The 6 best hose hangers of 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • A hose hanger can help you extend the life of your hose and keep it free of knots and tangles.
  • Our top pick is the JBscoop Stainless Steel Hose Holder because of its simple, sturdy design.
  • Below, we also include hose hangers for gardeners on a budget, decorative options, and more.

A hose hanger has one job: To keep a hose organized, whatever its length. Storing a hose off the ground keeps the hose from kinking or cracking and protects the ground vegetation. Hose hangers are sometimes called hose reels. Reels have a hand crank mechanism with a rotating body that allows users to tidy up a hose quickly after watering. Hose hangers come in freestanding or wall-mounted options.

While some hoses come with cheap, flimsy plastic hangers, a solid hose hanger made of metal or durable plastic is preferable for wrangling a heavy-duty garden hose. A quality hose hanger should be able to handle the total weight of your garden hose without warping, be weather-resistant and, ideally, fit with your outdoor decor. We found hose hangers to suit different needs, including budget hangers, freestanding models, and more. 

Here are the best hose hangers

The best overall

jbscoop hose hanger
All you need are two stainless steel screws to mount this sturdy hanger.

The JBscoop Stainless Steel Hose Holder is a simple hose hanger with a heavy-duty design. 

What we like: Durable, easy-to-mount, not an eyesore

This rust-proof hose hanger is a no-frills storage solution for various hoses, including water and air hoses. The stainless steel design is built to withstand life outdoors and it can hold a half-inch diameter hose that’s up to 120 feet in length. The company also offers a money-back guarantee for those not satisfied with the wall-mounted hanger. The sleek design fits in with any modern garage or garden backdrop. 

The best on a budget

AMES Wall Mounted Poly Hanger BIG CORRECT ONE
Works for hoses ranging from 50 to 150 feet.

The ultra-inexpensive AMES Wall Mounted Poly Hanger is a basic, budget hose hanger that gets the job done.

What we like: Affordable, sturdy 

You’ve already spent a chunk of money on a quality hose for your garden, you don’t necessarily need to drop more cash on an expensive hanger. This hose hanger is a budget model with a thick plastic construction that can hold a hose that’s up to 150 feet and ⅝-inch in diameter. Thanks to its easy-to-mount design, it’s an excellent choice for gardeners seeking a low-cost hose storage solution that won’t eat into their landscaping budget. 

The best hose reel

Liberty Basics Wall Mount Hose Reel
The keyhole design makes it easy to remove a hose for the winter season.

This convenient Liberty Basics Wall Mount Hose Reel is ideal for wrangling long, heavy hoses. 

What we like: Side winding mechanism, easy to reel in a wayward hose, can easily remove hose for winter storage 

Install this hose hanger right onto your outdoor water tap and connect the included black leader hose to get started. The winding, hand crank mechanism rolls up a hose without creating kinks or knots. It can hold hoses up to 100 feet and ⅝-inch in diameter. When winter comes along, the keyhole build allows you to easily access the hose to remove it for storing indoors to protect it from freezing weather. The reel also includes wood mounting screws and anchors. Additionally, it features a durable, heavy-duty plastic construction that can handle four-season exposure. 

The best decorative hanger

 GOFORWILD Garden Hose Holder
A powder-coated finish protects the hanger from harsh weather.

A solid construction and ornate design make the GOFORWILD Garden Hose Holder an attractive addition to any outdoor space.

What we like: Attractive ornamental look, durable and practical

This decorative hose hanger is for the gardener looking to add a functional yet aesthetically-pleasing accessory to their space. The holder is made of cast aluminum and features a powder-coated finish for maximum durability. It can handle a hose of up to 125 feet and ⅝-inches in diameter. Gold accents give it an antique flair, and the arc shape of the holder prevents hose kinks and damage. Mount it anywhere there’s a solid surface, like a fence or wall. Like our previous pick, it has a keyhole mounting system that makes accessing the hose for winter storage a breeze. 

The best with added storage

DF OMER Plastic Garden Water Hose Holder
The hidden compartment reveals added storage with built-in shelves.

The hide-away design of the DF OMER Plastic Garden Water Hose Holder makes it a dual-purpose gardening accessory.

What we like: Made of thick, durable plastic, compartment perfect for garden tool storage 

This hose holder is made of weatherproof plastic and holds a hose of up to 150 feet and ⅝-inches in diameter. It comes with a generous 2-year warranty and features a built-in compartment. It’s a clever design for gardeners who have limited storage space for tools and other gardening accessories. The storage space measures 10 x 7 x 5 inches and has two shelves to keep things organized. Because it’s made of plastic, it’ll never rust. It also installs quickly, requiring only two screws and a screwdriver. 

The best freestanding

Artigarden Freestanding Garden Hose Holder
The no-bend hanger design helps hoses maintain their shape.

No wall? No problem. The Artigarden Freestanding Garden Hose Holder is a solid metal hanger that you can place right onto your lawn.

What we like: Works in situations where wall-mounting isn’t possible, incredibly durable 

The heavy-gauge metal hose hanger holds hoses up to 150 feet in length. Its three-prong base provides support and keeps it stable no matter where on your lawn you decide to put it. The triangular hanger portion also features a nozzle holder to keep your hose organized from tail to tip. It requires some assembly, but putting it together is relatively easy, and there’s no need to find a wall for mounting. Because it’s not permanently mounted to a wall, it’s an ideal choice for renters or gardeners searching for an impermanent hose hanger option. 

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The 6 best soil moisture meters for plants in 2021

  • A soil meter is most useful for checking the moisture level of your soil.
  • Our top pick is the ECOWITT Soil Moisture Meter because of its affordable price and simple design.
  • We also detail soil meters for gardeners on a budget, smart options that connect to apps, and more.

A soil meter is a little gadget that usually has one or two probes. A very basic soil meter reads only soil moisture levels. Some meters can also provide information about soil pH. While these readings are usually not very accurate, an extremely high or low reading lets you know that something is up with your soil’s health. Devices are also sometimes equipped with light meters. Taking sunlight exposure readings in different parts of your garden or home can help you determine if a spot is a fit for a particular plant.

Smart soil meters take it one step further and can provide you with actionable insights about plant and soil health. A good soil meter should be accurate and easy to use. We picked a few options to suit different green-thumbed needs, including budget devices, smart sensors, and more. 

Here are the best soil meters

The best overall

ecowitt soil moisture meter
All you need to power the sensor and display is two AA batteries.

The ECOWITT Soil Moisture Tester delivers rapid readings and works in both indoor and outdoor settings. 

What we like: Waterproof, easy-to-read LCD display, cute flower pot icon

The weather-resistant sensor on this soil meter takes accurate moisture readings in about 72 seconds and displays them on a convenient LCD display. Soil moisture level is depicted in two formats: numerically and visually, with a clever flower pot icon. The display receives information wirelessly, as long as the sensor is within 300 feet. You can also calibrate the unit to accommodate different soil types and ambient humidity levels. At 2.3 inches tall (5.3 inches from bottom to tip) when stuck in the soil, the sensor won’t stick out like a sore thumb. 

The best on a budget

XLUX Soil Moisture Meter
The single probe meter delivers instant moisture readings.

The XLUX Soil Moisture Meter is a simple, no-frills moisture meter at an attractive price.

What we like: Analog display is clear and easy to read, good value

Sometimes the topsoil appears wet, but deeper down plant roots may be struggling to access water. Use this soil moisture meter to check whether your garden needs watering. The sensor has a basic single probe design and a color-coded dial display. It works without batteries, so you never have to worry about it shutting off while you’re out digging in the dirt and its affordable price tag makes it a great choice for gardeners on a budget. Some adjusting may be necessary to ensure the probe is at the correct depth to detect moisture. 

The best simple moisture meter

IPPINKA Sustee Aquameter
The aquameters, engineered in collaboration with the Tokyo University of Agriculture, don’t require any batteries.

This simple set of IPPINKA Aquameters helps forgetful gardeners know when to water thanks to color-changing sensors.

What we like: Ultra-simple design, easy-to-read indicator

Pop these little sticks at the base of your houseplants to know when plants are thirsty. The sensors have indicators that turn blue when the soil is wet and white when the soil is dry. Root rot is a common cause of death for houseplants and these mini sensors are excellent for gardeners who frequently overwater and kill their plants. The set of four sensors lasts about six to nine months; each stick features a replaceable core.

The award-winning moisture meters are ideal for houseplants and can measure moisture levels in various types of soil. They’re also available in small, medium, and large sizes to accommodate different sized pots. 

The best smart sensor

Northfifteen Connected Home Plant Monitor
The sensor connects via Bluetooth.

With the help of the iOS or Android app, the Northfifteen Plant Monitor tracks multiple metrics, including temperature.

What we like: Ability to view plant fertility over time

This smart soil meter is best for gardeners looking for more than just the basics. The Northfifteen monitor has several sensors that track soil moisture, light exposure, temperature, and nutrient needs. It’s ideal for keeping tabs on that tricky-to-care-for houseplant that never seems to be thriving. In the app, charts allow you to view your plant’s progress over time. You can also use the app to monitor light levels as they change throughout the day and find the best spot for sun-loving houseplants. It’s important to note that you need to be within range to grab readings from the sensor; you can’t view real-time changes remotely. 

The best for outdoors

Netro Whisperer Smart Plant Sensor
The sensor has a weather-resistant design.

The durable Netro Whisperer is tough enough for outdoor use and reads for moisture levels, ambient temperature, and sunlight exposure.

What we like: Durable, capable of creating a customized watering schedule

The curved design of this solar-powered sensor allows it to capture maximum sunlight throughout the day. It detects soil moisture levels, ambient temperature, and sunlight exposure, all key for ensuring proper plant growth. The wireless sensor is Wi-Fi-enabled (2.4GhZ), so you can access data stored in the iOS or Android app anywhere you go. It has a weather-resistant design, so you can leave it in the garden 24/7.

This soil meter is also compatible with intelligent watering systems like the Netro Sprite. Once it manages to grab a few readings and analyze weather patterns, the app delivers a recommended watering schedule. The app also sends plant care notifications and reminders to perform important gardening tasks. 

The best dual-probe meter

Sonkir Soil pH Meter
The trio of sensors measure light, pH, and moisture levels.

With its multiple sensors, the Sonkir Soil Meter provides a snapshot of soil and light conditions.

What we like: Convenient, takes quick soil and light readings

Three sensors are better than one. You likely won’t use the pH probe as often as the light and moisture sensors, but it’s convenient to have the option at your fingertips. The small soil meter has two probes — to read moisture and pH levels — and a sensor at the top to measure light intensity. The display doesn’t provide ultra-accurate readings, but it’s enough to give you a ballpark measurement that you can work with. The sensor doesn’t require batteries and it’s lightweight enough to travel with, making it ideal for use in community garden plots. The probe is also quite long at 7.9 inches, allowing users to take deeper readings than other meters. 

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The 5 best riding lawn mowers of 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • A riding lawn mower can save you time and energy on lawn care.
  • It should be durable, full of features for easy mowing, and up to the task of cutting a few acres.
  • Our top pick, the Cub Cadet XT1 18 HP Kohler Hydrostatic Riding Lawn Tractor, combines great value with a clean, effortless cut.

Mowing your lawn doesn’t have to be dreadful. If you don’t want to exert more physical effort than need be (and is the case with a push mower), then it might be time to upgrade to a riding lawn mower (also called a ride-on mower). Riding mowers take much of the physical effort out of mowing, and because they have larger mowing decks than push mowers, they can cover a larger area in less time.

But finding the right riding mower for your needs takes some time and research; riding mowers are expensive investments. Some lower-end mowers are rickety and uncomfortable to use, while others mowers don’t have the power necessary to mow inclines or tall grass. And, you want to make sure you have the room to park the thing.

We’ve researched and identified the best riding mowers, assessing a number of factors: engine power, overall performance, deck size, and ease of use, among others. Many of these mowers come with features for easier and more comfortable operation, like ergonomic seats and no-shift controls to hydrostatic engines.

The mowers in this list are all intended for residential use. Some are suitable for up to an acre or two, and some have the power to mow up to four acres. If you have significant acreage, then you should look at commercial-grade riding mowers better designed for large areas. For homes with yards too big to handle with a push mower but not large enough to warrant a commercial riding mower, these models will suit your needs without breaking the bank.

Here are the best riding lawn mowers of 2021

 

The best riding mower overall

Cub_Cadet_XT1

The Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro Series LT 42-in. 18-hp Kohler Hydrostatic Gas Front-Engine Riding Lawn Tractor accurately cuts grass with 12 different height positions, making it our top pick.

Pros: 12 cutting heights for precise cuts, tight 16-inch turning radius, highly comfortable seat and steering wheel, cruise control option, hydrostatic transmission eliminates the need to shift, impressive three-year warranty

Cons: Some assembly required

The Cub Cadet XT1 has everything you want in terms of specs and performance, plus it’s outfitted with extra features while still coming in at an affordable price point. In terms of overall power, the 18-horsepower engine is plenty powerful for residential use, and the hydrostatic (auto) transmission means you don’t have to worry about shifting, making your job easier and more enjoyable. The push-button cruise control will also maintain your speed for you.

With a 16-inch turning radius, this mower is much more agile than most others, making it ideal for tight turns and smaller spaces. At the same time, the 42-inch cutting deck allows this mower to cover a large area, quickly. Choose from 12 cutting heights to find that perfect cut, and mow even when it’s getting dark, thanks to the bright LED headlights. The 3-gallon gas tank is generously sized so that you don’t have to cut your mowing short before filling up again.

This mower has a high-back seat with an oversized base and elevated back support to help maximize your comfort for hours, unlike most mowers with an uncomfortable base to sit on.  It’s also adjustable, and the steering wheel is equipped with a comfort-grip cushion to help relieve hand fatigue.  

This mower is backed by a three-year unlimited-hour warranty, and the frame and fabricated deck shell come with a limited lifetime warranty.

The best budget riding mower

Troy_Bilt_Pony_42_Inch

The Troy-Bilt Pony 42-in. 17.5-hp Manual Drive Briggs and Stratton Gas Lawn Tractor Riding Mower is an affordable option that still houses speedy and adjustable features like our other favorites.

Pros: Seven-speed transmission, five-point deck height adjustment, 18-inch turning radius, compatible with bagging attachment and mulching kit, two-year limited lifetime warranty

Cons: Some assembly required, manual transmission

If you’re looking for an affordable mower that’s capable of efficiently cutting a couple of acres, the Troy-Bilt Pony 42 in. Riding Mower is the ideal solution. This mower has the power and efficiency to make short work of smaller yards, but it also has many extra features you’ll appreciate, all at a highly affordable price.

This mower has the power you need for your typical mowing jobs, and the Briggs and Stratton motor is a reliable, quality engine. Powered by an easy-to-use, seven-speed manual transmission, the mower is a time-saver, especially with an 18-inch turning radius. Though the brake-clutch combination takes a bit of getting used to, the ability to mow in reverse is a big plus that many other mowers do not offer.

Troy-Bilt offers its lawn riders a limited lifetime warranty for two years for any issues you may come across.

Not lacking in features, you’ll appreciate the mower’s low-back seat, automatic headlights, and cup holder. It’s compatible with bagging and mulching kits, as well as carts and other accessories, making it a versatile lawn-care tool.

The best zero-turn riding mower

Ultimate_ZT1_Zero_Turn_Mower

For precise maneuverability, the Cub Cadet Ultima ZT1 50-in. 23-hp Kawasaki Zero Turn Mower has an impressive motor and transmission for your yard work. 

Pros: Powerful commercial-grade motor, durable frame with triple-guard corrosion defense system, hydrostatic transmission, generously sized 50-inch deck, foot-operated deck lift, impressive three-year warranty

Cons: None to speak of

The Ultima ZT1 50 -in. 23-hp Kawasaki Zero Turn Mower from Cub Cadet is one of the best that you’ll find. It offers superior durability thanks to its tubular steel frame and triple-guard corrosion defense system. The 23-horsepower twin-cylinder motor is commercial-grade and offers top performance with more than enough power for any residential use, too; a 7.5-mile-per-hour forward speed and 3.5-mph backup speed allows you to work quickly and smarter. For an even cut, adjust the deck height from 1 inch to 4.5 inches using 15 quarter-inch increments. The smooth-tread front wheels pivot 180 degrees for maximum versatility without damaging turf, and the premium rear tires maximize traction for a smoother, more controlled ride. The mower is equipped with a SmartJet deck-washing system that cleans debris from underneath the deck with high-pressure water, too.

Its ergonomic design is also a plus: the lap bar is adjustable for just the right fit, and the high-back seat is also fully adjustable to keep you comfortable on longer jobs. You can engage the blade with the touch of a finger thanks to the electric blade engagement, and the ergonomic hand grips help to reduce hand fatigue. This mower is well-equipped for slight rolling hills and areas up to 4 acres.

Like our overall pick, Cub Cadet offers the same three-year unlimited-hour warranty, the frame and fabricated deck shell coming with a limited lifetime warranty as well.

 

 

The best premium riding mower

John_Deere_E180_Lawn_Tractor

The John Deere E180 25-hp V-Twin Lawn Tractor may carry a higher price tag, but its ergonomic, no-shift design makes it a top choice. 

Pros: Powerful motor, hydrostatic transmission eliminates shifting, 30-second oil change system, ergonomic, two-year (or 120-hour) warranty

Cons: Smaller 2.4-gallon gas tank, high price point

The John Deere E180 25-hp V-Twin Lawn Tractor is a top-performing riding mower with a long-lasting  25-horsepower V-Twin Extended Life Series engine. This mower features a hydrostatic transmission, so you don’t have to worry about shifting. The generous 54-inch mower deck makes for a large cutting area, meaning fewer passes for you. Additionally, the mower has a 30-second oil change system located conveniently under the hood, so there are no more excuses to put off that oil change.

Engaging the blade is also simple and effortless, and the mower deck lift-lever offers height selections between 1 to 4 inches. A cruise-control setting is ideal for maintaining your speed when you’re mowing larger areas, and the adjustable high-back seat offers lumbar support to keep you comfortable. Yes, the whole tractor has been redesigned with ergonomics in mind and high construction quality. The steel frame is fully welded and, paired with the cast-iron axle, offers excellent strength. The hood is fade-resistant and made of a tough composite that won’t dent or rust, and the deck has a “wash port” so you can easily clean out the underside. This mower is backed by a two-year or 120-hour warranty.

The best electric riding mower

ryobi electric mower

Ryobi’s 38-inch 75Ah Riding Lawn Mower is a low-humming and low-maintenance option that runs for up to two hours or two acres of mowing.

Pros: Eco-friendly, low maintenance, quiet

Cons: About two hours per charge, batteries are expensive to replace when the time comes (three-year warranty)

Unlike their gasoline counterparts, an electric mower is a hassle-free option void of belts, spark plugs, oil changes, filters, or anything of the like to worry about.

That’s where Ryobi comes in: a low-volume mower with a high-powered cut.

You’ll get a quiet, fume-free ride decked out with cruise control, USB charging for your phone (or whatever), and when it comes time to recharge the mower’s batteries, it’s not like charging an electric car battery, and you don’t need a fancy electricity upgrade: Just plug it into a regular old 120-volt outlet, which takes about 12 hours.

On the subject of batteries, the downside is that over time they will not hold a charge as well; it’s just a fact of life with batteries. Eventually, you’ll need to replace them (hopefully just one at a time). The replacement batteries  (Leoch model LPC12-75) will run you about $150 apiece, which isn’t cheap, but then neither are gasoline or oil. 

That said, Ryobi hooks you up with a three-year warranty for the mower, along with batteries and chargers.

Check out our other lawn care guides

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