- Despite their fairly simple function, garden hose nozzles are one of the most important and versatile tools in outdoor home and lawn care.
- Since we depend on hose nozzles to perform a wide range of duties from watering flowers to washing our cars, we chose the versatile Gardenite Heavy-Duty Watering Nozzle as our top overall pick.
- If you're also looking for a new hose, check out our guide to the best garden hoses.
The middle child between the watering can and the lawn sprinkler, garden hose nozzles don't exactly have the easiest job. They're expected to be able to handle a wide range of tasks, from watering flowers with gentle mists to blasting out dirty trash cans with powerful jet streams — all while having the compact size and maneuverability of a hand tool.
On top of that, they're also responsible for managing anywhere from 40 to 60 PSI of water pressure, making durability essential, particularly since we tend to leave them outside more than we should.
I've used my years of experience working at plant nurseries and as a landscaper to assemble a list of the best nozzle options in several categories: the classic pistol grip, extended watering wand, simple twist action, and our best overall nozzle, the versatile Gardenite Heavy-Duty Watering Nozzle.
Quick tip: Unfortunately, even the most durable options don't react well to lying in the sun for any length of time, so to make removing them easier, I recommend investing in a quick-connector. They're easy to install and make it simple to pop your nozzle on and off the hose.
Here are the best garden hose nozzles:
- Best overall: Gardenite Heavy-Duty Watering Nozzle
- Best on a budget: Gilmour Full-Size Zinc Pistol
- Best watering wand: Dramm One-Touch Rain Wand
- Best fireman-style nozzle: Bon-Aire Original Ultimate Hose Nozzle
Prices and links are current as of 1/15/21. We're currently in the process of overhauling this guide by re-testing the best picks to see if they still hold up and testing new considerations, like Melnor's affordable five-pattern nozzle. We're also speaking to expert gardeners to gain more insight into what to look for in a nozzle, and we're adding a new FAQ section that will cover which kind of nozzles you should use for various tasks.
The best overall
The Swiss Army Knife of nozzles, the Gardenite Heavy-Duty Watering Nozzle ensures that you're prepared to tackle whatever project your yard has in store.
Pros: Includes the best features of most other options with minimal sacrifices in design, few plastic components add to durability, superior customer service.
Cons: Relatively heavy at 12.8 ounces, may be unnecessarily complex for some users
The versatile design of the Gardenite Heavy-Duty Watering Nozzle is what really makes this option great, combining the control of a trigger-activated model with the functionality of a multi-spray head. The addition of a (mostly) metal body solidified its place at the top of the list.
In addition to the 10 different spray options available, a separate pressure knob lets you adjust the intensity of any of those settings. With this freedom to customize every aspect of your spray and its operating system, nothing is stopping you from adapting the Gardenite Heavy-Duty Watering Nozzle to any specific task.
Want to water 50 yards of delicate petunias with the ease of a trigger-free nozzle? No problem — just select "Scatter" on the spray selector, lock the trigger in the "On" position, and you're all set. What if you just feel like using a straightforward trigger sprayer? Again, not a problem — just unlock the trigger, turn the selector to "Full," and you're good to go.
The best on a budget
The Gilmour Full-Size Zinc Pistol Grip Nozzle is the perfect choice for anyone looking for a dependable, basic hose nozzle at an unbelievably low price.
Pros: Extremely affordable, highly durable
Cons: Metal construction isn't the most comfortable to hold for long periods of time, takes a little more effort to operate
This zinc and brass beast stacks up solidly against much more expensive options, especially in terms of durability.
When it comes to rough spraying jobs, where you don't want to worry about banging or dropping a plastic nozzle, the Gilmour Full-Size Zinc Pistol Grip Nozzle is the option you want.
While working summers at my uncle's canoe rental business, I would hose down and flip a hundred dirty aluminum canoes every afternoon with this nozzle, constantly banging it into hulls and dropping it on the ground after completing each boat. I never would have been able to do that with any other nozzle. Every time I'm in the area, I stop by the business, and the new boat boys are still using that same old Gilmour.
Adjusting the flow and shape of the Gilmour Full-Size Zinc Pistol Grip Nozzle's water stream is a bit less intuitive than other nozzles — similar to driving a manual transmission versus an automatic. But you still end up with a decent variety of spray options, and just like when you finally get comfortable driving a stick shift, it makes operating it a lot more fun.
Basically, the shape of the Gilmour's water spray is based on how hard you squeeze the trigger, beginning with a wide circular stream and narrowing as you apply more pressure. Then, once you've got your desired stream type, you tighten up the rear knob to lock it in, and you're all set.
The Gilmour Full-Size Zinc Pistol's tough metal body definitely makes it the most durable on this list, but also makes it less than ideal for tasks like washing your new car or anything else it might accidentally scratch or dent, especially considering that handy threaded front.
The best watering wand
With a thumb-controlled flow valve and a wide 2.5-inch nozzle face, the Dramm One-Touch Rain Wand makes gentle watering tasks a breeze.
Pros: Provides gentle mist for watering flowers, extends your reach, easy to hold for long periods of time
Cons: Limited to just one spray style, not efficient for watering large areas
If you've ever tried to water elevated or hanging plants with a standard nozzle, you know that you usually just end up wasting a ton of water and making a giant mess. Watering wands are perfectly suited for jobs like this, using their length to position the nozzle above the plant, and gently showering it from above.
The Dramm One-Touch Rain Wand is our best option for this style and incredibly simple to operate: Just adjust the control lever with your thumb until you reach your desired flow, and you're all set. I love this feature because it lets you easily pause the flow of water while moving between plants, wasting less water and leaving a smaller mess.
With a tool that you'll be raising above your shoulder, lightweight construction is a high priority, and the aluminum Dramm One-Touch Rain Wand delivers in that category as well, weighing in at less than a pound.
It's also a great choice if you're going to be using your nozzle for other types of low-pressure jobs, like watering a vegetable garden or seedling patches. I personally find watering wands perfect for washing my dog in the backyard. Their angled head and broad nozzle face make for a pleasant experience all around.
Keep in mind that this type of nozzle has only one setting, so it isn't great for any jobs that require a powerful or focused stream of water. If you're planning on blasting the mud off your dirt bikes, maybe consider another option with high-pressure settings.
The best fireman-style nozzle
The thick, rubberized casing and fire hose-style design of the twist-controlled Bon-Aire Original Ultimate Hose Nozzle makes for an especially comfortable grip, perfect for lengthy watering tasks.
Pros: Extremely durable, at the top of its class when it comes to comfort
Cons: Fewer spray options than others, lacks precision control of a trigger
If you're looking for a nozzle that won't leave you with the sore wrists and tight forearms that can result from a long day of squeezing a trigger nozzle, the Bon-Aire Original Ultimate Hose Nozzle could be the choice for you.
As opposed to the pistol grip you see most often in hose nozzles, the Bon-Aire Original Ultimate Hose Nozzle is cylindrical, like a fire hose. This ergonomic design makes for a more natural grip position while operating, thus reducing fatigue.
Its simple operating system also makes the Bon-Aire Original Ultimate Hose Nozzle a great option for anyone with grip-strength issues, since it requires much less effort than trigger-style options. To adjust the flow of water, you simply twist the barrel itself to cycle through the five spray options.
My favorite feature of the Bon-Aire Original Ultimate Hose Nozzle is definitely its durable construction. The heavy-duty rubber that surrounds the barrel protects it from accidental drops on concrete that would prove fatal to plastic models. It also gives you a really solid, secure grip on the unit, a feeling that you don't get from other nozzles.
All that said, this nozzle will probably be a little too rough for delicate projects. It also lacks the precision control of a trigger, but it really can't be beat for big jobs like washing your car, especially considering its rubber construction.
What we look forward to testing
In addition to revisiting our top picks above, we're calling in the following nozzles for consideration in the best overall, budget, wand, and high-pressure categories.
Melnor 5-Pattern Watering Nozzle: At only $5, the nozzle offers a lot, including five spray settings and a comfortable rubber grip. It looks like a great potential option for anyone who needs a basic but reliable nozzle.
Melnor RelaxGrip Watering Wand: This wand is half the price of our current best watering wand. It has a thumb control so you don't strain your hand and comes with an adapter so you can connect your hose or switch off the water easily.
Twinkle Star Adjustable Twist Hose Nozzle: The heavy-duty nozzle is made from solid brass, with four holes at the tip to deliver high pressure. This is the nozzle you'll want if you frequently wash your car or power wash your deck and driveway. When you need a more gentle spray, just twist the barrel to deliver a fine mist.
Check out our other great gardening guides
- The best gardening gloves
- The best plants for your first garden
- The best gardening shovels
- The best rakes
- The best electric lawn mowers
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