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This morning I was rolling the empty trash bin back from the curb, and I noticed there was some grime down in the bottom. “Let’s wash that out with the hose,” I thought, and turned and started rolling for the spigot. About halfway there, it occurred to me: I don’t really care if there’s a bit of grime in the bottom of my city trash bin—that’s pretty much what it’s there for. I was just looking for an excuse to use my shiny new brass hose nozzle. Is it slightly ridiculous to take that much pleasure from a simple tool? Perhaps. But then, some tools are like that, and it is rare indeed that I can endorse any tool as whole-heartedly and without reservation as this simple hunk of machined brass.

I come from a gardening family, and have used many, many different spray nozzles in my life, many of them surprisingly complicated and expensive for such a simple function. Some worked well, and some did not, but without exception they did not last. Plastic or elastomer parts, smooth and brightly colored on the shelf in the store, become faded and brittle after just a summer or two in the sun. The paint or plating on steel bits gets scratched or dented, and water seeps in and corrodes. Then one day you go to spray the flowers and find a valve is stuck, or the plastic spray-tip has cracked, or the return-spring on the handle has corroded away and fallen out.

This nozzle, in contrast, is built to last. It has only two major parts, both machined from solid brass, which will never rust. The only polymer bits are two black O-rings and a green plastic seating washer for the hose-end. None of these is exposed, so UV-degradation should not be a problem. When and if the small polymer bits do wear out, they are easily replaced with cheap, ubiquitous hardware-store parts. A couple of extra bucks will buy a lifetime’s worth of spare parts.

Twisted fully open, the nozzle produces a powerful single-jet blast, even with my middling water pressure. I have used it quite successfully, in lieu of a pressure washer, to remove dried paint from a concrete patio.

As you twist the nozzle closed, the jet spreads into a smooth conical fan, better for watering grass, flowerbeds, and potted plants that you’d rather not blast into pieces with the jet.

Twisted fully closed, and seated against the hose-end with normal hand pressure, the Gilmour 528T is water tight. I can turn the pressure on full-bore at the spigot, close the nozzle, and be confident that when I come back in an hour or a day that it will not have leaked a drop, which is nice for a couple of reasons: 1) You can use the nozzle without irritating leaked water spraying all over your hand and wrist, and 2) You can turn the water on and off at the business end of the hose, when and where you need it, rather than hiking back to the spigot every time.

Of course, a threaded joint takes two to tango, and some of the quality of the hose-nozzle seal is down to the hose-end. While my nice black rubber Goodyear hose, shown against cobblestones above, does not leak a drop with the Gilmour 528T, this cheapie green hose, seated in the same nozzle with the same torque, leaks like a sieve. When it comes to hoses, you really do get what you pay for.

But as for the 528T itself, the price is the icing on the cake. I got mine from Amazon for $8.55 with free Prime shipping, and loved it so much I bought three more. If you need further convincing, the reviews over on Amazon are just as glowing as mine.

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I write for MAKE, serve as Technical Editor for MAKE magazine, and develop original DIY content for Make: Projects.


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Comments

  1. ray cumberledge says:

    And there’s nary a better smell and reminder of summer than getting a whiff of hose water in the breeze. Ahhh, I can almost smell it now…

  2. tmurray says:

    A ball valve fitting between the nozzle and the hose is a nice upgrade…

  3. tmurray says:

    A ball valve fitting between the nozzle and the hose is a nice upgrade…

  4. Brandon Anello says:

    I have actually used this type nozzle for something else… I used it on my CFLED (Closely Focused Light Emitting Drill)…. the outer part houses the laser (and helps keep it cool too!) and part of the inside stem makes the vent….
    here is the project page on Behance if you want to see/know more about it
    http://www.behance.net/gallery/CFLED-%28Closely-Focused-Light-Emiting-Drill%29/1447889
    (unfortunately I paid like 7$ for it- latter on I found it for cheaper elsewhere)

  5. fajita says:

    you come from a gardening family and your grass looks like that?!!?!?  haha!  mine is worse – just doing my part to help conserve water in california…  =)  good article.  i have this same nozzle and agree with you on ALL your points!

  6. fuzzy says:

    one problem with metal hose nozzles is they get freezing cold very quick

  7. I’m pretty fond of the Bon Aire nozzle – I bought mine several years ago and it’s has sat outside the whole time and still works like a champ – similar simple, all-metal construction, but with rubber outside to protect your car if you drop it. http://goo.gl/5HXVh

  8. I’m pretty fond of the Bon Aire nozzle – I bought mine several years ago and it’s has sat outside the whole time and still works like a champ – similar simple, all-metal construction, but with rubber outside to protect your car if you drop it. http://goo.gl/5HXVh

  9. Anonymous says:

    Is it sad for me to say that the hose nozzles we had when I was growing up all looked like this?  Before the crap imported plastic and white metal ones that only last a season or two began to dominate the market.

    8 bucks seems a reasonable price for something that should last a lifetime.  Perhaps they’ll make a brass version of the lever action spray handle next.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Is it sad for me to say that the hose nozzles we had when I was growing up all looked like this?  Before the crap imported plastic and white metal ones that only last a season or two began to dominate the market.

    8 bucks seems a reasonable price for something that should last a lifetime.  Perhaps they’ll make a brass version of the lever action spray handle next.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I hear you @ka1axy – When I saw this post it immediately brought me back to when I was a kid and was helping my dad wash the 1967 Chevy II Nova Convertible. What a cool car that’d be to have now. Ha, just remembered another not so pleasant kid memory about this hose nozzel… washing our dog’s poop from my Bobo sneaker treads! :)

  12. Mike says:

    I found a feecon small fire nozzle at a boot fair a few years ago, which makes a great garden nozzle, rugged and easily adjusted. Might be a bit over the top!!!

     http://www.flickr.com/photos/mrsuperpants/5934391649/in/photostream

  13. JennaSys says:

    Ha!  It’s nice to see I’m not alone in having a few of these “old school” nozzles around.  They’re practically indestructible and can easily provide anywhere from a nice powerful directed stream of water to a fine mist.

  14. I hav had one of these nozzles for at least fifteen years, and have not had to replace the o-rings yet. I also have a smaller direct hi-pressure brass nozzle. It is nice to have a tool that does exactly what it is designed to do, without having to worry about it. That is why paying a premium is frugality.

  15. John Mizell says:

    I dug mine up from the years of being 8″ under dirt and connected to an old rotten hose; plugged into a new line, works like a champ!

  16. Judy says:

    this brass nozzle looks great but the only 1 Lowe’s has now (twist nozzle) is Gilmour 528GF.
    There is a warning of it CAUSING CANCER AND BIRTH DEFECTS OR OTHER REPRODUCTIVE HARM. it says to wash hands after use. PLEASE BE AWARE!!!!!!!!
    Why do they even carry such an item. it also contains lead.