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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

41 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
257 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Shopping guide for best retractable water hoses

Last Updated April 2019

From watering flowers to washing your driveway, hoses are incredibly useful for a range of outdoor tasks, but they can be a pain to store, especially extra-long models. If you choose a retractable water hose, however, you can neatly wind up the hose when it’s not in use.

But how do you find the best retractable water hose? There are a couple of varieties of retractable hoses available. Pair that with all the features to pick between, and you might end up more confused than when you started. Our guide will tell you all you need to know about retractable water hoses, so you’ll wind up with the right model to fit your needs.

Kinks in a hose can affect the way it retracts. Your retractable water hose should be flexible enough for easy maneuverability but not so flexible that it kinks easily.

Types of retractable water hoses

Retractable reel hoses

Retractable reel hoses are models that retract onto a reel. This reel normally needs to be mounted onto an exterior wall, but you can find freestanding options, which are great for renters who might not have permission from their landlord to make holes in the wall. What we like about retractable reel hoses is that they’re no different from standard hoses apart from their ability to retract, so you can expect the same quality and performance. You can find them in various lengths, diameters, and materials to best suit you.

Expandable hoses

They might be called expandable hoses, but in order to expand every time you use them, they must be able to retract when not in use. Expandable hoses have a concertina design. When water is running through the hose, the water pressure causes the hose to expand. When you turn off the water, the hose retracts back into its original shape. These hoses are less expensive and less bulky than retractable reel hoses, but they’re more prone to leaks.

A sizeable, durable retractable hose

This 82-foot Gardena retractable hose is long enough to take on all but the largest of yards, and the heavy-duty construction means it will stand the test of time. We love the built-in hose guide that prevents tangling while it’s retracting back into the hose box. What’s more, it retracts automatically at the press of a button.

Features

Manual vs. automatic retraction

Some retractable water hoses retract automatically, whereas others require a little input from you. Expandable water hoses automatically retract to their original size as soon as you turn the tap off, but you do need to coil them up by hand if you want to pack them away neatly. Some retractable reel hoses wind back onto the reel automatically when you press a button or pull the hose a particular way, but inexpensive models usually require you to retract the hose manually by cranking a lever.

Diameter

The diameter of your chosen retractable water hose dictates the amount of water flow. The larger the diameter of your hose, the more water comes out per second, but the heavier the hose is when full of water. The most common hose diameters are 1/2-inch, 5/8-inch, and ¾-inch, though you can find slightly smaller and larger options. The most popular option is usually 5/8-inch because it’s a good compromise between weight and water flow.

Hose material

Not all hoses are created equal. Check the material of any retractable water hose you’re considering as it can mean the difference between a hose that will last you decades and one that will need replacing within a couple of years.

Vinyl hoses are inexpensive and lightweight, but they’re not the most durable options. They’re prone to splitting and cracking, especially when left outside between uses.

Rubber hoses are much more durable, able to stand up to sun exposure and cold temperatures without splitting. However, they are more expensive and heavier than vinyl options.

Hoses made from a rubber/vinyl composite are a good middle ground. They’re stronger and more durable than vinyl hoses and lighter and cheaper than pure rubber models.

Length

The length of hose you need depends on the size of your outdoor area. If your yard measures 20 feet end to end, a 100-foot hose will be overkill. Conversely, if you buy a 50-foot hose for a 100-foot yard, nothing farther than halfway down is going to get watered. Think about the size of your yard and choose a hose length accordingly.

EXPERT TIP

Some retractable water hoses are reinforced with mesh to increase durability and decrease kinking.


Staff  | BestReviews

Price

How much should you expect to pay for a retractable water hose? Basic retractable water hoses, such as expandable models, start at around $20 to $40.

If you want a retractable reel hose, you’ll need to spend at least $60 to $100 for a mid-range option.

High-end retractable hoses can cost as much as $150 to $250, depending on the hose length

and material and the overall quality of the unit.

DID YOU KNOW?

Retractable water hoses with metal couplings are more durable and less prone to leaks than those with plastic couplings.

Tips

  • Check the hose’s burst pressure. This is the amount of water pressure it can withstand before springing a leak. We recommend a burst pressure of at least 350 psi.
  • Find out the overall weight of your chosen retractable water hose. The overall weight includes the weight of the reel if it’s not wall-mounted or you can lift it off its mounting. The hose shouldn’t be too heavy for you to comfortably handle.
  • Decide what kind of nozzle you need. Many retractable water hoses come with a spray nozzle that gives you several spray functions for tackling different outdoor tasks. Some, however, feature a simpler nozzle.
  • Consider how often you’ll use your retractable water hose. If you’re an avid gardener and you use your hose daily in warmer weather, it’s worth splashing out for a high-quality model. On the other hand, you can get away with a more basic hose if you only need to use it a couple times a year.

A retractable water hose’s ply is the number of layers of material it’s constructed from. The more plies, the stronger the hose, but it will also be heavier and less flexible.

An easy expandable hose

It couldn’t be much easier to use the GrowGreen Expandable Garden Hose. Turn the water on and it expands to its full 100-foot length. Turn the water off and it retracts to around 35 feet, making it easier to coil up and stow away. It also comes with an eight-way spray nozzle for a range of garden tasks.

Other products we considered

We considered a huge number of retractable water hoses on our mission to discover the best. Some were extremely close to making our top five and are worth your consideration. The Flexzilla Retractable Enclosed Plastic Air Hose Reel includes the excellent Flexzilla hose, which is flexible in all weathers, kink-resistant, and drinking water-safe. The reel it comes on is also highly durable and makes it easy to retract the hose. Another notable option is the TACKLIFE Wall-Mounted Retractable Garden Hose Reel. The 65-foot hose retracts automatically into its sturdy housing. It comes with an eight-function spray gun for tackling a multitude of outdoor tasks. Let’s not overlook the RL Flo-Master 65HR8 Retractable Hose Reel, which features a slow automatic retraction function and hose guide to prevent tangles when retracting. The hose itself is 65 feet long and has an eight-function nozzle.

With some mounted retractable reel hoses, you can lift the whole reel from its mounting so that you can easily store it in a shed or garage during the winter.

FAQ

Q. Is it safe to drink from my retractable water hose?
A.
Whether it’s safe to drink from a hose depends on two factors: the water source the hose is linked to and the materials the hose is made from. Assuming the hose is connected to a safe source of water, check whether your chosen hose is listed as drinking water-safe. If it’s not, it may be made from materials that can leach harmful substances into the water, so you should avoid drinking from it and make sure kids and pets don’t drink from it either.


Q. Can I buy a reel to turn a standard hose into a retractable hose?
A.
While you can buy hose reels separately, it usually works out far cheaper to buy a retractable hose that’s already on a reel. Plus, you know that the hose is compatible with the reel, which isn’t always the case when you buy the hose and reel separately.


Q. How do I attach my retractable water hose to my outdoor tap?
A.
Outdoor taps are generally a standard size, so the coupling should screw straight onto the tap. If it’s not the correct size, you can buy an adapter to make your hose fit the tap.

The team that worked on this review
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Enid
    Enid
    Editor
  • Karen
    Karen
    Writer
  • Katherine
    Katherine
    Editor
  • Lauren
    Lauren
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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