Saturday, December 21, 2013

Review: Pocket Hose

The Pocket Hose is a flexible, lightweight, expanding garden hose whose length grows when the hose is under water pressure. These types of hoses are booming right now in he as-seen-on-TV product niche, but if you're not familiar with the idea we'll let you watch the Richard Karn-hosted infomercial (1 minute, 48 seconds):

We picked up our Pocket Hose at Walgreen's, and paid $19.95 for the 50-feet long model. What that means is that the hose, as it comes out of the packaging, is about 25 feet long but that it expands to 50 feet under water pressure. There is another, shorter Pocket Hose that expands to 25 feet under pressure, and it typically sells for around $10.

What are the main selling points that the manufacturer uses to pitch the Pocket Hose? That because it expands, it is much lighter and easier to maneuver than a standard garden hose; and that it never kinks.

Are those claims true? We've been using our Pocket Hose for about a month, and here are some positives and negatives:

Positives of the Pocket Hose

  • Yes, it really does expand to around twice its original length once you turn the tap on - so long as you have a spray nozzle attached or have the adaptor screwed on to the end of the hose and in the "closed" position. Basically, you have to "prime the hose" - or trap water inside it, creating pressure - in order for the hose to expand. If you have the adaptor in the "open" position, or if you don't have the adaptor attached and are not using a spray nozzle, the Pocket Hose won't expand. (It will work just fine as a basic hose, only without growing in length.)

  • And yes, the Pocket Hose really does contract when you turn the water off, although you have to let any water inside the hose out in order to start the contraction.

  • The Pocket Hose is very lightweight, much lighter than a standard garden hose. Anyone can carry it around.

  • The Pocket Hose does not kink. We've tried to kink it and can't.

Negatives of the Pocket Hose

  • You'll probably get wet using it because of the plastic nozzles on either end of the hose. Most standard garden uses have metal nozzles to attach to the faucet (or to which you can attach a spray nozzle). The Pocket Hose has plastic, whose construction does not inspire confidence. We've had leaks at the point of attachment to the faucet - minor, but leaks nonetheless. And we've had leaks at the spray end of the hose, both when using a spray nozzle or when using the adaptor.

    The adaptor, in particular, leaks around the lever the user moves into the "open" and "closed" positions to stop water (and create pressure to force the expansion) or to let water out. The faucet and spray nozzle leaks were minor and not bothersome, but the adaptor leak was a little spray of water that got us wet before we were able to turn it away from us. The Pocket Hose works much better without the adaptor than with it.

  • It doesn't carry as much water as some garden hoses. The flow was plenty for our purposes and, we imagine, for anyone who wants to use it to water the front and back yard. But just as an fyi, the Pocket Hose does carry less volume than some standard garden hoses.

Conclusions

We've heard other people say they experienced leaks in the hose itself, but we haven't. The integrity of the hose is great for us after one month's use.

We like the Pocket Hose. It really is lightweight, it really doesn't kink, and it really does expand. But it also really does have cheaply made nozzles on both ends, which really do leak. Your leaks might be bigger than ours, so buyer beware.

But overall, we've enjoyed using the Pocket Hose.

One thing to note is that you don't have to take advantage of the expansion property of the Pocket Hose to find it useful. We have the shorter version in our front flower bed; unexpanded it is only about 12 feet in length, but that just happens to be the perfect length for our flower bed. We like how lightweight the hose is, and that it doesn't kink so we never have to worry about water flow, and it is great for hand-watering this small area. And the price is right, too.

We've heard and read other commentaries about the Pocket Hose in which users' experiences were more negative - in some cases, very negative - than our own. But we've also seen reviews similar to our own.

We can only report on our own experience with the Pocket Hose, which, to sum up is (mostly) positive.

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