Finding the Best Garden Hose

Perform an easy test right in the store!

Don’t believe what you read on the garden hose labels. Here’s how to really tell which gardens hoses are kink-free.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Bend the hose in the store to see if it kinks

If you're sick of buying “kink-free” rated garden hoses that constantly kink. Or, you buy, what you think is a quality hose, only to discover that it flattens out on the hose reel, this story is for you.

Here's how to select a hose that really works. First, stop reading (and believing) the marketing hype on the hose packaging. Instead of reading the specifications (which don't correlate to hose quality at all), perform your own tests on the hoses right in the store.

Remove a few twist ties from the hose packaging and unroll about 2 ft. of hose. Then coil it back against itself to see if it kinks (Photo 1). A hose that kinks in the store will kink even easier after it's been baking in the sun all day. Next, compare the wall thicknesses of different hoses by bending them at a 90-degree angle. The hoses with thicker walls will be harder to bend because they're made with more material. Sure, they cost more, but they also last longer.

Garden Hose Comparison

High quality hoses tend to be made from 100 percent rubber or a rubber/vinyl composite. They're also not cheap. Expect to pay $35 to $50 for a good 50-ft. garden hose.

Cut-away section of a cheap vinyl hose Cheap vinyl
Cut-away section of a heavy-duty rubber/vinyl hose Heavy-duty rubber/vinyl mix
Cut-away section of a heavy-duty, reinforced 100 percent rubber hose Heavy-duty, reinforced 100 percent rubber
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Check out the brass fittings

If the hose passes the “kink test,” check the quality of the connection fittings. You want solid “crush-proof” brass fittings (Photos 2), as opposed to flimsy stamped-brass fittings (Photo 3). That way the ends won't get destroyed when Junior drives over them. Before you leave the store, make sure you reassemble the packaging on the hoses that failed the test.

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