Drip Tubing Buying Guide

How do you choose which dripline to use for your project?

Let us review your options and help you decide.

1/4" Soaker Dripline:

The 1/4" soaker dripline is a 1/4" polyethylene tubing with pre-installed emitters at designated spacing. The emitters in the 1/4" soaker dripline are basic type emitters (non-pressure compensating). The basic type emitter's flow rate (GPH) will vary with pressure changes. The 1/4" soaker dripline is available in three options 6", 9" or 12" spacing. The table below will show the flow rate per emitter based on pressure and the maximum row length of each spacing option.

Flow per 100'
Spacing Option 10 PSI 20 PSI 30 PSI Maximum Row
DSD6 6" 84 GPH 120 GPH 160 GPH 18'
DSD9 9" 56 GPH 80 GPH 107 GPH 25'
DSD12 12" 42 GPH 60 GPH 80 GPH 34'
Flow Rate per Emitter 0.42 GPH 0.6 GPH 0.8 GPH

1/4" soaker dripline is an excellent choice for raised garden beds, pots, window boxes, and small trees and shrubs. It is very flexible and can be snaked through plants or coiled in pots. The 1/4" soaker dripline also has a low-pressure requirement, it will emit water at only 2 PSI, which makes it a great choice for gravity systems. The flowrate will be much lower at 2 PSI than it is at 10 PSI, so keep that in mind when you are scheduling your irrigation watering durations.

Due to the small size of the tubing and limited single row lengths, this is not a product you would use in long row crop type situations. Depending on your soil type, the 1/4" soaker dripline will produce a four-inch radius from each emitter. Choosing which spacing is right for you will depend on what you are planting and soil type. For plants that require farther spacing in between, such as cucumbers, tomatoes, and cabbage you could easily use the twelve-inch spaced 1/4" soaker dripline. For more densely planted garden beds with lettuce, radishes, or herbs the six-inch spacing is a better choice. The nine-inch spacing is a happy medium between the two and can be used in almost any gardening situation. You can also mix the spacing options within your garden space to customize each area. Just be sure you keep track of the total number of emitters and stay within your flow capacity to keep everything functioning properly. The twelve-inch spaced offers the most flexibility within your system. For example, if some areas need closer spacing, you can stagger a second line of 12" spaced dripline to create 6" spacing. You cannot plug or easily remove emitters from the dripline, so starting with a farther spaced option and doubling up is easier than trying to gain more space between emitters on the closer spaced dripline.

Drip Tape:

Drip Tape is a thin walled, low-pressure product that can cover a long distance. DripWorks carries Drip Tape in various mil thicknesses, as well as spacing and flow options. The maximum pressure rating for drip tape is 15 PSI, with a minimum pressure requirement of 4 PSI. Drip tape is considered a “basic" type emitter product, so the flow rate will change slightly as the pressure changes.

Spacing Option Flow Rate Flow per 100' Maximum Row
4" Medium flow 60 GPH 140'
6" Low flow 27 GPH 280'
8" Low flow 20 GPH 380'
8" High flow 40 GPH 200'
12" Low flow 13 GPH 550'
12" High flow 27 GPH 280'

Because of the long distances Drip Tape can carry water, it is a great option for row crop situations. Drip Tape is an inexpensive choice to cover large plots of land. The life expectancy of drip tape will depend on the mil thickness and environment. We carry Aqua-Traxx Azul, which is Toro's newest tape with improved emitters that reduce clogging and only require 120 mesh filtration. Drip Tape is a thin-walled product, so it must be used in straight rows. It is an excellent choice for long raised beds, anything over 10' long, making it a great option in high tunnel beds. We can custom order Netafim Drip Net products as well by request. Choosing which spacing and flow option is best for you will depend on your crop spacing and your soil type. For sandy soil you will want your emitters closer together and a high flow rate. The faster the water is delivered, the further the spread you will get from each emitter. If your soil is heavy clay soil, you would want farther spaced emitters and low flow. With heavy soil, if you apply water too quickly you will end up with runoff or pooling because it does absorb as quickly as other soils. The most common Drip Tape option that we sell is the 8" low flow.

1/2" Emitter Tubing:

The 1/2" Pressure Compensating Emitter Tubing is the big sister to the 1/4" soaker dripline, only better! This is 1/2" polyethylene tube with pre-installed pressure compensating emitters at designated spacing. Pressure compensating means that every emitter on the line will deliver the same amount of water, regardless of pressure changes within the system.

Spacing Option Flow rate Roll Size Maximum row length
DET95 9" 0.5 GPH 100' and 500' 350'
DET91 9" 1 GPH 100' and 500' 170'
DET125 12" 0.5 GPH 100' and 500' 400'
DET121 12" 1 GPH 100' and 500' 230'
DET181 18" 1 GPH 100' and 500' 350'
DET241 24" 1 GPH 100' and 500' 400'
DET361 36" 1 GPH 100' and 500' 500'

1/2" Emitter Tubing is an excellent choice for sloped or uneven areas. The tubing is made from the same durable and pliable material as our 1/2" polyethylene mainlines and will use the same 1/2" fittings. The operating pressure range for the emitter tubing is 10-50 PSI. Emitter tubing is also a great option for landscapes because the emitters are pre-installed, making installing a one step process. Our 1/2" Emitter Tubing is also a popular choice in orchards and vineyards. To choose the spacing and flow rate for your unique space, there are a couple of things to consider. First, your soil type. Do you have a fast-draining soil (sandy) or a denser heavy soil (clay)? In fast-draining soil type, you will want your emitters to have a higher flow rate and be closer to your plants root zone. For densely planted spaces use the 9" spacing with the 1 GPH flow rate. If you had heavy soil, you would want to switch to the lower flow of 0.5 GPH, and even possibly to the 12" spaced 1/2" tubing. Water will spread further in heavy soil than it will in light soil, so you can use emitters that are farther apart and still have great coverage.

Netafim Techline:

DripWorks also carries Netafim Techline in two size options. Techline is a pressure compensating dripline with anti-siphon emitters, making it a great choice for sub-surface irrigation. Techline EZ has 6" spaced emitters and Techline CV and Techline CV XR have emitters spaced every 12".

Tubing Option Diameter Flow Rate Maximum Row Roll Lengths
Techline EZ 12 MM 0.4 GPH 390' 200'
Techline CV 17 MM 0.92 GPH 290' 100' and 250'
Techline CV 17 MM 0.6 GPH 390' 100' and 250'
Techline CV XR 17 MM 0.5 GPH 290' 100' and 250'
Techline CV XR 17 MM 0.61 GPH 390' 100' and 250'
Techline CV XR 17 MM 0.92 GPH 290' 100' and 250'

Techline CV and Techline CV XR both have built in check valves at each emitter to eliminate low head drainage and back suction. The Techline CV XR also has copper in the emitter to naturally prevent root intrusion in the lines. Techline CV XR is the best option for sub-surface irrigation. The Techline tubing is also extremely flexible. The 12mm option has a bending radius of 6" and the 17mm has a bending radius of 7". The emitters within the line are self-flushing and only require 120-mesh filtration. The built-in check valve opens every emitter at 14.5 and closes them 2 PSI to give the most even watering possible. It is the industry's best tubing and comes with the longest warranty and life expectancy.