Expandable hoses emerged on the gardening scene a few years back and caused a lot of excitement. While the infomercials made a meal of the video scenes of people struggling with regular garden hoses the idea wasn’t too far fetched. Tangled hoses that kink and are a pain to move or store is not an unfamiliar experience. We’ve all had our share of troubles with garden hoses so when we saw the first ads for expandable hoses we opened our wallets and rushed our orders off.
That excitement soon turned to disappointment, though. The hose looked great when it arrived, it felt light and it certainly didn’t kink or tangle no matter how hard we tried, The problems started when we connected it up and started to use it. The hose dutifully expanded up to three times its length, as advertised, but after the first few uses it started to leak. A lot. If you read the discussions on some gardening forums then you’ll know that there have been a lot of complaints about these products.
The inner tubes of the expandable hose is normally made from latex but some manufacturers used poorer quality materials or thin latex tubes. These very quickly sprung leaks. As soon as you dragged it across the driveway the outer material got snagged and did a poor job of protecting the inner tube. And don’t get me started on those poor quality connectors. If the inner tube didn’t leak then the where the connector joined the hose quickly became the culprit. After using up loads of cable ties and bits and pieces to fix the hose we eventually just threw our expandable hose in the bin and went back to our regular hose.
The newer versions of expandable hoses are, however, a lot better. Don’t get me wrong, there are still a lot of poor quality expanding hoses that we just wouldn’t bother with, but there are some really good ones too. The best expandable hose options are definitely worth considering again. Here’s what you should look out for.
Make sure that the inner tube of the hose is made from a double, or even triple, layer of good quality latex. The walls of the inner tube should be around 6mm thick.
The connectors on the hose are important too. Forget the plastic connectors and rather go for a hose that has solid brass connectors. These won’t crack or rust even if you leave it outside. Make sure that the connectors are joined to the hose with a decent quality interface.
The outer material sheath is there to protect the inner tube. Make sure that this material is made from a high denier synthetic material like nylon. It needs to be something that won’t snag on concrete the second you take it out.