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Which type of lawn sprinkler works best?

Which type of lawn sprinkler works best?

Introduction: (Initial Observation)


The important task of irrigation or watering the lawn in many homes and gardens is being done by a large varieties of sprinklers. Lawn sprinklers must distribute the water evenly across the lawn, but not all sprinklers are up to the task. Many can not distribute water evenly and leave some spots dry, while flooding some others. Another concern is usually water conservation. The amount of water sprinkled to the lawn must be the right amount for the type of soil, grass and weather. Otherwise either water may not get to the roots and evaporate on the surface or flood away.

In this project we will research on different lawn sprinklers by collecting and studying product information. We try to itemize positive and negative specifications of each lawn sprinkler and compare them based on price and performance. We may also need to perform some tests if needed.


This project guide contains information that you need in order to start your project. If you have any questions or need more support about this project, click on the “Ask Question” button on the top of this page to send me a message.

If you are new in doing science project, click on “How to Start” in the main page. There you will find helpful links that describe different types of science projects, scientific method, variables, hypothesis, graph, abstract and all other general basics that you need to know.

Project advisor

Information Gathering:

Since we want to study and compare lawn sprinklers, we first need to study the irrigation and learn how much water at any time is needed for plants and what are the things that we can expect from a lawn sprinkler or irrigation system. When we talk about an irrigation system we mean lawn sprinklers and all their attachments such as pipes, pumps, valves, timers, sensors and etc. You can find books about watering plants and irrigation in your local library or search the internet with key words such as:

“Irrigation Tutorial”, “plants soil water needs”.

One of the resources that you can find and use is www.jessstryker.com.

Also visit the web sites of sprinkler manufacturers listed below and try to get as much information as possible:

Rain Bird: http://www.rainbird.com/
Hunter Industries: http://www.hunterindustries.com/
Irritrol Systems: http://www.irritrolsystems.com/
Toro: http://www.toro.com/home/sprinkler/
Weathermatic: http://www.weathermatic.com/weathermatic/main.nsf/home
Nelson: http://www.nelsonirrigation.com.au/
K-Rain: http://www.k-rain.com/

In the specification section of each sprinkler look for information such as GPM (Gallons per minute), Radius range, Precipitation rate range.

Following are some general information:

Sprinklers are installed in a special pattern for complete and even coverage.
A properly designed automatic sprinkler system delivers precise coverage without gaps or runoff.

What kind of sprinkler should I use?

The type of sprinkler you use really depends on what’s being watered. There are four basic sprinkler types: gear driven/impact single stream rotary sprays, fixed sprays, flood bubblers, stream bubblers.


Rotors are generally used to cover large turf areas. There are two basic types of Rotors; the Impact Rotor and the Gear-driven Rotor.

Impact rotary sprinklers

cover large lawn areas most efficiently. Heavy-duty impact rotor; superior performance with reclaimed, lake and well water; a proven impact drive; designed for light commercial and residential applications. These single-stream rotors have an arc adjustment for placement in corners. Like other pop-up sprinklers, they pop up above grasses and disappear when not in use.

Gear-driven, single-stream rotary sprinklers

cover large lawn areas most efficiently. Setting the standard for contractors and designers, it’s become the #1 selling rotor in the world. With features like a large dirty water screen and the superior ability to deliver even water distribution from continuously improved, precision engineered nozzles, this is a residential and light commercial sprinkler that is simply unmatched for reliability, durability or versatility. These single-stream rotors have an arc adjustment for placement in corners. Like other pop-up sprinklers, they pop up above grasses and disappear when not in use.


Sprays ideal for use on smaller areas of turf and landscaping. They provide a set spray pattern and unlike rotors, these heads simply pop-up and spray a a light mist which is ideal for small grass and flowerbed areas. Spray patterns come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They spray a maximum of 15 feet. Sprays come in a variety of sizes ranging from a 4″ pop-up to a 12″ pop-up. Rainbird and Hunter products offer a fixed nozzle version; the Rain Bird Uni-Spray and Hunter PS” Series for a “one size fits all solution”. No need to worry about ordering the wrong nozzle!

Fixed-spray sprinklers

produce a tight, constant fan of water ideal for small lawn, shrub and ground cover areas. Pop-up models pop up above grasses and disappear when not in use. Shrub sprays are mounted above foliage to water ground cover and shrubs.

Flood bubblers

produce a flow of water that soaks the soil without wetting the leaves. They’re ideal for tree wells, planters and shrubs.

Stream bubblers

are for efficient watering of small planter beds and shrubs areas.

Stream bubblers are available in a variety of patterns.

Question/ Purpose:

The purpose of this project is to find out which type of lawn sprinkler works best!

Identify Variables:

For this project the independent variable is the type of sprinkler (Impact Rotary, Single-stream rotary, Fixed-spray, Flood bubbles, Stream bubbles, …) You may find more types.

Since even distribution of water is important, we will use this as our dependent variable. In other words we try to see how evenly does the sprinkler distribute water.


Based on your gathered information, make an educated guess about the type of sprinkler that you think might work best.

Experiment Design:

We will perform two experiment for this project.

Experiment 1: We identify, locate and test at least three different types of sprinklers to see how even does the sprinkler distribute water.

To do this we place some same size plastic containers at the areas that we want to test. Then after certain period of time such as one hour, we measure the amount of water in each container and record it in a table.

Containers can be placed every one foot or every 2 feet. If You place these containers every 2 feet, for a 50′ x 50′ lawn you will have 26 rows and each row will have 26 containers. So a total of 676 containers will be used. If this is too much, set the containers every 4 or 5 feet or select a smaller test area.

If you are familiar with EXCEL or any other spread-sheet program, you can enter your data and produce a chart, calculate average distribution and rate of evenly distribution. Otherwise you can do all these by hand. (Refer to calculation section).

Experiment 2: Build a simple sprinkler. (you may come up with different ideas, but this one will definitely work).

Get an L shape pipe, you may need to connect two straight pipes together using an elbow. Your local plumber can help on that. Make some stands for it, so it will stand on the ground.


Size of L pipe can be about one to feet (Long side) by 2 to 5 inches (short side)

Connect a one foot plastic or rubber hose to the short end of your L pipe. We call this the spinner, because this small plastic hose later will spin in many different direction. It’s driving force is water pressure. Connect the long side of L pipe to the incoming water. Find a round wooden piece that fits the open end of the spinner hose, make some small holes on that, insert it in to the hose and secure it with a clamp.
Now open the water. Spinner hose will move around wildly and irrigate up to 50 feet from each direction. Random movement of the spinner, may not allow evenly distribution of water, but it needs to be tested.

Take pictures and include them along with your sprinkler in your display.

Materials and Equipment:


Results of Experiment (Observation):

Experiments are often done in series. A series of experiments can be done by changing one variable a different amount each time. A series of experiments is made up of separate experimental “runs.” During each run you make a measurement of how much the variable affected the system under study. For each run, a different amount of change in the variable is used. This produces a different amount of response in the system. You measure this response, or record data, in a table for this purpose. This is considered “raw data” since it has not been processed or interpreted yet. When raw data gets processed mathematically, for example, it becomes results.


The area of containers that you use is less than one square foot. You need to calculate the rate precipitation per square foot. To do that divide the amount of water in each container to the area of opening of that container. For example if your container is a cup, it’s area is about 0.02 sq ft. 35 grams water in this cup represents 1750 grams per square foot. Since water is liquid, we better have volumetric measurements and write 1750 ml. (One gram water = 1 ml water)

Summary of Results:

Summarize what happened. This can be in the form of a table of processed numerical data, or graphs. It could also be a written statement of what occurred during experiments.

It is from calculations using recorded data that tables and graphs are made. Studying tables and graphs, we can see trends that tell us how different variables cause our observations. Based on these trends, we can draw conclusions about the system under study. These conclusions help us confirm or deny our original hypothesis. Often, mathematical equations can be made from graphs. These equations allow us to predict how a change will affect the system without the need to do additional experiments. Advanced levels of experimental science rely heavily on graphical and mathematical analysis of data. At this level, science becomes even more interesting and powerful.


Using the trends in your experimental data and your experimental observations, try to answer your original questions. Is your hypothesis correct? Now is the time to pull together what happened, and assess the experiments you did.

Related Questions & Answers:

What you have learned may allow you to answer other questions. Many questions are related. Several new questions may have occurred to you while doing experiments. You may now be able to understand or verify things that you discovered when gathering information for the project. Questions lead to more questions, which lead to additional hypothesis that need to be tested.

Possible Errors:

If you did not observe anything different than what happened with your control, the variable you changed may not affect the system you are investigating. If you did not observe a consistent, reproducible trend in your series of experimental runs there may be experimental errors affecting your results. The first thing to check is how you are making your measurements. Is the measurement method questionable or unreliable? Maybe you are reading a scale incorrectly, or maybe the measuring instrument is working erratically.

If you determine that experimental errors are influencing your results, carefully rethink the design of your experiments. Review each step of the procedure to find sources of potential errors. If possible, have a scientist review the procedure with you. Sometimes the designer of an experiment can miss the obvious.


List your references at this section.