The 5 Best Air Hose Reels for Functionality & Value
Where you find an air compressor, you’ll find an air hose. Air hoses are so different than regular hoses. They’re meant to carry air at pressures much higher than your average garden hose. Because of this, they get built to much higher standards of durability and strength.
You can’t move bigger air compressors around easily, so you’ll need a long hose if you want to use it farther away. The problem is, having feet of heavy hose on the ground is not only a safety risk, but will reduce their durability.
A hose reel keeps everything wound up neatly and you can pull the exact length of hose you need.
Of course, there are so many on the market, it’s hard to know which are best. That’s exactly what this article is here for! I’ll give you some of the best hose reels you can buy depending on what you’re looking for. You should find something just right for you.
Ready? Let’s dive in.
Detailed Reviews of the Best Air Hose Reels
If you’ve never bought an air hose reel before, you may not know what passes for quality. When you see the distinctive black and yellow of a DeWalt product though, you should know that you are in good hands.
Here’s an important thing to note. When you buy an air hose reel, you don’t always get an air hose with it. In this case, you do, and 50 feet of rubber hose at that. It is built to last and can handle up to 300 PSI, which is more than enough for most uses.
You can easily mount on a wall, a workbench, or floor. There is a quick-release pin that makes it super easy to remove from wherever you have it placed. The hose also remains flexible in cold weather, even up to freezing point.
The 4-foot lead in air hose means you can connect this to your air compressor in a snap. It is ridiculously easy.
|Comes with 50 feet of hose||You have to retract it manually|
|Will prevent any kinks from forming|
|Easy to install and remove|
|Build quality is solid|
If you don’t need anything fancy, want incredible quality, and need 50 feet of air hose, then this reel is the perfect one for you. You get bang for your buck and a great brand name all for a good price.
There are a few quality control issues that some buyers have. Some have problems with the build of the metal bracket or the smooth movement of the reel. That said, you do get a warranty lasting a year with this, so you’ll get covered if you notice any of these out of the box.
This is a good choice if you just need a well-built hose reel to get work done with.
If you’re not afraid of spending more money to get the highest quality available, then Milton is calling your name. This beauty of an air hose reel comes at a high price, but it brings a lot to make it worth it.
This hose reel has an automatic retract feature. This means you don’t need to manually wind it back up to collect all the extra hose. Thanks to a spring system, it’ll automatically pull back excess hose. You can set exactly how much hose you’ll need and it will rewind everything beyond that.
All this constant pulling and rewinding of the hose causes stress on the reel. This is the advantage of a dual-arm system. It is able to take that force much better, without twisting. This reduces the chance for kinks and makes the whole system last longer.
That’s not all. You still get 50 feet of rubber hose with this. It’s high-quality too and will hold up well in cold weather and against the dragging and relative beating these hoses get subjected to.
|Comes with 50 feet of hose||Pricey|
|Dual arm system is more durable|
|Auto-retract is very convenient|
|Easy to mount|
This one won’t be for everyone. It costs quite a pretty penny, so a lot of people won’t even look it’s way. If you are willing to fork out the cash for this, there are a few things you should know.
There are a few complaints regarding the rewind power of this. Some users say it rewinds a bit weaker than they’d like. Note that you should never allow this to retract uncontrolled. Always hold on to it while feeding it back in.
You get a one-year warranty, which is pretty standard at this point. This might have been perfect it was a bit longer than that.
For a hose reel with good build quality, this is a premium option. Just keep in mind that there’s a chance you might get a unit that doesn’t reel back with enough force. Make sure to test before you spend time installing it.
While the earlier DeWalt hose reel was there to provide bang for buck, this one gives you the absolute best quality if you’re willing to spend a bit more. This air hose reel is the perfect balance between affordability and quality.
You get a 50-foot rubber hose, similar to the other DeWalt. This one will put up with cold weather just as well and can handle the same pressure. The real good stuff is in the reel itself.
You get a double arm reel, which gets the same durability benefits as the previous reel. It’ll withstand all the pulling and retracting much better. That’s right! This one will auto-retract too! You can easily pull it to any length thanks to the ratchet lock system. And when it winds back, it does so evenly.
This hose reel made entirely of steel and can easily handle tough work. This is comfortably one of the best air hose reels that you can buy right now.
|Has a dual-arm system for durability||A little costly|
|Made entirely of steel|
|Included hose is high-quality|
|Has auto-retracting functionality|
I’ll say this straight up. If you’re looking for the best performing hose reel for a sensible price, then you’ve come to the right stop. This DeWalt air hose reel is a joy to look at and also a joy to work with.
It’ll cost you quite a bit more than the other DeWalt model, but it brings you a dual-arm, all-steel build, as well as automatic retracting. It might not be a lot of things to count on your fingers but these are significant upgrades.
Unfortunately, these upgrades don’t continue onto the warranty. You still get the one-year limited warranty that you do with the other options. That’s a bit of a bummer, but unlike the earlier two products, this one seems to have quality control doing the job well.
For a hose reel that you’ll have no complaints about, DeWalt has exactly what you’re looking for.
Remember how I said that you don’t necessarily get a hose with your air hose reel? Well, this budget option is here to show you that that actually does happen.
If you’re looking to save money and simply need a reel to fit your hose on, then you should be considering this. It ditches the 50-foot hose that the earlier items have been patronizing. This allows for it to have a price that is several times more affordable than the others.
If you’re aiming to hold 50 feet of hose, you won’t get that done with this. The length it can hold depends on the gauge of the hose or cable. For something as thick as an air hose, it won’t be able to hold a generous amount. It will still clean up a lot of the mess that hoses can leave when all over the floor.
Don’t expect a high-quality steel build or anything. The price consideration is the major selling point here and the reel is made of plastic. As long as you don’t try and force too much hose on it, you should be fine.
|Very affordable||Doesn’t come with hose|
|Can support quite a bit of weight|
This hose reel is plastic, so one thing you need to keep in mind is that it won’t be able to hold as much hose. If you put too much weight on this air hose reel, it will begin to bend and may even break. For smaller amounts of hose, you should like this.
If you are desperately in need of an air hose reel for heavy-duty work, this isn’t the one. It can’t keep up in such an intense environment. If you simply need a few feet of hose cleaned up, then this might be what you need.
There’s little information as regards the kind of warranty that you’ll get when you buy this. That shouldn’t be too much of a hiccup. The price doesn’t necessarily beg for a warranty.
This air hose reel differs quite a bit from the most of the other options on this list. First off, this is a closed reel. There’s a casing around most of the actual reel and hose. This casing is polypropylene though and not metal. That’s a fancy way to say plastic.
Unlike the others, you get twice as much air hose with this. There are few cases where you’ll need up to 100 feet, but if you ever do, this has you covered. This PVC hose can take up to 350 PSI, which is a bit higher than the other options give. It also uses Levelwind technology which aims to wind the air hose back evenly each time.
You can use this freestanding. So, while you still have the option to mount it to a wall or a ceiling, if you want to use it on the ground, then no worries! It is built to sit flat and balanced on the ground. It even has a handle to make moving it around easier.
|Hose can handle higher pressure than others||Plastic casing|
|Includes 100 feet of hose||Any hose jams require opening up the casing|
One major disadvantage to a closed reel system is that it is hard to correct any jams or issues with winding. An open reel lets you fix this in seconds, but you will have to disassemble for a product like this. Sure, the Levelwind tech aims to prevent that from happening but in practice it still does.
Apart from that, this is a solid option for an air hose reel. It is built of plastic which obviously can’t take as much of a beating as metal, but if you treat your tools a bit gently, it’ll last. You get a limited two-year warranty with it. You get 100 feet of hose too, which is double what the other options here get you.
If you frequently move your air hose reel around or you need to use it in multiple places, this one is a good choice. It is heavy, but it has a handle built-in and being able to stand on its own boosts its portability.
What Is the Best Type of Air Hose?
A lot of air hose reels come with a hose wound onto the reel already. It is important to know what you can about these hoses so you can make the right choice. The best part is, even if the hose that comes with it isn’t what you’re looking for, you can buy a better one to replace it with.
Here are some of the specs of an air hose that you should pay attention to:
What an air hose is made out of is one of the biggest things that you should pay attention to.
- Rubber: This is one of the most popular material choices for a hose. It is heavy and the weight prevents it from kinking easily. It has good flexibility and works well in a range of temperatures. The DeWalt and Milton air hose reels on this list come with rubber hoses. This is a good option when you have a hose that will stay in one place and may potentially have to endure low temperatures.
- PVC: This is lighter than rubber. It can kink, but it does not do so very easily. The biggest disadvantage to PVC is that it doesn’t hold up as well when temperatures begin to drop. The Legacy reel on this list comes with a PVC hose. The Milton was made for you to move it around, so the lightweight nature is an advantage.
- Polyurethane: This is a good alternative material for an air hose. It attempts to mimic the properties of rubber and does so to a degree. It is much lighter than rubber and kinks a lot as a result. However, its weight makes it great for taking on the move.
- Nylon: If you need to go as light as possible, then this is the material for you. The problem is, being so lightweight means that it can kink very easily. It also has durability issues and won’t last as long as others. It is great if you need an air hose that you can move around easily though.
- Hybrid: Some air hoses combine multiple materials to get a mix of their best properties. The most common combo of this sort is PVC and rubber.
On this list, there are air hoses that come in 50-foot and 100-foot lengths. Some hoses come in 25, but I didn’t include any of those here.
Don’t simply go for the longest one before longer is better. If you won’t be climbing to heights or using the hose tens of feet away from the reel, don’t go for the longest one. Similar to pressure washers, you lose a small amount of power the longer it gets.
Make sure the length you choose is perfectly suited for your work.
The diameter is very important. There are three main values you will see, which are either 1/4”, 3/8”, or 1/2”. The latter is widest, so it can carry a higher volume at once, provided you have an air compressor that can truly make use of it. If you don’t need the most power though, simply go for one of the smaller options.
All the hoses on this list are 3/8”, apart from the Milton, which is 1/2”.
What Size of Air Hose Do You Need?
This all really depends on your air compressor. You want to make sure that you get a hose which can take the full force of your air compressor if it has to.
One rule of thumb you can use involves using the max CFM, that is, cubic feet per minute, of your compressor. If it is between 1 to 3, then a 1/4″ hose should do fine. When it begins to climb higher though, you should be looking at a larger diameter.
For air compressors that have outputs you can change, it may depend on the tool at the other end. A larger diameter is more versatile though, because it can handle the lower flows of smaller diameter hoses. But smaller diameter hoses can’t do the reverse.
Automatic vs Manual Air Hose Reels
Automatic retracting air hose reels can seem all high-tech, and they do have their advantages, but they also have downsides. The same is true for manually cranked hose reels.
Here are some things you should know about automatic hose reels:
- The ease of use is great. There is no need to stress yourself out with winding a crank over and over to rewind the hose.
- It is the best option for longer hoses. No one wants to spend time manually retracting a 100-foot hose!
- Issues with poor winding action are a frequent consequence of this type of reel.
- Sometimes they don’t wind back up evenly.
Here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to manual hose reels:
- You have to go through the stress of winding them back up, which is worse when they are extremely long.
- It is easier to make them wind up evenly.
- There is no risk of the winding mechanism getting damaged.
- They are generally cheaper than the auto-retractable types.
Getting a high-quality air hose reel will make working with your air compressor much easier. You don’t need to worry about tidying up all that extra hose when it’ll do the job for you.
If you want me to recommend one of these reels for you, then I will definitely point to the DeWalt Double Arm Reel that’s above. You get a 3/8” 50-foot rubber hose with it, it automatically retracts, and it has a double-arm build which means better durability.
Apart from that one though, the Milton Dual-Arm is a good alternative. It has a wide diameter, at 1/2″ and you get a 50-foot rubber hose held in a well-constructed open reel.
Now you’ve seen some of the best available options and learned a bit more about air hoses and their reels. Hopefully, you’ll be able to make a good decision on your own.
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