The versatile design of the Gardenite Heavy-Duty Watering Nozzle is what really makes this option great, combining the control of a trigger-activated model with the functionality of a multispray head. The addition of a (mostly) metal body solidified its place at the top of the list.
In addition to the 10 different spray options available, a separate pressure knob allows you to also adjust the intensity of any of those options. With this freedom to customize every aspect of your spray and its operating system, nothing is stopping you from adapting the Gardenite Heavy-Duty Watering Nozzle to any specific task.
Want to water 50 yards of delicate petunias with the ease of a trigger-free nozzle? No problem — just select "Scatter" on the spray selector, lock the trigger in the "On" position, and you're all set. What if you just feel like using a straightforward trigger sprayer? Again, not a problem — just unlock the trigger, turn the selector to "Full," and you're good to go.
I totally understand if you're assuming that a $3.99 hose nozzle isn't going to have much to offer, but you're wrong. This zinc and brass beast stacks up solidly against much more expensive options, especially in terms of durability.
When it comes to rough spraying jobs, where you don't want to worry about banging or dropping a plastic nozzle, the Gilmour Full-Size Zinc Pistol Grip Nozzle is the option you want. While working summers at my uncle's canoe rental business, I would hose down and flip a hundred dirty aluminum canoes every afternoon with this nozzle, constantly banging it into hulls and dropping it on the ground after completing each boat. I never would have been able to do that with any other nozzle. Every time I'm in the area, I stop by the business, and the new boat boys are still using that same old Gilmour.
Adjusting the flow and shape of the Gilmour Full-Size Zinc Pistol Grip Nozzle's water stream is a bit more intuitive than other nozzles — similar to driving a manual transmission versus an automatic. But you still end up with a decent variety of spray options, and just like when you finally get comfortable driving a stick shift, it makes operating it a lot more fun.
Basically, the shape of the Gilmour's water spray is based on how hard you squeeze the trigger, beginning with a wide circular stream and narrowing as you apply more pressure. Then, once you've got your desired stream type, you tighten up the rear knob to lock it in, and you're all set.
The Gilmour Full-Size Zinc Pistol's tough metal body definitely makes it the most durable on this list, but also makes it less than ideal for tasks like washing your new car or anything else it might accidentally scratch or dent, especially considering that handy threaded front.
Wirecutter ranked the Gilmour its No. 1 nozzle choice, calling it "a durable, well-made model that lasts a long time and does not easily break down or leak."
Pros: Extremely affordable, highly durable
Cons: Metal construction isn't the most comfortable to hold for long periods of time, takes a little more effort to operate
The best garden hose nozzle watering wand
With a thumb-controlled flow valve and a wide 2.5-inch nozzle face, the Dramm One-Touch Rain Wand makes gentle watering tasks a breeze.
If you've ever tried to water elevated or hanging plants with a standard nozzle, you know that you usually just end up wasting a ton of water and making a giant mess. Watering wands are perfectly suited for jobs like this, using their length to position the nozzle above the plant, gently showering it from above.
The Dramm One-Touch Rain Wand is our best option for this style and incredibly simple to operate: Just adjust the control lever with your thumb until you reach your desired flow, and you're all set. I love this feature because it lets you easily pause the flow of water while moving between plants, wasting less water and leaving a smaller mess.
With a tool that you'll be raising above your shoulder, lightweight construction is a high priority, and the aluminum Dramm One-Touch Rain Wand delivers in that category as well, weighing in at less than a pound.
It's also a great choice if you're going to be using your nozzle for other types of low-pressure jobs, like watering a vegetable garden or seedling patches. I personally find watering wands perfect for washing my dog in the backyard. Their angled head and broad nozzle face make for a pleasant experience all around.
Reporters at Wirecutter named it their favorite watering wand, saying that it "breaks hose water down into a gentle cascading shower suitable for soft-focus shampoo commercials, or watering patio plants."
Keep in mind that this type of nozzle has only one setting, so it isn't great for any jobs that require a powerful or focused stream of water. If you're planning on blasting the mud off your dirt bikes, maybe consider another option.
Pros: Available in a variety of colors, easy to hold for long periods of time
Cons: Limited to just one spray style, not efficient for watering large areas
The best fireman-style garden hose nozzle
The thick, rubberized casing and fire hose-style design of the twist-controlled Bon-Aire Original Ultimate Hose Nozzle makes for an especially comfortable grip, perfect for lengthy watering tasks.
If you're looking for a nozzle that won't leave you with the sore wrists and tight forearms that can result from a long day of squeezing a trigger nozzle, the Bon-Aire Original Ultimate Hose Nozzle could be the choice for you.
As opposed to the pistol grip you see most often in hose nozzles, the Bon-Aire Original Ultimate Hose Nozzle is cylindrical, like a fire hose. This ergonomic design makes for a more natural grip position while operating, thus reducing fatigue.
Its simple operating system also makes the Bon-Aire Original Ultimate Hose Nozzle a great option for anyone with grip-strength issues, since it requires much less effort than trigger-style options. To adjust the flow of water, you simply twist the barrel itself to cycle through the five spray options.
My favorite feature of the Bon-Aire Original Ultimate Hose Nozzle is definitely its durable construction. The heavy-duty rubber that surrounds the barrel protects it from accidental drops on concrete that would prove fatal to plastic models. It also gives you a really solid, secure grip on the unit, a feeling that you don't get from other nozzles.
The experts at Your Best Digs named this the "most durable" option, and after testing, explained that its "jet" setting remains effective for up to 26 feet.
All that said, this nozzle will probably be a little too rough for delicate projects. It also lacks the precision control of a trigger, but it really can't be beat for big jobs like washing your car, especially considering its rubber construction.
Pros: Extremely durable, at the top of its class when it comes to comfort
Cons: Expensive, fewer spray options than others, lacks precision control of a trigger
Trust me, gardening is hard enough without having to waste time and energy using triggers and knobs to adjust your nozzle pressure. The unique design of the Ikris Metal Lever Garden Hose Nozzle eliminates the trigger altogether, letting you control the flow of water with a rear-facing lever that slides up and down.
This feature allows you to smoothly and precisely adjust the flow of water with your thumb instead of a trigger that can be difficult to operate with gardening gloves on.
This comes in handy especially when jumping around from plant to plant, which requires frequent spray adjustments.
Amazon reviewer Robert Haggerty praised the Ikris Metal Lever Garden Hose Nozzle, stating that it's "easy to hold for long periods. The rotating on/off slide is easy to use. The pressure was a great improvement over any nozzle I have used in the past."
Pros: 10 different spray types to choose from, durable metal construction
Cons: Lacks the quick on/off function of other models