How Many Emitters Can I Put On A Drip Line?

Would you like to know how many emitters you can put on a drip line? Well, we have researched this topic and have answers for you. It's vital to understand how many emitters you can put on a drip line to avoid inadequate pressure.

The number of emitters you can put on a drip line will vary based on the flow rate of the emitters and the pressure in the line. Depending on these variables, you can have between ten and fifty emitters per drip line.

In this article, we will learn how many emitters you can put on a drip line. We will also learn the answers to other interesting related questions, such as how do you build a drip irrigation system and how do you repair a leaking drip line? Keep reading to learn more.

How Many Emitters Can I Put On A Drip Line?

dripper working in crop field

A couple of factors will affect how many emitters you can put on a drip line. Let's look at these factors and see how they affect the number of emitters.

Flow Rate

Drip emitters come in a large variety of flow rates. If you use lower flow rate emitters, like half a gallon per hour, you can put more emitters. Assuming your drip system has thirty psi, you can have as many as fifty half-gallon-per-hour emitters.

If you use higher flow rate emitters, like five gallons per hour, you can only have around twenty-five emitters before you start compromising pressure. Even higher flow rate emitters, like ten gallons per hour, can only support about ten emitters before the pressure drops too low.


Drip irrigation systems are designed to operate between ten and thirty psi. Drip systems with only ten psi can only support a third of the emitters that a thirty psi drip system can support.

There are also specialty emitters that rotate and spray, like sprinklers, that require more pressure than a standard drip emitter to function correctly. When using these specialty emitters, you will only be able to have half as many emitters per line.


As you can see, the exact number of emitters you can have per drip line will vary significantly based on the exact emitters you're using and the pressure of your system. Be sure to consider all these factors when building your drip irrigation system.

How Do You Build A Drip Irrigation System?

Water dripping system in home vegetable garden watering tomato plants in greenhouse

To build a drip irrigation system, you must carefully plan each step and systematically build your system. Let's learn the steps to create a drip irrigation system.

Planning The Stations

The first step to building a drip irrigation system is to plan the stations. Each station must cover a specific zone, so you don't run multiple lines to the same location. It's also crucial that each station doesn't exceed the number of emitters it's capable of supporting.

Start by walking through your yard with a notepad and write down how many plants in each area need water. If a particular area requires more water than the system can support, break it into two zones to lower the workload.

Once you know how many stations you'll need, you can start assembling the valves.

Assemble Valves For Each Station

To supply water to your new drip irrigation system, you must build a manifold of valves to turn the stations on and off. Turn off your irrigation water from your stop waste valve to add a manifold.

Find a location along your main irrigation line where you want your manifold and dig out the dirt around it three inches under the pipe and about two feet across.

Cut the pipe in two places with a PVC cutter and remove between eighteen and twenty-four inches of line. Cut out less pipe than you think you'll need since you can always cut more but can't so easily add more.

Next, add several T connectors pointed up for each station you want to add. Then install sprinkler valves that connect to each of the T connectors.

From here, you should add pressure regulators to the ends of each valve since standard water pressure is between forty and sixty psi, and you need between ten and thirty.

From these valves, you can run your drip lines. You can also set up a sprinkler timer box to automatically turn the valves on at certain times.

Don't forget to connect the main line back together with a slip-fix. A slip fix is a special connector that extends to connect two pipes.

Dig Shallow Trenches

Dig a trench. Earthworks, digging trench. Long earthen trench dug to lay pipe or optical fiber

Trenches holding drip lines should be more shallow than standard sprinkler lines. Making the channels shallower will make the system easier to repair.

Take a shovel and trace a line on the ground where you want the drip line to run. While it's best to avoid sharp turns, drip lines can be bent in shallow angles, so perfectly straight lines aren't necessary.

Now take a narrow-headed shovel and dig out the trenches no more than six inches deep. If you want to try a narrow-headed shovel to make digging narrow channels easier, here are two of the best available on Amazon.

Hooyman Shovel

You can find this product here on Amazon.

Tabor Tools Shovel

You can find this product here on Amazon.

Lay Drip Line

To lay the drip line, unroll drip tubing along the trench, leaving a few extra feet at the end to connect it to the valves. Don't connect the drip line to the valves until after it's secured in the trench to avoid pulling on and damaging the valve manifold.

While unrolling the line, it can be helpful to bury a foot of drip hose every ten or fifteen feet to help keep it from popping out of the trench. Once the whole line is secured in the channel, you can attach the drip line to the valves.

Attach Spaghetti Tubing And Emitters

Next, walk along the line and attach spaghetti tubing and emitters to each plant that needs water. To secure the emitter, cut a piece of spaghetti tubing as long as the distance from the drip line to the plant. Next, attach an emitter to the end of the spaghetti tubing that is appropriate for the plant.

Now, insert a barb-to-barb into the other end of the spaghetti tubing and plug it into the main drip line. If you are finding it difficult to insert the barb-to-bard into the drip tubing, there is a tool that helps by making a hole.

If you want to try the tool that makes inserting the barb into the drip hose easier, here are two of the best available on Amazon.

Drip Irrigation Hole Punch

You can find this product here on Amazon.

Freneci Hole Puncher

You can find this product here on Amazon.

Bury Main Drip Tubing

Once each plant has an emitter connected to the drip system, you can bury the main drip tubing. If parts of the drip line stick above the ground, you can hold them down with rocks or drip tube stakes.

Test System

Now run a test of your system by turning on each station, one at a time, and checking for performance or leaks. If you find that one area isn't receiving enough pressure, you may need to remove some emitters or replace them with lower flow rates.

Don't forget that you will need to turn on the water to your valves from the stop waste valve before you can test your system.

Once all stations are satisfactory, you are finished building your drip irrigation system.

How Do You Repair A Leaking Drip Line?

Agriculture, equipment, irrigation in nursing planting. Close up farmer using hand to connection the plumbing, rubber pipe

To repair a leak in a drip line, you must first identify how bad the damage is. Once you know where the leak is coming from, turn off the water and inspect the plastic. If a small hole is causing the leak, you can use a goof plug to seal it.

Goof plugs are small rubber plugs that fit into drip line holes and block leaks. While goof plugs will help with small holes, they can't help with cracking drip lines.

If your drip line has a crack, you will need to remove the bad section of the pipe and replace it. Start by cutting out the damaged section of pipe and cutting a new piece of drip line the same length.

Next, insert pipe connectors into each side of the new pipe and use the connectors to secure the new pipe.

You will also need to replace emitters for any plants with spaghetti tubing connected to that part of the line.

How Long Should You Run Drip Irrigation?

Sprinkler systems, drip irrigation, watering lawns and gardens with Blurred water, How Many Emitters Can I Put On A Drip Line?

Unlike sprinklers which should run for between ten and twenty minutes, drip irrigation systems should run for between forty-five minutes and an hour. The extended watering time allows water to seep deep into the ground and gives plants a consistent supply.

It would also be best to use your drip system in the morning or evening when more water can be absorbed into the soil.

While it isn't wise to water with sprinklers in the evening because of the increased risk of fungal infections, drip systems don't wet the foliage of plants, so you don't have to worry.

If you find water pooling around your plants after watering with your drip system, lower the time you water. You can also replace your emitters with lower-flow varieties.

Final Thoughts

This article taught us that flow rate and pressure affect how many emitters you can put on a drip line. We also learned how to build a drip irrigation system step-by-step.

Remember, drip irrigation should be run for around an hour, much longer than sprinkler stations.

We hope you enjoyed this article. If you want to learn more, check out some of these other posts.

My Drip Line Keeps Coming Apart – Why? What To Do?

Do Drip Lines Need To Be Winterized? Is It Essential?

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