Best Soaker Hoses

Updated October 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
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.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
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.Read more 
How we decided

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

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

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

Buying guide for best soaker hoses

Last Updated October 2019

Soaker hoses can be a summer garden saver, while helping you conserve water. These hoses provide an irrigation system for your garden. The advantage of a soaker hose is that you use less water to keep your plants growing and healthy, targeting only the base of your plants. This significantly reduces a large percentage of the evaporation and misting problems that cause waste with other types of spray hoses and watering systems. They also come in handy when watering from above your plants isn’t a good option.

Some soaker hoses are made from a porous material, while others have tiny holes drilled in the sides. They are both capped at one end and easily screw into a regular water hose or exterior household faucet. When you turn on the water, a soaker hose will release water slowly onto the ground where the hose is placed, close to the roots of your plants.

Before you buy a soaker hose, there are several factors and features to consider. We have put together a shopping guide to help you consider the choices you will find on the market in soaker hoses. When you’re ready to buy, check out our recommended hoses.

Soaker hoses are more efficient than sprinkler hoses which spray water through tiny holes in the hose, rather than the pores of a water permeable material.

Soaker vs. sprinkler

Soaker hoses and sprinkler hoses are sometimes referred to as the same product, but they are constructed differently.

A true soaker hose is made from a partially permeable material. The hose will evenly distribute water over the entire length of the hose because of the nature of its make-up. When you turn on the water, it will slowly spray out water from the entire length of the hose, not just from a straight line of holes. They rest on the ground around your garden, soaking the ground around them.

A sprinkler hose has a line of several —- often many —- tiny holes along the length of its surface. The material of a sprinkler hose is not porous - like a true soaker hose, so water just sprays out from the holes, providing a curtain-like watering effect up and over your plants.

The two are easy to confuse because the effect of a soaker and sprinkler hose is similar. Both use a broad vs. targeted drip irrigation method to distribute water into your garden. The sprinkler hoses may also allow you to spray water, which makes them more effective in certain situations, but they are not as efficient as more slow-watering, low-to-the ground soaker hoses. Neither is the best choice for watering your whole lawn — they are best in small to medium beds or plots of vegetables, fruits, or flowers either vegetable or flower beds.

Once you place a soaker hose on the ground where you want to water, you can leave it. Then there is no need to drag out and put away hoses and watering cans all summer long.

Staff
BestReviews

Key considerations

There are several decisions to make that will help you narrow down the best soaker hose for your garden.

Material

  • Plastic or vinyl hoses are the least expensive soaker hoses on the market. They work like those made from other materials, but are more likely to be damaged by intense sun exposure while sitting out in your garden. They will not last as long as those made from rubber.

  • Rubber hoses are also sometimes called fibrous hoses. Rubber, or latex, soaker hoses are able to withstand several seasons, particularly if you bury them under mulch. They are often made from recycled materials.

Length

Most soaker hoses come in 25, 50, 75 or 100 foot lengths. When you are trying to decide how much length you will need, keep in mind any extra distance that might be used by wrapping a hose around the base of your plants or bushes, as well as any gaps between where you place the hose and your faucet.

Water pressure

A common challenge of a soaker hose is having too much water pressure. The levels of water pressure coming from most exterior faucets opened fully is way too high for a soaker hose to handle. With too much water pressure, the hose can split and break. Or, it spurts out too much water to be a gentle, effective watering system.

Water pressure is measured in pounds per square inch (psi). With a soaker hose, it refers to how much water pressure is needed through the hose in order for it to work properly without damaging the hose or causing it to underperform.

  • 10 psi is the relatively low pressure true rubber soaker hoses need.

  • 25 to 30 psi is the level at which most sprinkler hoses made from vinyl or plastic will operate.

  • 60 psi or higher is the amount of pressure coming from most exterior home water faucets when they are fully opened, and that traditional garden hoses can handle.
     

You can test your water pressure output with a pressure gauge to get a good idea of how far you should open up your faucet when using a soaker hose. You can also call your water department.

Hose fittings, connectors and end caps

Most hose fittings are screw fittings. You can screw the end of the hose into the end of either another hose or the exterior faucet on your house. Like other hoses, the best fittings and connectors are made from brass. Many hoses on the market do have plastic connectors, which are effective for a while, but not as durable as brass.

If you purchase a soaker hose with a push-fit hose fitting, you may need to have an adaptor in order for it to work with your exterior faucet. The hose may come with an adaptor, or you will have to purchase one separately. These fittings are easier to connect and disconnect.

Some hoses do not come with connectors or fittings at all. You will have to choose and place your own fittings on these hoses. Pay attention to what is included before you buy if you’ll want to use it straight out of the box.

Hose diameter

The diameter of a soaker hose will help determine how long of a run you can make with the hose before it loses pressure. Soaker hoses can run from a quarter inch to five eighths of an inch in diameter. Larger diameters have less friction and will allow the water to go further. This means if you need longer runs, try to choose a thicker hose.

  • 1/4 inch diameter: Best for pots and other container planting.

  • 3/8 inch diameter: A good size for most home gardens and raised beds.

  • 1/2 inch diameter: Meets the needs of larger gardens.

  • 5/8 inch diameter: Allows you much longer runs of up to 250 feet.
DID YOU KNOW?

Eco-friendly soaker hoses are often made from recycled plastic and rubber.

Features

Kink resistant hoses

A kink happens when your hose gets folded in one spot. The fold cuts the flow of water through the hose. Kinks can cause cracks and leaks in your hose. A kink-resistant hose is designed to resist this kind of problem. However, be aware that expandable style hoses that resist kinks are also prone to tears, so for longevity select a thick rubber kink-resistant hose.

Cut to length hoses

A hose that can be cut to length is useful if you are planning a permanent or semi-permanent installation of your hoses in a garden row or raised bed. These hoses will come without fittings. You will need to buy the fittings separately.

Optional accessories

Add-ons to consider purchasing with your soaker hose include:

  • Regulators, which regulate the pressure of the water flowing to your soaker hose.

  • Calcium filters help keep hard water deposits from clogging your soaker hose.

  • Flow discs are helpful when running water over long distances.

  • Plastic stakes are designed to hold your hose where you place it on the ground.

  • End caps are a must in order to keep water from flowing out the end of the hose.

Soaker hose prices

The price of your soaker hose will largely be dictated by the length of the hose. Inexpensive soaker hoses cost less than $10. They will be the shorter 25-foot length. For $15 to $20, you should be able to purchase similar models in a longer 50-foot length. You will be able to find some 75-foot lengths in this price range, too. For more than $20 you will find soakers that have longer runs. They will be more customizable and cut-to-fit. Higher priced models ($30 and up) will offer more choice in terms of diameter and length of run. In all price points you can find both sprinkler and soaker hoses.

EXPERT TIP

Too much water pressure can quickly ruin a soaker hose. Yours should have a restrictor disk of some kind, but a separate soaker hose water regulator will make sure the pressure on your hose does not get too high.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • To help your soaker hose last longer, keep it buried under mulch.

  • While you can link several soaker hoses together, you should limit the total length of the soaker extensions to 100 or 150 feet. Longer lengths will not hold pressure as well.

  • Keep your soaker hoses level, versus on a slope. They will not distribute water evenly if your ground is slanted. For hills, try using a drip hose instead.

  • If you are having problems getting pressure through more than one soaker hose linked together with another, check to see if your linked hose nozzle includes a restrictor disk. This should be removed between linked hoses.

Other products we considered

There are a lot of great soaker hose choices. Others we considered included the 100-foot garden soaker by Apex. The water conservation hose comes in a two-pack includes brass fittings and is a good value for the money. Water Right makes a good 100- foot soaker hose, too. It has rust resistant fittings and soaks evenly. The hose is also rated safe for drinking. Melnor makes a flat soaker. It has standard fittings which make it easy to hook up to another soaker hose or your exterior faucet.

An advantage of soaker hoses is your plants receive water slowly, without their leaves getting wet. This lowers the chance that fungus will grow or that sun will damage the plant.

FAQ

Q. Do I keep my soaker hose on all the time?
A.
No. Even though your soaker hose will deliver water very slowly, it will be more water than most plants need if it is kept running all the time. In average soil conditions, plants will use about two inches of water every week. Delivering this amount of water will likely take several hours a week with a soaker hose, but not 24 hours a day. To determine the number of hours you need to leave your hose on, look for the delivery rate on the hose you purchase. Another idea is to put a portion of the hose over a bucket or tub and time how long it takes to get 2 inches of water in your container.

Q.  Where should I consider using a soaker hose?
A.
The planted rows of vegetable gardens are ideal for the use of a soaker hose. They will also work well with flowers in beds. Place the hose between rows of plants so as not to restrict growth. Soaker hoses are not ideal as a whole yard watering system. If you have a narrow strip of lawn to water, a sprinkling hose can work well for the area.

Q. Will a soaker hose work if I bury it?
A.
In some cases you can bury soaker hoses. The wear and tear on a buried hose is going to be a little more than one on top of the ground. If you bury, do not go further than 4 inches deep. Consider simply laying some mulch over the hose instead.

The team that worked on this review
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Karen
    Karen
    Writer
  • Katie
    Katie
    Editorial Director
  • Kyle
    Kyle
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor

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