Best Expandable Hoses: Wash Your Car With Fewer Kinks & Tangles
The top expandable garden hoses that make washing your car much easier
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BY Noelle Talmon / LAST UPDATED ON July 3, 2019
When you're cleaning your vehicle or watering your garden, convenience is key. It's best to use a flexible and dependable hose that isn't awkward to carry around and that won't twist or knot. Our expandable hose guide will help you find the best expandable hoses on the market without spending a lot of money.
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Benefits of Expandable Hoses
- They’re lightweight. Old-fashioned rubber garden hoses can be difficult to maneuver. The longer they are, the heavier they are. Expandable hoses are about five times lighter than conventional ones.
- They extend (a lot). When not in use, a garden hose that shrinks and expands takes up very little space. When you turn the water on, the best expandable water hose can grow up to three times its length. For example, a 25-foot expandable hose can become 75 feet long.
- They're easy to store. The best expanding garden hose will return to its original length once you turn off the water, making it easier to store than a conventional rubber hose.
- They're less likely to kink. If you've ever used a rubber hose, you've probably had problems with it kinking, knotting, or tangling. Expandable hoses kink far less than their rubber hose counterparts because the latex inside them is much more flexible than hard rubber. Expandable hoses, however, can still get tangled when you fill them with water.
- They automatically drain water. With a conventional hose, you have to hold it at several angles to ensure that all the water drains out. When you turn off the water pressure to a collapsible hose, the water automatically releases. This occurs because the latex contracts and forces the water out.
Types of Expandable Hoses
Some expandable hoses are made of two and sometimes three or four layers of latex. You would think the strongest expandable garden hose would have at least a triple layer latex core, but that's not necessarily true. Sometimes, additional layers can adversely affect flexibility. However, triple-layer latex can handle higher water pressure. In general, a double latex core includes a thick polymer that covers a latex inner tube; one layer is durable latex, and the other is a PVC coating.
The other type of material used in the core of expandable hoses is thermoplastic copolyester (TPC). This material is common in industrial tubing, and it's very resistant to heat. It's also very durable even when used as a single layer. One downside is that TPC tends to be more expensive.
Natural Vs. Synthetic Latex
Natural latex comes from the rubber tree sap. It's extracted similarly to maple syrup. Synthetic latex is made in a laboratory and is very similar to natural latex, but it’s made of petrochemicals and petroleum byproducts. Synthetic latex tubing is much cheaper than it's the natural counterpart. Most hoses are made of synthetic materials and are covered in a nylon shell.
Expandable Hose Pricing
- $30-$50: The best expandable hose isn't cheap, but it will last for a while as long as you take care of it. Most good-quality, collapsible hoses fall in this price range.
Do you need a 75-foot expandable hose or a 100-foot expandable hose? Perhaps a smaller one is better? You don't need a really long hose if your water spigot is close to where you wash your vehicle. Choose one that is just the right length to maneuver around your vehicle comfortably and that isn’t too long that it gets in the way.
- Fittings: An expandable hose with brass fittings is intended to reduce corrosion and is quite durable. Hose fittings may also be aluminum or plastic. A collapsible hose with brass fittings is best because it holds up better when exposed to water. It can oxidize over time, but it resists rust, is more heat resistant than plastic and is stronger than aluminum.
- Purpose: Pocket hoses have a variety of uses. First, you need to decide what your needs are. If you want one that is practical for both the garden and car washing, be sure to check out the spray head. Some brands have nozzles with options such as mist, shower, jet, and angle.
- Storage: Before purchasing an expandable hose, figure out where you want to store it. Make sure it will fit in the space you have in mind. Expandable hoses come in a variety of sizes, and some brands even have storage bags included. Bigger pocket hoses will take up more space, so make sure to account for that.
- Nozzle: The best expandable water hose will include a free hose nozzle and sometimes a free storage bag and storage hook. If your pocket hose comes with a nozzle, be aware that it may not be very high quality. Free nozzles aren't usually as good as nozzles that you purchase separately. The free nozzle may also have limited spray options.
- Water Pressure: If you don't have very strong water flow, an expandable hose may not work very well. If you have very high water pressure, you need to be careful or the hose can burst. One option is putting a pressure regulator on the faucet before you use the hose.
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- Stretch out an expandable hose before you use it for the first time. Close the shut-off valve, fill the hose with water, and let it expand to its full length. Next, release the water and let the hose drain itself. Repeat the process one time. This will stretch out the hose, allow you to see any defects or leaks, and ensure that the hose is working to the best of its abilities.
- When you're not using an expandable hose, avoid leaving it in direct sunlight or in frigid temperatures. Sun and inclement weather can reduce the hose's lifespan by damaging the inner tubing.
- One way to store your expandable hose is by hanging it on a storage hook. This will keep it out of the way of animals, who may damage it, or people who may accidentally step on it.
Q: Do expandable hoses work?
A: Absolutely. Rubber hoses can kink up or knot, and you need to coil them back into shape when you're finished with them. Expandable hoses are self-draining, and they coil up on their own when you turn off the water. They are just as useful as conventional rubber hoses, and they’re designed not to tear or tangle.
Q: What is the best expandable garden hose?
A: The best expandable hose is one that fits your budget, does what it claims to do, is easy to store, and is long-lasting.
Q: How long do expandable hoses last?
A: A collapsible hose should last just as long or longer than a traditional rubber hose. If you take care of it and store it properly, you may not need to replace it for 10 years.
Q: Are expandable hoses difficult to repair?
A: While you can't patch them up like you can with rubber hoses, you can repair the best expandable hose. If the leak is next to the fittings, purchase a flexible hose repair kit, which should include an extra connector. Or you can just remove the connection, cut two inches off the hose, and put the existing connection back on. If there's a hole in the middle of the hose, you’ll need an extra connector to make a repair.
Our top pick for the best expandable hose is TBI Pro Garden Hose Expandable. It's made of four layers of latex, expands to 100 feet, and is flexible and lightweight. It's supple yet rugged and doesn't tangle or kink. It also comes with a nozzle that features nine different spray positions.
If you’re on a budget, consider the Zalotte Expandable Garden Hose with 9 Function Nozzle.