Friday, March 16, 2012

What Size Garden Hose is Right For Your Needs?

Most people don’t give much thought to selecting a new garden hose. They pick one up when their old one splits or when their current garden hose isn’t long enough to reach an area they want to water. Confronted in the hardware aisle with the dozens of styles, types and sizes of garden hoses, most people either buy the hose that’s on sale or opt for a mid-range garden hose in the length they think they need.

Unfortunately, since they didn’t stop to think about their needs before choosing a replacement water hose, they often end up with yet another hose that doesn’t quite meet their needs and has to be replaced in a year or two. Next time you have to replace or buy a garden hose, take a few minutes to consider your needs and learn how to choose the hose that best meets them.


Diameter is an often over-looked factor in choosing the right hose for your needs. The diameter of the hose determines both the amount of water you can deliver per minute to your destination and the strength of the stream you can direct at it. While there are other factors in determining water pressure – distance traveled and incline, specifically – the diameter of your garden hose is the most important one.

The most commonly bought garden hoses are 5/8 inch in diameter, with ½ inch garden hose and ¾ inch garden hose coming in slightly behind it in popularity. While they may all sound close in size, the performance differences among the three hoses are surprisingly significant.

Just how significant?

The average home water pressure is about 40 pounds per square inch (psi). If you hook up a 25-foot long 5/8 inch water hose, it will put out about 44 gallons of water per minute. A ½ inch garden hose of the same length would only deliver 24 gallons of water per minute while a ¾ inch garden hose would deliver water at the rate of 72 gallons per minute.

In other words, ¾ inch garden hose delivers water three times as fast as a ½ inch garden hose. If your intent is to fill a swimming pool or garden pond with water, it will fill three times as fast with the wider diameter hose.


Obviously, you want to choose a garden hose that will reach your intended destination, whether it’s your driveway for washing your car or your garden. However, it’s also important to remember that the length of your garden hose will affect the flow rate and water pressure. The longer your hose is, the lower your water flow rate will be. In order to make the best use of water, choose the shortest length of hose to get to your destination.

Next time you need to buy or replace a garden hose, take a few minutes to think about how you’re going to use it so you can be sure to choose the best size garden hose for your needs.


  1. Decimal point missing. 7.2 gallons per minute?

    1. No. A larger diameter 3/4" hose will deliver *more* gpm, not less, than the smaller 5/8" and 1/2" hoses.

    2. No. A larger diameter 3/4" hose will deliver *more* gpm, not less, than the smaller 5/8" and 1/2" hoses.

    3. Bob, you're missing the point. All of those flow numbers are wrong. 72gpm? 44gpm? 24gpm?

      No reidential hose bib, WITHOUT a hose of any size, can put out that much volume of water, let alone adding a long hose on it.

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  3. Nice post. I am also looking for garden hoses to watering plants. It is helpful for me. Thank you for sharing.

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  5. Thank you for sharing this informative and interesting article. Keep up the good work!

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  6. This article discusses volume more then pressure. I'm interested in knowing what diameter hose delivers the higher pressure at the sprinkler to produce the greatest distance of the spray. The volume of water delivered can be adjusted by simply running water longer.

  7. Aha! My amateur guess was right; I got a 100ft hose to reach to the back of my yard but it barely powers the sprinkler! So, I'll switch to the shorter hose for watering closer to my house...thanks!