Your Ultimate Guide to the Perfect Garden Hose Reel

Gardening and landscaping tasks cannot be completed without using a quality hose. To keep these hoses neatly coiled (and free from kinks) a garden hose reel is quite obviously a necessity that will continue to prove its value each and every day.

Hoses typically are available in lengths of 50-100 feet. There are also some single unit hoses that extend for 200 feet. When you consider that many gardeners want to combine at least 2 lengths of hosing you can easily see that these items can quickly become tangled, unwieldy, heavy and burdensome to deal with. Just trying to water a small garden space means that you are facing the challenging task of pushing, pulling, untangling and maneuvering a heavy length of tubing. Then you must rearrange the hose when you are finished using it for the day.

Instead of leaving a long rope of tubing precariously tumbled on the floor of your garage you can use a hose reel as an ideal storage space. This outdoor accessory will keep the hose bundled into a coil that can then be stored in a small corner where it is out of the way.

With the many different hose reel options that are now available it is going to be helpful to have a good understanding of the features that are most important. This will enable you to search for a product that delivers efficient performance when you most need it. Your garden reel should provide you with the form and function that you want.

Some individuals try to place too much importance on a stylish appearance for the outdoor gardening products that they are buying. Just because you find a reel that is visually attractive, or has a good price point, it does not mean that the item is going to be well suited for your purposes. You need to find garden hose reels that offer a balance in terms of appearance, function and dependability.

There are a number of factors that should be considered before you make a final decision. Here is a guide that can help you discover the best garden hose reel to purchase.

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Reasons for Purchasing Garden Hose Reels

Garden hoses that are just left tumbled precariously on the garage floor (or abandoned in the yard) can be problematic for the owners.

Makes organization of hoses an easy task for any individual to manage.

A tangled hose is going to develop permanent creases, kinks and bends. This is prevented by keeping the hose wound in a cylindrical coil.

UV light can hasten the deterioration of the rubber, plastic and other materials used to construct the hoses.

Loose garden hoses can prove dangerous to pets and people who may trip and stumble when their feet get tangled in the loops of tubing.

Garden hose reels keep the hoses safely off the ground and out of the way.

A hose reel offers an easy way to store, move and transport all garden hoses.

With a hose reel you can save a lot of time, energy and effort. The reels make it easy for you to handle the task of winding, transporting and unwinding any garden hose.

Even the simplest style of garden hose reel can help you maintain a sense of neatness, safety and order in your garage and yard.

Choosing the Correct Style

One of the most important factors that you should keep in mind is that you should choose the correct reel for your gardening needs. The garden hose reel that you select should be the type of equipment that suits the task at hand. If you only have a few watering tasks on the table then a lighter, smaller garden hose reel can handle the job. If you are going to be using the hose reel for heavy landscaping purposes, or plan to use longer lengths of tubing, it may be wiser to consider purchasing a model that has been designed for commercial use.

Sizing Matters

Make sure that the garden hose will fit comfortably on the reel that you select. It is far better to choose a larger diameter reel that will accommodate 200 feet of hose than to try and wedge extra tubing onto a smaller sized reel.

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Exterior Finishes

Powder coating vs wet paint. This could be called the the battle of the exterior finishes. Powder coatings can be very attractive, but if the coating is not of superior quality then flakes, paint flecks and noticeable cracks are going to become apparent.

Too much powder applied to the finish will mean that the reel will begin to chip and flake almost immediately. If the garden hose reels are lacking enough of that powder coating this allows the untreated metal structure to become visible.

Wet coat finishes can have a stellar appearance when you first purchase a high quality garden hose reel. Unfortunately this type of finish does not have the durability of the more extensive powder coat applications.

Most consumers find that they prefer the look and performance that is demonstrated with applications of powder coat finishes. *Powder coat finishes also have more ability to withstand contact with chemicals that you may be spraying through the hoses.

**There are some stainless steel garden hose reels that also include black powder coat finishes. With one of these heavy duty reels you have the best of both worlds. While the price may be a little more expensive you are going to be receiving an upscale product that will give you years of satisfaction. This combination of materials offers superb service and reliability for consumers who want to get the maximum use from their hose reels.

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Swivel Facts

The main component of any hose reel is the swivel unit. This part needs to be constructed of a quality material such as brass or stainless steel. A good swivel will ensure that your reel maintains a tight seal in any situation; but particularly when the reel is being rotated and pressure is being applied.

The swivel will not only keep the tight fit of the seal, it will also rotate smoothly in any direction. A ball bearing design is going to help ensure effective performance.

Select a reel that has been rated according to the PSI that it is able to handle. A commercial swivel of the highest quality will typically receive a rating of 1500-5000 PSI.

You should be able to repair the swivel fixture if necessary. There are seal kits available that are designed for these situations.

Pivot Friendly

With a pivot garden reel you will likely enjoy more comfort and freedom as you attend your outdoor watering chores. These garden reels keep the tubing from hanging up along the outer flanges of the unit. The reel itself is directly aligned with the hose tubing and this makes it easy for you to extract or rewind the watering hose at any time.

Mounting Considerations for your Garden Hose Reels

There are different designs from which you can choose the most suitable unit. If you only need to use the hoses for light watering tasks, and will travel only a short distance then a wall mounted design may be more to your liking. Should you wish to transport your garden hoses over a large area of outdoor space then you would probably want to choose a free-standing unit that can be wheeled about as needed.

If you choose to mount your reel on a wall you need to consider the overall weight of the empty unit as well as how much it weighs when wrapped with a full spool of garden hose. Always follow the manufacturer's recommendations for the mounting assembly. Make sure that you place the reel in a location where it is not going to be constantly bumped and jostled.

Putting on the Brakes

The hose reel is designed with a braking mechanism that keeps all of the hose from unwinding at one time. This helps prevent mishaps when you only need a short portion of the tube to be released. You can generally choose between a drag brake, tension brake, cam-lever brake, auto-release brake

Each of these braking mechanisms will work to keep the coil of hose under control. The most important factor to consider with the brakes on a hose reel is to choose a unit which allows you to adjust the amount of drag that is being applied.


A hose reel guide will help you accurately wind and unwind the tubing. You may notice that a reel features specialized rollers or a "level wind" design to properly maintain the direction of the hose. This is important because it keeps the hose from becoming "off-center" when the reel is being rotated. Make sure that the reel you choose has an easy and effective "guide" for you to use.

The "level wind" option is able to create a more compact roll of tubing. This will maximize the hosing length that you can coil around the reel

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With guide rollers there will be less friction applied to the hose. This helps create a softer transition whenever the hose is angled in a sharp manner. You will also discover that a hose guide can make your garden hoses last much longer.

Locking Reel

There are simple lock and pin designs that are featured on some garden reels. Look for these to be made from a stainless steel material. The steel will resist shearing and breakage while it acts to keep the reel from dislodging by accident.

Automatic vs Manual

There are some garden hose reels that have motorized assemblies that will rewind the tubing for you. A manual garden hose reel must be rewound by hand. Many consumers prefer the manual method as this allows them to check the speed, tension and direction of the hose as it being coiled around the spool.

Choose from the manually operated garden hose reel-the spring hose reel (that works with a pedal)- or an electrically powered automatic hose reel. The manual hose reels are usually available as disc drives; gear drives; chain-drives or direct drives.

Product Material

Powder coated stainless steel is able to withstand the elements. This material is very rust resistant.

Rubberized stainless steel can also be rust resistant.

Composite materials such as brass provide additional strength and durability to a garden hose reel.

Plastic is subject to damage from the sun, wind and cold temperatures. This material is likely to crack and break under normal use.

Cast iron can corrode and rust if exposed to high humidity, water or dampness.

The Wheels on the Cart Go Round and Round

Today you can discover gardening hose reels that all but scurry about the yard unaccompanied. The designs include hose carts with either 2 or 4 wheels.

The garden hose reel cart that has 2 wheels can be tilted, twisted, turned, pushed or pulled. Many now have a bumper "stop" that is added to the lower edge. This creates a more stable base when you want to park the reel in a specific area of your yard. The 2 wheel design is also considered to be more maneuverable, especially in tight quarters.

4 wheeled garden hose reels are typically designated for use with larger hoses. These are larger, heavier and more sturdy than their 2 wheeled cousins.

Solid rubber tires can be very sturdy. These tires are not able to be inflated. Some consumers feel that rubber tires are difficult to maneuver over uneven surfaces as there is little buffering of "ground shocks".

Pneumatic tires offer some distinct advantages. The tires can buffer the bouncing motion that occurs when traversing surfaces such as gravel, rocks and other uneven ground spaces.These are much like "bicycle" tires. With pneumatic tires the garden reel is able to be more easily moved over any type of terrain.


Now that you understand what features your next garden hose reel should have you are ready to begin your search. Take your time and investigate all of your options. Compare the prices, options, warranty information and customer support that the companies provide. Concentrate your focus on name-brand companies such as Eley and Liberty Products where the manufacturer is willing to stand behind the products that they are offering. With a little care and effort you will be able to find a garden hose reel that is sure to deliver many years of excellent service and performance.

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