Sugarcane farmers in Lumajang in East Java Province have a strong preference of using furrow irrigation instead of sprinkler irrigation. To evaluate the possibility of smallholder sprinkler irrigation as an alternative water-saving irrigation method, the aim of this research is to examine the socio-technical dimension of current irrigation practices of smallholder sugarcane farmers, emphasizing the extent of farmer perspectives and knowledge. As comparison to furrows, a smallholder sprinkler system was designed and evaluated. The sprinkler was expected to fit smallholders' acreage, has low investment costs, is easy to build by locals, and is easy in its operation. The responses, perspectives and expectations of farmers to this smallholder sprinkler system are also discussed. The results indicated that smallholder sugarcane farmers perceive furrow irrigation as the best and low-cost irrigation method. They have already spent money on furrow irrigation investment; however, that investment was seen as a burden for their budgets because smallholders perceived sprinkler irrigation as an expensive irrigation method. In addition, the sprinkler could not satisfy their main expectation because it delivered less water than furrows, meaning the soil was not saturated. This mind-set underlines the slow acceptance process of a relatively new irrigation technology implementation for smallholders in Indonesia.