Expandable garden hoses put to test

As-seen-on-TV hoses claim to end heavy, tangled hose hassle

Author: Marilyn Moritz, Reporter, mmoritz@ksat.com
Published On: May 09 2013 04:43:35 PM CDT   Updated On: May 09 2013 06:06:33 PM CDT

Lugging and untangling a heavy garden hose is a hassle. So, do the new as-seen-on-TV, expandable garden hoses work?

The $20  Pocket Hose claims to be the hose that grows. It's lightweight, weighing about a pound.

It was a no-brainer to attach it to the spigot. When the water was turned on, the lime green snake of a hose began to squirm. Within several seconds, it did expand to about 50 feet, three times its original size.

The other end has an on-off valve to the user doesn't get sprayed while the hose expands.

In addition to the Pocket Hose, Consumer Reports tested the DAP XHose and the FlexAbleHose.

With all three, the flow was good, just like a regular garden hose.

However, they did find that if you are doing something like filling a kiddie pool and not holding on to the hose, the hose can wiggle and spray in various directions when water pressure drops.

Using the expandable hoses with sprinklers proved a challenge, too.

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

Traditional hoses also tend to kink.

When testers purposely knotted, folded and twisted all three hoses, the water kept flowing.

When the water was turned off, the hoses recoil to their original size.

Consumer Reports found all three lived up to their claims, but the Pocket Hose came out on top.  It didn't shrink as much when water pressure dropped.

None of the hoses can be patched, so you do have to be careful with the outer covering.

Some online reviewers reported leaks with some of the hoses, too.