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4 of the Best Drip Irrigation Systems

If your garden and its plants are important to you, you should consider investing in a drip irrigation system. Drip irrigation is the future of gardening and yard maintenance and is one of the best ways to ensure your plants are well-watered and nourished. This type of system takes water directly to the roots and is extremely effective in the long and short term.

Closeup of a drip irrigation system watering a garden.

If you’re wondering how to get your hands on the best drip irrigation system on the market, you’ve come to the right place. This article will give you numerous drip irrigation options, but it will also tell you how to install and care for your irrigation system. Let’s get dripping!

What Is a Drip Irrigation System

As the name implies, a drip irrigation system is a watering system that runs through your garden or landscaping a drips water for your plants. Drip irrigation is different from sprinkler systems in that they don’t spray water erratically in all directions. Rather, drip systems emit a slow and steady dripping of water out of pipes or hoses directly into the soil around your plants.

This steady dripping allows for water to get directly to the plant’s root, which is what needs it most. When you utilize drip irrigation, you’re less likely to waste water or lose moisture due to evaporation.

A drip irrigation system watering tomatoes. The best drip irrigation system for you makes having a healthy, well-watered garden easy.

Drip irrigation systems typically get installed very close to the ground, maybe one to two inches above it. This proximity to the soil allows your irrigation system to remain mostly concealed and nondescript. Most of the components, aside from the spots where water is dripping, can be located underground, but having the drip holes underground will clog.

Now that you know what a drip irrigation system is all about, let’s get into the four best drip irrigation systems that make it easy to keep your garden well-hydrated and thriving.

The Best Drip Irrigation Systems


Overall Best Drip Irrigation System

15 mil Drip Tape Irrigation Kit

Hoss Tools Drip Tape (15 mil) Irrigation Kit for Vegetable Gardens | Two 750 ft. Rolls | Fittings for 20 Rows

For the best drip irrigation system on the market, look no further than the 15 mil Drip Tape Irrigation Kit from Hoss Tools. This kit includes everything you need to install your drip system from start to finish, including 1,500 feet of drip tape. It’s ideal for gardens, landscaping, fruit bushes, and anything else that needs a constant water supply.

The output of this system is 0.4 gallons of water/minute for every 100′ of drip tape. It’s fairly easy to install and equally easy to monitor the flow rate if you’re not happy with the water output. This drip irrigation kit has everything you need to keep your plants happy and healthy from the stakes to the valves and fittings.

Pros

  • Fairly easy to install
  • Two rolls of 750′ of tape are enough for most gardens
  • Includes 100′ of main tubing and all the tools you need for installation
  • You can bury the tape lines up to six inches below the ground and plant your crops above it

Cons

  • Compared to other systems, it’s fairly expensive but worth the money.

Runner-Up for Best Drip Irrigation System

8 mil Drip Tape Irrigation Kit

If you don’t want to spend quite as much money on your irrigation system but still want a quality one, the eight mil Drip Tape Irrigation Kit is worth a look. This system is very similar to the one above but consists of drip tape eight millimeters thick rather than fifteen. This reduced thickness makes the tape slightly less durable but equally effective and cheaper.

The kit includes 1500′ of drip tape, 100′ of the main tubing, and all the tools, fittings, couplings, and pieces you need to completely install this drip irrigation system. It’s suitable for gardens and landscapes of all shapes and sizes, and you can customize the setup however you want. As long as your garden rows are less than 100′ long, most are, this system has enough pressure and power to keep your plants well-watered.

As a bonus, you can bury the drip tape below the ground’s surface. Doing this means that your tape is protected from the sun and animals that cause wear and tear on the material. It also allows you to bury the tape first and plant your crops on top of it, ensuring water can’t go anywhere but to the plant’s root.

Pros

  • The kit comes with all the tools and materials you need to install it
  • You can install this system underground for added efficiency and protection
  • The kit comes with individual shut-off valves for more control over the water flow of each tape line
  • Fairly easy to install and maintain

Cons

  • Although cheaper than the overall best drip irrigation system listed above, it’s still on the pricy end.

Best Drip Irrigation System on a Budget

Raindrip SDFSTH1P Automatic Watering Kit with Timer

Raindrip is one of the top names in the drip irrigation system world, and it only seems fitting that their Raindrip Automatic Watering Kit takes the best budget pick spot on our list. This system is ideal for flower or vegetable gardens, trees, landscaping, and whatever else you want to water.

The Automatic Watering Kit includes everything you need to start your drip irrigation system aside from the drip tape. As a bonus with this system, most of the components come pre-attached and won’t require any assembly.

The piping used to carry the bulk of the water is UV-resistant and capable of having a long and lasting existence in the sun. This is one of the easiest drip watering systems to install and one of the most effective.

Pros

  • Requires minimal assembly because most of the components are pre-assembled
  • Delivers slow and steady water pressure to the plants that need it most
  • The automatic timer means that your system will turn on and off automatically
  • Very easy to install

Cons

  • You can’t personalize or customize the connections as much as other kits.

Best Drip Irrigation System for Bigger Gardens

MIXC Greenhouse Micro Drip Irrigation Kit

MIXC 226FT Greenhouse Micro Drip Irrigation Kit Automatic Patio Misting Plant Watering System with 1/4 inch 1/2 inch Blank Distribution Tubing Hose Adjustable Nozzle Emitters Sprinkler Barbed Fittings

The best drip irrigation system for a large garden in terms of overall quality and value is the Greenhouse Micro Drip Irrigation System from MIXC. This system comes with over 225′ of water tubing capable of covering over 160 square feet of soil. You should have no problem running tubing from one end of your garden to the other and ensuring that every tape line gets the proper water supply.

You also won’t have to work up a sweat installing this system because it requires little to no digging. You simply lay it on top of your soil, run tape lines wherever you want them to be, and let the system do the rest. This is also one of the most comprehensive systems because it includes three different sprayers and forty combined misters, nozzles, and drippers.

Pros

  • You can control the drip of every nozzle individually or the system as a whole
  • 200 plus feet of main water tubing is enough for most gardens
  • It will use 80% less water than other irrigation systems while being more effective
  • The variety of nozzles, misters, and drippers give you lots of watering options

Cons

  • The kit doesn’t include the drip tape you’ll need to water individual plant rows.

Types of Nozzles in Drip Irrigation Systems

Micro-spray Sprinklers

Micro-spray sprinklers are similar to traditional sprinkler systems, but they’re especially suited for attaching to a drip irrigation system. They’re typically used with taller plants but aren’t the preferred water distribution method if you want a true drip irrigation system.

A drip irrigation system micro-sprayer.

Point-source Emitters

Point-source emitters are possibly the most common nozzles used on drip irrigation systems. Drip tape falls into this category in that it branches off of the main water line and runs to individual plants and rows in your garden. Point-source emitters drip water directly down, or you can bury them underground and allow water to drip upward to the root of the plant.

A drip tape irrigation system watering pepper plants in a greenhouse.

Inline Drip Emitters

Inline drip emitters are similar to point-source emitters but with one major difference. Point-source emitters, such as drip tape, can only run in straight lines. Otherwise, it will kink and block the flow of water. Inline drip emitters are hoses that attach to the main water hose in the same way that point-source emitters do, but you can weave them however you want to, and they won’t kink.

Closeup of a drip irrigation system inline drip emitter watering a container plant.

The flow rate from each line of inline drip emitters can also be controlled individually, whereas point-source emitters cannot. They discharge water at the same rate throughout the irrigation system.

Basin Bubblers

Basin bubblers, like micro-spray sprinklers, are very similar to traditional sprinkler heads. Basin bubblers can attach to an inline drip system, extend out of the ground, and spray water in a 360-degree direction. Once again, they’re not the best way to fully reap the benefits of a drip irrigation system, but they’re a nice option.

A drip irrigation system basin bubbler head.

The Advantages of Drip Irrigation

The best drip irrigation system will offer many advantages over traditional sprinkler or irrigation systems.

More efficient

One of the biggest advantages of drip irrigation systems is that they’re more efficient than other irrigation systems. Drip irrigation releases a set amount of water directly above or beside the plant, ensuring that water goes directly to the root. There’s no wastewater or runoff with a drip irrigation system.

More effective

Because water goes straight to the root, it will give your plants their best chance to survive and thrive.

Less conspicuous

Drip irrigation systems can get installed very close to the ground, mere inches above it. Certain systems allow most components to get buried underground with only the water-releasing portions resting above it. Over time as your plants grow, they will block what little remains visible in the system.

A drip irrigation system watering cucumbers in a greenhouse.

You’ll save money

While the best drip irrigation system might be slightly pricy to install, it will save you big bucks on your water bill. They only release a set amount of water, and you can control the system’s flow rate.

Easier on your plants

Your plants, shrubs, and flowers also won’t be saddled with the threat of having water rain down on them from a powerful sprinkler system.

What to Consider When Buying Your Best Drip Irrigation System

Garden Size

How big or small your garden will play a massive role in the type of system you choose. The bigger your garden is, the more expansive your system will need to be. You may even have to combine multiple systems if a single one isn’t big enough.

Plant Types

Some plants need more water than others which is why some systems emit more water than others. You should know how much water various plants in your garden need and choose a system to satisfy them.

Soil Type

The hardness and drainage of your soil will also play a significant role. If it doesn’t drain well, you want a system with low flow rates that won’t flood your garden or landscaping.

Flow Rate

The flow rate refers to how much water your system will emit per minute or hour.

Pressure Compensation

It’s important that you have a drip irrigation system that doesn’t fluctuate its pressure too much. You want the same amount of water pressure at the sprinkler or drip point that’s the furthest from the waterline as you do at the closest point. Finding a system with consistent water pressure is more expensive but well worth it.

Filters

Filters will ensure that drip tape or underground lines won’t clog with dirt. These filters are tiny in size but massive in their importance.

Self Flushing Feature

You might not think that a self-flushing feature is important, but wait until you have a clog in one of your emitters. A self-flushing system will automatically flush itself when it senses that the water pressure is low at any given point.

Automatic Timers

Automatic timers take the possibility of human error out of the equation. You can regulate them however you like, and your system will turn on and off accordingly.

Installation

While anyone can install any of the systems on this list, some are easier than others. If you have little to no plumbing experience, you should invest in the best drip irrigation system that’s easy to install.

Cost

The cost of the best drip irrigation system isn’t cheap, and it’s important to know your budget before you buy one. Quality is important, but not going broke is equally as important.

Lifespan Of Your Drip Irrigation System

At the end of the day, the durability of your system is one of the most important factors. Drip irrigation systems are timely to install, and you don’t want to replace and install new ones every couple of years. The hose material and UV protection are extremely important factors to consider.

Drip Irrigation Maintenance

Taking care of your drip irrigation system will ensure that it lasts a lifetime.

Beginning of The Season

At the start of each growing season, you should perform a visual examination of all the irrigation system components. Keep an eye out for any leaks, broken components, or clogs in the line. Run water through the system, flush it at the start of each year, and check the emitter filters for clogs.

Mid Season Maitenance

Mid-season maintenance is similar to that of the beginning of the season. Watch out for visual problems such as clogs, leaks, or damaged parts, and flush the system if you suspect a clogged emitter or line.

End of Season

The best way to extend the life of your drip irrigation system is to flush the lines with acid and water at the end of each season. Using nitric, sulphuric, or phosphoric acid will work best. Use one of these to flush the line for roughly one hour, then follow it up with water to get the acid out of the lines.

Finally, you’ll want to winterize your system to remove all the water fro the lines. Doing so avoids damage resultting when freezing temperatures cause water to expand. This short video shows how to use an air compressor to easily blow the water out of the lines.

Wrapping Up the Best Drip Irrigation System

As you can see, buying the best drip irrigation system for your garden could be the game-changer you’re looking for. The amount of water your garden gets will largely determine how successful it is and how well your plants grow. By adhering to the tips and tricks on this list, you’re sure to purchase an excellent irrigation system that will last a long time.

A drip irrigation system isn’t the only way to meet your garden’s watering needs. Visit our Garden Watering page and learn more about the best practices and products for all types of garden watering. Hoss Tools Drip Tape (15 mil) Irrigation Kit for Vegetable Gardens | Two 750 ft. Rolls | Fittings for 20 Rows