Expandable hoses make lawn and garden care a whole lot easier. When the water’s on, they stretch up to three times their original size and shrink back down when the water goes off. These self-draining, kink-, twist-, and tangle-resistant hoses weigh far less than their conventional counterparts and take up very little storage space.
The key to their innovative design is two separate parts: a protective outer shell and a stretchy core. The shell creates a rigid wall around the hose when the water is on and protects the core from punctures and abrasion. The inner core operates much like a balloon by stretching up to three times its resting length. Turn the water off, and the hose returns to its original size and shape, emptying itself as it deflates.
Expandable hoses do all the jobs that conventional garden hoses do. They’re a great choice for homes where storage space is limited, for tight spaces where other hoses kink and twist, and for anyone who is tired of lugging around heavy rubber hoses. Read on to learn more about garden hoses and why the following options rank as some of the best expandable garden hoses on the market.
- BEST OVERALL: Aterod Expandable Garden Hose
- BEST BUDGET: Knoikos Expandable Garden Hose
- UPGRADE PICK: Delxo 2020 Upgrade100FT Expandable Garden Hose
- BEST WITH BRASS FITTINGS: GrowGreen Heavy Duty Expandable Garden Hose
- BEST WITH 4-LAYER CORE: TBI Pro Garden Hose Expandable and Flexible
- BEST FOR COLD WEATHER: Flexi Hose with 8 Function Nozzle
- BEST FOR SMALL GARDENS: LOOHUU Expandable Garden Hose
- BEST LIGHTWEIGHT: TheFitLife Flexible and Expandable Garden Hose
- HONORABLE MENTION: HBlife 100ft Garden Hose
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Expandable Hose
The best expandable hose expands and contracts under moderate water pressure, drains itself, and resists wear and tear thanks to its lightweight, kink-free outer shell. The quality of these products varies based on materials, hose fittings, length, weight, and spray nozzles.
Quality hose materials can make the difference between a long-lasting expandable hose and one that’s dead in the water. The exterior of the hose, which protects the core from damage, should be tough enough to resist abrasion and punctures; it also needs to dry quickly to resist mildew.
The core must be extremely pliable and resilient to easily expand to full length under pressure and shrink back to original size when not in use. Expandable hoses come in a couple of different core materials:
- Latex Core: A natural rubber, latex comprises rubber gloves, balloons, and many other common rubber items. Most manufacturers use this material for the core of an expandable hose. A rubber hose typically features a double-layer latex core, though some manufacturers offer triple- and quadruple-layer cores.
- TPC Core: Tough, durable thermoplastic copolyester (TPC) typically comprises industrial tubing. This strong material comes at a premium.
Nylon typically forms the protective shell of most expandable hoses. Rugged and mold- and mildew- resistant, it stands up to the rigors of lawn and garden care.
Number of Cores
The core of the best expandable hose is both stretchable and strong. Though the shell protects the core, the grit that works its way through the shell over time still threatens the core with puncture and abrasion. For this reason, most hoses feature at least a double-layer core. Some have as many as four layers.
Extra layers, however, add extra resistance. A thicker core requires greater water pressure to expand to full length. Too little water pressure means, for instance, that a 30-foot hose may only expand to 25 feet.
A more resistant core also absorbs some of the water pressure from the spigot in order to stretch it out, which may lead to a noticeable reduction in the pressure coming out of the hose. For overall performance, especially where water pressure is concerned, added layers don’t necessarily make for the best expandable hose.
Hose fittings, which connect the hose to the water supply and to the spray nozzle, may come in brass or plastic. Plastic fittings are inexpensive and often durable, but they tend to become cross-threaded after repeated use on metal water outlets. This type of damage may lead to leaks at the water outlet.
Solid brass connectors hold up much better through repeated threading and unthreading to the water supply and nozzle. Some expandable hoses also come with a quick-connect fitting, which allows the user to attach the hose to the water supply without threading. Quick-connect couplers are also available separately.
Hose Length & Weight
The length listed on the manufacturer’s packaging corresponds to the length of the fully extended hose. A 50-foot expandable hose, for example, may only extend 17 feet without water pressure. A longer hose allows for increased mobility around the yard or garden. Keep in mind that multi-layered cores and weak water pressure can shorten the actual operational length of the hose, so it doesn’t hurt to buy the next size up.
Weight is almost a non-factor with expandable hoses. They weigh between 1.5 and 3 pounds, or about one-fifth that of a conventional hose. Fixtures and nozzles play the biggest part in the weight of the hose. Brass fixtures and nozzles are heavier (and more durable) than plastic.
Most expandable hoses, but not all, come with either plastic or metal nozzles. The nozzles have different spray patterns for different uses. Some of the best hose nozzles include a dial for switching between different spray patterns — from a gentle mist perfect for watering seeds to a high-pressure jet stream that can rinse caked mud off the sidewalk.
In addition to mist and jet, these nozzles often have several other patterns, including the following:
- Shower – designed for watering the garden and individual planters.
- Flat – designed for fragile plants and young seedlings.
- Cone – designed for greater coverage, like watering the lawn before a fertilizer application.
- Soak – designed for watering large trees and shrubs.
An expandable garden hose’s flow rate depends on your home’s water pressure as well as the hose’s dimensions. The standard water pressure in American homes runs between 40 and 60 PSI (pounds per square inch). Longer hoses have lower flow rates, while a wide diameter increases that rate.
A standard garden hose measures 5/8-inches in diameter, which results in a 17-gallon per minute flow rate on a spigot with a standard water pressure of 40 PSI. A thicker hose with a 3/4-inch diameter, however, pushes out up to 23 gallons per minute. Since some homes have high water pressure, garden hose specs typically include a rating for how much pressure they can handle without causing a blowout.
Our Top Picks
The following expandable hoses, from the most reputable manufacturers, deliver on quality, durability, performance, and overall customer satisfaction.
A 50-foot hose that shrinks down to only 17 feet when not in use, this heavy-duty tool features a flexible but strong double-layer latex core. Solid brass fittings handle high water pressure up to 174 PSI without the threat of blowouts. They attach to the hose ends with self-locking connectors that eliminate leaks.
An included nine-function nozzle offers the right spray pattern for watering the garden, washing the dog, or cleaning the windows. The only drawback, the shell fabric may not withstand dragging across concrete, gravel, and other abrasive surfaces.
Knoikos’ 50-foot hose quickly drains as it retracts to its resting 17-foot length. A tough triple-layer core made of 2mm-thick latex and durable polyester fabric shell make for a dependable lawn and garden tool. A thumb-controlled, ten-function nozzle with slip-resistant rubber grip handles all watering tasks.
Gardeners can control water flow without holding down a trigger to avoid hand fatigue. Solid ¾-inch brass connectors with rubber washers resist corrosion and prevent leaks. The kit comes complete with a hose hanger, storage bag, and three spare sealing rings.
For lawn and garden chores that cover a lot of ground, the lightweight, flexible Delxo hose extends up to 100 feet and returns to its original compact 30-foot size for easy, kink-free storage when not in use. Featuring a tough 3750D fabric shell and a pliable double-latex core, this hose handles water pressures of up to 180 psi—higher than standard residential water pressure.
The nine-function nozzle includes spray patterns for all sorts of outdoor chores. Delxo’s full kit includes a metal two-way splitter, a storage bag, leak-proof tape, a hose clamp, and three spare rubber gaskets.
Keep it simple with this rugged hose complete with tough brass fittings and free of bells and whistles. Its brass fittings connect to brass spigots without cross-threading or leaks. A heavy-duty brass shutoff valve at the outlet end allows for a quick change from a nozzle to a lawn sprinkler or other attachment.
The hose expands up to three times its size when the water is on, then drains itself as it returns to storage size when not in use. It will never tangle, twist, or kink, and conveniently stores away in the included heavy-duty storage sack or on a shelf or in a drawer.
While this hose shares the same high-grade shell fabric and brass fittings as many others in this lineup, its thick four-layer latex core sets it apart. It doubles the industry standard for thickness, which gives this hose double the wall strength of most expandable hoses. That makes for an extra-tough hose, but it also requires a minimum of 60 psi of water pressure. Remarkably, the increased core thickness adds virtually no weight to the TBI Pro Garden Hose.
For gardeners who have the water pressure, this fantastic expandable garden hose reaches from 17 to 50 feet. The kit includes a storage box and additional rubber washers but does not include a spray nozzle.
It’s never a good idea to leave an expandable garden hose outdoors over winter in harsh weather conditions. But, some gardeners may still want a hose for outdoor chores in colder weather. Those living in areas where temperatures frequently come close to freezing should consider a garden hose made with brass fittings, which are more durable than their plastic counterparts.
This option from Flexi Hose features solid brass connectors as well 3/4-inch fittings and a 4-layer latex core. The core is 10-millimeters thick, which provides extra protection from cold temperatures. It comes in a range of colors and 3 lengths: 25, 50 and 100 feet. An 8-setting nozzle features an ergonomic, slip-resistant handle for a comfortable user experience.
Those with smaller gardens don’t need a 100-foot expandable garden hose and may not have anywhere to store it in the off-season. LOOHUU’s expandable garden hose extends 25 feet, which is plenty for petite yards, patios, and gardens. When not in use, it shrinks down to a manageable 8 feet.
This model works well through all four seasons as it tolerates temperatures between -4 and 122 degrees. A 3-layer latex core and sturdy shell make for a tough, dependable garden companion. The nozzle includes 10 spray functions, a 3/4-inch connector and brass fittings.
Most expandable garden hoses weigh significantly less than traditional hoses, which helps make them so convenient. FitLife’s 25-foot, 1.8-pound garden hose offers an ultra-lightweight option. Fully retracted, it measures 9 feet for easy storage in a drawer or on a shelf.
Its 13-layer latex core and brass fittings provide serious durability. The 3/4-inch diameter accommodates water pressures up to 145 PSI. Available in 50-, 100-, and 150-foot models, the longer options weigh more.
HBlife makes an all-around excellent expandable hose, so the included high-quality, eight-function metal nozzle puts the icing on the cake. Made of rugged metal that will last for years, the nozzle will stand up to serious wear and tear. The eight functions cover all types of watering chores, including gently misting seedlings, washing the car, or blasting mud off your boots.
Included replacement washers stop leaks at the couplings if they should arise. HBlife’s garden hose expands from 33.5 to 100 feet as soon as the water comes on and drains just as quickly as it returns to storage size. Lightweight, flexible, and kink-free, this rugged hose stores easily.
The Advantages of an Expandable Hose
Expandable garden hoses have become enormously popular over the past few years, thanks to advances in materials and technology that make them today’s smart garden solution. They bring several distinct advantages to the lawn and garden.
- Expandable hoses weigh almost nothing, which makes use and transport easy.
- Expandable hoses self-drain and shrink to about a third of their full length for easy storage.
- Expandable hoses don’t kink, twist, or tangle while in use, the way conventional hoses tend to do.
FAQs About Your New Expandable Hose
Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions for care and use of a new expandable hose. Doing so will ensure many seasons of easy watering. Below are answers to some common questions about expandable garden hoses.
Q. How do you use an expandable garden hose?
Attach the hose, with nozzle already in place, to the water supply. Turn on the water to full pressure or use a hose timer. Be cautious not to drag the hose against rough surfaces like concrete or thorny plants, or drive over the hose, as this can puncture or decrease the lifespan of the hose.
Q. How do you repair an expandable hose?
To repair an expandable hose, cut cleanly through the hose at the site of the leak, and use a hose repair kit to reconnect the cut ends.
Q. What’s the best way to store an expandable hose?
When the expandable hose is not in use, turn off the water supply, disconnect the hose, and allow it to self drain. Then store the hose out of extreme temperatures and direct sunlight. Most expandable hoses come with either a hook for hanging or a carrying bag.
Expandable garden hoses are a useful addition to any home gardener’s arsenal because they’re lightweight, easy to use, and won’t kink or tangle. When choosing an expandable garden hose, consider your budget, the size of your yard, and your home’s water pressure. Before making a purchase, be sure to take note of the construction materials of both the hose and the fittings, as well as the length, number of core layers, and nozzle settings. After reading this guide, you should feel equipped with the necessary information to choose the best expandable garden hose for your home.