Garden Hose Sizing Basics

hose fittings

Garden hoses are surprisingly difficult to pick for something so simple. You need to navigate thread distance, connector sizing, and know how they affect things like water pressure and volume. That’s a lot to ask for a small piece of rubber, so we figured it was time to collect the most commonly-asked questions and, well, answer them! If you’re asking what size fitting is a garden hose or how to size them properly – you’re in the right spot.

So what’s on the docket today?

Today’s Topics Include:

  1. How do I know what size garden hose I need?
  2. What is the difference between 3/4 and 5/8 garden hose?
  3. What is the most common water hose size?
  4. What size fitting is a garden hose?
  5. Is a garden hose 3/4 inch?
  6. Is a garden hose 1/2 inch?
  7. What is the standard garden hose fitting size?
  8. How do I know what size hose connector I need?
  9. What size is a hose tap connector?
  10. Do garden hoses come in different sizes?

Now without further ado, let’s get you some answers!

Hose Sizing 101

Don’t worry – we’ll start slow. As things go on, we’ll need to get more technical, but that will come with time. Now that you’ve been warned, let’s dive right in!

How Do I Know What Size Garden Hose I Need?

When it comes to hose size, there are two main factors to consider – length and diameter. The former, length, is pretty straightforward. The longer your hose, the farther you can go from the tap. Additionally, the longer your hose, the more water pressure you lose, so keep that in mind.

As for diameter, it all boils down to two things – what size tap/adaptor do you have, and what are your needs? Diameter affects water flow and pressure, getting higher as the hose diameter gets smaller. The most common hose size ranges between 3/4 and 5/8 inches (which we’ll discuss more below), with the former being better for water flow, and the latter being better for water pressure.

In short, the size of garden hose you need will depend on your property and needs.

If you need pressure, opt for a smaller diameter and shorter hose. And if you need water flow over a long distance, get a larger diameter and longer hose.

What Is the Difference between 3/4 and 5/8 Garden Hose?

Beyond the obvious response of “about 1/8” (thanks, dad) there is another answer:

  • 3/4″ Hoses:
    • Larger in diameter
    • Provides more water per second
    • Gives (and sustains) lower average water pressure
  • 5/8″ Hoses:
    • Smaller in diameter
    • Provides less water per second
    • Allows (and sustains) higher average water pressure.

The primary deciding factor on whether you buy a 3/4 or 5/8-inch hose is how much water you need and how high of a water pressure you’ll require.

A 5/8-inch garden hose provides less water per second, but what it does provide is much higher in pressure. A 3/4-inch garden hose, on the other hand, does the opposite, providing more water per second at a lower pressure.

What Is the Most Common Water Hose Size?

garden hose

There are three major sizes that water (garden) hoses come in – 1/2, 5/8, and 3/4-inch. In the United States, 1/2-inch hoses are somewhat more common than elsewhere, but the two universally-favoured sizes are 5/8 and 3/4 inches, depending on the user’s needs (detailed above).

What Size Fitting Is a Garden Hose?

Garden hose fittings are generally the same size as their diameter – either 5/8 or 3/4-inch. This conversation can get quite complicated, though, so check out our Garden Hose Threading Basics article for a more thorough breakdown.

The specifics to know, though, are as follows:

  • The United States and Canada use a different type of threading than the rest of the world (shocker, I know). If you’re not in either of those places, you’ll likely need an adaptor to fit your hose to the tap.
  • The threading on your hose is different from that on your tap.
    • Threading on a tap (and most household plumbing) uses tapered threading of various thread widths, called BSPT (British Standard Pipe Tapered) everywhere other than North America, and called National Pipe Taper (NPT) in the States and Canada.
    • Other names for NPT include ANSI/ASME B1.20.1 (a mouthful) and Male Pipe Threads (MPT).
  • Usually (though definitely not always) most connectors are either 3/4″ or 1/2″ and will require an adaptor (outside of the United States and Canada).

Is a Garden Hose 3/4 Inch?

Many garden hoses are 3/4-inch, though not all. It all boils down to your home’s needs, your home country’s form of measurement for hoses and plumbing, and whether or not you bought 3/4-inch hose.

Is a Garden Hose 1/2 Inch?

tape measure

Again, some garden hoses are 1/2-inch, though certainly not all. In fact, 1/2-inch hoses are more common in the United States and Canada and are becoming decreasingly common elsewhere. You’ll (more often than not) find that there are two or three 3/4 and 5/8-inch hoses available for every single 1/2-inch hose available.

Really the only good side to 1/2-inch garden hoses is that they’re much lighter. This is because they’re smaller, and because of this, use less material. That’s it – the only real reason to buy a 1/2-inch hose.

What Is the Standard Garden Hose Fitting Size?

While this will vary somewhat based on where you live, the universally accepted “standard” garden hose fitting size is 3/4-inch. In some places, you’ll find that they come in 5/8″ (or rarely 1/2″), but nine times out of ten, it’ll be 3/4-inch.

How Do I Know What Size Hose Connector I Need?

As we’ve mentioned a few times, you’ll need to find an adaptor for your hose connector to fit your home’s tap.

Unfortunately, the process of figuring this out is not easy if you’ve already disposed of the packaging. So my first tip is to read the literature that comes with items you buy. Often, you’ll find it listed clear as day in the instructions for your hose. And yeah, you probably thought, “who the hell needs a hose instruction manual?” I bet you feel dumb now, don’t you?

If you aren’t the reading type, though, check out this process to find the size of hose connector that you need:

  1. Grab a tape measure. Smaller is better here.
  2. Put the measure inside your hose’s connector – this is why I said smaller is better.
  3. Measure the distance between the threads inside, and then determine the diameter of your garden hose.
  4. Take these numbers to the hardware store and find a connector with the same distance between threads and the same diameter.
    1. Worst case, bring your hose into the store. In most hardware shops, the employees will be able to help you find the right one.

And that’s that! You now have a properly-sized connector for your garden hose.

What Size Is a Hose Tap Connector?

Hose tap connectors come in one of two sizes in most parts of the world – 3/4 or 5/8-inch. You’ll occasionally find fittings of 11.5NH size, which is engineer gobbledygook for 1/2, 5/8, or 3/4-inch fittings. (This is measured by the number of threads per inch in the fitting.)

Do Garden Hoses Come In Different Sizes?

garden hose connector

Absolutely! Garden hoses generally vary between 3/4 and 5/8-inch diameters and come in lengths anywhere from 25-100 feet. At the end of the day, the size that you need will vary based on your needs – so read the above subsections and swing on by our garden hose water pressure guide to get a better idea of how it all works (and, importantly, why).

Conclusion

All in all, finding the right connector can be rough. And then we get to actually picking the hose you’ll be using for the foreseeable future – that’s also surprisingly complicated. Luckily, though, people outside of North America got tired of this silly range of sizes and decided that either 3/4 or 5/8-inch connectors are the way of the future.

So pick your fitting and get watering – it’s time to play with your (garden) hose.