Even though we plant plenty of waterwise plants in our Southwest gardens, we have to water in times of drought and high heat to get seeds started or new plants established, and for lots of home and garden chores.
When you water with a hose, you often have to disconnect and reconnect it to new devices, like a watering wand, spray nozzle or soaker hose. With four acres of various plants, fruit trees and vegetables, we had to water one plant or another daily this summer up to about mid-July (a first!). It’s a lot of walking, which is a good thing, but also a lot of time switching out various hoses and connections.
For years, we have used quick connectors that screw onto a hose (once) and attach to a male connector that screws into the spigot, another hose or a watering tool. The ones we have had for years work OK. You grasp the female (open) and pull away from the connected tool; it snaps off the male piece. I tested two types of quick-connect systems sent to us by Dramm Corporation.
Dramm Brass Quick Change Set
First, I checked Dramm’s brass system, which is similar to others we have used for years. In addition to threading the female connector into the hose and a male piece into the connector of a watering device, you can place the round, female connector onto the faucet or spigot (see below). You also can add it to the end of a hose that you often add to another hose. That means no more threading hoses together tightly to prevent leaks, and then having to get them unscrewed if you want to shorten total length.
The Dramm Brass Quick Change Set is durable, sturdy and worked well. On this and other conventional brass changers, all you have to do when you connect or disconnect is to grab the female end and pull down, away from the connecting device, to put them together. This is so much easier than threading (I don’t know about you, but I always mix up my threading direction or start it threaded crookedly). And it always is a good idea to quickly twist and pull on the system to make sure it clicked into place and will stay there when the pressure comes through the line.
The Brass Quick Change set is a great timesaver (and back saver) for anyone who has to frequently switch out watering connections. This is true for nearly every homeowner who has to run soaker hoses or sprinklers or even switch to a spray nozzle for washing cars and driveways.
But There’s More: a Water Stopper
One of the only drawbacks to most quick connect systems is that if you have pressure on your hose, you have to go back and turn the faucet off before connecting or disconnecting. One reason is splash factor, another is wasting water. And I have had trouble disconnecting if there is any pressure on the yard hydrant, even though it is turned off at a splitter. I also have some trouble getting a good grip on quick changers because of a past hand injury. Dramm’s Quick Change System with Water Stop solves the problem!
The Dramm Quick Change System with Water Stop has a “no splash” feature that halts the flow of water at the female connector. You can easily change to a new nozzle or sprinkler that has a male connector without having to go turn the water off. This saved me so much time and aggravation. The system is made of aluminum instead of brass, but seems durable enough to hold up. It is lightweight and more clearly “clicks” when the connection is tight, which means less chance of finding out your spray nozzle disconnected and flew 10 feet away when the pressure reached a loose connection.
Another feature I really love about the Water Stop quick changer vs the brass one – and others I have tried – is a small black “rim” around both the male and female connectors. This little bit of ridged trim makes it much easier to grasp, tighten and loosen both ends of the connection system. It seems like a small thing, but plenty of people garden well into their senior years, and the feature makes gripping much easier for stiff hands.
Dramm has another product to make gardening easier for seniors: an extender, or hose protector, that has a few inches of flexible hose wrapped by an aluminum coil. This makes it slightly flexible and is much easier to thread than an entire, twisting hose. Once you add the extender to your faucet, it is easier to grasp, bend slightly, and hold the main connection when you add your quick connector. This means next time you go to the faucet to fill up the dog’s water bowl, for example, you can just quickly pull and release the hose with your Quick Changer, use the faucet directly, and then pop the hose back in for your sprinkler later. With both tools — the extender and the no-splash quick connecting system — you can add or remove hoses and watering tools with much less bending and strain.
I like the quick connectors mostly for the time savings, which we all can use, but I can see how they also would be a great ergonomic choice for retired gardeners you know and love.
It is entirely possible to review a gardening product and like it but not fall in love. All I can add about the Dramm Quick Change System with Water Stop is to ask, “Where have you been all my life?”
Dramm is a well-established maker of gardening products; the company is based in Wisconsin. Their products are sold in most independent garden centers and large home improvement stores. The brass quick connect/disconnect system sells on Amazon (Prime) for $15.79 for one female and one male connector. The Aluminum Quick Change System with no splash also sells on Amazon Prime for $14.61 for one female and three male connectors.