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I am looking to buy some garden hoses and I want to be sure they will be strong enough to use with a sprinkler, spray nozzle, or drip irrigation system if I buy one in the future.

My water pressure at the faucet is 50 PSI. I've read that your hose burst pressure should be 4 times the expected working pressure. So that would mean a burst pressure of 200 PSI. I also read that if you're going to use a garden hose with a nozzle or a sprinkler, you want a burst pressure of at least 350 PSI. But I can't find anywhere else on the Internet that talks about this, so I'm wondering if this second article is just making a overgeneralization since some places might have a high faucet pressure and so they just picked a high PSI number just to be safe rather than trying to explain to people the aforementioned 4:1 ratio.

So my question is - do you really need such a high hose burst pressure for a sprinkler or nozzle? For example, might a sprinkler actually increase the PSI exerted on the hose - thereby making the working pressure on the hose higher than 50 PSI even if the water pressure coming into the system was only 50 PSI? Like might there be some designs that exert some sort of backpressure that increases PSI on the system to increase the distance water sprays?

Thanks for any insight you can provide.

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I contacted Gilmore, one of the leading sprinkler manufacturers about this question. Here's what they had to say:

For optimal use, our sprinklers should be used with a pressure of 40-60 PSI coming out of the spigot. Your water pressure remains the same regardless of hose or sprinkler style. If you have 50 PSI coming out of your spigot, you will experience optimal performance from any of our sprinkler models.

So, I think this case is closed. I'm gonna disregard the idea from GardeningProductsReview.com that you need a garden hose with a burst pressure of 350 PSI for sprinklers or water nozzles. It seems this is either bogus or is making a large overgeneralization since some rare cases might have a pressure at the faucet of nearly 100 PSI.

I think the National Association of Hose and Accessories Distributors' 4:1 ratio of burst pressure to working pressure is a better rule of thumb to go by since you can just figure out your PSI at the faucet and then determine how strong a garden hose you really need. Most households have an PSI of around 50 at the faucet, so the idea that you need a 350 PSI hose is simply far too high. A hose with a burst pressure of 200 PSI should do great for sprinklers and nozzles for the vast majority of homes.

  • But Gilmore does not say anything about hoses, not about burst preasure, right? – VividD Nov 20 '17 at 15:55
  • They said that the sprinklers do not increase pressure on the system, which was the main question we were trying to solve. That means we can safely assume that the 4:1 ratio in the first article relating to the National Association of Hose and Accessories Distributors holds true for garden hoses with sprinklers. ^_^ – Aaron Gray Nov 20 '17 at 16:49
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A sprinkler will not increase the pressure in the garden hose above your faucet pressure. However, the advice about the garden hose strength you need covers all applications. There is one application in particular which can greatly stress your garden hose.

Many people attach a trigger controlled spray nozzle to the end of their garden hose. Some water districts even require this so that water isn't wasted when washing your car, and this is a good thing.

The problem comes when the user finishes using the nozzle and then shuts off the faucet. The hose is now a closed system. If the hose is later exposed to higher temperatures (sunlight), the water in the hose will expand but have no place to go. Enormous force can be put on your garden hose.

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