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Which is the best garden hose: rubber or vinyl?

Updated February 16, 2017

Garden hoses are an indispensable, if troublesome, garden accessory. They seem to inexplicably develop kinks and knots overnight while lying in the garden. Regardless of the type you buy, give them proper care to prolong their useful life. Don't leave hoses lying in the sun or where they might be run over by the car. Wind them up after each use. Drain them and store them in a shed or garage over the winter.

Types

Garden hoses are generally made of either natural rubber or a synthetic product, such as vinyl or plastic. They come in 1/2-inch, 5/8-inch, 3/4-inch and 1-inch diameters, and range in length from 25 feet to 100 feet long. Hoses also vary in their thickness. The more expensive and more durable hoses typically have multiple layers, and some include a mesh layer in between layers of rubber or vinyl. In general, rubber hoses are more durable and are easier to wind up, although they cost more.

Uses

If you use your garden hoses for regularly watering large expanses of lawn or vegetable gardens, then a high-quality rubber hose is a must. These hoses last longer, are easier to store and have fewer kinks than their plastic or vinyl counterparts. If, on the other hand, you use your hose to occasionally water a few pots of plants, an inexpensive vinyl hose may suffice.

Considerations

When choosing a hose, keep in mind that vinyl hoses are hard and don't roll up easily. They also crack in cold weather and are more likely to develop leaks. Regardless of the type of hose you buy, narrow hoses tend to have lower water pressure than wide hoses. Long hoses have lower water pressure than short ones.

Recommendations

If you have a large yard or are an avid gardener, invest in good tools, including quality hoses. Choose a 3/4-inch rubber hose with brass couplings. Invest in some good nozzles and perhaps a sprayer for applying fertiliser. Buy a 25-foot vinyl hose for occasional garden use.

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About the Author

Julie Christensen is a food writer, caterer, and mom-chef. She's the creator of MarmaladeMom.org, dedicated to family fun and delicious food, and released a book titled "More Than Pot Roast: Fast, Fresh Slow Cooker Recipes."