How to Adjust Sprinkler Head Radius

How to Adjust Sprinkler Head Radius

There are a couple of things that any new homeowner should come to know about maintaining the optimal function of their sprinkler system. Chief among them is adjusting the sprinkler heads.

The obvious outcome of neglecting the adjustment of your sprinkler heads is finding certain areas of your lawn either overwatered or underwatered. If the sprinkler heads aren’t adjusted to the needs specific to your lawn, you will end up with sections of your soil ending up soft and muddy while other parts will end up withered, barren, and dry.

Tools and Equipment

To undertake the task of adjusting the radius of your sprinkler head first you need to prepare your tools. Luckily, this is a simple enough job that all you’ll really need is a screwdriver, or optionally, a pair of pliers. If your sprinkler head specifically requires a set of specialized adjustment tools then prepare those as well.

Kinds of Sprinkler Heads

Understanding what the sprinkler head radius means is simple enough: it’s the measurement of the distance between the middle and edge of where your sprinkler irrigates. Adjusting this radius is crucial to how evenly distributed the water is on your lawn.

But of course, the adjustment may differ depending on the type of sprinkler head your sprinkler system supports. Get to know the most common sprinkler heads below:

Spray Head

These heads typically cover an area between 5-15 feet, so they’re the optimal choice for smaller lawns. These kinds of heads are fixed on the ground and do not turn nor move.

The radius for this type of head can be configured based on the nozzle that’s attached. Simply put the bigger the attached nozzle, then the larger the radius becomes.

Rotor Head

These kinds of heads operate by rotating from side-to-side by a rotor mechanism. They’re the best choice for larger areas, and the average radius for them is between 15-50 feet.

Since these heads are mechanized, they’re often far more complicated to adjust than the spray head, so it’d be best to consult the set of instructions included in the packaging. Otherwise, the radius should be adjustable with a screw found on the side of the stem.

Rotary Nozzle

The rotary nozzle is a bit of a combination between the previous heads, where they operate using a micro-rotor sitting atop a spray head frame. These are effective by a radius of 10-30 feet.

The previous method of adjustment for the rotor head is usually applicable for the rotary nozzle.

Impact Sprinklers

These sprinklers are among the first designs of residential irrigation that found widespread use. Unfortunately, this type of sprinklers usually doesn’t support an adjustable radius. That being said, its arc is usually adjustable by adjusting the clamps that determine the arc.


As you have probably noticed by now, every single sprinkler type is going to vary on how much work needs to be put into adjusting it, and it always involves a bit of trial and error. Rest assured, however, that taking your time into correcting the radius for your sprinkler heads will work wonders for the greenery on your lawn.