Need a fun-in-the-sun sprinkler for kids? We researched over 20 options before buying 8 top options for hands-on testing. We used each sprinkler side-by-side with real kids to see which options were the most fun and which sport features to keep kids entertained for the long haul. Our review includes the details you need to find the best sprinkler for your kids and your budget.
The Tidal Storm Hydro Swirl has a water-spinning center with randomly flailing plastic tubes for excessive water fun in the sun. This cool sprinkler has a center swirl that peaked over 6 feet in our tests, and water shoots out horizontally over 10 feet! Kids loved the erratic behavior of the water tubes and the predictable surge of water from the center. It proved useful for running around the edges and jumping over the center. Our testers agreed this sprinkler was the most fun and were reluctant to change it when it was time to test other products.
The only drawback to this sprinkler is that full water pressure in our tests caused some stinging when getting too close to the tubes. Parents can easily decrease this possibility by turning the water pressure down or keeping little ones closer to the edges than the center. Overall, kids in our tests loved this wild Hydro Swirl and repeatedly requested it above the competition.
There's something about the giant Boxgear Unicorn Sprinkler that brings a smile to the face of everyone. Adults and kids alike were enthralled with this extra-large inflatable, and we can see it being a hit at adult parties and kids. This product has a water spout from the horn and stakes in the ground to keep it in place. It is quick to inflate using a pump, and ours worked well at keeping kids entertained and cooled in the hot sun.
This sprinkler requires a pump to inflate, so you may need to make a secondary purchase if you don't already have one. It also has a narrow and consistent spray, which means some kids might quickly get bored, and some did during testing. However, our testers frequently requested more time with the Unicorn and enjoyed the rain-like cascade from the horn. We can see younger children preferring the predictability of the horn shower and think it makes a good selection for the younger crowd, especially anyone who loves unicorns and fantasy.
If you're ready for some wild and crazy fun, the Kids Sprinkler Fire Hydrant is the one you want to consider. This inexpensive powerhouse has an unassuming appearance we didn't initially find impressive. However, the fun began once we turned on the water, and everyone went crazy. With up-and-out spraying action and a semi-misting effect, this hydrant manages to soak anyone who comes near it. A center fountain shoots water over 12 feet high, and a narrower horizontal spray keeps kids close to the hydrant. Our testers ran around and over the hydrant; some even picked it up to shoot at their playmates.
The sprinkler has a harder water pressure than the competition and may require fine-tuning the water supply to keep kids from getting stung by the harsh spray. The manufacturer recommends this option for babies as young as one month old, and we'd have to disagree, considering the potential for stinging water. While our older testers didn't seem to mind, younger users could find the pain of direct needle-like water undesirable. However, decreasing the water pressure resolves this issue, and once you find the sweet spot, everyone is soaking, cheery, and thrilled with this tiny powerhouse of a hydrant.
The Kadaon Lawn Sprinkler is a small plastic spinning sprinkler for kids or lawns. This tiny little sprinkler looks unimpressive when you take it out of the simple plastic bag, and we were skeptical that it wouldn't last or prove fun. Boy, were we wrong! It's a super soaker with a widespread water pattern and so much water you can't help but get soaked. Our testers loved this option because it cooled them down quickly without requiring them to jump over the unit.
The sprinkler feels cheap, and although ours held up nicely over the two months of summer we used it, we wonder how long it will last as the plastic is thin and the unit sits sort of wonky. We suspect a misstep by a larger child will result in a broken sprinkler. Otherwise, we love what this option offers and think kids looking to get soaked or who have loads of friends will love this little bomb of a sprinkler.
If your kids are bored with their current jumping apparatus, the Trampoline Sprinkler can breathe new life into a forgotten toy. This simple hose-design zip ties to the trampoline netting frame, providing a splish splash of rainfall inside the jumping circle. The kit includes a water flow adjustment connector, zip ties, and a hose. This sprinkler is simple in design but provides significant water fun. If your kids like to jump and enjoy the water on a hot day, this solution is one you can't pass up. Our testers were sold from the word go and gave it 50 stars!
The setup of this product is more involved than other competitors, and you'll probably want to complete it before you tell your kids, as patience isn't great for the younger crowd. Also, it does make the trampoline surface slippery, and the odds of falling increase with use, so it is best to go slow and limit the jumpers to avoid clashing bodies. Overall, our testers thought this was a great way to enjoy a trampoline, remarking, "if you don't own this, you haven't lived!"
If you're hosting more than two kids, the Wet N' Wild Kids Hydro Hoop could be the solution to your "we're so bored" summertime blues. This hoop has multiple small sprinkler heads sticking in various directions providing an individual spout for multiple kids simultaneously. With no movement in the hoop, this is a good option for those looking for predictability with running and jumping in mind. There is no more fighting over the spray with so many ports, and the lack of wild flailing means no more "ow, my eye!" problems while playing.
Since this sprinkler has the same spray pattern, it could become uninteresting for older or more adventurous children who desire a more random water pattern. Our testers initially liked it but swiftly shifted to other options after realizing that "that's all it does." Despite the potential for the wild and crazy kids to lose interest, we think it's still an excellent sprinkler for kids who enjoy predictability over adrenaline. In other words, it's a good choice for the merry-go-round lovers in your life; the rollercoaster folks might need to look elsewhere.
The GoFloats Giant Inflatable Fire Hydrant is a fun inflatable with a center spray that shoots up and falls like rain. The design brings smiles and harkens back to when fire hydrants cooled off urban neighborhoods in the scorching summer heat. We like its straightforward design and the included adjustment attachment that lets the user decrease or increase water flow as desired at the hydrant without a trip to the water faucet.
This hydrant sprinkler took a long time to inflate, even using an electric pump. Our testers struggled to remain patient, so we recommend inflating it the night before you reveal it to your kids. Also, our older testers thought it was somewhat dull as the spray doesn't fall very far from the hydrant and is relatively consistent. However, we believe some adult or toddler parties with a related theme could benefit from a novelty like this. Our toddler and grownup testers liked the spray's raindrop feel, even if adventurous kids moved on quickly.
The CHUCHIK Backyard Spinning Turtle is an adorable turtle similar in functionality to the Tidal Storm Hydro Swirl with a center spinning plate and wild swinging water tubes. The sprinkler is more amusing than we thought it would be, and testers liked catching and directing the tubes at their playmates. The center water plume is tall, and the flailing tubes spread water at least 8 ft around the turtle for lots of running area.
Unfortunately, this sprinkler was challenging to remove from the hose, and we eventually had to use two pliers to twist it off. This complication dropped its appeal down to almost nothing for parents, and while kids loved it, they also loved the Tidal Storm Hydro Swirl, which is similar, bigger, and more fun. If you can't resist the turtle shape, we hear you but have some tools on hand for when the fun is over, or it could stay stuck to your hose all summer long.
Why You Should Trust Us
We researched more than 25 fun and compelling sprinkler options. With the help of younger children, we made our selections based on popularity and child interest. We tested the sprinklers one after another, and the kids ranked them in order of fun and how long they liked playing with them. We gave extra credence to the products the testers asked to use repeatedly.
BabyGearLab has been testing products for babies and kids since 2012. We purchase and evaluate each product to give you an insider scoop on what works and doesn't. For this sprinkler for kids review, Senior Review Editor Wendy Schmitz and her two sons led the team with a variety of testing helpers from the neighborhood.
Analysis and Test Results
We purchased the top and well-loved sprinklers for kids and put them through a side-by-side testing process with actual kids to determine which sprinklers were more fun than the competition.
Ease of Setup
Using sprinklers for kids is easy, but setting them up varies depending on the style. If you're looking for a straightforward screw on your garden hose and get playing, then you'll have a selection of great options to choose from in this review. These products offer quick setup times, and you won't have kids pacing in the wings waiting for the water fun to begin compared to inflatable options that take more time to inflate.
Our favorites are the Tidal Storm Hydro Swirl, Kids Sprinkler Fire Hydrant, and the Wet N' Wild Kids Hydro Hoop. The CHUCHIK Backyard Spinning Turtle is easy to set up but the most challenging to remove from the garden hose. We had to use two pliers to get ours off the hose.
The Kadaon Lawn Sprinkler requires the assembly of several parts, and the cheaper plastic means you need to pay attention to the threading to get a solid connection, but once assembled, it was easy to get on and off of the hose in our tests. It is a lightweight unit compared to most of the competition, and we did have trouble getting it to sit flat on the driveway; maybe grass would have been better. It still worked well, but it is important to note.
Alternatively, the inflatable options take longer to prepare and set up. These choices require some patience for children and parents alike as they need some tending to while inflating and some arrangement or staking down when ready to use. While not difficult, it takes time, and we suggest purchasing an electric pump to save yourself some effort and your lungs some pain. We used an Intex Pump for our tests, which worked well. Once inflated, some of the products have water chambers you also need to fill, which takes even more time. The easiest is the GoFloats Inflatable Fire Hydrant, which requires pumping with air, connecting the hose, and playing. The Boxgear Unicorn is similar, but you may need to stake it down depending on your chosen play area.
The Trampoline Sprinkler requires some forethought, planning, and more setup than the average sprinkler. Before you begin, you'll need to gather a few things. In addition to a trampoline with surrounding safety-net poles, you'll benefit from scissors and a good underlayment to avoid a giant mud hole when all is said and done. This hose attachment system requires zip-tying the flat hose to the poles (ties are included!), which takes time and effort. This process isn't tricky unless someone tries to jump simultaneously, which is a problem we did experience.
Generally, there are two types of sprinklers for kids, a consistent, predictable spray or a random, somewhat frenetic spray. Both spray types have dedicated fans and potential uses. However, for the most part, we found that younger children and little ones just looking to cool off or play enjoyed the more predictable sprays or the models that mimicked rain, including the GoFloats Inflatable Hydrant.
Toddlers also love the playmat and the Hydro Hoop and Boxgear Unicorn. These product styles offer gentle water velocity and fewer in-your-face water needle punches.
During testing, older and more adventurous kids preferred the erratic pattern of the Hydro Swirl and the Kids Sprinkler Fire Hydrant, which offer a random pattern and water spraying in multiple directions at once. In short, you know your child best, and it could take some experimentation to find the perfect fit, but we believe the hectic nature and harder pressure of the Hydro Swirl are too much for toddlers unless the water pressure is low enough the tubes barely move.
Similarly, the Smaller Hydrant requires lower pressure before it is suitable for younger children, as more than one tester commented on the "stinging" effects of the water shooting upwards on full pressure. The manufacturer suggests this product for children 1+ years, but we'd respectfully disagree as it is far too frenetic and potentially stinging for little ones that young. Alternatively, the soft shower pour of the Inflatable Hydrant was enjoyed by most users as long as they weren't hoping to jump over anything.
What is more fun than a whirling sprinkler to jump through in the hot summer sun? Our kid testers had loads of leaping, fun hands-on testing and comparing the contenders in this lineup before selecting their favorites and must-have products to beat the heat of summer. We think your child will find a favorite in our review and believe the award winners are a great place to start your adventure.