A garden hose is an essential part of your outdoor toolbox. With just one tool, you can wash the car, fill the birdbath, water the geraniums and spray the kids. Here are some definitions to help you untangle garden hose terminology.
Choose the Perfect Garden Hose
Garden hoses come in many styles, colors and sizes, and may include features such as kink-resistance, multiply construction or microbial protection. You’ll also find hoses that are more durable and have additional features, such as a water-flow control valve that allows you to turn off the water flow and easily change nozzles.
Vinyl and vinyl-reinforced hoses are inexpensive, lightweight and easy to handle. Rubber hoses and hoses reinforced with rubber are heavier and more durable. Reinforced hoses stand up to temperature changes better and are less likely to kink or burst. Extra flexible, lightweight, easy-to-store plastic hose are also a great option.
A ply is a layer. More plies mean more strength. Household hoses vary from one to six plies, often with a reinforcing mesh layer in between.
Hose diameters range from 3/8-inch, 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch.In the United States, most standard garden hoses are 5/8-inch in diameter. The bigger the diameter, the more water is delivered.
Hose is sold in increments of 25 feet, usually 25 to 100 feet in total length. Water pressure diminishes as the hose length increases, so buy a hose that's long enough to reach where you'll be using it and no longer. If you occasionally require a long hose, buy two shorter ones and combine when needed. Shorter hoses are available to extend to hard-to-reach spigots or for patio use.
Coupling (or fitting)
The coupling is where the hose attaches to the water supply. Your two main choices are metal (usually brass) and plastic. Brass is more durable than plastic but may be difficult for anyone with limited hand strength to tighten to the spigot. For easy hand-tightening, choose a hose with an ergonomically shaped plastic coupling. Some hoses are reinforced near the coupling to help prevent kinking at the faucet.
In addition to the common-type hose, there are other specialty types available.
Sprinkler and soaker hoses are made especially for lawn and garden irrigation. Sprinkler hoses are designed for use on the ground surface and also dotted with holes on one side to gently spray upwards. A soaker hose is porous and can be buried under a layer of mulch. The hose leaks small amounts of water directly to your garden or flowerbed's roots with little waste.
Commercial hoses are designed for hot water and heavy-duty continuous use. Hoses should always be used with ambient water temperatures, so hot water should only be used in hoses specifically designed for hot water use.
If you grab an occasional drink from your hose on a hot day, get a hose that's designated boat, marine or recreational. Their plastic lining makes them safe for transmitting drinking water. The components used in standard hoses aren't always safe for ingestion.
Garden Hose Nozzles
Nozzles come in many varieties and styles. Spray models are great for providing a pattern for every job. With just a quick turn of the dial, the pattern changes to the exact spray you need. Pistol and twist nozzles provide adjustable sprays. For gentle watering (new, delicate flowers), use a fan spray or water. For cleaning, a jet spray is good. The industrial or fireman style nozzles are made for heavy-duty jobs.
If you're buying a hose to use with a pressure washer, check the washer manufacture's recommendations on hose length. Depending on your water pressure, a 50-foot hose is generally as long as you should use.
Hose reels are a valuable accessory to own. They keep your hose safe from tripping or mowing over and can prolong the life of your garden hose. There are a variety of styles from simple wall mount, portable wheeled and stationary - both purely functional and highly decorative.