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The types of heads utilized on a specific project are determined by the dimensions of the area being covered, the water pressure available for operation, and a variety of other factors. Choose between a spray or rotor.

SPRAY HEADSNozzle Charts: Hunter | Rain Bird | Nelson | Weathermatic | Irritrol | Toro
Spray heads spray water in specific circular patterns and can be changed at your discretion. Spacing between sprinklers varies depending upon the specific nozzle that is installed in the head. To operate efficiently, units should rarely be spaced further than 15 ft apart and should be supplied with 20-30 PSI of water pressure. Ideal for smaller, fragmented, hard-to-reach areas, these heads discharge 2-3 times the water of a rotor.

ROTORS - Click here to view Rotor Performance Charts
Rotor heads also disperse water in circular patterns. However, these are used to cover larger areas of un-interrupted space. Small rotors tend to cover radii of 15-52 feet and large rotors can be designed to cover radii of up to 100 feet. To operate efficiently, rotors need to be supplied with more water pressure than spray heads. The PSI level should approximately equal the space between each installed unit. There are two basic types of rotary heads, categorized by the mechanism that causes the sprinkler to rotate. These types are impact rotors and gear-driven rotors.

Impact Rotors
These rotors move in a circular pattern and slowly water the entire area within that circle. Impact rotors are also available as part-circle sprinklers that can be used in corners or along walks or streets. The impact rotor is typically cheaper than a gear-driven rotor and may provide the most uniform coverage of all sprinklers. However, the largest problem with impact sprinklers is their high maintenance requirement. As an impact sprinkler is activated, it rises out of its assembly to approximately 4 inches above the turf. During the time the sprinkler is in operation, this open cavity in the sprinkler case becomes an open catch for all trash, mud, clippings, insects, and types of yard debris. This debris is washed into the mechanism during the normal operation of the head. Periodic maintenance is required to keep sprinkler canisters clean and to keep dirt and debris from causing damage to the mechanism.
Gear Driven Rotors
With these sprinklers, water turns a small turbine (water wheel or fan) in the base of the unit, which drives a series of gears that cause the head to rotate. The gear drive mechanism is sealed from dirt and debris and operates without the irritating clatter of impact sprinklers. The gear driven design has dominated rotary sprinkler sales in the irrigation industry for some time, in both residential and commercial sites. Although the individual gear drive rotor unit is several times more costly than a spray head, its wider spacing capabilities means fewer heads are needed to cover a given area.


Once you have chosen either a spray or a rotor, you must next determine what sprinkler style will best meet the needs of your irrigation area. Choose between either a pop-up or fixed design.
This is the most common design selected by consumers. Installed below the ground, the sprinkler head remains out of sight while inactive. Accordingly, it will not corrupt or compromise the aesthetic beauty of your landscape. Furthermore, there wont be any pipes sticking out of the ground for you and your children to either destroy or trip over. Once the sprinkler system is turned on, a small portion of the head will emerge above the surface to disperse water to the irrigation area.
Fixed (Shrub)
Installed above the ground on a riser, this sprinkler design should be utilized if you need to provide water to high-reaching plants. They are sometimes cheaper than pop-ups, but we do advise you that this is not the best selection for an area in the middle of the lawn if it can be avoided. Pop-Ups can usually be designed to perform similar functions and will mitigate the potential problems caused by shrubs (risers) as described in the above paragraph. If a shrub is indeed needed, we encourage you to install them in the corner areas of the landscape not usually walked through.