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Last updated on November 30th, 2020
Do the leaves and flowers of the plants in your borders take a beating when you use a garden hose or a watering can to water them? Try a soaker hose to give your plants the gentle watering they deserve, you can also use a water timer with them to set up a watering schedule if you’re not home too. Water from most irrigation tools doesn’t always make it down to the plant’s roots, even if you use a sprinkler system as the foliage often acts as an umbrella. Soaker hoses gently seep water into borders so that it goes down right to the roots of the plants. After installing the soaker hose you just need to turn on the tap (or have a timer do it for you) and your plants are well watered.
Our review of the Best Soaker Hoses for Watering Borders shows how you can save time, money and effort in looking after your flowerbeds and borders. We review individual products and present their pros and cons in a quick to read format. We also discuss in more detail soaker hose features along with a summary of why we recommend them.
Our Buyer’s Guide explains the differences between soaker hoses and other irrigation methods. It also explains what to look for when installing and using soaker hoses.
Our selection for the Best Pick hose for watering borders is the Gardena 15m Soaker Hose with attachments. While the length of the hose is 15m, you can link two together to put down all through your borders.
Our Runner up is the Hozelock 25m Porous Soaker Hose which is slightly longer than our Best Pick. It’s made of recycled materials to minimise the effect on the environment but we do them Gardena has the edge with the quality.
Check out the Gardena 15m Soaker Hose if you want a long-lasting high-quality soaker hose. Most cheaper alternatives simply do not even come close in terms of quality.
Top 4 Garden Hose Reviews
1. Gardena 15m Soaker Hose
Gardena is a well-established brand of garden tools and equipment with a strong reputation for quality products. The Gardena 15m Soaker Hose is a little shorter, at 15m, than other hoses but you can connect two of them together to cover more of your borders. However, if you don’t need the full 15m of hose, you can cut it shorter and cap it off.
The Gardena 15m Soaker Hose is easy to connect to and disconnect from your outside tap. You won’t be worrying about the hose flying off when you’re ready to water your plants. It comes with one connector but you need to purchase the connectors to other hoses and pegs to keep it in place. if you have a hose pipe already with Hozelock style parts they should connect straight to your soaker hose.
It’s important to use the right water pressure in soaker hoses to ensure that the water runs neither too fast nor too slow to exit through the holes in the hose. The Gardena soaker hose has a flow and pressure regulator, along with a hand valve, that gives you the correct water pressure, as well as using water economically. This soaker hose can operate at low pressure so consider hooking it up to your water butt, although it’s probably better connected straight to an outside tap.
- Length is 15m and you can join two hoses together for a maximum length of 30m.
- Flow and pressure regulation lets you adjust the rate at which the water seeps out for optimal use.
- Performs well at low pressures and so uses even less water.
- Easy to connect to your tap and quickly connected and disconnected
- Gardena is an established brand with a reputation for high-quality products
- Warranty is five years for extra peace of mind.
- Connectors to other hoses and pegs are an add-on to your purchase.
The Gardena 15m Soaker Hose comes from a high-quality brand. This is reflected in the 5-year warranty which is a long guarantee period for hoses.
If your flowerbeds and borders are close to your outside tap, the 15m hose (30m if you put two together) should be long enough. This soaker hose performs well at low pressure too. Consider attaching it to your water butt to recycle the collected rainwater but it will take longer to water as the water seeps more slowly from the soaker hose, a little tip if you raise the water but a couple of feet of the ground.
The Gardena 15m Soaker Hose is our best soaker hose, the Best Pick of this review. If you’re looking for a quality soaker hose from an established brand, this one fits the bill. This soaker hose is simply much better than most other brands on the market.
2. Hozelock 25m Porous Soaker Hose
Hozelock is another company known for its quality products but they just don’t have the quality to match that of Gardena. The Hozelock 25m Porous Soaker Hose is longer than our Best Pick and can be joined to other hoses to increase its length. Several connectors to join multiple soaker hoses are included with your purchase of the hose.
This soaker hose is, at its name says, porous. The recycled rubber lets the water pass through it. On the tap connector is a twist flow controller that lets you control the rate of flow of the water entering the hose. It’s important to use the right water pressure; knowing what this is, mainly comes from experimenting until your happy with it.
- The longer length of 25m, ideal for long hedgerows.
- Includes connectors to join to another soaker hose for a longer reach.
- Great for establishing young hedges and plants at the start of their lives.
- Made of recycled rubber to help protect the environment.
- Twist flow controller on the tap connector lets you adjust the water flow to suit your water pressure.
- Two-year warranty for peace of mind.
- Doesn’t include pegs or stakes to hold it in place.
The Hozelock 25m Porous Soaker Hose is another quality soaker hose. Although each hose is 25m long, you can connect several of them together with the connectors that are included with your purchase. Just be careful that you don’t have too long a soaker hose set-up for your water pressure.
The Hozelock 25m Porous Soaker Hose is not only our Runner-up pick but it’s also the Best Hose for Under New Hedges. If you need a soaker hose that you can expand several times, and particularly have growing hedges, this is one to consider. The reason this is suitable for hedges is that the 2-year warranty is more than enough to cover you for the 12 months it needs to water under a new hedge until it’s established. If you want something more permanent that will last for many years then we recommend the Gardena soaker hose so you can take advantage of the extra 3 years warranty.
3. Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Porous Pro Soaker Hose
The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Porous Pro Soaker Hose gets its “Pro” designation from its extra strength. The wall of this soaker hose is thicker than that of other soaker hoses and adds to its durability.
This soaker hose is made from recycled porous materials that are unspecified even on the manufacturer’s website. The materials are probably a type of rubber as most soaker hoses are made from that material. This hose comes with a connector for another hose so you can increase its 30m length. You do, however, need to buy the pegs with which to stake the hose safely down. This style of soaker hose is also available in lengths up to 100m for watering extra large areas.
Place the RHS soaker hose above the ground or under a layer of mulch no deeper than 15cm. This hides the hose, decreases water evaporation and makes sure the water reaches far down to the roots of plants. The only thing we don’t like about placing soaker hose below ground is you cant see what is happening, however many gardeners do set them up in this way and it does have the advantage of the actual hose being out of sight.
- Made from recycled porous materials for slow seepage of water.
- Extra strength with a thicker wall than other hoses for extra service life.
- Length is 30m ideal for watering larger areas.
- Can connect multiple hoses for large borders and beds.
- Use above ground or below to a depth of 15cm to best suit your plants and garden design.
- Includes a connector for easy connection to a hosepipe system.
- Need to buy pegs
The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Porous-Pro Soaker Hose is made from porous recycled materials (unspecified) that add to its “Pro” description. This soaker hose provides extra durability through its thicker wall. You can connect several hoses together for larger garden borders, though the manufacturer states that 50m is the optimum watering length. Situate the hose above the ground or hide it (and reduce evaporation) under up to 15cm of mulch.
If you’re looking for a soaker hose that has extra strength and you intend to leave it in your garden for a long time, check out this Royal Horticultural Society Porous-Pro Soaker Hose.
4. AF 20m Garden Supplies Porous Pipe Soaker Hose
The AF Garden Supplies Porous Pipe – Lite is made with porous recycled materials (unspecified) that meet the ISO9001 standards and is also made in the Uk. These standards reflect that the company consistently produces products that meet regulatory requirements. The recycled materials also help the environment so we are always happy to see companies using recycled materials.
This soaker hose package includes a connector to connect to one other hose. The manufacturer recommends that the maximum length of your joined soaker hoses is 50m which seems pretty standard for most soaker hoses. An end plug to stop water out of the far end of the hose is also provided. However, you do need to buy the pegs or stakes to hold the hose in place but no soaker hoses come with pegs included as not everyone uses them. This AF Garden Supplies hose is designed to work at low pressure. You won’t use as much water and you can maybe attach it to your water butt to recycle rainwater.
- Made with recycled materials ISO9001 standards to support the environment.
- Length is 20m.
- Includes connector to join with another hose to increase the area the hose can cover.
- Designed to work at low pressure for water economy.
- Can join hoses up to a maximum of 50m to cover sizeable beds and borders.
- Less expensive than the other hoses in this review.
- Will have to buy pegs if you choose to use them.
- Needs careful handling to avoid kinks and pinholes.
The AF Garden Supplies Porous Pipe – Lite is a hose that’s designed to work at low pressure. The (unspecified) materials of this soaker hose conform to ISO9001 standards for quality assurance and consistency in manufacture. It already (along with the other soaker hoses) uses less than 70% of the water used by conventional watering methods. In addition, using water at low pressure may let you attach it to your water butt rather than using the water from your outside tap. This not only helps the environment but also your water bill.
If you’re considering a budget hose to use with a low-pressure water system, this is one that might suit you.
In this section we explain what soaker hoses are and how they compare to other irrigation systems. We tell you what to consider for installing and using a soaker hose.
What are soaker hoses?
Soaker hoses look like regular garden hoses but they let the water through them seep out slowly. This is accomplished by using either a porous material or putting very small holes in the hose. They’re like a leaky garden hose that more efficiently releases water.
Soaker hoses gently deliver water directly to the roots and base of the plants where they need it. They use up to 70% less water than a garden hose and don’t leave water on the leaves and flowers (or damage them) that might lead to mould. This also saves on your water bill.
Soaker hoses are best for watering beds, borders, under hedges and trees, and anywhere else that is dry. They’re not so good for watering pots or for general watering where you need to use a lot of water. They’re great for getting enough moisture to fragile growing plants and shrubs
This is a simple timesaving watering system that is kind to your plants.
Soaker hoses vs other methods of watering
You have a choice of other irrigation systems to water your garden. We briefly describe some of the more popular ones.
Drip irrigation is another cost-effective way of watering your borders. The system has long pipes joined together with holes at intervals, regular or custom. Each hole has a drip emitter through which the water flows into the ground. You can place the emitters next to the plants that you want to irrigate. Unlike with soaker hoses, the water is directed precisely at the roots of individual or small groups of plants. The drip irrigation pipes can look unsightly if placed above ground. This hose is good if your plants are spaced apart.
Sprinkler hoses are a cross between a soaker hose and a sprinkler. As with soaker hoses, sprinkler hoses have holes along their length. However, instead of letting water seep out, it’s sprayed out from the length of the hose. With holes along just one side of the sprinkler hose, you need to get the placement right and frequently check it. Anything within reach of the spray will become wet and the water may not reach down to the roots of the plants.
Regular garden hose with water gun attached
Garden hoses emit a steady, sometimes powerful, stream of water over everything you aim them at. Water falls onto the leaves and flowers of plants and shrubs even if you use a spray nozzle. Some of the water may make it down to the roots or may damage the plants as it accumulates on the tops of them.
Installing a soaker hose
Installing a soaker hose takes some time but once it’s snaking its way across your garden, you don’t have to move it again. It may be a bit difficult to straighten out the kinks from a rolled-up hose, but it’s worth spending the time to do so. Just be careful with lighter soaker hoses as they may crack or split with rough handling.
Getting water to your soaker hose
You will want to connect a garden hose from the tap to the soaker hose. With this, you won’t have water seeping from the soaker hose at the tap. You simply attach a hosepipe to the start if the soaker hose using a Hozelock style push put attachment which is usually already connected to the end of your shoe pipe.
Shortening or increase the length of the soaker hose
If your soaker hose is too long, you can cut a piece (or more) off it. If it’s too short to cover the whole length and width of your borders, join two or more hoses together. The manufacturers usually give the maximum length a chain of hoses should be.
Installing above or below ground
You can install soaker hoses either above ground or in a shallow trench. They work best on flat ground. If you then fill in the trench with mulch, you not only hide the hose but also help prevent the water evaporating. If you bury the hose, mark its position somehow so you won’t dig through it when planting. It’s best to fix the hose with pegs or stakes so it won’t roll around or move but this usually needs to be purchased separately.
When you buy a soaker hose check if it comes with all the fittings you need. You need a connector to the tap, another one if you want to join hoses together and an end cap to cover the far end of the hose so the water doesn’t run out of it. You also need pegs or stakes to fasten the soaker hose where you place it. Some soaker hoses don’t come with all this kit but most come with the minimum to get you started if you already have a hose pipe with the push-fit connectors attached.
How to use
There is a variety of advice on how long to run the soaker hose. Manufacturers say to leave the hose running for around 45-60 minutes as that waters the plants deeply. It’s best to water deep and infrequently. When you water shallowly and often, you train the plants to expect water frequently. Online reviewers highlight that it’s best to experiment with the frequency and time of your watering sessions. Some use the soaker hose twice a day or attach it to the water butt and let it run slowly and constantly.
Whatever your watering schedule, remember to turn off the tap at the appropriate time. While using less water than above surface watering, a soaker hose will still add to your water bill. Alternatively, buy a timer for the soaker hose so you don’t have to worry about turning it on or off. If you use the soaker hose in the early morning or evening, you’ll cut down on the amount of water evaporation and more will reach the roots.
Always read the manufacturer’s instructions before you use the hose for the first time. Some say never to use the hose at full water pressure. It needs a lower pressure to slow down the flow of water through the hose and let it seep out. You may be able to hook the hose up to a water butt to recycle rainwater. But, once again, test it out to see if the water butt’s pressure is enough to move the water along the hose. Most hoses come with a water pressure valve that lets you reduce the flow of water from the tap into the hose.
A soaker hose saves you time, money and energy in keeping your borders properly watered. Using 70% less water than a garden hose, soaker hoses allow water to seep out through them into the ground at a gentle rate. The water reaches down to the plants’ roots where it is needed. Soaker hoses are best used in borders, under trees and hedges, and in greenhouses, including plastic frame ones. They’re not suitable for watering pots or for the general watering of your garden.
Once you’ve installed the soaker hose, above or underground, you don’t have to move it again. Turning the soaker hose on in the evening or early morning reduces the evaporation of the water so more reaches down into the ground. The best hoses for borders are typically made from recycled materials, another way to help the environment.
Our Best Pick in this review is the Gardena 15m Soaker Hose with attachments. Although this is one of the shorter hoses we review, you can attach two hoses together to reach into the corners of your borders. Gardena is a company that’s well known for its high-quality products.
The Runner-up is a longer soaker hose for those with long or wide borders. The Hozelock 25m Porous Soaker Hose doesn’t have holes to let in the water – the recycled rubber is porous and gives a steady release of water.
If you need a different type of irrigation system for other parts of your garden, we have reviews and advice for you. Visit our Best automatic Hose Pipe, Best Expandable Hose and Best Hose Spray Guns reviews for our suggestions.
Last update on 2021-01-16 at 06:44 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API