I remember the days when I watered my garden with a can.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I'm not saying that watering your garden with a can is bad, but when you have a large raised bed garden like I do, it's useful to have a hose as well. When I switched to a garden hose, my gardening routine became a whole lot easier...until I realized I didn't have a hose reel.
I found myself rolling my hose up myself and getting all sorts of kinks and tangles. It's one thing to have a high-quality garden hose, and it's another to take care of it properly.
In this article, we'll look at: why you should use a hose reel and how to choose the best hose reel for your individual needs. We’ll also cover some of the best hose reels on the market right now.
If you're just interested in those suggestions, see the list below.
- Best Hose Reel Overall: Eley Rapid Reel Wall Mount
- Best Hose Reel Cart: Liberty Garden Products 4-Wheel Hose Reel Cart
- Best Wall Mount Hose Reel: Liberty Garden Products 704 Wall Mounted Hose Reel
- Best Retractable Hose Reel: RL Flo-Master Retractable Hose Reel
Although it seems self-evident, using a hose reel is a much better choice than storing your hose haphazardly. Here are a few reasons why you should use a hose reel:
Most of us use our hoses during the spring and summer for daily gardening. We also use it throughout the year to wash our cars or have an epic water fight with our family. Constant use puts even the best hoses under stress, so when it's not in use it's a good idea to keep it protected.
Using a hose reel will drastically increase the longevity of your garden hose. You'll avoid tangles, sun damage, cracking, and other common hose deterioration issues. That’ll save you money on buying a new hose before you really need to!
I can't tell you how many times I've tripped over my hose. Maybe I’m naturally a clumsy person, but once I got a hose reel I don’t trip over it at all anymore. I don’t have kids right now, but if I did I’m sure I’d have avoided a ton of “boo-boos” by now!
I don't know about you, but when I use my garden hose I often forget to roll it back up. Sometimes I'll even leave it on my grass or garden accidentally, which can kill the plants underneath. With a hose reel, I always remember to spool it up so I never harm my plants.
I'm a recent convert to being organized in the garden. In the past I used to garden in a messy fashion, telling myself that it was more “natural” this way. I couldn't have been further from the truth. Along with other garden organization techniques, using a hose reel helps reduce the clutter in my yard.
I'm all about doing less work in the garden if I can. In fact, I want all of my garden tools to do most of the work, and my role is just to operate them. Hose reels help me offload some of the cleanup work to a device.
No longer will I have to arduously unravel my hose, water my yard, and then make sure to carefully wrap it in loop when I'm done. The hose reel takes care of all of that for me.
Now that you know the benefits of using a hose reel, let's get into how to choose the best one for your particular needs in the garden.
Before you do anything, you need to check how long your garden hose. Without knowing this, you could accidentally buy a hose reel that is not large enough.
As a general rule of thumb, pick a hose reel that can support a hose that is about 50 feet longer than your hose. You want to give your hose some extra room to expand and contract in the heat.
Ask yourself the question, “How portable do I want my hose reel to be?” Most people with large gardens — like myself — will choose a hose reel that is movable. Typically it will have wheels on it so it can be dragged around the garden.
An alternative option is a wall-mounted hose reel that stays in one place once it’s affixed. These are a good option if your hose is long enough to water everything that needs watering without moving the reel at all.
Retractable garden hose reels are useful if you have to de-spool your garden hose all the way during your daily watering tasks. They’re also a good idea if you just want to save energy reeling it in.
These work by automatically pulling the hose back onto the reel and rolling it up. They are quick and easy to use, but do require some strength to pull it out to begin with. Another potential issue is with long hoses — retractable hose reels sometimes have a hard time pulling them back onto the spool.
Most hose reels come with all sorts of fittings to attach the reel to the water outlet. Aside from these standard fittings, you should consider a nozzle for the end of the reel so you can easily control the flow of water.
These are useful if you’ve got your hose fully unraveled from the reel and are doing some watering, but want to turn off the hose before you make it back to the water outlet.
Best Hose Reel Overall: Eley Rapid Reel Wall Mount 1041
The Eley hose reel is simply the best on the market right now. It's wall-mounted and will hold up to 150' of 5/8" hose or 100' of 3/4" hose. These numbers fluctuate based on the exact hose brand and style that you have.
This hose reel is NOT the cheapest on the market, but if you're looking for something with a few extra features and good build-quality, I would highly recommend the Eley Rapid Reel.
It has a cam brake to avoid a free-spinning reel, and your hose will effortlessly spool out and back in without any issues.
Here's an in-depth installation from an avid user:
Verdict: If you want to pay a bit more and then never buy another hose reel again, get the Eley Rapid Reel.
Best Hose Reel Cart: Liberty Garden Products 4-Wheel Hose Reel Cart
- Perfect for professional/commercial garden/landscaping...
- Holds up to 300-feet of 5/8-inch hose (hose not included),...
- Features 13 gauge steel construction, durable powder coat...
- Low center of gravity helps prevents tipping, 4-10"...
- Assembly required, Color: tan. NOTE: Refer user manual and...
Let's face it — sometimes a wall mounted hose reel won't do. If you're a commercial gardener or you have a large yard, this hose reel cart is a top choice.
It'll hold at least 300' of 5/8" thick hose, more than double most other reels on the market. It's made of 13 gauge steel and the powder-coated for long-term durability.
There are four pneumatic tires, meaning you'll have no problem navigating bumpy or rocky surfaces.
Verdict: If you need a portable hose reel that can hold a LOT of hose and will last for years and years, go with this pick.
Best Wall Mount Hose Reel: Liberty Garden Products 704 Wall Mounted Hose Reel
- Holds 125-feet of 5/8-inch garden hose (hose not included)
- Constructed of non-rust, cast aluminum and feature brass and...
- Easily pull your hose out for use, then rewind for storage,...
- Features a shelf ideal for frequently used garden tools and...
- Mounting hardware not included
Although we already covered a wall-mounted hose reel, the 704 wall-mounted hose reel from Liberty Garden Products deserves a mention as well. It's a more aesthetically-pleasing design than the Eley and comes in at a cheaper price as well.
It holds a bit less hose than the Eley, at 125' of 5/8" garden hose. It also doesn't auto-retract, but has an easy rewind handle attached to it, so you shouldn't have too much trouble.
One unique feature of this hose reel is the shelf at the top to store some of your hose nozzles, fixtures, and garden tools.
Verdict: If you need a wall-mounted hose reel and don't want to spend as much but still want quality, choose the 704 from Liberty Garden Products.
Best Retractable Hose Reel: RL Flo-Master Retractable Hose Reel
- Slow, retractable spring-loaded hose with stopper
- Automatic guide prevents the hose from overlapping while...
- Mounting brackets allow for 180 degree swivel; mounting...
- Unit can be removed from bracket and includes a carrying...
- 65' of reinforced 5/8" hose, with threaded brass end
Finally, we have our budget option, the RL Flo-Master. On the plus side, it's retractable. It holds up to 65' of 5/8" hose, making it the lowest-capacity hose reel we recommend.
Make no mistake, this is a budget hose reel. But sometimes you don't need anything fancy and saving some cash is a primary factor in your decisionmaking.
Verdict: If you don't have a large yard and can make do with only 65' of hose, grab the Flo-Master. You'll still have a wall-mounted retractable hose reel at a fraction of the price.
I’m the founder of Epic Gardening, a website dedicated to teaching 10,000,000 people how to grow plants. I enjoy skateboarding, piano, guitar, business, and experimenting with all kinds of gardening techniques!
Last update on 2018-06-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API