Tag Archives: national walking sprinkler

Best Walking Sprinkler

If your yard looks like the scorched earth terrain from a Mad Max movie then you need to investigate the National/Rittenhouse Walking Sprinkler.

This is the creme de la creme of yard sprinklers.


One word. It is solid. Okay that’s three words but you get my drift.

The Rittenhouse lawn sprinkler (National) is one solid beast that stalks irresolutely across your yard watering your lawn as it goes. This is the original walking sprinkler that every other one has been based on since it came out in the 1930s.

The problem with the other designs is they try to cut the cost by using cheap plastic parts. Result – stripped gears and runaway sprinklers. Yard sprinklers are a dime a dozen but you get what you pay for.

Runaway sprinklers?

Yes, really! When I was asking friends and neighbors trying to decide what sprinkler to buy for our yard, I heard horror stories of sprinklers that jumped off their hose (because they’re too light) and headed off down the road sprinkling as they went!

Rest assured, you will never have those sort of problems with this one.

It weighs around 30lbs and this means that it stays on the hose track. No more racing outside to put it back on track – or worse chasing it down the road!

It has both adjustable speed and width of spray so can be used in variety of situations. Width of spray can be set to between 4 to 50 feet which gives you enormous adjustability. I have heard of someone watering their roof two stories up so keep those windows closed until you’ve got your settings right!

It can even manage a slight incline which none of the others can. Note that I said “slight incline” not Everest so keep your expectations realistic here, folks! My yard is completely flat so I can’t test this aspect but I’m sure some of you will!

You can see on the image above that the wheels are cast iron – steer clear of cheap plastic wheels.


High speed is 40 feet an hour and will it put down about half an inch of water.

Low speed is 20 feet an hour and will put down about 7/8 of an inch of water.

This means you can adjust it so that it is putting down the right amount of water for your situation. This model can pull up to 300 feet of hose so by varying your hose length and speed you can adapt it for your yard.

Also, by flipping the drive pawls out of engagement you can use it as a stationary sprinkler.

Sprinkler arms are adjustable and cover from 4 to 50 feet. Make sure when you assemble it that the word “top” is facing upward on both arms

Setting up the hose track

To set up the traveling water sprinkler you simply lay the hose in the middle of the area that you want to water. Make sure all your turns are gradual and the tractor unit can negotiate the bends with ease.

laying sprinkler hose

To get the best results you need to use a 5/8 inch garden hose. The half inch size can be used but might be too small to guide the sprinkler round corners with the result that the front wheel of the unit will jump off the hose. Now the whole point of buying this heavier model is to avoid that happening – the lightweight traveling lawn sprinklers are forever coming off the hose-track.

This is one of those things that you want to set up right and then you don’t have to worry about it again so do make sure you use 5/8” hose.

The National Walking Sprinkler has been made in the good ol’ USA since 1938. Plenty of imitators but nothing matches the original traveling lawn sprinkler.

What other folk are saying about this model

These reviews of the National B3 model are taken from happy buyers from Amazon and other online sites.

“performance has been great, even going up and down modest grades”

“Manufactured from meticulously machined components of stainless steel, brass, and aluminium, sturdily fastened to a rugged, cast iron chassis, drivetrain, and wheels, this is a solid, durable, bombproof sprinkler. It’s built like a steam locomotive. Moreover, in the unlikely event that it does need to be repaired, it comes apart (yes, I could not resist taking mine apart) with basic hand tools, and goes back together quickly and easily. ”

“has proven itself capable of pushing small tree branches out of it’s way”

“You don’t want this Gilmour one or the Nelson Rain Train. They are both plagued with the same problems: stripped gears, inability to go up even the slightest hill, an “off” valve that sticks”

“Not a bit of plastic on this thing, no cheap gears to strip when dragging a lot of hose behind it.”

“Very impressed with how strong this sprinkler is, very heavy duty. Should last forever if proper care is taken to lube the moving parts as directed by owners manual.”

“I got tired of buying a new sprinkler every spring, so I decided to invest in a top of the line sprinkler made in the USA, and boy, am I glad I did! This thing is a monster! Seriously, the Nelson traveling sprinkler (which i bought and immediately returned) was a dainty little thing (full of plastic gears, no doubt), but this beast is SOLID METAL! It’ll probably outlive me!”

That last comment is one that resonates with me. This is quality merchandise. You do get the feeling that it will probably outlast you. Maybe I can leave my walking sprinkler to one of the kids in my will!

And for those who, like me, found it all a bit difficult to picture this above ground sprinkler system in action, this video will give you an idea of what it all looks like..