It’s impossible to have a garden without water. Plants need it, lawns need it. We all have to have a way of conveying that water to where it needs to be. And we all have old, heavyweight hoses lying about, as they’re a requirement in the yard. But in recent years, expandable garden hoses have jumped onto the market. How do they work, and which one’s best for you? Are there drawbacks or benefits of expandable hoses when compared to old-fashioned heavy hoses? Let’s find out!
Best Overall Expandable Hose:
Other Good Choices:
- TruTec 75ft Expandable Garden Hose
- iZEEKER 50ft Magic Hose
- GrowGreen 100ft Expandable Garden Hose
- Crenova 50ft Expandable Garden Hose
What Is An Expandable Garden Hose?
A normal hose is bulky, takes up lots of room, and tends to be heavy as it’s made of heavy materials like rubberized fabric. They kink, they are inflexible, and they’re a bit annoying to deal with. While there’s now hoses which are flat until water opens them up, they’re still fairly weighty (if less heavy than the traditional rubberized hoses), and they tend to spring leaks along the edges where it stays folded, especially when stored outdoors.
By comparison, think of expandable garden hoses as if they were giant water balloons. As water fills the hose, the interior of the hose stretches until it hits the exterior shell, which prevents the hose from growing too large in diameter. This causes the hose to swell up and then delivers your water as a hose should. They don’t kink, they’re extremely flexible hoses, and they don’t twist in your hand. They’re very lightweight, and easy to store. But they only expand once water is inside of them. The rest of the time, they stay compact and contracted.
While on average most 25-foot expandable hoses are incredibly useful, if not cared for properly they will start to lose their flexibility or stretch out. They are nearly impossible to patch, so if you somehow puncture your hose, you may need to replace it rather than to try to patch it like a traditional hose. Since they contract when not in use, it’s unlikely that it’ll happen, but it’s good to be mindful of.
But all in all, expandable hoses are a great benefit in the garden in terms of length options and ease of use, and besides that, your kids will have fun watching these growing and shrinking hoses in action!
Types Of Hose Materials
The biggest complaint that has been leveled against expandable hoses is that they lack durability. And, when they were first being developed, that was true. Now, thanks to advances in the available materials and construction techniques, there’s two very sturdy interior materials being used which greatly improve their durability and prevent leakage. Let’s look at the options.
Latex, a natural rubber material, is used throughout the medical industry for gloves and other protectants. This stretchy material can be used to create hoses too. Using two to three layers of latex as the interior of the hose allows it to easily expand and contract without springing leaks, and it is commonly viewed to be very durable over time.
But should you pick two layers or three? That’s a question that’s largely a matter of debate. Triple-layered cores tend to be a bit less flexible than double-layered cores are. If the outer shell is constructed of heavy material, a double-layered hose might be just fine. But a triple-layered core also can handle heavier water pressure, so many manufacturers prefer to offer that just to enable more people to use their hoses.
Thermoplastic copolyester, or TPC, is the other core material which is often used for expandable hoses. Extremely heat-resistant, it’s often used for making industrial tubing. It also is considered quite durable, even as a single-layer material.
TPC is less common than latex is, generally because it tends to be pricier. Some people also believe that it doesn’t last as long, but I haven’t been able to find any verifiable proof of that, and I’ve really gone searching — it seems to last about the same amount of time as latex, provided that it’s given the right care.
You can’t have a bare core, because leaving either latex or TPC exposed to the elements presents a risk of puncture or sun damage. The industry standard for the outer shell fabric is nylon. Nylon fabrics will easily contract when the internal core does. This fiber also easily sheds water, which helps prevent against mildew or other mold issues when it’s being stored. It’s also long-lasting, as nylon fibers wear extremely well with use.
Generally speaking, hoses usually offer the option of brass, aluminum, or plastic fittings. However, expandable hoses tend to stick with brass overall. This has a lot to do with the fact that brass is long-lived, even when constantly exposed to water. It does not rust, and while it can oxidize over time, the oxidation is not harmful to the metal. Being metal, it is naturally more heat-resistant than plastic is. Further, due to the nature of brass, it does not tend to damage as consistently over time as the softer surfaces of aluminum do. The majority of high-quality expandable hoses tend to have brass fittings.
Mid-range hoses often still have aluminum fittings to reduce the weight of the hose. Depending on the manufacture of the fitting itself, this can be just fine, or it can be a problem. Good manufacturing ensures that your fitting doesn’t get dented or bent when it’s connected at the faucet, problems which can make a hose no longer function properly.
Plastic connectors have mostly been phased out on expandable hoses nowadays. But there are still inexpensive knock-off brands that use them, so buyer beware!
One other thing that isn’t often considered is the strength of the joint where the fitting attaches to the hose. That’s where most leaks in this type of hose form, and it’s important to select a hose that has some form of protective material at the end to prevent the hose from bending right next to the hose fitting, as that can slowly cut through your hose and render it useless. While most companies have taken that into consideration now, there’s still some cheaper hoses that have a weak end joint!
In traditional hoses, it’s most common to see hoses available in 25 foot, 50 foot, or 100 foot lengths, but the lengths that people tend to purchase the most are 25-50 feet. Often, that’s because of the heavy weight of these hoses and the annoyance of lugging them around. For people with larger yards, this can mean that they have 2 hoses they have to join together with a coupler by hand to reach greater distances from their spigot, and that’s a great annoyance, but preferable to hauling around unwieldy and awkward hoses.
With expandable hoses, the options range anywhere from 10 feet in length up to 200 feet. While most people really don’t need more than 25-50 feet for most day-to-day uses, this means that the options are open in terms of longer hose lengths. Even with the added length, they are not as difficult to move or anywhere near as bulky. A 200-foot expandable hose can contract down to the space of a 65-foot or smaller traditional hose, which also means they’re much easier to store when not in use.
Tips To Choose A Quality Expandable Hose
So you’ve decided that an expandable hose is something you’d like to pick up… now what? There’s a lot of varieties available, but what you need to narrow down is the one that’s going to be the best for your uses. Here’s a list of things to consider when you’re picking your hose.
Are you going to be using a sprinkler?
If you are using a sprinkler, there’s an interesting quandary that you need to take into consideration. An expandable hose only expands when the water is on. That means that to get your sprinkler set in place, you have to have the hose on, and you might get wet. Also, when the water turns off, the hose contracts, and it can pull your sprinkler right back with it. That isn’t bad if it’s just across the lawn, but it’s not so good when it’s through your flowerbeds. Some hoses have a shutoff valve at the end so that you can get it set into place or shut it off with the hose fully expanded, but you may still get wet when you turn on the valve.
Are you going to be using the hose without a sprayer head?
If you have kids, and they want to fill their wading pool, this hose is great as long as someone’s holding it. But because it’s essentially a giant water balloon that delivers your water to where you want it, using it without something that maintains the flow and keeps the hose full means that the pressure inside the hose will fluctuate. If you put your hose into a wading pool to fill it and then walk away, it will flop around, and might actually bounce out of the pool. So make sure one of the kids is there to hang onto it!
What purposes are you using it for?
If you’re just looking for something that you use every once in a while to wash your car, chances are that you’re going to want a relatively short hose, so something like a 25-foot hose is more than adequate. But if you’re dragging it around to water a large garden or yard, you are going to want something longer that can hold up to more stress and more water weight. As the hose length increases, the risk of puncture also increases, so most companies make their longer hoses from three layers of latex or heavier TPC and with sturdier nylon shells. Look at the labels and see what its durability is rated for, and make sure it matches your plans for use.
Do you have the right place to store it?
Traditional hoses are often left lying in the back yard, or coiled up on hose reels so they’re always at hand. But with expandable hoses, you need to take storage locations into consideration. Due to the nylon cloth exterior, you have to have a location which allows for sufficient airflow to allow the hose to dry fully, and that usually means you need to hang up the hose to dry. You also want your location to be out of direct sunlight most of the time to prevent sun damage to your hose.
Do you get hard freezes in the winter?
Expandable hoses can be fantastic for people who live in southern California, where it seldom gets cold enough to freeze and where a hose can be used all year. But if you live in part of the country where hard freezes are common, you may want to only use your expandable hose during the summer months, and you should let it dry out fully before winter arrives. You don’t want to risk any damage to your hose from freezing and cracking that may happen if it’s still damp when the cold comes.
What’s your water pressure like?
Expandable hoses do really well with consistent water pressure, and can generally handle the majority of normal homes’ water pressures with ease. But if you have very low water pressure in your yard, your hose might not be as effective. If you’ve got extremely high water pressure, you may want to make sure your hose is rated for higher water pressures so it won’t burst, or put a pressure regulator on your faucet before using it. I’d estimate that very few people will encounter this problem, but it’s one to be mindful of.
What is your hose made from?
If you pick up the cheapest expandable hose, you’re likely buying the cheapest grade of materials and a hose that’s made with the cheapest quality standards. And in that case, your hose won’t last very long. Selecting a hose that’s made from good quality materials with great manufacturing standards may cost you more, but in the long run it’ll save you money, as you won’t be replacing your hose as often.
Does your hose come with care guidelines or a warranty?
Different hoses are constructed differently, and where most manufacturers recommend storing your hose (when dry) in a cool and dry place, there’s different care instructions you should follow when it’s wet. Be sure to follow your manufacturer’s directions to ensure the best results. Also, having a warranty is important, as even the best expandable hose might have a defect in the core material — make sure you try to find one with a warranty.
The Best Expandable Garden Hoses
Now that you know everything about collapsible garden hose, let’s dive into the reviews. You will rapidly notice that I’m not including reviews of the “As Seen On TV” varieties like the Pocket Hose Brass Bullet or the XHose Pro. I’m focusing on hoses which have developed further beyond the lightweight construction of those television models, and ones which offer a more long-term solution to your garden needs. As useful as the television models can be, they just don’t seem to last as long, and I want you to get your money’s worth out of your hose!
Best Overall: J. Millman and Sons 50ft Expandable Garden Hose
|Length||50 feet expanded|
|Weight||2.7 pounds (shipping weight with all components, hose is lighter)|
|Materials||3-layer latex core, nylon shell, brass fittings|
|Warranty||Unconditional 12 month warranty|
|Add-Ons & Features||Hose has a shutoff valve built-in and a brass cuff to prevent end kinking. Comes with an 8-pattern spray nozzle, extra rubber washers, and a plastic hose hanger.|
Why do I consider the J. Millman and Sons 50ft Expandable Garden Hose to be the best expanding hose? Well, let’s start out with the construction. The three latex layers are extremely well designed, offering strength and longevity. Because of how it’s designed, this is the best retracting hose as well. While lesser-quality models begin to stretch out with use, this one is designed not to stretch out over time.
The exterior shell is also heavy-duty and capable of protecting the core well, and this model comes with a number of useful add-ons. I love that they take extra washers into consideration, as it can be hard to find the right sized washer for your hose fittings and those do wear down over time and require replacement. While I wish the hose hanger were made of metal, it’s certainly strong enough to support the weight of this hose. The 50 foot length is a good standard for the majority of people’s uses, too.
All in all, this is the best pocket hose for most people’s yards, in part because of its design and in part because the manufacturers took actual use into consideration when considering the add-ons they’d include with their hose.
Other Good Choices
These other choices, I’m ranking in order of 2nd-5th place based on what I personally would pick, but honestly, any of these options would be good. As always, you should select a hose based on your personal needs.
TruTec 75ft Expandable Garden Hose
|Length||75 feet expanded (100 ft model also available)|
|Weight||4.7 pounds (shipping weight with all components)|
|Materials||3-layer latex core, 48-ply nylon shell, brass fittings|
|Warranty||30 day money-back guarantee, 12 month replacement warranty|
|Add-Ons & Features||Hose has a shutoff valve built-in and a brass cuff to prevent end kinking. Comes with an 8-pattern spray nozzle, stainless steel hose hanger, and a storage bag.|
What I like the most about the TruTec 75ft Expandable Garden Hose is that it’s a high-quality long hose. At 75 feet, it will handle larger yards quite well. But what I like second-most is the stainless steel hose hanger that it comes with. Whomever designed this hose and hanger combination realized that storing your hose effectively is important, and built a hanger meant to do just that.
While you still want this to be out of direct sunlight to extend the lifespan of your hose, it’s fantastic for people in non-freezing conditions, as they can keep it outdoors year-round and it’ll always be perfectly stored. And for people who do live in colder climates, it comes with a storage bag to use once the hose has dried out and is ready to put away for the winter.
At the time of this review, this was also incredibly reasonably priced for its length, so check and see if it still is!
iZEEKER 50ft Magic Hose
|Length||50 feet expanded|
|Weight||3.1 pounds (shipping weight with all components)|
|Materials||3-layer latex core, nylon-elastic shell, brass fittings|
|Warranty||30 day money-back guarantee, 18 month warranty|
|Add-Ons & Features||Hose has a shutoff valve built-in and a brass cuff to prevent end kinking. Comes with a 9-pattern spray nozzle and plastic hose hook.|
When writing these expandable hose reviews, I found myself searching for PSI ratings for most hoses, and while such information is often on the physical packaging, it’s not always online and easy to find at a moment’s notice. The iZEEKER 50ft Magic Hose is one of the few hoses that gives the information online that it can handle up to 130 PSI pressure, which is much higher than the United States standards for home water pressure (most homes are between 40-60 PSI).
Its nylon-elastic shell helps retract the hose, which may add a smidge of extra longevity in how it expands and contracts as long as the hose isn’t stored in direct sunlight where it can get damaged. And, unlike the competitors, the spray nozzle offered with this one is a 9-function model. I am not very impressed with its hose hook, but all in all, the hose itself is high-quality, and you can always buy another hose hook.
GrowGreen 100ft Expandable Garden Hose
|Length||100 feet expanded (has 25, 50, 75 foot lengths also available)|
|Weight||5 pounds (shipping weight with all components)|
|Materials||3-layer latex core, nylon shell, brass fittings|
|Warranty||12 month warranty from manufacturing defects|
|Add-Ons & Features||Hose has a shutoff valve built-in and a brass cuff to prevent end kinking. Comes with an 8-pattern spray nozzle.|
Were you looking for the best lightweight garden hose that’s really long? Consider the GrowGreen 100ft Expandable Garden Hose! Of course, they offer the hose in 25, 50, and 75 foot lengths as well, but the 100-foot length is about the maximum length that most people are likely to need in their yard. This expanding hose comes with a spray nozzle, but no hook, and its warranty only covers manufacturing defects, but overall it’s a great option if you want something longer than average.
Crenova 50ft Expandable Garden Hose
|Length||50 feet expanded|
|Weight||1.9 pounds (shipping weight with all components)|
|Materials||2-layer latex core, polyester shell, brass fittings|
|Warranty||1 year replacement/refund warranty|
|Add-Ons & Features||Hose does not have a shutoff valve, but has a brass cuff to prevent end kinking. Comes with a storage bag and hose hanger.|
Last but not least on our list today, we have the Crenova 50ft Expandable Garden Hose. Where all of the others I’ve mentioned have built-in shutoff valves, this one does not. The manufacturer says that this is based on feedback from their customers, who’ve experienced shortened lifespans on other expanding hoses by leaving the hose on but the shutoff valve closed. While it should go without saying that you shouldn’t do that, those of us who’ve got kids often discover that it can still happen.
So as far as kid-proofed hoses go, this one may be a really good choice if you’ve got a kid who plays with your hose all summer long! Like other models reviewed here, I’m not thrilled with the hose hanger for this hose, but that’s really just an add-on perk. Construction-wise, this is a solid choice in flexible hoses and definitely worth consideration.
Hopefully, I’ve narrowed down the expandable hose selection out there to something that’ll suit your needs. Have you ever tried an expanding hose, and if so, what do you think of it? Is there anything that I haven’t covered? Comment and let me know!