What Should I Look for When Buying a Garden Hose?

Nicole Feliciano

With a few careful considerations, gardeners can save themselves time and money when selecting a new garden hose. A well-constructed garden hose can last for years.

Woman with a flower
Woman with a flower

The first concern is durability. Garden hoses can be deceptively simple looking in appearance but by paying attention to the following details, you can make a pragmatic buying decision: composition, connections, thickness and diameter.

Garden Hose Composition - The majority of garden hoses are made of one of four types of materials: rubber, polyurethane, vinyl, or recycled rubber. Vinyl hoses are probably the least expensive hoses but they have the shortest life span. Rubber and reinforced rubber hoses are slightly more expensive and also more flexible, hence they will most likely outlast a cheap vinyl hose. A hose with an added layer of outer cord reinforcement (made with nylon or rubber) will best resist abrasion and wear. Hardier, reinforced hoses can withstand weather changes and punctures.

Garden Hose Connections - Couplings or fittings are the connections between the hose and the water source (normally a faucet) and the nozzle. Couplings are usually available in plastic or brass. When choosing a hose, try to find one with an ergonomically designed connection which will make it easy to connect and disconnect even when wet. Brass connections are impervious to the weather and will avoid rust, but, brass fittings can be heavy and hard to tighten. In some cases a wrench may be necessary to tighten or loosen the connection so select a coupling with beveled sides. Plastic fittings may be easier to tighten, but may not last as long.

Garden Hose Thickness - Hose thickness can vary from two-ply to six-ply. The more plies (or layers) constitute a stronger hose. Thicker hoses are also less likely to kink and disrupt the flow of water through the hose. Thick six-ply hoses provide burst strength of up to 500 psi (pounds of pressure per square inch).

Garden Hose Diameter - Hoses diameters come in four sizes: ½", 5/8", ¾", and 1". Larger diameter hoses, have a greater capacity than smaller ones.

After considering these four key factors, consumers can then contemplate these cosmetic issues:

Color - Traditional green hoses blend in with landscaping. Yellow, red and other colors will stand out.

Length - Lengths can range from 10 feet to 250 feet, and are usually sold in increments of 25 feet. Be sure to measure how much hose you need prior to going to the lawn care center. Locate the spigots on your home and measure the distance to the furthest item requiring the hose.

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Discussion Comments


I just get a Tuff Guard Perfect Garden Hose, discussion over! Yes it's that good!


It's also better to buy two 50' hoses rather than one 100' hose. I hate heavy hoses and the way they always get caught under the car tires and kink. Thankfully I finally found a good lightweight hose that doesn't kink called the Tuffguard. I'm getting rid of all my other hoses.


One of the best things I ever purchased to make my outside work easier was an automatic garden hose reel. After using this for one season, I will never go back to trying to move and wind up the hoses myself.

If you have a large space and need more than one hose, this might not work as well for you. My outside area is pretty small, so this solution was perfect for me. It also helps keep things looking neat and helps the hose from getting kinks in it.


I am not a very big person, so when it comes to buying hoses for my flowers and gardens, I will usually go with a lightweight garden hose. I know they are more flimsy than the heavier ones, but for me they work out better.

It is much easier for me to work with a lighter hose than trying to move around a heavy one. I have had pretty good luck with them lasting for several years. They aren't that expensive, so when it is time to buy a new one, it is not a big deal.


If you are going to need more than one hose to make it from your spigot to your garden, it is good to either buy the same kind or make sure you won't have any problems connecting the hoses.

It seems like any time I have used cheap hoses, I have a hard time making sure the connection is tight enough so they don't spray all over the place where they are connected.

Another thing to consider is the weight. If you are buying a heavy duty garden hose, they can be a little heavier to move around. This might not seem like much until you have to start moving them and storing them. They will last longer, but are also somewhat more bulky to work with.

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