Drip Irrigation Kit Prices for the home grower range from US$19-$150 and depend on many factors. In this article I will talk about the most important component of any drip irrigation kit: The Drip Emitter (AKA Dripper)
The difference between kits is the type of emitter sold in the kit, the total length of the drip lines, number of connection and fittings, and some very important components that you should consider buying separate or within the kit.
Components like filters, pressure reducing valves, timers and fertilizer tank if you really into investing in the kit.
As a grower, you need to decide what you are going to grow, is it flowers? vegetables? maybe small trees?
Also are you going to grow it on the earth soil ? or maybe in some flowerpots?
So let’s go to business and first explain you the differences between emitters in a kit and each one and its suitability.
The first type of emitters you will find in most of the drip irrigation kits sold online: Button Dripper,
this type of dripper is manually punched into a blind pipe
(blind means that he has no outlet in it, its a way to defer a pipe from drip irrigation laterals, AKA integral dripper )
advantages of this dripper are that it can be positioned on the pipeline in variable spacing as required.
please note that some kits come with PC emitters/drippers. PC stands for the pressure compensated, which means that the first emitter in the lateral and the last will have the same flow rate.
online button drippers have min pressure that they will start work with, you will find it on the drippers manufacturer technical data sheet. this is really important because it means that if you your lack of this ‘min pressure’ at your water source, the dripper will not work. as we have min pressure we also have max, and in that case if you will have more then the max at your water source, you will have a failure the dripper, in that case, you will have to use a pressure reducer.
In general, I can say, button drippers are not big water savers , normally their flow rate are much higher than integral drippers (some integral drippers are low as 0.9 l/h) and they appear to have more problems and leakage cases. (maybe it’s the punch that help this scenario appear more, as you don’t have any real o-ring to seal the hole you created on the pipe)
The second type of emitter that will affect your drip irrigation kit price is the so called the “integral dripper”
integral means that this device is already integrated as part of the pipeline and you don’t need to punch anything. That kind of emitters comes within a known spacing and flow rate, so it’s really easy to calculate how much time to irrigate based upon your crop type. integral drippers are considered super reliable and are widely used in agriculture. here we also have the option to choose from ‘pressure compensated drippers, or nonpressure compensated.
Nice Tip : if you’re planning to grow your own vegetables and the length of your raised beds are short (let’s say 6 beds of 4 meters each) you don’t really need PC drippers, that kind of drippers used for long laterals in agriculture to compensate the Head Loss in the pipeline length . in short i can say “don’t bother” .
Some High-End Drip irrigation exists in the market and are a great solution for those who have some long fields.
That kind of driplines can irrigate hundreds of meter long (depends on dripper spacing: Short Spaces=Higher Flow Rate=Higher Pressure Loss) .
NonPC drippers have lower ‘min pressure’ for operation, so if you have less than 0.5bar at your water source i will recommend you to use NonPC drippers like this one .
Don’t waste your money on the cheapest drip irrigation kit (remember: im not reach enough to buy cheap things), check where the kit comes from, where the drip emitter are manufactured and how much water you are going to spend.
on the long run its better to invest in expensive kits that will save you tons of water, will not have leakage and will irrigate accurately and give enough water to the root zone.
if you have access to buy drip irrigation lines of a well-known companies like : Metzerplas Or Netafim , don’t hesitate twice , those are way better drip lines, super accurate and have the a long history of proven technology.
Remember: the kit is just the first part, do it right and you will sure enjoy the fruits of it.
Some Guide lines
-growing on the ground? Search for integral drippers in the kit (don’t use the punched button ones), choose the spacing and the flow rate of the emitter. (in another article I will explain how to do the calc for water consumption and cost)
-Growing in pots? better using some micro sprinkler irrigation kit, as it looks and sits better then a drip line that goes from pot to pot, in this case, you will have the blind pipe and micro sprinkler leader that is punched into it (AKA spaghetti), the sprinkler sits within the pot.
-Check the length of the pipes sold in the kit and see if its match your garden size. remember you need a blind pipe, (will be used to carry the water from the source to the first bed) and a drip irrigation pipe to all the irrigated area.
– Check your water source pressure , if its too high you will have to use pressure reducer to protect your drippers.
-Check you water quality, you might want to consider a filter that will protect your drippers for the long run .it will prevent clogging caused by bacteria and other debris the water contain.
-Consider Buying a micro irrigation controller. why ?? first, your plans will get their water, even if you forget about them or you aren’t at home, and second you will not use excess water like in case you forget your valves open .
There’s also a very nice poll you can fill here, this poll purpose is to collect info for a much larger drip irrigation kit, so anyone will have the option to grow his own food in the future (there will be some shortage they say…)
-If you have any other question regarding this subject, I will do my best to answer and advice you how to install the system properly . just send an email.
Written By : Noam Kompano