Do You Really Need a $650 Garden Hose?

Becky Worley

When my garden hose twists into a tangled mess, it doesn’t just make my hose more prone to cracking and leaking; it makes my patio look so messy. But to solve these dire problems, is the only answer to buy a $650 robotic hose?

The “RoboReel” Robotic Hose $650 (yes, you read that right: $650)
I’ll admit it: the RoboReel sports some impressive features. It offers a power assist as you extract 100-150 feet (depending on model) of hose. At the touch of a button, it retracts the full length into a neat coil. It comes with a variety of attachments, including sprinklers. And it’s programmable, so you can set it to water your lawn, then retract automatically when it’s done, coiling the hose out of sight under the device’s shell. And this brings me to my first big issue with the RoboReel: I used the word “shell” intentionally, since the thing looks like a bloated plastic turtle – and it’s massive. Aesthetically, I don’t think this is much of an improvement over a messy hose. Plus, you have to remember to charge its battery every 100 or so uses. But the biggest issue is the big price: $650 for a garden hose?? Not for me. There HAVE to be cheaper solutions.

Cheaper Solution #1 – Proper Coiling
Anyone new on a movie set learns how to coil power cables using the over / under method. When coiling a cable, it will remain free of tangles if you alternate which way you place each loop into your receiving hand. One loop goes over:

For the next loop, twist it under:

But the main point is not to fight it. Feel the way the cable wants to twist naturally, and let each loop tell you whether it wants to be coiled “over” or “under.” Try the same method with your garden hose: Feel out the natural shape, and don’t be afraid to lay some under and some over (see video above). This will prevent kinks and make your hose last longer.

Cheaper Solution #2 – The Hidden Hose
I really love the idea of a pot that hides the hose. Again, refer to the video above to see how this works. Nested under a layer where you can plant flowers lays a secret chamber for your hose, which connects to the spigot through a hole in the back.

Cheaper Solution #3 – The Self-Coiling Hose
Self-coiling hoses generally work well with the type of pot just mentioned; they hide away quickly and neatly – at least at first. Unfortunately – in my experience anyway – self-coiling hoses are more prone to kinking as they get older. And they usually don’t have the water pressure and volume of a traditional hose. Still, while they last, they offer great convenience.

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Bonus Tip – Fixing Leaky Spigots
Most leaks occur at the spigot, and many times, even replacing the washer just inside the hose threads doesn’t do the trick. The problem is that with exposure to water and changing temperatures, the threads get rusty or corroded, making it a challenge to get the hose tightly screwed on. But a little petroleum jelly here can help a lot. Rub a dab of it around the threads, then screw the hose back on. It should fit more snugly now, limiting leaks. This trick also works when attaching a nozzle.

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