The 6 Best Garden Hose Reels

A good garden hose reel is an incredibly helpful tool for gardening, car-washing

Published Time: 09.05.2024 - 21:31:06 Modified Time: 09.05.2024 - 21:31:06

A good garden hose reel is an incredibly helpful tool for gardening, car-washing...whatever your outdoor watering needs, you might consider having a handy reel nearby. It keeps your hose within easy reach, organized and neatly rolled, and out of the way when you don’t need it. 

Our testers evaluated 26 reels' set-up times, designs, ease of use, portability, durability, and value. But these are products that largely come down to individual preferences and plans for use. “If it’s easy to reel and fits your criteria, you have a home run,” Jerry Gorchels, technical product representative at PanAmerican Seed North America, tells PEOPLE.

Out of the 26 reels we tested, we found six home runs. Leading the pack was the Gorilla 200 ft. Aluminum Zero Rust Premium Mobile Hose Reel, which was outstanding in nearly all our categories.

Below, take a look at all 6 of our favorite reels that PEOPLE tested.

If you're a bit rough on your garden equipment, this reel is perfect for you (and perhaps everyone). It's made of "virtually indestructible" materials (i.e., rust-proof aluminum) to combat the elements and daily wear and tear. It also features forged brass connections to prevent leaks, as well as a built-in hose alignment guide to prevent kinking, so your garden hose can remain durable and intact as well.

It took our tester 17 minutes to get this reel up and running, noting that it was easy to put together. And it only got easier from there. The rubber wheels made it easy to maneuver the reel on grass or varied terrain, and the rubber grips on the reel made it easy to crank.

Caveats: Our tester noted that “you do need to have some strength to get the screws on” during setup. (If that doesn’t work for you, read on for some other models that require no assembly!) The tester also didn’t think the leather strap to loop the hose was necessary, though it did help make reeling and unreeling more stable and seamless.

But those are small quibbles in an otherwise exceptional product. Our tester called it “my personal favorite” and gave it perfect 5/5 scores in the portability, durability, and value categories. “It felt solid with its aluminum frame. It didn’t feel flimsy at all, it felt really well-made and built to last,” said our tester. And with a list price under $200, we found it to be “an appropriate price for something that looks great and works great.”

Hose Capacity: 200 ft. | Material: Aluminum | Maneuverability: Wheels

Perhaps you aren't in need of something that's mobile and instead would prefer a stationary metal box. The look and feel of this hose reel is certainly high-end, with a rust-resistant metal base and helpful hose guide to perfectly reel in your garden hose, free of kinks.

With fewer pieces than other models, this reel was easy to set up–it took us just 12 minutes. Once we had it up and running, we were pleasantly surprised by how nice it would look in the yard even near your outdoor furniture. It is a big improvement from the traditional plastic hose reels.

Attaching the hose gave us a little trouble at first, but watching a video on the shopping link clarified the set-up, and this reel is designed to keep the hose evenly distributed. We personally didn’t love the lack of wheels, meaning you have to lift up the whole reel if you want to move it. Thankfully, even with a hose fully reeled inside, it’s not too heavy. 

It’s super-easy to wind the hose up, and nice that it’s all kept under wraps inside the box when fully reeled. This model feels very durable, though we can’t say for sure how the metal will fare in wet weather.

Hose Capacity: 200 ft. | Material: Rust-resistant metal | Mobility: Stationary

If you’re looking for an inexpensive reel that’s ready to go, straight out of the box, the KLZ model is an excellent choice. It’s got a basic design with simple, easy-to-use features. It’s not the prettiest reel of those we tested, but it performs well.

Made of lightweight plastic, this reel was exceptionally easy to use and just as easy to move around, since it’s so light, even with a hose on it. The plastic wheels, however, decrease its portability on grass, though it’s okay on other terrains. The $50 list price “is impressive, and it gets the job done,” said our tester.

Hose Capacity: 150 ft. | Material: Plastic | Mobility: Wheels

We love the design of this reel. The bright, fun turquoise color makes it stand out, and it is very light and easy to maneuver around a yard. There is also a nice kickstand that adds to the reel’s stability.

This model is made of metal and plastic, so, like our Best Design pick above, long-term testing will be required, to determine whether the metal will rust over time outdoors. Otherwise, the Gardena Frost Proof “M” Hose Cart Set seems durable and sturdy.

The addition of a built-in hose makes this model a particularly good value for those wishing to purchase an all-in-one solution for watering. The product comes from Germany, so you may need an extra adapter to connect it to a spigot. Our tester was able to get multiple hoses to connect to the reel, so an adapter may not be needed if you plan to use your own hose.

Hose Capacity: 198 ft. | Material: Aluminum | Mobility: Wheels

This hose pot has an attractive design (“assuming you like bees,” added our tester) as well as a lid and drainage holes to aid in weather resistance.

It’s easy to use, seeing as it’s not actually a reel but a container to put away a wound-up garden hose. A really long or big hose may be hard to fit into the pot, however. This one isn’t really supposed to be portable, as it’s quite heavy. Most people could move it seasonally if need be. The material is heavy-duty, though it does seem like the lid would chip or break if you were to drop it. The same goes for the base if something were knocked into it with force.

The material, while it appears to be high-quality, didn’t s -

eem quite high-end enough to justify the price, so we took points off for value.

Hose Capacity: 100 ft. | Material: Crushed stone composite | Mobility: Stationary

“If you are looking for something aesthetically pleasing and won’t call a lot of attention, this is it,” said our tester of the BHG Metal Hose Pot. “I love the detailed pattern. If you are looking for something easy to carry around the garden, however, or for functionality, this would not be it.”

For those hoping to place a hose pot on the ground and leave it there, this is a solid option and does the job. However, that does mean dragging the hose to the pot, which requires a lot of effort when you’ve got a heavy hose.

With a light hose, on the other hand, this would be an easy pot to use. (See our top garden hose picks here.) The pot appears to be durable and would last many seasons. Given the quality, beautiful design, and low price point, we were particularly impressed by the value of this hose pot. It’s an excellent fit for those with a lightweight hose and little need for portability.

Hose Capacity: 200 ft. | Material: Powder-coated iron | Mobility: Stationary

Consider your outdoor space and the best location for a garden hose reel in evaluating your options. “There are wall-mount, ground-mount, yard set, etc.,” says Jerry Gorchels, technical product representative at PanAmerican Seed North America. “Decide where you want to have it—hidden, convenient, and practical.”

“Do you have the strength to reel 100 feet of hose?” asks Gorchels, noting that there are motor-driven automatic retractable reels on the market as well. Our picks above include pot-style holders without an actual reel—like the BHG Metal Hose Pot or the Frontgate Beehive Hose Pot—so consider what type of hose you have (or what you’re planning to buy) and how easy or difficult it will be to wrap or reel your garden hose.

Home and lifestyle blogger Kelli Bateman from My House of 8 suggests prioritizing a metal-based system when purchasing a garden hose reel. “I would look for a sturdy (metal-based) wheel and crank system…it would also need to be matched with a quality hose to avoid the kinking and flimsiness that makes it hard to reel in.”

The reels that we tested range anywhere from $30 to $450. Interestingly, the $30 pot garnered a 4.5-star rating versus the $450 pot's 3.6, so a more expensive pot doesn't necessarily mean that it works the best. Consider how you'll use the pot, and invest in something sturdy and durable so that it won't move around as you unreel your hose, or get tarnished by the elements.

A garden hose reel is only as good as its design. “I would want a forgiving opening where the hose enters the reel, and a sturdy metal frame to handle the weight of the hose that may still have water in it as you begin to roll it in,” says Bateman. 

For Bateman, this is a product where the quality should take priority over the cost for consumers. “I recently ditched a plastic box hideaway hose reel," she explains. "I realize now that I had given in to the low-cost appeal of a low-quality combination of hose and reel. I found it hard to crank." She adds, “The hose was a cheaper vinyl hose and not well reinforced, so it easily kinked. The box shifted easily due to the lack of weight, and the hose was too flimsy to stay straight and stiff to slide through the narrow guide into the box.” Consider investing in a sturdier reel as well as a functional and durable hose to add to other garden equipment like your walk behind mower or electric leaf blower.

Frequently Asked Questions

First, we timed the set-up for those reels that required assembly, and we evaluated the materials and hardwares for sturdiness and quality. We tested each reel by using two hoses of varying size and material, and then wound and unwound the hose, noting the ease of use and performance. For the reel models with wheels, we wheeled them around testing areas that included a mix of grass, pavement, and small rocks. For pot-style holders, we coiled the hose inside and gave it a push to ensure that it fit securely inside. Each reel or pot was scored on the following criteria: Setup, design, ease of use, portability (for the models with wheels), durability, and—once our testers learned the list price of each model—value. Winning traits we kept in mind included durability, long-lasting materials, a smooth turning mechanism, and ease of moving the reel. 

Rennie Dyball is an experienced commerce writer. To bring you this review, she spoke with our testers about a range of garden hose reels and considered their perspectives on various qualities and features, such as size, material, and durability. While researching garden hose reels, we spoke with Jerry Gorchels, technical product representative at PanAmerican Seed North America, and blogger Kelli Bateman from My House of 8.

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