. Amazon
I. Sprinkler Head Buying Guide

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A. Irrigation Basics

Each in-ground sprinkler system is comprised of the main line which leads to different branches. At the end of each branch is a sprinkler head, which is a specialized piece of machinery designed to spray water over a designated area. Sprinkler Install
Source: Lowes

If you want to irrigate your lawn and garden, you have two options that involve sprinkler heads. You can use a simple, above ground set up, and buy a head that fits onto a hose. You could even buy a hose splitter so that you can water two different parts of the yard at once. Sprinkler Install

Your second option is to put in (or have someone install for you), an in-ground system.
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The in-ground method of watering a yard is automated. Homeowners use this type of system if they want a landscape to be cared for, but they prefer not to stand out in the yard and spray water with a hose for hours each week.

Each in-ground sprinkler system is comprised of the main line Sprinkler Install which leads to different branches. At the end of each branch is a sprinkler head, which is a specialized piece of machinery designed to spray water over a designated area.

B. Parts of a Sprinkler Head Sprinkler Install

Every sprinkler head has two basic parts: the body and the nozzle. These two parts can either be very simple or very complex.

1. Simple: Anatomy Of An Above Ground Sprinkler Head
Spot sprinkler for small to medium lawn or garden.

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Above ground systems, where you just screw a device onto your garden hose, tend to be very straightforward. You may have a body that provides a platform, and a nozzle comprised of little holes that distribute the water when the hose is on.

2. Complex: Anatomy of an In-Ground Sprinkler Head
Super jet pulse pop-up impact sprinkler spray head with flow-thru design and fully adjustable spray pattern.

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Source: Amazon

In-ground heads tend to be more involved than above ground heads. The way the body is shaped will depend on what type of sprinkler head it is. Pop-up sprinklers, which we’ll be discussing soon, have a body that is wider at the base because an upper section retracts into it so that it sits underground when not in use.

The nozzle of a sprinkler will be shaped according to what kind of spray pattern it is designed to deliver, and how many streams of water it can pump out at once.

C. Different Spray Pattern Options
There are three basic types of spray patterns: fixed, rotating, and mist.

Source: Lowes

One of the most important differentiating factors between sprinkler heads is the spray Sprinkler Install pattern. Each heads are designed to create a flow of water that shoots out of the nozzle and onto the surrounding planted materials. There are three basic types of spray patterns: fixed, rotating, and mist.

1. Fixed
Plastic pop-up spray head sprinkler with heavy-duty stainless-steel spring and fully adjustable pattern.

Source: Lowes

A fixed spray pattern is designed to stay stationary. Most commonly, it consists of multiple thin streams of water Sprinkler Install Tulsa that fan out from the center of a circular nozzle. Usually, the water that is pumped out can reach about 3 to 15 feet.

The fixed spray can be adjusted to fit the targeted area and might range from 40 degrees to a full 360 degrees, depending on the goal of that particular sprinkler head.

For example, if you place a sprinkler with a fixed spray pattern next to a walkway, you may Sprinkler Install only want the head to water in a 180-degree pattern so that you could avoid watering the pavement, but water the adjacent grass.

If thinking about this in degrees is confusing, you could also think about fixed spray patterns in full arc, half circle or full circle arrangements. Often the head can adjust to fit different degrees of coverage, but sometimes, a Sprinkler Install Tulsa head will be sold that is not adjustable. For example, it may only be capable of spraying in a full circle.

Usually, fixed spray nozzles come in circular spray patterns, but recently there are some rectangular patterns on the market as well.

2. Rotating: Impact
Brass impact sprinkler with classic impact sound and adjustable deflector flap.

Source: Amazon

While a fixed spray pattern will stay the same while the sprinkler is in use, a rotating head has the capability of turning over time. Because they can turn over time while in use, they are great for covering large open areas.

It’s common for a rotating head to water Sprinkler Install Tulsa up to 20 to 150 feet of surrounding plant material. There are Sprinkler Install three different kinds of rotating heads that you’ll likely see as you shop.

An impact rotating sprinkler is usually made out of primarily bronze or brass (as opposed to the plastic that is used in some gear-driven Sprinkler Install rotor heads). Because of these sturdy materials, Sprinkler Install Tulsa the impact rotor mechanism is very sturdy and durable and can throw water a great distance — usually 20 to 150 feet.

The machinery within the head can be loud, making these more suited to commercial sites than private residences. This is because the best time to water is in the early dawn, when members of the household may still be sleeping. Impact rotor heads usually require regular maintenance, because of all of the finely tuned moving parts that can wear down and malfunction over time.

3. Rotating: Gear-Driven

Companies that make gear-driven rotating heads often use plastic parts, encase the moving parts inside the body of the sprinkler. Sprinkler Install Tulsa They can be designed to turn anywhere from 40 to 360 degrees, and typically have a radius that is 18 to 55 feet. This makes them well suited to large yards or industrial and commercial areas.

The machinery of a gear-driven head is contained within the body of the device, so it is much quieter than the impact-rotor. They also typically cost less than impact rotors.
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4. Rotating: Large Turf Rotor
The last type of rotating spray pattern is a large turf rotor. This kind of machinery Sprinkler Install is used for areas like golf courses, where a significant amount of mowed grass needs to watering. One head may have a flow radius of 100 feet.