The watering is finished, the sun is getting ready to set as the last rays of light cast their glow on your beautiful yard and the smell of food being set on the dinner table is tempting you back inside. Yet there is still clean up from an afternoon of garden work to do, and although the yard looks great, there is now the eyesore of a garden hose snaking its way across the lawn and through your grass. It takes time and energy to roll it up, even more so if you don’t want to get soaked through. The solution? A retractable hose reel.
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The next step then is to figure out which one is for you. There are so many on the market nowadays that simply going to the store to pick one up is only going to get you a load of confusion and frustration, when time after time the cheap materials many of them can be made with, snap, pop or leak after only a couple weeks of use. There are so many different styles out there as well, that cater to so many different gardener’s needs.
Things to consider will include the length of hose that you are wanting to connect, whether you want an automated one or manual reel, if you need one that can be mounted on a wall of a shed, garage or home, or if it should be freestanding or mounted on a wagon. Some people will want one that blends in with their garden décor or looks decorative if their spigot is in a very visible spot of their yard, while others might not care at all and keep it out of the way. In this article, we will consider all of these options and have put together a list of the best of these options, with a focus on automatic reels. The quick guide below offers a short description of what it is and why it was included in this list. Below the quick guide, we will go into more of the positive characteristics that these products are known for, as well as some cons to consider when trying to pick out your best option.
This reel is one of the most expensive on our list regarding the automatic reels, yet it packs a punch when considering quality of build, material, durability, convenience and usefulness. With so many options, why not go with the only one you will ever need to buy?
A great choice for a middle of the market spring-loaded reel. Made with many easy conveniences and well-rated with few problems mainly due to manufacturers quality. Made for convenience of use as well as for the wallet.
The Aquawinder is unique on this list for the fact that it uses hydropower to wind the hose back up. It is not the only ground mount reel that is on the list, however, this feature makes it easily transportable and user-friendly. With a lever to make the height difference doable, it is a good option to consider for any yard owner.
This product is the only battery-operated reel on this list. A great option if the battery power is what you are looking for since this battery may last some gardeners throughout an entire summer. With a foot crank to start the battery, this is a great option for those with back problems or are looking for a very convenient reel for any other reason.
You get what you pay for, and if you pay for this option you won’t need to pay for another. This option is a great investment with convenient installation and use. It is the only manual reel that we included on this list, purely for quality and a wider range of options if the good, old-fashioned crank is something you are specifically looking for.
The HOSELINK is like the better built brother to the Flo Master featured next on our list. It is very well constructed with quality materials used in the design. This is a product that is a wall mounted reel that comes with the brackets and fittings needed for an easy installation to whatever platform you want it attached to. There is only one way to attach it since it is also fitted with a bracket that swivels 180 degrees. It has handles on either side of the reel to make it easy to take it on and off for storage after the initial installation of the wall brackets and mounting is done. This product is a chunk more expensive than many people may prefer when looking for a garden hose reel, however, it should be taken into consideration that it is the complete system, equipped with a hose and spray gun with seven adjustable modes, shooting it up in terms of value. The reinforced 9/16” hose is 82 feet long with great quality brass threaded ends. The automatic winding mechanism is well made on this product and is initiated with just a gentle pull that allows for the hose to wind back in without any tangles or kinks. It features no-leak fittings from HOSELINK that will prevent water from being wasted or irritating leaks to form at the nozzle end or connecting end after several uses.
The biggest con people see with this option is the price. It is one of the more expensive options out there, however, that doesn’t stop it from being one of the most liked. The most common complaints after buying this product is the attempts it can take to really master the set-up of the rewind action. Although it is supposed to take just a tug, there is a bit of a trick to it that can take several attempts to get down. However, many say that once it is mastered, it’s easy.
Finally, a con that some will need to consider depending on their needs is the size of the hose that is pre-fitted on this product. At 82 feet, it will be long enough for most needs, but there will be some that this length just won’t cut it.
This hose reel is one of the best rated simply for its convenience. On the market, it runs about middle of the road in pricing, and therefore middle of the road in quality of the make as well. Although the quality of the materials may not be the best you can find on the market, it means that this hose is quite affordable while still being a great option. The way that it is made allows for a little less wear and tear that may cause breakage in other products and will allow this to last longer even with a lower quality material. The design of the product involves an easy mounting wall bracket, allowing this to be placed at an appropriate height for those that will be using it the most often and will save a lot of bending that may have to be done when using a hose box or a model that sits on the ground. The installation of the wall bracket is not only easy, but after it is installed it is even more of a practical option since the reel can then be removed from the bracket if needed, whether to fix something or for storage during the winter months. It is also not fixed in place once mounted, but can actually swivel 180 degrees, like the HOSELINK, meaning that the reel itself won’t help train the hose to kink and bend around the edges of the structure but it will follow you as you drag the hose around. This also means less resistance when pulling the hose out. The reel is spring loaded, which means no charging needed for a battery or manual winding to do and has a strong lock for when you don’t want the hose to wind back in.
A hose is included with this this model as well, at 65 feet and 5/8 inches it will generally get the job done for most people. The spray nozzle included has eight different patterns and is easily adjustable between these, making this option a great value buy without needing to worry about getting a new one each new season that rolls around.
Although the cons are not plentiful for this option, they are always still worth knowing. We have already touched on one of the main issues that people commonly have this reel. As they say, you get what you pay for and this is true when it comes to this option. Even though it is not the cheapest on the market, it is still one of the more affordable options, mostly because it is made with a poorer quality material that may not last you as long as you would like. With proper care, though, it gets you a while.
Secondly, there have been a number of issues with the spring reel breaking after so many uses. This is often because of overextension and if this is avoided, the problem with the spring breaking will easily be avoided as well. You may also want to consider the length of the pre-fitted hose when thinking about this option. For many, this length will work just fine, but if you need something much longer, this may not be the reel for you.
This hose reel is a great option for those looking for an automatic reel that doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb on their patio or next to their house. This reel needs to be grounded, which some would think would be inconvenient as it might mean a lot of bending down to get the hose cranked back in. However, this is not the case with this hose reel as it has a rather unique feature of having a lever installed on the side that will enable the user to crank the hose in without back stress by flicking the lever back and forth to get it to wind or stop winding. The way that this can work is by harnessing hydropower and a Smart Trak to reel the hose in neatly without having to charge a battery or have it plugged in somewhere. It is generally very durable and yet aesthetically appealing since it is made from a hard, plastic casing with a wicker basket design on the outside. This reel does not come with a hose but has a very generous capacity compared to others, being able to hold 125 feet of a 5/8” hose. The product comes with stakes that should make ground or porch installation pretty simple and is more convenient since they lend to being pulled up, which allows the entire hose reel to move if a more convenient place is found for it.
The first con we are listing this one is that many people have a problem with the quality of material that this is made out of. There are a number of people that have had issues with the housing and the reel materials, however, more people have had specific problems with the hose connectors being made cheaply and breaking easily, as well as the pegs that are included. These pegs are supposed to be made for convenience, but many have found them harder to install than it is made to sound.
Another consideration is that they are also not suitable for heavier hoses, something that should be considered if you already have a hose, or a specific one in mind. For those that are environmentally conscience, it is good to keep the potential water waste in mind with this option as well. Since this reel is driven by hydropower, the longer the hose is that is rolled into it, the more water will flow out of it as it winds itself back up, which can come out to be quite a lot with the longest hoses that this is made to hold.
This product is the only battery-operated reel that is featured on this list, mainly because there are generally so many problems with the battery on them and the charge and durability that they are just not worth the hassle for many people. This product has made a name for itself, however, and is known for its ease of use and length of the batteries charge. One charge of the battery will give you up to 20 uses before it should need to be charged again. It comes with the battery and a charger but should be noted that it does not come with a hose. The hose that it is designed to be paired with is a 5/8” hose that can be up to 100 feet long. This is a grounded box reel that is made almost entirely from plastic. The battery will spring to life with the use of the foot pedal that makes it quick and easy to reel up without any bending over or otherwise exerting any effort. It will wind the hose up with the help of a Smart Trac system that means no kinks, twists or bends while it is rolled up, making it much easier to get back out the next time that you come to water. It also has a storage compartment on one side, which many people have found to be quite practical. If you forget to charge the battery when you notice it is beginning to run out of juice, it is equipped with a hand crank as well that allows you to smoothly get the job done manually instead of being forced to leave the hose out on the lawn.
Even though this is a great product all around, there are always some faults in every product. The major couple that have been found with this option are pretty easily solved or handled for most. One is purely to do with aesthetics, it really is a box and there is no major design that went into making it blend in or look pretty in the middle of your yard. Since it is made almost entirely from a durable plastic, this may not appeal to some.
The other major con may present a bit more of a problem for some: there is nowhere convenient to hold since there are not handles anywhere on the smooth exterior. Many people decide to go with a grounded instead of mounting one reel purely because of the convenience of being able to move it around. If this is you, this may be something to consider before investing. The other con to consider is that the hose needs to be practically drained of water before it should be reeled back up into the box.
This reel is last on the list only because of price and the fact that it is a manual crank instead of an automatic reel like the rest featured here. This reel is the one that you buy if you want something that will outlive you. The reel is made from an extremely durable stainless steel that won’t rust or fade due to the elements. This option is a wall mounted reel with options to assemble it in a perpendicular or a parallel configuration, giving you the choice of whatever is most convenient for you when considering the layout of your yard. During the winter, the hose and reel can be taken off of the wall brackets for storage to retain durability of the reel and the hose. A hose is not included with this reel, but it does come with a 6-foot long rubber inlet hose to connect it to the most convenient water source, as well as crush-proof brass fittings to facilitate with installation of the reel and hose. It can hold up to 150 feet of the standard 5/8” hose or 100 feet of a ¾” hose. It has a great feature for those of us that are consistently stopped by crimps in the hose by including a U-turn tube on the front that allows smooth movement of the water through the reel and into the hose. Keeping the company that produces it in mind, if a part ever does break, they value their reputation and are known to get a replacement part out quickly with great customer service.
The biggest con that will stop people from buying this is the price, especially since it doesn’t come with its own hose. However, if you only ever want to buy one hose reel for your home, this is probably the one to go with.
The only other con that has been found consistently is because there are so many ways to install, the instruction manual needs to be read thoroughly.
As you can see, in the realm of retractable garden hose reels, there are options available for just about any set of preferences that a gardener could have. Whether it is mounted, stand alone, visual aesthetic, crank or automatic and easy, they have made options for them all. Here’s to hoping that you found your new reel within the products on this list and that throughout the upcoming summer your yard will be kept safe and clean with a reliable reel by your side.