The 4 best garden hoses we tested

A good hose makes all the difference whether you want to wash your car at home, maintain your garden, or turn your backyard into a water park.

We spoke with John Jors, a Florida master gardener and volunteer groundskeeper at the 35-acre Bonnet House Museum and Gardens, to learn more about what to look for when buying a hose. Jors emphasizes the importance of durability and suggests the following critical features: material (rubber, vinyl, or polyurethane), thickness (two-ply hoses are the weakest, while six-ply hoses are the strongest), and the materials used for the couplings (metal or plastic).

We put seven hoses to the test for durability, convenience of use, and efficiency for this guide. Here’s where you can learn more about our testing process. Read our FAQs section for more information on how to shop for and care for your garden hose.

Here are our choices:

The 4 best garden hoses we tested

ColorStorm Garden Hose

Overall, the best garden hose
Pros: Thick and resilient rubber structure that won’t kink, quick water flow, and colorful options
Cons: Hose body easily picks up dust and debris, and it’s hefty.

Despite its bulk, the ColorStorm Garden Hose delivers a reliable and surprisingly smooth watering experience. Its robust rubber body won’t kink or flex, and its metal fittings can take a beating.

  • 50-foot lengths are available.
  • 10.91 gallons per minute of water flow
  • 10 pound weight
  • Body is made of rubber, with nickel-plated brass fittings.

In all of our tests, the Dramm ColorStorm Garden Hose came out on top. Despite being the heaviest of all the hoses we tested, it outperformed them all in terms of simplicity of use, kink resistance, and flow rate.

It’s a high-performing, dependable hose thanks to its material and design. “If properly stored, preferably on a reel, and drained after every use, it should last a very long time and provide for pleasant gardening,” Jors said. This hose is made of thick rubber with angled sides instead of smooth sides to prevent kinking and bending.

No matter how you twist, bend, or step on the rubber, it bounces back smoothly, so all you have to worry about while watering is dragging the hose in the appropriate direction. The nickel-plated brass fittings held up nicely after numerous rounds of being banged into concrete and thrown around, with no warping or dents.

It had the fastest water flow of all the hose contenders: 10.91 gallons per minute, and it fit quite securely and tightly on my water connection. This makes it particularly useful for chores like as filling a pool or a large bucket. If you have a lot of ground to water, the Dramm hose will speed up the process.

While it is more expensive than the ordinary hose, it is definitely worth the price. Watering your lawn or washing your car becomes a lot more enjoyable, and you won’t have to replace it as often due to hose body damage or kinking. Furthermore, it is available in a variety of vibrant colors, making backyard duties a little more enjoyable.

The 4 best garden hoses we tested

Continental Water Hose

The most cost-effective garden hose
Pros: Rubber structure is thick and sturdy, and it does not kink.
Cons: Hose body quickly picks up dust and grime, is hefty, and has a slower flow rate than the Dramm.

The rubber, kink-free Continental Water Hose stands out in a sea of flimsy hoses for its durability, reliability, and ease of use.

  • 50-foot lengths are available.
  • 8.57 gallons per minute of water flow
  • 12 pound weight
  • Body is made of rubber, with solid brass fittings.

It’s difficult to locate a low-cost hose that doesn’t skimp on durability, kink resistance, or weather resistance. In the hose section, for the most part, you get what you paid for.

The Continental hose is the only exception. It isn’t inexpensive, but it is less expensive than all of our other selections and performs admirably.

The hose is thick, tough, and long-lasting. It has a thick rubber body and sturdy brass fittings that have withstood several concrete strikes. Because it fits tightly over the water connection and does not kink or flex, it gives a smooth and relatively easy watering experience. The most challenging aspect is hauling the 12 pound weight around.

It has a decent flow rate of 8.57 gallons per minute, which is somewhat less than our top option, the Dramm hose. While I would compare the two hoses, the Continental is somewhat thicker and less efficient, and it does not come in a variety of colors (just black). These drawbacks, though, aren’t insurmountable, and I was still pleased with this low-cost option.

The 4 best garden hoses we tested

TheFitLife Flexible and Expandable Garden Hose

The best garden hose that expands
Pros: Flexible, extensible, varied water flows available at the turn of a valve, doesn’t kink
On rocky terrain.
Cons: The outside fabric may rip due to slow water movement.

If you’re short on room, consider TheFitLife’s flexible multifunctional hose, which stretches to three times its original length when water is running through but collapses for compact storage.

  • Water flow rate: 3.43 gallons per minute Available lengths: 25-foot, 50-foot, 75-foot, and 100-foot
  • 2.7 pound weight
  • Interior and external bodies are made of latex, with solid brass fittings.

TheFitLife’s Expandable Garden Hose is a clever option if you don’t like dealing with long and bulky hoses or simply don’t have the storage space. When you turn on the water, it immediately expands to its full 50-foot length, and it retracts just as quickly when the water is turned off.

This fabric-covered hose is soft, lightweight, and flexible, unlike its usual rubber cousin. The hose’s unusual composition of a latex interior and polyester fabric exterior prevents it from kinking no matter how you twist or bend it.

The hose features a brass valve at the end that allows you to switch between multiple water flow options or entirely stop the flow so you don’t waste water while carrying it about. You can choose between a low, medium, or high-pressure concentration by turning the valve.

When you switch flow options, the way the hose expands and shrinks in your hand takes some getting accustomed to and may cause some discomfort at first. When using the valve, take careful not to drag the hose too far away from the water connection, otherwise you’ll be pushed back if the hose contracts.

While the cloth shell is pleasant to grip and stretches to allow for expansion, it is vulnerable to snagging on sharp or rocky surfaces. Take extra precautions if you want to use the hose on rocky terrain.

Overall, it’s still a smart and efficient way to complete all of your watering responsibilities without sacrificing space.

The hose comes with an eight-watering-pattern spray nozzle, but we didn’t utilize it because we wanted to focus on hose performance.

The 4 best garden hoses we tested

Tardigrade Steel Hose

The best garden hose for heavy-duty use
Pros: Extremely long-lasting, does not kink, and is weather-resistant
Cons: The steel body design may cause finger pinching.

With the Tardigrade Steel Hose, there’s no need to be delicate. It’s ideal for watering locations with sharp or abrasive objects, and it won’t deteriorate if left outside in the sun.

  • Water flow rate: 7.5 gallons per minute Available lengths: 1-foot, 3-foot, 25-foot, and 50-foot
  • 5.6 pound weight
  • Body is made of steel, and the fittings are made of aluminum.

If you require complete assurance that your hose will not be punctured or broken, select one made of steel. The Tardigrade hose is tough, but it’s not as thick or heavy as a rubber hose.

I tried to shatter it by dragging it across different terrains and leaping on it, but all of my efforts were in vain. Common concerns such as dogs, severe weather, and thorny, rocky environments are no match.

It’s narrower and denser than a standard rubber hose, but because it doesn’t twist or tangle, I found it quite straightforward to manage about my lawn. As the water went through the steel body, it felt lovely and cool, which enhanced my watering experience. It had a decent flow rate of 7.5 gallons per minute, which was faster than the rubber choices I tried.

Another benefit to consider is that the steel structure is UV-resistant, which means you may leave the hose outside and it will not be harmed or cracked by the sun.

The body is made up of several stainless steel rings for flexibility, which may pinch your fingers as you handle the hose. As a precaution, I recommend wearing gloves.

Why we don’t endorse some things

  • Aterod Expandable Garden Hose: Aterod also has a metal valve switch (as opposed to TheFitLife’s plastic one). Even when the hose was tightly secured, the water connection leaked significantly. The hose expansions and contractions were much more dramatic than TheFitLife’s, making switching between spray options difficult and uncomfortable.
  • Gilmour Medium Duty Water Hose: This hose is prone to kinks, and I found myself readjusting and finagling it as I used it. Water did not flow freely through it, and it appeared to be resistant to movement. Furthermore, it did not fit properly on my water connection and dripped profusely.
  • Gilmour AquaArmor Lightweight Hose: This lighter, more durable alternative to the Medium Duty Hose above was a lot easier to handle and has a flatter body, which reduces kinks. The hose’s thin and light design, however, was also its downfall: it was difficult to keep it erect and directed in the appropriate direction.

The way we use to test garden hoses is as follows

All seven hoses were put through the same four tests:

  • Easy to move, roll up, and water plants: How easy was it to move, roll up, and water plants with the hose? On a scale of 1 to 5, we assessed the difficulty as “extremely easy, barely broke a sweat” and “very challenging, took major effort.”
  • We trailed each hose 50 feet across concrete and grass, hitting the fittings on the ground 50 times at different angles. The hose body and fitting were then examined for any signs of abrasion or other difficulties with durability.
  • Kink resistance: We twisted each hose into a tight “U” shape and stomped on it five times to check if it snapped back or stayed bent.
  • Flow rate: We measured how long it took the hose to fill a two-gallon pail and recorded the gallons per minute flow rate.

Frequently Asked Questions about Garden Hoses

What hose size should you purchase?

It depends on the size of your lawn and how close you are to a water source. You should consider at least a 50-foot hose, according to Coulter Lewis, CEO of lawn care subscription business Sunday.

“If your lawn is 500-2,000 square feet, a 50-foot hose will suffice. If your lawn is between 2,000 and 5,000 square feet, search for a hose with a length of at least 75 feet. Consider purchasing two shorter hoses or an additional short extension line to combine when needed for more flexibility “he suggested

We focused on 50-foot hoses for this tutorial. They come in a variety of lengths, including shorter and longer options.

What is the best garden hose material?

Rubber, polyurethane, and vinyl are the most prevalent hose body materials. According to Jors, “Rubber is the most flexible material, yet it is also the heaviest. It is, however, less vulnerable to wounds and can withstand rocky terrain.”

Polyurethane and other hybrid composite materials are the best if you want something lighter, more kink-resistant, and safe for drinking water. Vinyl is the least expensive option, but it is also the most prone to kinking.

If you’re looking for a metal fitting to connect your hose to a water source or another hose, search for one made of metal. “It’s always best to use faceted brass, nickel-plated brass, or stainless steel. Plastic couplings, while less expensive, can not withstand heavy use and are prone to cracking “Jors said.

How do you get rid of kinks in your hose and reduce their number?

To limit the risk of kinking, use a hose that is both sturdy and flexible. Jors recommends using a hose reel to wind the hose in a controlled manner in addition to looking for rubber or polyurethane.

Is a garden hose nozzle required for your hose?

A nozzle for your hose is strongly recommended. A nozzle allows you to control the flow of water and save water. It also assists you in distributing the proper water flow for your specific work (e.g., power washing a deck vs. watering delicate flowers).

What’s the best method to store your hose and make it last longer?

“Store your garden hose properly to extend its life,” Jors added. “I like to use a hose hanger or, more specifically, a hose reel. When the hose isn’t in use, it’s vital to keep it off the ground, which can be accomplished with a hose hanger or hose reel.”

Also, drain your hose after every use and before storing it. Your hose will be damaged by both hot and frozen water.


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