Frontgate retractable hose reel mounted on wall Watering & Irrigation

Frontgate Retractable Hose Reel: Product Review

Frontgate retractable hose reel mounted on wall

The Frontgate hose retracts easily and neatly into the hose reel with just a gentle tug.

This retractable hose reel is a product for anyone who does not like the mess of a hose coiled or laying in the back yard or on their terrace, deck, or patio.  It is an attractive dispenser that seems to be extremely durable, and works just as promised.

I live in a New York City penthouse with a very large wrap around terrace.  We have plants at both ends of our terrace, a distance of about 160 feet away from each other.   Until I discovered the Frontgate retractable garden hose, the task of watering our plants was unpleasant.   I purchased a regular garden hose, but it was always laying around the terrace or poorly wrapped around an outside hose attachment, neither of which added to the beauty of our magnificent terrace.

Simple Installation

The Frontgate retractable hose reel can be easily installed on a mounting post (sold separately) or attached directly to a wall or fence using just four lag screws. The mounting hardware is included.

The hose reel swivels 180 degrees so no matter which direction you pull from, the hose will easily pull out and retract. I installed it in the middle of the terrace so that I can reach both ends of my terrace.

The assembly comes with a 6-foot hose to attach the hose reel to a spigot, but you can use a longer hose if you need to install it further away.

Frontgate retractable hose is 100 feet long

At 100 feet in length, the Frontgate hose covers a large area.

Light-Duty Hose

The hose is made of 2-ply PVC, reinforced with nylon braiding. In terms of durability, that usually means that the hose will be less long-lasting and more kink-prone than a rubber or rubber-composite hose (although I haven’t had any problems with it). If you will be using the hose in a high-traffic area or pulling it around corners, it may not stand up as long as a thicker or more solidly-constructed hose. On the positive side though, it’s lightweight and easy to handle.

It’s worth noting that the hose is only ½” in diameter, rather than the 5/8” typically found in garden hoses. Because of this, it’s best used on decks, patios, balconies, or other smaller areas. The smaller diameter makes it difficult to get enough water through the hose for running sprinklers, washing cars, or other jobs that need significant water flow, but it’s perfect for watering plants or containers. And, at 100 feet in length, it gets to the farthest parts of my terrace.

Hose Retracts for Easy Storage

The Frontgate retractable hose unrolls very easily. And, best of all, it rolls back up into the hose reel with just a slight tug of the hose.  A stopper near the spray end of the hose prevents it from rolling up into the hose reel.

Near the end of the hose that’s attached to the hose reel, you’ll find a yellow line that marks the point at which to stop pulling on the hose. If you pull it past this point the hose may not retract, so keep an eye on it as you pull out the hose.


4-shovel rating from GPRThis is a good product, which I have now been using for two seasons without any problems.

Where to Buy It

The Frontgate retractable hose reel can be purchased directly through Frontgate, as well as on Amazon. (affiliate link)

Related Reviews

Editor’s Note: Tom purchased the Frontgate retractable hose reel directly from the company and received no compensation for writing this review. We would note that some reviewers have had issues with the retracting mechanism ceasing to function after only one or two seasons of use.

What’s your experience with retractable hoses? Do they work? Any you recommend or would like us to review? Let us know below.

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32 Comments on Frontgate Retractable Hose Reel: Product Review

    • That may depend on why it won’t retract.

      I suggest that you contact Customer Service at Frontgate. By all accounts, they’re pretty responsive and helpful. Here’s the contact info:

      7AM-2AM EDT

      Inside the US & Canada:


      Contact us at [email protected]

      Outside the US & Canada:

      (Country Code)+1+855.868.8551

      Contact us at [email protected]

    • Pull the hose all the way out until you see the yellow tape on the hose. Then give it a yank and let it rewind. I think you will find that the “tug” resets the retraction spring, and should fix the problem

      Tom Greenbaum

    • doctor

      Don’t pull it out all the way like the other guy said, I now have 80 ft on my front lawn instead of 30. It has a large main spring in it, don’t try and take it apart. It whips out!!

      • Thank you for that advice! Never try to remove the spring yourself – it’s wound tightly, is very strong, and could easily injure you if you mess with it. Call the company instead.

  1. Calvin Thomas

    I just finally got my retractable hose mounted and hooked up. I pulled about about 30-40 feet and tested it. Worked good. In fact, I had hooked it up to a 3/4 inch pipe and it has plenty of power. It seems the smaller hose can carry enough water if you have a large high pressure hose.
    I only have to figure out how to fix it. I tried to retract it and it only retracted about 10 foot. So I pulled more and more out trying to get it to retract with power.
    Bad Mistake
    I heard the spring let go inside. Now it has 80 feet of hose out and it won’t all
    I will call them and see, but Why did this let go so easily the first time I pulled it out past 50 feet. What a mistake…

  2. Calvin Thomas

    I have 1 of these same exact reels. Mine quit retracting after about 1 year. I opened it up and found it has a huge long steel spring inside. It had rusted through and broken. but somehow was still partially working.

    The spring metal is not treated with anything to prevent rust so expect any of them to fail sooner or later. For me, the problem is that I have a water softener which replaces minerals with salt.The salt in the water accelerates the rusting of the metal. Mine was all clean except certain spots that were horrible rust, and the one rust spot where it was broken.

    When I took it out, it unwound the rest of the way and the broken end of the spring popped out and hit me in the stomach. Do NOT open this up unless you are very, very, VERY careful. I shudder to think if it had hit me in the face.

    When it hit me in the stomach it did not (quite) break the skin but I had blood blister at the spot that took a week or so to heal. I was so bothered and upset I sent an e-mail to Frontgate detailing how it had broken and offered to send pictures I had taken with my iPhone. They did not reply, but promptly sent me a new reel. I was surprised because I had not asked for a new one. I figured it was my responsibility and it was out of warranty. Still, they sent it along with a return shipping of the old one. I explained to them I had thrown away the spring part (thinking nothing about getting a new reel), they then said I did not need to return the old one… so I now have a brand new unit.

    NOTE: I did not mount this new one using the built in mount. Instead, I have it sitting on a shelf, and have run the hose to my water heater (cold side) along with a on/off ball valve.

    I liked the unit but am troubled by the lack of rust preventative on the spring and how that huge tough steel spring had rusted through and broke in less than 1 year. Still, I have it and the new one works perfectly by sitting on the shelf but tied in position. I noticed the plastic starts getting out of shape after 1 year in the sun and full of water (weight).

    I recommend not to use it after a water softener, if possible, and not to mount it using the bracket. Mount it standing on it’s bottom so the plastic does not deform, and keep the water pressure to it turned off. I have had the new one for 8 months and it works perfectly in my garage. Pull it out, wash my car, then put it back in. So far it’s great.

    • Calvin, thank you so much for your detailed and thoughtful review. It’s good to hear other people’s experience with the products we review.

      I’m so sorry to hear that the metal spring hit you! That must’ve been an unwelcome surprise. Hopefully there will be no more problems with the new unit!

  3. Gord Cumming

    I have now gone through two of these units because of the spring. The first one was promptly replaced by Frontgate, their service was great.
    Yesterday I pulled the hose out past 50 feet (I usually pull out 25 feet) and heard the spring let go.
    I had only used the replaced reel for a year and it spends half the year in the basement because I live near Buffalo, NY.
    I called customer service and expected to have the unit replaced. It reel is heavily advertised by Frontgate and I have seen numerous posts regarding the failure of the spring.
    I was told by customer service I would be contacted in the next 24 to 48 hours, with no commitment on the unit’s replacement.

    • Calvin Thomas

      I am wondering… do you use water softener? If so, that might explain it. I have been waiting to see if my new one would break from my water softened water and from your review, I bet it will. I am glad I didn’t mount it permanently this time (my second)….

      Water softener takes minerals out of water and replaces them with salt. Not enough to hurt plants but it accelerates rust on untreated metal and the spring is not treated in any way.. Most of it was blue, but the parts that were rusted were rusted all the way through, while the metal next to the rusted through part was still blue.and looked brand new. Anywhere the water had gotten into rusted out and a hose “will” get water down into the works. Impossible not to. .I surmise when the rust starts it eats all the way through in a short time and that will be the end of it. I recommend you forget about the replacement since it will do the same thing until the manufacturer starts treating the spring or using rust resistant metal that can resist longer than 1-2 years.

      My second reel is still OK, but when it goes, I will throw it away and look for something else.. Too bad, because it’s a good price for a physically well made unit.

      • Thanks for sharing your observations about the effects of using softened water, Calvin. I hadn’t considered that but I think it’s good for readers to be aware of the potential effects of salt on metal gardening-related tools and parts.

  4. Gord Cumming

    No I don’t have a water softener.
    I did contact Frontgate again as I had not heard from them.
    More typical of their excellent customer service, they are now sending a new replacement

    • I’m glad to hear that Frontgate is living up to their reputation wrt customer service but disappointed to hear about your experience with the spring. We’re hearing more and more similar complaints and thinking that we may need to revise the review…

    • Calvin Thomas

      yes. Me Too….

      I was surprised when I contacted them the first time. They were actually the best. They didn’t say anything and I almost forgot about it then the new reel just showed up on my doorstep with no warning. I had thrown the old broken one away and forgotten about it but they forgave me when I told them I couldn’t send it back. I thought that was classy and I was very thankfull. Also, the spring has not broken so maybe it won’t break so fast this time. If I get a few more years out of it I won’t be that dissatisfied….

  5. Gail Klein

    My hose works well, though it doesn’t retract the last 10 feet. No problem. I have found that it prefers to be pulled out straight ahead, i.e. so the reel itself points toward where you’re watering, as shown in your photo of the narrow apartment deck. THat’s a bit more of a problem, since I don’t have 180 degrees for it to play with. I generally pull it out straight, then move to the side.
    One thing that’s a bother is fact that often the hose gets dirty and I hate to let it retract with the dirt on.

    • calvin thomas

      I found the same thing. I mounted mine on a shelf in my garage and I can only pull it out straight. When I go to put it back it picks up all kinds of stuff from the floor on the wet hose. I find the best way is to keep an old rag close then wrap it around the hose and let it slide through the house as it retracts. It’s amazing how clean the hose is when it goes into the reel. Besides the rag keeps the plastic hose from burning my hands on the way back in. It’s actually way faster to do this.

      • What a good suggestion, Calvin. Thanks for sharing that!

        And thank you Gail and Calvin for the update about pulling the hose out straight. That’s an important thing to know, especially if you don’t have space to allow that.

  6. Jon Bond

    Mine stopped working after two summers. Reels in about half the hose and then stops. Liked it up until then.

  7. Bill Desler

    My first one failed in a year and it was replaced by Frontgate. the second one failed in a year and I am giving up…nice when it works but very unreliable!!

  8. Paul

    This is my 2nd retractable hose from Frontgate. Both hoses have the same issue as everyone else. The spring gives out and will not retract. The hoses are not cheap. Im going to give customer service a call and see if they will replace my 2nd reel. If not I will let you all know about it. Thank you.

  9. jimrechtobotc

    We purchased one of these in March 2015 and installed it in May 2015. It worked just fine until a few days ago. Now it leaks uncontrollably from somewhere inside the enclosure. No way to fix it. Piece of garbage.

    • Ugh, that must be frustrating. The cover keeps it looking neat and tidy but it does make things difficult if something goes wrong inside… I guess it’s a trade-off – but it still shouldn’t leak like that after only a year.

      • I have taken the cover, at least the top of it off.
        Also, it’s easy to get a crimp in the hose near the end. I did and had to get someone to reinstall brass fittings. It was hard to find that size.only 1/2″ diameter hose.

  10. I found this blog because I was searching on how to fix the same problem everyone else is reporting. My hose reel worked great the first year but stopped “rewinding” early in its second year. There is no way to fix it apparently. 🙁

  11. Pat Wattes

    We purchased our hose reel in Dec. 2015 and have been very pleased with it until this summer when the original nozzle began to leak. We have bought a replacement but, for the life of us, cannot remove the broken from the hose no matter how hard we try! Maybe we are doing something wrong. Any help out there?

    • Pat, have you been able to get it unstuck? Nozzles will sometimes get “frozen” onto the hose end when metal parts corrode. Soaking in CLR may help. And when you put the new nozzle on, smearing petroleum jelly on the threads of the hose coupling can help prevent mineral deposits that make a nozzle tough to remove.

      • Pat Wattes

        Monica—Thanks for your reply to my problem. We were finally able to remove the nozzle with the help of a vice and my husband’s brute strength!!! The suggestion of using petroleum jelly on the threads will be a helpful one I’m sure!

  12. Peggy Shepard

    Where can you find a washer for the hose that attaches to the spigot for Vector RetractableHose Reel

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