We all know that a hose is an essential piece of kit for anyone wanting to water their garden.
But did you know that using a hose reel will make this job so much simpler? Gone are the days of having the hose trailing behind, getting frustratingly tangled and kinked every five minutes!
If you’re thinking about buying an automatic hose reel, here are a few tips to help you find the right hose and reel.
The latest generation of hose reels make the watering process even easier by using auto-rewind technology.
Simply pull the hose out to the desired length and it will automatically lock in place.
When you want to extend the hose further, or wind it in a little, a simple tug unlocks it. This makes it much easier to move on to the next section of the garden. Once you have finished, simply tug again, unlocking it, and allow it to rewind evenly back into its casing with no kinks or tangles.
To auto-wind, or not to auto-wind?
Of course, it’s up to you whether you choose a garden reel with auto-wind technology or not.
Non-automatic reels use a manual hand crank to wind in the hose. They are often cheaper and lighter than their automated equivalents, making them easier to install and pack away. However, without the automatic mechanism to help you, the task of hand-rolling your hose back on to the reel can be tedious.
Auto-wind reels make it easy to release exactly the right amount of hose you want for a job. No need to fuss about holding it taut while you use it! Packing the hose away is hassle free, and the auto-wind system generally ensures the hose is evenly distributed onto the reel. This can be harder to achieve when doing it manually.
Hose Reels or Expandable Hoses
You might be torn between hose reels or expandable hoses – both options are space-saving ways to get a longer hose in the garden.
We’ve covered expandable garden hoses extensively on DIY Garden, and there are some great options on the market. One of the main advantages of expandable hoses is that they can be longer than hoses in reels, whilst taking up less storage space.
Whether you’ll benefit more from an expandable hose or a hose reel comes down to how often you use the hose, and if you can be bothered to get it out of storage each time. Expandable hoses should be packed away and stored in the shed after each use to avoid damage.
Naturally, unlike expandable hoses, a hose in a reel can naturally be left out for most of the year inside the casing.
Choosing the Best Size Hose Reel
You want a hose that will reach the end of your garden without stretching. However, you also don’t want to spend extra money on a hose which is much longer than you need. Measure your garden to find out what length of hose will best suit your needs.
Another thing to consider is the size of the reel unit itself. You should make sure you have enough wall space to mount the hose reel that you want to buy, as some of them are quite large.
If the space where you choose to mount your reel is some way from the outdoor tap, you may need to acquire an extra ‘leader hose’ to connect the reel to the water supply. Also referred to as a ‘feeder hose’, sometimes you will have to create this yourself by cutting a piece of the hose pipe.
Factors That Represent Quality
Garden hoses need to be looked after to prevent damage, but some are better made than others.
If you will be using your garden hose reel regularly, and plan to leave it outside, it is worth spending a bit more money on a good-quality reel to ensure it last for years.
Look for quality casing which has UV protection and is made from durable materials.
That said, you should still position your reel out of direct sunlight. High-quality casing will protect the hose from UV damage, but it will last longer if it is in a position where the temperature is more stable.
Garden hoses should be stored in a frost-free environment over winter, so look out for a unit where the reel can be easily removed from the wall bracket.
In addition, the better quality the hose, the easier it will be to use and less likely to kink or fail to rewind. Superior garden hoses also come with better tap fittings meaning they are less likely to leak.
Protecting Your Hose Reel From Theft
If you are mounting your garden hose reel somewhere that other people might be able to reach it, such as a front garden, make sure you secure the reel casing to the wall bracket. Whilst it might not seem like the most desirable item to steal, detachable hose reels can be a temptation to some. Better to be safe than sorry and secure your reel to prevent theft.
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