You’re in your local garden center and wondering what is the best rubber garden hose for you. The choices can be overwhelming.
You’re wise to choose a rubber hose over one made from vinyl. The rubber hose will last longer and provide better results.They’re more durable and abrasion resistant. Some people have reported their rubber hoses lasted over ten years.
Rubber hoses tend to be more “drinking-water safe.” That important if you will have kids or animals drinking from the hose. Look for the certification.
You only need to ask yourself four questions:
- How long should it be
- What diameter should it be
- What are the couplings made of
- How flexible is the hose
How Long Should Your Hose Be
It’s tempting to get the longest hose possible. Standard garden hose lengths are 25, 50, 75 and 100-foot lengths. There are some things you should think through first.
Longer hoses are heavier to move around than shorter hoses. They also need more storage space. And it takes longer for maintenance when draining and putting away for the winter.
Additionally, a longer hose has reduced pressure at the end. A 3/4 inch 25-foot hose has a water flow of 72 gallons per minute whereas a 5/8 inch hose only produces 44 gallons per minute. But a 5/8 inch 100-foot hose only puts out 11 gallons per minute. That may seem like a trickle.
Instead of one long hose, you may be better off buying two smaller hoses. That allows you to reach everything rather that you could with the one longer hose. And if you connect two hoses together, you can replace one if it wears out rather then a longer and more expensive garden hose.
You also could have more than one hose on different spigots. That way, you don’t have to carry a hose from one place to the other.
Determine the ideal length by measuring the distance from the spigot to the farthest area you’re watering. Then add a foot or two. It’s better for your frustration level and the hose not to be tugging on it.
Most people find a 50-foot hose is the best length for the price for homes. If you live in an apartment or townhome with a small porch or patio, the 25-foot hose is the best.
Standard hose sizes are 3/4, 5/8 and 1/2 inches. That refers to the internal diameter of the hose.
The large 3/4 inch diameter hose provides a larger stream of water. Most professionals use this size hose for watering public parks and gardens. The extra water flow saves time for the workers.
If you are watering a lot of trees, you may need this size hose. Also, a large diameter hose is better when you have to water up a hill.
Most people use a 5/8 inch hose. It’s the happy medium for pressure and effective water use.
Hose Delivery Rates
- A 1/2 inch hose delivers nine gallons per minute
- A 5/8 inch hose delivers about 17 gallons per minute.
- A 3/4 inch hose delivers about 27 gallons per minute.
Also, you should note the burst pressure rating on the hose. The burst pressure is the point at which the casing will fail. A quality hose should be above 350psi.
You can connect hoses of different diameter. Connect the largest diameter to the spigot for the best flow.
Brass or Plastic Couplings
While the plastic coupling hoses are cheaper, they won’t last as long. Plastic will crack and break. Also, plastic will break down in the sunlight. This leads to leaking and wasted water.
You should pay extra for what’s called a collar. That’s a plastic or rubber sheath of about four to six inches. You can slide the collar up to cover where the coupling is. It reduces kinking or splitting of the hose near the spigot.
The brass couplings also have a variety of quality. There are thin stamped-metal ones that can be difficult to put on and get tight. And if you step on it, you can crush it.
Cast brass will be the most durable. Look for ones that are more octagonal as they’re easier to get on and off than the round ones.
If you want a drinking-water hose, look for nickel-plated brass couplings.
Find the happy medium between flexible and sturdy. You want a hose that is flexible enough to go around corners or between things. A super flexible hose will kink more easily that a sturdy garden hose.
A simple test is to bend the hose into a U shape. If it kinks, then it’s too flexible. If you need to be a weightlifter to bend the hose, it’s too sturdy.
When a hose kinks, it stops the water. This backs up the water and could increase the pressure past the bursting point. If you notice water pressure decreasing, you will want to pause and go look for any kinks.
Hoses are often rated as “kink-free” and “kink resistant.” Very few hoses are truly “kink-free.” They tend to be sturdier than the “kink resistant.” And that means heavier.
To choose the best rubber garden hose, you will need to spend time evaluating how you will use the hose. You will also want to determine the best length and diameter for your watering needs.
The more heavy duty your watering, the more you will want a sturdy hose that is kink free and has brass couplings.
If you need to get a lot of water out in the shortest period of time, or you need to bring the hose up a hill to water, you need a wide-diameter hose.
Take care of your garden hoses. Keep them stored properly. Drain the water out of them regularly. And change the washers every few months because they degrade quickly.
Draining the hoses will keep bacteria, algae, and mildew from growing inside the hose. In cold weather, draining prevents ice from forming in freezing weather. And in hot weather, you can crack the hose if it is in direct sunlight full of cold water.
Buying a retractable hose reel for your hose is a great way to drain the hose and store it out of the way of lawnmowers.
Spending a little extra time ensures your investment in the rubber garden hose will last a long time.