Friday, July 26, 2013

Dramm to the Rescue

Last summer was hellish here in Ohio.  We experienced record-breaking heat with no rain for weeks and it was one of the worst droughts in history for us.  It rivaled the summers of 1934 and 1936 and records from those years were broken.

This is what our yard looked like at the end of June last year.  We don't water our grass, only the gardens.

2012 was actually the fourth summer in a row that we have experienced that lethal combination for gardens of high heat and little rain. The Midwest isn't supposed to be a desert, but it seemed that xeric plants would be the way to go if this was the new normal.

Since a great deal of our gardens depend on a normal level of rainfall to do well, supplemental watering was a must.  With us having an acre of property and with large gardens scattered over the property, good watering equipment is a must.

Several years ago, I reached a level of frustration with our watering products and I was on the search for something better. Our hoses constantly kinked and were springing leaks at various places, at which point Romie would buy couplings and splice parts of the hoses together.  You should have seen our patchwork of hoses.  It was pathetic.

Dramm Oscillating Sprinkler
I was also pretty disgusted with the oscillating sprinklers we'd tried.  None of them had lasted more than a summer or two before breaking.  Wasn't there a company that made a hose that didn't kink or a sprinkler that wouldn't break?  Wasn't there a company that made quality watering products that were affordable to the average homeowner?

That same summer, I attended my first OFA event (trade show for the horticulture industry) in Columbus, Ohio, and I came upon a company that looked like they took garden irrigation seriously.  They did it in style, too. (Read: COLORFUL!)  It was at the very end of the trade portion of the event and I frantically engaged a company representative in a conversation about hoses as they were packing up their display.

The company was Dramm and although I'd heard of them, I wasn't all that familiar with their products.  The representative was kind and indulged me, even though he was probably thinking to himself, "WHY on earth didn't she come by sooner, rather than as we're trying to disassemble our booth?"

I don't remember everything he talked about in regard to their products, but what I do remember was that I could tell just by picking up the various sprinklers that these were in a class by themselves, compared to what we'd been using.  If I could break their metal sprinklers, then I was ready to put on my WonderWoman outfit and wear it down High Street.  (Where I would not likely even garner a glance, but that's another subject.)

I like the hose protectors they make too, which provides
extra protection where the hose attaches to the spigot.
The other thing I've never forgotten was that he told me there is NO hose that is kink-proof.  They can be kink-resistant and that's what Dramm hoses are.  They're made of  high-quality rubber and they don't have memory, meaning when they kink (and yes, they will kink on occasion), they won't continually kink in the same place.  This is important, because with many other hoses, once a kink has occurred, that place has been weakened and it will kink all that much easier in the same place, and this is where eventually the leaks happen.

I've been using Dramm hoses ever since that summer a few years ago, and here are my observations:

  • Because they're made of good quality rubber, they really don't kink as much as any other hose I've ever used.
  • The brass fittings have remained in good shape, which is a small miracle in and of itself, because we have very corrosive sulfur water.  The threaded ends still work smoothly when screwing and unscrewing them.
  • They're heavy.  When you make your hoses out of good quality rubber, they're going to have some heft to them.  But these hoses are made to last. It's a trade-off and I consider the advantages to far outweigh the heaviness of them. 

Now that I had my hose situation settled, it was on to the watering wands and sprinklers.  I've only used the oscillating sprinkler, but wow, what a difference compared to what I'd been using.  It's heavy-duty and we've never had any problems whatsoever with it.

Dramm One Touch Shower and Stream in Berry
What we use mostly are the hand watering tools. I LOVE the new thumb control that's available on many of them.  My favorites are the 16" Sunrise Rain Wand, the Revolver, and the One Touch Shower and Stream.  I could probably get by with any one of them, but I do like the myriad of watering patterns on the Revolver.  You can go from blasting stream to gently shower and everything in between, depending on your needs.

Dramm Revolver

I'm not saying that Dramm makes the only quality watering products, but they've worked very well for me and gone are those frustrations I talked about earlier. And this is just a bonus - they come in a rainbow of colors! My favorite color is red, so all of my Dramm things are red, but they tell me that berry is the most popular.

I know this blog post sounds like an advertisement for Dramm, but I really do love their products, so I thought I'd give them a shout out, as I have done with other products that I've purchased and use because they work so well.

I did have problems with one hand held wand - the Touch and Flow Pro Rain Wand.  The trigger part failed on me with the first one I got and I couldn't turn the water off.  They replaced it free of charge (because their products come with a lifetime warranty), but the second one did the same thing a short time later.  In talking with them, they think it might be because of our corrosive water.  We have hard water with a fair amount of sulfur content and they think that might be corroding the little stopper that controls the water flow, but that's not the official verdict.  I will be taking the second one to them and they'll have a look at it since I had problems with two of the same thing.

I'm required to tell you that Dramm has provided me with my hoses and watering wands at no charge over the last few years, but I love their products so much, they would be my first choice when buying them.  I decided to share my opinion here because maybe you're looking for some good quality watering products, too. You can find them at local independent garden centers and hardware stores, as well as Walmart and several online sources.  You can take a look at all their products here.


Terra said...

I like your recommendations and will look for a Dramm hose to buy when I buy again. My current hose kinks, very annoying. So that is a great tip about the hoses.

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