Affiliate Disclosure

Stylized i character

None of our reviews are sponsored. We earn a commission when you purchase items through our links.

The 8 Best Hose Reels


For this 2023 update, we tested three newer models of hose reels to find which one was the easiest to use, drip-free, and neatly rolled and housed a 100′ garden hose. The AMES – 2519500 NeverLeak was the clear winner. It’s an attractive, solidly built, metal cabinet with an auto-track system that rapidly coils the hose in seconds. The Liberty – 703-1 is still our pick for a heavy-duty hose reel that’s durable and also a great value. For a portable version, we also recommend the Liberty Garden – 871S, a nicely made hose-reel cart.

Our Top Choices

Best Overall



Best Heavy-Duty Reel



Best Portable

Liberty Garden


For this 2023 update, we tested three newer models of hose reels to find which one was the easiest to use, drip-free, and neatly rolled and housed a 100′ garden hose. The AMES – 2519500 NeverLeak was the clear winner. It’s an attractive, solidly built, metal cabinet with an auto-track system that rapidly coils the hose in seconds. The Liberty – 703-1 is still our pick for a heavy-duty hose reel that’s durable and also a great value. For a portable version, we also recommend the Liberty Garden – 871S, a nicely made hose-reel cart.

Table of contents

The 8 hose reels we tested

ProductPriceBuild MaterialsFittings / Leak TestSpooling TestTested Hose Capacity
AMES - 2519500$$$5/55/55/5100
Liberty Garden - 703-1$$$4/54/54/5196
Liberty Garden - 871-S$$$4/55/54/5100
Suncast 100' Hose Hideaway$$3/51/51/5100
Suncast - Hose Hideaway (Discontinued)$$3/55/55/5240
Suncast - Hosemobile (Discontinued)$3/53/54/5150
Eley - Rapid Reel (Discontinued)$$$$$5/55/53/5215
Ames - Fold & Store Hose Cart (Discontinued)$$$3/51/52/5125

Best overall: AMES – 2519500

Ames hose reel

Functional and attractive, the AMES – 2519500 is a sturdy, heavy-duty metal hose-reel cabinet with aluminum fittings that are much more secure than plastic fittings and are designed to resist rust and never leak. It has a few parts — water intake and outtake values and the cabinet’s feet — that need to be installed, but it takes only about 15 minutes to do.

We were especially impressed with the water intake valve, which can be installed in three different directions to accommodate the angle of connection between the leader hose and your outdoor water faucet. The intake valve’s angle can be changed at any time by simply unlocking the latches that hold it in place, so you can move the cabinet to face forward, to the right, and to the left.

Best Overall: AMES - 2519500

Sturdy and attractive, the AMES Hose Reel Cabinet can easily accommodate a 100' garden hose. Its aluminum fittings prevent rust and leaks.

The cabinet is pretty weighty — coming in at 29 pounds — so you can unwind your hose without the cabinet sliding around. Because of the size of the cabinet itself and the heavy-duty reel, this AMES model can handily accommodate a 100′ garden hose, but we suspect that its roominess would also allow an additional 25′ or 50′.

The reel has an auto-tracking system that moves side to side as you crank the handle and neatly coils up the hose. The only issue we had with the auto-tracking is that sometimes the hose gets stuck on either end of the reel before the system resets when moving right to left or vice cersa. But all it takes is a little walk back of the hose and guiding it onto the reel by hand to get it back on track.

Despite its size, the AMES has a black-and-brown decorative wicker pattern that’s easy on the eye and keeps a low profile. Its perfectly flat top also comes in handy for holding garden tools while you’re working. The AMES is a bit more expensive than the plastic hose-reel cabinets, but from all indications during our testing, we’re confident that it will last for years.

Key takeaways:

  • The AMES – 2519500 is solidly constructed of metal and has aluminum fittings that prevent rust and leakage.
  • It has a sturdy, heavy-duty reel that can hold a rubber or vinyl 100′ garden hose.
  • The cabinet has an effective auto-tracking system that neatly wraps the hose around the reel without kinks or bunching up.

Best heavy-duty reel: Liberty Garden – 703-1

Liberty product with hose wound up
The  703-1 is an entry-level steel reel from Liberty and it represents a great value for someone who’s tired of plastic garden tools.

Compared to the plastic reels, this is a bit heavier and inspires a lot more confidence. It isn’t that attractive — the beige powder-coating is fine, but the mixed zinc-plated and cast-brass fittings on the side are kind of hideous. You could mount this on your wall, but if that’s your plan you should know that Liberty Garden makes more decorative options that aren’t available in a freestanding style.

Best Heavy-Duty Reel: Liberty Garden -  703-1

Steel and brass construction puts plastic reels to shame, though it doesn't have the winding features or portability of our other picks.

Compared to the Eley (which will set you back $100 more) this isn’t as nice, but the parallel side flanges on this reel caused fewer problems when winding. It’s also balanced lower to the ground, so it’s less likely to tip over if you yank hard on the hose.

The fittings all appear to be off-the-shelf plumbing parts, which means long-term maintenance should be simple. Everything about this reel is a noticeable step down in look and feel from the Eley, but functionally it’s a better reel.

If you want metal construction and a level-winder guide like our top pick, Liberty sells one, model 707, but it’s wall-mount-only and a lot more expensive.

This 703-1 reel is wide and sturdy and only minimal assembly was required. (A couple of wrenches are required for the lock-nuts on the handle.) It leaked around the inlet when we first assembled it, but after we tightened the fitting a bit more it never so much as dripped.

The most frustrating thing about this reel is pushing the rubber feet through the holes in the base; you’ll almost certainly need pliers to get them through. There are four cheap lawn stakes included if you want to keep this on grass instead of concrete.

Key takeaways:

  • The Liberty Garden – 703-1 is well-built but still affordable.
  • Steel components with a powder-coat finish should survive decades of gardening.
  • It can be wall-mounted or free-standing.
  • It has capacity for almost 200 feet of hose.
  • It doesn’t help you wind neatly, but doesn’t get in the way.

Best portable: Liberty Garden – 871S Cart

Liberty Garden Products hose reel cart

Definitely give yourself an hour to put together the Liberty Garden – 871S Hose Reel Cart. Assembly isn’t difficult, and if you’re skilled with assembling the many pieces, bolts, and screws of an IKEA product, you shouldn’t have a problem.

The Liberty cart is actually a very good product. It’s almost entirely made of 13-gauge steel with an attractive bronze-colored powder-coating finish. The only parts that are not metal are the four 10″ inflatable rubber tires that are quite sturdy and constructed to withstand rocky terrain.

Best Portable: Liberty Garden - 871S

The all-metal Liberty Garden Hose Reel Cart has a sturdy reel that can store a 250' garden hose, and its tough rubber tires can handle uneven terrains.

The substantial reel can certainly hold a regular 100′ garden hose. The manufacturer claims it can hold a 250′ hose, but in our opinion not without some effort. The reel doesn’t have a winding guide, so you need to manually guide the hose as you’re reeling to avoid it getting bunched up.

One oddity with the reel is that when you unwind the hose, the momentum causes the reel’s handle to unscrew and fall off. Since the manufacturer does not recommend tightening the handle too securely, you’ll have to deal with occasionally screwing it back on.

The Liberty cart has a 5′ leader hose with brass fittings that were secure and didn’t leak. One thing that we did notice, however, is a slight build-up of rust inside one of the connectors, and although we only had the cart for a week, stored outside, we were surprised to see the rust. We also noticed a spot of rust on the powder-coating finish, so although we can recommend the Liberty cart, we do wonder about how long the finish will last in wet conditions.

Key takeaways:

  • The Liberty Garden Hose Reel cart needs to be assembled, but it’s easy to do.
  • Made of 13-gauge steel, it’s sturdily designed with an attractive bronze-colored powder coating.
  • During testing, we noticed tiny spots of rust that might make the cart not as durable in wet conditions.

Other products we tested

Suncast – 100′ Hose Hideaway

Suncast - Hose Hideaway

We previously tested and loved the Suncast – Swivel Hose Hideway (now discontinued), which we had selected as our top pick. So, naturally, we had high hopes for the Suncast – 100′ Hose Hideaway. We were, however, deeply disappointed with this smaller and lesser model. The Suncast – Hose Hideaway has two major problems.

First, it is absolutely impossible to coil a normal — vinyl or rubber – 100′ garden hose around its reel. The Suncast is simply too small and lightweight to hold a long length of hose. However, it could be used to store a 50′ hose or maybe a 75′ hose. The Suncast could probably be used for a 100′ expandable hose, since when emptied, it shrinks in size and could fit on the reel.

The second issue we had is that it leaks. The leader hose has brass fittings, but despite our best efforts, the connector to the faucet — no matter how tightened — leaked and sprayed water. As we mentioned in our prior review of the Suncast – Swivel Hose Hideaway, the reel is made of plastic, including the water out-flow connection, and again, we question this model’s durability in the long-term.

(Editor’s note: In 2023, we learned that four of the hose reels we previously tested and reviewed had been discontinued. Their reviews follow below.

Suncast – Swivel Hose Hideaway (Discontinued)

Suncast product rotated on swivel base

The Suncast – Swivel Hose Hideway is, all things considered, just a plastic garden hose reel. This model has a limited lifespan and reviews indicate the plastic hose fitting on the side won’t survive abuse. It’s not going to spontaneously fall apart but manage your expectations.

Keeping that in mind, this is an amazing reel for long hoses. We picked this model because it has a built-in winding guide (called a “level-winder unit” in industrial spooling applications for rope or cable) that keeps the hose evenly distributed so it doesn’t bunch or overlap on the reel.

We used two of the cheapest, stiffest 100-foot-long hoses we could find, and this reel wrapped up 240 feet without any need to rewrap or correct any overlaps on the spool that could cause binding.

When we originally tested, we found a Suncast model with a handy swiveling base — a great feature when you’ve got a super-long hose that you’re dragging all over the yard. The updated replacement features a set of wheels and a dolly-handle instead.

Note that no stakes came with ours, though the parts list says they should be included. We really do recommend staking down a reel with an extra-long hose. If you don’t, this box is light enough to drag across the grass or concrete when you’re struggling with a long hose.

Suncast has a version of this reel with upgraded brass fittings that we considered, but on the whole, the parts upgraded (internal tubes and threads) don’t seem to be the first to wear out. It’s the retaining clips that keep the inlet assembly together that give up first if you put a strain on the inlet hose, so we wish they would reinforce that part instead.

The biggest beef we have with this design is that the inlet hose fitting doesn’t have a spinning coupler: attach the hose to the reel side before you attach to your supply, or you’ll find yourself trying to figure out how to spin the entire box around to get the hose screwed in.

Suncast – Hosemobile (Discontinued)

Suncast product displayed on backyard lawn
Also from Suncast, the Hosemobile is a clever little hose cart that fits in any budget but doesn’t disappoint when you use it. Compared with the AMES – Fold & Store, it’s actually pretty shocking how much better this is.

The fixes are little things, like the angle of the outlet fitting where your hose connects: it’s made from the same cheap plastic, but the angle Suncast chose means it doesn’t force your hose sideways and cause leaks the way the Ames does.

This wheeled design doesn’t fold up and won’t take much abuse, but since the reel is only big enough for a smaller hose capacity, you’re not likely to overload the plastic construction. You could probably load 175 feet of hose if you carefully guide it into an even wrap, but 100-150 feet is a more realistic length if you’re just spooling quickly.

There’s no guide here to help your hose wrap evenly, but the slot in the handle does have two notches that effectively lock a 5/8″ hose in place. That and other little design touches, like the foot-pedal that sticks out to help you stabilize the reel, help make up for the materials.

Eley – Rapid Reel (Discontinued)

Eley product placed on grass
We bought the Eley – Rapid Reel to see just how much better a hose reel can get if you throw money at the problem. The answer kind of surprised us: this is the nicest hose reel, but it actually doesn’t do its job as well as the less expensive models we tested.

As expected, the components included are all impressive. Even the purpose-built two-size allen wrench included for assembly is impressive: heavy-duty and with a nice finish. The cast-brass fittings on the leader hose are gorgeous and easy to grip without tools, a nice upgrade over other cheap pack-in hoses.

The fact that there’s an adjustable reel brake is a testament to the thought that goes into these reels. Likewise, the loop of webbing that secures the hose to the reel is a nice touch. Neither of those features is really necessary, though.

This reel will undoubtedly survive more weather (and abuse) than a cheap plastic reel, but an extra hundred dollars doesn’t solve all the problems in the world of garden hose reels. The sloping flanges on either side push the hose toward the center as it winds; if you aren’t careful when quickly winding a long hose it might start to overlap itself.

We squeezed on 215 feet of hose and the reel still turned freely, but even at 150 feet, the overlapping problem is frustrating. Eley rates this model for 175 feet of standard ⅝” hose, but we wouldn’t recommend it as-sold for much more than 125 feet.

Eley sells an extra-capacity kit to make the reel wider for long hoses and that would make the overlapping and bunching less problematic, but that brings the total cost for your stationary hose reel north of $200. On the bright side, installing the kit gives you an excuse to use that really nice Allen wrench again!

AMES – Fold & Store (Discontinued)

Ames product in folded position
The AMES – Fold & Store hose cart checks a lot of boxes on the feature list: it folds for storage, it has wheels to make dragging it around easier, it has a storage bin in the bottom and the slot in the handle even works as a built-in winding guide.

It’s not that great in person, though. We’re not going to fault a plastic hose reel for being made from plastic, but the way the outlet fitting sits on the reel means there’s a lot of strain on it if you use a stiff hose. One of our cheap hoses has a kink-preventing strain relief sleeve that makes the end five inches very stiff; the sideways force against the fitting on this reel make it leak pretty severely.

Cutting off the strain-relief sleeve made our hose fit better, though it still leaked. Some thread-sealing tape or an extra gasket could probably take care of all the leaking, but you shouldn’t have to use extra tools to get a fit that doesn’t leak.

The way this reel sits in the frame, the side flanges don’t have any extra room to bend or expand out before they’ll start to rub as the reel turns. The flanges are bar-shaped rather than full circles (which does mean it takes up less space when folded), so when you get more than 100 feet of hose loaded they make a repeated “thwack, thwack, thwack” as you’re turning the handle.

The slot in the handle doesn’t actually do much to keep your hose tidy on the reel, either; mostly it just keeps your garden hose nozzle in place for storage.

How we selected

Research for this category was tricky, since there are so many different models and styles available, and since the flaws that kill a hose reel depend mostly on how much abuse you’re putting it through.

As always, we scanned the retailer pages for ratings and user reviews and found that most people were fairly forgiving of garden hose reel design; so long as a reel works and doesn’t break right away, most people are happy with what they get.

In the end, we tried three reels made of plastic and two made from steel. We splurged a bit on the Eley – Rapid Reel, if only to see how much better a really expensive model is.

The Powerwind and Aquawind features on other Suncast models looked like features that would make the reel too much of a pain to set up and use for the little benefit offered, so we skipped them.

We also checked into designs that are basically air hose reels. They’re retractable and durable, but you’ll see a dramatic reduction in flow with the tiny-diameter hoses they come with. We decided to only look at reels that will work with the hose you already have.

A big, heavy-duty garden hose cart with wheels sounds like a great idea, but the affordable products we found have terrible reviews. Reviews of the four-wheel carts we looked at had reports of nightmarishly difficult assembly and raised big questions about long-term durability. We bought two plastic two-wheeled carts because they’re cheap and popular; the metal two-wheel designs all seem to have stability issues and even those cost a lot more money than we expected.

How we tested

For a month of spring yard work, we used these hose reels with 50 feet of our favorite rubber hose and two 100-foot lengths of the cheapest, stiffest hose we could find.

Setting up each hose reel required slightly different steps, but only the most expensive hose reel actually required any setup work: The Eley came as a box of parts and fasteners. (They were very nice fasteners, though, and the custom-made giant Allen wrench is well made.)

We then moved through a series of specific tests to pinpoint any strengths or flaws in the designs of these reels.

Build quality

Close-up of hose fitting
We ranked the reels based on how we felt about the materials and design after testing. All the plastic reels scored a three here; we didn’t note anything that made a particular reel feel sub-standard. The Eley, naturally, scored a perfect five — it’s practically a showpiece for careful manufacturing with good materials.

Coiling and uncoiling at capacity

The way a reel coils and pays out hose is really the most important thing about it and we were surprised at the way our most expensive reel, the Eley, bunched up and overlapped the hose as we used it.

In contrast, the Smart Trak system on the Suncast – Swivel Hose Hideaway won us over immediately with fast, even, tight coiling. It’s not perfect; if you feed a tight kink into the guide it’ll probably mess up your winding job. That said, if you lay out your hose so it has room to untwist, even a stiff vinyl hose will wind very easily.

We tested the capacity of the reels with the same hose to see how they compare to each other: the manufacturers rate their reel capacity based on some unknown ⅝” hose and they don’t specify how picky they were about neat winding.

Leak tests

Water dripping from hose inlet connectionWe don’t expect a threaded hose fitting to be leak-free without enough torque to make things snug, but a reel often needs to be connected without tools and we wanted to see how they compared. The cheap hoses we tested with only had basic gaskets and we tightened by hand.

The Liberty and AMES reels were the only ones that dripped. The Liberty stopped dripping after we gave the inlet fittings (where the included leader hose connects) some more torque by hand.

The AMES – Fold & Store was leaking at the elbow-shaped outlet fitting where your garden hose attaches to the reel and because of the side-pressure our stiff hose put on it, the Ames never stopped leaking while the hose was coiled.

The bottom line

If you want a reel that will survive decades of sun, rain and abuse, the Liberty 703-1 is well-built and affordable. It held almost 200 feet of bulky, stiff hose and it should be easy to repair or replace the metal fittings.

The AMES – 2519500 is also a well-built and stylishly designed metal cabinet that makes reeling up a long garden hose a breeze. It’s also manufactured to hold up in harsh weather conditions.

If you’re looking for a portable hose reel, the Liberty Garden – 871S cart will make your life easier if you have a large property and need to move your hose to different sections of the garden.

Top Pick: AMES - 2519500

Thanks to this reel's sturdy construction, auto-track system for reeling in the hose, and attractive finish, the AMES - 2519500 should be high on your list to purchase.

Daniel Jackson, Writer

Daniel is a Canadian farm boy who grew up to be a nerd with a literature degree and too many hobbies to count. He emigrated from Canada to California in 2013, and now writes for Your Best Digs full-time. Daniel remains unapologetic about Canadian spelling, serial commas, and the destruction of expensive travel mugs.

More Reviews