Using your thumb to adjust the water flow on your hose isn’t the most effective way to water plants. A hose nozzle gives you much better control and helps prevents overwatering. However, with so many options out there, it can difficult to decide which hose nozzle to choose.
Perhaps the single most important criteria for selecting a nozzle is how you plan to use it. For example, a high-pressure nozzle that’s great for washing siding won’t serve you very well in the garden. Below, check out our top tips for choosing the best hose nozzle and learn why the below rank at the top of our recommendation list.
- BEST ALL AROUND: Dramm Heavy-Duty Brass Adjustable Hose Nozzle
- BEST DESIGN: Dramm Revolution 9-Pattern Spray Gun
- BEST VALUE: Gilmour Full Size Zinc Pistol Grip Nozzle
Spray Pattern Options
If you’re looking for a multitasking nozzle, select one with a dial for switching between different spray patterns. This allows you to choose everything from a gentle mist perfect for watering seeds to a high-pressure jet stream capable of rinsing caked mud off the sidewalk. In addition to mist and jet, these nozzles often have several other patterns, including:
- Shower: For watering the garden and container plantings
- Flat: For fragile plants and young seedlings
- Cone: When better coverage is needed, like before a lawn fertilizer application
- Soak: For watering large trees and shrubs
These nozzles give you a lot of flexibility. But if that’s more than you need, opt for a basic metal nozzle where a simple twist adjusts the spray from a fine mist to a powerful stream.
Plastic vs. Metal
In terms of durability, brass is the preferred material for metal hose nozzles for its ability to resist corrosion. Anything stored outside will go through a lot of wear and tear and it’s inevitable that you’ll eventually drop the nozzle.
Unlike plastic that cracks when dropped and breaks down after prolonged sun exposure, metal stands the test of time. Some metal nozzles are dipped in a rubber-like coating; others have a baked-on enamel finish. Both add durability, protection, and ultimately, longevity.
Avoid nozzles made entirely of plastic and opt for metal or a hybrid made of plastic and metal. Hybrids are often lighter compared to their all-metal counterparts because only the inner components are metal while the exteriors are constructed of molded plastic.
Comfort is important, especially if you have arthritis or strength issues in your hands and wrists. Ergonomic hand tools are designed to help you work pain-free. For example, maintaining constant pressure on a pistol or trigger grip can take a toll on your hand.
No-press grips allow you to change water flow with a button or slider you can manipulate with your thumb. Trigger nozzles often include a metal loop at the top of the trigger that can lock the handle in the spray position and take the pressure off your hand.
Weight is another important consideration. All-metal construction nozzles, while very durable, are heavier than a hybrid made of metal and plastic.
Pistol vs. Dial
The pistol grip is the most common type of garden hose nozzle. It has a trigger you squeeze to activate water flow. When you release your grip, water flow stops. The amount of pressure you apply to the trigger adjusts water flow. Rotating a tiny flow adjuster above the trigger changes the spray from a mist to a jet stream.
A dial nozzle is ideal for someone who wants options. It usually has six or more spray patterns to choose from, adjustable with the turn of a dial on the front of the nozzle. This type of nozzle might have a pistol grip or a simple molded handle with a button or slider to adjust the water flow.
Nozzle vs. Wand
To water hanging baskets and plants in hard-to-reach places, or for gardeners with physical limitations that make bending difficult, a watering wand can be very helpful. Like nozzles, wands come in numerous models, but it’s their length that sets them apart.
Available in fixed length or telescoping, watering wands can have a single pattern spray head or a dial adjuster at the end. Some have a pistol grip you squeeze with your hand, and others have a button or slider to adjust the water flow. Look for wands with a stop-valve trigger near the grip that lets the user control water flow from the wand instead of walking to the faucet to turn it on and off.
Our Top Picks
A smooth twist of the barrel is all it takes to adjust the spray pattern on the all-brass Dramm Heavy-Duty Brass Adjustable Hose Nozzle. As you twist, the internal valve opens the nozzle and emits a fine mist. The pattern changes and the flow becomes stronger with more twisting.
The spray transitions from a fan to a cone pattern until it reaches its most powerful jet stream, perfect for cleaning siding and patios. What this nozzle lacks in bells and whistles it makes up for with durable, versatile design.
For gardeners looking for both comfort and versatility, the Dramm Revolution 9-Pattern Spray Gun has both and comes in several vibrant colors. The dial has nine spray pattern options to choose from, making both washing the car and watering the garden possible with the same nozzle. The One Touch Valve on the curved grip controls flow with the flick of a thumb; no squeezing necessary.
The all-metal Gilmour Full Size Zinc Pistol Grip Nozzle is budget-friendly and durable. A threaded front makes it easier to attach cleaning tools for scouring patio furniture, bicycles, and other grimy objects.
The trigger-style nozzle includes a metal loop at the top of the trigger that locks it in place to make gripping more comfortable. A small flow-control dial helps users adjust the flow force.