Best Garden Hose Nozzles & Sprayers: Guide & Recommendations 2017
If you’ve ever used a garden hose without a nozzle, you know how frustrating it can be to get the water to spray out gently (rather than rushing out in a jet) and how cold the water can be on your fingers as you try to adjust the water flow by placing your thumb over the hose end. You’d probably admit that a hose nozzle is not just a “nice to have” tool for the garden!
Then again, you’ve probably also had the unfortunate experience of having to buy multiple hose nozzles each year as they break, leak, stop spraying, fail to turn off, or otherwise fall apart. So how do you choose the best hose nozzles, the ones that actually work and won’t break down after only a few sprays?
>> Related Article: Best Garden Hoses – A detailed guide to buying a quality hose and our top recommendations.
Considerations in Buying Hose Nozzles
Garden hose nozzles come in hundreds of varieties, with a number of different styles, materials, sizes, costs, spray patterns, flow rates, and more to choose from. It can be overwhelming trying to choose the right one for your needs so here are the key things to consider when looking for a high quality hose nozzle.
Garden hose nozzles have two major components – the sprayer and the handle – each of which can be made out of different material. Many spray nozzles are made completely of metal, but some are entirely made of plastic, while others are part plastic, part metal.
Metal Hose Nozzles
Metal is generally the best material for a garden nozzle. Look for solid brass, as well as construction die cast zinc or aluminum. Metal hose nozzles are typically heavier than plastic ones (especially brass nozzles) so be sure you’ll be comfortable holding it for an extended period of time.
Take a look at how smoothly the parts move and the precision with which any holes are drilled. Metal nozzles generally last longer than other options but they aren’t inherently better quality – make sure you buy a quality metal nozzle that’s well-made.
You’ll find many metal nozzles with colorful powder coating or anodized finishes to prevent rusting. Some are also covered in plastic or rubber (to protect the hose nozzle from damage and provide a non-slip grip) or have plastic or nylon insulation on the handle to keep your hand warm.
Metal & Plastic Hose Nozzles
Another good option is a metal nozzle with a plastic handle. It’s the working parts inside the nozzle that are most likely to fail so those are the parts that are most important to have in metal. Look for a hose nozzle with a metal connection point (where it attaches to the hose), sprayer (where the water comes out), and moving parts.
Plastic Hose Nozzles
Avoid all-plastic hose nozzles. Not only are they more likely to leak or break, but plastic breaks down when left exposed to sunlight. Plastic nozzles should be stored out of direct sun at all times, which usually means removing it from the end of the hose after each use and putting the nozzle in the shed or garage.
We recommend a quality, all-metal hose nozzle with a rubber or plastic wrapped grip.
Hose Nozzle Styles
There are seven major types of hose nozzles for gardening, each with its pros and cons.
This is exactly what it sounds like – a nozzle shaped somewhat like a pistol. Key features include:
- a grip that’s held in your hand like a pistol
- a lever or trigger to turn the water on or off and control the flow rate (this may be found on the front of the handle where it’s squeezed with your finger(s) or on the back where it’s depressed with the palm of your hand), and
- a nozzle (which may or may not be adjustable) sticking out the front.
Simply point the nozzle in the direction you want to spray, and pull the trigger.
You can turn off the water by releasing the trigger and can control the flow rate based on how much you depress the trigger.
Pistol grip nozzles are usually made of aluminum or plastic (or sometimes both). Because they have many moving parts, they can easily be broken or worn out, so quality is especially important when choosing this kind of nozzle.
Dial or Turret
These types of hose nozzles come in a variety of styles (most typically, on pistol grip or watering wand styles), but the key feature is the ability to turn a dial to adjust the spray pattern. Nozzles will range from 2 to 8 or more available spray patterns, including jet, fan or flat, cone, shower, mist, center spray, and soak or flood.
Dial or turret garden hose nozzles are a good choice if you do a lot of close watering or need to frequently change the spray pattern. The mist setting is great for delicate plants and seedlings, and the soak pattern is helpful when watering large containers.
These nozzles tend to be made of plastic, although you can also find some made of aluminum or part aluminum, part plastic. If it’s made of plastic, be sure to bring it inside when not in use (and definitely don’t leave it outside over the winter!).
A watering wand is a specialized nozzle that extends your reach so you can place water exactly where you want it. It’s often used for watering hanging baskets and deep garden beds.
Some watering wands extend or telescope for added length and versatility. Others come with adjustable nozzles (like a dial nozzle). The better ones come with a cut-off valve or trigger at the base that allows you to start and stop the water without having to turn the faucet off, and some have a foam or rubber insulated grip to keep your hand warm.
Our favorite watering wand is the Dramm OneTouch Rain Wand. >> READ THE REVIEW here.
Fan nozzles emit water in a fan-shaped pattern and are ideal for watering smaller gardens and outdoor plants.
There is no water control (although some have a shut-off valve) but they are good for completing watering tasks quickly. They generally dispense a lot of water but they do so fairly gently so can be used even for some of your more delicate watering tasks.
You’ll often find this kind of hose nozzle in the automotive care section of the hardware store because it can put out a lot of water at relatively high pressures – great for washing cars.
Fireman nozzles are extremely versatile, allowing you to emit everything from a light mist to a strong jet simply by twisting the nozzle.
Be aware that the spray may be too strong for tender plants and seedlings.
Most are made of metal and the better ones have a rubber coating to protect the nozzle from being dropped (or driven over by a car!) and to insulate the grip.
Our favorite fireman hose nozzle is the Ultimate Hose Nozzle. >> READ THE REVIEW here.
Traditional, Cylindrical, or Straight Nozzles
This garden hose nozzle has a straight barrel that twists to control the amount of water flowing through. To change the spray pattern on a brass nozzle, you twist the end of it. One direction will give you a fine mist to hard stream; the other direction will turn off the flow completely. It works well for spraying water with force and directing water in a specific direction, but it’s generally not insulated so can be cold on your hands. On the other hand, brass cylindrical garden hose nozzles are very heavy, well made, and can last forever.
Soaker or Bubbler Nozzles
These aren’t the typical type of nozzle in that they don’t spray water – rather, water slowly drips or bubbles out of a device placed over the end of the hose. These types of nozzles are perfect for watering more delicate plants, soaking newly planted trees, and minimizing water runoff..
Some hose nozzles allow gardeners to choose from a range of spray patterns, such as a fine mist, a steady shower, a focused jet or cone, or a slow soak. Look for a nozzle that has the spray patterns you’ll use most often. Typically, this would be the mist, soak, shower, and jet patterns, although you may find that you prefer other options.
Most hoses have a threaded metal fitting at the end (although some are plastic – those should be avoided). In the US, the thread standard for gardening hoses is GHT (garden hose thread), which has an outer diameter of 1 and 1/16 inches and a pitch of 11.5 TPI (threads per inch). Outside the US though, BSP (British standard pipe) is used, which has a diameter of 3/4 inch and 14 TPI. Note that BSP and GHT standards are not compatible so check the specs carefully, particularly if you’re buying a hose online.
Always Use Washers
We always recommend that you use a high quality rubber washer (such as this one from Gilmour) at the connection point between the hose fitting and the nozzle. This will help prevent leaks.
Rather than screwing the nozzle on or off each time you use it, a quick-connect system allows you to simply snap it on. The “male” piece is inserted into the nozle (or sprinkler or other watering device) and the “female” end attaches to the hose.
Look for heavy-duty, solid brass construction or aluminum. Quick connectors made with plastic tend to crack or leak over time and should generally be avoided.
Garden hose nozzles typically have flow rates of 2.5 to 5.0 gallons per minute, depending on style and water pressure. Although some manufacturers tout the flow rate of their nozzles, it’s generally not something you’ll need to consider (unless it’s important to put as much water as possible through the nozzle but, in that case, you’re probably better off without a nozzle at all).
Most hose nozzles allow you to shut off the flow of water by moving a valve, twisting or rotating the barrel, or releasing the trigger. This is often a point of failure; look for a valve that’s well-made, strongly attached, and fully stops the flow of water when in the “Off” position.
Hoses come in a variety of diameters, with the most common being ¾ inch, 3/8 inch, 1/2 inch, 5/8 inch and 1 inch. The water pressure at your nozzle (and, therefore, the flow rate) will depend in part on the water pressure at the spigot and in part on the diameter of the hose. Generally, a 5/8 inch hose will be appropriate for all your gardening tasks.
DID YOU KNOW?
Smearing petroleum jelly on the threads of a hose coupling helps prevent mineral deposits that make a nozzle tough to remove.
Where to Buy Hose Nozzles
You have three options here: hardware or home improvement stores, independent garden centers, or online stores (including Amazon).
The advantage of shopping offline is that you can feel the weight of the nozzle, which may help determine quality, and hold it in your hand to see how comfortable it’ll be to use. It’s also easier to return a hose nozzle promptly to a local store if it doesn’t perform as promised. The downside to bricks and mortar stores is that your choice may be limited and, often, stores stock mostly lower-quality models.
For reputable online stores that sell quality garden products, see our list of Best Sources to Buy Garden Tools Online
So Which Hose Nozzle is Right for You?
The best hose nozzle for you depends on what you’ll be using it for. If you need a hard, heavy spray for cleaning patios or washing cars, then a jet or fireman’s nozzle may be right for you. But if you mostly water plants, then the more gentle spray of a fan nozzle or rain wand would be best. And if you use your hose nozzle for a wide variety of tasks, you’d probably prefer an adjustable turret nozzle.
There are several brands that dominate the garden nozzle market, including Dramm, Gardena, Gilmour, Orbit, and Bon-Aire, although there are certainly other good nozzles available. Here’s what you need to know about the various brands.
Dramm has some of the nicest hose nozzles (and sprinklers) available to home gardeners. The company started as designers and providers of commercial watering products. If you’ve ever seen nursery workers watering plants and containers at the garden center, they were probably using a Dramm nozzle. Most of their hose nozzles are made of brass or aluminum and have well-constructed parts that last a long time, including many with a handy on/off switch at the handle (look for hose nozzles with the One Touch system). They’re easily recognized by their bright powder coating that comes in yellow, orange, red, berry, green, or blue. Prices range from $12 to $25.
Dramm 14804 One Touch Rain Wand with One Touch Valve, 30-Inch
>> One of our highly recommended hose nozzles. >> READ OUR REVIEW here.
Dramm 12731 One Touch Fan Nozzle
>> Another good choice – creates a gentle flow and has a cut-off valve right by your thumb.
Dramm 12424 One Touch Shower and Stream
>> Part of the One Touch line, with an easy-to-reach on/off valve and two spray patterns (shower and stream).
Dramm 12704 9-Pattern Revolver Spray Nozzle
>> An ergonomic, insulated pistol grip nozzle with 9 spray patterns (fan, cone, center, jet, mist, soaker, flat, angle, and shower).
Dramm 12380 Heavy-Duty Brass Adjustable Hose Nozzle
>> Made in the U.S.A. from solid brass. Spray pattern adjusts from a fine, cone-shaped spray to a powerful stream.
Gardena is one of the most common nozzle brands in the garden section of home improvement or hardware stores. You may have noticed the distinctive orange and grey colors of their products. Most of their nozzles come with a quick-connect system to attach to the hose, making it easy to remove or replace the nozzle as needed. Gardena also has a line of ergonomically-designed nozzles that make it easier on your wrists. However, the quick-connect is made of plastic, as is much of the nozzle, meaning that it probably won’t have the same lifespan in the garden as a nozzle made from brass or aluminum. And the parts only work with other items in the Gardena line (you can’t mix and match). But for general use, the Gardena nozzles are perfectly fine. Prices range from about $15 to $40.
Gardena 9123 Classic Gentle Watering Garden Spray Wand
>> Non-slip plastic handle, adjustable flow rate, and a 1 year warranty.
GARDENA Metal Multi-Purpose 7-in-1 Spray Gun with Built in Flow Control
>> This pistol grip nozzle has 7 spray patterns, a water flow control knob, and a locking trigger.
Gardena 8153 Premium Ergonomic Garden Hose Spray Jet Nozzle With Quick Connect
>> Gardena’s premium spray nozzle, with adjustable flow rate and a spray pattern that ranges from a hard jet to a fine mist.
This is a company you’ve probably never heard of. They make one hose nozzle and they make it incredibly well. The Ultimate Hose Nozzle is a fireman style nozzle that’s practically indestructible. It comes in aluminum (in a variety of colors) or stainless steel. It’s hard to find in stores (check the automotive aisle) but you’ll often see it at home and garden shows – and, of course, you can buy it online for roughly $18 to $28. READ OUR REVIEW here.
Bon-Aire Original Ultimate Aluminum Hose Nozzle ( Colors may vary )
>> Fireman nozzle with a rubberized grip, 5 spray settings (from mist to jet), and virtually indestructible.
Bon-Aire HN-10C Original Ultimate Hose Nozzle (Stainless Steel)
>> Rust-proof, leak-proof stainless steel with a 1 year warranty.
Gilmour hose nozzles are easy to find in garden centers and home improvement/hardware stores. They’re reasonably priced (mostly in the $5 to $15 range) and will typically last through a season.
Gilmour Full Size Zinc Pistol Grip Nozzle with Threaded Front 573TF
>> This heavy-duty, full size, die cast zinc nozzle has a rust-resistant stainless steel spring and a hold-open clip for continuous spraying.
Gilmour Select-A-Spray Comfort Grip Nozzle 594 Black/Teal
>> Seven spray patterns (cone, sharp stream, full flow, gentle shower, jet, flood, and mist) in a pistol grip nozzle.
Gilmour 528T Solid Brass Twist Nozzle
>> Heavy-duty solid brass construction, all-brass valve stem, and easy twist motion to provide fine spray through strong jet.
This is probably the most common low-priced hose nozzle available in garden and hardware stores. Prices range from about $7 to $25 for the premium nozzle.
Orbit 58228N Lawn & Garden 7-Pattern Plastic Pistol Hose Spray Nozzle
>> This nozzle has an insulated hand grip and plastic-wrapped turret. Seven spray patterns.
Orbit 18-Inch 9-Pattern Turret Wand Spray Nozzle 58291
>> This nozzle has a cushioned grip, metal shut-off with flow control knob, and 9 spray patterns (jet, mist, flood, flat, angle, shower, fan, cone, and center).
Orbit 56252 Front Trigger Turret Hose Nozzle
>> The front trigger locks in place, 7 spray patterns.
Orbit XL-Stream Fire Hose Spray Nozzle 56130
>> Metal body, insulated grip, and large on/off handle.
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