The Best Hose Reels for Keeping the Lawn and Garden Tidy
Neaten up an unruly garden hose with the reel suited to the size of your property and the way you care for your grounds.
The bushes are pruned, the lawn is mowed, and the planting beds are weeded. Your yard and garden are looking great—except for that pile of twisted hose. To put it in its place, you need a hose reel: a cylindrical spindle made of metal, fiberglass, or plastic on which to wind and neatly store your hose.
There are various types of hose reels available. Which is the right one for you? That depends on the size of your property, gardening style, and personal budget. Below, find our list of top picks and pointers for choosing the best hose reel:
- BEST VALUE: Liberty Garden Manger Style Garden Hose Stand
- BEST OVERALL: Liberty Garden Single Arm Navigator Multi-Directional Garden Hose Reel
- BEST PORTABLE: Strongway Garden Hose Reel Cart
- BEST FOR SMALL YARDS: HOSELINK Automatic Retractable Garden Hose Reel
Key Shopping Considerations for Hose Reels
The primary consideration for a hose reel is the length of the hose you’ll be using. To determine the right length, measure from the spigot to the areas you’ll be watering. A 200-foot hose on a reel with a 150-foot capacity will result in the excess spilling off, preventing the reel from winding properly, or both. To ensure that hose length jives with hose reel capacity, check packaging information on both if buying new or measure your existing hose if keeping it.
Most garden hose reels include a leader hose to attach the hose reel to the spigot. Whether you’ll be connecting an existing hose or buying a new one, check the packaging information to verify that the diameters match or you won’t be able to thread them together. For example, a 5/8-inch garden hose won’t fit on a leader hose with a ¾-inch diameter.
The proper leader hose length depends on where the hose will be stored and its proximity to the water source. If the hose reel comes with a six-foot leader and you’re installing it four feet from the spigot, the leader hose will be long enough.
Portable vs. Stationary
Hose reels can be attached to a permanent location, such as the side of your house, or on wheels for portability. To decide what will work best for you, consider the size of your landscape. Is it a fairly large area or just a patch of grass and a smattering of bushes planted close to the foundation? If you’ve got a big yard, you may benefit from the mobility of a wheeled hose reel—hoses are heavy and lugging one around is hard work. Alternatively, smaller spaces where the hose easily reaches everything in need of water should be fine with a wall-mounted unit or a stationary hose reel that remains in place.
Manual vs. Automatic
How much work are you willing to put into winding your hose? Manual hose reels have a crank that you turn by hand to wind the hose. Automatic models have a button on the side of the reel that, when pressed, winds the hose for you. One caveat: Longer hoses can be troublesome for automatic models, which may have difficulty winding in the entire length of the hose.
Closed vs. Open Storage
Folks who prefer to stow the garden hose is out of sight should opt for a closed (or hideaway) storage hose reel). With these, the hose is enclosed in a container that houses the reel; a lid on top provides access to the hose. In addition to concealment, closed storage protects the hose from the elements, which could increase its longevity. The alternative is an open storage reel where the hose is exposed and visible, but still tidy and contained on the reel.
Though generally simple devices, hose reels may come with a few bells and whistles.
- Some wall-mounted hose reels include a convenient basket for small, frequently used garden tools like additional hose nozzles, gloves, and hand cultivators; however, exposure to the elements is likely to shorten the lifespan of these tools. A better choice is a hose reel with a storage bin inside a covered unit.
- Some stationary hose reels feature an optional swivel base that allows for multi-directional movement without tipping the reel. Swiveling saves you from having to adjust the direction of the hose as it unwinds from the reel when pulled in different directions. With a swivel, the unit stays in place but spins in the direction you move with the hose. If the hose will be stored in a tight spot against the house, or it won’t be used in a way that requires swiveling, forego the swivel option.
- Hose reels may also include a hose guide that prevents kinking when winding and unwinding—a nice option since hoses have a tendency to bunch up, particularly when being wound, and prevent the reel from turning.
The Best Hose Reels
1. BEST VALUE: Liberty Garden Manger Style Garden Hose Stand
A limited budget is no excuse for a haphazard hose, thanks to the Liberty Garden Manger Style Garden Hose Stand. Able to hold 125 feet of 5/8-inch garden hose, this budget-friendly stand features a curved platform and powder-coated, heavy-gauge steel construction for long-lasting weather resistance. Install the stand in the ground (but avoid locating it in sandy or loose soil, where it won’t be able to stand securely) and attach the hose directly to the spigot—no leader required. Three long anchor points at the bottom hold the stand firmly in place.
Strong steel construction and a weather-resistant coating make the Liberty Garden Single Arm Navigator Multi-Directional Garden Hose Reel a rugged, traditional-style mounted reel. It holds 125 feet of 5/8-inch hose and includes a five-foot leader hose and a storage tray for additional nozzles and tools. A pull-up handle on top allows for 360-degree rotation, but the reel can also be locked into eight different secure positions so that excess hose doesn’t spill off the reel.
3. BEST PORTABLE: Strongway Garden Hose Reel Cart
Anyone with a large yard to maintain will appreciate the Strongway Garden Hose Reel Cart, which boasts impressive hose capacity, portability, and convenient storage. At more than twice the capacity of other reels, the cart holds 400 feet of 5/8-inch hose and features a six-foot leader hose. Flat-free tires never have to be filled and a basket beneath the reel keeps tools, gloves, and nozzles close at hand. The handle enables it to operate like a wagon with an easy pull-behind design and a swivel grip takes the work out of winding and unwinding.
4. BEST FOR SMALL YARDS: HOSELINK Automatic Retractable Garden Hose Reel
A small-space gardener who doesn’t need a lot of hose and wants an inconspicuous reel cannot possibly go wrong the HOSELINK Automatic Retractable Garden Hose Reel. Its “stop anywhere” locking system lets you secure the hose at any length up to 82 feet. A seven-function spray gun gives you watering versatility, while a 180-degree pivot bracket allows the HOSELINK reel to pivot in the direction you’re moving with the hose. When not in use, pivot the reel to rest along the wall and out of the way. The model includes a mounting bracket, installation hardware, and a 6.5-foot leader hose.