The 6 Best Scarecrow Sprinklers
This wiki has been updated 30 times since it was first published in April of 2015. If you want to keep critters out of your precious vegetable garden or flower bed without harming the little nuisances, try installing a scarecrow sprinkler. These motion-activated devices shoo away beasts great and small by using a harmless burst of water to startle unwelcome visitors, making them reconsider treading on the greenery or dining on the foliage. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
April 24, 2019:
You should be aware before you buy that, regardless of which option you choose, there will be some water wasted. Between leaky connections, misfires, and just bad luck, it's hard to eliminate all waste with one of these sprinklers. That said, we favored options that used limited amounts of water, like the Orbit Enforcer 62100, as they can help reduce your utility bills while still being effective against pests.
The intelligence of the sensor also plays into how much water will be smartly used (another reason why the Orbit Enforcer 62100 earned the top spot). Not all of them are equally adept at all hours of the day, so make sure that the one you get is capable of functioning at times when the pests you're targeting are most likely to be active. After all, it makes no sense to try to deter nocturnal critters with a sprayer that doesn't work at night.
The Havahart Spray Away comes with a remote that lets you set it off with the press of a button in addition to relying on the sensor. While fun, this feature isn't enough to overcome the device's myriad shortcomings, which is why it's stuck at the bottom of our list. Still, it may be exactly what you're looking for if you're after a specific creature (like, say, the neighbor's cat) rather than the entire animal kingdom.
Preventing Pests In The Garden And Yard
Scent-based deterrents can prove effective in keeping many animals at bay, and many options exist that are organic and safe for use even around small children.
Far too many homeowners and groundskeepers know the consternation of battling against pests that seem hellbent on ruining the lawn, gardens, flowerbeds, and other landscaping features that they have spent countless hours, not to mention tidy sums of cash, to establish. The fight against invasive animals is an asymmetric battle: your property has nothing to gain in the contest save for a lack of damage, and it has much to lose. A single raccoon digging for grubs can ruin a yard in one evening, and once a raccoon chooses a yard, it tends to come back night after night. A family of deer can make short work of flowers or edible plants in less than an hour's time. And flocking birds like ducks or geese can soil a plot of land so thoroughly that it's almost impossible to clean up.
When it comes to mitigating the damage and mess caused by animal pests, the only surefire way to go about it is to prevent the animals from entering your property in the first place.
Fencing is often the most reliable option in deterring larger animals like deer, but other critter such as squirrels and possums can easily climb over most fences, while small varmints such as moles can simply tunnel under. Fences can also alter the look and use of a property in ways its human inhabitants may not care for.
Scent-based deterrents can prove effective in keeping many animals at bay, and many options exist that are organic and safe for use even around small children. But these applied pest deterrents may also bother pets, if not the people who may also be able to smell them. These types of pest repellents also require frequent re-application, which can be a frustration in and of itself.
When it comes down to it, there's really no better way to scare off an animal than by spraying it with water. With a scarecrow sprinkler installed in your yard, you don't have to hide out in the bushes with a hose, either; you simply need to choose the right scarecrow sprinkler for your property's shape and size.
Choosing The Right Scarecrow Sprinkler
There are two basic types of scarecrow sprinkler: the self-contained unit, and the unit connected to a garden hose. While the latter will never run out of its liquid "ammunition," the former eliminates the need for monopolizing a hose. (And not only is it annoying to unhook the sprinkler each time you need to use the hose or you need to mow the lawn where it lies, but a hose lying on the yard for long periods of time can yellow or even kill the grass.)
Though for the shaded yard or for reliable nighttime operation, a battery powered option is the only reliable bet.
If you have a smaller property, a self contained solar powered scarecrow sprinkler with its own water reservoir is likely not the best choice, as these options tend to be large and rather unsightly. On the other hand, for a large property where even a long hose might not reach, they are the perfect choice for keeping pests at bay.
When you choose a scarecrow sprinkler, consider not just the overall size of your yard, but also the shape of the area that must be targeted. Many scarecrow sprinklers have minimum spray distances that will see water blasted right over the head of smaller pests in your smaller yard, making the units largely ineffective. At the same time, if a scarecrow sprinkler can't fire its beam of water far enough to soak the unwanted animal, it won't get the job done, either, and neither your yard nor your family will be safe from the threat of pest animals.
Also consider whether or not you are likely to remember to change the batteries of your scarecrow sprinkler as needed; if you tend to be forgetful, a solar powered unit may be a better idea. Though for the shaded yard or for reliable nighttime operation, a battery powered option is the only reliable bet.
Proper Scarecrow Sprinkler Use
To get the best results from a scarecrow sprinkler, you need to know the kind of animal you're trying to scare off as well as the other factors associated with your property. If you set your unit to be too sensitive, it will blast off every time a few leaves fall past it, for example, and that means wasting water, annoying humans who hear it, and potentially desensitizing the very creatures that are supposed to be repelled. However if you set the unit to ignore smaller animals you don't think pose a problem, you may scare off the deer while allowing little rodents to move in and run amok.
However if you set the unit to ignore smaller animals you don't think pose a problem, you may scare off the deer while allowing little rodents to move in and run amok.
The easiest thing you can do to keep a scarecrow sprinkler working well is to keep it clean. This means periodically wiping off its sensor so it can clearly "see" the area it's meant to monitor and it means cleaning out its nozzle to ensure its stream of water remains well aimed and powerful enough to do its job.
Make sure to test your scarecrow sprinkler thoroughly before you leave it to its work. Try tossing various objects into its plane of vision to test its sensitivity levels and adjust the unit as needed. You can consider a tennis ball, soccer ball, or a trash bag filled with lawn clippings to measure its responsiveness, as these items approximate the mass of a squirrel, a possum, and a larger animal like an adult raccoon or smaller deer respectively.