The Complete Guide to Garden Hose Fittings
How to Connect Up a Hose
This guide shows you what fittings you need to connect up your garden hose to an indoor or garden tap and also how to attach it to spray nozzles, sprinklers, pressure washers and coiled hoses.
Taps & Faucets
As you're probably aware what's called a faucet in the US and Canada is known as a tap in the UK and the rest of the world. There are also some other regional variants in naming these fittings:
UK and Ireland
- Tap: is used in the UK to refer to the fitting that supplies water to sinks, baths and wash basins. A tap outdoors is known as a "garden tap" or "outside tap."
- Faucet: This is the same thing as a "tap" in the UK.
- Spigot, Silcock, Bib, Bibcock, Hose Bib: It corresponds to a "garden tap" in the UK.
- Tap: This usually refers to a beer tap.
What Is the Thread Size of Garden Hose Fittings?
- In the USA, its territories and Canada, the standard thread used for garden hoses is commonly known as garden hose thread (GHT), but officially its title is NH ("National Hose"). There are two designations. NHR is for thin-walled couplers on hoses formed from rolled, thin material and NH is for full-form threads cut into thicker material, typically used for bib cocks and female hose ends. Thread pitch is 11.5 threads per inch (TI).
- All fittings are the same size, but specified by pipe or hose's internal dimensions. So typical fittings are 3/4-11.5NH or 5/8-11.5NH (3/4 is the internal diameter, 11.5 is the thread pitch).
- GHT is not compatible with National Pipe Tapered (NPT).
- For the rest of the world, the British Standard Pipe Thread standard (BSP) is used. Domestic fittings are 3/4 inch BSP and thread pitch is 14 threads per inch. Taps used on farms, factories and in horticulture and fittings for garden irrigation pumps use a 1 inch or 7/8" BSP thread system.
What Size Is a Garden Hose?
- The nominal inner diameter (ID) of a garden hose is 3/8" 10mm, 1/2" 12.5mm, 5/8" 15mm or 3/4" 19mm.
- A 3/4-inch hose is generally reserved for professional use, the greater internal diameter resulting in less pressure drop over distance and a higher flow rate for the same pressure at the source.
How Do You Measure the Size of a Hose?
You can use a ruler or vernier calipers to measure the size of a hose. Usually hose goes by the internal diameter, but sometimes external diameter is quoted.
Quick Release Fittings and Semi-Permanent Fittings
The quick release, push-fit hose connection system used by Hozelock and other manufacturers is convenient because hoses can be easily attached to taps without having to screw on connectors. Also, various accessories such as sprinklers, power washers, extra lengths of hose, branches and spray jets can be quickly added or removed as necessary, even with the water turned on. The older system before quick release connectors were invented involved attaching spray jets, tap connectors, and hose joiners to a hose and hand tightening the fitting onto the hose with an integral threaded knurled plastic ring. If for instance the hose needed to be connected to a power washer, the fitting would have to be replaced. You can still buy these fittings, but they are not as widely available nowadays as quick release types.
Old Style Semi-Permanent Hose Fitting
How to Connect a Hose to a Sink Tap or Unthreaded Outside Tap
There are two options for connecting a hose to an indoor sink tap:
- Use a round tap connector that attaches semi-permanently to the hose. Not as convenient as a quick release connector because the fitting has to be pulled off the tap if someone needs to use it.
- Use a round tap connector with a quick release outlet. Hoses then need a quick release connector fixed on the end that can be push-fit onto the outlet on the tap fitting. Depending on the manufacturer, there are several types of these tap connectors. In the case of Hozelock fittings, there is a version for standard round and oval taps up to 18 mm, one for mixer taps up to 24mm diameter, one for short spout square/round mixer taps and the fourth type for mixer taps with an external male thread (used for an aerator).
Old Style Non-Push-Fit Round Tap Connector
Quick Release Round Tap Connector For Standard Sink or Unthreaded Outdoor Taps
Quick Release Round Tap Connector For Mixer Taps
Alternative Tap Connector For Mixer Taps
Screw on Quick Release Fitting For Indoor Taps With External Male Threads
How to Connect a Hose to a Garden Tap (Bib, Spigot, Faucet)
Garden taps in the UK have a 3/4-inch BSP threaded outlet. In the USA, the thread size is 3/4-inch GHT; also known as NHR or MHT. There are two options for connecting a hose:
- Fit a brass female 3/4 inch BSP threaded connector to the hose. This has a barbed/bayonet section that pushes into the hose. A hose clip is tightened on the hose to stop it from being forced off the hose under pressure or pulled off during use. The advantage of these fittings is that they are cheap and made from brass, are less likely to be damaged than quick release, plastic connectors. However, they take longer to connect to the tap and the O-ring seems to wear quicker because it gets compressed during connection.
- Screw a 3/4 -inch plastic fitting onto the tap. The hose connector can then be push-fitted onto this fitting.
Some taps have 1/2" BSP threads. A reducer adaptor insert is available which screws inside a 3/4 threaded fitting. (Sometimes these are supplied with the connector).
A Garden Tap Has a 3/4 Inch Threaded Spout
Option 1: Use a Barbed Threaded Tap Connector For Connecting a Hose to an Outside Tap
Threaded Connector Screwed Onto Tap
Option 2: Use a Push-Fit Threaded Garden Tap Connector
Fit a Quick Release Connector on the Hose
Hose end connector Push-Fits Onto Garden Tap Connector
Older Taps Had a 1/2 Inch Threaded Spout—A Reducer Adapter Is Available to Suit
How to Connect More Than One Hose to a Tap
2, 3 and 4 way tap connectors are available so you can connect more than one hose. This is useful if for instance you want to feed more than one sprinkler or drip feed system for plants. Note that flow from each outlet will be reduced if you feed more than one hose.
Multiway Outlet Tap Connectors
How to Connect a Spray Jet
- If your hose is a made up one bought in a store, the gun/sprinkler connector at the spray end of the hose is likely to be a water-stop type. This has an internal valve that stops water flow when the spray jet is removed. This is a useful feature because you can attach another hose or accessory, without having to turn off the tap.
- The spray jet simply push-fits into the gun connector.
Hose Spray Gun/Jet
Gun Connector For Hose With Integral Valve
Can You Connect Two Hoses Together?
If the end of one hose has a male threaded connector and the tap connector on the other is female threaded, they can be simply screwed together if the threads have the same diameter and pitch. Alternatively, you can use the push fit connectors of the hose
- Turn off the water at the tap.
- Remove the spray gun if fitted from the first hose. If the gun connector on the spray end of the hose isn't a water stop type, it's a good idea to replace it with one so that you can disconnect/connect accessories and a second hose without having to turn off the water at the tap.
- You'll need a double male connector. Push one end into the tap connector of the second hose.
- Push the other end of the connector into the free end of the first (at the point you removed the spray head).
- Finally attach the spray gun, sprinkler, power washer or another accessory to the gun connector at the end of the second hose.
How to Attach a Pressure Washer to a Hose
The procedure for connecting to a pressure washer is exactly the same as for connecting to a garden tap.
- Screw a 3/4" threaded outdoor tap connector onto the water intake of the pressure washer.
- Remove the spray gun if fitted from the end of the hose.
- Push fit the gun connector on the end of the hose onto the tap connector on the pressure washer.
How to Connect a Sprinkler to a Hose
A sprinkler has a fitting similar to a tap connector, so you can simply push fit your hose onto it. This accessory fitting is a little different from a garden tap connector and has male (external) threads. The fitting may be bonded to the sprinkler, however if it isn't, it can be replaced.
How to Connect a Garden Hose to a Washing Machine
If for some reason your washing machine isn't permanently plumbed (it might be located in an outbuilding) or your house is undergoing renovations, you can use a garden hose to supply water to the machine. Washing machines in the UK have 3/4 inch water inlets. You can screw on a garden tap connector and then push fit the hose onto the connector.
Washing Machine Converted to Allow Connection of a Garden Hose
How to Repair a Burst Hose
- Use a knife or hose cutters to remove the bad section of hose and cut both ends square.
- A hose connector is used to join the two sections of hose. You just need to push each hose end into the connector. Then tighten the two knurled rings.
Hose Connector for Repairing a Burst Hose
Cutting Hose With a Tubing Cutter
How to Connect a Spiral Hose to a Tap
Spiral or flat hoses are usually fitted with a crimped 3/4" female threaded connector suitable for a garden tap. A quick release adapter is available that allows you to connect the hose to a sink tap.
Spiral Hoses Normally Have a 3/4-Inch Fitting Suitable For a Garden Tap
A Flat Hose and Spiral Hose Adapter
Garden Taps or Hose Connectors Must Have a Backflow Prevention Valve
This is mandatory for an outside tap. It caters for the scenario where water has been lying in a hose for some time and has become stagnant. If the hose is left connected to the tap and your supply authority shuts off water for some reason, this water can syphon back into the supply when indoor taps are turned on, potentially contaminating your supply and your neighbours. Ideally an inline backflow valve (also known as a check valve or one-way valve) should be fitted in the plumbing feeding the outside tap to prevent this from happening. An alternative is to fit a backflow connector to the outside tap.
Backflow Prevention Valve for Outside Tap
Winter Care of Hoses
Hoses are usually flexible enough to withstand the stresses of water freezing and expanding inside them, however there's no harm draining water, just in case, to prevent a burst. The spray nozzle on the end is a different story. This is made from ABS or polystyrene, a much stiffer plastic, and it can easily crack if the water inside turns to ice during severe frost. So once you turn off the water supply to the hose, open the spray jet and hang it downwards to allow water to drain out.
Thanks to Hozelock for permission to use some of the photos in this article.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
I've got new 3/4 inch taps, but the Quick Release 3/4 Inch Garden Tap Connectors for my garden hose don't fit as they are too small and the inch versions are too big. Any ideas?
Normally the alternative to 3/4 inch BSP threads is either 1/2 inch, 5/8 inch or 1 inch. If you measure the threads they won't actually be this size because the thread size historically refers to the internal diameter of a thick walled iron pipe used with the fitting.
Have a look at the table at this link which gives the sizes of various type BSP threads. You should be able to identify the thread by both the number of threads per inch and diameter.Helpful 2
I have a garden sprayer that has female 3/4" BSP threads. Can you direct me to a source for an adapter?
It depends on what you want to connect it to. A 3/4" BSP connector will screw straight onto a tap. An adapter is also available that will allow it to be used with push fit connectors. If the female BSP is on the o/p of the sprayer, you can get a spiral hose type adapter like this one:Helpful 2
What adapter do I need to be able to connect a garden hose from the USA to a garden spigot in South America, specifically Chile? I'm moving there and would like to know what adaptors to purchase.
The easiest solution is probably to cut off the garden hose thread (GHT) fitting on the end of your hose (or push fit adapter plus female fitting) and replace with a barbed female connector suitable for Chilean outside taps. This appears to be BSP from a quick search, but I've posted a question on a Chilean forum, so check back on this answer later for an update. The adapter, in any case, would be more expensive than a barbed connector. BSP to GHT adapters doesn't seem to be readily available. This is the only one I found, but the Canadian company seems to be just a manufacturer:Helpful 1
How do I fit a twin hose connection onto an outside tap that has no thread?
The cheapest option is to replace the tap. A threaded brass tap only costs less than £10. Alternatively, use a round tap connector like the ones in the article below. Then, push fit an adapter with a threaded outlet onto this (the green "Flat Hose / Spiral Hose Adapter" in the article).
I have a small 12v pump with a 3/8" Hose Barb. What is the best way to make a permanent connection?
If you want to permanently plumb the pump, you may be able to unscrew the barbed fitting and replace it with a brass fitting with threads (male or female as necessary) on one end and a compression input on the other end (for use with copper or plastic tubing). Use PTFE tape on the threaded end to seal it.
Alternatively, you could attach a short piece of hose to the barb and secure it with a hose clip. Then attach the other end to a fitting like this (make sure you get the one with the right sized barb.)
Then screw that onto a male coupler with a compression output.
© 2017 Eugene Brennan