Best lawn sprinkler 2019: water your home turf the hassle-free way

Keep your garden in prime condition with our top picks for lawn sprinklers that do the watering for you

best lawn sprinkler

Most people will water their plants, but what about your lawn? If there’s been a particularly dry month then your lawn can easily become parched. With the spring bank holidays here and summer rolling round, now is the perfect time to start getting your garden healthy. If you’ve just done up your garden, now is the time to think about giving it the TLC it deserves on a regular basis, with the best lawn sprinklers. 

Lawn sprinkler buying guide

Watering your lawn by hand isn’t too much of a hardship, but if you have a large garden then this can begin to take up a lot of your time. This is where a lawn sprinkler comes in.

There are a few types of sprinkler you can get, and the one you choose will depend on the shape and size of your garden, and if there are any particular areas you want covered. A fixed sprinkler will simply water one chosen area but they are usually good at getting to those hard-to-reach areas.

Rotating and oscillating lawn sprinklers will ensure different areas of your garden are watered evenly and tend to be gentler on flowerbeds.  However, if you have a particularly large garden, then travelling sprinklers work by moving up and down your lawn to ensure even coverage.

For the most efficient and effective watering, a lawn sprinkler attached to an electronic timer will ensure consistent maintenance, and opting for a sprinkler with a range of nozzles and flow settings means you can target certain areas that need more attention.

Our top choices for ground-based sprinkling include the multi-faceted Karcher Oscillating Sprinkler, the similarly-styled but smaller Gardena Zoommaxx and the trusty Hozelock Rectangular Sprinkler, formerly known as the Lawn Queen.

Best garden sprinkler: KARCHER OSCILLATING SPRINKLER OS 5.320SV

1. KARCHER OSCILLATING SPRINKLER OS 5.320SV

Best lawn sprinkler overall: a versatile 20-nozzle job for wide coverage

Specifications
Type: Oscillating
Coverage: 320 Sq. M
Nozzles: 20
Reasons to buy
+Impressive design+Exceptional versatility
Reasons to avoid
- Requires decent water pressure

• Buy Kärcher Premium Oscillating Sprinkler at Amazon for £33

Derek’s choice: Karcher is best known for its pressure washers but it’s also into gardening in a big way and doing it well. Take this sturdy oscillating sprinkler for example. Unlike your average common or garden oscillator, this one comes with a full compliment of bells and whistles. It’s got twenty jets on board for a start, and that means excellent coverage on all sides. Better still, you can customise the coverage by turning off some of the nozzles on either side to produce a narrower zone.

The Karcher Oscillating Sprinkler also comes with a knob for adjusting the water pressure so you don’t need to stand at a tap while selecting the most suitable squirt distance. And, in a minor stroke of genius, there’s a plastic SplashGuard underneath the unit that rotates to cover the jets nearest to your face while you make extra adjustments.

Admittedly, with all nozzles open – and using typical London water pressure – the Karcher isn’t as far reaching as the classic Hozelock Rectangular Sprinkler below (you get about 4m of soakiness either side) but close a couple of jets on both sides and the throw increases to around 8m either side, albeit with a narrower formation. This setting is ideal for the average long and slim urban London lawn since it will cover the entire plot in one fell swoop. And that means you can just leave it to do its stuff while you engage in more important pastimes, like stuffing your face and getting rat arsed.

Best garden sprinkler: GARDENA ZOOMMAXX OSCILLATING SPRINKLER

2. GARDENA ZOOMMAXX OSCILLATING SPRINKLER

Best sprinkler for targeted watering in smaller gardens

Specifications
Type: Oscillating
Coverage: 216 Sq.M
Nozzles: 16
Reasons to buy
+Easy clean filter+Can be adjusted to the size of your garden
Reasons to avoid
- Low water pressure means reduced coverage

Sarah-Jane’s choice: This oscillating sprinkler is incredibly versatile with 16 different nozzles that are all designed to target different areas of your garden. The Zoommaxx can be placed pretty much anywhere –  the base is sturdy enough for any surface up to a 15% incline – and adjusted to suit the size of your garden. 

However, it it has been noted that low water pressure will significantly reduce the area coverage of this sprinkler so fingers crossed you live in an area with high enough water pressure. The Zoommaxx has an easy clean mesh filter and users have been very impressed with the quality of their lawn after just a few weeks use.

Best garden sprinkler: Hozelock Rectangular Sprinkler

3. Hozelock Rectangular Sprinkler

Best cheap garden sprinkler

Specifications
Type: Rotating
Coverage: 180 Sq.M
Nozzles: 15
Reasons to buy
+Sturdy design+Even coverage 
Reasons to avoid
- Expect to get wet when setting up  

Smaller gardens that need a reliable job done can expect good things from this side-to-side sprinkler. Indeed, it’s arguably the most popular sprinkler on the market and very reliable it is, too. Unlike the winning Karcher, you can’t make any adjustments to the 15 water jets but you can adjust the reach on either side. However, making reach adjustments on the fly is recipe for a good soaking so be sure to time your tinkering Ethan Hunt-style between oscillations.

The Hozelock’s wide sledge-style design keeps it firmly in place even on steep inclines so perhaps consider it if your lawn is as hilly as the South Downs and preferably rectangular in shape.

Best garden sprinkler: Gardena Premium Pulse Sprinkler

4. Gardena Premium Pulse Sprinkler

A great sprinkler for those with large lawns

Specifications
Type: Pulse
Coverage: 490 Sq.M
Nozzles: 1
Reasons to buy
+Great for large gardens +Creates the sound of summer
Reasons to avoid
-Delicate construction

• Buy Gardena 8135-20 Premium Pulse sprinkler from Amazon for £40

Aside from being especially well suited for large lawns up to 490m2, the main reason we love pulse or impact sprinklers is because they typify the sound of summer and especially the countryside. After all, who doesn’t love the peaceful tsk-tsk-tsk sound of a farmer or stately home’s irrigation system on a hot summer’s evening while sipping on a Pimms or going for a stroll along a bridleway? Well, plonk this model on your lawn and you’ll always feel like you’re on holiday.

Admittedly, impact sprinklers do look like the result of someone who’s found a jumble of metal and plastic bits and put them all together in a man shed. They’re also quite delicate and don’t like being trampled on. But they’re among the best options for long-range watering.

This Gardena Premium Pulse Sprinkler uses a decent amount of sturdy metal in its construction and comes equipped with a high precision brass nozzle that should produce a fusillade of reliable squirts day in day out. Its 10 to 25 metre range is easily adjusted using the large knob on the side and there’s a separate swivel adjuster to set the sector from 25˚ to 360˚. And because it has a through connector, you can also link a bunch of them together for a full-on squirt symphony.

Best garden sprinkler: Hozelock Round Sprinkler Pro

5. Hozelock Round Sprinkler Pro

Best garden sprinkler for unusually low or high water pressure areas

Specifications
Type: Rotating
Coverage: 314 Sq.M
Nozzles: 5
Reasons to buy
+Large area coverage +Secure fit 
Reasons to avoid
-Sometimes the hosepipe comes loose

• Buy Hozelock Round Sprinkler Pro at Amazon for £23 (40% off)

Hozelock has another great entry on our list with the Round Sprinkler Pro which users have found works incredibly well regardless of your water pressure. The spike design means it can be placed securely in the grass and on even the steepest of inclines, or you can purchase the same model with a sled base instead.

With its choice of five nozzles, this sprinkler can be set to complete a full circle of coverage (up to 20m in diameter) or a wide arc by simply adjusting the red setting ring. It is also said to be excellent for providing spray coverage across the whole garden or targeting specific areas with a stronger flow. An excellent choice for smaller lawns.

Best garden sprinkler: GARDENA POPUP SPRINKLER OS 140

6. GARDENA POPUP SPRINKLER OS 140

Best pop-up lawn sprinkler, also with timer function

Specifications
Type: Oscillating
Coverage: 140 Sq.M
Nozzles: 16
Reasons to buy
+Pops up out of the ground +Excellent coverage
Reasons to avoid
-A right pain to install 

• Buy Gardena Popup at Amazon for £52

If you don’t like the idea of a sprinkler taking up room on your lawn, then this integrated sprinkler is the ideal way to overcome the issue. Because it’s hidden, this lawn sprinkler does require installation – a 10-inch hole will need to be dug along with a trench for the hose.

The Popup comes with 16 flexible nozzles to ensure even water distribution and is particularly effective on rectangular shaped lawns (you can adjust spray width, range and direction by fiddling with the unit’s various knobs and wheels). To use, simply turn on the tap – or have a timer do it for you – and the water pressure causes it to pop up out of the ground. When finished, it descends back into its housing.

The Popup is far and away the most aesthetically pleasing model on the page but be warned that some users may find they don’t have high enough water pressure for it to reach all areas. We would suggest trying an ordinary sprinkler first to test for general reach, because the last thing you need is to discover it has woeful coverage after having dug up half the garden. You’re also advised to have the system installed by a professional landscaper because the scant instructions are, to put it bluntly, awful.

Best garden sprinkler: ORBIT TRAVELLING SPRINKLER 58322

7. ORBIT TRAVELLING SPRINKLER 58322

Reach every inch of your garden with this personal sprinkling assistant

Specifications
Type: Travelling
Coverage: 4,115 Sq.m
Nozzles: 2
Reasons to buy
+Self propelled+Adjustable speed and spray diameter
Reasons to avoid
-Struggles to travel if grass not tamed

• Buy Orbit sprinkler at Amazon for £51

This travelling rotary sprinkler is like having your own personal gardening assistant. Self-propelled by water pressure, it can be set to follow any hose path up to 60 metres in length. Yes, that’s right, you simply unfurl the hose in a shape of your choice and the little fella will trundle along at a snail’s pace, watering everything around it. 

The Orbit is great for huge lawns up to 4,000 square metres – it has a spray range diameter of between 4m and 5m – though be sure to keep the grass well trimmed or it’ll just come to a halt the moment its little front wheel hits a tall tuft. It comes with three positions of speed control but don’t bother watching it because its forward movement is almost imperceptible.