Last updated on February 19th, 2022
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It’s a few years since we first had the chance to review the Hozelock auto reel which was a real game-changer in hose pipe reel design. However, with so many new models from other brands hitting the market, we decided to see how they compare in terms of build quality, usability and price. Spoiler alert, Hozelock is now our second choice
When it comes to watering your garden, or maybe filling your inflatable hot tub if you’re lucky enough to have one, a garden hose is such a handy tool. But, rolling it up after use can be a real pain. It’s one of those jobs that can take forever, especially if the hose is very long and tangled. An automatic garden hose reel solves this problem and is one of those items you didn’t know you needed until you have one. It does all the work of winding up the hose without you breaking a sweat and keeps everything neat and tidy. Furthermore, it offers safe storage for your garden hose and keeps it out of sight, and most can easily be removed from the wall if needed.
Now that you’re tired of fighting with your garden hose every time you want to put it away and are now looking for an alternative solution, we have reviewed some decent options that are well worth considering. This post also includes a buyer’s guide to help first-timer buyers choose the best automatic garden hose reel with ease.
The clear winner is the GARDENA 35m Wall-Mounted Auto Reel Hose. The model we reviewed had a 35m hose and this is long enough to use in medium to large-sized gardens. If this seems too long for your garden, they also do smaller 15-meter versions for smaller gardens. Most importantly, the hose reel swings 180 degrees on its wall bracket to increase your watering area. Supplied with a wall bracket with screws, walls plugs and spray nozzle, this product is ready to use straight away. More importantly, it is probably the best model in terms of build quality and I think it beats all the other models, however, it is more expensive but it offers the best experience and won’t let you down. No one else even comes close in terms of quality and reliability. Gardena also has one of the best customer service terms too.
The best 4 automatic garden hoses that we reviewed are listed below:
- GARDENA 35m Wall-Mounted Auto Reel Hose – BEST PICK
- Hozelock Auto Reel with 40m Hose – RUNNER UP
- Woodside 20m Auto Rewind Garden Water Hose Reel
- Kärcher CR5.220 Auto Reel (20 meters)
Top 5 Best Automatic Garden Hose Reels
1. Gardena 35m Wall-Mounted Auto Reel Hose
- Manufactured from only the best materials to ensure it lasts for many years.
- Perfect for gardens of all sizes with different hose lengths to choose from.
- Comes with all the necessary fixings for easy wall mounting.
- A high-quality specially designed hose that delivers optimal water flow and kink resistance of 10/10 in a kink test.
- The hose box offers frost protection and prevents UV damage from the sun.
- Swivels 180° for increased convenience and to prevent kinking.
- Easy to remove the box from the bracket for storage when the winter comes.
- Comes with a practical anti-drip accessory.
- 5 years warranty for full peace of mind.
- Excellent customer service.
My ultimate best auto hose reel is this Gardena Wall-Mounted Auto Reel Hose and I have recently been able to purchase the latest 35-meter model which has some small differences from the previous model. Overall I really like this new model, I like the colour design (not that that really matters), the quality is still above what’s probably expected and it works flawlessly. Once you have one of these, most people will never buy another model again. For me, the Gardena brand is a symbol of excellent build quality from a company that excels in every way.
Important note: I purchased this latest model myself, I was not given it or asked to review it. This is my own unbiased personal experience and thoughts.
Watch the video review to see it in action
Updates since previous model
So the handle has gone to provide a more sleek design and most people probably never used it anyway because it is fixed to the wall unless you put it away for winter. I never did and if I did, it’s not an issue even with no handle to carry because it is still easy enough to carry.
The other difference is that there is no place to attach a padlock anymore. Now there is a screw instead, which I personally think is better. There are pros and cons to this, the first pro is there is no key to lose and you don’t need to buy a padlock that will fit. However, someone with a screwdriver could potentially still steal it.
Available in 15m, 25m, 30m and 35m (I purchased the longer 35-metre version)
Now I purchased the more expensive 35-meter version which provides the greatest convenience of watering gardens thanks to its long hose but it’s worth mentioning this is also available with shorter hoses which will save you some money. I purchased the longer one because I am looking for a new house with a larger garden and coming with a 5-year warranty, I might as well take it with me if I move. It also means I can reach my front and back garden with ease.
Installation – 10 minutes and ready to use
Out of the box, this tool is straightforward to mount to a wall because it comes with everything you need, including a wall bracket, wall plugs, screws, spray nozzle and some attachments to attach it to an outside tap.
This is a 10-minute job and all you basically do is:
- Hold the wall bracket to the wall, making sure it’s level using a spirit level.
- Mark where the three holes will be with a pencil.
- Drill three 8mm holes with a masonry drill bit into a brick wall.
- Insert the included plugs, you’ll need a hammer to get them right in.
- Screw the wall bracket to the wall using the included heavy-duty screws.
You need a small spanner or socket set to do this bit. I had all the tools in my Bosch drill bit set which I have also reviewed here. Now lift the hose reel onto the bracket and insert the screw to fix the main unit to the wall bracket to stop people from running off with it.
The quality far exceeds most other brands
The quality of the hose is by far superior to cheaper hoses and it ensures high water flow and maximum durability and no kinks. What I like is that Gardena has not just put any standard hose from their range on the reel. The hose has actually been specially designed for use on the auto hose reel.
10/10 Kink Resistance
This hose pipe has also been tested for its kink resistance, most hoses go through a kink test out of 10, 1 being likely to kink and 10 being unlikely to kink. I think the standard hose would perhaps be around 5/6.
This hose actually scored 10 which is very impressive. As you see below, it is very reluctant to kink no matter how I bend it, I had a good go at trying to get it to kink and it was something I didn’t manage to achieve when using it daily in the garden, around furniture and on my raised beds.
Integrated stopper so you can use only the length of hose you need
The hose is ready to go anytime and there’s an integrated stopper that is designed to stop the hose at given points, meaning you’ll always be able to work with your desired hose length.
So all you do is pull the hose and it clicks as you do this, once it clicks if you stop pulling the hose will stay at that length. Now you can stop the hose around every 30cm (1ft) so it’s pretty precise and works well.
After you are done watering, a tug of the hose will be enough to automatically get it rolling back in again without bending or kinking, owing to its integrated hose guide. The whole system is actually brilliant, much easier than using a manual wind-up hose pipe or expandable hose.
Can pivot 180 degrees for watering in all directions with ease
A useful characteristic of the wall bracket is that it can pivot 180° left and right, allowing the hose to follow your watering direction. This operation also prevents the hose from kinking during watering, something that is also aided by the quality hose material, because, as explained earlier, it has been specially designed for this type of auto hose system.
You can even fold the case to the wall when you’re not using it and as well completely remove it from the bracket and store it indoors, especially in the winter to avoid winter damage.
In winter, as with all hoses, I recommend draining all the hose of water because this can damage the hose and the box if they are still connected to the wall with water inside it.
The wall bracket can actually be used for storing your spray nozzles, washing brushes and pulse sprayers.
This hose reel also benefits from frost protection and theft protection features, the older version previously used a padlock but this is now just a screw, and you unscrew this to remove the main unit from the hanging bracket.
Hose connections and included sprayer gun
So all the connections use the common click connect system, most people know this from the Hozelock brand, but did you know it was actually Gardena who invented it? So you know the parts are all of good quality.
The sprayer that it comes with is pretty basic although well made. You simply twist the nozzle from totally off to mist, to shower all the way through to a high-pressure stream of water. I have shown some examples below to give you an idea of what the spray is like.
You can expect this model to last for years and perhaps that is evident from the 5 year warranty on this product, although I have never needed to use the warranty for any Gardena product myself, other people have commented on how good the customer service was when the used it and how they went above and behind to resolve any issues.
Now I have the 35-meter version so it’s pretty big. Once against the wall it’s around 60cm wide, 45cm tall and around 25cm from the wall in depth which isn’t too bad. However, as with all hose reels, it is fairly large so make sure you have enough space for it.
All things considered, this is a quality auto hose reel featuring a well-thought-out design and the build quality is simply exceptional. As previously mentioned, no other model even comes close, however, you do pay a premium for this.
For most people, it should be easy to use and serve you for many years to come. I say for most people because it does take a little effort to pull the hose out so some elderly people may find it difficult to pull so just bear this in mind. For most people though, this is nothing more than a light tug.
If I had to recommend just one auto hose reel, this would have to be it. Gardena may not have invented the auto hose, however, it is well ahead of the competition and the new sleeker design is better than ever.
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2. Hozelock Auto Reel with 40m Hose
The Hozelock Auto Reel with 40m Hose is an incredibly easy to use hose, and on top of this, an affordable one too. This comes with a 40m hose that smoothly unwinds itself and stops at any desired point for watering, it’s worth noting it is also available in 10, 20 and 30 metre hose lengths which become even more affordable the smaller the hose. As with all these auto hoses, an integrated mechanism automatically locks the hose so that you don’t have to hold it taut. Unwinding more of it is not a problem either because you can simply pull the hose and the mechanism will unlock to extend your watering distance.
When you are done watering, the hose puts itself away neatly which is the standout feature that saves so much stress trying to rewind a hose. Just give it a simple tug to unlatch the drum and then Hozelock’s patented auto rewind system will take over to rewind the hose. There is a handy braking mechanism that ensures a controlled rewind whilst a layering system smartly coils the hose with no tangles, kinks or effort.
The premium quality hose boasts a three-layer construction to maximise durability too. It’s certainly one of the best when it comes to hose quality, this is where manufacturers often cut corners to keep the costs down, however, we think the hose is one of the most important factors to consider and somewhere corners should never be cut.
The hose is stored inside a tough UV stabilised plastic case that ensures protection from the sun and therefore extends its longevity. What we really love about the case is that it can pivot 180 degrees on its base to allow for a wider reach in your garden, just like the Gardena model does.
Mounting the tool itself is a no-brainer because it comes complete with all the fittings you need to get watering straight away. The box includes wall fixings, a tap connector (1”, 3/4″ and 1/2″), a hose connector, a water stop, a nozzle, a 2m feeder hose, 40m premium hose and the Auto Reel. Screws and wall plugs are also supplied and they are perfect for concrete, brick and stone.
This model is easily removable from its wall bracket and that’s something you will appreciate during winter because you’ll need to store it away from frost. An important feature integrated into the bracket is the padlock function that prevents the chance of theft. In addition, there is a child lock function that prevents the hose from being pulled out by children, which some will find super handy.
If registered online, your Auto Reel will benefit from a 5 year guarantee so it matches up to Gardena as they also include 5 years warranty, providing maximum assurance that your tool will be watering your garden for many years to come. And if you think it’s a bit expensive for you or maybe the hose is longer than you need, you can get smaller versions of the same from 10m to 20m and 30m Auto Reels.
- Very easy to use and get set up and started, probably the best selling hose reel available, helped by its well known and trusted brand – Hozelock.
- Supplied with all necessary fittings to connect to your garden water tap.
- Comes with a premium anti-kink, tough and durable 40m hose, perfect for covering large areas.
- Wall-mounted with 180-degree pivot allows you to reach even wider areas.
- Integrated child lock prevents misuse.
- Integrated padlock reduces the risk of theft.
- UV stabilised casing protects the hose and is removable from its wall bracket for winter storage.
- Includes a powerful spring that automatically retracts the hose without any kinks or tangles.
Overall, the Hozelock Auto Reel with 40m Hose is a fantastic product for the job. It’s even hard to point out any flaws with it. With over 5000 reviews on Amazon UK, anyone buying this particular auto hose reel will be in good company.
Now when compared to the Gardena model, it doesn’t seem as well made, I believe the Gardena is new so have improved upon the design and used better quality parts, however, this comes at an extra cost. If you’re looking for a model that is a little more affordable, we think the Hozelock model is a great alternative and it is also 5 meters longer even though it’s more affordable.
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3. Woodside 20m Auto Rewind Garden Water Hose Reel
This Woodside 20m Auto Rewind Garden Hose Reel is one of the cheapest models on the market. Given its price, this hose reel has got all the features you see in the other, more expensive models. The hose is only 20 metres long but that’s perfect for small to medium-sized gardens. It measures 33 x 17 x 42cm and it’s pretty lightweight and simple to use.
An integrated click-lock mechanism automatically stops the hose when you stop pulling, allowing you to work without interruptions. It also has a powerful, smooth retraction that ensures no kinks and knots in the process. As with all the models that made it onto our review, the entire reel pivots 180 degrees to allow you to reach all angles of your garden and also avoid kinks as you extend it out.
The wall bracket is easy to install and there’s a 2m inlet hose that gives you options as to where to mount the box.
- Smooth hose retraction initiated by a simple tug.
- Swings out 180 degrees to allow larger coverage.
- Includes a click-lock mechanism that automatically locks the hose at the desired length.
- Very much affordable.
Considering the price and hose length, this hose reel is of good value and a great option for small gardens and a good model to consider.
Regarding the hose length, the main hose is not quite 20 metres but with the feeder hose you do get 20 metres, however, it will reach about 18 metres from the hose box so bear this in mind when considering it.
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4. Karcher 20m Auto Reel
- Fast and easy winding and rewinding without knotting or tangling.
- Comes ready to use with all the fittings you need to get watering.
- A rotatable bracket allows for wider coverage.
- Includes a hose brake for controlled retraction.
- The hose can be locked at any point during unwinding.
Kärcher is a famous brand when it comes to all things watering and cleaning. In this Kärcher CR5.220 Auto Reel, they have a pretty compact and easy to use hose reel. The first thing you notice is the recognisable Kärcher colours of black and yellow. The product is a doddle to fit and its 20m hose unwinds and rewinds smoothly without knotting. Featuring a controlled auto-wind system, the tool allows you to extend your hose to where you need it. It also stops and locks in place at any point which most models don’t because most models lock every 30cm for example, not really an issue but it’s nice to pull hose where you want it without having to pull that extra foot.
A simple pull of the hose will get it rolling back into the storage box. Like all models, this box also gives 180 degrees swing, allowing you to water all corners of your garden. The hose reel can also be locked on the wall with a padlock to prevent theft. The product is ready to use out of the box and comes with an adjustable nozzle for both cone and power jets. You will also find two hose connectors and G3/4 and G1/2 tap adaptor.
This hose box measures 487 x 285 x 402mm and weighs just 8.7kg so is fairly lightweight, remember though this is expected as the hose is only 20 meters and an extra 20 meters of hose would weigh a fair bit. It is suitable for a wide range of applications including watering small to medium-sized gardens, watering ornamental plants and cleaning garden tools and furniture.
For some reason, this hose reel is super expensive for a 20m hose, though it has all the quality you expect from Kärcher. Maybe the price puts a lot of people off but if you are a Kärcher guy or gal, then this model is everything you will expect it to be. No issues at all, just a little on the expensive side.
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I used our best pick, the Gardena automatic hose reel, which I obviously own being that it’s my favourite pick.
One of the most important reasons for a reel is to prevent the hose itself from becoming kinked or knotted. When that happens, splits tend to develop along with the rubber and this can cause the hose to break.
Using a reel will ensure that the hose winds back neatly after every use. This will increase the durability of the hose.
In fact, some of the best auto hose reels have a casing that offers further protection from excessive sun exposure and adverse conditions – elements that can cause faster degradation of your hose because of the sunlight.
Leaving the hose unwound all across your garden is not an option either. It can be dangerous because someone might trip over it. Furthermore, garden hoses are usually green and so can be difficult to spot in dense grass. The rubber itself, when wet, is more likely to trip someone over if they step on it awkwardly.
That said, below are the factors that can help you narrow down your search for the perfect auto hose reel.
Choosing the best garden hose reel
Free-standing vs wall-mounted
Freestanding hose reels provide exceptional portability and allow you to move them around the garden wherever you want to use the hose. As they do not require any installation, they are an excellent choice for those who only use a hose occasionally and don’t want the hassle of fixing it to the wall.
If you want a permanent fixture in your garden, a wall-mounted reel is the way to go. All you need to do is find a convenient spot and install the hose reel. The installation instructions are often included in the box and some include the tools you need to do the job. Some top hose reels are designed to pivot 180 degrees so that you can direct the hose where you need it. Having used many wall-mounted models like the ones in this review, we highly recommend using them because they are much easier to use and some are still just portable, the only real added work involved is fastening it to the wall which for most people who are just slightly DIY savvy will be able to do within a few minutes.
Though longer the better, you may still want to look at the size of your garden and get a perfectly sized garden hose. Ideally, you should measure the length from the outside water tap to the furthest point in your garden and buy this length or longer. If you purchase a longer hose, for example, 40 metres when a 20 metre hose is suitable, this could almost double the price of the hose and sometimes it can mean less water pressure too.
If security is an issue or if you have curious kids around, consider a garden hose reel with a lock. You may as well purchase a separate locking facility and ensure that no one tampers with your hose.
A pre-installed hose stopper will allow you to control the length of your hose as it retracts. You can also use the stopper to find the ideal length for watering. The stopper will maintain your set hose length until you are done or you decide to change it.
Plastic vs Metal reels
Garden hose reels are crafted from either plastic or metal (usually aluminium, steel or brass). Any equipment that spends most of the time outdoors is susceptible to rust and so it’s important to buy a reel that’s made of rust-resistant parts.
Aluminium alloys and stainless steel are the best choices for metal garden hose reels. Reels made from hard plastic resin won’t rust either although they are not as strong as metal.
Durability is also important with both the reel and hose. Whilst you may end up paying a lot more for a top-rated garden hose, it will be well worth it if you plan to use it more often and leave it out for most of the year. If the tool needs to be dragged across a rough surface on a daily basis, then it has to be hard-wearing.
Many automatic hose reels come with a number of fittings to connect the reel to a water outlet. Apart from these, you should consider an adjustable nozzle for the end of the reel so you can always control not just the flow of water but also the spray pattern. A powerful jet is perfect for car washing, for instance, whilst a cone spray is okay for lawn watering. If you plan to use your auto hose reel for such varying tasks, then a rotatable nozzle will be a reasonable purchase. A locking facility is another useful accessory you can buy to minimise the risk of theft.
Ultimately, an automatic hose reel makes life a lot easier for anyone who uses a hose. It is additionally a practical way to store your hose neatly and away from the sun and frost.
The five auto hose reels we have reviewed above are all worthy of the title ‘best auto rewind hose’ and we feel your choice will always come down to personal preference and perhaps your loyalty to brands.
Products from renowned brands like Gardena, Hozelock and Kärcher tick all the right boxes and some of us are inclined to go for brand names regardless of the budget. But to arrive at your ultimate best automatic garden hose, things like hose length, pivoting bracket and ease of mounting and transport should be considered.
We hope you enjoyed reading our auto hose reels review and that you found the best automatic hose reel to use in your garden. Let us know your stories by commenting below.
- Wall-mounted hose reel that saves inconvenient bending and hose cranking.
- Made from only the highest quality materials.
- The box can swivel 180 degrees for flexible use.
- Features a centrifugal brake and integrated hose guide that ensures even unwinding and roll-up without those annoying kinks.
- Frost-resistant box protects the hose from extreme weather conditions for lon-lasting use.
- Easy to remove the box from the wall bracket for winter storage.
- Also available in 15, 25 and 30 meter hose lengths.
- 5 years warranty for full peace of mind.
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Last update on 2022-03-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API