Pros: Convenient, keeps unsightly hose rather tidy, easy to move around
Cons: Not super sturdy, leaks like a sieve after a few years.
We had been using the Ames Reel Easy Garden Hose Caddy for around four years. This fall, the caddy finally ended up in a local landfill due to our sheer frustration with the overall poor performance.
The folks at Ames have designed this caddy to hold up to 150' of hose in a convenient and portable unit. The ccaddy is constructed almost completely out of a hard poly material that, for the most part, did hold up fairly well. The reel's two wheels allow homeowners the ability to move the caddy and attached hose as they choose.
We had a 100' length of hose attached to the caddy and for the most part, kept it in one location. I find the 150' claim a bit of a stretch since the reel filled with our hundred footer. Adding another fifty feet may have been possible but one would have to take much care and time rolling in the hose, carefully distributing the hose onto the reel. The area where our caddy remained was mulched but fairly flat. Moving the caddy and 100' of hose was possible but I didn't feel it the most sturdy product I had ever purchased, creaking and shifting as it rolled. If you are contemplating moving this reel on something other than smooth cement or blacktop surfaces or have to move your caddy long distances, you may want to consider this in your purchasing decision.
The attached crank allows you to gather in the entire length of hose fairly easily. We did find that the process of reeling in the hose went much smoother if the hose was first pulled directly in front of the unit. Trying to gather in hose from the left or right of the caddy is somewhat more difficult, especially because you will want to evenly distribute the hose onto the reel to make it fit.
I liked the idea that the product came fully assembled. Ames includes a four and one half foot leader hose with a simple threaded connection. The available connector did make it easy to couple hose onto the caddy. Ames also designed in notches just under the handle so homeowners can keep the hose end or nozzle off the ground while storing or transporting the reel. The notches do not lock the nozzle or spray end in place but they do help keep the ends from ending up in the dirt or mulch, leaving them clean and ready for use.
The Ames Reel Easy Garden Hose Caddy is also designed with double O rings to eliminate leaking. I'm fairly sure it's not the case but maybe we got cheated and they only included a single O ring or forgot them all together. Despite the manufacturer claims, after about two years of service it began leaking like a sieve. The leak came from the connection inside the barrel portion of the caddy so I was unable to ever get to it and attempt a repair without breaking the unit for good. In the end, I was so frustrated with the leaking caddy that I hastily rolled it to the curb. I did intend to crack the unit open to do Ames job for them and determine exactly what had malfunctioned. If the leaking coupler could have been accessible, a little Teflon tape or plumbing compound may have solved the trick. In the end, I wonder if Ames has not designed in a little product obsolescence to their caddy. Long before the Reel Easy ended up in the landfill, it had been dubbed the name "Reel Leaky" in our home.
At a cost of around $45.00 we didn't feel cheated at the time of purchase. The idea of gathering up our unsightly rolled hoses onto a neat caddy seemed like a smart move and was for a time. We used the Ames Reel Easy Garden Hose Caddy for several years with only minor complaints but the incessant leaking finally spelled the end. Based on our experience I can only offer a measly two stars and am taking a pass on offering readers a "Buy" recommendation.