There are a few different ways of watering your yard, whether it’s through a drip irrigation system, using a garden hose, or using the best oscillating sprinkler.
Oscillating sprinklers are the preferred choice for many people because they are so efficient and provide an even spray over the plants.
If you’re looking for the best oscillating sprinkler, read our reviews on the best options for 2021, along with our troubleshooting tips!
The 5 Best Oscillating Sprinklers in 2021
Our Top Oscillating Sprinkler Pick for 2021
Overall, our favorite oscillating sprinkler is the Gardena ZoomMaxx Oscillating Sprinkler on Weighted Sled Base.
It might only have 16 rubber nozzles, but they are both flexible and more than enough to perform well.
If you have a small-sized lawn or narrow and even irregular sections of your sizeable lawn, you should get this oscillating sprinkler.
It takes some time getting used to the controls, but the many adjustment features will ensure that you will get the right pattern, length, and width.
Furthermore, this compact, lightweight oscillating sprinkler manages to be stable thanks to a large sled base.
This might not be the most efficient model for watering a massive lawn, but it does rise from the competition by providing superb precision and sturdiness while staying compact.
What is an Oscillating Sprinkler?
This is a lawn water sprinkler that creates a fanlike spray that waters either side of the device evenly as the cylinder rotates.
This rotation action has a regular rhythm, or oscillation, which is where the name comes from.
These sprinklers are recognized as one of the best types of lawn sprinklers on the market. They are widely available throughout the country, and can be made from plastic or aluminum, and vary in size.
Here’s a video of an oscillating sprinkler in action.
Are Oscillating Sprinklers Good?
Generally speaking, a good quality oscillating lawn sprinkler is a great option for gardens, especially if you are not planning to invest in a built-in irrigation system.
It’s easy to find a durable, good-quality oscillating sprinkler that’s relatively inexpensive and will water your garden well. They are great to use in established gardens, but are also gentle enough to ensure new plants and seeds don’t get washed away.
Best Oscillating Sprinkler for 2021
This time, we have another Gardena ZoomMaxx, but this one is designed with a weighted sled base.
It still has 16 rubber nozzles with adequate flexibility for an even spread of water. The difference, however, is that the number of nozzles does not seem inefficient.
This is due to how the Gardena ZoomMaxx Oscillating Sprinkler on Weighted Sled Base is designed for irrigating small-sized lawns.
The Gardena ZoomMaxx has a compact design while still possess all the adjustment features from bigger variants.
You can still adjust the width, length, and the water flows, among others.
You can individually adjust the coverage so that each can be positioned to the left, right, front, or back depending on your irrigation needs.
Thus, you could water a small section of newly grown grass while avoiding a weed-infested area with good precision.
The water coverage area is around 76 square feet and it could reach 2,300 square feet. While this model does have a sizeable sled base to keep it stable, the overall oscillating sprinkler is lightweight.
We do wish that the adjustment controls were easier to understand since they require a bit of practice.
There are five adjustment settings, and it’s likely that you won’t get the perfect setting for your first try.
Still, this is indeed a fantastic oscillating sprinkler for small lawns or watering specific sections of large one.
Strong, dry winds will still move the water a bit, but they won’t turn into mist. You only have to move the oscillating sprinkler to get the right coverage again.
If you have low-hanging branches, you could avoid them through the well-performing adjustment features.
- Perfect for precise irrigation of small areas
- Adjustment controls work great for irrigating even irregularly-shaped sections
- Compact, lightweight, and sturdy design
- Strong winds won’t turn the water into mist
- Takes some time to use the adjustment settings correctly
- Not ideal for irrigating large-sized lawns
The first oscillating sprinkler we’ll review is designed to irrigate large-sized rectangular gardens.
The maximum coverage is a staggering 4,000 square feet, which should be more than enough for homeowners.
Likewise, the Melnor XT Metal Oscillating Lawn Sprinkler allows you to adjust three things: watering length, watering width, and the watering pattern.
First, you could choose the watering length to be just 10 feet for small sections and a maximum of 75 feet for large areas.
This adjustment is conducted using the range control levers. Second, the minimum watering width is 10 feet while the widest comes at an impressive 53 feet.
You can adjust this using the level integrated with the One-Touch system, which is patented by Melnor.
Third, you could modify the pattern to go to the left, right, or center. This should help you avoid wasting water on your pavement.
Melnor also paid attention to the durability, reliability, and stability of their oscillating sprinkler.
Made of sturdy metal, the sled base is responsible for stabilizing the sprinkler to stop it from tipping over even with extensive use at maximum settings.
You won’t have to put weights on it to keep it balanced, especially with the large diameter tube that can be weight as much as one pound if it is filled with water.
Likewise, the pressure from this tube decreases water turbulence to enable even water spread.
Another feature that keeps the operation running well is the Infinity turbo motor. It utilizes transmission gearing to handle the flow regardless of the chosen water pressure.
Thus, you can operate the Melnor oscillating sprinkler under a high-pressure setting to remove any debris without ruining the smooth flow.
Likewise, the metallic sled base should ensure an equal flow of water to all of 18 nozzles of this oscillating lawn sprinkler. Moreover, Melnor offers users with a lifetime limited warranty.
In other words, there is no time limit to have your Melnor XT Metal Oscillating Lawn Sprinkler checked.
- Easy to adjust the water length, width, and pattern
- Minimalist black design doesn’t make it look odd in the garden
- Durable metal parts and a reliable level
- Lifetime limited warranty included
- Not good for garden beds that are not rectangular in shape
- Leaks occur occasionally during use
Second, we have another metal oscillating sprinkler. Manufactured in China, the Green Thumb 4200MGT does not quite match the Melnor XT Metal Oscillating Lawn Sprinkler in coverage.
Compared to the latter, this Green Thumb model only has maximum water coverage of 3,900 square feet. Still, this coverage is fitting for large lawns.
As long as you read the instruction manual well, you won’t have any problems with operating this Green Thumb oscillating sprinkler. In fact, it could take you less than three minutes to get everything run.
As for the nozzles, they also number 18 in total similar to the Melnor sprinkler. The 18 rubber nozzles here are highly resistant to clogging to keep a smooth water flow. Also, these nozzles along with the filter feel solid in construction.
This is advertised as a metal sprinkler, but we understand the reasoning behind the use of materials like non-corroding plastic.
Still, it does have an aluminum base to maintain stability during operations and to stop erosion. In addition, the brass connections and the tightening knurls are well-made.
One-Touch Width Control
The Green Thumb 4200MGt Metal Oscillating Sprinkler offers a one-touch width control. However, the width adjustment feature could have been improved in terms of durability.
It felt a bit flimsy, and the maximum width isn’t as big as expected. Furthermore, this oscillating sprinkler would be better off with an automatic shutoff.
- Decent maximum water coverage of 3,900 square feet
- Rubber nozzles are highly resistant to corrosion and prevent clogging
- Instruction manual is easy to understand regardless of technical expertise
- Aluminum base, brass connections, and tightening knurls are all durable
- Controls for adjusting the width feel a bit flimsy
- Lacks an automatic shutoff feature
This is the first of two Gardena oscillating sprinkler on our list.
While the first two products we reviewed featured 18 nozzles, the Gardena ZoomMaxx Oscillating Sprinkler on Metal Step Spike only has 16 rubber nozzles.
This is just a slight reduction, but even two fewer nozzles will affect the overall efficiency. Still, Gardena is confident that their product will work on wide and narrow lawns alike.
This assured remark could be in part due to the durable foot of the oscillating sprinkler. You can place the tough foot on a surface with a maximum incline of 15 degrees, and it will stay in position.
Thus, the Gardena ZoomMaxx has a good degree of flexibility. Then again, you needn’t move it if you have a narrow rectangular lawn.
With the right adjustments in terms of width, angle, and volume, this Gardena variant will evenly spread water all over your lawn.
Additionally, coverage won’t be a big problem whether you have a small or large lawn.
You can quickly change the range. The maximum coverage is 216 square meters while the range of spray ranges from just three meters to 18 meters.
Also, you can get a maximum square width of 12 meters with this oscillating sprinkler. If you want to increase the coverage, you only have to use the Threaded Tap Connector 18201 for attaching sprinkler along a row.
No matter the range, the Gardena ZoomMaxx will have non-stop water flow regulation. Thus, there won’t be sudden outbursts of high-pressure water on your newly growing plants.
If you don’t want a section of your lawn to be watered, you’ll be glad to know that sprinkling widths could be individually adjusted.
Likewise, no amount of dirt and sand will clog the nozzles with the help of the fine-mesh filter. It’s easy to remove the fine-mesh filter if you want to clean or even replace it with a new one.
Apart from these, the spray head of the Gardena ZoomMaxx contains a swivel function, which enables convenient adjustments.
Similarly, a flow control dial is included with this oscillating sprinkler that is powered by a sealed turbo gear.
All of these nifty features helped Gardena win a Red Dot design award. For most of the time, this oscillating sprinkler performs relatively quietly.
On the other hand, we hoped that there was a clearer indicator of which accessories were included in the product package.
Similarly, it would have been better if we could also adjust where the starting line is. In addition, a leak occasionally occurs from the flow adjuster.
- Sturdy foot makes it stable even on slightly inclined spots
- Great for an even spread of water in narrow rectangular lawns
- Easily removable and cleanable fine-mesh filter
- Spray head with a swivel function for convenient adjustments
- Leaks sometimes happen around the flow adjuster
- Indication of the included accessories was not clear enough
Finally, we have this oscillating sprinkler which features an all-metal construction for sturdiness.
The aluminum hose connector is covered with a tough rubber coating to prevent corrosion and clogging. This metallic design gives the Dramm 15002 ColorStorm enough weight to stay stable.
It doesn’t even have sharp edges, so you can move it without getting any grass stuck. While some parts of the Dramm 15002 ColorStorm come from Taiwan, it is assembled in the United States.
There are the easy-to-use dial and tab that you can adjust accordingly to get the best water pattern and spray distance for your lawn irrigation needs.
In fact, you could get almost any water pattern just by moving the two levers.
Additionally, this oscillating sprinkler utilizes 18 brass nozzles to achieve an even spread. If you want precision in watering narrow areas, you could use the flow control knob.
Consequently, the total coverage could reach 3,036 square feet with the right adjustments.
Furthermore, the Dramm 15002 ColorStorm Oscillating Sprinkler comes in six colors: berry, blue, green, red, orange, and yellow.
For convenient cleaning of the brass spray jets, the Dramm 15002 ColorStorm comes with a clean-out pin.
If there any problems, you could use the lifetime guarantee included in the package.
- Includes clean-out pin for cleaning the spray jets
- All-metal construction for stability and durability
- Lifetime guarantee is included
- Comes in six colors
- Flow control knob does not work properly at times
- Occasionally gets stuck in spraying at the same angle
Advantages of Using an Oscillating Sprinkler
Why use an oscillating sprinkler rather than a hose or another irrigation device? Here are some advantages:
- Convenient size – These sprinklers are easy to store, carry and use.
- Adjustable – You can adjust the spray pattern for better accuracy and reduced water wastage.
You can also choose between a pulse pattern or a spray pattern depending on your plants, the wind and other factors.
- Gentle – The spray from an oscillating sprinkler is gentle, which is ideal for newly planted plants and flowers, as well as watering areas where seeds have been planted.
It ensures that the soil is properly moistened without washing away seeds, loose soil and fertilizer.
- Coverage – Unlike hoses or bucket watering, you get wide, even coverage throughout your yard with an oscillating sprinkler.
This means no plant gets overwatered and there’s a reduce risk of wastage. This type of sprinkler creates a fanlike spray pattern that provides good coverage for any size yard small, medium and large yards.
You can set it to reach the nearest and furthest edges of your yard with ease.
- Smart tech – Oscillating lawn sprinkler are fairly basic devices, but some offer really useful additional tech.
Look for an option that has a built-in sensor to detect rainfall – it will automatically switch the sprinkler off if it starts raining, reducing water wastage.
Disadvantages of Using an Oscillating Lawn Sprinkler
An oscillating lawn sprinkler is a great device, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for everyone.
Some disadvantages of choosing this type of sprinkler include:
- Water wastage – While there are smart sprinklers that can help reduce water wastage, these sprinklers are still fairly heavy-use irrigation methods.
The fan spray means there’s fairly high rates of evaporation, especially in hot, sunny and windy weather.
If you live in a water-scarce area, you may want to use it only early in the morning or late in the afternoon, or invest in a more water-friendly irrigation method.
- Immobile – You will still have to go outside, attach your garden hose, place the sprinkler, move it around the yard periodically and then detach it and store your hose.
If you have a large yard, you’ll likely need a long hose reel or expandable hose in order to get the best coverage.
Similarly, the spray can be interrupted by a pet playing with the hose, by kids playing in the garden or even by changes in water pressure.
This is a lot more work than having an automated irrigation system.
- Quality – There are a lot of different oscillating sprinklers on the market, and some are much better quality than others.
Many cheap versions simply break after a season or two, or the plastic cracks in the sun. It’s important to read reviews like these to ensure you don’t waste your money.
Factors to Consider Before Getting an Oscillating Sprinkler
1. Useful Features and Adjustability
Additional features on the sprinkler should be useful rather than gimmicky, so you get the best value for your money.
Practical features to look for include adjustability, rain sensors, timers and quick deactivation.
These features will add onto the cost of the sprinkler, but make using the sprinkler much easier and more convenient.
2. Compatibility With Existing Equipment
The oscillating lawn sprinkler you choose needs to be compatible with your existing irrigation equipment, including hoses and hose attachments, or this can become an expensive exercise!
3. Duration Of Warranty
Look for a sprinkler that offers a good warranty from the manufacturer, especially if you are going for a more high-tech, expensive model.
Check the duration of the warranty as well as the type of issues it covers.
4. Sprinkler Area Coverage
The coverage provided by the oscillating sprinkler should be clearly labelled so that you can see if it will work in your yard.
On average, they offer 30-foot coverage – but this may be too big or too small for your yard.
You want to choose a sprinkler that you won’t have to move too often, and won’t be spraying into the road or neighbor’s yard easily.
5. Holes and Handles
An oscillating sprinkler with many holes will provide greater coverage. However, you wouldn’t need this if you have a small lawn.
In this case, you’re better off getting a variant with fewer holes to adequately limit the coverage area.
Similarly, a well-designed and properly positioned handle makes it easier to move the sprayer.
6. Quality and Maintenance
Just like with any piece of equipment, your sprinkler needs to be well-made from durable materials if you want it to last.
Plastic parts will obviously not be as tough as aluminum or metal parts. A high-end model will cost you a lot, so it needs to prove its worth.
The oscillating sprinkler should at least withstand weather elements such as heavy rainfall and extreme heat. It should also be designed for easy maintenance.
The user manual should be well-detailed for new users and, if you need to replace or clean any specific part, it shouldn’t be hard to disassemble the oscillating sprinkler.
How Long Does it Take a Sprinkler to Water 1 Inch in Soil Depth?
The amount of time it takes to water 1 inch in soil depth will vary according to the type of sprinkler you have and your water pressure, but is usually about 30 minutes.
You can measure this on your sprinkler by placing a bucket in the area of your sprinkler and letting it run for 30 minutes, and then measuring the depth of the water in the bucket with a ruler.
How Long Should I Water My Lawn with an Oscillating Sprinkler?
A lawn needs about 1.5 inches of water each week, especially during the hot summer months. It takes about 30 minutes to water 1 inch of soil.
The best method is to water for 30 minutes 3 times a week.
You can usually water much less if you have an indigenous or more water-wise lawn, and during cooler months.
Here’s a great guide on how to water your lawn.
Is it Bad to Water Grass at Night?
It might seem like a great idea to water your lawn at night as this prevents a lot of evaporation, the moist environment it creates can encourage diseases and fungus that attack grass.
If you are sure you want to water at night, here is the best way to do it.
Otherwise the best time to water is early in the morning, as temperatures are cool and the resulting evaporation keeps the lawn cooler through the heat of the day, helping to preventing stress and sun damage.
Why Do Oscillating Sprinklers Stop Working?
The most common reason for your oscillating lawn sprinkler to stop working is poor water pressure.
When the flow from the hose is not strong enough, the distribution bar on the sprinkler can’t move properly to create that fanlike spray.
Check the pressure in your home and at your yard faucet, and check the hose for leaks.
Be careful how you position your oscillating sprinkler, as rocks, gravel, plants and long grass can interfere with the movement of the sprinkler, preventing a full and even spray or catching on the moving parts.
Another common problem is build-up in the sprinkler gears, which can occur over the years, especially in areas that have hard water.
Wipe it clean and apply spray lubricant to moving parts.
Wrapping Up Oscillating Sprinkler To Get In 2021
Now you know everything there is to know to find the best oscillating sprinkler for your yard!
We hope that our guide on oscillating sprinklers helped you understand their appeal as well as their advantages and disadvantages for irrigating a yard.
With our reviews as well as tips on what to look for when you buy an oscillating sprinkler as well as how to solve common issues with these sprinklers, and how to use one to water your lawn, you can go out and buy the best oscillating sprinkler for your yard!
If you have any questions, feel free to send us a comment.