Need advise on sprinkler spray nozzles

Other than replacing the Hunter controller with a Rachio, our house came with the sprinkler system. For the most part, water coverage is pretty ok, but I’m trying to adjust some of my zones. I’ve replaced one rotor and now I’m replacing some spray nozzles. I’ve been using Rain Bird but some of the ones I’ve removed were Hunter. What does the community recommend for spray nozzles? Hunter, Orbit, or Rain Bird? Are those cool brass ones worth the money? What about the whole head units, what brand is best?


At my home, I have all Hunter MP-rotators for my lawn. I know that I have run into people that love them and others that do not. For me, the reason I went with what I have is dependent on circumstances such as the soil type, slope, wind (this is a big one for me), etc. I would say that most people go by brand preference or what is available from their favorite store they buy sprinkler parts.

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Interesting. My back yard has 4 rotor heads. I was just looking at a Hunter video on their MP-rotators. Looks great. I may plan to replace those existing rotors with the MP-rotators. I guess I would need to remove the old rotor bodies and replace them with a normal Hunter Pro spray body? I guess I need to do some more google-ing.

I’ve been renovating my 35yr old system with mostly Hunter products and nozzles.
They seem more durable and have more contemporary engineering.
However, many RainBird or even Orbit parts are also good.
For instance, RainBird has an excellent sprinkler head drip conversion kit, with a built in filter and pressure regulator that installs where a normal head is.
I set up my garden with one, and turned off the other heads on that zone.
Converted the other zones to MP Rotators to cover the larger area of a deleted zone.

Keep in mind that significantly changing the flow rate at 1 head will likely affect the other heads in the zone. My guess is you are trying to alter the coverage radius, which usually means you are also altering the flow rate. If you aren’t altering flow rate, then your precipitation rate will be altered and each of the zone heads won’t match.

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I just replaced all of the heads in one of my zones as a test and have been pretty pleased so far. Our homebuilder’s sub installed Hunter 5000s, but the line pressure is ~20 psi higher than their max rating for so we got a ton of misting (wind is also often a concern here). I looked at both the Hunter MP rotators and Rainbird R-VANs and went with the the Rainbirds because they have the easy flush feature. I also pulled up the old bodies and replaced them with Rainbird 1800 pressure regulated stems (PRS) with the SAM seal. This way the R-VAN heads will run at their optimal 45 psi instead of the 75+ in the lines. As a footnote, my 2-and-a-half year-old daughter loves running in the spray from the R-VANs so it’s a double win (and she is excited that I can turn her “splash pad” on from my phone).

Another vote for the Hunter MP-Rotators. By far my favorite nozzle. The uniformity when adjusting the arc is SOOOO much better than any traditional spray nozzles. They do take a lot more time to put down the same amount of water, which is the only “downside” of the nozzle, but that adds the benefit of almost zero runoff or ponding. While they should be in the 40-50 psi range, they aren’t nearly as problematic with high pressures and don’t have the misting you see with traditional spray nozzles.

I live in North Phoenix

It depends whether you use HE-VAN, VAN, U Series or Traditional MPR spray nozzles and the distance.

I use the HE-VANs that I installed last September.

I’ve noticed a large decrease in my water bill from switching to HE-VAN nozzles from the VAN nozzles and my October and November water bills were the lowest ever. I didn’t even get Rachio until early December 2020.

My nozzles are the HE-VAN 10, 12, and 15. The Precipitation rate is in 1.58"-2.24" on the extreme ends for my set up, with the vast majority within 1.72-1.99" per hour.

I have a turf-type tall fescue and hybrid bluegrass lawn.

I use Fixed Schedule for the lawn, as I change it a lot and know what it needs from previous years before Rachio. I need to dial in the Flex daily settings to match what I know my lawn wants.

My current schedule for June is 3-4 days a week 20-24 minutes per zone. I split it up into 8 minute cycle and soak for 52 minutes. You should be using less minutes per week than me with Bermuda than my cool season lawn.

I use Flex Daily for the my trees, shrubs and large flower pot zones. Flex Daily has saved so much water for the plants on drip.


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I recommend the HE-VAN, U Series, R-VAN and MP rotators for pop up heads. I like the relatively high flow rates of the HE-VAN, U Series, and MP800s so all lawn and drip zones can complete within a 12 hour period

I live in FL. and I replaced my old Hunter Rotary heads, the ones where you needed the tool/key to make any adjustments, several years ago. I installed the Rain Bird pop ups with the R-van rotary heads (first generation). I like the R-Van nozzles. You can adjust the spray radius just by pushing down on the nozzle and turning it. You adjust the distance by turning the wheel on the nozzle. It real EZ and no tools required. I haven’t had the need to research new nozzles but I’m guessing all manufactures now have tool-less adjustments. I just looked on Rain Bird website and they have new generations of rotary nozzles.

Correct, het the ones with the backflow check valve.

Add me to the MP Rotator fan club.

Those things transformed my sprinkler system’s performance. Especially if you have a system that has either too many heads on a zone and/or too far between heads - like I did.

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With MP Rotators, I can see too far between heads with replacing heads, but I have one zone and am in the process of splitting two into three because of the number of heads (which distance can also play into as well). The best thing is my wife thinks the spray is pretty. :wink:

Wow, I went the other way with my zones. I merged a bunch and went from 13 zones to 6 when I switched to the MP’s!

This may be because mine was designed for MP Rotators to begin with and the reason I have split is because it seems pressure periodically drops and we are at the end of a line which seems to get more junk in the lines (I ended up putting in one smaller mesh filter to take care of that). When either of these happen(ed) on zones already split or in the process thereof, I start to get heads that do not self-clean and they stop rotating. If I check and notice this, I can push the head down a few times to get them working right again.

I’m live in the California central valley. We have lot of wind here. Plus my old sprinklers made a mist on their own.

I just replaced all my grass zones with the new Rainbird R-VANs. The wind does not affect them. They are easy to clean out. Their flow rate is half of my old sprinklers so I water for about twice as long but do not have the run off like I used to. Rainbird claims these are the most efficient sprinkler heads. I would at least check them out before buying anything. They can also be on a zone with the big rotary spray heads as their flow rates are the same.

I think you mixed up Rainbird 5000 with maybe Hunter PGP?
I installed Hunter PGP-Ultra, which has check valve and regulator, so I didn’t have to worry about my 90PSI static pressure. I just have to maintain at least 40PSI at every head.

You’re right, thanks for catching that. They are Rainbird 5000s (we have a newborn, so my brain isn’t at full speed these days!), but they aren’t pressure-regulated the the Hunter PGPs.