Soaker Hose vs. Drip Irrigation: Which Is Better For Your Garden?

Dry season is approaching and your plantation can be at stake if you don’t take care of them properly. Even so, by using the right watering system for your garden, you will not only grow healthy and beautiful plants but you can also significantly save water, time, and energy.

Soaker Hoses

What Is A Soaker Hose

Soaker hoses are rubber tubes that look like garden hoses. They are usually cheaper because they are made from porous materials that can easily leak. However, they are easier to use since they deliver water to plants progressively. Most soaker hoses are made of rubber or polyethylene plastic, but there are BPA-free ones available today.

Flat Soaker Hose

Flat Soaker Hoses are made from nylon-coated mesh material. They only have one-sided holes that only distribute water to a specific area.

Since flat soaker hoses are basically flat, meaning they cannot be rolled out. They are only fixed in one place. However, they are easier to snake around other plants and things.

Flat soaker hoses are also easy to bury under a little mulch but you must ensure not to bury them too deep as they can break and affect the water distribution.

Round Soaker Hose

Round Soaker Hoses are normally made from rubber or vinyl. They have several small holes around their bodies to distribute water slowly and evenly. Round soakers are more durable than flat soaker hoses because of their round structure and high level of porosity.

Round Soaker hoses can also be buried a lot more, which makes them the most common preference of most gardeners. Plus, they can also stand for longer years at different seasons.


  • Soaker hoses do not clog easily because of their emission features
  • Soaker hoses are easy to install. You only need to attach them to the faucet and coil them around the plants you will water.
  • Soaker hoses have a stable water delivery at ground level. It keeps the ground moist but the leaves of plants remain dry and fungal-free.
  • Soaker hoses maximize the use of water. There is no water wasted because they can wet the soil steadily, which directly goes to the plant’s roots.


  • Soaker hoses are limited only on the surface of the soil. They are less precise in watering and they cannot be put underground.
  • Soaker hoses radius range is not as wide as the drip system.
  • Soaker hoses cannot function different configurations simultaneously. You cannot shut off other areas while others are open.
  • Soaker hoses are only good on flat ground, and they are not suitable for sloped surfaces.
  • Soaker hoses are mostly fragile and they tend to deteriorate and get brittle fast.

Drip Irrigation Systems

Drip Irrigation Systems

Drip Irrigation Systems are the most preferred choice by professional gardeners, and those that grow plants for sale because they deliver water slowly and can operate over long periods of time.

In drip irrigation, flexible plastic tubes with emitters are mainly used to slowly leak water into the soil. Mostly, the main water line is connected to secondary tubes or a tap to make the system more efficient. This tap consists of a filter, pressure regulator, and a backflow valve that all assist in making sure the water is distributed equally and uninterruptedly.

Drip Tape (flat-style)

A drip tape is a flat-style tube that has been the main choice of farmers and gardeners for many years. It is cheaper and more effective to use, especially for watering row crops. It also works well with subsurface operations and installations but doesn’t usually last that long.

Drip tapes come in different thicknesses and spacing, depending on your needs. 15 mil drip tapes can last for up to five years as long as the regulator and filter are still working well.

Drip tapes are somehow similar to soaker hoses, only that they are more reliable and consistent in emitting water. Unlike soaker hoses that leak water irregularly, drip tapes have holes that have specific spacing along the tape, which are designed especially for transferring plants and direct seeding.

Drip Line (round tubing / Drip tubing)

Drip Line is a round tubing that can be set up with emitters for planting crops at regular intervals. You can also separate the emitters if you plan on customizing your space.

Drip line material is made from heavy duty plastic which can for last multiple seasons.


  • Drip systems consist of several modules, but they are all easy to install. They can also work with double configurations so you can water other areas while stopping flow on other parts.
  • Drip systems distribute water directly to the plant’s base, which means that no water comes to waste due to vaporization. Drip systems also deliver water gradually over time so the water enters deep into the roots at a broad radius.


  • Drip systems may require regular inspection and maintenance to avoid clogging.
  • Other systems that are designed for spray instead of dripping can misdirect water distribution, especially in windy areas.
  • Drip systems might need a little planning first before you can set up.

Which Irrigation System Is the Best?

Drip irrigation and soaker hoses are both more efficient to use as compared to sprinkler irrigation. However, if you are more particular in growing your plants perfectly without weeds, drip irrigation system is the best to use.

When Should I Use Soaker Hoses?

Soaker hoses are best to use for small gardens that are on ground level. Since they are cheaper and easier to install, they can be used for raised garden beds.

Soaker hoses are simpler to use than other hoses. All you need to do is connect them directly to a faucet and start watering. Thus, they are a common choice for personal use and for beginner gardeners.

When Should I Use Drip Irrigation?

Drip irrigation is more precise when it comes to dripping water into the plant’s roots. It is designed mainly to grow plants in a specific way and more commonly to customize gardens.

They are best to use on large gardens with either straight or sloped grounds. They are also best for modified gardens because they usually follow a definite size and shape, so it is important that the water source is consistent.

How to Maximize Your Irrigation System

  • Cover at least 2 inches of mulch on your irrigation system to protect it from heat.
  • Check the design of your hoses. Soaker hoses cannot be buried in the soil because its holes can be clogged. If you are planning to bury your drip irrigation, clear your area from underground yard pests that can destroy the tubes. You should also use the ones suited for subsurface installation.
  • Check if your plants are getting enough water. To check, you can place a tin can about 14oz. in size below an emitter hose and turn on the system. Leave it there until it reaches 1 inch, but don’t forget to time it. Usually, plants need around 2 inches of water per week to grow well. For a more accurate analysis, you can use a water meter.
  • Consider using a soaker hose drip irrigation tree ring to water the roots efficiently.
  • Consider installing air valves if you are planning to put your irrigation system on a slope. Air valves help circulate the air from the system. They do not only prevent confined air from accumulating, but they also prevent certain debris from coming inside the lines.
  • Clean the system’s water filter once or twice per year to remove any build-up of dirt, debris, or rust.
  • Have a regular inspection to remove excess plant plugs, repair bent plant stems, and ensure that moisture is distributed evenly
  • Store your hoses and water lines in a clean and dry area during cold weather or dormant season.

The Final Verdict

Having the right irrigation system for your plants, especially during the dry season is an important aspect to grow them properly.

Among all types, drip irrigation is the best for standard household and commercial use. Unlike other systems that waste significant amount of water, drip irrigation is highly effective in ensuring that plants are supplied with enough water every hour, and that no water drips inefficiently.

Leave a Comment