Guide to self-coiling hoses

Tips for buying the new self-coiling hoses

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The new self-coiling hoses won't tangle or kink, and they store neatly, but they aren't flawless. Here's what to look for if you want to buy one.

Water flow. Expect a smaller interior diameter than the standard 5/8 inch; since less water flows through, it takes longer to water, and some spray patterns on a multipattern, hose-end sprayer may only gurgle. So look for 3/8 inch, the diameter most practical for everyday needs (1/4-inch hoses are suitable only for misting and watering small pots).

UV-resistant polyurethane. This is the most durable, kink-free material, and is rated as drinking-water safe (check the label).

Straight ends. These are easiest to handle; the best ones have brass fittings and rubberized kink guards on both ends.

Self-coiling hoses are available in a variety of colors at most garden centers; prices start at $25 for a 25-foot hose.

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