Suncast Hose Reel STA125B Review

I've owned my Suncast Sidetracker 125-Foot Garden Hose Reel for just over 3 years now and wanted to update my review. There have been a couple of hiccups but overall I'm extremely happy with the hose reel and especially pleased with Suncast's customer service.

Even though the hose reel is very affordable (it costs less than $30 at the time of this writing,) I just hate wasting money on products that don't work or break. It makes me feel like I was scammed. Reading the reviews for the various affordable hose reels I kept seeing the same negative reviews over and over. Not just for the Suncast STA125B but for all hose reels. They leak, their flimsy, they break, etc.

I really needed a hose reel and was anxious for the delivery but I also felt very anxious fearing that I made a bad purchase decision. I was so close to spending over $100 on a metal hose reel, like they use at my local garden center. I have friends and family that have had plastic hose reels for years and haven't had problems so I decided to take a shot on the Suncast Sidetracker. I'm very glad I did.

Why Use A Hose Reel?

With all the frustration I was having trying to choose the best hose reel you might wonder why bother? I guess I'm a bit lazy sometimes. I like doing things, home improvement projects, yard work, etc., but I don't enjoy tidying up afterwords one bit. The faster I can be done, after I already consider myself done the happier I am.

A hose real is an easy way to tidy up your hose after watering your lawn or garden. I used to have a wall mount hose hanger but the hose always looked unkempt and lots of times I'd leave the hose piled up on the ground underneath it just so I could get out of the heat faster.

Using my Suncast hose reel is a snap and I no longer have my hose laying around where it can get kinked or damaged. It also makes it easy to remove the hose and store it for the winter.

Hose Reel Installation

The Suncast Sidetracker was very easy to install. It comes with screws and wall anchors which I needed to install it on my brick wall. All I needed was a drill, masonry bit, hammer and screwdriver to securely mount the hub (base) onto the wall.

An included short hose connects the hub to the faucet and then your hose attaches to the reel.

It Leaked!

That's right. Right after I first installed my hose reel, attached my hose and turned the knob on my hose bib, water started shooting out the hose reel in every direction. This wasn't just a trickle either. I wasn't happy at all.

I took the hose reel apart and looked at what the problem was. There were a couple of issues. One major one was there were no rubber garden hose washers in the short hose that was included. I contacted Suncast and after providing them with the information about when and where I purchased the hose reel, they quickly sent me replacement washers as well as an additional tube of silicone grease and mounting anchors. If you're having problems with leaks there's more detail in my how to fix a leaking hose reel article. It didn't take much to fix the leaks.

It Warped!

At this point you might be a little confused, I did say I loved the hose reel right?

Actually, it came a little warped. The base that mounts to the wall had a slight bend but it got worse over the years. At first it didn't seem like a big deal because the screw had straightened it out and held it flat on the wall. Every few months though it would pull out and even though I used various methods to keep the anchor in place, mortar, hydraulic cement, epoxy, it would still pull the screw out from the wall.

It seems like it's a design flaw with the hose reel hub (the part that mounts to the wall.) You can see there's a thin spot in the plastic because of the notch for the leader hose to pass to the back of the hub. There's one on each side to allow you to mount it on either side of your faucet.

The top screw is very important because the reel mounts to the top and the weight of the hose on the reel puts extra strain on that screw.

Suncast Support Is Great!

I wasn't very happy at this point and I contacted Suncast customer support again. After describing the problem and sending them photos they told me they would send a replacement hub.

The replacement hub arrived promptly and I noticed they had updated the design. Suncast moved the notches for the leader hose to the bottom which made the new hub sturdier than the old hub.

Installation was easy and the new hub came with new o-rings, though in 3 years I hadn't needed to replace them in that time. All I needed to do was add more silicone grease every year when I put the reel back on the hub.

Even though I had some major issues with the hose reel, I understand that sometimes issues can come up, some of which might have been the retailer's fault, but they stood by their product. If their products were garbage, they'd go out of business doing this so I guess I was just unlucky. These things happen.

The Best Features

Like I said, I really like the Suncast Sidetracker Hose Reel.The issues I had above were a pain to deal with but hopefully you don't run into the same issues as I believe the new model comes with the sturdier hub. (Update: Confirmed with Suncast new STA125B's come with sturdier hub.) The good things about the hose reel far outweigh the problems I've had and even when the hub was bent the hose reel functioned well and didn't leak after I corrected the issues. I've had the new hub installed for quite a while now without issue.

Compact Design

What I liked about the Sidetracker was that it mounts with the reel flat against the wall which minimizes the amount it protrudes from the all.

Hose Guide

The Sidetracker has a hose guide built into the base. There is a spinning bar behind the front of the guide. This allows the hose to be pulled perpendicular to the wall and still gracefully spin out of the reel without causing strain on the hose or the reel.

This was an important feature for me since most of the time I use the hose I'm pulling it straight out from the wall. It also makes it easy to collect the hose without having to fight to align the hose properly while winding it up.

125' Capacity

One of the complaints I read about other hose reels was that even though they claimed to hold 100' of hose, they didn't. The extra capacity allows me to roll up my 100' hose without having to be too neat about it.

Easy To Remove and Replace Hose

At the end of the season I store my hose indoors to prevent it from deteriorating in the freezing weather. Pulling one tab unlocks the reel and provides a neat bundle to store away. When it's time to replace the hose it's just a matter of adding more silicone grease, sliding the hose reel onto the hub and locking the tab in place.

The hose reel also makes it easy to drain water from the hose before storing it for the winter. I just remove the sprayer, pull out the entire length of the hose and slowly reel it back in letting gravity do the work.

Affordable Price

The Suncast Sidetracker CPLSTA125B Hose Reel is priced very well. It's a small price to pay but it has made some yard work more enjoyable and I don't have to worry about people tripping over my hose or having my yard look messy.

I was really scared about all the negative reviews but even with the issues I initially had, I'm very pleased with the product and the service I received from Suncast. I found the best price on Amazon.com and it included free shipping.
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