The Best Garden Hose

Garden hoses have always been a source of frustration for gardeners and lawn care enthusiasts alike. With that in mind, I've spent more than 20 hours over the past few months scouring to find the best hose. For folks looking to keep their garden lush, cars clean, and sprinklers sprinkling, the best choice is the Craftsman Premium Rubber Hose because of its great price, durability, build quality, and lifetime warranty.

Last Updated: July 9, 2014
Amazon's stock of our thin and light hose pick, the Water Right Ultra Light, is running low. But we're in the middle of rewriting this guide, so if you can wait we'll have a new set of picks soon.
Expand Previous Updates
June 26, 2014: Updated with long-term test notes from a tester who's been using our pick in Hawaii for the last year.
June 15, 2013: Updated to include text on the effect of UV on rubber, and how to best take care of a hose.

What makes a great hose

When I first started researching garden hoses I was sure that someone—anyone really—would have done an objective evaluation comparing hoses. I was stunned to find out that almost all information available online was anecdotal in nature, often wrong (and seriously so in some cases), and of very little use to homeowners. I leafed through gardening magazines like Home and Garden and Fine Gardening only to find that recommendations were almost always based on superficial features like color and spoke little of their actual use. Even more frustrating was the frequently quoted adage of “do yourself a favor and buy a nice hose” with little to no description of what that was.

Genevieve Schmidt, a garden writer and owner of a landscaping company in Northern California, knows hoses and is acutely aware of all the grief they can bring. “My number one bug is when I’m over 50 feet away and I get a kink and then I have to walk all the way back to fix it,” says Schmidt. “That is super annoying to me.” It is no surprise, then, that most brands of hose are marketed as “kink-free.” Alas, as Schmidt points out “every hose brand will kink, but some brands are better than others.” 

So what makes a hose less likely to kink? Some companies, like Tuff Guard, have implemented unique designs to combat kinking. Schmidt explains that the Tuff Guard Perfect Garden Hose is basically a “springy energetic coil”. The double helix design uses a stiffer polypropylene plastic that wraps around the hose that provides a structure which resists collapse. “I tried tying it in knots, and couldn’t get it to kink,” says Schmidt.

Schmidt also explained to me that it’s easy to decrease the likelihood of any hose kinking, not just the Tuff Guard.

“The number one thing [that causes kinking] is not putting the hose away properly. Hoses have a memory, and if you wind them up every single time, and keep them really neat they don’t sustain the same kind of stresses. Hoses get brittle when asked to sit kinked in all different directions. Never ever leave it kinked or it will develop a permanent spot that always kinks.”

For the most part, though, any hose that promises to be “kink-free” is an example of marketing gone wrong and should be taken with a huge grain of salt. And even those hoses that do kink less often, like the Tuff Guard, may not be the best choice as Schmidt explained that even she has reservations about it because it is not drinking water safe.

Water Safety and Hose Materials

Lead and BPA are not things you want in your drinking water (or the water that nourishes your vegetables for that matter) because they’ve been linked to undesirable outcomes like cancer and birth defects, unfortunately a lot of hoses contain a lot of both of those things. While most drinking water in the U.S. is protected by the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) anything that comes out of a garden hose is not so you have to make sure the hose you buy is clean–otherwise the water that comes from it won’t be.

Healthystuff.org, a non-profit website run by the Michigan based Ecology Center, recently examined over 179 common garden products including 90 garden hoses only to find that more than two thirds of the products tested warranted what they describe as “high concern”. 30% of these products contained more lead than is considered safe by the Consumer Product Safety Commission Standard. One particular model tested was the Apex Neverkink Heavy Duty 2000 hose, a popular well-reviewed model on Amazon. Not only did it contain high levels of lead in the brass fittings, but also significant levels of phthalates (like BPA) that would violate CPSIA standards if the same levels were found in children’s toys.

Not everybody is going to drink out of their hose, nor are we advocating that they should.
We think it’s better to avoid contaminants whenever possible and as such, we’ve focused on hoses that are less likely to contaminate the water. That’s because these chemicals’ impact extend beyond those who occasionally take a sip from their hose. Every time you fill a pool or water your vegetable garden there is the potential for exposure. It also doesn’t hurt that hoses that pose less of a risk tend to be higher quality and made with better materials. 

What to look for

Most garden hoses are made of one of three different materials (or a combination of two): rubber, PVC (polyvinyl chloride), or polyurethane. The material least likely to be drinking water safe is PVC as most vinyls use lead (among other metals) and plasticizers containing phthalates in their production. Healthystuff.org recommends PVC-free hoses, and I’m inclined to agree with them, so hoses containing PVC are not high on my list of recommendations. Rubber on the other hand is naturally flexible while also being very durable without the nasty habit of leaching contaminants. Polyurethane, though a polymer like PVC is less likely to contain lead, BPA, or phthalates, and is a lighter weight alternative to rubber.

Outside of the hose itself, it’s important to consider hose fittings. Most fittings are made out of brass, chrome/nickel coated brass, aluminum, or plastic. Brass is often touted as being what to look for, but given that it contains lead (unless it’s specifically marketed as lead-free brass) and is prone to oxidation (especially after the lacquer wears off) it may not be the best choice. Aluminum and plastic should also be avoided as both are prone to failure due to cracking or bending. The best choice is nickel or chrome-coated brass as it eliminates lead contamination while also minimizing corrosion due to copper oxidation which means it won’t be impossible to remove because of crud that builds up in the threads. Nickel is also a lot harder which reduces the chance of stripped threads which is a major cause of leaks.

How long should it be?

One of the most important decisions when buying a hose is length. Most hoses come in 25, 50, or 100 foot varieties, however, that doesn’t mean you should be buying the longest one you can find. Instead, most of the experts we talked to recommended buying multiple hoses instead of one longer one, and connecting them when you need the added length. While not necessarily cheaper, it means that for tasks that don’t need the distance you have a lot less hose to deal with. It also has the added benefit of making sure that if anything does break or spring a leak that you only have to replace that particular section, as opposed to a much longer hose.

In our tests, we found that the fifty foot hose was great for most tasks around the yard. Twenty-five feet, on the other hand, was a bit too short, especially if you only have one spigot. It also means that you’re limited if you’re trying to move your sprinkler around the yard. Lucky for us, fifty feet seems to be the standard length for most hoses, including our favorite (which is also available in a 100-foot length).

With all that in mind, we decided to get together a bunch of hoses and run them through the gauntlet.

What We Tested

So, what hoses did we test? After talking to experts and reading everything we could online we ended up with six hoses from Water Right, Craftsman, Goodyear, Tuff Guard, and Gilmour.

We looked for hoses that were constructed with the highest quality materials, and that were the least likely to contaminate the water. In addition, we culled the top-rated hoses on Amazon after reading through hundreds of reviews in order to eliminate any that had a high rate of failure. We also selected hoses that were locally available at outlets like Home Depot, Lowes, and Sears.

Of the six we tested, two are rubber, two are polyurethane, one is polypropylene, and one made of PVC and rubber. We also kept cost in mind, and the range here was between $29-$55 for a 50-foot hose. While there are cheaper hoses on the market they’re not likely to last more than a season or two before breaking down (as can be seen in excoriating reviews on Amazon and Home Depot). Funnily enough, all the hoses we ended up testing were made in the USA which was a nice surprise. 

How We Tested

Hoses don’t have moving parts which means testing was simple and fairly limited. We looked at several key features. The first thing to test was the connection between the hose and the water line. Did it leak? Were the threads robust? Was it easy to connect and disconnect? After that we tested water flow rate (we only saw a significant difference between ½” and ⅝” hoses, but it did influence nozzle performance). Once connected to the water source, we fitted different nozzles on the hoses to test compatibility, pressure and to see if leaks formed at the nozzle end. During this use, we also evaluated how easily a hose kinked, and how easy it was to unkink.

Unfortunately, one of the most important qualities for a hose can’t easily be tested, specifically how it holds up over time. We’ll be updating this site over the next few months with new results as they come in. The last thing to consider is the hose warranty. I heard time and time again that all hoses fail. It doesn’t matter how careful you are, they will eventually spring a leak, or stop working the way you want them to, so having a solid warranty is essential.

Our Pick

The Craftsman Premium Rubber Hose is our pick for garden hose, not only in terms of price but also durability, build quality, and warranty. Master gardener Cathy Beauregard, who owns a landscaping company in Connecticut and frequently teaches at UConn’s master gardening program, spends a lot of time working with hoses and agrees that there are none better than the Craftsman.

“The best garden hose on the market is made out of black rubber, and you can buy them from Sears. They’re 100% guaranteed as long as you own it. You can run over it with a car and it’ll still be good,” said Beauregard.

Outside of being a stellar hose in its own right, one of the best features of the Craftsman hose is that if and when the hose breaks you can easily get it replaced in-store (at both Sears and Kmart), no questions asked. This is because Craftsman (which is produced by and sold through Sears) has one of the better return policies on the market. “They honor their guarantee. It’s the only one you want,” explained Beauregard, “Everything else is faulty, the connectors will strip, and it won’t be good for long.”

“They’re 100% guaranteed as long as you own it. You can run over it with a car and it’ll still be good”- Cathy Beauregard, Master Gardener

Besides its stellar warranty, the Craftsman Premium Rubber Hose is also built like a tank. This is thanks to its heavy rubber construction and the use of nickel plated brass for the connectors. That mean the lead in the brass won’t get into the water, and that it’ll hold up better over time. Rubber, too, also minimizes contamination from plasticizing agents, and is recommended as a material to look for by Healthystuff.org. That thick rubber also contributes to its kink-resistance. While not kink-proof, in our tests it certainly kinked far less than the equivalent hybrid Rubber/PVC hose from Gilmour.

The Craftsman is also considered to be a low toxicity risk by HealthyStuff.org. Their tests showed it to have no lead, and only trace amounts of other toxins.

Imperfections (on break downs over time in a lot of sun)

While we liked the Craftsman hose the best, it is not without its downsides. In particular, it’s heavy. It weighed in at 12-pounds unfilled, and nearly 15 when the water was turned on. Of the hoses we tested the weights ranged from 3 to 12 pounds, with the average being about 6 for a 50-foot hose. This might be a big turnoff for people who drag their hoses around their gardens as a heavy hose has the potential to crush small plants and snap or damage taller ones, especially given that there are great lightweight alternatives (albeit, at a cost).

Another issue came up after we published that piece, which is some people reported that after prolonged sun exposure in high UV areas over many seasons, the hose broke down in the sun and could leave black residue on hands and surfaces. If that happens to you, we recommend you utilize the warranty and get a new one. And for the record, as we note below, it is best not to leave a hose sitting in direct sunlight if possible, but coiled on a hose reel in the shade.

This is not a defect in design nor a dealbreaker, as any hose will break down in the sun with enough time, but we understand the black markings that readers are reporting as a black rubber hose breaks down might be annoying.

The thing is, every type of hose exposed to enough sunlight begins to degrade. And this is especially true for rubber. Rubber is rubbery because of elastomers have been vulcanized, a process wherein long chains of polymers cross-link during curing. This is done to preserve the elastic qualities over time. However, even after vulcanization rubber is sensitive to UV exposure.

John Loadman, an analytical chemist who specializes in rubber, describes the process of UV degradation on his site Bouncing Balls. “The mechanism for light-catalysed oxidative degradation is that the energy of UV light may be sufficient to break a C-H bond and generate a radical species which can then react with oxygen to initiate the same chain reaction sequences as occur in direct oxidation.” In layman’s terms, UV light breaks a key chemical bond which then allows for further degradation. Even simpler, UV light causes rubber to break down over time.

Luckily, most rubber has been adequately vulcanized that this isn’t a problem in the short term. However, as hoses age the rubber will begin to degrade and soften. When this happens rubber can slough off and leave a residue after being handled. When this review was first published several commenters mentioned that their older Craftsman and Goodyear hoses began to leave black marks after being handled. Since then, I’ve tried to replicate these findings on the hoses that I tested, with no such luck. With greater friction, a black streak of rubber is left behind, but I’m guessing my hoses haven’t been exposed to enough UV. We’ll keep testing to see how long it takes. Again, if you do buy a rubber hose and it does begin to leave black marks you should be able to return/replace it is as it is an issue with manufacturing which is covered under the Craftsman warranty.

Finally, it should be noted that rubber is not the only material sensitive to UV light. Hoses made out of any polymer, including PVC and polyurethane, will eventually degrade when exposed to enough UV light. PVC, in fact, is well known for being sensitive to UV degradation and is often the reason it is not suitable for outdoor uses. This is why PVC hoses often develop cracks and leaks after spending a few seasons being exposed to UV light. However, those sorts of hoses won’t necessarily leave scuffs and residue as they do, which is why if this is an issue for you, you should consider the polyurethane based Water Right Slim and Light.

Long-term test notes

One of our testers, Simon Baumer, sent us this report from his use of our top pick for the last year in Hawaii, on the island of Oahu, where the sun shines nearly three-quarters of the year and temperatures average 77 degrees. Despite leaving it outside partly in the sun, the hose hasn’t broken down or degraded as some other users have reported:  “The hose has been permanently positioned on the eastern side of the house which is exposed to sun for half the day every day. It’s been stored on a reel, but for around 70-75% of that time, half of the hose was left out on the back yard (exposed to sun the full day) with a sprinkler attached. I’ve run my hand along the entire length (both the half that was fully exposed for a majority of the time, and the half that was stored on the reel the entire time) to make sure no black residue was coming off, or any breakdown was happening.”

Even without sticking to our storage guidelines (keeping it wrapped on a reel and out of the sun) he didn’t seen any of the reported ill effects. However, owners of this hose who live in areas that see extremely high and/or low temperatures should more closely follow our care and maintenance tips to ensure the best results.

A lighter (albeit pricier) garden hose

Also Great
*At the time of publishing, the price was $52.
This is a super light and well-constructed hose. Definitely worth spending extra for if weight is important to you. But do note that the thinner diameter can lead to pressure issues when used with sprinklers and nozzles
If the Craftsman’s 12lb weight is just too much, the $55 Water Right Slim and Light hose is a great choice for those who spend a lot of time in the garden dragging a hose around potentially fragile plants, or for those who are simply tired of hauling around a heavy unwieldy hose. The quality of the hose is top notch, and definitely warrants spending a little bit extra if you want to lose a few pounds–their 50 foot hoses weigh only 3 pounds, a fourth the weight of the Craftsman rubber hose. The hose is also more ideal for someone who lives in an extremely sunny area and does not want to deal with the UV breakdown that might happen with the Craftsman or other rubber hoses over time.

For being so light, the Water Right hose is remarkably robust, and doesn’t kink very easily.  When it does kink a quick flick of the hose seems to free any problems. Susan Harris, a garden writer at Garden Rant, had this to say about the difference in weight when compared to the Crafstman Rubber Hose: “The difference is so big, I was shocked when I first lifted one. Imagine just flinging the the hose to wherever you need it in one motion.”

However, it’s worth noting that the Slim and Light hose uses a 1/2” diameter whereas almost all other garden hoses are 5/8”(the chrome-plated fittings, however, are standard size for most spigots). This lead to pressure issues when we tested it with the Bon Aire Ultimate Hose Nozzle. The result was more of a dripping than a drenching. From what I’ve read, the smaller diameter is also likely to affect the performance of many sprinklers so keep that in mind if you were hoping to water your yard. For those looking for higher volume output, Water Right recently released a 5/8” model but it is even more expensive ($75 for fifty feet).

The Rest

So what’s the Craftsman like compared to other rubber hoses?

Goodyear produces a rubber hose that is very similar in build quality and price (around $30) to the Craftsman, and it’s sold at Home Depot so I picked one up to compare. While similar in weight it doesn’t have the fit and finish of the Craftsman. In particular, its brass couplers lacked the nickel-coating and had trouble screwing onto the spigot. Outside of that, it’d be hard to tell the difference between the two especially if you’re more than a few feet away. One of the most substantial differences outside of build, in my eyes, is the Craftsman warranty, and the ability to return the hose to either a Kmart or Sears. That being said, Home Depot has a very liberal return policy, and if it’s all you have close by the Goodyear rubber hose would be a decent choice.

We also tested a rubber/PVC hose from Gilmour, but as mentioned previously, it was far less kink-resistant than the Craftsman so there’s no reason to get it if you have the option of getting that or the Goodyear.

As for non-rubber hoses, when we spoke to Genevieve Schmidt she explained that outside of kinking one of the other most important features she sought out in a hose was light weight. “I would definitely say that lightweight is really important. Most garden hoses are really heavy, and if they flop on something they can crush your plants,” said Schmidt. She recommends the Tuff-Guard Perfect Garden Hose, which impressed her because it was lighter (at six pounds) and very resistant to kinking.  She also mentioned that she was excited to try out the ultralight hoses from Water Right.

Disappointing
*At the time of publishing, the price was $53.
Though the Tuff-Guard is universally loved by experts and seems well designed, the high price and large number of user complaints turned us off.
The Tuff-Guard hose is by far the most kink proof of all the hoses we tested, and it doesn’t hurt that it’s half the weight of our top pick, but it’s too expensive given that Amazon reviewers claim quality control issues.

The Tuff-Guard is set apart by its rigid helical polypropylene backbone which prevents it from collapsing. The closest analogue I can think of is the hose you find on some vacuum cleaner cleaners. Like Genevieve Schmidt, I tried tying it knots to no avail. It just refuses to kink. And that’s incredible, because every other hose we tested kinked pretty consistently when bent.

Unfortunately, there are a number of things that keep us from recommending it as our top pick starting with its high price tag of $55. Furthermore, several Amazon reviewers mentioned that their hoses failed after the material close to the brass fitting where it connected to both the spigot and sprayer sheared away. I figured something like that might happen after a few months of use, but within a few minutes of taking it out of the box and hooking it up I noticed it was leaking. Upon closer inspection it’s pretty clear why as there was a significant weak spot where it was missing one of the two plys of polypropylene, and where the polyester fiber used as reinforcement was tearing. With a little more force (or time) it’s pretty clear that the whole thing will come undone. And because it’s not sold anywhere nearby, in order to get it replaced I’ll have to take a trip to the post office plus the cost of shipping (which for a bulky 6.5 lb hose isn’t cheap).

What’s clear from both my experience and from reading reviews on Amazon is that the Tuff Guard has issues tied to quality control. This can, perhaps, be explained by the fact that it’s still a relatively new product and has only been out for a little more than a year. Given that it is by far the most kink-proof of any hose we’ve tested there’s reason to reevaluate it’s place in the market once production has been improved. I should also note that many of the reviewers who described their hose failing on Amazon have been sent replacements, so it sounds like Tuff Guard is responsive and eager to resolve these issues.

Taking Care of Hoses

Every single person we talked to took time to share a few words of advice: the likelihood of kinking and the durability of your hose is singlehandedly determined by  how well you take care of it. A hose that is kept in a hose pot or hose reel, that is kept out of the sun, and is drained before winter, will fare far better than a hose left kinked in the yard baking in the sun. Genevieve Schmidt also added that it’s not a bad idea to always keep a nozzle on your hose if only to protect the relatively delicate threads from stripping or being scuffed on asphalt or pavement. 

Every single person we talked to took time to share a few words of advice: the likelihood of kinking and the durability of your hose is singlehandedly determined by  how well you take care of it
To really get the most out of your hose your best bet is to invest in something like a Rapid Reel. Why? Because without it the temptation to leave your hose kinked in the hot sun and vulnerable to lawn mowers is high. No one wants to spend the 10-minutes it takes to tidily coil their hose. It also means you can keep your hose out of the way and in the shade as UV is one of the leading causes in hose damage. While most will balk at a $160 price tag, you should think of it as an investment that with proper use will prevent you from having to buy a new hose every two to three years. There are alternatives like heavy copper or ceramic hose pots for the aesthetically inclined (or contractor buckets, for the DIYers out there), but those lack the utility and time saving components of being able to quickly reel in your hose.

Wrapping it up

After spending weeks looking into the question of the best garden hose I’m confident in recommending the 50-foot Craftsman Premium Rubber Hose for $30 as our pick. It’s a solid hose made with safe reliable materials and the fit and finish that should last years if cared for properly. Not only is it well built and affordable, but it comes with a warranty that covers you when, not if, the hose eventually breaks.

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Sources

  1. Craftsman Rubber Hose at Sears
  2. The best garden hose on the market is made out of black rubber. You buy them from Sears, they're 100% guaranteed as long as you have them. You can run over them with a car and they'll still be good. They honor their guarantee…That's the only one. Everything else is faulty, the connectors will strip, and it won't be good for long. Instead of leaving it in the yard you should wind the hose when you're finished with it, so you don't run over it with tractors or lawn equipment, they'll last a lot longer.
  3. Genevieve Schmidt, North Coast Gardening
    "My favorite hose is the Tuff Guard hose. Springy energetic coil. It never kinks, and has this weird tubing on the outside of the house. It has rings around the outside of the hose and is constructed really differently. I stomped on it, ran over it with my truck. Tried tying it knots, and couldn't kink it. It didn't sustain any damage. It's also really light weight, weighing less than a couple of pounds [for 50 ft of hose]. But it's not drinking water safe! The number one thing [that damages hoses] is not being put away properly. Hoses have a memory, and so if you wind them up very single time, and keep them really neat, then they don't sustain the same kind of stresses that a hose that is being left out and pushed in all directions. Hoses can get brittle when asked to be sit in all different positions. If we work with it and get a hose pot or hose reel, and place that out of direct sunshine, out of the elements, that can really help."
  4. Susan Harris, Finding the Garden Hose of My Dreams, Garden Rant, January 11th, 2013
    "The 50-foot length weighs just 3 pounds. That’s versus 11.6 pounds for a 50-foot Craftsman brand. The difference is so big, I was shocked when I first lifted one. Imagine just flinging the the hose to wherever you need it in one motion."
  5. HealthyStuff.org, 2012 Garden Products Study
    Avoid PVC: PVC needs potentially hazardous additives and stabilizers to make it “rubbery”. Instead, try a top-quality, food grade polyurethane hose that meets Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards or an old fashion natural rubber hose. Search on-line “polyurethane garden hose” or “rubber garden hose” for options. Watch the brass: The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) limits lead in brass in residential water fixtures to no more than 2,500 ppm. Garden hose ARE NOT regulated by the SDWA, and our test show 29% of brass connectors contained greater than 2,500 ppm lead. Opt for a hose that is drinking water safe and lead free. Non-brass fittings (nickel, aluminum or stainless) are more likely to lead-free.
  6. Finding the Best Garden Hose, The Family Handyman
    "Perform your own tests on the hoses right in the store. Remove a few twist ties from the hose packaging and unroll about 2 ft. of hose. Then coil it back against itself to see if it kinks. A hose that kinks in the store will kink even easier after it's been baking in the sun all day. Next, compare the wall thicknesses of different hoses by bending them at a 90-degree angle. The hoses with thicker walls will be harder to bend because they're made with more material. Sure, they cost more, but they also last longer."
  • Chip

    Great review, but I wonder how the Craftsmen hose will stand up over time. I have the Goodyear rubber hose. It’s thick, reliable, and heavy duty like the Craftsmen, but over time has begun to leave a black residue on my hands, especially after coiling it up. Just like if you were to wipe your car tire with your hand. It’s rubber, so it’s porous, can rub off, and can hold dirt on it. I end up having to wash my hands after just touching the hose, not fun.

    I’m now looking for a non-rubber hose. The Tuff Guard hose or the Water Right’s polyurethane coating might be the way to go here.

    • Oliver Hulland

      Rubber can degrade over time, especially if it’s been exposed to a ton of UV. As a lot of the experts in the review mentioned your best bet is to keep it out of the sun (but that’s just a good general rule for all hoses). How long did you own the Goodyear before it started leaving a residue behind? With the Craftsmen, at least, you could potentially return it if the material was breaking down and leaving your hands dirty.

      With that in mind, the Water Right is a fantastic hose. My wife really loves it because of how light it is, and so far with daily use and abuse on the farm it’s done really well.

      • Chip

        It’s about 4 years old and was stored in a garage when not in use, but it’s been leaving a residue for a least a couple years. I’m definitely going to look at the Tuff Guard and Water Right. Thanks Oliver.

    • Oliver Hulland

      Chip, I forgot to ask earlier, but how old is your Goodyear rubber hose?

    • CowboyBillTN

      I use this Craftsmen hose almost exclusively on our farm and leave it out in the elements year-round. Mine isn’t exposed to the sun all day (under trees and besides buildings) and after two years shows no signs of deterioration.

  • Marius Piedallu van Wyk

    The link to Sears takes me to a $35 version (not $25 as indicated)

    • Oliver Hulland

      In my research the Craftsman hose price fluctuates between $20-$35. It’ll likely go on sale again in the next few weeks, but we’ll update the price to reflect that it’s now (6-13-2013) selling for $35. I still think it’s a great deal.

      • Marius Piedallu van Wyk

        PS: The timing of the review is serendipitous as my wife just added “hose pipe” to our shared shopping list a few days ago. :)

  • Elise

    Genevieve is right, the TUFF GUARD hose is absolutely the best hose on the market today hence the price! I was willing to take a leap of faith on a $50.00 50’ garden hose based on my frustration in using the heavy rubber hoses. I am concerned with quality issues, but as stated here it is a brand new product and from what I understand they replace the hose with few requirements or questions asked. I’ve used the craftsman black rubber hose, and it’s a nice hose if your strong enough to lug it around as it’s super heavy. I also noticed that after a while it left black marks all over everything it touched, and trust me kink free it IS NOT. I recommend the TUFF GUARD hose to everyone, hopefully the quality issues don’t make me look bad but after I lifelong struggle with garden hoses I’m super happy!!!

    • brian lam

      Elise, how old was your craftsman hose before it started breaking down? where do you live?

  • Robert ANderson

    I love the Craftsman black rubber hose. No more kinking, stiffness or breaks. I ordered from the catalog and picked it up at the store. Had it about 10 years. I didn’t even know about the guarantee.

  • David V.

    I bought one of those Tuff-Guard hoses from Amazon, and really like it. After two months, though, one end became undone. I stopped by my local Lowes and bought a fitting with external pressure ring for about $6, and that solved the problem. The problem was frustrating, and the solution added to the overall cost, but it’s still a remarkable hose.

  • Guest

    This is a great hose. Yes, it leaves a black stain from the soft rubber on your hands (even after months of use), but it makes up for it in flexibility, comfort, and ease of rewinding. And it doesn’t have the foul odor like the other vinyl hoses on the market. Highly recommended

  • JennyDSweetie

    FYI – the hose is on sale for $19.99 at Sears right now, and free in-store pick up.

  • Will Taylor

    FYI, hose is $35 on Sears as of 10/15/13

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      Thanks!

  • http://facebook.com/danputnam SurfSwitch

    Hate to say it, but I returned this hose after about a month of use. It kinks all the time and is a royal pain the *** to wind back up. I even went back on here and made sure I bought the right hose. Every other review you’ve given I’ve been extremely happy with, but I have to disagree here. I spent $20 more and got the Tough Guard, which so far has been well worth the investment.

  • joe walz
  • phensler

    I would be happy enough with the craftsman hose if I’d have bought it without research, but I honestly feel like it’s not up to my usual expectations for thesweethome recommendations. Among other things, it’s the heaviest hose I’ve used, retains a lot of memory (coiling is a CHORE), and it definitely kinks. The pros are somewhat related: feels heavy duty (or maybe it’s really just heavy, ha!), and the nickel plated spigot end is nice. I think when your commentariat is helping each other find alternatives to your recommendation (tuff guard, flexzilla), it’s time to re-evaluate. My $.02.

    Otherwise keep up the great work!

  • kaitmchugh

    do you recommend a durable, non-toxic and somewhat affordable nozzle to go with the Craftsman hose?

    • kaitmchugh

      ok, ok…i just read your review of the Gilmour Nozzle! good stuff. sorry to ask prematurely.

  • Micheline M.

    for me the best Garden hose is the Clear-flow hose of Home hardware!!!!!

    this hose is fantastic, ecologic , recyclable………… ( good for 15-20 years)

    http://homehardware.ca/en/cat/search/_/N-2pqfZ67l/Ne-67n/Ntk-All_EN?Ntt=Clear-Flow

  • Myles

    Did you guys look at the flexible expanding garden hoses? These are the ones that first showed up on “As seen on TV” type infomercials and change shape when the water is turned on. It seems like a nice choice to save space if they work as advertised.

  • Scudder35

    On a related note – I’m looking for a good hose cart/reel, if anyone has a lead. Reqs include that it have a 150′ capacity minimum, and be on wheels. Thanks!

  • bri

    You guys didn’t test any of the “expanding” hoses like Pocket Hose? We have three and love them. Left them out over a harsh Michigan winter and drive over them with a car no problem. No leaks. So much easier to move around and store.

  • ngrrsn

    My biggest complaint with hoses is not the weight. Safety (chemical leaching) is paramount. Next comes connections. Next comes kinking. Finally, my wife said she does not want a hose that leaves black marks all over everything it touches. Connections? Yes. We do a lot of watering and have multiple hookups. Because of how and when we water, we often leave the faucet on with the hose connected. I know…you are supposed to take the pressure off the hose, drain it, and store it. But sometimes that just isn’t practical. I hate it when the connections leak, from either end. I’ve had brand new hoses with new rings leak through the threads or even behind the connector. Most quality hoses have kink resistance. I want a hose that is easy to thread and that will not leak. Did the reviewers test for leaking over time? Which ones were the most leak resistant from the connectors? Oh, and if you need some credibility, I am a Master Gardener, too, and work with several community gardens. Seems like people are always griping about the hoses. ;)

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      We cover Water Safety and Hose Material, kinking, threads & leaking above. Did you read the entire guide?

      • ngrrsn

        Yes, I did. I was glad you covered the topic related to nickel plated
        brass. The point I guess I failed to make is that there is a lot more
        to consider with a hose than if it is heavy or doesn’t kink. The comments seemed to focus on these, so I wanted to weigh in on what I thought was more important. A leaky
        connection wastes water. And I was very glad the article covered the
        sections about health safety — the #1 thing people should think about
        before anything else. I have had hoses that were good on purchase, but
        even after replacing the ring after a while, they still leaked —
        sometimes even from behind the area that threads where the connector
        fastens to the hose. I had one hose that developed crack in the
        connector and would spray a fine mist. And some hoses are very light on
        the number of threads; if you use an o-ring for a seal you can’t thread
        the hose to the outlet or a sprayer to the male end of the hose. I read the review, but
        wondered if you retested the connections after a period of time.

        • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

          We usually do long term testing on everything, so I’ll let you know when we do long term testing on this. Sound good to you?

  • DrE

    Sears currently has these for sale online for $20.89!!!

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      Thanks for the heads up!

  • gyamashita

    live in hawaii as well, and over the last year, these hoses have been great. rather than coiling them for storage, we leave them out flat on the lanai…they get a bit of sun in the afternoon, but it’s rarely ever that hot here (high of 88, maybe?). so far, a great purchase and very happy with it…

  • KevKal

    Any suggestions on a leader hose to go from the hose bib to the reel? I picked up the Craftsman rubber hose just to realize I still have a leader hose of unknown quality with two brass fittings. The only one I can find is a 5/8″ water right 10′ leader hose for a crazy price of $46 shipped.

  • Oingo Boingo

    Thanks for the update but the link for the Craftsman is no longer valid. They moved it over to the craftsman site. You can find the 25′, 50′ 75′ and 100′ there all on sale a couple to a few $ off.

  • brian1269

    Great article. Went out a few days ago and bought two 50′ Craftsman Premium Rubber Garden Hoses at K-Mart for $15.94 apiece. Was going to buy just one at the listed price of $30, but it rang up at the lower price so went and got another one.
    I do have a question though.
    You spend a good deal of time in the article explaining how the material is safe and how there is no lead in the water that comes out of it, but the packing itself states that it is “Not approved for drinking water” and “This hose contains chemicals, including lead…” It goes on the explain “Why you should not drink from a garden hose.” You don’t specifically state in the review that it is safe for drinking, but I believe it is implied. So are these just things Sears includes to cover their backside (especially in California) or is it really not safe to drink from?

  • Curtis Hazzardous

    Could not have said it better myself. My garden spigot was unregulated and pounding 160-190psi before a reducer was applied. The craftsman hose was the ONLY hose to withstand and simply is the best. Heavy however, I have also invested in several water right hoses that are top shelf and my favorite hose on the move (hate dragging the crafty). I’ve tested a lot of hose; this article is spot on.