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Expert Shopper Lawn & Garden

Garden hose vs. soaker hose: Which should I buy?

A garden hose and a soaker hose have different purposes

The best tool for the job is the right tool. When it comes to hoses, a garden hose is a general-purpose item that you can use in a wide variety of situations. On the other hand, a soaker hose has one particular and crucial purpose: to get water to your plants’ roots.

Garden hose

A garden hose is a multipurpose watering tool that you can use for everything from watering your lawn and garden to washing your car and clearing debris from your patio. Sizes can range from just a few feet up to 100 feet. A garden hose’s cost can range anywhere from $15 for a smaller, light-duty hose to $50 for a long, heavy-duty hose.

What you’ll love about garden hoses

  • Convenience: A garden hose allows you to have a flow of water wherever you need it.
  • Versatile: You can affix a garden hose with a nozzle that allows the user to have anything from a gentle mist to a focused stream.
  • Cost-effective: Since you can accomplish many different tasks with a garden hose, it is an indispensable tool for most homes.

What you should consider about garden hoses

  • Water waste: A garden hose tends to deliver more water than is necessary, especially when watering plants.
  • Can be heavy: A longer hose can be heavy and awkward to drag around your yard.
  • Must be stored: When not in use, you must store a garden hose, so the sun doesn't damage it.
  • Hidden cost: If you want your home to look neat, you will need to purchase a hose reel for storage.

Top garden hoses

Flexzilla 75-Foot Garden Hose

This flexible and durable all-weather garden hose is suitable in temperatures from -40-140 degrees. It’s abrasion-resistant and kink-resistant.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Home Depot.

GrowGreen Expandable Garden Hose

A lightweight, 50-foot garden hose that expands when water is flowing through it, but contracts after the water has been shut off. Purchase of this hose includes an eight-pattern, high-pressure spray nozzle.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon.

TBI Pro Garden Hose

This reinforced expandable garden hose is manufactured using heavy-duty materials, such as brass connectors, for durability. Purchase includes a storage bag and hanger.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon.

Soaker hose

A soaker hose is a special hose that weeps water along the length of the hose. It is strategically placed in your garden to provide water directly to the roots of your plants. Ideally, a soaker hose is covered with an inch or two of moss to help combat evaporation. This size and cost of a soaker hose mirror that of a comparably sized garden hose.

What you’ll love about soaker hoses

  • Conserves water: Soaker hoses slowly leak water into the ground, so there is far less waste.
  • Uses recycled material: Most soaker hoses are manufactured using recycled materials.
  • Can be left out all season: A soaker hose is designed to be placed and left out all season long so you won't need to store it between uses.
  • Is less vulnerable to sunlight: Because it's best to bury a soaker hose, it is not as vulnerable to the sun's damaging UV rays.
  • Is a healthier option for your plants: A soaker hose delivers water directly to where your plants need it: the root system.

What you should consider about soaker hoses

  • Limited uses: A soaker hose is excellent for watering your garden, but that's all it does.

Top soaker hoses

Taisia 50-Foot Soaker Hose

You can cut this 50-foot soaker hose so it’s a perfect fit for your gardening needs. It is manufactured using 100% recycled materials and features a money-back guarantee.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon.

Gilmour Flat Soaker Hose

This 50-foot soaker hose is manufactured using recycled vinyl and designed to have reliable, clog-resistant performance.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Rocky Mountain Goods Soaker Hose

A shorter, 25-foot option for individuals who have smaller gardens. This soaker hose is made from recycled rubber. If a longer length is needed, you can add a second soaker hose using the included easy-connect fittings.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon.

Should you get a garden hose or a soaker hose?

If you need a hose that can accomplish a wide range of water-related tasks, a garden hose is the way to go. If your sole purpose for buying a hose is to keep your plants watered, a soaker hose is the better option.

Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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