The Best Soaker Hoses of 2022

Conserve water and reduce evaporation using a soaker hose instead of a sprinkler. We tested the top soaker hoses on the market to see which ones were the best—find out the pros and cons of the most popular models.

By Heather Blackmore and Glenda Taylor | Updated Mar 23, 2022 11:27 AM

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

The Best Soaker Hose Options

Photo: Glenda Taylor

When it comes to plants, two things are essential: sunlight and water. Whether you have a raised vegetable garden or a mixed border of trees, shrubs, and perennials, everything benefits from a regular drink of water during the hot, dry months. Once the July heat rolls in, weekly rainfall is about as likely as a snowstorm in the middle of August. That’s when a soaker hose can make a big difference. A soaker hose can reduce the pressure of keeping the garden alive and well by giving users the option to water their plants via a “set it and forget it” watering system.

That said, not all soaker hoses are equal when it comes to watering gardens and landscape beds. Some emit irregular rivulets of water, while others cannot withstand intense water pressure and end up bursting. We noticed manufacturers of dozens of soaker hoses—both expensive and budget-friendly—were making claims that their hoses were the best options around, so we decided to put them to the test.

We hooked up the soaker hoses to an outdoor water spigot and observed how evenly they distributed water. We stretched them out, wound them around trees and plants, and carefully inspected each hose’s materials and fittings. The following soaker hoses all passed our stringent tests, and we’re confident they can provide gardeners with eco-friendly watering solutions. Ahead, learn how to tell the best soaker hose from a second-rate facsimile, and discover the pros and cons of each model we tested.

Spoiler: Not all the hoses we tested made this lineup.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Water Right SKR-050-MU Soaker Garden Hose
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Gilmour Flat Weeper Soaker Hose, 50 feet
  3. UPGRADE PICK: Taisia 1/2 Inch Soaker Hose Diameter Lead Free
  4. MOST DURABLE: H2O WORKS Heavy Duty Garden Flat Soaker Hose
  5. MOST VERSATILE: BUYOOKAY Soaker Hose 50Ft with 1/2″ Diameter
  6. BEST CUSTOM WATERING: Swan Products MGSPAK38100CC Miracle-GRO Soaker
  7. BEST FOR MULCHING: Flexon WS100KITCH 20-Piece Soaker Hose Kit
The Best Soaker Hose Options

Photo: Glenda Taylor

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Soaker Hose

Traditional sprinklers broadcast a spray of water. Some water may evaporate on a particularly hot day before hitting the ground, wasting valuable water. Using a conventional garden hose with an attached nozzle may reduce some water waste, but not all. With a soaker hose, water soaks directly into the root zone (hence the name), allowing plants to absorb water slowly. Because soaker hoses don’t spray plant foliage (or shouldn’t), they can reduce the risk of plants developing the fungal problems commonly associated with saturated foliage.

We tested the top soaker hoses on the market for flexibility, quality, and water distribution as these are home gardeners’ main concerns. We also analyzed each hose’s ability to withstand common outdoor spigot water pressures.

The best soaker hose for an individual gardener will vary, depending on budget, dimensions, and whether it will be positioned on top of the soil or buried. Before ordering a soaker hose, consider what it’s made from and whether it’s the right size and type for the intended space, and find out how some soaker hoses earned a spot in our lineup.

Material

Soaker hoses are made of recycled rubber, polyurethane, and flexible polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and allow water to seep through tiny perforations directly into the soil around the plants. High-end soaker hoses may also contain fiber reinforcement, making them durable and suitable for years of use and able to withstand intense water pressure. Less expensive models may feature thin vinyl and typically last just a single season—or two at the most—but will require replacement when the vinyl becomes brittle or develops cracks.

Size and Weight

Soaker hoses come in a range of sizes, from short 15-foot lengths, which are optimal for small flower beds, up to 100 feet or even longer, making them suitable for large perennial borders or long rows of summer vegetables. The diameter of the hose can also vary, from ⅜ inch up to 1 inch. Larger-diameter hoses often feature more perforations or weep holes so they can deliver large amounts of water quickly. Larger hoses require more water pressure than narrow soaker hoses. (See the “Pressure Rating” section below.)

The larger the hose, the heavier it will be. A hose’s weight depends on the material the hose is made from. In general, a heavier rubber hose is more likely to stay in place, whereas a lightweight vinyl hose may arc or move under the water’s pressure. Burying any soaker hose under 1 to 2 inches of mulch will help keep it in place, and the mulch will also help keep moisture in the soil from evaporating.

Flat vs. Round

When choosing between a flat or a round soaker hose, keep the following in mind.

  • Flat hose: For many gardeners, flat soaker hoses are just the ticket for watering long, straight rows of summer-grown vegetables. Even so, a flat hose has its drawbacks. Rather than weep holes located on all sides of the hose, the holes are typically (although not always) on only one side of the hose. Winding a flat hose can result in kinks, and a kink can restrict water flow. Flat soaker hoses are available in vinyl, rubber, PVC, and polyurethane. They’re best suited to laying out along straight garden rows rather than snaking around the bases of plants, trees, and bushes.
  • Round hose: A round soaker hose is more versatile because it can be used on straight rows and snaked around various bushes and trees, usually without kinking. Round soaker hoses tend to be more flexible and durable, and while they may be initially more expensive, they often last longer than flat vinyl hoses, so they may pay for themselves in the long run. Both types of hoses can be buried under 1 to 2 inches of mulch.

Coverage Area

Expect a typical soaker hose to saturate an average of 6 to 12 inches on either side of the hose. Coverage will also depend, however, on how long the watering cycle lasts. A watering cycle of 1 hour will result in a broader spread of moisture than a cycle of just 30 minutes.

Pressure Rating

Many soaker hoses don’t come with pressure ratings, but water pressure, measured in pounds per square inch (psi), is still worth considering. The longer and broader the soaker hose, the more water pressure it’ll need to evenly distribute water to the holes at the end of the hose, so it may require the user’s outdoor spigot to produce water up to 50 psi—but that’s relatively rare. On the flip side, a short, thin vinyl hose might not withstand that much water pressure; it might be better suited to just 20 psi of pressure. In general, soaker hoses made from polyurethane, PVC, and rubber will withstand higher pressure than those made from vinyl.

Rather than worrying about the water pressure at the spigot, which, in most cases, is adequate to run a soaker hose, experiment a bit when first using the hose. After laying out a soaker hose and before covering it with mulch, turn on the water—just a bit—and see if it’s enough for water to seep out of the holes at the far end of the hose. If it isn’t, gradually increase the water pressure at the spigot until water comes out of the holes. Once it does, make a mental note of how far the faucet was turned and use similar pressure each time.

Most soaker hoses require relatively low pressure—around or less than 20 psi—to produce even water distribution. Once the hose is pressurized, it will remain filled with minimal additional water pressure.

Backflow

While relatively rare, anytime a spigot is in the “on” position and a hose (or more likely an underground sprinkler system) is pressurized, there’s a chance the water will backflow from the pressured hose or sprinkling system into the spigot. This can only occur when the spigot is turned on. When it’s in the “off” position, no water can flow in or out.

The water inside a soaker hose is not considered “potable,” meaning it could be contaminated from soil or fertilizers that entered the hose through its weep holes, making it unsuitable for drinking. To prevent backflow contamination, users can install a backflow preventer between the spigot and the hose, which will prevent water in the hose from entering the home’s water supply system. Backflow preventers are simple, inexpensive attachments that usually run less than $10 and are well worth the peace of mind they offer the user.

Our Top Picks

Quality and uniform water dispersion are critical factors in a soaker hose. A quality soaker hose will last all season—or multiple seasons—while a poor one will be lucky to survive a single summer. We observed how well each hose distributed water and how easy it was to wind around plants, how much water pressure it would withstand, and the quality of its fittings. The following soaker hoses are suitable for a range of watering needs, but each fits the bill of being among the best soaker hoses we tested.

Best Overall

The Best Soaker Hose Option: Water Right Soaker Garden Hose, 50-Foot
Photo: amazon.com

Unlike other soaker hoses that contain chemicals, the Water Right Soaker Garden Hose is made of FDA-grade polyurethane, and the brass fittings are lead-free. When we first checked out this hose, our first thought was, Wow, how soft! The surface of the Water Right hose feels more like suede than polyurethane. On close examination, we could see the soaker holes were evenly spaced, about ¼ inch apart.

Its smooth, flexible design allowed us to wind it around the bases of shrubs without kinking. We were testing when daytime temperatures were in the 40s, so we expected some brittleness due to cool temperatures, but the Water Right was flexible throughout.
When we turned the water on, the hose oozed droplets evenly. We checked the entire hose to see if any holes were plugged or gushing water. Nope. Along the entire length of the hose, the water seeped out uniformly. We stretched the Water Right hose out for our coverage test, and after 30 minutes, the moisture from the hose saturated the soil about 6 inches on either side. That was with 20 psi of water pressure—we used a pressure tester. When we turned the pressure higher—to 40 psi, we saw some spraying out of the holes. For gardeners who want a bit of misting along with drip-watering, this could be advantageous, but for our purposes, 20 psi was all that was necessary.

The true intent behind this type of hose (chemical-free) is to supply the cleanest water possible for growing fruits and vegetables. While standard garden hoses do not pose a known risk of contamination, organic gardeners who want to grow the most natural produce possible may find the drinking-water quality of the Water Right hose assuring.

Product Specs

  • Material: Polyurethane, chrome-plated, lead-free brass fittings
  • Coverage (side to side): About 6 inches on each side after 30 minutes of watering
  • Dimensions: ½ inch by 25 feet

Pros

  • Very flexible
  • Drinking-water safe
  • High-quality fittings that don’t leak
  • Uniform water distribution

Cons

  • Some spraying under high water pressure

Get the Water Right Soaker Hose on Amazon or Gardeners.com.

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Soaker Hose Option: Gilmour Flat Weeper Soaker Hose
Photo: amazon.com

The Gilmour Flat Weeper Soaker Hose arrived in a small package that weighed less than 1.5 pounds, and we had our doubts that it would be worthwhile for watering. We were wrong. The Gilmour hose features a thin, flexible vinyl hose encased in a tightly woven fabric sleeve that keeps the interior vinyl from expanding too much.

We stretched the Gilmour hose out to its maximum length—50 feet—and connected it to the outdoor spigot. We turned on the water pressure to 20 psi and observed the watering pattern. The hose became round under pressure, and water came out in a mostly uniform fashion, although some hose areas seemed to emit slightly more water than others. We then wound the hose around the bases of trees and shrubs and turned the water on for 30 minutes.

After our test watering was complete, we inspected the ground’s dampness around the hose. The water had saturated a swath about 8 inches wide on both sides of the hose. We then drained the water from the hose, and we were able to roll it around an old cardboard paper towel core, reducing its size to less than a foot in diameter.
The Gilmour hose is budget-friendly and well suited to directing water to the bases of plants, but we felt it was slightly on the delicate side. It worked well with low water pressure, but we would not recommend using it with higher water pressure (over 25 psi).

Product Specs

  • Material: Vinyl interior hose, exterior fabric cover, molded plastic fittings
  • Coverage (side to side): About 8 inches on both sides after 30 minutes of watering
  • Dimensions: ⅝ inch by 50 feet

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Compact for storage

Cons

  • Best suited for lower water pressure (about 20 psi)

Get the Gilmour Weeping Soaker Hose on Amazon, at Ace Hardware (25 feet), or at Walmart.

Upgrade Pick

The Best Soaker Hose Option: Taisia 1 2 Inch Soaker Hose Diameter Lead Free
Photo: amazon.com

In our tests, we found that the Taisia 1/2-Inch Soaker Hose maintained equal pressure from end to end—a sometimes-challenging accomplishment for longer-length soaker hoses. We started testing the Taisia hose at 20 psi and found that it was sufficient for even water distribution. Then, we turned up the pressure to 40 psi—and noted that the droplets came out faster, but we didn’t observe any spraying or leaks. The distribution was still even and uniform.

The hose was relatively easy to wind around the bases of trees and shrubs, but it was slightly stiff to begin with—keep in mind that the outdoor temperature was in the 40s when we tested this hose, which kept it from being as flexible as it would be on an 85-degree summer day. As the sun shone on the hose, it warmed up slightly and was more flexible.

The hose did develop a couple of kinks we had to work out. This, too, would likely be less of an issue in warmer weather when the hose was more flexible. An added feature of the Taisia hose is the ability to adapt it to a custom watering configuration. This is possible via a set of plastic connectors, T-fittings, and end caps (all included) that allowed us to cut sections of the hose and fit them together to form watering “branches.” We didn’t have any problem with leaking fittings, which was a big plus.

Product Specs

  • Material: Recycled rubber, polyethylene, plastic fittings
  • Coverage (side to side): about 8 inches after 30 minutes of watering
  • Dimensions: ½ inch by 100 feet

Pros

  • Uniform water distribution
  • Withstood up to 40 psi
  • Customizable (with included fittings)

Cons

  • Slightly stiff at cool temps
  • Tendency to kink at cool temps

Get the Taisia 1/2-Inch Soaker Hose on Amazon or at Walmart (⅜-inch).

Most Durable

The Best Soaker Hose Option: H2O WORKS Heavy Duty Garden Flat Soaker Hose
Photo: amazon.com

Two things stood out immediately upon unboxing the H2O Works Soaker Hose—its bright blue color and the fact that although this is a flat hose, it’s made from flexible, high-tensile PVC rather than thin vinyl covered with fabric. When we turned on the water pressure, the H2O WORKS became a round soaker hose with weep holes on all sides, and it was a simple process to wind it around bushes and plants without the hose kinking.

The H2O hose distributed water evenly along its 50-foot length with just 20 psi of water pressure. Since it’s made to withstand higher pressure, we turned the spigot all the way up—to about 55 psi. Water output increased, and we noted a bit of spraying, but the hose held firm other than that. When it was time to store the hose, it flattened once again for easy rolling, and we were able to wind it up around our hose reel without kinking.

The H2O comes infused with UV protectors to resist damage from harsh sun rays, and it features durable brass end couplings that showed no signs of leaking—even under high pressure. The blue color is eye-catching, but we found it to be a little too colorful for our tastes—it definitely shows up wherever it is, so unless gardeners want a bright blue stripe in their landscaping, it will have to be covered with mulch.

Product Specs

  • Material: High-tensile PVC, brass fittings
  • Coverage (side to side): About 8 inches after 30 minutes of watering
  • Dimensions: ½ inch by 50 feet

Pros

  • High-quality, flexible PVC
  • No-leak brass fittings
  • Uniform water distribution
  • Will withstand higher water pressure situations

Cons

  • Blue color stands out unless covered with mulch

Get the H2O Works Soaker Hose on Amazon.

Most Versatile

The Best Soaker Hose Option: BUYOOKAY 100ft Soaker Hose for Gardens Flower Beds
Photo: amazon.com

The BUYOOKAY Soaker Hose features a flexible rubber material designed to wind easily around the bases of bushes or trees without kinking, and even in 40-degree temps, we found it lived up to its reputation. We twisted it, straightened it, and pulled it from one end, and it didn’t kink. Its suppleness seemed about the same even after the sun shone on it and warmed it up a bit. It was simple to lay out either way.

The hose is made from all-new rubber and features a reinforced core for added durability. We first tested it at about 20 psi and found the water distribution uniform at both ends of the hose. While it’s not billed as a high-pressure soaker hose, we turned the water pressure up to 40 psi to push it a bit more. The water output increased, but the hose held firm—even at the fittings.
For those wanting to install a custom drip-irrigation system, the BUYOOKAY hose can be cut and connected via standard ½-inch hose adapters and clamps (not included), making it possible to create complex watering configurations. While many adaptable-configuration soaker hoses feature only push-connect fittings, the BUYOOKAY hose comes with yellow, wing-nut adapters that make it easy to tighten the connections by hand. We detached and reattached the adapters—it was a quick process, and they fit snugly and didn’t leak.

Product Specs

  • Material: Rubber, molded plastic fittings
  • Coverage (side to side): About 6 inches after 30 minutes of watering
  • Dimensions: ½ inch by 50 feet

Pros

  • Flexible even in cool weather
  • Didn’t kink
  • Wing-nut adapters offer leak-free connections

Cons

  • Additional connections not included

Get the BUYOOKAY Soaker Hose on Amazon.

Best Custom Watering

The Best Soaker Hose Option: Swan Products MGSPAK38100CC Miracle-GRO Soaker
Photo: amazon.com

The next product that made the cut is from a manufacturer well known for producing quality fertilizers, soil treatments, and other gardening products. The Miracle-Gro Soaker System is more than just a hose. It’s a ⅜-inch, 100-foot-long soaker system that comes with various connectors and feeders that allow the user to create their own custom drip system.

Rather than wind and twist the hose around each bush or along each row of plants, we found it simple to cut the hose (we used household scissors) and attach a push-type T-connector to create two individual watering branches. The system comes with T-connectors, straight-line connectors, and end connectors. We split the hose into two separate branches, but we could have divided it into four branches had we chosen.

The connectors fit snugly. We turned the water pressure to 20 psi, and we observed uniform water distribution on both lines without any leaking at the fittings. We then turned up the pressure to 40 psi and saw a bit of leaking at the new connection we’d made. We didn’t mind so much because there’s no need to turn the pressure up that high for the Miracle-Gro hose to provide even water distribution.

This soaker system is well-suited for gardeners with multiple rows of plants to water. We felt it would also be useful for supplying water to large perennial beds.

Product Specs

  • Material: Rubber, plastic connectors
  • Coverage (side to side): About 6 inches after 30 minutes of watering
  • Dimensions: ⅜ inch by 100 feet

Pros

  • Comes with connectors for custom watering configuration
  • Easy, push-type fittings
  • Uniform water distribution

Cons

  • Connector leaked slightly under high water pressure

Get the Miracle-Gro Soaker System on Amazon, at Walmart, and at The Home Depot.

Best for Mulching

The Best Soaker Hose Option: Flexon WS100KITCH 20-Piece Soaker Hose Kit
Photo: amazon.com

A number of the soaker hoses we tested are suitable for covering with mulch, but we found the Flexon Soaker Hose was the easiest to lay flat along the ground, making it among the best options for concealing with mulch. Whether the warming sun played a factor in making the hose more flexible isn’t known, but we were able to wind the Flexon hose around plants—even in small circles—without it rising off the ground.

The hose is made from rubber and features a high-tensile wire braid to add strength under pressure. It comes with various connectors that allowed us to create different watering configurations. Like many customizable soaker hoses, the connectors are push-fit, so we didn’t feel they would stand up to high water pressure. It turned out, we were right.
We started the testing with 20 psi of water pressure, which was sufficient for pressurizing the hose and distributing the water evenly to all branch ends. We increased the pressure to 40 psi, which was too much, resulting in one of the connections blowing loose. However, we didn’t deduct any points because the hose performs well at a lower, more suitable pressure.

Product Specs

  • Material: Rubber
  • Coverage (side to side): About 6 inches after 30 minutes of watering
  • Dimensions: ⅜ inch by 100 feet

Pros

  • Flexible and lies flat
  • Resists kinks
  • Even water distribution

Cons

  • Not meant for use with high water pressure.

Get the Flexon Soaker Hose on Amazon, at Walmart, and at Lowe’s.

Also Tested

In addition to the other hoses we tested, we also tested the One Stop Gardens Soaker Hose, but we eliminated it early on. We really wanted to like this hose—it featured a flat layout that was easy to store in a small space, but after connecting the hose and turning on the water to 20 psi, the hose ruptured within about 10 seconds, and water gushed everywhere. Upon inspection, we found a tear along the length of the hose—about 18 inches long.

We don’t know if this was a factory defect that affected just this hose or whether other One Stop Garden hoses have similar problems. We just knew that the hose failed our tests.

Our Verdict

The hoses that passed our hands-on tests and made it into our lineup of the best soaker hoses are suitable for a range of watering uses. However, our Best Overall pick, the Water Right Soaker Hose, ticks off all the boxes—it provides uniform water distribution, is highly flexible, and won’t leach harmful chemicals into the water. In the budget category, the Gilmour Flat Soaker Hose was a standout. It provided even water distribution and was easy to store and a snap to wind around the bases of trees and shrubs—all that at a very affordable price point.

How We Tested the Best Soaker Hoses

While soaker hoses are straightforward garden products, they tend to receive mixed reviews, often because they won’t stand up to the high water pressure standard hoses will. Having used soaker hoses in the past, we understood that the perforations in soaker hoses create weak spots in the hose that can rupture under too much pressure. So, we started testing each soaker hose at just 20 psi of water pressure. We used a pressure tester to ensure accuracy. If the hose performed well at that pressure, we turned it up a notch to 40 psi. A standard outdoor spigot typically has between 35 and 55 psi.

We looked for leaks in both the hoses and their connections, and we awarded points based on how evenly the hose distributed water from all parts of the hose. We used a rubric to record the scores, and at the end of the testing, we tallied the points and used them to determine the awards in this lineup.

Some of the hoses came with the ability to create custom watering configurations, and others were of just one length. We selected hoses initially based on things like manufacturer reputation—such as the Soaker System by Miracle-Gro—because we’re aware of the high quality of Miracle-Gro products. However, we didn’t automatically eliminate hoses from newer, smaller, or niche manufacturers as long as they were made from quality materials and performed well.

The Advantages of Owning a Soaker Hose

Directing water to a plant’s roots rather than broadcasting it indiscriminately over the foliage concentrates the water where it’s needed most. It also offers some other benefits.

  • Using a soaker hose is a one-and-done operation: Just turn on the water at the spigot for 30 minutes or so; no need to hand-water plants.
  • Soaker hoses conserve water, so utility bills may be lower.
  • Since soaker hoses don’t deposit water on the foliage, the risk of fungal diseases is reduced.

FAQs

Conserving water, reducing garden and landscape maintenance time, and improving plant quality are all excellent reasons for wanting to use a soaker hose. New gardeners might also have additional questions.

Q. What is the difference between a soaker hose and a drip hose?

A soaker hose features weep holes along its entire length, while a drip hose features a solid tube with attached drip emitters that can be custom installed to direct water to the base of individual bushes or plants.

Q. How many gallons per hour does a soaker hose use?

Water usage can vary, depending on the soaker hose’s length and type, but in general, a 50-foot hose will distribute approximately 30 gallons of water in 1 hour.

Q. How long should I keep my soaker hose on?

In typical growing situations, running a soaker hose twice weekly for about 30 minutes each time may be sufficient. Water less frequently during a rainy or cool season, and water more often during a drought. Also, consider adding mulch around plants’ bases to keep moisture in the soil from evaporating quickly.

Q. How often should I run my soaker hose?

Twice a week for about 30 minutes each time. It’s usually better to water deeply less often than to water just a bit more frequently.

Q. Can you connect soaker hoses together?

As long as the outdoor spigot has sufficient pressure to deliver water to the end holes on the farthest hose, feel free to connect two or more soaker hoses end to end.