A good hose is an important – and hard-working – garden tool, but choosing the best one can be confusing. Your local home improvement store’s gardening section or favorite nursery will have several types of garden hoses in different lengths, made of a variety of materials and with different diameters.
When sifting through all these options, you may be scrutinizing all kinds of things…you’re pinching, you’re lifting, you’re bending, but do you really know what you’re looking for?
There’s a better, smarter way to play this hose-shopping game so you can be sure to get the best garden hose to fit your outdoor needs, season after season.
To choose the best water hose your garden, dig into the details and really understand what the options mean. Let’s take a closer look at the qualities in a hose that’ll make a big difference.
Step 1: Hose Materials
The best garden hose is strong enough to stand up to frequent use. If you’ve ever had a hose crack, split or become brittle, you know how frustrating it can be. Before you buy, take note of what a hose is made of – that’s a good indicator of how easy it’ll be to use, and how long it will last.
Gilmour’s Flexogen Hoses aren’t just tubes of plastic – they’re constructed in eight layers, starting with an abrasion-resistant outer layer, which also resists damage caused by exposure to ultra violet (UV) light. Inner layers of foam and nylon give Flexogen hoses the flexibility to easily bend as you move around the yard or garden.
Another key feature many people overlook when hose shopping is the end of the hose. Even with minimal use, lighter-weight couplings can bend easily – even if you just lightly step on them accidentally. The slightest damage to the coupling can make a hose a real pain. Bent couplings can mean difficulty attaching your heavy duty garden hoses to spigots, nozzles and sprinklers. Make sure your hose has a strong brass coupling to withstand dings and drops. No one backs over the end of a hose on purpose, but if you ever should pull into the driveway and run over the end of your hose, chances are a brass coupling will be fine.
Step 2: Hose Length
Hose length is another important consideration. There’s no need to buy a 100-foot hose if your yard is tiny, but a hose that’s too short will be frustrating every time you use it. Measure the farthest distance from the spigot, and buy a hose just beyond that length. It’s always better to buy a hose that’s a little longer than you think you need.
That way you can walk around either side of a tree in the garden or down the front walkway and around to the lawn without dragging through your flower beds or bushes. Buying a hose the right length means you’ll avoid tugging on it, which over time can stretch it out. Gilmour’s Super Duty Flexogen hoses come in four hose lengths, from 25 feet up to 100 feet.
Step 3: Hose Diameter
When shopping for the best garden hose, you’ll see a variety of garden hose diameter options. So which do you choose? Because standard household piping is typically ½ inch in diameter, most homeowners only need a standard garden hose size of ½ inch in diameter. A 5/8 inch diameter garden hose size may also work for you, but you’ll likely be adding unnecessary weight with this size hose. For those with heavy-duty watering tasks and wider piping, like commercial landscapers, a ¾ inch diameter could be a better option. Not only will the larger diameter allow more water to be delivered, it can also compensate for water pressure variables, like running a hose uphill.
Step 4: Hose Extensions
If you have a large yard, consider buying two hoses that you can link together with quick connectors. That way, you’ll only carry the extra weight when necessary and enjoy a shorter, lighter garden hose size the rest of the time.
Step 5: Hose Durability
As you work your way through the different types of garden hoses, you’ll notice the word “duty” – light duty, medium duty, heavy duty, super duty – and you may be at a loss for where to go from there. While a lightweight garden hose sounds like it would be easier to maneuver, these hoses can also cause frustrating kinking issues. For frequent watering and cleaning tasks, look for a super duty hose, which features top-of-the-line materials and will last you season after season.
Gilmour’s Flexogen Super Duty Hose features a patented construction of foam layers that keep hose weight down while providing kink resistance. The tri-extrusion process adheres the layers to each other for the ultimate in strength and durability. The hose also features a protective outer cover that prevents abrasions when dragging it across the driveway.
Also look at a hose’s PSI number, which will tell you how much static burst pressure it can withstand while in use. A higher PSI means higher durability and longer life, so the hose can stand up to temperature fluctuations, higher water pressure, more pressure spikes and a greater variety of cleaning and gardening tasks. Gilmour’s Flexogen Super Duty Hose, for example, measures at 600PSI.
Step 6: Hose Care
The best hoses for gardens will stand up to all kinds of weather, but help make sure they last a long time by taking extra care of them in winter. Before the first overnight freeze, drain and store your hoses in a frost-free place.
In the fall, place your hose on an elevated surface (such as a picnic table) and let the hose end drop to the ground. The difference in elevation will create a natural siphon, and the hose will empty itself. Or, simply stretch the hose out on the lawn, pick up one end and pull the hose towards you hand over hand. The water will drain out at the far end. You can also walk along it, draining it as you go.
Once your garden hose is drained, store it indoors and out of the weather. Leaving a hose outdoors all season can cause major damage to its structure if water in the hose freezes and expands. Storing a coiled hose on a long nail can cause permanent kinks. Instead, invest in a quality hose hanger. You’ll be able to coil the hose neatly out of the way on the hanger until spring weather draws you out into the garden again.
Step 7: Hose Repair
When a hose meets a lawnmower, the lawnmower usually wins. But you don’t necessarily need to throw away a damaged hose. – A good hose is worth fixing, and all you need is a hose-mending kit. You don’t even need any fancy tools. With Gilmour’s compression mender, simply cut the hose on either side of the break – use scissors to eliminate ragged edges. Then insert each new end through one of the threaded collars and slide them like sleeves onto the mender. Slide the collars back into the middle and tighten. It only takes a few seconds, and your favorite water hose is good as new again!
Different hoses are built for different tasks. As you shop for your new hose, consider the types of hoses available:
Not all hoses are the same – and that’s because the people (and gardens) using them aren’t either. Consider the frequency of use, your yard and what you need a hose for. Choose wisely and you’ll be on your way to gardening bliss, with the right hose in hand.
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