After several attempts at filling watering cans from 5 gallon buckets I realized that I needed to find a better method. I like the fact that we watered the garden using only creek water this past year, but it was a lot of work, especially when a good portion of the water was spilled while trying to transfer it from the buckets to the watering cans. After looking at a few options I decided to try the Triple Seven Super Siphon.
The Super Siphon is a very simple product. It consists of a length of hose with a foot valve at one end. As the hose is lowered into liquid it is able to enter the hose, via the valve, but is prevented from leaking back out. Repeatedly lifting and lowering the hose, being sure not to bring it out of the liquid, forces more and more into the hose until it is filled and begins running out of the other end. Once this happens the liquid flows freely.
I recently used the siphon hose to empty water from a 30 gallon barrel into a 55 gallon barrel. It worked very well, even though the water had to be lifted a couple of feet to get to the top of the 55 gallon barrel. I was able to transfer approximately 20 gallon of water this way, but the siphon wasn't able to handle the final 10 gallon as the difference in distance was just too great.
Next I wanted to finish filling the 55 gallon barrel, so hauled water from the creek in 5 gallon buckets. By sitting a bucket on top of the barrel, I was able to empty the entire bucket with the siphon, since it wasn't having to lift the water. The flow rate was much faster in this scenario as well. I was able to completely empty a 5 gallon bucket in approximately 2.5 minutes.
I have read complaints that the siphon is hard to get started in shallow liquid. I can see how this could be a problem, but it is incredibly easy in anything deeper than a few inches. Using the siphon does take longer than simply pouring the liquid from one container to another, but that isn't always possible. The siphon is also much less work, and can be left unattended once it gets started, which allows for multi-tasking. I am very happy with my purchase, especially for the low price. I expect that we'll use it very often this Spring and Summer for getting water to the garden.
Many people appear to be using the hose for gasoline, which should, in theory, work just as well. I have only used it with water however, and do not attend to use it for anything else. For this reason I cannot comment on its effectiveness with other liquids, or on the impact other materials might have to the longevity of the hose or valve.