Tool Review: Gilmour 528T Solid Brass Twist Hose Nozzle

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Tool Review: Gilmour 528T Solid Brass Twist Hose Nozzle

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.

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I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

View more articles by Sean Michael Ragan


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