Sometime between last Fall and this Spring, I lost the washer to my hose sprayer nozzle.
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It was immediately clear something was wrong. Oops.
I thought it was in there, but it wasn’t until my first-of-the-season use that I realized it fell out and was lost. Actually, it wasn’t until I had a “what’s going on here and why is my sprayer leaking after just one year?!” moment and checked for the washer that I realized it was gone.
So, I needed to order some new garden hose washers. I also have a leaky leader hose that’s less than a year old.
I couldn’t visit the home center anytime soon, so I took my search online. I didn’t want to do a lot of research in finding a pack of replacement washers, and I didn’t want to just order the first ones that popped up online either. After a couple of minutes digging online, I came across “Backyard Dudes.” They’re made in the USA and seem to have very positive user reviews.
So, I went with a pack of Backyard Dudes washers from Amazon. They’re USA-made, and a 12-pack cost me a little less than $10 (which is a lot for something like this). I figure I’ll need 2-3 right off the bat, for the sprayer and for the leaky leader hose.
So far, so good. I’ll plan for an update if my experience changes over time.
I went with these in hopes that the brand name increases the chance of consistent performance. There are dozens of generic brands on Amazon, and I am hoping that spending more on these Backyard Dudes washers will work out better over time.
Some of those generic brands’ washers are far better values, giving you say 50 washers for $8, or 60 for $9. But if I’m going to spend close to $9 or $10 with shipping, a dozen washers will likely last me a long time. So, maybe going this path will give me better washers instead of more. That’s the hope, but we’ll have to see if the optimism lasts.
The Backyard Dudes’ water hose washers don’t have retaining tabs, but are said to be every so slightly oversized for a secure fit.
At the time of this posting, the washers has 92% 5-star ratings and 5% 4-star.
Buy Now(via Amazon)
See Also(Red Silicone Drinking Water-Safe Washers via Amazon)
Compare(Danco 10-pack via Home Depot)
Backyard Dudes also sells a 12-pack of red silicone washers that they differentiate as being drinking water-safe.
I also ordered a pack of made-in-Canada yellow silicone washers from Lee Valley at $5.95 for 6, to have another option to play around with. (We experiment so you don’t have to!)
Of course, I could have also made my own washers, but I don’t have thick-enough material on-hand, and buying some would have cost more.
Yes, you can get washers for cheap at the home center too. But, that also requires being able to visit the home center in a timely manner, something I cannot always do for non-urgent supplies. My late-night options were to buy several dozen generic washers for ~$8, the Backyard Dudes USA-made washers for $9-10, or wait maybe a week until I’d be able to make it to Home Depot during store business hours.
Every HD and Lowe’s has a pack of hose washers for about a buck. Save the dough and go eat or get a beer, or buy your kid something for heaven’s sake stop throwing money down the drain on hose washers which honesty cost a penny to manufacture.
I have a 1-year-old original washer in my hose reel’s leader hose that’s already leaking. I thoroughly dislike crappy washers.
Given my schedule, sometimes the choice is “order online and get it next day from Amazon” or “wait 4 days to a week (or longer) to find the time to visit the home center.” I can order washers during downtime at 11pm, but I can’t visit a store that’s already closed at that time.
So the choice in this case was to spend $7-10 on several dozen no-name washers, or the same amount on a fewer count from a brand that seems more focused on quality than quantity.
Plus, little like things are always learning and research opportunities. What’ll the experience be like if one hose has these washers and another has generic washers?
In my experiences elsewhere, spending more on better fittings and seals will greatly reduce frustrations and the chance of premature failures. Granted that’s more with cooling and fluid transfer loops than a garden hose, but I thought it might apply here too. Will find out.
Not necessarily this brand – but hose washers sell for under $1.50 a pack at Home Depot:
Amazon list them for $6.81 with “free” shipping
They also had a different brand at $2 for 10.
I’ve already been skipping lunch to fit in more work, so it was either wait until I could visit HD, or order from Amazon. I also debated ordering some appropriately sized silicone or rubber sheet from McMaster, but it’s not worth the shipping fee to buy just that by itself.
A lot of the generic brands on Amazon give you dozens of washers to help minimize the shipping fee, but I felt like these washers would be interesting to try.
As mentioned in the other comment, I have a leader hose that’s already leaking after a year. I’d rather have a good washer last a few years than have to replace low-grade ones every year, and I’m *hoping* that these are better washers. If that experience changes, it’ll be clear that it’s not worth spending more on hose washers.
Maybe you wouldn’t have to work as long or as hard if you’d stop overspending on silly things as a rubber hose washer?
Note of my workload or timecrunch problems would be solved if I took an hour or more to visit Home Depot to buy $2 washers instead of much more conveniently buying presumed higher quality ones from the internet. Should I let others answer all the questions I have too?
$10 drill bit set vs. $60? Spending more on better drills has proven to be worthwhile, and investigating that wasn’t “silly.”
I’m all for avoiding snake oil, but for something like this, somebody’s got to be the guinea pig.
If you can go 2 blocks and get them then it’s probably worth the trip. But if that trip 10+ miles away then it becomes a different equation. How much are you spending in gas and wear and tear on your car? How much is your time worth to you? How badly do you need them? Sometimes it’s worth it to pay for the convince of having something just show up at your door the next day. And if your not in a hurry there is always ebay, where can get washers for a couple dollars and free shipping that will usually show up within a week.
Went to HD on the way to Target. They were supposed to have 7 in stock of the Danco washers. Peg was empty. After some hunting I found a partial pack – I’m guessing someone took what they wanted and left the pack there. I did find the Orbit, picked up those for comparison. I haven’t a clue what the o-rings are for though.
The low restriction connections found on some 3/4 inch garden hoses use o rings instead of flat washers. I have a 3/4 inch Gilmour industrial hose that uses o rings. A regular washer would definitely be a restriction but I don’t know how much of one
I am always on the quality products’ side, not on the price side.
The hard part is knowing whether you’re spending more for better quality.
That is indeed a dilemma.
Not having had the demands of a young family or work placed on me for several years now – it easy for me to forget that running out to a local HD might not fit into my schedule – so mea culpa on that point.
The leaky hose washer might be another problem entirely. At the hose bibb – the washer might indeed get crushed or worn from repeated tightening and loosening, But at other connections (like to a nozzle) the leak might as also be caused by imperfect mating surfaces, screw threads that don’t pull the connection together tightly or a combination of elements. A quality elastic washer or o-ring should, however, go a long way to making a water tight seal.
I agree, it has happened to me also. But in general I have been more happy with my more expensive purchases. If I can see the item I can have a clue whether the quality is good or not, or at least the photo. It happens a lot that the photo of the item I purchase online does not match the item that has been sent to me. Then I definitely send it back.
I look at this issue you had with water leak in a different way, time is important and I want everything to work properly, if I buy some cheap rubber washer I will have to replace it maybe after six months and if I use a quality one maybe after three years, so in that 3 years I would have to replace the washer 6 times if I use cheap washers, 6 times means I have to spend 6 times a lot of time to find the washer from the storage and replace it, for some items you might need some tools also.
I can say they look quality in the photo, clear edges, and you can see some parallel whitish lines on them which are like some sort of dust on them and tells me that they have a specific production process, you don’t see these lines on those cheap rubber washers, these are similar to the rubber washers I see in Grohe products mostly and I can feel they are very durable. Instead of replacing a washer 6 times I can play with my kids 5 more times :))
I’ll look into them, use a lot on the farm.
Changing out the washers isn’t in my maintenance schedule, so I usually find out in the spring when I first hook up the hoses and have something to get done. And then there is the 30 minute exercise of finding spares and 25% of the time there are none. I’m with you, if there is a better mousetrap this eliminates another thing that needs fixing that shouldn’t need fixing. I get a year or two out of the generic stuff. It just hardens up far faster than I think it should. So last year I ordered the silicone washers from Lee Valley. So far so good, but I haven’t been using them long.
I have used both the black rubber and redish silicone without issue from them. To me it is worth support domestic manufacturing.
Thanks for a great website/blog
As tools are my avocation and not a vocation, I sometimes don’t get into the details that other readers get into. This column really caught my eye as I like the made in America and also the time/value/quality perspective. One could argue that the time saved by a web order more than makes up for the total cost( regardless of the quality discussion). For me and others, time saved far exceeds saving 6 bucks. However, the benefit of a leisurely stroll thru a big box home improvement store( or far-better local hardware store) is lost when one does the Amazon-convenience-thing.
‘… drinking water safe…’ – that’s what I love about being old, by the time something like this gets me, I’ll already be dead 🙂
I got tired of those orbit and other cheap “plasticky” washers and have been purchasing the Danco hose washers at Depot. They are found in the plumbing section rather than the garden and they run $1.98 for a 10 pack. I don’t know if they are true rubber washers but they hold up and seal great for me and the price is excellent!
And while on the subject of hoses, all 3 of my garden hoses are he Craftsman Rubber hoses. One is nearly 10 years old! They are heavy yes but mostly kink free and I was tired of purchasing a new hose every 2 years no matter what the supposed quality was! It doesn’t snow here so I cannot comment on durability in that climate but they last and last and last for me here on the West Coast…even through the hot summer sun! Craftsman/Sears used to have them on Sale a few times a year for $19.99 for the 50’ and $24.99 for the 75’ hose. I see on Sears site currently the 50’ hose is $26.99 however looking at the most current reviews, the current rubber hose is NOT the same as 4-5 years ago! All 3 of mine are older than that thank goodness! Another thing I will mention is I usually wear gloves when handling the hose as they will blacken your hands!
Now if I could only find good brass quick connects that don’t leak I would be set!
Check out Dramm. I have a quarter turn shut off valve and it’s high quality (with the price to boot), no regrets. Otherwise Eley sells some nice quick connects. I still have mine in a box, haven’t used them yet, but if they are half as good as their hose reels, they shouldn’t disappoint.
My wife likes Dramm fog and long-handles spray nozzles – probably should look to see if they sell quick connects too.
My experience with brass ones from Nelson have been a mixed bag. OK when brand new – then the O-rings seem to wear and/or corrosion sets in so they leak. I’ve tried some spray lubricant and replacing O-rings – but it’s always been hit or miss.
Of the plastic ones I’ve tried (Gardena, Gilmour, Melnor, Orbit and Vigro) – the Gardena ones (made in Germany) are the best – but not perfect.
BTW – if you have not tried Lonn nozzles – they are worth a look – come in various spray patterns:
I like to hear about good USA made products folks find, and I’m always willing to pay more. But dang, 40% shipping charge ?
Companies like that can thrive by internet sales since few local stores will take the risk of stocking high quality, high priced items.
They have to figure something out on the shipping.
If you buy 20 the shipping cost drops to $18 – so the $8.95 S&H is a premium on a one-sy purchase. We have become enamored with the typical Amazon “free shipping” – which often is just a fee built into the price that we expect all vendors to follow suit. One of my pet peeves with Amazon – when I was buying for a business – was that the cost was not adjusted for quantity buying. They may have gotten better these days – with business accounts.
When you start giving this much thought to garden hose washers you might need a vacation. Totally agree about spending more to get a better product though. That’s always the right way to go.
“Too much” thought would be conducting durometer testing. =)
I always thought that “durometer” was a bit of a misnomer as rubber hardness is not equivalent to durability – but more a measure of elasticity. I guess for a washer or a gasket you are looking for a material that is “squishy ” enough to seal – not too hard as to fracture under compression or so soft as to creep. I guess you could undertake a Charpy test on some polymeric washer materials too – but brittle failure of a hose washer might have causes related to some other embrittlement mechanism (possibly UV light or other environmental factors in storage) not related to a transition temperature.
Actually, durometer is a very useful measure when factored along with the material used in an o-ring or gasket, and the application. In a dynamic seal, as apposed to the static seal of a garden hose washer, where wear from friction and changing pressures are a hazard, the hardness of an o-ring is a big factor in its durability. For example: when I use to work with high pressure air applications ( 3,000-6,000psi) and mixed gases, a 90 durometer Viton o-ring was a common requirement in solenoids and distribution valves. Softer o-rings would deform or simply wear out prematurely. The Viton material, a synthetic polymer, is highly resistant to harsh chemicals, heat and it doesn’t swell in synthetic oils.
Viton is a good gasket material even for low pressure applications. One of the businesses I had an interest in fabricated low to medium pressure piping systems – and we used Victaulic couplings spec’d with custom Viton gaskets for wear resistance. But other gasket materials like EPDM were often used for things like hot water service – while we did a job piping cooking oil and I think we used Nitrile gaskets.
If I asked most of my plumbers in the plumbing business to pick washer, o-ring and gasket materials – they’d probably just say ” get some kind of rubber or silicone”. They did recognize that not all old faucet washer materials available at HD were as good as one another.
Vinyl ones are garbage. Just use the described one’s like Gilmor or Danco .
Stuart, You need to dig deeper and see that these packs of 12 washers from Backyard Dudes are $1.99. The premium you are paying is shipping. Older posts on Facebook show this and their own product webpage shows it at the bottom. They just aren’t managing their information well, not making the effort to update the website. All sales go through Amazon so you are paying the premium for that. These might be the bees knees of washers but no way in Hades are they worth more than $2 for a dozen. All smoke and mirrors. Oh and I dug a little deeper, the 2 dudes are a mortgage appraiser and a food/travel stock photographer. Not making that up. I can’t verify where these are made, since there is zero physical address for the manufacturing, just an apartment address in CA and I’ve found a mailbox forwarding business as an address in WY. You are welcome to contact me directly for more. I am not here to disparage them, I just see something odd with the company’s information.
I figured that was likely; free shipping is never free.
In my mind, I assumed that maybe $4 of the price went towards the product, and the rest towards packaging, fulfillment, and shipping.
If they’re valued at $2, that’s a little more painful.
Marketing language says that these are “made for them.”
It’s hard to determine what they’re worth. I needed washers, and knew I wouldn’t make it to the store so quickly. So it was either $8 or so for several dozen no-name washers, or $9 and change for washers that seemed to be well-regarded, made in the USA, and backed by a brand that hopefully believed in quality.
There was another option – McMaster has a 10-pack for $1.51, and a 100-pack of washers for $5.67, plus shipping. McMaster gets orders here next-day if I order by 5pm or so, but the cost would have come out to be the same for the 10pack, and the 100-pack would have given be way too many spares.
How much is a cup of soda at the movie theater or amusement park? A bottle of water? Convenience always has a cost. (That’s what I tell myself to feel better about things like this.)
My policy is to buy things before I need, I always do a lot of research so mostly I know what is going to be quality, plus if you buy a lot of things you pay less for delivery or not at all, I always add a lot of Add On items to my basket in my amazon account and check them regularly and when the price drops extremely I put a few together to make the total more than £20 to get free delivery (in UK is £20 but I think in US is $25) It is also very headache to buy from amazon as almost 50% of the time they send wrong items or missed items or defected.
That doesn’t work for me.
If I accurately assess what fasteners or parts I *might* need down the road, I end up not being able to find them when I need them. Or, if I’m wrong, I end up with excess supplies I don’t need or want. Sometimes I make the wrong call and need something other than what I stocked up on.
Carrying excess inventory never seemed like a good thing to me. In our fabrication business, we’d try to understand what critical inventory we needed to have on hand to meet production needs, what items – particularly critical spare parts were long-lead time items and assess probability of failure and consequences. In today’s economy just-in-time ordering and cross docking usually makes more sense than buying ahead on speculation. It is important, however, to understand your supply chain and (IMO) eschew an over dependency on any one source of supply recognizing the inherent vulnerabilities that that entails – even though close relationships with your suppliers can have benefit.
These are one of those tiny items which can make a big difference. Leaky washers and fittings can make a muddy mess in no time, and waste gallons of water. I’ve been thinking about making an automatic dog waterer that stays connected to the hose all the time. This might be just the ticket if I can get a leak-free setup.
Hose washers are disposable. I try to keep a minimum of 10 on the shelf all the time. Often if I find one washer failed or missing at the house, an inspection of other fittings finds several more that are ready to be replaced. I haven’t found a big difference in quality, I prefer silicone because they don’t get hard sitting on the shelf. EDPM also have good long term storage characteristics.
in for destructive testing.
I get your issues of not always being able to go to a proper store even for something simple. worse yet I sometimes have to drive past one on my way home but don’t have the actual time to stop during the day.
However while I buy things like motor oil on the internet on occasion (seriously if wallmarx is going to sell it to me and send it to my house cheaper than anyone else I’ll bite). I do try my best to shop other sources. I’ve begun to have a strong dislike for amazon and have since spent alot of time shopping elsewhere. I am genuinely curious as to how this works out vs the other models. with all them marketed made in USA hoses out there you’d think there would be more made in USA hose accessories.
I get my hose washers from our local industrial supply store, i think it’s 10 for $1. I can’t remember the brand but it’s from a reputable industrial supplier. I purchase a minimum of 60 a year- maybe more because every hot season I make it a habit to change out all hose washers. We’re a rental company that in part rents misters and swamp coolers, etc. Being in Vegas these go out a lot.
What seems to kill them the quickest is cheap hoses that cut the washer. Second thing that seems to kill them is over tightening them. Which causes them to deform or cut even with a good hose.
How about a review of decent spray nozzles? I cannot seem to find one that lasts very long.
I bought a Dramm for ~$11 last year. It’s okay – definitely better than many others I’ve seen – but it’s not quite a “buy it for life” kind of product.
I’ve seen some basic sprayers with solid reviews, such as the Dramm 12380 and Gilmour 5730.
I went back to one of the old classis brass twist to fan nozzles a few years ago and never looked back. I don’t miss the clicking end or the squeeze handle that snaps off or etc.
Really don’t. Thought I would but for 10 bucks I’m happier.
wife however hates the thing. I put a thumb turn shut off infront of it – so off and on, twist to spray.
And it doubles as a quick weapon if someone comes up on you while washing the car. (need a joke smiley there)
I replace all the washers each spring, i just put in the Backyard Dudes this spring will see how they do. The $10 spent is equal to a single Starbucks coffee price (talk about high cost)