Guide to the Best Garden Hoses for Your Home
Up until I bought my first house, I thought a garden hose was a garden hose. I hadn’t realized the huge differences in build quality, diameter, functionality, and purpose. The key manufacturers, like Continental, Flexzilla, Gilmour, Worth Garden, and others, make a variety of hoses to handle many applications. We created this guide to choosing the best garden hose for your home so you could avoid some of the problems we encountered over the years.
What to Consider When Picking a Garden Hose
You may not have realized garden hoses come in different diameters. The diameter of your garden hose determines the water flow rate. While length also affects flow rate, diameter serves as a much more significant factor. For example, a basic 25-foot 1/2″ hose serves up around 9.5 gallons per minute (GPM). That same 25-foot hose in a 3/4″ diameter delivers 10 GPM.
Length also affects flow rate. You might see the same rate of water flow from a 5/8″ 50-foot hose as you would from a 1/2″ 25-foot hose. If you require a particular minimum flow rate, pay attention to both the hose diameter and the length to ensure you deliver what’s needed.
Here’s how length and diameter affect a garden hose water flow rate based on a 50 PSI spigot:
The durability of a garden hose really matters when you intend to drag it around the yard. Consequently, when a hose gets nicely stored within a reel and only comes straight out to water a small area of your landscaping, you can get away with a less-rugged design. The best garden hose for your home will be strong enough to hold up over years of use. You want a product that doesn’t develop pinholes or have the fittings detach from the hose.
A Note on Kink-free Hoses
Nearly ANY hose will kink. Any manufacturer that brags about a “kink-free” design is suspect. However, some hoses come pre-coiled and these do a decent job of preventing kinks at the expense of efficient use of their length. On a regular hose—even one labeled “kink-free”—you can minimize kinking by always retracting hoses with at least some water still inside. Also, when wrapping hoses manually, be sure to use an “over-under” coiing method as opposed to looping the hose in the same direction (like a spring). Finally, don’t let hose kinks stay—especially in the sun. Those kinks will easily develop a “memory” and come back every time you unvoil the hose for use.
We talk about the various hose materials below. Over our years of testing and use, the manufacturer’s choice of materials definitely affects the long-term durability of a hose.
Because we find excessively long hoses unwieldy, you want to make sure you don’t overbuy. Calculate the length you need before you pick up a hose that weighs more than you need it to. Garden hoses typically come in four different sizes: 25-, 50-, 75-, and 100-feet.
If you do need a longer hose, by all means, grab the size that fits the task at hand. However, if you only want the flexibility a longer hose provides, consider picking up two hoses and connecting the additional shorter hose to the first as needed. That often works out better, and shorter hoses cost less than longer ones. If one breaks, you have a much smaller bill than if you bought a single large hose.
Manufacturers can make garden hoses from any combination of rubber, extruded polyurethane, and vinyl. Of these, rubber may be the most expensive material and you don’t find 100% rubber hoses that often. Rubber hoses hold up well to being abused and take a lot of abrasions before you run into issues. If you want a hose to support drinking water from it, make sure it’s rated as such. Hoses that support drinking water typically use NSF International-listed polymers as opposed to PVC or other plastics that can leach into the water as you drink.
Believe it or not, the ends of the hose matter—at least they do to us. The couplings that form the ends of garden hoses are typically made of brass (though some use aluminum). Lately, however, manufacturers have been using plastic (and you may also see hybrid ends that use both metal and plastic). Regardless of which comes with your hose, you can replace them if the hose still works and only the end requires maintenance.
We’ve also come to appreciate a hose that has a threaded female end that is fully “graspable”. That means that, instead of only turning the captured nut to attach the hose to the spigot, you can grasp an elongated section that spins freely. This lets you more easily connect and disconnect the hose from another hose or the faucet at a home or business.
If you do end up with a hose that only has a captured nut for threading onto a spigot, a hexagonal shape lets you use a wrench on a stubborn connection. Use a pair of water pump pliers on round connections, and you tend to slip or even crush down on it when you squeeze too hard.
Overall Best Rated Garden Hose – Our Top Pick
This heavy-duty, lightweight, and drinking water-safe hose tops our list for a variety of reasons. First, we love the durability of the design. While we don’t agree that it’s kink-free, it doesn’t tend to kink under normal use. If you wind it up irresponsibly—like most hoses—all bets are off. This hose uses “SwivelGrip Connections” which encapsulate the aluminum connectors. It gives you a nice grip when fastening and unfastening the hose from other hoses or spigots.
This hose is ready for potable use (you can drink out of it). It also resists damage from abrasions, should you drag it across brick or other rough surfaces. It’s not the cheapest hose you’ll buy, but at ~$45 it should last you many years. You can also find it in lengths from 3-feet (perfect as a short “connecting” hose) up to 100-feet.Buy on AmazonBuy at Lowe’s
The Best Expandable (Flex) Garden Hose
You have to know the limitations of a flexible or expandable hose before getting one, however. They aren’t the most durable, and they rarely last long if left out in the sun. If, however, you don’t intend to use it around sharp objects (like thornbushes) and don’t need to leave it laying outside in the heat, expanding hoses can really lighten the load when you don’t want the bulk or length or a traditional hose design.
The quick-connect aluminum ends are removable, so you have more options for accessories. This model comes in 25-, 50-, 75-, or 100-foot lengths. One of our editors uses the 25-foot version of this hose ($25) in his truck as a quick solution for washing down his boat with freshwater when at the marina.Buy on AmazonBuy at Home Depot
Best Lightweight Garden Hose
If your number one priority is saving weight, you can’t go wrong with the 5/8 in. Dia x 25 ft. Xhose Pro Dac-5 High-Performance Lightweight Expandable Garden Hose. The DAC-5 refers to the polyester outer layer that gives a bit more protection than normal for an expanding hose.
We love the integrated shut-off valve and the linear expandability of the hose itself. The hose shrinks to 1/3rd of its size when not filled with water. That makes it easy to store inside and away from heat which tends to make these hoses brittle over time. You can pick up the DAC-5 hoses in 25-, 50-, 75-, or 100-foot lengths. Pricing ranges from $20–$60.Buy on AmazonBuy at Home Depot
The Best Retractable Garden Hose
We like the Sunneday Gartenkraft XW-50B Retractable Garden Hose Reel for a variety of reasons. First, you get a steel mounting system, not plastic. The system mounts easily to brick, stucco, or studs using the included bracket. Once you install the bracket, the hose reel simply fits overtop with keyhole-style mounts.
Second, unlike most hose reels that only come in a one-size-fits-all configuration, Sunneday gives you multiple options for both hose diameter and length. You can also completely replace the hose should it ever get damaged. Just be sure to use the same size that came with the unit you purchased.
We think the 5/8″ x 50- or 75-ft should fit the bill for most, however, you can grab a 100-ft model if you need the additional hose. If you really need distance, they even have a 1/2-inch x 130-foot model.Buy at Home DepotBuy on Amazon
Best Rubber Garden Hose
The Craftsman Premium-Duty Rubber Red Hose makes our first name-brand pick in this best garden hose list. It comes in any color and length so long as you only need a red 50-foot hose. Aside from that, we like that it’s assembled in the USA, and features octagonal brass fittings to make it easier to tighten or loosen as needed.
You get no frills on this hose, but you do get a 300 psi max pressure rating, 180°F hot water support, and a reinforced outer cover that should last longer than most hoses. At just over $40, this is our easy pick for the best rubber garden hose.Buy at Lowe’s
The Most Durable Heavy Duty Garden Hose
The most durable and heavy duty garden hose we know is the Element ContractorFarm 3/4 in. x 100 ft. hose. This potable hose features a 500 psi internal pressure rating and a nice thick outer jacket. On the hose bib side, you get a reinforced brass coupling that lets you get a nice grip on it to torque down when needed. In that way this durable garden hose doesn’t stop at just the hose itself but carries it through the entire design.
The spray or output end doesn’t feature strain relief, but it does have a hex grip so you can get a wrench on it if needed.
At $75 for the 100-foot model, this isn’t an inexpensive heavy-duty garden hose. However, Element also provides a lifetime warranty with the ContractorFarm hose—which we like.Buy at Home Depot
Garden Hose Maintence & Care
Garden hose maintenance doesn’t involve a lot of steps. You basically want to take care of this “tool” and it will work for many years.
Find a place in the shade to store your garden hose when not in use. Does that mean you absolutely can’t store it in sunlight? No. However, any hose will eventually decay if left too long in direct sunlight. Outer material can dry rot, rubber can dry out and crack, and vinyl can get stiff.
Remove any kinks before storing—and don’t wrap a garden hose in a way that kinks it. Even the best garden hose will retain a permanent kink if stored for long (especially out in the sun) with a kink. Keep your hoses kink-free and smooth, and they’ll give you hassle-free use for years.
If you do develop a leak, try and get it repaired quickly. A small hole can typically get patched with a tube or hose patch repair kit. Wait too long, though, and that small pin leak can break open into a full-on tear. At that point, you’d need to cut the hose at either side of the leak and rejoin it with new fittings.
Do you live in a freezing climate? If so, be sure to take your hoses indoors when the temperature drops below freezing. Excess water stored in a closed hose could expand and freeze, causing a rupture. You may think the hose is empty, but freezing occurs progressively, and a pinched-off area of a garden hose can quickly create a problem spot. If you use a hose reel, you may even need to fit the entire unit off the wall and bring it inside.
Change out the washers that provide a seal between the hose and spigot and the hose and spray nozzles. These deteriorate over time. That leads to overtightening of the hose which can damage the threads over time. Your hose should attach easily and quickly to spigots and spray nozzles. If you have to crank down on the connection, you likely need a new washer.
How We Make Our Choices
When we judged the best garden hoses we looked at a variety of metrics to help us decide on our top choices. Our final decisions are somewhat subjective, of course, but also the result of careful consideration of a variety of factors. Over the years, we’ve honed these into what we feel helps us deliver reliable choices when recommending tools or other products.
We’ve also all used garden hoses for decades, so we had a lot of personal experience to pull from when picking out the best garden hose choices. In the end, we feel you can really rely on and trust the picks found in this list.
No matter if you pick up a rubber hose, or one made out of a polyvinyl material, how a garden is made determines its useful life. Nothing hurts worse than getting a hose and finding it only lasts a single season. A garden hose should last for many years—particularly if you take care of it. Our recommendations look at the build quality of each hose to determine whether it should reasonably hold up over time. Having used hoses from a dozen or more brands over the years, our team recognizes good build quality vs cost-cutting measures designed to make a quick buck.
You don’t often think of options when looking at the best garden hoses. When we say “options” we mean—can you get this hose in various lengths. Most of our picks come in 25-, 50-, 75-, and 100-foot hose lengths. Why is that important? Not everyone has the same needs. It does no good to supply the best garden hose choice that only comes in a 100-foot size if you only need 50 feet. (Of course, you can always buy two…but we digress).
We also like when hoses include helpful options like included shut-off valves and spray nozzles.
Value matters. How much you need to invest in a good garden hose matters. We don’t mind spending more, but it has to deliver. For that reason, we look for products that offer exceptional build quality or features.
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