Formerly a generic ho-hum product, garden hoses have become a bit more, shall we say, exciting? Modern garden hoses ‘magically’ expand to thrice their normal length when being used and contract to their rest size when in storage. And many come ready to go with adaptors and sprayers.
Childhood days and garden hoses, the means of cool-downs on hot summer days – and also the means of pranks on siblings and friends! But with the responsibilities of adulthood and gardening duties on your shoulders, your outlook on garden hoses may have changed.
While we all know what a garden hose is and what it does, the humble hose, formerly available in unbranded generic form, has gone through some changes thanks to evolving technology. Moreover, as even simple products get more and more specialised for particular purposes, garden hoses too are differentiated, if only a little, from brand to brand. We look into five such hosepipes, below.
But what garden hoses have in common – besides the obvious – is the material they are made of. Usual and typical materials include extruded rubber, moulded vinyl, soft plastic, or latex.
In high-quality hosepipes the material, whatever it may be, is reinforced, multilayered, or both.
Many newer hosepipes are expandable. When they are not in use, they wrinkle up and shrink but when water is flowing through them, they stretch and expand up to thrice their non-use length.
You will see a connector at each end of a garden hose. One will be a male and the other a female connector. Any number of hosepipes can be linked by coupling the male and female connectors, but mark an important ‘If:’ The connectors have different types of threads inside them and among these is the U.K. standard, British Standard Pipe (BSP). Do not try to link connectors of different standards; even if it is possible to do so, the threads will probably be damaged, it will be very difficult to unscrew the adaptors, and you may not get a leakproof join.
Different kinds of hosepipe sprayers and nozzles are available but quite a number of high-end products include multi-function, multi-pattern, nozzles. Whether you purchase one or get one with your hosepipe, the multi-purpose patterns allow you to spray a focussed high-pressure jet of water on an upper-storey window at one end of the spectrum, and also spray a gentle conical-pattern mist on delicate plants at the other end.
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Oh, the odd and unanticipated responsibilities of adulthood – you never had to worry about misting leaves in your childhood, did you?
Emanating quality, Suplong’s expanding garden hose is flawless and among its pros are kink-proof and rugged construction, lightweight, and top (spray) gun.
Suplong’s garden hose is 100 feet (30.5 metres) on paper and in reality. It has a double latex interior with a crinkly polyester exterior. It contracts to about 33.3 feet (10 metres) when not in use and expands up to thrice its resting length when water is flowing through it. The kids will get a kick watching this one lengthen and shrink by itself!
Advertised as twist- and kink-proof, this claim too can be ticked off. Leaks are few and far between, and then usually when the hose encounters a sharp object.
Coming with 1/2-inch and 3/4-inch brass connectors, this hosepipe is compatible with Karcher pressure washers and Hozelock sprayers, sprinklers, etc.
Weighing about 1 kilogramme, Suplong’s 100-foot hosepipe is unbelievably light at a mere 10 grammes per foot (33 grammes per metre) expanded. The weak and the elderly will not face any problem at all handling this garden hose. It’s so easy to take this garden hose back and forth between the garden and storage.
To maintain this hosepipe’s elasticity drain it of water after use and store it in a shaded place.
When the input tap is closed, Suplong’s hose expels most of the water itself as it contracts.
Inexperienced buyers will find the instructions most helpful.
It is equipped with a robust spray gun with an 8-pattern nozzle. It is simply excellent; you can choose from a wide range of jets and sprays for any purpose, from a pressurised narrow jet to gentle, dispersed streams. Suplong thoughtfully includes a handy storage bag. The brass connectors are as solid and well-made as the hose.
A high quality look and feel about it all caps off the several pros of this product, which is an easy and deserved Best Pick.
Suplong provides a 180-day money-back guarantee and a one-year replacement guarantee.
- One of the best sprayer guns among garden hoses.
- Unusually lightweight makes it easy to carry daily between garden and storage.
- Solid and robust from end to end, from connector to spray gun, this garden hose radiates quality.
- Needs to be protected from hot sun and cold temperatures.
As cheap as a hosepipe can be, Kingfisher’s plain no-frills product is not robust but it is very lightweight, good for medium-duty use, and a best value buy.
Kingfisher’s budget-buy garden hose is short at 15 metres. It has a 1/2-inch (13-millimetre) diameter.
This is a plain and simple hosepipe, no fancy extras or fittings here – but no fancy price either.
It is composed of three layers that have a braided reinforcement. Regardless of the number of layers, this hosepipe’s walls are thinnish, clearly thinner than those of many other hosepipes.
Though not very rugged and durable, if treated with care this hose is perfectly adequate for normal use in the garden. The worst part is that it gets kinked all the time and the kinks impede water flow.
Though not advertised as such, Kingfisher’s hose is compatible with Karcher pressure washers; however, it is not tough enough to handle repeated pressurised use. With some effort, Hozelock connectors can be fitted to this hosepipe.
Weighing a mere 1.4 kilogrammes, it is also extremely light at only 93 grammes per metre, making it one of the best choices for aged, infirm, or disabled persons.
At its cheap price, Kingfisher’s no-frills simple garden hose is an attractive purchase but at a cost of only a fraction of a pound per metre, it is a standout value for money for those who do not need connectors and sprayer attachments bundled with the hose. It is a self-choosing Value Pick.
- One of the more lightweight hosepipes makes it suitable for the infirm and disabled.
- Available for virtually pocket change, it is a real deal.
- Thin wall of the hosepipe means that it is not very robust.
- Prone to getting kinked and twisted.
A superb, convenient design let down by execution defects is the story of Hozelock’s kit, which is costly but is an ideal space-saver for balcony gardens.
The 10 metres of hosepipe is made of tough plastic. The length includes 8 metres of hose that is unrolled off the reel for watering plus 2 metres from the ‘rear’ of the reel for connecting to the spigot. The outer diameter is only about 10 millimetres, which does not aid the cause of water pressure; on the other hand, the length is very short which does aid the said ‘cause.’
This two-toned yellow-and-grey hose is specially designed for patios, balconies, and small garden spaces. Hozelock’s Pico Reel has a compact wind-up design: the hosepipe is reeled off as needed and rewound back on a spool with a winding knob. Unroll the hose as needed while watering, and rewind it back as you return toward the water source. The spool has a well-designed carry handle.
This neat and tidy setup eliminates the possibility of twists and tangles and the compact design allows the kit to be stowed away in the tools closet.
The excellent on-paper design is let down by manufacturing and execution, though. If you draw the short straw you’ll get a unit with a leak near the spray gun, one which won’t stay connected to the spigot, one whose connector starts to leak, one that will leak from inside the reel, or one that develops a split right in the middle. Hozelock evidently has lax quality control.
On the other hand, if you get a defect-free piece, you’ll be delighted because it is super-convenient.
This is a short length of hosepipe at only 10 metres; however, length is not a calling card of Hozelock’s Pico Reel. It is meant for specific use in constrained areas like – besides small gardens – patios and balcony flats where the need of the hour is convenience and compactness.
It comes with a 5-pattern multi-spray gun that also has a high and low volume switch, plus three push-fit connectors: a hose connector, a waterstop connector, and a spigot connector with 1/2-inch and 3/4-inch choices.
The Pico Reel weights 1.7 kilogrammes.
Hozelock provides a two-year guarantee.
- Superlative unfurl-furl design of hosepipe on a reel with knob and handle.
- The included three (four, really) connectors should be all you need.
- Ranks at the top in convenience and compactness.
- Unfortunately, the superlative design is badly let down by manufacturing and execution defects.
- Many a unit springs a leak somewhere or another.
- Ranks at the bottom in quality control.
‘Toughest in class’ is how one may define Flexi Hose’s hosepipe; while it may have a weakness or two these are entirely outweighed by some major strengths.
Flexible and stretchable, Flexi Hose’s hosepipe is only 17 feet (5.2 metres) in storage but stretches to 50 feet (15.2 feet) when in use and filled with water, expanding to three times its normal length. It is also available in 75- and 100-foot lengths.
Some random defective units will not expand to their designated length of 50 feet, stretching out to only 30 feet (9 metres) at best. You may need to keep it pulled taut but this is inconvenient and tiring over prolonged periods.
The hosepipe has a dual layer of 2-millimetre latex with a crinkled synthetic outer layer that smooths out when expanded under use. The outside diameter is only 10 millimetres yet the force with which water emerges from the sprayer is truly surprising.
It is marketed as resistant to tangles and kinks and so it is. This unusually tough and durable hose neither leaks nor does it develop leaks even though you may not ‘Handle with Care.’
Furthermore, the brass fittings too are impressively solid and well-constructed.
This very robust hosepipe can withstand pressurised water up to an impressive 12 bar and can also tolerate hot days rising up to 45° centigrade. It is one of the strongest of expanding hoses.
It has a threaded 3/4-inch brass connector with an internal rubber seal on the spigot end and a 3/4-inch male brass connector on the other end. The on/off brass valve at the business end is a thoughtful feature.
The plasticky 8-pattern sprayer (with supposedly a zinc alloy nozzle) releases its spray patterns with force and over a goodly distance. Unfortunately, it’s a dodgy piece of work: all too often the sprayer head develops a leak. Should this happen at the join, try unscrewing it, inserting one of the supplied spare washers, and screwing the head back on.
This 50-foot garden hose weighs 1.3 kilogrammes.
Flexi Hose provides a lifetime replacement warranty.
- Where strength, toughness and durability are concerned this hosepipe is the pick of the bunch.
- Even the brass connectors are just about the studiest.
- Leaks? What are ‘leaks’?
- Some units do not expand to the full designated 50-foot length.
- The plastic spray gun is dodgy and lets down the kit.
Though some units have a niggle, ANSIO’s costly garden hose combines softness and light weight with strength and durability, and has a first-rate spray gun.
Expanding from 16.5 feet (5 metres) to 50 feet (15 metres), ANSIO’s stretchable garden hose is made of triple-layer latex with a tough, webbed polyester cover. It contracts quickly, as soon as you close the tap.
A few units do not expand properly, reaching only 25 to 30 feet (7.6 to 9.1 metres).
ANSIO’s expanding hose is also available in 100-foot length.
This hose is indeed kink-free as advertised.
This garden hose comes with sturdy brass connectors. These are two female threaded connectors; connect both to fit 1/2-inch spigots and unscrew and remove the external one to connect to a 3/4-inch one. It is compatible with Karcher pressure washers and any other pressure washer that has BSP fittings.
The 9-pattern spray gun is ergonomic and also defect-free and durable, making it an exception in this class of garden hoses. And no need to hold the trigger – this sprayer’s trigger has a very welcome lock.
The hosepipe is somehow quite soft and also lightweight yet strong and durable. Weighing 1.5 kilogrammes, at just 30 grammes per foot (expanded) (100 grammes per metre) this hosepipe is a good choice for the infirm, elderly and disabled.
ANSIO’s offering is a little more expensive on a per-foot basis than most other expanding garden hoses but also of more than a little better quality.
With little to complain about and much to praise, ANSIO has delivered one of the winners in the burgeoning expanding garden hose segment.
ANSIO provides a one-year replacement warranty. They are very responsive to customer queries and their after-sales support is impressive.
- Both the hose and the brass connectors are strong and rugged.
- One of the best sprayer heads you’ll find on a garden hose.
- Really softish and very lightweight, this garden hose is ideal for the disabled and the aged.
- On a per-unit-length basis, this garden hose is costly.
- A small percentage of units fail to expand to 50 feet.
How To Attach Hose Fittings
There are an abundance of garden hose fittings, male or female, threaded as well as other kinds such as push-fit. On top of it all, a garden hose adaptor’s interior threads are also of different types. As a U.K. resident, you will almost surely use British Standard Pipe (BSP) fittings.
If you want to connect fittings to your garden hose from scratch, you need a (female) threaded collar and the appropriate connector. You will need a connector that fits your spigot; it should probably be 1/2-inch or 3/4-inch BSP. You can also opt for push-fit adaptors, however. If you do, you will need one to screw on to the spigot and the corresponding one for the hose.
Whichever you choose, you would first slide the collar over one end of the garden hose and then push the connector over the hose – it may be a tight squeeze. The connector will have threads on the outside by the end fitted to the hose. (The connector’s other end will either be threaded or push-fit depending on what you choose.) Slide the collar back towards the adaptor and onto it, and tighten it with your fingers as if it were a nut. You could put a screw clamp or spring clamp on it if the connection does not make you confident. Now you have one end of your garden hose ready to go. Depending on what you chose, thread or turn the hosepipe’s connector on to the spigot, or snap on the push-fit adaptors which make a sharp click when they lock shut.
Fortunately, many garden hoses come fitted with connectors; they are plug-and-play and save you from the hassle of hooking up fittings. If your garden hose fitting and your tap are incompatible, all you will need is an adaptor, just possibly two. Adaptors can be bought in garden centres and hardware stores as well as online.
How To Boost Water Pressure In A Garden Hose
Step one in boosting water pressure in your garden hose is to maximise its diameter and minimise its length. Get a garden hose with a diameter of 3/4” – 19 millimetres – and use the shortest length of hose that covers your garden.
Next, eliminate all kinks, twists, and tangles.
Third, search for any leaks at the join or in the hosepipe. If there are, repair or replace.
Finally, try to check if there are any blockages within the pipe; if so, clear them.
Of course, your water pressure at the source spigot may be low. Attach a water pressure gauge to the spigot if you want to find out what it is. If it is lower than 2.75 bar – 40 psi – or thereabouts, you’ve uncovered the problem. However, municipal rules and regulations may restrict you from increasing water pressure by fiddling with the Pressure Reduction Valve.
If you still want to boost the pressure of the water from your garden hose, try attaching a high-pressure nozzle to the mouth of the hose. This is a longish, thin tubular extension.
Penultimately, before you purchase a relatively costly high-pressure washer, check out inexpensive and small water pressure booster pumps. For a modest expense of only £60 or less you may well be going, “Problem solved!” This type of pump fits in-between the spigot and hosepipe’s connector. You will need to ensure that the pump can be connected to both (spigot and hose’s connector), and you may need to buy the right adaptors to make the connections.
Kersie learnt the basics of gardening as a toddler, courtesy of his grandfather. In his youth he was an active gardener with a preference for flowering plants. He is a professional and vocational writer and his freelance projects have spanned various kinds of writing.