What are Garden Hose Reels?

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  • Written By: R. Kayne
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 10 October 2019
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A garden hose reel is a plastic or metal wheel used for rolling up a garden hose and keeping it neatly stowed and ready to use. Garden hose reels can be permanently attached to the side of a house or building, or portable in the form of aluminum wheeled frame, known as "cart style." Garden hose reels can meet many different needs and are made from different materials accordingly, from durable plastic to heavy-duty steel.

For the common household, inexpensive garden hose reels are made from hard-wearing plastic, normally green in color. They can come with a crank handle for manually winding the hose back on to the reel or with a tension design that will turn the wheel to automatically roll the hose. Garden hose reels with the hose installed and full of water can weigh 50 pounds (23 kilograms) or more. Therefore, when installing the mounting bracket it is important to attach it to studs on the house.

Garden hose reels are manufactured to feed the hose out in one of two directions: parallel or perpendicular. If you need the hose to pull straight out, away from the wall or house, purchase a perpendicular reel. If the reel will be mounted along the side of a house or building, a parallel reel will allow the hose to pull out parallel to the wall. This style is handy for washing down walkways that run between houses or buildings, or for watering flowerbeds.


Highly durable garden hose reels are available in aluminum or steel. Some feature "quick-remove" mechanisms that allow the entire reel to detach from the mounting frame. This can be handy for vacations or winter storage in harsh climates.

Heavy-duty garden hose reels can also be used for industrial purposes. Work trucks fitted with steel I-beam bed frames can easily support a reel. A variant for home or mobile purposes is mounted on a tubular "foot." The reel can be easily carried to where it's needed and placed on the ground during use.

For longer treks, cart style garden hose reels are indispensable. These wheeled frames can be walked dolly-style and feature a T-arm for "no tip" balance once the cart is set down. Some manufacturers of garden hose reels make the reels interchangeable between frames for maximum flexibility. For example, a hose reel attached to a plate on the front of the house can be detached and snapped into place on a cart.

If considering a garden hose reel, check to make sure that the model you choose is rated for the hose length that you plan to use. Most garden hose reels do not come with a hose.

Garden hose reels can be found in home improvement centers, department store garden centers, nurseries, and online. Prices start at under US$100.


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