Emitters vs. Dripline

Emitters vs. Dripline

May 26th 2023

Wondering about the difference between emitters vs. driplines? Be sure you are choosing the right type of irrigation for your garden and landscape by learning about the pros and cons of each type. Whether you're looking for peak versatility in your system or wish to customize for a specific area, read on to determine which system will work best for you.


Drip irrigation with emitters, or drippers, is highly customizable because it allows you to choose exactly where in the mainline you would like to place your emitters. Though emitters are built to stay in one place for a long time, it is also relatively easy to reuse your lines if you decide to change up your garden beds. Holes that are no longer necessary can be closed with goof plugs, and new holes can be created. Emitters come in a variety of shapes and sizes, depending on the specific area and plants you need to water.

Drip emitters are available in pressure compensating (PC) and non-pressure compensating varieties. PC emitters deliver the same amount of water regardless of pressure changes along the line due to uneven terrain or large distances. PC emitters are also self-flushing; they rarely get plugged and so reduce the maintenance required in the system. One of the best examples we offer is the Woodpecker emitter. It is sturdy, heavy-duty and reliable to keep your plants optimally watered the entire season long.

Non-pressure compensating emitters, or basic emitters, are rated for lower pressure flows than the PC emitters. They are often more affordable and come in a wide variety, depending on your specific needs. Inline emitters are one such example. Simply pop them in where you need a consistent drip in a low-pressure system, and you are all set.


Soaker driplines, Emitter Tubing and Drip tape are other options for irrigating your garden and crops. Our ¼" soaker driplines offer flexibility and are adaptable to many different uses. Driplines are easily wrapped around trees and shrubs and through flower beds or straightened out for row crops and raised vegetable beds. They are very popular because of the versatility and affordability they offer gardeners. Soaker driplines come with pre-set emitters, usually every 6", 9" or 12" depending on your needs.

Drip tape is very similar to driplines, but it offers longer tubing that lies flat until it is filled with water. Drip tape offers an easy way to water long lines of row crops, especially in low pressure situations, but it is not made for winding or curving within garden beds. Another benefit of drip tape is that it is easy to roll up at the end of the season. It is important to use a pressure regulator with drip tape to ensure it receives the steady pressure that it is rated for. When deciding on the thickness of your drip tape, home gardeners will be best served with 15 mil because it will last more seasons, saving money in the long run even with a greater initial cost.

Emitter tubing is like Soaker dripline, but it is a Pressure Compensating product and is much larger. ½" Emitter tubing can be curved and used to circle a tree or large shrub. This product can be used for long row crops or un-even terrain applications.

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