Oscillating vs Rotary Sprinklers: Which is Best

oscillating vs rotary sprinkler

The oscillating vs rotatory sprinkler debate has been going on ever since people started using them. Most of the time, you’ll find that the people who argue have used only one of them. And that’s so because of the fact that both of them are really great investments for your lawn!

In today’s article here at Turf Mechanic, this is what we are going to take a look at. We are going to take a look at the main features of each of them. Then, we are going to find out the main things that actually put oscillating and rotating sprinklers apart. Finally, we are going to show you how exactly they are both different but really useful!

So, are you ready to learn a lot about oscillating and rotatory sprinklers? Are you ready to end being a part of this oscillating vs rotatory sprinkler debate that doesn’t even make sense? Well, you better stick with us till the end of the article then, here we go!

Oscillating Sprinklers, what are they?

Oscillating Sprinlers are the ones that you find most commonly in the average Garden. Have you seen one of those sprinklers where the base is stationary but an arm moves to throw water in fan-shaped jets? Well, that’s the one we are talking about- that’s an oscillating sprinkler for you.

Generally, the oscillating metal arm ensures that it covers a pretty much rectangular area of about 20 by 30 feet. Quoting HowStuffWorks, we can say that:

An oscillating sprinkler like the one shown above is one of the most common sprinklers around. It sprays out a fan-shaped curtain of water, and the metal arm oscillates back and forth to cover a rectangular area perhaps 20 feet by 30 feet (6 meters by 9 meters) in size.

If you’ve thought about it for more than five seconds, you’ve probably wondered about the “oscillating” part of an oscillating sprinkler: What makes the arm go back and forth? In this edition of HowStuffWorks, you’ll learn exactly how it happens!­

However, did you ever think about the main features of the oscillating sprinkler? Well, that’s what we are going to take a look at right now! The main features of an oscillating sprinkler might be summed up as follows:

  • Oscillating Sprinklers have a fixed base, and there is an arm that actually moves or “oscillates”. This arm is the one that throws the water, and not the base.
  • The arm doesn’t directly throw the water either. It has nozzles that it’s equipped with. The water comes out of these nozzles.
  • Of course, the arm also has a role to play. It swings or “oscillates” in order to actually water the whole lawn equally. Each oscillating sprinkler comes with the calculation of how much area it can water.
  • Oscillating Sprinklers are often made sturdier by making the base and the arm with metal. However, the comparatively cheaper models usually make them with plastic. It’s not like plastic is a bad choice, although metal is mostly a little more durable.
  • Naturally, you can also change the nozzles and replace them with other ones. This is one of the choices that’s always open for you.

Rotary Sprinklers, what’s so special about them?

Rotatory Sprinklers primarily refer to the type of sprinklers that actually rotate to throw streams of water. Normally, the rotatory sprinklers project jets of water in different directions at the same time! So, if you’ve ever seen a spinning sprinkler throwing water in several directions at once, you know what you’ve seen!

The main features of a rotary sprinklers are also really easy to find out! The main features of a sprinkler like this might be summed up in the following points:

  • These sprinklers, as I mentioned earlier, work in a special way that sets them apart from other models. These sprinklers actually have a special mechanism that makes them rotate in their place.
  • They also throw water in a rotating-manner. So, the water comes out from different directions at the same time!
  • Like all sprinklers, it is simple to actually decide the radius in these sprinklers as well! You can easily set the required radius to perfectly implement the watering in your garden.

Now, naturally, there’s a lot more that you might want to know about Rotary Sprinklers. However, since we have to move on to discussing the main differences between these two, we can’t really linger much longer on this topic. However, you can check out IrrigatingTutorials for a lot of information on this topic (thanks to them for making this awesome and super informative article about rotary sprinklers!)

Oscillating vs Rotary Sprinkler: What are the Main Differences Between the Two?

Now, you might still be wondering what the main differences between these two are. Naturally, while both of these are awesome types of sprinklers, there are a lot of similarities out there as well!

The main differences, however, might be the ones of interest to you. These might, however, be summed up in the following points:

  • First of all, the main difference lies in the main Mechanism. As we just saw, the two of these work on fundamentally different points altogether when it comes to the mechanism! The Oscillating sprinkler uses a moving arm, while the rotary sprinkler actually rotates in order to throw water in a circular motion.
  • The Oscillating sprinklers, you might want to know, are also much more common than Rotary Sprinklers. The Oscillating sprinklers are the most common among all the types of sprinklers.
  • The Oscillating Sprinklers also cover a comparatively smaller area than the rotary sprinklers. And as such, you might actually want to keep this in mind when you go out to buy any of them.
  • Again, if you are looking for a cheaper price, an oscillating sprinkler might be a better choice. There are quite a few super economic models available out there. While you have economic rotary ones too, the economic oscillating ones are even more economic!
  • Finally, the oscillating sprinklers are actually a little more durable than the Rotary sprinklers. So, if you’re like me and love to use the same product for a much longer time period, you might actually want to go with the Oscillating Sprinklers. However, keep in mind that the Rotary sprinklers are also pretty durable and great choices to go for!


To sum it all up, we can say that Oscillating Sprinklers are the most commonly used sprinklers out there. But this is merely because of the fact that they fit more peoples’ needs. Now, keep in mind that we don’t mean to say that Rotary sprinklers don’t meet people’s needs. They are great choices and a lot of people actually use them too! It’s just that the market has received oscillating sprinklers a little too well, and they are just used by people more than any other type of sprinklers out there!

Both of these types of sprinklers are actually great choices. So, you must judge them based on your needs and buy the ones that suits your needs the best. Keep in mind that the best model out there is not the one that is the most selling or the most/least expensive. The best model for you is the one that serves all your needs at the most reasonable price to you.

As long as you keep this in mind, you will surely be able to find the best models for yourself with ease. This is the prime judgement even the professional use when buying something for themselves. And that’s why they are experts, because they have their own way of judging instead of following the crowd! So, if you want to be a smart lawn-owner, you might want to do the same too!

Turf Mechanic is here for you!

Finally, we have reached the end of today’s article. We really hope that you could learn at least something new from this article. Hopefully, you would be able to implement these ideas in real and actually make your lawn even more beautiful!

We thank you from the core of our heart to take your time to read this article till the very end. We understand, however, that you might still have a few questions for us. Please know that Turf Mechanic is always here and is always prepared to serve you. So, if you have anything which you think we might be able to assist you with, please do not hesitate in reaching out to us! We look forward to hearing from you!

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