While I’d love to say the RoboReel air hose reel is perfect for all applications, it simply screams to be used in a workshop or garage. This is a great shop tool review. Before I go into that, however, it’s good to understand just what this product is. The RoboReel retractable air hose reel is a powered system that feeds and retracts—automatically—a the touch of a button.
Designed and sold by Great Stuff, Inc. this is one of the coolest tools you can have in your garage or shop, and it most definitely makes more sense than any other air tool accessory we’ve yet seen. We’re not strangers to retractable air hose reels, having reviewed the PneuPower ReCoiler retractable air hose, but this one takes it further, with a swiveling system and powered retract and feed-assist. In that way, it’s very much like the air version of the RoboReel extension cord reel we reviewed previously.
The powered RoboReel air hose reel also comes ready-to-use, so there’s no difficult assembly or tools required to use the floor model. For the ceiling mountable RoboReel, all you need to do is pick a location and then mount it. It comes with all the hardware needed for a ceiling mount installation, and an optional wall bracket or L-bracket can be purchased ($35 each) if you want to hang it from a wall or vertical beam surface.
RoboReel Air Hose Reel Features
The RoboReel air hose reel plugs into any 120V outlet and then connects to the male 1/4-inch inlet port of any pneumatic tool. The RoboReel is loaded with 40 ft. of 1/4-inch hose that can handle up to a 300 psi rating. The system is rated to last for up to 4000 winds/retracts. If you’re using the floor model, that gives you an 80 ft. diameter in which to use the RoboReel for any shop or garage needs. We got a little less than that in the PTR Shop since we were suspended about 14 feet off the ground.
Like the RoboReel extension cord reel the RoboReel retractable air hose reel has a motorized retraction system that slows down at the end, preventing the expected whipping action from damaging any surrounding objects.
As we mentioned, the two available models include the portable RoboReel air hose reel and the ceiling mount model. The portable model has a nice carry handle, and rubber bumpers protect the unit while keeping it in place during use. The orange shell is chemical and impact-resistant, and the hose inlet connection is located on the bottom of the sphere. The pricing is $279.99 for either model, but if you have a shop, the ceiling model will be an attractive solution.
Using the RoboReel Retractable Air Hose Reel
We mounted the RoboReel retractable air hose reel near the 15 ft. peak of our 2000 sq. ft. steel building. It bolted easily to the steel purlin, and there’s plenty of clearance so that the mount doesn’t catch on the heads of the bolts or screws used to install the plate. Mounting it high and centrally gave us the ability to reach nearly every primary work area in the PTR Shop. For our automotive work as well as using nailers and other tools, this configuration made the most sense and offered the greatest flexibility. Retraction of the RoboReel retractable air hose reel can be accomplished by pressing the one-touch rewind button on the top of the dome—if you have the portable model. Both models also have a button near the end of the hose as well.
We attached the included plastic ball so that it would to stop the air hose from retracting so far that we couldn’t reach it. This left us with roughly 25 feet of lateral movement with the hose to reach around the shop—plenty for our needs.
Feeding and Retracting the Air Hose
We used the RoboReel to connect a few different finish and framing nailers for testing. We also found it an excellent solution for our automotive needs, connecting it up to our in-house single phase vertical air compressor. To extend the hose we simply grabbed it and pulled. The power-assist feed aids in letting you move the business end anywhere you need it. To retract we just pressed the button on the end of the RoboReel and it began to retract at full speed. Once it got to around 8-10 feet away from the final position the speed downshifted to reduce whipping—as expected. It’s nice when the reality of a tool matches the theory. In this case, the RoboReel retractable air hose simply works—and works well.
The ability to grab a hose, connect it to your tool, and then move in any direction is simply a game-changer. The 360 degree rotation of the RoboReel is something to be experienced.
While it’s more expensive (by far) than a good quality 1/4-inch hose, the RoboReel retractable air hose reel brings a new type of convenience that will see you using your air tools more often—simply from the convenience.
For a high-end shop or anyone who truly values the convenience of a tool like this, the RoboReel certainly makes a lot of sense. If, however, you’re struggling to make ends meet, then sticking with a traditional hose is going to save you a lot of money.
Check out the whole RoboReel lineup at their website.