Reelcraft Air Hose Reel Review – Air Supply Visits Your Shop
While you can get a 50 ft. air hose reel for far cheaper than the Reelcraft 7650, you probably won't find higher quality. If you want to install a reel that will stand up to daily use, this fits the bill.
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Reelcraft has roots going back to the 1940’s but officially got its name in 1971 when it began manufacturing hose reels. Now based out of Columbia City, Indiana, Reelcraft Industries manufactures over 2500 models of hose, cord, and cable reels. We reviewed a Reelcraft air hose reel (model 7650 OLP). This industrial-quality 50-foot hose reel could work well for just about any shop. It’s a heavy-duty self-retracting model with a durable finish and lots of flexibility.
The thing about hose reels—you don’t want to replace them. The recommended mounting position puts them high up in the air. Also, the air supply typically requires piping. With that said, mechanics shops, wood shops, and even metalworking shops can benefit from a centralized hose reel. In fact, I’ve seen several automotive shops where they’re lined up in each bay. Our own Stuart Dow runs his bay that way, and it serves him well in working on cars and small trucks. That, in addition to some coil supplies and any required fixed connections, and you have lots of flexibility.
When you need to grab the random sander, impact wrench, or other air tools, a centrally-located hose reel can solve a lot of issues. It can also deliver a lot of flexibility of movement and eliminate a major trip hazard.
Reelcraft Air Hose Reel Build Quality
The base and guide arm of the Reelcraft air hose reel use high-grade steel. More than that, they implement intelligent bends, brackets, and forms to create a reel body that can hold up well over time. If you’ve ever used a cheap reel (think garden hose reel or similar), it doesn’t take much to imagine what yanking on a 300 PSI hose multiple times a day can do. In addition to a solidly engineered frame and mechanism, Reelcraft makes other smart design choices. For example, the same basic reel design supports air reels, water hose reels, and oil/diesel/kerosene hose reels as well.
In terms of specific build quality, the steel guide arm and base are made with rib-reinforced stamped steel. Welds are consistent and apparently machine-made. Gussets also deliver additional strength. Even with the build quality, the Reelcraft hose reel weighs around 43 pounds. That’s not light, but you don’t want lightweight—you want robust. You constantly pull on a hose reel at various angles. The last thing you want is thin stamped steel that bends over time.
Reelcraft has about five different lines of reels, encompassing everything from light-duty commercial to move heavy-duty industrial and mobile applications. If this reel isn’t right for you, chances are they make one that fits the bill. Here’s a breakdown of other key features we thought were worth mentioning on the 7000-series.
Reelcraft Hose Reel Key Features
- Corrosion-resistance: Reelcraft powder-coated each of the steel components separately (as you’d expect) to reduce the potential for corrosion—even underneath the fixed arm.
- Sealed parts: Reelcraft uses a sealed swivel, and the reels are permanently factory-lubricated.
- Long Life Drive Spring: The enclosed drive mechanism protects critical parts from the environment. Spring damage is also minimized through the use of a declutching arbor. This keeps the reel from “reverse winding”.
- Multiple mount options: The Reelcraft 7000 series can attach to a wall, joist or other surfaces as needed.
- Part Number: 7650 OLP
- Series: 7000
- Hose I.D.: 3/8 in.
- Hose Length: 50 ft. (included)
- Max pressure: 300 PSI
- Hose End: 1/4 in. NPT(M)
- Inlet: 1/2 in. NPT(F)
- Reel Outlet: 1/2 in. NPT(F)
- Max Temperature: 150 °F
- Weight: 43 lbs.
Using the Reelcraft Hose Reel
We used the Reelcraft hose reel in our 1900 sq. ft. shop space to supply air to a majority of locations within. We fed our NorthStar 80-gallon vertical air compressor into a primary PEX supply line and fed a 20 ft. long tap off to the Reelcraft 7650 OLP reel. While the rest of the shop was served by several 1/4″ taps, the Reelcraft allowed us the flexibility to cover the middle of the shop as needed. This was perfect for rolling in a work truck or even connecting the occasional pneumatic air tool for projects.
The hose lets out with a firm spring, and the four-way rollers make it simple to guide the hose anywhere in the shop. The only difficulty we had was in getting it to lock. Typically you want to pull it out and have the reel engage wherever you want. With the Reelcraft, we found it tended to insist on particular lengths before it would lock in place for us. To retract, a brisk tug got it reeling back in. Because of the strength of the spring, you do NOT want to just let it go. Eventually, we learned its quirks, but given the cost, I’d like a smoother, more consistent, let-out action.
Since our the Reelcraft 7650 was mounted to a truss, we set the hose stop so that the 1/4″ female NPT connection we added was easily accessible. Now, rather than having to get to a wall to use our tools and impact wrenches, we could have complete freedom of movement.
Using a hose reel eliminates a lot of “hose clutter”. It reduces trip hazards and provides an easy means of accessing air when and where you need it. The heavy gauge steel body of the Reelcraft 7650 hose reel means that you won’t have to deal with cracked enclosures.
Make no mistake, however—you can get a 50 ft. hose reel for far cheaper than the Reelcraft 7650. This is an industrial-quality 3/8″ retractable air hose reel. You’re paying for quality, and you’d have to go with stainless steel before you ramped up to anything on a higher scale. This air hose reel should last a very long time. If you’re looking for something to install that will stand up to daily use, this fits the bill.
Get more information on this product from the Reelcraft website.