So it’s July, for many the hottest month of the year, and you’ve got a broken spray nozzle. You go into the local hardware store to get a new one and you’re greeted with dozens of options. We understand that all these choices can be confusing, so let’s run down the different types of nozzles you’re likely to see and make you a nozzle expert!
There are really three things you need to know when going in to purchase a new spray nozzle: 1) spray distance, 2) pattern and 3) threading. If you are replacing a nozzle, the old nozzle will (hopefully) have all the information you need by the markings on it—something like 12Q or 8H—but if not, don’t worry, you can obtain the that info with one easy step.
But first about those markings. Your nozzle probably says something like 15H or 10F or 8Q. The number is the radius in feet and the letter is the pattern of the nozzle, or what fraction of a 360 circle it forms. F is for full circle, TQ for three-quarter circle, H for half circle and Q for quarter circle.
1) Spray Distance:
Now, if you don’t have the nozzles you can find out what you need easy enough. First, get the distance by measuring from one head to another. Sprinkler nozzles always measure the radius; the distance from the middle to the edge. For example, if we had a 15 foot half pattern (marked 15H) it would spray 15 feet in every direction of the pattern, for a total diameter of 30 feet.
Next, look at what pattern you need to cover the area. Though it’s tempting to just get a full pattern this can often result in overspray and wasted water. Also, it’s recommended that specific areas of you garden, such as lawn or flowerbeds, are watered separately. The watering needs of your lawn are much different from a flowerbed or garden. If you water them both together, one will be either over or under watered.
Finally, take note of what type of threading your old nozzle uses. A female threaded nozzle will have the threads on the inside of the nozzle and the male will have threads on the outside. An easy way to tell is to look at the sprinkler and buy the opposite of whatever the stem is. Pretty simple, but it has to be right or they won’t work. Orbit makes both kinds and they’re universal, so they’ll match whichever brand of sprinkler head you have.
We recommend the adjustable nozzles because they give you an added bit of flexibility. Most yards don’t have perfect half-circles or quarter-circles. They are often somewhere in between. Thus the adjustable nozzles are perfect for getting just the right amount of coverage. They come in different distances but each can be very easily adjusted from 0-360 degrees.
Also, a word on adjustments. You’ll notice that our nozzles sizes leave gaps one between the other and you may be wondering how you get something to cover the spacing of your sprinklers. Each nozzle has a small screw on top of it that when twisted will open the arc distance a few feet, allowing you to get up to just the right level. So if your spacing is 16 or 17 feet, you can buy the 15 foot nozzle, open it up a little and you’ll be set. No need for the overspray of an 18 foot nozzle.