If you’ve got a long garden, a hose reel is a must. Say goodbye to the days of wrestling enormous lengths of hosepipe. Just wind it in on the reel, and it’s stored safely and neatly ready for its next use.
But if you’re about to make a purchase, how do you choose the right one? Check out our reviews of ten of the best garden hose reels available today for everything you need to know.
At a glance: Our Top 5 Picks for Garden Hose Reel
The Best Garden Hose Reel of 2019
1. Reelcraft 7850 OLPSW57 Spring Driven Garden Hose Reel
If you’re looking for a top-notch hose reel and are happy to pay the price, consider Reelcraft’s offering. The most expensive hose reel on our list by a country mile, it’s high-spec in every way.
It’s made entirely of reinforced steel, with a bright red finish. It wouldn’t look out of place on a fire engine. The guide arm and base have ribs and gussets so it’s both strong and lightweight.
It comes with 50 feet of half-inch hose with a three-quarter inch male NH hose fitting. The hose is designed for water, but change it and the reel will cope easily with oil and air too.
The guide arm adjusts to seven different positions. That means it will work effectively no matter what direction you want to run your hose. And when you’ve finished, the spring mechanism will wind it straight back in again.
The spring here is made from the highest quality steel. And there’s a declutching arbor, which means that it won’t be damaged by reverse winding. Together, they mean the spring mechanism should last a lifetime.
The hose is plumbed in at the base of the reel, so there’s minimal stress on the swivel point. When it’s time to water, it runs out smoothly on nylon guide rollers.
So is there anything not to like?
Well, the price means this is really intended to appeal to commercial users, particularly those needing a hose for air and oil too. If you’re only going to use it for water, there are cheaper options that will work just as well.
And it’s not the easiest to install. Unwinding most of the hose will make it lighter – but it’s still a two-person job.
2. Eley / Rapid 1041 Garden Hose Reel (Our Top Recommended)
This isn’t the prettiest hose reel on our list, but it might just be the most effective.
Eley’s model 1041 is a beautifully designed piece of kit that does just what you need it to do. It’s made of die-cast aluminum so it’s lightweight and you won’t have to worry about rust – ever. It’s big enough to hold 100 feet of three-quarter inch hose, or 150 feet of five-eighths inch hose.
You’ll need to buy your hose separately, although it does come with six feet of rubber inlet hose. The brass fittings are crush-proof, and it comes with its own mounting hardware. There are screws for mounting onto stud walls or garden sheds, or masonry anchors for brick walls.
You’ll have to do some assembly, but it isn’t difficult. Expect it to take about 15 minutes. You can choose to mount it either parallel or perpendicular to the wall. And the handle can be positioned on either the left or right-hand side – whichever works best for you.
The hose runs out smoothly, and there’s a cam brake to stop the reel spinning as you pull it out. Release the brake and it will rewind just as smoothly.
We think this works best with five-eighths inch hose. Use three-quarter inches and you’ll find it’s prone to kinking at the point it enters the water sprocket. That will impede the flow of the water. As a result, you may find you need to rewind the hose more slowly to avoid that pesky kink.
This isn’t the cheapest reel we’ve found, but we think it’s a wise investment. You’ll find plenty of customers raving about the Eley reel they bought a decade ago and is still going strong. This is one instance where you really do get what you pay for.
3. Liberty Garden 712 Single Arm Navigator Multi-Directional Garden Hose Reel
If you need a reel able to hold a lot of hose, consider the Garden 712 model from experts Liberty. This attractive reel will hold up to 125 feet of five-eighths inch hose.
It’s made of heavy duty 18 gauge steel, and it’s coated with a powder finish so it will stand up to bad weather. The coating is a stylish shade of bronze, so it will look good on display in your garden.
The rubberized handle is comfortable to turn. What’s more, it can be positioned on either side of the reel to suit right- or left-handers.
The solid brass swivel will turn through 90 degrees. That will prevent the hose from being damaged if you need to pull it out at an angle. Pull up the knob on top and the reel will rotate through a full 360 degrees, running out the hose smoothly.
It even comes with a wire basket attached to hold gloves or tools. What it doesn’t come with – and would arguably be more useful – is a mounting kit. You’ll need to buy your own set of lag bolts to attach it to the wall. They’re not hard to find, but we’re not sure why they weren’t just included in the first place.
This is a robust reel, and it won’t wobble with lighter hose. But if you’re using something heavier duty, you may find the screw holes in the center of the mounting plate aren’t sufficient. Drill a couple more on either side and you’ll find it’s much more stable.
4. Giraffe Retractable Garden Hose Reel
This mid-priced reel from Giraffe Tools comes complete with 65 feet of five-eighths inch hose. If you want something lighter weight and with some nice features, it’s a good option.
It’s made of PVC and is finished in an attractive pale grey. You won’t mistake it for a garden ornament, but it looks smart enough.
There’s a patented lock so you can hold the hose in position when you’ve unwound your chosen length. The spring is strong and makes rewinding quick and simple. And the automatic hose guide will help avoid the hose kinking or tangling as you do it.
The swivel bracket rotates through 180 degrees. You’ll find it easy to roll out the hose in any direction. When you’ve finished, fold the reel flat against the wall to keep it out of the way.
The hose supplied with the reel is made of PVC and it runs out smoothly. And if you want to change it, you can. It’s easy enough to do – just follow the instructions included in the box.
An added bonus is the adjustable spray nozzle which allows you to choose from nine different spray patterns. Whether you’re watering delicate flowers or rows of vegetables, there’s a pattern to suit.
There’s not much here not to like. If we were picking holes, we’d say the screws supplied for mounting aren’t as long as they could be. We’d recommend replacing them with something sturdier. And the plastic wall bracket isn’t as sturdy as metal versions.
But this is competitively priced, and you’ll get a good quality reel for your money.
5. Liberty Garden 709 Steel Wall/Floor Mounted Hose Reel
If you’re looking for a reel that can be wall or floor mounted, Liberty’s 709 model is worth considering.
It’s made of powder coated steel and it’s available in two finishes – stainless steel or tan. Both look good, but for our money the tan version is one of the most attractive reels on the market.
So much for the aesthetics. But how does it perform?
Well, this is a big reel. It will hold up to a generous 200 feet of hose. And although it’s pretty pricey, it only includes five feet of leader hose. You’ll have to buy the rest separately and wind it yourself. Mount it on the elbow at the center of the cylinder.
The steel is industrial grade – 13 gauge, with a powder coating to handle all weather conditions. All the hose connections are made of quality brass or galvanised metal.
You won’t need to do any assembly beyond attaching the crank handle and mounting it. Inexplicably, no mounting hardware is included. You’ll need to buy your own bolts if you’re attaching it to a wall.
If you’re placing it on the floor, clever rubber boots fit over the bottom and prevent it from slipping. You will, though, need to hold it in place with your foot when winding and unwinding. An alternative if you have a wooden deck is to screw it into position.
There’s no spring mechanism here, so you’ll have to use good old muscle power to turn the reel. And if you’ve got a reinforced hose, this isn’t the best option. The angle of the connection creates a kink at the end of the reinforcement that impedes the flow of water.
But all in all, this is a good-looking, sturdily constructed reel at a very fair price.
6. Rainwave RW-DAH-17R Aluminum Hose Reel
This model from Rainwave will hold 195 feet of half-inch garden hose, or around 75 feet of three-quarter inch hose. You’ll need to buy that separately and wind it yourself. It does, though, come with a length of hose to attach the reel to the water spigot.
It’s finished in shiny aluminum, and there’s a useful shelf on top to store a couple of garden tools. That aluminum finish means you’ll never have to worry about rust, and there’s no paint to chip away. The result is a reel that will look good for years.
It’s also lightweight, making it easy to install and placing minimal strain on walls. It comes with four screws for mounting, two each on the top and bottom. It’s easy to do and doesn’t take long.
This reel comes with a manufacturers’ warranty for two years. That’s reassuring – particularly as we’ve heard some complaints about the handle snapping off. The good news is that where that’s happened, it’s been replaced promptly by Rainwave.
The limitation with this one is the position of the handle. It’s designed to be mounted on the right-hand side. If you need it to be on the left instead, the easiest way of achieving that is by mounting it upside down. That’s fine – but you’ll lose the use of the shelf.
We’ve heard some speculation that it might be possible to take the reel apart to change the position of the handle. But the location of the supply hose and crank make it tricky, and there’s no guarantee it will work. If you’re looking for a reel with the handle on the left, it’s far simpler to choose a different model.
7. Liberty Garden 704 Aluminum Wall Mount Garden Hose Reel
This competitively priced hose reel is great if you want something with decorative appeal. Its cast aluminum casing has a dark powder coating and an ornate pattern. If you’ve got wrought iron patio furniture, it will blend in beautifully.
The plumbing fixtures are made of brass and galvanised metal, so rusting won’t be a problem. There’s also a 7-inch by 14-inch shelf on top, perfect for holding a trowel, sprinkler or other small tools.
The reel will hold up to 125 feet of five-eighths of an inch hose. If you’ve got three-quarters of an inch hose, you’ll be able to fit on 100 feet. This is another model where the hose isn’t included. But it does have five feet of leader hose to run from the reel to the water spigot.
You won’t need to do any assembly with this one, other than attaching the handle. But when it comes to mounting, Liberty have stuck to their no-hardware-included guns. You’ll have to go out and buy the right fixings for your wall.
The main issue to look out for with this one is a tendency to spring a leak over time. The guilty party is the swivel connector. Liberty recommend buying a brass connector if you have hard water – the connector that comes with the reel is aluminum. That, of course, will cost extra.
If you’re happy to do some maintenance, you’re likely to have a reel that lasts for longer. Cleaning and painting it with clear acrylic paint at the end of each season will make a big difference. It will help prevent leaks as well as stopping the powder coating from flaking off.
But if you feel that’s a lot of work for a hose reel, there may be better options out there.
8. The AMES 2388340 Side Mount Hose Reel (Best for the Money)
If you’re looking for a cheap and cheerful hose reel, this could be the one for you. It’s less than a third of the price of the next cheapest on our list. But what do you get for your money?
As you might expect for the price, it’s made of plastic. But the tan color reel and white mountings aren’t bad looking. It won’t win any style awards, but it’s certainly not an eyesore.
Its capacity is similar to other reels on this list, holding up to 100 feet of five-eighths of an inch hose. The leader hose is included, but you’ll need to supply the main hose yourself.
There’s an integrated guide to make winding in the hose easier. And a handy clip underneath holds it in place when it’s wound back up.
There are, though, some issues to bear in mind when deciding whether this is the reel for you.
The first is the pressure of your water supply. Powerful pressure can make the leader hose pop off the spigot. If that’s likely to be an issue for you, you may need to replace the leader hose.
The all-plastic construction also has some implications for durability. The plastic mounting plates are prone to cracking over time, making it difficult to wind and unwind the hose. If that happens, you’ll need to replace the reel.
If you’ll only use your reel occasionally and don’t want to spend a lot of money, this is worth considering. But if you need something for regular use, spending a bit more may save you money in the end.
9. Ikris Retractable Garden Water Hose Reel
At first glance, this retractable reel from Ikris looks expensive for something that’s made of plastic. But it comes with 75 feet of five-eighths of an inch hose, making it an economical choice overall.
The hose is constructed of braided PVC, and there are good quality brass fixings at the ends. It will retract automatically, and guide bars keep it wound evenly. You won’t need a handle at all with this one. If you’re looking for a hose that can be used with minimal effort, this could be the reel for you.
The mount allows it to be swivelled through 180 degrees. The swivel is made of steel and is very strong. And when it comes to watering, you can lock the hose at any length. Just pull it out and let it go. It couldn’t be easier.
As well as the hose, it comes with everything you need to fix it to a wall. And there’s even a simple, single spray pattern nozzle included too.
There’s one disadvantage here, and you’ll find out what it is when you come to install the reel. The mounting brackets don’t separate from the body, which makes it awkward to see what you’re doing. We’ve even heard of some cases where people have given up altogether.
If you want to place it on the ground, you can use it that way more easily. Weight it down with a couple of stones or bricks to keep it in position when you pull out the hose.
10. The AMES 2519100 NeverLeak Decorative Metal Hose Cabinet
If you want to keep your hose reel out of the elements, why not consider one that comes in a cabinet?
The model 2519100 from AMES is built to cope with cold temperatures. If you’re in an area that has hard winters, it’s a good option to prolong the life of your hose.
The cabinet is dark brown, with a finish similar to oiled bronze. The square shape is unobtrusive, with just the handle sticking out at one side. That handle is solid metal, so you won’t have any issues with it snapping off. It turns smoothly too.
The reel will hold up to 150 feet of three-quarter inch hose. The guide will keep it even as you wind it back in. And the cabinet is heavy enough that it will stay in place when you’re unwinding the hose for watering. Installing it is as simple as choosing where you want it and plonking it in position.
Bear in mind, though, that the weight means it isn’t easy to move from place to place. If that’s what you’re looking for, you’ll be better off with a trolley on wheels. On the plus side, the flat top means that this can easily double as a useful outdoor table.
But the real selling point here is that this is a hose guaranteed not to leak. If the sight of a dripping connector makes your blood boil, this could be the right choice for you.
Ready to choose the reel deal?
That brings us to the end of our reviews of the best hose reels out there today. We hope you’ve found the one that’s right for you.
Our favorite is Eley's model 1041. Its simple design may not be the most striking addition to your garden, but it works like a dream. It’s simple to install too, and it will last for years.
We all know that tidying away garden hose can be a pain. Invest in a good reel and you’ll be able to say farewell to coils of PVC snaking across your pathways. Happy shopping, and enjoy the newest addition to your garden!