Which hose reel is best?

Leaving a hose laying all over the ground is not only unsightly, it can also be a danger. It is all too easy for someone to trip over it, especially at night if there isn’t adequate lighting. Storing your hose on a hose reel eliminates both of those issues. Some models even feature wheels to make moving your hose from one spigot to another a hassle-free task.

Hose reels come in a variety of designs, not only in terms of aesthetics but also installation and functionality. Wall-mounted manual models like the Liberty Garden 704 Garden Hose Reel are very reliable and can easily last up to a decade or more. This particular model is also quite pleasing to the eye with its decorative scrollwork, making it an attractive addition to any home. 

What to know before you buy a hose reel

Aesthetics

For most people, hose reels will be in a somewhat visible location in their backyard or on the side of their house. With that in mind, aesthetics should play a major role in your decision-making process. Hose reels are available in a variety of styles from modern to antique, and decorative to minimalistic, so you should easily be able to find one that matches the aesthetics of your home or whatever your preferred style may be. 

Mountable or freestanding

Hose reels come in mountable and freestanding models, each of which offers some pros and cons. With a mounted model, you don’t have to worry about the hose reel tipping over or moving out of place when pulling out the hose. Likewise, they feel more secure when retrieving the hose via a crank. The downside is the more complicated installation that requires you to drill some holes into your wall, which can be intimidating to some.  

Freestanding hose reels offer a little more flexibility in terms of placement, though they still need to be somewhat close to where your spigot is. You can also easily replace a freestanding model with a new one without having to worry about it lining up with the holes you drilled into your wall for your old reel. Freestanding models are available with wheels too, which means you can unhook your hose from the wall and move the reel to somewhere out of sight when not in use.

Hose length

Once you have decided on the aesthetics and whether you prefer a freestanding or mountable model, the next factor to consider is the size of your hose. Not all reels can accommodate the same amount of hose. Some models are only designed to hold 50 feet of ⅝-inch garden hose, while others can hold as much as 250 feet. Make sure to purchase one capable of holding your entire hose. Otherwise, you’ll still wind up with a messy length of hose on the ground.

Features to look for in a quality hose reel

Material

The material of a hose reel affects not only its design but also its durability and cost. Plastic hose reels are the most affordable and are also very lightweight. They stand up well to moisture but can become brittle and crack with age and sun exposure. Plastic reels also tend to be some of the weakest, which means they are the most likely to break when reeling in or unraveling your hose.

Metal hose reels come in brass, aluminum and steel options, each of which has slightly different properties. Of all these materials, steel is the strongest, but can be prone to rusting if it isn’t powder-coated or made from stainless steel. Reels made from steel also tend to be very heavy, which can make them difficult to move. Aluminum is neither heavy nor prone to rusting, which makes it a smart choice for many people. Brass is often considered the most decorative and one of the most durable materials, however, it is also the most expensive.

Retraction method

The majority of hose reels have a manual crank that you use to retract the hose when finished with it. While these require some work on your part, there is little chance of the mechanism breaking, so you’ll never be left in a situation where you can’t retract your hose. Those who would like to avoid manually winding their hoses can opt for a model with automatic retraction. These may either utilize a spring or water power to wind the hose, which eliminates the need for you to do any work. However, the added components mean there is one more thing that could potentially break.

Pivoting reel

Some wall-mounted hose reels have a pivot mechanism near where they attach to the wall. This allows the reel to swing left or right as you pull out the hose, making for smoother operation.

Shelf

A shelf can be a nice feature to have if you need a little extra storage space for gardening equipment or would like to put some decorative statues or flower pots over the hose reel. Some wheeled reels may also feature a small basket to keep your gardening tools close at hand when needed.

How much you can expect to spend on a hose reel

The most budget-friendly hose reels start at around $30. Premium models can cost up to $250.

Hose reel FAQ

How long can I expect a hose reel to last?

A. Most garden hose reels should easily last at least three to five years, even with constant use and sun exposure. High-quality models, notably metal reels, can last several decades.

Are manual hose reels difficult to retract?

A. For most people, manual hose reels are relatively easy to crank, especially if you pull the hose out in a straight line before doing so. However, if you are disabled, elderly or lacking in arm strength for any reason, a model with automatic retraction may be the best option.

What is the best hose reel to buy?

Top hose reel

Liberty Garden 704 Decorative Cast Aluminum Wall Mount Garden Hose Reel

Liberty Garden 704 Decorative Cast Aluminum Wall Mount Garden Hose Reel

What you need to know: Attractive and functional, this wall-mounted hose reel is a smart addition to many homes. 

What you’ll love: It is made from heavy-duty cast aluminum with a powder-coated finish, so it is both durable and rust-resistant. Also, the brass fittings won’t corrode with age. Conveniently, it features a small shelf on top for decorative items or garden supplies.

What you should consider: It doesn’t include the mounting hardware.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top hose reel for the money

Suncast No-Leak Resin Wicker-Looker Hose Reel

Suncast No-Leak Resin Wicker-Looker Hose Reel

What you need to know: This reasonably-priced option features automatic retraction and keeps your hose hidden out of sight when not in use.

What you’ll love: The resin material has an attractive faux wicker style and is resistant to fading or cracking from sun exposure. Also, the reel can accommodate an impressive 225 feet of a standard ⅝-inch garden hose.

What you should consider: Some buyers have received units that leak a little bit at the fittings.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Liberty Garden 871-S 4-Wheel Garden Hose Reel Cart

Liberty Garden 871-S 4-Wheel Garden Hose Reel Cart

What you need to know: If you use a single hose at several spigots around your house, the Liberty Garden 871-S offers a convenient way to not only store it, but also move it from place to place as needed.

What you’ll love: The large crank provides a lot of leverage when winding up hoses, and the large wheels make the cart easy to push over grass and bumpy terrain.

What you should consider: It begins to show signs of rust after a couple of years, sometimes less.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Brett Dvoretz writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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