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What types of drippers are available?

Written by Ben Peters | Last update: 1-7-2021

There are several types of drippers used in a drip irrigation system. A dripper is an element or capillary tube that dispenses water to the plant. In general, there are three kind of drippers:
  • Capillary drippers
  • Labyrinth drippers
  • Pressure compensated and self-closing drippers.
The best decision for a dripper depends on the cultivation, the length of a bed, the amount of drippers per meter and the desired water flow. Outlet water and permitted release differences between drippers also play a big part in this decision. An overview of the different types of drippers can be found below.

Capillary drippers

Capillary drippersThe capillary is in basically a PE-hose with a narrow and long opening. The capillary is for the release dependent on the length of the hose, the diameter and on the opening and pressure. The release capacity of capillary is strongly dependent on pressure (by adjusting the pressure the capacity can be increased). Hoses with big diameters are needed and in general they need to be supplied from two sides.  A higher drain percentage helps to compensate for the differences in release. It is also important not to make the tubes too long, because this also leads to a delivery difference. 

With the capillary hose, frequent cleaning is important, because the water in the hose is almost stationary and dirt can easily attach to the walls. This contamination can result in a reduction of the release of 20 to 50%. 

Labyrinth drippers

Labyrinth dripperA labyrinth dripper features a wide passage with indentations. These indentations cause swirls  in the water flow that will cause the pressure to drop and keep the water moving. These causes a more steady water flow because the influence of the pressure on the water is limited, but also because there is less chance of the dripper getting clogged. Royal Brinkman supplies three different kinds of labyrinth dripppers: the CapiNet, Cobra Drippers and Woodpecker drippers.

CapiNet: this irrigation tube has a molded labyrinth, which makes the release much more uniform than the standard capillary. The length of the tube is 60 to 80 cm. The length has no influence on the release.

Cobra connector: this is a labyrinth dripper with filter and connector in one. The dripper is less sensitive to blockage than the capillary. By varying the pressure on the cobra, the release can be adapted to the individual water demand. The Cobra is available in a straight, angled, mini and Low Flow version.

Woodpecker dripper: with this dripper there is a constant pressure, so the release is uniform. By varying the pressure, the water delivery can be adapted to the water demand. The drip head has an inlet filter and a patented labyrinth, which provide protection against clogging. This dripper is ideally suited for short bed lengths and/or slightly longer dripping cycles.


Pressureclosing and selfclosing drippers

Pressure closing drippersThis dripper also features a wide passage. The water supply remains the same between 1,0 and 3,5 bar. Possible pressure differences in the system will be captured by the dripper. This is the reason why the dripper is excellently suitable for longer path lengths with one-sided supply. The closing pressure is ideal for short watering.

This dripper also has maximum turbulence and a large input filter, which ensures that no clogging occurs. The dirt that does penetrate through the dripper accumulates in the back of the hose. When draining, this dirt is immediately removed, without it passing through half of the drip heads (this is the case with two-sided feeding).

The self-closing system ensures that the hose will always stay filled. This makes it possible to give short waterings so that the cultivation can be easily directed. In addition, pressure compensating drippers can be fitted with smaller tubes, this ensures that plant protection products can be given concentrated.

Kameleon High

A special edition of this dripper is the Kameleon High. Thanks to the very high opening pressure this dripper remains completely closed during the flushing. This makes it possible to change warm or dead water towards cold and fresh water before a watering. In the end this leads to the desired nutritional solution.


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Ben PetersAbout Ben Peters

Ben Peters, salesman and product specialist of technical projects at Royal Brinkman, has had no less than 40 years of experience. He specialises in electronics and computer installations, but is also quite knowledgeable about water technology. "This job will always have its challenges, technology is always on the move, literally, and there are always new developments. The great thing about technology is that you take on projects together with a team, so you are not working alone. Also finding the right installations and results, in cooperation with the customer, is absolutely worthwhile.”

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