In this guide, we'll take you through everything you need to know about garden hose pipes! It may not be an exciting topic, but we hope this guide will serve you well whist you are shopping for a garden hose that is just right for you and you're garden.

Which is the best hose pipe to buy? 

The best garden hose to buy will be dependant on how you will use it in your home. You may find that you wish to invest in a high-quality hose with a higher price tag, but investing in your garden hose will give you great quality, tried and tested garden hose pipe to use for years to come. With proper care and maintenance, you can benefit from a good quality hose pipe for years, which is why it’s always worth doing your research before you commit.

At Easy Garden Irrigation, we have a number of leading hose pipe brands such as Hozelock, Tricoflex, Claber and Gardena to choose from, as well as a number of other hose pipes, hose pipe fittings and hose pipe accessories.

In this article, we discuss what to consider when buying a garden hose, to help you know how to choose the best garden hose for your watering needs.

In this guide, you find:

  1. Hosepipe types
  2. How to choose the right garden hose
  3. How to connect a garden hose to a tap
  4. Best hosepipe for large gardens
  5. Best hosepipe for small gardens
  6. Expandable hoses
  7. Hose length
  8. Hose diameter
  9. Garden hose fittings

What types of hose pipe are there?

The main types of garden hose you can find include options for professional gardeners as well as garden hoses for your domestic use.

The most common types of garden hose include: 

Garden hoses

Garden hoses are available to buy without connectors or accessories. If you are looking to replace your garden hose, then buying a hose without any accessories may be the best option for you. Garden hoses are available in a number of different lengths and materials, including rubber, vinyl, composite rubber and vinyl, or from reinforced materials such as knitted or braided PVC or high tensile polyester yarn. This extra support can help manage higher water pressures, and make it more resistant to kinking and twisting. Buying a garden hose without included accessories gives you more choice and will allow you to buy exactly what you want and need.

Hose kits 

Garden hose kits include a garden hose pipe and garden hose accessories such as spray nozzles, hose connectors and tap connectors. From starter sets to premium options, hose kits are available to help you get started with watering your garden with ease. Garden hose kits are great option when you are just starting out, or when you want to complete replace your entire setup. We find pro landscapers typically purchase premium hose sets for their customers to ensure they have high quality equipment to help water freshly planted landscapes.

Garden hose reels

Hose reels are also popular with homeowners as they make it easier to manage your garden hose for regular watering needs. With options including a freestanding hose reel as well as a mounted wall reel, hose reels are an effective and tidy way to store your hose when you’re not using it. With either a hand crank or electric-operated crank, hose reels allow you to neatly and safely coil up your hose when you’re not using it, keeping it out of sight and out of the way. Storing your hose properly can avoid any unseemly kinks that can happen with improper storage.

Garden Irrigation hose

Another popular garden hose option is soaker hoses for your garden or a drip irrigation hose. Both are irrigation hose types that are suitable for drip irrigation systems for distributing water over large areas. Soaker hoses are a porous pipe that sweats the water out along its entire length. These are usually laid permanently in a bed or border to let the water soak across an area. Drip line is a low density poly pipe with preinstalled drip emitters along its length.

You can read more about the two options in our handy guide - Soaker Hose or Drip Line - Which is Best?

Can you use a normal hose pipe for drip irrigation?

In general, we’d recommend using the appropriate materials for drip irrigation systems. These include irrigation supply pipe, drip line or soaker hose specifically as opposed to a standard garden hose. Irrigation hoses for your garden shouldn’t be used for standard watering either as they aren’t flexible and serve a very different purpose.

If you would like to learn more about garden irrigation systems, read one of our handy guides below:

Professional garden hose - which is best?

If you are looking for the best professional garden hose, then you will need to consider the length of the hose as well as how you plan to use it. For example, you will need a sturdy, transportable reinforced hose capable of handling high amounts of water pressure if you are a professional gardener looking for a reliable hose that will serve you well for a number of different watering tasks. Professional garden hoses are available in lengths from 25m, to 50m and 100m.

Tricoflex hoses are the best choice for professional gardeners, as they are sturdy, strong, reliable and of high quality, too. Durable, super tough and with a 30-year guarantee, the Tricoflex hose pipe is suitable for professional, agricultural and industrial purposes. Garden centres, farmers and landscapers regularly use Tricoflex thanks to its robust design, which features anti-kink material that is crush-resistant with a long lifespan. It’s also incredibly easy to handle, making it a popular choice with professionals looking for a reliable professional garden hose. Tricoflex hose pipes are available in 25m, 50m and 100m lengths, and depending on your needs, can be purchased in either ½” or ¾” diameters.

For more about our range of garden hoses and to discover which is the right choice for you, contact our team - we’d be happy to help.

How to choose the right garden hose - top tips

Below are some of the key things to consider when choosing the right hose for your gardening needs. 

Water pressure

Depending on how you use your garden hose, you may require a particular amount of water pressure (usually measured in BAR). The average UK home has around 2 BAR pressure. Most hose pipes can handle a standard amount of water pressure that will suit most gardening needs. For a power washer, you may need to invest in a hose capable of higher water pressure. As a rule of thumb, the smaller the inner diameter, the lower the water pressure will be. For best performance, invest in a ¾” garden hose.

Long warranty

Always check the warranty of your garden hose, if it has one. Some professional hoses will offer a 30-year warranty, such as the Tricoflex hoses. Other hose pipes and hose pipe brands may offer a 10, 20 or 30-year guarantee. If a garden hose doesn’t offer a warranty, you may want to steer clear of it.

Length 

It can be tempting to just buy a longer hose, but it’s best to buy the size you need. The longer a hose is, the more it will impact water pressure and can be difficult to drain and be heavier to carry around. Only buy a longer hose if you need it.

Diameter

Standard garden hose pipes you can buy in the most UK box stores have a diameter of 1/2" (12.5mm). If you want to get the best performance from your hose and your hose accessories (garden sprinklers, spray guns etc.), it will be better to opt for a larger diameter hose, such as a 3/4" (19mm) garden hose.

Weight

Depending on how you’re planning to use the hose pipe, you will find heavier hose pipes harder to move around. Lightweight hose pipes are usually cheaper, and always remember to drain your hose pipe after each use. Heavier hose pipes may be more suited for a hose reel, which does the hard work for you and lets you manoeuvre your garden hose with ease.

Durability

Durability is essential for your garden hose. Not only do you want it to last longer than a few years, but you want it to be reliable and sturdy enough to handle consistent water pressure and everyday use. A good strong, durable hose will also consider features such as anti-kink design and weather resistance (although we still recommend avoiding exposing your hose to the midday heat).

Kink resistance

In our opinion, anti-kink technology is essential! Nobody wants kinks and twists when using their hose. This is because a kink can lead to further long term damage, causing cracks to appear with continued use which in turn can lead to holes in your hose pipe. Always aim to store your hose pipe properly after each use and flatten it out to ensure there are no kinks before you coil it up. Anti kink, anti-twist, crush-proof… you name it, all very important features for your garden hose!

Fittings

Think about the additional accessories or hose pipe fittings you’ll need and whether they come with the hose. Extra fittings such as tap connectors or garden hose nozzles are readily available to fit with the standard sizes of hoses in the UK. Most garden hose sets come with lower quality fittings. It might be worth looking around for the fittings you want and buying them separately. 

External finish and colour

Depending on your personal preference, garden hoses come in a number of colours and textures. Some hoses feature external linings that help offer grip for hose pipe connectors, and some garden hoses, particularly expandable hoses and Hozelock hoses, come in bright colours such as yellow so they can easily be seen on grass or driveways. If you’re keen to let your hose blend in, a more subtle dark green, black or grey is a good choice. For professional use, it is worth buying a high visibility hose for safety purposes, such as the bright yellow Tricoflex hose.

How to connect a hose to a garden tap 

To connect your hose to your external garden tap, you will need the right hose pipe fitting. Connect the end of your hose into a male hose connector, following the instructions on the product. Most hose tap connectors will either be universal or can be found in the most common hose pipe sizes. Our collection of garden hose tap splitters offers you more scope for your irrigation needs, and our brass hose fittings are very popular, offering a sturdy solution with the durability to handle constant use. 

Best hose pipe for large gardens

For larger gardens, aim to buy a longer length hose pipe. 100m length hose pipes are available from Tricoflex and are popular with professional gardeners as well as homeowners with more ground to cover. If you are looking for a Hozelock or Claber hose, the length of the hose pipe will be shorter, but it is possible to join two hoses together using a hose pipe connector.

Something to be wary of when watering larger gardens is the water pressure within your garden hose. Water pressure drops the further it travels along the pipe. For context, using a 100m length of ½” pipe, the pressure drops by at least 1 bar pressure from entry to exit due to friction. This is a big difference, and for a typical home, this reduces the water pressure by half. The ideal solution is to use a larger diameter hose, as the extra space in the pipe allows water to flow more smoothly and lets more water pass through at once. Smooth inner walls are something to look out for, too. You can find reinforced nylon hoses with additional metal mesh for additional strength and support, but always check the material of the inner lining.

Best hose pipe for small gardens

½ inch hose pipes are a good choice for a reliable garden hose for your small garden. For an all-rounder, we recommend the Claber Kiros hose reel and pipe kit, which is good value for money and will suit most gardening needs. Compact hose storage systems or hose reels are also popular for smaller gardens, with lengths of hosepipe available between 10 to 50 metreswhich should do the trick. 

Expandable hoses

Expandable hoses are popular with UK homeowners as they are a lightweight, pliable, and sometimes a cheaper alternative to a traditional garden hose. With a scrunchie-like appearance, expandable hoses usually come in different bright colours measuring a 1/2 inch in diameter. However, proceed with caution; expandable hoses are notorious for not contracting properly over time. This leaves you with an awkward hose that’s difficult to store away.

Expandable hoses can take on a fair amount of water pressure for watering your garden but can only withstand about 8 BAR (up to 14 BAR for higher-quality options). These types of hoses are also known to shrink down as the water pressure decreases, so can be a frustrating product to work with depending on how you plan to use them. If you’re still looking to pursue this option, we’d recommend the Hozelock Superhoze. Hozelock have taken their time to develop a superior expandable-hose offering that has addressed the common issues found with expandable hoses. With a 5-year guarantee, this is a better purchase than a cheap version you can find on discount websites.

Can my garden hose support a power washer?

Just watering alone won’t require a super strong hose with high maximum burst pressure, but for a power washer, durability and strength are important and steer clear of expandable hoses as these are not recommended with pressure washers. Consider a reinforced hose with additional support if you plan to use it with a pressure washer. Our favourite option is the Hozelock Ultimate Garden Hose with a maximum burst pressure of 35 BAR. 

What material is best for a garden hose?

Basic vinyl is a lightweight, cheap option for your garden hose, but it can split or degrade quickly when left in the sun, which is something to be aware of. Most garden hoses are made from PVC, and a good eco-friendly option is to choose a garden hose made from recycled PVC. For a long life garden hose made from PVC, look for options made of multiple layers with either a braided or knitted structure for added strength.

Rubber hoses are a reliable choice of hose pipe material. A rubber hose pipe is the best choice for a hard-wearing, reliable, high-quality hose but it will come with a higher price tag because of this. They’re less likely to crack or wear in the sun and are supple enough to coil into a reel once you’ve finished watering the garden. 

How long does my garden hose need to be?

The best advice we can give is to choose the shortest length of garden hose that will serve your needs. Think about what you will use your garden hose for, which areas of your property you will be using your garden hose in, then measure how far it is from your garden tap to the furthest corner you will be taking your garden hose to. This isn’t only to save money but also to ensure you get the best performance from your garden hose.

The average garden hose length is typically 30m. You can find hosepipes in lengths of roughly 15m, 30m, 50m, and 100m from most reputable suppliers depending on your needs. Avoid opting for a hose length beyond what you need; extra hose pipe will hinder you rather than help. This is because longer hose lengths result in a drop of water pressure and flow, so to ensure a good performance, aim for a shorter hose.

Choosing the right length hose for your garden

To find the right length hose, measure the furthest distance your garden covers from the water source, and allow for a little more lag than this length. This will mean the hose won’t be tugged or stretched and therefore damaged while in use. Be mindful of water pressure, which will decrease as the hose length increases. 

Hose diameters

Hose diameters can impact the overall performance of your hose as they can affect the water pressure and flow. For larger gardens where longer hose lengths are needed, a larger diameter hose will work better. This is because a larger diameter allows for more water to flow and maintains pressure over long distances. The most standard and popular hose diameters include ½”, ⅝” and ¾”. Hose diameters are measured from the internal diameter, excluding the outer layers. The bigger the hose diameter, the more water is delivered.Consider purchasing a ¾” garden hose if you want better performance from a garden sprinkler or if you require a longer length hosepipe.

Half inch hoses are the standard size and a good option if you are concerned about the weight of your hose and carrying it around. They are lightweight, with a smaller diameter letting less water though at once, and are ideal for light-duty watering tasks such as watering hanging baskets. Half inch hoses won’t work well with high-performance watering needs, such as using multiple sprinklers at the same time.

Garden hose fittings

Hose pipe fittings allow you to connect your hose pipe to the tap as well as to your hose reel or other irrigation equipment such as a spray nozzle or lawn sprinkler. Tap hose connectors can be universal, meaning they will fit to any hose, but be sure to find a hose pipe connector with the right diameter to your hose. The most common fittings are 1/2" (13 mm), 3/4" (19 mm) and 1" (25 mm). The diameter measurement is taken from the internal diameter and excludes the external layers of the hose.

The most common type of hose pipe fitting is the quick-click hose connectors. These go by lots of different names such as Hozelock style connectors, automatic couplings, quick-release hose connectors, snap-on connectors E.T.C.. These type of fittings are usually universal and compatible across different brands. We stock a large variety of Hozelock hose fittings and Claber hose fittings.

Less expensive hoses will have plastic couplings and fittings included. These can work well and will manage day to day use, but be careful about leaving cheap plastic exposed to the sun as this could cause you problems pretty quickly. Metal or brass couplings are a strong and sturdy choice for your hose pipe fittings, which wear better in warmer weather and can withstand more abuse.

For more help and advice for all things garden irrigation, explore our helpful guides. Otherwise, explore our garden hose pipes, garden hose reels. Feel free to get in touch with any questions about our products or call us on 01646 401050