How Do Hose Reels Work? | Hose Reel 101

Last Updated on May 8, 2022 by Gary Stephen

Hoses, hoses, hoses. How Do Hose Reels Work?

They make every grower’s life way easier. It’s like having meters after meters of flexible limbs to fetch you water. Isn’t that convenient huh?

But, there’s a catch to it though. This long winding hose can be quite troublesome to tidy after each use. Imagine manually gathering this meters-long of tubing? What a heck of an arm exercise, right?

Good thing there’s what we call as hose reels!

A hose reel is a simple machine that allows you to wind up your hoses effortlessly. This device also helps to give your hoses proper storage. So, you don’t have to worry much about kinking and breaking the tubing.

Now, that sounds super cool!

In this article, let us get to know what makes hose reels a perfect buddy for every grower. So, we will discuss to you how these devices actually work. Moreover, let us also present our top picks for the best hose reels you can find in the market today.

Without further ado, let’s dive in!

how do Hose Reels work

Types of Hose Reels & How Does It Work.

Before anything else, you should know that there are three main types of hose reels. In general, this includes hand crank, spring-driven, and motor-driven hose reels. Although they serve the same function, their mechanism of action may have differences. These are the main types:

  • Hand Crank

This is the most basic type of hose reel.  The hand crank hose reels require some level of manual physical strength. Thus, they are more suitable to use for small household applications. It is not quite advisable for settings that use heavy and lengthy hoses as it may tend to become too strenuous. 

Hand crank hose reels are often not that heavy to transport. They also do not need any attachment to power sources. Thus, it offers a great option for portability. Moreover, this device can either be used as stand-alone or wall-mounted.

How do the Hank Crank Hose Reels work?

From the word itself, the device comes with a hand crank that is being attached to the spool shaft. The manual operation of the crank facilitates the turning of the shaft. Its rotation then results in the winding up of the hose around the barrel. So, you need to keep on working out the crank handle until the entire length of the hose is all wrapped up.

This type of hose reel is as simple as you can get!

How does it work

Our top picks:

Stand-alone design 

Reelcraft Hand Crank Hose Reel

Coxreels Hand Crank Hose Reel

Wall-mounted design 

Suncast Resin Wall Mount Garden Hose Reel

G Good Gain Wall Mount Garden Hose Reel


Suncast Resin Outdoor Hose Hideaway with Crank Handle

Giraffe Metal Hose Reel with Crank Handle

With wheels 

Liberty Garden Industrial 4-Wheel Garden Hose Reel Cart

Coxreels Dolly-Mount Hose Reels with Wheels

  • Spring-Driven

This type is also referred to as “spring rewind” hose reels. The biggest advantage of using this type is its ability to automatically retract without the need for a power source. A simple tug and pull are enough to trigger the machine and roll up into the reel with much less physical effort. 

How do Spring-Driven Hose Reels work?

There are two main components that make up this device, the locking ratchet and the latch pawl. As you unwind the hose, the ratchet mechanism locks it in place at any length you desire. The longer the pulled hose is, the more stretched out the spring will be too. 

As you release the pawl, it discharges the tension from the spring causing it to unstretch back to its normal state. This recoiling action of the spring consequently facilitates rewinding of the hose around the reel.

Our top picks:

Giraffe Wall Mounted Retractable Garden Hose Reel

Reelcraft Spring Driven Air/Water Hose Reel

Gardena Retractable Hose Reel

Liberty Garden Retractable Hose Reel

Goodyear Spring Drive Air/Water Retractable Hose Reel

Power Wall Mounted Retractable Water Hose Reel

RL Flo-Master Retractable Hose Reel

Wasser Vela Garden Retractable Water Hose Reel

  • Motor-Driven

Motor-driven hose reels, from the word itself, is a motorized type of hose reel. Because of that, it also called “automatic retraction”. Considering its a motorized device, it needs to be plugged into a power source to function. Motorized hose reels are often available in power voltages between 12V up to 400V.


The greatest advantage of using a motor-driven hose reel is that is can accommodate extra-long and bulky hoses with much ease. It is something that the hand crank and spring-driven hose reels are not capable of handling. 

Moreover, this is the most suitable option for gardeners with physical limitations. This may include persons with disabilities, back problems, and other mobility issues.

Although, such convenience comes with a price too. Motor-driven hose reels tend to be more expensive compared to other types. Mainly because you are also paying for the complexity of the mechanism as well.

Aside from that, this kind of hose reel will not function without connection to a power source. Some units are being designed to operate by directly plugging into the power outlet. Meanwhile, there are also others that are battery operated. The latter is more ideal because the battery can serve as your backup in times of power failures.

How do motor-driven hose reels work?

This device comes with gears and chain drives that are being powered by the motor to run and operate. The gear then is being attached to a spool shaft. This shaft comes with a connector fitting where the hose gets hooked into. So, as the gear turns, it makes the shaft rotate as well along with the attached hose.

Most often this type of hose reel comes with a switch button. This enables the users to conveniently prompt the stop and go function of the machine.

Our top picks:

Coxreels Competitor Series Motorized Hose Reel

3000psi Coxreels 12V Motorized Hose Reel 

5000psi Coxreels 12V Motorized Hose Reel 

Reelcraft 12V Heavy Duty Motor-Driven Hose Reel

Hannay Reels Electric Rewind Hose Reel

Table of Comparison

Hose Reel Best For Limitations Our #1 Pick
Hand Crank
  • Economical
  • Requires no power
  • Portability
  • Can be attached to trolley or cart
  • Requires physical labor
  • Time-consuming
Check the price on Amazon
  • Convenience
  • Requires minimal effort to operate
  • Shorter hoses
  • Can be mounted in different positions
  • Internal spring is limited to a certain length of hose depending on its diameter
Check the price on Amazon
  • Effortless to operate
  • Longer hoses
  • Heavy and bulky hoses
  • Requires power source
  • More complex setup
  • Risk of power failures
Check the price on Amazon

Wrapping Up about How Do Hose Reels Work:

Hose reels may vary in how its mechanisms work, but in the end, they are all just a pretty simple machine. Simple as they may be, they are still such an amazingly helpful device, especially for gardeners. Not only does it make watering the plants far more convenient, but it also helps to keep our lawns neat and tidy.

So, no matter which type you choose, you are sure to achieve the same end result. After all, an organized and well-stored water hoses makes us a stress-free and happy growers.

Relevant Resources:

  1. Composting: The Ultimate Compost Guide For Home Gardeners
  2. 5 Vegetable Garden Ideas for Your Tiny House
  3. Top Tips to Save Money In Gardening for You
Gary Stephen
Gary Stephen

Hi, I am Gary Stephen. I have been gardening for a long time. Gardening gives us much benefits and pleasure. Many of us desire to have a garden, but it cannot fulfill the desire for the proper guide or instruction of gardening. So, I am eager to help them. For this purpose, I have developed the website to make a garden with the proper guide. So, you will get me beside you if you want to know anything about gardening.