Getting the kinks out: Finding a garden hose that actually works

garden hose
I'm on a quest for the perfect garden hose. Actually, it doesn’t even have to be perfect, just durable, reasonably priced and not weigh a ton. For years, I used a hose that I inherited from my grandfather. It was a heavy rubber 50-footer and it was truly a bear to drag around. It knocked over flowerpots, chopped the heads off the daisies when I wasn’t careful, and it wasn’t easy to roll up and store. But it worked great, never stiffened up and on the rare occasions that it kinked, it was easy to unkink and thankfully had a short kink memory. That hose was the unsung watering hero of my garden until someone (I won’t lay blame, dear husband) drove over it with the lawn mower. We tried repairing it but it was never the same.

Since then, I’ve spent a tidy sum on replacement garden hoses. I’ve tried “heavy duty” hoses, spiral hoses, nontoxic lightweight “kink-free” hoses and many others ranging from cheap to fairly expensive. I would classify all of them as just OK and a few as downright stupid. They kink and split easily, leak at the couplings and are lightweight but good for a year or two at most.

In my eternal search for the perfect hose, I've discovered a few things that will help even a bad hose function a little better:

— Uncoil a new hose and leave it out in the sun on a warm day to relax it and make it a little easier to coil up.

— After that first time, don’t leave your hose out in the sun. UV rays will degrade it quickly.

— Store your hose loosely on a reel and out of the sun.

— Shut off the water at the faucet and bleed off the water in the hose before you coil it. It reduces the stress on the hose, minimizes the chances of bursts or bulges (as the water heats up and expands inside it), and makes it more flexible and easier to coil.

— A heavier, thicker hose with a higher rubber content and more plies better resists kinks and splits and can better handle a higher water pressure. But it’s going to be more expensive and harder to drag around.

— Brass water couplings are more durable (and more expensive) than plastic.

OK, so maybe I’m hard on hoses. But nothing I’ve tried has matched the durability of my grandfather’s hose. Rumor has it Sears still makes the old-fashioned heavy-duty rubber ones so that’s where I’m headed next (Craftsman brand; about $32 for 50 ft. at sears.com). I hope I find what I’m looking for.

Anybody out there love their hose? If so, tell me about it in the Comments section below!

— Elisa Bernick, Associate Editor


Need more hose tips or have a hose that needs repairing? Check out these great articles from our Lawn Care section:
- Finding the Best Garden Hose
- Fix Leaks at the Garden Hose Spigot

- Home Gardening Tips: Easier Weeding and Watering