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A reliable garden hose is the workhorse of the backyard, providing a source of water for lawn care, cleaning, and summertime fun. Debra LaGattuta, a Master Gardener and member of The Spruce Home Improvement Garden Review Board, points out that the options for an effective, high-quality garden hose go beyond the standard, 100-foot-long rubber options. "As a mature gardener, I look for tools that make gardening chores easier for me," she says, "and that means lightweight but sturdy hoses that don't kink and are easy to roll up."
Keeping in mind Debra's advice that one hose doesn't suit every situation, we tested dozens of garden hoses in the homes of product testers and at our outdoor testing Lab. Hoses were subjected to a slew of real-world tests to find the best options, based on criteria including maneuverability, weight, and durability. Our top pick, the Forever Steel Hose, is sturdy, doesn't kink, and is easy to pull around the yard or garden.
Here are the best garden hoses.
Best Overall: FOREVER STEEL HOSE
Not subject to kinks or punctures
Doesn't freeze in cold temperatures
Can connect multiple hoses for more length
Quarter-inch diameter may restrict water pressure
Only available in a 50-foot length
The Forever Steel Hose impressed our testers with its durability and lightweight design, making it our top recommendation for a garden hose. Unlike some hose materials that may be prone to puncture from garden tools or thorns, this hose is constructed of 304 stainless steel. Adding to its durability is the fact that it’s UV-resistant, so it shouldn't deteriorate or crack like a vinyl hose, even when exposed to the sun. It’s no surprise that one of our testers said, “I can see this lasting for many years.”
The shiny metal appearance of this garden hose is distinctive and even had us describing it as "sleek" during testing—a term not commonly applied to garden tools. There’s more than aesthetic appeal, though. We found the Forever Garden Hose to be easy to carry around or drag through the garden testing area, with no issues.
One thing to note is that the hose is only available in a 50-foot length. Our testers pointed out that it was shorter than other hose options, but you can buy multiples and connect them for greater hose reach if you have a large yard or garden. The outside diameter of the hose is five-eighths of an inch, but keep in mind that the interior diameter is a quarter of an inch, which may restrict water pressure in some instances. It didn't pose a problem during our garden testing, but it’s something to consider if you want a high-pressure hose for household tasks beyond watering your plants or lawn.
Price at time of publish: $40
Best Rubber: CRAFTSMAN 5/8-in x 50-ft Premium-Duty Rubber Red Hose
Not prone to kinking
Red color is highly visible
High-quality brass fittings
Not especially lightweight
Rubber garden hoses have a reputation for being durable and versatile for lawn and garden tasks. This Craftsman Premium-Duty Rubber Red Hose is no exception, standing out in our testing as the best rubber hose for its sturdy feel and high-quality brass fittings. When we tested the hose by connecting it to an outdoor spigot, our testing team found that the brass threading made it very easy to screw the hose on and off at the point of water access.
Like the other hoses we tested, our testers put this rubber hose through its paces. After dragging it around on various surfaces, including grass and cement, our testers consistently described it as easy to maneuver and durable. The heft of this hose was enough to earn it the description of “lightweight, but not heavy” from one tester. In summary, this hose feels solid and substantial but doesn’t demand excessive force to pull it around. Some consumers find the Craftsman Premium-Duty Rubber Red Hose to be prone to kinking, but we didn’t experience persistent problems with kinks when the hose was empty or full of water during our testing.
Price at time of publish: $45
Best Heavy-Duty: Eley 5/8-inch Polyurethane Garden Hose
Very solid construction for a thick, durable feel
10-year warranty against leaks
The Eley five-eighth-inch Polyurethane Garden Hose has everything you need in a heavy-duty garden hose: thick, durable construction, high-quality fittings, and a kink-free design. When evaluating the design, ease of use, and durability of this hose, our testers described it as solid and well suited for heavy long-term use. That is no surprise, since the polyurethane material is the same as what you find in inline roller skate wheels. The Eley resists cuts, punctures, abrasions, and tears, so you can expect to pull this hose across cement, garden tools, rocks, and more without puncturing or cutting it. Eley backs this heavy-duty hose with a 10-year leak-free warranty for added peace of mind.
This heavy-duty hose also scored high marks for not kinking during our garden testing. The hose is reinforced with high-tensile threads that resist kinking and also provide a defense against the hose bursting under high water pressure. As you’d expect of a heavy-duty hose, you can use the Eley in temperatures down to minus-40 degrees Fahrenheit. The crush-proof brass fittings are lead-free and corrosion-proof. All of these features contribute to the hose’s longevity but mean that you pay a premium price when compared with a light-duty or budget garden hose.
Price at time of publish: $38
Best Budget: NGreen Flexible and Expandable Garden Hose
Includes a nozzle for added value
Durable fabric cover
An affordable garden hose may come with some compromises, but you shouldn’t sacrifice ease of use or durability. Of the hoses we tested, the NGreen Expandable Garden Hose represented the best combination of value and usability, making it our pick for the best budget hose. This latex hose comes with a nozzle, making it a great value. It's also flexible and expandable, with a 3750 denier polyester fabric cover. But because of the short length, this hose might not work for you if you have a large yard or if your spigot is far from what you're trying to water. If the length works for you, however, you'll find this a very durable option. When our testing rubbed the fabric vigorously with a rock, it didn’t fray.
We tested the 25-foot version of the NGreen Expandable Garden Hose, which is actually only 9 feet long before expansion. It weighs just 1.8 pounds, making it very light to carry and maneuver. One tester pointed out that the short length makes it very easy to carry and coil, “but because it's so short, you obviously can't reach very far, so it's probably only best for small gardens or patios.” Like some other garden hoses we tested, the hose is connectable to increase length and reach, but that means buying more than one budget hose and potentially minimizing your overall savings.
Price at time of publish: $34
Best Attachable: Flexzilla Zillagreen Garden Hose
Bright yellow color is easy to spot
Silicone handles for good grip at either end
Heavy when full
Who else recommends it? Reviewed and BestReviews also picked the Flexzilla Garden Hose.
What do buyers say? 89% of 49,600+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or higher.
The Flexzilla Garden Hose stands out for its fluorescent yellow color but also for its flexible, pliable nature. It’s a great pick as an attachable hose, since it needs no special connectors. Also, its squishy silicone handles at either end give you a comfortable grip when connecting hoses or attaching to a spigot. It is certainly durable, having survived all our tests. Our real-world tester found the Flexzilla super simple and pleasant to use for a multitude of tasks: watering the lawn and flower beds, washing her minivan; rinsing out her compost bin and garbage can; and adding water to their pool.
We also were impressed with how well this hose straightened out and that it didn’t kink during garden tasks. This is especially important if you plan to connect multiple hoses and don’t want the hassle of shaking loose a long, kink-filled hose that doesn't lay flat. However, we found it heavy when full, which made it hard to swing over things to maneuver into different places.
Price at time of publish: $40
Best Expandable: TheFitLife Flexible and Expandable Garden Hose
Lightweight and easy to store
Features a water shutoff valve
Expandable hoses offer the advantage of being lightweight and easy to coil, even without the help of a hose reel. TheFitLife Flexible and Expandable Garden Hose is a great example of how an expandable garden hose should feel and function. In The Lab and at a volunteer's home, we tested a 25-foot version that shrinks to just 9 feet when not in use and weighs only 1.8 pounds. The materials felt high-quality, and during our lab tests, the hose didn't snag on rocks, as some other expandable models did. At our tester's home, theFitLife held up well to almost daily use, whether being dragged across the grass or a concrete patio. "I haven’t encountered any snags, tears, or leaks," our tester reported. "The hose has been able to withstand Florida’s extreme heat and humidity, remaining flexible and functional on the hottest summer days."
Like other expandable garden hoses, this version is covered in a stretchy 3750D polyester fabric that protects the expandable latex inner tube. Turn the water pressure on, and the FitLife Flexible and Expandable Garden Hose quickly reaches its full length without becoming heavy or cumbersome. When full, it felt even more durable, but still stretchy, and easy to walk it around. And when we did, no kinks or coils slowed our testing team down or interrupted water pressure. It's also equipped with a shutoff valve for convenient water management.
Price at time of publish: $33
Best for Small Spaces: Dramm 17005 ColorStorm Rubber Garden Hose
Flexible to minus-25 degrees Fahrenheit
Available in a variety of colors
Not a potable water hose
In our testing, the Dramm ColorStorm Premium Rubber Garden Hose proved to be tidy, durable, and an excellent value. While these attributes would qualify it for a wide variety of uses, it’s our top pick as a garden hose for small spaces. With a 25-foot length (longer lengths are available, too), this hose is ideal for watering patio plants, a small garden, or keeping handy on your deck or balcony. Just keep in mind that it’s not intended for drinkable water, so keep children and pets from drinking out of it.
The flexibility of this garden hose really impressed our testers, who said that the rare kinks that occurred were easy to shake loose. Even in cold-weather climates, you can expect this hose to stay limber and durable down to temperatures of minus-25 degrees Fahrenheit. The hose's durable EPDM rubber is available in a number of colors beyond the usual green hue associated with garden hoses. We tested the purple version, which we thought was fun and attractive.
Price at time of publish: $40
Best Portable: Zero-G Lightweight Ultra Flexible Durable Kink-Free Garden Hose
Easily attaches to water spigot
Maneuvers well when full or empty
Only rated for use above 35 degrees Fahrenheit
If you’ve ever struggled to use or move a bulky, heavy hose, then this one promises greater ease of use, plus durability. We recommend the Zero-G Garden Hose as the best portable option, since it has ergonomic couplings to connect to the water spigot, and it maneuvers easily whether full or empty. The lead-free couplings are designed to be crush-proof under loads up to 900 pounds. One tester described them as “sleek” and felt that the hose connected very easily to the spigot.
The Zero-G is constructed of a heavy-duty vinyl inner tube with a durable, abrasion-resistant jacket. (It has the appearance of an expandable hose, but this version isn’t expandable or retractable.) We tested the 100-foot version and were impressed with how easy it was to coil or uncoil. After connecting it to a spigot, winding it on a hose reel, and pulling it through our testing environment, one tester concluded that this hose is “more expensive but worked much better than others.” Whether it was full of water or empty, it proved to be easy to handle, use, or store, making it the best portable hose to consider.
Price at time of publish: $70
Best Lightweight: Flexi Hose Lightweight Expandable Garden Hose
Built-in water shutoff valve
Doesn’t become hot in the sun
Not suitable for use below 41 degrees Fahrenheit
"My traditional rubber hose had lasted for about 15 years or more, and it was still functional, but I decided that I needed something more lightweight, so I discarded it and purchased something more lightweight," reported Master Gardener Debra LaGattuta. Weighing less than 5 pounds but stretching up to 100 feet, the Flexi Hose is your best bet for a lightweight garden hose.
"Lightweight" doesn’t always mean durable, but that wasn't true for this garden hose, which we dragged through grass, across concrete, over a rake, and around patio furniture. We had to give it a hard tug around some obstacles, however; it did get stuck when we tried to pull it around patio furniture. Our lab tester also noted that you do not need to control the water release: "It seemed like pressure was releasing when water was running, but the hose actually stretched more since water was moving through it. You do need to control the water release, since there is pressure.”
Chalk up the durability of this lightweight garden hose to its design. A 3750 denier stretchy outer fabric cover resists abrasions while allowing the hose to stretch up to three times its starting length. Inside the hose, a 2 mm thick latex tube gives the hose the capacity to handle water pressure up to 12 bar. One other attractive feature of this garden hose is the attached water shutoff valve. Our testing team thought this was very convenient for switching nozzles or moving from one area to another while watering.
Price at time of publish: $60
Best Soaker: H2O Works Garden Flat Soaker Hose
Very lightweight, easy to maneuver
Durable across rough terrain
Water distribution seems slow
Give your plants a slow trickle rather than a steady shower with the help of a soaker hose. "The benefit of a soaker hose," notes Master Gardener Debra LaGattuta, "is that it deposits water exactly where it's needed, directly to the plant roots. Because the water is not airborne, there is much less evaporation, and water is applied slowly and gently to the plants." Soaker hoses are placed directly on the soil surface and work best when you can lay them out in a straight line.
The H2O Works Garden Flat Soaker Hose we tested started watering quickly and proved itself durable, making it our testing team’s top choice for a soaker garden hose. Made of a porous PVC, this hose features tiny holes from end to end that deliver water droplets to the roots of plants rather than shooting tiny streams of water into the air, like some other soaker hoses. The unique material is also very lightweight, and the 50-foot hose winds up compactly.
To thoroughly test this soaker garden hose, we dragged it across rocks and a rake, then checked its performance and condition. According to our testers, it was still in perfect condition. We also let the soaker hose run on a concrete surface, to check the distribution of water output. We found that the water began to condensate quickly. “It felt like watching a cool science experiment, seeing the water condensate on the outside of the hose," our lab tester said. The brand claims it dispenses 2 gallons in 2 minutes.
Price at time of publish: $35
The Forever Steel Hose is our leading recommendation for most homeowners. It is kink-free, lightweight, and easy to use during our testing. It is only available in a 50-foot length, but you can connect multiple hoses together if you need more reach. Another hose we recommend after our hands-on testing is the TheFitLife Flexible and Expandable Garden Hose. It weighs just 1.8 pounds and is only 9 feet long when empty but expands to offer 25 feet of reach. Longer lengths are available, too.
How We Tested the Hoses
For this article, we combined results from our test team in The Lab in Des Moines, Iowa, with our writers' and editors' own research to bring you this roundup. We tested 30 hoses at The Lab and rated them across a number of top categories, including usability, design, value, size, and durability.
We began by unwrapping them from their sealed packages and noting how easily and quickly they uncoiled to be ready to use. We asked testers to determine whether each hose seemed heavy or light for its size and material, and how easy it was to carry.
We connected each hose to an ordinary spigot atop our Des Moines' facility's rooftop garden, a location that combined grass with concrete and metal walkways. We checked how little or much the hose leaked, and rechecked after we modified the connections, such as adding hose washers. (We rated lower those hoses that continued to leak despite modifications.) After ensuring a leakproof connection, each tester wound their hose out and dragged it across grass, cement, and a garden rake with its tines turned up. We then took each hose for a "slalom," maneuvering the product around three large pots in the testing area and carefully noting any punctures or other signs of wear.
We then sprayed water for 2 minutes to ensure that the hose filled up, and then turned the water off and, without emptying water the hose, tried to wind it back up on the reel. (We repeated this test with the hose empty and compared results.) For soaker hoses, we dragged only the product to a dry concrete area, turned the water on, and left it on for 2 minutes. After we shut off the water, we inspected the area to determine whether it was evenly saturated. For all hoses, we evaluated the maddening kink factor: how much or little each hose kinked and whether the kink could be cleared just by shaking it out.
What to Look for in a Garden Hose
Vinyl hoses are the most lightweight and easy to store, but they aren’t as durable as other materials. Rubber and reinforced hoses are less likely to snag, kink, or break, and they hold up to extreme temperatures. If strength is a concern, check the ply, too. (Ply usually ranges from 1 to 6, with 6 being the strongest.) Metal hoses, such as our Best Overall selection, the Forever Steel Hose, are durable, long-lasting, and kink-resistant, but they're heavy to deploy and expensive. A hose made of quality rubber, such as our recommended Best Rubber choice Craftsman Premium-Duty Rubber Red Hose, is another durable alternative. All of our recommended tested products survived being dragged over concrete and hauled around without tearing or overly kinking.
Hoses come in a variety of sizes, ranging from a few feet all the way up to 100. The longer the hose, the more reach you have, but unfortunately, a longer hose also means there’s more tubing to store and carry around. Water pressure also decreases as the hose lengthens. If you only occasionally need a long hose, consider buying two shorter hoses and combining them for when you need to reach farther. Most of the hoses we tested were at least 50 feet long. Other hoses, such as the recommended expansion hoses NGreen Expandable Garden Hose and the TheFitLife Flexible and Expandable Garden Hose, can be perfectly serviceable in 25-foot lengths, depending on the size of your outdoor space.
"Coupling" refers to the point at which a hose connects to its water supply or to another hose. Generally, there are two options: brass, which is stronger and lasts longer, and plastic, which is easier to maneuver but less durable overall. Some hoses have aluminum couplings, which last longer than plastic but may break down more quickly than brass. Our Best Rubber selection, the Craftsman Premium-Duty Rubber Red Hose, has a brass coupling, which our testers found very easy to screw onto and off of the spigot. It can be a challenge, depending on the shape and position of the spigot, to line up the hose and connect it. We singled out our Best Portable selection, the Zero-G Garden Hose, for its ergonomic connectors, making it easier to accomplish that. Most hoses are fitted with standard screw-type couplings, which may require inserting separate hose washers to ensure a leakproof fit. You also can buy quick-connect kits, which are components that screw onto each end of the hose, and connect and disconnect with a twist. We disqualified any hose that leaked excessively, even when a hose washer was inserted.
Many hose packages list burst strength, which is the amount of water pressure a hose can handle before tearing. A higher number means the hose is more durable. If you're working with higher water pressure for some reason, look for a higher-than-average burst strength. Our Best Heavy-Duty selection, the Eley five-eighth-inch Polyurethane Garden Hose, has such a fairly high burst strength.
How long can I expect a hose to last?
A high-quality garden hose typically lasts for five to 10 years, but numerous factors can affect the lifespan. Proper storage and maintenance—which include draining the hose after each use and removing kinks—help to ensure that your hose lasts as long as possible. Bring hoses inside during the winter, as cold temperatures can cause them to crack.
How can I prevent kinking and knotting?
Garden hoses often become kinked, or bent in a way that restricts water flow, because they’re typically stored in tight coils for long periods, and the material develops a “memory” of that position. To combat this common problem, some hoses have anti-kink technology, but you also help prevent kinking by changing the way you store your hose. The best thing you can do is to leave it straight when it's not in use, which can be done by stretching it along a path. If that’s not possible, try storing in large, loose loops, which minimize the chances of developing a coil shape.
The material you choose also impacts how often you have to contend with kinks and coils. Master Gardener Debra LaGattuta shares her experience: "I've found that it's impossible to prevent standard rubber hoses from kinking," she says. "To prevent rubber hoses from kinking, I had to walk to the location of the kink and manually straighten out the hose and then go back to watering." So if you choose a rubber hose for its long-lasting durability, keep in mind that you may have to straighten it frequently.
What's the best way to store a hose?
There are lots of different ways to store garden hoses, including hose reels, pots, and holders. But as mentioned above, coiling a hose increases its risk of kinking. For that reason, hose holders are often your best choice, as you can loosely loop the hose over them. However, if you have a kink-resistant hose, you can use any storage solution. Master Gardener Debra LaGattuta shares her strategy for keeping hoses organized and accessible: "During the growing season, I store my fabric-covered lightweight hose on a hose reel, and I store my flexible, retractable hose in a very large nursery container [about 20 gallons] that I saved when I purchased a tree." It's also important to properly store hoses during the cold weather months. "[For] the winter, I drain the water from all hoses in late fall," Debra says, "and store them in my unheated garage. I never leave hoses outdoors during the cold winter months."
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written by Erica Puisis, who has years of experience researching and writing about the best products for indoor and outdoor living. To find the best options for garden hoses, she relied on first-hand product testing insights from The Spruce's Lab. The hoses were evaluated based on their usability, material, coupling, maneuverability, and value.
To gain additional input on selecting a hose, Erica also interviewed Master Gardener Debra LaGattuta. She is a member of The Spruce Garden Review Board and has had decades of experience in using garden hoses of a variety of types and sizes to keep gardens and lawns looking lush. Debra spoke on the selection, use, and storage of different hoses while sharing what she has found to be most effective in her gardening pursuits.
What Is Spruce Approved?
Here at The Spruce, we want to ensure that we fully stand behind every product we recommend and that when we say something is the best, we mean it. You might have noticed The Spruce Approved badge next to the products on this list. Every product with this badge has been rigorously tested in person and carefully selected by our expert team of lab testers and editors. In most cases, we buy all of these products ourselves, though occasionally we get samples provided to us directly by companies. No matter how we procure products, they all go through the same tests and must meet the same strict criteria to make the best-of cut. We also pride ourselves on transparency and will always let you know if we received a product for free.