The Best Expandable Hoses for Your Garden
Simplify your watering chores with a lightweight expandable hose that will stretch impressively, shrink quickly, and store easily.
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- BEST OVERALLAterod Expandable Garden HoseCheck Latest Price
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCKKnoikos Expandable Garden HoseCheck Latest Price
- UPGRADE PICKDelxo 2020 Upgrade100FT Expandable Garden HoseCheck Latest Price
Expandable hoses—that stretch up to three times in length when water is turned on, and return to their original size when they’re turned off—make lawn and garden care a whole lot easier. 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 protects the core from punctures and abrasion and gives it a rigid wall when the water is turned on. The inner core operates much like a balloon by stretching up to three times its resting length when the water is pressurized. Turn the water off, and the hose returns to its original size and shape, emptying itself as it deflates.
The best expandable hose options on the market do all the jobs that conventional garden hoses do. They’re the ideal choice when storage space is limited, for tight spaces where other hoses kink and twist, and for gardeners tired of lugging around heavy rubber hoses. Read on to learn more about expandable hoses and why the following options rank highly.
- BEST OVERALL: Aterod Expandable Garden Hose
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: 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 NOZZLE: HBlife 100ft Garden Hose
What to Consider When Buying the Best Expandable Hose
Because the technology that allows for expandable hoses is still fairly new, brand reputations are not yet well established, so when shopping for one it’s important to study product specifications. The best expandable hoses expand and contract under moderate water pressure and resist wear and tear while living up to the promises of being lightweight, self-draining, and kink-free. The quality of these products varies based on materials, hose fittings, hose length and weight, and nozzles.
Quality material can make the difference between an expandable hose lasting for a few waterings or several years. The exterior of the hose, which protects the core from damage, should be tough enough to resist abrasions 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.
- Latex Core: Latex is the natural rubber material that has been traditionally used in rubber gloves and balloons for a long time. It is also the most frequently used material in expandable hose cores. The standard for performance and economy is a double-layer latex core, though some manufacturers offer triple- and quadruple-layer cores.
- TPC Core: Thermoplastic copolyester (TPC) is a tough, durable material that is used to make industrial tubing. It is quite strong—and pretty expensive.
- Nylon Shell: Nylon is the go-to material to protect the core from abrasion and punctures, and to provide a rigid wall to the fully expanded hose. It’s rugged and mold- and mildew-resistant.
Number of Cores
The core of the expandable hose must be both stretchy and strong. Although protected by the shell, it’s still susceptible to abrasion or puncture by the grit that works its way through the shell over time. Most hoses feature at least a double-layer core and some have as many as four layers.
Extra layers, however, also mean added resistance. Thicker cores require greater water pressure to expand to full length. If there’s not enough water pressure, a 50-foot hose may only expand to 42 feet, for instance. There may also be a noticeable decrease in the water pressure coming out of the hose, as some of the pressure is absorbed into the stretchy material. 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 nozzle, may be made of either brass or plastic. Plastic is inexpensive and can be durable, but tends to become cross-threaded after repeated use on metal water outlets. When the threads become damaged in this way, leaks are likely to develop at the water outlet. The best quality hoses are made with brass fittings because they hold up much better through repeated threading and unthreading to the water supply and nozzle.
Some expandable hoses come with a quick-connect fitting. This type of fitting allows the user to attach the hose to the water supply without threading. It’s a nice feature, but all else being equal, go for the better hose. You can always purchase a quick-connect coupler separately.
Hose Length and Weight
Expandable hoses are labeled and sold according to their expanded size. A 50-foot expandable hose may only be 17 feet long without water pressure. Keep in mind that multiple 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. After all, a 75-foot expandable hose with no water in it is still smaller, lighter, and easier to store than a 50-foot conventional hose.
Weight is almost a non-factor with expandable hoses. Total weight will be between 1.5 and 3 pounds, or about one-fifth that of a conventional hose. The two greatest contributors to weight are fixtures and nozzles. Brass fixtures and nozzles are heavier (and more durable) than plastic.
Most expandable hoses, but not all, are sold with either plastic or metal nozzles. The nozzles have different spray patterns for different uses. A quality nozzle may or may not indicate the overall quality of the total product, so don’t let a nice nozzle lead you to purchase a mediocre hose. Concentrate on hose material and number of cores, and let the nozzle be the icing on the cake.
Our Top Picks
Ahead, some of the best expandable hoses from the most experienced manufacturers stand up in terms of quality, durability, performance, and overall customer satisfaction.
1. BEST OVERALL: Aterod Expandable Garden Hose
A 50-foot hose that shrinks down to only 17 feet when not in use, this heavy-duty hose features a double-layer latex core for durability and flexibility. Solid brass fittings handle high water pressure, up to 174 pounds per square inch (psi)—no blowouts to worry about—and the fittings are attached to the hose ends with self-locking connectors that eliminate leaks. Whether you’re watering the garden, washing the dog, or cleaning the windows, the included nine-function spray nozzle will help you tackle the job with ease. The shell fabric on the Alterod Expandable Garden Hose is not the most durable, however, so avoid dragging it across concrete, gravel, and other surfaces that could cause abrasion.
2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Knoikos Expandable Garden Hose 50ft
You will get your money’s worth from this value pick, which expands from 17 feet to 50 feet while in use, and quickly drains as it returns to original size. This hose features a tough double-layer latex core and a durable polyester fabric shell for dependable use. The thumb-controlled, 10-function nozzle handles all watering tasks, and the solid ¾-inch brass connectors resist corrosion and prevent leaks. The kit comes complete with a hose hanger, storage bag, and three spare O rings.
3. UPGRADE PICK: Delxo 2020 Upgrade100FT Expandable Garden Hose
If your gardening needs go long, the lightweight, flexible Delxo Expandable Garden Hose expands from 33 feet to 100 feet and returns to its original compact size when not in use. Featuring a tough 3750D fabric shell and a pliable double-latex core, this hose handles water pressure up to 180 psi—higher than standard residential water pressure. It comes with a metal two-way splitter, nine-function nozzle, storage bag, and O rings.
4. BEST WITH BRASS FITTINGS: GrowGreen Heavy Duty Expandable Garden Hose
If you want to keep it simple, this rugged hose with brass fittings is your best bet. Brass fittings are superior for connecting to brass water supply spigots, without cross-threading or leaking. Plus, the heavy-duty brass shutoff valve at the outlet end allows for a quick change from a nozzle to a lawn sprinkler or other watering implements. The hose expands up to three times its size when water is turned 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.
5. BEST WITH 4-LAYER CORE: TBI Pro Garden Hose Expandable and Flexible
While this hose shares the same high-grade shell fabric and brass fittings as the others in this lineup, its thick four-layer latex core sets it apart. It’s twice the industry standard thickness, giving this hose double the wall strength of most expandable hoses, but requiring water pressure of 60 psi, minimum. Remarkably, the increased core thickness adds virtually no weight to the TBI Pro Garden Hose. If you’ve got the water pressure, this is a fantastic expandable garden hose that will easily store away when not in use (nozzle sold separately).
6. BEST NOZZLE: HBlife 100ft Garden Hose
The HBlife 100 Foot Garden Hose is an excellent expandable hose all around, so the included high-quality, the eight-function metal nozzle is a major bonus. The nozzle is made of rugged metal that will last for years and has all of the functions you could ever want, whether you’re gently misting seedlings, washing the car, or blasting mud off your boots. Plus, the included replacement O rings will stop leaks at the couplings if they should arise. The HBlife 100 Foot Garden Hose expands from 33.5 feet to 100 feet as soon as the water is turned on and drains just as quickly as it returns to storage size. It is lightweight, flexible, kink-free, and stores easily.
The Advantages of Owning an Expandable Hose
Expandable 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. There are several distinct advantages to owning an expandable hose.
- Expandable hoses weigh almost nothing, so toting and using them is easy.
- Expandable hoses self-drain and shrink to about a third of their full-length size to store out of sight.
- 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 these new gardening essentials.
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. 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 storage bag.