Do you feel stressed out caring for your garden?
You get busy in the morning and don’t have time to water. You know watering during the afternoon can cause damage to your plants, but by the time evening rolls around, you are just too exhausted to get out there.
You’ve tried sprinklers but often wonder how much water is getting to the plants that actually need it and how much water is being wasted.
What if I told you there was a better way? What if I said, with the right tool you can turn on the water and go on with your day?
My friend, a soaker hose will solve all of your problems!
Well…when it comes to watering your garden that is.
Soaker hoses deliver a slow and steady drip of water directly to the base of your plants, sending the water directly to the roots. No runoff, no burnt leaves, just simple efficient watering. Unfortunately, there are tons of different hoses to choose from, and let’s face it, not all of them work very well. Lucky for you, we did your homework for you, so read on to discover the best soaker hoses the market has to offer and which one is best for YOUR garden.
Our Top Picks
|Best Overall||Water Right Polyurethane Lead Safe Soaker Hose|
|Runner Up||Melnor Flat Soaker Hose|
|Budget Pick||Gilmour Flat Weeper|
- Our Top Picks
- Soaker Hose Reviews
- What is a Soaker hose?
- Types of Soaker hoses
- What to Consider When Choosing a Soaker Hose
- The Advantages of Owning a Soaker Hose – benefits of using
- How to Use a Soaker Hose
- How to Install Soaker Hose Kits
- Maintaining a Soaker Hose
- Soaker Hose vs. Drip Irrigation
- Final Thoughts
Soaker Hose Reviews
Melnor is an established and reputable brand that has a loyal following when it comes to garden equipment. Going strong for over 60 years, you can expect nothing but the best. If you need a soaker hose that is easy to store, Menor’s flat soaker hose is a durable, inexpensive option that should last at least 4 years.
This flat soaker hose is designed to be flexible enough to weave in and out of existing vegetation yet easy enough to fold up and store away. Due to its flexibility, the Melnor is the best soaker hose to use around trees and shrubs.
Composed of a thin plastic layer filled with small perforations, covered in a durable vinyl cover, this soaker hose is lightweight, easy to use, and only takes up a very small amount of storage space in the winter.
It comes in 25 ft., 50 ft., and 75 ft. lengths and has standard ¾ inch garden hose threads that can be connected to extend its length. It also comes with durable rust-proof fittings and Melnor even provides an extra set of O-rings. The only downside is due to its flexibility, it is prone to kinks.
If you want to hide it in your garden, it can be placed under a thin layer of mulch and still function efficiently.
- Lightweight and easy to use
- Stores easily
- Available in multiple lengths
- Prone to kinks
When we were shopping for a soaker hose for our personal garden, the Melnor hoses were sold out. We decided to take a chance on this Gilmour Flat Weeper Hose. At half the price of the Melnor we thought we had nothing to lose and boy did it surprise us! So far we are in year two and this soaker hose is still going strong!
The Gilmour is lightweight and made of a PVC core that is covered in a 100% recycled vinyl outer layer that prevents bugs and debris from entering the hose. Like the Melnor, it comes in 25 ft., 50 ft., and 75 ft. lengths. The only downside is that it does kink up from time to time but the kinks are easy to get out.
It folds up easily for winter storage. While we recommend storing it indoors over the winter, we must admit that we may have accidentally left ours out last year. Ahem…do as we say, not as we do. That said, it survived a major ice store and is still going strong.
- Budget friendly
- Lightweight and Flexible
- Easy to store
- Outer covering prevents debris from entering the line
- 7 year warranty
- Prone to kinks
This well-built soaker hose from Dram is made from durable recycled materials and claims to use 90% less water than a regular garden hose. This heavy-duty soaker hose is available in 25 ft. and 50 ft. lengths, it also is resistant to kinks and damage from abrasion.
The connector is made from nickel-plated brass, but the end cap is not as tough and is prone to breaking. Luckily, Dramm offers a lifetime guarantee in case this happens.
It has pores around the entire circumference of the hose that allows even watering and is durable enough to be kept out all year long. It however does not have a water pressure regulator so you may want to add one.
- Uses up to 90% less water
- Abrasion resistant
- Made from recycled materials
- Lifetime guarantee
- A little difficult to manipulate
- End cap is prone to breaking
For all you organic gardeners out there, this is the only soaker hose on our list that is 100% BPA-free. Unlike the hoses made from recycled tires, this polyurethane soaker hose is FDA approved to be safe for drinking water. This means it is definitely the best soaker hose for a vegetable garden.
The soft microcellular polyurethane foam is flexible, even in freezing temperatures and UV resistant to prevent splitting when exposed to harsh afternoon sun. The fittings are also made from chrome coated brass so this one is built to last and comes with a 5 year manufacturer guarantee.
We think this Water Right soaker hose works best when laid in a straight line, but both ends have specially designed strain relief gizmos to prevent kinking if you do need to snake it around your garden. We just recommend securing it with landscape staples.
Available in 25 ft., 50 ft., and 100 ft. lengths, this soaker hose will cover almost any garden. The only downside we have found is that water moves a little more quickly through this hose, giving it a sprinkler effect rather than weeping.
This BPA-free soaker hose comes at a premium price but we believe it’s well worth it.
- FDA approved
- Available in multiple lengths
- UV protected
- Sprinkles rather than weeps
If you have a larger garden with multiple rows, a soaker hose kit like this one from Flexon is probably your best bet. This kit comes with 100 feet of standard round soaker hose tubing and 20 connectors, including:
- 6 T-connectors
- 4 end cap plugs
- 4 male connectors
- 4 female connectors
- 2 feeders.
This type of soaker hose is pretty rigid, so laying it out in the sun for around an hour will help the coils to loosen and make it easier to work with.
- 100 feet of length
- Comes with 20 connecters
- More difficult to assemble than traditional soaker hoses
What is a Soaker hose?
You may have seen them at your local garden center. Typically located right next to the regular garden hoses. You may not even have noticed them, but at first glance, soaker hoses look like any other average garden hose. They are, however, very different
The major difference is that a soaker hose has tiny pores throughout the length of tubing (aka the hose) that allow water to seep out.
The hose is placed directly on the soil, or sometimes even under the soil, and water slowly seeps out of the tubing, delivering a slow, steady stream of water directly to the base of the plant.
A soaker hose uses up to 20% less water than a regular water hose, and all of the water goes directly to the plant itself.
Not to be confused with a drip system that uses the same basic principle, soaker hoses are often considered to be more environmentally friendly. The low water pressure used by the soaker hose delivers water to the plant slowly, resulting in less evaporation, hence less water waste.
Types of Soaker hoses
There are three main kinds of soaker hoses, weeper hoses, drip hoses, and sprinkler hoses.
Weeper soaker hoses have a porous wall that allows water to seep out during the watering process. The continuous, slow release of water droplets roll off the hose and soak directly into the ground, wherever the hose is placed.
A drip soaker hose has a slightly different wall structure. Drip hoses are made of non-permeable material that has small holes pierced along the entire length of the hose. Droplets of water are released from these tiny holes and soak into the ground under the hose. The main advantage of a drip hose is the ability to have better control over the flow rate.
A sprinkler soaker hose is not actually a soaker hose. It is a hose that sprinkles water out of the hose up to a few inches. It is a great option if you want a slightly broader distribution of water but don’t want to risk burning your plants by top watering during the wrong part of the day.
What to Consider When Choosing a Soaker Hose
The material that the soaker hose is made out of significantly affects both the durability and the efficiency of watering. The most common materials used to make soaker hoses are rubber and plastics…especially recycled tires.
There are also vinyl and polyurethane based materials available. If you prefer to use organic gardening practices, choosing an FDA grade polyurethane hose will help to keep your garen toxin free.
UV-resistant polyurethane-based hoses work best in the majority of environments. They are high quality and will not crack…even after you left it outside in freezing temperatures. Ahem…not that we are saying we did that or anything.
Size and Weight
A hose is a hose right?
Not so fast.
First let’s take a look at the length. Soaker hoses come in a variety of lengths from 15 ft. to 100 ft. The size of your garden will determine which length is right for you. If your garden is on the large size and 100 feet of soaker hose will not cover it, it is possible to combine multiple hoses with a connector, but going beyond 100 feet will result in a loss of water pressure while watering.
The diameter of the soaker hose can also vary. They typically come in a ⅜ in. or 1 in. diameter. Hoses with a larger diameter often feature more pores or holes for the water to weep from, allowing them to deliver large amounts of water quickly. Because of this quick delivery, larger hoses require more water pressure than smaller hoses.
The weight of the hose needs to be considered as well. The weight mainly depends on the material the hose is made from. A heavier rubber hose is more likely to stay put while a lightweight vinyl hose may move around under the water’s pressure. To prevent hoses from moving around, you can secure them in place with landscaping staples, or bury them under a couple of inches of mulch. Soaker hoses should not be buried under the dirt because it can cause them to clog up.
Flat vs Round
Soaker hoses come in both flat and round varieties and each has its own unique benefits. The shape of the hose is determined by the materials used to make the hose.
The most common type are round hoses. These are usually made from rubber or vinyl and offer the best durability and provide the most versatile use. The pores are throughout the entire circumference of the hose and they allow you to hydrate the soil from all angels.
Round hoses tend to be more rigid and work better when you are using them in long straight lines or a long figure 8 formation.
Flat hoses are usually made out of a nylon-coated mesh and their biggest benefit is control. The pores on flat hoses are only located on one side so you can make sure the water is seeping into the ground exactly where you want it. Flat hoses also have more flexibility. This flexibility means they can be folded away into a small bundle to store over the winter and are easier to weave in between existing vegetation. They also tend to be less durable and more prone to tears, rips, and weather damage.
So, is a flat or round soaker hose better? It depends on your garden and your storage space. If you have a large vegetable garden and a storage shed with plenty of room, choose a round hose, but if you are short on space and need to weave your hose among existing vegetation, a flat model may work best for you.
When shopping for a soaker hose, check the maximum pressure rating. This is the amount of pressure the hose can withstand without bursting.
Since the optimal pressure for drip irrigation is around 10 PSI you don’t want your water pressure to get too high.
Residential water pressure usually ranges from 40-45 PSI. You can manually adjust the pressure but the best soaker hoses come with built-in regulators that drop the incoming pressure to make watering more efficient.
Backflow is pretty rare, but anytime you are using a pressurized hose, there is a chance it can happen. It is usually the result from water backing up into the hose. In the case of a soaker hose, the backflow could bring in soil, fertilizer, or other contaminants. These are absolutely NOT things you want in your drinking water.
In order to prevent this from happening, you can install a backflow preventer between the spigot and the hose. This device will prevent water in the hose from getting into your home’s water supply. Backflow preventers are simple, inexpensive, and easy to install, so give yourself a little peace of mind and get one.
Curves or Straight Lines
This one is pretty straight forward. Will you be using your soaker hose in straight lines, like in the rows of a garden, or will you be weaving it in and out of pre-existing vegetation?
Round soaker hoses are best for garden rows and other areas where you can run your hose in a straight line. But if you are working in a small bed or need to weave it through previously planted perennials, a flat soaker hose will offer more flexibility.
Flowers or Food
Hoses made from recycled materials like tires are a great option. They are also an environmentally friendly way to keep old tires out of landfills. Bonus points for you!
However, if you plan to use your soaker hose to water your vegetable garden, you may prefer to choose a hose that doesn’t run the risk of leaching chemicals into your food supply. Especially if you use organic gardening methods. Choosing a soaker hose that is BPA-free will give you peace of mind that your watering method is not releasing toxins for your plants to soak up.
The Advantages of Owning a Soaker Hose – benefits of using
Watering only at the plant’s roots rather than using a hose or sprinkler to cover the entire garden not only concentrates the water where it is most needed, it also offers other benefits.
Prevents Soil Erosion
Since quality soaker hoses release water slowly into the soil, the reduce the erosion of topsoil that is often a result of run-off from traditional sprinklers.
Facilitates Weed Control
You read that right! Soaker hoses can help prevent unwanted weeds! Since the water is released in a very concentrated area around the base of your plants, it is not able to reach the weeds, causing them to slowly die off.
Lower Upfront Cost
Soaker hoses are simple and easy to use. There is no need to hire a professional or spend thousands of dollars on an expensive irrigation system. Simply run the soaker hose around the base of your plants and you are good to go. You will also save money on water since soaker hoses are more efficient.
Don’t want to worry about having to remember to turn them on? Just install a timer to turn them on automatically!
Keeps Foliage Dry and Prevents Fungal Growth
Once again, since soaker hoses deliver water directly to the base of the plant, it prevents the plant from getting wet and reduces the risk of fungal growth on your vegetation. Since the plant stays dry, you also reduce the risk of burning your foliage in the hot sun.
Higher moisture retention
Finally, soaker hoses allow the soil and plant to retain moisture. Since the water is released gradually into the soil, it has time to completely absorb it, resulting in healthier plants and healthier soil.
How to Use a Soaker Hose
Using a soaker hose is not difficult, but it does require a bit of planning. The best way to use a soaker hose is to arrange it in a way that most efficiently waters your plants. You basically have two options: snake the soaker hose around the plants or buy a soaker hose kit that you can build into any configuration you want.
If you choose to go with a basic soaker hose you will need to follow a few basic steps to set it up.
- If the soaker hose is brand new, stretch it out to sit in the yard for about an hour to loosen the coils. If you are using a flat soaker hose, there is no need to do this. You can move on to step 2.
- Remove the end cap of the hose and run water through it for a few minutes to flush out any debris. (It’s really a good idea to do this a couple of times a season.) Replace the end cap and move on to step 3.
- Attach the soaker hose to a water source. This can be a faucet if one is nearby or you can attach it to a regular garden hose if you need extra length.
- Before turning the water on, place the soaker hose around the garden holding it in place using landscaping staples.
- Turn on the water and make sure it is dripping exactly where you want it to. If not, adjust the hose as needed using the landscaping staples to secure it.
If you decide to go with a soaker hose kit, installation involves a little more planning.
How to Install Soaker Hose Kits
First you need to consider your final layout. Make sure you have a way to get water to the area you want to water. This can be as complicated as running a pipe from your home, or as simple as running a garden hose from your outdoor faucet.
Once your water supply is set, it’s time to assemble your system.
- Use a measuring tape to measure the length of soaker hose tubing you will need. Cut the sections to the necessary length.
- Calculate home many connectors you will need. This will be a combination of right angles, splitters, couplers, and end caps. Don’t forget the end caps….don’t ask us how we know.
- Assemble the soaker hose set up. You can soak the hose in hot water to make it easier to push the connectors together.
- Finally test the hose to make sure all the connections are water tight and adjust if necessary.
Maintaining a Soaker Hose
Maintaining a soaker hose will help it last for years and doesn’t require a lot of work. Once a month, remove the end cap and flush the hose out to remove any debris. Replace the end cap and run the water again, looking for any clogs along the line. These can be removed with a small pin. Finally, bring it in over the winter to prevent any freezing or cracking.
Soaker Hose vs. Drip Irrigation
While soaker hoses and drip irrigation systems may seem similar, it is important to remember that they are not the same thing. Drip irrigation systems are made from rigid tubing with smaller emitter tubes spread throughout. Remember Willy Water Worm? Kind of like that…but we digress.
These little Willy Water Worm like emitters are secondary tubes attached to a main water line that has been fitted with a filter, pressure regulator, or backflow valve. In the case of drip irrigation systems, water is delivered directly to the base of each plant. Unfortunately these tubes tend to become clogged pretty easily and require quite a bit of maintenance.
While both systems operate on similar principles, soaker hoses are generally considered to be more effective and more eco-friendly overall.
What is the difference between a soaker hose and a drip hose?
A soaker hose is a porous tube that allows water to seep out at the base of your plants while a drip hose is a rigid tube that is connected to secondary drip tubing. In the case of a drip hose, the secondary tubing delivers the water to the base of the plant.
How many gallons per hour does a soaker hose use?
It depends on the length of your soaker hose. Generally speaking, it uses six gallons of water per foot of hose per hour.
How long should I keep my soaker hose on?
You should run your soaker hose around 30 minutes twice a week.
How often should I run my soaker hose?
Generally, you should run your soaker hose around twice a week. If you have had a lot of rain recently, you can skip a day.
Can you connect soaker hoses together?
Yes, you can connect soaker hoses using couplers but try not to connect more than 100 ft. Anything beyond 100 ft begins to lose water pressure.
What is the best garden soaker hose size?
Generally speaking, the best size is the one that fits your garden. Having a longer soaker hose is not always better. To efficiently water your garden, measure your space and then buy the soaker hose that is the appropriate fit.
Soaker hoses are an eco-friendly, efficient way to water your garden. With so many options out there, we hope we have narrowed the selections down so you can make an informed decision when purchasing this essential time saver!
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