Garden Hose Buying Guide
Buying a garden hose may seem like a relatively straightforward task, yet with so many options available and plenty to take into consideration before you buy, taking the time to research the best hose for your needs is always recommdended.
While many people will just opt for the cheapest option, doing so could end up costing more in the long-term, as it will likely need replaced sooner rather than later. For instance, a quality garden hose should last for upwards of ten years with the right maintenance while a cheap hose will not last more than a year or two, so by investing a little more now you will likely save more in the long run!
Choosing the best garden hose for you
It’s easy to assume that a standard garden hose will be more than enough for most people. However, this isnt the case as there are many things you should take into consideration prior to buying a garden hose, from where it’s being stored to how big of an area it will be used in.
Important Things to Consider when buying a hose
The length of a garden hose is one of the first things that many people look at; and many immediately go for the largest option that is available. It makes sense when you consider there will be no restrictions to the areas you can water, but there are many times when bigger isn’t always better.
For instance, a longer garden may be able to cover larger areas, but they are also much more expensive and heavier than other types, also making them more difficult to store. Plus, maintenance can be much more difficult as draining large hoses takes a lot longer to do, so it’s clear that the largest option isnt always the best.
Garden hoses typically come in lengths from 7.5 to 30-metres with many sizes in between, so there are a few options to choose from. The best way to determine which is best for you is to measure the furthest distance from the spigot or tap and then go for a hose that is slightly longer than this.
This is because you want to have plenty of room to work with without having to constantly pull or snag the hose as this can lead to damage or snagging.
The diameter of a hose refers to the size dimensions of the inner hose tube, and this plays an important role in how much water the hose is able to carry and the water pressure level it offers. There are various sizes of diameters available for a garden hose so its import to select a size that is suitable for your needs.
Sizes generally start at 3/8 inch (9mm), with options available in ½ inch (13mm) ¾ inch (19mm), and 1 inch, while some inner hose diameters reach as large 1.5 (40mm).
Garden hoses with smaller inner diameters (3/8 – ½ inch) are widely viewed as the ideal size for most people, as it provides the ideal combination of water flow and pressure while being lightweight enough to manoeuvre.
These smaller diameters are best combined with lengths of around 15m for an everyday garden hose that will be used for watering flower beds, pots, baskets etc. However, they are not as well suited for tasks that need higher water pressure such as washing your car.
There are two main types of materials commonly used for garden hoses – vinyl or rubber. You also find hoses made from a combination of both materials.
Vinyl – This material is the cheaper option of the two while also being lighter and easy to use. However, this also means they are less durable, making them more susceptible to cracking, kinks, and general wear and tear.
Vinyl garden hoses can also deteriorate faster, especially if exposed to extreme weather conditions, so it is important to store them properly. In terms of affordability, hoses made from a vinyl material are a clear winner, so if you are on a budget it’s certainly a great option.
Rubber – Unlike vinyl hoses, those made from rubber materials are more robust so will last much longer, but this also makes them more expensive and heavier to manoeuvre.
However, rubber hoses are less prone to kinking, while they can also withstand the more extreme elements that bit better. They can also carry hot water, which will be useful for some, while also being less likely to cracking.
Should you want to find a happy medium between these two, composite garden hoses that use both materials are a fantastic choice.
The strength of a garden hose is a reference to the overall amount of pressure that it can withstand, so if you were to exceed this amount the hose will likely rupture. You will not necessarily need a hose with a high strength, as it is more important for tasks that require high water pressure such as a sprinkler or using a pressure washer machine.
Strength will be measured in psi, and it should be clearly written on the size of the hose or on the packaging. If you intend to use your hose for tasks involving high pressure, anything above 350 psi is recommended.
The fitting or coupling of a garden hose is the attachment that connects the hose to the water supply. They will be made from either plastic or metal, with the latter being much more durable and robust.
However, metal couplings can be difficult to fully secure, in which case a lighter plastic option is better suited. Plastic fittings also come more ergonomically designed, making them much easier to attach in most cases.
Yet if there is one aspect about metal couplings that make them a much better option it is the fact that they are much more likely to break or leak. Therefore, metal couplings, especially those made from brass, are widely considered the best option.
To avoid issues with regards to attaching metal couplings, try to find an option that is larger in size and comes in an octagon shape – these should be much easier to tighten to a spigot.
Flexibility is always an important feature to consider, yet you will want to avoid a hose that is so flexible that it is likely to kink frequently. You want to have a hose that can bend with ease for manoeuvrability and storage purposes.
Kinking can be a death sentence for a garden hose as it is the leading cause of splits and cracks that will quickly reduce its lifespan. Now, kinking will happen to almost every hose at some stage, you just want to insure you have a product that does it as infrequently as possible.
Rubber hoses are less likely to kink, as are those that are reinforced with additional layers of ply. A good way to test a hose you are thinking of buying is to bend it; you are looking for a U shape and no kinking!
Types of Garden Hoses
There are many types of garden hoses available, but below are some of the more commonly used hoses.
Also known as ‘light duty’ hoses, these are your everyday types that are suitable for most light duty tasks. They happen to be the lowest priced, but this also means they have features such as vinyl materials, plastic fittings and being more prone to kinking.
They are still a fine choice for anyone on a budget or those that will only use their hoses sparingly, so a smaller sized lightweight hose should be fine, providing you don’t need to use it as a sprinkler or for washing your vehicle.
For those planning on using their hose for a variety of tasks, a heavyweight option may be the best bet. They are much tougher, typically being made from rubber, and will usually provide higher pressure levels while also providing metal couplings and being less prone to kinking.
They will be much heavier than a lightweight option, so be sure to avoid them if you may struggle to move and store the hose.
A flat garden hose isn’t too unlike the fire hose used by firefighters, being flat when not in use and inflated into a circular shape when carrying water. In general, they are lighter in weight and are self-draining making them easier to roll and store – you may struggle to do this without a reel however!
They also tend to be one of the most flexible types of hoses available so are usually made from vinyl, making them more likely kink, while they tend to carry lower water pressure levels as well.
Soaker hoses are designed to be used beneath the ground due to their porous design that allows small amounts of water to continually seep through into the soil, providing the roots of plants with a direct and constant source of water as needed.
You can lay these deeper into the ground or lightly below the surface. Some people opt to bury them at around 6 inches for vegetable beds, while just a few inches below a layer of mulch is another popular option for flower beds.
Sprinklers are not too much different, featuring small sections of holes that will spray the water upwards. The main difference is that rather than being buried beneath the ground, sprinkler hoses lay directly on top of the ground surface, providing a small and gentle source of water.
They are most commonly found on garden lawns, although some people set up sprinklers in flower beds as well.
As the name suggests, coiled hoses are coiled into a tight spiral shape whenever they are not being used. They extend into a straight hose upon use, although their lengths are generally much shorter than most other types.
Their main allure is their ability to be stored even in the more compact spaces. However, the main coiled feature means they tend to have a short length, making them more suited for smaller garden or patio spaces.
Much like there are many types of garden hoses, there are many types of attachments for a hose, so be sure to keep an eye on any attachments that are included with the product you are considering buying. However, some attachments may need to be bought separately, so be sure to check this!
For example, a multi-functioning garden hose attachment can provide you with all of the most commonly used attachments, such as a sprinkler or spray gun.
You may wish to go for a spray gun attachment that gives a variety of spray settings, as these can be great for watering different types of plants and flowers. You can easily adjust the settings on these to achieve a different type of spray.
For instance, a gentle spray is needed for younger plants which would make a fan spray a fine option while a jet spray feature is great for pressure washing and the like, making a spray gun a fantastic option as it can provide both.
Many garden hoses come with a reel when purchased, but many will not have this extremely useful accessory. Not only will it make your hose easier to store, but it ensures the hose is adequately protected from any accidents that could cause damage.
Plus, with a garden hose reel you no longer need to worry about tripping over the hose!
There’s a few types of reels you can go for, from a stylish wall mounted option to a portable reel that comes with wheels for easy transporting.