Hose Reels


The Purpose Of The Hose Reel

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A number of high-pressure cleaning systems are equipped with hose reels. Generally these systems are either gas-engine portable units or stationary units. Hose reels may be added as an aftermarket option to existing units as well. Reel Quik manufactures a unit with universal mounting options.

Hose reels allow hose to be easily coiled and stored after use, as well as allowing the operator to play out only as much hose as needed at a time. When using a hose reel with a hot water unit, all the hose on the reel should be laid out to avoid the potential for excessive heat buildup in the coils of hose remaining on the reel.


Some units have hose reels for both the garden and discharge hose. A hose reel can pay for itself by cutting losses due to hose damage. In many instances proper use of hose reels can go a long way to preventing hose damage in the washing area by keeping excess hose wound up so that it is not exposed to damage due to abrasion, kinking or crushing.

Hose Reel Types


There are three main types of hose reels classified according to the method of rewinding the reel. These three types are manual rewind reels, spring rewind reels and power rewind reels.

Manual rewind reels. As the name implies, manual rewind reels are rewound by direct operator action. There are four major types:

- Disc rewind reels are rewound by the operator manually turning the reel discs. These are generally the most inexpensive hose reels and are adequate for many applications, especially where hose lengths are relatively short. A disc rewind reel might be quite adequate for storage of a single section of inlet garden hose.
- Direct crank rewind reels are rewound by turning a crank connected directly to the reel’s axle. Although the crank provides somewhat more mechanical advantage than turning the reel by hand, this reel type can prove somewhat awkward and laborious to operate with longer lengths of hose.
- Gear-driven crank rewind reels use a gear assembly to transfer power from the crank to the reel. Generally a ring gear and bevel gear are used in combination. This reel type requires less effort to operate due to the gear reduction.
- Chain-driven crank rewind reels use a small sprocket turned by the crank to transfer power by a chain to the larger sprocket on the reel axle. This arrangement is somewhat more complicated than the gear-driven crank and may require some chain lubrication and maintenance for continued satisfactory performance. Chain-drive reels require less effort to operate than direct crank driven reels.

Spring rewind reels. These reels use a coiled spring at the hub to rewind the hose. A ratchet assembly is used to lock the reel at the point where hose play out ceases. When rewinding is desired, a pull on the hose disengages the ratchet and the reel rewinds automatically.

To prevent damage to the spring from winding the reel backwards, a declutching arbor is generally installed at the hub of spring rewind reels. The coiled spring provides the power to rewind the hose. The spring is not generally powerful enough to rewind high-pressure hose. Use of the spring rewind hose is generally not recommended with high pressure hose or long lengths of hose.

Hose rollers are generally installed on spring rewind reels to guide the hose being drawn onto the reel and prevent kinking. The rollers also prevent the spring from trying to wind the hose fitting or end piece around the reel should be ratchet be released automatically. In some applications the roller assembly is not used.

Power rewind reels. Generally chain-driven, these reels are most often used with very large quantities of hose are generally not found on portable high pressure cleaning systems. Electric motors (AC or DC) or hydraulic or pneumatic power may be used with power rewind reels.

The Hose Reel Component By Component
Any hose reel centers on its hub assembly, which connects with a swivel joint water inlet. This swivel joint allows the reel to turn while the reel inlet hose remains connected to the reel. The most common hose reel problem is leaking at the swivel joint.

The hub assembly consists of the outlet riser, the reel axle and the inlet fitting to which the swivel joint is attached. The outlet riser is bent to match the curve of the reel’s drum. This curvature allows the hose to wrap smoothly around the drum without a sharp bend.

The drum assembly is fitted with bearings on each end. The swivel joint is not designed to serve as a bearing and may not support the weight of hose on the reel. Discs on each end of the drum assembly keep the hose on the reel and can allow for manual operation of the reel. The discs are joined together by tie rods to form the spool on which the drum is mounted. These rods and not the drum give the spool its strength.

A brake or ratchet assembly at the hub allows for locking the reel in place to prevent accidental unwinding as well as allowing quick release for hose retrieval. Discharge hose may remain on the reel while under pressure. In some cases hose may expand and contract when pressure surges occur. This may cause hose remaining on the reel to bind. Consequently, hose with a minimum burst pressure at least four times operating pressure should be used on hose reels. The water inlet should be connected to the swivel connector by a flexible line.

Hose Reel Options
The hose reel should be appropriate for the intended use. Some manufacturers are very helpful in making sure the right reel is used for the application. Others do not provide so much support. Most manufacturers offer a "standard" reel with a number of options.

Common Options Include:
– High-pressure capability with stronger or higher rated risers and piping.
– High temperature capability with special, temperature resistant seals and o-rings.
– Ability to handle long lengths of hose due to a wider drum and larger diameter end disks.
Reels with higher quality components such as metal drums rather than less expensive PVC drums may be available as well.

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