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What Are Pulsating Sprinklers | Things You Should Know

Pulsating sprinklers or impulse sprinklers are lawn maintenance devices known to create a natural rainfall effect to cover larger areas. Broadly, there are five types of sprinklers with specific features, so it’s essential to choose one carefully for your gardening needs. 

What Are Pulsating Sprinklers

Every gardening enthusiast can agree that watering large areas is a challenge, especially if you’re working with an impact sprinkler for low pressure.

As a result, you may have considered getting a pulsating sprinkler (a.k.a. impulse sprinkler) for your lawn. However, nowadays, there are different types of pulsating sprinklers available on the market, catering to various needs. 

On that note, I have curated this brief yet informative guide on pulsating sprinklers and how they work. Read on… 

What Are Pulsating Sprinklers?

What Are Pulsating Sprinklers

A pulsating sprinkler or impulse sprinkler is a lawn maintenance device used to spray water over a large area. The five common types of sprinklers are - impulse, oscillating, traveling, rotary, and stationary. 

Pulsating or impulse sprinklers offer gentle and slow watering as the water is not directly sprayed on the grass but upwards into the air. As such, they disperse water uniformly on the ground, making the sprinkler ideal for watering private lawns, golf courses, landscaping, etc.

Who Invented The First Pulsating/Impact Sprinkler?

In 1933, Orton Englehart, a Glendora, California citrus grower, invented a horizontal action impact drive sprinkler and patented it two years later. Thereafter, he sold the design to Clem and Mary La Fetra, who distributed it under the brand Rain Bird.

How Do Pulsating Sprinklers Work?

Pulsating sprinklers feature a single jet, and most models can be adjusted for watering in partial and full circle patterns. You can further adjust the distance of the throw, allowing you to cover a larger area while watering. I especially like how a freestanding impulse sprinkler can be connected to any type of hose.

Moreover, you can find two main types of these sprinklers on the market. 

First is the sprinkler with a spike base, ideal for areas experiencing high water pressure. This type of sprinkler features a sturdy base, offering greater stability while handling strong water force. As such, the sprinkler is less likely to flip over while throwing the water at longer distances.

Another category is the pulsating sprinkler with a sled base or H-base. These are more suitable for watering smaller areas experiencing low water pressure. 

Lastly, pulsating sprinkler heads are another “pop-up” option for in-ground systems. You can detach them before mowing the lawn. 


No matter the type of impulse sprinkler you use, I always recommend low water pressure to prevent any damage to smaller plants and grass.  

What Are Pulsating Sprinklers Made Of?

Most pulsating sprinklers are made of metals like stainless steel, zinc, brass, aluminum, and bronze to prevent corrosion. Some components may be made of plastic as well. 

Additional features allow the user to adjust the impact sprinkler and the stream of water it releases. You can choose to spray water in a fine mist form or a full jet. I use this feature a lot to customize the watering strength according to the type of plants or grass I’m handling. 

You may also find baffle plates in some sprinklers that help adjust the height of the water. As such, you can conveniently water smaller plants and bushes below low-hanging trees.

Benefits Of Pulsating Sprinklers

I prefer pulsating/impulse sprinklers over other types because they are the most effective in covering larger areas. Plus, they can operate well in low water pressure while dispersing more water per hour. 

Moreover, these sprinklers are low-lying with single jets dispersing water. The spring-loaded arm releases water with high force. This mechanism offers adequate wind resistance, meaning the weather conditions will have to be extremely windy to cause any harm to the sprinklers.

How Much Do Pulsating Sprinklers Cost?

Depending on the manufacturer, materials used, additional features, coverage area, and more, the price of pulsating sprinklers varies widely. However, if your lawn is on the smaller side and you do not require many features, I recommend going for budget-friendly options.

Pulsating Sprinklers Conclusion

Pulsating Sprinklers Conclusion

Pulsating/impact sprinklers imitate the natural effect of rainfall, and hence, they are a must-have for gardens, lawns, or any large area of grass and plants. Plus, they are a non-intrusive alternative to furrow irrigation which requires you to dig trenches. 

Overall, I highly recommend investing in a high-quality pulsating sprinkler system to water your lawn quickly and effectively. For further information on impact sprinklers and how to fix and maintain them, I suggest checking out my article, “impact sprinkler trip pin not working.”