Soaker Hose vs. Sprinkler Hose: Which is Best for Your Garden?

Your plants need efficient watering to grow. Hence, it is essential to have a good irrigation system in your garden without running around the garden and watering the plants yourself. But there are various ways to water your plants – two of which, and the most common are soaker hose and sprinkler hose. Choosing which one is better can be difficult as both are effective and inexpensive, yet are significantly different. Thus, understanding each kind can help in choosing the suitable hose for your garden. So let’s take a look at how these two hoses can be beneficial before you make a purchase.

Soaker Hose and Sprinkler Hose: A Few Things in Common

Soaker Hose and Sprinkler Hose: A Few Things in Common

  • Both only require to be attached to a standard water faucet. There is no need for you to stress about an expensive irrigation set up to use either a soaker or sprinkler hose. Thus, using either of the two hoses can be cost-effective in watering.
  • Can be integrated with water irrigation systems that are already in place. Both types of hoses have the flexibility to be attached to your current water irrigation systems just by using elbows and couplings that are usually found in small garden irrigation systems.
  • Automated watering. Both types of hose work through automated watering. This lessens your effort for close monitoring. Unlike other methods, you don’t have to check the application of water frequently.
  • Both get water to the most important parts of the plant. These two hoses perform better in getting water to the plant parts that essentially needs water.
  • Budget-friendly Solution for Soil Soaking. Soaker and sprinkler hoses are great and affordable alternatives for soil-soaking watering systems. There are no worries about whether the water is being directed to proper areas.

Soaker Hose vs. Sprinkler Hose: What Is The Main Difference?

Soaker Hose vs. Sprinkler Hose: What Is The Main Difference?

Soaker and sprinkler hoses may be similar in some ways. However, as mentioned, they are significantly different from each other.

One of the main differences between the two hoses is the application of water. In a soaker hose, water seeps through the entire length of the hose, providing a way to efficiently direct water to the plants’ root system.

On the other hand, sprinkler hose works with water sprinkler and soaker hose features combined. The sprinkler has small holes that allow watering along the hose’s entire length. If your garden has several odd shapes and placements, you can adjust the sprinkler for adequate coverage.

Another difference lies in the positioning of the two hoses. Sprinkler hoses are flat with holes on one side. This may be a struggle for you to find the proper placement to get the watering done. On the contrary, a soaker hose can work better even in a position that is lower-maintenance form.

Soaker Hose vs. Sprinkler Hose: Understanding the Differences in Depth

Soil and Root Soaking

Soaker Hose vs. Sprinkler Hose: Soil and Root Soaking

When it comes to soaking the soil and roots, especially when your garden has large shrubs that need a lot of water around the roots, a soaker hose would be the best option. The water coming from the hose penetrates about a foot into the soil. Hence, it can be delivered directly to the soil. Unlike when using a sprinkler system, a lot of the water can evaporate due to the wind. Thus, the roots do not get most of the water.

Furthermore, soaker hoses encourage the development of deep roots that are more drought-resistant than shallow roots grown from sprinkler hose.

Watering the Lawn

Soaker Hose vs. Sprinkler Hose: Watering the Lawn

If you have a wide-open lawn, a sprinkler system would be your best buddy in watering. This system has a wider range compared to soaker hoses. Hence, they are more effective and faster at watering large areas like open garden lawns. Using a soaker hose to water wide areas can be inefficient and create puddles.

Moreover, sprinkler systems are ideal for working with delicate freshly planted seeds as they are less powerful than soaker systems.


Soaker Hose vs. Sprinkler Hose: Flexibility

If you need to navigate around corners and irregular shapes, a soaker hose’s flexibility can help you with that. They are helpful when it comes to looping around hard-to-reach areas and weaving between plants, giving them enough soaking to keep the plants hydrated.

On the other hand, sprinkler hoses can be hard to use when entwining between plants because of their rigid flat shape. They are usually used to distribute water evenly and not for many plants lined up in one area.

Plant Health

Soaker Hose vs. Sprinkler Hose: Plant Health

If your plants are high humidity sensitive, then it’s better to use a soaker hose to water them. The water from the hose will directly soak the roots of plants instead of wetting the foliage, causing fungal diseases in your plants. This is a tendency that sprinkler hoses can cause to plants.

Water Use

Soaker Hose vs. Sprinkler Hose: Water Use

If you want to save money on the water bills but still have a good irrigation system, a soaker hose would be the best option.

As soaker hoses directly soak water to the roots of plants, there is not much water wasted. Water is directed to the parts of the plants where water is needed the most. Hence, there is a cut down on waste.

On the contrary, sprinkler systems can waste more as they shoot water into the air before it hits the ground. Oftentimes, water lands on foliage instead of the roots of the plants.

Soaker Hose vs. Sprinkler: Quick Comparison Chart


Soaker Hose

Sprinkler Hose

Soaking the Roots and Soil:

Water reaches plant roots directly

The roots may not get most of the water because a lot of the water can evaporate due to the wind.

Plant Health:

Promotes the health of plant.

Sprinkler hoses will wet the foliage

Water Use:

A soaker hose save money on the water bills.

More water usage


Best for watering gardens with perennials and shrubs

  • Best fit for watering gardens with freshly laid green seed;
  • Best for lawns that are irregularly and narrow shaped.

Soaker Hose vs. Sprinkler Hose: Which Is Better?

Soaker Hose vs. Sprinkler Hose: Which Is Better?

When Should I Choose a Soaker Hose?

Soaker hoses can be the best option to save money on the water bills as it uses 80% less water. Its water reaches the plant roots directly, promoting plant health. A Soaker hose is also ideal when you have shrubs and perennials in your garden.

When Should I Choose a Sprinkler Hose?

Sprinkler hoses are the best choice for you if you have a narrow or irregularly shaped lawn. These hoses are the best in watering freshly laid grass seed, using more water.

Sprinkler Hoses Are a New Trend!

Soaker Hose vs. Sprinkler Hose: Sprinkler Hoses Are a New Trend!

If we look at the trends in irrigating materials today, you will see sprinkler hoses in the list. They are relatively new compared to soak hoses and are effective in watering plants in certain situations. Its features include a uniformed hole pattern that allows you to water your garden evenly.

Final Verdict

Deciding which is better between a soaker hose and a sprinkler hose can be tricky. Each of them has advantages and disadvantages for your garden. They have different features depending on the type of shrubbery and garden.

Nevertheless, it may be best to understand the specifications of the two hoses first before deciding which type of hose to use.

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