Northern or HF wants me to have a 50' retractable Hose Reel

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junquecol

Bruce
User
Been toying with the idea of a retractable hose reel for several years. Now both HF and Northern has then on sale. Northern has the ReelWorks brand, and HF has their own brand. Either would set me back about the same amount of pocket cash. Web forums seem evenly divided with no clear winner. Anybody here have EXPERIENCE with either? Please use experience, not formed opinion in your reply.
 

ehpoole

Administrator
Ethan
My feelings, right or wrong, is that Northern tends to get the better pick of the lot regarding the merchandise that overlap between HF and Northern. You pay a bit more, usually, at Northern, but it seems that one is much less likely to get a dud from Northern than HF, though both have that chance with respect to their house brands. Regardless of where you buy, it often helps to smooth rough edges and tear the tools apart to clean out any manufacturing waste or burrs -- which can greatly improve the tool.

That said, I don't normally buy power tools from either as I want my tools to just work...and last...for years without a lot of hassle. But other odds an ends I will occasionally buy from Northern.

That said, if it is too cheap then I would pass, the last thing one wants to deal with are bad air hoses or leaking fittings on a retractable real -- such things always seem to fail right when you most need them!
 

Jeremy Scuteri

Jeremy
Staff member
Corporate Member
I have the HF 50' retractable hose reel. It works pretty well. The connection to the reel leaks a little bit.
 

Phil S

Board of Directors, Events Director
Phil Soper
Staff member
Corporate Member
Someone gave me a HF reel - why I excepted it is still in question. It lasted for less time than it took me to mount it on the wall .. it is now resting in peace in a landfill
 

CrealBilly

New User
Jeff
My feelings, right or wrong, is that Northern tends to get the better pick of the lot regarding the merchandise that overlap between HF and Northern. You pay a bit more, usually, at Northern, but it seems that one is much less likely to get a dud from Northern than HF, though both have that chance with respect to their house brands. Regardless of where you buy, it often helps to smooth rough edges and tear the tools apart to clean out any manufacturing waste or burrs -- which can greatly improve the tool.

That said, I don't normally buy power tools from either as I want my tools to just work...and last...for years without a lot of hassle. But other odds an ends I will occasionally buy from Northern.

That said, if it is too cheap then I would pass, the last thing one wants to deal with are bad air hoses or leaking fittings on a retractable real -- such things always seem to fail right when you most need them!
So what are you saying? Made in China fixed by an American?

Support your local musicians
 

JimD

Jim
Senior User
I have the manual crank reel from HF and have had it for 5-10 years. It leaks a bit in a certain position but not others. That doesn't affect it's usefulness to me. I have about 75 foot of hose on it, I can reach the cars in the driveway with the compressor at the back of the shop. It takes a few seconds to reel the hose back in but much of that is spent getting the hose off things.

Somebody over at BT3central bought one of the HF retracting reels to replace one like I have. He mounted it in the ceiling. I thought that was interesting. Gets it out of the way.

I have tools from a lot of suppliers but more inexpensive than expensive. Probably the most expensive tool I have is my DeWalt tracksaw that cost about $600 with two tracks. I have a Ryobi table saw (a BT3100), a Ryobi motor in my router table (R500), Ryobi 18V cordless tools, and a Ryobi radial arm saw. I really like the table saw, the other stuff works OK. I also have PC routers (2 690 motors and 4 bases), a Hitachi dual bevel 12 inch CMS and other stuff. I also buy HF tools for things I don't use a lot. Almost all have been worth the money and several worth considerably more than they cost. For instance, I have a rather large HF hammer drill/demolition hammer. It cost less than $100 and will do the work of ones that cost several times that. Switch that moves between modes sticks sometimes but I can live with that for an occasional use tool. My son got me their 18V impact wrench. It was extremely handy when we replaced floats on the dock and I've used it some since. Ni Cad batterys work surprisingly well. I bought an angle drill from them, however, that is junk at this point. But I got significant use out of it and I think it was something like $25. I carry a tool roll of HF wrenches, sockets, etc. in the back of my BMW. I wouldn't want to equip a shop with nothing but HF tools. I think one could and still do good work but you would also end up messing with the tools to get good accuracy. But the cost is low enough that will be tolerable for some.
 

Sam Knight

Sam Knight
Sam
Corporate Member
I also have the HF retractable hose reel. It doesn't leak (not enough to be very noticeable anyways). Have had it now for about a year without failure. Picked it up when it was on sale, which they always seem to be on sale don't they. Like I have heard, it can be a hit or miss with most HF tools but I still find myself shopping there. Good luck with which ever one you choose.
 

MarkE

Mark
Corporate Member
I have the HF hand crank reel in my garage. I have had it for ~10 years and have had no problems.

I had the HF retractable hose reel for several years and it also worked well with no issues. It came with 50' of 3/8" air hose and was very heavy duty with a powerful rewind spring. I sold it only because I could not find a good mounting location, didn't want to add plumbing so I could mount it on the ceiling.
 

Lowlander

New User
Chris
I have been using the Northern Tool one for 5+ year on a weekly basis. It still works. The hose it came with had to be replaced because it was not that great shortly after purchase.
 

RandyJ

Randy
Corporate Member
Bruce, I have had the HF retractable reel for about three years with absolutely no problems. I don't use it every day, but it has certainly been worth what I paid for it in convenience alone.
Good luck with your decision.
 

Jim Roche

jim
User
I have the HF retractable reel mounted to my ceiling and have had it about 6-7 years with no issues. It's not used everyday or every week. The return mechanism is solid as well as the hose that came on it. I'd buy another if I had to replace the one I have. If I recall, it seems like I paid around $50 for it.

Jim
 

ehpoole

Administrator
Ethan
So what are you saying? Made in China fixed by an American?

That would be the gist of it, but the added effort can make a big difference in the reliability and usability of most any cheap tool these days.

I often have to do the same with electronics, China loves to source dirt cheap aluminum electrolytic capacitors for their products, which are the primary cause of premature death in handy modern electronics. Between them and the negative consequences of lead free solders (which are often as much as 99+% tin), many an otherwise perfectly good gadget finds its way to your local landfill even though it should have lasted at east another decade or two before the other components would have likely failed.
 

Mike Davis

Mike
Corporate Member
Is there a portable hose reel available? One that you can roll around the yard, let out and crank up the hose as needed?

Or a design to build one? Need for about 150 feet of hose.
 

HMH

Heath Hendrick
Senior User
I was just in the same boat, but went in a slightly different direction - buying the manual hose reel, (the one w/ the brake), and 50' of good quality hose (Flexzilla), from Northern separately. In the end, the cost was roughly the same as one of the retractable kits, but now there's no return spring to wear out/break, or cheap hose/ fittings to leak/fail, (the common review issues I read when looking at the retractable sets). Good luck to you!
 

RandyJ

Randy
Corporate Member
Is there a portable hose reel available? One that you can roll around the yard, let out and crank up the hose as needed?

Or a design to build one? Need for about 150 feet of hose.

Mike are you talking about air hose reel or water hose? Northern has those too. I bought one that holds 300 ft of 5/8 hose.
 

golfdad

Co-director of Outreach
Dirk
Corporate Member
Bruce I have had the Harbor frieght reel for about 5 yrs maybe. Mounted in the center of shop ceiling. No problems with it. But always think Northern is a step up so I might go with theres if its the same amount of cash
. Just my 2 cents worth
 

manfre

New User
Manfre
The air hose and extension cord reels from HF are very hit or miss. I've used both types of reels from HF. There isn't anything inherently wrong with the design or construction, but you get the quality you pay for. The biggest issue is the low QA standards that result in a higher percentage chance of the item you purchase having a defect. Starting with the extension cord reel I bought 2 years ago, all other of those types of things will be bought from Costco. I've found them to have a higher quality item for about the same price. E.g. 50' Primefit Air Hose Reel
 

CommGuy107

New User
Dan
I don't have the HF or Northern... I bought the manual crank version on sale at Tractor Supply for around $20 a while back. The extra 15-seconds to reel the hose in will eventually add up, but it will be quite some time before it equals the extra dollars and frustration over what may be a leaky, albeit comparatively low dollar unit at the tool import stores.

Mine is solid with no leaks whatsoever.
 

junquecol

Bruce
User
Made up my mind- stick with the hand crank reel from HF, which I paid $19.99, less 20%, about ten years ago. It's the one that comes with 30' of 3/8" hose. I gave the hose away and put 100' of Flexilla poly hose on it. Just need to fabricate a hanging bracket for hose reel, and pipe air through wall. Heck, I need to pipe air thru wall anyway. Thanks for convincing me to hold onto my money!
 
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