Having a green thumb isn’t a prerequisite for also having a good quality garden hose around the house. A reliable hose will make washing a car or cleaning up unwanted debris a much easier task, even if you never use it to water a garden.
Whether you’re picking one up at Walmart or Lowe’s or ordering one off of Amazon, garden hoses aren’t hard to get, but finding one that’s dependable and versatile is a little trickier. While a standard 50-foot garden hose may look simple and straightforward on the surface, there are plenty of details to consider when buying one.
A hose’s material, weight and water flow rate all play a factor in how it operates. Some tasks do require a heavy duty rubber hose that’s capable of withstanding extreme temperatures and water pressure. On the flip side, sometimes a small, lightweight hose is the best tool for the job.
I looked at all these factors and used calculated tests to see how seven different hoses compared to each other. I also looked at more-subjective details like whether a hose felt comfortable to hold and if it scratched up when it was dragged across concrete. The goal here is to help you find a garden hose you can rely on when you need it.
Other hoses we tested
Briggs and Stratton Rubber Garden Hose (8BS50)
The Briggs and Stratton Rubber Garden Hose seemed like it could be a long-term workhorse based on its performance. If you do have a more challenging environment where you need a hose to work constantly, this one is a solid option with a retail price of $42.90.
It can perform in extreme temperatures, but most importantly, if something does happen to it, the hose has a lifetime warranty. Though it had great performance, the 10-pound hose is on the heavy side, it was bulky to manually roll up, and it didn’t have the nicety of twisting handle grips for screwing the end on and off a spigot.
Flexzilla Garden Hose (HFZG550YW-E)
The Flexzilla Garden Hose retails for $40 and was certainly the brightest and most visible hose I tested. If the visual element ranks highly on your list of priorities for any reason, this hose would make a fine choice.
The Flexzilla hose had the fastest flow rate, at 1.26 pounds per second, but I was constantly frustrated by the twists, tangles, and kinks that formed along the hose if it wasn’t babied in how it was laid out and moved around. Part of that may have been from the extremely flexible hybrid polymer material. It felt good to hold, but it was still bulky to store in a garage and weighed almost 8 pounds.
Giraffe Tools Hybrid Garden Hose
The Giraffe Tools Hybrid Garden Hose was very similar to the Eaduty hose but didn’t stand out in any way from that option. It was perfectly fine, but I didn’t care for the way the plastic twist grips didn’t stay attached to the ends. Plus, it has a high retail price of $50.
WeGuard Expandable Garden Hose
The WeGuard Expandable Garden Hose is compact, lightweight and retails for $29. It’ll work best for areas like a balcony or small patios. I was disappointed by its durability in the drag test and its expansion from 17 feet to 50 feet can make certain watering tasks trickier.
How we test garden hoses
First and foremost, I used CNET’s hose testing guidelines to evaluate each product in three specific areas: connection, kink, and flow rate. These performance-based tests helped identify how the hoses functioned, and also how they compared to each other.
Each hose passed the connection test, which checked to make sure none of them were leaking when screwed on to the spigot or when used with a spray nozzle. Each had a perfect connection out of the box. Each time I connected a hose to use it, I also checked the connection to confirm there were no leaks.
None of the hoses leaked at the point of connection after at least five times of screwing them on and off, either. The rubber O-ring will likely deteriorate over time, so there may be leaking in the future, but when the hoses were in new working order I didn’t see any design flaws that would lead to a bad experience right from the start.
Similarly, all the hoses passed the kink test, with 100% water flow when holding the hose about two feet from the end and wrapping it around my hand. Some of the hoses, such as the Flexzilla and the Briggs showed slight kinking and made sounds to suggest that they were on the verge of kinking, but neither of those had a slower water flow.
Beyond the standard kink test, I did notice that water was restricted in some of the hoses for other, adjacent reasons. For example, though wrapping the WeGuard fabric hose around my hand didn’t restrict the water flow, stepping on it did.
To test the flow rate of each hose, I turned on the water spigot to completely open and timed how long it took to fill a 5-gallon bucket to a line marked near the top. Then, I measured the weight of the water.
The Flexzilla hose filled the bucket the fastest, with a speed of 1.26 pounds per second. For comparison, the slowest hose was the WeGuard, at 0.66 pounds per second. The Zero-G and Briggs and Stratton hoses both had a speed of 0.98 pounds per second, Eaduty had a speed of 0.96 pounds per second, and the Giraffe Tools Hybrid Garden Hose had a speed of 0.92 pounds per second.
The Rosy Earth Metal Hose was a little slower than most others, with a speed of 0.86 pounds per second. The hose has a narrower body, which doesn’t allow as much water through. However, I also found that the narrow design led to more natural pressure from the hose, which could be beneficial in certain use cases.
In terms of durability, I can’t predict how these hoses will fare over time, but I did want to try to see as much initial wear as I could. To do this, I dragged each of the hoses across a concrete driveway back and forth 10 times. I wanted to see how the end pieces and the hose material held up, in addition to whether the hose caused any damage to my driveway.
The most noticeable damage happened to the WeGuard fabric hose, which began fraying almost immediately. The results don’t suggest this hose could hold up very long being used exclusively across concrete or pavers.
The rubber hoses showed only the faintest of scratches, most of which wouldn’t be noticeable unless finely inspected. I have almost no concerns about the longevity of the Eaduty or Briggs and Stratton hoses. The Flexzilla hose had no visible scratches on it, and the plastic tubing around the end of the hose took all the abrasions, but even those weren’t of consequence.
I was most curious to see how the Rosy Earth metal hose absorbed scratches, or didn’t. After dragging the hose back and forth, I saw that it definitely had wear marks, but they weren’t noticeable from a distance. The metal end piece scratched up visibly, but the damage didn’t seem to cause any functional issues. Thankfully, the hose didn’t leave any marks or signs that it had slid around the driveway, either.
Out of curiosity, I left all the hoses in direct midday sun for 45 minutes to see how hot they got. The rubber hoses got the hottest. They were very warm to the touch but didn’t burn my hand. The Rosy Earth metal hose, Zero-G hose, and the WeGuard fabric one were each warm, but not hot. The Flexzilla hose didn’t seem to heat up at all.
Garden hose FAQ
We’ll give this post an update every time we test out a new round of garden hoses — for now, here are some answers to commonly asked questions. For more, be sure to check out CNET’s Yard & Outdoors section.