The best kids' sprinkler
If you're looking for the most cost-effective way to cool off during the hot weather, consider purchasing a kids' sprinkler. These inexpensive items not only motivate your child to engage in active play, but they also have the side benefit of watering your lawn.
The best models have a variety of spray patterns and create enough of one for your children to run through during play. Our favorite is the Nine-to-Five Life Lawn/Garden Automatic Sprinkler. This model is not specifically designed for kids, but it does a better job overall than many sprinklers that are. Learn more about this standout product and other considerations for kids' sprinklers in this shopping guide.
Considerations when choosing kids' sprinklers
The height of the spray may not be too important if you have a small child, but your older children will also want a sprinkler that produces a spray that's taller than them. Think about their growth when you're shopping for a kids' sprinkler and purchase one that'll keep them entertained for years.
Think of the areas covered by the spray as the fun factor -- if there's only one tiny spot where your child can stand to get wet, there's only one tiny spot of fun.
There is no particular spray pattern that is the universally preferred. Ideally, you want variety -- a slow arcing wall, a steady spin, and wild, erratic snakes. The larger the assortment of spray patterns, the more valuable and versatile your kids' sprinkler will be.
Because kids will be running around and hopping over the sprinkler while in bare feet, you don't want one that has any hard or sharp parts that could cause injury.
Design and colors
A fun design and bright colors can make playtime even more fun. If it's a favorite animal or character spurting water out of its mouth, even better. Shop around for a sprinkler that will make your child smile.
This last consideration is for the parents. Look for a kids' sprinkler that promises an easy connection to your existing hose. If it's a struggle to set up the sprinkler, you're going to find reasons not to do it, and the sprinkler will soon find its way to that section of forgotten toys in your garage.
A small, inexpensive playmat or an inflatable kids' sprinkler may cost between $5 and $10, but your best bet is to look in the $10 to $20 range for more durable models with multiple spray patterns. If you'd like, however, you can find a larger kids' sprinkler that will cover more ground for around $30.
Q. Can I purchase a regular sprinkler and just let my kids run through it?
A. Yes, but with some precautions. If you are thinking about purchasing a sprinkler that is not specifically designed for kids, make sure it has no sharp edges or hard metal parts that could injure your child.
Q. Do you have any tips for how to conserve water while using a kids' sprinkler?
A. Since it is easy to lose track of time when you're having fun, put a timer on your sprinkler so it shuts off after a predesignated period. Additionally, if your sprinkler still functions adequately with a lower flow rate, don't fully open the spigot on your hose.
Kids' sprinklers we recommend
Best of the best: Nine-to-Five Life Lawn/Garden Automatic Sprinkler
Our take: A moderately priced sprinkler with a number of features that make it great fun for kids.
What we like: This versatile unit has three sprinkler arms with adjustable nozzles that spray in a full circle along with a rotating butterfly sprinkler head for a variety of fun water patterns. It features two ways to connect to your hose, so setup is easy no matter your hose situation.
What we dislike: This item is not as durable as some other models, so care must be taken when used as a toy to ensure that it doesn't get kicked or stepped on.
Best bang for your buck: Fun Splashers Fire Hydrant Sprinkler
Our take: A whimsical, colorful sprinkler designed to resemble a friendly fire hydrant.
What we like: This affordably priced sprinkler is only eight inches tall, but it can spray water up to eight feet high. It quickly screws onto a threaded garden hose and by adjusting the water pressure on your spigot, it can be appropriate for kids of all ages.
What we dislike: The design is a little too lightweight, which makes it difficult to keep the unit upright during playtime.
Our take: A moderately priced wacky sprinkler with features that make the model appealing to younger kids.
What we like: The colorful design and wiggling tubes immediately capture the interest of a child. It quickly connects to your hose and features a base that kids can twirl themselves for additional fun.
What we dislike: The flexible tubes can sometimes get clogged or stuck in a position that inhibits water flow.
Allen Foster is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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