Bend the hose in the store to see if it kinks
Photo 1: Try to kink the hose
Loop a section back onto itself to see if it kinks. The black hose had the most plies and an “anti-kink” rib, but was easiest to kink.
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.
Check out the brass fittings
Photo 2: Look for cast brass fittings
Buy a hose with heavy-duty crushproof cast-brass fittings. They're a good indication of overall hose quality, and they'll last the life of the hose
Photo 3: Avoid stamped-brass fittings
Forget hoses with crummy stamped-brass fittings. You may save a few bucks up front, but you won't be happy with the hose.
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.