Sprinkler heads control the water distribution to its zone, ensuring adequate watering of the space. If your sprinkler system has a broken sprinkler head, parts of your lawn might not get watered, or even worse, water can pool around one spot in your lawn. If you need to replace a sprinkler head, this guide will help you determine which type of sprinkler head is best for your sprinkler system.

What Type of Sprinkler Head Do I Need?

In order to select to right sprinkler head for your irrigation system, you’ll need to know what water pressure is available at each point in the system as well as the size of the zone you want to water.

Spray Sprinkler Heads

Spray sprinkler heads are ideal for small to mid-sized lawns and systems with pressures ranging from 20 to 30 PSI. The lower pressure in the system means these spray heads have an approximate 15-foot range.

One of the key benefits of fitting spray heads into the system is that there’s no chance of it experiencing mechanical failure since there are no moving parts, unlike rotor heads.

You have options for 90, 120, 180, 210, and 360-degree spray coverage and custom nozzles for covering short radii, narrow corners, or strips.

Rotary Sprinkler Heads

Rotor sprinkler heads are ideal for larger lawns and require operating pressures of at least 30 PSI. This type of sprinkler head can deliver water to areas between 15 to 50 feet. The distance between rotary heads should be less than the pressure to each sprinkler point.

Rotary heads provide slow water delivery to the watering zone compared to spray sprinkler heads, making them a good choice for slopes and slow-draining soils. This type of sprinkler head is also less susceptible to wind drift when watering, delivering a stream of water rather than a misting effect like spray heads.

Rotary heads tend to lead to less runoff due to the slower watering effect. This translates to less water wastage than spray heads.


Bubbler sprinkler heads can deliver a large or small volume of water to smaller spaces in the flowerbeds or the base of ground cover, trees, and shrubs. This type of sprinkler head is not used to water lawns because it does not have an adequate spray pattern.

Avoid using bubblers in zones where the soil doesn’t drain properly or has a slope in the watering surface. Bubblers are highly effective for zones that are far away from sprinkler heads or close to the house or living areas where you don’t want overspray.

Homeowners with large landscapes can benefit from installing a drip irrigation system instead of bubblers. Drip irrigation systems offer highly efficient and deep watering for large gardens and landscapes.

Checklist for Choosing the Right Sprinkler Head

Is Your Watering Area Bigger than 30′ x 30′?

Rotary sprinkler heads are ideal, provided you have a minimum of 40 PSI in the system for sufficient pressure and watering range.

Do You Have Flowerbeds or Trees to Water?

Bubblers are the ideal solution for trees and shrubs, trickling water slowly for deep watering practices. If you have more than three of these zones in your system, shift to a drip-irrigation unit. Drip irrigation is more efficient and easier to install.

Does the Lawn Have Curved or Sloped Borders?

Rotary heads are ideal for watering flowerbeds. Use spray heads to mitigate overspray.

Can You Use Different Sprinkler Heads in the Same System?

Yes. You can use different sprinkler heads in your irrigation system if you install them in separate zones. Spray heads deliver double the water volume compared to rotary sprinklers. Using different sprinkler heads will allow you to deliver the optimal amount of water to each area of your landscaping.

What Sprinkler Head Will Work With My Irrigation System?

Choosing the right sprinkler head for your irrigation system can be a challenge. To ensure you select the right sprinkler head replacements for your irrigation system, contact a lawn sprinkler repair company near you.

At Pioneer Underground Lawn Sprinklers, we offer sprinkler repair and maintenance in Omaha, NE, and surrounding areas. Our sprinkler system experts can repair sprinkler heads and install sprinkler head replacements to help you keep your lawn and landscaping looking its best year-round.

Pioneer Underground Lawn Sprinklers | Omaha’s Best Commercial & Residential Sprinkler Systems

Contact Pioneer Underground Lawn Sprinklers to schedule a free estimate on a system install or to find out what you can do to make your existing system more efficient. We welcome commercial and residential clients. And remember, whether you need our services now… or later in the season, Your Healthy Lawn is Our Passion and we are only a phone call away! Call 402-934-7900 to schedule your service.