Types of Sprinkler Heads

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A handsome and well-watered lawn doesn't need to drain resources. By selecting the most appropriate sprinkler heads for your lawn or garden, you can transform your irrigation system to be more efficient. A simple update can save you money, reduce your water consumption and better attend to your plants' needs.

Fixed Spray Heads

  • The most basic form of sprinkler head, a fixed spray head (also known simply as a "spray head") applies water to a set area. Like a shower nozzle, it sends a spray in a fan or circular shape. Depending on where the individual head is located on your yard, it may cast water in a quarter-circle, half-circle or full circle. You may also be able to adjust the diameter of the head's spray. For unusually shaped areas, you can also purchase specialty fixed heads with sprays that cover long, narrow strips. Depending on your initial budget and your lawn or garden dimensions, you may find that heads with rectangular or square sprays actually provide coverage more efficiently. Among fixed spray heads, you can choose a stationary model or a pop-up model, which tucks beneath the grass level between uses.

Rotors

  • As an alternative to the fixed sprinkler head, rotor heads are a common means of irrigating with oscillation or rotating sprays of water. An impact rotor sprinkler fires short bursts of water back and forth, making a distinctive clicking noise. More modern gear-driven rotors are much quieter than their predecessors. Typically, rotors can be spaced further apart than fixed spray heads, though they can require higher water pressure. As a rough rule of thumb, the water pressure (in PSI, or pounds per square inch) must be equal to or greater than the distance between sprinkler heads (in feet). If you're using wastewater, opt for rotors, as fixed spray heads aren't advisable with wastewater irrigation.

Micro-sprinklers

  • An increasingly popular irrigation technique for crops and flower beds, micro-sprinklers are just one attachment available for micro-irrigation systems. In essence, micro-irrigation directs water to specific areas at low-pressure over longer periods of time. It can work more efficiently than regular sprinklers as it reduces water lost to evaporation and targets the needs of specific plants. Micro-irrigation systems can be fitted with micro-sprinklers, also known as mini-sprays, micro-sprays, jets or spinners. Often they mount on support stakes to provide broader coverage. The flow rates of micro-sprinklers remain much lower than traditional sprinkler heads, ranging from 3 to 30 gallons per hour. The resulting psi depends upon the width of the sprinkler head and the tubing.

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  • Photo Credit sprinkler image by palms from Fotolia.com
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