How to Adjust Sprinkler Heads: A Quick Guide

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a small commission. Thanks.

If you have a backyard or lawn, you must have at some point considered getting a sprinkler system to take care of your watering needs. Perhaps, you might have even gone ahead and bought one. Alternatively, you might be sitting on the fence due to the lack of information on sprinklers, especially on how to adjust sprinkler heads.

For starters, sprinklers do look somewhat brittle, and it is common to be concerned about the maintenance of your sprinkler system. If your concern is the proper way of adjusting the sprinkler head, worry not.

That is because we’ll teach you how you can adjust your sprinkler head. The simple process just requires a few steps, and we are sure that after doing it just one or two times, you be able to adjust your sprinkler head within seconds.


Why Adjust a Sprinkler Head?

It is essential for any homeowner who has installed a sprinkler system in their lawn to know how to adjust the head. This is because the adjustment can result in ensuring that the grass receives water evenly. The last thing you want after installing a high-end sprinkler system is to end up with major puddles at certain spots on your lawn!

Knowing how to adjust a sprinkler head also helps in avoiding any overspray. That is to say: this makes sure that the water does not spray beyond the grass and onto paved surfaces or other places that you prefer don’t get too wet.

You may also find it comforting to note that adjusting a sprinkler is not an arduous task. For starters, most sprinklers are quite sturdy, and so, you cannot damage or break them easily.


How to Adjust Sprinkler Heads?

So you want to adjust the head but don’t have any idea how to proceed? There is no need to worry, as you can follow the detailed instructions listed below.

But first, make a note:  not all sprinkler heads are adjustable. If you know what head you’re using, look it up to make sure, or call the company that installed your system if you can. If there is a center screw, it’s adjustable, if there’s not, do a little more research first!


1. Adjusting a Spray Head

For many sprinkler head types, you’ll simply need a screwdriver. Check your sprinkler head itself to know if you need a flat or Philips screwdriver.

Generally, the screw is small and can be found on top of the sprinkler. You will either have to tighten it (clockwise) or loosen it (counterclockwise), depending on the result you want to achieve.

For most models, tightening the screw decreases the spray radius while loosening the screw increases the spray radius.

You can also adjust the screw to alter the direction of the nozzle that is spraying the water. This can be done to ensure appropriate area coverage.


2. Adjusting a Hunter Rotor Head

We are now delving into the fancier types of sprinklers which means that the adjustment is perhaps a little more challenging. Adjusting this particular type of sprinkler requires a key. It is called a Hunter adjustment key and, as the name suggests, it allows you to adjust this rotor head. The key can perform multiple functions since it can alter the arc as well as the direction of the sprinkler.

There is a dedicated adjustment socket present on the top of each rotor head. To adjust the arc, follow these steps:

  1. Insert the hunter key in the adjustment socket. Like written previously, the outlet is found on top of the sprinkler head.
  2. Once you have inserted the key, turn it clockwise and complete one whole circle while turning it. Each time you turn the key fully, it will alter the arc of the spray by 90 degrees. This can be done a total of four times, meaning an entire 360-degree angle can alter the arc.
  3. After turning the key a full circle four times, the key will not allow you to rotate it any further. This will be signified by a scratching noise coming from the mechanism.
  4. If you want to decrease the arc, you will have to follow the same steps written above, but the only difference is that you will have to rotate the key clockwise. Another glaring difference is the degree of adjustment.
  5. While increasing the arc, you can do so to a maximum of 360 degrees, but you cannot decrease the arc to zero degrees. Thus, the minimum you can alter the arc is approximately 40 to 50 degrees.


3. Adjusting a Signature Rotor Head

The Signature brand of sprinklers comes with a rather complicated, but efficient mechanism of adjustment. The mechanism incorporates a combination of disk and rings to manipulate the radius and height at which the water is sprayed. In order to access the mechanism, you will have to remove the top covers of the sprinklers individually.

You can alter the disks by moving the plastic collars according to the direction you want the water to spray in. To increase or decrease the height of the water spray, you have to detach the black disk set and then alter it manually until it is directed in the required manner towards the targeted space.

Once you have completed the task above, you can also flip the black disk around when you are putting it back in its place. This means that the gray side of the disk will be facing up.

Adjusting its collars will allow you to alter the reach of the water spray. This will allow you to make sure that the water is not transgressing the grassy area.


How To Adjust A Sprinkler Heads – FAQ

How do I know when I have the sprinkler head adjusted to the correct position?

For most irrigation systems, you’ll want each head adjusted just right so that there is just a slight overlap between the neighboring heads. Basically, one head should cover all the area possible until the next head can pick up the slack. If you can’t make this happen, the sprinkler heads are likely placed too far apart.

How do I adjust my movable sprinklers, like the one I just put on the end of my garden hose?

For the old-fashioned “fan” sprinklers as well as the impact-style sprinklers, you can adjust the sprinkler head by using the simple built-in adjustment knobs/pins. For spray radius/distance, you’ll simply turn your hose up (more water) or turn it back down to adjust.

Many fan-style sprinklers have a dial that controls whether the sprinkler makes the full (almost) 180′ arc or if it just does half of that span or less.

For impact-style rotating sprinkler heads, there should be a small deflector shield that can go up or down to adjust the water arc height. There may also be a separate pin that when flipped up (out of the way) allows the full 360′ range of motion for a full circle of spray.



We hope we have cleared your confusion regarding how to adjust a sprinkler head. You might have noticed that it is not so hard. With the right instructions and a little bit of care, you can do so easily.

Of course, different brands have different ways of adjustment. Some are more complicated than others, but the general principle is, it is not rocket science. Plus the more complicated the adjustment is, the more efficient and durable it proves to be.

Therefore, if one of your main issues with investing in a sprinkling system is adjusting its arc or radius, do not fret. With a little trial and error, you too will be able to get the best of your sprinkler system regardless of the brand they belong to.

Special offer for our visitors

Get your Garden Care Free Guide

We will never send you spam. By signing up for this you agree with our privacy policy and to receive regular updates via email in regards to industry news and promotions