The Best Expandable Hoses of 2021

Simplify lawn care with a lightweight expandable hose that stretches far, shrinks quickly, and stores easily.

BobVila.com and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

The Best Expandable Hoses Options

Photo: Glenda Taylor

Expandable hoses make lawn and garden care a lot easier. When the water’s on, they stretch up to three times their original size, shrinking back down when the water is turned off. These self-draining, kink-, twist-, and tangle-resistant hoses weigh far less than their conventional counterparts and take up very little 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, while 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.

We wanted to know if these new space-saving hoses lived up to the hype, so we tested them. We didn’t pull any punches—we really put them through their paces. Read on to learn more about which ones we think are among the best expandable garden hoses on the market.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Aterod Expandable Garden Hose
  2. RUNNER UP: Delxo Expandable Garden Hose
  3. AFFORDABLE FAVORITE: Knoikos Expandable Garden Hose
  4. BEST WITH 4 LAYER CORE: TBI Pro Garden Hose
  5. BEST FOR COLD WEATHER: Flexi Hose with 8 Function Nozzle
  6. BEST FOR SMALL GARDENS: LOOHUU Expandable Garden Hose
  7. BEST LIGHTWEIGHT: TheFitLife Flexible and Expandable Garden Hose
  8. HONORABLE MENTION: HBlife 100ft Garden hose
The Best Expandable Hoses Options

Photo: Glenda Taylor

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Expandable Hose

Expandable hoses do all the jobs that conventional garden hoses do. They’re a great choice for homes where storage space is limited, tight spaces where other hoses kink and twist, and for anyone who is tired of lugging around heavy rubber hoses. The best expandable hose swells 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. Most of the hoses we tested came with multifunction spray nozzles, although virtually any spray nozzle will fit.

Material

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 its original size when not in use. Expandable hoses come in a couple of different core materials:

  • Latex: A natural rubber, latex is in 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: Tough, durable thermoplastic copolyester (TPC) typically is used for industrial tubing. This strong material comes at a premium.

For the most part, protective shells are made of nylon. 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, though 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 an additional 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

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, which can lead to leaks.

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 and 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. Longer hoses allow for increased mobility. Keep in mind that multilayered 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.

Nozzle

Most expandable hoses 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:

  • 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

Flow Rate

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 ⅝ inch 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 ¾-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.

Generally, expandable hoses are not as durable as standard garden hoses and won’t withstand as much internal water pressure. If your spigot’s water pressure is over 50 psi, consider attaching a flow reducer to keep the water from exerting too much pressure in the hose.

Our Top Picks

We tested numerous expandable hoses, basing our selection criteria on which hoses are currently among the most popular sellers. In order to earn a spot on the list, a hose had to be lightweight, strong, and durable. Plus, its fittings had to connect easily to nozzles and spigots without leaking. The following models excelled in our hands-on tests and are all top performers in their categories.

Best Overall

The Best Expandable Hose Option: Aterod Expandable Garden Hose
Photo: amazon.com

When we connected the 17-foot-long Aterod hose to the spigot and turned on the water, it expanded to just under 52 feet in length. Its solid brass fittings, which are designed to handle high water pressure up to 174 psi, didn’t leak at the nozzle or the spigot connections. The fittings themselves are attached to the hose ends with self-locking connectors for strength and to eliminate blowouts.

The hose didn’t seem to be negatively affected by spending a day and night outdoors, nor was it harmed when we backed over it with a vehicle.

An included nine-function nozzle offers the right spray pattern for watering the garden, washing the dog, or cleaning the windows. We were able to change the spray options simply by turning the yellow connector ring on the sprayer. The only drawback was the shell fabric, which may not withstand dragging across abrasive surfaces. However, when fully expanded, it was strong and rigid.

Product Specs

  • Weight: 2.79 pounds
  • Expanded length: 50-plus feet
  • Sprayer included: Yes

Pros

  • Durable polyester exterior casing
  • Self-locking connectors
  • No-leak brass fittings
  • Shut-off valve on male-end fitting

Cons

  • Initially difficult to untangle
  • Shut-off valve slightly stiff to turn


Runner Up

Photo: amazon.com

Right out of the package, the Delxo was impressive—even though this is a hose that reached 104 feet in length when fully expanded, it’s only 30 feet long in its resting state. Unlike some of the other hoses, the Delxo’s exterior fabric casing is smooth, which helps keep it from tangling.

When filled with water, its tough 3750D fabric shell was sleek and solid-feeling; if you didn’t know it was an expandable hose, you might mistake it for a standard one. The sleekness also makes the hose less likely to snag when pulling it along gravel or around a rough corner. It features a pliable double-latex core and handles up to 180 psi water pressure.

The nine-function nozzle includes spray patterns for all sorts of outdoor chores, but it’s a trigger-type sprayer—a thumb-control sprayer would have been a nice touch. Delxo’s complete kit includes a two-way metal splitter, a storage bag, leakproof tape, a hose clamp, and three spare rubber gaskets.

Product Specs

  • Weight: 5 pounds
  • Expanded length: 104 feet
  • Sprayer included: Yes

Pros

  • Smooth, durable fabric casing
  • Shut-off valve on male-end connector
  • Connectors didn’t leak

Cons

  • Trigger-type sprayer rather than thumb control


Affordable Favorite

The Best Expandable Hose Option: Knoikos Expandable Garden Hose
Photo: amazon.com

When filled with water, the Knoikos reaches a maximum length of about 48 feet—pretty close to its advertised 50 feet. Like the other hoses we tested, it features brass connectors and washers that keep the connectors from leaking. A tough triple-layer core made of 2-mm-thick latex and durable polyester fabric shell make for a dependable lawn and garden tool. It withstood being outdoors for 24 hours, and it didn’t appear to suffer from being backed over with the car. One brass connector was slightly scuffed when we banged it on the concrete patio, but it still connected and didn’t leak.

The nice thing about the 10-function nozzle is that it comes with a slip-resistant rubber grip handle, and we were able to turn the water on and off with a thumb control rather than a trigger grip.

All the nozzle functions worked well, with the exception of the “soaker” option, which seemed more like an uncoordinated trickle. Still, it’s a quality hose at an affordable price. The kit comes with a hose hanger, storage bag, and three spare sealing rings.

Product Specs

  • Weight: 3.16 pounds
  • Expanded length: About 48 feet
  • Sprayer included: Yes

Pros

  • Lower price than competitive models
  • Shut-off valve on male-end connector
  • Solid brass fittings that don’t leak

Cons

  • Slightly shorter than advertised when fully expanded.
  • “Soaker” option dribbles


Best with 4 Layer Core

The Best Expandable Hose Option: TBI Pro Garden Hose Expandable and Flexible
Photo: amazon.com

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.

The manufacturer suggests using at least 60 psi water pressure, but we found it worked well at just 45 psi. A nice feature is the rubber nonslip grips at both ends, which also offered a bit of protection when we banged the fittings on the concrete—a test that caused one washer to fly out. After replacing it, we reconnected the hose, and it didn’t leak.

When filled with water, the TBI hose reached just 50 feet, and it was not damaged by the car backing over it. All in all, this is a tough little hose that looks like it will last. The kit includes a storage box and additional rubber washers. Keep in mind that while the TBI hose is strong and durable, it doesn’t come with a sprayer.

Product Specs

  • Weight: 4.2 pounds
  • Expanded length: 50 feet
  • Sprayer included: No

Pros

  • Very tough fabric casing
  • Rubber nonslip grips
  • High-end brass connectors
  • Shut-off valve
  • Additional washers included

Cons

  • No sprayer included


Best for Cold Weather

The Best Expandable Hose Option: Flexi Hose with 8 Function Nozzle
Photo: amazon.com

It’s never a good idea to leave an expandable garden hose outdoors over winter, especially in harsh 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.

The Flexi Hose features solid brass fittings that connected snugly to the spigot and didn’t leak. Although the connection between the hose and the nozzle started out with a leak, it was quickly remedied by tightening the connection. When filled with water, it expanded to a maximum length of 50.5 feet.

The hose’s four-layer latex core is 10 millimeters thick, which the manufacturer claims gives it extra protection from cold temperatures. We only left the Flexi Hose outside for 24 hours—and it just happened to get rained on—but it didn’t seem the worse for it. It withstood a car driving over it and having its connectors banged on the concrete without even a scuff. Its eight-setting spray nozzle features an ergonomic, slip-resistant handle that’s especially nice, but the sprayer is slightly smaller than competing models.

Product Specs

  • Weight: 2.83 pounds
  • Expanded length: 50.5 feet
  • Sprayer included: Yes

Pros

  • Rubber, anti-slip sprayer grip
  • Detachable shut-off valve
  • Very lightweight

Cons

  • Fabric isn’t quite as dense as some
  • Noticed a fabric snag after use
  • Small-size sprayer


Best for Small Gardens

The Best Expandable Hose Option: LOOHUU Expandable Garden Hose
Photo: amazon.com

Small but mighty, the LOOHUU expandable garden hose extends to 26 feet when filled with water, which is plenty for petite yards, patios, and gardens. When not in use, it shrinks down to an easily manageable 8 feet.

We ran over the LOOHUU with a car, and it wasn’t fazed. We banged its brass connectors on the concrete and then attached them to the spigot—no scuffs and no leaks. Its three-layer latex core and sturdy shell make for a tough, dependable garden companion. The nozzle includes 10 spray functions, and all worked well except the “Mist” option, which was more of a stinging spray. The sprayer has a nice rubber selection ring that seems more durable than some of the plastic rings on competing models.

The only downside we noticed was that the rubber protectors that slip between the hose and the fittings aren’t securely attached—they can be slid out easily and don’t seem to add anything to the strength of the hose.

Product Specs

  • Weight: 1 pound
  • Expanded length: 26 feet
  • Sprayer included: Yes

Pros

  • Solid brass fittings
  • Removable shut-off valve
  • Nonslip grip on sprayer

Cons

  • “Mist” option is too powerful
  • Rubber end protectors loose


Best Lightweight

The Best Expandable Hose Option: TheFitLife Flexible and Expandable Garden Hose
Photo: amazon.com

Most expandable garden hoses weigh significantly less than traditional hoses, which helps make them so convenient. TheFitLife’s 25-foot, 1.8-pound garden hose offers an ultra-lightweight option. Fully retracted, it measures 9 feet for easy storage.

While form has nothing to do with function in this case, TheFitLife is visually stunning. It’s also strong—it withstood being backed over with a car, and its brass fittings were not damaged after being banged on the concrete. It’s a seriously durable hose, and it comes with a lovely eight-function sprayer that features a nonslip comfort grip and convenient thumb operation.

The hose looks and feels solid when fully filled with water—the fabric just seems to lock in place, making it among the most durable models we tested.

Product Specs

  • Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Expanded length: 25 feet
  • Sprayer included: Yes

Pros

  • Super lightweight
  • Thumb-controlled spray nozzle
  • Brass fittings

Cons

  • Shut-off valve has plastic handle instead of brass


Honorable Mention

The Best Expandable Hose Option: HBlife 100ft Garden Hose
Photo: amazon.com

Among the longer hose options we tested, the HBlife is a standout. It makes an all-around excellent expandable hose and arguably comes with the highest-quality sprayer of all. Made of rugged metal that will last for years, the spray nozzle will withstand serious wear and tear. The eight spray functions cover all types of watering chores, including gently misting seedlings, washing the car, or blasting mud off your boots. All spray options worked well.

The HBlife withstood having its connectors banged on the concrete, and backing over it with the car didn’t faze it. Its all-brass connections fit snugly, and we found no evidence of leaks. Additional replacement washers are included. Leaving it out in the elements for 24 hours didn’t appear to affect it, either.

This hose is lightweight, flexible, and kink-free. It’s rugged, and its casing forms a robust protective cover that mimics a standard hose when filled with water.

Product Specs

  • Weight: 5 pounds
  • Expanded length: 106 feet
  • Sprayer included: Yes

Pros

  • High-end metal sprayer
  • Detachable shut-off valve
  • Tough, all-brass fittings

Cons

  • Rubber hose-end protectors can be pulled out of fittings


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. 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.

Our Verdict

We were impressed with the quality of the expandable hoses we tested. Our top two recommendations are the Aterod Expandable Garden Hose, which takes the top spot in the lineup, and the Delxo Expandable Garden Hose

. After having had less than satisfactory experiences with expandable hoses years ago, seeing how much they’ve improved was impressive. Older models tended to be on the weak side, and you never really knew if a tug would cause the inner core to break. The hoses in our lineup all passed our stringent quality tests, and each would be well suited to a residential situation.

How We Tested the Best Expandable Hoses

We put these hoses through the ringer, and we didn’t play favorites. Each hose had a sprayer attached so we could test each of their spray options, noting whether the spray was uniform or whether the connections leaked. After varying the water pressure with each hose, we found that they all work best with a water pressure of at least 40 psi.

All hoses were left out in the elements for 24 hours, and we backed over each one of them with a car. To ensure that the fittings were strong, we banged them on the concrete, then reconnected the hoses and checked for leaks, which would indicate that the fitting had changed shape.

In addition, we noted how comfortable the sprayers fit in our hands and how easy the hose was to pull around the yard.

FAQs

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 careful not to drag the hose against rough surfaces or drive over the hose, as this can puncture or decrease its lifespan.

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.