Hose reels are cylindrical devices made to house hosing, keeping it kink-free and neat, when it is not in use, by winding the hose around it. A helpful comparison is to think of them as giant spools. Hose reels, which are popular in construction, industrial and residential industries, are available in both manual or mechanical form.
Manual hose reels are generally operated using a side-mounted handle. Mechanical hose reels, commonly called automatic hose reels, may be powered by electricity, a spring or pneumatics.
In addition to their power source, hose reels vary by design features like construction material, retractability, diameter and how they sit. Material choice is generally based on application requirements. For example, medical cord reels must be made of a sanitary grade material, like 304L stainless steel.
The only requirement of industrial hose reels, on the other hand, is that they be made of corrosion-resistant, heavy-duty metal metal, perhaps of some grade of steel, stainless steel or aluminum. However, in general, reels may be made of plastic, wood, fiberglass or metal. Manual hose reels do not have a retraction option, rather, users must simply crank a hose back into place.
With the exception of spring reels, all mechanical hose reels feature a built-in motor-powered automatic retraction device. In other words, mechanical reels electrically pull the hose back. Sometimes, in fact, reels that use electrical power to wind and unwind hosing are simply called electric reels. Unlike the others, spring-powered hose reels retract hosing using an internal spring.
Spring-powered hose reels can also be self-latching, meaning that they require only the flip of a switch or the bush of a button to begin pulling the hose back in.
Generally, they are also usually hermetically sealed to keep dirt and extraneous moisture out. Whatever the retraction type, all hose reels usually come with a latching mechanism to hold the retracted hose in place at any point of retraction. Hose reel diameter varies based on specific application requirements. Garden hose reels, for example, are usually smaller than reels with an industrial application, such as those used by a fire department, because garden hoses are so much thinner and lighter than fire department hoses.
Large hoses like fire department hoses and construction hoses must be quite large and made of far more rigid materials than residential hose reels so that they can support the extra weight and length of the tubing. As for how they sit, hose reels may sit on the ground or over a spigot, on a cart or truck or they may be attached to a wall.
Hose reels serve applications in a variety of industries, from construction, to medicine and hospital operations, to industrial lighting and manufacturing, to aviation, to welding, to gardening and more. Reel manufacturers also, in addition to hose reels, fabricate reels to wind and unwind a number of similar items, like ropes, cords and electric cables.
Reels like this include: cable reels, phone cord reels, water hose reels, air hose reels, extension reels, medical cord reels, cable carriers, fire hose reels and static discharge reels. Note that fire hose reels are a kind of high pressure hose reel, designed to hold pressurized air, water and other heavy liquids for manufacturing and industrial processes. Also, static discharge reels, when properly grounded, get rid of any static electricity buildup accumulated by the ground equipment it winds.
Before purchasing a hose reel, potential users should consider the following: What type of medium does your hose convey? This will affect the required torque and inner diameter of your reel, as well as the material used to make it. Also consider hose length and weight. This impacts your latching mechanism material choice. Does your reel need to be hermetically sealed? If so, choose a spring hose reel.
Hose reels provide many benefits to their users. First and foremost, the proper storage and care offered by hose reels increase a hose’s lifespan, by keeping accidental tearing and the wear of elements like snow and sun.
Repeated exposure to the elements may cause hoses to dry out or crack. In addition, a stowed hose eliminates the risks of tripping or falling that unstowed hoses present. The presence of a hose reel also increases the efficiency and convenience of any application.