I’m a man that’s not easily annoyed. Screaming kids jumping on me and demanding to watch YouTube videos while I’m trying to work? Doesn’t phase me. The mom who uses their 3 year-old as a placeholder in line at the grocery store while she runs and grabs 10 additional items? Probably not the best parenting move, but I’m cool with it. The neighbor who thinks he’s a pyrotechnics expert and decides to host an annual 4th of July party in which he shoots off an hour’s worth of fireworks over my house while my kids are sleeping, despite the obvious drought conditions and strong possibility of my lawn bursting into flames? A little sketchy, but I allow it.
In short, I’m probably one of the most laid back guys you’ll ever meet.
But one thing that for me has always been a perpetual pet peeve is electrical cords. They drive me nuts. They’re constantly in your way, they’re always tangled and they take forever to put away. Unless you’re Amish, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
My wife knows my frustration. She hears it anytime I work around the house, which is quite often.
I love classic architecture, and as such, one of the hobbies I’ve taken up is finish carpentry – a hobby that’s led me to amass a ridiculous collection of tools. A miter saw, a table saw, jigsaws, routers, joiners, the list goes on and on. And other than a few drills, virtually all of them use electrical cords.
This presents me with two options while I work: run numerous extension cords around the garage, or use fewer extension cords and constantly unplug tools.
Both options are terrible.
I usually opt for fewer extension cords, just to keep things a little neater, but it takes forever to plug/unplug tools anytime I need to switch, and even if there’s only a couple extension laying around, I still manage to trip on them.
After years of whining about how much I hate extension cords, my wife, being the fantastic woman that she is, decided to fix the problem. A month ago, she gave me an early Father’s Day gift, and one of the most enduring annoyances I have ever experienced has officially been alleviated.
That gift, my friends, was the RoboReel Cord Reel.
RoboReel Cord Reel Operation
What’s the RoboReel Cord Reel you ask? In a word, it’s genius. It’s a way to eliminate virtually all of the annoyances experienced with traditional extension cords.
At its core, the RoboReel Cord Reel is an automatic extension cord winder. But unlike other extension cord winders that utilize some form of spring mechanism, the RoboReel Cord Reel boasts an electric design. Simply hit the retract button on either the end of the extension cord or the base, and the extension cord electronically retracts into the base.
From there, the RoboReel gets even better.
Not only is it electric, it’s intelligent, giving it several key advantages over other cord reels.
First and foremost, there’s the winding process, which is two-stage and super smooth throughout the wind. The cord starts in a higher speed mode for the main portion of the wind, and as the cord nears the base, the RoboReel automatically switches to the slower speed. This two-speed winding process eliminates any whipping action as the cord nears the base, and it’s programmable, allowing you to choose precisely when the cord slows.
Secondly, the intelligent design knows when the extension cord is in use. So let’s say you’re using a jigsaw to freehand cope a piece of crown molding when your son decides to come into the garage and retract the cord (as happened to me not long after setting up the RoboReel). Whereas other cord winders would have retracted, taking the jigsaw and possibly my finger with them, the RoboReel’s intelligent design knew not to retract the cord. The result: I saved myself a trip the ER to have my finger surgically reattached. Needless to say, it’s one of my favorite features.
Last but not least, the final piece of ingenuity is that in the event of a blockage, the RoboReel will automatically stop winding. Not only does it save wear and tear on the motor, it makes it easy to eliminate slack in the cord – simply hit the retract button, hold the cord at the precise distance you want it, and the slack is gone.
RoboReel Cord Reel Design
Unlike other cord winders that are basically plastic spools with an extension cord wrapped around them, RoboReel’s designers did a fantastic job envisioning what an extension cord winder should be. They forsook the traditional spool, and instead created a unique orb-like design capable of rotating a full 360 degrees. The three outlet, 50 foot 12-gauge extension cord is housed inside the sphere (which measures approximately 10 inches in diameter), and the top half rotates freely, allowing you move the cord any direction necessary. It looks awesome, and it works exactly the way you want it to, as I’ve yet to have it not wind correctly.
For mounting, you’ve got two options. There’s a ceiling mounted RoboReel, which comes with a self-leveling ball joint equipped mount, and there’s a portable cord reel with floor stand that you can also mount on a wall (with an optional attachment). If you’re going to be using the cord reel in a garage or work area the ceiling mount would be great, but I personally have the portable model. I have it centrally mounted on a wall in my garage for easy access whenever I need it, and I’ve also moved it into the house numerous times for various projects. If you plan on doing projects around the house that need extension cords, I’d recommend the portable model.
RoboReel Cord Reel Safety and Durability
Anytime you’re dealing with extension cords, safety is paramount, and the RoboReel has a host of safety elements built in. I already noted the winding safety features – it has two-speed winding so there’s no whipping motion, it won’t wind while in use, and it stops winding in the event of an obstruction. In the event the extension cord is severed, power is shut off in less than a second. There are redundant thermostats and an automatic shutoff to prevent overheating and a potential fire hazard. And there’s a circuit breaker built in.
If you’re looking for an extension cord manager, it’s as safe as you’re going to get.
From a durability standpoint, I’ve yet to find fault with my RoboReel. It winds consistently every time as advertised; it’s made from high impact plastics that are oil, gas and chemical resistant; and it has UV additives to resist color fading. In the event something does go wrong, the RoboReel comes with an all encompassing 4-year or 4,000 wind warranty (whichever comes first). And in the event you sever the cord, it’s user replaceable, accomplished simply by turning a few screws (no disassembly required).
RoboReel Cord Reel Conclusion
The RoboReel Cord Reel is awesome, and it’s awesome because it’s solved one of my most enduring annoyances. I hate dealing with extension cords, and the RoboReel is the first thing I’ve used that actually manages them well. No more tripping over extension cords, no more untangling extension cords, and no more extension cords getting in the way of my work. The RoboReel fixed all three, and for that I love it dearly. For anyone that uses extension cords on even a semi-regular basis, it will be a much welcomed addition to your garage/workshop – I guarantee it.
Which means it’s now time to tackle my next annoyance – the always kinking, always tangled garden hose. I’ve got RoboReel’s Hose Reel on order, but that’s for another article…
To learn more about the RoboReel Cord Reel or to purchase your own, head over to the official RoboReel website for the full details and online store. Pricing is $329 for the portable cord reel and $349 for the ceiling mounted cord reel, although the latter is currently out of stock. You can also see more of the RoboReel in the photo gallery below.