Best Oscillating Sprinkler

You can save yourself the hassle and up front higher cost of installing a permanent system, by buying a consumable oscillating sprinkler. They spray a row of water streams back and forth generally covering a rectangular or squared zone. But this type of sprinkler has a reputation for temporary use with many reports of only a few weeks or months of life. They are a quick and easy, immediate solution to the need for a self watering system to save you the time and effort of manually watering with a garden hose. Don’t expect durability, but you might get lucky.

Nelson 50945 Triple Spray Aqua-Drive Oscillating Sprinkler

This oscillating sprinkler uniquely lets you choose between three options of how many spray holes will be used to squirt water: 20, 12 or just six holes. It can cover a maximum area as much as 3,750 square feet. The width range of sprinkling can be set as narrow as 8 feet strips to as wide as 56 feet.

It can supposedly reverse the rotation of the spray tube more quickly than common oscillating sprinklers to save time and water. Despite that claim, there were disappointed buyers who said it was too slow moving back and forth, even at the high speed setting, and this caused them over-watering. It has large plastic gears, so small debris become less problematic. The company sells more plastic gears for a high price. As a device with moving parts it is a consumable item, but is claimed to be built to last longer..

Rainwave Turbo Gear Oscillating Sprinkler Set with Timer

Some buyers said that they used this a small number of times before it stopped oscillating. If that happens, expect it to just spray water in the same direction. You can set how far you want it to spray, but not how wide you want. For those blessed to have a long working sprinkler, it nicely covers up to 3,700 square feet, but unfortunately it can’t cover that amount of area while using the built-in water timer.

The water timer is run by water pressure moving through it, but that means water pressure is lost to the timer, so the sprinkler has less pressure to shoot water at longer ranges. One of the worst types of timer complaints, was from those who claimed their lawn was overwatered to the point of a big puddle, because the timer stopped working. In all fairness this is not a durable, nor reliable sprinkler.

Melnor XT4200 Turbo Oscillating Sprinkler

This sprinkler gives you more control over up to 4,000 square feet of coverage. It has a spray range as far away as 75 feet or as near as 15 feet, with width coverage adjustable between as wide as 53 feet and as narrow as 20 feet. The settings are adjusted by patented easy to use slider controls rather than rotating dials. A partly metal version also exists. This sprinkler even comes with a timer up to 2 hours in duration. But not everybody found the timer to be dependable.

It has 18 water jets that are equally pressured with smoother squirts of water. One buyer said that they couldn’t see why it’s called “turbo” because it seems to oscillate as fast as average competitors. A number of people commented about these sprinklers being cheaply made plastic devices, and several claimed that theirs stopped oscillating or broke down after up to a few months of use, some even said they had just a few uses.

What to Look For

If you don’t like wasting money on items to put in landfills, you might like to consider a quality oscillating sprinkler with metal durable gears, not plastic. Because broken or worn plastic gears are one of the most common causes of oscillating sprinklers ending their short little careers too soon.


There’s a lot of room for improvement with these devices. They’ve made clever features like selectable numbers of jets to use, faster oscillation and timers, yet these sprinklers still have a reputation of being short term disposable devices. Instead of profiting from repeatedly selling sprinklers that don’t last long, or have big prices for cheap plastic replacement parts, manufacturers ought to make quality durable sprinklers. Consumers should refuse to repurchase the same disposable sprinklers: money talks. Until quality durable mechanical sprinklers are widely available, a fixed sprinkler system can save you more money in the long term.

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