Updated March 2022
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Buying guide for best hose reels

From washing your car to watering your garden, it doesn’t matter what you use a hose for, you need a reliable way to keep it organized between tasks. A sturdy hose reel is just the thing to store your hose and keep it from getting tangled or damaged when it isn’t in use.

But not all hose reels are the same. These cylinder-shaped spindles come in different styles with different retracting mechanisms and mounting designs to fit the various needs of consumers and the particular types of hoses they wish to store. If you’re wondering how to pick the perfect reel for your hose, you’ve come to the right place.

At BestReviews, our goal is to help consumers make wise purchasing decisions for everyday items. Here, you’ll find our top five hose reels. In the shopping guide below, we’ve included information to help you choose the hose reel for you.

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Not only will a hose reel protect your hose from damage but it also helps to keep your outdoor area looking attractive and organized.

Hose reel features to consider

There is a hose reel for you, whether you have an extra-long hose that you use in the yard every day or a shorter hose for watering potted plants on the deck. Hose reels are designed to fit heavy-duty or light use, with a variety of finishes to complement your outdoor area. There are a few key features to consider when it comes to choosing the best hose reel for your needs and budget.

Hose reel aesthetics

Do you like a rugged, industrial look for your yard, or do you prefer a low-profile design that blends in with your garden or patio furniture? Hose reels come in different styles to fit different needs. You can find basic hand-cranked models or ones with decorative scrollwork for a fancier touch. Most metal hose reels are powdered coated in a choice of colors to give them a finished, attractive appearance.

Retractable hose reels run the gamut from those with a basic plastic housing to others in wicker-like cases that could be mistaken for patio furniture. The best choice for you depends on your personal style and surroundings.

Hose reel materials

Hose reels are built to wind, rewind, and hold the weight of hoses of various lengths. That’s why they are constructed of materials that can withstand frequent use. Hose reels are most commonly made of plastic, fiberglass, metal, or a combination of materials.

Plastic hose reels: You’ll find several types of hose reels made primarily of plastic. If you have a basic hose that you don’t plan to use very often and your budget is tight, a plastic reel may be the best option for you.


  • Lightweight
  • Easy to maneuver (unmounted models)
  • Inexpensive


  • Likelier to malfunction with frequent use
  • Less durable than metal or fiberglass
  • Don’t fit very long hoses

Fiberglass hose reels: If you want a hose reel that’s more durable than plastic but lighter than metal, a model made of reinforced glass fibers may be ideal for you.


  • Strong
  • Lighter than metal
  • More durable than plastic
  • Suitable for hoses up to 100 feet
  • Moderately priced


  • Heavier than plastic
  • Less durable than metal
  • More expensive than plastic

Metal hose reels: Think of these hose reels as the gold standard. You can find reels made of brass, steel, stainless steel, or aluminum.


  • Very durable
  • Suitable for hoses up to 200 feet


  • Heavy
  • Hard to move
  • More expensive than plastic or fiberglass

Mixed-material hose reels: Not all hose reels are made entirely of one type of material. For example, a plastic housing may conceal metal components, such as the spindle or retraction mechanism, or metal reels may have plastic crank handles. The mixed materials don’t necessarily mean that the hose reel is any more or less durable than a model made primarily of one material.

Hose reel retracting mechanisms

You need to unwind and rewind your hose, and to do this most hose reels have either a hand-cranked, spring-driven, or powered retraction system. Each has advantages and disadvantages.

  • Hand-cranked retraction mechanism: Reels that are powered by hand do require some strength to operate, and it takes more time to fully retract the hose.

    • This system is less likely to malfunction than other rewind systems.

    • Hand cranks are often found on very durable steel hose reels.

  • Spring-driven retraction mechanism: There’s no need to worry about cranking the reel by hand because the mechanism does most of the work for you.

    • Most of these models automatically lock in place when the hose reaches the desired length.

    • The reel rewinds with a slight pull and release on the hose.

    • The spring mechanism can be touchy, making it prone to jamming or malfunctioning.

    • These can sometimes be difficult to pull out to full length because the tension gets tighter with each tug.

  • Powered retraction mechanism: Powered by electricity, water, or air, these reels can wind up the bulkiest hoses with ease.

    • Good choice if you use a very heavy or long hose because the reel does all the work for you.

    • This type of reel isn’t necessary or very practical for a basic garden hose or short hose.

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Did you know?
Some hose reels come with several feet of feeder hose. This bonus feature is handy for attaching your hose and provides some additional length for reaching your watering and washing jobs.

Hose reel stability: mounted vs. freestanding

Hose reels come in two different styles: mounted and freestanding.

  • Mounted hose reels have a plate or panel that can be fixed to a wall or the ground and require hardware and tools to secure. Many of these are made of metal and are best suited for use with large, heavy-duty hoses. However, there are also smaller plastic or fiberglass models that can be attached to the side of a home. Some reels can be detached from the mount for added mobility.

  • Freestanding hose reels are a good choice if you don’t want to secure your hose to one spot. These can easily be moved from place to place, and some have wheels to make this task even easier.

Hose reel prices

Hose reels come in a wide price range to fit almost any budget. Depending on the type of hose reel that best matches your preferences and needs, you can expect to spend anywhere from $35 to $250. Plastic reels that are either mounted or situated on wheels are the least expensive, while durable steel reels that can be mounted to various surfaces are the most expensive.

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Consider the location of your hose reel. Take into account the décor, the amount of available space, and the mounting material, if applicable, to make sure your new reel will be a perfect match.


Q. I’m considering buying a hand-cranked hose reel, but I’m not very strong. How difficult are they to crank?
Hose reels with hand cranks do require a bit more work than self-retracting or mechanical models, but they aren’t too difficult to use with typical hoses. The only issue you may have is if you try to use the reel for a hose that is longer than 75 or 100 feet because it will become harder to crank as more of the hose gets wound around the spindle.

Q. Can I use a hose reel for an industrial hose?
Industrial hoses are often longer and heavier than typical garden hoses, in addition to being intended for more heavy-duty purposes. Although not every type of hose reel will work for an industrial hose, your best option is to choose a hand-cranked model made of steel. In addition to its sturdy construction, this type of reel is more versatile when it comes to the type of hose it can accommodate.

Q. I’ve heard that hose reels that rewind with a spring mechanism can be prone to malfunctioning. What’s the best way to avoid issues with this type of hose reel?
Spring-driven hose reels are quite handy when they work properly and frustrating when they don’t. Although the internal spring can wear out over time, correct use and maintenance will increase its longevity. Make sure your hose is empty, straight, and free of kinks when it’s time to rewind it on the reel. Never force it as it rewinds, but gently guide it until it’s back in the unit.

Q. Can I mount a hose reel to concrete?
Yes, but you might need additional hardware to secure the reel in place. You will also need a drill and drill bit made to penetrate concrete to get the job done. Avoid hose reels with plastic mounting units because they may not be durable enough to secure to concrete surfaces.

Q. I want a hose reel that looks good and isn’t obviously noticeable. What do you recommend?
If you plan to place your hose reel in a highly visible area where family and friends gather, consider the other items in that location. Because decorative models are available, you may be able to find one that blends nicely with your outdoor furniture.

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