The right garden hose can make yard maintenance a cinch. ATTRIBUTION: Ryan McGuire (Gratisography)

My garden hose must perform multiple tasks, from watering the grass and garden boxes to cleaning the driveway and siding. Therefore, it must be lightweight and versatile. My children also use the garden hose to cool off during the summer months, making strength and durability a must. Choosing a garden hose is not as easy as grabbing the cheapest option on the shelf. With a wide variety of styles, lengths, and fittings, it’s vital to choose carefully to avoid problems such as leaks and kinks. To help you make your decision, here’s everything you need to know about garden hoses.

Types of Garden Hoses

  • Coil: Don’t like the time-consuming task of re-coiling your garden hose after each use? Then the coiled hose may be the right option for you. This compact hose is able to stretch to its intended length but automatically re-coils when released. This eliminates the need for a hose reel and makes storage a snap.
  • Flat: Similar to a fire hose, a flat garden hose remains flattened when empty but forms a familiar round shape when filled with water. Flat hoses are generally lightweight and easy to roll up and store, and they tend to take up less space than conventional hoses. These flexible hoses are typically made of vinyl and therefore have a higher risk of kinking and puncture damage.
  • Expandable: Expandable garden hoses have numerous benefits. They are designed to never twist, tangle, or kink. They are generally lightweight and easy to handle and store. Many brands are made from durable latex, allowing the hose to expand up to three times its length when the water is on, then contract within minutes when the water is turned off.
  • Soaker: Soaker hoses are an efficient way to water your yard or garden without wasting water. No runoff occurs, as the water slowly seeps through small holes along the hose’s length, allowing time for the soil to absorb it. This method also ensures that less water is lost to evaporation compared to traditional sprinkler systems.

Length and Diameter

garden hose

Garden hoses are available in increments of 25 feet. ATTRIBUTION: Nate Grigg (Flickr)

Garden hoses are primarily distinguished by their length and diameter. Average garden hoses range in diameter from ½-inch to ¾-inch. Thicker hoses are able to deliver more water and achieve greater water pressure. You will also need to consider the length. Typical garden hoses are available in lengths as short as 25 feet and can span as long as 100 feet or more. Like the diameter, the length of a hose will affect the amount of water pressure.

Coupling Materials

hose coupllings

Garden hose couplings are generally constructed of metal or plastic. ATTRIBUTION: his_beautiful_girl94 (Flickr)

Couplings, also known as fittings, are the connectors found at the end of hoses. They generally come in metal or plastic forms. Metal couplings are heavier than plastic and can be more difficult to tighten. While plastic couplings are easier to tighten, they are more prone to cracking and other types of damage.

Hose Maintenance

Hoses have a limited lifespan, often experiencing deterioration and loss of performance after a year or two. To expand the life of your garden hose, avoid dragging it over any sharp or abrasive surfaces, and only use the hose at or below its rated working pressure. Garden hoses should never be purposely kinked or run over by equipment. Periodically check the hose for signs of damage, such as leaks or worn couplings.