Picking a hose reel should be simple right? How complicated can it be to store a hose? Just head down to your local big box and pick up the cheapest one they have?
That’s what I thought and exactly what I did for a few years.
Then I got sick and tired of dealing with a cheap product and repeating the process every year. So I went on a hunt to find the best hose reels on the market and put together this guide with my reviews.
The garden hose reels below aren’t the cheapest, but they will last you YEARS. A quality hose reel is the best way to store a garden hose, allowing you to do so easily and neatly. They also make winding and unwinding hoses effortless.
Quick Look: My Favorite Hose Reels in 2019
- Eley Model 1041 Wall Mount: best wall-mounted model, unquestionably the best on the market
- Eley Wheeled Cart Model 1043: the best wheeled garden hose cart, 10 year warranty
- HOSELINK Retractable 3025: fantastic wall mount retractable hose reel, 180 degree swivel, 82 feet of hose
- Liberty Garden Wall Mount 704: my favorite decorative hose reel, solid construction, rust-proof aluminum
- Ames Estate Hose Wagon: top-notch hose wagon, holds up to 400 feet of hose, pneumatic tires for easy transport
- RL Flo-Master 65HR8 Retractable: budget friendly retractable hose reel, quailty company and warranty
- Suncast CPLSSM200B Hose Box: inexpensive (but still high quality) hose storage box, ideal size, holds 225 feet of hose
How I Rated the Hose Reels
Below are some additional features that I consider important as well when looking to purchase the best garden hose reel.
In my opinion, an important feature of a hose reel is that it doesn’t leak. We’ve probably all dealt with a leaky hose or hose reel at one time or another and they are inconvenient, messy, and frustrating.
The most problematic areas for leaks are associated with what is known as the water system. This is the solid piece of “pipe” or tubing with connectors on both ends; the leader hose connects to one, the garden hose to the other.
Metal water systems have a lesser tendency to leak compared to plastic. Overtime plastic can become brittle and crack, causing leaks. Cross-threading of the threads on the brass hose fitting can also cut into the molded threads of a traditional water system, causing leaks.
The more you plan to use your hose reel, the stronger and more durable you will want it to be. A heavy duty garden hose reel is worth the financial investment.
People that live in areas with a 12-month growing season and have a very large yard or garden will want a more durable product than those people who have smaller yards and a 3 or 4-month growing season.
Aluminum is great for homeowners because it is lightweight and won’t rust. Stainless steel is good for heavy-duty commercial applications.
Being able to easily transport the hose reel is important for most gardeners, especially for seniors or people who suffer from back or neck problems.
A reel cart offers the most portability. Look for a one that has flat-free, rugged rubber tires to make it easier to transport around your lawn and garden.
Yes, hose reels are meant to be attached to the side of your house or placed somewhere in your yard or garden. They aren’t part of your interior home decor but it’s important they look attractive so they aren’t an eyesore.
You can look for hose reels that are stylish, coming in a variety of colors and metal finishes to serve as accent pieces in your yard. Or you can choose one that has been designed in neutral colors and designs to blend into your landscape seamlessly.
Material – Plastic vs. Metal (Steel)
Most garden hose reels are made of either plastic or metal (usually brass, cast aluminum or steel).
Rusting is a problem for equipment or tools that spend a lot of time outdoors. It’s important to buy a reel that has rust-resistant parts; stainless steel or aluminum alloys are the best choices for metal garden hose reels.
There are also some hard resin hose reels that won’t rust either. But generally, they aren’t as strong as a metal hose reel.
Winding Mechanism & Capacity
Look for a winding mechanism that is uncomplicated to operate and features a steel retraction spring.
Auto rewind is a pretty cool feature too. Most of the retractable reels are spring-loaded so you don’t have to manually wind the hose back in.
Using water power to do the work of winding is also an excellent option. There are a few plastic models that do this…but I haven’t tried any yet.
The length of hose the reel will accommodate is important for homeowners with more area to cover. Make sure to look for a model that will hold the amount of hose you need.
As with the purchase of any other lawn and garden products, garden hose reels come in a range of prices depending on their features, and the material(s) they are constructed from.
When looking to purchase one think about the needs you are trying to meet and the budget you have to spend. Stretch your budget as far as you possibly can to purchase the best hose reel model in your price range.
If you have a smaller yard and don’t need anything portable, you can look at wall-mounted or even retractable reels. They will cost less money but don’t hold as much hose.
If you have a large yard or physical impairments it is in your best interest to look at portable, wheeled hose reel carts. They are more expensive but make it much easier to move the hose around the yard and garden.
Types: Which Is The Best Hose Reel For You?
Just like picking out the right hose (here are some good ones), there are plenty of attractive design choices as well when it comes to deciding on storage solutions for your garden hose.
There are four basic types of garden hose reels: wall-mounted, cart, retractable, and stand-alone.
Before you buy a new hose reel, consider where you will keep it, how much length of hose you have, how often you will use the hose reel, and how strong it needs to be.
All those factors (and more) play into your decision when choosing which is the right for you.
Wall-mounted garden hose reels vary in how they attach to your house. They can be parallel or perpendicular or in some cases both. A parallel mount will pull the garden hose out along the side of a wall; a perpendicular mount will pull the garden hose straight out and away from a wall.
If you don’t need to take a reel with you to different locations, a wall-mounted unit may be one of the best hose reels for you.
Keep in mind this type needs to be mounted securely to an exterior wall, so if you aren’t comfortable with or capable of doing that, you may want to consider a different option.
The second option for a hose reel holder is a wheeled cart. It offers the convenience of being able to quickly and easily move your hose reel to different locations.
Carts are perfect for users that don’t want to leave their hoses outside – a wheeled holder makes it simple to roll their hoses inside a garage or shed.
They are also particularly useful for a larger yard because of their storage capacity. Many carts can hold up to 400 feet (or more) of hose length.
Professional landscapers and those people who work in plant nurseries and commercial gardens tend to prefer garden hose carts. A quality model has pneumatic tires to allow easier movement over moderately rough terrain.
I’m a big fan of retractable hose reels. They generally come with their own hose, nozzle, and swivel mount. Some models are even portable.
With a retractable water hose reel, you pull the hose out to use it, and then it automatically rewinds the hose back in without you having to crank a handle or guide the garden hose.
I wouldn’t recommend retractable style hose reels for heavy-duty jobs, but they are great for light, quick work. The hoses are usually around 85-feet and lightweight.
A hideaway hose reel box – also known as a stand-alone hose reel box – is perfect for those looking for a high-capacity storage system that doesn’t attach to a wall of their house and fully encloses a hose.
An additional advantage of the storage box type is they can be designed to blend into your landscaping. This keeps the box out of sight and simultaneously hides the hose while protecting it from the elements.
Upon first thought, some homeowners think a hose reel is a frivolous or unnecessary expense, but there are some clear benefits to using one when watering your lawn or gardening.
- Reduced wear and tear on your hose, extending its lifespan.
- Protects the hose from damage and leaking.
- Prevents knotting or kinking of hose.
- Increases efficiency when watering as less time is spent unwinding and winding your hose.
- Increases safety by minimizing fall hazards (i.e. tripping over hose).
- Keeps the yard looking organized and clutter-free.
Some basic maintenance tips throughout the season can help to extend the life of your hose reel.
- When attaching the garden hose to a spigot or leader hose, make sure to avoid cross-threading. If you do accidentally cross-thread, the hose coupling’s brass threads may cut plastic water-system threads and cause a permanent leak.
- Check for any defective O-rings. Confirm the correct size of replacements in the owner’s manual or on the manufacturer’s website. Detach the reel from the hose, use a screwdriver to remove any bolts, remove the shield, and then install the new O-ring.
- Oil the bushings by smearing degreaser on a paper or fabric towel and spread it over the knob, shaft, bushings, or any other part.
- Let it seal and air dry before adding a final coat of lubricant.
- To prepare for winter, drain all the water out of your hose and reel and store it inside.
- Most manufacturers recommend disassembling the garden reel at this point, cleaning all the pieces, and spraying them with a finish-protecting clear coat before storing it.
- If you can’t bring it inside, make sure you disconnect the reel from the spigot, remove any attachments or nozzles and remove any remaining water.
- At the start of each season, put a small bit of silicone grease on the rubber gaskets. Replace any dried out or missing gaskets.
I personally recommend at the end of each season thoroughly clean and paint your hose reel using transparent acrylic paint to avoid rust and keep it protected.
Difference Between Cheap and Expensive Models
I don’t like to buy cheap garden products…and a hose reel is no exception. Spending your money on inexpensive tools instead of investing in a quality, durable product will only cause frustration down the road.
Lower priced models will almost certainly be made with flimsy parts and will break easily – especially in cooler weather conditions or after they’ve spent extended time in the damaging UV rays of the sun.
Most higher-end hose reels come with an aluminum watering system. These aluminum systems eliminate leaking much better since they are much stronger than cheaper plastic water systems. Aluminum systems will help to prevent cracking caused by accidental freezing.
Top Rated Brands
- Liberty Garden
- Rapid Reel
- Yard Butler
- Hampton Bay
- RL Flo-Master
How Much Should I Expect To Pay?
Inexpensive hose reels are everywhere!
I’ve seen them as cheap as $20 at some of the big box stores. And there are many reasons they can be sold at such a low price. Over time, these cheap products don’t save you any money.
To begin with, they are usually made of cheap plastic which frequently only lasts about a season or so if that.
Second, there is usually not a watertight connection between the hose and the hose reel, and leakage is constantly present.
Third, the rubber components may crack.
From my personal experience, you really need to spend at least $60 for a decent quality plastic hose storage reel and around $200 for a cart or wall-mounted model. Spending more money on quality garden products is money well spent!
Garden Hose Reel Reviews
1) Eley Wall Mount Hose Reel Model 1041
- EXTREMELY smooth operation
- Reel can be set up for either perpendicular or parallel use
- Industry best 10-year full warranty
- Strong powder coated finish
The Eley wall mount reel is a superbly constructed heavy duty hose reel. This reel is made using rustproof aluminum alloy and is equipped with the highest grade stainless steel mounting hardware available in the industry.
It has an easy to install wall plate, is coated with a high-grade powder coat finish, and comes with an unsurpassed, solid 10 year No-Leak, No-Break, No-Rust warranty.
Leaking is virtually non-existent due to this hose reel’s 2 super-strong components – a 6 1/2 ft. polyurethane inlet hose (sometimes called a jumper hose) and stainless steel and solid brass swivel (sometimes referred to as a rotary union).
The Eley hose reel can be configured to be mounted on the wall for either perpendicular or parallel use, as well as for either right hand or left-hand rewinding. The included wall plate can be mounted either horizontally or vertically, which is a boon for customers with unusual workspaces; it can also be mounted directly on a brick face or the mortar joints, to stucco, or concrete
It is not recommended to install this reel on pressure-treated lumber since pressure treatments CA (Copper Azole), and ACQ (Alkaline Copper Quaternary) are extremely corrosive, and any contact with aluminum must be avoided.
The Eley Model 1041 comes equipped with a 3/4 inch full-flow gooseneck swivel and a 5/8 inch inlet hose. You can upgrade the supplied inlet hose for a 3/4 inch hose to convert this hose reel to a full 3/4 inch flow reel.
The 1041 Hose Reel can handle a maximum temperature of 140º F (60º C) and a maximum pressure of 150 PSI (Pounds per Square Inch). It also features a state-of-the-art cam lever brake, a comfortable-grip crank handle, smooth-spinning axle bushings, and a cutting-edge hose strap — which all work together to make this reel one of the finest pieces of equipment in your garden.
This is by far and away my top pick for the best wall mounted hose reel.
2) Eley Garden Hose Reel Cart Model 1043
- Alloy-aluminum rustproof garden hose cart is the highest rated reel in the marketplace today
- Solid 10″ tires won’t go flat while in use
- Reel comes with a brass swivel and can accommodate both 5/8″ and 3/4″ hoses
The Eley 1043 is my recommendation for the best hose reel cart. It is a super high-quality product, but expensive. The price is justified in that it could possibly be the last hose cart you ever own.
An excellent choice for both residential and commercial use, this garden hose reel features stainless steel hardware, a 1 1/2″ oversized tubular frame, and rustproof, sturdy aluminum-alloy construction.
It also has a top-grade powder coat finish and will give you years of reliable performance and industrial-duty strength.
Leakage is a thing of the past with Eley. The hose reel has two super-strong components – a 6 1/2″ polyurethane inlet hose and a stainless steel and brass swivel (also called a rotary union) which comes with a no-leak, no-rust, no-break guarantee for 10 years!
It features flat-free, rugged all-rubber tires and is backed up by an incredible 10-year warranty. The Eley Quad-Wheel Kit can transform this 2-wheeled garden cart-reel into a 4-wheeled reel and also replace the 2-wheeled cart’s front foot stand with a brand new wheeled bumper.
It has a unique cam-lever brake, an easy-grip crank handle, a state-of-the-art hose strap, grab and pull/push handlebars, and very smooth-spinning axle bushings. This proprietary design is perfect for both right-handed or left-handed rewinding.
The Eley Extra-Capacity Kit widens the center drum of the reel with a simple-to-install spacer, increasing the 5/8″ hose capacity by 75-feet (150 feet to 225 feet) or increasing the 3/4″ hose capacity an additional 75 feet (100 feet to 175 feet).
This is my favorite wheeled hose storage unit on the market and with all of the features listed above its easy to see why I think its the best hose cart available.
- Very simple and smooth, automatic rewind operation
- Wall swivel works great
- High-quality feel and materials
- Fairly expensive compared to competitors
- Would prefer a longer hose
The HOSELINK 3025 is my favorite retractable garden hose reel on the market.
It is definitely more expensive than it’s competitors, but it’s worth the added cost. It is extremely well built – you can tell it’s going to last a long time and save you money – and even comes with the hose included.
The swivel feature works great and the BPA and lead-free hose retracts automatically with ease. The fittings are all high-quality and feel leak proof…and the quick disconnects are awesome!
I do wish the hose was a bit longer for my own personal use. At 82-feet it’s probably fine for most people.
If you are looking for the best retractable garden hose reel, be sure to consider this one!
4) Liberty Garden Products 704 Decorative Wall Mount Garden Hose Reel
- Built of non-rusting decorative cast aluminum, aluminum and brass fixtures have a weather-resistant powder coat finish
- Includes a shelf perfect for garden tools, nozzles, or 5 ft. of leader hose
- Perfect for areas where you can’t hide your reel and want a decorative look
- Harder to crank compared to other models
- Mounting hardware isn’t included
- I would like to see a more durable finish
The Liberty Garden 704 wall mount reel allows you to wind and store garden hoses in style.
It comes fully assembled, simply attach the handle and mount on the wall of your choice. Mounting holes measure 13 1/2″ vertically on-center and 16″ horizontally on-center.
Its heavy-gauge cast-aluminum construction, complete with a strong powder coated finish will provide you with years of use. This model weighs 11.6 pounds and measures 15″ x 22.8″ x 15.4″.
The durable aluminum frame has attractive galvanized / brass fittings and spiraled flourishes, and has a hose capacity of 125 feet. It has a convenient 7″ x 14″ storage shelf on top and includes 5 ft. of leader hose.
The construction of Liberty Garden products is top-notch – leak-free and solid cast aluminum. This reel glides effortlessly and rolling it back is just as easy. It also fits well into the most challenging of spaces.
Other features include a brass swivel, a very smooth winding capability, a clear online owner’s manual with easy instructions, and a receptive and helpful manufacturer. This unit should not be exposed to freezing temperatures.
This Liberty Garden hose reel looks good with any house color and adds some flair at the same time. Despite its attractive appearance, this hose reel is very solid and well built.
5) Ames 2380500 Estate Hose Wagon
- Heavy duty all steel construction
- Pneumatic tires handle all sorts of terrain
- Easily handles 400 feet of hose
- Needs to be assembled
- More expensive than other models
The Ames 2380500 Estate Hose Wagon is an awesome hose reel!
Yes, it’s expensive, but in this case, you definitely get what you pay for. If you have a large yard or need to store a lot of hose, and need to transport it easily, this model is for you.
It holds up to 400 feet of hose!
The durable steel frame is built to handle years of use and the 4 pneumatic tires make it easy to roll over all types of ground. It will not only increase your efficiency but save your back as well! Holds water pressure well, with no signs of leaking.
Be aware, that the Ames hose wagon is assembly required! It will take a solid hour to get it together properly. I would also advise spraying each part with clear acrylic paint to offer protection from rust.
If you need a quality hose reel with a large capacity, be sure to include this model in your list to research.
6) RL Flo-Master 65HR8 Retractable Hose Reel
- Great price for high quality retractable reel
- 180 degree swivel design
- It can be removed from the wall and carried around
- Some of the plastic feels cheaper than competitors
- Connections could be better built
If you only need a small amount of hose, you may want to think about a retractable model. The RL Flo-Master 65HR8 is a good product to start out with to try and see if the retractable design is right for your needs.
It’s priced below its competitors but is still a quality product with positive reviews. You should be able to get a few years out of it – easily – with the proper care.
I really like how easy it is to detach from the wall and carry the hose around with you. An included quick-disconnect would make it even more convenient.
The included hose is only 65 feet long, so it won’t work for larger projects, but for every day watering the length is sufficient. It also works well for washing vehicles and comes with an included nozzle which is a nice touch.
This model should last you a few seasons, but if you are looking for something more heavy-duty, check out the HOSELINK model above.
7) Suncast SSM200B Resin Hose Hideaway
- Love the color scheme
- The swivel base works great – most competitors don’t have this feature
- The seals feel very tight for a product at this price point
- When you get to the end of the hose, the base can slide unless it’s spiked down firmly
- The internal winding gears are plastic and can break in cold conditions
I really like the way this Suncast hose storage box looks. The contrasting colors add a bit of style to an otherwise un-exciting yard product.
The swivel base is really nice when trying to get around a corner or other object. Just be sure to stake it down or you will find the box slides especially when you get towards the end of the hose.
It holds about 225 feet of hose, which is adequate for most people. If you do put that much hose in it, I recommend using a lighter weight hose. A heavy hose will put more stress on the plastic crank and gears which could cause premature failure and breakage.
Being plastic, the crank handle isn’t all that strong but is sufficient for most people. The hose guide helps to keep everything wrapped neatly.
Overall, the Suncast SSM200B is a good product at an even better price for people looking for a stylish hose box.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: How does the hydropower garden hose reel work?
Answer: The hydropower hose reel works by relying on water pressure to effortlessly retract the hose back onto the reel. Allow the water to continue to run through the hose, flip/pull the lever, and the hose automatic winds itself back up through a water-propulsion mechanism. A built-in tracking guide winds the hose evenly. Once the hose has been completely wound back up the hydropower mechanisms stops and excess water is allowed to drain out of the hose.
Question: What height should I mount my hose reel on the wall?
Answer: The best height to mount a hose reel on an exterior wall is between three and five feet off the ground. It is typically recommended to mount the reel above the hose spigot, in close proximity to allow the leader hose ample room to reach from the spigot to the water connector on the reel drum. Three to five feet off the ground is about waist to chest height for most users/homeowners, making it easy to use and gives you proper leverage to reel the hose back up once you are finished watering or gardening.
Question: How big of a hose reel do I need?
Answer: To determine how big of a hose reel you need, think about how portable you want your garden hose and associated reel to be. Most people prefer to use a garden hose that can access the entire yard and garden in a single length, without needing to move the hose reel. Determine the hose length needed for your yard and then look for a hose reel that can handle a hose about 50-feet longer that what you are using. This allows your hose to expand and contract in relation to temperature.
Question: How do I keep a garden hose from tangling when rewinding it on the reel?
Answer: The best way to keep a garden hose from tangling when rewinding it on the reel is to wind it somewhat slowly while using your free hand to help guide the house. If your reel doesn’t have a hose guide, keep the hose taut with your free hand and guide the length of hose back and forth across the reel drum in even coils. Haphazardly rewinding it with too much slack allows the hose to tangle, making it difficult to unwind it the next time you want to use your hose.
As I stated above, the Eley products are my favorite outdoor hose storage products. I understand though, that they are expensive and may lie outside of the budget of some buyers. If you can afford one of the models listed above you will get your money’s worth.
For consumers with a smaller budget, I hope the other products I mentioned give suitable choices and help make it easier to choose the best hose reel.
Please leave a comment below if you have any further questions or can add to the conversation.