Saving with 6abc: Expandable Hoses

May 15, 2013 9:07:42 AM PDT
Just in time for summer, our tests of As-Seen-On-TV garden hoses show they saves you time and headaches!

When it's time to water your yard, does your hose drive you crazy? It's heavy. It gets tangled. It's hard to move. Now there are several new garden hoses that sound like they make watering your garden a snap.

Expandable garden hoses are popping up all over the place. Consumer Reports tested three -- All of them 50 feet in length. The DAP XHose, the FlexAbleHose, and the Pocket Hose.

First they were weighed. They all came in about a pound, a lot lighter than a regular hose.

Then it was time to go to work. Testers measured the length, flow rate, and water volume, comparing the results to regular garden hoses.

"Their length increased by three times, as claimed," and Bernie Deitrick of Consumer Reports said. "And their flow was good, just like a regular hose."

But if you go to do something like fill up a kiddie pool with the valve fully open, the hoses may shrink, a lot, because of lower water pressure. And using these hoses with sprinklers also poses a challenge.

"To use it with a sprinkler, you need to turn the water on first before you put the sprinkler in place," Deitrick said. "When you turn the water off, the hose will contract, and it may pull the sprinkler through your garden."

Consumer Reports also folded, twisted and even knotted all three expandable hoses. No matter what the testers did, the water continued to flow. Then, after the water drained out, all three shrank back to their original size, as promised.

All three lived up to their claims, but it was the Pocket Hose that came out on top. Consumer Reports says the advantage of the Pocket Hose is that it doesn't shrink quite as much when the pressure drops. With any of the hoses, you should be aware that they can't be patched. You have to be careful with the outer covering.