The Best Garden Hose, Hose Nozzle, and Hose Reel

The Best Garden Hose, Hose Nozzle, and Hose Reel

Our pick

Dramm ColorStorm Premium Rubber Hose (50ft)

Dramm ColorStorm Premium Rubber Hose (50ft)

The best garden hose

This tough rubber hose isn’t cheap and can be heavy to wrangle, but its strong fittings and durable body can last for years—and there’s a lifetime warranty, just in case.

Buying Options

$56 from Amazon

The Dramm ColorStorm Premium Rubber Hose (50ft) is far from being the cheapest hose you’ll ever find, but after testing the bargain models and the midrange options, we’re convinced the best value in a garden hose is the one you can buy once and use indefinitely. The Dramm’s uncrushable nickel-plated brass couplings have big flat facets you can grip with a wrench or locking pliers to break a stuck connection. Although the lifetime warranty and solid customer support are reassuring, we’re confident (after our own tests and other customers’ anecdotes about long-term use) that you may never need to take Dramm up on it. Durable and versatile, this hose is perfect for all kinds of utility work (even though it can be a bit of a beast if you’re just quickly watering a small patio garden).

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Also great

Continental Commercial Grade Rubber Hose (50ft)

Continental Commercial Grade Rubber Hose (50ft)

A solid standard hose

This simple, dependable hose is a good midrange value—it’s far tougher than the bargain options, and it’s often easy to find for an excellent price.

Buying Options

$30 from Home Depot

It’s not quite as polished on all the details as our pick, but the Continental Commercial Grade Rubber Hose (50ft) is an excellent value: It’s tougher than the cheapest hoses by a mile, and for not much more money. The Continental resembles a Craftsman rubber hose we’ve recommended for years in this guide. Though that model has become hard to find, the Continental now has nearly ubiquitous availability at home centers and hardware stores. Like the Dramm, the Continental can feel like overkill for small watering jobs, but it’s a really solid choice for anyone who wants something that’s reliable, not too fussy, and durable enough for any landscaping, maintenance, or construction work.

Also great

HoseCoil ⅜-inch Self Coiling Garden Hose (25ft)

HoseCoil ⅜-inch Self Coiling Garden Hose (25ft)

Better for small spaces

Manageable, lightweight, and easy to store, this coiled hose is perfect for a small patio, where you don’t need a ton of range or the absolute maximum water volume.

Buying Options

Buy from Amazon

*At the time of publishing, the price was $35.

The HoseCoil ⅜-inch Self Coiling Garden Hose (25ft) is not as tough and not as long as our other picks, but for a small patio, balcony, or yard—where whipping around a big 50-footer feels like overkill—it’s a fine alternative. The HoseCoil’s main selling point is its retractable corkscrew design, which works as advertised in making the hose easy to extend, recoil, and store. Compared with our bigger picks, this ⅜-inch-diameter hose loses a quarter-inch of capacity, which translates to slightly lower water pressure in side-by-side trials. Although the HoseCoil’s total length is 25 feet, in practice it’s really good for only about 17 feet before it starts to strain. As with our heavier-duty picks, the HoseCoil’s nozzle end has flat facets for a wrench to grab. And its two-year warranty is reassuring; though we’ve heard of some HoseCoils lasting longer, the two-year mark is about what we’d expect to get out of it. We have a test unit that’s doing fine after months of continuous Southern California sun exposure.

Also great

Melnor 5-Pattern Watering Nozzle 301-416

Melnor 5-Pattern Watering Nozzle 301-416

A basic nozzle, well done

Inexpensive and intuitive, with a variety of spray patterns to choose from, the Melnor is satisfying to use—while it lasts.

Buying Options

$5 from Home Depot

The Melnor 5-Pattern Watering Nozzle 301-416 delivers everything we want in a nozzle, at a price that’s usually so low you’d think it was a mistake. The Melnor’s shower, stream, and mist functions covered more than 95 percent of our watering needs. And for anything else, there are two other, seldom-used functions (flat and full), which click into place via the common plastic dial most nozzles use. This model might seem basic, but the more-deluxe competitors we tested it against simply piled on superfluous features, plus some unnecessary added heft—for a higher price! The plastic handle on this tool and its simple riveted connection likely won’t last forever, but our test models are still working well—even after we’ve gotten our money’s worth.

Also great

Gilmour Full Size Zinc Pistol Grip Nozzle

Gilmour Full Size Zinc Pistol Grip Nozzle

Excellent, but limited

Simple and durable, the Gilmour is a classic, but its one-size-fits-all spray pattern is not the most versatile.

Buying Options

$10* from Amazon
$6 from Home Depot

*At the time of publishing, the price was $5.

The classic Gilmour Full Size Zinc Pistol Grip Nozzle is a longtime Wirecutter recommendation that further proves five bucks is plenty to spend for a satisfying hose nozzle. This tool contains none of the plastic parts common to competitors in its price range, and it lacks the familiar rotating wheel of spray settings. Instead, when you depress the trigger, you get a range of sprays—from a mist-like cloud, at minimal pressure, on up to a forceful jet, when the trigger is fully depressed. You can adjust a setting screw to customize this range slightly, but it’s nowhere near as targeted as the settings on the Melnor model. That doesn’t matter much when you’re washing the car (which the Gilmour is perfect for). But the Gilmour can be frustrating to use when you’re trying to water small container plants: You’ll spray water everywhere, and when you’re correcting that, you might shoot a beam of water at the base of a plant, blasting dirt and damaging roots. We’ve been using versions of this tool for the better part of a decade, taking horrible care of them all the while (they still work fine). And we’ve confirmed in testing in early 2020 that a new Gilmour is still as solid and reliable as the ones we bought years ago.

Also great

Suncast Hosemobile Hose Reel Cart

Suncast Hosemobile Hose Reel Cart

An adequate reel

The all-plastic Suncast Hosemobile notably flexes as it cranks up your hose or rolls around your lawn, but it will make things easier to manage, for a decent price.

Buying Options

$32 from Home Depot

No one looking at the Suncast Hosemobile Hose Reel Cart would think they were viewing the Rolex of lawn gear, but what you see is what you get (in a good way). With a “durable rust-free resin” body, the Suncast is all plastic—from the threaded connections to the wheel hubs—and when you’re cranking up a heavy hose, you can feel it flexing under the strain. That’s okay with us and most everyone else who buys it, though: Usually sold for around $30, it’s a far better value than the other reels in its price range. And since the Suncast gives you such an easy way to crank up, drain out, and properly store your hose, you’re prolonging the hose’s life, not to mention making your watering work easier. Although the Suncast’s wheels are convenient for moving your gear in and out of storage, we wouldn’t recommend treating this reel like a rugged all-terrain vehicle. And we found the Suncast works best when it’s parked in one spot, rather than routinely being rolled around the house from spigot to spigot.

Everything we recommend

Our pick

Dramm ColorStorm Premium Rubber Hose (50ft)

Dramm ColorStorm Premium Rubber Hose (50ft)

The best garden hose

This tough rubber hose isn’t cheap and can be heavy to wrangle, but its strong fittings and durable body can last for years—and there’s a lifetime warranty, just in case.

Buying Options

$56 from Amazon

Also great

Continental Commercial Grade Rubber Hose (50ft)

Continental Commercial Grade Rubber Hose (50ft)

A solid standard hose

This simple, dependable hose is a good midrange value—it’s far tougher than the bargain options, and it’s often easy to find for an excellent price.

Buying Options

$30 from Home Depot

Also great

HoseCoil ⅜-inch Self Coiling Garden Hose (25ft)

HoseCoil ⅜-inch Self Coiling Garden Hose (25ft)

Better for small spaces

Manageable, lightweight, and easy to store, this coiled hose is perfect for a small patio, where you don’t need a ton of range or the absolute maximum water volume.

Buying Options

Buy from Amazon

*At the time of publishing, the price was $35.

Also great

Melnor 5-Pattern Watering Nozzle 301-416

Melnor 5-Pattern Watering Nozzle 301-416

A basic nozzle, well done

Inexpensive and intuitive, with a variety of spray patterns to choose from, the Melnor is satisfying to use—while it lasts.

Buying Options

$5 from Home Depot

Also great

Gilmour Full Size Zinc Pistol Grip Nozzle

Gilmour Full Size Zinc Pistol Grip Nozzle

Excellent, but limited

Simple and durable, the Gilmour is a classic, but its one-size-fits-all spray pattern is not the most versatile.

Buying Options

$10* from Amazon
$6 from Home Depot

*At the time of publishing, the price was $5.

Also great

Suncast Hosemobile Hose Reel Cart

Suncast Hosemobile Hose Reel Cart

An adequate reel

The all-plastic Suncast Hosemobile notably flexes as it cranks up your hose or rolls around your lawn, but it will make things easier to manage, for a decent price.

Buying Options

$32 from Home Depot

Source: NY Times – Wirecutter

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