- The type of garden hose nozzle you need depends on the watering task and your grip strength.
- Gardenite’s 10-Pattern nozzle is easy to use and strikes a balance of versatility and comfort.
- See also: The best garden hoses
So you’ve finally found a garden hose that’s durable, easy to use, and doesn’t kink. Next, you’ll need a garden hose nozzle. It makes watering tasks more convenient and efficient, plus you’ll save water.
“It’s absolutely necessary to attach an adjustable nozzle to your garden hose,” said John Jo rs, a Florida Master Gardener and volunteer groundskeeper at the 35-acre Bonnet House Museum and Gardens. “Otherwise, you may find yourself running back and forth to turn your water spigot off and on as needed.”
There are a few different nozzle styles to consider, including pistol grip, fire-hose, and watering wand. If you plan on using your hose for a wide variety of tasks, Jors recommends a pistol grip nozzle with multiple spray options and adjustable water pressure.
But if you have trouble holding down a pistol grip for long periods of time, fire hose-style and watering wands are good alternatives. Learn which nozzle style and spray option you should use.
We tested garden hose nozzles of different styles on the same hose (our pick for the best hose overall, the Dramm ColorStorm Garden Hose). For each hose nozzle, we tracked ease of use, comfort, water pressure, spray distance, and durability. Read more about our methodology.
Here are the best garden hose nozzles in 2021
- Best garden hose nozzle overall: Gardenite 10-Pattern Garden Hose Nozzle
- Best garden hose nozzle on a budget: Melnor 5-Pattern Watering Nozzle
- Best watering wand: Melnor RelaxGrip Watering Wand
- Best high-pressure garden hose nozzle: Twinkle Star Adjustable Twist Hose Nozzle
- Best fireman-style garden hose nozzle: Bon-Aire Hose Nozzle
The Gardenite 10-Pattern Garden Hose Nozzle is the most versatile, reliable, and comfortable nozzle you can attach to your hose. All the spray patterns are consistent and using it won’t tire out your hand.
Pros: Many spray patterns, easy to switch among patterns, strong metal and rubber construction
Cons: The multiple settings may be superfluous if you only use your hose for a few tasks, jet setting doesn’t offer strongest pressure
With this Gardenite hose nozzle, you won’t have to worry about whether you’ll have the appropriate spray pattern for the task in front of you. The 10 patterns include “cone,” “shower,” “mist,” and “jet,” plus less common ones like “flat” and “vertical.” Whether you’re washing your dog, watering delicate plants, or hosing down dirt, you’ll be properly equipped.
It’s easy to twist the nozzle to the spray pattern you need, and the nozzle clicks clearly to let you know you’re ready to use your selected pattern. When you hold down the trigger, the water doesn’t shoot out aggressively — an issue I discovered with other nozzles. The nozzle also never leaked in all my tests.
The flow control knob at the back of the nozzle lets you adjust the pressure of each of the 10 patterns, allowing for even more adjustability.
Despite all these ways to diversify your watering experience, the jet option was a little disappointing and wasn’t as strong as our high-pressure nozzle pick below. Overall, the all-in-one design and quality construction of this nozzle still earn it our top position, but consider whether you’d rather have the versatility or a more specialized nozzle.
This nozzle has a pistol grip, with a front trigger that is made from metal and has indents for your fingers. The handle is cushioned rubber. These features combined make the grip as comfortable as it can get.
The best garden hose nozzle on a budget
If you don’t want to spend a lot of money, the Melnor 5-Pattern Watering Nozzle is a solid alternative that still offers five spray options. Just be warned it’s not as durable as our other picks.
Pros: Affordable, easy to use, versatile
Cons: Can leak a little, not rugged, doesn’t offer long spray distance
A good, solid garden hose is an investment, and after spending that money, you might not want to splurge on an additional accessory. Luckily, this Melnor hose nozzle is very affordable, while still offering features you need and decent comfort.
This nozzle keeps it simple with five spray options that should suit most activities: shower, full, stream, flat, and mist. All the settings worked well and had strong, consistent pressure, though the spray distance fell short compared to the other nozzles. The mist option was especially effective.
The nozzle attached securely to my hose, but there were some small leaking issues. The droplets were tiny and didn’t significantly affect my watering experience but it’s worth noting since this was the only nozzle I tested that leaked at all.
It’s decently comfortable to hold — the rubber grip features indents for your fingers, but the back trigger section is made from plastic which is less comfortable than an all-rubber grip. There is a trigger lock to help prevent grip fatigue, so you don’t need to squeeze down the whole time you’re watering.
Made from a combination of metal, plastic, and rubber, the nozzle is lightweight, but you can’t bang it around the ground too much. In our durability tests, the metal pin that acts as a trigger lock fell out. While we know you won’t purposely drop your nozzle onto concrete repeatedly, it’s also good to keep in mind that this nozzle isn’t going to last for years. But if you need a temporary solution, or don’t use your garden hose often, it’s a quick and cheap buy with most of the features you need.
The best watering wand
Avid gardeners will want the Melnor RelaxGrip Watering Wand, which offers a gentle shower of water, is long enough to reach tall hanging plants, and uses a comfortable thumb control rather than a pistol grip.
Pros: Long, less tiring to grip, ideal for delicate flowers and plants in hanging pots
Cons: Singular purpose, may have leakage problems after long-term use
If you have trouble holding down a pistol grip, you’ll love the easy thumb control of this nozzle. You simply slide the control up and down whenever you need to adjust the water flow. This smart design reduces the strain on your wrists and fingers, allowing you to water your garden for longer. The textured rubber grip is also comfortable with ergonomic indents for your fingers.
The thumb control acts as a sliding scale in that there isn’t a distinct click for each different flow setting. Instead, you might have to play around with the control at first to learn where the flow intensity changes and how far you should slide the control. Over time, you’ll have a better natural sense of how to control the water.
This watering wand has a long stick design (this version is 33 inches long from nozzle tip to end, while the short version is 15 inches long) that lets you reach tall branches with no struggle. The water travels smoothly all the way through, and the water flow is consistent.
It attached securely and didn’t leak, but after seeing some customer reports of leakage issues, we’ll keep an eye out for that in our long-term testing. Given the wand is made up of many distinct parts, it’s possible it may leak if any of the parts break. In our durability tests, however, the wand emerged unscathed and nothing broke.
Since this nozzle only offers a concentrated shower pattern, it’s best for gardeners who intend to use it frequently for their plants and flowers. It will not help you in the way of washing a deck or covering a large amount of ground.
The best high-pressure garden hose nozzle
This simple and compact brass nozzle from Twinkle Star shoots out strong jets of water over long distances, making it perfect for chores that require some water pressure.
Pros: Made from sturdy solid brass, small, good jet and wide spray options
Cons: No two-way shutoff, less control over water flow
For grimy trash cans, a car in need of a good wash, or your deck that has so many layers of dirt it’s starting to change colors, it’s handy to have a high-pressure nozzle to do all the hard rinsing work for you.
The Twinkle Star is a long and slim nozzle that has powerful and efficient jet and wide spray settings. To use, you twist the nozzle in one direction to find the pattern you need. Though there aren’t specific settings that you can “click” into, the nozzle twists smoothly and the spray patterns transition well into each other. The one-way shutoff means you have to twist it off the same way you twist it on, which isn’t a huge dealbreaker, but it’s a little convenient. The nozzle attached securely to my hose and never leaked.
Its spray distance was long, on par with the Gardenite nozzle‘s. The high pressure and long spray distance are a great combo for attacking dirty surfaces from afar.
We also loved the solid brass construction. It’s resistant to rust and all-around durable, plus it looks sleek.
This product actually comes with two nozzles, a long one and a much smaller one. We wouldn’t recommend the small tip nozzle, as it wasn’t adjustable and couldn’t shut off the flow of water. It offered medium pressure and a very narrow spray, so we’re not sure what the use of this extra nozzle is. Stick with the long nozzle, and you’ll be set.
The best fireman-style garden hose nozzle
A fire-hose-style nozzle like the Bon-Aire Hose Nozzle is perfect if you want versatile spray options without straining your hand.
Pros: Very comfortable to hold, strong rubber and metal construction, two-way shutoff
Cons: Less control over water flow
Rather than hold down a trigger, you only need to twist the barrel of the Bon-Air nozzle to start and stop the flow of water. Like a few of the nozzles above, it doesn’t have distinct spray settings, so you just gradually turn the nozzle to find the different options. Conveniently, the nozzle has two-way shutoff, meaning you don’t have to turn it back all the way to the beginning in order to stop the water flow.
I enjoyed using this nozzle a lot because it was comfortable to hold and all the water flow options were consistent in pressure. The jet and wide spray settings were especially strong.
Compared to the Twinkle Star nozzle, the Bon-Aire is bulkier but also likely more durable. Since most of it is encased in rubber, the metal middle section rarely touches the ground. If you drop it on the ground from a tall height, it simply bounces around.
Our gardening expert John Jors reminds us, “Although [a fire hose-style nozzle] is very durable, the spray options are limited and you won’t have the flow control you have with the pistol grip.”
This was certainly my experience with the Bon-Aire nozzle. It’s available for around the same price as our best overall pick, so choosing this nozzle is ultimately a matter of personal preference and comfort. It’s ergonomic and durable, but you will have the deal with the lack of distinct spray settings.
What else we tested
What we don’t recommend and why
Gilmour Metal Pistol Nozzle: This simple nozzle is cheap but also really rugged. It’s metal all around and intuitive to use — just squeeze the trigger and the water flow will change depending on how hard you squeeze. My main critique is that it’s not comfortable to hold at all and has no cushioning for your fingers, so you’ll have to wear your own gloves. The nozzle is small, brittle, and stiff, and you’ll have to use the hold-open clip to spray continuously.
What we’re testing next
Dramm One-Touch Rain Wand: Another promising watering wand has a similar thumb control valve to our current best wandering wand and looks to be durable and consistent.
Gilmour Swivel Connect 1-Pattern Nozzle: Gilmour’s innovative “swivel connect” design means that you can turn the nozzle in any direction without turning the hose itself, reducing annoying kinks and bends as you handle your hose. Though it doesn’t have multiple spray options, there is a comfortable thumb control valve.
We put all the hose nozzles through these same five tests:
- Ease of use: We noted how easy or difficult it was to attach to the hose, how many spray options it had, and whether it leaked.
- Comfort: We noted if the grip was ergonomic. If the nozzle had a pistol grip design, we timed how long we could press the grip down before it got too tiring to press.
- Spray distance: On concrete, we measured how far the nozzle sprayed water when holding the hose at a regular position (a foot away from the body).
- Water pressure: We measured the pressure of water coming out of the nozzle with a water pressure gauge. If there was more than one spray setting, we measured the low, medium, and high settings.
- Durability: We dropped each nozzle on concrete from 10 feet high 10 times and noted scuffing, scratches, abrasion, and any broken or bent parts. We also left the nozzles outside for two consecutive weeks through various weather conditions, including sun and rain, noting any rust and other signs of wear and tear.
Garden hose nozzles FAQs
Why do you need a garden hose nozzle?
- It saves water. Water will not come out of your hose unless you open the nozzle, meaning you don’t need to run back and forth to the spigot. This is especially helpful if you’re using a long hose.
- A garden hose nozzle helps distribute water in a more controlled manner than a garden hose alone. The regular flow of a garden hose alone isn’t always the best for tasks like watering delicate flowers or washing a car. The different spray options of a nozzle let you customize the flow to your specific task.
What are the different types of garden hose nozzles? How do you use them?
Pistol grip nozzle: Features a trigger that controls the amount or flow of water. Hold down the trigger (which may be in front of or behind the handle) to release water. The harder you press, the more water comes out.
Dial nozzle: Features a rotating dial of distinct spray patterns. It’s often combined with a pistol grip so you only need to hold down the trigger to activate the flow of water, while the dial setting controls the specific flow.
Watering wand or rain wand: A long nozzle that helps extend water flow to hard-to-reach areas. It’s usually controlled with a comfortable sliding thumb control.
Firehose (or fireman)-style nozzle: A large dial-style nozzle that does not have a pistol grip. The spray patterns are not distinct and must be gradually adjusted.
What nozzle and spray type do you use for…
- Watering flowers or a vegetable garden: Use a flat spray or shower delicate plants with a rain wand because it’s the most gentle spray type. Make sure to water at soil level at the base of the plants. It’s best to water them in the morning, before it gets too sunny and hot, so that less water will evaporate.
- Watering trees and shrubs: Drip lines are ideal, and if you’re using a hose, you actually shouldn’t use a nozzle. Simply place the hose on the ground near the tree and let water slowly and steadily dribble out. Rotate the hose around the tree (in a ring shape) periodically.
- Washing a car: Use a jet spray with any of the nozzles above except the rain wand. If you’re just doing a light rinse, a setting like a full shower could also work.
- Power-washing a deck: Use a jet spray with any of the nozzles above except the rain wand.
Check out our other backyard and gardening guides