Do Garden Sprinklers Need Electricity?

Gardens need a regular supply of water to ensure they survive and flourish. The best way to maintain healthy and vibrant lawns is with the use of a water sprinkler.

They can be targetted in particularly troublesome areas and easily customised to achieve precision flow.

When the rain can’t be relied upon, a sprinkler is a gardener’s best friend; they take the effort out of regular watering.

Do garden sprinklers need electricity?

Although some industrial-sized irrigation systems require electricity, standard garden sprinklers rely on mains water pressure for operation.

There are multiple types of stationary garden sprinkler, models that the gardener can place into specific areas, connect to a hose and turn the water supply on and off as required.

Solar-powered irrigation systems are a further option. They don’t cost anything to run and operate directly from a water butt.

These are permanent features and are best suited to hanging baskets, pots, and beds.

Types of stationary sprinklers


Oscillating sprinklers are the most common type; they are inexpensive and easy to use.

A long tube has a series of small holes from which the water sprays. The tube rotates back and forth, creating an arc of multiple jets over a set distance.

They are suitable for small and mid-sized gardens and usually have an adjuster dial to set the velocity of the flow.


Usually a circular design, a rotary sprinkler has multiple arms to emit several water jets. They often have a gentle spray, ideally suited to flower beds and lawns.


This type of sprinkler produces a strong stream which reaches further distances. It is the ideal model for those lucky enough to have big gardens and lawns.

Travelling System

It entails a series of hose-like tubes perforated at regular intervals. Once connected to the outdoor tap, the mains water pressure will do all of the work.

This type of system is often seen in nurseries and garden centres, though it is perfect for expansive flower beds and vegetable patches.

Which sprinkler system is best, electric, stationary, or solar?

The best sprinkler system depends upon the intended application.

It is futile investing in an expensive electrical irrigation system for a small lawn and a couple of flower beds.

In the same vein, watering a big garden, flower beds, orchards, and vegetable patches might get a little tiring with just a hosepipe!

The benefits of stationary sprinklers

  • Inexpensive
  • Cost nothing to run
  • Attach to a hose with a standard connection
  • Easy to move around the garden to areas that need additional water
  • Suit small-medium gardens and lawns, depending on the type of sprinkler. 
  • Adjustable to allow for long or short spray arcs

The benefits of electrically powered irrigation systems

  • Covers large areas
  • Can be programmed to turn on and off at certain times – ideal for people who are away from home regularly
  • Once installed, it requires zero effort.
  • Prevent uneven watering
  • Moisture sensors power up the system if the soil is too dry.
  • Can add value to a property

The benefits of solar-powered sprinklers

  • Environmentally friendly
  • Solar power is free
  • When the sun is at its hottest, the pump automatically increases the water flow.
  • Uses water from a water butt, therefore reduces bills.
  • Drip systems are ideal for rows of hanging baskets or planters.

Why use an electric sprinkler

Mains powered sprinklers are suitable for use in heavy industrial-scale and big gardens.

When powered by electric, water sprinklers require little human intervention. Once they are in installed, the user can programme a watering schedule to start automatically at their chosen times.

The user can personalise their garden’s watering requirements to prevent waterlogging or drying out, even when they are not home.

Some electric sprinkler systems have integrated sensors to automatically turn on the jets when the sense the soil is too dry.

However, for all of their good points, there have to be some negatives. They are expensive and increase water and electricity bill; you can only fit them if you have a water meter.

Installation should be carried out by a professional unless you are positive that there is no underground utility pipework in the area.

Lots of garden equipment requires electricity, but add water into the equation and the chance of shocks, electrocution, or fire, increase.

For safety, only use an electrical sprinkler system with an RCD that detects faults and automatically shuts down the power before any harm occurs.

Final thoughts

Lightweight and portable water sprinklers are usually sufficient for most gardens. Connecting them takes seconds, leaving you time to carry on with other more important stuff; having a cuppa and admiring the fruits of your labour is an important job, right?.

If your lawn is of average size, garden sprinklers don’t need electricity. If you’re a landowner with acres and acres, it might just be worthy of serious consideration.