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How To Choose A Garden Hose Reel

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A good garden hose can make all the difference when doing those outside chores. But, if you have a really long hose, moving the entire length from front yard to backyard, then into the garage for storage, can be a tremendously tedious and exhausting process.

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Having a quality garden hose reel can save you a lot of hassle, and back strain, and keep your hose neat and tidy, storing it out of the way. No more dread thinking about dragging it all over the place when you have multiple tasks on that "honey-do" list. Just reel it in, and/or cart it off. Easy peasy.

For no other reason than efficient storage, or easy transport of your hose from point A to point B. But there are other factors, as well:

What is a garden hose reel made of?

Most are metal or heavy plastic. The metal reels are most often aluminum, with the heavier duty models being made from steel.

What are the types of garden hose reels?

The three basic options for garden hose reels are:

  • Wall-mounted: A spool mounted to an exterior wall, near a faucet. Usually set at two to three feet above the ground. As these are mounted, they do not travel from chore to chore. It may be the right choice if you don't have a big lawn area and space will not be an issue. It is a good idea to have multiple wall-mounted reels if you intend to do chores a large distance from each other. Can come in hand-powered spool, or spring-retracting spool models.
Aluminum Wall Mounted Hose Reel
Plastic Auto Retract Hose Reel
Camel Wall Mount Hose Reel
Taupe Plastic Wall Mounted Hose Reel
Side Tracker Plastic Wall Mount Hose Reel
Steel Wall Mounted Hose Reel
  • Cart-mounted: The spool is set on a frame with wheels for easy hose relocation. It comes in handy when your rolled hose is too heavy to carry around. Only available with hand-crank spool.
Simple Black Steel Hose Reel Cart
Four Wheel Heavy Duty Green Metal Hose Reel Cart
Metal Hose Reel Cart
Two Wheel Heavy Duty Hose Reel Cart
Tan Plastic Hose Reel Cart
Simple Steel Hose Reel Cart
  • Hose cabinet: Essentially an enclosed box that sits on the ground, the hose is hidden within when not in use. Respooling can be done by hand, with a spring-powered return, or an automatic-return option. A good marriage of form and functionality. Some cabinets can be beautifully decorative.
Plastic Auto Rewind Hose Reel Cabinet
Taupe Auto Rewind Plastic Hose Reel Cabinet
Decorative Steel Water Hose Pot
Taupe Plastic Resin Hose Reel Cabinet
Decorative Metal Hose Holder
Simple Tan Plastic Hose Reel Cabinet

What length of hose can I spool into my garden hose reel?

Depending on the model of reel, the lengths can be from 50 feet on a standard home setup, to 250 feet, carried by a steel garden hose reel cart. The length of hose your reel can handle is specified when you purchase the reel. Using a bigger hose than it is designed for can damage the reel, so it is wise never to exceed its maximum length capacity.

What garden hose reeling options do I have?

Most garden hose reels have a hand crank to spool in the hose when done with use. Some have a hose guide that helps keep the hose from tangling, either hand powered or gear powered depending on the unit.

Another simple and efficient option is self-winding and auto-winding garden hose reels. For a quick way to spool a lot of hose in a short time, this is the right garden hose reel choice for you. Especially if you have back issues, where bending over to hand-crank is a problem.

  • Self-retracting reels use a spring built into the reel mechanism. The spring tightens as the hose is unspooled from the reel. A quick tug, and the reel retracts the hose, using the spring tension. A locking mechanism keeps the hose from spooling back into the reel until you are ready. These are also known as spring-winding.

  • Auto-winding reels are terrific if bending over is a problem. They come in two varieties: water pressure driven and motor driven.

    • Water pressure driven hose retractors use a water piston to force excess water out of the hose, powering the retractor mechanism. Just flip a switch, and it purges the water, and the hose disappears

    • Motor driven has a rechargeable battery within that powers a motor, which winds the hose in with a switch or foot pedal.

What are hose cabinets made of?

A sturdy, often ornamental option in garden hose reels, a hose cabinet is a tremendous decision, especially if you live in a hot, dry area. The cool darkness within is the perfect protection for your hose from those destructive sun rays.

Hose cabinets are often cumbersome, so most people put it in one place, near a faucet, and only use the hose within a specific area. Placing a couple hose cabinets at key points within proximity of your outdoor needs is a worthwhile idea.

It can be constructed of many materials, and be ornate for decorative landscaping desires. Some options are:

  • Plastic: Simply a box, white and plain or lattice. This will work if you wish to set something decorative on top of it, as the lid is flat and level. Mostly used for functionality and less for landscaping aesthetics.
  • Resin: Like the plastic option, resin is light and durable, but unlike plastic, it is more malleable in fabrication, so it can be molded into many decorative options and colors. For instance, you can have a resin hose cabinet that looks just like wicker, wrought iron or a planter box.
  • Wrought Iron: Ornate with swirls and spear points, this cabinet speaks to a classic, regal look, pairing well with a lovely topiary arrangement, or if sculptures or fountains are an aesthetic choice in your yard.
  • Steel: These are versatile, and can go with many landscaping options. With lots of interesting shapes, a steel cabinet will enhance any botanical display.