Steel vs. Aluminum: Why Aluminum Is Better For Hose Reels
For our water hose reels, we use a commercial grade aluminum alloy. You might be wondering, “Isn’t aluminum weaker than using a material like stainless steel?” You’re correct, and in many cases, steel is the obvious choice. However, aluminum is perfectly suited for the design of water hose reels and the environments in which they exist. There are several factors to consider when discussing the benefits of using aluminum instead of steel. These are weight difference, corrosion resistance, and malleability. These three factors set these two materials far apart in favor of lightweight aluminum. Here’s why we’ve chosen aluminum to make our garden hose reels the very best on the market.
Lightweight Metal: By nature, steel is a heavier and denser material than aluminum. In fact, it’s about 2.5 times as dense as aluminum. Because of that, steel wouldn’t be the most efficient material for hose reels. Reels should be light and easy to turn, not heavy and burdensome. Steel would be much too dense for functional hose reels. Aluminum, on the other hand, is very lightweight and easy to work with. When used in a reel, the metal makes the mechanical rotation effortless. It also makes them easier to move around, whether you own the free-standing or wheeled models. One can simply pick the reels up and carry them or wheel them to desired locations without straining themselves. Steel would require a bit more exertion, which is not ideal for older users needing to water gardens, flowerbeds, and other plant life on their property. One thing to make note of here is that we don’t just use aluminum, but aluminum-alloy.
Aluminum-alloy is a composition of elements alongside aluminum to create a stronger version of itself. Essentially, while this IS aluminum, it also includes iron, copper, magnesium, silicon, and zinc. As a durable and reliable material, aluminum-alloy is better suited for our hose reels. While common aluminum would snap or collapse, the enhanced makeup of aluminum-alloy gives the material the necessary strength required for a reel.
Corrosion Resistance: You’ve seen the unpleasant look of rust streaks on the steel parts of tools, unkept vehicles, kitchen knives, and dozens of other instances. Since the reel itself will function with water, steel just isn’t an option. Over time, the steel would slowly corrode, which will eventually pit and deteriorate. This is a poor choice for investment and longevity! Even if steel is treated and painted, it won’t last forever. This is not the case for aluminum, as it’s entirely corrosion-resistant. It simply does not rust, making it the perfect choice for garden hose reels like ours. Even after years of use, you won’t find rust on your Eley hose reel. You can mount yours in wet, damp areas, underground basements, and other similar places with confidence.
While not required for use, we’ve finished the aluminum reels with a powder-coat to make them even more resistant to the effects of extreme weather. Not only will these effortlessly resist water, but they’ll also be able to ward fading, cracking, and peeling for years.
Malleability: Though in many situations steel’s resilience is desired, this is not true for hose reels. Since the shapes required are unique, steel isn’t malleable enough to fit the bill like aluminum. Aluminum-alloy is extremely easy to shape, bending and forming into the right shapes needed for our circular reels. Were we to try this with steel, the material would split and rip apart before achieving the desired shape. With aluminum, we can do more without risking significant loss of material.
While aluminum and steel each have their own strengths and weakness, it is no contest that aluminum is the best material for functional, efficient water hose reels. From a production standpoint, it’s easier to cut and shape and is resistant to the damaging effects of corrosion. From a user’s standpoint, aluminum makes reels easier to turn and, should they own a free-standing or wheeled model, easier to move about their property. We do, however, use stainless steel hardware and mounting hardware in our reels, so the material isn’t left completely out. Though made of steel, we guarantee these hardware pieces won’t rust with our industry-leading 10-Year No-Break and No-Rust warranty. Try one of our garden hose reels for yourself to see why our design choices from the material and up make them the best of the best.