If you’re looking to buy a soaker hose you’re the kind of person who likes to be efficient, right. I know how you feel. It’s the exact same reason I first decided to buy a soaker hose way back, and I can tell you I have been through a few of them since. I needed a simple irrigation system that could be set up fast and then forget about, knowing my garden was going to be in great condition.
Despite their efficiency, the quality and reliability of soaker hoses can be hit and miss. So I have reviewed the best soaker hoses out there and offer you this frank and honest review so you can select a long-lasting soaker hose and buy with confidence, so let’s dig in!
What Is A Soaker Hose
First off let’s clarify what is a soaker hose is for anyone who is dipping their toe into the world of garden irrigation. There are lots of different options available but the garden soaker hose is in my opinion the most simple setup of them all. It’s the plug-and-play of watering systems.
In simple terms, the soaker hose is a length of pipe or tubing that has a perforated wall that allows droplets of water to weep through and soak the ground along the length of the pipe.
The size and number of holes in the pipe control the soaking rate of the water allowing you to switch on your hose for a set time to deliver the required volume of water to irrigate your garden.
The soaker hose design lends itself to use on level flat runs of the garden where it will deliver water directly to the ground it lays upon. It’s the perfect water delivery system for vegetable beds, trees, or running a line along a hedgerow or box hedge.
Using a flexible hose and landscape staples allows you to weave the irrigation through flower borders stapling the hose down around the base of shrubs and plants or amongst strawberry beds.
By cutting the soaker hose you are able to angles, hoops, and T shape junctions with small plastics barbed connectors, allowing you to build a huge range of bespoke patterns and layouts.
Types Of Soaker Hose
They come in all shapes and sizes, so before you commit to buying a hose, its worth having a basic appreciation of what types of hose are available and the pros and cons of each of the material or design features.
A weeper hose is simply another terms for soakers hoses, of which some drip, the majority weep and some even have a dual function of weeping and spraying. Most people tend to opt for the weeping or soaking function where the wall of the hose allows a continuous slow release of water that gathers to create droplets, which roll down onto the soil and soak in.
A drip hose will have a slightly different hose wall structure to a weeper hose. The drip hose length will be a none permeable material with small holes pierced along the entire length that releases droplets of water. The main advantage of a drip hose is that you can a more durable hose material and more control over the flow rate during the manufacturing process.
Sprinkler Soaker Hose
Although not strictly a soaker hose, the sprinkler hose still delivers irrigation close to the hose, but as the name suggests it sprinkles the water up to a few inches out from the hose pipe. A good option if you need a slightly broader distribution of water.
Flat Soaker Hose Vs Round
The shape of the hose pipe is primarily dictated by the material the hose is manufactured from. The round pipe is more durable from weather and accidental damage such as stepping in it or catching it on shrub thorns or serrated brick edges. The standard round black recycled rubber hoses tend to be more rigid and are preferable when using in long straight lines or to use in a figure of 8 formations.
Flat soaker hoses have more flexibility allowing to fold them away in smaller bundles for storing over winter. They are easier to lay and weave in between existing vegetation thanks to their flexibility. But of course, they are less durable and more prone to tears, rips, or weather damage.
One of the best qualities of soaker hose irrigation is the flexibility of making your own configuration with connectors available from Amazon.com or garden centers.
You can literally go around 90-degree corners using connectors, join sections using coupling connectors or create T or cross junctions, and incorporate shut-off taps at any point on the hose length.
Soaker Hose Kits
Soaker hose kits are available offering you a bundle of fittings, connectors, shut-off taps, and staples or pegs. From time to time you can find them paired with a soaker hose as part of a promotional bundle.
Garden Hose Stakes or Landscape Staples
An important part of laying a soaker hose or any form of irrigation pipework is to have it stay in place once the water tap is released and the water pressure fills the pipe.
For this, I recommend using garden hose stakes or landscape staples. They are cheap and readily available online and can save a huge amount of frustration. You can find them here.
Best Soaker Hose Reviews
I delved deep into the market to find the best soaker hoses available including a large number of these items that I have either used or tested or one of my co-writers has used. Our main considerations are the overall performance, quality of the build, and durability as well as ease of use.
As well as our own tests and expert opinion, I have also taken into account customer soaker hose reviews across many major online platforms and growers forums to demonstrate the overall customer satisfaction with the products we have reviewed.
Best Soaker Hose Overall
Water Right’s SKR-050-MU 50 foot Soaker Garden Hose is our Top Pick product for some pretty compelling reasons.
Coated in soft microcellular polyurethane foam which the manufacturer claims offer improved weeping performance. There’s no doubt this product is highlight durable and is arguably the most premium soaker hose on the market.
Available in 25’, 50’, and 100’ feet lengths it will cover almost all garden sizes. The materials used to make this hose allow for super snaking capabilities to lay it through any landscape twists or turns kink-free.
Due to the materials used to make this hose, it comes with all-weather performance and will not deteriorate in direct sunlight, backed by a 5 Year Manufacturer Guarantee.
The connectors are machined brass with chrome plating for long life, and split free performance. You can find our No.1 pick Best Soaker Hose here at Amazon.com
If you want the best soaker hose that will perform and last a long time, then its well worth the premium price.
- Premium Polyurethane Hose, Made in the USA
- Chrome Plated Brass Fittings
- Available in 25’, 50’ and 100’ feet lengths
- None, other than the premium price, but you get your money’s worth.
Best Soaker Hose Kit
If you have a preference for a soaker hose kit then the Flexon is the best option for you. Offer 100 ft of standard round soaker hose pipe and 20 connectors, including 6 T-Connectors, 4 End Cap Plugs, 4 Male Connectors, 4 Female Connectors, and 2 Feeders. The only thing missing is landscape staples for staking your hose down, so make sure you pick some up here.
As we covered earlier in this article this type of hard wall hose is rigid, so try laying the pipe in the sun for an hour before setting it in its final position. This will help soften the rubber wall and make it more pliable.
You can bury this type of rigid hose under a layer of mulch around 1-2 inches deep. Check the latest price here.
- 100-foot length of traditional soaker hose suitable for cutting to any length
- Sold as a kit including 20 connectors
- More rigid than the premium soaker hoses
Apex Soaker Hose is another vinyl hose providing a softer construction for better flexibility and control when laying the hose in the pattern you’re looking for. The machine pierced holes give great drip control offering a far superior flow across the whole length of the hose pipe.
This hose pipe is softer than the Water Right Soaker Hose and this can lead to a few kinks when first sitting the pipe on the ground, but nothing to complain about. When handling both products, I would still choose the Water Right, as these detail are what splits the competition.
If you’re looking for a vinyl soaker hose that is slightly cheaper than the Water Right Hose then you won’t go far wrong with the Apex product. You can pick them up online here.
- Evenly distributed holes for well-regulated soaking
- Vinyl hose construction providing greater flexibility
- 7 Year Guarantee
- Kinks easier than the Water Right Hose, but still a great soaker hose
If you’re looking for a fully customizable and flexible half-inch hose, the Taisia 1/2-Inch Soaker Hose might be right up your alley and comes in second place of our best soaker hose review. Available in 25 feet, 50 feet, and 75 feet sizes, this soaker hose has options for every garden.
The hose is made with 100% recycled material using a combination of 70% recycled rubber and 30% recycled polyethylene.
Taisia has incorporated UV inhibitors into the tube that extends the lifespan of this hose. As a result, you can use it in any weather conditions, with minimal risk of cracks or bulges.
Another great quality of the Taisia 1/2-Inch Soaker Hose is its durable and lightweight structure. It features a small, half-inch diameter that is reinforced with higher tensile strength material, making it incredibly easy for you to arrange the hose around the plants. This can be especially useful if you plan to lay it around vegetable beds, flower beds, or hard landscaping.
Long round soaker hoses tend to be heavier and more rigid, leading to accidental damage to plants, if they are moved around frequently.
You’re assured of uniform distribution of water around your plants, allowing you to enjoy a lush, green garden with little to no water wastage.
The hose comes with a bronze and plastic connector, but our personal recommendation would be to opt for the former for higher durability.
We would have preferred the addition of a pressure regulator, though. The hose is also slightly bulky if you choose the 75-feet size. Keeping this in mind, the 50-feet length would be a better option if you don’t have an overly large backyard. Check the latest price here.
- Easy to set up and use
- Higher durability
- Lies flat on the ground
- Comes with a 7-year warranty
- Frequent kinking problems
- Doesn’t come with a pressure regulator
- Longer length models are a little bulky
Best Flat Soaker Hose
Linex Heavy Duty soaker hose leaks at the rate of 2 gallons per 2 minutes at regular 60 PSI which outperforms most of the other recycled soaker hose on the market. So this has good credentials and feels hard-wearing. It is flexible and was laid down easily in my trial of the product.
Clearly, the heavy-duty nature of this product means it is somewhere in between a vinyl round hose and a flexible flat hose such as the Melnor product. Flat hoses are usually for convenience and should fold down real small for storage, well you don’t quite get that here. But you are getting high quality, and I like it.
If you are after a heavy-duty flat soaker hose with metal connectors, then this will be perfect, and I hope those customers are out there as it’s a very well-made product. You can check the latest price here.
- Great build quality for a flat soaker hose
- Heavy-duty PVC with metal connectors
- Will not fold away as small as most flat soker hoses
Best Lightweight Soaker Hose
Melnor is a very reputable brand that has established a loyal fan base when it comes to soaker hoses and other gardening equipment. The brand has been going strong for more than six decades now, so you know that when you buy anything from Melnor, it’s nothing but the best.
Most of the time, customers search for hoses that are easy to store. Flat hoses are your best option here.
Although the one that we’ve chosen is 50 feet long, you have two other options, 25-feet and 75-feet in length.
The Melnor Flat Soaker Garden Hose is made with highly durable vinyl, and when folded, take up only 0.05 ft.³ in your garden shed. The end cap is rust-resistant and allows you to attach extra hoses, in case you want to extend the length.
You can place the soaker hose on the surface of the soil, or bury it under a thin layer of soil or mulch.
We particularly like the flexible construction that enables you to run the hose around corners with minimal effort. You still have to position it carefully to prevent kinks. You can also hold it in place by adding a few landscape staples or pegs. You can buy this soaker hose online at Amazon.com
Similar to other flat hoses, the Melnor Flat Soaker Garden Hose isn’t the most durable hose on the market. Instead, its qualities come in the shape of a lightweight, easy to store product that has a 2-year warranty, but you can expect to get a good 4 years+ of good use out of.
- Provides value for money
- Can be flattened for easy storage
- Features rust-free end caps
- Has a relatively short warranty
- Past customers have complained of frequent kinking problems
- Not the most durable option available on the market
It’s not essential to spend a lot of money to get a high-quality, long-lasting soaker hose. This Gilmour Flat Weeper Soaker Hose is a fair price and represents really good value for the money.
It uses a PVC liner, which is perforated with several tiny holes all across its entire length. Then, the liner is covered in fabric to make way for water seepage.
This creates the gradual watering action you’re looking for, that’s great for delicate plants and boosting the moisture content to their roots. Additionally, if there is ever a case where your ground is hard after a dry spell, you won’t have to worry about losing too much water to run off or evaporation with this design.
For best results, it’s recommended to maintain a water pressure of 60 psi.
The Gilmour Flat Weeper Soaker Hose is made out of 100% recycled and environmentally-friendly vinyl, which makes it safe for your plants and a great eco-friendly product. You have the option to choose between three lengths: 25, 50, and 75 feet all available at Amazon.com
The fabric covering protects the soaker hose from UV rays, preventing cracks due to sun exposure. You can easily bury the Gilmour underground because of its robust construction – just remember to drain all the water and bring the hose inside whenever the weather turns icy or too cold to avoid splitting or bursting.
The Gilmour Flat Weeper Soaker Hose is extremely lightweight, allowing you to move it around with very little effort. Plus, the flat design means that storage is convenient too.
In case you want to snake the hose around curves, don’t forget to soak it in water before. You may get a little wet, but maneuvering the hose would be much easier with the water running through it. Do this on a sunny day, it’s quite refreshing!
One disadvantage of this very lightweight hose is it’s slightly more prone to rupture. It’s more delicate compared to other options on the list. But considering the affordability of this product, this isn’t a big deal-breaker for us. We love the performance and convenience.
Fortunately, you get a seven-year limited warranty, ensuring the safety of your investment.
- Uses clog-resistant fabric cover
- Affordable and durable
- Lightweight and portable
- Comes with a seven-year warranty
- More prone to rupturing
- Drip can be a bit inconsistent at times
Best Sprinkler Hose
This garden hose from Element has a unique two-in-one design. In addition to using the product as a soaking hose, it can also double as a sprinkler – all you need to do is adjust the design.
Moreover, you don’t have to worry about twisting and kinks, while the laser-cut holes ensure a consistent and even watering. The water released from the hose is similar to that of a spray, and generally, shoots between an inch to two into the air.
It’s UV-protected (patented), making it a good choice for gardens that are prone to higher temperatures. Nearly 65% of the materials used to create the hose are recycled, which is a huge plus point if you care about the environment.
You get brass male and female connections, along with plastic couplings.
The dual action of the Swan Products Element Sprinkler Soaker Hose can be tricky to lay out. Depending on it’s intended use, you either get a short spray upwards that acts as the sprinkler or the spray shoot downwards as a soaker.
The hose is marked with lines to show which way up to lay the hose. The manufacture recommends securing the hose in place with landscape staples or pegs for the best results. Find the latest price here.
- Easy to use and handle
- Does a great job of spreading the water evenly
- Minimal to no leakage problems
- Inconsistent water distribution
- Needs careful placement to get the desired soak or sprinkle effect
- A little stiff
Benefits of Using a Soaker Hose
Before we discuss the best soaker hose models, let’s find out how you can benefit after purchasing one:
Easy to Use
Every soaker hose has a pressure rating, which helps determine whether or not you have to use the pressure regulator. You can use the regulator to adjust the amount of water via the tap if needed.
Prevents Soil Erosion
The main idea behind installing a soaker hose is that it releases the water gradually into the soil. This can be useful for reducing water usage, preventing any topsoil erosion.
Topsoil erosion is a common problem when high water pressure is used, which is why the gradual approach of a soaker hose is preferable.
Facilitates Weed Control
You have a very concentrated water area when using a soaker hose. This can restrict the water supply to weeds and other undesirable plants in your garden.
Eventually, all the weeds will die without the need to physically pull them out from the garden or using any harmful weed killer or chemicals.
Lower Upfront Cost
Since soaker hoses don’t have any complex moving parts, they’re very simple to use. Meaning the overall cost to install and run is low. In addition, you can use them in conjunction with a timer to release water flow for set periods of time. This is perfect for saving water and getting the optimum level of hydration down into your plant’s roots.
Prevents Plant Fungal Growth
Soaker hoses supply water directly at the ground level, protecting the plant from getting overly soaked and reduces the chance of any fungal growth on leaves or other vegetation.
Higher Soil Moisture Retention
This style of soaking irrigation system permits water to seep directly into the soil, boosting the overall moisture content. It also stops excessive evaporation, allowing you to enjoy better and healthier plant growth.
How To Use A Soaker Hose
There are two approaches to using a soaker hose.
- Buy a soaker hose and snake it around the area you wish to soak. This is where the vinyl style hose comes into its own, the same applies to a flat soaker hose.
- Buy a rigid walled soaker hose kit and cut it into any bespoke configuration you choose, and fix a pattern using 16mm barbed hose connectors
First lets look at a standard soaker hose set up, then we will look at soaker hose kits and a bespoke configuration.
- Step 1: If you’re using a brand-new soaker hose, leave it out in the open for about an hour or so after unwinding it. This will help loosen the tight coils of the hose, allowing you to lay it, without too much effort.
- Step 2: Gently remove the end cap from the soaker hose and hook it to your tap or water source. Proceed to run water for a couple of minutes to flush the hose. We highly recommend flushing new hoses before actually using them once or twice throughout the year to remove any debris contained inside the hose. Once done, replace the end cap.
- Step 3: You can connect the soaker hose directly to a spout where your garden is close to a faucet. Or you can attach a regular garden hose between the soaker and mains water supply instead.
- Step 4: Stretch the hose out before turning on the water. You can adjust the pressure until you get a slow, steady drip. I like to peg my hose down using steel hockey stick-shaped tent pegs or landscape staples.
How To Install Soaker Hose Kits
The first part of planning your soaker hose irrigation is to make sure you understand your final layout. You will need to check you have a standard section of pipe to get your water to the area that requires irrigation. Think about it…you cannot attach the soaker hose directly to your tap if your water source is in your home. Even with an outdoor tap you want to avoid losing water pressure by having unnecessary weeping in areas leading up to your designation soaking zone.
How to Set-Up a Soaker Hose System
- Plan your water supply to the areas you want to soak, making sure you have a cut-off tap somewhere along the line. I recommend using a 16mm LDPE pipe for the waterline.
- Measure the length of the soaker hose required. You can do this with a measuring tape or a ball of string and measure the string afterward. This is sometimes easier for dealing with curved or windy patterns
- Count the number of connectors you will need for any right angles, splitters, or couplers. Done forget the end caps.
- If you are cutting pipe, cut small areas and check the measurements and layout as you go to avoid costly mistakes.
- You can use hot water to soften the soaker hose pipe to make it easier to push connectors in.
- Test all of your connection is watertight before you bury any LDPE waterline pipe
I like to use a water timing for my soaker or drip irrigation systems. Once set it will open the water valve and run the irrigation for as long as required.
Also remember it can be useful to use garden staples to pin down your hose to keep it in position, especially when the hose is running alongside soft vegetation such as vegetables.
How Long To Run Soaker Hose In Your Garden
The most reliable way to establish how long to run a soaker hose in your garden is to test it. Run the system over dry soil for 30 minutes and test the ground with a moisture meter. You can then simply adjust the timing to meet your moisture requirements.
I run mine for 1 hour twice per week to give you a rough benchmark. Obviously, the texture of your soil will affect its ability to hold the moisture, as will the weather, so run the trial over a couple of weeks until you find the sweet spot.
Soaker Hose vs. Drip Irrigation
Now that we’ve discussed the benefits of a soaker hose, let’s understand the difference between it and drip irrigation.
A drip irrigation system is a set-up of long tubes or pipework, fitted with emitters. Secondary tubes are attached to the main water line, which is connected to a tap that is fitted with a filter, pressure regulator, or backflow valve.
The two most common types of drip irrigation systems include drip tape and drip line.
In this case, the water is delivered directly to the base of your plants. You can set up the system to target specific areas of your garden, making it an excellent choice for larger properties. A soaker hose, on the contrary, isn’t quite as versatile in terms of the branching pipe network of a drip irrigation system.
However, the emitters on drip systems have a tendency to become clogged over time. Hence, they require periodic inspection and up-to-date maintenance. Clogging, however, isn’t an issue with soaker hoses due to their simple construction.
All in all, you should use a soaker hose if you have a smaller garden based on level ground, while drip irrigation is a better option for people with bigger gardens configured in long, straight rows. The latter works well with a sloped ground too.
Best Soaker Hose Final Thoughts
So there we have it, a choice of the best soaker hoses available online. From the premium Water Right Soaker hose right through the Swan Product Sprinkler Soaker Hose Combo.
Whatever you looking for make sure you buy the product with the durability to withstand the work you want it to do. There’s nothing worse than investing in a piece of equipment, only for it to let you down, and leave you wishing you had stepped up the quality level. Saving you money in the long run.