At the Annapolis Boat Shows, Dave and I saw these nifty expandable hoses, called the X-Hose. Way lighter weight, smaller size and far more flexible to coil than a standard hose, Dave was particularly enthralled by them.
The basic idea is that the hose has a very stretchy inside core that expands to about 3 times its original size — both diameter and length — as water passes through. On the outside is a tough fabric sleeve to protect the hose itself from chafe. They come in 25′, 50′ and 75′ lengths; the regular hose is 1/2″ diameter and has plastic fittings while the X-Hose Pro has 3/4″ diameter and brass fittings.
Dealing with the hose on Que Tal was a job that just always irritated Dave. Whether it was for the salt water washdown, or filling the tanks/washing the boat when at a marina, it seemed the hose had a mind of its own. It was a pain to get the hose in and out of the lazarette, took up a lot of room, and it inevitably got tangled and caught on numerous other items. Dave considered it a necessary evil and tamed it as best he could with Velcro straps.
We talked to the gentleman who was selling them and he explained the difference between their hose and other “look alikes” — in the photo below, the cross section of the X-Hose is on the left, a competitor in the middle, and the X-Hose Pro on the right.
Unfortunately (or so we thought), we saw the hose booth after they had sold out of their stock of the 75′ Pro model, which was what we wanted. So we wrote down “X-Hose Pro” and that it was the 3/4″ diameter with brass fittings that we wanted (they were even out of cards and promo materials). A couple weeks ago I finally got around to looking them up online to order a couple for us.
But I decided against it. Why? When I had Googled “X-Hose” to find their web site, I noted that they were also sold on Amazon. So, out of curiosity, I took a look at the reviews. Oh my — out of 75 reviews, 42 were 1 star, the lowest possible rating. Two points were repeatedly brought up: the hoses “exploded” or split under pressure within the first month (sometimes the first day) of use, and customer service was nil.
I looked at the reviews for both the X-Hose and the X-Hose Pro — they were listed variously for different lengths and so on, but none had particularly good reviews. Many of the poor reviews were Amazon verified purchasers, so I think they were legitimate problems.
Since the guy at the boat show hadn’t seemed like a snake oil salesman, I Googled some more and found more reviews and complaints. On the Ace Hardware site, the hoses had a 1-star rating out of 5. I’ve also found some places that say that the real, true X-Hose made by DAP and particularly their X-Hose Pro are good products and that there are many imitators, some even using the X-Hose name, that are bad.
My bottom line: I absolutely love the idea of an expandable hose, both for use on a boat and at home. But I’m going to wait until one has consistently better reviews before spending nearly $100.
UPDATE: Somehow, the company read this article and wrote to me, saying there were problems with counterfeit XHoses and competitors, and they wanted a chance to show me that a real Xhose Pro was a quality product. They gave me one to use — read my review of how it’s held up in the first four months of use (and where to buy the real ones).