Is Using a Garden Hose for RV Drinking Water Safe?

Published on April 5th, 2023 by Rene Agredano

A hose is a hose … or is it? Before you’re tempted to save a buck by connecting a garden hose to your RV freshwater tank, stop and read this article. There are good reasons why RV supply stores want to sell you a real RV freshwater hose instead.

What’s the Difference Between a Garden Hose and RV Drinking Water Hoses?

On the surface you might think that all water hoses are the same. And RV drinking water hoses cost at least twice as much as a garden hose. If you’ve ever wondered if putting an “RV water hose” label onto a hose is just a marketing ploy, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, the truth is, RV drinking water hoses are not just a gimmick.

The important differences between a garden hose and an RV water hose can mean the difference between putting poison into your body or staying healthy.

Garden Hose

  • Often made from unregulated e-waste materials
  • Usually contain unregulated amounts of lead, BPA, and phthalates
  • Another toxic “plasticizer” used to make garden hoses includes polyvinyl chloride, a substance connected to various cancers and health problems.
  • Other harmful substances include organotin and antimony
  • Brass fittings transfer lead into water
  • Water tastes terrible when taken from a garden hose

RV Drinking Water Hose

  • Must meet a set of federal standards
  • Drinking water hoses must comply with the 2014 Federal Safe Drinking Water Act
  • Materials can withstand UV breakdown and chemical leakage into water.
  • RV drinking water hose materials don’t have BPA or phthalate toxins
  • A “DWS” Drinking Water Safe hose is NSF certified and FDA approved.
  • Water tastes better.

Connecting a garden hose for RV drinking water purposes puts you at great risk of health issues now and in the future. Is your life worth saving a few pennies? What about your loved ones?

Buy an RV water hose and use it to prevent health problems. Add a high quality RV water filter system for a higher level of protection.

What to Look for in an RV Water Hose

It’s just not safe to use a garden hose for your RV water supply. Don’t fill your freshwater tank with it, and don’t connect a garden hose to an RV water hookup either. Now it’s time to consider what to look for in an RV hose.

Choose a white or blue drinking water hose.

These colors make them easy to tell apart from an ordinary garden hose. Carry a short hose length and a longer one in your RV.

Camco TastePURE Drinking Water Hoose
Camco TastePURE 50-Foot Premium Drinking Water Hose
Camco TastePURE Drinking Water Hose
Camco 10ft TastePURE Drinking Water Hose to fill jugs of water.

Each hose serves a distinct purpose. We carry one well-marked 10-foot hose to fill jugs of water if we need to do it from a campground spigot. And the 50-foot blue hose is our RV drinking water supply line. The two never come in contact with one another.

Short on Space? Try a Lightweight RV Drinking Water Hose.

These hoses are relatively new on the market. If your RV storage space is limited, the Aqua Pro or Aqua Joe lightweight RV water hoses can be a good option. Both manufacturers make them with BPA-free, drinking water safe materials.

Aqua Pro lightweight RV water hose

Aqua Pro RV Drinking Water Hose 
Aqua Joe lightweight RV water hose
Aqua Joe AJFJH50-58-PRO FiberJacket Non-Expanding Kink-Free Garden, RV, Marine and Camper Hose

Avoid cheap RV drinking water hoses.

In my experience, a cheap RV water hose is exactly that: cheap! I’ve tried low-cost standard RV drinking water hoses, and cheap flexible hoses. Neither one lasted more than a year. Inexpensive RV water hoses may not cost a lot of money up front, but they don’t last long either. However, if you only RV occasionally, a low-cost hose might be a reasonable option.

If you are a full-time RVer or plan to become one, invest in a better quality drinking water hose. They’re just like RV sewer hoses, and other must-have full-time RV supplies. You get what you pay for.

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15 thoughts on “Is Using a Garden Hose for RV Drinking Water Safe?”

  1. For most it would probably be best not to use a regular water hose. But I do not advocate filters for drinking water, they are not 100% in my research. So I opt for distilling all drinking and cooking water, which means it doe not matter if I use regulr hose. Altho in Turkey many years ago we used Clorox. Distillation is simple, very effective, and does not need anything fancy. Wood can be used for heat. That is my choice after considerable time researching this. But it does take a little extra work, but I do not mind.

    • In my research, very few RV filters of the independent lab work using validated methods to prove their claims.

  2. I’m sure my choice isn’t for everyone, but I have a 150′ green garden hose on a portable plastic hose reel that we fill our potable water tank with. We use our potable water tank the way it was intended to be used, as flushing, washing, cooking and drinking water. If we are connected to the park water system, we use a white 25′ hose. Not because we bought it for that, but the dealership included it when we bought the camper.

        • How do you know the water filter is high quality? Can they produce independent lab data using validated methods?

          • Hi David. Yes, certain brands of filters do have independent lab tests to back up their claims. The linked article explains more, such as “An RV water filter with NSF certification means that the National Safety Foundation, an independent lab, thoroughly tested the product. NSF certification of 41 and 53 guarantees the RV water filter is worth the money.”

  3. This article is a bit redundant… Nobody should be drinking water from any other source than bottled…. You would have to test each campgrounds water source first and the research would stand in no comparison to simply buy drinking water. Use fresh water only for shower, cleaning., etc. If you are really bent on gobbling city water, you would need an elaborate filter system ( even reverse osmosis) to be drinking city water safely. The “hose” story here would pale in comparison….

  4. Since we don’t drink from our onboard or city water, we could probably use a garden hose. But right now I do have “an RV hose”

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