Are hose reels made with plastic or metal better?

The discovery

Are you a mechanic? Or maybe you work in your garden at home. Are you an owner of a dog day care?

Or maybe you like woodworking in your garage. Regardless of your career choice or what you do for hobbies, you may be in the market for a hose or cord reel. You might use air to blow wood chips off or to power your pneumatic tools. Or maybe you wash vehicles often and use a hose for your water source. Maybe you just need a little extra length on your cord from your outlet to bring power over to your workspace. All these small tasks can turn into big inconveniences when you have a lot of hose or cord just laying around. It gets tangled and unorganized, it lays on the floor and makes a tripping hazard, and it also just does not look appealing. This can make you turn to look for better options, and here you are, looking into hose or cord reels.

Looking for the right qualities

One of the most basic questions someone can ask themselves when looking for a reel is, “What features do I need for my reel?” There are a lot of different options. One of the biggest differences you might see is a metal or a plastic reel. Which one is better? Is the quality the same? This all depends on what you are planning on doing with your reel.

If you are planning on using your reel for occasional use such as powering a tool, using air to blow off a mess, or wash your car every once in a while, you may not need the toughest and strongest reel but you still want a high-quality American made product. Not only will this type of thinking give you the best idea of what you need in a reel, but you’ll only have to buy it once, so it might also help save you money.

If you’re a mechanic and you use the reel every day for various jobs or if you are looking for a reel to put in your truck and use it often, you will probably need a heavy-duty reel to withstand everyday use or the vibrations a truck mounted reel must endure.

Qualities of a reel:

  • Metal or plastic
  • Size of reel
  • Welded or bolted
  • Stainless steel or painted
  • Length of hose or cord needed to fit
  • Diameter of hose needed to fit
  • Pressure of hose needed
  • Single pedestal or dual pedestal
  • Hand crank, motorized, or spring retractable

Once you narrow down what you will be using the reel for, hopefully you can decide how heavy duty your reel needs to be. Can you go for a durable, engineered plastic? Or do you need a dual pedestal with a strong metal spool?

Using an engineered plastic has many pros. It is much lighter than a full metal reel and can be more convenient for someone who does not want to deal with a heavy reel when mounting. If you are worried about using cheap plastic for an electric reel because of melting, all you have to do is make sure you are buying a UL listed cord reel. This means you do not have to unravel all the cord off the reel to avoid over heating because the cord will not get too hot when in use.

If you know you need a metal reel, there are still a few things to consider. There are different features you can put on a reel to make it more heavy duty. Dual pedestal reels provide greater strength and durability for mobile applications. Most of the time, a reel with a wider base or a bigger spool has a larger hose or cord capacity. All these features are great and work amazing. However you may not need this for your home but it could be ideal for the weekend warrior.

The takeaway

In the end, it’s not plastic against metal when it comes to which reel is better. It’s all up to what you intend to use it for and how often. It’s about finding the right reel for your application and learning what you truly need.