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Rubber vs. Vinyl: Which is the Better Type of Garden Hose?

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Rolling out the garden hose to water the lawn, your flowers and landscaping is a bit of a spring ritual. But do you know which type of hose suits you best? Yes, even the most seemingly simple gardening tools have a variety of options for homeowners to choose from. When it comes to garden hoses, there are things like thickness, length and material to consider. The last factor is one of the most important to consider and usually comes down to whether a rubber or vinyl/plastic garden hose is best for your situation.

So what will it be for you – plastic or rubber? Here’s a look at the pros and cons of each.


In general, plastic or vinyl garden hoses are the cheapest of the two hose options mentioned above. They are also better for more basic gardening needs, as these hoses are typically lighter and easier to handle, but less durable than their rubberized counterparts. Here’s a look at more pros and cons of plastic or vinyl tubing:

PRO: Good for mild climates. Plastic tends to deform under prolonged high temperatures. Usually the milder climates are ideal for this snake type. While it can still be used in more extreme conditions, homeowners are often advised to store it when not in use to prevent warping and premature wear in such conditions.

WITH: to nod. Plastic or vinyl hoses kink much more easily than rubber hoses.

WITH: Damage easier. Plastic/vinyl hoses do not coil as easily as rubber hoses and are more likely to burst and develop leaks in cold weather.

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Rubber hoses are a more expensive option than plastic/vinyl hoses and therefore have a higher initial cost. But they are also more durable and ideal for more intensive garden work. Here’s a closer look at some of the pros and cons of rubber hoses:

PRO: Long lasting. Rubber hoses are of better quality than plastic/vinyl, which means they last longer, are easier to store and more resistant to kinks. They also withstand more extreme weather conditions better than plastic or vinyl hoses. They can also be purchased with a reinforced liner that makes them more resistant to kinks and cracks.

WITH: heavy. Rubber hoses are more durable than vinyl hoses – that’s good. But they are also heavier and more labor-intensive to maneuver, which can be off-putting for many. If you’re still not sold on any of the above options, why not consider a hose that offers the best of both worlds? That’s right, there are rubber/vinyl hose combinations available that combine the lightweight of plastic hoses with the durability of rubber hoses. One drawback to this type of hybrid hose, however, is that they are often more expensive than standard rubber hoses, which are the more expensive option in the rubber versus plastic garden hose arena. So a rubber/vinyl hose is probably the most expensive option you can purchase.

So what is it for you and your gardening needs – plastic, rubber or hybrid?

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