Drip irrigation systems have become a popular choice for gardeners, providing an efficient water-conserving solution for watering plants and seedlings even while on vacation.
Drip irrigation systems are excellent for raised garden and vegetable beds, greenhouses, and even potted plants, delivering water directly to the plant roots and minimizing water waste.
When choosing the best drip irrigation system for your plants, it’s important to consider factors including:
– length of the mainline and drip tubing for different garden sizes
– diameter of tubing to support water pressure
– durability of tubing
– pliability of tubing for easy installation
– number of emitters provided
– uniform water distribution and pressure
– timer with programming flexibility
– customer support for exchange of defective parts
Using the factors mentioned, we have reviewed 6 popular drip irrigation systems with timers and come up with our favorite.
Drip irrigation system
-26 ft of 1/2" mainline tubing + 200 ft of 1/4" distribution tubing
-great value for large garden space
-good water pressure
-great customer service
MIXC 107FT with timer
-7 ft of 1/2" mainline tubing + 100 ft of 1/4" distribution tubing
-possible water pressure issues
-set-up may require additional parts for complex layouts
- 75 ft tubing
- inconsistent quality of drippers, with some emitting little water
- 50 ft of 5/16” mainline tubing and 50 ft of ¼” drip irrigation tubing
- no timer
- may require additional tubing for larger gardens
- 40 ft of 1/2" mainline tubing, 200 ft of 1/4" distribution tubing
- great value for large garden space
- 3 emitter types
- no timer
- inconsistent tubing quality may result in disconnect
- 50 ft of 1/2" mainline tubing, 100 ft of 1/4" distribution tubing
- filter to prevent clogging
- water pressure regular
- waters up to 3 beds (4'x8')
- bluetooth enabled timer
1. MIXC 226FT – Editor’s Pick
The MIXC 226FT Greenhouse Micro Drip Irrigation Kit is our favorite irrigation kit.
MIXC comes with 26 feet of 1/2-inch mainline tubing and 200 feet of 1/4-inch distribution tubing.
With so much tubing, this product is great value for a large garden space of 160 feet.
This product is one of the most popular ones and has received many great reviews about the water pressure and easy installation.
Also, the system includes 3 types of sprayers, adjustable nozzle emitters, and sprinkler barbed fittings, offering flexibility according to your watering needs for different plants.
The most difficult part may be to put the tubing on the connectors but it can be done by softening the ends of the tubing in hot water for 10 seconds before connecting them.
The company also has great customer support that is responsive to complaints and calls for replacement.
The only downside is that it does not come with a timer and has to be turned on and off manually.
Our score: 4.5 out of 5
This product comes with 107 feet of tubing and a timer, allowing you to set up automated irrigation schedules and ensure your plants are consistently watered without constant attention.
The 12-port manifold design evenly distributes water, ensuring all plants receive the same amount of water pressure and flow.
It comes with a timer for automated irrigation.
Setting up this drip irrigation system can be quite convenient, but depending on your garden’s complexity, you may require additional parts to complete the installation. The package includes an extensive range of accessories, so you’ll likely have most of what you need right out of the box.
However, the product has been rated down for not having enough water pressure. Also, the timer screen may arrive with scratches, but this minor cosmetic issue should not affect the timer’s functionality.
Our score: 4 out of 5
3. Raindrip R560DP – Best value
Raindrip comes with 75 feet of 1/4 inch (6 mm) tubing and 20 emitters, which is suitable to water a small space with 20 plants.
It comes with a battery-run timer and customizable options like barbed tees, elbows, and connectors, which can help you set it up for raised beds, potted plants or hanging baskets.
This is one of the most popular drip irrigation systems, that many people love for its easy installation.
However, the timer lacks instructions and programming flexibility. There are also complaints about the inconsistent quality of drippers, with some letting out very little water, and also about the quality of tubing.
Our score: 4 out of 5
CARPATHEN comes with 50 feet of 5/16 inch mainline tubing and 50 feet of 1/4 inch drip irrigation tubing.
It is designed to work with between 20 and 45 PSI and a maximum output of 60 gallons/hour/emitter.
The product’s highlight is the above-average quality of its tubing. Made from a more pliable rubber, it is easy to assemble without the need for heating with hot water to soften it.
Installation is easy with pliable tubing that is easy to slip on. Some have reported taking only 30 minutes to install.
The detachable irrigation sprinkler heads are designed to prevent clogging.
The tubing is also UV resistant, ensuring the longevity of your watering system in any weather.
The company also has great customer service, responding promptly and efficiently facilitating the exchange of any defective pieces.
The only complaint is that the included tubing may not be sufficient for larger gardens, which means you may need to purchase additional tubing. Several customers also noted that the instructions provided could be more detailed, and a few experienced uneven water distribution throughout their gardens.
Our score: 4.5 out of 5
Maotong comes with 40 feet of 1/2-inch mainline tubing and 200 feet of 1/4-inch distribution tubing.
With so much tubing, this product is great value for a large garden space of 250 square feet or setting up 2 sets of irrigation systems covering 120 square feet each.
The kit also includes three kinds of sprayers (drip emitter stream, drip emitter vortex, and misting nozzle) allowing you to adjust the water flow according to the needs of the plants.
However, there are complaints about the quality of the tubing which doesn’t grip the fittings like they should, resulting in disconnects at various connections.
Additionally, this system may not perform optimally in gardens with drastically varying water pressure.
Our score: 3.5 out of 5
This is an agricultural-grade irrigation kit that comes with 50 feet of ½ inch mainline tubing and 100 feet of ¼ inch distribution tubing, allowing you to water up to 3 raised beds (4’ x 8’).
It comes with adjustable emitters, allowing you to customize the amount of water each plant receives based on its specific needs.
It also comes with a water pressure regulator and filter to prevent clogging.
Its best standout feature is the Bluetooth-enabled timer that allows you to automate your watering schedule without having to manually turn it on and off. This is especially helpful if you’re going on vacation or simply want to maintain a consistent watering routine.
It is also easy to install.
The only downside is that this product is expensive.
Our score: 3.5 out of 5
Drip Irrigation System Buying Guide
When choosing the best drip irrigation system for your raised beds, there are several factors to consider. It’s important to select a system that meets the specific needs of your garden, as well as fits within your budget.
Space and Size of Raised Beds
Consider the size of your raised beds and the amount of space you have available. Measure the length and width of each bed to determine the total required length of tubing. Look for a drip irrigation system that can accommodate your garden’s size.
Types of Emitters
Different types of emitters have various flow rates and distribution patterns. For raised beds, look for an irrigation system with emitters that deliver water directly to the plant roots. Some options include:
- Drip emitters: Deliver water slowly and directly to the root zone, minimizing surface runoff and evaporation.
- Micro-sprinklers: Distribute water evenly in a small radius, ensuring good coverage for closely spaced plants.
Choose emitters with pressure compensation to ensure uniform water delivery across the entire system, even on slopes or with varying water pressure.
Watering Frequency and Duration
Determine your plants’ watering needs and frequency. Look for a drip irrigation system that allows you to control the watering schedule, such as systems with manual valves or programmable timers. This ensures your plants get the appropriate amount of water, preventing over- or under-watering.
Materials and Durability
Your system’s durability is crucial, as it must be able to withstand sun exposure and outdoor elements. Choose high-quality tubing made from UV-resistant materials, such as polyethylene or vinyl. Look for systems with sturdy fittings and connectors for a secure, leak-free setup.
Ease of Installation and Maintenance
A good drip irrigation system should be easy to install and maintain. Look for user-friendly systems with clear instructions and readily available replacement parts.
By carefully considering your garden’s specific requirements and preferences, as well as the factors mentioned above, you can choose the most suitable drip irrigation system for your raised beds, ensuring your plants get the optimal amount of water needed for healthy growth.