Who would have thought that picking a hose would have so many choices? What length should it be to get to that juniper in the far reaches of the yard? Should it be made of rubber, vinyl, or a combination? Is a reinforced hose needed to withstand high water pressures? Should it be kink-proof or ultra flexible to roll easily onto a hose reel? Finally, some hoses even come in designer colors!
With so many choices, one of the easiest to make is the length. Most hoses are available in 50 ft. (15 m) or 75 ft. (23 m) lengths, but frequently 25 ft. (7.6 m) and 100 ft. (30 m) lengths are also available. The longer the hose, the lower the pressure at the end. The longer the hose, the heavier it is to move, too. A 75 ft. (23 m) hose weighs about 10 lbs. (4.5 kg) and 100 ft. (30 m) weighs 15 lbs. (6.8 kg). So stringing two 100 ft. (30 m) hoses together and going uphill with low water pressure probably won’t result in much water coming out of the end. Sometimes the hose diameter is variable, 5/8” (17 mm) is a common size, but 1/2” (12.5 mm) and ¾” (19 mm) are also available from some manufacturers. The larger the diameter, the greater the amount of water delivered.
Psi (pounds per square inch) ratings generally range from 50 (3.5 kg/cm) to 600 (42 kg/cm) for garden hoses; the higher the psi, the stronger the hose. For a typical home that has water pressure of 50-60 psi, (4 kg/cm) a hose with 150 psi (10.5 kg/cm) should be adequate.
Hoses are usually made of rubber, nylon, vinyl, or a combination of these materials. Many have multiple layers (7-ply like tires) to give them greater durability and burst strength. Often reinforced hoses bend without kinking, have greater burst strength, better durability, and a longer lifespan.
Although many hoses are UV stabilized, they will all last longer if they are not left out in the sun. Also reduce pressure and drain hoses when not in use.
When looking for a quality hose, consider the coupling. Are the washers sitting inside snuggly and have a good tight fit? Many couplings are made of solid brass and are crush-proof so there’s no detrimental effect of rolling over the end with a car tire as it snakes across the driveway.
Be wary that most garden hoses are not intended for drinking (and often have a statement to this effect under the label). Use a white RV hose rated for drinking water if a hose is needed for human or pet water consumption. Do not drink out of garden hoses.
Many of the newer hoses have added antimicrobial features to their hoses to reduce the growth of mold, bacteria, fungus and yeast inside the dark, damp hose. That’s another reason not to drink out of garden hoses.
Tired of hoses that continually kink at the slightest provocation? Try the non-kinking (or at least kink-resistant) versions, but be prepared to contend with a heavier hose and in some cases, a tough time getting hoses to coil up - somewhat like a wrestling match with a boa constrictor. And cold weather makes the situation worse.
If you are prone to stabbing your hoses with a garden fork while working in the garden bed, try a light green (or even bright yellow or red) hose for better visibility. Having these hoses will also avoid the nasty black hose marks on hands, legs, and pants where the hose beast left its mark.
Finally, lifetime or multi-year warranties are a great security blanket if hoses happen to “spring a leak.”
For a quality hose, look for kink proof, crack, or burst resistant, heavy-duty fittings and flexibility in the cold weather.
When you shop for the best garden hose, you realize you have more choices than you could imagine. For the best garden water hose, consider length, materials, flexibility and other factors that ensure you can water your garden with ease.