How do you choose the best garden hose? This is a tough question to answer, since so much depends on your circumstances. Professional gardeners will have different requirements from casual gardeners with minimal watering needs.
We've taken a look at five of the top hoses on the market. These are versatile enough to meet a variety of different needs. Our favorite overall is the Flexzilla hose, which should adhere to the majority of gardening requirements.
We also have some guidance for how to narrow down the right hose option for both your needs and your budget.
The 5 Best Garden Hoses
The Flexzilla hose is the best choice to suit most gardening needs. The product is lightweight and safe to use with drinking water. It's fifty feet long, with a diameter of 5/8ths of an inch. You can also purchase the hose in lengths of 75, 25, 10, 5, or 3 feet.
This is one of the most flexible hose options on the market. In fact, Flexzilla's specialty is making flexible products. The secret is a blend of polymer material that has maximum flexibility even in extreme temperatures. It can perform at temperatures of -40 to 140 F, making it ideal for people in both very cold and very hot climates.
Another selling point of this item is that it's designed for use by professionals. Despite this, the model is very affordable. The material has been built to withstand both indoor and outdoor conditions, so it can be used by people in any industry.
The outside of the hose has a covering that's resistant to abrasions. It won't wear down if it's dragged along rough stone or asphalt, and it won't be punctured by thorns or sharp branches. The anodized aluminum fittings are built with the same crush-resistance as those used in airplanes, so the hose can always work.
The item is also designed not to kink when exposed to high pressures. Many garden hoses develop permanent kinks when they're rolled up for long periods of time. But the memoryless polymer material doesn't retain kinks after being rolled up. The hose will always lay flat when you roll it out, and it's easy to coil back up once you're finished using it.
This makes it one of the easiest hoses both to use and to store. You don't have to worry about any prior shapes when you're coiling it up.
The hose is also leak-free. It's designed using O-rings that fit together without causing leaks. You don't have to worry about outside particles leeching into the water. The polymer is also free of lead and other toxic materials.
This means that in addition to using the hose to water your garden, the water is also safe to drink. You can use the design to have outdoor fun with your kids by attaching it to a sprinkler. You also don't need to worry if your pets use the hose as a form of drinking water, and the water will be safe to use for your plants.
The hose's materials are lighter in weight than those of traditional hoses as well. This means that it's much easier to carry the model around your garden to water your plants and lawn. For people who are concerned about muscle fatigue from the weight of their garden hose, this is a great option.
In addition to being resistant to abrasion, the outer cover is also resistant to UV damage, so it's great for those living in very sunny areas. It also resists mold growth even when stored in dark and moist conditions. The reinforced middle layer strengthens the design without adding too much weight.
The all-weather flexibility is part of why this is a frequent pick for professionals. Most recreational gardeners don't go outdoors in cold weather. But professional gardeners need to work even in cold temperatures. Rather than becoming brittle and stiff like traditional hoses, this hose remains flexible.
One note is that this particular model doesn't come with a nozzle. You can purchase a model that does have a nozzle, but you'll need to pay a little extra for that.
This is a great hose option if you need a longer hose to reach every area of your garden. It's available in a 100 foot length, though you can also make purchases in lengths of 75, 50, or 25 feet. You also have your choice of an olive green, espresso, eggplant, or cranberry colored coating.
You can pick between stainless steel and brass fittings for the hose. The stainless steel fittings are a little more expensive, but they also perform better. A hose with stainless steel fittings is less likely to rust when exposed to moist conditions, and it's less likely to become damaged due to cold temperatures.
Like the prior option on the list, this hose is designed not to kink permanently. It might not be quite as flexible as the previous option, but it is close. The soft material is slim and lightweight, with the hose being less than a half-inch in diameter. This makes it very easy to store and to move from place to place.
The hose has been certified by the FDA as being safe to use with drinking water. You don't have to worry about your kids or pets getting sick from drinking the contents, and they're also safe to use with all garden plants. When compared to vinyl or PVC piping, the polyurethane resin material causes water to be odorless and tasteless.
The construction is free from potentially toxic materials including BPA plastic, lead, and phthalates. When you get the stainless steel option, the stainless steel fittings are resistant to crushing, don't tarnish over time, and last for long periods of time. They're made with industrial-quality materials, so they're good for people in professional garden industries as well.
The hose remains flexible in temperatures below freezing when similar models often become brittle. In addition, it can run hot water at temperatures of up to 140 F before being affected. The outside is also resistant to UV damage.
The flow rate is anywhere from four to five gallons per minute, which is ideal for the majority of small shops, outdoor gardens, and home needs. Every 50 feet of hose weighs just 3 pounds, so it's ideal for those who are concerned about handling a heavy hose for long periods of time.
In addition, the company is based in the US, and all products are manufactured in the US as well. The hoses are often used by farmers to wash down horse stalls and clean barns, as well as by boat owners to rinse off the decks of boats.
If you're looking for a more complete outdoor watering solution, this might be your best bet. In addition to having the hose, this product comes with additional accessories to help you water your garden, backyard, and other outdoor areas that require regular maintenance.
The included spray gun has seven total functions. Meanwhile, the hose itself is 82 feet long, making it a great medium between shorter 50-foot lengths and longer 100-foot hose options.
This is one of the easiest hoses to store and to use. To roll the hose up, all you have to do is use the retractor function. This means that it's much easier to roll up and put away than hoses of a similar length. You can also extend it to the perfect length to water your garden without worrying about losing water pressure because of leaky connectors.
The retractable reel can be mounted on the wall outside your house. Since the mechanism is spring-loaded, the hose will retract with your command. The hose length is large enough to take care of the majority of your garden needs. The only reason you'd need something more portable is if you're dealing with a lot of different gardens in different areas surrounding your home.
The hose also has connectors that are very easy to use. The no-leak fittings can be connected easily at any point along the length. There's also a locking mechanism that will prevent the hose from extending further once it reaches the perfect length.
This means that you don't need to worry about excess hose length. The hose is unlikely to tangle or kink while you're using it. With that said, the material doesn't have quite the same level of anti-kinking protection as the previous two options on the list. If you do use extra hose, you are likely to run into kinking issues.
Since it's so easy to put away, it's an ideal choice for those who are concerned about rolling up their hose when they're finished. The garden will look tidy and neat after it's been watered. The hose is unlikely to drag in the soil or cause problems with your more fragile flowers.
The item is also super easy to install. The bracket just needs to be mounted to a post or to the outside wall of your house. Then the reel needs to be placed on the bracket, and the hose needs to be attached to your outdoor tap. That's all there is to it.
The construction is free from lead and BPA plastics, so it's safe to use in your garden. The ends are also made of high-quality brass. While these will tarnish more easily than stainless steel, they are very good for use for casual gardeners. In addition, the hose is more than a half-inch in diameter, which means that the water flow tends to be faster than average.
Ultimately, this design is built for convenience. It makes it much easier to water your garden than a traditional hose. The reel has integrated carrying handles, so it can be portably brought from place to place. As the hose coils up, the self-layering mechanism ensures that the product remains free of tangles.
Another ideal aspect of the design is that it has a 180-degree pivoting mechanism. This means that you can walk around the side of your house and pull the hose at many different angles, and the mechanism will move with you. It's a great way of preventing tangles and kinks due to over-stretching.
You can also purchase additional accessories to make using the product even easier. An extra bracket allows you to mount the hose in a variety of different locations. You can also get a reel cover that protects your reel from harsh conditions, which is ideal for those living in areas with extreme weather phenomena.
The spray nozzle can be easily adjusted to different conditions. You can turn it to seven different settings, allowing it to water your garden at the right pace and pressure every time. Whether you need to give your pavement a pressure wash or provide a fine mist for your flowers, the nozzle has you covered.
Also included with every purchase is a two year warranty from the manufacturer.
This garden hose is a great choice for anyone who wants an option that's a little more affordable. It's one of the most lightweight options on the list, weighing less than 1.5 pounds for every 50 feet of hose. It is also one of the shorter options on the list, coming in at 50 feet rather than 100 feet.
This option has fewer customization choices than others. It's available in the same black color and made with the same plastic materials and fasteners no matter what. Because of this, it might not be the best option for those who like to choose a hose that suits their personal aesthetic.
Melnor is known for being a company with excellent customer service options. As such, each hose comes with a two year manufacturer's warranty, so you can get a replacement if there are any issues with the construction. The company's customer service team is also prompt and helpful when it comes to answering questions.
One of the most unique aspects of this hose is the way it flattens. The material presses flat when it isn't being filled with water. This allows for much more compact storage. In fact, the entire hose only takes up about half of a cubic foot when being stored.
The hose is designed to function in both a versatile and flexible way. In addition to watering your plants above the ground, you can place it below a thin layer of mulch or soil. This allows you to dampen your soil or to directly water the roots of plants that are underneath the ground.
The hose has a porous and no-leak design. It waters your plants and soil gently without wasting any material through leakage. The design was specifically made for use with vegetable gardens and raised garden beds, which can sometimes be difficult to water with a traditional hose option.
If you do need a longer hose, you don't need to worry. The end cap is versatile enough to fit together multiple lengths of hose, as well as to connect to your choice of handle. It can fit a standard thread for a garden hose. In addition, the cap has been built and treated with rust-resistant materials.
Melnor has been in the gardening business for more than 70 years. The company engineers products from their headquarters in Virginia, which is well-known as a popular place to garden. In addition to creating hoses, the company also specializes in making wands and nozzles, water timers, cutting tools, and sprinklers.
Because of this, you can find the right accessories to go with your hose. It is important to note that this purchase won't include its own water nozzle or sprinkler, though.
This 2-in-1 hose acts as both a sprinkler and a soaking watering option. This means that you can configure it to water specific areas of your garden at once, which can cut the amount of time spent watering in half. It is one of the shorter hose options on the list, available in lengths of 50 feet or 25 feet. You can combine multiple lengths using the connectors for a longer option.
The hose is used for manual watering, so it's a good option for those with small and casual gardens. It may not be ideal for professional gardeners who need to do more in-depth soaking. The spray is gentle enough to keep from damaging your soil, and there's a convenient white stripe that lets you know when the hose is properly positioned.
The hose uses brass couplings to prevent restriction in the water flow. These couplings are more affordable than stainless steel, although they may become tarnished over time.
This is also a lightweight option, with the 50 foot option weighing less than three pounds in total. You can also purchase a limited lifetime guarantee from the manufacturer, so that you can always get a replacement should anything happen to the hose.
By combining the function of a sprinkler and a soaker, the hose saves water. This makes it ideal for those who are trying to conserve water due to bills or because of living in a drier climate. The sprinkler option lets you lightly water the surface of the earth, while the soaker option allows for deeper watering of your vegetables, flowers, and other plants in your garden.
It's very easy to use the hose by following the positioning system. When the white line is facing up, the hose can be used as a sprinkler. When it's facing down, the hose is used as a soaker to soak the ground. It is important to follow the positioning system for correct use.
Because you have to pay attention to the positioning system, the hose may be slightly more inconvenient than a few other options on the list. The materials may also be more prone to kinking when rolled up, so if this is a concern, you might want to go with another option.
The right garden hose for you will vary according to your budget and needs. We've put together our list of favorites to suit a variety of different people.
Our top pick overall is the Flexzilla hose. This is one of the most flexible and versatile hose options on the market. Chances are, if you're looking for a garden hose, this one will suit your needs. It doesn't kink and can perform in a variety of different weather conditions, from extreme heat to extreme cold.
If you like the engineering of the Flexzilla but need something a little longer, the Water Right option is a great pick. It's available in lengths of 100 feet. It also has the most customization options of any hose on the list, with the ability to choose between stainless steel and brass plates, and the ability to choose from four different designer colors to match your aesthetic.
If you want an option with advanced engineering and an included spray gun, you don't need to look further than the Hoselink. The retractable reel allows you to store the hose at the push of a button. You can also lock the hose at whatever length you want, up to 82 feet. The included nozzle has seven different spray functions, allowing it to meet every basic gardening and outdoor maintenance need.
If storage space is a concern for you, you might appreciate the Melnor hose. The design is unique in that it can be pressed flat when not flowing with water. This allows for storage in spaces of less than one half of a cubic foot. It is one of the more affordable options on the list as well, and one of the shorter options, available in lengths of 50 feet.
For those who often need to use both the sprinkler and soaker functions of a garden hose, the Gilmour option has you covered. You can place the hose over your garden to deliver wide swaths of sprinkles or wide areas of soaking to the soil. It's good for both just-planted seeds and deeply-rooted flowers. The only note is that this option may be a little more unwieldly to use than some of the others on the list.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are a variety of factors to keep in mind when you're purchasing a garden hose. Before you narrow down your options, you should have a sense of the length you want, the materials you'll use, and any other qualifications.
The standard lengths for a garden hose are 100, 75, 50, and 25 feet. Some models are built with lengths between these, so they're good for people with specific needs.
You won't necessarily get a better experience with a longer hose. In fact, buying a too-long hose can cause problems in the long run. Not only will it be pricier, but it will also be more difficult to put away, and the hose itself may be prone to tangling and kinking.
Before you go shopping for hoses, measure the length between the furthest edge of your garden and the spigot you're using. Get a hose that's a little longer than this. That allows you to water your garden with ease, but you don't have the struggles that come with a longer hose.
Longer hose lengths can have an adverse effect on your water pressure. They may also be difficult to drain at the end of the season, so they might have stagnant water inside them throughout the winter. That can encourage the growth of mildew and mold.
The majority of decks and balconies can be serviced with a 50-foot hose. If you have potted plants and flower boxes on your deck, you shouldn't need a very long option. Most suburban backyards can also be maintained with a 50-foot hose. However, if you do have a larger garden, you might need a longer option.
One note is that it can be easier to join multiple 50-foot hoses together than to buy a 100-foot hose. That's because it allows you to avoid lugging around a heavy length of hose for projects close to the house, but you can still extend the length for further needs.
Water Flow and Pressure
The water flow makes a big difference when it comes to hose performance. This factor will matter most if you're watering a large area or if you're a professional. Some hoses have better pressure than others.
Garden hoses tend to hard standardized diameters of a half inch, 3/4ths of an inch, and 5/8ths of an inch. Each measurement is based on the interior of the hose. Any exterior coatings don't factor in when measuring the size. Hoses with a larger diameter can carry more water, but they tend to have a lower overall pressure.
Five-eighths of an inch tends to be the preferred size for versatility purposes. It's a happy medium that has enough water pressure to make an impact while allowing enough water to flow for efficiency.
If you don't need high water pressure, though, the 3/4-inch option has the highest flow rate. Conversely, for those who need more water pressure, the 1/2-inch option is your best bet because it's the narrowest. Half-inch hoses are also the most lightweight because of their narrow size.
A garden hose's strength is measured by looking at the burst pressure. This is the amount of water pressure necessary for the hose to rupture and leak. You'll want a durable hose that can stand up to a lot of pressure, especially if you plan to use the item frequently.
If you use a sprinkler or a nozzle with the hose, it's best to look for a burst pressure that's at least 350 psi. Pressure washing hoses might require even higher psi rates to keep from rupturing.
Flexibility is a big deal with garden hoses. The big issue is finding a happy medium between a hose that's flexible and a hose that kinks. Flexible hoses can easily stretch around corners and be stored without impeding water flow. But kinky hoses won't retain their shape easily.
The problem with a hose that kinks easily is that it won't lie flat or straighten out. It also makes the hose more likely to leak, split, or fail overall. If you look for a garden hose in a department store, bend it with your hands. If the hose kinks, it's not an ideal model.
Some models are designed to kink less than others. As a general rule, rubber hoses and hoses with reinforced layering are less likely to kink.
The most common materials used in hoses are vinyl and rubber. There may also be hoses built with synthetic materials that have been treated to resist UV rays and extreme weather conditions.
Vinyl hoses are lightweight and much more inexpensive than rubber. However, they're also not very sturdy. Vinyl material is likely to crack and kink, and it's not protected against harsh weather and sun damage.
Ultimately, vinyl might be a good choice if you're on a strict budget and need to pinch pennies. But it is important to keep in mind that it will probably break down. For a garden hose that lasts for several years, you'll want to purchase a different material.
Rubber hoses are durable and long-lasting. One purchase should last you at least a decade. But rubber is also a heavy material, and you might get tired when you carry the hose around the garden.
Some of the benefits of rubber include:
- They can carry heated water at temperatures of over 140 F
- They are less prone to kinking
- They don't fall apart when exposed to the sun, so they're good for people in sunny climates
- They're less prone to freezing in cold temperatures, though not completely resistant
Some hoses use a combination of vinyl and rubber to increase durability while keeping the weight low.
A reinforced hose is built with layers of mesh between the exterior coating and interior tubing. These hoses are more durable and resistant to kinking. They also tend to have a higher capacity for water pressure.
It's important to note that a layered hose won't necessarily be stronger than a non-layered hose. The most important aspect is what each layer is made of. Multiple layers of vinyl will still be more vulnerable to kinking and splitting than a single layer of rubber, for example.
Both vinyl and rubber hoses leach unsafe chemicals, so they're not good for drinking. This means that they're not the safest option if you want a sprinkler for children to run through or a hose that your pet might drink out of.
For drinking-safe water, you'll probably need to go with a material like polymer or polyurethane. These artificial materials are engineered not to leech toxic materials.
The coupling on a hose is the piece that attaches it to the sprinkler, nozzle, and spigot. Couplings may also be used to connect different lengths of hose to each other.
The most inexpensive hoses on the market use plastic couplings. We don't recommend buying a hose with this design. Even though the plastic is cheap, it's more likely to break and crack. It will also degrade in the sun, and it may not adhere properly to different components.
Metal couplings come in two types: cast or stamped. Cast metal tends to be the most leak-resistant and durable. They're the most highly recommended option for garden hoses. Stamped options are thin and tend to be prone to bending, break down with time, and are hard to tighten.
Brass is the most common type of metal used for hoses. This may be prone to rust, though. Stainless steel fittings are often weatherproof and able to go for years without tarnishing.
Couplings that are large and shaped like octagons tend to be easiest to tighten and adjust to different accessories.
Hoses may include a washer. However, most manufacturers use plastic washers. It's a good idea to remove this component from the coupling and replace it with a more durable washer.
There are different types of hoses that can be used for different purposes.
Lightweight hoses are lighter to use. They also tend to be made with cheaper materials. These are the best option for those who are concerned about heavy weights, those who don't do a lot of gardening, and those who are shopping on a budget.
Some heavy-duty hoses may be made with lightweight materials as well.
Regular and heavy hoses are designed for more frequent use. They may be ideal for those with large gardens and those in the professional gardening industry.
Expandable hoses are a type of hose that scrunches down when not in use. When being used, they fill up with water and reach up to three times their normal diameter. These hoses do tend to stop contracting over time, so they're not actually as convenient as they look.