Watering & Irrigation

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68 Comments on Best Garden Hoses: Guide & Recommendations

  1. Lisa McDermott

    I have found the 75ft. Expandable Flexible Garden Water Hose to be the best. It diminishes to a manageable handful & is ounces instead of pounds. It survived the winter outside with no discernible problems & eliminates the need for worry that it will trash anything with which it comes in contact.

  2. Bill Gruener

    Great comments as always. I appreciate you including vendors that supply the type of hose that you recommend. I read the article quickly, but I think I didn’t see a comment that the better hoses are harder to find, which means either ordering directly from the vendor or specialty websites. The better hoses will be found at high-end garden shops in larger, wealthier metropolitan areas.

    You emphasized, but I recommend re-emphasizing, that the more a gardener pays the better the quality. The higher cost at first may feel unnecessary, but in the long run the investment is worth it.

    I double your recommendation: buy a shorter hose! If you need length, buy multiple hoses. If I had a 200-foot run, I would buy eight 25-foot hoses. Two one-hundred-foot hoses are so heavy, they are almost impossible to lift.

    • Thank you for your input, Bill. It’s definitely true that you get what you pay for when it comes to garden hoses – it’s usually worth spending extra for a better quality hose. And those are typically not the hoses you’ll find in the big box stores…

  3. Gwen

    Thank you for your article. I have been waiting to purchase a new hose and did not know what to look for other than it no kinking. So much more to think about.

  4. Hi Monica,
    Thanks for a great article. I’m new to rooftop/balcony gardening and I’ve got a situation where I need to bring 50′ of hose from the south to the east side of the building. The rubber hose I bought says it’s good up to 190 degrees F – is that enough to make it through a hot summer on the south-facing roof surface?
    thanks for any advice you can give.

    • Thanks for the kind words 🙂 190F? Yikes, that’s hot! If a rubber hose won’t last in that heat, nothing will. The one thing I’d strongly recommend is that you drain the hose after each use. Just turn off the water at the spigot and make sure the hose nozzle (assuming you’re using one) is open so any water in the hose can flow out. No need to do anything else. The point is to allow water to escape from the hose as it heats up in the sun. If you leave the hose nozzle closed, water in the hose will boil and can eventually rupture the hose. I use the Dramm ColorStorm hose (it’s rubber) here in Tucson where it’s currently 111F in the shade. I leave the hose lying on the ground. It handles the heat with no problem at all. You should be find on the rooftop with a good quality rubber hose.

  5. Lisa McDermott

    I disagree with the statement that rubber is best. Maybe in some situations but from where I sit, the vinyl expandable hose is where it’s at! It’s lightweight, ounces instead of pounds, it coils up neatly, doesn’t kink & doesn’t get angry hot sitting out in the sun. Mine is 75ft and I can water my garden & even get to my back porch. When I turn off the spigot the water left inside is pushed out so the water doesn’t go to waste. There were several reviews of this item online saying it was cheap & broke. I’m not sure what turmoil these people were putting the hose thru but in my experience, the Expandable hose is a godsend.

    • Hi Lisa,
      As with everything, what’s “best” tends to depend on your needs and situation. Rubber is generally best from a longevity, flexibility, and toughness standpoint – plus it withstands temperature fluctuations better than other materials. But if you’re looking for a lightweight hose, then rubber wouldn’t be a good choice. It sounds like you’ve found what’s “best” for you with your expandable hose 🙂 What brand is it? Sounds like one we should test out for a review.

    • ian

      Hi Lisa
      Why do you think that when the expandable hoses break it must be because of user turmoil ? I bought two of these, which each lasted only 1.5 years with little turmoil applied by me – just regular weekly hosing and no stress. I managed to fix one (the internal hose snapped inside the skin for no apparent reason) but then it broke again 3 metres further down a month later. The second one (a different more expensive make) also only lasted about a year. I think they have a long way to go in materials development to get longevity with this design. The inside seems to perish with age just like a rubber band. Ive checked user comments on Amazon for other types of hose, and each one has roughly 10% of users hating that particular make / design. Seems modern day hoses are just not built to last, even the more expensive ones. ian

      • Many of the “new-fangled” hoses don’t seem to have the lifespan of “old fashioned” rubber hoses. For my money, a rubber hose is still the best bet if you’re looking something that will stand the test of time!

  6. Eric Carter

    Hi Monica

    Thank you for a well researched and well written review. As you review was written in April of this year and the FLEXZILLA garden hose range has been around for about two years now, I was wondering why you did not include it in the review? It is a very different hose, supposedly has tremendous flexibility in very cold conditions, is very light (comparatively) and has no memory (lays flat under all conditions). I’m sure you are aware of these hoses and would appreciate your views on them.

    Many thanks

  7. Eric Carter

    Hello Monica

    Thank you for your informative reply. I look forward to the Flexilla review when its published in the near future.

    Kind regards

  8. Rick Buddemeier

    Best hose article – thanks. I need to run a 75 ft hose that drains water from my off my roof, through a barrel,away from my house. At certain points it may need to be trenched a couple inches into the earth (not necessarily covered). I’d like to have that best RUBBER hose survive 5-10 years. Think it will work?

    • Hey Rick, I think it would work – but… any (rubber) hose, no matter how high quality, is going to degrade over time when left out in the elements. So will it last 5-10 years? Maybe, but I doubt it. You’d be better off running PVC pipe.

  9. EvelynMae Nikolaus

    I formerly bought short (10 feet) soaker hoses to string around individual bushes, can no longer find them at the big box stores. I preferred fully assembled hoses as the do it your self varieties tended to blow apart (pressure too high?) Does any one still make them? I saw one on your list, buy 50 feet and receive two sets. Were extra fittings available?

    • If you’re trying to find short soaker hoses to place around individual bushes, then you may want to check out the Waterhoop (see the review here). They’ve upgraded it to prevent the kinking we found in our original review and we now highly recommend it. As for regular soaker hoses, extra fittings are generally available in the hardware store or directly from the manufacturer/distributor if bought online. And I believe that Dramm still makes a shorter soaker hose in a circle that’s intended for use with individual trees or shrubs – you’ll find those online or in independent garden centers.

  10. Paul Seguin

    I have purchased several types of hose over the decades and can confirm that the recommendations above are good ones. Rubber is best and I have 2 rubber hoses, one 50 ft and one 25 ft, which I join when necessary. Bought late 1980’s, My favorite choice as does not kink (much) and good flow. Moderately heavy in 5/8 in diameter, but the two lengths help, if weight is an issue.
    I’ve tossed away several reinforced cheap vinyl hoses, not worth buying as they kink, can be easily damaged, and are stiff when cold. And the worst is a 5/8 dia composite hose, 100 ft long. It kinks EVERY time I use it, it is heavy, and very stiff when cold, hard to coil and drain at end of season.
    So, if you are planning to need a hose for a long time (say more than 2-3 years, invest in a good quality rubber hose. Too bad my rubber hoses are finally starting to crack after 30 plus years!
    No comments on the “specialty” and “novelty” hoses described -some may be suitable for their intended applications.

  11. Cat

    Thanks for the reviews.! I have been so frustrated trying to find nontoxic hoses and connectors for my garden. I bought soaker hoses a couple of years ago and now find they use recycled old tires, replete with lead and chemicals. So I guess my yard outside the garden is contaminated! Argghh!

    Investing in all new hoses and connectors this year. So from your experience reviewing the soaker hoses, did I miss comments about lead-free, chemical free brands?

    Thanks again!

    • Ugh, so sorry your yard isn’t as chemical-free as you’d hoped. I’m an organic gardener so I know how you feel. Unfortunately, I haven’t yet come across any soaker hoses that are confirmed to be lead-free/nontoxic. Some of the hoses with small holes may be (or you can make one yourself from one of the drinking water safe hoses) but true soaker hoses … I’m still looking.

  12. Rene

    I desperately need a hose that my French Bulldog can’t puncture. She is obsessed with “killing” the hose when I’m watering in the yard. Because I need several, the Armadillo hose is out of my budget. Any suggestions?

    • Dogs are so funny. Our neighbor’s chihuahua insists on attacking the “snake” every time he sees it. But a chihuahua can’t do as much damage to a hose as a French Bulldog! I think if she’s determine to “kill” the hose, eventually she’ll puncture pretty much anything. But it’s worth trying one of the heavy duty hoses, particularly the Dramm and Briggs & Stratton. They’ve pretty thick rubber so it may be more difficult for her to bite through – and they’re heavier so she may not find it as appealing to attack. The Stanley FatMax wouldn’t be a good choice. It’s tough for regular use but thinner so probably easier for her to chew on. Good luck!

  13. Emory

    My garden hose is in good shape except for some mold/mildew on the outside of it. I’m looking for suggestions re cleaning the hose without doing damage to the hose itself.


  14. Mark

    I gave away my heavy rubber hoses when my wife and I downsized to a low maintenance small bungalow style community with minimal storage space. I now need a lightweight easy to store in small space hose for watering the flowers and other light duty watering. I was about to buy the Pocket Flex Hose, but then read several reviews online about the low quality and leaking problems with them. Is there a lightweight hose brand, flex or otherwise, you would recommend for low usage. Have minimal space to store. Thanks, Mark

    • Hi Mark, There are a few hoses that are new to the market this year that I think would meet your needs (although we haven’t tested them yet), plus some of the 1/2 inch lightweight hoses, like those from Water Right. At the National Hardware Show last month we saw new hoses from Stanley (Aeroflex) and Swan that lay flat when not in use and expand when full of water. They don’t take up much space at all and are constructed differently than the typical expandable hose. I don’t think they’ve hit the market yet though. So, for now, if you’re able to store a short, 1/2-inch hose (perhaps on a wall-mounted hose reel) then I think that would be your best option.

  15. franki

    I just purchased an expandable hose (Top brass 75′) and read a warning about lead on it’s label! Is this safe to use on my veg garden? We needed a new hose reel & this hose cost less than a reel, plus I got it at Rite Aid with “store money” that I earned with some coupon-ing deals so thought it was worth the risk. But not of potentially ingesting lead via my produce I could exchange for other hose they have — the Xhose. Haven’t found any online info about lead in that brand.
    Thanks for any input

    • Watering veggies with a hose that has a lead warning (and many still do) is generally considered to be “safe.” But it’s wise to take some precautions, such as letting the water run for a while to flush out any water in the hose before using it on your edible plants – it’s the water that’s in the hose for a while, particularly if it’s been sitting out in the sun, that picks up lead and any other contaminants. You may also want to scrub or peel any veggies before eating them. As for the Xhose, I can’t tell you specifically about lead in that one.

      • franki

        Thanks so much for the feedback. I did that and it was the only time I used the hose. I found it to be quite heavy and the directions indicated it couldn’t be left outside. My back yard faucet is not near my garage. It is right outside my kitchen & I simply don’t have a place to keep it there.
        Plus draining it & removing from faucet after EACH use is just a pain.
        My front yard faucet wouldn’t be much more convenient but it’s very low water use. I only really water a couple of fruit trees, trickle for few hours a month. Expandable hose doesn’t work for that.

  16. Belinda

    I need a hose for a rain barrel. Although barrel is on 3′ stand, flow is okay. Not concerned about water pressure. Don’t want lead (edible plants). REALLY don’t want kinking. Need 75′ for back yard; 100 for front (although, I could settle for 75′). With so many choices, sites, I don’t think I’ve ever been so confused. HELP!!!

    • Hi Belinda. If you want to be sure there’s no possibility of lead contamination, then you’ll need a hose that’s labeled as being “drinking water safe”. Many of those are only 1/2 inch diameter, although some of the newer ones are 5/8″. I don’t think you’re going to find one that’s 100′ long – that’s long for any hose! – so you’ll have to buy multiple shorter lengths and put them together. With a smaller diameter and lower water pressure (i.e., no pump), I suspect it’s going to be tough to get water through 100′ regardless of which hose you buy … As for kinking, I’ve yet to find a hose that never kinks – every hose has the potential to kink in specific circumstances (although some are more kink-prone than others). In any case, start with those hoses listed above in the Drinking Water Safe category and see if any meet your needs.

  17. Patrick

    I can’t thank you well enough Monica. Well researched and excellent recommendations. Keep up the good work.

    • Hi Michael, that’s a good question. Unfortunately, the answer is “it depends” – mostly on your water pressure, hose length and how many holes there are in the sprinkler hose. Two people with exactly the same hose could find that the area watered by the hose is very different for each of them. For example, with high water pressure, a short length of hose and fewer perforations, the water would “spurt” farther than in a situation with low water pressure or a long hose or more perforations. It also depends on some extent to whether it’s a flat hose (which tends to spray water upward and so spreads out less) or a round hose (which sprays water in all directions). Having said that, as a general rule of thumb I wouldn’t expect a sprinkler hose to water more than 2 feet to either side of the hose.

    • Hi Mr. Ron! We’re in the process of reviewing two stainless steel hoses that we saw this year at the National Hardware show last month. The jury’s still out but you’ll see our full reviews this summer.

  18. I’m surprised no one mentions the problems I’ve found with the aluminum couplings. I’ve fixed our hoses many times over the decades by replacing the couplings with replacement metal couplings bought from hardware stores. The big problem over the last handful of years is that the couplings are now almost all made out of aluminum instead of brass. They’re even disguised to LOOK like brass with a brass-colored anodizing. The major problem occurs when we’ve connected our hoses with aluminum couplers to a brass faucet and left it connected for at least 6 months – even years. Well, after that amount of time, there’s no way to unscrew the hose from the faucet! Those 2 metals form a major amount of galvanic corrosion that literally makes them impossible to get apart. Brass connected to brass will NEVER have a problem like this. I’ve had to cut the hoses off and then use a Dremel tool to cut 2 slits in the aluminum coupler on opposite sides while trying not to cut too deeply into the brass faucet threads. Then a screwdriver or small chisel with a hammer is able to get the 2 halves freed from the faucet. Then the faucet threads have to be cleaned up to get the traces of aluminum out before attaching anything else to it. A real mess you don’t ever want to have to deal with! I’m not sure if putting some kind of goop (such as petroleum jelly or anti-seize compound) on the threads would help when initially putting the hose on the faucet, but I don’t want to have to deal with that kind of mess! Also, the aluminum couplers corrode badly internally after being on a hose only a few years. One of ours had almost corroded completely through from the inside. That’s not good to have chunks of corrosion breaking off that flow down the hose and end up plugging up holes in sprinklers, etc. Again, brass will NEVER have a corrosion problem like this. We’ve had some hoses for over a decade, and the replacement couplers were in perfect condition when I salvaged and saved them from the hose before throwing the hose away. There is no way replacement aluminum couplers would last that long. From now on I’ll stick with real, solid brass connectors, thank you. I can’t believe hardware stores are still selling that aluminum junk with no warnings whatsoever to customers about this problem. I wish the hardware stores would stock real brass replacement couplers next to the aluminum ones now on the shelves and clearly mark what metal each is made of. Everyone needs to help spread the word. I’m surprised at how almost no one knows of this problem (even the employees of hardware stores).

    • I personally prefer the Dramm heavy duty hoses because I love the colors! Plus, I’ve had one in use for 5 years, mostly lying directly in the sun (year-round, we live in Tucson) and it’s still going strong. But if you don’t want a brightly colored hose, then the Briggs is a great choice.

  19. Wood Tools Guy

    Is it worth buying the more expensive contractor hoses or sticking with the middle of the road stuff? Also, which diameter of hose is best for watering the lawn/sprinklers?

    • For watering the lawn, use a standard 5/8″ hose. Smaller diameter hoses don’t generally have enough pressure to make a sprinkler work well.

      As for contractor vs mid-range, that all depends on you. I prefer to go for contractor grade hoses that last a long time (with proper care), rather than replacing hoses every year or two.

  20. Alastair Stewart

    I have had a 75 foot rubber hose for as long as I can remember – it has served me well! A few days ago the end of the hose flew off. Does anyone repair these(or is the strength of permanently compromised)? Do I call it a day and simply buy a new one? Thoughts and advice?

    • There are fittings you can buy (probably at your local garden center or hardware store) that are used to repair the end of the hose. But sure to buy a solid brass one with a metal clamp to keep it firmly in place. And cut a few inches off the end of the hose before installing the fitting so it will fit snugly. Good luck!

  21. Toire S

    I have a black rubber Goodyear garden hose that I’ve been pretty happy with. It has held up very well with the exception of the black color starting to rub off on my hands during watering. I haven’t been able to find anything online indicating how this could be fixed, short of replacing it. I was wondering if anyone has heard of coating it perhaps with an automotive product that they sell to use on tires or plastic-silicone based. Any ideas?

    • Jack Hemingway

      Hi Toire,
      I think what’s happening here is that your rubber hose is starting to degraded from the sun’s harmful UV rays. I haven’t heard of anyone coating a hose with a UV protectant. But from experience I can tell you that I changed a tire on my RV that had a UV protectant on it (that stuff that makes the tire look new and nice and shiny). The moment I touched the tire to change it my hands were coated with a black rubber-like material. I had to wash my hands with some major soap to get the oily-like dirt/black rubber color off my hands. Automotive or marine UV protectant may work differently on a rubber hose than a rubber tire. If it were me, I’d buy some of the UV protectant and give it a try on a section of your hose, maybe in the middle so that if it doesn’t work you don’t have to touch it much. A bottle of UV protectant is less expensive than a new rubber hose … so nothing ventured nothing gained. If it doesn’t work, you could use the stuff on your car. Let me know how you make out.

  22. Joyce Haley

    I’m looking for a portable hose reel that opens after coiling hoses for winter storage. Does anyone make them?

  23. mdl Spencer

    Wow, I feel after reading this I’ve hit upon ‘Garden Hoses:101′ Such a wealth of info, thank you.

    However, I do have an actually question I’m hoping you can assist me with- I have a very large yard (approximately 3500+ sq ft). No sprinkler system because of layout so needs watering by hose. The problem is I have a spouse that absolutely loves cactus and all living plants sharp and pointy! Well this is fine (not really) except for what it does to our hose. It’s as if I’m constantly watering with a 100’ soaker hose, at least I am always soaked after using it.
    Hoping you can advise to a puncture-proof or at least puncture-resistant hose of good quality. Please and thank you.

    • Living in the desert with lots of spiny cactus around, I know how you feel! The best hoses I’ve found in this situation are the heavy duty rubber hoses (my Dramm hose has gone 5+ years without any punctures). Another option is the newer lightweight hoses with a tough outer fabric shell (such as the Stanley ExoJacket hose – there’s even one with Kevlar in the fabric). Please note that we haven’t specifically tested those types of hoses against cactus!! They performed well in our field testing and I expect they’d stand up to at least occasional contact with a cactus or other thorny shrub, but I can’t say that for sure.

  24. Karen

    I just recently purchased a lightweight 50ft expandable hose from amazon and I love it. We don’t live anywhere near the desert, so I could not really say if it would be good for desert living but it works great for us. I think it was from home life pros brand.

  25. Cathie

    What an excellent and thorough article! Thank you so much for all this research! I hope you can help me understand the burst pressure a little better. According to google, the highest psi for a water tap is 70. So why do we need a hose with 350 psi burst pressure rating with a sprinkler? Does the sprinkler increase the psi within the hose?

  26. Kami Czyz

    Hi Monica, I’ve got a bit of a strange one. Would you know of a product that woul enable me to connect a garden size hose to an lay flat hose? Kind regards

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