Retractable hoses certainly make life easier for many gardeners but some of them are so fast and heavy to use that they’re really not suitable for everyone.
Meanwhile, many of the heavier retractable versions are wall-mounted, making them far easier to use when needed regularly during the summer months. It also means there’s no need to worry about storing them until the colder winter months – at which point they can simply be removed from their wall bracket.
Some quick research will show you that it’s possible to purchase a garden hose measuring anything from as little as 7.6 metres up to a whopping 40 m in length.
Even the material the hoses are produced from vary quite considerably – and this usually determines how long a hose will last. Hoses, you will find, are mostly produced from either vinyl (plastic) or rubber.
Vinyl hoses are lightweight, so easier to use. On the downside, they have a tendency to kink more easily; as a result, they don’t last as long as their rubber counterparts.
Rubber hoses are, of course, much heavier. They will, however, last longer provided they are stored properly (black rubber heats up in the sun with the result that any water left inside will be too hot for your plants). Green rubber stays cooler for longer. To preserve your rubber hose simply store it in a shed when it’s too hot or freezing cold during winter.
Hoses can also be constructed of different amounts of layers or ply (usually from one to six). The more layers, the stronger and more durable the hose.
Of course, hoses can be used for a variety of uses – not just gardening. They can, for instance, be used to wash the car, fill a large paddling pool and even to wash down the dog after a particularly mucky walk in the park.
Last update on 2020-01-23 / Affiliate links / Images / Pricing from Amazon Product Advertising API
In this article, we’re focusing on the use of a hose for gardening purposes in particular. We have looked at different manufacturers, lengths, robustness, ease of use and price.
An expensive item but with quality parts to match the price tag so worth every penny
The Gardena wall-mounted hose box 35 m roll-up automatic is our top pick. A high-quality retractable hose, it comes complete with short locking stops and spray nozzle, as well as a wall bracket and screws.
Ideal for larger gardens with flowers and plants that need regular watering, it pulls out easily from the wall box and stops wherever you want it to, thanks to the short locking stop and centrifugal brake. And, once you’ve completed your task, the hose will simply retract itself – thanks to a built-in steel spring – by giving it a short, sharp tug. Although a handle on the side means it’s also possible to wind the hose manually if preferred. An integrated hose guide means there shouldn’t be any kinks in the hose when pulling out or retracting.
The fact the box itself can be rotated by 180 degrees also helps with this. When not in use the box can then be swivelled to sit against the wall, making the garden look neat and, at the same time, saving space.
In winter the hose can be removed from the bracket and stored in a warmer environment than that of outdoors. During the spring and summer when in use, spray nozzles and washing brushes can be attached to the hose bracket for easy access.
The mechanism for pulling and retracting the hose saves you from having to bend over and carry out the actions manually. Ultimately this means as little as possible, if any, strain on your back. Gently rewind while holding on to the hose to prevent it retracting too quickly and pulling lighter individuals off their feet!
The diameter of the hose pipe itself is 13 mm and it can be stretched and locked for up to 50 cm in length each time. An anti-drip device included is inserted into the hose after use to prevent any excess water coming from the end of the hose.
- Has an internal hose guide to prevent kinking and tangling
- The wall-mounted box can be swivelled to 180 degrees
- Hose’s tap connector will work with standard US taps as well as British
- Carry handles on the box means the box is portable
- It’s heavy so individuals with little strength will find it difficult to use
A good product that’s lightweight and excellent value for money
When it comes to value for money we recommend the Hozelock Compact 2 In 1 Reel. A 25 m hose which can be either wall-mounted or left free-standing, this is a lightweight and portable hose reel. The hose is retractable but there is also the option to wind by hand using a handle.
When purchasing, the Hozelock Compact 2 In 1 Reel comes with a threaded tap connector, end of hose connectors and a spray nozzle. There are also wall fixings. To ensure the hose doesn’t get tangled when rewinding, move the yellow tab at the front of the hose from right to left to allow it to wrap evenly around the reel.
The brackets sit flush against the wall. When aligning the top of the watertight box with the bottom you have the capacity for error of around 1 cm.
- Has a two-year warranty
- Viewing window lets you check there are no kinks when rewinding
- Portable and can be manually wound
- Installation instructions aren’t particularly clear
- Tougher screws and plugs than those supplied may be necessary
A strong hose but not always compliant with other nozzles on the market
The Tacklife Auto Hose Reel 30+2 m is wall-mounted and comes with a robust wall bracket and mounting screws. There is also a spray gun, two spray nozzles, two hose connectors, a faucet connector and an expansion tube. A User Manual is also included in the package.
It’s possible to use the hose at any length, thanks to a built-in lock. The inner self-layering system means it’s possible to automatically rewind the hose without causing any kinks or tangles in the process. To lock the hose, pull once and to retract it, pull the hose twice.
Once attached to the wall the box can pivot 180 degrees to allow wider access of the hose to the garden. There are two spray nozzles to fit the hose, which is advertised as 13 cm. However, it is actually 12.5 cm meaning most standard connectors would be too large for the hose. The flow rate will also be less so not good to use with high-pressure water. As the hose ages, you can change it by opening the flipping cap and gaining access to the box (an instruction video shows how this is achieved).
- Bolts for the wall bracket are strong enough to hold the hose
- Robust wall bracket
- Hose doesn’t fit standard connectors as it’s 12.5 cm diameter, not 13 cm as advertised
A sturdy hose which elderly gardeners may find difficult to use
The TECCPO Hose Reel, 25 m + 2 m has an auto-retractable reel and can rotate up to 180 degrees when wall-mounted. It’s possible to ‘lock’ the hose at any length, and a spray gun supplied has seven different modes to choose from.
There is a connector included in the pack as well as screws and a User Manual. An automatic rail unit, using steel spring driving, allows the hose to be arranged neatly in order to avoid it bending. A single pull on the hose allows it to retract easily.
The hose is very sturdy – which, admittedly, is a plus – but it can also be difficult to use for elderly individual and others who feel a little frail.
- Has a European standard quick connect device
- Comes with a two-year warranty as standard
- Hose is 15 mm in diameter, so thicker than standard
- Difficult to use if frail or weak
An extra-long hose which can prove useful but needs a strong hand to use
The Hozelock Auto Reel With 40M Hose is wall-mounted and includes a self-layering mechanism which automatically rewinds the hose without creating annoying kinks. The reel locks automatically, meaning that you don’t have to stand and hold the hose taught while watering.
The bracket and case can rotate 180 degrees to give maximum access to the garden. The case is produced from tough polypropylene and is UV stabilised; it’s also easy to remove and store in a shed or other warm environment over the cold winter months in order to prevent any possible frost damage.
This particular device has a child lock to prevent youngsters from messing with it during the summer months! It also contains an integrated padlock function to prevent theft. It comes with all fittings supplied, such as a connector and wall screws for the bracket (which can be attached to brick, concrete and stone). The Hozelock Auto Reel With 40M Hose measures 54 x 65.5 x 26.2 cm.
- Has a child-proof lock
- Comes with a lengthy five-year guarantee (when registered on-line)
- an integrated padlock function helps prevent against theft
- Fixtures supplied (bracket and wall screws) aren’t strong enough to hold the heavy hose for any length of time
- The shape of the wall bracket prevents certain electric screwdrivers or drills being used to attach to the wall
How To Use A Garden Hose
The length of hose you’ll need obviously depends on how large your garden is and where the flowers or plants that you want to water are located.
It also depends on what kind of water flow you are looking for from your hose – the smaller the diameter of the hose, the less fast the water pressure will prove. For instance, a hose with a diameter of 0.5 of an inch will allow for nine gallons of water per minute. A hose with a diameter of 5/8 inch diameter will give out 15 gallons of water per minute, and a 3/4 inch diameter hose can disperse up to 25 gallons of water per minute. In addition, the longer the hose you are using at the time, the less pressure will be supplied.
Sprinkler hoses are usually better for use on lawns or new planting beds. They’re also best to use on newly-planted flowers etc. There are a variety of different spray heads available on the market these days. Some are angled so that it’s easier to reach awkward spots while others are placed on poles (and which are perfect for watering flowers in hanging baskets).
Soaker hoses are made from a porous material which actually allows the water to slowly seep into the plant roots in newly-planted beds. At the same time the water – which is sprayed at a slow or medium pressure – doesn’t spray on the actual plant foliage, meaning it will help discourage disease. Note that more water will be sprayed from the end which is nearer to the tap.
The downside of soaker hoses is that they can take a while to achieve their objective so may have to remain switched on for up to an hour at a time. They can’t be set at too sharp a curve either, or they may develop a kink. Hose guides can be used if you plan on watering plant beds. These tend to be decorative and found in most garden centres these days). The hose can be placed on them in order to prevent it from crushing whatever it is that is growing in the actual plant beds.