9 Best Above Ground Sprinkler Systems for Lawns and Gardens

I know how it is, untangling a 50 ft. hose, spending countless hours waving a hose pipe around trying got get even coverage. It’s no fun at all. Most of us just want to switch on the above-ground sprinkler system and walk away. 

I have been through countless sprinkler systems and made just about every mistake possible. But that now culminates into a great deal of knowledge that I can share with you. 

I have selected 8 of the best above ground sprinkler systems and will explain which have the best spray range, durability, and when best to use each of them.

Best Above Ground Sprinklers

If you just need a view of the best options at a glance…I have listed my 3 favorite sprinklers for flower beds, lawns

Orbit Zinc Impact Sprinkler

Best Impact Sprinkler

Orbit Zinc Impact Sprinkler

Water any area up to 85 ft. in diameter. Adjust the head to make a full or half circle, allowing the water to spray only in the desired location. 

Eden Turbo Oscillating Sprinkler

Best Oscillating Sprinkler

Eden Turbo Oscillating Sprinkler

Metal alloy construction covers 4,975 sq.ft (95’ X 50’). Adjust spray width, length, and flow rate.

Element Soaker Hose Sprinkler +50 Ft

Best For Flower Beds

Element Soaker Hose Sprinkler +50 Ft

This 50ft soaker hose is perfect for watering at the base of delicate flowering plants to avoid water damage or risk of fungal disease. 

Choosing A Sprinkler System For Your Lawn Or Garden

When finding the best above-ground sprinkler, you need to consider which situation you will use it. Each design has a specific purpose, and if you want to get the best from your investment then understanding what type of sprinkler you need for each different situation is where we need to start.

Choose A Sprinkler To Fit Your Needs

You first need to ask yourself, “what do I need to water with a sprinkler?” Do you need a consistent spray pattern for an area of lawn, or maybe you require a sprinkler to deliver irrigation directly to the base of a flowering plant or tree?

Let’s look at all the different specs you can find in a sprinkler, so you can find one that fits your needs.  

Sprinkler Area Coverage

Arguably the most important consideration when looking to buy a new sprinkler system is the area and pattern of the spray. 

Sprinklers will typically spray water in a circular or rectangular pattern. Some models will have a function to allow you to control the power of the spray and therefore the distance and coverage of the spray pattern. You need to get this right or you could end up with a product that will do more harm than good. 

Imagine you have a small flower garden and try to water it with an impact sprinkler that sprays up to 80 feet. Well…first off you will have a challenge in getting the spray to efficiently irrigate your smaller flower bed. 

Even if you could manage that, your plants and flowers would probably be overwhelmed by the power of the water jet. Leading to damaged flowers and foliage. 

It’s critical to have a suitable spray pattern with the ability for you to control flow and direction. 

Types of Sprinkler and Spray Patterns

There are several spray patterns, so here’s a quick overview of their best applications.

Oscillator Sprinklers 

Spray out in a fan-like pattern as the spray arm oscillates back and forth. This will provide a square or rectangular watering area, making oscillating sprinklers a popular choice for formal lawn areas. 

You can achieve a good level of control by adjusting how wide of an angle the spray arm oscillates. The oscillating motion puts us in a spray pattern that goes very high in the air, often up to 20 feet, making this a great option for covering tall borders with a rain-like effect. 

Rotary Sprinkler 

The spray head rotates 360 degrees as it spins, putting out a circular spray pattern. The pressure of the water turns the head and also controls the spray distance. 

They are ideal for use in circular areas, but also great for use on lawns, and vegetable beds. However, one limitation is the low spray pattern due to the spray traveling in more of a horizontal plane. 

Impact Sprinklers

You may have seen impact sprinklers in agricultural settings. A jet of water hits an oscillating paddle and causes a spray pattern. The great advantage of this type of sprinkler is the distance you can achieve. 

However, the jet also brings limitations, as it is prone to causing damage to flowers and delicate foliage. So they are best used on very large lawn areas or vegetable garden settings. 

Sprinkler Hose

Spraying water onto foliage can lead to fungal disease, powdery mildew, and other common diseases. That’s where a sprinkler hose or soaker hose comes into their own. 

Perfect for use as irrigation systems in raised vegetable beds, or where flowers are delicate and you prefer to irrigate at the base of the plant and not from above. 

Stationary Spike Sprinklers

A stationary spike sprinkler is similar to a rotary sprinkler, except it doesn’t rotate. A stationary sprinkler is the cheapest, most basic form of sprinkler because it only sprays in one direction.

You may place it in the ground with the included spike, attach the hose, and turn it on. This is only good for concentrated landscaping in small areas.

Traveling Sprinkler

Traveling sprinklers are unique systems that propel themselves while they water your plants. 

It is a tractor-like shape that hooks directly up to your garden hose. When it turns on, the tractor will move across your lawn and water the grass through a sprinkler head at the top. The sprinkler poles move in a circular motion, flinging water throughout your yard. 

Fixed Or Portable

You can purchase a fixed or portable sprinkler system. Both systems are great watering options but have a few key differences.

You can move around portable systems whenever and wherever you want. These tend to be the cheapest and most popular options for watering plants. The hose must reach from your source of water to the sprinkler system. 

Fixed systems, also known as permanent sprinklers or in-ground sprinklers, are installed in your desired location. Once in their location, fixed sprinklers cannot be moved around.

Underground water lines connect a constant water source to the fixed sprinkler system. A sprinkler system is a great way to water your plants automatically. Unfortunately, this is a more costly option but great for areas where daily watering is necessary. 

Do You Need It On A Water Timer

Imagine staying in bed while your grass waters itself! Water timers can help you save water, time, and hassle. 

Whether you have a fixed or portable sprinkler system, you can install a water timer on your constant water source. You can set dates and times for your grass or plants to be watered. 

A timer is excellent for areas where watering your grass is regulated by the city. Some places don’t allow watering on certain days or certain times of the day. 

You can set a timer for different sections of the yard. Let’s pretend you have a flower garden, a lawn, and a vegetable garden. You can install a one-timer and set different areas at different times. 

There are a small number of sprinklers with built-in timers. Or you can buy a separate water timing that fits directly onto your outdoor water faucet. 

Is It Suited To Your Water Pressure?

When I started my landscaping journey, I thought nothing of water pressure. Psi can play a significant part in determining which type of sprinkler you purchase.

In this explanation, I will use the term psi to describe water pressure. Psi means pounds per square inch and is the unit of measurement for water pressure.

Here is the correct psi you will need to operate your sprinkler effectively.

Above Ground Sprinkler Systems
  • The sprinkler won’t spray as much if your water pressure is too low. Oscillating and fixed sprinklers will adequately work with 30 psi. If your pressure is too high, the sprinkler will start to sputter and mist. 
  • Impact sprinklers will need higher pressure than 30 psi because they need to spray at long distances. 
  • Misters will need around 20 psi. Anything higher will tear at the material and cause breakage.

If you don’t have the correct water pressure, don’t worry, there are ways to control it. Boosters help raise your pressure, and pressure regulators help lower it. They are inexpensive. 

You can test the pressure of your water faucet using a simple water pressure tester.

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Product Material Durability

Rain, sun, and animals are all likely to contribute to some sort of damage or material degradation of your watering system. With this in mind, it is worth buying a substantial product capable of withstanding a bit of abuse. 

Plastics can be high quality with excellent durability and resistance to environmental factors, however, they can also be very cheap and low quality. So with this inconsistency in mind, I would opt for a metal-based sprinkler system. 

Aluminum, brass, and stainless steel are some of the best and cheapest options on the market. These metals may still corrode over time, but you at least know what you are getting. Brass should last a very long time if you keep it clean. 

The best material for larger tripod sprinklers is zinc. This is the least corrosive and most durable metal, and it is very lightweight.

Quality Of Hose Connectors

Hose connectors are devices that connect one hose to another, like a coupling. You can also merge several hoses to the main hose that connects to your water source. 

Most sprinklers come with hose connectors, but on infrequent occasions, they do not. Check the packaging to see if you need to purchase the extra item.

You can find excellent quality hose connectors made of metals such as; aluminum, stainless steel, or brass. You can find them made of plastic, but these won’t be as durable.

Finding a quality hose connector is just as important as finding a quality sprinkler. If your connectors don’t work properly, neither will your watering system.

Best Above Ground Sprinkler System Reviews

Now that you know what type of sprinkler you are looking for, I will go over the Best above-ground sprinkler systems. I went ahead and listed my top 3 favorites at the beginning of this section.

I decided on these specific sprinklers because of their superior quality, functionality, and other details. 

1. Orbit Zinc Impact Sprinkler

Best Impact Sprinkler

Orbit Zinc Impact Sprinkler
  • Sprinkler Type: Impact
  • Area Covered: 5,670 sq.ft.
  • Material: Zinc Tripod Base, Brass Nozzle
  • Connectors: Quick-ConnectHD Plastic

Pros

  • Extremely well made and set to last a very long time. The head is also possible to replace the brass head
  • It throws an arc of water out 85 feet and will cover an area of 5,670 square feet.
  • The zinc stand is sturdy and it doesn’t move when in use. It is also very large like a camera tripod.

Cons

  • Not so versatile in smaller spaces

This durable impact sprinkler can spray water up to 85-foot! It has a head that will rotate 360 degrees, or less if you want to focus the water in a narrow pattern. 

The gooseneck attachment built into the sprinkler makes the setup easier. Just screw the extension into your garden hose, turn it on, and water sprays out. It also has an arm that blocks the backsplash and improves its ability to spray water consistently in the same pattern.

Orbit Impact on Tripod 58308N

The zinc tripod is of fantastic quality. It has a wide stance so there is no chance it will be blown over by wind or due to its own water pressure. I would describe it as very similar to a camera tripod with three adjustable legs. The model I tested has a height of 16-inches and in full extension measured 37-inches tall. 

The sprinkler head is made of brass so pretty much indestructible. There are three adjustment features, spray length, spread, and the rotation angle of the head. It will take a little trial and error to find the right settings, but it’s pretty simple to adjust. 

Overall this is an exceptionally good impact sprinkler and one I recommend as the best long-term investment for larger areas of lawn and borders

2. Eden Metal Turbo Oscillating Sprinkler

Best Oscillating Lawn Sprinkler

Eden Metal Turbo Oscillating Sprinkler
  • Sprinkler Type: Oscillating
  • Area Covered: 4973 sq.ft.
  • Material: Metal Base and Plastic Nozzles
  • Connectors: Quick-ConnectHD Plastic

Pros

  • Impressive 4973 sq ft. area of coverage 94 feet x 50 feet
  • A durable sprinkler with a metal-based construction and metal connector thread
  • Control width, length, and flow for square or rectangular coverage

Cons

  • None

The Eden 94116 Metal Turbo Oscillating Sprinkler is a wonderful product that offers fantastic versatility. This alloy-metal sprinkler is powered by a turbo gear system that sprays water up to an impressive 4,973 sq. ft.

Eden Turbo Oscillating Sprinklers

The thread for the hose connector is metal, offering extra durability that will extend the product life and suffer from the usual cracking and leaking. I decided to try the HD plastic quick-connectors supplied. I  screwed them into the metal connector thread and started to go through each of the spray pattern settings.

Width, length, and water flow are all adjustable on the sprinkler head making for a high number of spray patterns. Square, rectangle you name it, this sprinkler will do it. Perfect for covering uniform areas of lawn or garden and also great for reaching a high spray for drenching vegetable beds or tall borders from above. 

The efficiency of the quick connect fittings is supported with a twist and lock mechanism, to prevent disconnection of the hose and the sprinkler whilst in use.

A 2-year manufacturer’s warranty as standard sets this up as my best buy for lawns and definitely the best oscillating sprinkler I have used.

It’s not the cheapest at around $55, but worth the money as it’s built to last and the coverage is epic.

Check out the latest price of Eden Oscillating Sprinkler.

Element Soaker Hose Sprinkler +50 Ft
  • Sprinkler Type: Sprinkler Hose
  • Area Covered: 50ft long, up to 12ft Wide
  • Material: Metal Base and Plastic Nozzles
  • Connectors: Quick-ConnectHD Plastic

Pros

  • Perfect for use with flower beds or vegetable gardens
  • Anti-rust and corrosion with brass hose connectors
  • Easily snakes along the ground into any position required

Cons

  • May need a pressure regulator if hoses reach above 50 feet

The Element soaker hose sprinkler will help you grow your flower garden’s most prominent and brightest blooms this season. Lay the hose out across a raised bed or flower bed to gently release water droplets directly into the soil and straight to the roots. 

Then flip the hose over to switch it to a sprinkler hose to spray short streams of water about 3-6 feet on each side of the hose. 

This hose will withstand all the elements with its rigid latex material and anti-rust brass connectors. Even though it’s tough, it is still flexible and will easily snake through any landscape without tangling.

It’s an ingenious design that incorporates a soaker hose and sprinkler hose into one product and I for one am a big fan.

Eden Lawn Oscillating Water Sprinkler
  • Sprinkler Type: Oscillating
  • Area Covered: 3,600 sq.ft.
  • Material: Metal Base and Plastic Nozzles
  • Connectors: Quick-ConnectHD Plastic

Pros

  • Cheap yet durable.
  • Fully adjustable.
  • The quick connectors make the sprinkler more efficient.
  • Anti-tip wide base.

Cons

  • Doesn’t cover as large an area compared to other brands.

This 16 nozzle Eden lawn sprinkler can water an area up to 3,600 square feet. It is fully adjustable and can spray in a square or a straight line. You can also adjust this to water a smaller area.

Tipping over is not a problem because the base is extra wide and made of weighted aluminum material.

Sometimes hoses get tugged, and sprinklers get jerked out of place. Therefore, it comes with a quick connector that will attach to most garden hoses and a locking device so it will not accidentally disconnect from your hose.

A turbo drive motor helps deliver a consistent stream of water by leveling out water pressure. 

Melnor Metal Turbo Oscillator with 3-Way
  • Sprinkler Type: Oscillating
  • Area Covered: 4,500 sq.ft.
  • Material: Metal Base and Plastic Nozzles
  • Connectors: Quick-ConnectHD Plastic

Pros

  • The base is made from rust-proof aluminum
  • Fully adjustable spray pattern according to the area that needs watering
  • Comes with a quick-connect adapter for garden hoses

Cons

  • It needs an extra connector that you will have to purchase separately.
  • Can break easily if handled with force.

The Melnor 65055-AMZ XT turbo oscillator is fully adjustable to meet just about any watering pattern you could need for a lawn. It can spray anywhere between zero and 4,500 square feet. That’s 200 square feet short of a basketball court, so it’s really going to hit the spot for all but the very largest areas. 

Melnor 65055 AMZ XT Metal Turbo Oscillator with 3 Way Adjustment and QuickConnect Product.

The zoom feature allows you to water a specific section of your garden or newly planted grass seed. You can easily adjust the length and width of the spray with the touch of a button. Adjusting the 20 spray nozzles in a straight line is also possible. 

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  • Sprinkler Type: Oscillating
  • Area Covered: 4,000 sq.ft.
  • Material: Metal Base and Plastic Nozzles
  • Connectors: Quick-ConnectHD Plastic

Pros

  • It’s at a great price point for everything it brings to the table.
  • Unique design that sprays water up to 4,000 square feet.
  • Zoom Feature allows you to focus on smaller areas.

Cons

  • Does not come with the required quick-connect component.

Almost everything about the Melnor MiniMax Turbo is the same as most oscillating sprinklers. The critical difference is the design. 

You can now have several sprinklers connected. The sprinkler head is a raised square component that sits on top of two oval-shaped legs that act as a base. At the center of the base is a system that allows water to flow through and connect to other sprinklers.

If that wasn’t enough, it has a mini motor that avoids puddling and makes the life cycle of the sprinkler last longer.

7. Eden Metal Adjustable 6 Pattern Mobile Rotary Sprinkler
  • Sprinkler Type: Rotary
  • Area Covered: 5026 sq.ft.
  • Material: Metal Base, Brass Thread
  • Connectors: HD Plastic

Pros

  • Waters up to 80 feet
  • Anti-rust, durable metal base.
  • 2- year warranty.
  • Adjust the head to rotate between a half and full circle.
  • Able to connect up to 3 sprinklers.

Cons

  • Gear-driven sprinklers aren’t as durable as pressure-driven sprinklers

What’s so special about the Eden 6-Pattern Rotary Sprinkler? I love the six adjustable spray patterns; Large, mini, flat, full, jet, and fan.

Eden Mobile Rotary Gear Drive Sprinkler

The rotation device sits on a broad base close to the ground, giving it less opportunity to tip. 

I don’t know about you, but I get annoyed with the noise these rotary sprinklers create. This one offers a noise-free watering head.

Orbit Self-Propelled Traveling Sprinkler
  • Sprinkler Type: Travelling
  • Area Covered: 13,500 sq.ft.
  • Material: Metal
  • Connectors: Brass

Pros

  • Provides even coverage to any size lawn up to 13,500 ft.
  • Adjustable spigot that sprays between 15 – 55 ft.
  • The tractor moves automatically.
  • You have control over where the tractor device goes.

Cons

  • It may get stuck on rocks, hoses, and other debris.
  • It can only be used for lawns. It will run over sensitive garden plants. 

This unique traveling sprinkler surprised me with its ability to roam about the yard independently. 

This little tractor-shaped sprayer has three speeds, so you can adjust how fast it goes. When you change the speed, you also adjust how much water comes from the two sprinkler hoses on top of the car. The slower the car goes, the less water that comes out. 

The body of the tractor is a heavy cast iron metal. This means the device won’t easily tip over, giving you a reliable traveling sprinkler.

How does it know where to go? You control this by laying out a section of hose, up to 200ft, in the path you want the tractor to go. This method can cover up to 13,500 square feet of grass.

9. Melnor 6 Pattern Turbo Rotary Sprinkler
  • Sprinkler Type: Rotary Spike
  • Area Covered: 70ft diameter
  • Material: HD Plastic
  • Connectors: Quick Connect

Pros

  • Easy set up with a garden hose adapter.
  • Six spray settings.
  • Sprays up to 70 feet in one direction.
  • Quiet turbo motor.
  • Connect other sprinklers.

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with a quick connect end connector.

The Melnor 6 pattern Turbo Rotary sprinkler offers several key features to any lawn or garden owner.

It has six spray patterns on the head of the sprinkler, where you can quickly turn to whatever pattern you need. 

You don’t need to worry about stabilizing it because it comes with a spike you can put into the ground. Great for small and medium-size lawns.

The turbo motor not only helps keep the neighborhood quiet, but it also helps the longevity of your sprinkler’s life.

Verdict: Best Above Ground Sprinkler

Tripod, oscillating, or drip hoses will serve different purposes. If you are looking for a sprinkler with a great price point, ease of use, and durability: I would purchase an oscillating sprinkler.

Orbit Zinc Impact Sprinkler

Best Impact Sprinkler

Orbit Zinc Impact Sprinkler

Water any area up to 85 ft. in diameter. Adjust the head to make a full or half circle, allowing the water to spray only in the desired location. 

The Eden Turbo Oscillating Sprinkler is the best above-ground sprinkler for your yard if you want the biggest bang for your buck. Here are several reasons why.

The item is relatively cheap yet built tough with its rust-proof aluminum base.

You can water a vast range of landscaping, from large to small. You can water grass, vegetable gardens, and flower gardens without blasting your plants.

I recommend this as our top sprinkler because of its versatility, durability, and affordability.

Eden Turbo Oscillating Sprinkler

Best Oscillating Sprinkler

Eden Turbo Oscillating Sprinkler

Metal alloy construction covers 4,975 sq.ft (95’ X 50’). Adjust spray width, length, and flow rate.

Element Soaker Hose Sprinkler +50 Ft

Best For Flower Beds

Element Soaker Hose Sprinkler +50 Ft

This 50ft soaker hose is perfect for watering at the base of delicate flowering plants to avoid water damage or risk of fungal disease. 

Benefits Of An Above Ground Sprinkler System

There is no end to the benefits of an above-ground sprinkler. Who wouldn’t want an easy, cheap, durable way to water their grass. Here are all the reasons above-ground sprinkler systems are so great.

Easy To Use, No Installation

Some sprinkler systems, like those that hide in the ground when they shut off, can involve underground lines that are downright confusing to install.

You can easily install an above-ground sprinkler system by connecting each one through a system of hoses. However, most of these sprinklers have a long range on them, meaning one sprinkler could probably do the trick when watering your plants. 

Time-Saving

Above-ground sprinklers save you countless hours of setup and operating. Once you have a system set up, you can leave the sprinklers on while doing other chores around the house. 

You no longer need to spend hours watering plants when a sprinkler system can do it.

Spray Pattern Control

The best thing about above-ground sprinklers is the pattern of the spray. You can control this on any sprinkler, except for the drip hose. 

Some forms of rotator sprinkler heads have all six forms of spray patterns. All of these patterns are on a label near the head of the sprinkler.

Impact sprinklers have the same basic idea as a rotator head. However, they don’t have words indicating which pattern to use. Instead, they have deflectors and trip pins that will create different spray patterns.

Even oscillating sprinklers have an adjustable spray option. You can switch a valve on the side to create a square, straight line, or rectangle.

Add On A Water Timer

Water timers are what I like to call life savers. With any form of an above-ground sprinkler, you can install a timer to water your plants whenever you desire.

You will no longer have to go out and turn your sprinklers on. 

FAQ Above Ground Sprinkler Systems

In case you were wondering about other types of sprinklers, this is one of the questions that I receive the most.