Lawn sprinkler run time is a surprisingly tricky question. Some folks set it and forget it – then drown their yards completely. Others will try to conserve water and dehydrate their grass.
Unless you live on the lush Big Island of Hawaii, you probably have to water your lawn throughout the year. Chances are, you have impact, oscillating, or stationary sprinklers that keep your lawn hydrated and green.
But watering your lawn doesn’t always mean you’ll have the best-looking yard on the block. For example, overwatering your lawn can lead to suffocation and stunted root growth. In other words, watering your lawn too much can leave it looking like a swamp. On the other hand, not watering your lawn enough will leave you with a brown yard.
What’s the happy medium?
Why we started this site
We started The Lawn Review out of frustration. We couldn’t find clarity around what type of products were actually good and reliable. All the fertilizers we tried didn’t work. We ended up with a dying lawn, wasted time, and wasted money.
So we started buying and reviewing lawn tools and figuring out which ones were the best. And now we’ve moved onto actually keeping that lawn looking nice all year around.
We’ve spent thousands of hours building this content for people just like you and me – normal people.
The Ultimate Sprinkler Run Time
We recommend letting your sprinklers run for about 30 to 40 minutes per watering session, two to three times per week. Therefore, you should let your sprinklers run a minimum of one hour per week and a maximum of two hours. This obviously doesn’t apply to winter months when your lawn is covered in snow, nor does it apply if you receive a decent amount of rainfall.
The key here is to let the water saturate the soil so that roots can grow deeper. This gives you a better looking lawn but also a much healthier root base for your grass.
It’s also a good idea to turn on your sprinklers earlier in the morning when it’s cooler, making it easier for the roots to absorb the water.
If you’ve recently placed down sod, then check out our guide on how to care for a new sod lawn. You want to lighten up on the sprinkler run time so that you don’t build up fungus in the sod.
The 4 Best Budget Lawn Sprinklers for 2023
Now that I’ve revealed the secret of how long lawn sprinklers should run, I will share the best lawn sprinklers for 2023. A new year, a new sprinkler – is that how that saying goes?
1. Aqua Joe Oscillating Sprinkler
If you want the best bang for your buck, you can’t go wrong with the Aqua Joe Indestructible oscillating sprinkler. This sprinkler comes in two sizes – a 16-inch and 20-inch option. The 16-inch device covers up to 3,600 square feet of lawn, and the 20-inch alternative covers 4,400 square feet. Aqua Joe claims that the sprinkler’s size has the largest size-to-spray distance ratio on the market. I love that the sprinkler doesn’t clog and it doesn’t overspray, meaning no more wasted water.
I’ve also dragged this thing across my yard more times than I can count and it is banged up but still works beautifully. It’s also super easy to set up and find the right spray pattern for your yard.
I recommended this one to my dad recently because he was in the market. He got it off Amazon for a ridiculous price and has loved it for his front yard. You can grab it on Amazon here like we did.
2. Segomo Tools 360 Degree Automatic Rotating Garden Sprinkler
This Segomo does a 360 as it sprays every corner of your yard. A single sprinkler covers 3,600 square feet, but you can also get your hands on a two-pack for 7,200 square feet of coverage. I don’t know about you, but I’ve dealt with tons of sprinklers that seem to wobble with every gust of wind. The Segomo sprinkler doesn’t have that problem thanks to its heavy-duty premium ABS material and solid base. Basically, it is solid and heavy.
To add the cherry on top, the sprinkler comes with two rubber gaskets and a 1 x ½” quick hose connector.
The cool thing about this is that you can just plop it in your yard and let it go crazy. This is definitely for Type B people who just want to get their yard covered without being precise.
I like it because it is kind of crazy and you can get it for a great price on Amazon.
3. Kadaon 360 Degree Garden Sprinkler
Another contender in the 360-degree category is the Kadaon 360 Degree Rotating Lawn Sprinkler. I’ll preface by saying that this product isn’t as highly rated as Aqua Joe, but it is a great budget sprinkler set up. These types of sprinklers aren’t going to last forever, but have the benefit of doubling as an awesome sprinkler for your kids or pets (my dog used to try to fight the sprinkler).
So, what’s all the hype? This sprinkler features a three-arm design with an ABS plastic rotary. It boasts a patented water-saving design and a large coverage area. This sprinkler isn’t just for watering your grass either; it makes a great pass time for kids.
This thing is a dang steal. It’s really similar to the 360 spinner up above, but it sticks into the ground, is slightly weaker, but is an insanely cheap price on Amazon.
4. Melnor 65074-AMZ XT Turbo Oscillating Sprinkler
This Melnor sprinkler actually went into a face-off with our Aqua Joe indestructible sprinkler. The results were confusing. Both have a similar spray pattern and similar coverage. I like that the Melnor is slightly better for being precise with spray patterns, allowing you to expand the spray pattern horizontally to adjust the width.
I like the Aqua Joe because it is heavier, simpler, and truly indestructible.
So it’s a tough one. The Melnor oscillating sprinkler here is a great sprinkler (I own both), so you really can’t go wrong with it. To me, it just comes down to price. Both go on sale frequently on Amazon, so check the price of the Melnor to see which is better.
Frequently Asked Questions about lawn sprinklers
Curious to know more about lawn sprinklers and watering your yard? Here are some of the most commonly asked questions we get about lawn sprinklers.
How much does it cost to have in-ground sprinklers?
Depending on the size of your property, you can expect to pay between $1,500 to $3,000 for inground sprinklers. Fortunately, in-ground sprinklers can help increase your home’s value because they operate efficiently and keep up your curb appeal.
What time of the year should you water your grass?
Most homeowners in the United States water their lawns after winter – when the snow melts and the grass underneath slowly reappears. However, you may not need to water your grass during the spring if you live in a moist climate, such as the Southeast or Midwest. The same is true in the summer. Summer is a time of sporadic weather, and sometimes there are dry spouts, while other times there are endless days of rain.
In summary, you should water your lawn starting in spring through the fall, but can you scale back on the watering if there are higher-than-normal levels of precipitation
Can you water your grass too much?
Yes, you can easily water your grass too much if you aren’t careful. If you notice water running off your yard, there’s a good chance you’re overwatering. In addition, overwatering your grass can cause it to feel spongy and promote weed growth. Worst of all, creepy crawlers will flock to your lawn, which may require an exterminator visit.
How Long Should Lawn Sprinklers Run: A Recap
The general rule of thumb is that lawn sprinklers should run two to three times per week and for 30 to 40 minutes per session. However, this rule isn’t exactly set in stone. You may need to water your grass more during a drought or less during periods of high precipitation. And if you don’t have the right sprinkler for your yard yet, be sure to check out my list of the best lawn sprinklers for 2023.