What is the best motion-activated sprinkler? Motion-activated sprinklers differ based on three characteristics: a power source, water source, and spraying range. These devices can be battery-run or solar-powered, which are more energy-efficient. Motion-activated sprinklers may require a garden hose or operate hose-free. The latter ones use water gallons and can be mounted in any part of the garden. And finally, there are models featuring a 120-degree range and 360-degree sprinklers. Devices with a broader range of spraying repel animals more effectively.

It is me if you want to see someone living trouble-free amongst nature without using animal spray repellents and poisons. The secret of my success is in understanding that technological advances and wildlife can actually go hand-in-hand together. I will tell you more, this is a perfect combination! I have become an ardent advocate of this idea after starting to use motion-activated sprinklers in my yard.


In this guide, you will learn how a motion-activated sprinkler works and what commercially available types of these devices. Below, you will also find a selection of tips and recommendations made by scientists on how to install motion-activated sprinklers and use them properly. A detailed motion-activated sprinkler review will be an excellent guide to choosing the right device for your particular case.

What you will learn from this Guide:

How Does A Motion-Activated Sprinkler Work?

A motion-activated sprinkler is a frightening device that shoots a stream of water and simultaneously emits noises. So it chases the intruders away by a sudden burst of water and startling sounds. Actually, the device kills two birds with one stone as it scares away varmints and waters the garden at one stroke.

Infrared sensors. When an animal wanders into the protected area, it is detected by special infrared sensors designed to react both to heat and movements. As a rule, unwanted intruders come onto the radar of a motion-activated sprinkler when they approach at a distance of about 30-40 feet.

Protected area. As a rule, a good motion-activated sprinkler protects an area of about 1,000 square feet. However, such devices are not intended for the largely agricultural area since you will need a huge quantity of them to protect it. So many motion-activated sprinklers, let alone batteries that should be regularly changed, would cost the owner a fortune. Whereas installing them in small areas is a cost-efficient and effective solution. So experts from the University of Kentucky suggest using motion-activated sprinklers to deter animals from small gardens or landscaping.

Last update on 2022-12-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Now, how to install a motion-activated sprinkler?

  1. The device should be attached to a garden hose if it is not a hose-free option.
  2. Then, put the appropriate batteries in the device and insert its pole into the turf.
  3. Position the sensor and sprinkler so that they are looking toward the direction of where the animals come into the yard.
  4. Set the sensitivity of the sprinkler and test it by means of the indicator light.
  5. When everything is ready, turn on the hose.

How Is Effective Using Motion-Activated Sprinklers?

A motion-activated sprinkler is good in every way: it is safe, free of chemicals and does not harm animals. Modern sprinklers are typically fully automated, so they do not require human participation. What you need to do is mount the device and customize the settings. The device will do the bulk of the work, and you will not even have to monitor its functioning!

You might ask why motion-activated sprinklers have not replaced all other repelling methods if they are that great.

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What are the drawbacks?

Well, the problem with motion-activated sprinklers is that they produce only a short-term effect and never eradicate the source of trouble. Another disadvantage common to all frightening techniques lies in the fact that some animals eventually become accustomed, especially when they see that no real danger follows those startling noises and bursts of water.

This is especially the case for strongly motivated animals that suffer a lack of food. They are willing to risks and eventually learn that they can get away with it.

How to choose the suitable device

But these potential disadvantages pale in comparison with what you can achieve properly using a motion-activated sprinkler. Moreover, you can take measures to prevent the animals from habituating themselves to these repellers and avoiding them.

To this end, you need to choose the right device. First, this means using motion-activated sprinklers made by trusted producers. JoEllyn Argabright from Kansas State Research and Extension names Contech, Orbit, and Havahart as trusted brands that have quite similar features.

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Then, you should opt for technologically advanced products. Feature-packed motion-activated sprinklers offer a wider range of options, enhancing the device’s performance.

In fact, this is about details, but nuances determine the result. A sophisticated device is more sensitive, more selective and “smarter”, which is important because the wild animals you are going to repel are inherently crafty. Otherwise, they could not survive.

A strong point of all modern motion-activated sprinklers is the possibility of adjusting them. The sensor is usually moved so that you can adjust the device, either for smaller or larger animals. You may set modes for the sprinkler to operate at night or during the day only. Apart from that, there are features such as setting a timed watering and adjusting the device for a shorter or longer distance.

Types of Motion-Activated Sprinklers: Which One Is the Best?

Motion-activated sprinklers can be divided into different categories depending on several features. Now, let’s have a look at them.

  • Power source. Motion-activated sprinklers operating on batteries and solar-powered ones. The main criterion here is a power source. Solar-powered devices are often preferred because they are environmentally friendly and cost-efficient since you do not have to change batteries. Moreover, batteries can damage motion-activated sprinklers, which is not the case with solar-powered devices. The only weak point of units running on solar energy is that they can be installed in a sunny place, while some yards can be predominantly shady.
  • The range of spraying. A sprinkler can spray in a 120-degree or 360-degree range. Needless to say that the latter is a better option. This is an important characteristic feature because the wider the range is, the better the device repels. The idea is clear: you never know where intruders will arrive and how many animals will be there. Therefore, a wide spraying angle ensures maximum protection for the yard. By the way, a spraying angle should not be confused with a viewing angle. The latter is about detecting the movement in the area and can differ from the spraying angle.

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  • Source of water. Most motion-activated sprinklers are connected to the garden hose, but there is also a hose-free option. This feature affects the price, by the way, making the product more expensive. Hose-free items operate using gallons of water designed for several dozens of sprays per fill. The idea is that you can mount the device anywhere in the garden or yard without bothering to connect it to the hose, which is sometimes impossible to do.

TOP Best Motion-Activated Sprinklers

Below, you will find six models of motion-activated sprinklers in the price range from less than 50 dollars to 100 dollars. Some of them cover a smaller area, while others can protect up to 1,900 square feet. There is a model capable of spraying 360 degrees, moving in a full circle, and a model mounted on a tripod so that the sprinkler can be extended up to 54 inches. A motion-activated sprinkler powered by a solar battery is an example of an environmentally friendly solution.

1. Orbit 62100 Yard Enforcer Motion-Activated Sprinkler with Day & Night Detection 

This sprinkler covering an area of 1,600 square feet is in the price range between 50 and 100 dollars. Now, let’s see whether it is worth this kind of money. What is clear from the product’s description is that it is a “smart” device based on advanced technologies. This allows you to make settings depending on your needs and preferences.

You can adjust the sprinkler so that it detects targets only at night or in the daytime as well. Its sensing technology is really intelligent, with such features as water conservation and efficient use of batteries. This is a very important quality characteristic, making the product much cheaper in use and saving your money in the long run.

An extremely robust and durable construction

The sprinkler, with a length of 35 feet, is adjustable. It is equipped with a 120-degree arc motion sensor and allows you to set timed watering. The device can be used for various purposes, not just to frighten off animals but also for irrigation.

Apart from technological advantages, this motion-activated sprinkler has such valuable features as durability and ruggedness. Also, this is the tallest device in the review, with a height exceeding 24 inches. This is good, particularly for scaring larger animals.

Operated on batteries, the device can be activated more than 7,500 times, which is quite a lot and is enough for several seasons. And you will not have to worry about the device being under the rein or other unfavorable weather conditions as it is made of metal and brass and is really robust.

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Orbit 62100: Check the current price

2. Orbit 62120 Garden Enforcer Motion Activated Sprinkler

This is another variation of a motion-activated sprinkler, a more convenient and functional one that covers an area of 1,600 square feet. The device has the same features as a regular Orbit, including a 120-degree sensor, intelligent sensing technology, and timed watering settings.


A metal tripod — what’s the advantage?

The key characteristic property of this modification is a metal tripod that can extend the device up to 54 inches. This is a beneficial feature for areas with tall grass or where you cannot insert the stake into the soil for some reason. When mounted, the Orbit sprinkler with the tripod will be over 32 inches in height.

What is particularly essential is that the tripod is really stable and cannot be easily overturned. This version will cost you an extra 20 dollars, but I think, in some cases, it is worth it. Separately worth noting is the possibility of adjusting the tripod from 28 to 54 inches. So choose the height you need, depending on your target animal and what kind of plants surround the device.

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Orbit 62120: Check the current price

3. Havahart 5266 Spray Away Motion Activated Sprinkler Animal Repellent 2.0

There are nine sensitivity settings to adjust the device for smaller or larger animals — from deer to squirrels. They also allow you to choose the distance that should be reached and adjust the arc of the sprinkler. No other motion-activated sprinkler has such a variety of settings!

The maximum range it covers amounts to 1,900 square feet, making the product exceed many other devices' performance. The sensor detects an animal as far as 35 feet away and frightens the intruder off with a burst of water and startling noise and motion.

Havahart vs. Orbit: choosing the best of the best

Like the previous product, this one is also efficient, consuming at most three cups of water per spray. When the battery runs low, you receive an alert to ensure that the area is protected day and night. The unit is slightly lower than Orbit — 22 inches, but it is pretty bulky as it is more significant in width.

However, there are some downsides. So the step-in stake designed to be inserted into the soil is made of plastic, which raises questions about its durability. Some people complained that the device was leaking. This may happen for several reasons. For instance, small rocks may get in and keep the diaphragm valve open. In this case, you should take the device apart and clean it thoroughly.

Havahart: Check the current price

4. COSTWAY Scarecrow Motion Activated Animal Repellent

This option will cost you less, but the area it covers is significantly smaller than the previous product — no more than 1,200 square feet. The unit is smaller, about 12 x 7 inches, so you should better use it against medium and small-sized animals like rabbits, raccoons, and birds.

What is wrong with the ScareCrow device?

On the other hand, there is a problem related to the distance the device can operate. If you need it to work at a close range, this motion-activated sprinkler will hardly cope with the task. It is angled to shoot upwards about 45 degrees to reach a distance, therefore, if the intruder passes in front of the device within some ten feet, it will not be hit by the water spray.

The device generally works the same way, driving unwanted animals out of the area by a sudden noise and jet of water. It also consumes a small amount of water for sparing and targets all sizes of animals, from critters to deer. There is also an “at night only” option so that you can adjust the sprinkler depending on your needs.

ScareCrow: Check the current price

5. Budget Motion Activated Jet Blaster 

This motion-activated sprinkler will save you money in two ways. First, it is the cheapest product in the review, available at fewer than 50 dollars. Secondly, this item has a 360-degree water spraying angle that can be adjusted. How can it save my money, you may ask?

Well, when a motion-activated sprinkler does not entirely cover the area around it, you should better buy one more or several such items to mount them close to each other but in different directions. So you will avoid “gaps” in the protected area. Hoont product solves this problem, spraying in a full circle.

And yet, this item has noticeable downsides. The major one is that the device covers an area only within the range of 650 square feet. The sensor detection range is compared poorly with the previous products, reaching no more than 30 feet. Other disadvantages are related to the product’s durability. It is made of plastic and will not last long enough, especially if water leakages occur.

Hoont: Check the current price

Products with a 5-star rating


Product5 Stars Votes
Hoont Cobra Solar-Powered Motion-Activated Water Blaster412(5.2%)
Orbit 62120 Garden Enforcer251(3.1%)
COSTWAY Scarecrow211(2.6%)

Testing & Customers Reviews

Here are the reviews from YouTube bloggers about the products in our article.

pseudoscientific: "I've got two of Orbit Yard Enforcer Sprinklers in my yard, and these have worked really well to keep cats out of my yard. I wanted to have a bird sanctuary here, and the birds don't like it too much when there are cats roaming around trying to catch them. These have worked remarkably well. You can set these things to spray out water for a certain duration of time, anything from like 1 second to 10 seconds and they spray on a pattern. And so anything that crosses in front of them that has a heat signature like an animal will trigger it and they work really well compared to other motion detector-type devices that I've seen. I have some motion detection lights and they trigger on anything, any kind of motion. The advantage of these is that they trigger heat motion, so they're a little tricky to set up. What I've noticed is that they tend to work better-going level out or slightly downhill. They don't work as well, or at least it's harder to set up going uphill. My house is on a slight incline so these are faced away from the house, and I didn't have any problems setting these up. I do have to tilt them slightly forwards.

What I noticed is they were heating up quite a bit in the midday Sun, and so I made the shields out of central PVC to give them some shade during the day. So what I would recommend to the company is they should make a model that's white because that would remove that problem. The beauty of it also is that they made it so that it sprays down and out as well, so anything within a radius of that is going to get wet. And again, you can set it for distance, you can set it for angle, and how far it sprays to the side of the side, and it's pretty simple, but it is very effective. And once they stop, there's about probably a 10-second reset. So once it goes through the cycle, it gives you a chance. You can just move around in front of it, and then it'll reset.

The cool thing about them is that if you have a cat or something in the yard and they go past it doesn't just turn on and stay on like a regular irrigation system. And that's what makes it effective is that the animal doesn't really know what's going on. It stops and then starts, stops and starts, and it makes it seem more unpredictable. I think they're very good investment if you want to keep animals out of your yard. They're fairly sensitive. I've had them trigger on things as small as a rabbit and even birds. If a bird flies like directly in front of it, like, about four or five feet or maybe even a few feet in front of it, it'll trigger also. But I've also had smaller birds just kind of walking in front of it, and they did not trigger, so that seems to be about the limit. A morning dove which is a bigger bird, will tend to trigger a little bit more than a sparrow, for example. So they worked really well I'm really happy with them. Good investment."

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Saddle Peak Farm and Vineyard: "We have a row of sunflowers that are growing outside the perimeter of the vineyard. Deer in the neighboring fields come up in the evening. And the first couple of years, we tried every spray and thing that you could hang that you've heard about without much success, and then we found this little guy called the Scarecrow. All it is is a motion detector on the front, and on the back, there's a sensitivity dial. We turn it off during the day and then put it on sensitivity 6 at night. And you hook up a hose to it. You don't need a tripod. I just had an extra one and found it very effective. But you can put it in the ground, or up on a pole, or wherever. And when it sees the deer, it detects them moving it gives a quick spray of water. It's been highly effective, and it's affordable."

Last update on 2022-12-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Solar Powered Motion Activated Animal Repellent Sprinkler

Approximately for the same price, you can buy a solar-powered motion-activated sprinkler. A clear advantage of this option is energy and cost efficiency, as a solar energy battery comes with the product. The device does not consume energy, nor does it cost you extra money since there is no need to purchase new batteries. However, the coverage area is quite small compared to the other review items. The other weak point is the plastic design which is not durable and can break.

Expert Opinion: Michael Enright, Owner of Enright Wildlife and Habitat Solutions

Michael Enright, owner of Enright Wildlife and Habitat Solutions

Michael Enright is the owner of Enright Wildlife and Habitat Solutions, a company that offers solutions to a broad range of wildlife and habitat situations. He completed a master’s degree in Biology at Wright State University. Before starting his business, Michael worked as a wildlife biologist and Director of Parks and Conservation at Five Rivers MetroParks.

“I have a client who has issues in an edible landscape garden and the issues are with deer. Keeping deer out of a garden that is filled with good things to eat is a particular challenge. In this case, fencing is not an option and repellents are not an option. So we went with a little bit different approach. We have four motion-activated sprinklers, it’s the Orbit Yard Enforcer, and they are spread out around the garden. They have been very effective at keeping deer out. No matter where the deer go, they get sprayed and frightened by the noise”.

10 Best-Selling Motion-Activated Sprinklers Comparative Table

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Rules On How To Use Motion-Activated Sprinklers

  • Before mounting the device, inspect the yard or garden to find out all the places where damage was caused. These are places where you should set up your motion-activated sprinklers.
  • Direct the device towards the area from where the intruders are coming. This is crucial because you should better drive the animals away before they get closer to the plants and damage them. 
  • Be sure that the sensor has a clear view of the target area and no objects such as tree branches obstruct it. In addition, leaves and similar items may make the sensor trigger accidentally, something that should be avoided as well.
  • Locate the device in a shady place as if it is a predator lying in wait for its victim. Keep in mind that the burst of water and sound should come out on a sudden to frighten off the animal.
  • When the unit is launched for the first time, make enough time to monitor its operation. Sit somewhere is a hidden place and watch whether the device repels passing animals well enough or maybe it sprays areas you do not want to be sprayed.
  • Brooke Edmunds from Oregon State University Extension Service warns that some animals are smart enough and may try to outwit the device. For example, cats may figure out how far the water goes and move around it while raccoons may join forces and knock down the sprinkler. To avoid this, install several motion-activated sprinklers at one time and not far away from each other.

How To Make a Motion-Activated Sprinkler

If you have enough patience and diligence as well as basic knowledge of electricity, you may want to make a motion-activated sprinkler yourself. A clear advantage of this approach is the low price of the device. Experts from PennState University offer the following instructions:

First, take a with a small motor powered by wires. Take it apart and cut the wires. Use additional wire to make them longer and leave the wires outside. After that, take a small tubing to have the sprayer draw liquid from a larger bottle.

Building the circuit

Then, you will have to build the circuit. Here you will need Arduino, which is a platform for building interactive electronic objects. Start with the PIR Motion Sensor, connect the ground pin on the Arduino to that on the sensor. Match up the sensor’s +5V pin to pin 13 next to the ground pin on the Arduino. Then, connect the sensor’s signal pin to pin 12 on the Arduino.

Install the transistor to the breadboard and connect Arduino’s ground power pin to the transistor’s left pin. Connect Arduino’s pin 3 to the transistor’s middle pin. Place the diode in the breadboard with the transistor’s left pin connected to the right one. The other end of the diode should be installed a few rows down the breadboard.

Connect the ground wire of the sprayer motor to the transistor’s right pin as well as the diode’s left end. Then, connect Arduino’s 5V power pin to the diode’s right end by means of the breadboard. And finally, connect the sprayer’s positive wire to the diode’s right end.

What actually makes the device a motion-activated sprinkler

Now, you have to write the code and upload it to Arduino. This will make the sprayer activated by a motion sensor and a spray only for a certain period. Follow the instructions for writing a code prepared by researchers at PennState University. This is far from being easy, but if you manage to do everything the right way, you will get a cheap and working motion-activated sprinkler.

F.A.Q. On How To Use A Motion-Activated Sprinkler

Does a motion-activated sprinkler work in darkness or when it is snowing?

Sure, a motion-activated sprinkler successfully operates at night, in complete darkness. Moreover, most advanced devices have a “night only” mode intended for nocturnal intruders, such as raccoons. Besides, the atmospheric temperature is more favorable for its operation at night because the animal’s heat is detected more easily.
Whereas in snowy weather the temperature is becoming too low for the device to operate. As you can see, a sprinkler hits an animal with a burst of water, something that will not be possible in winter. Read more...

How do I know that it is time to change batteries in my sprinkler?

Many modern motion-activated sprinklers are equipped with a LED light indicator showing whether the battery is running low. However, if your device does not have such a feature, then you should simply check it from time to time. When bursts of water become weaker, it is time to change the battery. Read a detailed insight into trusted motion-activated sprinklers in our Buyer's Guide - Best Motion-Activated Sprinkler Reviews.

Can a motion-activated sprinkler be used for garden irrigation?

Most motion-activated sprinklers have this function. Just set an appropriate mode and use the sprinkler for irrigation of your lawn or garden. But be sure to check whether the product has a regular mode before buying it. Read more...

Will the motion sensor respond to humans, not just animals?
Modern motion-activated sprinklers are intelligent but not to that extend. Of course, they cannot distinguish humans from animals as all we are mammals. What makes the device detect a passing target is the heat emitted by the body. In order to avoid being hit with a jet of water, you may adjust the spraying distance.

How to install a motion-activated sprinkler?

First of all, choose the right location. The device should be mounted in the direction of where the animals enter the lawn or garden. This will allow to frighten them off before they have caused any damage to the plants and fruit. Read more...

Insert the item’s stake into the soil several inches deep. If the turf is damp, take a pot with gravel and dig it into the soil. After that, insert the unit into the pot. Then, adjust the spray range and sensor sensitivity. For small animals, sensitivity should be high while for larger ones, it should be low.

Can the motion sensor be too sensitive to detect the wrong target, leaves for example?
Motion-activated sprinklers sometimes respond to a wrong target. What you need to do to prevent this from happening is to locate the unit in the right place. Be sure that branches of the tree, as well as other objects in the yard, cannot accidentally contact the sensor. If you want to get it right, spend some time in front of the device and watch how it operates. This will help you adjust the sprinkler so that it can respond only to target animals.

How long does a battery last for motion-activated sprinklers?
The battery’s service life is determined by the intensity of its exploitation. The more often the device is activated, the sooner it will run out of the battery. And again, much depends on a particular model. Advanced devices are energy efficient and their intelligent technologies prevent them from being activated in vain. This extends the battery life and conserves water.

Tips and advice 

Motion Activated Sprinklers Testing

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0 #3 Rapid SystemsRapid Systems 2020-10-22 10:31
Using a deer sprinkler is a very effective means of getting rid of these animals! Unlike other products that use lights or chemicals, this product uses a motion activated sprinkler to ward off deer. These products are sure to startle deer and ensure they stay away from your desired areas.
+7 #2 "hose-free" solar sprinklerDenise Bock 2020-03-11 10:08
I would like to purchase 2 "hose-free" solar sprinklers, but I did NOT see any specific recommended brand, or where the products are sold. Can you please help me?
0 #1 HomeownerJim Sell 2019-11-17 20:25
I have installed 3 of these and they work GREAT! My only suggestion is that I wish someone would make one that can be disarmed for about 1-2 minutes. This could be done with a remote control or wifi. We have one in the front of our house that can be set only for night (or day, or both). But if we go out, or have friends over, it presents a problem. I wish there was an easy and convenient way to disarm it for just a minute or two.