Retractable hoses started showing up on, As Seen on TV, over a decade ago. Next thing you know, you could find them just about anywhere. Their portability and light-weight made them instantly appealing, but the quality of construction was questionable. I didn’t have enough confidence in their durability to replace my regular, heavy-duty, 100′ hose, and also I had questions about their water pressure and application capabilities. Since that time, the number of choices of retractable hoses has increased considerably and the level of quality has dramatically improved as well. But, like any hose, you will get what you pay for. It’s no longer a question of whether or not retractable hoses are any good. What matters most is which retractable hose you buy and how you intend to use it. While I now how have a total of three retractable hoses, I still need to have one regular hose as I will explain why in the comparison below.
Expandable Water Hose Verse Regular Hose
An expandable or collapsible water hose does exactly what it says. When you’re not using it it shrinks or collapses to a size three times smaller than it’s expanded, usable length. Here-in lies the limitation with retractable hoses. They are meant to be collapsed and stored when not in use. You cannot use them in places where you intend to keep them fixed in place for their advertised extended length. In other words, if you have a garden that is 50-feet away from your water spigot, a 50-foot retractable hose will not reach that area unless you intend to keep water in it at all times. Of course, this completely defeats the purpose of a collapsible hose which is to make it easy and convenient to use and store. Since a stationary garden hose is rarely moved or stowed away, a regular garden hose works just find and there is no advantage to it being either portable or light weight. The most important consideration for a stationary garden hose is that it should be durable and able to withstand the weather in all four seasons, depending on where you live. Expandable water hoses are intended to be light-weight, carried around for washing cars, hand-watering gardens, plants, grass, etc., and then easily stowed away. They take up little space when not being used and are very convenient. For their light weight and portability, I have really come to appreciate the advantages of collapsible garden hoses, and cannot imagine everyone not wanting at least one of them around the house for gardening, patio and car washing jobs. It comes down to choosing the one that is best for you. I have purchased three different brands of retractable hoses; one 100′ and two 50′. Below is my review and experience with all three collapsible hoses.
Zero G Hose Review
The Zero G hose by Teknor Apex is the most visually appealing of the three light-weight hoses I own. The hose is a smart-looking, industrial blue color with aviation grade, ultra light-weight aluminum couplings. The hose is 5/8″ by 50 feet. The Zero G hose is actually not a retractable hose. The 50′ version of the Zero G hose stretches out to 50′ whether you have water in it or not. This was difficult for me to believe at first because the hose takes up so little room when I am not using it. When there is no water in the 50′ Zero G hose, it is still a 50′ hose, yet it has a much smaller footprint than a traditional 50′ hose. From the photo to the right, you can see that the Zero G hose takes up less than a third of the space in my 100′ hose bucket. So, you could actually use this one as a stationary hose, but I don’t know why you would want to. The Zero G hose is a delight to use and actually makes me look forward to washing my car. The connection fittings are extremely well made and easy to connect. Most importantly, it is so light weight you can barely feel it in your hand! If you haven’t tried a light-weight, modern garden hose, you will be surprised at how much easier it makes jobs like hand-watering and car-washing. There is truly no kinking and it is a breeze to maneuver it in and around car tires, shrubs, trees, etc. Teknor Apex bills the Zero G as the future of hose design and I have no reason to argue otherwise. The 50′ Zero Hose costs around $30-$35, and the 100′ version is around $50.00. You can buy them locally or at Amazon.
As Seen on TV Hose – 50 Feet
I needed another 50 foot section of hose to connect a water spigot to my garden. In this particular case, I didn’t really need a retractable or collapsible hose, but the price on the As Seen on TV hose gave me an opportunity and reason to try another brand. Unlike the Zero-G, the As Seen on TV hose is truly a collapsible hose that shrinks to less than three times its size. I made the mistake in buying a retractable hose in this case because the 17 feet of original, un-expanded length makes it too short to reach one end of my garden to my spigot. The other big difference with this hose is that it comes with plastic connectors. One plus is that it does come with a plastic spray nozzle as well. While the hose is certainly made of flimsier materials and plastic connectors, it is fully functional and provides water to my garden without any leaks. I would bring this hose in for the winter to make it last longer. The As Seen TV, 50′ hose costs about $20.00. There is also a 25 foot version that you can get for around $10.00.
Flex-Able 100′ Foot Hose
The Other As Seen on TV Hose
The Flex-Able 100′ Hose box advertises that this hose is 6X lighter and I have no reason to doubt that claim. As you can see from the photo, the Flex-Able hose actually easily fits in a hose carrier that already has a traditional hose in it! This hose carrier is completely filled up all the way with a heavy, traditional hose. Not only is it 6x lighter, but I would estimate that the Flex-Able hose takes up 6X the space as a traditional, heavy duty garden hose. Unlike the 50′ As Seen on TV model, the Flex-Able hose does have metal, brass-colored connectors. Also, a bonus is include with this hose; a handy shut-off valve on the opposite end. As with other retractable hoses, it takes a while for the water to fill the hose adequately so you can stretch it to it’s full length. I’ve not measured it yet to confirm that you can indeed get a flex-able hose to reach it’s advertised 100′ length, but that claim seems to be about right from my rough judgments thus far. Flex-Able 100′ hose is advertised as a Tough Grade hose and the metal connectors are certainly a step-up from the 50′ hose. Still, I don’t think the quality and durability compare to the Zero G, but only time and use can tell. The 100′ Flex-Able hose As Seen on TV hose costs around around $49.00. You can buy at just about any local department store or on Amazon.