What Makes a Garden Hose Durable?

Shopping for a hose? We're here to help. Find out what makes the most durable garden hose

The signs of a durable garden hose that'll stand the test of time

As a consumer, you hope to find affordable household products that are also high-quality and durable. Shopping for a new garden hose may not seem very exciting, but unless you plan on hauling your own water out to each end of your lawn or garden, investing in one is the most efficient option.

However, needing to buy a garden hose doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look at all your options first—after all, there are many varieties of hoses for sale, and like any other product you plan to buy, it’s always smart to look for a garden hose that's durable.

Garden Hose Price Points

Shoppers face a simple truth: Higher-quality items cost a little more than their less-than-satisfactory counterparts. Durable garden hoses definitely follow this rule.

I’ve been guilty of buying the ten dollar garden hose from the local dollar store only to have it patched with multiple strips of tape by the end of the summer. The hassle of having to stop what I’m doing to fix a new leak is super annoying, and the situation could have been totally avoided if I’d been willing to spend a little extra cash up-front.

Durability comes at a higher price, but fortunately, the payoff is worth it. When you buy a better product, you are paying for an item that, with regular maintenance, will perform well for years to come (rest in peace, dollar store garden hose…it was fun while it lasted).

Choosing the Right Hose Type for Your Needs

Durability is in the eye of the beholder. When searching for a new garden hose, it’s also important to consider who will be using the hose and for what type of work.

For example, if you are searching for a hose primarily for watering a couple small flower beds around your patio, investing extra cash into a super-thick, heavy-duty hose probably isn’t worth it. In fact, a hose that large for that kind of job would likely feel too cumbersome. The material might be durable, but it isn’t suitable for that type of light use. A coiled hose that can be stored away between waterings would likely suffice in this situation.

On the contrary, the same coiled hose would be a disaster in a situation involving large sprinkler systems. A smaller, lighter hose can be durable if it is purchased for the appropriate usage.

Hose Materials

Garden hoses are produced in a variety of materials. For example, many cheaper hoses are made from vinyl. While this material is budget-conscious, it also tends to develop cracks, tears, and holes more easily. Vinyl hoses are also prone to develop kinks more easily than other materials. They are also sensitive to drying out if overexposed to sunlight. However, for light gardening tasks, a vinyl hose can be a decent option that won’t break the bank.

Some hoses are marketed as “reinforced” or “layered,” which involves alternating layers of rubber and vinyl. These are slightly more durable than vinyl-only hoses, but since the vinyl is still present, the same issues can apply to these products as well.

Rubber is typically considered the most durable garden hose material. They are resistant to kinking and damage, but they tend to cost more and are heavier to haul around the yard. They are most suitable for heavy-duty gardening tasks.

The Kinking Test

Some hose brands claim to be 100 percent kink-free, but this isn’t true. If you twist these garden hoses around in a circle, they will likely kink no matter what materials they’re made from. However, some are better at resisting kinks than others.

Typically, layered or rubber hoses tend to kink far less. Because they don’t kink often, they don’t develop nearly as many splits and tears during their lifetimes.

Before purchasing a new garden hose, you should always administer the kink test. If the hose develops a kink when you push it into the shape of a U, select a different hose. A hose that kinks easily is far more likely to develop tears and other damages.

Garden Hose Couplings

Hose couplings are the brass pieces on each end of a hose that connects it to the spigot and nozzle. Some garden hoses are made with plastic couplings, but beware of these cheaper options--the plastic is often quick to snap or break at the smallest amount of pressure.

While brass is the most durable coupling option, some are also made with sheet metals. These can also work, but they are prone to easily bend if stepped on or accidentally hit with the wheel of a car or lawn mower. To avoid any chance of denting or bending, select a garden hose with sturdy brass couplings.

Resources— The Home DepotGardening Products Review