There are several ways to water your garden, be it through a drip irrigation system, a garden hose, or the best oscillating sprinkler.
Oscillating sprinklers are the preferred choice for many people because they are so efficient and deliver a uniform spray over the plants.
If you're looking for the best oscillating sprinkler, check out our reviews of the best options for 2020 and our troubleshooting tips!
5 best oscillating sprinklers rated for 2020
The 5 best oscillating sprinklers in 2020
Our top oscillating sprinkler pick for 2020
Overall, our preferred oscillating sprinkler is the Gardena ZoomMaxx oscillating sprinkler on a weighted sled base.
It may only have 16 rubber nozzles, but both are flexible and more than enough to perform well.
If you have a small lawn or narrow and even irregular sections of your big lawn, you should buy this oscillating sprinkler.
It takes some time to get used to the controls, but the many customization features ensure that you get the right pattern, length, and width.
In addition, this compact, lightweight oscillating sprinkler is stable thanks to a large sled base.
This may not be the most efficient model for watering a massive lawn, but it stands out from the competition by offering excellent precision and robustness while remaining compact.
What is an oscillating sprinkler?
This is a lawn water sprinkler that creates a fan-like spray that evenly waters both sides of the device as the cylinder rotates.
This rotation action has a regular rhythm or oscillation from which the name comes.
These sprinklers are considered one of the best types of lawn sprinklers on the market. They are widespread across the country and can be made of plastic or aluminum and vary in size.
Here is a video of an oscillating sprinkler in action.
Are oscillating sprinklers good?
In general, a good quality oscillating sprinkler is a great option for gardens, especially if you don't plan to invest in a built-in irrigation system.
It is easy to find a durable, high quality oscillation sprinkler that is relatively inexpensive and will water your garden well. They are ideal for use in established gardens, but are also gentle enough to ensure that new plants and seeds are not washed away.
Best oscillating sprinkler for 2020
This time we have another Gardena ZoomMaxx, but it is equipped with a weighted sled base.
It still has 16 rubber nozzles with enough flexibility for even water distribution. The difference, however, is that the number of nozzles does not appear to be inefficient.
This is due to the fact that the oscillating sprinkler Gardena ZoomMaxx is designed on a weighted sled base for the irrigation of small lawns.
The Gardena ZoomMaxx has a compact design and still has all the setting functions of larger versions.
Among other things, you can adjust the width, length and water flow.
You can customize the cover so that it can be positioned left, right, front or back depending on the watering needs.
This way you can water a small part of the newly grown grass while avoiding a weed-infested area with good precision.
The water coverage area is approximately 76 square feet and could reach 2,300 square feet. While this model has a large sled base to keep it stable, the entire oscillating sprinkler is light.
We hope that the adjustment controls are easier to understand because they require some 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 for watering certain sections of large lawns.
Strong, dry winds still move the water a little, but do not turn into fog. You just have to move the oscillating sprinkler to get the right cover back.
If you have low hanging branches, you can avoid them with the powerful customization features.
- Perfect for precise irrigation of small areas
- Adjustment controls are ideal for watering even irregularly shaped sections
- Compact, light and robust design
- Strong winds do not turn the water into fog
- It takes some time for the customization settings to be used correctly
- Not ideal for watering large lawns
The first oscillating sprinkler we're going to review is for watering large rectangular gardens.
The maximum coverage is a staggering 4,000 square feet, which should be more than enough for homeowners.
You can also set three things with the Melnor XT Metal Oscillating Lawn Sprinkler: irrigation length, irrigation width and irrigation pattern.
First, you can set the irrigation length to 10 feet for small sections and 75 feet for large areas.
This setting is made using the range control levers. Second, the minimum irrigation width is 10 feet, while the widest is an impressive 53 feet.
You can set this with the level integrated in the Melnor patented one-touch system.
Third, you can change the pattern to go left, right, or center. This is to help you avoid wasting water on your sidewalk.
Melnor also paid attention to the durability, reliability and stability of its oscillating sprinkler.
The sled base made of robust metal is responsible for the stabilization of the sprinkler, so that it does not tip over even with prolonged use at maximum setting.
You don't have to put any weights on it to keep your balance, especially for large diameter pipes that can weigh up to a pound when filled with water.
The pressure from this pipe also reduces the water turbulence in order to enable an even water distribution.
Another feature that runs the business well is the infinity turbo engine. It uses a gearbox to handle the flow regardless of the selected water pressure.
So you can put the Melnor oscillation sprinkler under high pressure to remove dirt without interfering with the smooth operation.
Likewise, the metallic sled base should ensure an even flow of water to all 18 nozzles of this oscillating lawn sprinkler. In addition, Melnor offers users a lifetime limited warranty.
In other words, there is no time limit to review your Melnor XT Metal Oscillating Lawn Sprinkler.
- Easy adjustment of water length, width and pattern
- The minimalist black design doesn't make it look strange 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
- Leakages occasionally occur during use
3. Green Thumb 4200MGT metal oscillating sprinkler
Second, we have another oscillating metal sprinkler. The cover of the Green Thumb 4200MGT made in China is not quite the same as the Melnor XT Metal Oscillating Lawn Sprinkler.
Compared to the latter, this Green Thumb model only has a maximum water coverage of 3,900 square feet. Nevertheless, this cover is suitable for large lawns.
As long as you have read the operating instructions well, you will have no problems using this Green Thumb oscillation sprinkler. In fact, it can take less than three minutes for everything to run.
The nozzles are number 18 overall, similar to the Melnor sprinkler. The 18 rubber nozzles here are very resistant to constipation to ensure smooth water flow. In addition, these nozzles together with the filter feel solid in structure.
This is advertised as a metal sprinkler, but we understand the reasons for using materials such as non-corrosive plastic.
Even so, it has an aluminum base to maintain stability during operation and stop erosion. In addition, the brass connections and the knurl are well made.
One-touch width control
The Green Thumb 4200MGt metal oscillation sprinkler offers one-touch width control. However, the width adjustment function could have been improved in terms of durability.
It felt a bit weak and the maximum width isn't as big as expected. In addition, this oscillating sprinkler would be better off with an automatic shutdown.
- Decent maximum water coverage of 3,900 square feet
- Rubber nozzles are very corrosion-resistant and prevent clogging
- The operating instructions are easy to understand regardless of technical expertise
- Aluminum base, brass connections and knurled knurls are all durable
- Controls for adjusting the width feel a little weak
- An automatic shutdown function is missing
This is the first of two oscillating Gardena sprinklers on our list.
While the first two products we tested contained 18 nozzles, the Gardena ZoomMaxx oscillation sprinkler on Metal Step Spike only has 16 rubber nozzles.
This is only a minor reduction, but even two fewer nozzles affect overall efficiency. Nevertheless, Gardena is confident that its product will work equally well on wide and narrow lawns.
This assured remark may be due in part to the long-lasting foot of the oscillating sprinkler. You can place the hard foot on a surface with a maximum incline of 15 degrees and it stays in place.
The Gardena ZoomMaxx therefore has a good degree of flexibility. On the other hand, you don't have to move it if you have a narrow rectangular lawn.
With the right settings in terms of width, angle and volume, this Gardena variant distributes the water evenly on your lawn.
In addition, coverage is not a big problem whether you have a small or a large lawn.
You can quickly change the range. The maximum coverage is 216 square meters, while the range of the spray is only three to 18 meters.
With this oscillating sprinkler you can also achieve a maximum square width of 12 meters. If you want to increase the cover, all you have to do is use the 18201 tap connector to attach the sprinkler along a row.
Regardless of the range, the Gardena ZoomMaxx has an uninterrupted regulation of the water flow. This means that your newly growing plants will not experience sudden outbreaks of high pressure water.
If you do not want part of your lawn to be watered, you are glad to know that the spreading widths can be adjusted individually.
Likewise, with the help of the fine-mesh filter, no amount of dirt and sand clogs the nozzles. It is easy to remove the fine mesh filter if you want to clean it or even replace it with a new one.
In addition, the spray head of the Gardena ZoomMaxx has a swivel function that enables easy adjustment.
Similarly, this oscillating sprinkler includes a flow controller that is driven by a sealed turbo transmission.
All of these nifty features have helped Gardena win a Red Dot Design Award. This oscillating sprinkler works relatively quietly most of the time.
On the other hand, we hoped that there would be a clearer indicator of what accessories are included in the product packaging.
It would also have been better if we could also adjust where the starting line is. There is also occasional leakage from the flow controller.
- The robust foot makes it stable even at slightly inclined places
- Ideal for even water distribution on narrow rectangular lawns
- Easily removable and cleanable fine-mesh filter
- Spray head with rotary function for easy settings
- Leaks sometimes occur around the flow controller
- The specification of the supplied accessories was not clear enough
Finally, we have this oscillating sprinkler that has an all-metal construction for robustness.
The aluminum hose connector has a robust rubber coating to prevent corrosion and clogging. This metallic design gives the Dramm 15002 ColorStorm enough weight to remain stable.
It doesn't even have sharp edges, so you can move it around without getting stuck in grass. While some parts of the Dramm 15002 ColorStorm come from Taiwan, it is assembled in the USA.
There's the easy-to-use dial and tab, which you can adjust to get the best water pattern and spray distance for your lawn irrigation needs.
In fact, you could get almost any water pattern by simply moving the two levers.
In addition, this oscillating sprinkler uses 18 brass nozzles to achieve an even distribution. If you want precise irrigation in narrow areas, you can use the flow controller.
Therefore, the total coverage could reach 3,036 square feet with the right adjustments.
In addition, the Dramm 15002 ColorStorm Oscillating Sprinkler is available in six colors: berry, blue, green, red, orange and yellow.
The Dramm 15002 ColorStorm is supplied with a cleaning pen for easy cleaning of the brass spray nozzles.
If you experience any problems, you can take advantage of the lifetime warranty included in the package.
- Contains a cleaning pen for cleaning the spray nozzles
- All-metal construction for stability and durability
- Lifetime guarantee is included
- Comes in six colors
- The flow controller sometimes does not work properly
- Occasionally the spray gets stuck at the same angle
Advantages of using an oscillating sprinkler
Why use an oscillating sprinkler instead of a hose or other irrigation device? Here are some advantages:
- Practical size – These sprinklers are easy to store, carry and use.
- Adjustable – You can customize the spray pattern for better accuracy and less water wasted.
You can also choose between a pulse pattern or a spray pattern, depending on your plants, the wind and other factors.
- Gently – The spray of an oscillating sprinkler is gentle, ideal for newly planted plants and flowers as well as for irrigation areas where seeds have been planted.
It ensures that the soil is properly moistened without washing away seeds, loose soil and fertilizer.
- cover – Unlike hoses or bucket irrigation, an oscillating sprinkler gives you wide, even coverage in your garden.
This means that no plant is over-watered and the risk of waste is reduced. This type of sprinkler creates a fan-like spray pattern that provides good coverage for small, medium and large yards of any size.
You can set it up so that it easily reaches the nearest and most distant edges of your garden.
- Clever technology – Oscillating lawn sprinklers are fairly simple devices, but some do offer really useful additional technology.
Look for an option with an integrated rain detection sensor. This automatically turns off the sprinkler when it starts to rain, reducing water wastage.
Disadvantages of using an oscillating sprinkler
An oscillating sprinkler is a great device, but that doesn't mean it's the best choice for everyone.
Some disadvantages when choosing this sprinkler type are:
- water waste – While there are smart sprinklers that can help reduce water waste, these sprinklers are still fairly heavily irrigated irrigation methods.
The fan spray means a fairly high evaporation rate, especially in hot, sunny and windy weather.
If you live in an arid area, you may only want to use it in the early morning or late afternoon, or invest in a more water-friendly irrigation method.
- Immovable – You still need to go outside, attach your garden hose, place the sprinkler, move it around the yard regularly, and then remove it and keep your hose.
If you have a large garden, you will probably need a long hose reel or expandable hose to get the best coverage.
Likewise, the spray can be interrupted by a pet playing with the hose, children playing in the garden, or even changes in water pressure.
This is a lot more work than an automated irrigation system.
- quality – There are many different oscillating sprinklers on the market and some are of much better quality than others.
Many cheap versions just break after a season or two or the plastic cracks in the sun. It is important to read such reviews to ensure that you are not wasting your money.
Factors to consider before purchasing an oscillating sprinkler
1. Useful functions and adjustability
Additional features of the sprinkler should be useful rather than tricky so you get the best value for money.
Practical functions to be found include adjustability, rain sensors, timers and quick deactivation.
These features increase the cost of the sprinkler, but make using the sprinkler much easier and more convenient.
2. Compatibility with existing devices
The oscillating sprinkler you choose must be compatible with your existing irrigation equipment, including hoses and hose connections. Otherwise, this can become an expensive exercise!
3. Warranty period
Look for a sprinkler that offers a good guarantee from the manufacturer, especially if you choose a more expensive high-tech model.
Check the duration of the warranty and the nature of the problems it contains.
4. Cover the sprinkler surface
The cover of the oscillating sprinkler should be clearly marked so that you can see if it works in your garden.
On average, They offer 30 foot coverage – but that can be too big or too small for your garden.
You want to choose a sprinkler that you don't have to move too often and that doesn't spray easily on the street or the yard of your neighbor.
5. Holes and handles
An oscillating sprinkler with many holes offers better coverage. However, you would not need this if you have a small lawn.
In this case, it is better to purchase a variant with fewer holes to adequately limit the coverage area.
A well-designed and correctly positioned handle also makes it easy to move the sprayer.
6. Quality and maintenance
As with any device, your sprinkler must be made from durable materials to last.
Plastic parts are obviously not as tough as aluminum or metal parts. A high-end model costs you a lot, so it has to prove itself.
The oscillating sprinkler should at least withstand weather influences such as heavy rain and extreme heat. It should also be designed for easy maintenance.
The user guide should be detailed for new users. When you need to replace or clean a particular part, it shouldn't be difficult to disassemble the oscillating sprinkler.
How long does it take for a sprinkler to water 1 inch of soil?
The time it takes to pour 1 inch to the bottom depends on the type of sprinkler and your water pressure, but is usually around 30 minutes.
You can measure this on your sprinkler by placing a bucket in the area of your sprinkler, letting it run for 30 minutes, and then measuring the water depth 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 every week, especially in the hot summer months. It takes approximately 30 minutes to pour 1 inch of soil.
The best method is to water for 30 minutes three times a week.
You can usually water a lot less if you have a native or water-rich lawn, and in cooler months.
Here is a good guide to watering your lawn.
Is it bad to water grass at night?
It seems like a great idea to water your lawn at night as this prevents a lot of evaporation. The humid environment can promote diseases and fungi that attack grass.
If you are sure you want to water at night, this is the best way to do it.
Otherwise, the best time to water is early in the morning as the temperatures are cool and the resulting evaporation keeps the lawn cooler during the heat of the day to avoid stress and sun damage.
Why don't oscillating sprinklers work anymore?
The most common reason that your oscillating lawn sprinkler stops working is bad water pressure.
If the flow from the hose is not strong enough, the sprinkler manifold cannot move properly to create this fan-like spray.
Check the pressure in your house and on your garden faucet and check the hose for leaks.
Pay attention to how you position your oscillating sprinkler, as stones, gravel, plants and long grass interfere with the sprinkler's movement and prevent full and even spraying or catching of the moving parts.
Another common problem is the accumulation of sprinkler systems that can occur over the years, especially in areas with hard water.
Wipe it clean and apply spray lubricant to moving parts.
Summary of the oscillating sprinkler for 2020
Now you know everything you need to know to find the best oscillating sprinkler for your garden!
We hope that our oscillating sprinkler guide has helped you understand their appeal, and their pros and cons for watering a yard.
With our reviews and tips on what to look for when buying an oscillating sprinkler, how to solve common problems with these sprinklers, and how to use one to water your lawn, you can buy the best oscillating sprinkler for your garden!
If you have any questions, please send us a comment.