Orbit vs. Rain Bird: Which Is The Better Sprinkler System?

Orbit vs. Rain Bird

The key to a healthy lawn and garden is a reliable sprinkler system. There are a number of models out there today that can be easily attached to your garden hose and the majority of the work is done – all that may be required is for you to move the sprinkler to various locations around your lawn. For the ultimate convenience, you could consider installing an underground sprinkler system set on a timer to ensure even, efficient watering.

Regardless of whether or not you want an above-ground or underground sprinkler system, at some point in your search for the best, you may find yourself torn between Orbit and Rain Bird – two excellent brands that offer a wide range of high-quality irrigation products. In fact, Orbit and Rain Bird represent the gold standards in terms of well-built, reliable, and relatively affordable sprinkler systems. With that said, how do you decide which is better?

The choice between Orbit and Rain Bird ultimately comes down to your specific needs, if you’re comfortable with the warranty offered, and whether or not saving a couple of bucks upfront matters more to you than ensuring that your lawn is covered. In fact, many experts claim that while Orbit products are more affordable than Rain Bird, you get what you pay for in irrigation products that are lower in quality.

Orbit Irrigation

Located in Utah, Orbit Irrigation Products is a supplier and manufacturer of over 2,000 irrigation products for residential and commercial applications. They make products like sprinklers, timers, valves, and even low volume and micro-irrigation products that are focused on water conservation. Orbit has manufacturing facilities in the United States and China, selling their products globally to over 40 countries.

You can find Orbit Irrigation’s products in major retail centers like Home Depot, Lowes, and Walmart. Oftentimes, choosing Orbit is an affordable solution since they offer virtually everything!

Orbit Products

Orbit Irrigation has a wide array of products available. Though, they can be broken down into five distinct irrigation categories.

  1. WaterMaster is their underground irrigation product line that includes sprinkler heads, timers, valves, tools, and accessories.
  2. Their DripMaster line was intended for delicate drip-water applications in areas with special needs such as gardens, flower beds, ground cover, trees, and container plants.
  3. The SunMate product line is designed for hose-end applications and includes timers, sprinklers, nozzles, pistols, and wands.
  4. Their ArizonaMist product line provides mist cooling for both residential and commercial properties, in addition to portable personal applications.
  5. Hydro-Rain is Orbit’s professional, or commercial, line of products.

Why Orbit Irrigation?

With so many different irrigation manufacturers out there, it can be challenging to choose one over another. While every irrigation company has its own unique strengths and weaknesses, the following is what sets an Orbit sprinkler system apart from its competitors:

  • Water conservation. Many sprinkler heads and parts from Orbit are designed to specifically cut back on water and enhance efficiency when watering your property. This can help significantly lower your water bill, while also contribute to helping the environment at the same time.
  • Lower price points. If you’re shopping for a new irrigation system, you know how expensive it can get. In most cases, you can find Orbit products for lower prices than competitors – especially if you go through a third-party supplier.
  • High-quality products. From their high-efficiency drip systems to the forged water nozzles, you’ll notice that all of Orbit’s products are held at a higher standard than most other alternatives. Choosing Orbit for your sprinkler heads, timers, parts, and accessories will ensure that you receive exceptional quality with your purchase.

Rain Bird

Rain Bird is, arguably, the most known name in the irrigation business. Their high-quality sprinkler products have made them a favorite among both professionals and homeowners. Headquartered in Azusa, California, Rain Bird Corporation began in 1933 and since then they have produced and offered the widest array of irrigation products for golf courses, farms, sports arenas, commercial properties, and homes in over 130 countries worldwide.

The company is committed to “The Intelligent Use of Water,” which shows in not only their high-quality products but also their expert water management professionals with a passion for water conservation. Rain Bird’s sales, manufacturing, and marketing teams have come together to create innovative water-conserving products such as pumps, dripline, sprinklers, and timers/controllers.

Rain Bird Products

Like Orbit, Rain Bird offers a wide variety of sprinklers, parts, and virtually everything you need for your irrigation project. From valves to drip irrigation, to clocks and timers and more, if you need it, it’s very likely that Rain Bird has it. The quality of their products is unmatched, which makes Rain Bird one of the irrigation industry’s leaders. Here’s a brief breakdown of the specific products that Rain Bird offers:


The sprinklers from Rain Bird set the standard in terms of reliability, durability, and efficient watering. Rain Bird offers a sprinkler for virtually every application – from high-efficiency nozzles and pop-up spray heads to impact, hose-end, and rotors.

Whether your lawn has tall or short grass, steep slopes, and unpredictable water pressure, areas of high wind or non-potable water systems, there’s a Rain Bird sprinkler for you. You can count on Rain Bird to meet your very specific needs every time.


In addition to sprinklers, Rain Bird offers a comprehensive line of automatic irrigation timers and sprinkler controllers to suit every need – from the smallest home system to the largest, most complex commercial application.

Rain Bird allows you to choose from easy-to-program zone-based timers, powerful and versatile modular timers, and even self-adjusting, weather-based smart timers that constantly make adjustments based on the current weather. They also offer both indoor and outdoor models, depending on your needs.


Delivering flow control, internal openings, and simple irrigation system control, the valves from Rain Bird are about as high-quality as they come. Constructed out of either brass or glass-filled nylon, Rain Bird’s sprinkler valves are designed to provide product integrity. Their worry-free performance has made them a favorite among both golf courses and irrigation professionals around the world.

Orbit vs. Rain Bird: Which is Better?

Although both Orbit and Rain Bird claim to have the highest quality irrigation products on the market, many experts believe otherwise. Like most things in life, you get what you pay for and since Orbit is cheap in price it is also cheaper in terms of quality. In fact, most professionals refuse to replace anything with Orbit and, instead, opt for Rain Bird or even Hunter.

In terms of warranty, the customer satisfaction policy that Rain Bird offers is much better than the limited warranty policy from Orbit. Rain Bird will replace or repair any Rain Bird professional product that fails at no charge within the specified warranty period. Which, depending on the product, could be between 1 and 7 years. Meanwhile, Orbit will only replace products within one year from the purchase date.

With that said, it’s important that you do plenty of research on the specific irrigation product that you are interested in. That way, you can read reviews and see professional recommendations on whether or not that particular brand and model is the right choice for your needs.

Cost Comparison

The following table outlines some of the most popular products from both Rain Bird and Orbit, along with prices for an accurate cost comparison of these two manufacturers. It’s important to note that this is just a few of the many products that these two brands offer.

Product & Manufacturer Price
Rain Bird 19-32 ft. Simple Adjust Pop-Up Gear-Drive Rotor $9.97
Orbit Saturn III Plastic Pop-Up Gear-Drive Sprinkler Head $7.47
Rain Bird In-Ground Automatic Sprinkler System $155.19
Orbit In-Ground Sprinkler System $173.93
Rain Bird 8-Zone Outdoor Smart Irrigation Wi-Fi Timer Version 2.0 $147.86
Orbit B-hyve 12-Zone Indoor/Outdoor Smart Sprinkler Controller $109.00

Related Questions

Is there a difference between sprinkler valves you buy at Home Depot and those you buy from a commercial irrigation store?

Valve and controller models will vary considerably between those found at big box stores like Home Depot and those available at a local commercial irrigation store. Reputable companies that get their stock from irrigation suppliers are more geared towards professionals, while Home Depot sells lower quality versions of the same sprinklers and controllers that are easier for homeowners to use. That’s why it’s recommended to, when possible, get sprinkler controllers from vendors instead of box stores.

Are Orbit and Rain Bird compatible?

In most cases, many of the parts, keys, etc. between Rain Bird, Orbit, and even Hunter are interchangeable. Of course, there are some exceptions but an Orbit key does work with a Rain Bird flush-out valve.

Is Rain Bird or Hunter better?

Irrigation products from Hunter are slightly more durable when compared to Rain Bird. They have the ability to handle a greater PSI, which is crucial when it comes to water pressure, extreme weather conditions, and winterization. Since sprinkler heads sit in the ground they will experience extreme temperatures and it’s important that they can withstand these temperatures. Hunter controllers are also generally easier to program than controllers from Rain Bird.

Jessica Stone

Jessica considers herself a home improvement and design enthusiast. She grew up surrounded by constant home improvement projects and owes most of what she knows to helping her dad renovate her childhood home. Being a Los Angeles resident, Jessica spends a lot of her time looking for her next DIY project and sharing her love for home design.

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