4 Types of Sprinkler Heads Explained

When installing a sprinkler system, it is important to use the right type of sprinkler heads on each zone to provide an efficient irrigation system. The zone refers to the total area that the sprinkler system can water. The zone line is directly connected to the sprinkler head and is connected to the main water line through the saddle-T.

When the sprinkler is turned on, water extends outward from the sprinkler head and waters the surrounding area. Here are the most common types of sprinkler heads available in the market today.

Rotor Sprinkler Heads

These sprinkler heads are used to cover wider sections or areas. This type of sprinkler head makes use of a rotational mechanism that allows it to cover the whole circumference of the zone. Most sprinkler heads make use of a rotary motion to cover an area of up to 360-degrees.


Micro-sprayers provide sprays of water that can reach a distance of up to 10-feet and a rotary axis of up to 360-degrees. This type of sprinkler head is ideal for gardens with flowers and plants that need minimal amounts of water.

Pop-up Rotor Heads

The name of this type of sprinkler head is derived from the mechanism it uses to produce water sprays. A greater portion of the head is buried underground and pops up as soon as the sprinkler system is turned on. The pressure from the water causes the head to rise up from its resting place and spray the zone with water. These sprinkler heads can cover a radius of up to 35-feet and are usually used for wide lawn areas. Pop-heads can be either fixed or rotary. Rotary heads can be set up to cover quarter, half or full circles. When the pop-up head is not in use, it hides underground and only pops up again when used.

Impact Sprinkler Heads

Impact sprinkler heads make use of a mechanical arm to impact the stream of water that comes out of the head. This impact mechanism is the reason behind its name. Impact sprinkler heads can cover a radius of 45-feet average and is perfect for wide garden, lawn, or landscaped areas. The impact arm helps in the distribution of water to produce finer sprays. Perhaps the greatest disadvantage of this sprinkler head is its open design. Pieces of debris might get tangled in the sprinkler head and disrupt its rotary and impact mechanism. When using this type of sprinkler head, it is best to clean the head regularly to maintain smooth spraying mechanism. Impact sprinkler heads can be set up at different distances (12-inches or more) from the ground to protect it from the interruption of debris. This type of sprinkler head can cover a radius of 15-feet average.

When irrigating wide areas that require two or more sprinkler systems, it is best to make use of the same type of sprinkler heads to ensure that the areas are watered uniformly.