What Is The Difference Between Hard and Soft Hose Traveling Irrigation Systems?

Traveling irrigation systems are a convenient and useful choice for irrigating smaller, and irregularly shaped fields.

Available from hose reel services in two types, hard hose reel travelers and soft cable-tow travelers, these systems do basically the same thing with one main difference.

Before buying a traveling cart irrigation system, learn about the differences between the hard reel and soft cable setup to purchase the hose reel system that will work best for the situation.

Travel Mechanism

  • Hard hose reel traveling systems consist of a gun cart with a reel and a hard irrigation hose that connects to the water source. The cart is set up by rolling out the hose along the travel lane, stretching it all out first. As the gun shoots water, the reel slowly winds up the hose, pulling the cart along, ending up with the hose fully wound, ready to be moved to the next location.
  • Soft hose cable-tow systems sold at hose reel system services consist of a gun cart along with a soft hose and a cable. The cable must be affixed to a stationary anchor, the soft hose connected to the water source, and then both the cable and the water source unspooled so the cart can be positioned at the furthest point in the travel lane. As the gun shoots water, the cable is spooled up on the cart, pulling it along, while the soft hose simply drags behind. Moving the cable-tow system requires spooling up the soft hose, first.

Water Pressure and Travel Distance

  • Hard hose irrigators sold by hose reel system services require higher water pressure to spray but are also capable of spraying further and with more water than soft hose cable-tow systems. The soft hoses require lower water pressure hose reel servicesas they do not withstand the higher pressure.
  • Soft hose systems sold at can be used with longer hoses to irrigate along longer lanes as the hose drags behind. Hard hose reel travelers are limited to the length of the hose spool, as well as the ability to maintain enough water pressure to keep the water flowing.

Travel Lanes

  • Reel travelers can follow a thinner lane as they are propelled by the drive mechanism on the cart. Cable-tow travelers require a wider lane to accommodate the cable anchor point and the feed hose laid out alongside the cart as it moves up the path.

Though hard hose and soft hose traveling irrigators sold by hose reel services are very similar, they do have a few differences that can make them more or less desirable depending on the area being irrigated, water pump size, and other variables.

Contact a hose reel system service to determine which system will best serve specific needs.