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Choosing the Right Emitter

Which emitter to use?

If you're not sure which emitters would be best to use in a particular situation-- first, read through the first section below: “Choosing The Right Emitter”. You'll be able to match your intended use with compatible emitters. Then, to narrow your choice, examine the “Emitter Comparison Guide” in the next section, which describes each type of emitter, its operating pressure range, watering coverage, and other useful information.
You can click on these product pages: Drippers,  Sprinklers, T tape, Drip Circles for specific details and ordering.
Clicking on the specific types of emitter in the Emitter type column will also take you to the page where you'll find those emitters.

Choosing The Right Emitter

For each irrigation use listed, one or more emitters are suggested.

Irrigation use                                                                                                                                Emitter type

Field Row Crops, hedgerows, Tomatoes, squash—                                                                      T tape1, 1/2” Emitter tubing12


Vegetable gardens, rows, medium to large size beds—                                                                 T tape1


Vegetable gardens, small, raised beds or irregular shaped beds, “square foot” gardening—        ¼” dripline6


Vineyards, long rows of widely spaced orchard plants--                                                                  Woodpeckers9


Berries, asparagus, —                                                                                                                     1/2” Emitter tubing12


Orchards, plantations—                                  1/2” emitter tubing12, or tubing with KATIF8 or Pinch drip7 emitters, drip circles13


Trees and shrubs in the landscape—                                                                                                drip circles13


Landscape foundation plantings, continuous beds—                                                                       1/2” in line emitter tubing12


Small or irregular shaped nitches in the landscape

or planted areas divided by walkways—                                                   1/4” dripline6, Vari-Jets17, Spectrum16, Ceta10, Cobra11


Irregularly spaced plants with different watering needs—                          tubing w/ KATIF8 or Pinch Drip7 emitters, Shrubblers14,

                                                                                                                    Bubblers15, Ceta10, Cobra11, Spectrum16


shrubs or small trees that will eventually need more

         water coverage as they increase in size--                                                                                   Spectrum16, Drip Circles13


Large areas of groundcover plants—                                                                                                    Ein Dor20, Wing Sprinklers19


Small areas of groundcover plants—                                                                                                     Mini-jets18


Patio plants, containers, window boxes--                                                                                       Cobra11, Mini Quart3, Shrublers14


Water loving plants amongst other plants--                                                                                          Bubblers15, Tornado misters21


Nursery plants in containers, or balled & burlaped—                                                                            Spray stakes23


Greenhouse watering, seed propagation,moisture-loving plants—                                                Tornado Misters21, Mini-Misters22


Misting bonzai or tropical plants—                                                                                                          Mini-Misters22


Low pressure or gravity-fed irrigation on vegetable gardens—                                                               T tape1, ¼”Dripline6


Low pressure or gravity-fed irrigation in general landscape—                                  Take-Apart Emitters5, Mini-In-line4, ¼”Dripline6


Low pressure or gravity-fed irrigation for containers, patio plants—                                                         Pot Drippers2, ¼”Dripline6


Emitter Comparison Guide

To help find the emitter that is best for your system and needs, use this guide for a description of characteristic and uses of all the emitters on this website. We've grouped emitters into

  • Non-pressure compensating drippers
  • Pressure compensating drippers

  • Adjustable Sprayers

  • Fixed Range Sprayers/sprinklers/misters

Pressure compensating drippers are used when constant rates of flow are desired, and should be used where the irrigation area varies greatly in elevation. They work well at pressure ranges from 10-50 PSI. Exceptions are the woodpecker s which operate up to 70 PSI and the Mini-jets which work well with pressure as low as 5 PSI.

Non-Pressure compensating drippers work better than most pressure compensating emitters in situations where the pressure is under 30 PSI--and especially in low pressure gravity fed systems. Their flow rate will vary with the pressure. The lower the pressure--the lower the flow rate; and the higher the pressure--the higher the flow rate.

In order to compare performance between emitters, the flow rate given below for each of the non-pressure compensating emitters is with pressure between 15-20 PSI.


Things to consider:

Flow rate —make sure your system's maximum capacity can handle the total combined flow rate of all emitters in use.

Coverage—match the emitters to the coverage you want, in reach (spray diameter) and in pattern. Flow rate and coverage are included in the descriptions below.

1 T-Tape—is in a class by itself. While not technically a pressure compensating emitter, the flow per emitter is essentially equal over the length of the row. The turbulent flow track emitters embedded within the tape provide reliable drip flow without squirting.

Works great with low pressure gravity systems—down to 4 PSI. Maximum pressure for all but 6 mil tape is 15 PSI, with flow rates for every 100' length of the most commonly used spacing of 8” between emitters is either 20 gph (in low flow tape) or 40 gph (high flow tape). Long rows (up to 900') are possible.

Non-pressure compensating Drippers:

Advantage: puts water right at the root zone of plants.

2.  Pot Drippers—emitters on 5” plastic stake, convenient for installing in containers or pots. Must be attached to mainline with ¼” micro tubing and ¼” transfer barb.          ½, or 1 gph.

3 Mini-Quart Drippers—emitters can be placed either at the end of ¼” tubing or inserted directly into mainline. Lowest flow (¼ gph) of any emitter.

4.  Mini In-line Emitters—the only non-pressure compensating emitter that can be strung in line (on ¼” tubing). Use to make your own in-line emitter tubing, placing emitters exactly where you need them. Can be placed at any point on ¼” tubing. Used in small containers or in xeriscape plantings. ½, 1, or 2 gph.

5.  Take-Apart Emitters—can be pulled apart for cleaning. Can be plugged directly into mainline or attached at the end of ¼” tubing. 1, 2, or 4 gph.

6.  Soaker Dripline— is ¼” tubing with emitters already embedded into it on either 6”, 9” or 12” spacing. Works with pressure as low as 2 PSI. Flow rate is approximately    ½” gph per emitter at 15 PSI. Use in raised beds, short rows and containers.


Pressure Compensating Drippers

Flow rate remains the same regardless of pressure (within the 10-50 PSI operating range)

7.  Pinch Drip—easily installed, for use on mainline tubing only (cannot be used with ¼” tubing). The low profile of this emitter avoids damage from foot traffic or weed whips. Available in flow rates of ½, 1, or 2 gph.

8.  KATIF—low price, installed on mainline tubing only. Has the lowest profile for ultimate protection against being stepped on or weed whipped. Needs KATIF emitter punch tool for making the right size hole. Self flushing .6, or 1 gph.

9.  Woodpecker—least likely to plug, largest available diaphragm, installed on mainline tubing, used widely in commercial vineyards and orchards, operates at up to 70 PSI pressure. ½, 1, 2, or 6 gph.

10.  Ceta—available either on stakes or with barbed base for direct installation into mainline. Stakes can be connected in line with ¼” tubing. Take-apart for easy cleaning. Self flushing. ½, 1, or 2 gph.

11.  Cobra—on 5” stakes. Used as pot drippers where uniform rate is desired regardless of pressure. Requires a transfer barb and ¼” tubing to connect to mainline. ½, 1, or 2 gph.

12.   ½ ” In-Line Emitter Tubing—1/2” tubing with emitters installed at various spacings (9”, 12”, 18”, 24” and 36”) and 1 gph flow (9” & 12” also available in ½ gph flow). Greatly reduces installation time. Perfect for hilly, uneven terrain or long rows. The most convenient emitter type for most landscape beds, or for crops spaced at regular intervals and tree irrigation. Regular 1/2” fittings can be used on this tubing. Clog resistant, self flusing emitters.

13.  Drip Circles—16' lengths of in-line emitter tubing (1 gph emitters, spaced 24” apart) with fittings on each end, placed at the root zone circumference of a tree to give precisely measured amounts of water. The 8 embedded 1 gph emitters are spaced 24” apart over the circumference of the root zoneadjustable from a small diameter spiral to a maximum circle diameter of 5'). Can either be connected with a hose or plugged into a mainline. Use when you need convenient irrigation for a small number of trees or shrubs in the landscape—especially when they are away from main irrigation lines.


Adjustable Sprayers:

Good where adjustments are needed to change the water needs of individual plants within a single irrigation line. They can be completely shut off. Flow rate & Coverage indicated within the description.

14.  Shrubblers—Adaptable to different plants and changing water needs with fine control of spray diameter. Spray adjusts from a basic drip to 24” diameter with 13 gph flow. Has a low angle spray pattern. Available on a stake or on a barbed or a threaded base which can be inserted directly into mainline tubing or at the end of ¼” tubing, rigid riser, or pop-up riser. Available in ¼, ½ or full circle pattern.

15.  Bubblers—Delivers large quantity of water to a small area. Used on water loving plants, small trees or shrubs. Adjusts from 0 to 18” diameter with 35 gph flow.

16.  Spectrum—Available on a stake or with barbed or threaded base. Full circle pattern adjusts up to 11' diameter with 24 gph flow. Can be used directly on mainline tubing, on rigid riser, pop-up riser, or at end of ¼” tubing ( supported by a stake if elevation is desired).

17.  Vari-Jets—emitter heads on 10/32 threaded base, can be used directly on mainline tubing, on rigid riser, pop-up riser, or at end of ¼” tubing & supported by a stake. differing from spectrum in that spray pattern can be ¼ , ½ , or full circle and adjusts up to 24' diameter with 30 gph flow.


Fixed Range Sprayers/Sprinklers & Misters:

18.  Mini-Jets—offer many choices in coverage and pattern with an operating pressure as low as 5 PSI. There are 4 spray patterns for each of 4 different distance coverages:     ¼ , ½ , full or strip patterns. The full circle pattern will vary in distance from 7' diameter with 6.8 gph flow in one model to a 9' circle diameter with 29 gph flow in another. Emitters are on 10/32 threaded base and can be used directly on mainline tubing, on rigid riser, pop-up riser, or at end of ¼” tubing supported by a stake. Operating range from 5 -30 PSI..

19.  Wings—Lowest cost sprinklers to cover large areas. Must be used either with a Mini Sprinkler Support Kit (MESK) or with a press fit barb MEBARB. Best operating range 15-30 PSI. diameter at 30 PSI is 8' to 22' (depending on model) with water flow at from 5-34 gph.

20.  Ein Dor—This press fit sprinkler head must be used either with a Mini Sprinkler Support Kit (374-MESK) or with a press fit barb (326-MEBARB) which can be used at the end of ¼” tubing or rigid riser. Low water usage. 3 different models cover a diameter from 15' with 9 gph flow to 22' diameter with 34 gph flow.

21.  Tornado Misters—A mister or fogger. Operating range 20-60 PSI. Threaded base for fitting in PVC, mainline tubing, pop-up riser, or at the end of ¼” tubing. flow @ 20 PSI 4-8 gph. Spray diameter from 4' to 6'

22.  Mini-Misters—A directional mister/fogger. Can be taken apart for cleaning, ½” barb for inserting into mainline or at end of ¼” tubing. Stakes (-SS6 ) will help support and direct spray. Operating range 10-35 PSI. flow @ 20 PSI 2 gph directional spray-mist

23.  Spray Stakes—Used commercially to water balled or potted plants in nursery setting, at end of 1/8” tubing. Downward spray patterns of 3 different diameters. Good for     3 gal. To 30 containers 3 gal to 30 gal. containers. flow @ 20 PSI 4.2-15 gph. Spray diameter from 20” - 48”.