A sprinkler system may look like a fairly simple setup, but it can be a bit confusing to understand how it all works. How the water pressure works, its coverage area, and especially the kind of valves that work with your system are some of the things you should know. The best sprinkler valves are some of the most important basic components that will make your system effective and long-lasting.
Selecting the right sprinkler valve for your lawn or garden can be a bit tricky because they come with a variety of different features that have been designed for a specific environment. Getting the wrong valve can cause your sprinkler system not to have enough water pressure or foam a mist that floats away. However, you don’t need to be an expert to make the right decision. You only need to know the basic features of your sprinkler system and the environment you live in.
List of the Best Sprinkler Valves
Orbit 57253 3-valve heavy-duty pre-assembled manifold
This is a 3-in-1 sprinkler valve that is also available in a 2-valve version. Both the 2-valve and 3-valve versions come pre-assembled and this makes it easier for you to use it depending on the area you want the sprinklers to cover. This saves you a lot of time so you don’t have to go through all the rigorous assembling steps that are needed when installing a conventional sprinkler valve. These valves come with removable and screwed couplings that are easy to remove and fit with your existing irrigation pipes. All you need to do to use this valve system is to align the valves with your pipes, then tighten the threads.
This eliminates the need for using glue and the time it will take to allow the glue to dry. The valves are made with high impact plastic that is UV-resistant and extremely durable. These valves ill work with all poly pipes and PVCs used in almost all irrigation systems. The valves come with pre-assembled manifolds that help to keep your valve box clean, organized, and easy to work on.
- Very easy to install
- The valves and manifold come pre-assembled
- The valves work well with both the poly pipes and PVCs
- Designed with durable and UV-resistant material
- Customers have complained of being sent defective valves
- Leaking in a few places
These pre-assembled valves and the manifold system is very easy to install and eliminates the need for using tools when installing. The valves and manifold are made with high impact, UV-resistant material which increases durability.
Orbit battery operated sprinkler timer with valve (57860)
This sprinkler valve system uses a battery-powered timer that helps to determine the sprinkling time. The timer has 8 start times that can operate with 4 stations which you can easily program to suit the needs of the area you want to water and the weather conditions. It has a run time range of between 1-240 minutes. You can set the sprinkling time for specific even or odd days or any other interval you prefer. This valve comes with a rain sensor that will detect the presence of rain and delay watering until some time has elapsed after the storm.
The LCD screen is easy to read and uses 2 AAA 1.5V batteries which are very helpful if you don’t have a nearby power source. There’s a low battery display warning on the timer that alerts you so you can charge the batteries when the valve isn’t in use. You can easily detach the timer which makes it easier to program it or for storage. All the valve connections and timer are sealed with an O-ring that is watertight so you don’t have to worry about pressurized water seeping through or the timer interfering with sensitive electronics.
- The valve and timer are well-sealed
- Very simple and straight forward to use
- The valve is easy to install
- The battery-powered timer gives you control of your sprinkling time
- Water can seep into the controls
- No solenoid extension cable
An excellent battery-powered timer with a valve that will allow you to program the best time for sprinkling your garden or lawn. It also comes with a very useful rain sensor.
Rain bird CP100
This sprinkler valve can be used for both residential and commercial use and it features a heavy-duty solenoid that helps to control water flow and also protect it from getting damaged in case of a power surge. It has 1-inch inlet and outlet valves that are threaded which makes the connection with the irrigation pipes even stronger. The valve can be used with all the standard timer systems in the market and this will make your work easier when it comes to sprinkling time. You just need to program the timer according to your needs and the rest is the work of the sprinklers while the solenoid regulates the water flow.
Although the solenoid controls the valve, you can also test it manually by giving it ¼ turn counter-clockwise to start the flow. This system also has a reverse flow design that will be very useful when the valve’s diaphragm becomes faulty. This reverse flow closes the valves in such a situation to stop the water flow and this saves water and prevents flooding. It’s very easy to replace the diaphragm when it stops working, you just need to unscrew the top platform to access the diaphragm so you don’t have to remove the valves from the pipes.
- The valve is well built
- You can manually test the valves
- It works well with all standard timers
- The reverse flow design helps to prevent flooding
- The valves may leak
A great valve that is compatible with all standard timers and uses a reverse flow mode to ensure there’s no overflow of water in case of damage.
Rain bird DASASVF075
This is a high-quality anti-siphon valve with ¾ inch size female threaded inlet and outlet ports and is capable of effectively controlling the water flow. It also uses the reverse flow design to prevent flooding in case the diaphragm fails and keeps water from flowing which will save you a lot of water. The valve is designed to specifically work with above-ground irrigation systems and for it to work properly, you need to install it 6 inches above the highest sprinkler head. The valve can prevent any backflow of water inside the system and this ensures the entire sprinkler system is working safely and efficiently.
This valve is operated automatically, but it’s also possible to manually test it and the procedure is flawless. A built-in bleeding screw allows you to remove any dirt or debris that may have entered into the valve as the water flows through. The easy turn flow knob at the top allows you to adjust the flow of water to a certain zone and this helps to provide a more uniformed coverage and avoid misting. The Buna-N diaphragm with a captive spring and water filter will provide you with superior performance, especially in harsh water conditions. The solenoid is energy-efficient because it uses low power which prolongs its durability.
- The threading makes it easy to install and replace the valve
- Has a heavy construction
- The valve can be operated on both automatic and manual mode
- The valve has effective safety measures
- The connecting thread’s quality isn’t good
- Can only be used above ground
An anti-siphon valve that you can use with both the automatic or manual mode and it comes with excellent safety measures that ensure there’s no flooding or water wastage.
Orbit 57100 inline sprinkler valve
This inline sprinkler valve has ¾ inch female threaded inlet and outlet valves. It has a heavy-duty self-cleaning design which makes it very effective at solving some of your sprinkling problems like dirt and debris entering the valve and clogging the sprinkler heads. This valve uses the reverse flow design that seals the valve when it becomes faulty and this will prevent the water from passing to the outlet end.
This will also prevent flooding your lawn or field and damaging your plants. The valve also has an internal pressure reduction system which makes the valve versatile and ideal for retro-fitting underground irrigation systems that are compatible with the design of the valve. There is also a bypass lever on the valve that allows you to manually operate if there are any problems with the valve. This gives you time to access the problem and rectify it without halting the sprinkling schedule.
- The shut-off valve feature works great
- Great replacement valve
- The bypass lever helps if there’s a glitch in the sprinkling system
- The reverse flow design is very effective
- The diaphragm isn’t properly designed
- A significant amount of water pressure is needed to shut off the valve
A sturdy inline sprinkler valve that has a self-cleaning design which ensures there’s no debris in the valve while the bypass lever allows you to manually control your sprinkling system in case of a problem.
Orbit 57281 1-ich inline sprinkler valve
This inline sprinkler valve comes with a fail-safe design which prevents the free flow of water inside the system even after the diaphragm raptures. This safeguards your entire irrigation system and also your plants from getting damaged. This valve is compatible with 24V sprinkling systems so you don’t have to worry about compatibility issues. With the help of a bypass lever, you can manually operate the valve and also use it to test your sprinkling system. This will ensure you don’t have problems with debris clogging your system, while the reverse flow design will allow for a better and safer sprinkling system.
- The bypass lever ensures that your lines stay clean
- Can be used with standard residential sprinkling systems
- High-quality components
- No leaking
- You can’t manually shut-off the system
- Doesn’t come with rain sensors
An inline sprinkler valve that is compatible with standard residential sprinklers and has a bypass lever that allows you to manually control your sprinkling system or test it.
What is a sprinkler valve?
A sprinkler system uses different types of sprinkler valves for it to function properly. The two main valves used in this system include a sprinkler valve and a shut-off valve. The sprinkler valves are used in delivering pressurized water to the sprinkler head l the shut-off valves control the water supply.
For you to get the correct valve for your sprinkler system, you need to know how it fits into your water pipes. Some of these terminologies will help you better understand the different valves and where they fit.
- S (Slip) – a smooth, straight female connector
- FIP or FPT – female threaded
- NPT – national pipe thread
- Barb – male connector with barbs
- MIP or MPT – male threaded
- Union – a two-piece threaded connector commonly found in pairs on either side of the valve to make it easier when disconnecting
Types and features of sprinkler valves
- In-line and anti-siphon valves
The inline system is connected in a line to pipes that run underground to hide the plumbing and can either block or control the flow of water manually or using a control panel. These valves don’t have a back-flow prevention feature so they’re installed together with backflow prevention features and vacuum breakers.
The anti-siphon system uses valves and pipes that run above ground or with an underground system that loops up above ground. These valves have a built-in back-flow feature that helps to keep the water from flowing back into the pipes which can carry contaminants back into the system and are more convenient to work on. They also help to equalize the chamber pressure in each sprinkler head. These valves are made from different materials like brass and PVC. PVC is cheaper but gets easily damaged, but brass is more expensive, but it’s durable and more efficient.
- Electric and manual valves
Manual valves need to be physically turned on by hand and this gives them limited functionality compared to their electric counterparts.
The electric valves or solenoid valves give you full control of your sprinkler system since it allows you to pre-program your sprinkler schedule. If you have a sprinkler system with multiple solenoids, the electric valves programmed by a controller would be the best option.
- Plastic and brass valves
Most valves have been made using plastic because it’s highly cost-effective and it can withstand high pressure. Plastic valves are easier to repair than the brass valves that must be fully replaced when damaged.
Brass valves, however, are more resistant to cracking or morphing when under extreme temperatures. This makes brass valves a safer option if you live in such climates, but you’ll have to compromise on functionality.
- Jar-top and bolted down valves
Jar-top valves mean you can remove the top of the valve which makes them more practical if you’re using slip connections and this makes your repair work much easier. You can easily repair the broken internal components of a broken valve without having to replace the entire valve.
The bolted valves have an advantage in that they’re leak-resistant and slightly more durable, but all things considered, the jar-top is a better option.
Different types of sprinkler valves
When you’re looking for a sprinkler valve, it’s best to know what you’re looking for in advance. You can identify the different valves by their inlet connection and type, size, outlet connection type, and their mechanism. Here are some of the most common sprinkler valves used in a sprinkler system.
- Ball sprinkler valves
These valves use a hollow ball that turns around when turned that you can use to either shut-off or control the water pressure and are also designed for frequent usage. They’re highly durable which makes them perfect for sprinkler systems in commercial areas where constant sprinkling is necessary. These valves can also be used in residential areas, especially if you need to constantly sprinkle your garden or yard. The valves use a lever that you can turn on a quarter way, but you have to be careful not to turn it too fast to avoid the pressurized water from damaging your sprinkler system. These valves can keep their sealing quality for a long time.
- Gate valves
These valves are the most commonly used in home sprinkler systems and they require to be manually turned on and off. Each valve has a circle handle that you rotate to turn the water to your sprinkler system on or off. They’re connected to the main water source and can handle highly pressurized water to supply to your sprinkler system. These valves use a disk-shaped gate that can be raised or lowered using a handle. They don’t get easily damaged by pressurized water and you can easily turn them on or off.
- Automatic control sprinkler valves
Before sprinkler valves had to be turned on or off manually, but now with the development of technology, you have a more convenient sprinkler system that uses an electrically controlled valve. These valves are used with sprinkler controls and timers to provide a more efficient and effective way of watering your lawn or garden. The valves are more efficient because they’re automatically timed to deliver the right amount of water and spray at specific locations.
- Indexing valves
These valves are part of a new sprinkler technology that can integrate up to 6 sprinkler zones using one valve body. These are mostly used in large properties that need control over multiple areas.
- Check valves
These valves are designed with a 45-degree angle disk that seats on a seal that lets the water through which means as the water flows, the valve floats up, but any backflow will seal off the opening.
- Angle valves
These valves are just like their name suggests and they have inlets on the side and bottom which creates a 90-degree angle between the inlet and outlet connections. This helps to regulate the pressure in case there’s a pressure drop in the valve. These valves have to be used with a separate backflow preventer. These valves are ideal if there are frequent pressure fluctuations in your system.
- Globe valves
These valves are designed with a stationary ring and disk that helps to regulate the flow of water into the pipes. By lowering the valve, you can block the flow of water through the pipes. They’re buried underground inside a valve box, but they don’t have an internal backflow preventer which means you need to buy one separately.
Valves help to regulate the pressure and flow of the water in your system and are an important part of your sprinkler system. The best sprinkler valves will help to prevent flooding and backflow which can contaminate your lines which will affect your sprinkler heads. The Orbit 57253 3-valve heavy-duty pre-assembled manifold is one of the best sprinkler valves you’ll find in the market that is easy to use since it comes pre-assembled. It reduces the installation time and the need eliminates the need for using tools and sealing glue.