crank-driven manual garden hose reel

What Is a Hose Reel And Why You Need One?

Hose reels are a great way to keep your garden hose neatly stored and out of the way. They are mostly used to keep your garden hoses off the ground when you are not using them so that they do not get all tangled up and dirty.
Winding your hose in an organized manner, by using a garden hose reel holder, will make your life easier every time you need to pull out your hose and start watering your garden. Not to mention that you can use hose reels for storing other long items, like extension cords.

But what is a garden hose reel?

A hose reel is a sturdy, cylindrical device that serves to correctly store a garden hose when not in use. The most common type of garden hose reel is made of metal and has a crank handle on one side, that winds the hose on the cylinder. On the other side of the hose reel, there is a water connector installed together with a leader hose is also included. The leader hose is a smaller size hose, a few feet in length, that connects the hose reel to the outdoor faucet.

The garden hose reel assures immediate access to the garden hose when you need to use it and, on the other side, it has a hose holder functionality. When using a water hose reel, you will easily store and carry the hose, by winding it around the reel. And when you need to use the garden hose, this is very accessible. You just need to uncoil it from the hose reel as you drag the hose where needed.
The reel can be mounted on a wall or on a fence, free-standing, or free-standing with wheels usually called a garden hose reel cart.
Depending on the model you choose, different hose reel parts will be included in the package, such as specific wall-mount fittings, wheels for the portable reel carts, or ground support parts for the free-standing hose reels.
This article will help you understand how using garden hose reels can help us in our daily gardening life, what are the main benefits of using a hose reels holder and how this device works. Continue reading so that you can choose which one is best for your needs!

Water Hose Reel Classification: How Many Types of Garden Hose Reels Are There?

Hose reels are a necessity for every home and there are a few different types of hose reels that you can buy. These come in many different shapes and sizes and have a variety of features that make them more or less suitable for your individual needs.
There are five different features to consider when categorizing the garden hose reel types.

  1. Depending on the material type, you will find garden hose reels made of durable metal alloys, plastic, fiberglass, or a combination of these materials.
  2. Depending on the maneuvering type, the water hose reels can be hand crank-driven, spring-driven (self-retracting), or motor-driven. 
  3. Depending on how you install and position a hose reel, the main categories are free-standing, wall-mounted, and mobile hose reels with wheels. 
  4. Depending on how the hose reel is going to be used, you can find commercial duty hose reels for home use, and hose reels made for industrial use. 
  5. Depending on the cylinder diameter and the weight and the length the hose reel can hold, garden hose reels are categorized by duty tiers, from low to heavy-duty. 

Hose reels are a useful tool for storing and organizing hoses and hose accessories. They can be either fixed in a permanent location, like wall-mounted hose reels, or portable, like the ones that come with a wheeled base.

The most common type is a wall-mounted reel that is attached to the side of your house or garage. These tend to be more expensive than other types, but they are more convenient in terms of storage. 

Self-standing reels sit on the ground and can be moved around easily. They also have a little bit more storage space than wall-mounted ones. These hose reels tend to be cheaper than other types and are easier to store. 

The mobile hose reel, meaning the garden hose reel cart, has the easy portability advantage when comparing it to the self-standing hose reel. Sure, you can still carry a self-standing hose reel, but if you have longer garden hoses, the hose reel will be too heavy to lift. For such cases, the best option is to use a hose reel cart

Spring-driven hose reels are one of the most convenient styles. They have an inbuilt spring mechanism that winds the hose automatically back on the reel when there is no tension in the garden hose. This type of garden hose reel is very practical for shorter hoses. 

Hand crank hose reels are among the most commonly used models.  This type of water hose reel requires manual energy input to retract the hose. They are ideal for short and medium-length hoses.

Motor-driven hose reels are becoming more popular as well because they can be operated by remote control, which means effortless action on the user side. The motors don’t usually require much energy, but keep in mind an energy source close to the hose reel is needed. These types of hose reels are ideal for medium and very long garden hoses.  

How Does A Retractable Hose Reel Work?

There are different types of spring-driven garden hose reels. Some people call these types of reels, auto-retractable garden hose reels, automatic garden hose reels, self-retracting garden hose reels, self-winding hose reels, or automatic rewind water hose reels. But no matter how you name them, they work based on the same principle.

The retractable hose reel has an inbuilt spring mechanism that reacts based on the tension applied to the garden hose.
Some types of retractable hose reels have a handle on the side that you can pull before releasing the garden hose from the reel. While with other automatic reel types, you need to simply pull the garden hose. When you pull out the water hose, it will come out until it reaches its full length. Then, where there is no tension applied to the hose, it will automatically retract back to the reel.

These types of garden hose reels are very easy and comfortable to use as they imply little to no manual work. The mechanism based on which they function is very simple and no maintenance is necessary. The self-rewinding hose reels work best with smaller length garden hoses or longer but lightweight garden hoses. The rewinding mechanism can slow down when the weight of the coiled garden hose increases. 

Why Using Garden Hose Reels? The Main Benefits

 As we detailed the main features of the different garden hose reel types available, it is important to also understand what are the main benefits when using a water hose reel holder. 

Benefits of using garden hose reels

  1. Helps to store the hose easily and safely. As the hose is coiled on the hose reel and out of anyone’s way after being used, using a reel holder will prevent any type of accidents that can happen.
    In this case, we refer to both safety hazards and domestic accidents like getting tangled in the hose and falling. But we also keep in mind other types of accidents like running over the garden hose with different garden machinery and causing irreversible damages to the hose.
  2. Winding your garden hose onto a hose reel will increase its life expectancy. Keeping your garden hose correctly stored on a reel, without tangling, away from the ground dirt and away from any danger of being walked over by different other garden machinery, will increase its lifespan.
    This will also assure the same level of functionality as when the garden hose was initially bought.
  3. When using a water hose reel, pulling out your hose for regular use becomes very accessible and easy. 
  4. Time-saving is another plus when having any type of hose reel around. Dragging the hose around the garden is no longer necessary. You will be able to quickly rewind the garden hose from the reel and start watering in no time.
  5. Close related to time-saving stands the overall efficiency. Using a hose reel implies facilitates the way you manipulate your gardening hose both when you need to pull it out and when you need to wind it back to the reel. 
  6. Last but not least, using a hose reel will keep your outdoor space looking clean and organized. We all know how bad garden hoses look when they are left on the ground or laid throughout the garden. This is no longer the case when you can conveniently keep your water hoses coiled onto hose reels. 

How To Use A Garden Hose Reel?

When you first purchase a garden hose reel, first check if any assembly is needed.  If minor or full assembly is needed, follow the instruction steps provided by the manufacturer in the hose cart package. Once you are done with this step, it is time to attach your garden hose to the hose cart. 
Normally a hose reel should have two pairs of hose connectors included in the package. One set of connectors is necessary for the leader hose, or sometimes named feeder hose. This is a shorter hose that connects the hose reel to the water supply. The second set of connectors will be used for connecting your standard garden hose to the hose reel. 
One set of connectors is used for the 2 ends of the leader hose so that you can attach the leader hose on one end to the outdoor spigot or the water supply and on the other end with the hose reel exterior water connector.
The second set of connectors is set to both ends of the garden hose, to connect the garden hose on one end to the hose reel interior water connector, and on the other end to the hose sprayer. 
In conclusion, to install a hose on a garden hose reel, you must proceed with the below actions.

  1. Create a leader hose as explained previously.
    If you don’t have a leader hose already included in the hose reel package, you can use a cutter or a pair of scissors to cut around 5 feet in length out from your garden hose. This newly created hose is called a leader hose, or feeder hose.
  2. Attach the connectors on both ends of the leader hose and on the ends of the garden hose.
  3. Attach one end of the leader hose to the exterior water coupling connection of the hose reel.
  4. Attach the large garden hose to the interior water coupling connection of the hose reel.
  5. Start winding the large garden hose by spinning the hose reel navigator or hand crank.
  6. Roll the entire length of hose on the reel carefully, in layers, one layer on top of the other. 
  7. Attach a hose nozzle sprayer on the other end of the garden hose. 
  8. Take the hose to the desired destination, near your outdoor water faucet. 
  9. Connect the leader hose to the outdoor faucet.
  10. Turn on the water supply.
  11. Pick up the hose sprayer and turn it on to check if water flows properly and if there is any water leaking. In case this happens, check if the connectors are properly installed.