A quality garden hose can be the equivalent of a good quality shovel, for reliable dependability. The all rubber garden hose, and the 6-ply (or greater) constructed garden hose will be the best investments. Both are long lasting and durable, while the multi-ply hose offers the added feature of being lighter in weight for easier handling.
One of the long time favorite materials for a dependable, long wearing garden hose has been rubber. It has been a perennial favorite for decades. Chances are your grandfather used one of these no-nonsense garden hoses in his yard. The rubber garden hose is a great choice because this material is tough and durable. It can handle occasionally being run over by the car if left in the driveway, it doesn’t kink, it has high burst strength, and it can withstand extremes in cold temperatures (some even to -25 degrees F). If you think you may like to have an all rubber garden hose, one aspect to consider is weight. Rubber is a heavy material and when the hose is coiled, it can become quite cumbersome for some folks to handle and carry. And the longer the length, the heavier it will be.
The degree of quality for the multi-ply garden hose depends on the number of layers (ply) it is constructed with. A 1-ply or 2-ply garden hose will likely perform poorly and be a hassle to use. These simple vinyl hoses have little or no reinforcing, so they will bend, fold, and kink. They usually loose any flexibility in cold weather making them susceptible to cracking, and they soften in the hot sun (which causes more kinking). The wall of the hose is not constructed to withstand years of strain, from the force of water pressure of everyday wear and tear, and the couplings may not be the quality couplings found on better hoses. A step up from this type of hose is the 4-ply constructed hose which will be a better choice and is considered a medium-duty garden hose.
Strength and Durability
A 6-ply (or greater) garden hose will provide the best performance, strength, and durability. Also, the layers (ply) are constructed with various lighter weight materials that make it easier to handle. This layering creates greater flexibility in subfreezing temperatures and makes coiling an easy task. This construction, also, gives the hose wall very high burst strength to withstand such conditions as when pressure is created when the nozzle trigger is released to stop water flow, and, it can easily handle the normal household water pressure of around 50-60 psi when doing outdoor tasks. Many boast burst strength of 128 psi.
A very important part of a good garden hose is the high quality couplings. Many are manufactured with top quality nickel plated brass couplings to ensure a good leak proof connection. These fittings are crush resistant to help maintain their roundness. Some couplings have a hexagonal outer shape for easier tightening and loosening. Other features found on a quality garden hose are a flexible collar, or guard, at each end (or at least one at the faucet end) to resist kinking, and an outer surface finish that makes it resistant to mildew, stains, and abrasions.
If you are in the market for a new garden hose, look to see what features each manufacturer has to offer in their line of garden hoses, and then you may want to purchase the best quality hose that your budget will allow for. The cost of a garden hose is based on the materials and construction it uses, the diameter (5/8”, 1/2”, etc.), and its length.