Pocket Hose Ultra: Does it work any better?

When expanding garden hoses first hit the market they seemed like the perfect alternative to traditional hoses, which can be heavy and cumbersome. The lightweight hoses expand when you turn on the water, then contract when you turn the water off. But after complaints about leaks, the makers of Pocket Hose -- touted as the top selling expanding hose brand -- are offering a new and improved version called Pocket Hose Ultra.

My first test of the original Pocket Hose in March of 2013 highlighted several issues. While the hose expanded as promised with the water turned on, the materials didn't feel very sturdy. Regardless of tightening, the connection at the nozzle was a leaky mess. And the color -- a bright neon green -- seemed a poor choice for hiding garden dirt.

By June of last year, our partners at Consumer Reports had backed off their May 2013 "thumbs up" review of Pocket Hose after receiving mixed reviews and numerous complaints about leaks from their subscribers. Enter Pocket Hose Ultra, which the promoters claim is better and stronger.

The commercial posted on YouTube, featuring actor and pitch man Richard Karn, doesn't mention previous problems, at least not directly.

"It's equipped with tight-seal technology, guaranteed to give you a water-tight seal every time! The secret is the super strong material of the amber tip connectors. 3 times stronger than the original!" Karn proclaims.

Pocket Hose Ultra is dark green -- a much better color for wet, muddy yard work. I also notice both the hose and the amber yellow plastic connectors seem sturdier than those on the original version. And sure enough, there are no leaks when I turn on the water and use Pocket Hose Ultra to soak the garden and lawn.

Unfortunately, things didn't go so well after my initial test. By the second time I tried it, the Pocket Hose Ultra had sprung a leak. Now, when the water's turned on, it sports a generous spray of water about 4 feet from the nozzle- rendering the hose unusable.

According to the commercial, Pocket Hose Ultra comes with a money-back guarantee. It sells for the same price as the original version, $19.99.