Like the spade, the hoe and the wheelbarrow no garden completely covers the basics without a garden hose. They are the lifeline, possibly better described as the ‘umbilical cord’, of any garden.

Yet while we can’t live without them I’m sure there have been many times we’ve sworn at them or let our calm dispositions become distanced somewhat. Trying to untangle a rogue garden hose is actually tougher than fighting an Amazonian boa – just trust me on that one!

Claimed as "The Last Hose You'll Ever Buy"

So, which garden hoses are the best? Well, you can continue reading or you can head over to my Garden Hose aStore where I’ve compiled a list of some of the best hoses and hose fittings you will need to start out.

Which Garden Hose?

The range of garden hoses available today can cater for almost any fussy decision maker but it’s hard to know which is the best hose for your situation. Is there any difference between a cheap hose and one that’s more expensive? Should I buy a no-kink, coiled or budget hose? Are brass fittings better than plastic?

With so many variables, the market for garden hoses can seem a little overwhelming.

Cheap Garden Hoses vs Expensive Alternatives?

This totally depends on you and your gardening style. If you already have your own water reticulation system set up then a budget hose that you use on limited occasions may be the way to go. On the other hand if you use your garden hose on a daily basis then spending a little more will save you a heap of stress.
Many of the cheaper garden hoses just don’t stand up to the rigours of gardening use. Choice Australia, in a recent review summarised their findings as;

There’s a relationship between price and performance: it seems you need to pay at least A$35 [US$28] to get a good hose (though even that’s not a guarantee). Below that it’s pretty hit-and-miss…

The old adage “You get what you pay for” definitely applies to garden hoses. So what about the more expensive brands…does it matter which one and if I pay the most does it ensure that it is the best?
Not entirely. The most expensive garden hoses can be just as good as a reasonably priced hose and the difference in pricing is merely a marketing strategy. But, there are definitely some valid points to consider when selecting a good quality hose for your garden.

As most garden hoses are tightly packaged with fittings attached it becomes a difficult proposition to test them so if possible find a garden centre that has them on display out of their packaging.
Here’s what to look for…

  • A good quality hose won’t kink so try bending it. If it’s difficult to bend or the plastic rebounds quickly without any noticeable effect on the hose then it’s more likely to be a superior quality hose.
  • Inspect the thickness of the hose. A thicker hose is less likely to be split, can handle more water pressure and won’t kink if left in the sun.
  • Check it’s UV rating. Most hoses are now specifying what levels of UV light they can withstand. The higher the better.
  • Check the attachments. If they’re loose or appear cheap and nasty it’s a good indication that the manufacturer is cutting costs and has probably done the same with the hose.

Which Hose Attachments Are Best?

Is plastic as good as brass fittings? The answer is definitely no but this doesn’t mean that you must have brass fittings on your garden hose. As with selecting a hose it all depends on how much you’re likely to use it.

If your garden hose will mainly sit on the reel and see action sparingly then plastic fittings may be all you need. However, if you use your garden hose on a regular basis then it makes sense to invest in some quality fittings for it.

The only word of caution is that as brass is a metal it will heat up if left in the sun so take this into account if your hose regularly finds itself being exposed to sunlight.

How Do I Look After My Garden Hose?

  • Store it on a reel. The best way to keep kinks out of your hose and to maintain it is to store it on a reel. This will help maintain its shape and keep the plastic or rubber from wrapping contortedly.
  • Keep it out of the sun. Sunlight will damage your garden hose no matter what quality it is – it will just take a little longer with a more expensive brand. Find a location such as under your roof eaves or similar to store it in full shade.
  • Don’t let your pets play with it. Dogs and cats that regularly tangle with your garden hose will inevitably split it or puncture it in some form. Once a hose is punctured the only repair you can do to it is cut off the damaged end.

To sum it all up, the more you spend on a garden hose the more likely it will last. Buy some decent attachments and look after it well and your garden hose will reward you for many years to come.