Julie asked if I would like to review the RoboReel Air from Great Stuff. Since Annette had been after me to install updated base trim and casing in our kitchen, this seemed like a great opportunity — both for me and for Annette. I would get to try out a cool new gadget for my little work shop in the basement. Annette would get the updated base trim and casing to complete her mini-remodel job in the kitchen. Of course I would appreciate your discretion regarding this ‘mini-remodel’ job. To hear Annette describe the work that went down in there, one might think she was describing the construction of an entirely new home. It would probably be better for me if she never reads this review.
When the RoboReel Air arrived, I set up my trusty air compressor in a room just off the kitchen. Then I carried in the RoboReel Air.
As you can see, the RoboReel Air is a medium-sized unit. With a rubberized grip handle on the frame of the Portable model reviewed here. I couldn’t find a spec for the weight of the unit, so I used my scientific and highly accurate method utilizing a set of bathroom scales — digital, of course. The Portable model weighs in at 15 pounds. A trifling weight for me, but I do get to the gym on a regular basis.
Great Stuff also offers a Ceiling Mount model of RoboReel Air. The Ceiling Mount model would probably be a better fit to provide pressurized air in a garage or workshop.
I tend to use compressed air primarily for driving my pneumatic staple and finish nail guns, so the portable model is a better fit for me. Having said that, I am considering a Ceiling Mount model for the garage.
As you can see in the photo above, you will need to connect the RoboReel Air to an air compressor, as well as a power source. The unit comes with a short air hose to connect it to the air compressor. It also has a built-in power cord. Keep in mind that you will need two power outlet connections — one for the compressor and one for the RoboReel Air rewind function. I guess you could use a RoboReel Power portable with it’s three available power connections (see Julie’s review).
As you can see in the photo of the unit’s underside above, both the air connection hose and the power cord feature solid connections to the RoboReel Air and strain relief coils to prevent kinking at the connection points. The RoboReel Air, and it’s handsome safety orange package, allows me to leave behind this unsightly bundle of air hoses.
The air hose reel comes complete with 40 ft of 1/4 inch air hose. According to the manufacturer, the hose is oil, chemical, gas, impact, fire and heat-resistant. I would like to tell you that I have rigorously tested all of these claims.
The RoboReel Air hose is terminated with a pretty decent quick connect fitting.
The connection happens to match up with the Prevost fittings on my air tools and chucks. If you happen to use another style of coupling, you will need to swap out the quick connect on the hose or replace the fittings on your air tools.
The included quick connect coupling can be easily removed and replaced, if necessary. Also worth mentioning — I really, really need to stop biting my nails. I am never going to become a big time hand model with these unsightly nails
I initially struggled a bit with the quick connect when it came time to swap out air tools. It uses a two-step disconnect process — I had not encountered this before. You pull the collar away from the tool to disengage from the air supply and partially disconnect the tool. You finish disconnecting the tool by pressing the collar in the direction of the tool.
I assume this two-step process was implemented to avoid accidentally disconnecting a tool and ejecting it out into the work site. This second step could easily prevent a big dent in the hardwood floor — or whatever surface you happen to be working over. I’m sure Annette really appreciates this safety first approach.
Here you can see the RoboReel Air connected to my air compressor on one side and my finish nail gun on the other. The hose deploys smoothly and easily. The 40 ft of hose was more than adequate to reach every wall in our kitchen without moving the reel.
Pictured above is the button on the working end of the hose. Pressing this button or the button on top of the reel itself (pictured below) will initiate a pretty speedy retraction of the hose back into the RoboReel Air.
The RoboReel Air rewinds the air hose at a rapid rate. If the hose gets stuck (or you change your mind and decide to stop the retraction by hanging on to the hose), the RoboReel Air is smart enough to simply stop rewinding. You can re-initiate the rewind process by hitting either button again.
Here you can see a RoboReel Air and RoboReel Power hanging side-by-side in my shop. Julie already reviewed the Great Stuff RoboReel Power Portable model a few months ago. I used the included plastic clips to hang the units on the wall.
It seemed like an obvious thing to do. In the process of writing this review, I stumbled upon the written instruction manual for the RoboReel Air.
Yes, for the first time.
Anyway, the instructions indicate that these clips were included to keep the unit from sliding around on a slick horizontal surface (like a workbench). In fact, these plastic clips are actually called Bench Mount Brackets. Imagine that.
According to the manual, the bench mount bracket should not be used to mount the unit to a wall or other vertical surface. I am clearly using these clips in an unsafe manner and I doubled down by mounting two — count ’em — two units this way. If you read about someone taking a RoboReel to the head, don’t blame the good folks at Great Stuff.
They sell a sturdier wall mount accessory which includes a padlock to hang either the RoboReel Air or RoboReel Power to a vertical surface in a safe and secure manner.
I liked the RoboReel Air Portable model. The overall look of the unit is professional and I like the bright safety orange plastic material. The air hose looks and feels good in your hands. It is a little pricey, but it would make a pretty cool workshop gift for a someone who already has everything.
Julie: Are you still using the RoboReel Air?
Bill: I use them occasionally. I want to mount the cord one in the garage where I would use it a lot more often.
Julie: Still working though? Still like them?
Bill: I need a stationary air compressor to really get any use out of the air hose version. It is on my wish list. I like them both and no issues from them with occasional usage.
Source: The sample for this review was provided by Great Stuff. Please visit their site for more info.