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The 7 Best Expandable Garden Hoses

Updated

With summer just around the corner, it was the perfect time for us to test expandable garden hoses. There are many to choose from, but we determined that Joey’s Garden Expandable Garden Hose was the best of the lot. Its brass connectors are solid and weighty, and its neon-green elastic fabric with a double inner latex core is lightweight and kink-free. Another great choice is The FitLife Flexible Hose, which also has solid brass fittings and a triple latex core that ensures durability and longevity.

Our Top Choices

Best Overall


Joey's Garden

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Also Great


The FitLife Flexible Hose

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With summer just around the corner, it was the perfect time for us to test expandable garden hoses. There are many to choose from, but we determined that Joey’s Garden Expandable Garden Hose was the best of the lot. Its brass connectors are solid and weighty, and its neon-green elastic fabric with a double inner latex core is lightweight and kink-free. Another great choice is The FitLife Flexible Hose, which also has solid brass fittings and a triple latex core that ensures durability and longevity.

Outdoor watering cans are compact and great when you have just a few pots to water, but what if you want more water volume without having a huge garden hose? Over the years, we’ve tested many garden hose nozzles and other hose types before on our garden hose review, which included flexible steel hoses, heavy duty rubber hoses, and other materials. While there were some very compact options with flexible steel hoses, we were interested in just how compact and flexible expandable hoses could get, so we put the most popular expandable garden hoses we could find to the test watering our garden.

The 7 expandable garden hoses we tested

ProductPriceQuality of Brass FittingsEase of StorageLengthsOverall Performance
Joey's Garden$$★★★★★★★★★★25', 50', 75', 100'★★★★★
The FitLife$$$★★★★★★★★★★25', 50', 75', 100'★★★★★
Flexi Hose$$$$★★★★★★★★★★25', 50', 75', 100', 125'★★★★
Gardguard$$$★★★★★★★25', 50', 100'★★★★
WhimsWit$$★★★★★★★25', 50', 100'★★★★
Aterod$$$★★★★★★★15', 25', 50', 100', 125'★★★★
Silver Bullet$$$N/A25', 50', 75', 100'★★

Important features to consider

It can get downright mind-boggling to find an expandable garden hose that’s right for your gardening needs. A simple search pulls up hundreds of expandable hoses, and many — if not most — are identical.

The first expandable garden hose was purportedly invented by Michael Berardi, who took out patents in 2011 and 2012 for his “XHose” before selling them on TV in a series of home-shot infomercials. Lawsuits followed from several other “inventors,” which set off a storm of copycat hoses made in China. The XHose was upgraded to the XHose Pro, and it too was ripped off by no-name brands.

When we were deciding which expandable hoses to test, we went with the most popular ones that get the highest ratings. The only difference between four of the seven hoses we tested was the color, and they each looked like they had been made by the same manufacturer who includes the same set of instructions. During our testing, our two top picks stood out as quality hoses that had great features you should look for when shopping.

Solid brass fittings

Almost all of the seven hoses we tested claimed to have solid brass fittings. They certainly looked like brass, but most were clearly of poor quality and cheaply made. Three hoses — Joey’s Garden, The FitLife, and Flexi Hose — had brass fittings that were weighty and substantial and made from high-quality brass. If you’re shopping for a hose in person, you can definitely tell the difference between the real thing and a rip-off by holding the fittings in your hand.

Material

An expandable hose’s outer material is usually made of an extremely flexible and tough polyester fabric, called Dacron 3750D. It’s firmer and denser than other materials and protects the hose’s inner latex core. When fully expanded the Dacron 3750D is smooth and solid.

Inner core

An expandable hose generally has at least two inner cores made from latex. Although the exterior fabric protects the core from puncture, the core can still get abraded over rough terrain. A second or third inner latex core prevents leakage should the first layer fail. However, too many inner cores require more water pressure to fully expand the hose, so look for an expandable hose that has no more than four inner latex cores.

Length

We tested hoses that were 50 feet in length, but expandable hoses are also available in 25, 75, and 100 feet. Remember that the listed length is how long the hose will be when it’s fully expanded by water pressure. Lower water pressure can affect the hose’s length, so it’s a good idea to buy an expandable hose at the next length up.

Compact and lightweight

Probably the most attractive feature about an expandable hose is that when it’s not full, it’s very lightweight and compact. A 50-foot hose shrinks down to 17 feet when emptied and can be coiled up and hung on a rack or reeled onto a hose reel in a minute or two. Remember, though, that when you plan to water your lawn or garden, before turning on the water, uncoil the hose to its full length away from young or delicate plants, or they could get damaged when the hose rapidly expands.

Nozzle

Almost all expandable hoses come with a nozzle that has multiple spray patterns. The nozzle is a nice add-on, but it is prone to calcification and rust over time.

Our findings

For the home gardener, an expandable garden hose is a must-have to keep lawns and gardens green and vibrant, especially during the hot summer months. The better quality hoses are durable, leak-free, and easy to store in a compact area.

Our top choice is Joey’s Garden expandable hose, which has high-quality, solid brass fittings, a powerful jet stream, and its cheerful color would be welcome in any garden. A close runner-up is The FitLife flexible hose, another well-made, slightly more expensive expandable hose with premium brass fittings and a thumb-control nozzle.

1

Joey's Garden Expandable Hose

Joey's Expandable Garden Hose

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Right out of the box, you can tell that Joey’s Garden expandable hose is a quality product. Starting out with the brass fittings, which are solid and well-made with high-quality brass. The 3/4″ fittings connect easily and securely to the outdoor water faucet and the included spray nozzle. The brass fitting that’s attached to the nozzle has a black level for controlling water flow and for emergency shut-off if needed. The nozzle is about one-third smaller than the nozzles of the other hoses we tested, but it still had a powerful spray jet that reached the street side of the sidewalk about 20 feet away.

The hose weighs 3 pounds unfilled and is made of a double core of latex, surrounded by stretchy Dacron 3750D fabric, both of which have been designed and tested for endurance. When filled with water, the hose rapidly expands to three times its size and stiffens so it’s nearly as solid — but not as heavy — as a regular garden hose, which can make maneuvering around hedges and shrubs a challenge. When water flow is turned off, and the hose is emptied of residual water, the hose is flexible and collapsed enough to be coiled around your hand, like a very friendly garter snake. The Joey’s Garden expandable hose is definitely a quality product and stands out as the best of the seven hoses we tested.


2

The FitLife Flexible Hose

Fitlife flexible garden hose

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When fully expanded, The FitLife hose feels as smooth and solid as a traditional rubber hose but at half the weight. This was definitely the sturdiest hose that we tested. Like the Joey’s Garden hose, The FitLife has solid, premium brass fittings that easily attached to the spigot, and the connection proved to be leak-free. It has a triple inner latex core, wrapped in tightly interwoven 3750D fabric that serves as a tough barrier against rocks, thorns, and sharp corners. The FitLife weighs 2.7 pounds, and like the Joey’s Garden hose, it expands to three times its size when filled. Again, maneuverability around the garden was somewhat limited when the hose was completely filled.

The smallish 8-spray-pattern nozzle that comes with The FitLife doesn’t seem to be as well-made as the hose itself. But it does have a rubberized grip and a unique feature that took some getting accustomed to, which we ended up liking. The nozzle doesn’t have a squeeze trigger like most nozzles but instead has an ergonomically placed lever on top for shutting the water flow on or off with your thumb. When the hose was emptied and shrunk, we wrapped The FitLife hose around our hand and stored it away in a small space. Another great choice for an expandable hose, The FitLife hose is available in 25′, 50′, 75′, and 100′.


3

Flexi Hose

Flexi Hose

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The Flexi Hose was the most expensive hose we tested, but we rated it one step down from Joey’s Garden and The FitLife hoses because of its small cheap nozzle. However, it does have high-quality, solid brass fittings that didn’t leak while watering the lawn. The Flexi Hose has four latex inner cores, which may need increased water pressure to work properly. As with other hoses, the core is protected by an outer layer of 3750D fabric to prevent abrasions and punctures.

The Flexi Hose was designed to withstand hot outdoor temperatures up to 113F, so it should be stored in the garage or a shaded area to prevent the sun from destroying the outer fabric’s integrity. The Flexi Hose is available in 25′, 50′, 75′, 100′, and 150′. The 25′ hose is available in black, bright blue, brick red, and grass green.


4

Gardguard

Gardguard expandable garden hose

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The Gardguard flexible hose is made from cheaper materials and isn’t of the same quality as the top three on our list. The GardGard’s outer fabric is 3300D, a lesser-grade fabric, reinforced with glass, that isn’t as durable as 3750D. Another clue that this is a bargain-basement variety is the brass fittings, which are certainly made of brass but are half the weight and thickness of better-quality hoses. Attaching the brass connector to the spigot was a bit tricky since its threading didn’t seem to fit. But after two tries we succeeded, and when fully expanded to 50′, the hose showed no signs of leakage.

The bonus for the Gardguard is that it had a decent nozzle with 10 spray functions and a thumb control lever, and it shot out a gushing jet spray. The Gardguard hose is available in 25′, 50′, and 100′, and the nozzles come in either blue or yellow. The Gardguard hose comes with a plastic hose holder and storage bag for outdoor storage or for storing in the garage.


5

WhimsWit

Whimswit flexible hose

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Laughably marketed as a 5-in-1 hose, the WhimsWit flexible hose is basically the same as the Gardguard hose; in fact, it has an identical instruction manual. It has a three-layer latex interior that’s wrapped in 5750D material and has lightweight, cheaply made brass fittings. However, that said, we had no trouble attaching the fitting to the spigot, and the connection was secure.

If you’re wondering what makes the WhimsWit hose 5-in-1, the company is actually counting the number of pieces that are included: the hose itself, the trigger nozzle, a storage bag, a hose rack, and — incredibly — the three replaceable rubber gaskets. The best that can be said is that the 50′ hose is less than 30 bucks. The WhimsWit is available in 25′ 50′, and 100′ lengths in blue or orange.


6

Aterod

Aterod garden hose

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It’s obvious that the Aterod expandable hose is made by the same Chinese manufacturer of the WhimsWit hose but has been rebranded under a different name. (We now have three of the same instruction manuals in our kitchen drawer.) The Aterod is identical to WhimsWit in every way, but it’s not marketed as 5-in-1.

The Aterod comes in a few more sizes — 15′, 25′ 50′, 100′, and 125′ and in different colors, yellow, blue, and green. The Aterod costs slightly more, but when deciding whether to buy this hose or the WhimsWit, just flip a coin.


7

Silver Bullet

Silver Bullet garden hose

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The double-trademarked Original Pocket Hose Silver Bullet proved to be more of a hassle than what it was worth. The company is very cagy about the hose’s materials, and the best we were able to find is that the casing is a double-braided fiberglass fabric. Despite the Silver Bullet’s rather questionable popularity, there are thousands of complaints that after a short time, the Silver Bullet bursts a leak.

The Silver Bullet is similar to the original XHose, which also had an accordion-like outer material that expands when full. When the Silver Bullet is emptied, however, the fabric doesn’t shrink tight enough, which made it impossible to coil the hose as compactly as the other hoses on our list. The Silver Bullet’s manufacturer claims that the hose’s aluminum fittings make it safe to drink from, but in the small print, it’s stated not to do so because of possible bacterial buildup.Read more…

The fittings are encased in a 4″ long plastic case, which made twisting them onto the faucet a laborious process. Another weird and outdated “feature” is the Silver Bullet’s turbo-jet nozzle that you need to twist to get a jet stream or a spray, just like the hose your dad or granddad had. Fortunately, this nozzle is removable and can be replaced with a more modern nozzle.


Gene Gerrard, Writer

Gene Gerrard was recently voted as one of the top five personal chefs in Los Angeles. He created About.com's Meat and Wild Game Cooking website and published hundreds of recipes, interviews, cookbook reviews and blog posts about food trends. Gene is also a professional magician, and when he's not writing for Your Best Digs, he's performing at the World Famous Magic Castle in Hollywood.

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