LENGTH - Longer is NOT Better
Garden hoses come in a variety of lengths, the most popular are 25ft, 50ft, 75ft and 100ft. Purchasing the longest hose may seem like a good option at first; however, longer hoses need more storage space, can be heavier to move around, require more effort to drain and may have lower water pressure.
We suggest measuring the area you want to cover when choosing the correct length for your garden hose. Measure the farthest distance away from the spigot and purchase a hose that is a few feet longer. Stretching a hose may cause unnecessary damage including snags and leaks. For a deck or balcony, a 25ft hose will usually work and for most urban yards, we suggest a 50ft hose.
HOSE DIAMETER - Bigger Width, More Water Flow
Most garden hoses come in 1/2 inch, 5/8 inch and 3/4 inch diameter. These measurements are based on the inside diameter of the hose. The bigger the diameter, the more water the hose will carry. We suggest either 1/2 inch or 5/8 inch to be most helpful as they offer a good combination of water flow and pressure without being too heavy.
Most garden hoses are made of rubber including latex, vinyl or a combination of the two. Less expensive hoses are usually made from vinyl and are very lightweight. These tend to be less sturdy, prone to damage if left in the sun or hard weather, known to crack, split and definitely kink. If budget is your primary concern, then probably a vinyl hose is your best option.
Rubber hoses including those made from latex are generally stronger, last longer, weigh more and carry a heavier price tag.
Middle of the road option is a combination of the two which is an expandable hose. These "reinforced hoses" are more resistant to kinking, are lightweight, are durable, are affordable, and offer continuous high water pressure.
STRENGTH - Burst Pressure
Some types of hoses are prone to rupture. Make sure your hose is able to handle the pressure in your water supply ie how quick the water pushes through the hose. This is measured in pounds per square inch (psi). Most water pressure from a house could vary from 40 to 60 psi and the water pressure from a city water main might be 80psi or more.
Also, the diameter of your hose will either increase or decrease the psi requirement. For example if you are looking to use a pressure washer, you will need a larger diameter hose with a higher psi. If you are ever unsure of your current hoses capabilities, contact the manufacturer.
FLEXIBILITY - Try the Kink Test
An ideal garden hose is flexible allowing for easy storage; however, also not that flexible to deter kinking. Kinking can lead to severely damaging your hose and shortening its life. While very few hoses are kink-free (all garden hoses will kink if they are twisted), some including the combination hoses and the rubber hoses are less likely to kink than others. Check out our recommendation of kink free hoses.
COUPLINGS/FITTINGS - Brass is Superior
Many less expensive hoses offer plastic fittings which are prone to leaks, cracks and breakage and often very hard to tighten. Metal coupling usually made in brass are more durable and leak-resistant. When looking at fittings, purchase one that has an octagonal shape and also has a collar, for example the fittings that comes with this expandable hose have been shown to reduce the chance of splitting near the spigot, leaking or bursting.