Garden hoses come in a variety of sizes and lengths. One of the most popular sizes is the 5/8-inch diameter, and another popular size is the 3/4-inch diameter. Hose lengths vary in size, with the 50, 75 and 100 feet lengths being the most commonly sold.
Hoses themselves are not all the same. There are hoses designed for the homeowner, which are cheap and cheerful, rather than offering the most benefits to the consumer. Commercial-grade garden hoses are also available which provide more value for money.
The commercial-grade hoses will typically be several times more expensive, but come with special enhanced anti-bacterial coatings, more robust couplings, and are expected to last longer. In the case of some manufacturers, they use their patented technologies in their production and materials used.
Garden hoses are all designed with couplings that will fit standard water faucets and connectors around a residential home. There is no need to purchase an adapter.
It is not always safe to consume drinking water fed through a hose due to the materials used in its construction. Parents who are worried about small children drinking directly from the garden hose should look for products marked “drinking water safe.”
What’s Included With The Best Garden Hose
Each garden hose will arrive inside its collector, which provides protection from accidental abrasions of the outer material. In some cases, the packaging will be totally enclosed for complete protection.
Depending on the type of garden hose, different materials will be used in the construction of the hose itself. These can include latex, a blended compound, or customized, patented materials unique to the manufacturer.
Hoses in the higher priced products often come with a microbial protective coating to avoid mildew or mold building up on the interior or exterior. The microbial coating ensures that the hose will last longer and not suffer a degradation of the hose materials used.
The couplings that are used to connect the hose to a tap, water supply or garden tool, like a sprinkler system, use different types of materials. The materials might be aluminum for protection from the outdoor elements, and in some cases, will be lead-free. Cheaper hoses will often use inferior couplings that break more easily.
What To Know Before Making a Purchase
Hoses come in different strengths with companies selling products offering various protection levels. Heavy duty hoses are built to avoid bending, kinks in the hose, and warping over time. The garden hose material used is often tough enough to avoid bends or kinks even when water is not flowing through it. The increased weight with this type of thicker material does prevent damage to the hose from unintended breaks, cuts, and damage when wrapping the hose around sharp corners.
Alternatively, other products arrive packed using an accordion design that compress down. The reduced strength makes them less durable over time, but easier to carry around or store in the garage or greenhouse.
Look at the prices for different length garden hoses from the same brand. Oddly, sometimes a longer hose can be less expensive than the shorter version.
A garden hose must be marked as “drinking water safe” to be safe to consume. Some garden hoses use latex, are unleaded, and can contain minerals and metals that will contaminate any water flowing through the hose. Therefore, it’s important to be aware of this before making a new purchase. A garden hose is marked appropriately to advise buyers accurately whether water is safe to drink through it.
Pay particular attention to the acceptable PSI for the hose. Depending on the level of water pressure, it is possible to burst a hose when attempting to feed water through the hose with too much pressure applied. Similarly, some users will add the hose to the kitchen faucet and hope that the water pressure is not so powerful that it will damage the garden hose.
Not all washers supplied with hose models are of the same quality. It may be necessary to replace the hose washers to avoid any water leakage. The benefit of this will depend on how often the product is used and what water savings are achieved versus the cost of adding some washers.
Apex Hose, from Teknor Apex, use their NTS Reflex Mesh technology to help their Neverkink branded hoses stop the tangling and twisting.
Telebrands has been offering garden products for almost a century. Based in China and Singapore, the company now distributes their products worldwide.
Gilmour has been producing garden hoses, sprinkler systems, and nozzles since 1949. Still based in Missouri, over 180 million feet of quality hose is produced each year.
What Consumers Say
Taking a look at consumers’ reviews, these are a few of the opinions most often voiced by buyers:
Connectors: The connectors at the end of a hose are often the weakest point of the product. Some products use springs in the design, rather than rubber, which helps users to connect the hose up more easily. Look at the quality of the connectors on either end to determine which look the most robust.
Temperatures during storage: Some garden hoses should not be kept outside when the temperature drops overnight and early in the morning. It is a good idea to cover the hose with a tarp or other protective material to avoid moisture or ice built up.
No kinks: Some manufacturers promote the idea that their garden hoses will not kink. The reality is that they will kink occasionally, but that the kinks often successfully pop out again, putting the hose back into its original design again.
Water pressure: Be careful with the amount of water pressure used. It is all too easy to attach the garden hose to an untested water source that pumps water through the hose at an alarming rate. Depending on the durability of the hose, this could cause a hose to split or pop. As a side note, garden hoses should not be used indoors for this very reason.