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I became interested in motion sensor sprinklers started just about a year after I moved into my current home. After just a few weeks living there, I quickly found out that my yard was a communal toilet for cats.
Picking up 2-3 piles of poop every day from my front and back yards got old real quick, I started to look into ways to deter cats from doing their business on my property. After many failed attempts, I finally found something that worked and fixed the problem permanently (no issues for 3 years now!) I started with planing cat repellant plants, namely lavender. That didn’t work, so I moved on to the next idea.
I bought a round up sprayer and mixed a solution of rosemary oil and water, another supposed smell that cats hate. Nothing. Then I mixed the solution it with bhut jolokia powder, one of the hottest peppers on the planet, hoping to burn their asses (or at least their paws). When that didn’t work, I bought special anti-critter spray, but results were hit and miss.
Desperate and out of ideas, I covered all my flower beds, barked areas, and any soft ground with bird netting raised on stakes.
I’m not even joking, the cats would actually find ways to get under the netting. Those cats that didn’t want to fight the net just pooped right on the lawn. What kind of cat poops on a lawn? This was no longer funny.
Where were all these cats coming from? Of course, there was a neighborhood idiot that was feeding the stray cats in the area. They would have a nice full meal across the street, then come take a big dump at my house a few hours later in the middle of the night.
This was a huge problem for me. The second I would step out of my house every morning I’d get a waft of stinky cat crap slapping me in the face. It was also winter, so the moist air would just melt the piles of poop into my lawn so that I literally had to scrape the crap, along with my grass in order to remove it. Then I would have to hose everything down. Ugh. It still disgusts me to this day.
Before resorting to more extreme measures like capturing them and dumping them in the next town, I browsed some forums and found that there were motion sensor sprinklers that connected to the garden hose and would actually activate when any critter would come within range.
I bought one called Contech Scarecrow Motion Activated Sprinkler just to test out how it worked.
Well, it worked as advertised. Unfortunately, with setting it up to spray my lawn but not people when they walked by meant that I could only cover half the lawn. I also noticed that the cats were smart, and just started pooping in the back yard…right under my bedroom windows.
It was almost as if they knew what was happening and were trying to get revenge. So then I bought three more motion sensor sprinklers. Two for the font yard, and two for the back. My entire property was a secured like one of those laser sensor rooms you see in the cartoons that protect the rare diamond at the museum.
Nothing could take a step in my yard without getting sprayed. After about 3 months of tweaking the angles and leaving the sprinklers on 24/7, I removed them to see what would happen.
To be honest, it’s kind of annoying to step onto my own yard and get shot with water. It’s now been 2 months since I removed the sprinklers and I’ve only found one pile of poop, which was from a different neighbors dog (Geez, what kind of town do I live in?). No cat trouble though. I guess they decided to take their business elsewhere. Do motion sensor sprinklers work? Absolutely.
Not only do the provide immediate relief from critters and the satisfaction of having a reliable tool against them, but animals are smart enough to learn that your property is no longer their territory. Using a motion sensor sprinkler for a short period of time may be enough to provide you with long term results. Take a look at the top rated motion sensor sprinklers available online.
There are a variety of brands, each with unique features and customer reviews. My #1 recommendation now is the the Orbit Yard Enforcer. Though I was happy with the product I originally bought, that version is no longer available.
The Top 3 Motion Sensor Sprinklers Are…
#1 Orbit 62100 Yard Enforcer
Though the images above were from the Scarecrow (featured below, rated #2), I’ve chosen the Orbit 62100 Yard Enforcer as my #1 choice for keeping critters out of your yard. There are 3 solid reasons for why I’ve chosen this brand and model.
- Moderately priced
- Build of higher quality material
- Only brand with day/night sensor
The exact price I can’t post here because of Amazon’s rules (prices fluctuate), but the price of the Yard Enforcer is average and comparable to other models.
- The features most worth noting are:
- 7,500 cycles per battery set (4x AA)
- Day/Night sensors, with ability to control when sprinkler runs
- 120 degree activation zone
- High quality material construction and leak-proof connection
- in + out hose port to chain multiple units together
One of the top complaints about motion sensor sprinklers is that they leak or that the thread on the hose connect break over time. This is not an issue with the Orbit models as they are made of thicker plastic and metal parts. Below is a video showing this model in action!
#2 The Scarecrow
Originally my #1 choice, the Scarecrow has some pros and cons to consider.
First of all, the one you see on this page is a Chinese knock-off. The original one that I bought might have some serious manufacturing issues, because it’s not available all the time, and the price fluctuates up and down throughout the year. Honestly, I just won’t link to it any more because it’s not available all the time.
Plus, there are lots of complaints about the quality. If you are going to buy cheap, get it cheap. This one called Costway Scarecrow is a nice balance of value and cost.
That popularity may have been due to a price advantage which it no longer has. I purchased four units for about $50 each (with free Prime shipping), which was the cheapest one on the market in December 2014.
Also, I read several comments from customers that purchased both the Scarecrow and Orbit models stating that the construction material for the Orbit was much higher quality.
I am very happy with the four I’ve purchased due to ease of use and effectiveness. However, due to issues with pricing an availability, I’m going to list an alternative for my #2 choice below this one. In the meantime, here’s a video of this model in action!
#3 Havahart 5266 Spray Away 2.0
Due to issues with getting the Scarecrow at a decent price, I’ve chosen a similar model as an alternative. This is a cheaper alternative to the Orbit as well. It’s actually only about $10 cheaper if you are a prime member (no Prime shipping for this model).
This model also has mixed reviews. The biggest complaint I read is issues with the sensor, sometimes causing the sprinkler to go off when no animals were around. This happened from time to time, especially on windy days, with my Scarecrow, and it can be really annoying.
Another disadvantage is that there is also no out port if you want to put multiple units on a single hose. Supposedly there is a heat sensor on this one, but I doubt that it will work better than the motion sensor portion (also used here).
In all, I think the number of disadvantages to this model outweighs the money you save (only $10-$20), but it is the third most purchased motion activated sprinkler on Amazon and second or third most reviewed on YouTube.
Check out this video to view the Havahart 5266 Spray Away 2.0 in action. Too bad it’s on a dog and not a raccoon or cat, but you can see that it works.
Spray Away Elite II Hose-Free
Currently Unavailable. The Spray Away Elite II Hose-Free is currently the only model available that functions without needing to be attached to a hose! This means it will be perfect for areas of your yard where a hose doesn’t reach, or you want to be able to easily move the unit to different places (keeping unwanted visitors on their toes!).
This unit is also solar powered, meaning you won’t have to spend money or time on battery changes. However, it also means you’ll need to place it in a sunny spot to charge.
There is a 3.5 gallon tank that you can fill with water before putting it in the desired spot. If you find that cats or deer only come in your yard from time to time, maybe a few times a night, you could get a full week of use before needing to refill.
But if you place it in the front yard where cars or people going by can also trigger the motion detector, you may have to fill it more frequently.
It’s on the pricey side, and about double what any other model costs. Want to see it in action? Check out the video below!
Each of the unites listed above comes with everything needed to function properly except batteries. However, everyone will have a different setup in their yard, and here are few accessories you might need to customize your anti-critter home setup.
Brass Hose Splitter
If you want a hose ready for normal lawn and garden needs without needing to attach and detach your sprinkler hose every time, a 2-way hose splitter will make your life easier.
Get the heavy duty one because a lot of the Chinese knock-offs will break if you tug on them too hard.
O-Ring Style Hose Washers
I found that the flat washers that came with my Scarecrow did not effectively prevent water from leaking. The round o-ring washers I got online worked wonders, and I also replaced all my other hoses with these because they worked so well.
They are plump, so it does take a few extra turns to squish ’em down, but they work fantastically. In fact, 6 years later, I’ve placed several more orders of these things and still use them on all hose connections.
Extra Garden Hose (short)
I linked two sprinklers together (Yard Enforcer and Scarecrow have this feature) using a short garden hose between them. The upside is that you don’t need a second hose and a 3 way hose splitter at the faucet.
The downside is that if both sprinklers on the same chain go off at the same time, you don’t get full spray capacity. Garden hoses come in as short as 6 feet. How long of hose you need will depend on how far apart the sprinklers are, but most hoses come in about 50 feet length from the hardware store, which is way too long (and expensive)
The one linked above comes in a wide variety of sizes (3-100 feet).