The best soaker hose
Soaker hoses can help your garden flourish whether or not you have a green thumb. These handy hoses reduce the chances of mold and fungi growing on your plants but give them the water they need to thrive. They can be made of rubber or vinyl and come in varying diameters and lengths. Together, all of these factors determine the amount of water pressure the hose can withstand and the length of your run.
The following guide will give you the basics you need to make a decision. We've included our top pick, the eco-friendly Gilmour Soaker Hose. It stood out not only for the recycled vinyl but also because it's made of high-quality hardware and resists clogs.
Considerations when choosing soaker hoses
Plastic/vinyl: These hoses are inexpensive, but pose a greater risk of damage from water pressure and sun exposure.
Rubber: Also known as fibrous hoses, rubber hoses can be used through several seasons and may be made from recycled materials.
Length and diameter
Soaker hoses can be found in lengths of 25, 50, 75, and 100 feet. Try to get a rough estimate of the length you'll need before buying. However, keep in mind that any extra length can be wrapped around the base of your plants, trees, or in the hard to reach areas of your yard.
Hoses with a larger diameter maintain pressure for a longer distance. So the longer your run, the larger the diameter of the hose should be. Hoses come in ¼", ⅜", ½", and ⅝" diameters. If you'll be watering nearby container plants, a ¼" diameter hose will do. However, if you need to water 200 to 250 feet, you'll need a ⅝" diameter hose.
Soaker hoses can only withstand so much water pressure, which is indicated in psi, or pounds per square inch. Hoses have a maximum psi and exceeding that pressure risks bursting the hose. For example, you should not turn the water on full blast through a narrow hose with a psi of just 10. Conversely, a larger-diameter garden hose with a sprinkler on the end can withstand and actually requires the full 60 psi of an outdoor faucet to operate the sprinkler at full capacity. The lower the psi on the hose, the less you need to turn on the water.
Soaker hoses may come with a classic male-female screw-on fitting, a quick-connect push fitting, or no hose fittings at all. Screw fittings work with a standard exterior faucet while push-fit fittings may require an adaptor for the faucet itself. For hoses that don't come with any fittings, you'll have to attach the fittings of your choice. Brass fittings are far more durable than plastic fittings.
Kinks are a bend in the hose that can cause splits or tears. Kink-resistant hoses are designed to avoid this issue. Opt for thick rubber kink-resistant hoses as the thinner, expandable styles are more susceptible to tears.
Cut to length
If you're planning to bury the hose to precisely fit a perimeter or garden, a cut-to-length hose is perfect. You will, however, have to buy and attach the fittings yourself.
Some hoses are sold with extra accessories, such as pressure regulators, flow disks, and end caps, while with others you'll have to purchase them separately, if needed. If you have trouble with clogs, calcium filters can help. Finally, plastic stakes can secure your hose in place.
Soaker hose prices
Short hoses less than 25 feet long start at less than $10. The longest length and widest diameter hoses can be found for more than $30.
Q. How often do I need to run my soaker hose?
A. This will depend on the condition of your soil, the climate, and the type of plants you're watering. On average, plants need two inches of water per week. It may take several hour-long waterings throughout the week to reach that amount of water. Your hose should include the water delivery rate on it so you can calculate how long you need to water.
Q. Where is the best place to use a soaker hose?
A. Planted rows, flower gardens, container gardens, or narrow strips of grass are all ideal places to use soaker hoses.
Soaker hoses we recommend
Best of the best: Gilmour Flat Soaker Hose
Our take: Clog-resistant vinyl makes this a great hose whether you've got it buried or above ground.
What we like: It consistently delivers water and resists clogs. We love that it flattens for easy storage. The hardware and the hose itself are made of high-quality materials.
What we dislike: It's more expensive than most flat hoses.
Best bang for your buck: Melnor Flat Soaker Hose
Our take: A particularly good value for the 50-foot version, and since it's flat, it's easy to store.
What we like: We love that it comes in three different lengths and that it can work above or below ground.
What we dislike: Some users have reported leaks at the seam by the connector.
Choice 3: Rocky Mountain Radar Soaker Hose
Our take: This rubber hose won't break the bank but has good durability.
What we like: It comes with an impressive seven-year warranty. This hose does a great job of evenly distributing water.
What we dislike: It's not a flat hose so storage might be an issue, and it sometimes leaks around the connector.
Stacey L. Nash is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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