If you own a home, chances are, you also own a hose, and if you do, you need a nozzle for it. Without a nozzle, a hose is just a long, leaky tube; with it, you have a useful tool to water plants, wash your car, clean window screens, power lawn sprinklers, and create summertime kid-friendly play spaces.
But aren't all nozzles pretty much the same? No, says Veronica Lorson Fowler, a Master Gardener based in Ames, Iowa, who's written and edited a number of gardening books.
"Look for a nozzle that feels heavy in the hand, has brass and metal fittings, and is at least mid-priced," says Fowler, also the former editor of Better Homes and Gardens’ "Flower Gardening" magazine. "If you go for the cheapest nozzle available, you will get what you pay for."
We purchased 30 nozzles from different manufacturers, then tested 27 of them at The Lab in Des Moines, Iowa, noting how easy each was to attach to a hose and hold in the hand, how well each cleaned mud off an Adirondack chair, and how far the spray reached. Then, we tested each one’s durability, checking how well each withstood a drop onto concrete pavement or steps from a height of 4 feet. We determined that our Best Overall pick is the Dramm 14506 Revolution 9-Pattern Spray Gun for its spray selection, ergonomics, and durability.
Here are our choices of the best nozzles for every garden hose.
Dramm 14506 Revolution 9-Pattern Spray Gun
Single, all-metal piece
Nine well-labeled settings
One-touch thumb throttle
Six bright color options
At first look, the six available vibrant colors (blue, green, orange, yellow, red, and “berry”!) give our Best Overall product a whimsical appeal. Beneath the candy-store colors, however, lies as perfect a hose nozzle as you can get from a company that’s been manufacturing watering tools for 75 years.
“This is a great price for the versatility and effectiveness of this nozzle, especially given how many settings you get,” one tester volunteered. She found it easy to rotate the clearly labeled pattern selector to the spray she wanted and noted that the nine settings were more than most nozzles we tested. Even more appealing was the one-touch valve, enabling complete on-and-off control with just your thumb instead of having to squeeze a trigger, which can be a muscle strain to some. We’ve seen some nozzles requiring extra effort to use this sort of feature, but the Dramm’s lever was easy to push forward and draw back. We found the Dramm 14506 powerful as well, and it easily removed the mud from our target Adirondack chair.
We were also pleasantly surprised that dropping it onto our concrete walkway produced no ill effects. The spray selector continued to rotate effortlessly and accurately, and there wasn’t a mark on its shiny surface. This may be because, unlike many products, the Dramm constitutes a single piece of molded metal, not separate pieces of metal and plastic stuck together. This should ensure that it lasts more than a few seasons, even with constant use. And if it doesn’t, the product comes with a lifetime warranty.
Price at time of publish: $23
Materials: Metal | Dimensions: 7 x 4 x 2.25 inches | Weight: 13.6 ounces
AUTOMAN Garden Hose Nozzle
Great value for the price
Lightweight and comfortable to use
Clearly labeled settings
How much do you want to spend on a garden hose nozzle? For a price that frequently falls below $10, you get a seven-setting lightweight plastic product with a rubberized locking circular stop feature, so you needn’t strain your hand to keep the spray going. The AUTOMAN Garden Hose Nozzle was super easy to turn to each clearly-labeled setting, “and the nozzle fits well in my hand,” our tester said. The comfortable fit was something we might have expected from a higher-priced product.
A 16-inch spray distance for such a low-priced product was something we couldn’t help smiling at. So was the included rubber washer, which can prevent leaks better than plastic ones. The integrated trigger lock, which avoids having to constantly depress the handle to keep the spray going, was another plus. And the nozzle emerged without incident from our drop test. That belies the descriptions of “flimsy” we saw in some product reviews. We found this nozzle, with its multiple settings and multiple uses, an excellent value for not a lot of money.
Price at time of publish: $9
Materials: ABS, TPR plastic | Dimensions: 6.3 x 5.5 x 2.3 inches | Weight: 4.2 ounces
Best for Plants
INNAV8 Water Hose Nozzle Sprayer
10 watering patterns
28-foot spray range
Easy thumb operation
Only 1-year warranty
Somewhat weak spray at times
Many manufacturers have replaced the triggers or handles on nozzles with thumb ratchets that are designed to control the water flow. The thumb throttle eventually gets harder to depress as gunk and age compromise it. We also appreciated the 10 settings, suitable for watering plants and landscaping. When we measured the spray range at 28 feet, we were excited about its power, but we expected more oomph from the setting you’d use to clean off a patio, for instance.
The manufacturer claims this product to be “leak-free,” but we’ve never encountered a nozzle that fits this bill. Eventually, the crud that’s present in all municipal water systems, to one degree or another, attacks the gasket in the screw assembly, resulting in some dripping. However, out of the box, we found that this product really lives up to its claims.
Price at time of publish: $25
Materials: Metal | Dimensions: 2.75 x 5 x 6.7 inches | Weight: 9 ounces
Gilmour Metal Pistol Nozzle with Threaded Tip
Prone to rust
Lacks various spray settings
This simple nozzle from Gilmour couldn’t be easier to use: The harder you squeeze it, the more powerful the spray. And a powerful spray it is: We easily hit 32 inches on our distance test, and closer in, you get a powerful enough jet to wipe off gunk, as we did with our mud-spattered Adirondack chair. The only feature is a circular nut you tighten to lock the spray so you can relax your hand. However, someone with an average-size hand may find little room between the thumb and the trigger, making this “flow-control dial,” as the manufacturer generously refers to it, a challenge to turn.
While this is an excellent nozzle for cleaning, it’s hardly the one you want to gently mist your delicate outdoor plants. Depending on how far you are from the water’s target, this could also be too strong for watering your lawn. However, it fills up a bucket fast, and we experienced no issues screwing it onto our test hose. It’s also durable, taking the 4-foot fall onto concrete without a scratch or malfunction. For under $7, our tester reported, “It’s a great value at $6 for a simple and easy-to-use sprayer.”
Price at time of publish: $14
Materials: Metal | Dimensions: 1.2 x 4.75 x 6.75 inches | Weight: 5.3 ounces
The Relaxed Gardener Watering Wand
Lifetime warranty for defects
Rigid nozzle head
Scuffs when dropped
This 15-inch Relaxed Gardener aluminum wand is “made by gardeners for gardeners,” according to the manufacturer, and indeed, the longer reach and seven spray settings make this practical for watering plants. We liked how the double-sided grip made it easier than many nozzles to screw onto our test hose and how the thumb throttle easily regulated water flow. “You don't have to keep your hand clenched,” our tester pointed out.
The wand also is long enough to comfortably reach hanging baskets. But we would have preferred that the business end were easier to maneuver. There are no free-rotation options, so you have to constantly adjust the rest of the hose as you turn and move to keep the hose from twisting awkwardly.
Surprisingly, for a wand that features a gentle spray for plants, it packed a pretty powerful punch that effectively cleaned the mud off our test Adirondack chair—some stains that resisted other tested nozzles. On the strongest spray setting, the water shot out to 27 feet. Similar to other plastic nozzles tested, the Relaxed Gardener scuffed a little when dropped onto concrete from 4 feet. But you can feel confident that the manufacturer backs up its product with a lifetime warranty for product defects.
Price at time of publish: $25
Materials: Aluminum | Dimensions: 15.59 x 3.03 x 2.76 inches | Weight: 10.8 ounces
Aqua Joe AJHN102 Heavy Duty Indestructible Metal Multi Spray Adjustable Hose Nozzle
Included leak-preventing gasket
Seven spray patterns
Only a two-year warranty
Drips on spray selection
Our tester mistook this metal hose nozzle for plastic. Regardless, she reported, “it survived and worked great after dropping from 4 feet.” We were even more impressed that you didn’t have to be a circus strong man to handle this much durability since the Aqua Joe AJHN weighs barely more than a pound.
To switch between the seven settings, you rotate the rubberized selection wheel, which easily clicks into place. (However, we did notice some leaking as we selected the spray, which mirrors the experience seen in the product’s promotional videos.) But we were impressed by the quality of the spray patterns, from gentle and wide misting to concentrated jet, which effectively disposed of the mud on our test Adirondack chair. Changing the intensity was easy as well, with the fairly wide thumb throttle that gives this mid-priced nozzle true one-handed operation.
Price at time of publish: $24
Materials: Metal | Dimensions: 11 x 7 x 3 inches | Weight: 1.1 pounds
Orbit 10-Pattern Pattern Nozzle Set
Three nozzles in one package
Durable rubber-and-aluminum construction
Only one-year warranty
Three are usually better than one, so it’s nice to get three nozzles in one package. We found two of them—a 10-pattern nozzle and a 14-inch wand—very useful. The third is mostly a misting nozzle, duplicating the misting settings on the other two. Still, our tester appreciated the versatility of the first two. “Each setting on both is clearly labeled and easy to click to,” she said, “save for the misting nozzle, which seems to have one setting.” Still, she rated each very highly for ease of use. “They also all screw on very easily,'' she noted. She also appreciated the wand’s extended rubber grip, which made it easy to hold on to. One downside, however, is their disappointing lack of range; the spray of the misting nozzle failed to exceed 5 feet.
The wand includes an on-off stop cock; the others rely on rubberized circular flow controls above the thermo-plastic rubber trigger handles. We’ve noted that many of these can become harder to turn as the product ages. But we did like that the grips were modified rubber instead of cheaper plastic, making them easier to hold. The rest of the construction is aluminum, which proved extremely durable, as none suffered any damage from being dropped onto our concrete walkways. Even if you discount the misting nozzle, you’re still paying about $8 for each of them, which is an excellent value for a good-performing product.
Price at time of publish: $18
Materials: Aluminum and rubber | Dimensions: varies | Weight: varies
Gardena Multi Sprayer Premium
Unique pivoting head
Boost setting to amplify spray
Proprietary quick coupler
Scuffed when dropped
Sixty dollars seems awfully steep for a garden hose. But, says our tester, “There are enough special features that make this pick worth the price.” She particularly appreciated the pivoting head, which clicks into place — unique among all our tested models. “The handle rotates and pivots around the hose, so you don't need to readjust the hose as you turn,” she noted. And there’s more: A locking mechanism lets you keep the spray going without holding down the trigger, and a "boost" setting can make the spray more powerful. The nozzle also includes a quick-connect mount, but it connects only to a Gardena proprietary coupler such as found on the manufacturer’s hoses.
We measured a reliable 17-inch spray for all settings, which was more than enough to clean off our muddied Adirondack chair. But we were disappointed that the plastic product scuffed when we dropped it 4 feet onto concrete. You don’t need to treat this feature-rich nozzle with kid gloves, but it’s worth being careful with this significant investment.
Price at time of publish: $49
Materials: Plastic | Dimensions: 11.81 x 7.87 x 7.87 inches | Weight: 14.1 ounces
Best for Car Washing
Melnor Metal Rear Trigger Nozzle with QuickConnect Product Adapter Set
Effective for multiple uses
Powerful spray on all settings
Gentle, mist settings
Separate purchase for couplers
If vehicles became universally dirty, any hose would help clean each of them equally. But cars get gunked up differently, which is why some hoses wash cars better than others. This is one of them. “This product feels like a good option for people who wash their cars at home because the range of spray settings is good,” our tester reported. Or, she added, for kids to run through. She attributed this to the range of settings, all of which felt powerful. At close range, every setting got the dirt off our target chair easily; the strongest setting catapulted the spray a very workable 17.5 feet. We also appreciated the great misting and gentle settings as well.
We also like that this product includes a Melnor Quick Connect Product Adapter; unfortunately, you also need to separately purchase the manufacturer’s Product End Connector, which can run as high as $25. Also, we were dismayed when the nozzle was scuffed after we dropped it onto concrete from a 4-foot height. Still, our tester wasn’t deterred. “It feels like normal wear and tear and wouldn't hinder you from buying it,” she said. For at least three seasons, you can expect quality performance from this product from a well-known manufacturer of watering products.
Materials: Metal | Dimensions: 2.24 x 5.11 x 6.49 inches | Weight: 15.8 ounces
After vigorous testing, which included noting the ease of attaching to hoses, measuring the spray length, and even dropping each product onto concrete, our Best Overall pick is the Dramm 14506 Revolution 9-Pattern Spray Gun. Alternatively, the AUTOMAN Garden Hose Nozzle is a surprisingly feature-rich product for around $10.
How We Tested the Hose Nozzles
On the wide expanse of green that is the rooftop garden at The Lab in downtown Des Moines, Iowa, we evaluated a collection of 27 purchased nozzles. Besides testing for ease of use and grip, versatility, and durability, we also subjected them to abuse—probably much more than any homeowner would.
Right out of the packaging, we attached each to the end of a typical garden hose, noting whether the nozzle threaded easily without extra effort. Turning on the water, we aimed the spray into a bucket and evaluated the various settings, from jet to mist, and noted how easily we could switch from one setting to another. Neatness counted: We checked to see whether the water went where we told it to go and whether the settings were true or all wet.
Like baseball scouts evaluating pitchers, we then tested for power. Aiming the spray at a nearby and gunked-up Adirondack chair, we assayed how effectively the nozzle, whether single or multiple-setting type, enabled the spray to clean the chair. Then, testers moved back 40 feet from a tape-measure-wielding partner and let loose the spray on the nozzle’s highest pressure, measuring how far the spray traveled.
Finally, we simulated how well each nozzle stood up to the rigors of actual use. Each tester hauled their hose not too gently over rocks, through grass, and on concrete walkways. Finally, we dropped each onto the concrete from a height of 4 feet and repeated the other tests, noting how well each survived the fall.
What to Look For in a Hose Nozzle
Hose nozzles are usually made of metal, plastic, or a combination of the two. Metal is almost always more durable and will last longer than plastic. If you find an all-metal hose nozzle that works for you, it will likely be more expensive but will last through multiple seasons with proper storage and care. This saves you money in the long run and creates less waste. Our Best Overall, the Dramm 14506 Revolution 9-Pattern Spray Gun, is all metal and a little heavier than some nozzles but is built to withstand anything.
Many hose nozzles have metal interior parts and fittings, with plastic exterior parts to keep costs down. These can also have more comfort features, such as padded or textured grips. Many are still made very well and can last through multiple seasons. All-plastic hose nozzles tend to wear out the fastest and almost always need replacement each season. The only time we would recommend a plastic hose nozzle is if you intend to use it with small children. They may be tempted to swing around a hose with a heavy metal nozzle and inadvertently hit someone (or themselves).
Ergonomics and Comfort
Experienced gardeners spend a lot of time watering their plants, so a garden hose nozzle that is easy and comfortable to use is essential. Some features to look for that increase comfort include an ergonomically designed grip, which includes grooves for your hands and fingers to hold it in a natural grip. The comfortable ergonomic handle on the Dramm 14506 Revolution 9-Pattern Spray Gun contributed greatly to its selection as our Best Overall. Thumb controls are often more comfortable than traditional squeeze triggers, especially for prolonged use. We appreciated the Relaxed Gardener Watering Wand for its easy-to-maneuver thumb control as well as its extended reach. Fireman’s grips can also help, especially with high-pressure nozzles. Finally, a locking trigger can keep your hands from getting too fatigued during longer watering sessions. The AUTOMAN Garden Hose Nozzle, our Best Budget selection, proved you don't have to spend a lot of money to get this useful feature.
There are four main types of hose nozzles: pistol, dial, wand, and traditional nozzles. There is some overlap, especially between pistol and dial nozzles, since both can be adjustable. You can also look for a traditional hose nozzle, which attaches directly to the hose and is controlled at the hose valve.
Pistol nozzles, such as Best High-Pressure Gilmour Metal Pistol Nozzle with Threaded Tip, have a pistol-like grip that controls the water flow. Squeezing the grip releases more water, which then flows through the nozzle and creates whatever spray pattern you have chosen. Dial nozzles refer to any type of hose nozzle with an adjustable front dial. Many of our selections sport this feature, including our Best Durable, the Aqua Joe AJHN. This can control the spray pattern, allowing you many options to suit your watering needs.
Water wands often function similarly to dial nozzles, just with an extra few feet between you at the base and the water output at the top. They can also allow you to water directly at the base of your plants without climbing into your garden to do it. Our Best Wand selection, the Relaxed Gardener Watering Wand, is great for reaching overhead or hanging plants.
Traditional hose nozzles don’t have a lot of features, like adjustable spray patterns or ergonomic grips. But they are often made of all-metal, usually brass, and last for years with very little maintenance or care.
How do you remove a stuck hose nozzle?
Use pliers on the hose end and grip firmly but not so much as to crease or bend the hot metal hose fitting. Grip the nozzle with your free hand and twist. If the nozzle is still stuck, use a second pair of pliers on the nozzle, turning it counter-clockwise to loosen it.
How do you prevent a hose nozzle from getting stuck?
A nozzle can get stuck from dirt or debris, which you can prevent by keeping it clean. Another way the nozzle can get stuck is when the threads, either those on the nozzle or those on the hose fitting, are damaged. To prevent damage, make sure that you put on the nozzle correctly. If the nozzle threads are damaged, you need to replace the nozzle. If the hose threads are damaged, you might be able to fix them. Use a v-shaped, triangle slim taper file for metal to file out the broken part of the threads.
How do you clean a hose nozzle?
Clean both the inside of the nozzle, including the threads and the hose fitting. Light dirt can be simply rinsed off. To remove persistent dirt or debris, use a small firm brush or an old toothbrush to clear the threads.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written by Ira Lacher, Senior Editor for The Spruce Home, Garden, and Outdoor products. For expert advice, Ira consulted with Veronica Lorson Fowler, a Master Gardener based in Ames, Iowa, author and editor of several gardening books, and the former editor of Better Homes and Gardens’ "Flower Gardening" magazine.
Thanks mostly to his wife, Lisa, Ira’s home in Des Moines, Iowa, is a showcase for roses, marigolds, prairie grass, and alyssum, as well as four tomato plants, all requiring frequent watering, depending on the Hawkeye State’s mercurial summer weather. As a result, Ira is constantly seeking the best nozzles for his two garden hoses (one for the front yard and one for the back). Currently, he relies on a pair of 2-year-old Melnor 65020-AMZ metal nozzles, the direct ancestor of our Best for Car Washing pick.
What Is Spruce Approved?
Here at The Spruce, we want to ensure 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 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.