/ Home & Energy

Has an expandable garden hose caused you problems?

Watering the garden? It can be a real pain using an old-style hosepipe that can be heavy, gets tangled, kinks, leaks or even splits. Which is why I bought an XHose – one of the whizzy stretchy, expandable hoses.

The XHose promises no kinks and tangles, and was shortlisted for the Chelsea Flower Show Garden Product of the Year 2013. But having heard about poor experiences with these and other expandable hoses from our members I’m now wondering if I’ve bought a leaky sieve.

There are a range of stretchy, expandable hoses available to buy at the moment and they all look really good. They’re basically a soft, inflatable inner-tube surrounded by tough fabric shell that crinkles up when the inner-tube isn’t expanded. They promise never to tangle or kink up and are much lighter than a traditional hose – so what’s not to like?

Reports of problems with the XHose and other expandable hoses

Unfortunately, I’m worried that my new XHose may not be as trouble-free as I’d hoped. A colleague who’d tried one out told me that the hose needs water pressure to expand so as you reduce the pressure when you start using it, it shrinks, pulling you back noticeably towards the tap. This sounds irritating but not a deal-breaker.

But our members have told us that they’d had other problems with their expandable hoses too, such as the inner tube splitting and filling the outer tube with water or even exploding! We’ve also heard about leaking joints, poor connections and irreparable faults.

So have I found myself a neat solution to a gardening problem or am I in for a drenching?

We will be carrying out a test of these in future and are interested in hearing your experiences.

Have you tried out an expandable hose? Have you been impressed or left disappointed? Have you found that some brands are better than others?

Tony coupe worksop says:
1 June 2017

I had to laugh about xhose they said don’t leave it in direct sunlight so that means you have got to keep putting it away every time you have used it a hose is supposed to be left out


It’s probably alright if cold water is running through it [to feed a sprinkler, for example] but it’s quite obvious that they are fairly fragile things.

I notice that Hozelock [and other brands] are now selling their versions of an expanding hosepipe. Hozelock have a good reputation for durable products so it would be interesting to know how they perform and whether they are better value for money. I seem to recall that someone else reported here that X-Hose had introduced a new version with improved features; that might have overcome the initial flaws in the product which have given the makers such a bad name [although the numerous unbranded imitations didn’t help either].


Here is part of one of the articles on the Which? website. It’s publicly available, so there should be no problem with quoting from it:

“How durable are expandable hoses? There are numerous reports about expandable hoses that have sprung a leak or even exploded after just a few uses.

When we tried out these hoses we found a number of potential problems with them.

* If you cross-thread the plastic tap connector it can irreparably damage the hose and fitting a new one isn’t an option.

* There is no way of mending the hose if it springs a leak.

* It’s made of soft rubber covered with woven fabric, so may wear away if it gets dragged across paving.

*The instructions advise keeping it out of the sun and storing inside – presumably due to durability issues.

* The instructions advise that the hose should be fully emptied before it is stored – possibly to prevent freezing water splitting the inner tube.

Though we have not put expandable hoses through our rigorous independent testing process, we think that if you want a hose that doesn’t have any maintenance concerns then a traditional hose would be a better choice.”

Read more: http://www.which.co.uk/reviews/xhose-and-other-expandable-hoses/article/xhose-and-other-expandable-hoses/how-to-buy-the-best-expandable-hose – Which?”

That’s useful advice, except that I suspect that the article might be an old one since it is undated.

It would be useful to find out how often expandable hoses burst or there are other problems. My guess is that problems are common but it’s possible that people are just good at reporting them.

Expandable hoses are much simpler than products such as washing machines, so perhaps we could all pull together and encourage Which? to look at the durability of expandable hoses and give them credit for what useful advice is already provided. Making positive comments rather than just launching into criticism is a good way of making people and organisations receptive, at least in my experience.

I presume that many buy expandable hoses because traditional hose reels are heavy and cumbersome. It would be interesting to know how small reels with narrow bore hoses perform.


Tony coupe worksop – Many plastics are gradually damaged by exposure to UV light. Providing that this information is made clear on the packaging, I don’t see a problem. Some plastics do include UV stabilisers but I do not know if this applies to hoses.

Kelvin Campbell says:
21 July 2017

I purchased two x hoses £30 each, one for my daughter, after only 6 months one split and fill the outer cover with water, the second one does not expand, no more x hoses. I’m trying to find an email adress to report these issues to but to no avail.

Steve Beadle says:
2 October 2017

Hi Kevin. I’ve just read your post and have had a similar problem regarding the x hose. I’m struggling to get anything done about it at the moment, the company I bought from was Swissclub Products and it was at a garden show. Did you manage to sort your problem out?


The faults with expanding hosepipes have been well aired throughout this Conversation but I don’t think [and I haven’t re-read it all the way through] there has been any meaningful response from Which?, let alone a retailer or a manufacturer. These are not cheap products compared with the same length of rubber hoses and they appeal particularly to people who find using a rubber hose too difficult due to age or infirmity – and many such people have been badly let down in their expectations.

Most of the weight of a hosepipe is the water inside it. As I have said before, dragging an expandable hosepipe full of water across a lawn or along a path is not much easier than dragging a rubber hose, and different grades of rubber hose are available at a lower weight per equivalent length [but that is reflected in poorer durability]. I would expect the coiled small-bore hoses to be better than the expandable hoses but they might not deliver the desired water volume or pressure.

S Lewis says:
30 September 2017

I have had my x hose for around 2 years, I bought it instead of a conventional hose due to having arthritis in my hands, it’s lightweight and exceptionally easy to use for the elderly, however this week it suddenly sprang leaks from everywhere! I’m sorry that it didn’t last longer but will probably buy another as it’s so easy to handle, incidentally I have stored it indoors during the winter months to keep it from perishing as per instructions

Jeremy Poynton says:
3 June 2017

Have had two – snagged one on a rose bush which puncture it – both long ones, no problems whatsoever, very reliable, and a huge huge improvement over plastic hoses which inevitably kink and become impossible to use. Feeder attachment is also massively better than Miracle Gro’s really cheap and poorly made feeder attachment.


I would question whether plastic hoses inevitably kink, Jeremy. Mine is still in good condition after (I guess) fifteen years, but it is always put away after use. I don’t recall it kinking. There are some hoses that do kink easily but in my experience these are very cheap ones – usually thin and dark green.

With an ordinary hose, it is less likely to kink when under pressure, so turn on the water but stop the flow with a stop connector, inline tap, trigger spray, etc.


I have an old standard decent quality hose where one part has developed a weakness and if a coil gets pulled this is where it kinks and stops the flow. The answer is to cut that bit out and use a connector (I bought a few at 50p each on sale at B&Q) which I will do ……one….day…….


Hozelock offer guarantees of 10 and 30 years for their hoses, which is impressive. I’ve used a few Hozelock hoses that have been kinked but that’s probably because of abuse.

I did once repair a hose with a connector but it kept getting caught, so I used a short length of metal tube with a couple of hose clips. Hozelock offer barbed connectors for use when replacing the hose in retractable hose reels. I don’t know if they are sold separately but they don’t even need hose clips.

J Matthews says:
6 June 2017

I purchased a Expanding Easy Hose from easylife in August 2016. In January 2017 the hose exploded and easylife sent a replacement. This lasted till June 1st 2017 and the same thing happened again , exploding . I contacted seller and they are going to send a further replacement. There seems to be a major fault in the construction of these hoses