July 2014 Issue
Steer Clear of Flex-Able-brand Expandable Hose
We were paging through our email’s filtered spam folder last summer to make sure we didn’t miss anything and came across an ad for a compact, flexible hose that looked ideal for small boats. The “incredible expanding” Flex-Able hose “is made of a tough double-wall construction that is designed to bend and never kink,” and included a seven-way spray nozzle with the hose. The hose’s ability to shrink down to an extremely compact size when not in use was particularly enticing.
There are two other expandable hoses of this type that rely on an elastic inner tubing to make them expandable: the Xhose and the Pocket Hose. Like the Flex-Able hose, they are promoted with breathless, made-for-TV ads touting their expandability, and are available on the Internet or through big-box retailers. We’d read several complaints about these types of hoses, but we ignored our inner skeptic and bought the 50-foot Flex-Able hose for $30.
For the first three days, the hose impressed us; then, it began to leak at the faucet. On Day 6, the inner liner burst without warning. The Flex-Able hose customer service team was easy to reach and quickly sent us a new hose (with a new seven-way nozzle), but that hose split two weeks later. As far as we were concerned, the hose was, quite literally, a bust. Although we have not yet tested the Xhose or Pocket Hose, given our experience with the Flex-Able hose, we’re recommending that readers steer clear of these types of hoses. We’ve been using a spring-coiled hose for a couple years now without complaint, but it still leaves much to be desired. If you have a favorite type of compact hose—or have had a better experience with the expandable type—we’d like to hear about it; send email to email@example.com.