Despite the cold snap, a sense of spring is most definitely in the air and that means it’s time right now to start thinking about tackling the garden and the lawn. And one of the most invaluable garden gadgets you can have in your horticultural armoury is undoubtedly one of the best garden sprinklers.
Now it’s true to say that lawn sprinklers do use a lot of water and this is something any self-respecting gardener should be aware of if on a water meter instead of a free-range tariff. But given the alternative of having to waltz up and down the lawn for an hour with a heavy watering can, this writer would rather opt for convenience over cost and simply plump for the best sprinkler I can get my hands on.
So with that in mind, I shall share my experiences and put two sterling water squirters against each other in a veritable soak-off. The models in question are the Spear & Jackson BWF22 Oscillating Sprinkler and Kärcher Premium Oscillating Sprinkler OS 5.320SV, both convolutedly named oscillating sprinklers that do a mighty good job of keeping the grass and flower borders alive while you sit back with a G&T.
I should quickly add that I do, however, always have an auto-timer attached to my outdoor tap, just in case I pop off to bed only to awake in the morning to a sodden lawn – and an expensive water bill. If you have time to veer off for a moment, then pay a quick visit to our favourite garden watering systems where you will find the best products to make garden irrigation a breeze.
Aah, you’re back. Right, let’s get this Joe on the road.
Spear & Jackson BWF22 Oscillating Sprinkler vs Kärcher Premium Oscillating Sprinkler OS 5.320SV: Design
These two models are of the oscillating variety. That is to say they water the lawn and borders using a gentle – and near silent – side-to-side action. Oscillating sprinklers are perfect for all small to medium sized lawns.
The Spear & Jackson is an all-metal, corrosion-resistant design so you can be sure it will last for years if looked after properly – ie not just left in the middle of the lawn over winter. It comes with 18 super slim brass nozzles and even a brass hose connector. Granted, our test sample did arrive with one slightly dodgy nozzle that produced a smaller twin jet which irritated the hell out of me but only because I’m OCD about having gear that works perfectly. But hey, it somehow repaired itself after a few months use so I can only put it down to a gnome that mysteriously fixes garden products in the dead of night. Either that or the higher calcium content of London’s water slowly clogged the leak and made it all good again.
The S&J doesn’t come with any fancy bells or whistles – in fact all it features is an adjustable angle of flow via two plastic sliders and a little plastic water pressure dial that controls its reach. On the plus side, this sprinkler has a wide solid base so it will never topple over, even when being pulled along the lawn by the hose.
In many ways the Kärcher Premium Oscillating Sprinkler is a better designed sprinkler and suitable for a wider variety of lawn shapes and sizes. The main shaft of the Kärcher is made almost entirely out of black plastic though the support rails are made of metal, aluminium I think. Uniquely, this model is armed with 20 jets and even more uniquely, you can customise the coverage by turning off some of the nozzles on either side of the unit to produce a narrower zone, or even a sparse sprinkle.
Like the Spear & Jackson, the Kärcher also comes with a knob for adjusting the water pressure so you don’t need to stand at a tap. Unlike the S&J, it also comes with a plastic splash guard that rotates to cover the jets nearest to your face while you make adjustments on the fly.
Spear & Jackson BWF22 Oscillating Sprinkler vs Kärcher Premium Oscillating Sprinkler OS 5.320SV: Performance
Let’s cut straight to the chase, if you have a medium to large sized garden of 100 metres square and above, and have no desire to keep moving the sprinkler around, go straight for the Spear & Jackson BWF22 Oscillating Sprinkler because right now I don’t know of any other oscillating sprinkler with a wider reach, even when used in London’s low water-pressure region. Having recently just moved to Oxfordshire (a region that likely has a higher water pressure), the spray reached both ends of a 13 x 13-metre lawn – that’s 169 square metres of pure soaking power.
Really, the first time I ever set this thing off I had to sprint all the way indoors and not just stand to the edge. Of course I could have simply turned the tap off first before attaching it to the one-way Gardena connector but I like to live dangerously. For reasons of sheer power, I wouldn’t recommend the S&J for narrow city-centre lawns because it will also water next door’s lawn in the process. Though, of course, you can always just turn down the pressure.
By comparison, the Kärcher works best in high water pressure regions. With all 20 jets open, the Kärcher simply isn’t as far reaching as the Spear & Jackson; I’d say it’s about four metres of wetness either side. However, if you close two or three jets on both sides, the trajectory increases to around 8m either side, albeit with a narrower formation. And if you shut off all but two jets, it waters the next county, but only in a really narrow strip about two feet wide.
Spear & Jackson BWF22 Oscillating Sprinkler vs Kärcher Premium Oscillating Sprinkler OS 5.320SV: Verdict
Which sprinkler is best depends entirely on the size and shape of your lawn. The Spear & Jackson is ideal for medium-to-large square or rectangular lawns, since its reach is quite incredible, even in low water pressure regions. It’s sturdily built and a very reliable choice for long term use.
The Kårcher, on the other hand, is the perfect sprinkler for slimmer lawns and shapely gardens since its spray pattern can be easily adjusted to suit both length and design of the lawn. However, its reach is dependable on the region’s water pressure.
Both of these models are in the higher-end price bracket but you can be sure that they will continue to perform at their best for years if treated with some respect.
- While the garden gets watered, why not enjoy one of the best BBQs