If you have shopped for garden hoses lately, you may have been overwhelmed by the many choices available. You may be tempted to just choose the cheapest one you can find. However, you may end up being disappointed. It’s easy to think that small features don’t make a difference. But the smallest difference can impact how well the hose performs if it is easy to maneuver, and how long the hose lasts. Lower quality hoses may need to be repaired frequently because it leaks, rots, or cracks. It’s cost-effective to buy a good garden hose to start with.
A good garden hose will be durable and have kink resistance. It will be constructed out of high-quality materials that resist rotting. It will also be long enough to reach all the areas you need to be watered.
6 Things to Consider when Buying a Garden Hose
How Long is the garden hose?
Garden hoses are available in different lengths. You can choose from 25, 50, 75, or 100 ft hoses. You may be tempted to purchase the longest one because the longer the better right? Not always. Longer hoses can present a number of problems, including:
- Heavier and harder to drag around
- More difficult to drain before winter
- Lower water pressure on the other end
- Needs more storage space
- More expensive
To reduce these problems, you will want to choose the hose of the shortest length necessary. If you need 100 feet of garden hose to reach all of your garden, by all means, get one that length. To determine how long your garden hose needs to be, measure from your water spigot to the farthest distance you will be watering. It needs to be a bit longer, so you don’t tug on the hose and stretch it out. Stretching it out can cause leaks and snags.
If you have plants on a balcony or deck, a 25-foot garden hose should work fine. A 50-foot garden hose should be adequate for most urban yards. If you need one longer than that, consider joining two hoses together when you do need to reach past 50 feet. This keeps you from having to lug around a long, heavy hose as often.
What is the hose’s diameter?
The diameter of a garden hose affects its water capacity. The diameter of a hose is measured on the inside of the hose, not the outside. There are three common diameters: ¾-inch, 5/8-inch, and ½-inch. The larger the diameter, the more water flow the hose can produce. A diameter of 5/8-inch is generally adequate. This diameter allows for plenty of water flow without being too heavy.
If you are concerned about the weight of the hose, you may want to choose the half-inch size. They are lighter weight-wise, but they also do not have as much water flow. Half-inch hoses are lighter-duty garden hoses, and you will want a length of 50 feet or shorter. However, if you want to use the water hose with a sprinkler or to wash your car, you may want to consider a larger diameter.
What type of material is best?
Garden hoses are commonly made of vinyl, rubber, or a combination of these two. Both rubber and vinyl materials can leach chemicals into the water. If you plan to drink the water or use the garden hose to water your pets, make sure to purchase a “drinking water safe” garden hose. These are made from polyurethane and are made to not leach chemicals. So which material is best?
Vinyl Garden Hose
This type of hose is usually reinforced with a radial cord. It is the least expensive variety, and it is a lightweight hose which makes it very portable. However, it is also not as sturdy as other materials. The hose is more likely to kink, split, and crack. If it is exposed to the sun or harsh weather, it can degrade rapidly. However, it is budget-friendly. So, if you only need it for lighter-duty gardening, it’s a great option.
Rubber Garden Hose
These hoses are the strongest and most durable. However, they are also the most expensive. Rubber garden hoses can be very heavy making them hard to move around your garden area. One of the benefits of using a rubber hose is its ability to carry hot water. It’s also less likely to kink and it is resistant to cracking and deteriorating in the sun. if you are looking for a heavy-duty garden hose that will last through several seasons, rubber is your best bet.
This type of garden hose is reinforced with a mesh lining which is layered in between vinyl or rubber. The advantage of this type of hose is that it is kink and split resistant. It can also handle more water pressure than other types of hoses.
Expandable Garden Hose
Expandable hoses look like a very long scrunchie until water fills them up. They expand to about three times their length when they fill with water. Most of them have a ½-inch diameter, are lightweight, and are brightly colored. They are prone to rupture if left in the sun because they are thinner than other hoses. If you like the fact that it’s lightweight and a little more fun to use, just treat it gently and it should serve your purposes well.
Which hose strength is the best?
“Burst pressure” is used to measure the strength of a garden hose. More water pressure than a hose is made for and it can rupture. If you plan on using the garden hose with a sprinkler, you will need one that has a burst pressure of over 350psi. If you want to use it with a pressure washer, check the manual as you may need a higher burst pressure rating to operate it safely.
How flexible is the garden hose?
You need a garden hose that has plenty of flex. It will make it easy to store, especially when storing them on hose reels. Kinking can shorten the life of the hose because it causes splits. Most hoses, even a kink proof one, will kink if they are twisted, but some can handle it better than others. The Flexzilla garden hose is a great option when you want plenty of flex.
What about the couplings?
Couplings are an important feature to consider because it is what connects the hose to the spigot, a sprinkler, or nozzle. Less expensive varieties have plastic couplings. They are prone to cracking, leaking, and breaking. Plastic tends to break down quickly, especially if it’s exposed to sunlight.
Metal couplings are usually made of brass, but some are chrome plated. You’ll recognize brass fittings versus stainless steel couplings because brass is thicker, and it has an octagonal shape. This unique shape allows it to be turned with a wrench. Cast brass couplings are the strongest and most leak-resistant. Thinner metals are harder to tighten on the spigot and bend more easily.
Quality garden hoses come with a collar that extends up the hose from the coupling about four to six inches. This helps prevent kinks and splits at the spigot.
Choosing a garden hose may be a bit more complex than you thought. But finding the right one can provide hours of rewarding enjoyment in your garden or yard. If you know what you are looking for, you can get more bang for your buck and be satisfied with your purchase. Knowing how to judge the length, material, coupling, and flexibility makes the decision-making process much simpler. And you will be able to make a good choice.