All garden hoses are not created equal. While generally referred to as garden hoses, hoses like these are designed for a multitude of uses, many of which have nothing to do with a garden. On this list you’ll find hoses for connecting an RV to a potable water source, watering hanging planters, washing a vehicle, janitorial operations, watering a lawn or garden, or even feeding/watering livestock. The hoses listed here are some of the best available for any type of use. Check out some of our top picks below, or scroll down for more in-depth reviews of these and other options, plus buying advice.
If you’ve ever wrestled with a garden hose, you know how unwieldy they can be. They’re heavy, difficult to drag around, and seem to kink just as you turn on the water. The trend is toward lightweight, kink-resistant hoses that are designed to address these common complaints.
WeightThere are two simple ways to reduce the weight of a garden hose—make it out of lighter material or use less material by reducing the hose’s diameter or wall thickness. A smaller diameter weighs less, but it also holds less water, making it lighter while you’re using it too. Of the 50-foot hoses we tested, the smallest diameter was 7/16 in., which held 3.25 pounds of water. The half-inch hose and a 5/8-in. hose held 73% and 104% more water by weight, respectively.
MaterialsHoses are typically made of rubber, rubber hybrids, vinyl, or polyurethane. Rubber tends to be more flexible regardless of temperature, but it’s also the heaviest. Polyurethane and hybrids tend to be more kink resistant, and lighter. Vinyl, used for inexpensive hoses, is heavier, prone to kinking, and often has a strong coil “memory.” Polyurethane and hybrid hoses have less coil memory, and will lay flatter as temperatures rise, or if used in the sunlight.
There’s a newer variety of hose that has a very thin, flexible lining inside a woven, fiber jacket. These hoses are very flexible, do not have any coil memory, and rarely kink as a result. Some of these hoses expand both in length and diameter when pressurized with water, until the liner is restricted by the woven jacket. These types of hoses are convenient to store since they collapse when the water is turned off and pressure is released.
KinksVirtually all hoses will kink, even the kink-proof kind. The best way to prevent kinks is to use a hose reel—this allows the hose to roll-up, or unroll, without twisting. If you pull a hose straight from a coil, on the ground or hanging on a wall, it will kink eventually, as the coils tighten and get smaller. This can be avoided to some extent by twisting the hose as you drag it out.
Drinking WaterIf you or your animals drink water from the hose, if you fill kids’ swimming pools, or if you connect to an RV, you’ll want to get a hose approved by the NSF (National Sanitation Foundation). Ordinary, or unapproved, hoses can leach lead, BPA, or phthalates into the water as it passes through them.
The hoses on this list have been thoroughly vetted and evaluated by our test editors. We research the market, survey user reviews, speak with product managers and engineers, and use our own experience with these hoses to determine the best options. We evaluated them based on dry weight, friction when dragged, kink resistance, as well as rate of flow. To measure friction, we used a spring scale attached to the hoses, and dragged them, while full of water, across grass and concrete. Flow rate was determined by attaching each hose directly to a faucet, and with no restriction, used a stopwatch to time filling a five-gallon bucket. Finally, for the hoses that claimed to have crush-resistant couplings, we drove a 4,500-pound truck over the connected couplings on a paved surface. If you need a new hose, chances are very good that you’ll find one to suit your needs on this list.
The NeverKink Pro Farm & Ranch, from Teknor Apex’s commercial line, features a spring collar to prevent kinking at the faucet, large-diameter aluminum couplings, and patented anti-kink technology. It is not kink-proof however—it could kink when dragged from a coil on the ground while hot, and soft, from sitting in the sun. It was easier to use on hard surfaces, taking 7.8 pounds of force to drag to full extension, at 50 feet, on concrete sidewalk—on grass it took 32 percent more force. The couplings were easy to connect tightly and proved to be crush resistant when run over with a truck. The NeverKink Pro is a heavy-duty hose that will move a lot of water quickly and stand up to rough conditions.
Gilmour’s Professional Rubber Hose is a beast. At 11 pounds for a 50-foot hose it’s heavier than most, but it’s made from 100 percent virgin rubber. It is flexible in a wide temperature range, rated for hot water up to 180°, and it has the highest flow rate of all the hoses we tested. The force to drag it to full extension, 50 feet, on concrete was 12.3 pounds, and 13.4 pounds on grass. This is to be expected, though, as this hose is designed to move a lot of water and hold up to commercial use—expect this rubber hose to last for years with proper care. The Professional Rubber Hose is ideal for janitorial operations, washing down equipment—especially in winter—and anyplace you need to reach with hot water.
Although it’s made of the same materials, Water Right’s 600 Series delivers more than twice as much water as its 7/16-linch 400 Series. While it doesn’t feel light like the 400, it actually is light for a 5/8-inch hose that can deliver over 540 gallons per hour. It has nicely machined and chrome-plated, brass couplings, strain-relieving collars at each end to prevent kinks, and just like the 400, this hose is safe for drinking water. In our drag test, it took 8.6 pounds of force to pull the hose out to its full 50-foot length on concrete, while it took 12.3 pounds to do the same on grass. The 600 Series is relatively easy to handle and stays flexible though a wide range of temperatures. It is designed for any type of garden or lawn watering task, but also works well for watering pets and livestock, RV hook-ups, and just about anything else you need a hose for.
The GrowGreen Expandable hose almost seemed like a novelty at first. But, the convenience of the weight, storage size, and the nice brass coupling with shut-off valve convinced us otherwise. This was the easiest hose to drag out to full extension at 50 feet, taking 2.3 pounds of force on concrete and 3.5 pounds on grass. This hose is primarily designed for watering tasks, but we also dragged it on unsealed pavement and found that the polyester casing is susceptible to abrasion and pilling. So, it isn’t ideal for washing cars in the driveway. The GrowGreen hose starts out at 17 feet long and once pressurized, expands to full length. The hose comes with a spray nozzle with eight patterns, which is a nice bonus. Using the hose without the nozzle, with the water to flow unrestricted, allows it to start shrinking—so you’ll need to use the nozzle to get use of the full 50-foot length.
The Zero-G from Teknor Apex is a newer type of hose with a flexible core, in a woven fiber sleeve. This makes the hose very light and easy to store as it can be coiled tightly, folded, or even crumpled in a ball—one staff member stores two, coiled in a bucket. Flow rate is claimed to be similar to other 5/8-inch hoses, but we found it a little lower than others we tested. The big, knurled hose couplings were easy to grip, tightened leak-free, and withstood being driven over with a 4,500-pound truck. The Zero-G is pretty slippery, taking only 3.9 pounds of force to drag out to full length on concrete sidewalk—and just 10 percent more on grass. While kinks are possible, they’re rare and easy to clear. This hose is safe for drinking water, so it can supply water to an RV, fill kids’ swimming pools, and water pets or livestock, in addition to everything else you use a hose for.
Gardener’s Water Right Light 50-foot hose earns its name, weighing in at just 3.2 pounds. It’s optimized for weight by using small 1/2-inch diameter, polyurethane tubing and aluminum fittings. In use, this is evident, dragging it out to full length on grass takes only 4.9 pounds of force and just a little more at 5.8 pounds on concrete. This makes it convenient to handle in the garden, on the patio, or around raised beds. Kink resistance is good, and the weight makes it easy to correct or avoid kinks by twisting or flipping the hose. It is intended for garden use, and it is ideal for that, but it is also drinking-water safe, so it could be used for an RV hook-up as well. It could also be used for anything else, although the flow rate isn’t optimal for things that require a large volume of water.
4mm Bullet Connectors
The Craftsman Premium Hybrid Rubber hose is versatile with features similar to more expensive models. It has a large, aluminum coupling that is knurled, easy to tighten, and crush-resistant beneath the wheels of a 4,500-pound truck. The 5/8-inch diameter hose will deliver over 500 gallons per hour and is safe to use with hot water up to 160°. The hybrid polymer material stays flexible down to -40° and is kink, abrasion, oil, and chemical resistant. There is a large, steel spring strain reliever on the faucet end of the hose to prevent kinking. In our drag test, it took a relatively low 6.8 pounds of force to pull it out to full length on grass, and just a little more, 7.2 pounds, on a concrete sidewalk. The Premium Hybrid Rubber hose is a very good all-around hose for any use, except for drinking water.
A hose for extreme conditions, Gilmour’s Flexogen Pro is designed to survive “professional” abuse. With eight layers in the casing, kink-resistance is good, although it can kink when it’s hot from sitting in the sun. A coiled spring collar is provided on the faucet end of the hose to protect against kinking. The enhanced casing also increases burst strength and durability on rugged job sites. The large, steel, hex-shaped couplings proved to be crush resistant, under the tires of a 4,500-pound truck. Flow rate is on the high end of those we tested, delivering over 530 gallons an hour. Dragging the hose out to its full length on a concrete sidewalk required 9.8 pounds of force, while on grass it took 20 percent more effort. The Flexogen Pro is suited for construction sites, auto repair shops, anywhere around heavy equipment, as well as watering the lawn at home.
Optimized for light weight, Water Right’s 400 Series hose is made of polyurethane with a 7/16-inch inside diameter. Pulling it out to full length on a sidewalk required 4.9 pounds of force, while on the grass it took 6.2. The polyurethane hose is flexible though a wide temperature range, and effective strain relievers on both ends prevent kinking at the faucet or nozzle. Couplings on the 400 Series are made from finely machined brass, are chrome plated, and thread together easily. The flow rate is less than others tested, due to the reduced hose diameter, which is a trade-off for weight and maneuverability. The 400 Series is easy to handle and ideal for watering anywhere you need to flip the hose to avoid obstacles, plantings around a patio, or raised beds, and anything else you need a hose for—plus it’s drinking-water safe.
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