Choosing A Hose Reel

I never really gave hose reels much thought. For years, I've just used a hose hanger, similar to the one pictured right, that came with the house.

It's worked fine but it's not very convenient. At the end of fall I have to coil up the hose and then haul it back out in the spring.

It always winds up looking messy, no matter how much I try and keep it wrapped nicely. The loops get bigger and bigger as the season goes on and I get tired of messing with it. Especially when I need to use the entire length.

So last year I decided to start looking into what different types of hose reels are available and what I think would suit me best. I was a bit dismayed as there were a lot of negative reviews, especially for the cheaper, more common plastic hose reels.

I had some loose criteria when I first started looking. The hose reel should be wall mountable, the spool should be easy to detach for winter storage and it should hold at least 100' of 5/8" hose. Most of the time I would be pulling the hose out perpendicular to the wall, but I will also need to pull it out parallel to the wall to get around the front of the house, so it needed to accommodate both directions.

There are some self retracting hose reels that will wind up the hose for you when you are done. I decided I wasn't interested in these. I don't mind manually cranking a hose reel, it's pretty easy, but most importantly, a lot of these hose reels are water powered. They would eject a decent amount of water to wind up the hose and I didn't want to put more water than necessary right next to the house's foundation, where the hose reel would live.

Metal Hose Reels

All the negative reviews I kept reading about the plastic hose reels that would break and leak got me looking into metal hose reels. Specifically the Rapid Reel Metal Hose Reels since they seem to be the most popular and have the best reviews.

My local garden center has a lot of these. Unfortunately not on the shelves available for sale. They have them throughout their property to handle their own watering needs. It's a fairly new building and it appears they didn't cut corners on hose reels. Everywhere you look you see the metal hose reels with all-rubber garden hoses in their nursery. They are used many times throughout the day, each and every day of the season.

The downside with these metal hose reels is their size and price. They're more than twice as much as plastic hose reels. Sometimes much more. They also tend to have a higher capacity than some of the plastic versions.

If you don't mind the price, the Reel Metal Hose Reels are quality products that will last a long time.

Perpendicular Hose Reels

Perpendicular hose reels crank the hose perpendicular with the house they are attached to. The Suncast Hosehandler was on the top of my list.

I liked it because I would mostly be pulling the hose out perpendicular to the wall so I thought that it would work best.

There were some bad reviews for the product. In addition to the normal reports of leaking for plastic hose reels, there were some design issues such as the guide that helps evenly roll up the hose gets stuck.

It holds 225 feet of hose which is more than twice what I would need and it also sticks out quite a bit from the wall, which I didn't want. The price was good, comparable to smaller hose reels.

Side Mount Hose Reel

Side mount hose reels mount parallel to the wall they are attached to. It seems like they would work better when you are also pulling the hose parallel to the wall. Pulling perpendicular looks like it would put too much strain on the reel, and with all the complaints about them being cheap plastic things that break when you look at them, that didn't seem like a good idea.

I ultimately decided on the Suncast Side Tracker Wall Mount Hose Reel . That surprised me since I was pretty certain I'd be better off with a perpendicular mounted hose reel. Most likely a metal one described above. In the end, I decided I didn't want to spend that much, if I have major problems with this one, I might get a metal hose reel down the road.

The reason I got the Suncast Side Tracker Hose Reel was because it has a roller slot where the end of the hose feeds in and out of. This looked like the perfect solution to pulling out the hose perpendicular to the wall with a side mounted hose reel. With this hose reel it looks like you get the best of both worlds. Easy pulling in any direction you want along with the smaller space the side mount reels take up. That's something the metal hose reel doesn't have and it helped sway me towards the Suncast Side Tracker, along with the price and size.

This hose reel comes in two versions, one that holds up to 100' of 5/8" hose and one that can hold 125' of 5/8" hose. I decided to get the 125' version because I read some reviews that the 100' model couldn't really hold 100' of hose which is important to me.

I wasn't too concerned with the reports of leaking. Suncast has the manual for the hose reel online and I carefully reviewed it before making my decision. By looking at the design, I could figure out where most of the leaks would be coming from and how to handle them. See my post on how to fix a hose reel leak for more information.

All the reviews weren't negative. There were some reviews from owners that had them for years. If the products were as horrible as described in the reviews, I wouldn't think they'd still be in business. Suncast is a pretty reputable brand as well, which made me feel better so I decided to take a shot.

Now that you know why I chose the hose reel I selected see my review of the Suncast STA125B Hose Reel after I have used it for a few years.
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