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.
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.