OtO lawn sprinklers are some of the best options home owners have for precise irrigation of lawn spaces that are either rectangular or irregularly shaped. Not only do Oto sprinklers adjust spray distance as needed but they don’t have to be trenched into the lawn or be connected to a power source due to their built-in solar panel.
But, they aren’t for everybody and they aren’t the best sprinklers for certain situations.
Although the cost of buying an OtO sprinkler and setting it up is low compared to a traditional inground sprinkler system or an Irrigreen precision sprinkler system the Oto sprinklers require a somewhat large box to sit above ground near your lawn space or mounted to a nearby post, fence, or wall.
Not only that but a regular garden hose has to be attached to it for the system to operate meaning you always have a pressurized hose sitting above ground in your lawn to take full advantage of the automation features and you lose access to a spigot.
Depending on the distance from your spigot a hose will lose water pressure over greater distances so the further from your water source you go the lower the pressure gets making the minimum 50 PSI working pressure harder to achieve.
For all these reasons and more I believe Irrigreen in-ground sprinklers are easily the best alternative to OtO Lawn today. They are more expensive, and their setup will take you more time, but all of the drawbacks of OtO are resolved with Irrigreen without losing any of the main perks of OtO.
I actually have both Irrigreen sprinklers installed in parts of my lawn and OtO installed in other parts of my lawn, so I know exactly what I like and don’t like about both watering options.
Lower Cost Alternatives To OtO Lawn
1. Spruce Irrigation Sensors & Controller
Spruce Irrigation is a lower cost alternative as it can tie into existing irrigation zones and make them run only when soil moisture gets below a certain threshold. Spruce doesn’t offer smart sprinklers like OtO or Irrigreen but they can make any sprinkler run more efficiently by not turning on when sufficient soil moisture is present.
Instead of running a sprinkler every other day or twice a week, Spruce’s soil moisture sensors and control box can adjust watering to daily if it’s ever needed or to every third, fourth, fifth day and beyond for those times of the year when soil moisture doesn’t deplete fast due to cooler temps, less wind, higher humidity, or dense cloud cover.
Even if you do end up buying OtO sprinklers you can combine the power of Spruce sensors with your Oto Sprinklers to use less water overall while being sure you are never underwatering your grass, trees, shrubs, or potted plants.
Learn more about Spruce Irrigation here.
2. Gilmour Pattern Master Circular Sprinkler (Model #1960)
Gilmour sells a ton of different sprinklers in a huge amount of styles but the overarching theme of their sprinklers tends to be affordability and this unit is no different.
The Pattern master sprinkler is almost exactly like the OtO sprinkler in that it is a hose end sprinkler that you set usually in the middle of your lawn and then set distance points as the sprinkler goes around the circle.
Depending on water pressure you can get spray distance well above 30 feet (all the way up to 43-feet according to documentation) and as low as a 16-foot radius…and if you don’t want to water all the way around you don’t have to. You can adjust the sweep to do a full 360-degree circle or any part of it down to 30-degrees.
As for distance points you can adjust 12 different distance points along the 360-degree sweep pattern. These points are fixed points about 30-degrees apart from one another so the precision of this unit will be far less than OtO or Irrigreen which both give you nearly infinite points via their Wifi connected aps.
You will get wet setting up the Gilmour Pattern Master but once it’s set and you stake it down so that it doesn’t move you should get nearly the same effect of OtO coverage for about 10% of the price…and with some cleverness you can even use a smart hose timer in conjunction with Spruce Sensors to water only when the soil moisture level drops low enough to trigger the irrigation cycle.
I definitely recommend Oto over The Gilmour Pattern Master if you can afford Oto but if it’s too spendy the Gilmour version is a really great way to tiptoe into adjustable sprinkler pattern settings.
3. The VariThrow Smart Sprinkler
Way back in 2010 a company that was ahead of it’s time came around called VariThrow and they offered a single product that was nearly identical to Oto Lawn sprinklers except the sprinkler was not calibrated electronically through an ap; it was setup at the unit itself with a series of adjustment pins that are similar to the manual distance adjustment points that are on the Gilmour Pattern Master.
With VariThrow you had well over 50 adjustment points giving you the option to set a much more refined and precise sprinkler zone.
At the time the VariThrow was a high-priced unit but still sold for less than $200. The product is no longer sold new on Amazon as it used to be and as far as I know the company is now out of business but if you can find a used Varithrow unit on Ebay or some other secondary market this is a product that will do almost exactly what Oto does in a package that isn’t reliant on the internet, electricity, or a Wifi connection to a smartphone ap.
4. Irrigreen In Ground Sprinklers
This is my favorite replacement or alternative to OtO because it does everything OtO does except that it can be piped in underground and will operate just like a traditional popup sprinkler.
You trench on water line to the middle of your yard (or the side of it) and connect the single Irrigreen sprinkler to the water source. In the trench you lay the controller wire that connects the smart controller in the garage to the sprinkler in the lawn. The wire gives you the ability to stretch the sprinkler well away from the house where wifi may not reach meaning your only concern having to do with the internet connection is at the control box and not out in the lawn.
Like OtO you don’t need to install a separate valve box as the valve is inside the sprinkler head. So long as the water pipe is pressurized the control box turns the sprinkler on and off based on your settings in the ap or at the physical controller box.
Irrigreen allows you to map a lawn with distance points just like OtO does and it will water the area in increments of 0.05″. This means you can tell Irrigreen to water your lawn as much water as it needs at any given time instead of watering for a set length of time.
Most lawns do best with 1-inch of water per week so you can easily ask for 1-inch pf water per watering session or 0.15″ of water daily or anything else you can think of.
The only difference is that Irrigreen does not have an arc that goes up over short obstacles like Oto does. For most lawn watering however this isn’t usually an issue unless you have an obstacle in your lawn that breaks line of sight between the irrigated space and the sprinkler head.
As you would expect the smart controller box for Irrigreen is one of the best and most connected boxes on the market today. It adjusts for wind, weather conditions, has rain delays, can work with moisture meters, etc. It can also operate at lower PSI than OtO can (40 PSI min) so the system may be better for homes that don’t have a full 50 PSI.
Obviously, the equipment and install costs is greater for Irrigreen but you save money over the installation of a traditional in-ground system so it’s a very attractive option.
As for being an alternative to Oto, it will be most different by costing more but it will eliminate the above ground box, the always-in-laying-in-the-yard garden hose, and will open up usable space on your spigot. It also gives you the ability to use a smart sprinkler on a much bigger property or a lawn space that isn’t within reach of your home’s wifi network.