When expandable hoses first came on the market there was a lot of excitement and then a lot of disappointment. The early expandable garden hoses sprung leaks almost as soon as you started to use them. Even the best expandable hose options at the time didn't last very long.
The expandable garden hoses available today are far more reliable but there are still a lot of poor quality hoses being sold and it can be tough to know which one to buy.
We’ve put together some expandable hose reviews of the best expandable hoses for the money. We’ve also compiled a buying guide to highlight what you need to look out for when buying an expanding hose.
Top 5 Expandable Hose (50ft) Comparison Table
Best Expandable Hose Reviews
For the sake of simplicity each of the reviews below refer to 50 foot expanding hoses. Some of the manufacturers below will also supply these hoses in longer or shorter lengths and the quality and features mentioned in the reviews would apply to these other lengths too.
The double layer inner latex tube and extra strength 5000x5000D polyester outer fabric makes this one of the best expandable hoses on the market. In fact, it's one of the best garden hose options we've seen.
This hose displays high water pressure resistance of up to 130 PSI. They’ve used solid brass connectors on both sides and we really liked the shutoff valve on the one end.
The interfaces between the connectors and the hose are properly done so you won’t end up with leaks you get from some of the cheaper hoses. A big contributor to this is the good quality washer they’ve put on both ends.
When not in use the hose shrinks down to a third of its length and stores easily in the convenient storage bag it is supplied in. It also comes supplied with a good quality multi-function spray nozzle. In spite of the heavy duty nature of the connectors and the protective outer fabric this hose is really light and easy to store.
- Strong outer fabric
- Great connectors with good washers
This expanding garden hose performs really well! When the water is turned on it quickly gets up to its full 50 foot length. Once the water is turned off it quickly retracts to a third of that length (17 feet), self draining while it does so.
The double latex core has a wall thickness of around 1.8mm which, along with the quality outer protective layer, gives this hose impressive durability.
We really like that this hose is ROHS compliant which means it is free from any heavy metals like cadmium as well as harmful plasticizers.
The hose can safely operate at a water pressure of up to 145 PSI which is way above the usual household water pressure of around 90 PSI. The connectors are solid brass with a convenient integrated shutoff valve. It comes supplied with a 8 spray pattern sprayer nozzle. It comes with a 1 year warranty but, with this quality of construction, we can’t imagine too many people have had to make use of this.
- Strong inner latex tube rated to 145 PSI
- ROHS complaint - no heavy metals
If you’re looking for a strong expandable hose then the construction of this one from Gardenirvana is tough to beat. The triple layer inner latex tube is protected by a reinforced polyester casing with knitted sleeve. Gardenirvana claim that you’ll get up to 1,200 uses from this hose as opposed to 250 uses that the cheap expanding hoses give.
The solid brass fittings are of a good quality material and they’ve used decent washers in them too. The shutoff valve on the one end makes it easy to get the hose up to its full length, put it in place, and then open without having to run backwards and forwards to the tap.
This expanding hose comes with a bunch of extras: a wall hanger and bag for easy storage, a two way metal splitter, 3 extra sealing rings and a 7 setting spray nozzle. It comes with a 1 year money back guarantee but we don’t think you’ll be calling their support line any time soon. We loved this hose!
- Strong triple layer inner latex tube
- Great quality connectors with shutoff valve
- Comes supplied with loads of extras
With this hose JFSG Outdoor have combined the good materials and solid construction to produce a top quality expandable garden hose.
As with the other expandable hoses we’ve reviewed you get a good quality inner latex tube and woven polyester outer. Where they’ve really impressed is with the connectors. They’ve used some of the strongest solid brass connectors we’ve seen on an expandable hose. The only thing we didn’t like about them is that they don’t come with an integrated shutoff valve.
The hose doesn’t come with any storage bag or hanger but is supplied with a 7 pattern spray nozzle.
These guys are so confident in the quality of their product that they offer a lifetime guarantee on it. If it springs a leak they’ll let you choose between a refund or a replacement hose. You don’t want to be dragging it across your driveway though. The outer layer tends to snag on concrete. Also it’s rated for best use at water pressures below 75 PSI so check your water pressure before purchasing.
- Really good solid brass connectors
- Comes with a lifetime guarantee
Kona describe this as a heavy duty expandable hose and it’s easy to see why. The inner core is made from a triple layer latex material.
We couldn’t get info from the manufacturer regarding the outer material layer but it feels pretty tough and didn’t snag on concrete as easily as some other hoses do.
Once you get it up to around 58 PSI the hose extends to 50 feet and taking it up to its maximum of around 87 PSI makes it extend a little more.
We wouldn’t use it continuously at this pressure though. The solid brass fittings are good quality and come with an integrated shutoff valve. It comes with a 1 year warranty so if you spring a leak within that time just get them to replace it for you.
- Strong triple layer latex inner tube
- Solid brass connectors with integrated shutoff valve
Expandable Hose Buying Guide
In it’s simplest form, an expandable hose is made from a flexible inner tube covered by a protective fabric layer. When the pressure of the water running through it comes up to speed the hose expands to around three times its length and contracts again when the water is turned off. How long it is able to do this without springing a leak comes down to the quality of the materials, construction and care during use.
Expandable hoses have earned a reputation for lasting only a few uses and then leaking. This is because of the oversupply of cheap, poor quality hoses. If you buy the best expandable hose for the money then you won’t have these issues. There are a number of tips for choosing the best garden hose but we've put together some info on what you should look out for before buying an expandable garden hose.
Expandable Hose Construction
The problem with the early models of expandable hoses came down to the construction of the hoses and the materials they used. To differentiate themselves from the old issues, manufacturers will use words like “heavy duty”, “durable” and “quality”. When they use these terms without specifying the construction details and exact materials used then it’s best to treat these descriptors with some healthy scepticism.
Expandable hoses are made from an expandable inner tube and a protective woven outer fabric layer. Here are the construction and material details you should be looking out for.
The inner layer of the hose is made from a flexible material that gives the hose it’s stretch. Make sure that the expanding hose you buy has a latex inner tube and not one made from TPU. Some of the poorer quality expandable hoses use TPU because it’s a cheaper material. You could buy a cheaper hose with a TPU inner tube but if it lasts for longer than one or two uses we’d be very surprised.
The inner tube of quality expandable hoses will be made from a double or even triple layer of latex. This will give you far better durability than the cheaper single layer hoses.
The Inner tube wall thickness is also a big factor in how long the hose will last. Some manufacturers will quote the inner tube wall thickness directly while with others you’ll have to work it out. They will often quote the outer diameter as well as the inner diameter of the inner tube. Subtract the one from the other and divide by two and that will give you the wall thickness.
This is a handy figure when you’re making comparisons between different expandable hoses. Most of the best expanding hoses will have inner tubes with an outer diameter of 9.5mm and inner diameter of 6mm. This gives you a wall thickness of close on 1.8mm.
Make sure that the expandable hose you buy has a good protective fabric layer. It should be a tight weave of good quality quality heavy duty nylon or polyester. If the weave is loose or the fabric isn’t strong then the inner tube isn’t going to be well protected. Guaranteed this is going to end in leaks.
The best expandable hose manufacturers will tell you exactly what material they use for the outer layer. Look for terms like 600*600D or 400*800D. This refers to the Dernier, or fabric strength. If they’re quoting these figures it’s because they know what they’re talking about and they’re bragging about the high quality fabric they use.
Normally expandable hoses will be supplied with ¾ inch connectors. Even if the hose itself doesn’t leak, if it has poor quality connectors then you’re not going to be a happy gardener. It’s best to avoid the plastic connectors as these are brittle and will crack after a few weeks of use. Go for the solid brass connectors. Brass fittings will never rust or corrode and neither will they crack during regular use.
Just because the manufacturer says they use brass connectors doesn’t mean that they’re good quality. Not all brass fittings are equal so be sure to read reviews first before purchasing. Where the connector joins the hose is a common source for leaks. The best expanding hose options will have a metal or plastic interlocking clip to secure the connector to the hose. If it doesn’t have one of these then expect leaks within the first few weeks of use.
Some manufacturers supply their hoses with aluminum connectors. These are really lightweight and fairly strong. Like brass, they won’t rust but they do have a tendency to stick after a while and you might struggle to disconnect them if the two parts have been mated for some time.
For the sake of convenience look for a hose that integrates a shutoff valve on the connector that connects to the tap. As soon as the tap is closed the loss of water pressure will cause the hose to retract. If it does so pretty quickly you could even end up being whacked on the shins by the spray nozzle. Having a shutoff valve allows you to switch the water off to the hose while retaining the water in the hose.
Whichever connector material you eventually go for, make sure that the size matches your tap connector otherwise you’ll be off to the hardware store to buy an adaptor.
Expandable Hose Length
Expandable hoses are supplied in lengths varying from 25 feet to 150 feet in increments of 25 feet. The length quoted by the manufacturer is the expanded length and is normally around 3 times the contracted length when not in use. Size counts but longer doesn’t necessarily mean better.
You may be tempted to buy one of the longer hoses but you’re better off choosing one that suits the size of your garden. If you have to have a longer length hose then rather buy shorter hose lengths and join them. That way, if one hose springs a leak you can replace that section instead of all 150 feet.
In our opinion the optimal expandable hose length is 50 feet. That may sound a little long for some gardens but bear in mind that when it contracts it is only 17 feet long.
If your water pressure isn’t the greatest then you’re going to want to avoid the longer expandable hoses. The longer the hose is, the lower flow rate you’re going to get. This is because the water pressure has to overcome the elasticity of the inner tube to get it to fully expand before being able to drive water out the other end.
Expandable Hose Water Pressure
Standard home water pressure is around 80 to 90 PSI and most good expandable garden hoses will be fine at this pressure. You’ll see some of the better manufacturers claim that their hoses can withstand far higher pressures but we don’t recommend putting that claim to the test. These figures are normally what the hose can withstand for a short time without leaking and not a continuous use pressure.
Regardless of what water pressure you get at your home, turn the tap on just enough to get the hose to expand fully. Once you’re getting the flow you want resist the temptation to open the tap fully. Reducing the pressure of the water in the hose will make it last longer. An expanding garden hose will give you the same water flow rate that you get from a regular garden hose.
Expanding Garden Hose Storage
The whole idea behind getting an expanding garden hose is that it is light and takes up very little space. Some hoses will come supplied with a handy storage bag or a hook that you can mount against a wall. However you choose to store it, remember that UV rays, heat and cold will shorten the life of the hose. Don’t leave it lying out in the sun and pack it away indoors if you’re expecting really hot or cold weather.
Because the water passes through the latex inner tube it isn’t fit for drinking. Depending on the kinds of materials the manufacturer used, there may be more than just a rubbery taste to the water. Some plastics and rubbers contain plasticizers or even heavy metals like Cadmium. While it should be fine to water your grass and vegetables it’s best to try and avoid these and you certainly wouldn’t want to drink water containing these chemicals.
It’s best to look for an expandable hose that is Cadmium free. The manufacturer may also indicate that their hose is ROHS compliant. This means that they don’t have any restricted chemicals in their product.
Water nozzle / sprayer
A lot of expandable garden hoses come supplied with a multi-function sprayer connection. Sometimes these are a good bonus but other times the manufacturer throws these extras in to try to compensate for a poor quality hose.
Don’t let the extras that come with the hose be the deciding factor. Rather choose a better quality hose and, if it doesn’t come with a sprayer, just buy a decent one that will fit on the hose connectors.
How To Make Your Expandable Hose Last Longer
It’s important to understand that an expandable garden hose is not going to be as durable as a regular garden hose. For the benefit of having a tangle free, lightweight hose you do end up sacrificing durability. Here are a few ways to extend the life of your expandable hose:
How To Make Your Expandable Hose Last Longer
- Before using the hose for the first time it is a good idea to get the hose to stretch a little. Connect it to the tap, shut the other end of the hose off, and turn the tap on. Once the hose is fully expanded, open the shutoff valve so that the hose can drain. If you do this once or twice before each use you’ll get longer use from it.
- When you’re not using the hose make sure that it is drained. Leaving it connected to the tap with the water on will weaken the inner tube over time.
- Store in shade - UV rays from sunlight and excessive heat will cause the inner tube material to weaken.
- Very low temperatures can weaken the inner tube so don’t leave the hose outdoors during winter.
- Don’t drag the hose across your driveway or gravel. Rough concrete is the biggest culprit when it comes to snagging the outer nylon fabric. Also, avoid thorny bushes like roses if you want to keep your hose leak free.
- If you have high water pressure then don’t open the tap fully. Excessive water pressure will weaken the inner hose.
Expandable Hose Warranty
Some cheap expandable hose manufacturers offer a lifetime warrantee but the effort required to claim just doesn’t make it worth it. You can pay $20 for a cheap expandable hose and then when it breaks you need to spend an hour on the phone trying to get through to their support to claim on the warrantee. This just isn’t worth the effort. Rather buy a better quality, albeit more expensive, expandable hose. It’ll last longer and you’ll be able to spend more time in the garden and less time on the phone.
If you want the best garden hose but insist on something light and easy to move then make sure that you buy the best expandable garden hose that your budget allows for. If you want to avoid the experience many others have had of using the hose for 5 minutes before it breaks then be prepared to pay a little more. Make sure that you pay attention to the quality of materials that have been used. Plastic connectors are convenient but they don’t last. If you want the best expandable hose then go for one with the solid brass connectors. That way you’ll be able to enjoy watering your garden for a year or even longer.
Product Images Sourced From Amazon.com