How Long Do Expandable Hoses Last?

So, you’ve bought or are thinking of buying an expandable hose, and naturally, you may wonder, how does one care for an expandable hose? Are they more fragile than their vinyl counterparts? And last but not least, how long do expandable hoses last?

Expandable hoses can last up to five to ten years, just like regular hoses. However, they are more fragile than their conventional counterparts and must be cared for properly to ensure they reach their maximum lifespan.

In this article, I’ll explain why expandable hoses are fragile, how they’re repaired, and how to extend their lives. I’ll also touch on how to dispose of a broken expandable hose, what makes expandable hoses worth it, and explain why you should be wary of being sold expandable hose packages. Read on to learn more.

Why Are Expandable Hoses So Fragile?

Expandable hoses are fragile because they’re made of thinner, less durable materials. Regular hoses are made of vinyl, rubber, and other tough materials. Sometimes, they also have multiple layers or coils of metal inside.

However, expandable hoses are usually created with just two layers—a thin inner tube made of latex and a slightly stronger outer layer made of polyester. When you consider the two types of hoses, it’s easy to see why expandable hoses are more fragile than regular hoses.

Being this fragile means that you need to handle your hose with care. It can last up to ten years, just like a regular vinyl hose, but it won’t if you don’t respect its limitations. Don’t worry, though; in this article, I’ll go over what to avoid when using your expandable hose and when you need to store and protect it.

Can Expandable Hoses Be Repaired?

Expandable hoses can be repaired, but the process can be tricky. You can patch holes in the internal hose and external covering and replace the fittings, but once your hose becomes too battered, it might be better to simply get another.

Patching Holes in the Internal Hose

You can patch holes in your hoses’ thin latex layer, but it can be an intensive process. First, you’ll need to remove your hose’s outer layer, then either glue the leak or repair it with a repair kit. 

It’s too intensive of a process to go into here, but if you need instructions or don’t know what kind of tools or fittings you’ll need, this in-depth article by Backyard Boss has you covered.

Patching Holes on the External Covering

You can also patch holes in your hose’s outer polyester covering, which is much easier than repairing its inner layer. In most cases, you can simply tape it. However, if the polyester is frayed, cutting the frayed area out may be a good idea before taping it.

Taping your hose will affect how it contracts when not in use, but it won’t be a big change in most cases. Unless you cut out a large swath of its polyester layer, your hose will still stretch normally. The goal is to protect your hose’s inner latex layer, and taping it does that.

Replacing the Fittings

As a rule of thumb, it’s best to use brass fittings instead of plastic ones, simply because they are more durable. The fittings on an expandable hose are no exception. So if your hose is leaking at the base of your house or at the base of its nozzle, the fittings you’re using might be to blame.

However, if the leak comes from the center of your hose, its inner latex coating is the more likely culprit. If you think something’s wrong with your expandable hose, observe it closely so you don’t wind up trying to fix the wrong problem.

How To Extend Your Expandable Hose’s Life

To extend your expandable hose’s life, make sure to do the following:

  • Drain and store it properly during the winter.
  • Don’t leave it pressurized for long periods.
  • Avoid leaving it out in extreme temperatures.
  • Never run hot water through it.
  • Avoid stretching it when it’s drained.
  • Don’t drag it on abrasive surfaces.

Drain and Store Your Hose Properly During The Winter

In most locales, winters are cold, and there’s a chance standing water may freeze. Growing ice crystals are bad news for your expandable hose; they may stretch and break the internal hose or cause damage that makes it more susceptible to breaking in the future.

To protect your hose from winter temperatures, drain it and store it in a protected location such as a garage or shed. Then, you can bring it back out when the weather warms up in the spring.

Don’t Keep Your Hose Pressurized for Long Periods

Your expandable hose’s inner layer is made of paper-thin latex. If you leave your hose under pressure for days at a time, it may break and destroy the hose. When you’re finished using your hose, always drain the water from it to protect it from damage due to water pressure.

Avoid Leaving Your Hose Out in Extreme Temperatures

I’ve already covered why winter temperatures are dangerous to an expandable hose, but what about hot summer days? Surely, your hose can handle it?

Unfortunately, expandable hoses are just as susceptible to heat as they are to the cold. So when it’s hot outside, drain your hose and store it in your garage or in the shade. This will prevent your hose’s latex layer from melting.

Never Run Hot Water Through Your Hose

Like with sunlight, it’s essential to not subject your hose to high temperatures in other ways. Running hot water through your expandable hose is probably the quickest way to destroy it, as the hot water will melt and potentially tear your hose’s latex. Such jobs are better left to a regular vinyl hose, which has a higher melting point and won’t break so easily.

Avoid Stretching Your Hose When It’s Drained

The main draw of expandable hoses is how they stretch. However, they’re only meant to be stretched when they’re under pressure. Stretching your hose when it’s drained can cause damage to the inner latex layer, and it’s easy to overstretch it, causing damage and possibly even breaking it.

Avoid Stretching Your Hose Around Corners

Dragging your hose while it’s under tension can turn a blunt corner into something that scrapes and damages your hose’s polyester covering. It can also overstretch its internal latex cord, causing it to break. It seems innocuous, but it’s quite dangerous.

So, when you need to go around a corner with your hose, make sure that you have enough slack for the hose to curl loosely around the edge.

Don’t Drag Your Hose on Abrasive Surfaces

Abrasive surfaces such as concrete can wear out the outer covering of your hose, leaving its weak latex layer exposed to dangers that might puncture or otherwise damage it. So when you’re using your hose, try to carry it instead of dragging it to expand its lifespan.

How To Dispose of a Broken Expandable Hose

What if you have an already broken expandable hose? How do you dispose of it?

The answer to that question is simple; you simply drain it, coil it up and throw it in the trash. Unfortunately, expandable hoses aren’t recyclable in most places at this time, and if you can’t repair your hose, sending it to the landfill really can’t be helped.

If you’re curious about the various reasons garden hoses and garden hose reels can’t be recycled, I go into these concerns in more detail in my article: Are Plastic Garden Hose Reels Recyclable?

What Makes Expandable Hoses Worth It?

So, expandable hoses are more fragile than their regular counterparts. They can be difficult to repair, need special care, and if you can’t repair them, they go to the landfill instead of being recycled. So, you may be wondering, what makes expandable hoses worth it?

The main advantages of an expandable hose are its light weight and flexibility. They’re also easier to store because they’re light and can be compacted into a smaller bundle.

While expandable hoses are more fragile, their lightweight and easier storage make them very useful for partially or entirely disabled people. They’re also easier for children and smaller people to use and transport. Of course, all of these pros also apply to the elderly.

In essence, while the pros of an expandable hose may be small for someone who is relatively young, strong, and able-bodied, their ease of use can mean the world to people who are not. Moreover, nothing is stopping a young, able-bodied person from reaping those same benefits.

Are All Expandable Hoses the Same?

Most expandable hoses you see on a rack in a store are functionally similar. They’ll all have some manner of polyester outer layer, sometimes with metal rings to reinforce them, and an inner layer made of latex.

The differences mostly lie in an expandable hose’s accessories and how long the hose is. For example, they may come with special nozzles with twelve different spray settings or brass fittings instead of plastic. However, none of these are technically needed to use an expandable hose.

Beware of hose packages that claim to give greater value; if you already have a nozzle and fittings, and don’t need a hose that’s 300 ft. long, don’t let yourself be suckered into buying a package that the manufacturers use to increase the price of a very basic, standardized piece of garden care equipment.


Expandable hoses can last ten years but need care; they’re fragile due to their materials. They can be repaired but aren’t recyclable. However, they’re useful for children, the disabled, and the elderly. Lastly, expandable hoses are all similar; don’t be pressured into buying expensive packages.

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the principal creator of, a website dedicated to gardening tips. Inspired by his mother’s love of gardening, Alex has a passion for taking care of plants and turning backyards into feel-good places and loves to share his experience with the rest of the world.

Recent Posts