/ 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?

Comments

I bought the Xhose about 12 month ago, and i had tried the lookalike s too, which had a problem with the spray bursting off, so i decided to go for the best , and to be honest the xhose is no better than the look a like ones. mine started out as a 100ft and now its about a 70ft, ive tried everything, but nothing works i just keep getting soaked to the skin, so if anyone has any tips on how and what to use to repair it please let me know

June Waite says:
29 August 2017

Unfortunately my Hozelock 30m exploded as others have said, I did go to the retailer and the exchanged for me. I spoke to Hozelock on the phone and they said as it was such a new product, they couldn’t say if this was a common problem. I really like it and not go back to solid ones.

Expandable hoses seem to be among the least reliable products on sale, judging by comments here and online reviews. Which? has only a couple of undated (and therefore old) articles on the subject, so perhaps it is time for an update.

Well it is over two years and appears to be a major problem that a consumer magazine, particularly with a garden version, should be on top of.

We have now had numerous reports of expandable hoses bursting and the problem is not confined to the XHose. They are easily damaged, as one poster mentioned earlier: https://conversation.which.co.uk/home-energy/xhose-expandable-garden-hose-problems/#comment-1488022 I wonder if it is possible to produce an expandable hose that is durable.

I think it is time for Which? to look at expandable hoses again and offer some advice.

My 100ft hose from Easylife swelled into a balloon near the end and then exploded. This would have been wonderful if being held by a small child. I am at present pursuing legal action as the product has now been modified but the company refuse to exchange or compensate me and are extremely bad to do business with in terms of decent trading and honesty. Highly not recommended!!

Best of luck, Heather. Please let us know how you get on with your claim.

If you can possibly use an ordinary hose pipe (avoid very cheap ones) you might never have any more problems.

Hello Heather,
I am wondering if you ever had any luck pursuing this via the legal route? last night our hose exploded which sounded like a shotgun going off in the garden! My partner was holding it and its really badly bruised his arm and side. I can only imagine what damage it would have done had it had exploded in someone’s face or near a child. so dangerous! I urge anyone to stop using these!

john gray says:
12 October 2017

Have had 2 xhoses this year that have burst on me, Bought the first one last September, only used it a few times before putting it away for the winter.
Brought it out again end of may, sprung a hole june, took it back to argos who exchanged it,washing my car today that blew a hole drenching me, took it back to argos, got refund, thank you argos.
Wont buy a xhose next year, will buy a cheap one of the market.

Have had 2.
First one sprang a leak after about 15 months.
Second one lasted about 18 months and the valve broke. Replacement valve leaked so we have binned the lot.
Great idea if it lasted as long as the ordinary mode that we have had about 10 years.

I bought my first expandable hose from Easilife and it exploded after a few months. They refunded me and I bought an X hose from Argos. It exploded within the guarantee period so I got a replacement. This one exploded a few months later but my wife thought she had trod on it so I gave the hose the benefit of the doubt and bought another from Argos in June 2017. By now they were supposedly improved, with a long list of “do’s and don’ts”, and dire warnings that any returned failures would be closely scrutinised for signs of abuse! As far as I know there is nothing abnormal about our mains water pressure and I carefully observed all the usage recommendations, however, in December I noticed a tiny split in the seam of the outer fabric which runs the length of the hose. the inner tube was beginning to swell through. I photographed it and took it back to Argos who gave me a replacement. Last week I was washing the car when I heard a strange sound. I was just in time to see the the inner tube bulging out of a long length of the hose before the thing exploded again. On examining the damage it was obvious that the outer fabric had split along the seam again. In my opinion these things are not fit for purpose. I returned it yet again to Argos and this time got a refund. My son-in-law has a completely different type of expanding hose which only doubles in length rather than triples. It’s a completely different animal to the x hose types. It is of concertina construction and is very sturdy. It has never given any trouble. Unfortunately he can’t remember the Brand!

J Patrick says:
25 April 2018

I bought one of these. Great to use BUT! It sprung a leak very quickly. I cut off the bit that had broken and reused it. BUt a new leak developed. They are too fragile. Sadly won’t buy another.

I bought an expanding hose from my local market about 4 years ago. It was half the price of the hoses being advertised on TV. The seller said it was the same make (X something) but there is no name on the product. I have been extremely happy with it. I have a tiny garden and my problem is the front garden – I live in a terraced house and have to really stretch my hose to bring it through the house. But that is only minor. I have been very pleased and happy with my hosepipe. Today, the inner tube disconnected and there is no way that it can be reattached. I have been very, very happy with my expanding hose pipe (as I am female and 73 years old) and will replace it. I have just logged onto Which to read reviews before I purchase another one – having read all the posts – I am completely confused as to what to do.

I see that they now have hosepipes that expand up to 150 ft and I might look at this because I think I abused my previous hosepipe. My outdoor tap only has brass fittings and I was thrilled that the hosepipe that I bought also had brass fittings. I have never found the brass-to-plastic connection to be any good.

Wish me luck.

Regards Moya

I wish you luck, Moya. Most people who have posted here have had problems with their expandable hoses but we don’t know how many have been happy with them. I would only consider having one if lightness or convenience was essential.

Valerie Cottle says:
27 May 2018

I bought my second 50ft. XHose from B&Q this morning. The first one was about 18 months old, and I had been entirely happy using it in my small back and front gardens (I could thread it right through the house from back to front door) until last night, when the black plastic ring nearest to the tap split horizontally and water shot out of it everywhere.

What was REALLY galling was having to spend £32 on a completely new hose because a component worth no more than a few pence had given way! I was assured by the staff at B&Q that there was no way the plastic ring alone could be replaced, but interestingly the assistant who took my money remarked they had seen the same thing happen many times before.

My new B&Q hose claims to be the ‘official’ one, and I guess the original one was as well. It appears to have been distributed by highstreettv.com; a note inside the packaging only offers a refund or exchange if the item is found to be faulty when you first open it – obviously no use to those of us whose XHoses have failed after some months of use.

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richard witham says:
31 May 2018

Please please please. Do not waste your money these are useless. I bought one which exploded and my neighbour bought one just after me and it too exploded before mine. Only lasted one year, drained and stored ndoors every time, total garbage.

I bought an XHose recently and it won’t expand. I brought it back to B&Q and when connected to their tap it worked perfectly. I went home and connected it again to my outside tap and it won’t expand.
I followed instructions carefully and I know connections are right and tap is working. When I open the valve water comes out as expected so there is no blockage..

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Stephen Phipps says:
13 June 2018

I had my “X” hose for 2 weeks and used it twice and it burst very close to the tap fitting, luckly I was an engineer and was able to fix it, but just yesterday it burst again right in the middle of the hose, so this is going to mean a new hose.
Very expensive way to find out you have bought rubbish, AND they said it would NOT kink, lies, mine was always kinking even when layed flat on the ground before turning on the water.
and can I get a new hose out of them………..cant get in contact with them or they are ignoring me.
Hose number is BB775257 with a hologram sticker , very professional but still rubbish.
How can they get away with selling this crap, it amounts to fraud and robbery.

Stephen – you should take it back to the retailer and request a full refund. There’s no point in accepting a replacement because the same thing will happen.

Phil says:
23 June 2018

Found this discussion as my X-hose just burst and I was looking to see if it was common. I have a long one (75ft?) and a short extension. Of course, it’s the long section that burst. Previously, the hard plastic connector between the two sections sprung a number of leaks, which I fixed with super glue. It’s lasted I think about a year, being stored in a shed on the supplied hook, though this last week it’s been coiled outside under the tap, but not in sunlight. The attraction of it is I can just gather it up and put it away, rather than spend time winding it onto a reel. So, very disappointed and not sure what to do.

I find it disheartening that so very very many people have had bad experiences with these hoses. Given only a small proportion of the UK public visits Which? Conversations we can take it that the problem is widespread. Reading online reviews backs this up.

Whilst it may be nice to get a replacement from Argos or whoever sold it I would suggest that the time and hassle involved probably means that many people simply do not bother.

What the episode does reveal is that many people are tempted by the promised advantages. It would be nice if Which? did an article not only lambasting these hoses but also perhaps discussed the whole concept of watering gardens.

I have always planned, even my small gardens, for easy working and that includes watering. Positioning of outside taps, positioning posts to ensure the hose moves freely and does not snag plants, leaving a a length of good hose in-situ so only a short connection to the tap at one end and another hose connected at the other are some ideas to take the stress and strain from watering.

I am not aware that Which? Or it’s Gardening magazine have ever looked at hoses, irrigation systems or similar. Certainly a search of the index reveals nothing. Given it is an ongoing problem likely to get worse I wish that they would examine all the new products and discuss benefits and drawbacks. the simple irrigation stuff I knew a decade ago has now been added to with weeper hoses, and also patented technology from Hozelock and Gardena the two majors who dominate the displays at garden centres.

Are they compatible with each other?
Can we use the older plastic drips with the new hoses?
Is buying from a traditional garden goods supplier and using the old tech more sensible?

I realise that these are not sexy products but with probably 10m gardens in the UK a fair number of subscribers might find an overview interesting.

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Links to a US Amazon product. Interesting to see that there exists such a market in getting these to work. This guy did buy the kit and seems to find the pipe failed elsewhere.

Verified Purchase
I gave this three stars because the repair connector seemed to work , but the flex hose burst three times, MY criticism is caused by my frustrations with flexible hoses.

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So, really, whingeing and moaning about what America is doing to us, or going to do to us, is totally futile and we should now tell everyone never to buy any USA-made products [not difficult], not to go to US outlets or suppliers [there are alternatives], not to visit American websites, and not to worry about what the USA does and how much better or worse things are there than in Europe. That would suit me fine. Looking at the world through the prism of the USA is not good for us and the less I hear about it the happier I feel. Just my personal position.

On the question of the compatibility of hose pipe connections, I have never had any difficulty in linking things together, albeit sometimes a small adaptation is required with a short transitional length of hose; even though the compression fittings to join two hoses together might have different threads it has never been impossible to couple them satisfactorily. The local garden centre and ironmongers have always been helpful and sell a range of parts from different manufacturers whereas the DIY sheds are usually much more restricted. As a last resort my box of assorted jubilee clips and short lengths of tubing comes to the rescue.

JW – You have obviously long experience of gardening and thoughtful about it. My feeling is that with a plethora of choices new gardeners, or those getting into irrigation, have quite a lot of alternatives.

I have been playing today with two weeper hoses and a new Hozelock with self-sealing hose and very specialised fittings. The weeper hoses are a joy of simplicity. The Hozelock fitting I failed to master today and I will look at it tomorrow!! I can foresee already some downsides.
: )

I also have micro tube …..

I am not up to date with the latest in irrigation systems but we had a long weeper hose, with branches off, that went all round the rather large garden at a previous house. It was not a Hozelock product but was connected to a Hozelock timer device which enabled it to operate for two hours a day which was handy for when we were on holiday. I could disconnect it from the timer and just turn the tap on and off when we were at home. Although I kept it all when we moved it was not needed at the next house so I am afraid I put it all in a skip when I had a big clear out.

It is now three years since Ceri Thomas introduced this Conversation. It would be interesting to know if her XHose has survived.

Have had two X hoses in the last 3 years. My first I used successfully through the summer and autumn and it was left out side in the winter. It appeared to be affected by the frost and was not usable so I replaced it. That one I used successfully throughout 2016 ,taking it inside over the winter and then carried on using it through 2017 again housing it over the winter and then this year I had been using it up until this week when I noticed one function ( mist ) on the gun was not working properly.. As I had been very happy with the set up and because a replacement gun was easily and cheaply available I bought a new one from Argos. I connected it to my existing hose and set about misting the flowers all went well until I closed the valve on the the hose so I could check if the gun was seated correctly.

As I was examining the gun connector I suddenly found myself drenched with water and rushed to turn off the tap at the wall. I found the plastic fitting with the valve closed at the gun end of the hose had exploded
so now I had a brand new gun an old but perfectly performing hose but no way of connecting the two.

Can anyone tell me if it is possible to buy this blue and black screw fitting anywhere as it does not seem to be available on line

The easiest solution would be to contact the manufacturer, Reg. With luck you might get a free replacement.

I have had an expandable hose for 2 years although admittedly it has hardly been used. When I did use I found it brilliant. The only problem has been with the included spray gun which leaked badly after this last winter. The hose was left out so perhaps it was the cold, this year I’ll put it away. I contacted the supplier through Amazon (probably China) who were unable to sell me a replacement spray gun and have given me a full refund so I can’t complain and I have ordered a spray gun from somewhere else – I think it should fit as it looks exactly the same as the original – only time will tell.

GC Ealey says:
6 July 2018

What really makes me mad id that the maker of the superhoze that I purchased (Hozelock) didn’t even make the issue of water pressure prominant on the outside packaging, but rather hid it away on the iside of the packaging. Even then it said if the hose doesn’t expand it might be a problem with the water pressure. When I phoned I was told it should work properly above 2 bar. This was also not true, as I had the Water Board around to check the water pressure at the outside tap and it was just over 2 bar.

There is a difference between the static water pressure (with no flow) and the lower pressure that will be seen when water is flowing through the hose. It’s worth checking that the isolator valve for the outside tap is fully open because if it is partly closed, this could be the cause of the problem. It is likely to be on the inside of the wall near where the outside tap is fitted.

Fraser says:
18 July 2018

Hi I have bought 2 elastic hoses 75and 100ft. they are 2 years old. the 100ft has just burst in the middle and is too short to repair. The 75ft has burst twice but fairly close to one end so repairable. The problem I have found is that the fabric is very poor quality and degrades very quickly and the lightwieght latex hose easily bursts thru the weaknesses. the degredation is visible if one looks along the hose. If I can buy a replacement cheaply I may buy again as they are very easy to use and store.

From a Which? article: “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: https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/xhose-and-other-expandable-hoses/article/xhose-and-other-expandable-hoses/how-to-buy-the-best-expandable-hose – Which?”

Neither of the articles about expandable hoses has a link to this Conversation. Perhaps we need a ‘hosepipe ban’ on products that don’t come with a five year guarantee.