Advertisement

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Advertisement

Best garden hose 2021: The best hosepipes, kits and reels

Advertisement

Keep your lawn healthy and your beds and borders watered with the best hosepipes and sprinkler hoses

It’s no secret that plants need water, and while the good old British climate means we get plenty of it through most of the year, you’ll still find points across the spring, summer and autumn where you’ll need a hosepipe. Now, hoses all look pretty similar from the outside and even a cheap one will keep you going for a few months, but buying one that works reliably and lasts for more than one season is another matter. Kinks and split pipes can really slow you down when you’re trying to keep your beds and borders watered.

Editor's picks

Best hose for smaller gardens | Hozelock Compact 2in1 Reel with 25m Hose

If you’re looking for cheap, convenient watering, you won’t do much better than this compact reel. It’s very neat, with an easy-to-turn handle, and the closed-in design keeps the quality multi-purpose hosepipe safe from wear and tear. You can fit it to the wall or use it free standing, and it comes with connectors and a nozzle. Buy Now

Best for larger gardens: Gardena CleverRoll M Easy Metal

A bigger plot can use a more substantial hose and reel, and this Gardena set gives you both in the one package, with an impressively sturdy metal reel and cart along with 25m of high-quality Flex pipe. All the attachments you need come bundled in along with a powerful and versatile spray nozzle. If you need more range, look for the equally good CleverRoll L. Buy Now

How to choose the best garden hose for you

You can either buy hosepipe bare or – as most of us do these days – in a kit or preassembled with a reel. It’s often not much more expensive to buy a pipe this way, and it’s a good idea as the reel provides the pipe with some protection and prevents it from getting trampled or crushed. Just be aware that you’ll usually also need a shorter length of hose to connect your reel to your garden tap.

That said, you may want to replace an old, kink-ridden hosepipe without getting rid of your reel, while some of the new-fangled fabric-covered hoses are designed to be used without a reel. We’ve broken our best options into reel kits and bare hosepipe or hosepipe bundles, to make it easier to find what you’re looking for.

What types of hosepipes are there?

Most hosepipes now use a composite construction, with multiple layers of vinyl, polyurethane and rubber, reinforced by a nylon or metal mesh. Cheaper hoses tend to use fewer layers and go heavier on vinyl, while more expensive hoses will bring in other materials for improved flexibility and toughness.

Unless you’re a commercial grower you don’t need to go too high-end, but investing in a better-quality hose will get you something that lasts longer, and doesn’t leave you swearing every time you have to walk back from a distant border to find out why there’s no water coming through. While we’ve yet to see a fully kink-proof hose, we’ve seen plenty that will kink at the slightest opportunity.

There are a couple of other hose types worth looking out for. Rubber hoses tend to be kink-resistant and durable but are expensive and can crack if left in heat and sunlight. Rubber is also used in some expandable hoses, which are designed to fit into a compact reel for storage but stretch to allow you to move around the garden. We’re also seeing a new generation of fabric hoses, which usually combine rubber, vinyl and nylon with a tough, resilient fabric for extra strength and anti-kink protection.

Finally, there are soaker hoses, which work in a different way to a normal hose. These are designed to be laid permanently in a bed or border and have holes in by design, allowing water to dribble out or sprinkle across the area. This is great for watering a thirsty rose bed, veg bed or herbaceous border as you only need to turn on the tap, but it does mean having multiple pipes ready for action, rather than just the one.

Pipes will usually have specs attached to cover their maximum or “burst” water pressure and boast of their weather-, kink- and frost-protection, but the one worth paying attention to is the guarantee. If a pipe’s guaranteed for 15, 20 or 30 years, then that’s a good sign that it’s built to last – as long as you take care of it, of course.

What length of hose should I buy?

Basically, buy enough to get in sprinkler range of your furthest bed or border. Any less and you’d better get busy with the watering can. Any more and you’ll have excess hose to store, and you’ll also see a reduction in water pressure – the longer water has to travel, the lower this will be.

Is there anything else worth looking out for?

We’re also seeing more manufacturers throwing in brass connectors, which are great if they’re well-engineered – they’re strong and last forever – but not so much if they’re not. You can waste more time trying to get a badly threaded brass connector onto your garden tap or wondering why the click-in connector doesn’t fit the socket.

When you’re buying a hosepipe, remember to budget for any extras you’re going to need. Most kits come with a spray nozzle, which will be fine for watering most things, but you might also want a spray gun for watering the greenhouse and one-way, two-way or threaded hozelock connectors for connecting two pipes or attaching your hosepipe to the tap.

READ NEXT: The best wellington boots

The best hose reels or kits to buy

1. Gardena Classic Wall-Fixed Hose Reel 50 Set: The most versatile hose and reel set

Price: £56.14 | Buy now from Amazon

This Gardena hose and reel set is designed to be used in two ways. You can attach it to the wall using the bracket supplied, or you can remove the reel from the wall and carry it around for use about the garden. It’s reasonably light, even with 20m of Gardena Classic hose attached, but also solidly built, and the reel feels nice and stable on the ground or while wall-mounted, with a handle you can hold onto while you’re reeling the hosepipe in. What’s more, the hose provided is more robust than many cheaper hosepipes, combining plastics with a textile reinforcement and backed up by a 12-year warranty. If you’ve got a small-ish garden, you couldn’t ask for a better reel set.

Key specs – Length: 20m; Weight: 4.58kg; Wall mount: Yes

2. Hozelock 60m Assembled Hose Cart with 50m Hose: A top-value hose cart for larger gardens

Price: £70 | Buy now from Argos


Watering can be a drag when you’ve got a long garden, especially if your taps are all at the house end. A hose cart makes things a whole lot easier; you can wheel it out, unspool your hose, give everything a water then reel the hosepipe back again for easy storage. The only downside is that you need to wind it in using your own muscle power.

This Hozelock reel is a solid, inexpensive option. It will take up to 60m of hosepipe, and you can buy it with 20m or 30m or, as in our test kit, 50m. The plastic cart isn’t as rugged as the Gardena CleverRoll M below, while the multi-purpose hose provided isn’t as tough or kink-resistant as Hozelock’s superior Tricoflex Ultramax hosepipe. Still, as long as you take a little care and wind it all up after watering, you’ll be fine, and there’s a lot of cart and hosepipe for the money.

Key specs – Length: 50m; Weight: 4.58kg; Wall mount: Yes

3. Hozelock Compact 2in1 Reel with 25m Hose: The best-value hosereel kit

Price: £45 | Buy now from Argos

Hozelock makes several appearances on our list, and with good reason. The 2in1 is a good manual alternative to the auto reel model above, offering an affordable hose and reel combo that won’t take up more room than necessary. The reel’s handle is large and easy to turn, and the closed-in casing design offers an extra level of protection against everyday wear and tear. The carry handle is a nice touch, and although getting the hose and reel set up is a bit fiddly the first time around, the Hozelock is one of the simplest kits to use around a small to medium-sized garden. For under £60, the Compact 2in1 is a great choice.

Key specs – Length: 25m; Weight: 5kg; Wall mount: Yes

4. Gardena CleverRoll M Easy Metal: The best super-sturdy hose and reel set

Price: £108 | Buy now from Amazon

Gardena’s hosepipes have a reputation for being particularly sturdy, with its Comfort Flex and SuperFlex hosepipes frost-proof, UV-proof and good for pressures of up to 25 or 35 bar. Gardena even guarantees them for 20 or 30 years respectively. Grab the AquaRoll M EasyMetal reel set and you get 25m of Flex pipe along with a reel that’s every bit as tough. It comes with all the connectors you need and a Gardena spray nozzle.

The reel disks are formed from pressed metal, and the reel’s held up on two beefy wheels and a fold-out kickstand. The fold-out crank makes it easy to roll the pipe back in, and with the kickstand down the reel won’t move even while you’re busy unspooling the hosepipe. Once it’s out, the tough, kink-resistant hose manages to stay flexible without kinking or twisting all over the shop. It’s expensive stuff, but if you find your hosepipe keeps kinking or never lasts more than a year, this beefy set should sort out your problems.

Key specs – Length: 50m; Weight: 9.7kg; Wall mount: No

5. Hozelock Superhoze 15m Kit: The best hosepipe kit for smaller gardens

Price: £29 | Buy now from Amazon

Looking for a quick and easy way to water a terrace or small garden? Preferably one that stores neatly away when not in use? Look no further than the Hozelock Superhoze, Hozelock’s take on the expandable fabric hose, supplied here in a compact plastic box with everything you need to get watering. It’s hard to believe that what looks like a pile of wrinkly yellow cloth can transform into a 15m hosepipe, but it does, and it’s surprisingly tough and resistant to kinking and pinching, as long as you don’t let it get into any knots. What’s more, it’s supplied with good-quality Hozelock connectors and a nozzle, keeping the water flow nice and steady. Once you’re done, leave it to empty and it will return to its normal shrunken state. Lightweight and convenient, this is the perfect starter hose, and you can always buy it in its larger 30m or 40m sizes if you need more reach.

Key specs – Length: 50m; Weight: 9.7kg; Wall mount: No

The best hosepipe to buy

1. Fitt 30m Heavy Braided NTS WinTech Hose: The best budget hosepipe

Price: £20 (15m), £25 (30m), £30 (50m) | Buy now from Screwfix

If you’re after something cheap, robust and functional, this budget hosepipe from Screwfix is the best we’ve come across. It’s tough as old boots, combining polyester and PVC with a knitted reinforcement that works to halt twisting and knotting, while anti-algae protection and an anti-UV treatment mean you don’t have to treat it with kid gloves. While the one-year warranty doesn’t inspire much confidence, don’t let that put you off. With some decent fittings and a reel to store it on, this hose could last you years.

Key specs – Length: 15m, 30m or 50m; Accessories supplied: None; Warranty: 1 year

Buy now from Screwfix


2. Gardena Comfort Flex Hose: The best everyday hose

Price: £26 (20m), £36 (30m), £51 (50m) | Buy now from Amazon

It’s not as cheap as Gardena and Hozelock’s entry-level hosepipes, but Comfort Flex is definitely worth paying the extra for. The construction balances flexibility with a pressure- and kink-resistant spiral mesh that keeps the hose in shape. Meanwhile, the orange strips running along the surface have a special powergrip texture that makes connectors a little tricky to get on but a whole lot more difficult to get off, so your pipe won’t come off the tap or a two-way connector, even under strain. With a 20-year warranty behind it, this is a superior hosepipe for everyday use.

Key specs – Length: 15m, 30m or 50m; Accessories supplied: None; Warranty: 20 years

3. Draper 15m Soaker Hose: The best sprinkler hose

Price: £17 | Buy now from Amazon

Draper Tools’ Soaker hose is little more than a simple, plain black tube, but that hardly matters: the Soaker is a reliable garden sprinkler hose that does a great job of distributing water evenly and across a large area, making it ideal for allotments or large patches of garden. Although the hose has a good number of holes and can cover large sections of lawn, the size of the holes isn’t always consistent. It’s a minor flaw for the price, but if you want a sprinkler hose that distributes water perfectly, you’ll have to cough up a lot more for a premium model.

Key specs – Length: 15m; Weight: 1.5kg; Wall mount: No

4. Hozelock Tricoflex Ultramax: The best high-tech hose

Price: £39 (30m), £59 (50m) | Buy now from Amazon

This hosepipe is a slight step up in terms of outlay, but you can really feel the difference in quality. The five-layer construction feels light and flexible yet incredibly robust, with TNT anti-twist technology that stops it twisting under pressure, and impressive resistance to kinking, crushing and knotting, even when it’s being dragged around the garden or dropped in a heap. What’s more, the ribbing on the surface makes it easier to grip, and more effective at holding connectors securely in place. Throw in anti-UV and anti-frost protection and a 25-year guarantee, and you’ve got a hosepipe that’s ideal for larger gardens, especially if you team it with a decent reel.

Key specs – Length: 30m or 50m; Accessories supplied: None; Warranty: 25 years

5. Hozelock Tuffhoze 25m: The roughest, toughest hose in town

Price: £34 (12.5m), £49 (25m), £60 (35m) | Buy now from Argos

Tuff by name and tough by nature, this is effectively a ruggedised version of Hozelock’s expanding Superhoze. It’s a hybrid effort, combining a woven textile jacket with a more traditional PVC dura-tech core, but the result is a hosepipe that stays free of kinks as it’s pulled around the garden and is also incredibly strong; it’s burst resistant even with over 40 bar of pressure. As a bonus, it packs away neatly in a box, on a reel or over a hook. The one downside is that you can’t cut into it, so you’re limited to the ready-made lengths, but Hozelock provides it with its rock-solid Aqua Stop metal connectors, which are also built to last. Needless to say, it’s pricey stuff, but if you’re in need of some super-powered hosepipe, this is the one to buy.

Key specs – Length: 12.5m, 25m or 35m; Accessories supplied: 2x Metal Aqua Stop connectors; Warranty: 30 years

Read more

Best Buys