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Drip irrigation is one of the most efficient irrigation systems for watering gardens, lawns and crops. It’s popular and used around the world by farmers and gardeners. This irrigation system is environmentally friendly and setting it up is easy if you select the right product. It has the ability to conserve a large quantity of water in comparison to manual watering which will help you to cut down on your water bill, saving money as well.
Drip irrigation systems are designed to easily reduce the time and effort needed to take care of your plants since you no longer have to walk back and forth for hours watering them every day. You can safely leave them in the care of your irrigation system and reap maximum benefits in the long run.
In this article, we’ve reviewed the top 8 drip irrigation systems on the market. The second section covers the information you need to buy a drip irrigation system.
Drip Irrigation Kit Reviews
Drip Irrigation Kit for Container Gardening Premium Size
- Works with low maintenance
- Highly durable
- Very versatile
- Instructions are hard to follow
- Additional parts required to complete the system
This drip irrigation kit is a simple, yet elegant system with very good performance. It comes with 10 pieces which are very easy to use and assemble. Since the product range is huge, you can use this kit in several places including container gardens, patios, decks and so on.
Since this drip irrigation kit has fewer parts than most other systems, you’ll find maintenance is very easy. All the parts of this system are sturdy and durable, built to last you for years. It also does a great job of conserving water while simultaneously cutting down on your water bills.
OUTERDO Drip Irrigation Kit
- UV resistant
- 15 meter tubing
- Made of ABS plastic
- Saves up to 70% water
- May not be as durable as its competitors
The Outerdo Drip Irrigation system is easy to install and includes 2 faucet connectors that fit standard watering setups. This system is highly efficient allowing you to save up to 70% of the water that would normally go waste in your garden, while at the same time keeping your plants healthy and lush.
The tubing of this irrigation system is 50 feet long and made of high-quality ABS plastic which is also UV resistant. It’s a little more complicated than some other products on this list, as it contains 166 pieces. You might find it complex and confusing to assemble the first time you set it up.
Every nozzle in this kit comes with two spraying modes: foggy and columnar and each nozzle can be adjusted to give precise customized watering for each of your plants. This offers versatility and customization to suit your garden needs.
Rain Bird T70-500S Drip Irrigation
- No maintenance
- Easy installation
- Resistant to bacteria and germs
- Long enough to fit into many garden designs
- May be too large for small gardens
This Drip Irrigation system from Rain Bird is one of the best on the market due to its high performance and rugged, flexible tubing which makes it easier to move easily around the garden.
This is a professional grade system that requires no maintenance as it’s less prone to clogging. It’s also highly resistant to chemicals, UV damage and algae growth.
Perfect for both above ground or under-ground installation, this system has a unique Micro-Porous design that remains coiled even while it’s extracted for easier storage and use. It also comes with a special sized head that fits perfectly into most garden sprinklers and faucets, saving you the trouble of having to purchase extra parts.
KORAM IR-D 50 Feet Blank Distribution Tubing Hose Plant
- Easy to assemble
- Conserves water
- Doesn’t work in low pressure situations
The Koram Drip Black Distribution Tubing Hose Plant covers an irrigation area of 20-25 square meters, featuring durable nozzles, tees and pipe. Every nozzle in this system can be individually adjusted to meet the water demands of different plants at the same time. For water conservation, the Koram scores high as it saves up to 70% of water.
This system is easy to use and you won’t need to do any digging or plumbing to set it up. The downside is that it doesn’t work well in low water pressure situations. It requires an ideal range of 25-45 PSI. That being said, it’s a versatile product that’s perfect for many applications including watering greenhouses, hanging baskets, pot plants and flower beds. It even has an impressive life span of more than 2 years.
Flantor Garden Irrigation System
- Individually adjustable nozzles
- Simple installation
- Saves water, money and time
- Suitable for 20-25 square meters of irrigation area
- Inefficient sprayers
Another drip irrigation system that we really liked is the Flantor Garden Irrigation System which is so easy to install and doesn’t require any tools. This system boasts 50ft of black tubing, 20 atomizing nozzles and 20 irrigation drippers, allowing you to customize it according to your watering needs. The package also includes all the necessary fittings for installation.
The Flantor Irrigation system is compatible with automation systems so if you need efficient and easy irrigation, just connect it to a timer (this isn’t included in the box). If not, you can always use it manually.
What we didn’t like about this system is that the sprayers don’t work quite as well as the drippers do but other than that, it’s a very versatile and useful product.
MIXC Drip Irrigation Kit
- Saves up to 70% of water
- Three different outlet modes
- Can be used indoors (for greenhouses)
- 50ft hose
- Must have 25-45 PSI to work properly
This irrigation system kit from MIXC contains all the necessary parts to start a system from a garden hose or faucet and covers an area of 20-25 square meters. Widely used for pots, plant beds, greenhouses, baskets or outdoor backyards, it comes with three different spray patterns including drip, mist and columnar irrigation.
The tubing of this irrigation system is made from excellent quality plastic and has a flow rate of 7 liters per hour. It also saves up to 70% of water compared to manual watering. It’s compatible with automation systems but doesn’t include a timer so you’d have to purchase that separately.
Every piece of the kit is made of high-quality, UV resistant materials, flexible enough to install in any shape you like and resisting daily wear and tear.
Raindrip Automatic Container and Hanging Baskets Kit
8 used from $16.01
- Professional quality
- UV inhibitors
- Includes a timer
- Needs a pressure regulator
Get the satisfaction of healthier and more vibrant looking plants with the Raindrip Automatic Container and Hanging Baskets irrigation kit. This kit makes watering your plants a breeze and it’s also easy to hook up, expand and customize.
Saving up to 70% of water, this irrigation system is ideal for hanging baskets and containers but you can make use of it even in the garden. Made of top-quality, durable materials the tubing is threaded exactly like a hose and you’ll find it very easy to interconnect and install.
What we liked best about this product is that it comes with a timer, which many other kits don’t feature. The box includes everything you need to set it but you’d probably need to purchase a pressure regulator which is necessary for it function effectively.
Mister Landscaper Vegetable Garden Drip Kit
- Delivers water to roots without wastage
- Installation DVD included
- No clogging
- Includes PSI regulator
- The valves need to be changed after some time
Looking for an efficient drip irrigation system to take care of your garden while you’re away? This all inclusive drip starter kit from Mister Landscaper would be the ideal option for you. This system comes with everything you need for installation and even includes a PSI regulator so you don’t have to worry about water pressure affecting its performance.
The kit includes an impressive 150 mesh screen filter that ensures your vegetables will get clean and clear water without any bits of debris in it. It also covers up to 100ft of vegetables rows which is more coverage than any of the products on our list so far.
We liked the on/off valves that are an important part of this system since they allow you to control individual rows independently. When the plants in one row stop producing, the water supply to that particular row can be turned off to conserve water.
What is Drip Irrigation?
Drip irrigation is an irrigation method that’s used to save both water and fertilizer by allowing them to slowly drip to the roots of plants. Additionally, it delivers water directly onto the root zone of plants in just the right amounts at the right time so that each plant gets exactly what is needed for it to grow optimally.
This system delivers water either to root zones through a network of valves, tubing, pipes and emitters or it drips slowly on the soil surface.
Drip emitters or ‘drippers’ are very small and release water and fertilizer on to your plants from the main tubing.
Since each dripper emits drops of water containing fertilizers, the result is uniform application of nutrients and water directly to the root of every plant in your garden or field.
Types of Drip Irrigation
The two main types of drip emitters include those that direct the water into the air (like a sprinkler head) and those that allow the water to slowly seep or drip onto the root zone of your plants. Both types of emitters are installed into the main tubing using either barbed ends or micro tubing ends.
Now let’s have a look at the four main types of drip emitters.
1- Porous Pipe
The porous pipe is usually referred to as drip hose, soaker hose or laser tubing. These are made from highly porous material but they can also consist of a hose into which extremely small holes are drilled. Both of these systems allow water to slowly seep through to the roots of the plants.
The best thing about this system is that it’s very affordable and extremely easy to handle. All you need to do is to wind the hose through the planting beds and hook it up to your existing outdoor faucet or hose.
You can either move the hose about or you can bury it a few inches in the soil to make it more permanent. The only problem with the porous pipe system is that regulating the water pressure isn’t possible within the pipe and it’s also highly prone to clogging.
2- Pre-Installed Emitters
The pre-installed emitter drip irrigation lines are poly lines with equally space drip emitters which are molded into the pipe walls. These are designed to deliver water to your plants at rates of ½, 1 or 2 GPH.
Drip emitter lines are easy to install by yourself since they can be placed on the soil surface and covered over with mulch.
They’re far more advanced than porous pipes because of their turbulent flow design that helps prevent clogging and are used for many purposes including the irrigation of groundcover beds, vegetable gardens and hedges.
However, since the pre-installed emitters are spaced out at regular intervals, it doesn’t allow for much placement flexibility.
3- Punch-In Emitters
This method has greater placement flexibility than porous pipes and pre-installed emitter lines since it allows you to place emitters wherever you want along the length of the pipe. You simply need to punch a hole and attach the emitter using an inlet barb.
Punch-in emitters come with different flow rates but if you’re not sure what the requirement is for the type of soil you’ve got, it’s best to stick with the 1 GPH emitters. If your system isn’t meeting your watering needs, you can replace the emitters with ones that have a higher or lower flow rate.
Punch-in emitters come in three different types: drip emitters, misters and in-line drip emitters. Drip emitters deliver a slow and steady supply of water, drop by drop that seeps into the root zone of the plants whereas misters are attached to stakes and raised above ground, spraying a cooling mist for your plants.
In-line drip emitters are a combination of a pre-installed emitter line and drip emitters. They can be placed anywhere along the length of the tube and they release water through each outlet as it goes on through the line.
4- Micro-Sprinkler Heads
These are also called ‘low-volume sprayers’ and have the characteristics of both sprinkler head systems and drip irrigation. They operate well even with low water pressure, using pipes which are very small in diameter. They deliver water to plants in a fanlike spray in the same way that traditional sprinkler heads do.
When it comes to water conservation, these aren’t as efficient as the in-line and punch-in emitters since they tend to lose water by evaporation. However, they’re a lot more efficient than high-pressure sprinkler heads used in the standard irrigation system.
How to Choose a Drip Irrigation System
When it comes to choosing the right drip irrigation kit for your plants, you’ll want to consider the following factors: the accessories, features, components and environmental condition. If you want to purchase a good quality product that’s worth your money and will take excellent care of your plants, pay a little extra attention to these key points.
- Types of plants: drip irrigation systems are best for smaller plants, shrubs and foliage so if you’ve got big trees it might not help.
- Type of soil: if your soil easily absorbs water and doesn’t get very muddy, drip irrigation methods will work since they water only the roots of the plants.
- Water flow: drip irrigation systems come with different types of water flow. If you have plants that need to be watered every day, you can opt for an automatic one. If you need a constant supply of water, go for a dripper with constant flow. Choosing the right water flow depends on the watering needs of your plants.
- Tubing: determine the area you need to cover with the tubing. To do this, measure from the hose bib to the furthest plant in your garden and consider this the main line. Now, measure any tubing that will branch off from this main line to the rest of the plants. Add up the measurements and the result will be the total length of tubing you’ll need.
- Fittings: make sure the system has fittings. They can be tie or elbow fittings and go between the tubing so that you can easily change the direction of the water flow according to the location of your plants.
- Emitters: these are very important since this is where the water comes out from. Make sure you choose a system that comes with a variety of emitters since this will allow you to alter your watering needs without having to disassemble the system or buy a new one.
- Fasteners/stakes: a good drip irrigation kit should include stakes and fasteners. You’ll need stakes to hold the tubing into the ground and fasteners to hold it up if you’re running it above your plants.
- Risers: these are essential components in every drip irrigation kit. Risers are used to elevate the tubing, allowing water to drip onto the plants from above.
- Faucet connector: this is a key component that you want to be sure your system has. The faucet connector is used to connect the hose bib to the tubing.
- Splitter: this is what helps the water to branch from the main tube to the other tubing sections. This feature isn’t found in all drip irrigation systems so opt for one that includes it.
Drip Irrigation Advantages and Disadvantages
Drip irrigation comes with a wide range of benefits, which is why it’s such a popular method of irrigation. However, it does have its drawbacks too, so weighing the benefits and disadvantages might help you decide on whether it’s the most suitable option for you.
Drip Irrigation Advantages
- Allows for greater water conservation as it supplies every single plant with just the right amount of water it needs. No more, no less.
- It prevents water ponding that can cause the proliferation of fungi and the loss of nutrients which is common in excessive irrigation.
- Encourages healthier growth of plants
- It works with low water pressure so that a pump won’t be necessary to drive the water along the tubing.
- It’s easy and inexpensive to maintain.
- It reduces the growth of weeds since the ground surface hardly gets wet.
- Less waste of fertilizers since it doesn’t runoff
- Maximizes crop yield
Drip Irrigation Disadvantages
- High initial cost
- High maintenance cost – you may also need to install a filter to make sure the water is perfectly clean.
- Clogging can be a problem if the water isn’t filtered properly which means that the soil around the clogged holes won’t be getting any water.
- Lifespan of the tubes can be shortened by exposure to sun or UV damage
- Requires a lot of hoses that need to be moved every year if you practice crop rotation
The Bottom Line
Drip irrigation systems are an efficient and convenient way to keep your garden and crops healthy and nourished, without wasting water and fertilizer. It’s high efficiency and ability to service large areas is what makes drip irrigation one of the most popular irrigation systems, despite its high cost.
However, drip irrigation does have its downsides as well and may not be the right type of irrigation system for you. Because it takes time, effort and money to install, it’s best to weigh the pros and cons and assess the specific needs of your garden or crops prior to purchase.