Get some flextime with these garden hoses

Consumer Reports Magazine: June 2013

We tried out a new breed of garden hose that weighs as little as 1 pound and stretches like an accordion to roughly three times its original length with the water on. Then it retracts when you’re done.

The tested hoses were 50-foot models: the Pocket Hose, $28, FlexAbleHose, $39, and DAP XHose, $48, including shipping. All three lived up to most of their TV infomercial promises in our kinking, twisting, slashing, and freezing tests. We even found a clear winner, the Pocket Hose, if you want higher flow far from the spigot but have wimpy water pressure.

The hoses resist kinking and bursting. None lost flow when folded, twisted, or knotted—a problem with the conventional hoses we bought for comparison. And none burst until we boosted water pressure to more than 200 pounds per square inch (psi), much more than the 40 to 80 psi that’s usual in most homes.

Though small nicks we made created weak spots, the hoses held together until cuts reached about 1 inch in length. If any part is damaged or the hose leaks, expandable hoses can’t be repaired like conventional ones. Their manufacturers warn you to keep them out of the sun when you aren’t using them. They may also shrink under reduced pressure. The hoses delivered full flow for car-washing and other jobs at 60 psi with the nozzle wide open. But at 40 psi, they started retracting unless we reduced the flow at the nozzle. The Pocket Hose shrank the least, losing roughly 10 feet of length compared with almost 30 feet for the others. Because they shrink to their original size when the water is turned off, all three are poorchoices for usewith sprinklers.

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