Our Top Picks
The Flexzilla Garden Hose is our top recommendation for a garden hose. It's remarkably lightweight, which is an excellent benefit for both working and storage. The Flexzilla's lightweight material remains very durable, showing the least structural wear and tear, comparatively, after many hours of use. We ran it over with a car and extensively used it in our garden each day to test durability. The collars of the hose and the connections were all high quality and showed little wear. This stood out as the only non-stretch hose that did not kink while under pressure and performed its job admirably with both high and low water pressure.
Those looking for an all-around hose that can withstand the abuse of everyday chores and gardening will be happy with the Flexzilla. Although this is one of the pricier models we tested, it should last for multiple seasons. Something to note is that the bright colors do show dirt and wear more than other models. The Flexzilla is the best overall for its blend of lightweight durability, ease of use, high-quality components, and kink-resistant material.
The GrowGreen Expandable balances a budget price with great features. It expands remarkably from a compact package to over double its size when in use — though we did not find it triples in size as advertised. When we ran it over with our car and pulled it through crops and rocks, the woven outer stood up the best of the non-rubber hoses. The GrowGreen includes thoughtful options, like an on-off switch at the nozzle and high-quality brass collars. The hose also comes with a nozzle with eight features; this is practical for a consumer looking for the full package, as the features create an excellent value.
We found that the GrowGreen performs poorly under low pressure. When used for irrigating from a well pump, the hose did not expand enough to allow the low-pressure pump to deliver water. When stored, the woven hose outer tended to get knotted up and required detangling before each use. With such excellent components, ease of use, and durability — at a very reasonable price, this is a high-value option to consider.
The FitLife Expandable is our favorite for its ease of storage and lightweight appeal. It is advertised at under two pounds, and our testers noticed the difference in weight after a day of hauling hoses through their 1/3 acre lot. The woven outer means that the hose does not kink or tangle when water is running through it. It comes with a plastic hanger that allows for easy storage. The FitLife measures eight feet when in storage; when under pressure, it expands to just over 24 feet, making it an excellent fit for anyone with limited storage.
Like other woven and latex hoses, the FitLife did not do well with low pressure. Due to the incredibly small size in storage, this option also shrank significantly when water pressure was not fully turned on. This is an excellent option for anyone concerned with space and looking for a reliable, durable option.
The Instapark Heavy-Duty Recoil is the ideal purchase for a user looking to do light-duty work in a small space. It is ideally suited to a small patio garden or apartment porch garden. This model has a unique recoil design, meaning that it quickly goes back into a tightly coiled shape when it is not actively being stretched by the user or full of water.
The slim diameter of the Instapark put out water significantly slower than other options, taking over five seconds to move a liter of water. This low flow also means that it is easier to control the spray of water in a small area, and it performed well when attached to low pressure — both when attached to a kitchen sink and a low-pressure submersible pump. The lightweight hose design was not well suited to rough use. Our durability testing significantly wore the EVA material. However, for the consumer looking for a hose for light gardening use in a small space, the Instapark is our recommendation.
The Water Right 400 Series stands out for low-pressure needs, as it excels among traditional designs for being easy to move around and manipulate. After initially unpacking, the hose felt quite stiff, but within a couple of minutes of direct sunlight, it was easy to move around, uncoil and put where needed. The chrome-plated brass connectors are remarkably durable, showing little wear or bending from coupling and uncoupling or crush testing. Where the Water Right stands out above all other options is when used in low-pressure settings. While many other hoses became challenging to move or barely put any water out, it maintains the same water pressure. It is easy to use when connected to a submersible pump, a water catchment barrel, or a sink.
Because the Water Right performs so well at low pressure, it presents challenges with high-pressure connections. When using a sprinkler, the lack of pressure is notable, and the sprinkler underperforms. When connected to a traditional outside hose spigot, the hose tends to jump around if the water is turned on to full pressure. The Water Right performs the best when connected to low-pressure sprinklers, drip irrigation systems, or when connected to a lower pressure water source.
For those looking for a hose that will last for years to come, look no further than the Continental ContiTech Premium. We tested the hot water-compatible version of this hose and found it one of the most durable options. We ran it over with our car, left it baking in the midday desert sun for weeks, and even had it freeze at night as temperatures dipped below freezing; this hose was completely unphased. Its traditional design is easy to use and recoil and is made from durable, high-quality rubber.
It is stiffer than some hoses in this review, which adds to its durability; however, some could see this as a downside. The Continental is a substantial hose, ideal for rugged conditions and folks who are hard on their garden tools. It was a bit kinky and challenging to uncoil when it came out of the bag initially, but once we had it stretched out entirely for a day or two, the tangles subsided.
The Water Right Professional Coil is a compact, 25-foot garden hose. This is a great choice for folks looking to avoid tangled masses of hose around a deck or patio space. Its low flow and narrow diameter make watering pots and planters easy. Because it is so short (25 feet when fully expanded), we preferred to use it in small spaces where full expansion wasn't necessary.
With smaller size comes poor functionality in both length and pressure. The Water Right Professional Coil has a narrow diameter, 3/8-inch, which limits the amount of water that can pass through at one time. This model excels at watering small planter boxes, flowers, and other delicate tasks. However, the low pressure is less than desirable for washing cars or machinery. At a mere 25 feet in length, this garden hose falls on the short side. When fully expanded, the ideal operating length is about 15 feet which can be challenging for watering large yards. However, it's a prime choice for small spaces.
The Zalotte Expandable comes with everything one needs for an easy-to-use, expandable, and adjustable gardening setup. The package comes with a nine-feature nozzle with various settings, ideal for gardening, cleaning, and around the yard uses. The hose itself expanded well while under pressure and performed well during durability tests. The package also includes a hanger for the hose tube that can keep your yard or garden organized.
If you don't use the hose hanger, the Zalotte can tangle easily. The woven exterior is noticeably slicker than other expandable options, making it a challenge to untangle knots. We found this to be especially true when wet. Although the hose body performed well during testing, the rubber collar below the high-quality brass connectors immediately broke, leading to rapid wear at connections. Still, we think this is a solid choice if you require an all-in-one package for multiple uses in the home and garden.
The TBI Pro Expandable was our go-to among the expandable models we tested. It's made from durable, woven fabric on the outside and a four-layer latex on the inside. When we drove over it with our car, we were impressed to see this hose bounce back with little sign of significant wear. Though the TBI is not the cheapest option out there, we felt that its solid construction plus the additional attachments and hanging system made it worth the extra initial investment. This is an excellent option for large and small yard uses — it is compact and stores easily but is durable and large enough to be used on a bigger property.
This hose also had the least directed spray of any nozzle, making it difficult to water or clean with any accuracy. Due to the high level of expansion, the water pressure is highly variable, coming out at a powerful spray when the on-off switch is turned on and then evening out to a manageable spray.
The Flexi Hose is an excellent option for gardeners who struggle with keeping a traditional garden house from kinking. This option performs well where a traditional hose is challenging to manage: moving a sprinkler often, turning corners, and navigating around garden beds and other obstacles. Unlike some other expandable choices, the Flexi Hose performs well at various water pressures, keeping its shape and putting out decent water pressure.
Unfortunately, the Flexi Hose collars and connections showed a good deal of wear from everyday use in our testing. After a watering session that included tugging the hose around the garden, the hose below the connection point was frayed and appeared to be leaking. This may be because this option does not have a protective collar, which seems standard on most of the other expandable options on the market. The brass connectors have a fine ridge on them, which makes them hard to handle when wet, so much so that our tester had to let them dry before disconnecting from the spigot. If you struggle with watering your garden without kinking your hose, the Flexi Hose could be an answer to your problems, but the durability issues we experienced give us pause to recommend this model wholeheartedly.
Why You Should Trust Us
Bix Firer has a long history of putting gear to the test. Bix has worked in outdoor education for a decade, coordinating education programs and urban food gardens in the backcountry. He currently lives on a small urban homestead in Boise, Idaho. Bix has worked as a guide, line cook, janitor, and educator. A graduate degree in Anthropology has left Bix with a strong analytical mindset and a love of observational studies.
Our testing process took place on a small urban homestead in Boise, Idaho, and a desert property in the Eastern Sierra. The hoses were subjected to comparative testing and used for regular jobs, watering, irrigating, and tending to food plots. We also performed several objective and comparative tests. Durability, for example, we drove a car over each and assessed the connections of each. After both field and objective tests, we then evaluated each across essential metrics for a final score. Our recommendations are based on our hands-on unbiased testing process.
Analysis and Test Results
We discuss a wide range of hoses for home and garden use, some of which are the most popular and best on the market. After lots of testing on our urban homestead, we objectively rate each across four important metrics; durability, ease of use, quality of components, and flexibility.
Hoses are used outdoors in various conditions and in gardens, where they are subjected to wear and tear. Thus, durability is a key feature of a good hose. We tested the hoses through day-to-day use to test durability, irrigating our food plots, watering, and attached to sprinklers. We also compared them in head-to-head tests, including running the hoses over with a car, kinking and bending each 100 times, and tugging when connected to a spigot, noting the wear and tear on each. The Flexzilla stood out as the most durable of the hoses. The Continental ContiTech Premium was a close match to the Flexilla's durability. The light pink material on the Continental hid dirt better than the light green Flexilla.
The Water Right 400 Series was the second-best in durability testing. It showed virtually no wear from our car test, and connections and collars also stood up to our testing with no signs of wear. This hose only came in second because it was more prone to kinking and showed slight wear at these kinking points. The most durable expandable hose was the GrowGreen Expandable Garden Hose, which was the only expandable to show no signs of damage from our durability testing. Expandable hoses tended to show signs of wear after daily use near the connections and collars and can suffer from UV damage after too much time baking in the sun, weakening the hose material. Still, the GrowGreen was in great shape at the end of our test period, making it the only expandable option to earn top points in durability.
Ease of Use
Hoses should be a seamless part of your garden setup. Storage, movement, manipulation, and connections should all occur without a second thought. Our testers used the hoses while at work and noted any points at which each of these aspects required attention. In addition to daily use, the hoses were tested for their water delivery capacity, timed to see how long it took to fill a liter, and tested for ease of coiling, as storage is a key component of use. The Flexzilla stood out as the easiest to use. The unique memory-free material made coiling a breeze, as well as moving the hose around when in use, both when under pressure or when the hose was off. The Flexzilla delivered water at a very median rate for the hoses tested.
The FitLife Expandable Garden Hose scored just below the Flexzilla and best among expandable hoses. Due to its short size when not under pressure, stayed tangle-free, was easy to store and coil, and never kinked. It's remarkably light, making it very easy to manipulate while under pressure. The only downside was that the short length made it a challenge to reach across plots and garden beds without crushing plants.
The Instapark was another excellent scorer in ease of use. The novel recoil design meant that no time was spent coiling the hose, and storage was no problem. The low diameter of the Instapark meant that the water delivery was low, but it remained easy to move around, even when under high water pressure. The Instapark did occasionally kink while under pressure but was easier to unkink than any other non-expandable hose.
Quality of Components
Otherwise, quality hoses can begin to fail due to the individual components. Protective collars, connections, and on-off toggles can be points of failure during day-to-day use. We compared each hose and components' materials to test these components, repeatedly tested all moving points, coupled and de-coupled all connections, and monitored all components during daily use. The Water Right is the best performer in terms of components. The chrome-plated brass connections show no wear after heavy testing and use, and the hard plastic protective collar was of high quality.
The TBI Pro Expandable also boasted impressive quality and construction. It comes in a kit with extra spray nozzles and a line splitter. The outer fabric was durable and provided a protective barrier to the latex inside. The FitLife and Zalotte expandable hoses both performed well in the components metric. They only fell short when the components were challenging to use when wet and when the included accessories showed wear and tear during our moving parts testing.
A challenge familiar to any gardener is wrangling stiff hoses through narrow workspaces and losing water pressure to kinks. A highly flexible hose helps solve these problems. Hoses were tested for flexibility through kinking tests, both under pressure and not, when coiling and use during irrigation. The Flexzilla performed the best in terms of flexibility. Whether under water pressure or not, the Flexzilla would not kink. The hose coiled easily and was easy to move around bends and tight spaces when in use. The memory-free materials also stood up to extensive attempts to force them to kink.
In general, expandable hoses tested well in terms of flexibility, though many became frustratingly rigid when under high water pressure. The Flexi Hose scored second best in flexibility, refusing to kink. Unlike many expandable hoses, the Flexi Hose maintained flexibility even under high water pressure and was easy to coil and manipulate while full of water. The GrowGreen performed well and returned to shape easily after use, although it was significantly stiffer when under high water pressure, making it less flexible when in use.
Hoses are a necessary component of every gardener's toolbox. Their ease of use and components can simplify your gardening experience or create a headache for the home gardener. The wide variety of materials, components, and options on the market can make shopping for the right option a challenge. Our rigorous testing for durability, quality of components, ease of use, and flexibility can help give you the information you need to choose the right option for your home and garden.
— Bix Firer
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