Expanding Hose Review: The Flexihose
I tend to my own lawn, landscaping, and garden. Although I try to choose turf, plants, trees, and shrubs that will tolerate the hot summers with periods of extreme dryness we experience in Indiana, I still find I need to water occasionally.
I use soaker hoses around my more sensitive flowers and plants but I still use a hose with a sprinkler on my lawn from time to time. My least favorite part of the whole process is dealing with hoses that kink or if they don't kink, hoses that are heavy and difficult to store. I like to be able to leave them outside for the entire season but don't like it that they take up too much space or have to be wound up on a spool to keep them tidy.
For many years I have seen expandable hoses advertised and have wondered if they might be the answer to my problems with regular hoses. So after a little bit of research, I chose to purchase the Flexihose. I will share my experience with it here.
What This Expandable Hose Claims
The Flexihose claims that:
- It will expand its length x3 when in use.
- It will never kink.
- It is lightweight.
- That it will contract to a compact size on its own and be convenient to store.
What You Get
I ordered my expandable hose on Amazon. It arrived the next day. It arrived coiled up so small it easily fit into a 10.5" x 6" x 4" box which also included a hose sprayer. It came with:
- A hose sprayer with 8 settings
- Two washers to help eliminate leakage
- A single page of instructions
- The Flexihose itself
How It Works
After inserting the washer into the female coupling of the hose and attaching to your faucet/spigot, you have to make sure the valve is turned to the off position. (You can see a photo of the valve above.) You can attach a hose end sprayer if you wish.
Then, slowly turn on the water at the spigot. This allows the water to fill the hose, building pressure and causing it to expand. Once it expands you can then turn the valve to get water flow through the hose.
You should NOT try to stretch the hose out until you have filled it with water and allowed it to expand on its own.
When you are done, you can simply turn off the water at the spigot and allow the water to drain out the end of the hose or force it out by triggering the sprayer if you have one attached and it will contract on its own.
The Flexihose Expanding
I have had the Flexihose for a few weeks so I can not comment on its durability. However, the brass couplings are nice and they attach easily and tightly to the spigot and all attachments with no leaking at all. The fabric covering the hose also seems to be heavy enough to last.
It is highly flexible. There is no need to lay it out in the sun to "soften" it up. I have never seen it do anything resembling a kink, no matter how much I move it around, so that is one of its claims proven true. You can double it over in your hand like a slinky or wind it into a ball of about 6" x 8" within seconds, so the claim of easy storage is also true.
The hose end sprayer that is included appears to be mostly plastic. I am skeptical that it will have a long life. However, it does operate nicely and again, there is no leaking at all. As this is a bonus item, I don't feel that it's quality or durability are critical. I have lots of other hose end sprayers that fit onto the Flexihose nicely.
- Expansion and Contraction:
The hose before use measures about 15-16'. It begins to expand as soon as the water is turned on and I measured it at 52' once it was fully extended. When the water was turned off and the hose drained, it contracted on its own with no problem, so there are the other two additional claims proven true. (You can see it expanding in the short video clip I posted above.)
So far the Flexihose has performed well. It doesn't leak or kink, it expands and contracts as expected, and it stores easily. The on/off valve works nicely, but as a smaller person, I find I have to use two hands to switch it on and off. (one to hold the hose and the other to turn it.)
I had one other test, however. In a couple of reviews, I saw people mention that they seemed to experience lower water pressure when using this hose.
I did not have a great way of testing this, but I did decide to try to at least "eyeball" this claim. You can see this "test" below. I was satisfied that there was only a small drop in water pressure if any. Under most normal conditions I would not consider this to be significant when using it as a regular hose or with a hose end sprayer. It might be more critical with a sprinkler, but for reasons I will mention in a moment, this probably doesn't matter.
My only negative performance feedback is that I would not consider a flexible hose to be compatible with sprinklers. This is due primarily to the way in which these expandable hoses function. If you don't mind taking a shower every time you use the sprinkler then perhaps it would be acceptable for you.
When using it with a sprinkler you first have to attach the sprinkler, make sure the valve is in the off position, then slowly turn on the water at the spigot. Once it has expanded you can take the sprinkler, with the hose attached, out into the yard where you want to place it. Then standing next to the sprinkler, with your face next to where the water will come rushing forth, you will open the valve. Water will spray out on top of you. Unless you have superhuman speed you will get wet, very, very wet. For this reason, I would not recommend this hose if your primary task for it will be using it with a sprinkler.
Possible Work Around: I may eventually try adding a short extension hose (5 feet or so) to attach to the Flexihose to put some space between it and the sprinkler to see if that will satisfactorily solve the problem of having the on/off valve right next to the sprinkler. But without some adaptation, I maintain my position that this hose isn't appropriate for use with a sprinkler.
Aside from this, for general use in the garden or around your landscaping, I would say it is an excellent tool.
Comparing Water Pressure Between the Flexihose and a Regular Hose
This isn't very precise but my test is as follows:
I went out onto a small concrete slab behind my home so that I could easily see how far each would spray when standing in the same position with the hose sprayer on the same setting (shower).
What I found is a small difference. As you can see in the brief video clips below, the Flexihose seems to project a distance of 9-9.5 feet and with a regular hose a distance of 9.5-10 feet. (Viewers can only tell this by looking at the point on the concrete where the water splashes down. If the water had landed on the shrub, it would have been 10.75 - 11 feet.)
I was unable to set up a test looking at performance with a spot sprinkler, but in general, there seems to be a small drop in pressure with it as well as evidenced by a slightly smaller area reached when using the Flexihose.
Water Pressure With a Flexihose
Now With a Regular Hose
I would say that the Flexihose expandable hose is a quality product. It does what it states it will do. It is lightweight, compact, never kinks, will expand to 3x its original length, and will contract on its own when the water is shut off.
My only warning is to those who wish to use it with a lawn sprinkler attached. I don't feel that it is an appropriate tool for this purpose due to how it functions. However, adding a small leader hose between the Flexihose and the sprinkler itself may remedy the problem of getting drenched.
A Few Precautions When Using This Expandable Hose
Some precautions are the same as those used with any hose, but some are unique:
- Store the hose indoors during winter, being sure to drain it first.
- Don't try to pull the hose out/expand it until it is under full water pressure.
- Try to keep the hose shaded.
- Don't leave the hose under water pressure when not in use and do not use with hot water.
- Be careful not to tear or puncture the outer webbing.
© 2018 Christine Mulberry