You can choose from quite a few air hose reel designs. Your choice will probably depend both on your tastes and the tasks you use the hose for. Some reels wind by hand, and others wind automatically by retracting the hose when not in use. You might choose a hose reel mounted to a cart or even suspended from the ceiling. Before you invest in a hose reel, take a look at the options available.
Types of Hose Reels
Hose reels are commonly used for air hoses and water hoses alike or even in combination units that contain reels for both types of hoses. Many air hose reels feature automatic winding. Dedicated water reels are often powered by a hand crank, although spring-loaded winders are available. You can also use a cart with built-in reels, which offers you a portable base from which to pull out the hoses as you need them.
Air Hose Reels
Most air hose reels are designed to be mounted on arms or brackets. These brackets may connect to ceiling joists, roof beams or wall studs. You will typically mount these styles high to keep the reel out of the way and provide easy reach to widely separated shop areas.
Another popular application is to connect hoses to a cart which, in turn, provides the reel cabinet. This method allows you to extend the reach of your hoses. It also provides you with a place to store parts and tools.
Water Hose Reels
The most common garden hose reel is a wheel-shaped device with a handle on the side. For shop applications, you can connect smaller hose sizes to reels with automatic rewinding. These automatic reels are not common for garden hoses because of the size and weight of the hoses and the increased tension they place on the winding mechanism.
If you do purchase an automatic garden hose winder, be sure it is built of heavy-duty materials and rated to handle the size of garden hose you intend to connect to it. Typical garden hoses are 3/8 or 1/2 inch, but larger hoses are available, as well, and may not be suitable for an automatic winder.
Combined Hose Reels
In the shop, a water hose reel cart may offer connections for both water and air. This design often has connection on the rear of the cart, where air and water feed in. It also contains individual reels for air and water, usually for 1/2- or 3/8-inch hoses.
Many times, the cart will include a small shop sink, and it may even provide specially designed hooks and clips to keep the tools you need often close at hand. These mobile carts usually cost more than most other hose reels, but for you, the advantages may outweigh the increased cost. Particularly if you need both air and water on location, a combination unit makes a superior choice.