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A quality hose reel keeps your garden hose easily accessible while preventing you from tripping over it, and your hose from damaging your lawn or garden. Although hose reels vary in style, some can also help you transport your hose around the yard, and even add a fun touch of decor to your space.
We tested 26 hose reels ranging from carts, wagons, pots, and hideaways in different sizes and styles in our lab in Des Moines, Iowa. After a sweaty day of assembling, storing, winding, unwinding, and pushing the reels around rocks, pavement, and grass (when applicable) in our rooftop garden, we carefully evaluated the reels on setup, design, ease of use, portability, durability, and value.
Our favorite hose reel is the Gorilla Aluminum Zero Rust Premium Mobile Hose Reel. Able to store a 200-foot hose, this durable reel was incredibly easy to use (both winding and unwinding the hose) and maneuver around different terrain, thanks to its rubber wheels and grip on the handles.
Based on our testing, here are the best hose reels.
Best Overall: Gorilla 200 ft. Aluminum Zero Rust Premium Mobile Hose Reel
Durable aluminum frame
Simple to use
Maneuvers easily on different terrain
Rubber grip on handles
Screws require a little effort to install
Handle may seem short for taller users
If you are looking for a high-quality hose reel to store and transport your hose (up to 200 feet), the Gorilla Aluminum Hose Reel is the perfect choice. After we tested 22 other reels of different shapes and styles, this product shines above the rest for its durability and design.
We found this reel to be easy to put together (although the screws might need a little extra effort), and the aluminum frame felt well-made and built to last. The reel's rubber wheels made it easy to maneuver on different surfaces. We also appreciated the rubber grips on the handle, which made the reel comfortable and easy to steer. Our tester was 5 foot 2 inches, so someone taller might have a different experience and have to bend over more to move the reel around, but generally, we believe it is good for a variety of heights.
Connecting and threading the hose into the reel was also effortless. In addition to the sliding threading guide, a leather loop on the side helps guide the hose around the reel. These alignment guides almost felt unnecessary since there is already a spigot on the reel. However, our tester noted that the loop made reeling and unreeling more stable and seamless.
Price at time of publish: $117
Best Budget: Artigarden Freestanding Garden Hose Holder Hanger
Multiple placement options
Easy to install
Can't transport the hose
Looping fabric hoses is unwieldy
Could tip over in loose soil
For a quick and affordable way to store your hose, we recommend the Artigarden Freestanding Garden Hose Hanger. With a simple, very basic design, this metal structure has three prongs that can be staked in the garden, yard, or anywhere you want to keep your hose handy and organized, as long as there is dirt. Although when empty, the hanger is lightweight (just over 4 pounds) and can be easily moved to a different spot on your property, it's not intended to transport your hose—it is simply a place to store it.
We found it very easy to install and hang the hose around the loop on the hanger, even though instructions weren’t included. Not all hoses looped equally: We found it a little tougher to loop a fabric hose than a rubber hose. And, unlike a true hose reel, you need to use your own two hands to hang the hose. Also, the hanger stayed in the ground nicely during testing, but we believe it could tip over if the soil becomes loose, say after a heavy rain or a spring thaw, so keep that in mind when determining where to place it. These objections aside, we still believe this is a quick, budget-friendly, and space-saving solution to storing your hose.
Price at time of publish: $37
Best Splurge : Frontgate Beehive Hose Pot
Unique, nature-inspired design
Comes fully assembled
Has a drainage hole and lid
Not for larger hoses
With a fun, stylish design, the Frontgate Beehive Hose Pot adds a nice focal point to your outdoor space, while keeping your hose neatly stored. We appreciated its useful features, including a drainage hole, and a lid to make it more weather-resistant. With a little effort (at 21 pounds, the Beehive is a bit heavy), you also could bring it into a covered area seasonally to protect it from the elements, or from getting knocked into and chipped when not in use. It comes fully assembled with the lid, and is easy to use—simply coil your hose in the pot.
The Beehive's other heavy attribute is its slightly higher price tag. So if you are looking for a budget option, or something more portable (or if you don’t like bees), you might find it not worth the splurge. Also, it has capacity for a 100-foot hose, according to the manufacturer, and doesn’t accommodate larger hoses. And depending on how ornery your hose kinks, coiling it within the product could be a chore. But overall, we think the Beehive is worth considering for its unique, nature-inspired design and practical features, if you have the space for it.
Price at time of publish: $150
Best Portable : Liberty Garden 300 ft. 2-Wheel Industrial Hose Cart
Large basket for carrying supplies
Maneuvers around different terrain easily
Easy to wind and unwind the hose
Can accommodate a 300-foot hose
Somewhat confusing directions
Was harder to load certain hoses
To transport your hose and hose accessories around your large garden or yard with ease, we recommend the Liberty Garden Industrial Hose Cart. “This reel was a breeze to wheel around with one hand in front or behind you,” our tester reported. Thanks to the cart’s big, rubber wheels, we were able to push the cart over different types of terrain easily (although the wheels are not hard plastic, so they could puncture or go flat at some point). We also love the size and placement of the basket, which could be big enough to carry gardening tools, a water bottle, a hose nozzle, and gardening gloves.
Reeling and unreeling the hose was also effortless, and the powder-coated steel reel felt sturdy when we were using it. However, we noticed that not all hoses attached with the same degree of ease. Also, the attachment point was in a bit of an awkward spot, which also seemed to affect some hoses more than others. And while certain pieces came pre-assembled, the instructions for assembling other pieces were a bit confusing. But all in all, we believe this cart is worth the extra effort, especially for larger yards and for carrying supplies.
Price at time of publish: $196
Best Hideaway: Giraffe Metal Hose Reel Box
Stylish, metal design
Threading guide evenly distributes hose
Easy to wind and unwind
Lacks wheels and handles
The Giraffe Metal Hose Reel Box is an excellent option if you want the benefits of a hose reel but also want to keep your hose contained and out of sight. This bronze-colored metal box is more stylish than some plastic versions. And although wheels would have been nice, we found it relatively easy to lift and move the Giraffe when needed, even when with the hose fully reeled.
At first, we were confused on how to attach the hose, but the manufacturer has a handy video that made the process simple to follow. After learning how to hook up the hose, we found it easy to wind and unwind it. The box also includes a threading guide that moves from left to right to help thread and evenly distribute the hose around the reel. Considering that some hoses are more ornery to coil than others, this is a terrific feature! So aside from its lack of portability features (wheels, or comfortable handles), this is a great option to hide, wind, and unwind your hose.
Price at time of publish: $198
Best with Hose: Gardena 18513-20 Frost Proof ''M'' Hose Cart Set
Easy to maneuver on rocks and grass
Includes hose, cart, and nozzle
Kick stand helps keep it stable
Fun turquoise color
Spigot attachment required
The Gardena Frost Proof Hose Cart Set is an excellent choice if you need a hose, nozzle, and a place to store them—it conveniently includes all three. We loved the cart's bright, turquoise color that made it stand out in the landscape, as well as its practical features, but especially its maneuverability on grass and rocks. We found the cart to be so light and easy to move that we expected it to fall over when using the crank to reel and unreel the hose. However, it was surprisingly sturdy and didn’t tip over at all, in part due to the handy kickstand feature that helped keep it steady. (We did need to bend over a bit to use the handle, but it was still easy to move around.)
The cart arrives fully assembled, and although it comes with a 68-foot hose, the manufacturer says it can be used with a longer hose, up to 198 feet. You can also find multiple sizes of this set that include longer hoses. Also, this product, made in Germany, uses the European hose connection standard, so you need an extra attachment, purchased separately from Gardena or elsewhere, to connect the included hose to a U.S. spigot. However, we found that we could attach our own hoses to the reel itself.
Price at time of publish: $203
Best Pot: BHG Metal Hose Pot
No assembly required
Harder to use with heavy hoses
A hose pot is a quick solution to storing your hose. It requires almost no setup and comes in a variety of styles and sizes. We love this option from Better Homes & Gardens because it is budget-friendly, lightweight, and has a detailed pattern that complements many different types of decor. You can store or place it almost anywhere because it has a rust-resistant finish that should hold up to the elements, although it does not have a lid.
As most garden pots, this option isn't ideal to transport your hose or any other garden accessories. And we found that lightweight hoses were the best choices for this pot because you have to take the whole hose out and drag it around when in use—you don’t have the benefit of a reel to contain the hose for you. But if you are looking for a hose pot, you can’t go wrong with this stylish choice.
Price at time of publish: $30
Best Cart: Eley Portable Garden Hose Reel Cart
Maneuver well on different terrain
Stable and durable design
Easy to wind and unwind hose
Extra kit needed for longer hoses
With a unique and durable design, The Eley Portable Garden Hose Reel Cart is a great option for transporting your hose around your yard, or in and out of storage. We found the reel to be very easy to wind and unwind. The large tires helped handle different terrain without any issues, making this product very smooth and easy to pull. Although the reel can fit a hose up to 125 feet long, the manufacturer offers an extra-capacity kit to accommodate larger hoses.
We also noted the sturdy construction and solid materials, including the connectors and the connector hose, and believe it should last for several seasons; the manufacturer backs it with a “10-year No-Leak, No-Rust, No-Break warranty.” All these features come at a price, but if you want a high-quality cart to contain and transport your hose, and don’t mind a bit of a splurge, this is an excellent choice.
Price at time of publish: $321
Best for Large Spaces: GroundWork Hose Reel Cart
Fits hoses up to 400 feet long
Easy to wind, steer and maneuver
Large storage basket
Couldn't tighten some screws
Able to accommodate a 400-foot hose, the Groundwork Hose Reel Cart is ideal for large yards and gardens. The steel frame felt heavy-duty, and the rubber wheels made it easy to maneuver over rocks, grass, and dirt, making it a great choice if your property encompasses different terrain. Also, the handle was flexible and especially easy to use. We also appreciated the handy storage basket to keep your water bottle, gloves, and gardening tools with you while you work—instead of wondering where you left them!
We found reeling and unreeling the hose seamless with each type of hose we tested. And although this product can accommodate larger and small hoses, this wagon is larger and heavier than others we tested, and probably more than you would need for a smaller space. We also noted that during assembly, we weren’t able to tighten one of the screws and that all seemed loose, although apparently, that didn't affect the wagon at all.
Price at time of publish: $267
After we tested 22 different hose reels, the Gorilla Aluminum Zero Rust Premium Mobile Hose Reel is the clear winner, able to maneuver over different types of terrain with ease. We also found it simple to put the product together and thread, reel, and unreel a hose. If you simply want a place to keep your hose neat and tidy and have a small space, the Artigarden Freestanding Garden Hose Hanger is a great budget-friendly option. It doesn't have the benefits of a hose reel, but it's simple to install, keeps your hose tidy, and can be placed anywhere there is dirt.
How We Tested the Hose Reels
We tested 26 different hose reels in a range of styles and sizes, in the rooftop garden of our lab in Des, Moines, Iowa. We first set up each hose reel according to the manufacturer's instructions and recorded the time and assembly process. We then evaluated each reel’s design: For those that were simply reels, we connected a hose to the couplings and wound the hose around the reels, noting how much effort it took to do so. For the other styles, we simply coiled a hose into the pots or hangers, recording how easy this deceptively ornery process can be. Next, we tested the products' usability, and practiced fully unwinding the hoses from the reel or taking the hoses out of the pots. We noted if the hose unwound smoothly or was difficult to remove, if the container tipped over during the process, or needed a hand or two to steady it. We repeated this process with two different hoses of varying lengths and styles.
To test portability and durability, we rolled reels with wheels around our garden's varied terrain, which encompasses rocks and pavement, as well as grass. We tried knocking over the pots or hangers to see if they stood up or easily fell over when pushed. Last, we assessed each product's overall value, comparing our evaluation and price.
What to Look For in a Hose Reel
When shopping for hose reels, one of the most important things to consider is the maximum hose length it can hold. Most models can hold standard-width hoses up to 100 feet long. A 100-foot capacity may work if you have a small yard that doesn't require a longer hose. But folks with more expansive lawns, gardens, and/or driveways should look for reels that can accommodate hoses 200 to 300 feet or more. For example, the Gorilla Aluminum Zero Rust Premium Mobile Hose Reel, our Best Overall and a personal favorite with our testers, can hold up to a 200-foot hose. If you need a reel for an even longer hose, the Groundwork Hose Reel Cart can accommodate hoses as long as 400 feet and stands out for its heavy-duty construction and maneuverability.
Another distinction among hose reels is the wind-up method. Simpler models often require manual winding, which is fine for shorter hoses but takes more time and elbow grease for longer hoses. Swivel-base reels continuously rotate 180 degrees or a full 360 degrees, making it easier to wind up long hoses. Others have simple crank-style handles, which turn a cylindrical wheel to collect the hose slack. Your choice depends on your hose's length and composition, and your arm strength.
Some hose reels come as stationary enclosures, and many are meant to be mounted onto a side of a house, fence, or shed. However, you also can find lots of portable options to help you store and transport your hose. This includes wheel-equipped cart-style models such as our Best Portable pick, the Liberty Garden 300 ft. 2-Wheel Industrial Hose Cart. This stood out for its big rubber wheels that helped it maneuver over different types of terrain easily.
Freestanding stakes, such as the budget-friendly Artigarden Freestanding Garden Hose Holder Hanger, are another portable storage option—they can be placed virtually anywhere there is dirt and moved around as needed. However, they are not meant to be moved around with the hose attached.
How do you use a hose reel?
For a wind-up hose reel, you pull on the hose, which is wound or unwound automatically. Or you turn a crank to accomplish both operations.
How does a hose reel work?
There are two basic types of hose reels. The “storage” type is a fixed bracket, mounted to a wall or freestanding. It requires you to manually roll up the hose and remove all or part of the hose each time you use it. The “wind-up” hose reel type works like a fishing reel: It releases and retracts the hose as needed. It can have a manual crank, or is spring-loaded and releases and collects the hose automatically. In this type of hose reel, the hose is usually permanently connected to the water outlet.
How do you connect a hose to a hose reel?
In some reels, the hose is already an integrated part of the reel, so you don’t need to attach the hose yourself. In other models, the reel includes a short hose you connect to the water spigot, and a male end to which you connect the hose's female end. You roll up the hose until you reach the male end to connect the nozzle.
Why Trust The Spruce?
Jenica Currie is an Associate Commerce Editor for The Spruce, focusing on outdoor, gardening, and home improvement. She has tested a variety of products at home and in the Lab, including hose nozzles and soaker hoses. At home, she enjoys maintaining an English Cottage-inspired flower garden and planting herbs and vegetables in various containers (including an indoor herb garden in the winter). For this article, she researched top hose reels and incorporated our testing insights from the Lab.
What Is Spruce Approved?
Here at The Spruce, we want to ensure we fully stand behind every product we recommend and that when we say something is the best, we mean it. You might have noticed The Spruce Approved badge next to the products on this list. Every product with this badge has been rigorously tested in person and carefully selected by our expert team of lab testers and editors. In most cases, we buy all these products ourselves, though occasionally, we get samples provided to us directly by companies. No matter how we procure products, they all go through the same tests and must meet the same strict criteria to make the best-of cut. We also pride ourselves on transparency and will always let you know if we received a product for free.