How To Quiet An Impact Sprinkler

Chik - Chik -Chik - Chik - Chik - Chick -- Ch Ch Ch Ch Ch Ch Ch Ch Ch Ch

You know that familiar sound of an impact sprinkler. I find it pleasant, but in the early morning hours when your automatic sprinkler timer comes on, there may be situations where the noise is not appropriate. I have a little trick to help make an impact sprinkler be a little less noisy.

The video below shows a close-up of an impact sprinkler in action and you can hear what it sounds like. The impact sprinkler looks like a Gilmour Polymer Impulse Sprinkler on Polymer Spike.

As you can see, there is an impact arm that swings out when the water hits it, then back when the momentum fades and the spring pulls it in. The force of the arm swinging back and hitting part of the head is what causes it to turn clockwise. In addition to the noise of the water, you also hear the sound of the impact arm hitting the sprinkler head.

I use a similar version of the sprinkler except it has a brass head and a zinc spike, which is pictured on the right.

A couple of years ago I was able to hear both of them side by side and from what I remember, the metal version was a little quieter than the plastic version, or at least had a more pleasant sound. It's not all that loud, but I wanted to see if I could eliminate, or at least diminish some of the sound the impact arm creates.

All I did was take a regular rubber band and wrap it around the impact arm where it strikes the other part of the sprinkler head.

With the front of the sprinkler head facing you, pull out the impact arm and you should see a small, round, white plastic disc on the inside of the arm. This is where the impact arm comes in contact with the sprinkler head. I assume without that plastic piece it would be even noisier, but I thought I could do a little better.

Just continually loop a rubber band over that area to help cushion the impact. If you have a different version, just examine where the impact arm hits and see if you can wrap the rubber band around there. For the Gilmour impact sprinkler it was very easy.

In my case, the metal on metal tick sound couldn't be heard over the softer Shhh - Shhh -Shhh -Shhh -Sh Sh Sh Sh Sh Sh noise of the water. I found it to be more pleasant.

Be sure to examine the operation of the sprinkler through a couple of passes to make sure you haven't affected its performance at all.

Quieter Than An Impact Sprinkler

If that's still not quiet enough for you, you can get a gear driven sprinkler. Gilmour calls theirs a turbine rotor sprinkler that should cover the same area as an impact sprinkler. It delivers more water than an impact so make sure to check the precipitation rate and adjust your watering times.

Update: Learn how to replace an impact sprinkler with gear driven rotor to get an even quieter sprinkler. Compare the sound from the video above to this.

Though I like the Gilmour Impact sprinklers, I don't know much about their rotors. I would probably go with a Rain Bird pop up sprinkler with a gear driven rotor head. The Rain Bird rotor sprinklers come in two varieties that are adjustable between 19'-32' radius and 26' to 38' radius.

You don't have to bury the pop up sprinkler. You can attach a pop up sprinkler to a spike base or other types of bases that the Gilmour sprinklers come on such as the sled base. All you need to do is unscrew the impact sprinkler from the spike (may help if you remove the arc stop tabs) then use a 1/2" PVC nipple to connect the pop up sprinkler to the spike base. Wrap the threads on the ends of the PVC nipple with 4-5 turns of teflon tape to prevent leaks.

Gear driven rotors tend to need more pressure to operate than impact sprinklers. If you don't have enough pressure for the rotors you can try a Rain Bird 17 to 24-Foot Coverage Rotary Sprinkler. It is not gear driven. It's a special nozzle that attatches to a normal spray sprinkler but it delivers water in multiple streams that rotate. You don't get as large a radius as with a gear driven rotor but you should get similar amounts of precipitation (inches per hour). The multiple streams of water also look pretty cool.

Was this article helpful? If so please help by sharing it.



    My neighbor's impact sprinkler was driving me crazy EVERY MORNING! I printed out this page and your page on how often you need to water and my wife and I can finally sleep!