What Makes the Best and Worst Garden Hoses
Woman having a coffee break while working in the garden, gardening tools around.

What Makes the Best and Worst Garden Hoses

If you need a new garden hose this year, you want the best garden hoses and avoid the worst. Often we’ll just head into the store and grab the cheapest one. It breaks and we’re buying a new one after a few weeks.

Since Spring is coming up, I’ve been looking through my garden tools and hoses. You should look for signs of rust on your tools.  And if you find signs of punctures or deep abrasions on your hoses, it’s time to replace them.

If the fixtures on the end are dented, broken, or cracked, you definitely should replace the garden hose.

Also, it may just be time to update your hoses. If you didn’t drain them regularly, mold, algae, and bacteria could be growing inside the hose.

There are so many varieties of garden hoses out there. They keep coming out with new models every year. How will you know which to choose?

How Do You Evaluate Hoses

There are a few factors needed when testing a garden hose.
a. The weight per length
b. How prone is the hose to kinking
c. What is the burst pressure rate
d. How flexible is the hose
e. What is the pressure of the water flow
f. What are the fixtures made of

Very durable hoses tend to weigh more than lightweight ones. This can be useful if you have a lot of rough terrains. Or if people ride bicycles over the garden hose a lot.

But it can be difficult to pick up and move the hose when it weighs over twenty-five pounds.

The majority of people are looking for a lightweight hose for use around their backyard or patio.

The burst pressure rate is the force it would take the water to break through the hose. It’s sometimes called the burst strength. If you’ll be using a hose nozzle or a sprinkler, look for a hose with a burst rating above 350 psi.

Other Considerations

Water flow is determined by the diameter of the hose. A smaller hose diameter will have weaker pressure. Professionals use 3/4 inch diameter hoses to water trees and plants in parks quickly. And think about how large a fireman’s hose is.

The fixtures, or couplings, are the connectors at the ends of the hose. Plastic is prone to cracking or splitting and should be avoided. Cast brass is the strongest. However, it can leach chemicals into the hose. The best alternative is nickel plated brass. You get long-lasting durability and it’s safe to drink the water.

Flexibility and prone to kinking are related. The flexibility of a hose will determine how easy it is to maneuver around. If the hose is too flexible, it will twist on itself causing the kink. The ideal hose has a balance between these.

The report tested how easy it was to form a U when holding the hose. If it’s too difficult, the hose isn’t flexible enough. If it’s too easy, the hose will kink too easily.

What Makes A Good Garden Hose

There are three main factors in evaluating a good garden hose.

  • Durability
  • Flexibility
  • Safety

A durable hose is made from rubber or reinforced polyurethane. It resists abrasions when being pulled along the ground. It resists punctures.

A good garden hose is lightweight and flexible. It’s easy to move it around your garden and doesn’t get hung up on corners or around edges of pots.

But it also resistant to kinking. When a hose twists on itself, it blocks the flow of water. In a poorly manufactured hose, it could cause the point of the kink to spring a leak. Worse, it could cause the hose to burst.

You should evaluate how you’re going to use the hose. Will it be used to wash your car as well as water plants? Will you be filling up small swimming pool and water dishes?

If you use your hose to wash your car, you need a durable hose that is flexible and will maintain a good water pressure.

If you’re refilling birdbaths or a bowl for your pet, you want to ensure the hose is certified drinking water safe.

What You Should Avoid In A Garden Hose

You should only buy hoses that are drinking water safe. Recent studies released state that a standard hose leaches chemicals. This is bad for your plants.

There are concerns that the chemicals will transfer to any food that you’re growing.

Also, you want to buy a garden hose that will last longer than a few weeks. Cheap vinyl hoses crack and spring leaks quickly.

Many people think they’d like expandable hoses. They’re very lightweight weighing around 1 lb. Yet, most are inch diameter. The water pressure will be less than what you’d expect compared to a regular garden hose that’s 5/8 inch.

When tested, they do expand as advertised. Over time these hoses tend to stop contracting. This leaves you with a hose that’s difficult to coil or store.

They don’t handle high water pressure well. And they are prone to rupturing if they are left out in the sun. These types of hoses are not reinforced and not durable.

Recommended Hoses

Clear Flow® Water Garden Hose
The fun thing about the ClearFlow hose is that it’s see-through. It’s made with materials approved by the National Sanitation Foundation(NSF) to be very safe for drinking out of. Sunlight passes through the walls of the hose eliminating bacteria and mold growth. ClearFlow offers a ten-year warranty.

Flexzilla Pro Water Hose

The Flexzilla is a reinforced polyurethane hose that is lightweight yet durable. It’s got a nice balance of flexibility yet resists kinking. Legacy offers a limited lifetime warranty.

Camco TastePURE Water Hose
The Camco hose is 20 percent thicker than the standard drinking water hoses. It leaves no strong plastic taste in your drinking water. The fixtures are machined nickel-plated brass fittings and strain-relief ends for added durability. Camco offers a one year warranty.

Conclusion

I found the best garden hoses combine durability and flexibility for the best results around the house. So, ensure you’re purchasing a garden hose that is rated to be “drinking water safe” to protect yourself, your plants and any animals that will be drinking from the hose.

Many great lighter weight hoses out of there made from reinforced vinyl or polyurethane. These hoses use layers with an internal structure to resist kinking yet are easy to maneuver around your yard. You will want to avoid hoses made just from vinyl with plastic fixtures. And you will want to avoid expandable hoses as they are prone to rupturing after only a few uses.

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