Hose Nozzles and Sprayers: A Complete Buyer’s Guide
I don’t know about you, but I’m a lazy gardener.
I want my tools to do most of the work.
This is even more true when it comes to watering my garden. When I first started gardening, I worked with what I had on hand…a good hose reel and a high-quality garden hose. But neither of those mattered very much because I didn’t have a hoze nozzle!
I used my thumb to control the flow of the water from my garden hose. This was pretty inefficient and annoying, so I finally did the research and found myself a nice garden hose sprayer…
Or so I thought.
The first garden hoze nozzle I bought was pretty cheap and low-quality. It broke down in a single season, meaning I wasted all of my money.
That’s when I decided to get my hands dirty and do the research.
In this article, I’ll cover how to choose the right hose nozzle for your garden, including:
- Differences in materials
- Types of nozzles and their use
- Types of grips and spray patterns
- The most popular brands
Throughout the article I’ll also include my personal recommendations for each type of hose nozzle. If you’re just here for recommendations, here’s a quick guide to what I’ll be covering!
Our Top Hose Nozzle Picks At Amazon:
- Pistol Grip: Gardena Metal 7-Pattern w/ Flow Control
- Dial Nozzle: Dramm 9-Pattern Dial Nozzle
- Water Wand: Dramm 16″ One Touch Rain Wand
- Fan Nozzle: Dramm One Touch Fan Nozzle
- Fireman Nozzle: Bon-Aire Ultimate Hose Nozzle
- Traditional Nozzle: Dramm Brass Traditional Nozzle
- Bubble Nozzle: Gilmour Medium Duty Bubbler Sprinkler
Listen to this post on the Epic Gardening Podcast:
Metal, Plastic, or Both?
There are hundreds of types of hose nozzles on the market. It can be overwhelming to decide which is best! They all come with different styles, flow rates, costs, materials, and more.
I’ll be honest…when I first tried to find a top-rated hose nozzle for myself, I got completely lost.
The first thing to consider when buying a hose nozzle is the material it is made out of. There are two major parts of a nozzle — the sprayer and the handle. Depending on the price and brand, these can be made from many different materials.
Most spray nozzles are made completely out of metal, but some brands try to save some money on production costs by creating the entire nozzle out of plastic. Others still are hybrids, with the sprayer portion made of metal and the handle made of plastic
As a general rule, metal is the best material to make a hose nozzle out of. Even still, not all metal is created equal. Seek out a nozzle made out of brass, zinc, or aluminum (in that order). These will be heavier than a plastic nozzle, but will last a much longer time.
When testing a metal hose nozzle, look at the build quality. This can vary greatly depending on the brand. Look for how smoothly the metal parts glide across each other and how the pieces fit together. These speak to the build quality.
Some metal nozzles are powder coated to protect them from the elements. Some are dipped in a plastic or rubber substance for better grip, and others will be insulated with nylon or plastic to keep your hands warm.
As you can see, even within the metal handle category there are a wide variety of options!
Metal and Plastic Nozzles
If you’re looking to save money, go with a nozzle made of both metal and plastic. As long as the important parts inside the nozzle are made out of metal, you should be good to go.
These are the parts that fail most often so these are the parts that should be made out of the higher-quality material. Typically the handle will be made of plastic, making it rust-proof and more lightweight.
Do not buy hose nozzles made entirely out of plastic. As you can imagine, these are likely to fail when dealing with water pressure over a long period of time. On top of this, plastic nozzles will break down in the sun over the course of a single season, meaning you’ll have to take the nozzle off every time you use it to keep it from the sun.
Verdict: Try to choose an all-metal hose nozzle if you can, and a plastic and metal hybrid if you must.
The Many Styles of Hose Nozzles
Like many gardening tools, there are plenty of variations on hose nozzles. Which you choose depends on your unique gardening needs.
Here are the seven main types of nozzles you can buy:
Pistol Grip Nozzles
The pistol grip hose nozzle is the most common type on the market. You hold these in your hand, with the palm of your hand pressing the trigger into the handle, activating the flow of water. To release the trigger, just release pressure on your palm. You can also control the flow of water by controlling how far down you press the trigger.
Pistol grip hose nozzles are usually a mix of plastic and metal, with the nozzle itself made out of metal and the handle made of a lightweight plastic. They have a lot of moving parts, so they’re more prone to failure than other nozzle types. If you decide to go with a pistol grip, make sure you buy the highest-quality one you can afford.
Recommendation: Gardena Metal 7-Pattern w/ Flow Control
This is the type of nozzle I grew up with. It has a dial on the front of it, allowing you to change the spray pattern. Most dial nozzles will have six or more different spray patterns:
If you have diverse watering needs, a dial nozzle may be the choice for you. For example, you might use the mist setting on cuttings and then switch to the soaker setting when watering a large lemon tree.
Most dial nozzles are made out of plastic, but you can find some that are made out of aluminum or zinc if you hunt hard enough.
Recommendation: Dramm 9-Pattern Dial Nozzle
Water wands are an incredible hose nozzle to use in the garden. They’re extremely useful if you have a hard time bending over or need to water plants that are in hard-to-reach areas.
As you can imagine, water wands come in a variety of options. Some of them have dials at the end so you can adjust the spray pattern, while others can be telescoped to add even more length to them.
The best water wands on the market are the ones that have a stop valve trigger at the bottom. These are handy so you do not have to go to the water source and turn the faucet on and off from there.
Recommendation: Dramm One Touch Rain Wand
Fan nozzles are a specialized type of attachment that can best be thought of as one setting on a dial nozzle. Most of them do not have an on or off trigger. They flood an area full of water in a quick fashion.The fan design has a ton of little holes that emit water gently, making fan nozzles a good choice for watering delicate plants.
Recommendation: Dramm One Touch Fan Nozzle
As the name implies, this nozzle will put out a ton of water at high pressure. This makes it a good choice for washing cars or driveways, but not a great choice for the garden. This is doubly true if you are trying to use it for seedlings or sensitive plants.
When you purchase a fireman nozzle, your goal is to cover a small area with strong pressure, or a large area with a consistent amount of mist.
Recommendation: The Bon-Aire Ultimate Hose Nozzle
These nozzles are made out of brass or zinc. You can twist them to control the spray pattern from a powerful jet of water to a extremely fine mist. These are the most basic types of nozzles on the market, so they don’t come with any extra frills like insulation, flow triggers, or special spray patterns.
However, they’re made of brass which is the strongest material for a hose nozzle. If you pick one of these up, chances are good you’ll have it for the rest of your life.
Recommendation: Dramm Brass Traditional Nozzle
The most unique nozzle we’ll cover is the bubbler nozzle. Screw these to the end of your hose, turn it on, and water will slowly drip out of the nozzle. These are great for watering deeply, watering more tender plants, or making sure that you minimize water runoff.
Recommendation: Gilmour Medium-Duty Bubbler Sprinkler
What Spray Patterns Do You Need?
Depending on the hose nozzle you buy, you might be limited to a single spray pattern or have a range of spray patterns to play with. If you need the shower, mist, and jets patterns, make sure and get a hose nozzle that has these spray patterns available.
If you’re comfortable using a more basic spray pattern, then consider a fan nozzle, traditional nozzle, or fireman nozzle.
One of the major points of failure of all hose nozzles is where they connect to the hose. Most hoses have a threaded metal fitting at their end where you attach the hose nozzle.
You can find some hoses with a plastic fitting, but these are almost guaranteed to break. Avoid them.
If you live in the United States
In the US, the thread standard for gardening hoses is GHT (garden hose thread). It has an outer diameter of which has an outer diameter of 1 and 1/16″ and a pitch of 11.5 threads per inch.
If you live outside of the United States
Outside of the USA, the standard threading is British standard pipe, or BSP. This has a diameter 3/4″ and 14 threads per inch. If you’re buying hose nozzles online, make sure that they’re built for your size of hose thread.
Use Rubberized Washers!
It might seem like a small detail, but always use rubber washers when connecting your hose nozzle to your garden hose. The chances you’ll spring a leak will decrease drastically.
Instead of taking your nozzle on and off your hose every single time you water the garden, you can use a quick connect system. These allow you to snap your nozzle onto the hose instead of screwing it on every time. It’s a big time saver.
If you’re going to buy a quick connect system you should find one made of solid brass or aluminum. Plastic ones, as is common with most hose fittings, will break or leak.
Does Flow Rate Matter?
The typical garden hose nozzle puts out anywhere from 2.5-5 gallons of water every minute. Of course, this depends on the spray pattern you choose and the water pressure in your hose.
You’ll find that brands like to talk about the flow rate of their nozzles, but it’s not as important as other features. In most cases you can ignore this number completely.
If you value convenience, consider purchasing a hose nozzle that allows you to turn off the water flow at the at the nozzle instead of at the hose. But remember — a shutoff valve is an additional component that can cause leaks or other problems.
If you do get a hose nozzle with a shutoff valve, make sure it’s well-made and completely stops water flow when in the off position.
The most common hose sizes are ⅜”, ¾”, ½”, ⅝”, and 1”. The diameter of your hose will affect the overall flow rate of your nozzle. To keep things simple, choose a ⅝” hose as it is the standard garden hose size and will suit almost every gardener’s needs.
Where to Buy Hose Nozzles
I personally purchase most products online, so I turned to Amazon when looking for my hose nozzle. But you can also find them at Home Depot, Ace Hardware, and your local garden center.
It might be a good idea to go to your local garden center and test out a variety of hose nozzles until you find the one you like. Then you can go online and order it. You’ll probably save a few bucks using this method.
The Best Hose Nozzles
Make no mistake, the best hose nozzle for you will be different than the best hose nozzle for me.
If you need a powerful, concentrated spray, then you might go with a fireman’s nozzle or a traditional nozzle.
If you’re a vegetable gardener, a fan nozzle or a water wand might be the best choice.
If you’re an all-around gardener, you might need a dial nozzle to accommodate the various spray patterns you need.
When it comes to the best brands, there are a few that stand out among the rest:
In my opinion, Dramm offers the best hose nozzles, sprinklers, and hoses you can buy. They started out providing watering products for commercial-scale gardening and landscaping companies.
If you’ve ever been to a large nursery, it’s almost a guarantee that they’re using Dramm products. Dramm makes almost all of their nozzles out of high-quality brass or aluminum and offer a full range of hose nozzle types.
You’ll be able to identify a Dramm nozzle by their beautiful design and colorful powder coating.
Here are some of my favorite Dramm nozzles:
Dramm One Touch Rain Wand
- Durably constructed with quality materials
- Contains assorted colors
- Available in a 16" size
One of the best all-purpose hose nozzles that money can buy.
Dramm One Touch Fan Nozzle (12731)
- Great for watering containers, plants and...
- A great item to have in water restricted areas
- Allows complete and total water flow control with...
Great for gentle watering and includes a thumb-operated stop valve.
Dramm One Touch Shower and Stream (12424)
- Dramm One Touch Shower & Stream Wand Green...
- Has two pattern options: Shower, for a cascading...
- This product is made in China
A two-patterned dial nozzle with shower and stream, the two most popular spray patterns.
Dramm Brass Traditional Nozzle (12380)
- Great Cleanup Nozzle for walkways, patios, gutters...
- Multiple spray patterns and flow volume are at...
- Twisting barrel adjusts water from fan to cone...
High-quality brass construction and an adjustable spray, from fine mist to jet-like stream.
Dramm 9-Pattern Dial Nozzle (12704)
- Dramm Revolver 9-Pattern Spray Gun Green Wash your...
- The 9-Pattern Revolver aids in any outdoor...
- The 9 patterns include: Fan, cone, center, jet,...
The versatile option. Nine different spray patterns and an insulated pistol-grip handle.
Gardena nozzles are found mostly at Home Depots or other home and hardware stores. You can identify a Gardena nozzle by their orange and grey colors. They typically come with a quick connect system, making it easy to attach their nozzles to your hose.
Overall, they’re lower quality than Dramm, but still well-made. They use more plastic parts than Dramm does and their parts are not able to be used with any other brand of nozzle. If you’re looking for a mid-range hose nozzle, look at Gardena.
Gardena Classic Gentle Wand (9123)
- Gardena comfort garden hose spray wand provides a...
- Robust metal/plastic design with non-slip soft...
- Soft plastic ring on sprayer head to protect it...
Plastic handle, can adjust the flow rate, and comes with a one-year warranty. Budget pick compared to Dramm wand.
Gardena Metal 7-Pattern w/ Flow Control
- AVOID THIRD PARTY SELLERS TO ENSURE ORIGINAL...
- Soft grip Water flow control knob
- Designed with non-slip soft plastic components for...
Less spray patterns than the Dramm, but still well-made and a good value pick.
Gardena Jet Nozzle w/ Quick Connect (8153)
- The ergonomic premium spray nozzle featuring a...
- Robust metal/plastic design with non-slip soft...
- Water jet is infinitely variable from hard jet to...
The best nozzle from Gardena, has an adjustable spray from mist to jet with a quick-connect attachment.
One of the underdogs in a hose nozzle market is fireman nozzle produced by Bon-Aire. They make one of the best nozzles out there, called the Ultimate Hose Nozzle. It comes in multiple colors and is fully metal, constructed of either stainless-steel or aluminum.
Ultimate Hose Nozzle, Aluminum
- Durable, five-pattern spray nozzle turns any...
- Engineered with aircraft-grade aluminum, stainless...
- Fire hose nozzle construction
Five spray settings from mist to jet, fireman style nozzle. Comes with a rubber grip and 1 year warranty.
Ultimate Hose Nozzle, Stainless Steel
- Durable, five-pattern spray nozzle turns any...
- Rust-proof, leak-proof stainless steel design...
- Fire hose nozzle construction
Everything that the aluminum model has, but built from indestructible and rust-proof stainless steel.
Gilmour nozzles are a budget pick that are not designed to last a lifetime. That said, they are typically cheap and will last you at least a full season, so you won’t have to replace it more than once per season.
Gilmour Full Size Zinc Pistol Nozzle
- Metal construction built for frequent use
- Threaded front for attaching cleaning tools
- Classic rear control
Full zinc pistol-grip nozzle. A classic design that’s well-made and designed to last.
Gilmour Select-A-Spray (594)
- Heavy-duty die-cast metal construction for...
- Flow control dial customizes force of water stream
- Classic rear control
Cone, mist, stream, full flow, shower, jet, and flood in a pistol-grip style.
Gilmour Brass Traditional Nozzle (528T)
- Durable solid brass construction
- O-ring seals for a watertight connection
- Precise tip angle eliminates side spray
A solid brass traditional nozzle that will give you a range of sprays from a fine cone mist to a strong solid jet of water.
Orbit produces the cheapest hose nozzles on the market. That said, they are not going to last you long unless you buy one of their higher-end products.
Orbit 7-Pattern Plastic Pistol (58228N)
- 7 spray patterns for a variety of watering needs
- Insulated non-slip contoured grip for comfort and...
- Rear handle provides flow control
Comes with seven spray patterns and an insulated grip. Made of plastic.
Orbit 18″ 9-Pattern Wand (58291)
- 9 patterns: jet, mist, flood, flat, angle, shower,...
- Excellent for reaching hanging pots and baskets
- Cushioned grip for comfort fit
A shorter wand with a foam grip, shutoff valve and 9 different spray patterns. Good value wand choice.
Orbit Front Trigger Dial Nozzle (56252)
- Orbit front trigger turret hose nozzle has easy to...
- Front lever can lock to hold in on position
- This nozzle has an attractive metal finish
A unique design offering seven different patterns and a locking mechanism.
Orbit XL-Stream Fireman Nozzle (56130)
- Metal body with insulated handle
- Won't rust or corrode
- Large on/off handle
Metal nozzle, plastic insulated grip, and a strong jet-like flow of water.