Best Garden Hoses of 2020

Keep your lawn green with the best of the best garden hoses.

Know Your Hoses: Buying the Best Garden Hose

It's not the most glamorous item in your toolshed, but if you aim for healthy, lush greenery and beautiful blooms, a garden hose is a must-have.

Choosing the perfect hose for your garden is not as simple as it may sound, however. You wouldn't necessarily be happy with the first hose you pulled off the store shelf. Sometimes, it takes a bit of searching to find the right hose for your needs.

If you're feeling a bit baffled by the vast array of hoses available, you've come to the right place. At BestReviews, we delved deep into the world of garden hoses so you don't have to. As we gather information for our readers, we never accept free samples from manufacturers. Rather, we research the market, scour shelves, and collect consumer feedback. We pride ourselves on our thorough, honest product recommendations and reviews.

At the top of the page, you'll find a product matrix with descriptions of our three favorite garden hoses. Please continue reading this shopping guide to learn more about garden hoses and how to select the right one for your needs.

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Picking a Garden Hose

A rose by any other name is just as sweet, but the adage doesn't hold true for garden hoses. When shopping for a hose you'll be faced with a choice between multiple hose types. It pays to educate yourself on the different varieties and choose wisely.

Garden Hose Types: Vinyl Hoses

Vinyl Garden Hose

If you need something cheap and cheerful, a vinyl garden hose is the way to go.

Pros:

  • Vinyl garden hoses are extremely affordable.
  • These hoses tend to be fairly lightweight.

Cons:

  • Vinyl hoses are prone to kinks and twists.
  • They're not extremely durable. Over time, a vinyl hose is likely to crack or split.
While a vinyl garden hose is fine for occasional use, it's not the best option if you want a durable, long-lasting hose.

Garden Hose Types: Rubber and Composite Hoses

Rubber Garden Hose

The workhorse of the garden-hose world, a rubber garden hose is an excellent investment.

Pros:

  • Rubber garden hoses are extremely durable and will last for years, if not decades.
  • If you need a hose that can carry hot water, a rubber hose fits the bill.
  • Rubber garden hoses aren't susceptible to sun damage.

Cons:

  • If you want a rubber garden hose, be prepared for a good upper-body workout—they're extremely heavy.
  • Rubber hoses are expensive.

Composite Garden Hose

Crafted from a mixture of rubber and vinyl, composite garden hoses strike a good compromise between durability and ease of use.

Pros:

  • Composite garden hoses are stronger and more durable than vinyl hoses.
  • They're much more affordable than hoses made from pure rubber.
  • Composite hoses are relatively lightweight.

Cons:

  • You probably won't get as many years out of a composite hose as you would a rubber hose.
  • Composite garden hoses are prone to kinks and twists.

Composite garden hoses give you the best of both worlds: They're more durable than vinyl hoses, and they're cheaper and lighter than rubber hoses.

Other Types of Garden Hoses

Polymer Garden Hose

Relatively new to the market, polymer garden hoses are made from lightweight, flexible polymers.

Pros:

  • Polymer garden hoses are light, flexible, and easy to use.
  • Even at extreme high or low temperatures, polymer garden hoses don't become brittle, and they aren't prone to cracking.
  • Polymer garden hoses rarely kink or twist.
  • Despite their light weight, polymer hoses are extremely strong and durable.

Con:

  • We find little fault with polymer garden hoses. However, they do tend to cost more than other hose types.

Expandable Garden Hose

The outer layer of an expandable garden hose is made from a fabric like nylon. The inner tube is made from stretchy rubber, latex, or thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). When not in use, the outer layer has a ruched appearance. But when water flows through it, the inner tube stretches to three times its original length, pulling the outer fabric layer flat.

Pros:

  • Expandable garden hoses consume less storage space.
  • The average expandable hose weighs roughly five times less than a traditional hose of the same length.
  • Expandable hoses don't tangle or twist.

Cons:

  • Some users report dissatisfaction with the durability of their expandable garden hose.
  • Expandable hoses with TPU inner tubes tend to crack or leak sooner than expandable hoses with other inner tube materials.

Kink-Free Garden Hose

Anyone who's used a garden hose knows how annoying it can be when the hose kinks and twists, slowing or even stopping the water flow. Kink-free hoses are reinforced with a special mesh that resists twisting and folding.

Pros:

  • We hate to state the obvious, but the major benefit of a kink-free garden hose is that it doesn't kink.
  • Since kink-free hoses are reinforced with strong mesh, they tend to be fairly durable.

Con:

  • Some kink-free hoses lack flexibility.

Don't buy a hose longer than you need; the longer the length, the more of a hassle it will be to drag it around the yard.

Garden Hose Considerations

Consider the following factors to find a garden hose that's perfect for you.

How Long?

You'll need to decide which length of hose suits you best. Most hoses are sold in lengths of 25, 50, 75, and 100 feet.

You might think that longer is better, especially if you have a large garden. But a 100-foot garden hose can be a pain to lug around when you're not stretching it to its full length.

  • If your needs are simple—perhaps you want to water plants on the deck or a flower bed in a small yard—a 25-foot garden hose would probably suffice.
  • Most urban backyards need no greater than a 50-foot hose.
  • If your yard is large enough to require more than 50 feet of hose, we recommend buying two separate hoses and attaching them as needed. This way, you'll only be lugging extra hose material when you really need it.

How Wide?

Most hoses come in one of three diameters: 1/2 inch, 5/8 inch, or 3/4 inch.

  • Hoses with larger diameters deliver more water. For instance, a 3/4-inch garden hose delivers roughly two and a half times more water than a 1/2-inch garden hose in the same amount of time.
  • Garden hoses with a 1/2-inch diameter are fine for light gardening tasks like watering plants, but they're not suitable for jobs that require a large amount of water and pressure, like washing a car.
If you struggle with the weight of your garden hose, opt for one with a smaller diameter. It will hold less water and therefore be lighter.

Other Garden Hose Features

How Strong?

Manufacturers describe hose strength in terms of burst pressure—the amount of water pressure a hose can withstand before it bursts. For example, if a hose has a burst pressure of 350 psi, it can withstand up to 350 pounds per square inch of water pressure.

A basic, cheap garden hose usually has a burst pressure of roughly 200 psi, whereas the strongest hoses may be able to withstand up to 500 psi.

As a rule, a hose with a burst pressure of 350 psi or more will stand up to use with a sprinkler or spray nozzle.

Which Couplings?

Couplings are the fixtures at the ends of the hose that attach to the faucet, spigot, nozzle, or sprinkler.

  • Cast brass couplings are seen as the gold standard. Thicker than other metal couplings, they're durable and can't be crushed. They're also more resistant to leaks .
  • Stamped metal couplings bend easily and can be more difficult to attach to the spigot. Because they're not octagonal like cast brass couplings, they're not the best shape to tighten with a wrench.
  • Plastic couplings are prone to cracks and breaks, and they often leak.

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Coupling Materials

Cast brass couplings are the best option, but stamped metal will do in a pinch. In most scenarios, plastic couplings aren't the ideal choice.

How Much Do Garden Hoses Cost?

Basic Garden Hoses

Basic garden hoses usually cost $10 to $20 for 50 feet. Vinyl hoses and some cheaper composite hoses fall into this category.

Mid-Range Garden Hoses

Mid-range garden hoses cost $20 to $40 for 50 feet. These typically include basic rubber hoses, pricier composites, and some kink-free and expandable hoses.

Expensive Garden Hoses

Hoses made of polymer and high-end rubber fall under this category, as do hoses that are kink-free and/or expandable. The priciest of hoses are designed to last for years and should be a pleasure to use. Manufacturers set the price anywhere from $40 to $80 for 50 feet of a high-caliber hose.

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Pricing

You get what you pay for, and we generally don't recommend ultra-cheap garden hoses. That said, there's no point shelling out for the priciest hose on the shelf if you plan to use it only a handful of times a year.

Garden Hose FAQ

Q. Is it safe to drink from a garden hose?

A. Some garden hoses contain lead or other dangerous compounds and chemicals, so not every hose is drinking-water-safe. If you want to be able to drink from your hose, look for one that's marketed as a "drinking water" hose.

Q. How should I store my hose?

A. Store your hose coiled up to avoid kinks and tangles. Ideally, you should keep the coil out of direct sunlight, as the sun's rays can cause some hose materials to harden and eventually crack.

Frosts can cause damage, too—especially if there is sitting water in the hose, since water expands when it freezes. To prolong the life of your hose, drain it completely and store it in a shed or garage during the winter.

Q. What is the "ply" of a garden hose?

A. A "ply" is a layer. Therefore, a "4-ply" hose consists of four layers of material. In general, the larger the number of plies in a garden hose, the stronger and more durable it is.

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