Best Rotor Sprinkler for Irrigation

A Simple Guide to Find the Best Rotor Sprinkler for Irrigation Purposes

Rotor sprinklers are irrigation tools used for large, wide and open areas. They are not too much complicated structurally. However, not every situation can be handled with one answer. The requirement for your area can be different than others. Before buying the best rotor sprinkler for your landscape, you have to know the basics and be aware of few affairs.

And here in this article, you will be able to get a clear perception before you get to the action.

Keep reading!

Basics of a Rotary Sprinkler

We can see it from the name, it rotates! Yes, rotor sprinklers irrigate the ground by spinning and throwing the water in a circular motion. In this way, the water does not ‘hurt’ whatever you are watering and gives a misty like touch but with sufficient amount of water.

The impact rotor is build-up on a bearing that helps it to revolve in a loop. It is frequently hit by a swinging arm and keeps the sprinkler spinning.

Rotor sprinklers with ball drives can make noise while operating. This type is slowly replaced by sprinkler with gear drive which works quietly.

Sprinklers can come with a set of nozzles or not. If you receive a set of nozzles, called nozzle tree, you have to choose one- your landscape suits and the other ones can be used for a different purpose later.

Where the Rotary Sprinkler Is Used For

Rotary sprinklers are mighty. They are basically used for larger areas measuring from 16-50 feet. Other sprinklers like oscillating sprinkler, a pop-up or spray heads are used for home usage.

A rotary sprinkler might work for areas less than 18 feet but it may not be a wise choice because you can buy a spray sprinkler at a lesser price and get more efficiency.

There are rotary sprinklers for areas bigger than 50 feet. They are mostly needed for golf courses or industrial purpose.

While you buy a rotary sprinkler, it is necessary that the water pressure is higher. A spray sprinkler may work in lesser pressure but not a rotary sprinkler.

If you ask how much pressure you need, then there is an easy solution. The PSI must go beyond the area that needs to be covered (in feet).

For instance, if you need to irrigate a 30 feet area, the PSI at least needs to be of 35. It would be better if there is higher PSI as per the pressure loss at the pipe and valve.

A short note: Consider the help of an expert if you have an area bigger than 40 feet as huge sprinklers require developed knowledge while in progress.

Different Types of Rotary Sprinkler

There are a few types of rotary sprinkler available in the market. Notable are –

  1. Pop-up rotary sprinkler head: It pops up when it is turned on for work. And when done, it goes back to its position. This is an underground irrigation system. Pop-up sprinklers are great for such areas where people are going to walk or land mowers will trim the grass so that it can stay unbroken and someone will not trip over. For instance, the centre of a lawn, yard or a garden.
  2. Static rotary sprinkler: It stays fixed in a place. It is good when used at the corners and places where no one walks because a little bit of unmindfulness can cause an unexpected accident.
  3. Operated with the help of a hose: The third types are ones which are attached on one end of a hose. This is movable. You can change its place anywhere you want. These are normally light-weight so that it can be carried easily.

Best Rotary Sprinkler Buying Guide

There are several things you should keep in mind while buying a rotor sprinkler as there are so many of them predominating the market. They have differences. To buy the best one, you should know what makes a tool reliable and what deteriorates its spot.

However, in a good quality sprinkler head, there must be a specification in the wiper seal, pop up height, spring retraction, a firm plastic body and cap.

  1. The wiper seal is a seal around the pop-up riser stem that seals the riser so it will not drip. It helps the dirt out of the sprinkler body. It is important that it must be present in a sprinkler head. And not only it has to be present, but also it needs to be a good stainless steel seal.
  2. The pop-up height of a sprinkler is important. 4” is good but 6” is better. Unless you buy a 4”, you have to trim the grass too often otherwise the water droplets will get trapped it in the grass.
  3. Spring retraction: The spring in the pop-up piston needs to be strong and firm. Otherwise, it will not pop-up smoothly and can crack up soon after you buy it. A metal pop up can rust and corrode unless it is a good build. Therefore pay heed to the spring before buying it.
  4. Make sure it has a gear drive motor. It will move smoothly and will not make any noise.

These are the things that you have to look in a sprinkler. And after to make sure which one you are buying, note the spray distance and the perimeter of your garden so that you can count how many sprinklers you need.

Our Recommended Best Rotor Sprinkler Heads

1. Orbit H2O-6 Gear Drive Sprinkler

The orbit h2o rotor sprinkler has a spike base. It has six watering patterns so you can use according to your yearning. You can easily change the pattern by turning the rotary dial. Though it has 360-degree coverage, it may cover a little less than that.

It serves a highest 40 feet distance of spraying when the PSI is 50. However, the distance is adjustable.

A common problem for this sprinkler can be, through constant use, the top gets loosen from the bottom and gets detached. You can fix this by simply removing the bottom from the spike and then screw it back together from the bottom and then screw the whole thing back together on the spike.

The gears inside the body are plastic made and can be fragile, and cause leaking and other small problems. But using the kit with care can make it last longer. Make sure that you do not adjust it while it is working. In addition, similar suggestions for the spike; do not be harsh on it.

It is suitable for large areas. But you can also adjust it for oddly shaped areas.

You can use hard water and it will not clog up. It operates quietly. It is an effective and satisfactory sprinkler to use.

2. Melnor 15404 4 Turbo Spike-360 Degree coverage

This one of Melnor rotor sprinkler is ideal for lawn, flower bed, shrub, shrub bed etcetera. You will find it effective for larger areas.

It has a four pattern head with a plastic spike as the base. As it is made of plastic, you have to use it gently and carefully. You can not treat a plastic body with hulk force, can you?

It is capable of 360 degrees arch but works best at 220 degrees.

There is no instruction book, but it is not too hard to set. There is a tab at the top to control the distance and the yellow ring at the base controls the direction of the spray.

It may have a tendency to leak, but you can avoid this by tightening the body parts.

It is quiet while operating.

If you have an approximate water pressure of 55, you can get about 60 feet spray distance. But also works well in low pressure.

The only problem with this sprinkler is that it does not water close to the sprinkler base rather the perimeter gets watered properly. Other than that, it is a sprinkler of use.

3. Lawn Sprinkler Rotary Three Arm Lawn

This sprinkler is great for irrigating both small and wide area. You can water flower bed, fruit tree, grass, crop and lawn. It distributes water evenly with a coverage of 23 to 30 feet depending on the water pressure of your place. But it works under low pressure as well.

The head is adjustable. You can adjust up to 360 degrees.

You can use it both as a rotating sprinkler or fountain. Your kids will love to play with it.

It has a plastic body and thus lightweight and you can carry it easily wherever you want. But you have to use it with care otherwise it can prove to be fragile.

It can not water close to the sprinkler and takes time because it sprays with softer and tinier drops which help to save water.

There is no instruction to set it up but it is easily adjustable.

You have to use it by attaching it to a hose. The only problem that you may find can be that it leaks in the joint of the hose. It is suggested that you use a kinkier hose to solve this problem.

If you overlook the little inconveniences, you will find this sprinkler a pleasure to use.

4. Gilmour Square Pattern Rotary Sprinkler

It is China made metal constructed three armed wheels based rotor sprinkler. The material is good that makes the build firm and makes it a durable sprinkler. But the metal product is harmful to health. So wash your hands after holding it and keep your toddlers and dog away from touching the body. Nothing to get scared, you can use this but just be aware.

It is ideal for watering medium or small sized lawn. It covers up to 40 feet area depending on your home water PSI. But it works well in low pressure as well. Too much pressure can cause the sprinkler to stop spinning.

The head is movable. It shoots the water high which can only be controlled if you lower the PSI. Though the company promised it to have a square pattern, it is circular in reality. It does not waste water by misting. It does the work neat and nice.

The only problem is that sometimes it stops spinning. But otherwise, it is a good sprinkler and serves satisfactorily.

5. Rain Bird 32SASP Hose-End Gear Drive Rotor

This model of Rain Bird is a hose end spike rotor. It can cover up to 19 to 32 feet. It is easily adjustable. Its arch can be set from approximately 40 to 360 degrees. You can adjust it to water a specific area.

It waters evenly throughout the coverage area. It is sturdy and does not move unnecessarily.

The final set up before installing can be hard but if you can adjust it properly, you will get a satisfying service from it.

The head works nicely but the stake in the base is made of plastic and is somewhat fragile. Make sure to use it carefully. While digging it in the ground, soak the soil and make it soft so that the spike will not get hurt.

However, even if that does not work, and split anyway, you can replace it with a new sturdy spike as the body parts are separate-able and the head is very efficient.

The sprinkler may not be suitable for the windy area.

6. Gilmour Turbine Rotor Sprinkler

Gilmour Turbine Rotor Sprinkler is a perfect one for medium-sized lawn irrigation. It can spray up to 30 feet of the radius and cover a circular area of 60 feet.

It is gear based and thus quiet while working. There are multiple patterns and they are easy to adjust with an adjustable collar from partial to full. And as per the multiple patterns, it is suitable for various applications. Also, the width (i.e. the pattern of the spray) and the height (i.e. arch) can be adjusted.

It is stable while working and gets the job done quickly. It does not waste water.

It may sometimes leak around the head or the base but can be fixed by using Teflon tape, or tightening can also help.

It requires higher water pressure. So make sure you have higher pressure where you are going to use it.

There is a screen trap on the hose hook up for filtering any kind of dirt or minerals that can create deposit- which can cause to stop spinning of the sprinkler.

7. Melnor Metal Revolving Sprinkler

This sprinkler is ideal for medium or small sized lawn tall and short plant, flower bed and all that. It gives the coverage of 20 feet. But the coverage mostly depends on the water pressure and the arch. If the arch is higher you will get a low coverage and as close to the ground it is, it will go far. This sprinkler requires higher pressure to work efficiently.

The base is wheeled. It has to be attached to a hose.

It is lightweight so you can carry it around but make sure to handle it with care. It is plastic made and thus fragile.

It sprays in such a shape that is between square and circle. So it helps the corners of your lawn to get wet without wasting water. Its base is wide, so it stays put while watering. It creates a heavy mist to irrigate. So it takes time to finish its work.

A problem faced by using this sprinkler can be, it leaves dry spots irregularly. But the place where it soaks, it soaks properly.

The radius adjustment can seem somewhat problematic. This can be solved by adjusting the water pressure.

How to Adjust Rotary Sprinkler Heads

You can easily adjust your rotary sprinkler head by following some simple steps.

First, make sure that the sprinkler is flat to the horizon by using a level. Then adjust the permanent side of the arch. Some of them are fixed to the left and some to the right. Once you settle this, make sure it is in line with the utmost point you want the arch to turn. You have to adjust this by actually turning your head.

Then turn your sprinklers on and let them cycle three times in and out. If you need to decrease the overall rotation radius (for instance to keep your sidewalk dry) use the radius adjustment.

Finally, you need to amend the spray distance. To do this, twist the adjustment screw clockwise until it is touching the water flow. The stream will transform its shape and distance once the screw touches it. Now turn the screw, counter-clockwise so it is not touching the string. It’s the default point. You can reduce the spray distance by rotating it clockwise.

Rotor vs Spray Sprinkler

Rotary sprinklers and spray heads are both irrigation tools and used widely. There are some differences in their feature and working process. They are as following:

1) Spray sprinklers are static. They do not move and sprays a balanced and consistent stream over a certain area. A rotor sprinkler, on the other hand, rotates and sprays water over a circular area.

2) A rotor sprinkler sprays water covering a comparatively huge area. Spray sprinklers focus on small and narrow area instead.

3) Rotor sprinklers spray little water at the same time comparing to spray sprinklers. It has high application rate.

4) Spray sprinkler heads are placed closer compared to a rotary sprinkler head. A less number of rotary sprinklers can work for a big area.

5) Rotary sprinkler heads require high water pressure but spray sprinklers can work in medium pressure.

Frequently Asked Questions

1) Why has my rotor stopped spinning?

Answer: Try disassembling the parts and cleaning it. Any dirt or debris can deposit in the way and stopped spinning.

2) How many rotor sprinklers do I need?

Answer: it depends on the size of the area you want to water, the spray distance of the sprinkler that you are buying and your home PSI. Solve the math in a graph paper by drawing or you can get an app which can help.

3) Will a rotary sprinkler use more water than a spray sprinkler?

Answer: No it won’t. But it takes longer time than a spray sprinkler.

4) How to maintain a rotary sprinkler?

Answer: Be gentle and handle with care. When not needed for a long time, try removing the head and keep it in a safe place so it won’t be sun damaged. Clean the parts often. Tighten the parts to prevent leaking.

5) Do I need specific hose type to use with a sprinkler?

Answer: General garden hoses like these will work fine as long you choose a length that can reach both your water outlet and sprinklers comfortably.


Rotor sprinkler heads are great tools for auto irrigation. You can water your garden even when you are not at home. You just need to find out the best rotor sprinkler for your garden.

In this article, you have seen the types, pros and cons and also some of the many products available on the market. Now you just have to choose the perfect one wisely from the market. Happy gardening!

3 thoughts on “A Simple Guide to Find the Best Rotor Sprinkler for Irrigation Purposes”

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