Harbor Freight Air Hose Reel: FAIL

About a year and a half ago, when I bought my house, one of the first things I did was put up a Harbor Freight air hose reel in the garage. I’ve always considered the reel a good value, and actually listed it high in my 10 Best Tools You Can Buy At Harbor Freight article back in June. I have to admit though, I was a little disappointed in it yesterday.

How’s this for irony. December 20th I said this in a post on the forum:

“I have this hose. The hose itself is the chintzy rubber you expect from HF, but the reel works good. When the hose dies I’ve got a Tekton composite hose begging to be mounted up”

As proof that God has a sense of humor, guess what happened the next day?

HF Air Hose Reel 1

 

Yep, the day after I commented about the cheap hose, it blew out while running a cut off tool. I hadn’t paid much attention before, but it appears the whole front 10 ft. or so was ready to explode.

HF Air Hose Reel 4

In a furtherance of consequence from poor quality, the outlet nipple broke off as I was removing the quick connect and required an extractor to get out

HF Air Hose Reel 3

This hose in no way lived a hard life. It spent a year and a half indoors, used 2-3 times a week, at less than half of it’s 250 psi rating, with little exposure to chemicals. I know it’s Harbor Freight we’re talking about, but that’s pretty pitiful.

All that being said, I still feel the reel is a good buy at $89. I took 10 minutes, mounted up a USA made Tekton Composite Hose, and went back to work.

 

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Travis (Conductor562 on the Forums) is an Editor and Forum Administrator for Tools In Action. As a father of 4, he is an avid fixer off all things broken. He enjoys woodworking and restorations. While he enjoys all tools, he focuses primarily on hand tools. When he's not at work he can be found in his home shop working on something with lots of help from his 5 year apprentice Evan (aka Conductor Jr.).

13 COMMENTS

  1. Travis I would say that you got a good deal on the hose for HF tool that was chinsie to begin with. I do agree that the reel itself if a very good deal. I bought my Craftman reel for about $150 with no hose a few years back. I have a love hate relationship with HF. I’ve gotten a great tool chest & impact sockets that I still own after several years. i also buy hoping for better results, but disappointed because I should have spent the extra cash for something better. But, I’m still there every so often, hoping my friends don’t see me. Great place to browse, leave cash at home so you are not tempted to buy crap. Sorry stuff. Keep them coming Conductor. Laters TIA

    Happy Holidays

  2. I don’t buy HF tools, but the impression I get from articles like this is that they’re cheap for a reason: They’re disposable. They will work for a while, but they’re not built to the higher standards that the majors use in manufacturing products. That’s okay in hand tools, but when you’re dealing with 120 volts or in-house air pressure, having a tool that may fail (as did the hose that came with the reel) while in use can be frustrating, if not dangerous. You were lucky; you discovered the “fail” before you were harmed by a flailing air hose.

    I know many will jump to HF’s defense. A number of their products are fine, but there are some categories that should just be avoided. I don’t like playing Russian roulette with my safety. This brings up another issue: ALWAYS inspect your tools and equipment before each day’s use, regardless of the manufacturer. And, you should inspect again at the end of your shift or project. There may be broken parts or accessories that could either compromise the project you’re working on, or cause you bodily harm. It only takes a few moments, and it could save you a lifetime of regret.

  3. Yea, I knew going into buying one that the hose was shitty. Mine is about two years old and the hose is all cracky but hasn’t started to leak yet. The reel itself seems to be holding up well. I don’t use mine all to often, maybe once a week or less. For $60 or whatever it’s a good value. I will replace the hose with a flexzilla or similar when the original fails as it’s only a matter of time.

  4. hahahaha. I had the same thing happen to mine, but to be honest, I didn’t lose to much sleep over it for the real was of good quality and was a steal for the price I got it. Rolled on my good year hose and everything is fine. Love that reel!!!!!

  5. my father inlaw has this reel I gotta remind him to inspect his ,hes had it for awhile now mayby 7-8 months and he likes it a lot hes a weekend mechanic. ive been wanting to get it also but I guess I just been to lazy stop by HF, atleast now travis u know u got a good hose on there now bro. Conductor HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY BRO! T.I.A!!!!!

  6. HF does sell decent quality products. You just have to find the right ones. It’s really just a hit or miss with harbor freight. I love their sockets, ratchets and tool boxes, but anything electric or battery powered I just spend the extra money on dewalt or something. I’ve never owned any air tools. Seems like it could be dangerous how the hose bursted. Anyway glad you had a good USA made backup.

    Merry Christmas Travis and TIA

  7. That sucks that your hose gave out but as long as that hose reel is still working good I say you still got a good deal HF has some good stuff but also has some very bad stuff not worth hauling home I’m wanting one of there U.S General tool carts just don’t have the spare bucks for it yet

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