Garden & Lawn

The Best 5 Automatic Garden Hose Reels, Comparison & Reviews

Last updated on March 26th, 2024

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I first reviewed automatic hose reels over 10 years ago as part of my best hose pipe review when I first purchased the Hozelock auto reel. At the time, it was very expensive for a hose pipe but I’m pretty sure, it was the only one you could buy at the time with the auto rewind feature.

My Hozelock Auto Reel with 40m Hose was the first auto hose reel I owned

It was a real game-changer at the time, thats for sure! No more having to manually retract the hose back onto the reel manually, and it could retract 40 meters of hose, thats 130 feed in seconds and neatly, too, and all with no kinks. It was probably the best piece of garden equipment I had ever invested in at the time. In fact, it probably still is!

New gardena hose reel during testing
New Gardena hose reel I have now owned around 3 years

I have since reviewed several auto hoses, including my favourite, this Gardena automatic hose reel which I review in detail further down. I still have this model and use it at least once a week in summer and often daily for watering plants and have done so for over 3 years now. It’s also worth pointing out it was also the most expensive. However, the overall build quality is simply unmatched by any other alternative. This includes the actual hose (probably the best I’ve seen in home use garden equipment) and the quick connect fitting are premium fitting too.

My Gardena auto hose reel after 3 years of use still using original fittings
My Gardena auto hose reel, after 3 years of use, still using original fittings

Although they are plastic fitting and not brass, they’re good quality plastic, unlike those pound store fittings or B&Q own brand fittings, which are absolute rubbish. I stand by the Gardena auto hose. It is a premium piece of kit thats comes with everything you need. If I had to replace it again, I would get the same one, thats for sure. It’s expensive but when it comes to the actual build quality and reliability including that important retractable mechanism, I’ve simply seen nothing better.

The budget friendly Amazon Basics Auto-Rewindable Wall-Mounted Reel
The budget friendly Amazon Basics Auto-Rewindable Wall-Mounted Reel

That being said you can now get some good more affordable alternatives. With this in mind, I also recently (last 12 months) installed the Amazon Basics Auto-Rewindable Wall-Mounted Reel for my dad as pictured above. He didn’t want to splash out as much as I did but thats fair enough. I’ve got to say, we were both impressed with the Amazon Basics version. Amazon has done an amazing job. It’s basically half the price of my Gardena auto hose and even a good chunk cheaper than my Hozelock auto reel which I have since donated to my brother when I upgraded to my Gardena hose reel a few years back.

Frond view of the Amazon Basics Auto-Rewindable Wall-Mounted Reel
Frond view of the Amazon Basics Auto-Rewindable Wall-Mounted Reel

I installed this Amazon Basics Auto-Rewindable Wall-Mounted Reel for my dad and it’s a great piece of kit for the price. What I will say is that I decided upgrade the hozelock style fitting to copper ones as the included plastic fitting where a bit naff, pound store sort of quality. I took the copper fitting from his old hose reel cart, so I didn’t need to buy any so it was a no brainer anyway. I do recommend at least upgrading to Hozelock/Gardena branded fitting to avoid any leaks if you decide to buy one. One last thing, I also upgraded the bolts to fix the base to the side of the house. The included bolts would probably be fine, however, I wanted to be sure, and I had some separate bigger bolts anyway (probably a few quid from B&Q if you had to buy them). Overall, for the price, it’s really impressive. It’s smooth to pull out, retracts smoothly when you give it a gentle tug, and it doesn’t kink. Quality-wise, it’s not quite as good as my Gardena, but it’s more than good enough for the price and the hose itself is pretty decent. My dad has been using it for almost 12 months, and so far with no issues so time will tell!

So when it comes to what you can use them with, pretty much anything you use a your standard hose pipe with. I use mine almost weekly with my Karcher pressure washer to clean my car and patio occasionally. I have the Premium Karcher K5, which I have also reviewed here. I also use it with my lawn sprinklers after I’ve scarified and aerated my lawn, killed the moss which I’ve talked about here and then applied new grass seed with my drop spreader. I also used it with my telescopic window cleaner and finally to water my greenhouse and flower beds.

As you can see it has a lot of uses!

My automatic watering system with smart timer, sprinklers, drip systems and automatic hose reel with a sprinkler for my lawn
My automatic watering system with smart timer, sprinklers, drip systems and automatic hose reel with a sprinkler for my lawn

Compared to standard hose reels and hose reel carts, they just make retracting the hose so much easier and keep everywhere neat and tidy, off the floor and out of the way. You don’t need to get your hands dirty by guiding the hose manually onto the hose reel. This is done automatically, you give the hose a tug, and it retracts. It’s that simple!

One of my expandable hose pipes
One of my expandable hose pipes – give me an auto hose any day!

I have also tested several expandable hoses as shown above, which also expand and retract, but in a different way. The hose material actually shrinks. These are well-designed but are less durable than automatic hose reels.

my water timer with a 4-way splitter attached, the left is for the auto hose reel, the middle is for drippers in my pots and the right is connected to sprinklers in my raised beds
my water timer with a 4-way splitter attached, the left is for the auto hose reel, the middle is for drippers in my pots and the right is connected to sprinklers in my raised beds

It’s worth noting I also have a water timer as shown above on the outside tap and then a Gardena 4-way water diverter. I have an automatic watering system setup which I have talked about here. Basiclly I have a water system for my pots, one for my raised beds and then the auto hose reel.

My Gardena automatic hose reel
My Gardena automatic hose reel

I just quickly want to cover installation as it’s important. Auto hose reels are heavy, especially when filled with water, so make sure they are correctly mounted and fixed to a suitable surface with strong bolts. I have mine mounted to a brick wall as shown above. It’s super sturdy. If you mount it to wood, ensure it’s sturdy enough to hold the hose reel. For example, if you attach it to the side of a shed, make sure you fix it into the main supports and that there strong enough. Remember, these types of automatic hose reels take a lot of abuse, being tugged and pulled at.

Gardena hose reel unwinded ready to use
Gardena hose reel unwinded and ready to use


The clear winner for my best automatic hose reel is still my GARDENA 35m Wall-Mounted Auto Reel Hose. The hose reel I reviewed here has 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 too. Supplied with a wall bracket with decent heavy gauge screws, wall plugs and a decent spray nozzle, this auto hose is ready to use straight away and you don’t need to upgrade any of the fixing like I did on some other models I have installed. More importantly, it is 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 other model even comes close in terms of quality and reliability.

Gardena 35m Wall-Mounted Auto Reel Hose
So with the original Hozelock and Gardena models being around 7-8 years old, it was about time to see what the latest model from Gardena was like. Let me tell you, they were ahead of the game already but in terms of quality, no one comes close, not even the Hozelock model. So it arrived after ordering it (yes I paid for it it wasn't given to me for free) and I have been using their latest model for a long time now. It was super easy to install, took about 10 minutes (also done a guide on that further down). Quality is still brilliant and the mechanism works great, the hose is also specially designed for auto hose reels so it doesn't kink and they have not just used any old hose like some brands to keep cost down, it really has been thought out. On a kink test that is used for all hose pipes, it got 10/10, 1 being it kinks easily, 10 being it doesn't. Overall if I had to just recommend one auto hose, this would be it and I have tried a few over the years. Both the older and new models are great so I wouldn't worry too much about which you get, the differences really are subtle and the quality and usability the same.

My best 5 automatic garden hoses that I reviewed and tested are listed below:

  1. GARDENA 35m Wall-Mounted Auto Reel HoseMY BEST PICK – I have used this model for over 3-years and it’s easily the best model, just a little on the expensive side.
  2. Amazon Basics Auto-Rewindable Wall-Mounted ReelBEST BUDGET OPTION -Been testing this for around 12 months. Excellent for the price, but had to upgrade the Hozelock style fitting to prevent leaks and the included ones are cheap. Can’t beat the price though!
  3. Hozelock Auto Reel with 40m Hose – The first auto hose reel I tested, a great alternative to the Gardena and slightly more affordable.
  4. Woodside 20m Auto Rewind Garden Water Hose Reel – great value for smaller gardens.
  5. Kärcher CR5.220 Auto Reel (20 meters) – Another option for smaller gardens.

Top 5 Best Automatic Garden Hose Reels

1. Gardena 35m Wall-Mounted Auto Reel Hose


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John with the Gardena auto reel during testing
The Gardena Auto Hose Reel


  • 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.
Gardena auto hose can turn 180 degrees to use in any direction from the wall
New Gardena auto hose reel

My ultimate best auto hose reel is this Gardena Wall-Mounted Auto Reel Hose. Overall 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.

Gardena the winner of our best automatic hose reel
New sleeker design with built-in accessory holder

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

Available in 15m, 25m, 30m and 35m (I purchased the longer 35-metre version)

Gardena hose reel box
In the box it comes in, all you need to do is attach the hanging bracket to the wall, slide the hose reel on and it’s ready to use – everything you need is included.

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

Everything you need to fasten a wall mounted hose pipe to a wall

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.

I have written a detailed guide on how I fixed it to the wall in this article with pictures.

Fastening Gardena auto reel bracket to wall with the heavy duty screws
Attaching the bracket to the wall, 3 screws, simply mark on the wall where screws will be, use an 8mm drill bit to drill holes, insert plugs and screw hanging bracket to the wall

This is a 10-minute job and all you basically do is:

  1. Hold the wall bracket to the wall, making sure it’s level using a spirit level.
  2. Mark where the three holes will be with a pencil.
  3. Drill three 8mm holes with a masonry drill bit into a brick wall.
  4. Insert the included plugs, you’ll need a hammer to get them right in.
  5. 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.

Gardena hose specially design for auto 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.

Gardena hose pipe kint test
Is very reluctant to kink

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.

Gardena hose reel automatically reeling in hose

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.

Hose reel guide that moved left to right to automatically rewind hose onto reel
Hose reel guide that moves left to right to automatically rewind the hose onto the reel

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.

Gardena auto reel has storage for spraying attachments
Built-in holder for a couple of 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.

Unscrewing the screw to remove the hose unit from bracket for winter storage
Main unit being lifted from the bracket with the screw removed

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.

Gardena quick click connections to change between watering systems
Quick click connections to quickly switch water systems

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.

My recommendation

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.

My Gardena auto reel

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.

Watch me install the Gardena Wall Mounted Hose Reel in my guide here to see how easy it is to install.

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Have you ever considered investing in a Water fed Window Cleaning Pole? You can see my recommendations here

2. Amazon Basics Auto-Rewindable Wall-Mounted Reel

Amazon Basics Auto-Rewindable Wall-Mounted Reel


  • Budget-friendly automatic hose reel a good alternative to Gardena and Hoselock.
  • Effortless auto-retraction for hassle-free hose management.
  • Generous 35m hose length, accompanied by a handy 2m connector hose. (Also available with 20m and 25m hose length)
  • Durable, weather-proof wall-mounted reel box for added protection.
  • Versatile, adjustable spray nozzle for diverse gardening tasks. (Recommend upgrading)
  • Convenient 180° swivel for unrestricted hose movement and accessibility.
  • It comes complete with essential accessories for easy installation, although I recommend upgrading the Hozelock style fitting.

Over the years, I have tried several of these auto hose reels, including those by Gardena and Hozelock (both great products, Gardena is probably the best, though). I personally have a Garedena 35m automatic hose reel. However, I finally persuaded my dad that he would be better off swapping out his old hose reel for an auto hose. However, he didn’t want to spend the money I shelled about for my Gardena auto hose reel. 

He finally decided to take try the Amazon Basics Auto-Rewindable Wall-Mounted Reel, which I recommended trying. However, it’s no Gardena. It really is an impressive piece of kit with a few minor upgrades, including some new Hozelock fitting and some better-quality fixing bolts. More on this further down! I have no problem saying it’s worth every penny, especially considering it’s almost half the price of other alternatives like my Hoselock and Gardena models. Basiclly I recommend upgrading the fitting as they are quite cheap. We swapped them out for copper fitting from his older hose reel, but I’d at least swap them out for decent Hozelock fitting as the ones supplied are a little cheap.

You can get it in a smaller 15-meter length, 25 meters, and the one my dad went for, the longer 35-meter hose he needed so he could reach the stables for cleaning the water as well as reach both the large front and back garden. The kit also comes with what is supposed to be a 2m feeder hose, but the one he received was actually 1.6m long. Not a problem, and it’s easy enough to swap out if you need a longer feeder hose. 

A quick tip: if you need a longer feeder hose and have plenty of spare hose like I did getting the 35-meter version, just cut a section off the main hose and swap it out. It literally takes a minute or two.

The build quality of the casing is good, and the automatic retracting mechanism is also very smooth when pulled out; simply give the hose a gentle pull, and it winds smoothly around the drum. It’s practically effortless!

Amazon Basics Auto-Rewindable Wall-Mounted Reel
Amazon Basics Auto-Rewindable Wall-Mounted Reel

The reel box is weatherproof, offering protection from UV rays and other elements that could cause damage to the hose. This means you can expect a longer lifespan compared to hoses left exposed to the elements on open hose reels, but this goes for all enclosed hose reels. The 180° swivel mechanism allows for easy pivoting, reaching all corners of your garden without tangling the hose. The hose also seems good quality, maybe not as good as the Gardena hose, but certainly as good as the Hoselock hose.

Something else you should consider replacing is the basic spray nozzle that comes with it is a little cheap, pound shop quality. You might want to invest in a better-quality hose gun if you need spray patterns for your gardening tasks, such as mist for seeding, jet, etc.

Now, something else I noticed was the instructions said to use an 8mm masonry drill, but you’ll need a 10mm one to fit the supplied rawlplugs, or at least we did. That being said, I had some spare bolts, so I just used these instead to ensure its fixing is solid, as these hose reels weigh so much more than standard ones. I would also maybe upgrade the screw fitting to something more substantial, a few quid from B&Q and worth doing.

Also, remember that these reels are quite large and heavy, so be sure to consider this when choosing where to mount the hose reel. If you attach to the side of the shed, make sure you go into the corner pillars and that they are substantial enough. Or just mount it on a brick wall, concrete post or a substantial wood pillar. 

My recommendation

Despite these minor issues mentioned and the recommended extra cost for the upgrades, the Amazon Basics Auto-Rewindable Wall-Mounted Reel is a fantastic budget option for an automatic hose reel. 

Overall, it’s an excellent budget-friendly option, and it comes with everything you need. Maybe just swap out the fixtures to branded Hoselock fitting at some point, as this is where it will leak after some time. Comes at an amazing price!

3. Hozelock Auto Reel with 40m Hose

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HOZELOCK - Auto Reel Wall-mounted 40m: Easy to Install, Child-lock, Auto-rewind, Ready-to-use with Nozzle, Fittings, Hozelock Hose and Accessories Included 5 Year Guarantee* [2595R8000]

The Hozelock Auto Reel with 40m Hose is an incredibly easy to use hose, and on top of this, it’s slightly more affordable than the Gardena I upgraded to. 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 with the smaller hose lengths. 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.

Hozelock Auto Reel with 40m Hose after several years of use

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.

My recommendation

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.

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 than the Gardena version, I think the Hozelock model is a great alternative and it is also 5 meters longer even though it’s more affordable.

That being said, you always got the AmazonBasics auto hose but the fixtures really need upgrading on that to get to the same build quality as this even then, this Hozelock is still a better hose that the AmazonBasics plus its longer.

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4. Woodside 20m Auto Rewind Garden Water Hose Reel

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Woodside 30m Auto Rewind Retractable Wall Mounted Garden 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. 

mY recommendation

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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5. Karcher 20m Auto Reel

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Kärcher CR5.220 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 and I’m a big fan of there Karcher pressure washers. 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. This hose reel is a doddle to fit and its 20m hose unwinds and rewinds smoothly without kinking. Featuring a controlled auto-wind system like all the models I’ve tested, this model 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.

My recommendation

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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Buyer’s Guide

Check out my guide where I show you step by step (with pictures) how to install a wall-mounted hose reel like the ones in this review.

I used my best pick, the Gardena automatic hose reel, which I 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

choosing the best automatic 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.

Hose length

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.

Lock feature

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.


Stopper on hose reel to stop it retracting to far

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. 


What is an automatic hose reel, and how does it work?

An automatic hose reel takes the effort out of uncurling your hose to water your garden and then putting it away at the end of your garden tasks. It stops the hose from becoming tangled and you can unroll just the amount of hose that you need.

All the work of unwinding and winding the hose is done by the automatic reel. The hose ends up stored neatly in the reel box which you can attach to a wall out of the way.

It works using (usually a patented) un/winding mechanism. A gentle tug on the hose is all that it takes to start unrolling the hose or rolling it up.

What are the benefits of using an automatic hose reel over a manual one?

The first automatic hose reel I owned had many game changing advantages over manual ones

Here are the major benefits of using an automatic hose reel over a manual one.


You tug on the hose in the automatic system to unroll or roll it up. A manual hose needs to be carried out of your garden shed and unrolled.

Kinking and tangling

Automatic hose reels prevent your hose from kinking and tangling. You pull them straight out from the reel box and they go away in the same manner. Unrolling your manual hose requires you to pull the entire length of the heavy hose as you untangle it.

Using just enough hose

With an automatic hose, you pull out just the length of hose that you need. You’re just carrying that length to water your garden. With a manual hose, you need to drag the entire weight of the hose as you take it into your garden. You can stop some models unrolling every 30cm and other models let you stop whenever you want to.

With manual hose reels, once you stop pulling the hose stops moving. However you do need to hold the hose taut to get the best water pressure.

Automatic brake

Most auto models of hose reels have a braking system that stops the hose when you stop tugging. This locks the hose so that you don’t have to hold it taut. With manual hose reels, you’ll get a few more metres of hose until the inertia stops the hose from unrolling.

180? pivot

Most reel boxes with automatic reels have a 180? pivoting mechanism. This allows you to easily and smoothly move your hose through a semi-circle as you water. In contrast, with a manual hose you need to drag the entire length (and weight) of the hose to the next position or part of the garden that you need to water.

 Reel box

Automatic hose reels rewind the hose neatly into a reel box. You can install it on a wall out of the way. The box provides protection from UV-rays and from rain and windy weather for the hose. All these elements can cause your hose to degrade.

Many manual garden hoses are just left in a tangled heap near the outside water tap for their next use, exposed to the weather. If you do roll them up on the manual reel, you need to do it slowly and carefully and ensure that the hose doesn’t tangle.

How easy is it to install an automatic hose reel, and what tools are required?

It’s straightforward and easy to install most automatic hose reels.

I bought the Gardena 35m Wall-Mounted Auto Reel Hose and installed it by myself. It took about 10 minutes. I hung the reel box on a brick wall and I needed a drill, a masonry drill bit, a hammer and a screwdriver to do so. The wall plugs I used came with the purchase of the automatic hose reel.

You can still take the entire hose off the out of the reel box, drain it and out it away for winter storage.

Can an automatic hose reel be used for all types of hoses, or are there specific types that work best with it?

The hose that comes with the automatic hose reel is the one you should use with the product. The auto hose reel is known as a “closed reel” and you can’t take out the hose and replace it with another one. The hoses that come with the auto hose reel are designed and tested to stay tangle- and kink free.

How does an automatic hose reel retract the hose, and is there a risk of the hose getting tangled or kinked?

Many manufacturers have their own patented hose retraction system. Your part in the rewind process is to give the hose a gentle tug and watch as it winds into the reel box. It’s a controlled rewind with a braking mechanism that avoids speedy travel by the hose and helps to stop the hose from kinking and tangling.

There’s little effort on your part. And as many of the hoses in this review have been designed (and tested) to not kink or tangle, rewinding the hose is a smooth process.

What is the maximum length of hose that an automatic hose reel can handle?

The models of automatic garden hose reels in this review take hoses in the range of 20m to 40m. This is generally the length of the hose available with these types of hose reels, although you may sometimes find a 10m hose auto reel.

As for the right size for your garden, generally 20m is a good size for a small to medium garden and 35-40m for a medium to large garden. Measure from your outside water tap to the furthest reaches of your garden. Buy just the length of hose that you need. It’ll save you money and some of the hose wouldn’t just sit curled up in the reel forever.

How durable are automatic hose reels, and what materials are they typically made of?

Automatic hose reels are durable and are usually made of metal, fibreglass or plastic. The metal is generally powder-coated and rust resistant, while fibreglass and plastic naturally are. The reel boxes also protect the hose from wind, rain and harmful UV rays.

What safety features are included with an automatic hose reel, and are there any safety concerns to be aware of?

The safety features of an automated hose reel may include:

Padlock, key or child lock

This is to stop uninvited people (usually children) from unrolling the hose and spraying water everywhere. One of the models in this review (Gardena) has a screw in place of a lock. You must unscrew the screw to get at the hose. If your auto hose reel comes without this safety mechanism, you can always purchase an external lock and apply it to the reel box.

Integrated stopper

All the models of automated hose reel in my review have some form of braking or stopping mechanism that lets you stop the hose from unrolling at points in its length. Some models have stopping points every 30cm of the hose’s length (Gardena) while others let you stop whenever you want to (Hozelock). This avoids the condition of all the hose coming off the reel when you tug on it.

180? swivel

All the models in this review have a mechanism that lets you swivel the hose 180? when you’re watering your garden. This avoids the hose kinking as you move it around.

Auto reel box

The reel box provides a safe and secure home for your garden hose. Many of the boxes give UV-protection as well as shelter to your hose from rain and wind. These weather elements can degrade your hose, causing splits and tears.

Are there any additional features or accessories available with automatic hose reels, such as built-in timers or spray nozzles?

Most automatic hose reels came with a basic sprayer. In these, you twist the nozzle to work through the installed spray patterns. You usually find a number of patterns from light spray through to a high pressure flow. You may want to buy a sprayer with a more extensive variety of water flow pressures and spray patterns.

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.

Not all the models in this review come with the universal Hozelock couplings so you can attach any other spray nozzle to the hose. You may need to buy connectors separately if you purchase an alternate sprayer.

Look for an any-length lock that lets you lock the length of your hose anywhere. Some models have lock points at 30cm intervals while others let you choose your retrieved hose length to be whatever you want.

If you need to lock up your hose reel (perhaps from playful kids) and your model doesn’t come with an inbuilt padlock, buying a separate locking mechanism is a good option.

For washing your car, look for a suitable washing brush that attaches to the hose.

What is the price range for automatic hose reels, and how do I choose the best one for my needs and budget?

The automatic hose reels in this review range in price from £60 to £190. To choose the best auto hose reel for your needs, please read this Buyer’s Guide portion of this review.

Final Conclusion

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. 

Best Pick

Gardena 35m Wall-Mounted Auto Reel Hose

  • 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.

Last update on 2024-04-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Welcome to my site, my name is John and I have been lucky enough to work in horticultural nurseries for over 15 years in the UK. As the founder and editor as well as researcher, I have a City & Guilds Horticultural Qualifications which I proudly display on our About us page. I now work full time on this website where I review the very best gardening products and tools and write reliable gardening guides. Behind this site is an actual real person who has worked and has experience with the types of products we review as well as years of knowledge on the topics we cover from actual experience. You can reach out to me at

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