7 Best Hose Reels of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

Organize and transport your garden hose with our top picks for hose reel carts, boxes, wall mounts and more.

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May 24, 2024

Photo by: Amy Marturana Winderl

Amy Marturana Winderl

A garden hose is one of those items that are somehow always in the way. It's big, clunky and hard to drag from point A to point B. Taking it out and putting it away after every use adds extra time to everyday chores. Of course, you need one (or multiple) for various home and garden tasks, and you can't just leave it in the yard where it’ll get mowed over or turn your grass a beautiful shade of brown. The right hose reel can make watering the garden, spraying off a dirty lawn chair, filling up a kiddie pool — or whatever other need you have for a hose — so much easier and quicker to check off your to-do list. We tested a bunch of hose reels on the market to find the ones that will make all of your outdoor work and play more organized and efficient.

Photo by: Amy Marturana Winderl

Amy Marturana Winderl

How We Tested

We put each of the 15 hose reels we purchased through a series of tests to determine which ones are truly the best. First, we unboxed each reel, assembled those that required it, and mounted the wall-mount options on a staged plywood wall. (We didn't want to drill that many holes in the side of our house!) Then, one by one, we hooked each one up to the hose bib — the water spigot on the outside of the house — and connected a hose to the reel. We ran water through the hose to check that all attachments were secure and did not leak out of the box. Then, we turned off the water and reeled in the hose. After that, we pulled the hose out, unwinding it as far as it could go and taking note of whether the reel tipped over or was difficult to keep in place. We wound and unwound each reel multiple times to check the stability and smoothness that we'd expect during normal use. Finally, we unhooked the cart reels from the spigot and wheeled them around the yard to test their portability (where applicable).

What We Like
  1. Looks sleek
  2. Sturdy construction
  3. Easy to transport
What We Don't Like
  1. Assembly required

This hose reel's sturdy materials make it perfect for both stationary use and carting around the yard. The reel itself is very smooth and fast, and the handle is easy to hold and comfortable to use. When pulling the hose out, the cart stays in place and doesn't tip over, but when you're ready to move it, it's easy to tilt it onto its wheels and cruise. The handle is also adequately long for a tall person to use. Of all the hose reels we tested, this one came with the most heavy-duty leader hose (the hose that connects to the spigot), and we appreciated the high quality. The one thing we didn't love was that assembly was required and took about 20 minutes. But once it was all set up, we enjoyed using it so much that the assembly time seemed like no big deal.

  1. Material Aluminum and plastic
  2. Dimensions 39.3" x 22" x 14.7"
  3. Weight 22 pounds
  4. Hose Capacity 200 feet
  5. Type Cart
What We Like
  1. Inexpensive
  2. Lightweight
  3. Surprisingly stable
What We Don't Like
  1. Questionable durability

This all-plastic hose reel gets the job done at an affordable price. It's light and easy to pull throughout the yard and even has a plastic basket near the handle to store small items. There's no hose guide, but there is a spot to place your foot when you're reeling to hold everything in place. However, this cart was a lot sturdier than we expected considering the material and price point. It stayed mostly in place as the hose moved in and out, and we only had to gently rest our foot on the base to keep it fully stable. Overall, the material doesn’t scream "family heirloom," but this reel is a great option if you need something that can store and tote your hose without requiring a big upfront investment.

  1. Material Plastic
  2. Dimensions 24" x 20" x 32"
  3. Weight 12 pounds
  4. Hose Capacity 175 feet
  5. Type Cart
What We Like
  1. Easy to mount
  2. Long hose length
  3. Comes with spray attachment
What We Don't Like
  1. Thin hose reduces water flow

A retractable hose can be an absolute game-changer if you need to reel your hose in and out multiple times a day. This one from Giraffe Tools comes with a 130-foot hose, which is the longest of the retractable hose reels we tested. It's easy to pull out and automatically locks into place when you stop pulling. A quick little tug unlocks it and starts to wind it in automatically. The mount includes a 180-degree swivel, making it easy to pull the hose to different areas of the yard without worrying about kinks. You do have to sacrifice some water flow for the convenience: This product, and all of the other retractable reels we tested, come with 1/2-inch hoses compared to a standard 5/8-inch garden hose. It doesn't seem like that much of a difference, but the water flow is noticeably slower, though it still gets most jobs done.

  1. Material Polypropylene
  2. Dimensions 22.8" x 10.2" x 17.6"
  3. Weight ‎28.4 pounds
  4. Hose Capacity 130 feet
  5. Type Retractable, wall-mounted
What We Like
  1. Looks nice
  2. Made of durable material
  3. Rotating feature
What We Don't Like
  1. Mounting hardware not included
  2. Low hose capacity

Made of steel with a bronze finish, this mounted hose reel feels and looks like a very high-quality product. It comes mostly assembled, and mounts easily with just two screws — though the hardware is not included, so you'll need to buy that separately. The mount size also makes it possible to install this either on the side of your house or on a 4x4 (or larger) post, so you don't need to drill into your siding if you don't want to. The best feature? This reel rotates 360 degrees and locks into place, so it doesn't swing around as you reel the hose in or pull it out. A removable storage basket at the top is a nice bonus for storing different nozzles. It doesn't store quite as much hose as our other picks do, but it's a really beautiful, high-quality option if your hose is going to be on display.

  1. Material Steel
  2. Dimensions 18.6" x 20.3" x 22"
  3. Weight ‎15 pounds
  4. Hose Capacity 125 feet
  5. Type Wall-mounted
Photo By: Amy Marturana Winderl
What We Like
  1. Lightweight
  2. Adjustable handle
  3. Quick-connect attachments
What We Don't Like
  1. No hose guide feature

Made of lightweight aluminum and weighing less than nine pounds, this hose reel cart is so easy to carry with you around the yard. The kickstand might look like it won't do much, but it helps keep the cart surprisingly sturdy as you reel up or pull out the hose — even if you tug a little too hard at the end. The adjustable handle folds down, along with the kickstand and the reel handle, to make for compact storage. Gardena products are compatible with the brand's Quick Connect System, which makes it super easy to click the hose to the connector and back off again. You can also screw off the Quick Connect piece and just connect another hose the good old-fashioned way.

  1. Material Aluminum and plastic
  2. Dimensions 35.43" x 29.13" x 18.9"
  3. Weight 8.75 pounds
  4. Hose Capacity 165 feet
  5. Type Cart
What We Like
  1. Hides hose
  2. Automatic reel guide
  3. High capacity
What We Don't Like
  1. Moves if not anchored
  2. Questionable durability

Sometimes, you want your hose to not look so much like a hose. That's where a hose reel box comes in. This one has a wicker-look design to help it fit in with your other deck or pool furniture, and the dark brown color helps hide dirt. Our favorite feature, though, is the Smart Trak Hose Guide, which automatically moves side to side as you reel the hose in so that it's evenly distributed along the drum and doesn't bunch up in one spot. The box also comes with little metal stakes that you can use to anchor it into the ground — ideal if you're keeping this in the grass, but not so helpful if you’re storing it on a deck or concrete surface. While we love the functionality of this reel, the all-plastic construction (and some negative reviews from customers online) makes us a little nervous about the long-term durability of the parts.

  1. Material Plastic
  2. Dimensions 22.4" x 21" x 21.5"
  3. Weight 18 pounds
  4. Hose Capacity 225 feet
  5. Type Hideaway box
What We Like
  1. Durable materials
  2. Great tires for all terrains
  3. Easy-to-follow assembly instructions
What We Don't Like
  1. Heavy
  2. No hose guide

Serious gardeners, listen up. This hose reel cart is the heavy-duty option you've been looking for. It's made of steel and has four sizeable rubber tires, making it possible to lug a lot of hose across all types of terrain in your yard and garden. It's large and it's heavy, so not ideal for anyone looking for a lightweight hose organization solution. But if you're interested in maximizing the amount of hose you can haul, this is a great pick. The reel's quick and smooth, though we do wish it had some sort of hose guide so that we didn't need to use our other hand to guide it as we crank the handle. Some assembly is required, but the directions were easy to follow and it only took about 15 minutes. The basket is a nice addition for storing hose attachments or other gardening essentials, like gloves.

  1. Material Steel
  2. Dimensions 29" x 24.5" x 35"
  3. Weight ‎29.5 pounds
  4. Hose Capacity 250 feet
  5. Type Cart

What to Consider When Buying a Hose Reel

  • Type: There are many types of hose reels, and chances are you'll prefer one over the others, depending on where you plan to use and store your hose. The main categories we encountered (and tested): wall-mounted reels, portable carts, stationary boxes and retractable hose reels. The right type of reel will maximize convenience and make both storage and usage as seamless as possible.
  • Material: Hose reels come in a variety of materials, and many products include some combination of metal (like steel or aluminum) and plastic. Steel tends to feel more stable and durable, though it can eventually rust when exposed to the elements long-term. Aluminum tends to be lighter and doesn't rust; it can corrode when exposed to oxygen, but this isn't a problem if the hose connections aren't made of this material. Plastic can degrade over time in the sun and heat. Many product descriptions claim that the plastic used is extra-durable and won't break down, but it's impossible to know that without testing for multiple months. Some hose reels have plastic hose connections, whereas others use brass.
  • Capacity: When shopping for a hose reel, you want to make sure the hose length capacity aligns with your needs. Some products come in multiple capacity options, so you can choose the one that's best for you. The maximum capacity we tested was 250 feet.
  • Portability: If you want to be able to wheel your hose around the yard, consider buying a portable cart with wheels. Some carts have wheels that are made of plastic, while others have actual tires that make them a little better for wheeling around different types of terrain. Some carts are lighter in weight, making it easier to tote them around.

Photo by: Amy Marturana Winderl

Amy Marturana Winderl

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you connect a hose to a hose reel?

You'll find a hose connection on the drum of each hose reel, which is the circular barrel that the hose ultimately wraps around. The connection is a "male" fitting, which is the same as the spigot. The "female" end of the hose will have a piece of metal that you can spin. Place the hose end on the connection of the reel and screw the metal fitting on until the hose is secure. Make sure that the connection and the hose end are threaded properly so that there are no leaks. Tighten the connection as much as you can.

What's the difference between a retractable and manual hose reel?

A retractable hose reel is one that has an automatic system to wind up the hose. A manual hose reel requires cranking a handle to reel up the hose. Retractable hose reels typically look like an enclosed plastic container and come with a hose already wrapped up inside. You can use any hose (or even multiple hoses) with a manual hose reel, just make sure your hose length and reel capacity match up.

Are hose reels a necessity?

You don't need a hose reel to simply use a hose for tasks around your yard and garden. However, a hose reel is an excellent option if you want a way to store your hose neatly when you're not using it, keep it out of the way of lawnmowers and such, and transport it from one area to another when you need to use it. Hose reels can really maximize your home and garden organization and efficiency.

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