What is the Best Soaker Hose of 2019?

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The Swan Products Sprinkler Soaker Hose is the best soaker hose you can buy for the value it provides.

Once the weather starts warming up, plants need all of the water they can get. While sprinklers and complex irrigation systems are often the go-to for gardeners, I prefer something a bit gentler.

The best soaker hose can keep your plants looking healthy without wasting water. They’re simple to set up and use. Even still, the benefits they provide are immeasurable. Looking to invest in a soaker hose for your garden? Let’s take a look at some of the best options on the market.

ProductRatingPrice
Swan Products GIDS-2496287 Element Sprinkler Soaker Hose1Check Price
Rocky Mountain Goods Soaker Hose2Check Price
Gilmour 100049288 Flat Weeper Soaker Hose3Check Price
Dramm 17020 ColorStorm Premium Soaker Garden Hose4Check Price
Melnor 65062-AMZ Flat Soaker 2 Hose5Check Price

What is a Soaker Hose?

At first glance, soaker hoses look like any average garden hose. However, they operate very differently. The most significant difference is the tiny pores that allow water to seep through the walls of the hose.

It’s important to remember that soaker hoses are not the same thing as drip irrigation systems. Drip systems are comprised of rigid tubes with smaller emitter tubes. While they operate on the same basic principles, soaker hoses are considered to be more effective and more eco-friendly.

That’s because soaker hoses use low water pressure. As the water seeps out of the pores, it’s able to soak into the soil directly over the roots of your plants. This results in less waste through evaporation.

What are the Different Types of Soaker Hoses?

There are  two different kinds of soaker hoses on the market. The most common you’ll find are round hoses. Usually made out of rubber or vinyl, round hoses offer great durability and versatile use. The pores are located around the entire circumference of the hose, allowing you to hydrate soil from all angles.

The alternative to round hoses is flat hoses, which are often made out of a nylon-coated mesh. The biggest benefit that flat soaker hoses have to offer is control.

With flat hoses, the pores are located on one side. You can direct the water right into the ground where you want it. Plus, the flat shape prevents the hose from rolling out of place.

Both options can be buried under mulch. It’s not recommended that you cover them with soil, as they can become clogged or kinked.

Do You Need a Soaker Hose?

Ultimately, soaker hoses are all about convenience and efficiency. They make it easier to keep the soil moist regardless of sun exposure and temperature. As a result, your plants are able to stay healthy.

Despite having a continual supply of water, the risks of root rot are minimized. The slow flow ensures that the soil isn’t waterlogged. The water is delivered directly to the root where it can be used. The foliage stays dry as well.

From a water conservation standpoint, soaker hoses are very advantageous. Because the water is directed into the soil where it can be used, there’s less evaporation and overspray. All in all, soaker hoses a worthy investment that can improve the overall health of your plants.

How to Choose the Best Soaker Hose

Not all soaker hoses are made the same. To ensure that your purchase is right for your needs, keep the following considerations in mind.

Length

Soaker hoses come in a range of lengths to fit gardens of all shapes and sizes. It’s recommended that you measure your garden area and choose a length based on where you want to lay the hose.

Like standard hoses, you can easily connect multiple soaker models to achieve your desired length. However, the length of your finished setup should not exceed 100 feet from a single water source.

Pore Size

Choosing the right pore size is paramount. The goal is to have a product that can keep the soil moist enough to hydrate the plant roots. Hoses with enlarged holes may produce too much water.

Depending on the pressure you’re dealing with, these hoses may also spray the water rather than releasing it slowly.

On the other side of the spectrum, you should also avoid perforations that are too small. The inadequate flow will result in poor hydration.

As a good rule of thumb, soaker hoses should produce thick beads of water. When the water supply is turned on, the hose should slowly produce these beads without projecting them outward. If you can physically see those water droplets forming, the pore size is just right.

Flexibility

There are a couple of factors that can contribute to the flexibility of the hose. The first is the material it’s made out of. Rubber hoses are known to be pliable and easy to work with. However, thick plastic hoses can be stiff and stubborn.

The second factor is the shape of the hose. Flat hoses, while relatively flexible, aren’t capable of making tight turns. Remember, the pores are on the bottom of the hose. The limitations that come with this placement make it difficult to create curves.

Take a look at your garden and consider how you want to arrange the hose. If you plan on running the hose in rows, you’ll need a flexible hose that you can easily stake around corners.

Weather Protection

Chances are, your new soaker hose is going to be exposed to a bevy of weather conditions. To ensure that your investment lasts, choose a hose that’s protected from the elements.

Some materials, such as rubber, are great for colder temperatures. Rubber can expand and flex. You can leave the hose out well past the summer season before you have to worry about freeze damage. With that said, rubber is also prone to UV damage from constant sun exposure.

Many manufacturers apply UV coatings to their products. These options perform well in direct sunlight. Keep your environment in mind and look out for weather protection features to keep your soaker hose in good condition.

Durability

In addition to getting protection from Mother Nature, your hoses should be safe from accidents. Soaker hoses are susceptible to punctures and tears. These issues could affect the efficiency of your hose and change the flow rate.

Many manufacturers add some type of reinforcement to keep the hose in good shape. Additional fibers or a layer of steel mesh are the most common reinforcement methods. Keep in mind that an extra layer of protection will affect the hose’s flexibility.

Pressure Rating

Soaker hoses don’t need much pressure to operate efficiently. In fact, it’s recommended that you keep water pressure to around 10 PSI. At this rating, the water will seep out slowly rather than spraying all over the place.

While you could manually adjust the pressure at the source, many soaker hoses come with built-in regulators. The regulator drops the incoming pressure significantly to keep things running smoothly.

Precautions When Using a Soaker Hose

Due to the way that soaker hoses operate, there is one major safety precaution that you need to consider before you start setting things up. You need to invest in a backflow device. Some hoses already have one of these built into the connection fittings. You may also have a faucet that has this feature. If not, you’ll have to purchase the device separately.

Essentially, backflow preventers ensure that contaminated water doesn’t enter your home’s water supply. The low water flow that’s produced by soaker hoses makes it easy for dirt and chemicals to move through the line. If there’s a sudden drop in water pressure, the hose can act as a vacuum and suck up water back to its source.

This can affect your drinking water. If your plants are fertilized, the risks of contamination are significant. Backflow prevention devices only let water flow in one direction. Many municipalities require these gadgets for any type of irrigation system to keep the local water system clean and contaminant-free.

How to Use a Soaker Hose

Using your soaker hose involves a bit of careful planning. You want to arrange the hose in a way that moistens the soil effectively. Of course, the amount of water you’ll need to get the job done will depend entirely on your plants and soil.

First, you need to prepare the hose. Remove the end cap and run water through the hose to get rid of any debris. Then, replace the cap and attach your backflow prevention device. If you’re using a pressure regulator, attach that as well before you connect the soaker hose.

Then, you must place the line through your garden. Run the hose in rows. If you have standard soil, you can place the rows about 12 to 18 inches apart. For sandy soil, keep the distance between18 and 24 inches.

Also, consider the spacing of the rows to your plants. Annuals thrive when the hose is about 4 inches from the stem. For larger plants that have an expansive root system, you can place the hose up to 24 inches away.

Plan for slopes ahead of time. Soaker hoses do best on level ground. However, you can get around shallow hills and dips by running across the elevation change.

Once everything is set up, you can turn on the water and let the hose hydrate your soil for about 40 minutes. Then, check to see how deep the water penetrates. Ideally, you want the water to reach about half of the root zone. Adjust your watering time accordingly.

You can use the soaker hose once or twice a week depending on your plant’s needs. To retain moisture after watering, cover the hose in 2 inches of mulch.

Maintaining a Soaker Hose

Proper maintenance is crucial if you want your soaker hose to last. Luckily, caring for your investment is relatively easy. The most important task you’ll need to do is flushing.

Flushing your hose gets rid of built-up grime and removes any bugs that may have ventured into the perforations. To do this, simply attach the end cap and let the water run for up to 15 minutes. This should be done once a month to keep the hose in good shape.

As the hose is flushing out, perform a visual inspection. Look out for any clogs that are preventing water from flowing through. You can fix these clogs by using a small pin to remove the debris.

Unlike standard garden hoses, you don’t have to take soaker models in for the winter season. Any remaining water in the hose will seep out if the hose contracts during a freeze. As long as the line is covered in mulch, it should be safe.

With that being said, you should always disconnect the fittings and detach it from your spigot. Frozen fittings could lead to serious plumbing issues. So, make sure to disconnect everything before the first freeze of the year.

Swan Products GIDS-2496287 Element Sprinkler Soaker Hose
  • Easy to use and handle
  • This products adds a great value
  • This product is manufactured in United states

Last update on 2019-11-19 // Source: Amazon Affiliates

The Element host is a unique option that serves two purposes. Not only is it a soaker hose, but you can also use it as a misting sprinkler. The hose is flat and features 6 perforations per foot.

When the host is faced down, it continually hydrates the soil. Face it upward to shoot water into the air and treat a larger surface area. There’s even a printed stripe to help you spot the holes easier.

This hose is made out of 65 percent recycled rubber. As a result, it’s quite flexible. Though, it does have some light reinforcement to add protection against accidental tears. It’s also completely free of lead, so you can water your plants safely without having to worry about potential poisoning of your harvest.

With a length of 50 feet, there’s more than enough hose to cover small to medium-sized gardens. Overall, this hose is a great option for those who need a multi-purpose hose. It performs well as a traditional soaker. While it’s not the most powerful sprinkling system out there, it does a decent job of covering large areas as well.

ProsCons
  • Soaker hose and misting sprinkler
  • 6 perforations per foot
  • Made out of 65 percent recycled rubber
  • Free of lead
  • 50 feet length
  • Not powerful

Check Price


Rocky Mountain Goods Soaker Hose
  • Heavy duty recycled rubber soaker hose is made to last
  • Add length when needed - Quick attach reinforced fittings are included and make for easy connect of additional soaker hoses
  • Works great for gardens and flower beds

Last update on 2019-11-19 // Source: Amazon Affiliates

This soaker hose from Rocky Mountain Radar is simple yet effective. It takes on a traditional design. While it may not have all the extras as the previous hose, it does its job very well.

The entire hose is made out of recycled rubber. Thus, it’s flexible and easy to manage. If you need to run multiple rows or go around tight corners, the rubber makes it easy to accomplish.

Rather than adopting a flat shape, this hose is cylindrical. It’s reasonably thick and features pores at every angle for optimal hydration.

When it comes to flow rate, this hose manages to strike a good balance. There isn’t a pressure regulator built-in. However, elements within the spigot fitting help to prevent the water from shooting into the air.

The only downside of this soaker hose is that pressure issues can come up towards the end of the unit. Water droplets tend to be smaller and more sporadic at the end of the hose, which could be a problem if you’re looking to achieve even moisture across your garden.

ProsCons
  • Made from recycled rubber
  • Flexible and easy to manage
  • Cylindrical shape
  • Pores for optimal hydration
  • Prevents water from shooting into the air
  • Low pressure at end of the hose

Check Price


Sale
Gilmour 100049288 Flat Weeper Soaker Hose
  • Snake through rows of new seedlings or under mature plantings for efficient, deep watering season after season
  • Create an easy DIY watering system by burying the hose under mulch. Hook it up to a timer and enjoy healthy, vibrant plants without all the watering work
  • Made of vinyl

Last update on 2019-11-19 // Source: Amazon Affiliates

If you’re looking for a lightweight hose that’s easy to stow away when not in use, this option from Gilmour is for you. It’s not made of rubber-like many of the other soaker hoses on the market. Instead, it has a PVC core that collapses.

When it’s not filled with water, the hose lies flat. This makes coiling and storing the hose a breeze. Covering the PVC is a unique fabric shell.

The fabric features a tight and protective weave. The material helps to prevent debris and bugs from getting into the hose. Despite its protection, water doesn’t have any issues making its way through.

The combination of the vinyl and fabric doesn’t affect the hose’s flexibility at all. In fact, it’s very easy to snake the hose through plants. You can almost create a right-angle turn.

The only caveat of that flexibility is that the hose is very easy to kink up. If the fabric covering folds in a certain way, water is cut off from the rest of the hose.

ProsCons
  • Lightweight
  • Made with PVC
  • Easy to store
  • Material prevents debris entering into the hose
  • Flexible
  • Easy to kink up and cut off water

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Sale
Dramm 17020 ColorStorm Premium Soaker Garden Hose
  • Soaker hose
  • Conveniently water gardens and beds
  • Evenly waters from beginning to end

Last update on 2019-11-19 // Source: Amazon Affiliates

For the most part, the Dramm soaker hose is a well-built piece of garden equipment. It’s made from recycled material that feels very durable. According to Dramm, the hose is resistant to abrasive damage and kinks. Those are nice touches that can make using the hose hassle-free.

On one end of the hose, you’ll find a nickel-plated brass fitting. It’s noticeably tough and matches the quality you would find in a traditional garden hose. Unfortunately, the same high standards did not apply to the end cap.

It’s made of lower-quality materials and is prone to bursting, which can render the entire hose useless. Luckily, Dramm does offer a lifetime guarantee on this hose.

In terms of performance, the soaker hose is capable of serving the needs of most. It’s a round hose that features appropriately sized pores all around. While there isn’t any pressure regulator added to the line, the small pore size manages the flow of water very well.

ProsCons
  • Well-built and durable
  • Made from recycled material
  • Abrasion resistant
  • Nickel-plated brass fitting
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • Can feel a bit stiff

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Sale
Melnor 65062-AMZ Flat Soaker 2 Hose
  • Flattens for easy storage
  • Extends to 75 feet
  • Extremely flexible

Last update on 2019-11-19 // Source: Amazon Affiliates

The Melnor soaker hose is designed to be very flexible. It’s composed of two layers. Inside, there’s a thinner plastic layer filled with small perforations. Over that, you’ll find a fabric cover.

All in all, the hose is light and easy to work with. It collapses flat for storage and can be placed under a thin layer of mulch if you want to hide it away.

With all that said, the hose’s extreme flexibility makes it a magnet for kinks. Even small turns and curves result in a noticeable fold that cuts off the water supply to the ends of the hose.

Even if you run it in a straight line, the pressure isn’t that consistent. The last quarter or so of the 75-foot hose gets less water than the portion that’s closest to the supply.

The good news is that the fittings are well-built. The hose uses standard threads made out of durable plastic to prevent rusting. Melnor even throws in an extra pair of rubber seals, just in case.

ProsCons
  • Flexible
  • Composed of two layers
  • Lightweight and easy to use
  • Collapses for storage
  • 75-foot length
  • Prone to kinks
  • Pressure is not consistent

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Our recommendation

With a solid soaker hose, the days of overwatering your plants are over. These unique tools can make a drastic difference in your garden’s overall health. Whether you’re growing flowers or looking to have a bountiful harvest of vegetables, soaker hoses can help your seedlings reach their full potential.

The best soaker hose that’s currently on the market is the Element sprinkler soaker hose from Swan Products. Extra features aside, the hose performs well across the board.

The flat design allows you to direct the water where you want it to go, giving you ultimate control. Plus, you can use it to water your lawn. The fact that it does double-duty as a misting sprinkler is enough to set it apart from the competition.

When it comes to construction quality, none of the other hoses can compare. When you look at other flat hoses, such as the options from Gilmour or Melnor, the Swan is more reliable. It has a reinforced body that’s protected from kinks and physical damage. Furthermore, it has a UV coating to keep sun damage at bay.

Ultimately, the Swan Products hose ticks off all the boxes while bringing something new to the table that others simply can’t.

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