The humble garden hose is about as Australian as a meat pie. You need it to give the garden a drink, wash the car and top up the clamshell pool for the kiddies to wade in. But times have changed, and now the sight of the rubber hose snaking its way around your yard and yellowing and cracking in the sunshine is something of an eyesore. So how do you keep your hose neat and tidy but still accessible? The answer may be a good retractable hose reel.
Retractable hose reels come in a plastic housing which you can trigger to draw the hose back in. The reel uses an internal spring-loaded mechanism that either distributes the hose side to side in the housing so it doesn't clump together, or has a housing large enough to accommodate the entire hose reel despite clumping.
What to look for in a retractable hose reel
Wall mounted or portable
For semi-permanent mounting, look for a hose reel that can be wall mounted. A portable model is handy for taking between yards, or for storage.
Some retractable hose reels are quite expensive, so look out for one that can be padlocked to the mounting for additional security. Alternatively you can install it inside your shed and feed the hose out through a hole in your wall, if security is a concern.
Look for a slow rewind function which retracts the hose slowly. Some models are spring loaded, meaning when you trigger the rewind mechanism the hose can snap back to the housing.
Useful for those with curious kids, you can lock the hose reel so that it cannot be drawn out of the housing.
Look for an adjustable spray gun included in the retractable hose-reel kit. Retractable hose reels often come as a package.
Most models come in varying sizes so get one that will suit your yard.
The stopper stops the hose from being retracted entirely into the housing.
Hose end storage
Look for a model with storage for the hose end when not in use which stops it getting dirty. Usually this means a spot on the reel housing into which you can plug the hose end after removing the spray gun.
Retractable hose reels versus manual and semi-manual hose reels
Retractable hose reels are relatively expensive. There are cheaper hose reel options on the market, such as manual and semi-manual reels. However, retractable hose reels are less cumbersome.
- Manual reels are the cheapest, however they can be tricky to use as it's difficult to gather the hose and loop it over the reel.
- Semi-manual reels require you to guide the hose into the reel as you turn the handle that draws the hose over the wheel. They also require a lot more effort.
How much does a retractable hose reel cost?
Retractable hose reels range in price depending on their length. As a guide, 20m reels cost from $69 up to $200 or more.