Hose reel cart with wheels with blue hose coiled near a brick wall

How to Choose a Garden Hose Reel Cart

A hose reel cart is definitely a clever investment if you regularly use large garden hoses in your garden. But with so many options available out there, when it is time to purchase your own, things might become overwhelming. 

The first step to clearing things up and achieving a good understanding of the hose reel cart market is to start categorizing the types of reel carts available on the market.

Once you go through each category, depending on how you want to use your garden hose, the use frequency, and the length of your hoses, it will be much easier to make the correct buying decision. And, of course, depending on what you need, you can always find hoses that can fit any reel cart category or model. 

To choose a garden hose reel cart, go through the below list and better understand the features that differentiate the hose carts that are available on the market now, and make the right decision when purchasing one:

  • Material type
  • Reel Cart weight 
  • Cart hose length capacity
  • Cart operating mode 
  • Cartwheels number – 2 wheels or 4 wheels
  • Cartwheels material type – plastic wheels or pneumatic tires
  • Reel Cart water couplings diameter 
  • Hose fittings – included or not
  • Leader hose – included or not
  • Additional storage accessories
  • Foldable or non-foldable reel cart
  • Assembly required or fully assembled
  • Warranty period

To provide more clarity, we will detail each of the above-mentioned specs, so make sure you continue reading the rest of the post!

Top features to consider when choosing a hose reel cart

The below feature categories are common to all the current models of hose carts. The important step, before going through this list, is to make a short analysis of your garden.

Identify how often you water the garden plants, how much space you have to move around in the garden, and what type of alleys your garden has. Are your garden pathways rocky, or are these smooth? How large is the garden surface? Do you have a single outdoor faucet, or more than one? Do you use normally one long garden hose, or do you use smaller garden hoses in order to cover the entire garden area?

After this short analysis is completed, you will have a general idea of what type of hose wheel cart you need. The only things to check now are the reel cart features. So, let’s go ahead and see what these features are!

Material Type

Garden hose reels carts are usually made of:

  • metal, aluminum, alloy steel, stainless steel 
  • resin
  • durable plastic or a mixture of plastic and other types of components
  • a combination of plastic parts and metal parts

Most serious brands make sure the hose carts are built to last no matter the material type they use. But somehow, we still prefer the metal hose carts as their sturdiness is rarely comparable with the other variants on the market. Even if there is a risk of producing rust over time, most manufacturers confirm their hose carts have an anti-rust polish applied. 

Reel Cart Weight

It is true that the cart is on wheels, but its weight is still important as it impacts the amount of effort you must put into driving it around the garden. Not to mention that the hose weight adds on top of the cart weight. 

The weight of the hose cart can also impact its balance while driven around. The cart can flip over when you least expect it if the cart weight is not evenly distributed. This happens due to the gravitational force when the garden hose is winded on the cart reel.

Based on our own market analysis, the average weight of a plastic or resin hose is around 12-13 pounds (5.5 – 6 kg). The average weight of a metal hose cart is around 40 pounds (18 kg).

Reel Cart Hose Length Capacity

Based on the manufacturer specifications, a hose cart reel can sustain different hose lengths. The length starts from a few feet and can rise up to 250 feet of water hose. Most of the metal-built hose carts are considered heavy duty and they can have a winding capacity of up to 250 feet hose length, or even more.

Operating Mode

There are two ways to operate a hose cart reel, by hand or by foot.

Hand crank powered hose reel cart – a very popular operating mode for hose carts. This means the hose cart has a handle installed on one of the sides, and you coil the hose back to the reel by turning the handle by hand. 
Foot crank-powered hose reel cart – a very good choice if you have back problems or you are having any pain when bending down. Basically, this type of hose cart is equipped with a foot pedal that you need to press systematically to coil the hose back to the reel, after use.

Reel Cartwheels Number

There are two options available when it comes to how many wheels a hose cart can have. They can have either 2 wheels and a ground pedal support for standing balance, or they can have 4 wheels.
For residential use, most people prefer the 2-wheels hose carts, as they mainly use shorter hoses. These types of hose carts occupy less space, therefore, saving the well-needed storage space. 
The heavy-duty hose carts typically have 4 wheels. This enables increased portability, stability, and ease of use in terms of maneuvering and driving the hose cart to the desired destination.

Cartwheels Material Type 

Most of the plastic-made hose reel carts will have plastic wheels as well. But we also found some mixed models that are made of plastic and have rubber wheels. 
The metal and heavy-duty hose carts will be typically equipped with pneumatic tires, in order to be safely used on all kinds of terrains, without suffering any damage.

Reel Cart water Couplings Diameter

A hose reel cart has two water coupling connections. An exterior coupling where you connect the leader hose (or the smaller hose), on one end to the hose cart, and on the other end to the water source – the outdoor faucet. A second water coupling of the hose cart is usually on the interior side, to plug in the main garden hose. After both connections are done, water should flow easily throughout the hose once you turn the water source on. 
When you purchase a new hose reel cart, make sure to check if the water couplings of the cart match your garden hose diameter. Do the same type of check for the outdoor faucet diameter, that you will connect the leader hose to. 
There are different fitting adaptors that you can use in case the existing couplings do not match your hose. But the easier option is always to buy the one that is already matching. 

Are the Hose Fittings Included?

Some vendors may include the hose fitting connectors that are compatible with the respective hose reel cart. They will mention this in the product package details. Check the compatibility between your hose and the cart water coupling size, in case the hose fittings are not included. If not compatible, you can either search for a different hose cart model or purchase the correspondent fitting adaptors.

Is the Leader Hose Included?

A leader hose is the smaller hose that is used to connect the water supply to the garden hose coiled on the reel cart. It is normally around 5 feet long and it is connected on one side to the reel cart, and on the other side, it connects to the outdoor faucets.
Some vendors include the leader hose in the hose reel cart package, others do not. If the leader hose is not included, you can easily make your own. Cut around 5 feet length of hose from your garden hose and connect the necessary fittings to both ends of the resulting smaller hose.

Additional Storage Accessories

Vendors are truly competing when trying to manufacture the best, all you need reel hose cart. Among the additions they provide is the dedicated extra storage space on the garden hose cart.
Some hose reel carts may have an included steel storage basket, where you can keep other gardening tools that you frequently use. Some models may have an inbuilt special support for hanging the hose sprayer when it is not used. Others may include both of these options. Probably the future hose cart designs will be even more practical than the current options available now.

Is the Hose Cart Foldable?

The foldable hose carts can occupy even less space while not in use. The push handle you use to move and maneuver the hose cart folds down, making the entire hose cart even smaller. This characteristic is more common for plastic or resin-made hose reel carts.

Is Any Assembly Required?

Assembling a hose reel cart can become very time-consuming, especially if you are not so into this type of physical activity.  There are garden hose carts that need full assembly, others that just need a partial assembly, and others that come fully assembled.
Don’t worry, you will find all the needed assembly instructions in the hose cart package, but still, it is an important aspect to consider when making the buying decision. 

Warranty Period

We found that a reasonable warranty period for a hose reel cart with wheels starts at two years. But there are vendors that promise a longer warranty period for specific hose cart parts, or for specific damages that may occur. 
In any case, when purchasing a hose reel cart, the warranty should be a checkpoint that you don’t want to miss.


We understood how helpful a garden tool like the hose reel cart can be. Dragging the garden hose across the garden will no longer be difficult once you decide to upgrade your watering tools to the next level.

In this post, we summarized the main characteristics of the hose reel carts that are available on the market now. Understanding the hose cart features that we detailed above, will share a lot of clarity in identifying the main differences between most types of hose cart models. We also hope this short reading will help reach the best conclusions and identify the most suitable hose wheel cart for you.