Continuing our run of being intrigued by infomercials, we shelled out for an As Seen On TV Big Boss X expandable hose ($79, also available at The Warehouse) to see if it’s a viable alternative to heavy, tangle- and kink-prone PVC garden hoses.
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Its inner tube is made from dual-layer stretchy latex, surrounded by a webbed-polyester protective covering, giving it the appearance of a scrunchy hair tie. The idea is to avoid the hassle of wrestling a heavy nylon hose off its reel, as the X Hose weighs only 1.1kg and can be easily compressed to save space.
We plugged it in to the outdoor tap, turned it on to full blast and the hose quickly expanded to 22.8m, exceeding the claim on the box that it grows “up to 3x”.
We measured its flow rate and assessed the pressure, and found both were similar to a standard 12mm x 15m PVC garden hose.
Next, we repeatedly ran over it with a car while the hose was full of water, then pulled, twisted and scraped it through gravel. It came through with flying colours, even though the instructions recommend keeping the nylon covering away from rough surfaces. We also twisted and kinked it around a series of corners at angles up to 90°, and the hose maintained the same pressure and flow rate as when straight.
But the hose has a serious flaw: its plastic fittings. The flimsy construction of the ball valve on the nozzle-end and the tap fitting mean we don’t hold much hope of them making it through summer, though you can remove the included fittings and use your own. In addition, the nozzle on the first model we bought was completely non-functional, and while the replacement worked well we’re dubious that it will survive years of hard use in our test garden.
When we shut the water off, the hose took almost a minute to shrink back to its original length rather than “contracting back in just seconds” as claimed, and it was difficult to draw out the water remaining in the hose. This left us questioning whether the inner-tube’s expanding latex would continue to snap back after a summer of heavy use.
Overall, the hose performs as claimed and if you don’t mind potentially having to replace the flimsy fittings, we think it’s worth considering.
First Looks are written from the perspective of our product experts. Our lab-based tests offer truly objective product comparisons.
By George Block.
By George Block
Cars, phones, infomercial products and anything else that takes our fancy — First Looks are trials of new or interesting products from the perspective of our product experts. Check out our latest.