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10 Best Soaker Hoses for Gardening

Updated on April 23, 2017
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Tamara Wilhite is a technical writer, engineer, mother of 2, and a published sci-fi and horror author.

Introduction

Soaker hoses allow you to slowly water plants over time, minimizing the amount of water lost to evaporation and run-off. Unlike sprinklers, they keep foliage dry, reducing the risk of plant diseases even as you keep the roots well-watered. Here are reviews for the top ten soaker hoses on the market today.

Soaker hoses save most of the water wasted by sprinklers.
Soaker hoses save most of the water wasted by sprinklers. | Source

Melnor Flat Soaker Hose

The Melnor flat soaker hose is flexible enough to be placed around any garden with minimal effort. This soaker hose collapses flat for easy storage. All soaker hoses allow you to feed a modest amount of water over time to your plants. One issue with this soaker hose is the tendency to leak around the clamp that connects it to other hoses or your wall spigot. The Melnor hose tends to only let water seep out at the low points, making it a bad choice for use on raised beds. Note that unlike other soaker hose reviews, we provide the concerns about products in addition to listing their strengths.

The Melnor flat soaker hose is an affordable model. The 25-foot version of this soaker hose costs around fourteen dollars. It also comes in 50-foot and 75-foot versions.

Rain Bird Model T22-250S Soaker Hose

If you are looking for the lowest cost per foot of soaker hose, the Rain Bird model T22-250S is your best choice. The 250-foot quarter inch wide hose costs only fifteen dollars and connects to Rain Bird’s half inch soaker hoses. It is long enough to water a large portion of your foundation or snake through almost any garden.

This hose is kink free, rugged and affordable. It is compatible with almost every type of fitting, mister and emitter. The downside of this soaker hose is the relatively high price for Rain Bird’s branded connectors and fittings. Rain Bird’s own connector hardware for these soaker hoses is of mediocre quality. Conversely, Rain Bird offers hardware from compression fittings to dripline inserts to air/vacuum relief valve kits for use when installing them underground.

Element Soakerpro Soaking Hose

The Element Soakerpro is the ideal choice if your main criterion is price. The 50-foot soaker hose costs a mere eight dollars. It is lightweight and flexible. The hose is made in the United States and proven lead-free. The hose connections are simple to use and stay in place securely.

The hose is three eighths of an inch in diameter, so it delivers a steady half gallon to gallon of water per hour. The major drawback of this model is the fact that it doesn’t deliver the same amount of water along its length. Plants past the midpoint will receive less than that half gallon to full gallon per hour, and almost no water reaches the end of the hose. This is not the best soaker hose for vegetable garden plots or your flower bed.

Gilmour Flat Weeper Soaker Hose

The Gilmour flat weeper brand of soaker hose costs around $22 at full price but can be found for as little as $15 on sale for the 75-foot version. The 25-foot and 50-foot models are equally affordable. The Gilmour soaker hose folds flat for convenient storage. It rarely clogs. It delivers a steady stream of water along the entire length. The seven year limited warranty is almost unheard of for this type of product.

For those who want to be environmentally friendly, the fact that this soaker hose is made exclusively from recycled vinyl is a plus. The downside of the material is the lack of durability. The newest Gilmour soaker hoses don’t last as long as their predecessors. When this soaker hose breaks, the tubing is so thin it cannot be patched with tape.

Many soaker hoses cannot be buried alongside plants.
Many soaker hoses cannot be buried alongside plants. | Source

Miracle Gro Premium Soaker Hose Kit with EZ Connect Fittings, Model MGSPA38100FM

The Miracle Gro brand soaker hose costs about $30 for the 100-foot soaker hose. For around fifteen dollars more, you can add on the “universal starter kit” containing liquid fertilizer that can be delivered along with water to your growing plants. The water restrictor in the hose ensures that water flow is constant throughout, so the plants at the end of the hose receive as much water as those at the start.

One of the benefits of this soaker hose is the fact that it comes with male caps, male connectors, female connectors and feeders. One challenge facing those who want to install an entire network of Miracle Gro soaker hoses face is finding additional connectors, and this package solves that problem neatly. This is the best soaker hose to buy if your intent is to lay out soaker hoses throughout your garden or lawn. The durable material survives being left out all season or buried under mulch permanently.

Apex Soil Soaking Hose, Model 1030-100

This 100-foot long soaker hose costs around $35 at full price but can be found on sale for less than $25.

The Apex Soak soaker hose is very flexible. Unlike the Melnor soaker hose, it delivers equal amounts of water to raised flower beds as it does the low points in the hose’s path. It doesn’t fold flat for convenient storage but is not difficult to work with. Note that the Apex Soil soaker hose will not lay flat for a nearly invisible profile like other soaker hoses on this list.

The connections almost never leak. This soaker hose periodically kinks. The low cost is offset by the material used; it won’t last more than a season or two. In contrast, the Miracle Gro soaker hose will likely last for years even if buried under dirt and mulch or exposed to UV for several summers.

Rain Drip Soaker Hose, Model 015005T

The Rain Drip model 015005T soaker hose costs a mere $5 to $6 for fifty feet of length. The quarter inch hose delivers a steady, modest flow of water along its length, though the volume drops off along the length of the hose. If you need a soaker hose to water your foundation or your less thirsty plants, the Rain Drip soaker hose is a high quality and affordable choice. This model connects to a half inch or larger supply hose. Rain Drip connecting hardware is reasonably priced.

Flexon Weep and Soak Soaker Hose, Model WS5825

The Flexon Weep and Soak soaker hose costs around $20 for 25-feet. While it costs more than several other soaker hoses on this list, you save money in the long run due to its long operating life. You can install it and forget about it. The Flexon soaker hose is durable enough to survive years of exposure to the elements or being buried, and it is easily mended. At five-eighths of an inch across, it delivers a steady stream of water to your thirstier plants. The only concern is the relative fragility of the ends of the hose that are prone to crack or break when attaching connectors.

This is the best soaker hose for garden plots where your intent is to leave it in one place season after season or placing along your foundation.

Miracle Gro Premium Soaker Hose with Fittings, Model MGSPA38050CC

The Miracle Gro Premium soaker hose, model MGSPA38050CC, provides a basic 50-foot three eighths of an inch in diameter soaking hose plus much of the connecting hardware you’ll need to use it. It comes with two male connectors, two female connectors and caps. One of the few concerns about the product is the tendency of its fittings to break.

While it comes with the connectors you need to extend it, the soaker hose does not come with pressure regulators. Don’t connect more than two hoses together or the end of the hose will be bone dry.

This is the best soaker hose for garden plants if you want an all-in one kit for a small garden plot.

Osmile Professional Series Soaker Hose

The Osmile professional series soaker hose costs around $80 for a single, 100-foot hose. For most home owners, this eliminates the hassle of connecting secondary hoses and messing with hardware. The Osmile soaker hose delivers a steady gallon per foot of water, and it fits a standard three quarter inch garden hose connection.

Unlike other hoses on this list, while the end of the hose doesn’t receive as much water as the first few feet, even those plants at the end of the line are well-watered. This is the best soaker hose for vegetable garden plants that require more water than most soaker hoses provide.

The manufacturer states that it can be buried, but users complain it tends to leak or burst under those circumstances.

Tips on Installing and Using Soaker Hoses

You should water your garden at least once a week with the soaker hoses, though twice a week for half as long is also an option. Timers simplify this process. Monitor the soaker hose for cracks or clogs before you cover it with mulch or otherwise bury it.

Soaker hoses lack pressure compensation like drip irrigation lines. They will not work well on slopes, and they only work at lengths of up to 200-feet, though some soaker hoses won’t even deliver water to the end of a 50-foot hose.

Only bury soaker hoses in your garden or around your foundation that are durable enough for that purpose. When you bury a soaker hose to water the foundation, place it about six inches from the foundation and three inches below the surface.

If you want to water both your garden and your home’s foundation, install a three way spigot slitter so you can attach a garden hose to supply your garden in addition to the soaker hoses around the house. If you use a timer with the spigot splitter, stop the water flow to your garden while watering the foundation.

Soaker hoses made from recycled rubber are not a good choice for food crops. The chemicals inside the recycled rubber could leech into the soil and then into the crops.

Be sure to turn off the timer after a good rain to avoid over-watering your plants. Adjust the watering schedules during drier months, as well. You can measure the moisture in the soil by shoving a screw driver into the ground. Water more if it comes up dry along any part of its length, and water less if the entire length is muddy.

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  • FlourishAnyway profile image

    FlourishAnyway 3 months ago from USA

    I've been thinking about buying some of these, and I liked the pointers you provided (how deep to bury it, materials to avoid if watering food crops, etc.).