Thanks to advances within the irrigation industry, high efficiency nozzles are now available to both help combat wasted water and increase the efficiency of an irrigation system by as much as 10% – 30%. The irrigation industry has embraced water efficiency which has led to the creation of multiple types of high efficiency nozzles, each designed for a variety of end uses. Typically high efficiency nozzles can be categorized into two main segments: fixed spray and rotating spray.

Both the fixed spray nozzles and rotating nozzles reduce the water consumption in an irrigation system by improving how the water is applied to the irrigated area. Several key factors need to be determined when selecting which solution is best for a site’s needs.

When deciding which high efficiency nozzle is best for your site, there are some factors to be considered:

  1. How long is my watering window?
  2. How large of an area am I watering?
  3. Do I have slopes on my site?
  4. Do I have a lot of clay in my soil?
  5. Do I have trouble with low pressure in my current irrigation system?

Retrofitting an existing irrigation system can solve some very real problems you may be experiencing with your existing equipment. Below, you will see a brief explanation of the two basic categories of high efficient nozzles with some benefits associated with each type.

Fixed Spray Nozzles

(Toro Precision Series Spray Nozzles)

Compared to conventional fixed spray nozzles, the Toro Precision Series Spray Nozzles reduce outdoor water use by improving the efficiency of an irrigation system. Toro Precision Nozzles can be easily retrofitted to most existing pop-up spray heads and require no specialized tools for adjustment.

Compared to conventional fixed spray nozzles, the Precision Nozzles will improve:

  1. Distribution Uniformity (water is applied in a more even manner)
  2. Precipitation Rate Reduction (reducing the amount of water put out by a sprinkler)
  3. Run-off Reduction (multiple arc and radii are available so the proper nozzle can be selected to reduce over-spray) Specifications: Precipitation rate: 1” per hour Radius: 5’-15’ Thread: Male; Female Arc Degrees: 60, 90, 120, 150, 180, 210, 240, 270, 360 & Specialty Run time adjustments: None to minimal

Rotating Nozzles

Rotating nozzles use less water than conventional spray heads and can be retrofitted to most existing pop-up heads. In most cases, rotating need to be adjusted upon installation. By slowly delivering multiple rotating streams of water, rotating nozzles improve irrigation efficiency in several ways:

  1. Distribution Uniformity (water is applied in a more even manner)
  2. Precipitation Rate Reduction (reducing the amount of water put out by a sprinkler)
  3. Water Absorption Improvement (rotating nozzles apply water at a slower rate allowing the soil to more-efficiently absorb the water)
  4. Run-off Reduction (arc and radius may be adjusted to reduce over-spray)
  5. Wind Resistance (rotating nozzles produce larger streams of water which are more resistant to wind)


Precipitation rate: .4-.6” per hour
Radius: 13’-24’
Thread: Male; Female
Arc Degrees: 60, 90, 120, 150, 180, 210, 240, 270, 360 & Variable
Run time adjustments: Increase in run time is required

For more details on a specific model please visit their respective website.

Common Questions

Which nozzle is best for my site?

Below is a list of questions you should answer before selecting the right nozzle for your site. Please keep in mind that depending on the physical characteristics of your property, the answers for these questions may apply to either the entire property or may be zone specific.

Watering window refers to the amount of time you have to irrigate your site. This length of time will vary with the type of property that is being irrigated. The precipitation rate of fixed spray nozzles is generally larger than rotating nozzles. This means fixed spray nozzles will deliver more water than rotating nozzles over a specific time period. Generally fixed spray nozzles should be selected for sites with a shorter watering window and rotating nozzles are better choice for properties with a longer watering window. Typically the size of the property and the property use will determine the watering window.

Both the fixed spray and the rotating nozzles are available in different arc and radii. When determining the correct retrofit, the spacing of your heads and the size of the site becomes a factor. Generally, rotating nozzles have a larger radius (spray further) than the fixed spray. Rotating nozzles can range from 8-24 foot radius whereas the fixed spray nozzles range from 5-15 foot radius.

Properties with sloped areas typically experience a large amount of run-off with traditional irrigation. The run-off occurs when the soil on the slope becomes saturated and can no longer absorb water. Traditionally this problem was solved by using a cycle and soak method but can now be addressed with high efficient nozzles. Since rotating nozzles have a low precipitation rate (.4-.6 inches per hour) the water being applied to a slope has more time to be absorbed during a single run which may eliminate the need to cycle and soak certain zones.

Although soils with high clay content retain water really well, it takes a longer time for the water to be absorbed. This slower absorption typically causes run-off on your site. Because high efficiency nozzles have a much lower precipitation rate, compared to traditional spray, they may help reduce water waste caused by run-off. The lower precipitation rate allows clay soils more time to absorb water which in turn results in a reduction of run-off. Of the two types of high efficiency nozzles, rotating nozzles have a lower precipitation rate (.4-.6 inches per hour) compared to the fixed spray Toro Precision nozzles (1 inch per hour).

A well designed, well-functioning irrigation system applies water to the irrigated area as designed. Over time, most irrigation systems are modified and or damaged resulting is a pressure reduction. Low pressure reduces the distribution uniformity of the system causing stress on the landscape. When browning occurs, it is common practice to increase the run time for that zone. This practice usually leads to overwatering. High efficiency nozzles increase the pressure of a system due to their lower precipitation rate. Installing either type of high efficiency nozzle should increase the system pressure and improve the health of the landscape