Setting up a lawn irrigation system can be a daunting (and expensive) task, so you’ll want to do everything right the first time around. One major decision to make is what kind of sprinkler heads to use. RainBird and Orbit are two of the most popular choices. Both these brands offer fantastic features and garner glowing consumer reviews, but which one should you choose? Today, I’ll bring you my RainBird vs Orbit comparison.
RainBird makes excellent spray sprinkler heads, while the Orbit is known for excellent rotor sprinkler heads. While many homeowners just choose one type of head, you also have the option of mixing both in your lawn’s irrigation system.
Let’s find out everything you need to know about RainBird and Orbit sprinkler heads!
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RainBird Sprinkler Head
RainBird’s 1800 Series is the world’s #1 commercial-grade irrigation spray head brand. One of the most popular RainBird models is the RainBird 1804VAN Professional Pop-Up Sprinkler.
As I mentioned earlier, this RainBird sprinkler head is a spray sprinkler.
Known for its use of heavy-duty materials, versatility, and dependability, the RainBird 1804VAN Professional Pop-Up Sprinkler is a good choice for many lawns.
And I like that the RainBird 1800 series has a wide variety of nozzle combinations and pop-up heights.
This means that you can use it for many different purposes, including ones such as watering planting areas with an irregular shape, smaller lawns, and shrubs.
How RainBird Sprinkler Heads Work
RainBird offers its patented pop-up mechanism, which includes a heavy-duty stainless-steel spring. This gives you dependable retraction.
The brand also offers a co-molded wiper seal, which gives the unit exceptional resistance to extremes in the environment, as well as pressure and grit.
The RainBird 1804VAN Professional Pop-Up Sprinkler is made of UV-resistant plastic. It also has stainless-steel parts that are corrosion-resistant.
This contributes to the sturdiness and longevity of the equipment. There is also a precision-controlled flush at pop-down.
This is essential for removing debris, making sure that no matter what kind of soil you have, you will always have sound stem retraction.
With this brand and model, flush retraction is ensured by the fact that the springs are made of heavy-duty stainless steel. The RainBird 1804VAN comes with a preinstalled Adjustable Pattern Spray Nozzle.
How to Adjust RainBird VAN Sprinkler Heads
You can adjust this so that you get the precise watering pattern you need without any overspray or waste. This is great for grassy areas near sidewalks, smaller areas of grass, shrubs, and flower beds.
There is a textured adjustment collar that you can rotate, allowing you to adjust the spray pattern all the way from 0 to 360 degrees.
The fact that the collar is textured is what makes it easy to grip, even when it’s wet.
This RainBird sprinkler head has a two-piece ratchet mechanism. This makes nozzle pattern alignment an easy process, even if it’s your first time working with sprinkler heads.
It also helps make the equipment extremely durable.
When you need to remove sprinkler components, you can do so without using any special tools. This means that maintenance is easy, and you don’t have to go hunting around in your garage or workshop for that one tiny little allen wrench that you put away … somewhere.
The sprinkler is made from stainless steel and plastic, both of which are non-corrosive. This ensures that you’ll enjoy the benefits of the system for many years to come.
Orbit Sprinkler Head
The Orbit 55662 Voyager II Professional Pop-Up Gear Drive Rotor Sprinkler Spray Head has a spray distance of between 25 and 52 feet, making it an excellent choice for large spaces.
This sprinkler has a 40 to 80-foot spray diameter. This is the longest spray distance in this class of sprinklers.
It’s considered the perfect choice for medium to large sized lawns. You’ll remember I mentioned earlier that the Orbit is a rotor sprinkler.
One of the most attractive features of this sprinkler is the fact that it’s compatible with every major brand of gear-drive rotor sprinkler.
This means that it’s an especially great choice if you’re replacing an inefficient or failing existing system.
With this system, you can customize every sprinkler to ensure even saturation of your yard. It comes with a 3-gallon-per-minute nozzle pre-installed.
You can switch this out to other nozzles, including the bonus nozzles that come included with purchase (that’s why it tends to be a bit pricier than the RainBird sprinkler head).
Adjusting Orbit Voyager II Gear Drive Sprinkler Heads
This sprinkler system has adjustable coverage. You can use it for a partial section of your yard or choose full 360-degree coverage.
The Orbit 55662 Voyager II is excellent at reducing runoff and preventing excessive water waste. This is because its precipitation rate is lower than traditional pop-up sprinklers.
If you have clay soil in your lawn, or you have a hilly property, this will be especially useful.
This unit also has a filter, which makes sure that debris doesn’t get in. You can clean this very quickly and easy.
Dirt and debris clots are also prevented by the fact that the system has an enclosed body design.
Comparing RainBird vs Orbit
The RainBird vs Orbit sprinkler heads are comparable in price, with Orbit sprinkler heads tending to be slightly more expensive (because of the extra nozzles and special adjusting tool included).
The general consensus among consumers tends to be that RainBird has better general durability than Orbit, and I’d agree with that.
In the old days most sprinklers and sprinkler parts were made entirely from solid metal. But manufacturing has come a long way.
Today’s plastic irrigation systems have comparable quality and durability. As we’ve learned above, RainBird vs Orbit both feature solid stainless steel components as well as plastic.
Make sure that the sprinkler heads you choose have spring retraction and wiper seals.
Be aware that you can mix and match the brands and models of sprinkler heads that you use. This is an especially useful option if you have different kinds of spaces in different parts of your property.
Which Will Work Best For You?
In the two specific sprinkler heads I’ve compared today, I’d recommend the RainBird 1804VAN to homeowners looking for a sprinkler head for smaller areas and/or complex layouts. The Orbit 55662 Voyager II will be a better choice for homeowners with medium to large-sized open lawn areas they need to irrigate.
Should You Buy a Spray or Rotor Sprinkler Head?
As I’ve explained, the RainBird 1804VAN is a spray sprinkler head while the Orbit 55662 Voyager II is a rotor type head.
In general, rotor type heads can save a bit more water than spray varieties, so you might want to keep that in mind, and use that type for larger systems that consume more water.
Overall, the most important thing to think about when deciding between a spray or rotor sprinkler head is the size of your property.
If you have a large property, you’ll probably want to make rotor sprinkler heads part of your irrigation system, but you can’t beat Rainbird’s 1800 VAN product line.
Best Irrigation / Rainfall Gauge
The Sprinkler Gauge I Use & Recommend
Give your lawn the water it needs without being wasteful. This 10-pack of accurate, easy-to-use irrigation gauges gives you the information you need to dial in your watering routine and keep your lawn green and healthy all year.
Whether you’re auditing your irrigation system, or simply want to keep track of rainfall, this set of easy-to-read gauges has you covered.