Expandable garden hoses put to the test by Consumer Reports

May 2, 2013 3:06:09 PM PDT
When it's time to water your yard, does your hose drive you crazy? It's heavy. It gets tangled. It's hard to move. Now there are several new as-seen-on-TV garden hoses that sound like they making watering your garden a snap. But do those hoses really work?

As-seen-on-TV expandable garden hoses are popping up all over the place. Consumer Reports tested three that are all 50 feet in length: the Dap Xhose, the Flexable Hose, and the Pocket Hose.

First they were weighed. They all came in about a pound, which is a lot lighter than a regular hose.

Then it was time to go to work. Testers measured the length, flow rate, and water volume. They then compared the results to regular garden hoses.

"Their length increased by three times, as claimed. And their flow was good, just like a regular hose," Consumer Reports' Bernie Deitrick said.

But if you go to do something like fill up a kiddie pool with the valve fully open, the hoses may shrink a lot because of lower water pressure. And using these hoses with sprinklers also poses a challenge.

"To use it with a sprinkler, you need to turn the water on first before you put the sprinkler in place. When you turn the water off, the hose will contract, and it may pull the sprinkler through your garden," Deitrick said.

Consumer Reports also folded, twisted and even knotted all three expandable hoses.

"No matter what we did, the water kept flowing," Deitrick said.

And after the water drained out, all three shrank back to their original size as promised. All three lived up to their claims. But it was the Pocket Hose that came out on top.

Consumer Reports says the advantage of the Pocket Hose is that it doesn't shrink quite as much when the pressure drops.

With any of the hoses be aware that they can't be patched, so you have to be careful with the outer covering.
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