A yard hydrant makes accessing water on your property not only possible but easy. With this important piece of plumbing hardware, you can access water with the pull of a handle to irrigate gardens and lawns, wash equipment, provide water for livestock, and more.
When properly installed, the right yard hydrant can be used for all of the above any time of year, even in sub-zero winter temps. However, finding and selecting the best yard hydrant is easier said than done. That’s where we come in. We put dozens of models to the test to find the best of the best.
Best Yard Hydrants in 2019
1. Woodford Yard Hydrant Y34-4 – Best Yard Hydrant for All Around Use
Woodford created the first yard hydrant decades ago and has remained the top name in yard hydrants ever since. While all Woodford yard hydrants are built like a tank and certainly great in their own regards, the Y34-4 is, in our humble opinion, the best of the bunch in terms of design and all around ease of use.
Design and Materials
The Woodford Y34-4 is made in the USA and features a cast iron head and handle. Its other parts are made of metal too, including the 3/8-inch steel operating rod and brass valve body. This means there’s no need to worry about replacing cheap plastics parts. The Y34-4 is built to last.
It also features several fantastic design details overlooked by other yard hydrant manufacturers. For instance, in addition to long-life graphite packing, it’s also equipped with a variable flow plunger that allows you to adjust the flow rate depending on the application. Pretty neat indeed.
Best of all, the Y34-4 is also freeze-proof. When its shut-off valve is installed below the frost line, the water in the pipe will drain out of the valve and keep from freezing.
The Woodford Y34-4 Yard Hydrant is thoughtfully designed and tough enough to withstand any conditions. Not only does it feature heavy-duty all-metal construction, but it’s easy to install and even easier to use. If you’re searching for a dependable yard hydrant for gardening, farming, landscaping, or anything else, the Y34-4 may be just what you’re after.
2. Simmons Manufacturing 4802LF – Best Yard Hydrant for Freezing Conditions
From foot and check valves to well caps and torque arrestors, Simmons makes a wide-range of premium lead-free water well products. The iconic brand also makes yard hydrants, and it makes them extremely well. The Simmons 4802LF is a premium frost-proof yard hydrant designed to perform under the most severe conditions.
Design and Materials
The 4802LF is four feet in length. When installed properly, the valve should be below the frost line two feet underground and the hose connection two feet above the ground. Like other quality yard hydrants, the head and handle are both made of heavy-duty cast iron to withstand the rigors of daily use.
While it features a ¾-inch NPT female inlet that allows for plenty of water flow, unlike the Woodford Y34-4, it lacks an adjustable shutoff valve. This means it doesn’t provide an adjustable flow rate. The water can only be turned on or off with no in between. That being said, this issue can be easily fixed simply by adding an in-line valve to your hose.
If you live somewhere with freezing winter conditions, frozen pipes are definitely a concern. The good news is they don’t have to be. Thanks to the bury depth and frost-proof design of the Simmons 4802LF, it can be used to wash, irrigate, or water livestock any time of year.
There’s a lot to like about the Simmons 4802LF Premium Frost-Proof Yard Hydrant. However, as its name suggests, perhaps the best aspect of this quality yard hydrant is its durable frost-proof design. If you live near the Arctic Circle, or at least somewhere that feels like it comes the Winter Solstice, the Simmons 4802LF might be a wise choice.
3. Everbilt EBYH06NL – Best Budget-Friendly Yard Hydrant
The Everbilt 6-Foot Bury Frost-Proof Yard Hydrant is one of the best yard hydrant values on the market today. However, don’t let the price tag fool you, because its quality is on par with hydrants costing twice as much.
Design and Materials
This affordable Everbilt yard hydrant is made of heavy-duty, lead-free cast iron and features a brass rod and hose connector as well as a double O-ring seal to ensure a positive seal time and time again.
In addition to being cast iron, the head features a nifty bucket hook and the handle is oversized for ease of use. Meanwhile, the standpipe is made of one-inch galvanized steel, making it more than capable of standing the test of time.
As far as the plunger is concerned, it’s a one-piece, self-draining system that can easily be adjusted with the turn of a screw. This is a big plus, especially for a yard hydrant in its price range.
Speaking of big pluses, this Everbilt is also frost-proof. With a bury depth of six feet, its self-draining shut off valve operates beneath the frost line to reliably provide running water for irrigation on the coldest of winter days.
The Everbilt 6-Foot Yard Hydrant is one of the most affordably priced yard hydrants available, but its quality is just as impressive as its price. It has a rugged, frost-proof construction and a number of nifty design details to improve its operability and ease of use. If you want a great deal on a high-quality yard hydrant, it’s tough to go wrong with this Everbilt.
What is a Yard Hydrant?
Want a water source in your garden, barn, or out in a field? With a yard hydrant, you can tap into your well and access fresh groundwater virtually anywhere.
A yard hydrant is specialized plumbing hardware that connects to a buried well water supply pipe. Most have a shut-off valve, drain plug, and cast iron handle approximately two feet above the ground to make turning the water on and off a breeze.
What is a Yard Hydrant Used For?
Most property owners utilize yard hydrants to irrigate lawns or gardens, provide water for livestock, and wash their cars, trucks, or equipment. They can be installed to access water at various locations and used throughout the year for a constant source of water for irrigation, livestock, and more.
How Does a Yard Hydrant Work?
The concept behind a yard hydrant is a simple one: connect a galvanized steel pipe to a private underground water pipe and outfit it with a shut-off valve, drain hole, and cast iron head and handle. By doing so, it can provide easy to access to water in a yard, garden, or field.
In keeping with this simple concept, yard hydrants basically work two ways:
- Open – A yard hydrant opens and allows water to begin flowing when the handle is lifted. This lifts the plunger and seals the drain hole, allowing water to flow.
- Closed – A yard hydrant closes when the handle is pushed down to close the plunger. Meanwhile, the drain hole is opened to drain water from the head and riser pipe to prevent freezing and cracking. With a frost-proof hydrant, the water is also stopped by the plunger below the frost line to make sure no freezing can occur.
What is a Shut-Off Valve?
Some call it a shut-off valve and others call it a stop-and-drain valve. Regardless of what it’s called, this important valve is a major component of any yard hydrant.
It’s located beneath the ground below frost level, usually at two to four feet underneath the ground surface. The valve is operated by a handle connected to the control rod.
When the handle and rod are lifted, the valve opens to allow water to flow from the main water pipe, up the riser pipe, and out through the hydrant’s head. When closed, the water flow stops and the valve’s drain hole opens to allow the water to drain from the riser pipe and into the gravel below to prevent ice formation.
Yard Hydrant Installation Tips
Tip #1 – Use plenty of gravel.
Proper drainage is a must, so it’s important to use a minimum of one cubic yard of coarse gravel as a drain bed around the hydrant’s shut-off valve.
Tip #2 – Use a one-inch water supply pipe.
The water pipe supplying water to the hydrant should always be at least an inch in diameter in order to ensure the proper supply and delivery of water.
Tip #3 – Make adjustments.
When installing yard hydrants, or just about anything else for that matter, making adjustments is par for the course. With a yard hydrant, you’ll need to check to make sure there is unrestricted water flow when the valve is opened, no drain hole leaks, and proper drainage when the valve is closed.
Tip #4 – Make adjustments prior to backfilling.
It may seem obvious, but it’s worth pointing out that you should test the hydrant and make any adjustments before you add in the backfill. By doing so, you’ll save yourself minutes of digging and possibly days of back pain.
How to Test for Proper Drainage
To test your hydrant and make sure it is draining properly, perform the following steps:
- Open the valve and allow the water to run.
- Close the valve and hold out your hand under the head spout.
That’s it. If you feel suction, the hydrant is draining as it should.
Where to Install a Yard Hydrant
A yard hydrant should never be installed near a well or pump pit as drainage from the hydrant may contaminate either or both. Otherwise, you can install a yard hydrant anywhere on your property with access to the main well pipe.
Using a Yard Hydrant During the Summer and Winter Months
Yard hydrants are pretty simple and easy to operate. However, there are a few things to know before installing and using one.
For instance, if you plan on using it a lot during the summer months, you may want to install a globe valve or hose bib on the hydrant outlet. With one of these add-ons, you can leave the valve open during the summer months and keep the gravel bed dry for better winter drainage.
Conversely, if you live in a colder climate and use a yard hydrant during the winter months, it would be wise to occasionally draw off 25 gallons or so of water. Doing so will melt the ice naturally built-up within the riser pipe.
How to Unfreeze a Yard Hydrant
A yard hydrant can freeze for a number of reasons, such as a saturated drainage bed, faulty valve adjustment, or a plugged drain. It can also freeze from improper use, like an incomplete shut-off.
Should your yard hydrant freeze, it’s important to avoid damage by thawing it as soon as possible. If it’s frozen above ground level, hot water, a torch, or electric heat tape can be used to help thaw it out. On the other hand, if it’s frozen underneath the ground, you will need to remove the head and pour hot water down the riser pipe.
The Bottom Line
There are a lot of yard hydrants out there and they all basically do the same thing. However, some are easier to use and do it better than others.
If you’re reading this, chances are you’re new to yard hydrants and came here for some sound advice. Hopefully, we’ve answered your questions and helped you feel comfortable enough to pick the best yard hydrant for your property and needs.
Are frost and freezing temps a concern? Do you want a yard hydrant with an adjustable flow rate for a variety of uses? is budget a concern?
Your answers to these questions will help determine the right hydrant for you. So, consider your needs, review the three great options above, and pick one out to access fresh, clean groundwater today!