Garden & Lawn

Top 5 Best Watering Systems for Raised Beds

Last updated on May 6th, 2022

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People are getting more and more into gardening and a popular choice for both home gardens and allotments is to install raised beds, which I recently did too. After all, they’re easier to work in because you don’t need to be on your knees constantly and it’s often easier to keep pests at bay.

Because we cannot control the weather, the most reliable way to keep your plants, vegetables and whatever else you grow hydrated in raised beds, is by installing a reliable automatic watering system, or at least a semi-automatic one, so you don’t need to stand there with a hose. This way you can manage the water you have to keep your plants hydrated throughout the year.

BEST PICK

mY Hozelock Easy Drip Universal Watering kit before installing it
Hozelock Easy Drip Universal Watering Kit
The Hozelock Easy Drip Universal Watering Kit is a flexible drip line system that comes with everything you need and is simple to setup with no tools tools needed. Now, this is the actual kit I decided to use in my most recent raised beds I installed on my patio. This robust watering system comes with adjustable drippers/drippers to give your plants the amount of water they need, this is a big deal as it allows you to give more or less water to individual areas of a raised bed at the same time as each dripper can be adjustable independently. I also like that I can use them as standard sprinklers and alter how far they spray but I also like that i can also rotate the sprinkler heads 90 degrees and turning the individual sprinkler heads almost off and then using them as a drip system instead of a sprinkler. I also like that it is easy to install and can be extended easily. The only thing you would need to totally automate watering is a water timer then it would be totally hand off. For me, this is probably the best watering system I have ever used and its so versatile and good quality. For most people this is the kit I would recommend

RUNNER UP

Irrigatia SOL-C12 Unique Automatic Watering System
The Irrigatia SOL-C12 Unique Automatic Watering System is the perfect solution for those who want a solar-powered system and a totally hands-off experience, perhaps if your away at weekends or going on holiday. It is fairly easy to install and it features a sensor to alert you of low water levels, this is important as you connect this system to a water butt and not an outside tap so keep this in mind. It comes with 12 drippers so will water a fairly large raised bed but it can also be extended. What we really like is that it is solar-powered and will water more when its sunny and not when it's raining and because it can be used with a water butt, it's a good choice for when you have raised beds that are not close to an outside water tap. This is what you might describe as a fully automated water system.
Installing new watering system for my raised beds
Installing a new Hozelock watering system for my raised beds

Because I recently installed some new raised beds in my garden, as shown above, I decided it was time to install a new automatic water system for my plants and I have assembled, what I believe to be the best raised bed automatic watering kit I could find, five of them in total. There is also a soaker hose for those looking for something other than a drip line watering system. I also like sprinkler systems with adjustable sprinklers because you can control how much water each section gets or even turn off individual sprinklers if needed.

Feel free to look over my detailed reviews and the buying guide before picking the most suitable model for you. But first, let us take a look at what I think is the best watering system kit for raised beds and probably for most gardeners too:


Watering System For Raised Bed Reviews

1. Hozelock Easy Drip Universal Watering Kit

BEST PICK

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Hozelock Easy Drip Universal Watering Kit

The Hozelock Easy Drip Universal Watering Kit is a great choice for watering raised beds because it’s a modular system that can be altered to your specific needs in terms of length and shape.

I recently purchased this kit to install in my new raised beds and I have to say, I have been very impressed. Lots of watering systems usually feel cheap, using brittle plastic parts but all the parts included in this kit do seem to be of very good quality, and the design is well thought out too.

Sprinkler system setup in raised beds covering 15 meters in length total

This kit includes 15 meters of piping and 10 sprinklers, not only does it include everything you need to attach it to a hose pipe using the quick click connections but it also includes everything you need to connect it directly to an outside tap.

In terms of what size area you can water with this kit, I used it with three 5 meter long raised beds so it will cover a straight run of 15 metres or 10m2 of beds and borders. It also includes a T-section and end stop and a few hole sealers should you install a sprinkler, make a hole and then change your mind. Try not to do this!

All you basically need to do to set this watering system up is position your main Flexi pipe where you are going to use it. It’s easier to roll it all out first and get it nice and straight.

Once you are happy with where you have positioned it, you can attach the sprinklers and I strongly recommend positioning the sprinklers where you think you need them before attaching them properly. I recommend spacing them about 1 meter (100cm) apart.

The Hozelock dripper system is good quality and well designed
Showing the metal spike that pierces the plastic tubing to allow water to the sprinkler
fixing sprinkler in place on flexi pipe

The sprinklers simply push onto the pipe, you then press the yellow tab in and rotate the grey section clockwise. This drives a spike into the pipe which is hollow and is how the water makes its way from the black piping to the sprinkler, the design is actually very good, I’ve not seen any other sprinkler system use this type of system.

inserting watering sprinkler into soil using the attached ground spike

All you need to do then is drive the spike into the soil to hold the sprinkler in position.

End connections which quickly connect a standard hose pipe to a watering system

Next, attach the correct fitting to be able to fasten it to your hose pipe (as I have done in the picture above), or alternatively, you can attach it directly to your outdoor tap or water timer. It includes everything you need.

Attaching end stop onto end of water system flexi pipe

Finally, you insert the end stop onto the pipe and fix that into position by screwing it on tightly.

sprinkler system for raised beds turned on and working well

And that’s it, it is ready for you to use, simply rotate the sprinkler heads to adjust them as needed.

I also like that it can also be expended if you buy several kits or you can simply order more tubing and drippers from Hozelock. It will even work with many other third-party systems, which means it can be added to an already installed system that may not be part of the Hozelock brand. This is handy for me because my family owns a nursery and I was able to get extra tubing and drippers, the ones they use commercially, to use as well.

installing new water system in raised bed in my own garden for testing

It is easy to set up thanks to its push-fit design and it only took me around 15 minutes to install the kit on 3 raised beds, each 5 meters long. This is something that can be more difficult with other watering systems where you need certain tools and to soak the piping in hot water to push into the sprinkler tubes etc. This is a big plus, especially if you don’t already have experience in setting up a watering system because it can be quite daunting at first. 

The hose is also flexible and this makes it easier to install around corners without creating any leaks because no corner adaptors are required unless you need to do a very sharp right angled turn, which usually isn’t the case.

I will point out that it’s best to install these systems on mild days because if the temperature is very cold, the Flexi pipe becomes much stiffer and harder to position, when it’s not so cold it becomes much more supple and easier to work with.

It is possible because I installed this kit in my garden on a very cold day but from experience, it’s much easier to straighten, bend and position the plastic piping when it’s mild.

Now one of the features that really separates it from most of the other systems out there is the ability to alter the amount of water each individual dripper gives. This means that if you have a raised bed and have both established and younger seedlings, you can alter the drippers to give off more water to those plants that need it and less to those that don’t, such as newly planted seedlings.

I also like that you can rotate the sprinkler head 90 degrees and it turns into a dripper, instead of a sprinkler. This is also a feature I find useful depending on what it’s watering and you can simply rotate the black nozzle to alter the amount of water it lets out.

If you want to fully automate the watering (as I have) then all you need to do is add a water timer. You could even take this one step further by using a smart water timer, however, a simple quality timer, like the Orbit model I use and recommend, will be good enough for most people and it is super reliable.

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See my recommended water timers

See my recommended smart water timer to truly automate watering

Pros

  • Each nozzle is adjustable so you can water at different rates to different plants.
  • Compatible with other watering kit systems and can be extended.
  • Easy to set up thanks to the push-fit design.
  • The hose is made of flexible material for easy installation.
  • Covers an area of 10m2.
  • Provides good value for money.

Our recommendation

In this guide, we are going to look at how to set up an automatic watering system in your garden to water beds and borders, pots and containers and even baskets

The Hozelock Easy Drip Universal Watering Kit is an affordable and reliable system for those in search of a watering system for their raised beds. The fact that it is compatible with other systems makes it easy to work with if you already have a system of some sort installed.

What I really like is that the individual drippers can be altered to water at different rates plus you can rotate the sprinkler 90 degrees and use them as a dripper instead. This is obviously a big advantage to avoid overwatering or watering some plants too little. I also love that it’s easy to extend if needed and you can also extend it with a different drip system, such as drippers on the ends of micro tubing that are handy for watering pots and baskets should you need to.

Overall it’s a good quality watering kit with everything you need, minus a timer, and if you want to fully automate it you will need to pick up one of these separately. It’s super easy to install with no special tools or skills needed. I really do think this is one of the best watering systems currently available.

Read next: How to set up an automatic watering system

Read next: The best watering system for raised beds


2. Irrigatia SOL-C12 Unique Solar Powered Weather Responsive Automatic Watering System

RUNNER UP

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Irrigatia SOL-C12 Unique Solar Powered Weather Responsive Automatic Watering System

The Irrigatia SOL-C12 Unique Automatic Watering System waters your plants every three hours ensuring that they remain fully hydrated and the feature we really like here is that it only waters when needed and will not water when it’s raining, the sunnier it is, the more your plants are watered.

This watering system relies on solar power to operate the pump that supplies water to the plants but this is backed up with batteries too. This system is designed to be used with a water butt so it is ideal if you have a raised bed but don’t have easy access to an outside water tap. As it waters automatically based on the weather it is also pretty much totally hands-off. You can even use it in a greenhouse too because the solar pump and control system would be outside but the watering system would be inside the greenhouse.

This system also comes fitted with a water level sensor that will notify you to refill the water butt by making a beeping alarm. We have even heard of people hooking it up with a small stream or pond to avoid running out of water too.

The watering system can support 12 x 20-litre pots comfortably and it is supplied with 12 drippers and a 14m tube. For a raised bed it would obviously depend on how far you want to spread the drippers and the layout you choose.

Pros

  • Waters automatically every 3 hours, more when it’s sunny and not when it’s raining.
  • Ideal to automate watering if you go on holiday.
  • It is solar-powered, therefore, no electricity bills.
  • Easy to set up and connect to a water butt or tank.
  • No outside tap needed.
  • It comes with a water-level indicator sensor so you know if the water butt becomes low on water.
  • Provides good value for money.

Cons

  • Not compatible with other watering systems.
  • Instructions can be a little confusing.

Our recommendation

For those looking for a solar-powered automatic watering system and perhaps you don’t have easy excess to an outside tap and want to connect to a water butt or tank, you cannot go wrong with this model.

The instructions are perhaps a little confusing but you can watch YouTube videos that are helpful. This model operates well if you’re away from home and want a system that only really waters when it’s sunny and not when it’s raining, like a system connected to a water timer would do unless you had a smart water timer.

Overall it’s a great system, connect to a water butt and when it’s sunny it will water more when it’s raining it won’t. No water timers are needed and it’s fully automated so you can go on holiday for a week without having to worry about your plants wilting. The only limitation is that you’re limited by the amount of water in the butt but most will last a couple of weeks.

Read next: Best raised bed kits


3. Hozelock Classic Micro Irrigation System

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Hozelock Classic Micro Irrigation System

The Hozelock Classic Micro Irrigation is designed to cater for greenhouse plants, hanging baskets and potted plants amongst others, but it also works well for watering raised beds because you can move the drippers around to where you need to water, and because it comes with a timer, you can automate the watering.

This system comes with 15 meters of the main water supply tube plus 10 meters of the microbore tube that feeds off the main tube and has a dripper on the end. This is more than enough for a fairly large raised bed.

It also comes with the sensor controller (which is just a really fancy name for a water timer) so you can set up when you want the system to come on and off.

You will find that this micro irrigation system is easy to set up and it is supplied with all the fixtures you need and plenty of accessories to get you set up and started. Once you set it up, you can relax knowing that your plants are getting adequate water, even if you are away.

Pros

  • Easy to set up drip system with 15 meters of water supply hose and 10 meters of micro hose.
  • Includes 25 drippers to water where needed.
  • Comes with a sensor controller to water in intervals as programmed to automate watering.
  • Can be connected to other drip systems or extended.
  • Gives good value for money.

Our recommendation

The Hozelock Classic Micro Irrigation is ideal if you want to use a drip system to water a raised bed and want the complete system with a water timer included. Now, this sort of system is usually used with pots but it works really well for borders too.

Read next: Best greenhouse watering systems to automate watering


4. Esotec Solar-Bewässerungs-Set Automatic Water System

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Esotec Solar-Bewässerungs-Set Automatic Water System

Introducing the Esotec Solar-Bewässerungs is another solar-powered watering system that is a good alternative to our Runner-up and it has slightly more drippers, 15 in total. This affordable model not only waters your plants twice a day, but you can also set the timer to run between 30 seconds and 12 minutes by simply adjusting the timer switch. What it can’t do, however, is just water when it’s sunny and this is why it wasn’t chosen as our runner-up, still, it’s a good system worth considering.

The water system draws water from any source such as a water butt, tank or large bucket, even a natural source of water, and uses its pump to draw the water up and water your plants as programmed.

If the water level is too low, the pump has a sensor that cuts off the supply to the plants which helps prevent damaging the pump. This prevents the pump from overworking and being damaged. Now it does have an LED warning to let you know but no audible warning.

It offers a maximum flow rate of 14 litres per 24 hours and this is an adequate amount of water for your plants to stay hydrated.

Pros

  • Automatically waters twice a day, between 30 seconds and 12 minutes.
  • 15 drippers included.
  • Relies on solar energy therefore no impact on your electricity bill.
  • Very easy to install and the piping can be cut to length.
  • Comes with a pump to draw water from various sources.
  • Features a control dial to dispense different amounts of water.

Cons

  • It’s maybe a little smaller than you might have expected.

Our recommendation

The Esotec Solar-Bewässerungs is perfect if you are looking for a solar-powered watering system for a small garden or raised bed.

In addition, the water inlet hose is fairly short so you may have to find a creative way to ensure the pump has access to water at all times unless you have a water butt or water source next to your raised bed already.

Overall it’s a great system, a little more restricted than our Runner-up, by the fact that it waters every day, twice a day, and although you can reduce the watering, it still comes on if it’s raining and this is something our Runner-up doesn’t.

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5. Bradas Soaker Hose

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Bradas Soaker Hose

The Bradas Soaker Hose is made from a durable and flexible recycled rubber that allows water to seep through slowly. All you need to do is connect the soaker hose to an actual hose pipe using a Hozelock connector or something similar, the type you use to attach a hose gun to a hosepipe and let the water travel through the entire tube for as long as you think is needed. This can be automated further by using a water timer.

To make a full watering system set up you can also buy T pieces and corners pieces and build a custom system to any shape. What we really like about this system is that it can also be buried below the soil level out of sight, or left on the surface of the soil and pegged down.

Pros

  • Made from durable rubber that has been recycled.
  • Can be buried below the soil for a more permanent set up.
  • Provides good value for money because it is durable.
  • They provide excellent customer support.

Our recommendation

The Bradas Soaker Hose is a durable product that you can use in a small or large raised bed. It is best installed underneath the surface of the soil but it does work just as well on the surface. We just like the idea of being able to hide the watering system and not have pipes on show.

Read next: Best soaker hoses reviewed


Buyer’s Guide

Selecting the best way to water raised beds will depend on the size of your raised beds, whether you want a fully automated system with some sort of timer, a way to water automatically and the plants you are growing. There are plants that need a lot of water and some which need occasional doses of water to grow healthily.

Here are a few other considerations to make before you select the best raised bed automatic watering kits.

Do you want to use solar power?

How is the watering system powered? Does it rely on solar energy? Or does it need batteries? Perhaps it’s just on a timer or you don’t mind manually turning it on.

Drip vs soaker hose

Both the dripper and the soaker hose make for a good watering system depending on the size of the area to be watered. 

Drip watering systems cover both large and small areas with ease. Some come with individually adjustable nozzles and a backflow valve to make sure the water is distributed equally.

These systems possess emitters that deliver water directly to the roots thus maximising water consumption. They work great on slopes and they can incorporate timers to deliver water at specific times of the day which can be very handy. If you use a smart water timer you can potentially even water when on holiday and get a warning if there is a leak or a loss in pressure.

Soaker hoses are mostly made from polypropylene that has holes to let water seep in. These soaker hoses are inexpensive and they can be buried slightly below the ground to deliver water to the roots without getting the leaves wet and it also means the pipes are out of sight. They are quite convenient for simple watering activities but they are unable to water different plants at different rates. They work well if you want to install a watering system and then plant the raised bed with more permanent plants and shrubs.

Compatibility

The best watering system for vegetable gardens will be able to work with other watering systems and if you already have an old network of drip systems your new one should be able to connect to the old system seamlessly. You can use different drippers without any issues because the system is designed to retain pressure regardless. A good example would be our best pick which is compatible with most other standard watering system setups. It basically means that the tubing and accessories are universal.                     

Installation

In many situations, installment should not be an issue. The only issue one might face is with cheaper kits that are made from low-quality plastic that quickly become brittle and difficult to assemble and the parts supplied are not a true push-fit.

However, some rigid kits and hoses make the desired layout difficult to attain because the materials used are cheap. Avoid these at all costs. We recommend that you always look through customer reviews to determine any installation challenges experienced. Buying a respected brand usually solves this issue, just don’t be tempted by cheap water system kits online, they are cheap for a reason.

Timers and sensors

Watering systems that have pumps in, in most cases, will come with a sensor. The sensor picks up the information in regards to the water level and shuts off the pump or alerts the user using an alarm or LED if the water becomes too low.

Timers are very important when you need your plants to be watered daily at a specific time and you cannot manually turn the water on or simply want to automate the watering.

Most systems can be attached to a timer and connected to an outdoor tap, however, solar-powered systems that connect to a water butt will automatically water when sunny or a couple of times a day at a length of time you have programmed into it. You can’t set them to water at certain times like you can with a water timer.

How to optimise on your watering system

  • Always check if any of the emitters are blocked with soil and unblock them because they will prevent the plants from getting water.
  • Cover your watering system with mulch to protect the structure from the damaging sun and to conserve water that may be evaporating.
  • The drip lines need to be secured with well-spaced stakes.
  • If your system has a filter and most do that take water from a water butt, clean them regularly or switch them out if it becomes too old.
  • Disassemble the drip system when it is not in use for long periods of time to prevent the emitters from being clogged over winter. 

Final Conclusion

Keeping your raised beds well-watered and healthy throughout summer will be rewarding when you get to harvest those fruits or eat your homegrown vegetables.

What system you choose really depends on whether you want to fully automate the process, whether you want to use drippers that can be adjusted independently and whether you want to connect your system to an outside tap or use a water butt where this may not be possible.

We are still sticking to our top picks that include the Hozelock Easy Drip Universal Watering Kit which is great if you want to adjustable the drippers individually and connect to an outside tap with the possibility of adding a timer.

The Irrigatia SOL-C12 Unique Automatic Watering System is also a great pick if you want to fully automate the watering and want to connect to a water butt and make use of solar power.

Which model did you select to be the best way to water raised beds? Let us know in the comment section below.


Last update on 2022-03-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Welcome to my site, my name is John and I have been lucky enough to work in horticultural nurseries for over 15 years in the UK. As the founder and editor as well as researcher, I have a City & Guilds Horticultural Qualifications which I proudly display on our About us page. I now work full time on this website where I review the very best gardening products and tools and write reliable gardening guides. Behind this site is an actual real person who has worked and has experience with the types of products we review as well as years of knowledge on the topics we cover from actual experience. You can reach out to me at john@pyracantha.co.uk

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