What is an inlet hose?
An inlet hose, or sometimes referred to as a jumper hose, supply hose, or feeder hose, is simply a short garden hose that supplies water from the faucet or spigot to the hose reel. Because all garden hoses are equipped with garden hose thread fittings, any type, size, or brand of garden hose, in any length, can be used as the inlet hose for an ELEY garden hose reel provided it's long enough to reach from the faucet to the hose reel.
Garden Hose Threads (GHT)
Standard Garden Hose Thread, or GHT is the universal threads used on the fittings of all garden hose sold in the United States and Canada. It doesn't matter if the size of the garden hose is 1/2-inch, 5/8-inch or 3/4-inch, they all use the same threads. Garden hose threads are also used on all watering tools like sprinklers and spray nozzles, so it doesn't matter what brand of garden hose, hose reel, or watering tool you own, all can connect to each other because they all use standard garden hose threads.
The term "Drinking-Water-Safe" typically refers to the NSF/ANSI Standard 61 (NSF-61), a set of national standards relating to water treatment. It establishes stringent requirements for equipment that comes in contact with potable (drinking) water or products used in potable water production. However, there is no NSF standard for a garden hose under which a manufacturer can get certified because the Safe Drinking Water Act exempted garden hose and other outdoor watering products from the prohibitions.
The 2011 Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act (RLDWA) also created exemptions in SDWA Section 1417 from the prohibitions on the use or introduction into commerce of “pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing fittings or fixtures, including backflow preventers, that are used exclusively for non-potable services such as manufacturing, industrial processing, irrigation, outdoor watering, or any other uses where the water is not anticipated to be used for human consumption” (SDWA 1417(a)(4)(A))
As such, if a watering product is for non-potable, outdoor use, it cannot be certified under NSF 61 for drinking water. The manufacturer can only say the materials have been certified. Unfortunately, most garden hose reels on the market today ARE NOT produced with inlet hoses that are made from drinking-water-safe material. ELEY inlet hoses ARE. Our hose reel inlet hose is made from UV-stabilized FDA and NSF grade polyurethane material. Combine that with our crush-proof, lead-free machined brass fittings, and the ELEY inlet hose is a 100% drinking-water-safe garden hose. Even the rubber gaskets are made from drinking-water safe material.
What comes with the hose reel?
The standard inlet hose that comes prepackaged with all ELEY garden hose reels is 6-1/2 feet long and 5/8-inch inside diameter. Made in the USA, it is the exact same polyurethane hose that we sell in lengths up to 200-feet. ELEY polyurethane hose is tough as nails and backed by a 10-YEAR no-leak guarantee. Once assembled, about one foot of the hose will be used inside the hose reel, which will give you approximately 5-feet to reach your faucet. If you'd prefer to use a different size or length of inlet hose to feed the reel, you can certainly do that. You don't have to use the one that comes with your hose reel. However, when you buy an ELEY hose reel, you'll be getting the 6-1/2 foot hose regardless, and it cannot be exchanged or returned for credit.
Want a different length or size of inlet hose?
Let's say your particular application requires a different size or length of inlet hose. ELEY offers the exact same polyurethane hose in different lengths, but it will still be 5/8-inch ID and made with a female fitting on one end and a male fitting on the other. If you want a larger 3/4-inch hose or a hose set up with two male or two female fittings, then you'll need to acquire that hose from a different supplier as we don't yet offer those options, nor do we have any projections on when we might be able to offer those options.
3/4-inch inlet hoses
For those who want to a full 3/4-inch flow hose reel, all you need to do is swap out the 5/8-inch hose with a 3/4-inch inlet hose, that you'll need to acquire somewhere else, and you will have a full 3/4-inch flow hose reel. Why? Because the entire plumbing of an ELEY hose reel consists of just two components; the 5/8-inch inlet hose and the brass swivel. The swivel is already designed for full 3/4-inch flow. If you decide to go the 3/4-inch inlet hose route, just make sure that the male fitting is small enough to fit through the axle of the hose reel.
If you want a different length of the ELEY 5/8-inch polyurethane hose, then here's what you need to know. We sell inlet hose lengths of 6-1/2 foot, 12-foot, and then we also sell longer hoses in 25-foot increments from 25 feet up to a maximum of 200 feet on our Polyurethane Garden Hose page. We also sell custom-cut polyurethane garden hose. Don't forget; you're starting with the 6-1/2 feet of inlet hose that comes with the hose reel, so you may want to include that in your overall length requirement.
For example, let's say a 12-foot inlet hose would work better for your particular application. Well, you have two options. You can buy our 12-foot hose and find another use for the 6-1/2 footer, or you could purchase another 6-1/2 footer attach it to the one that came with the hose reel, and now you have a total of 13-feet of hose to work with.
Custom, Cut-To-Length Inlet Hoses
You can do the same with any custom-cut length. Say you need 19-1/2 feet of inlet hose. You can buy a custom-cut 19-1/2 foot hose, or you could buy a 13-foot custom-cut hose and connect it to the 6-1/2 footer. Either way, it'll get the job done. The choice comes down to personal preference as some people prefer to have one continuous length with no connections in between, and that's understandable.
If you want to explore the custom-cut hose option, visit our Custom-Cut Polyurethane Garden Hose page, where the parameters of available cut lengths are detailed. Price-wise custom-cut hose is going to run a bit higher per foot than our standard lengths, but you can get exactly the length you want. Keep in mind, though, that custom-cut hoses are not returnable, so be certain of your length before submitting your order. Remember the old carpenter's adage; measure twice and cut once.