There are very few things more annoying than a bad garden hose. You get what you pay for and the more expensive hoses really are worth a extra few dollars. Expensive hoses are far less likely to kink and annoy you. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s go over the basic differences.
There are a few major sizes of garden hoses. There is a ½” that is usually reserved for soaker hoses. There is the 5/8” which is the workhorse of the homeowner grade garden hose and what the vast majority of people own. Then there’s the ¾” which is for very long hoses, getting water up in elevation, or commercial use.
There are coil hoses that rarely kink and store away nicely however they do tend to turn themselves into knots. Expandable hoses don’t tangle and contract nicely but they tend to explode with too much pressure. The traditional garden hoses are the longest lasting and most efficient but they are heavy and bulky, requiring some forethought to storage.
Vinyl hoses are the cheapest and lightest hoses but they are prone to kinking. Reinforced hoses last longer than vinyl and they resist kinking as well as tolerate higher pressure. Most garden hoses are reinforced types. Finally, rubber hoses are the heaviest and least prone to kinking. They are the most expensive and are used mainly in commercial hoses.
Most homeowners find that a 50’ hose 5/8” in diameter made of reinforced fibers will be adequate for their uses. By knowing what the differences are between each type, you can decide if your needs are met by a standard hose or if you need to get one more specialized.