Finding the best garden hoses for your yard can be challenging. You need to find one that’s made with the proper materials for your needs. The right garden hose can handle daily use and keep your lawn and landscape enviously green. This guide will help you choose from different types of hoses, including soaker hoses, garden hoses and expandable hoses. It’ll also compare vinyl vs. rubber hoses. You’ll learn about hose fittings, nozzles and garden hose maintenance as well. With a bit of research, you can find the ideal garden hose to make watering a breeze.
How to Choose a Garden Hose
Garden hoses aren't the most exciting tools. However, you need them to keep your lawn and garden looking green and fresh. Choosing the best garden hose for your home will depend on your usage, climate and budget. Hose flexibility and durability depends on the material it’s made of. The length, diameter and fittings of a hose determine its water flow capacity.
Here are a few things you should consider when shopping for a hose.
- Hoses are usually made from vinyl, rubber or a combination of the two. The combo hoses are sometimes reinforced with nylon and rayon. This gives the hoses different levels of durability and flexibility.
- Garden hoses are constructed in layers, or ply. The more ply the hose has, the more durable it is. Some hoses have metal coils or cords between the layers of rubber or vinyl to help keep the hose from kinking.
- Vinyl hoses are an economical choice. These hoses are best for mild climates and lighter watering tasks. Vinyl hoses aren’t as durable as rubber hoses.
- A rubber garden hose is more expensive. They’re tougher, more flexible and heavier than vinyl hoses. Overall, rubber hoses are more durable.
- Hoses made of vinyl and rubber are priced in the middle. They’ve got rubber’s flexibility and durability combined with vinyl’s light weight. They may have more ply or an outer mesh layer to protect against snags and punctures.
- Hoses come in 25-foot increments up to 100 feet. A longer garden hose isn’t always better. The longer the hose, the harder it is to move it around your lawn.
- Find the best garden hose length for your yard by simply measuring. Using a tape measure, measure the farthest distance you need to reach from the spigot. A spigot is another name for your outdoor faucet.
- Buy a hose slightly longer than the measurement. This will give you enough room to comfortably move around your yard without having to constantly move the hose.
Garden Hose Sizes:
- Garden hose diameters generally range from 1/2 to 3/4 inches. A garden hose size of 1/2-inch in diameter works for most home lawn and garden uses. A few specialty hoses offer a 1-inch diameter, but length choices are limited.
- Larger diameter hoses are for heavy-duty watering tasks. Commercial landscapers are more likely to use lengthy 3/4-inch diameter hoses than homeowners.
- The hose fitting, or coupling, is where the hose attaches to the water supply. They’re the end pieces that attach to spigots, sprinklers and nozzles.
- The main choices for hose fittings are metal and plastic. The shape of the fitting matters too.
- Metal fittings, usually brass, are more durable than plastic. They also come in zinc and aluminum. Metal hose fittings are harder to tighten on the spigot.
- Plastic fittings may be made of nylon or thermoplastic. They attach easier than metal ones.
- Octagon female fittings are easier to work with than standard round fittings.
- Hose connectors, or spigot adapters, make it easy to multitask. You can run several hoses at the same time from one spigot. Water a large lawn or a wide flower garden in a fraction of the time.
- The right garden hose nozzles and wands for will depend on your specific watering needs.
- Pistol grip nozzles feature pull-style handles that allow you to change the pressure and style of spray as you squeeze. They're sometimes called spray gun nozzles.
- Watering wand nozzles extend your reach by up to 30 inches. They're great for watering areas that are tough to reach.
- Fan nozzles feature widened mouths that spray a wide, gentle spray of water. They're perfect for gently watering delicate foliage.
- Fireman nozzles are versatile and can put out a large amount of water in a very short time. They quickly take care of big watering jobs.
- Pattern nozzles are pistol grip nozzles or wands with many different spray settings. Choose from up to 10 spray patterns, ranging from a fine mist to a strong jet.
As you shop around for the best garden hoses, you’ll see hoses categorized as light duty, standard or medium duty, heavy duty or super duty.
- Light-duty hoses aren’t as durable, but they’re easier to wind up and store than stronger duty hoses. They work well in small gardens.
- Standard hoses are good for most residential lawn and landscape needs. Take care of general gardening work with a medium-duty hose.
- Heavy-duty hoses have thick walls and are very sturdy. You can leave them outside and exposed to the elements without risking damage.
- The heavier duty the hose is, the more water pressure it can handle. Use heavy-duty hoses for pressure washer tasks.
- All hoses are flexible, but some more so than others. Aim for a garden hose that’s flexible enough for easy storage and going around corners, but not so flexible that it kinks easily. Typically, aim for a reinforced rubber garden hose for home use.
- Stiffer hoses are less likely to kink while in use, but they can be heavy and cumbersome.
- Flexible hoses are easy to move around the garden, but they’re more likely to kink.
Tip: When shopping for a hose, use the “U” test. Bend the hose into a “U” shape. If it kinks, choose another.
Types of Garden Hoses
Garden hoses are built for different tasks. A hose for drinking water isn’t the same as a sprinkler hose. As you shop for a new hose, consider the types of garden hoses available:
- This is an all-purpose hose that works for general watering and cleaning tasks. You can get them in various materials and sizes.
- This hose has tiny holes in it that let water seep out slowly. The flow is gentle enough for delicate plants. If you set it on a timer, it’s an effortless way to keep your garden thriving through a hot summer.
- This hose acts as a sprinkler and a soaker hose. It has a flat base on the bottom and holes on top. Water sprinkles through the holes along the whole length of the hose. It’s excellent for watering a larger area of grass or garden.
- A flat hose looks like a collapsed fireman hose. It lies flat until water pressure makes it round. This hose is easy to store, takes up less space and is self-draining.
- This hose is tightly coiled into a spring when it’s not in use. A coiled hose is great for watering small areas. It tends to be a light-duty hose.
Expandable Garden Hose:
- For a lightweight option, this scrunchy-looking hose expands up to three times its length when filled with water. Expandable hoses are good for small yards and gardens.
- A marine hose features a nontoxic core, so you can drink water from it. It’s ideal for recreational vehicles (RVs), campers, trailers and boats.
Drinking Water Safe Hose:
- Most standard hoses aren’t safe for drinking water. They have plasticizers that can leach into the water. Any hose marked as “drinking water safe” is lead-free, BPA-free and phthalate-free. Marine and RV hoses are drinking water safe.
Metal Garden Hose:
- This type of hose is puncture- and kink-proof. It’s made of industrial stainless steel but is still lightweight. Metal hoses stay cool to the touch and are resistant to corrosion and UV rays.
How to Maintain Your Garden Hoses
Garden hoses may be a small investment, but replacing them yearly could be expensive. With a few simple care tips, your hose will last for many seasons to come. To put it simply: Drain, unkink and reel up your hose to keep it functional.
- Lengthen the life of your hose by draining it after each use. Turn off the water at the spigot. Hold the nozzle trigger until the water stops, releasing the rest of the water pressure. Disconnect the hose from the spigot and let the water drain out.
- Kinks in hoses damage the hose’s wall, which then tears or splits open. This causes a hole in your garden hose. Look for kinking as you coil or uncoil your hose, then unkink it as you go.
- Another easy way to extend the life of your garden hose is to store it on a reel when it’s not in use. Simple hose hangers or a garden hose reel will keep your hose neat. It also means the hose isn’t a tripping hazard. This adds years to the life of your garden hose.
- Store your hose in a garage, basement or shed during the winter. Hoses contract and expand with cold and heat, which can damage your hose. Extend your hose’s life by keeping it where it’s unaffected by the elements.
- Spray a silicone lubricant on hose nozzles and wands to prevent rust and locking.
No matter how well you care for your hose, eventually you’ll get pinholes. These holes can be easily repaired with rubber patch kits. Leaky couplings can be replaced as well. Your garden hose will last even longer if you’re willing to make small repairs.
When looking for the best garden hoses for you, think about your most common watering needs. Keep your lawn lush with a soaking hose or sprinkler hose. Find a coiled hose for nurturing your patio flower garden.
Once you’ve found the ideal hose to water your lawn, get it sent right to your door. The Home Depot delivers online orders when and where you need them.