We Tested Expandable Hoses
Here are The Results
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Expandable garden hoses are billed as great space savers, and having owned one in the past, I know how handy they are, and they certainly have many benefits over regular hoses.
As part of the test, I purchased four hoses; two from well-known brands and two I had never heard of before.
I tested them in July 2022, and on this page, you’ll find my honest review of the best expandable hoses.
In a hurry?
I recommend the Flexi Hose, which is available from Amazon.
But keep reading to find out why I think this product is the best of the bunch.
My Video Review
My video review of the four hoses I tested is here:
Pros and Cons
If you’ve never owned an expandable hose before, here are a few things you should know about them first:
- I’ve found that they expand “up to” three times their collapsed length.
- Expandable hoses look far better than a horrible plastic box bolted onto the wall.
- The hoses are lighter than a traditional hosepipe when emptied of water.
- They won’t kink.
- Most decent products come with solid brass fittings rather than plastic.
- The constant expansion and contraction can cause wear and tear, and these pipes may not last as long as a regular hosepipe. Cheap no-brand expandable hoses are the worst offenders.
- If you want to use it for sprinklers or anything that requires a constant flow of water, it won’t stay expanded at its full length and will shrink unless you can control the flow rate, so look for hoses that allow you to do this.
- You shouldn’t use expandable hoses with some pressure washers (the ones that “pull” water from the source).
- Flexible hoses stretch and fill with more water than a regular hose and as such, very long hoses can be heavy.
The Four Expandable Hoses I Tested
Here are the four expandable hoses I ordered for testing:
- Flexi Hose Upgraded Version (currently 36,000 reviews on Amazon)
- TheFitLife Expandable Hose (currently 2600 reviews on Amazon)
- Hozelock SuperHoze (currently 3300 reviews on Amazon)
- XHose (currently 2330 reviews on Amazon)
I selected these hoses based on the number of reviews online and their customer ratings.
Product 1: Flexi Hose (My Recommendation)
Flexi Hose is the original expandable hose, and they’ve been around for years and have lots of reviews online, tens of thousands of them in fact.
Their hoses are sold in various lengths (expanded sizes given):
- 15m (50ft)
- 23m (75ft)
- 30m (100ft)
Upon opening the box, my first impressions were good, and the fittings were all made from brass with no plastic in sight.
The outer layer of the hose was padded and felt like it would hold up well if dragged along the floor.
The spray gun was plastic but ergonomic and had plenty of options inc but not limited to:
- + a few more I didn’t use much.
The manufacturer offers a lifetime guarantee which left me sceptical as any product that expands and contracts will fail at some point due to wear and tear. I’ve since read a few forum comments where customers have stated they will only replace the product once.
How I Tested This Hose
I connected this hose to my tap and allowed the hose to expand fully, I then sprayed my flowerbeds with the water. I repeated this over several days and I also:
- Dragged it over slate chippings, concrete edgings, patio slabs and grass.
- Left it inflated for 30 minutes to test for leaks.
- Inflated and deflated it 20 times.
- Experimented with the different settings on the spray nozzle.
What I liked About The Flexi Hose
I liked the choice of colours, metal brass fittings, and I got the feeling that it was well-made and would hold up well if dragged around a lot.
I particularly liked the inline valve, which allowed me to adjust the flow rate. This meant I could use the hosepipe on any nozzle, spray gun or even sprinkler without the pipe shrinking.
What I Didn’t Like About The Flexi Hose
The fittings aren’t quick-release, they’re threaded, and I had to wind/unwind every time the I wanted to remove the hose from the tap. This could be an issue for gardeners with lots of equipment that requires water (pressure washer, window cleaning kit, ponds etc).
It didn’t come with a tap reducer – there are two tap sizes in the UK, and this only fits the larger one. While these are cheap and available at any DIY store, I was surprised one was included with this product. Every other hosepipe I tested came with a reducer, so it would fit both tap sizes.
Digging Into Online Reviews
I did my research online before buying this hose, and here’s what I found from the various online retailers I looked at:
- 84% of raters gave this expandable hose a score of 4 or 5 stars out of 5.
- 9% gave it 1 or 2 stars.
- The main complaints were about the hose splitting or the connectors not fitting the taps (most homes in the UK will have one of two tap faucet sizes).
- I found several complaints about the “lifetime guarantee”. Apparently, the manufacturer will only replace the faulty product once and won’t transfer the guarantee to the replacement.
Note: I purchased the “upgraded” Flexi Hose as this is supposed to be tougher and last longer, it shouldn’t be compared with their regular product, which is cheaper.
I give this expandable hose 9/10 and in my opinion, it’s the best of the three I tested but do read the “what I didn’t like about the Flexi Hose” section above as some of the issues could be important to you.
Product 2) TheFitLife Expandable Hose
This product was very similar to the Flexi Hose product I also ordered and apart from the spray gun and fittings, there is little difference between the two.
Online Ratings and Reviews
Ratings online for TheFitLife expandable hose were very good with:
- 84% of reviewers in the UK rated it 4 or 5 stars out of 5.
- A similar percentage of reviewers in the US rated it 4-5 stars.
- Most of the negative reviews were due to the hose splitting or tearing after repeated use, something that affects all expanding hoses.
TheFitLife offers a 6-month warranty on their expandable hose and from reading the reviews they will honour it but they won’t accept a return after 6 months.
How I Tested This Expanding Hose
As part of the test, I:
- Inflated and deflated the hose at least 50 times.
- Left in inflated for 30 minutes to check for water leaks.
- Dragged it over grass, soil, concrete and slate chippings.
- Experimented with the various nozzle settings.
What I Liked About This Expandable Hose
I was impressed by the brass fittings, which were big, sturdy, leak-free and fitted the two most common taps sizes in the UK.
The fittings were also quick-release, which anyone with lots of equipment will find helpful.
The exterior of the hose felt strong and looked as if it would resist wear and tear well.
The hose was lightweight when empty, but as with all expandable hoses, I did find it heavy when it was full of water.
I liked the different options on the spray gun, which met my needs; mist, cone, jet etc.
I know this won’t be important to everyone, but I liked the colour. It’s black and didn’t look out of place hanging over my garden tap. One of the issues I had with the Hozelock product was the horrid yellow colour.
What I Didn’t Like About TheFitLife’s Hose
The only way to control the flow rate from the pipe was via the spray gun, it didn’t come with an inline valve. This means if I connect the hose to a sprinkler or similar, all the water will gush out and the pipe will shrink.
I prefer expandable hoses with an inline valve so I can adjust the flow rate as it leaves the pipe (see my review of the Flexi Hose above for more information).
The warranty isn’t very long – only 6 months.
I rate TheFitLife’s expandable hose 8/10 and would probably rate it higher if I had better water pressure or it had an inline valve.
Product 3: Hozelock Superhoze (Don’t Buy)
Hozelock is a recognised brand, and this product comes in various lengths, but all of that is immaterial as very few purchases have frustrated me as much as the Hozelock Superhoze. I even felt the need to publish an entire blog post about this rubbish product.
I don’t recommend this expandable hose.
Out of the box, I wasn’t overly impressed with the plastic fittings; they’re nowhere near as solid as the brass fittings on two of the other products I tested. Hozelock fittings are handy because they’re quick-release, but that’s the only good thing I have to say about them.
Then after an hour of testing, it burst.
Now, if this expandable hose can burst under the ridiculously low water pressure I have at my property, I hate to think what would happen under decent pressure.
Would it detonate, perhaps?
I returned the Hozelock to B&Q for a replacement, assuming that it’s just a one-off. After all, Hozelock is the #1 hosepipe brand in the UK and, despite the cheap fittings, usually is fairly reliable.
Upon connecting the replacement to the tap, it leaked at the point where the hose entered the fitting.
On closer inspection, I saw sellotape around the base of the box, a tell-tale sign that a previous customer had returned this product.
Back to B&Q I went for a refund.
There isn’t much to like about this product, but Hozelock generally honours their guarantees, and they offer a standard 3 yr warranty extending to 5 yrs if you register online.
I have a feeling that if you buy the Superhoze, you’ll probably be claiming the warranty, so keep your receipts.
The Overall Quality
Despite only spending less than two hours using this expandable hose, I was left with the feeling that it was cheap and of poor quality.
The main issues for me were:
- It burst.
- The second one leaked.
- Cheap plastic fittings.
- It’s a horrid yellow colour and stands out when hung around the garden tap.
- The outer layer of the pipe also felt like it would wear off or deteriorate if abused and dragged on hard surfaces (compared to two of the other hoses I tested).
Looking at Online Reviews
I found over 3000 online reviews for Hozelock’s expandable hose and while 81% rated it highly at 4 or 5 stars out of 5, the reviews at B&Q were far worse with 71% of reviewers rating it 1 or 2 stars.
Product 4: XHose
The XHose was very similar to the Hozelock Superhoze in that the exterior material was nearly identical and it had plasticky fittings.
It didn’t leak so that means it ranks above the popular Hozelock product and it had quick-release fittings and an inline valve for adjusting the flow rate but I couldn’t shake the feeling that this was a cheap copy of Hozelock.
I don’t recommend this expandable hose as the Flexi-Hose and TheFitLife’s hoses were far superior in build quality, especially the fittings and the sleeve.
How I Tested This Hose
As with the other hoses I dragged it over different surfaces, inflated and deflated it several times and left it fully inflated for 30 minutes to test its waterproofness. I also used it to water my plants and lawn.
No Spray Gun or Nozzle
The XHose doesn’t come with a spray gun or nozzle which is disappointing as I only have a cheap nozzle from an old hosepipe at home and for the price, I expected more from XHose.
I couldn’t find a website for the XHose but it is sold in B&Q and a few other well-known outlets that offer 30-day warranties.
The Overall Quality
I wasn’t impressed with the plastic fittings which felt cheap and as if they would snap easier than the other three hoses I tested. The sleeve was thin and provided little cushioning.
What I Liked About The XHose
The fittings were quick-release, fitted both tap sizes in the UK and it had an inline tap for controlling the flow rate.
Looking at Online Reviews
I found thousands of reviews online and they were very mixed with around 26% of raters scoring it 1 or 2 stars out of 5.
6 Things You Must Check Before You Buy an Expandable Hose
Before you buy an expandable hose, check these six things:
1) Will you be dragging it over very sharp edges?
These hosepipes have a rubber core which expands; this core is thin enough to be pierced by rose thorns or similar. Expanding hosepipes are fine in most gardens but aren’t as robust as a standard thick hosepipe.
2) Are you choosing the correct length?
Expanding hosepipes will expand by up to three times their length but might not reach that far if you have weak water pressure. Also, they will shrink quickly if you don’t adjust the flow rate and/or have poor water pressure at the tap. Consider a slightly longer pipe to compensate for this.
3) Do you need quick-release fittings?
Only three of the four products I tested came with quick-release tap fittings. Winding and unwinding the fitting at the tap can get tiresome if you need to remove it frequently – consider quick-release fittings if you also use water for ponds, pools, pressure washers, window cleaning kits or other devices.
4) Do you need a reducer?
One of the four products I tested didn’t come with a reducer, meaning it wouldn’t fit onto smaller tap faucets. There are two tap sizes in the UK, so check if your expanding hosepipe will fit your tap.
5) Do you need an inline tap/valve?
An inline tap or valve allows the user to adjust the flow rate before the water enters the nozzle, spray gun, sprinkler, etc. For example, if you want to use an expanding hosepipe with a sprinkler, you’ll need one with an inline tap/valve. Otherwise, the hosepipe will shrink and might not be long enough to reach the sprinkler.
6) Will you connect the hosepipe to a pressure washer?
Expanding hosepipes can be connected from the tap to the pressure washer but remember that it may shrink once switched on.
They shouldn’t be connected from the pressure washer to the spray gun/nozzle as the pressure is enough to burst the pipe.
DIY Gardening’s Testing and Review Methodology
Daniel at DIY Gardening selected four expandable hoses based on brand, popularity and online reviews.
Each product was compared to the others and alternative hoses on the market. The four hoses were then put through their paces, which included using them in a garden over several days and dragging them over concrete, grass, cobbles and slate chippings.
The initial testing period was over three days but the winning product is still in use and with no reported faults (as of the 27th of February 2023). This review was published by Daniel Woodley.
Claims and important statements were fact-checked by Paul Farley prior to publication.
Author: Daniel Woodley
Daniel has over 18 years of experience in the construction, home improvement, and landscape garden industries.
He previously worked as a project manager and has experience in managing teams of tradespeople and landscape gardeners on both small and medium sized projects.
Daniel is also a keen gardener and enjoys growing unusual plants and tending to his lawn.
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