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What is a Hose?

Daniel Liden
Updated May 16, 2024
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A hose is a piece of tubing that is used to move liquids or, in a few cases, gases from one location to another. Most are circular and flexible; rigid cylindrical devices are typically known as tubes or pipes. People use hoses for a great variety of purposes, from gardening to putting out fires, and they are also used in industry sometimes for transporting various chemicals where they are needed.

Different kinds of hoses can be designed quite differently based on intended use. One used for gardening, for example, may only be a simple length of rubber tubing. An industrial hose may need to be specially reinforced to handle higher pressures. Additionally, it may need to be composed of special materials that will not decompose in the presence of various industrial chemicals.

In many cases, the tubing will be reinforced with fibers or with a non-rusting metal cord. These materials can be braided into the structure or wrapped around it. There are many other methods of reinforcement as well, such as spiralling. These methods are all used to increase the item's pressure resistance.

Even simple garden hoses can be purchased in many different sizes and styles. Some are very long and can reach across very large lawns or pieces or property, while others are small and easier to transport. People buy ones that are made from different kins of materials based on how often they intend to use them and for what kinds of tasks. Some are perforated or made out of porous materials that leak water and are used to water plants over a large area.

People use hoses for a large number of purposes. They are used to move water around and through buildings. Special ones, known as tough hoses, are used in agriculture, where large quantities of water must be moved significant distances to water crops. Divers use them to get air from a tank or from a remote source. They are also used for transporting pressurized air to pneumatic devices, such as nail guns.

Hoses are important parts of air brake systems, which are common in trucks and in railroad cars. Automobiles contain many different ones, which are responsible for moving a number of kinds of substances, such as coolants and lubricants, to various parts of the vehicles. Liquids and gases are transported through tubes in chemistry and in medical fields as well.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Daniel Liden
By Daniel Liden
Daniel Liden, a talented writer with a passion for cutting-edge topics and data analysis, brings a unique perspective to his work. With a diverse academic background, he crafts compelling content on complex subjects, showcasing his ability to effectively communicate intricate ideas. He is skilled at understanding and connecting with target audiences, making him a valuable contributor.

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Discussion Comments
By LisaLou — On Sep 06, 2012

My son is a mechanic so he knows all about hoses and what leads to where. One of the first things he does when he looks under the hood of a car and does a general inspection is look at the hoses.

Usually he can tell with just a quick glance if there is a problem or not.

As long as everything is working properly I never give much thought to whether the hoses are hooked up right or have a leak in them or not. I am just glad I have someone in my family who understands the reasons for all the small hoses in my car.

By sunshined — On Sep 06, 2012

At this point in my life I associate a hose with watering my garden. I did use this to help water the garden when I was a kid, but my sister and I also had hours of fun with the garden hose.

We lived in a small town where there was no swimming pool so we had to learn to make our own fun. We would put an attachment on the hose to make it into a sprinkler. We would also use it for our own slippery slide and when we were thirsty would get a drink from it.

It is fun to read about others who had the same childhood memories playing with a plain old garden hose.

By giddion — On Sep 01, 2012

@ceilingcat – I use a soaker hose as an irrigation hose in my little flower garden. It's only about six feet wide, so the small soaker hose is big enough to handle the job.

I planted my flowers in a semi-circle, and I can loop the hose around it easily. That's what's great about using a hose as an irrigation tool. It can conform to just about any shape that you need.

By wavy58 — On Aug 31, 2012

I've noticed something interesting about a fire hose. When it doesn't have water in it, it flattens out.

I guess since the water pressure is so extreme when it's flowing through the hose, it would have to be very flexible. In the absence of pressure, the hose just collapses, because there is a big difference.

By orangey03 — On Aug 30, 2012

@kylee07drg – My dentist uses a suction hose whenever he is cleaning my teeth. After he has scraped around in my mouth for awhile, he will squirt some water in there and then suction everything out.

He places the end of the hose with a little plastic cap filled with holes inside my mouth and tells me to shut my mouth over it. I can fill the water getting sucked up, and when I open my mouth, it is gone.

I think that the IV bags are hooked up with tubes instead of hoses. They are small and really sturdy.

By kylee07drg — On Aug 30, 2012

Are the things that hook an IV bag to a patient called hoses or tubes? Do doctors ever use hoses?

By ceilingcat — On Jun 19, 2011

@Monika - I remember playing with the garden hose when I was little too but other than that I've never really given hoses much thought. However I recently started gardening and I discovered that a soaker hose is an essential tool for keeping your garden alive.

I started getting a little obsessed over which one to buy but in the end I went with the traditional green one, just like the one my parents had when I was a kid!

By Monika — On Jun 17, 2011

Ah, the rubber garden hose. When I was growing up the traditional green garden hose was a summer staple. My sister and I would beg my mom to take us to the swimming pool almost every day. Unfortunately my mom hates the water so she would usually say no.

Lucky for us, we still had the garden hose. We entertained ourselves for hours splashing around with the hose in the back yard!

Daniel Liden
Daniel Liden
Daniel Liden, a talented writer with a passion for cutting-edge topics and data analysis, brings a unique perspective to...
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