Shopping Guide to the Best Retractable Air Hose Reel in 2019
To get the very best use out of your compressor – whether its mobility in the workshop or around the house and yard – you often require more hose than is supplied as standard. The issue with a loose hose is that it can soon end up sliding around everywhere. It’s not just unneat; it’s also an unsafe trip hazard. The answer is to get the Best Retractable Garden Air Hose Reel, either a model that you can wind your existing hose onto or one that comes with its own hose.
The air hose reel market provides a remarkable wide range of features. We’ve been looking at what’s available so we can provide you the benefit of our 48 hour research. In addition to the models we recommend, we’ve assembled this buyer’s guide, which provides all the details you need to assist you in deciding which one should fit your need.
If you’re purchasing a bare hose reel for a hose you already own, check that the connectors are compatible. While most are 1/4 inch, it’s not universal.
Most air hose reels for the homeowner are considered to be dual purpose. You can either attach it to your compressor or to a water supply. With the correct fitting on the end, the reel enables you to do anything from inflating your car tires to watering the lawn. The other areas we’ll look at are the mounting type, the type of hose (when supplied), and any other features that may have an impact on your selection.
The mounting brackets on a retractable air hose reel are always steel, with either two holes or four.
Two holes: Relatively lightweight homeowner models typically only require two holes. Mounting plates are slender and entirely discreet as a result. Some are also hinged, so you can turn your retractable air hose reel itself 90° and leave it flush against a wall when it’s not utilized.
Four holes: Open reels, with a more industrial focus, usually have four holes, and many can be mounted to the floor, wall, or ceiling. With a potential magnitude of up to 200 feet of hose, these reels need to be extremely secure if they’re fixed in an overhead position.
It’s crucial not to overlook the type of hose provided with the air hose reel. Note that the ends of the hose near fixings are the most liable to kinking. Many manufacturers fit bend restrictors as a preventative measure, which is something worth looking out for.
PVC: Polyvinyl chloride is inexpensive and very lightweight, but it isn’t as flexible as other materials and can kink severely, leading to damage. The typical temperature range for PVC is 20°F to 145°F.
Hybrid polymer: This is a great material for mid-priced general-purpose hose and is quite durable to kinking. The usual temperature range is -10°F to 150°F.
Rubber: This material is extremely flexible, will not kink, and comes at a similar price to hybrid polymer. Its one shortcoming is that it’s relatively heavy. The usual temperature range is -20°F to 165°F.
Polyurethane: This hose is flexible, light, durable, and doesn’t kink easily, but it’s very costly. The general temperature range is -40°F to 160°F.
A retractable air hose are estimated for a maximum air pressure much higher than people usually require: 150 pounds per square inch (psi) is the lowest we discovered, and 300 psi is common. As long as the hose is intact, these operating pressures integrate a wide safety margin.
Air hose reel features
Retractable air hose
Most air hose reels are equipped with a retractable hose that rewinds automatically, typically via a spring mechanism. Good reels are fitted with a ratchet to prevent the hose from doing this whenever you let go. You can pull out the length you require and it will stop there until you want to put it away.
An additional convenience on many air hose reels is an auto level system. Not only do the hose retract itself but it also fills the reel evenly. There’s minimum chance of a jam, and it will play out smoothly the next time it’s put to use.
The guide arm on an open air hose reel can be one- or two-sided, but two-sided offers more support and withstands twisting. However, the thickness and density of the metal used has an impact, and high-quality single-sided arms seem just as resilient to flex as their more costly counterparts.
Guide arms are generally fitted with rollers, not only to supply a smooth action but also to prevent the hose eroding. It’s worth checking, since some guides have steel components that could wear the hose in the long run.
Air hose reels should include a stopper (it looks somewhat like a rubber ball or a donut) that clamps around the hose near the end. When the hose is pulled back, the stopper rests against the hose guide, keeping the hose tidy and conveniently accessible. It’s especially important on enclosed reels because it prevents the hose from disappearing inside!
Most preloaded air hose reels are provided with a leader hose that runs from the reel to your compressor, while others aren’t. You may already have something suitable, but if not, check before ordering. Also check the length provided. Some are only three feet long, which might be too short if you’re mounting the hose reel on a wall or ceiling.
Most hoses are 3/8 inch in diameter with 1/4 inch National Pipe Tapered Thread (NPT) connectors. There are always exceptions, so check when ordering.
Keep in mind that if you have a modest compressor – as many homeowners do – you could encounter a performance drop in your tools when utilizing a long hose. It’s not particularly the pressure that’s less but rather the airflow, the cubic feet per minute. As a custom rule, use the shortest hose possible. If you only require 25 feet, it’s not necessarily a great idea to purchase a longer hose because you think it may come in handy one day. If you definitely need a long hose, you may have to upgrade your compressor.
Air hose reel prices
If you already have a hose and you’re just in search for a carrier, there are some very inexpensive air hose reels around.
Carts: We would refrain from all-plastic models. Some of the carts are fine for garden hose, but we favor the durability of steel. You’ll find great, epoxy resin-coated reels at roughly around $35 for a 50-foot capacity model, rising to just under $100 for big 200-foot versions.
Enclosed reels: These are well-known as a dual-purpose option for the homeowner. Most fall within an adequately narrow price range of between $80 and $100. You’ll generally get 50 feet of hose included, though some are only 30 feet, so be mindful.
Open reels: Open air hose reels are usually the professional’s choice. These are typically more ruggedly built to tolerate industrial and engineering environments, and they are usually more expensive. It’s rare you’ll find one that costs much under $100. Most of the best ones are in the $200 to $300 price range, and you can pay up to $400 for substantially heavy-duty models.
- Take care of your air hose reel. Check the fixings and connectors reguararly and retighten if need be. Lightly oil moving parts periodically with a silicone lubricant.
- Avoid rewinding a dirty hose. Grit and other contaminants could potentially damage the mechanism. Wipe the hose down before storing it. If your air hose reel retracts automatically, just put a clean cloth around it while it works.
- Don’t cross-thread connections. Many hose fittings are brass, which is much softer and delicate than steel. Be vigilant when making connections that you don’t cross-thread them. Not only will it damage the components but will also almost surely cause leaks.
- Empty the hose of water before winter. If you’re utilizing your air hose reel for water, and it’s going to be outside over the winter, use your compressor to blow through and eliminate any remaining water. If it freezes in the hose or fittings, it could split and damage them.
Other products we considered
If you’re searching for a tough, basic model with loads of capacity (and you don’t mind winding the handle), the Ironton Air Hose Reel is made from 18-gauge steel, powder coated for protection, and will take 100 feet of standard 3/8-inch hose (not included). You’ll hardly be criticized for purchasing DeWALT, and its DXCM024-0343 Double Arm Hose Reel is another example of the company’s build quality and attention to detail. It’s got self-leveling wind system, four-roller hose guide, auto-retraction, and an operational range of -40°F to 150°F. The Milton Industries 260-50D Dual-Arm Auto-Retractable Air Hose Reel is a high-quality, heavy-duty apparatus that can be mounted on floor, wall, or ceiling. With its premium nylon-reinforced rubber hose, it’s certainly aimed at professional users.
Q. Are enclosed air hose reels better than open models?
A. Many people feel they’re neater, especially if you want one in the backyard. However, the quality of the enclosure is essential. Plastic shells can be damaged quite easily if you’re not vigilant, and some are criticized for poor devices. If they jam, you may have to dismantle the case. It’s definitely not an issue with all enclosed air hose reels – some are praised for how well they work – but an open reel has fewer things that can go wrong and they’re typically considered the professional option.
Q. Is a hybrid air hose better than rubber?
A. Hybrid is a great compromise between the light weight of PVC and the flexibility and durability of rubber, though the latter remains well known, and there’s usually little difference in price. Be attentive with specification, though. There are various hybrids available, and some don’t cope as well with the cold as others. Rubber is preferable when temperatures get below freezing.
Q. What’s the difference between SBR rubber and NBR rubber?
A. Both are actually synthetic rubbers. SBR is general purpose and what you’ll see frequently. NBR has high resistance to oils and petroleums but is considerably more costly, so it’s typically used on professional air hose reels in garages or engineering workshops. You will periodically see EPDM rubber, which is specifically known for its resistance to harsh weather.