Best hose reels 2020

A hosepipe is a must to clean your car, but which hose reel kit makes it easiest to handle? We find out…

If you like to clean your own car, a hosepipe is an essential piece of kit. But it can become a nightmare of tangles, leaks and kinks that will lead to frustration and sodden shoes. The answer is to get reel with something that will keep the pipe neatly stowed away when it’s not in use, and has proper watertight connectors.

We tried eight of the best, choosing a variety of manual and automatically winding hose reels. All come with attachments to plumb into the most common types of outside tap, along with adjustable spray nozzles and connectors for pressure washers. So which would clean up in our test?

How we tested them

We assessed the hoses on the basis of their suitability for car-cleaning, so checked how easily they could be attached to a pressure washer, as well as assessing any supplied spray nozzles. We measured the flow rate to see how much the reels restricted the pressure, and how easily the hose unreeled and wound up again. We also awarded extra marks for reels that could be used both wall-mounted and free-standing. Finally, we checked prices online to find the best value.

Verdict

A combination of price, size and features means the FloPro + Cube comes out on top in this test. The looks aren’t for everyone, though, so if you prefer something less eye-catching on the front of your house, spend the extra tenner and go for the Hozelock Autoreel instead.

If both those look too pricey and you just want a simple manual reel, then the Claber Kiros is really great value.

  1. 1. FloPro + Cube 20m
  2. 2. Hozelock Autoreel
  3. 3. Claber Kiros

Reviews 

Flopro + Cube – Best buy

Price: Around £75Hose length: 20mRating: 5 starsContact: www.mytoolshed.co.uk

This reel looks a bit like a child’s suitcase, but it’s packed with features that make it easy to use. It comes ready assembled with all of the fittings needed to connect to a common outdoor tap, and the flow rate was one of the highest tested. What made it pip the Hozelock for the top spot was its price, compact size and having the ability to come off the wall mount and be pegged to the ground, so it can still reel in and out without needing to be physically held.

Hozelock Autoreel - Recommended

Price: Around £85Hose length: 25mRating: 4.5 starsContact: www.hozelock.com

Our previous Best Buy has a high-quality feel that rivals the eye-wateringly expensive Kärcher Auto Reel. Even though our test reel had a 25-metre hose length, the flow rate was faster than in some rivals that were five metres shorter. We also liked having the ability to lock the release/rewind mechanism, as well as a dummy coupling to store accessories neatly. On the downside, the unit is huge – this is by far the biggest here, and pulling out the hose is quite hard work.

Claber Kiros  - Recommended

Price: Around £33Hose length: 30mRating: 4 starsContact: www.claber.co.uk

If you don’t want to invest in a self-winding hose reel, then you won’t go far wrong with the Claber Kiros. It comes mostly pre-built, with only minimal assembly needed. Wall brackets are also supplied, but the reel can be quickly unclipped if you want to wander around, although the huge 30 metres of hose mean you could wash most of the cars on your street without taking it off the wall. It is easily the best-value reel in the test and has a decent flow rate, too.

Claber Rotoroll

Price: Around £90Hose length: 20mRating: 3.5 starsContact: www.claber.co.uk

The Rotoroll is an automatic reel, which looks so stylish that we wouldn’t be embarrassed to have it bolted to the front of our house. It comes ready assembled, saving time and the risk of leaks. We also liked the more controlled rewind speed, so you’re not fighting against a powerful spring. The hose and fittings feel well made too, with good flow rate and anti-kink properties. But unlike the other Claber it doesn’t seem great value, with the longer Hozelock reel at a fiver less.

Hozelock 2-in-1

Price: Around £42Hose length: 25mRating: 3 starsContact: www.screwfix.com

We got off to a bad start with this Hozelock, because it needed some fiddly assembling to plumb in the bewildering array of connectors deep inside the reel. But once we’d got it all together it worked well and could be mounted on the wall or unlatched to use freestanding. It had our second-best flow score too, despite a 25-metre hose length. Other than this, though, it did nothing better than the Claber Kiros, which is longer, comes assembled and is £9 cheaper.

Kärcher 20m Auto Reel

Price: Around £135Hose length: 20m  Rating: 3 starsContact: www.kaercher.com/uk

If this reel were a car, it’d be a Porsche: beautifully made, subtly stylish and with excellent performance. Unfortunately, it’s also the most expensive here by some margin, and you could only really justify it if you were a professional user or someone who demanded the very best. As you’d expect, it comes ready assembled, and the fittings clicked together beautifully with no hint of a leak. It needed less effort to pull out the hose than any other reel here, and the rewind was well controlled.

Kärcher Premium Hose Reel

Price: Around £76Hose length: 20mRating: 3 starsContact: www.kaercher.com/uk

This manual winding hose is solidly engineered and has some nice features. It uses a ‘docking station’, which is permanently fixed to the wall and has a small cubby under the reel where you can store tools and fittings. If you want more freedom, then the hose can be quickly unlatched. Other than this, the Kärcher’s main attraction was its flow rate, which was the fastest of all the hoses on the test. At this price, though, you can buy a self-winding enclosed reel.

Flopro Mini Hose Reel

Price: Around £25Hose length: 10mRating: 2.5 starsContact: www.mytoolshed.co.uk

FloPro’s products sit at opposite ends of this test’s results chart, but that’s not to say we didn’t like the Mini Hose Reel. Its poor score here is down to the fact that, with a smaller 8mm diameter hose, the flow is restricted, so it isn’t well suited to the task of feeding a pressure washer. However, if we had limited storage space and wanted a hose we could just use occasionally to rinse a car, the Flopro Mini is neatly self-contained and small enough to stash away under a kitchen sink.

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