Best Way to Adjust an Oscillating Sprinkler

Oscillating sprinklers are one of the most common types of lawn water sprinklers for home use and that’s because they’re affordable, easy to use, and effective. Most oscillating sprinklers also have some interesting features built-in like for example a pre-set spray pattern, pressure regulation, anti-clog nozzle, and more.

Some people don’t know how to adjust an oscillating sprinkler. They seem so easy to use but there is actually a hidden method that can make them, even more, user-friendly.

Water travels through the base of an oscillating sprinkler and then is released through a small nozzle where it rotates as it emerges to reach a further distance, triggering the cam to rotate, switching between multiple nozzles as it does so.

The following guide will go into greater detail so you can understand a little bit more about how an oscillating sprinkler works.

How Does an Oscillating Sprinkler Work?

Oscillating sprinklers are simple devices that power themselves through basic water pressure from a hose. The aluminum tube that contains the sprayer bar is the part that oscillates, moving back and forth to water the lawn as it sprays in a fan-shaped pattern.

Best Oscillating Sprinkler
Best Oscillating Sprinkler For Lawn

An oscillating sprinkler is actually a sprinkler that has two nozzles attached to one cable. One nozzle points in one direction, while the other nozzle points in the opposite direction. The cable is connected to a motor that causes the sprinkler to swing in a circular pattern.

The circular pattern of the oscillating sprinkler makes it ideal for watering large yards and gardens. The sprinkler can be adjusted so that it covers a larger or smaller area. If you have difficulty adjusting your oscillating sprinkler, it’s time to learn some sprinkler maintenance tips.

How to Adjust an Oscillating Sprinkler?

It is important to adjust an oscillating sprinkler to match your lawn, landscaping, and garden. With the right placement and the correct settings, you will be able to ensure that your sprinklers spend most of the time in the places where you want them, rather than on something like your neighbor’s fence or driveway.

Adjusting an oscillating sprinkler is easy with just a few tools. There are many types of oscillating sprinklers and they are made by different companies with different designs, but all types are adjusted in the same way.

Before you start using your oscillating sprinkler. Please check the following check to see that the spray arm is aligned with the black arrow on the motor housing. Check to see that the spray arm compression collar is tight, the spray arm plug clean-out pin is secured and in place.

How to Adjust an Oscillating Sprinkler?
adjust an oscillating sprinkler

Attach your oscillating sprinkler to any standard garden hose, set the spray pattern adjustment tabs to the desired position, and adjust the spray arm as needed with a tab. Spread as far apart as they can be.

Your sprinkler will cover its maximum area with one of the tabs positioned in the center straight up. Your sprinkler will cover only half of its maximum coverage area. You can adjust these tabs for precise even watering to affect the spray area.

You can always allow more or less water to pass through to the sprinkler by adjusting the water flow at its source. Usually, this is the spigot on your house or a water control valve.

The knob on the sprinkler base is the control to fine-tune the flow of water. It does not completely turn on or off the water. It makes a small adjustment to the water flow to fine-tune your coverage area. Personally I usually just keep the fine-tuning knob wide-open.

Test your sprinkler to see if it’s covering the area you desire.


Making small, incremental adjustments on dual ring sprinklers can help you achieve the path of water that you want.

One trick is to turn the garden hose on at the spigot and check the spray pattern. Using this adjustment strategy helps us achieve a more precise walkway when it comes to how we water our grass.

When it’s time to fertilize your lawn, don’t fertilize more than needed because too much fertilizer inhibits proper root development, resulting in smaller plants than desired.

Since a majority of grassroots are located only at the top 8-12 inches of soil, there’s no need to create a deeper watering cycle.

If you do this correctly, however, your lawn will not only maintain its beauty but it’ll also be healthy and green all year long.

Adjust an oscillating sprinkler the right way

Why Does an Oscillating Sprinkler Get Stuck?

An oscillating sprinkler can get stuck due to several reasons. If the sprinkler is very dirty or filled with debris or if the sprinkler is completely blocked by leaves, then the sprinkler will get stuck.

The same is true if the sprinkler is installed in an area with a lot of sand, rocks, or hard soil. If the sprinkler is installed in a pot, the pot might be too small for the sprinkler. Over watering can also make the sprinkler get stuck.

The easiest way to make sure that the sprinkler is working properly is to remove the round protector cap from the rotating head. The sprinkler should rotate when water comes out. If other answers helped you, you can return the favor by marking them as the best.

Read: Impact Sprinklers vs Oscillating Sprinklers


An oscillating sprinkler is a great option for anyone who needs to water their lawn and gardens. It is easy to maintain and adjust an oscillating sprinkler as compared to the in-ground sprinkler system. They’re designed to be incredibly durable, so you can count on yours to last for many seasons and look forward to many more years of dependable service.


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I am Ricky Martin, a seasoned landscape designer, a passionate gardener, and a barbecue enthusiast. With 12 years of experience in building and restoring, I welcome you to my website