You may be wondering why anyone would need a hose cart or portable hose reel. Well, if you can’t store or hang your hose near an outdoor spigot, if you don’t like the look of a hose reel, or if it would be a tripping or safety hazard, then a hose cart solves your problem. You can quickly move the hose cart into position, hook up the hose, and then store it in a convenient location after you’re done using it.
We previously reviewed the Navigator Hose Reel from Liberty Garden Products so were curious to see if the high quality of their hose reel carried over to their more industrial-looking hose cart.
The Liberty Model 1200 hose cart is a sturdy yet lightweight, two-wheeled cart with a 13 gauge steel, powder coated frame and a cast aluminum spool. It comes with a 6-foot leader hose to connect to a spigot and easily holds 150 feet of 5/8 premium garden hose. Although the instructions say that the Model 1200 hose cart can hold 200’ of 5/8” hose, we found that 150 feet is a better estimate, unless you’re using a lower quality hose
Easy to Assemble
The hose cart arrives neatly packaged and all parts are easy to identify. The assembly instructions are detailed and relatively easy to follow, and there’s nothing too complicated about putting the cart together. Assembly took about 45 minutes and only requires one person.
At 21.5” to the top of the hose reel and 40 inches to the handle, the Model 1200 Hose Cart is a good height for most people to use comfortably. It’s narrow enough to fit through most openings (25”) but the 38.75” depth means that it’ll take up a fair bit of space when not in use.
The Navigator hose reel comes with a 6-foot leader hose to attach the hose reel to a nearby spigot. While that will probably be long enough in many situations, you can always use a longer hose (see our recommendations here) if the hose cart will be further away from the nearest faucet.
The leader hose attaches easily to the side of the hose reel barrel with a brass swivel connector. Both ends of the hose have metal connectors and washers are included (both are signs of a quality hose).
Handle, Crank Arm and Reel
The handle grip has a non-slip surface, is comfortable to hold and turns as you crank the arm, meaning that it stays put in your hand rather than spinning with the crank arm.
It was easy to crank the hose onto the reel although, of course, the longer the hose, the harder you have to crank. Pulling the hose off the reel was also easy – the reel spins freely.
The Liberty Garden Model 1200 hose cart is a well-constructed unit. It has the feel and workings of a commercial product, even though it was designed for homeowners.
The industrial quality, powder coated surface stands up well to heavy use although it’s worth noting that because it’s made of steel, any scratches, chips or dings in the powder coat will eventually rust. It’s a good idea to check the cart now and then and touch up any areas where the coating has been damaged.
A hose cart isn’t much good if it can’t be easily moved or maneuvered into place. The Model 1200 is highly mobile and responsive, both when pushing it forward and pulling it behind you.
The pneumatic tires make it much easier to roll than hard, non-inflatable tires.
No Wheel Locks
The hose cart doesn’t have wheel locks, meaning that the cart moves around when pulling the hose from the reel. Unless you wedge something under the wheels or brace the cart with your foot, it’s difficult to unspool the hose. It would be a simple matter for Liberty Garden Products to add wheel locks to the cart and it would be a nice improvement.
Hose Comes Loose When Hose is Moving
It would also be nice to see a clip or hose attachment system to prevent the hose from unreeling as it’s wheeled about. The hose tends to wiggle loose and drag on the ground during transport. A clamp or some sort of retention system (that will accommodate several diameter hoses) would work well. The only solution I found while rolling it from one area to the next was to tuck the hose inside an inner loop of hose on the reel to prevent it from uncoiling.
More Tools Needed for Assembly
Although the cart arrives with “tools included for assembly,” you’ll actually need a few more tools to do the job right. The supplied Allen wrench is fine but you’ll need a second open-end wrench. Without a second wrench, you can’t adequately tighten the locking nuts to the axle; unless both nuts are tightened simultaneously, the axle will just keep rotating instead of tightening.
It would be nice to see Liberty Garden Products include a second open-end wrench with the hose cart so you don’t have to find one of your own – and so the nuts (and therefore the wheels) don’t fall off…
Pneumatic Tires Cannot Be Inflated
The biggest flaw in the Model 1200 Hose Cart is the wheel design. Although it’s nice to have 10-inch pneumatic tires, they’re useless if you can’t inflate them. And the way the wheels are put together makes it impossible to access the tire inflation stems – the “stylish metal hubcabs” block access almost completely and the stem is too long to fit through the hole in the hubcab. A redesign is absolutely necessary here.
[Editor’s Note: It could be that our hose cart was in some way defective, or that an individual with smaller fingers would be able to access the stems.]
It would also be nice to see some kind of shelf or basket added to the cart so you don’t have to also haul around gardening tools, such as nozzles, trowels, pruners, kneeling pads, etc. You’ll have your hands full moving the cart so you’ll have to go back to get your tools separately.
Limited Lifetime Warranty
If the hose cart or the parts fail due to defects in materials or workmanship, simply contact the company and they’ll replace the cart. Of course, use common sense here – damage due to misuse or abuse, as well as rust, are not covered.
We give the Liberty Garden Products hose cart a 4-shovel rating. It’s strong, practical and effective but has a few design flaws, most notably the lack of wheel locks and problems accessing the tire inflation stems. Still, the rest of the cart makes up for those deficits. If you’re looking for a quality host cart that’ll last, this is a good option.
Where to Buy
The Model 1200 Two Wheel Hose Cart is available in some hardware stores and garden centers but your best bet is to buy it on Amazon, where it sells for around $200.
Now over to you – Have you tried a hose cart before? How did it work? Let us know in the comments below!