Many people don’t think twice about buying a garden hose but unfortunately, there’s way more to it than just grabbing the cheapest one you find online.
I put a lot of thought into buying my first metal garden hose and my foresight and planning have led me to buy the most durable model available on Amazon. So if you’re new to the metal garden hose game or are looking for a replacement, you’ve come to the right place.
I’ve taken the liberty of sifting through the marketplace and picked some of the best metal garden hoses for you to consider so that you’ll save yourself some time, money, and heartache.
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- Top 7 Best Metal Garden Hoses 2021
- The Basics of Metal Garden Hoses
- Advantages and Disadvantages of Metal Garden Hoses
- What to Keep in Mind before Buying a Metal Garden Hose
Top 7 Best Metal Garden Hoses 2021
SPECILITE Stainless Steel Garden Hose
Metal garden hoses are a dime a dozen these days but this one stood out in terms of overall quality-to-price ratio. The outer hose has a ⅝-inch inner diameter and it’s got solid plastic sleeves on both ends to keep from kinking. The SPECLITE hose is available in 25-foot increments up to 100 feet in length.
- 10-spray trigger nozzle.
- Metal connectors.
- Alternative nozzle included.
- Nozzles are plastic
Morvat 150 Foot Stainless Steel Garden Hose
This deserves a spot because of its inclusions and because of how long this thing can be. It’s got a shut-off valve connected to a handheld multi-spray nozzle which is a system that’s a little different than what you’re used to maybe, but it’ll grow on you pretty fast. The minimum length available is 25-feet.
- Metal connections.
- Includes hose hook.
- Durable nozzle.
- Includes spare grommets.
- Needs two hands to shut on or off.
BEAULIFE 304 Stainless Steel Metal Garden Hose
This one’s a winner as anyone’s first metal garden hose. The price is right for the features it’s got, all while competing with others in terms of quality. It’s got heat resistance, a no-kink design, it’s durable – the whole shebang.
- Brass nozzle and connectors.
- Many lengths available.
- Extra washers included.
- Trigger nozzle not included.
Tardigrade Steel Hose
This one comes recommended because it does well when hooked up to other devices like a sprinkler. It also has metal connections and is available in 1-, 3-, 5-, 10, 25-, and 50-foot lengths so you can buy several variants for different applications around the house.
- Durable plastic sleeves.
- Bends smoothly.
- Only available up to a 50-foot length.
Bionic Steel Garden Hose
This one is good if you already have a spray nozzle that you like. It’s got grippy knurled sleeves at either end, making it easy to connect the hose anywhere. It’s available in up to 100-feet lengths and should be great for a first-time purchaser or as an extension for an existing hose.
- Large inner diameter (5/8 of an inch) that will allow a powerful stream.
- Heat resistant.
- Ice resistant.
- Dual-layer inner tubings.
- No included hangers or fittings.
BOSNELL Yard Hose
This one gets a spot because it includes a trigger nozzle though it’s only got that standard flow lock and limiter mechanism. It comes in 50-, 70-, and 100-foot lengths so it is moderately customizable. It also includes a standard adjustable spray nozzle that’s great for filling buckets and other such tasks.
- Metal connectors and fittings.
- Comes with a couple nozzles.
- 7 spray patterns only.
- Plastic nozzles.
TheFitLife Metal Garden Hose
This one’s an up-and-comer that caught my eye because of some design improvements over their old one. It’s got an ergonomic handheld nozzle design that’s similar to the Morvat but is designed to allow for more granular flow control instead of a simple shut-off valve.
It also helps that the design looks pleasing and will really feel at home in the shed with your other garden tools.
- Up to 100-foot lengths.
- Softer and longer grips at fittings.
- A little pricier.
The Basics of Metal Garden Hoses
Types of Garden Hoses
Metal garden hoses are the star of today’s show, and quite reasonably so. These are made of soft rubber tubing encased in spiral steel plates and have many abilities that make them better than your off-the-shelf rubber hose. More about them in a bit.
Coiled garden hoses look similar to air compressor hoses at woodshops and garages. They are typically designed for compactness and convenience because they rebound into a tightly coiled shape, but some people find that they tangle against themselves real often though.
Drinking water-safe hoses are more of a feature than a separate type of hose. These are great for when you want a drink while watering the garden on a hot day. The package typically says that it’s phthalate- and lead-free, being made from safer materials.
Flexible hoses retain their deflated diameter and expand when you turn on the faucet because of the pressure. They are lightweight and don’t kink, but are susceptible to tangling if you don’t coil them up properly. Some types are made with up to four outer layers of latex which adds durability and flexibility.
Expandable hoses are a type of flexible hose but are flat when depressurized. They look pretty dope when they inflate due to the water pressure and are really lightweight but fragile and easily knot or tangle.
Soaker hoses are rubber garden hoses with lots of little holes punched along their lengths. As their name suggests, they are used for irrigation purposes.
Materials Used in Metal Garden Hoses
The inner tube is made either with rubber or polyurethane material. This allows the hose to be flexible and lightweight. Manufacturers can afford to use flexible materials since they won’t be exposed to UV light because they are encased in the metal.
The outer layer is typically made of 304 stainless steel and has a ribbed design consisting of spiral plated steel links. There isn’t much variety in terms of material, which is why other criteria I use for determining the best hoses to buy includes accessories and other features.
The Plastic Problem
Environmental and health impacts should always be considered when buying any product. A study found that several hoses sold in American contain Phthalates, which is a plastic chemical substance that is toxic to humans and can affect different processes in our bodies. So don’t drink from a hose that isn’t rated Phthalate- or lead-free and if you have one, make sure to find a recycling facility that’ll accept it.
Cadmium and lead were also found in common garden hoses which are chemicals that can seep into the water. The chemicals can cause birth defects, impaired hearing, liver toxicity, and a host of other health problems.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Metal Garden Hoses
Advantages of Metal Garden Hoses
Durable and Corrosion Resistant
Many metal garden hose makers advertise that their products are made from 304 grade austenitic stainless steel, making them extremely corrosion resistant. Being that it’s commonly used in appliances like refrigerators and commercial food processing equipment, I feel confident about my hose’s corrosion resistance rating.
Another grade of corrosion-resistant steel is 316 stainless steel which is superior to 304 in all aspects but is most suitable for marine applications, making it more expensive and a little overkill for garden purposes anyway.
Due to its high chromium and nickel content, 304-grade stainless steel metal hoses achieve a far lighter weight than rubber ones all while attaining greater ranges of motion. They’re so light that I can lift a 100ft coil with just a finger.
Easier to put away
Storage is really easy because of how the hose coils up only to a certain degree. This makes it so that you can easily reel the lengths by hand or better yet with a hose reel.
If you don’t have a reel, you can just put it in a bucket, tuck it under a table and call it a day.
Or, of course, simply buy a good hose reel cart with wheels to avoid knots and a messy storing situation/
By this, I mean radiant heat from the sun. Strangely in the ads, they try to burn the hoses with fire for some weird reason. Due to the austenitic metal’s formula, it absorbs less heat from the sun and stays cool to the touch. This is great for efficiency since you don’t have to wait for the hose to cool down before packing everything up.
Disadvantages of Metal Garden Hoses
While they virtually cannot kink, they can still tangle pretty badly. Thankfully, the reason for this tangling is more user error than an inherent problem with the design. A little care when unraveling the coil should prevent this problem. This is also one of the best reasons why you should get a hose reel if you haven’t got one yet.
The hose also does expand or contract. The reason this is a con is that I used to love the way my flexible hose inflates like some bizarre snake-worm. I just liked the novelty, is all.
When I had my rubber hose, I would love the way I could just kink the hose just at the spot before the nozzle so I could stop the water flow in a pinch. With metal garden hoses, you can’t do that. That’s one reason why most hoses include an adjustable nozzle for flow control but it’s just not as quick.
They can also leak if handled badly. The reason they’re so maneuverable is that the inner tube consists of soft, flexible rubber. If you’re hard on your equipment, you’ll likely tear the inner lining and it’s difficult to fix.
Metal hoses often have smaller diameters than standard hoses so they can’t support too high a flow rate, but I can’t imagine needing really high pressure for gardening applications. I think the diameter thing is actually at a sweet spot for outdoor home use since you have enough power to clean a car but the flow rate is gentle enough at the low end so as not to hurt any of your plants.
What to Keep in Mind before Buying a Metal Garden Hose
I mentioned earlier that there’s a lot more that goes into picking out a hose for the garden. This rings true for a lot of reasons, and checking for the right specifications can help you make a winning purchase.
I explained that the rubber inner lining of a metal garden hose is typically thin and flexible. This won’t do if you’re planning to use it with a pressure washer since the flexibility can lead to bad rupturing. It’s best to stick with a rubber hose that’s rated for the same pounds-per-square-inch (PSI) of pressure your washer can output.
For other gardening applications, though, you’re generally good with a metal garden hose. Washing off decks, patios, driveways, and the light cleaning job should be easy work for it.
This type of hose is best for washing your pets, too. Their lightness makes for easy handling and can handle being stepped on without bending inward even a bit.
Speaking of cleaning… looking for something to clean your car, patio, or driveway with? This article on the best commercial pressure washers will be a great help in picking a great option suited for your needs.
It’s generally better to measure the length you need before buying a metal garden hose. They come in upwards of 200-foot lengths so you have a lot of length choices in between. Don’t buy longer than you need because the added cost isn’t really worthwhile unless you have a sprawling yard with vegetation at the edges.
But you can also check out our article on great expandable garden hose options if you’re not sure what length you may need.
While the outer diameter doesn’t matter much, the inner diameter influences the performance of a metal garden hose. I typically find that manufacturers do not specify the inner diameter of the hose and I measured that it’s actually around 3/16” inside. That’s fine for my application, though, and I can understand that heavier jobs call for better, thicker hardware. The inner diameter is much smaller than a standard garden hose on average.
Add-ons and Accessories
Accessories are where it’s at when differentiating between metal hoses.
Extensions are a big plus for when you need a short and long hose at different times. Water the yard using a single length and then double the length with an extension when you need to wash your car at the driveway further off.
The usefulness of hose reels is amplified by the way a metal hose bends to a limited degree. It makes them faster to reel in because of the lighter weight and flexible nature of the hose. Be careful during assembly though, because some hose reel models can fit the handle to both sides but installation is not reversible.
A metal garden hose gets added points for including multiple nozzle types, though a single adjustable nozzle will definitely do the job. Read below for an overview of nozzle types so you know what you’re getting with your hose.
Standard fitting diameters vary depending on region but in the US the standard thread size for fittings is ¾”, which you’ll find at the end of your garden faucet.
Trigger nozzles. They are handheld sprayers that may feature multiple spray types. Their jets are not very clean because of the trigger mechanism but the auto shut off is a good feature to have. You switch between spray types by turning the ring at the business end of the nozzle and each mode is labeled.
Handheld nozzles with a shut-off valve. These are a type of handheld nozzle that replaces the thumb-controlled trigger for a dial that functions the same way as the handle of a spigot. Some designs allow for more granular flow control while others just turn the water flow on or off. The one downside is that it needs two hands to operate.
Twist spray nozzle. These produce a uniform and consistent jet. The adjustable design allows for variable spray modes good for watering plants, third-party nozzles can be a little more expensive.
Laminar flow nozzle. This type of nozzle has a fixed diameter and flow rate. This allows for a longer range and makes them cheaper to buy. Depending on your water pressure, they can blow stuff away so be careful not to hurt your plants.
While rubber hoses have multi-ply constructions, a metal garden hose does not benefit from having more than one interior rubber layer. This is probably because the more layers it has, the more rigid the hose will be. You’ll get decreased flexibility beyond one-ply.
My experience with metal garden hoses hasn’t led me to find any product that advertises a multi-ply inner layer. Brands will always market the steel construction aspect of the hose to draw you in, so always look at the honest reviews if you’re unsure of the durability of the interior hose.
Metal garden hoses can come with sleeves at the faucet connector to prevent kinking when overextending. Given the thinness of the actual rubber hose, this should help prevent any kinks that may lead to tearing or rupturing.
I always welcome hoses that include extra grommets since these are the easiest to lose and often the quickest parts to degrade over time.
Always look for those with extra fittings as well as those that use metal for those fittings. I tend to see chrome-colored plastic in cheaper products much like I got when I bought a bunch of cheap bathroom bidets as a young homeowner (never again). Plastic cracks real fast and it’ll render the hose useless.
Pricier hoses will include hose reels or other storage solutions like hose hangers and such. If you can handle the extra cost, get the one with hose reels and preferably ones that you can mount against an outer wall. It’ll save a lot of space and time, trust me.
Some hoses also come in carrying bags and are great if you just want to tuck it away.
Do not leave nozzles or the hose exposed to any type of bad weather condition. Corrosion resistance does not mean rust-proof. If you leave it out all the time, chances are the material will degrade and become brittle. Never leave plastic nozzles out in the sun or they’ll become brittle and the couplings will start leaking.
Drain out water when autumn comes. The water inside the hose will expand when frozen and will lead to punctures, ruptures, and tearing when unchecked. Try to drain out the water after each use.
When reeling in the hose, make sure to guide the length as you spool it in. Grab the reel handle with one hand and put a damp towel on the other. Hold the hose with the towel hand and start reeling. Slowly guide the hose as you turn so you’re reeling them in neatly while also cleaning the hose in the process.
Are metal garden hoses any good?
Well, it depends on which ones you get. In terms of reparability, they’re difficult to repair but not impossible. Choose ones with all-metal parts so you don’t end up with cracked fittings.
Are stainless steel garden hoses better than rubber?
Yes in most ways, but the flow rate is always lower compared to rubber due to the small inner tube diameter. For jobs that need a high flow rate, rubber hoses are the way to go.
How long do stainless steel hoses last?
For a lifetime if you handle them with care. Just because they’re made of 304 steel does not make them indestructible. The links can easily break apart if you bang them around too often.
Can you use a metal garden hose with a pressure washer?
Provided that the fittings are compatible with that of the washer, then yes, but it’s not the best metal garden hose for pressure washer use. The inner tubing of metal garden hoses is made of TPU or polyurethane material which are not rated for the high-pressure applications involved in pressure washing.
What’s the best way to store a metal garden hose?
If you’ve got the budget to spare, I recommend getting a hose reel that has a handle or one which you can mount on a wall. These hoses are the best for hose reels because they don’t kink and don’t tangle easily. My second pick would be a hose hook if your hose package does not include it.
Are there hoses other than steel that are also durable?
While there aren’t any available aluminum garden hoses in the market, there are those which have aluminum fittings. You can get heavy-duty rubber hoses but those weigh much more than even normal rubber hoses.
While the SPECLITE wins this best metal garden hose review, all of the other metal garden hoses I’ve mentioned deserve a look because you might need some features that the Top 1 hose lacks. It’s an entry-level metal hose that is versatile and will get a beginner gardener nourishing their plants in no time. And even though it’s already got all that you need in a hose, you can easily find upgrades like metal nozzles and quick-connect fittings to make your experience even better.
I hope you appreciated my rundown of the best stainless steel garden hoses you can get right now. Have a look at my other reviews and guides if you need more garden-hose related content.