Ralph Waldo Emerson once said “Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door.” Unfortunately, in today’s world of disposable junk, it is tough for the better mousetrap-maker to compete against the “cheaper is better” culture. Similarly, in the world or gardening and landscaping equipment, there is an unlimited supply of, to be blunt, GARBAGE out there on the market. Hoses in particular have gotten really cheesy. Even after replacing the rubber washers, how many cheapo hoses do you have that leak at the connections, no matter how hard you crank on the thin brass or crummy plastic fittings? Enter Nelson’s Leak Free brand fittings, available on Nelson and Gilmour hoses and accessories.
There have been other quick-connect systems on the market before and frankly, I have always passed them by, because they either didn’t look to be very high quality, or it simply seemed like too much of a commitment to change over my whole system. I was thinking the same thing when I first heard about the Nelson Leak Free System, but after Nelson sent a Leak Free starter kit our way and testing it out, I gotta say, I am impressed… in a big way. Right out of the box, it was easy to see that the quality is there. The hose is heavy duty, the spray nozzle is solid aluminum and the couplings look downright industrial. The starter kit comes with a converter coupling to attach to your hose bib or the male end of a standard hose, a high quality 50 foot hose and the adjustable sprayer. You can also buy other sprayers and sprinklers built with the Leak Free connectors that appear to be of equal quality.
Some of the advantages of the Leak Free system became apparent the first time I tried it out. First, the couplings have an automatic-off feature. Amazing! You can switch accessories without going back to the hose bib and shutting off the water! No more kinking the hose to cut the pressure while you clumsily screw the sprinkler on with one hand! Also, the fittings only require one twist and they lock together. This beats the heck out of threaded fittings, especially if you struggle with arthritis or other issues with your hands.
If you have a smaller yard and minimal needs, it may be relatively inexpensive to make the switch. The basic kit is fairly inexpensive, however, if you have a big place like mine you may think twice about the price. It would be nice if they made another adapter to modify your existing accessories for use with Leak Free system. It would make the transition a lot easier if you already own a lot of stuff and want to switch over gradually without tossing your old sprinklers and sprayers. Also, I would like to see some of these fittings 5 years down the road. To me, the test of a really quality tool is it’s longevity. Will the spring locks and auto-off features keep this system truly “Leak Free” over years of use? So far, it looks like a good investment.
Where to Buy
A Nelson Leak Free Starter Kit will set you back a reasonable $40, with most of the accessories ranging from $20-$30 each.