The 9 Best Air Hose Reels
This wiki has been updated 20 times since it was first published in May of 2016. If your workshop, garage, or construction site personnel use pneumatic tools, you'll have to supply them with the air they need through an appropriate hose. One of these reels can help with that and keep the hose from becoming a tripping hazard when it is not in use. The are available in various designs for mounting to a wall, the ceiling, or the floor. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. If you'd like to contribute your own research to the Wiki, please get started by reviewing this introductory video.
December 31, 2019:
There are many very well built manually retractable reels like the Reelcraft CA32112 that will last for years. However, the quality, convenience, and pricing of the automatically retracting models like the Goodyear L808204G and the Cyclone CP3688 limit the number and appeal of manual models that we can include in our selections. For professional shops, it is a huge waste of time to have to manually recoil the air hoses after every use. This would produce many occupational hazards that can easily be avoided with automatic reels. We included the Milton 2760-50D because it is extremely affordable yet it comes with what you expect to find in a pricier model - a powder-coated metal frame, high-flow brass fittings, and an EPDM hose.
Always guide your auto-retracting hose back to its frame to avoid injury or damage to equipment. Working with compressed air is inherently dangerous and care should be taken around pressure vessels.
Safety And Organization First: The Air Hose Reel
By only paying out as much hose as is needed at any given time, these reels minimize the impact one worker's project has on the efforts of others working in the same area.
Anyone who has spent much time working in a cluttered mechanic's shop, on a bustling construction site, or in a facility where people are busy with assembly or repair projects of myriad types will tell you that maintaining an orderly workspace free of potential tripping hazards is essential for safety and efficiency. When power cables, gear, and hardware begin to litter the floor, a workplace becomes immediately hazardous, and the dangers are only multiplied when the work involved entails using power tools, heavy equipment, and so forth.
If you regularly use pneumatic tools at job sites, in your professional shop, or even in your garage or workshop at home, you owe it to your employees and/or to yourself to consider using an air hose reel. These handy devices can quickly and reliably coil up dozens of feet of air hose, and offer more benefits than might at once be apparent.
An air hose reel is first and foremost a matter of convenience. When you are finished working with a pneumatically powered tool, you will want to store the hose used to supply its air pressure out of the way. You can painstakingly coil a line up by hand and then hang it on a hook or use straps to tie it in place and tuck it in a cabinet, or you can simply let your air hose reel retract the tubing steadily back into a compact, orderly roll. These reels help prevent kinked or tangled lines, and they reduce the clutter caused by excess length of hose getting in the way.
A tool that has been misplaced is of little more use than a tool you didn't own in the first place. With an air hose reel mounted to the wall or ceiling of your facility, there is no way to lose the hose necessary for connecting pneumatic tools to their power source. Choose the best possible location for safe and easy access to your compressor, mount your hose reel, and you will never again search about for wherever you left that hose after the last use.
When it comes to safety concerns, the air hose reel is an ideal way to keep walkways clear, easily navigable, and reduce the chance for an errant hose becoming caught in another piece of machinery. By only paying out as much hose as is needed at any given time, these reels minimize the impact one worker's project has on the efforts of others working in the same area. They also protect air hoses when no pneumatic tool is being used, preventing the lines from being punctured or cut, which leads to proper and safe operation and can help keep costs down as a hose will need infrequent replacement.
Also make sure to properly mount your air hose reel following all included instructions; these are heavy, bulky units that will endure frequent tension as the hose is pulled out and coiled back up, and a falling reel could cause great harm.
The Other Items Air Hose Reel Owners Need
If you are considering buying an air hose reel, then you will probably already own a decent compressor. If not, then you might be getting a bit ahead of yourself, as owning a way to deliver pressurized air without a means of producing it is illogical at best.
Fortunately, compressors are surprisingly affordable devices and are well within the price range of almost any smaller professional outfit or even the DIY home hobbyist.
Fortunately, compressors are surprisingly affordable devices and are well within the price range of almost any smaller professional outfit or even the DIY home hobbyist. Many pancake compressors will cost less than some of the high-end air hose reels to which they can be attached, in fact, yet can still produce well over 100 pounds per square inch of pressure, and will easily operate most tools such as nail guns, air ratchets, and so forth.
Also worth your consideration is an air tank that can store a great deal of pressurized air. These units require a separate device to fill them with air, but once loaded they can provide enough pneumatic force for a range of applications. An air tank is a great backup device to keep your work running even if the power required to run a compressor temporarily fails.
An air pressure gauge is also a wise and easily affordable device one should always have on hand when using pressurized air. Adding too much air to a tire can result in a ruptured inner tube or in a wheel that does not respond as it should when on the road; using too much air pressure with a tool can potentially result in a catastrophic failure or even an explosion. Working with pressurized air is not inherently dangerous, but using any without proper care is asking for trouble.
Pneumatic Tool Safety
Any time and anywhere you are working with or are in proximity to people using pressurized air to operate tools, you need to take a few basic safety precautions in order to ensure you are at minimal risk for injury.
When an air hose pops off its compressor or tool, the sudden burst of air can propel debris across a room at high speed, potentially causing injuries.
First and foremost, if you are working with air-powered tools, you should have on protective goggles or impact-rated glasses. The chance for a tool to malfunction, sending hardware like a brad nail or staple flying, is generally small, but the chances of the connection between a pneumatic tool and an air hose suddenly failing is much more common. When an air hose pops off its compressor or tool, the sudden burst of air can propel debris across a room at high speed, potentially causing injuries.
Work gloves are also advisable for just the same reason; while most tools are safe when used reliably, the moment of connection or decoupling between an air hose and tool tends to release a powerful blast of air that can lead to minor but nonetheless unpleasant injuries in some circumstances.
And as many air compressors operate at sound levels rated at above 85 decibels, hearing protection may also be warranted any time you are using air tools. Note that many government agencies consider the 85-decibel threshold to be the maximum noise level to which a person can be subjected without mandatory ear protection enforcement. (In fact, most air compressors are indeed this noisy; any compressor rated at less than 75 decibels is considered quiet, though people in close proximity may scoff at this classification.)