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Xhose and other expandable hoses

How to buy the best expandable hose

By Adelaide Gray

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How to buy the best expandable hose

If you're fed up with hoses that kink or tangle and are difficult to store, you might be tempted by a light and compact expandable hose.

In this guide, we'll tell you how much you should spend to get a good expandable hose, what useful features to look for and which type will suit your watering needs. 

Which type of expandable hose should I go for?

There are two main types of expandable hose to choose from: expandable and coil. 

Expandable hoses

Expandable hoses work by having an expandable rubber inner tube surrounded by tough material that stretches as water fills the inner tube.

These hoses are very light and compact. Most brands claim their hoses stretch 'up to' three times the unfilled length. However, we found that if you have low (poor) water pressure then the hoses may only stretch to twice their length and pull back significantly towards the tap when you release the pressure as you start watering.

Coil hoses

These are like a traditional hose, but the rubber inner tube coils around in a spring shape like a Slinky. The pipe doesn't expand horizontally like an expandable hose and it doesn't rely on water pressure to stretch; just the force of you pulling it out of the coiled spring.

How durable are expandable hoses?

There are numerous reports about expandable hoses that have sprung a leak or even exploded after just a few uses. 

When we tried out these hoses we found a number of potential problems with them.

  • If you cross-thread the plastic tap connector it can irreparably damage the hose and fitting a new one isn’t an option. 
  • There is no way of mending the hose if it springs a leak. 
  • It’s made of soft rubber covered with woven fabric, so may wear away if it gets dragged across paving. 
  • The instructions advise keeping it out of the sun and storing inside - presumably due to durability issues.
  • The instructions advise that the hose should be fully emptied before it is stored - possibly to prevent freezing water splitting the inner tube.

Though we have not put expandable hoses through our rigorous independent testing process, we think that if you want a hose that doesn't have any maintenance concerns then a traditional hose would be a better choice. 

How much should I spend on an expandable hose?

For a 30m (100ft) expandable hose you could expect to pay somewhere between £50 and £60, but you can find deals that include free postage and packaging or free adaptors and nozzles or even less well-known brands for much less. 

A coil hose will cost much less, typically only £10 to £15 for a 30m version. A traditional hose, which comes on a reel to store it, typically costs between £20 and £30. 

What useful expandable hose extras should I look out for?

There are a few extras that you might want to make sure come with your hose. Some of the most useful extras include:

  • Tap adaptors – most outdoor taps have a screw fitting (mainly male) and can be narrow or wide. Check the tap adaptor supplied with the hose will fit your tap. A lot of hoses come with both a narrow and wide female adaptor. 
  • Spray nozzle – some expandable hoses come with spray nozzles so you can control the water to jet or sprinkle.
  • Storage hooks – most traditional hoses come with a storage reel and most expandable hoses are recommended to be kept indoors. However, you may want a storage hook for neat storage outside.