How to choose a hose reel for compressed air

compressed air hose reel

Divers éléments doivent être pris en compte lors de la sélection d’un dévidoir.

A hose reel is a very practical method for storing air hose. Among its main advantages:

  • It prevents air line hoses from dragging on the ground, thereby reducing the risk of workplace incidents.
  • It also ensures that the hose is always ready for use and within reach.
  • It allows you to only pull out the length of hose needed from the reel when working.
  • It eliminates wear and tear, reducing maintenance costs.

Six factors to consider when choosing a reel

We have assembled a list of the six most important factors to consider when choosing a reel.

1. How often will you use the reel?

This question will allow you to determine what strength of reel you need. If it is for occasional use, a professional model is recommended. If it is for regular use, an industrial model is in order. Finally, if it is for intensive use, a heavy-duty or extra heavy-duty model will be more suitable. Choosing the strength of the reel according to your use will allow you to maximize the lifespan of the reel. It will prevent you from having to repair, return, or replace it due to premature breakage, especially if the reel is installed in a hard-to-reach place (e.g., on the ceiling).

Your frequency of use of the reel will probably also influence the chosen retraction method, which is the next factor to consider.

Dévidoir ultra-robuste en acier (79.514)

If the reel is intended for intensive use, choose a heavy-duty model, such as a steel reel, which will offer better resistance and be more suitable for your working environment. 

2. What retraction method do you want?

You can choose between manual or automatic rewind.

Manual rewind reel

If you opt for a manual model with a hand crank, you will have to rewind the hose yourself and guide it evenly as it wraps around the reel drum. Depending on the size and length of the hose, this operation might require extra effort. They are portable and therefore a practical solution for construction sites or any other application that requires the reel to be moved for its use (e.g., for an occasional application in a garage or at home).

Dévidoir portatif à manivelle (79.050)

Manual reels are portable and ideal for outside applications that require the reel to be moved.

Automatic rewind reel

An automatic rewind model has a spring control that requires no effort to rewind the hose. You just have to guide the hose, which wraps around the reel drum. It goes without saying that an automatic rewind reel is much faster and more efficient to use if you need to use your hose more often.

However, you should know that spring-driven reels must always be in a fixed position (mounted) and are not portable.

Certain automatic reel models have a safety mechanism that allows the hose to rewind slowly and evenly. This prevents hose whip and guarantees safety and productivity in the workplace.

3. Where will you install your reel? 

The location of the reel influences the chosen retraction method. If it is harder to access, you may want to opt in this case not only for an automatic reel, but also a higher-quality reel. Indeed, you will want a reel that will require little maintenance and has a longer lifespan to avoid any additional costs.

Depending on the chosen reel, you can equip yourself with a fixed or pivoting base mounted on the wall, floor, or ceiling that will allow you to align your reel in a fixed position or according to a choice of rotation angle. Not all models offer this option. Inquire about this during your purchase.

reel with pivoting base mounted on the wall (79.481)

A reel installed at height must be attached very securely (by a professional).

4. Do you have any constraints in terms of the choice of material?

The industry in which you work or the applications for which you will use your hose reel, directly influence the choice of material of the hose reel (as well as the hose!).

As an example, if you are in the food, medical, or pharmaceutical industry, the requirements call for a clean and corrosion-resistant solution. We recommend the material to be stainless-steel. Similarly, if you are in a harsh environment where chemicals are used, we recommend that you select a stainless-steel option.

Conversely, if you are in a welding shop, you will want to opt for a heavy-duty steel reel with a specially designed spark-resistant hose.

stainless-steel reel (79.847)

A stainless-steel reel is ideal for harsh environments where chemicals are used or when an area must be kept exceptionally clean, such as in the food sector.

5. Do you need an open or closed model?

Your work environment will also influence whether you choose a reel with an open or closed case.

Reel with open case

Reels with open cases allow for better visibility of the hose. They make it easier to adjust the tension and replace the hose. In general, open reels are also stronger than closed reels.

open reel (79.334)

Open reels allow for better visibility of the hose.

Reel with closed case

A reel with a closed case protects the hose and the internal components. It may be practical for intermittent use applications, such as a general workshop or residential garage. Keep in mind that the hose and the internal components are hard to access.

closed case reel (79.380)

A reel with a closed case prevents dust from accumulating on the internal components of the reel when it is used occasionally.

 6. Should you choose a model with one or two arms?

Automatic reels with open cases have one or two arms. A model with two arms ensures better stability when unwinding and rewinding the air hose.

With a one-arm model: If you pull on the hose while you are at an angle with the reel, this will create tension on the arm. In the long run, the arm will end up bending. Ideally, you will want to pull the hose in a straight line to minimize this tension. A pivoting base might be an excellent option.

With a two-arm model: If you pull on the hose while you are at an angle with the reel, this will create tension. This tension will be distributed through both arms which will provide higher durability and strength than a one-arm model.

reel with two arms

Reel with two arms.

 What about the hose? 

Before you consider buying a reel, you should consider which air hose you will be using in the reel. Much like selecting the material and durability of the reel, you must also have the same considerations for the quality and durability of the air line hose.

You have the option to select a reel model that is sold with or without a compressed air hose. It is always better to select a reel with an air hose included, as it has been assembled by a factory technician. This will ensure better performance.

For assistance in selecting which air hose to use, check out the article How to Choose a Compressed Air Hose in 4 Steps to guide you in your hose selection.

how to choose an air hose

For more information or assistance in selecting an S79 hose reel, contact a technical advisor at 1-800-263-8677 or by email at


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  • compressed air
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  • compressed air hose reel

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