Kärcher Premium Oscillating Sprinkler OS 5.320SV vs Gardena AquaZoom: which adjustable sprinkler is king of the soak?

Kärcher and Gardena battle it out for lawn soaking supremacy

Kärcher Premium Oscillating Sprinkler OS 5.320SV vs Gardena AquaZoom
(Image credit: Kårcher | Gardena)

We’ve already pitted the Kärcher Premium Oscillating Sprinkler against the excellent Spear & Jackson BWF22 and now it’s time to see how well the same Kärcher model fares against the similarly-styled German-designed Gardena AquaZoom M. 

Both of these models are of the oscillating variety and both are suitable for small to medium sized gardens. However, one is more suitable than the other.

So, without beating about the bush – which incidentally could do with a trim – let’s see which best garden sprinkler is the best choice for your lawn and flower beds.

Kärcher Premium Oscillating Sprinkler OS 5.320SV vs Gardena AquaZoom M: Design

Kärcher Premium Oscillating Sprinkler OS 5.320SV vs Gardena AquaZoom

The Gardena AquaZoom comes with a handy coverage control system

(Image credit: Gardena)

Kärcher is synonymous with pressure washers – you know, those black and yellow machines everyone uses to jet-blast their patios and driveways. However, in recent years it’s also started producing garden products from lawnmowers and hedge trimmers to hoses, automatic watering timers and, er, sprinklers.

The awkwardly monikered Kärcher Premium Oscillating Sprinkler OS 5.320SV has a very unique design comprising 20 water jets in two staggered rows. On each side you’ll see three grey sliding buttons and when you press one, it cuts off the adjacent jet. This means you can compose your own water symphony and program the trajectory of the jets to suit the shape of your lawn. It also comes with a knob to adjust the water pressure so you don’t need to stand at a tap, and a splash guard that rotates to cover the jets pointing towards your face – very handy if, like me, you like to dart in and out to make adjustments while the sprinkler is in full flow. Make no mistake, this is a tough garden product that will likely withstand the odd trampling – it happens.

When it comes to the Gardena AquaZoom, I should first add that I’m a big fan of the company’s products, from its brilliant automatic hose winder all the way down to its wide range of hose connectors. It’s my go-to brand of choice and the one with the most attractive branding.

The Gardena is available in three sizes: the Medium reviewed here and a Small and Large version. Each model is designed for a specific garden size. This sprinkler is quite similar in concept to the Kärcher in that it too has adjustable water jets – 16 in all. However, you can’t turn off the Gardena’s jets like you can with the Kärcher, but you can easily angle them for a wider or narrower reach simply by fiddling with two orange coloured tabs on each end of the spray bar.

As is the case with all oscillating sprinklers, it’s very easy to make it water on just one side only or shorten the throw of the jets by using the two orange coloured sliders. A flow regulator also allows the user to reduce or increase water pressure. The Gardena is robustly built and constructed out of durable materials that are frost and UV radiation proof.

Kärcher Premium Oscillating Sprinkler OS 5.320SV vs Gardena AquaZoom M: Performance

Spear & Jackson BWF22 Oscillating Sprinkler vs Kärcher Premium Oscillating Sprinkler OS 5.320SV

Make spray pattern adjustments on the fly with the Kärcher Premium Oscillating Sprinkler OS 5.320SV

(Image credit: Kårcher)

This writer loves the way the Kärcher system works. Although it’s suitable for wide square-shaped lawns, it is far better suited for typical urban gardens. Say, for instance, you have a narrow strip of lawn that’s eight metres long but only three-metres wide (a typical shape in inner London), and with flower borders on each side. Perhaps you have a garden path down one side of the lawn, too, that you might not want to water. With this model you can set it so it gives full coverage on one side but only partial coverage on the path side with a no-water gap over the path. Or perhaps your garden is 15 metres in length and only four metres wide in total. In this instance, simply shut off the four outer nozzles and it will water the entire lawn in a long but narrow arc.

This nozzle customisation system also makes the Kärcher particularly useful in low water pressure regions like London. Truth is it’s not the best model on the shelf for use in low pressure areas (for that you need the Spear & Jackson) but the ability to shut off some water jets at least helps it reach much further. However, this is only useful if you have a typical urban lawn that’s long and narrow.

By comparison, the Gardena AquaZoom M is more suitable for a small to medium square, rectangular or circular-shaped garden. Yes, you can angle the throw of the jets from narrow to wide but its overall reach is very much dependent on the water pressure in the neighbourhood. This is because its 16 nozzles are wider than the norm. On the plus side, the increased amount of water coming out of each jet is very similar to that of genuine rain drops – or a fountain – so in theory this sprinkler provides a larger volume of water per individual jet.

Gardena suggests a lawn size of nine to 250m² for the Medium model, nine to 150m² for the Small and 28 to 350m² for the Large, which has two extra nozzles. Personally I would opt for the large model irrespective of how small your lawn is because you can always lower the water pressure at the tap or turn the knob on the sprinkler.

The key thing I discovered with this model is how easily – or perhaps even badly – it is affected by mains water pressure. If you have a small city lawn where water pressure is low, then this is an ideal sprinkler that gives both the lawn and flower borders a thoroughly good dousing. But if water pressure in your area is considered low and your garden is larger than, say, 8m x 4m, you might not get decent enough coverage without getting off your arse every now and then to move the sprinkler to a new position.

Kärcher Premium Oscillating Sprinkler OS 5.320SV vs Gardena AquaZoom

Gardena AquaZoom

(Image credit: Gardena)

Kärcher Premium Oscillating Sprinkler OS 5.320SV vs Gardena AquaZoom M: Verdict

Both of these sprinklers are affected by the strength of a region’s water pressure but the Kärcher is more usable in low-pressure conditions because you can turn off some jets to increase the range on the others. You can’t do that with the Gardena model though it does indeed have the largest volume of water coming out of each jet which, aside from being lovely to look at, ensures that grass, flowers and shrubs are watered more efficiently. Nevertheless, if it’s full-blown reach you’re after, then I’d advise going for the excellent Spear & Jackson BWF22 Oscillating Sprinkler which we compare elsewhere.

Derek Adams

Derek (aka Delbert, Delvis, Delphinium, Delboy etc) specialises in home and outdoor wares, from coffee machines, white appliances and vacs to drones, garden gear and BBQs. He has been writing for more years than anyone can remember, starting at the legendary Time Out magazine – the original, London version – on a typewriter! He now writes for T3 between playing drums with his bandmates in Red Box (redboxmusic).