Frequent watering and following a watering schedule for our beloved plants would be the main reasons why a garden hose is one of the primary investments of gardeners and enthusiasts. As such, it is imperative for them to know which type of hose would give them maximum utility regardless of the area of the garden.
There is the typical coil hose and the expandable garden hose. Between the two, the expandable is on a rave right now because it is everything the coil hose is not: it is cheaper, it is more lightweight, it is more durable and a lot of gardening companies are really on the lookout to upgrade them every now and then.
This is the reason why we need to focus on expandable garden hose because it sure is a quality investment for gardens.
What is an expandable hose garden?
As the name implies, an expandable hose garden is a type of hose that can expand to up to three times bigger than its storage size when the water source is turned on and shall shrink to its storage size as soon as the water source is shut off.
Its most innovative offering is its flexibility not only to expand and shrink but also in terms of being able to drain itself of water after use and its space-saving feature after it shrinks to its original size. Most importantly, it does not have the tangle and kink problems of traditional garden hoses.
Fun fact according to Garden Axis, the concept of the expandable hose garden is evidenced to have been archived by ancient Egyptians from 2000 years back but the problem as to why the concept was ditched is the innovation to control the water pressure that would come from that ancient hose.
In the 1600s, the prototype hose was introduced by Dutch inventor Jan van der Heyden coming from stitched leather connected together. After 300 years, the expandable hose garden became the most recent innovation for garden hoses as we moved to lighter, more flexible and better materials for crafting.
In terms of better features, the expandable garden hose is more affordable. Traditional hoses are more expensive while the expandable ones are made with cheaper materials that are lightweight and of good quality. And speaking of lightweight, expandable garden hoses only weigh 3 pounds when it is unused and shall only weigh to 9 pounds when it is used but the traditional garden hose would weigh up to 50 pounds when not in use if it is too long.
The expandable hose garden is also self-draining and quickly for that matter and it when you have to coil it up after use, it will shrink to its original size and it is resistant to tangles and kinks.
Related: Top 8 Best Garden Hose Reels (Reviews and Buying Guide)
How long do expandable hoses last?
Almost all reputable sites would tell you that expandable hose last to up to three years depending on the materials used and the manufacturers that built it.
The critical thing that may not make it to three years is the fabric outer layer. It is quite conspicuous and easy to strip if it is not properly taken care of or when incidental things that will cause it to rip off.
There are important things to check and you can always check on the list of reputable manufacturers and some of the best reviewed expandable hoses available on the market at present.
For a lightweight hose like this one, three years guaranteed longevity is already a monumental innovation. Well, this is because expandable hoses have two basic parts that ensure that it does not wear off that easily.
First it has a thin inner hose made of expandable latex and an outer cover that expands and shrinks with the hose, typically manufactured using wear-resistant materials.
Aside from this, expandable hoses also have high-pressure fittings on both ends for you to be ensured of a less-leak vulnerable hose compared to traditional garden hoses with regular hose fittings.
Can expandable hoses be joined together?
Of course they can be joined together but they must first have the same diameter. You can attach them via brass hose connectors to make the area covered wider or for any function that will require you to make them very long.
But then again, this is not an advisable thing to do on a regular basis because you will have to over-stretch it sometimes which will cause rupture if done almost always. But for curiosity’s sake, yes, we can join expandable hoses together.
How durable are expandable hoses?
The longevity and endurance of expandable hoses may also be factored by the materials used in the inner core. There have been incidences when even expandable hoses burst due to water pressure and volume.
Expandable hoses with TCP cores are not that advisable because of this matter because this material is not as strong and as durable as double or three layer latex cores. But the best measure to ensure longevity is to follow the directions and user’s manual of the manufacturer.
Reading the product manual will allow you to check the type of materials used to build it and the technology infused in the making of the expandable hose.
To ensure durability here are some tips that you can master:
- You will always be enticed to stretch and over-extend the hose on the first use. While it is not advisable to do that, when it is inevitable, you need to make sure that all valves are shut off before turning on the water source. As soon as you turn the water on, allow the hose to be filled with water in full-length and shut the spigot off to allow the water to drain out. Repeat this once more before you really start using it on a regular basis.
- Preventing leakage is not that complicated. You only have to attach the nozzle on like a sealant before you turn the expandable hose on for use.
- Water pressure is essential for it to not wear off easily. Make sure that the hose has full water pressure on it so that you are sure that it has fully expanded. Using it when it is fully expanded will help you in easily carrying and maneuvering it around.
- Shutting off the spigot after use is a durability technique that most people do not know about when it comes to expandable hoses. Instead of just shutting off the valve when you are done, turning off the spigot will also help you prevent leakage and excess water inside that it might not be able to drain after use.
- For you to make sure that all excess water has been drained, you need to squeeze the nozzle while it is still attached from the hose so that it can go back to its original size.
- Not leaving the expandable hose under direct sunlight or too exposed to frost over a prolonged period of time is one of the basic anti-durability tips that you need to keep in mind.
- Do not just drag the hose wherever, whenever. Be wary of sharp objects in the ground, sharp stones and other small objects that might rip it off. Dragging it around unchecked concrete would also make it very prone to breaks and leaks.
- Always read the user’s and product manual. Check if the expandable hose that you started exhibits the expected feature and quality of the stated materials that were used on its crafting specifically those that you could see in the outer layer. You can also test durability in terms of the denier stamp in the parcel or from its box. The typical denier for good expandable hoses would be 500 to 600. You need to know that the higher the denier, the stronger and more durable the materials used for the expandable hose are.
How much should I spend on an expandable hose?
For a 100feet expandable hose, expect that you would spend from $55 to $60. However, with the hype that it is receiving at present, you may even find good deals that will give you freebies for that price like free postage, nozzles and adaptors but typically, these freebies are given by less well-known brands.
If you feel like investing in your expandable hose, you can also eye for some useful hose accessories like the following:
#1. Tap adaptor
Most hoses have male screw fittings which mean that it might be too narrow or too wide.
Checking the expandable hose early on will let you see if you will need a male or female screw fitting. If you need a female screw fitting, then you might be compelled to buy one.
#2. Spray nozzle
This is particularly helpful in controlling the water pressure and the volume that will come out of the jet or sprinkler.
#3. Storage hooks
Of course, you will need to put the expandable hose somewhere, after use. If the garage or tool house is full already, you can always opt for storage hooks to attach somewhere in the storage room.
After all, the expandable hose shrinks and it is lightweight so it will not take up so much space after you coil it up to store.
What to look for when buying an expandable hose
Now that it has become clear why you should opt for an expandable garden hose, the next thing to consider are the factors or details that you need to pay attention to for you to get the best expandable hose choice.
The longevity and endurance of your expandable hose depend on the quality of the materials that were used to make it.
High quality materials mean high quality expandable garden hose. For this, you may need to pay close attention to the inner material that should have been used. The inner material of the hose should be natural latex and not synthetic materials.
You also need to look for the layers it has on the inner core. Better expandable hoses should have two to three natural latex cores.
Expandable hoses come in many lengths. Some variants even go up to 200 feet. However, you must know that very long hoses are not that advisable.
Aside from it being more expensive, it will be too heavy for you to use and stock and it will be harder for you to be mobile around the garden.
Furthermore, although expandable hoses shrink to a third of its size when it is used, it will require you bigger storage spaces. With this, a 50 to 75 feet would be a good choice already.
This aspect is also important to consider because this will determine how the volume of water that a hose would allow to spit off. Expandable hoses come with diameter variants of ¾, 5/8 and ½.
The best choice is always the ¾ because this one will give you an adequate water flow without causing the garden hose to become too heavy to carry. You may also consider the area of your garden. If it does not require you to water too often or too much, then you may opt for smaller diameter hoses.
This consideration is for the desired water pressure that the expandable hose can take without leaking or bursting. An expandable hose with at least 350psi would be your best choice. This will require you to attach a nozzle or a sprinkler for you to regulate the water pressure that will ooze out of it.
One of the most convenient things about opting for an expandable hose is that it will not get tangled and it will not have kinks. But still, you need to have a solid review of expandable hoses that are most resistant to kinks and tangles for you to get the most out of it.
Since expandable hoses could be attached to nozzles or sprinklers, you must be wary about the type of material used in crafting the connectors. For this, always opt for the brass connectors because this means that they will be less vulnerable to rust, leakage and corrosion. Plastic connectors may seem light and stylish but they are very susceptible to breaking, leaking and even stripping.
How to choose the expandable hose
Choosing the expandable hose may be a growing pain if you do not know what to look for. For someone who is really enthusiastic about gardening stuff, allow us to break down the tips that will give you a heads up in choosing the expandable hose that you need.
#1. Check the materials used in the inner tubes.
Not only should you check the materials used in the inner tubes but more importantly, the thickness of these materials. Latex tubes within the 2-3 layer mark is a good find. Anything less than these layers will surely burst after just a few uses.
#2. Check for brass fittings.
As have been previously mentioned, brass materials help you to avoid rust and corrosion which is the ultimate find because you do not want your garden to be too acidic in the long run because of the rusty water that will spew out from the hose.
Aside from this, checking the brass fittings and the way they are attached to the hose will early on give you a hint if the product is prone to leakage or not.
#3. Check the outer layer
If it has a woven fabric for its outer layer, go for it because you are sure that the hose will contract and expand and that it is durable enough to snag off sharp objects it may be exposed to along the way or in the corners of the garden. The key here is to look for outer layer features that are abrasion-proof or tags such as durable shells.
#4. Warranty is a must.
This is slightly taken for granted for many products but when it comes to expandable hoses, it must also be a must.
This small detail could save you money if you check it. Short warranties are conspicuous and should not be easily trusted. Opt for longer warranties and with more warranty coverage.
#5. The hose must look and perform as advertised.
At the rate of where the market is going for expandable hoses at present, most manufacturing companies are competing on the length they can offer.
Innovating based on the length alone may not be advisable in the long run because it will be harder to navigate and storage may be a problem. The key to expandable hoses would be its lightweight feature and its self-draining mechanism so do not be too enticed with the length.
5 Best Expandable Hoses
For some reference if you are already planning to buy your own expandable garden hose, these are some of the products which we think should make it to your ‘expandable hose potential buys’.
There are hundreds of them around the market but as far as the previous descriptions and information are concerned, we think that the following products are all within those ranges, designs and all.
Grow Green Expandable Hose (50ft)
This expandable garden hose is efficient for gardens or lawns that are not that wide. With the 50 feet reach, it can help you in frequent watering and in maintaining your lawn grass in no time. More than that, it is flexible and kink-resistant, with brass connectors and fittings that will give you relief from possible corrosion and rust in the future.
- Comes with 8 nozzle sprays.
- Guaranteed lifetime warranty.
- Can accommodate high water pressure of up to 145 PSI.
- Perfect for small lawns/gardens at 50ft.
- It can shrink back a bit when water pressure is too high.
- Some users report of fluctuation in water pressure at times.
2. TBI Pro Expandable Hose (50ft)
This most recent expandable hose from TBI Pro really is probably one of the best catches to date because of its improved latex layers and fabric outer covers. It upgraded its latex layers from 3 to 4 which means that it can go from 17feet to 50feet in a matter of seconds, self-drain and coil back in two minutes. Its outer cover is now made up of 3750x3750D fabric which makes sure that it does not burst, leak or get tangled while you maneuver it around the garden.
- Brass connectors come with protectors to avoid leaks.
- Comes with a zinc alloy sprayer, storage bag and hanger.
- Add-ons on the box are a 2-way-splitter, a shut-off valve and 9 nozzles.
- Reviews by users often cite that the adapter is not that durable.
- The stopper on the handle is a bit brittle.
3. Gard Guard Expandable Hose (50ft)
The main thing about this is its upgraded nozzle pattern. Typically, expandable hoses have 8 nozzle patterns but this one added one more so that’s a major plus. Aside from that, it shifted to a rubberized outer coating instead of fabric so it is non-slip and the dirt can be easily wiped off.
- Instead of the 8-nozzle add-on, it already has a built-in rotating bezel that will choose the appropriate nozzle sprayer for your garden. You can also try all nine all at the same time.
- Comes with a buckle stent that allows water pressure to be uninterrupted.
- Has high resistance to water pressure of up to 160PSI which is rare for expandable hose.
- It is built with a 2-layer leak-resistant core.
- Designed with double coating for durability; rubber outer coating and a sturdy polyester fabric underneath.
- Built for harsh weather conditions as it can withstand 41 degrees to 113 degrees Fahrenheit.
- You will still most probably pre-choose the nozzle sprayer for your garden as not all nozzle sprayers in the rotating bezel would be appropriate for certain types of gardens.
- Water pressure that high in PSI might not be advisable for small gardens.
4. The Fit Life Expandable Garden Hose (50ft)
This one has an all-brass fitting from nozzles to connectors. It is super lightweight with only 2.7 pounds at coil and is kink-resistant. It is also very sturdy because of its three-layer latex core. As an upgrade, the latex core is infused with an elastic fabric and sealed with ¾ solid brass fittings.
- It has an endurance specification of 1800-2000 uses compared to the standard 200-250 uses.
- Can accommodate water pressure of up to 145 PSI.
- It comes with 8 nozzle patterns, a nozzle grip and a non-slip rubber pad for convenient use.
- It is weather durable as it could withstand -5 to 98 degrees Celsius.
- It is more pricey than usual.
- At 50 feet, it could be a bit small for your garden.
- It may be prone to overstretching.
5. Elk & Bear Lightweight Garden Hose (50ft)
The major upgrade for this expandable garden hose is that it is heavy-duty grade. It is used not only in watering the garden but is also used for car washing, in race pits, ATV pits and is also used as a trailer accessory.
With three-layer latex core, it is kink-resistant, portable and easy to store. We think that the outer cover will also not disappoint because of its hard fabric made of 3750D polyester plus all of its connectors are made of brass so durability is also ensured.
- Built with quality materials; solid latex-core and solid construction materials.
- Automatically expands under water pressure and contracts when water is off.
- Guaranteed lifetime replacement.
- Box comes with a carrying bag and spraying nozzle.
- Consider garden size as it may be too short.
- Heavy-duty grade; water pressure might be too high for small gardens.
Since we gave you a rundown of the five best expandable hoses in the market right now, it is but right to present to you our verdict. We based this verdict on specific things such as affordability, specifications, details like inner core quality, outer cover quality, materials used for the connectors, inclusions in the box and the quality of the upgrade for a better user experience.
So for this roundup, we think that the Gard Guard wins because we think that it focused on durability and innovating small details that would make the product really last.
The latex core is one of the ups that this expandable hose is commendable for. Investing on durability is very manifested in details such as shifting from just hard polyester to a double layered outer cover of rubber and hard polyester fabric that makes it sturdier even when exposed in harsh climate conditions like heat and frost.
This is a major plus because we cannot control the temperature levels in our storage rooms and it’s quite a relief because it means that it could tolerate some bad weather conditions without us fearing that it might rip off.
More importantly, it could take on more water pressure than the rest plus it has nine nozzle patterns with a rotating bezel.
This means that you could strategize better in watering the lawn or garden because you are sure that it could spew out water in all directions at an even distribution.
You can also opt to use all the nozzles all at one time and just leave it be and just turn it off when you are done. With these, we think that the Gard Guard expandable hose is the clear winner of this roundup.
With all of these innovated characteristics, it does not fall short in all key aspects of what we should look for in an expandable hose.
It is durable, it has an all brass fitting, the nozzle sprays are more than what is expected, and an innovated one for that matter because of the rotating bezel that will help you in making your next watering session more fun and convenient.
How to fix an expandable hose
The major problem that often happens on expandable hose is leakage. It is a problem because of two things: first, it is annoying because some parts of the garden may be overwatered and second, it is a waste of water.
Leakage can be caused by a lot of things. One would be being too exposed to natural elements like leaving it out to freeze during the winter. It may also be accidental things like being run off by a mower or of a dog chewing it over and many others. But there are steps on how to fix it and you do not really need to fuzz over it because it will not cost you much.
In fixing a leaking expandable hose, you will need a screwdriver, a hose repair kit that you can buy from the nearest hardware, complete with male or female threaded hoses and with variations for metal or plastic hoses, and a utility knife.
You can follow four steps suggested by Today’s Homeowner for this. First, you need to cut the hose either on the broken part in a smooth manner. From that broken end, attach the threaded new hose and make sure that it goes all the way into the hose. Third, attach the clamp from the repair kit and screw it in until it is tight enough to prevent the leak and to avoid future leakage.
You might think that the expandable hose is just a no-brainer but looking at what we have covered so far in this article, it seems like it needs a lot of time, consideration and entails a sound decision for you to choose the best one.
Perhaps, the easiest trick to consider here is to know what you want. Already having a cognitive checklist of the features you are looking for will help you narrow down your choices regardless of the other good features that you will see as you check other products. But at the end of the day trust your gut feel about the product. What suits you, suits you so go for it.