Hose nozzles and sprinklers can have a big impact on how effectively you water your lawn…
BEST HOSE NOZZLES
Dial nozzles typically have a pistol grip and a round, plastic rotating head that lets you choose from a variety of spray patterns—they suit most people because they allow for many different types of watering. Features to look for: At least six spray patterns, including cone, flat, flood, jet, mist and shower…and a heavy-duty metal screw that adjusts the grip tension when you spray water (plastic screws crack easily). Recommended: Dramm 9-Pattern Revolver Spray Nozzle, $12.
Pistol-grip metal nozzles with a single set spray pattern are best if you mainly do cleanup jobs such as rinsing walkways, decks and patios. These provide a more concentrated stream than the “jet” setting on dial nozzles, are less expensive and last longer because they have fewer moving parts. They also are easier to use than the traditional brass cylindrical single-stream nozzles that you adjust by twisting the end. Features to look for: All-brass or die-cast zinc parts, because the water pressure creates so much wear and tear. Recommended: Gilmour 573TF Zinc Pistol Grip Nozzle, $7.
Watering wands are elongated nozzles that extend your reach for watering close-by-but-hard-to-reach spots such as hanging baskets. Recommended: Dramm OneTouch Rain Wand, starting at $21.
Helpful: Mineral deposits can build up over time, making nozzles tough to unscrew from the hose. Smear petroleum jelly on the threads of the hose coupling before you screw on the nozzle.
For small lawns that are square or rectangular, use an oscillating sprinkler that arcs water back and forth in a fan-shaped pattern. Features to look for: A heavier metal base instead of a plastic one to prevent tipping…at least 15 spray jet holes to avoid gaps…easy adjustment settings to manage the degree of swing. Recommended: Melnor Metal Oscillating Sprinkler, starting at $16.
For larger lawns and irregularly shaped areas, get an impulse sprinkler. It shoots water in pulses and distributes it farther and more precisely than oscillating sprinklers. Features to look for: All-metal design, which is more durable than plastic…a throw capability of at least a 100-foot diameter…a spike-shaped base to help keep the sprinkler in place and make it easy to install in hard soil. Drawback: These require time to set up because you have to adjust levers and screws to set part- or full-circle operation, the fineness of the spray and the distance that the water is thrown. Consider buying several so that you can leave each one customized for different areas of your property. Recommended: Melnor 9580 Metal Pulsating Sprinkler with Step Spike, $29.