What is a soaker hose? It’s one of the most useful gardening and landscaping tools you can keep in the shed. That said, unless you’re using one of the best soaker hoses for maintenance purposes, you could be doing more harm than good to your plants.
However, you’ll need to understand how they work and what separates specific designs to make the right choice. You will also have to learn what other requirements you should meet before buying a soaker hose.
8 Best Soaker Hoses - My Favorites
- 8 Best Soaker Hoses - My Favorites
- The Two Types of Soaker Hoses
- Saving Water
- Can You Use Any Soaker Hose?
- Flat or Round Soaker Hoses
- Dual-Action Hoses
- Build Quality and Other Considerations
If you’re looking for a flat soaker hose, I recommend checking out the Rocky Mountain Goods Soaker Hose. It is a flat hose, available in three sizes – 25ft, 50ft, and 75ft. It can be more than enough for small to medium-sized gardens.
The hose comes with a lifetime warranty, which is very neat, and it’s environmentally friendly. That, too, is very important if you want to maintain healthy plants.
Although it is environmentally friendly, you shouldn’t get the wrong idea. The hose is nothing if not durable. It features double-layered design and PVC lining for added pressure resistance.
The holes are evenly perforated, which I think is great if you have proper organizational skills when it comes to planting the beds. I also like that you can save up to 70% more water by using this hose instead of manually watering your plants.
Just remember to keep the hose buried in up to 1.5ft. Anything more than that and you may get inconsistent dripping. Are there any drawbacks? This hose may not be as useful for plants with deep root systems.
The Water Right rounded hose, comes in three sizes, including at 100ft. Ideal for big properties and homeowners that want to do landscaping and edible plant bed maintenance with a single hose.
This hose is made of polyurethane and is lead-free. It’s also safe to drink water from it, which means that it’s as environmentally-friendly as a hose can be. It is flexible and very easy to burry. It also features high-end fittings, designed to perform consistently even in freezing temperatures.
I also recommend this hose if you’re not comfortable with using a thicker model. This hose is just .5” in diameter. Because it’s thin, it can drip at an even slower pace, ideal for plants that don’t need watering too often.
Keep in mind that it is not one of those hoses you can bury deep and forget about them. That said, at least it performs admirably around corners, as it doesn’t pinch and restrict the water flow.
One of the more affordable soaker hoses comes courtesy of Teknor Apex. The Teknor Ape 1030 is one of my favorite models, whether I need a 25ft, a 50ft, or a 100ft hose for my garden.
It’s not the best water saver. But it can still save you up to 30% more water than if you did it manually. That said, I like that it’s more suitable to use for plants that need more consistent watering. The fact that it drips faster than others is not a downside. That said, you will need to be sure of your plant’s needs.
The hose has a flat design, which I find much more comfortable to place. With that in mind, I’m not thrilled with how this model performs around tight corners.
It’s flexible enough to allow some bends, but not at narrow angles. The fittings seem very rugged and boast a foolproof seal. However, this hose only comes with a seven-year warranty.
Another attractive flat soaker hose is this one from Gilmour. Though not the cheapest, it is available in three sizes, and it features one of the better fabrics on the market. What makes it great is not necessarily the slow drip rate but the clog resistance.
I think that this is one of the better flat hoses that you can place under mulch. The flexibility is there, but you probably want to avoid making too many 90 degrees angles.
The hose won’t lose its optimal flow if you gently curb it. You might want to snake it in between plants. The seven-year warranty provides some assurance, especially if you’re new at gardening and landscaping.
Although this is a lightweight hose, I should point out that it needs a high water pressure to work correctly. The optimal amount would probably be 60psi, as the manufacturer recommends.
I should also point out that this is not an underground hose. Due to its low profile, it is best to use it above the ground. After all, you can always hide it beneath the foliage.
Why a sprinkler hose in an article about soaker hoses? Because this one is a multifunctional model. You can twist it with the element upwards to use it like a sprinkler. You can also point it downwards if you want to soak your plants.
It pays off to connect it do an outdoor faucet where you can adjust the pressure. You’ll need less water pressure for soaking, of course.
Unfortunately, this only comes in a single 50ft length. But, because of its dual-action, it can still be an excellent purchase for many homeowners.
It’s also not that expensive if you consider it can cover sprinkling and soaking. Although you can twist it to your heart’s desire, the hose will revert to its original flat shape. That means that it’s very durable and can handle many applications.
One thing you can’t do is bury it. Because it drips water from an element, it’s best to leave it on the ground, so that it can soak the soil very close to the root. The fittings are made of brass and feature a finish with plastic couplings that can handle all sorts of weather conditions.
Available in lengths of 25 and 50ft, the Dramm 17020 ColorStorm garden hose is an excellent option to keep your plants healthy while you’re away, or if you’re lazy. You can use this soaker hose on the ground and under it.
I find it flexible and durable enough to be buried in a plant bed. The main highlight of this model is the water-saving rating of 90%. It is ideal if you have many plants that require little water throughout the season.
Another exciting feature is the thick wall. It does an excellent job of preventing water loss and helps the hose deal with the pressure of packed earth on top of it.
I also like that it’s environmentally-friendly and made from recyclable materials. That could make it the perfect solution for any nature lover.
You can use the hose to soak the soil from end to end. Therefore, you can’t plug it directly into an outdoor faucet. You’ll need to connect it to a standard garden hose first, to avoid spilling water everywhere.
If you need a flat 50ft garden hose, the One Stop Gardens FBA_97193 model may be the one for you. It’s reasonably priced, it lets water escape close to the ground, and is compatible with standard garden hose connections.
The hose even comes with 3/4" thread hooks for extra convenience. In terms of water-saving, it should help you use up to 75% less water for your gardening needs. However, you can adjust the water flow by using fewer miser discs.
That means that if your plants need watering more often, you can use this hose. It’s more versatile than many others in this regard.
As for the build quality, there’s nothing negative to say. The hose features a heavy-duty sleeve made of woven nylon. It improves the overall durability considerably and ensures that the dripping remains consistent.
Osmile offers some of the best 100ft garden soaker hoses. You can use this one optimally at 30psi, for example. That means that it’s suitable for homes with low-end well pumps or with too many connections to maintain a higher water pressure level.
Even at 30psi, the water leak rate is still about one gallon per foot. That makes it great for large applications, such as greenhouses, large plant beds, and elaborate ornamental landscaping projects.
The couplers will fit any standard garden hose. Made of solid brass, they’re durable and should withstand all sorts of temperature changes.
I like how thick and rugged this soaker hose is. Not only does this ensure steady water distribution, but it also makes it crush-proof.
The hose is quite flexible, too, although you may not be able to snake it around plants without staking it. It might be easier to bend when using it underground.
The Two Types of Soaker Hoses
Soaker hoses mostly come in two types. They’re either made to be buried or to for the above the ground use. The differences between them can be substantial.
Any hose designed for underground applications is much stronger. It’s not just crush-proof but also features a high weighted pressure capacity. It needs this to prevent restricting the water flow too much.
Hoses used above the ground tend to be more flexible. You can bend them with less effort, and they tend to retain their shape when you snake them in between plants. And, thanks to their low profile, you can easily cover them with foliage.
You may have noticed by now that some manufacturers also advertise how much water you can save by using their hoses. Take that number with a grain of salt. There is some truth to that, but sometimes that also depends on the water pressure in your garden.
Other times, the manufacturers can base the rating on what they assume people consume for certain types of garden arrangements or plants. There’s no universal standard that everyone follows. Still, it’s something worth checking on the specs sheet.
Can You Use Any Soaker Hose?
The answer to this question is a big NO. You see, most garden soaker hoses have a specific psi level at which they work best. Some work at 60psi, while some need more. Some models need less, while some need considerably less pressure.
Therefore, if you want to water your plants properly with a soaker hose, you need to be sure that you can supply the required pressure. Too much pressure could cause cracking and water bursting.
That could result in the roots absorbing too much water and eventually rotting. Of course, you may notice that with an above ground soaker hose. But when you use an underground model, it can be difficult to tell if it’s working correctly or not. That’s especially true for those that go deeper.
To find out if a soaker hose will be right for you, first check the psi rating. You can make do with less water pressure if you have plants that don’t need consistent watering. But never pick a 30psi rated hose if you can’t maintain such a low pressure on your property.
Flat or Round Soaker Hoses
The most significant difference between flat and round hoses is how they emit water. Flat ones tend to emit water only from the bottom. That means that the water goes straight to the plant root system, and you get less waste. A flat hose is also usually more flexible if you want to snake it around plants or even run it around corners.
Round hoses feature tiny holes everywhere so that they can drip more water and all over the place. They still offer even water distribution. However, unlike flat soakers, they’re not usually as flexible and can sometimes lose too much water pressure when you run them around corners.
That said, round hoses, even though a bit tougher to install, perform better than their flat counterparts when buried. At least on average. The build quality and design will matter too.
Not every garden soaker hose is a one-trick-pony. You can also find soaker hoses that don’t drip through the fabric or tiny holes. Instead, they might emit water from an element.
But why an element? Because with this type of design, you can use the hose as a sprinkler too. It’s just a matter of twisting it to position the element upwards and adjusting the water pressure for sprinkling.
With that in mind, is this design better? Only if you need both types of water dispersal. Such a hose won’t do a great job at sprinkling or soaking, but it will do a decent job at both.
Build Quality and Other Considerations
These days, most garden soaker hoses feature recycled materials. Some manufacturers use up to 100% recycled materials, while others may only use 30% or even less.
I find that this is a matter of personal preference, depending on how environmentally conscious you are. Both recycled and non-recycled materials can offer plenty of flexibility and durability.
The thickness matters more than anything else, as that usually determines the drip-rate.
You should also consider whether or not a soaker hose is for you. While they seem easy enough to use, they perform best in combination with a pressure regulator, a water filter, and a soaker hose timer.
After all, the goal is to avoid doing much of the watering on your own. So, if you’re ready to invest in some accessories, or if you have them already, then perhaps a soaker hose is the right choice.
Water Your Plants Regularly and Properly
You can breathe new life in your plants if you use one of the best soaker hoses, there’s no doubt about that. Now that you also know how to choose one that’s perfect for you, it should take you less time to make a decision.
As you can see, I reviewed quite a few quality soaker hoses in this article, each one optimized for specific tasks or a range thereof. Whether you want a residential soaker or a professional quality hose, you have plenty of options at your disposal.
A hardcore woodworking and welding enthusiast, Russ is the editor-in-chief of TAH. In his spare time, Russ loves watching sports, and (binge) watching Netflix.