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Best Spinning Reel in 2024. Reviews & Analysis

Last Updated: 24.04.24

Top Spinning Reels Reviewed and Compared


If you want to find the best fishing gear, but you don’t have time to go through the buying tips and reviews prepared by our research team, this short paragraph should tell you everything you need to know about the best spinning reel. After analyzing a lot of feedback coming from both amateur and professional fishermen, we have concluded that the Penn Battle II  is the best because it comes with  5+1 bearings that provide excellent performance, while the 5.2:1  gear ratio allows you to manage the retrieve and keep control of fighting fish. In addition, this Penn model can be had in a variety of sizes so you can find just the right model for your needs and preferences. If the Penn Battle II is not available, you should consider the Okuma Trio High Speed as it is a reliable alternative both in terms of performance and quality.



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29 Best Spinning Reels (Reviews) in 2024


1. Penn Battle II Spinning Fishing Reel


2.Penn Battle II Spinning ReelThe Penn Battle II Spinning Reel is one of the models with consistent stellar reviews from users that you should take into account when shopping around for a medium speed model. The particular design of the model includes the company’s HT-100 Versa-Drag washers attached to the spool in such a manner that both sides can be used for better drag. In case you are looking for a model capable of offering you consistent higher drag, a longer range and smoothness on par with much more expensive models, than you will find everything you need in this spinning reel.

As far as bearings are concerned, this model comes with a 5 + 1 configuration that offers enough stability and smoothness on casting. Since the minimum recommended for ball bearings is 4, this spinning reel is a good choice even for more pretentious anglers.

The gear ratio of this model is 5.2:1, which makes the Penn Battle II Spinning Reel fall in the category of medium speed reels. Your style of fishing should always have the last word when you are shopping for a good quality reel, and it is always good to know a bit about specifications, so you can choose the best possible model for your needs. A recommended course of action for those who do not know whether they will need a high speed reel or a slow one is to simply go for a medium speed model that will work just fine regardless of the situation you may find yourself in.

Another aspect that must be mentioned about this particular model is that its signature washers are greased with the proprietary manufacturer’s grease that adds to its longevity. Scoring high in anglers’ preferences, the Penn Battle II Spinning Reel is the type of fishing gear that will serve you well, regardless of your style of fishing. Because of its superior versatility, many anglers prefer it, even if just as a backup to their favorite spinning reel.

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2. Okuma Trio High Speed Spinning Reel


1.Okuma Trio High Speed Spinning ReelIn case you are looking for a spinning reel with a unique design, the Okuma Trio High Speed Spinning Reel fits the bill quite nicely. Its crossover construction combines the sturdiness and reliability of aluminum with the advantages presented by graphite, a lightweight material often used for making high quality reels. Basically, this spinning reel is a mix of power and convenience, as it does not put unnecessary strain on your wrist and forearm during casting, without sacrificing durability.

Another aspect that you may be much interested in having in your spinning reel is smoothness. Because the spool of this particular model has an aluminum chamber for the drag system, you will have the best experience when casting the line. The special build of the spinning reel adds stability, as well, which means that the Okuma Trio High Speed Spinning Reel is a good choice for casual anglers, as well.

The spool design is what you should look into when shopping for a new spinning reel. In this case, the spool is a hybrid between a graphite arbor and an aluminum lip. The special Precision Dual Force Drag System employed on the model maximizes pressure, while increasing overall efficiency.

The presence of 9 BB and 1 RB bearings made of stainless steel is another great advantage offered by this spinning reel. Ball bearings are important for smoothness and stability and the more you have, the better your experience when you go fishing it will be. Seasoned anglers recommend having at least four ball bearings and this particular model comes with 10. The quick anti-reverse roller bearing is another important benefit of the particular construction of this spinning reel from Okuma.

Last, but not least, the attractive pricing of this spinning reel is a selling point that many of those who have tried it mention. For the build quality and the superior drag offered, you will feel hard pressed to find another model that can compete on the same footing with this one.

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3. Shimano FX Spinning Reel FX4000FB


3.Shimano Fx Spinning ReelThe Shimano Fx Spinning Reel combines the benefits of high quality materials, with perfect drag and smoothness, all for a more than affordable price. In the world of anglers, it is well known that aluminum should be your choice in regards to the material used for your spinning reel, but this durable metal has the downside of being heavier than other materials used in making this type of fishing equipment. Graphite is a common alternative, but it is not as durable as aluminum, although it is very lightweight and you will not feel the fatigue that usually comes with manipulating gear that is too hard on your wrist and forearm.

The model presented here combines the benefits of both materials, the manufacturer cleverly using aluminum and graphite for the components of this spinning reel. On top of the advantages offered by this type of construction, special technologies like Varispeed and Dyna-Balance are employed, in order to provide the user with superior performance. Graphite is used for the frame, the sideplate and the rotor, while the spool is made of diecast aluminum.

Consistent speed is very important for any angler and it is important to know that this is exactly what this spinning reel offers. The fact that superior technology like Varispeed is present on this model contributes to the great reputation the Shimano Fx Spinning Reel enjoys among anglers. Counter-balancing your rotor during retrieval can be a tricky thing, which is why the manufacturer thought of using Dyna-Balance for this model. What this technology foes is that it manages to eliminate the wobbling usually associated with retrieving, so you can enjoy the perfect smoothness and stability of this spinning reel.

Many anglers who have bought the Shimano Fx Spinning Reel praise its very smooth drag, as well as its very attractive pricing. For what it offers, this spinning reel can be compared with higher end models, and the great news is that you do not have to spend a lot of money to enjoy its great features.

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Products for specific needs


Best saltwater spinning reel


4. Fin Nor Offshore Spin Fishing Reel


This Fin-Nor model is engineered just right to handle the punishment of ocean fishing. Its structure is almost entirely metal, with no compromises being made to cut down on weight by using a weaker synthetic material.

The body, side plates, and rotor are made of aluminum, which gives it great corrosion resistance around that salty air. The gears, drive, and shaft, as well as the bearings,  are made of stainless steel, with the latter receiving two additional layers of coating to ensure smooth action and better corrosion resistance.

It has a multi-stack extra-large drag, so it’s easier to put up with aggressive offshore species or big freshwater muskies and the 4.4:1 retrieving ratio will offer just the leverage you need for the task.

Although some parts of it had been machined in order to cut down on excess material and weight, this isn’t exactly a light item, but you can’t expect anything much better without serious downsides in regards to sturdiness.

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Best freshwater spinning reel


5. Piscifun Steel Feeling Spinning Fishing Reel with Spare Handle 


Despite the fact that it’s mostly metal, with brass bearings and stainless steel shaft, crank, and gears, this Piscifun spinning reel manages to keep itself remarkably light, drawing a lot of positive comments in regards to how comfortable it is to use during long days of fishing.

Some sizes come with two different crank handles, that can also be switched from left to right to adapt to the needs of the operator.

A lot of weight had been reduced by machining holes into its aluminum body. Exposure to moist air and potentially salt water doesn’t make the mechanism inside prone to corrosion, however, as multiple users have remarked that the stainless steel and brass hold pretty well.

The drag offers enough stopping power for medium-sized freshwater fish or more docile oceanic species, with 11 to 15 lb of force depending on the size. The gear ratio is also best suited for medium-duty tasks.

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6. Piscifun Steel Feeling Spinning Fishing Reel Full Metal Body


1-piscifun-steel-feeling-spinningThe Piscifun Steel Feeling is one of the most remarkable alternatives we’ve come across while doing our research, and that doesn’t come as a surprise considering how versatile and convenient it is.

Besides, the model has been built out of top-notch materials and comes with an all-metal body as well as a spool made of CNC-machined aluminum.

What’s more, all the bearings that you might find in this reel when trying to clean and maintain it are made of stainless steel, which definitely says something about the durability and efficiency of these components.

Other attractive features belonging to the Piscifun Steel Feeling consist of a double bearing supported pinion gear, slow oscillation, as well as carbon fiber drag material.

Given that the unit has garnered some of the most favorable freshwater spinning reel reviews, it goes without saying that it is worth a look before you make up your mind on buying one of its competitors.

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7. Tact-Pro Open Face Spinning Fishing Reel Baitrunner


2-tact-pro-open-faceIf you’re just starting out and you don’t have any intention to break the bank when it comes to getting a dependable spinning reel, perhaps it’s high time you checked out the specs of the Tact-Pro Open Face, considering that we’ve noticed that it usually costs less than forty dollars.

There are several notable differences between the formerly showcased model and this one, and the crucial one seems to be that the Tact-Pro features a plastic body instead of an all-metal one, as does the Piscifun.

However, some of the critical components in this reel have been made either with aluminum or with copper alloy, as is the case with the spool and principal axis, respectively.

In a nutshell, the Tact-Pro is relatively easy to work with given that it has such a lightweight structure.

Besides, it comes with ten ball bearings as well as a 5.0:1 gear ratio, which makes it raise up to par both in freshwater and saltwater conditions.

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8. KastKing Mela Spinning Reel Light, Smooth Powerful


3-kastking-mela-spinning-reelEveryone wants to get as much value from a freshwater spinning reel as possible, which is why it might be a good idea to consider the KastKing Mela, as well.

We’ve noticed that during the last couple of years, this brand has invested much time and effort in creating innovations that can significantly improve the performance of reels.

This particular unit features 10 + 1 shielded steel bearings and an instant stop anti-reverse, as well as a handle and spool constructed out of CNC-machined aluminum.

The product is both lightweight and capable of outstanding performance, and the latter is due to the carbon fiber drag system that the KastKing Mela has been equipped with.

As for durability, you won’t have anything to worry about regarding this model given that it features a graphite body with a carbon finish that has been tested and proven to be resistant to corrosion.

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Best spinning reel and rod combo


9. Plusinno Fishing Rod and Reel Combos Carbon Fiber 


Most positive feedback regarding this Plusinno rod and reel combo concentrate on praising the quality of this item’s construction. We are inclined to believe that this impression also translates into good functionality since the Plusinno is one of the bestsellers in its category on retail sites.

Another well-appreciated feature is the large line capacity of the spool, which is one of the most sought-after characteristics for a reel. According to the manufacturer specs, one deep aluminum spool can hold up to 240 feet of thin 0.20 mm line, or 140 of 0.30 mm, which should give you plenty of reach.

It won’t take forever to drag it back either as the 5.2:1 gear ration will give you plenty of speed while the S-curve oscillation system will prevent any mishaps from occurring while you’re winding.  

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Best spinning reel for bass


10. Pflueger Patriarch Spinning Reel


When angling for a relatively small fish such as the bass, the thing to have is speed, preferably in a light package and with an anti-reverse function that can be turned off so you can back reel.

This Pflueger product delivers on all accounts, with a somewhat odd size of 35, which gives it both plenty of line capacity and drag strength while keeping it light enough for you to cast for hours on end.

More specifically, it should hold 140 yards of 8lb test line (which is a realistic weight for large bass) on its anodized aluminum and an anti-reverse action will ensure that the fish doesn’t run away with it. This is plenty of length for freshwater fishing and judging by the feedback this product received, one of its main selling points.  

Another one is the smooth action, ensured by the use of 9 stainless steel bearings and a number of XCR bearings in key locations.

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11. Shimano Stradic Ci4+ FB


Do you want a spinning reel that feels lightweight and comfortable? The Shimano Stradic Ci4+ FB may be just the model you seek. The sleek appearance is a definite plus, but there is more than meets the eye in this particular model. The reel provides a really smooth operation, which counts a great deal towards an excellent experience.

How does this spinning reel manage to feel so lightweight? The Magnumlite rotor is part of the secret, but the entire construction of the reel is created to maintain the total weight to a minimum. When you go fishing for bass, you most probably spend long hours casting your line. That means that you need lightweight gear to help you out.

The maximum drag force on the model is 20 pounds, so you can count on it to pull some trophy fish out of the water. The bearing system consists of 6 S ARB bearings and one roller bearing, for maximum efficiency.

You will appreciate how strong this model is and feels. Featuring some advanced technologies employed by the company on their products, it is an optimal choice for bass hunters.

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12. Sougayilang WQ/BD


This spinning reel is lightweight and provides the user with a super smooth experience. At the same time, it is sturdy, and you can count on it when the going gets tough. Usable for both freshwater and saltwater fishing, this model offers plenty of versatility.

The gear ratio is perfect for catching bass, and the bearing system will not disappoint you, either. The 13+1 ball bearings are there to ensure smooth operation, and you will feel like you are in complete control of what is happening to your fishing gear.

The oscillation system employed eliminates wobble, and there will be no noise to the spinning reel, to distract you or the nearby fish. The body of the reel is super slim, and that makes it easier for you to control it. When you go fishing in a boat, or when you fish from the shore, you will find such aspects quite useful.

The full metal body contributes to the sturdiness of the model. Many anglers prefer such a configuration for no other reason than the fact that they do not have to worry about parts getting loose. Also, a full metal body will resist the natural torque resulted from the struggle of the fish.

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13. Okuma Safina Pro


When you say Okuma, you mean quality at a decent price. Keeping everything down to minimalistic proportions, the Okuma Safina Pro manages to provide the quality you would expect from a product made by a company with excellent reputation in making such fishing gear.

The 3+1 bearing system may sound inferior to what other models on the market can offer, but the reel compensates by using only the highest quality materials available. The multi-disc drag washers work like a charm, and you will feel like you can count on this spinning reel.

The graphite body makes the reel very lightweight, an important consideration when fishing bass. The body of the reel is resistant to corrosion and other damage, which means that you can count on it for many years to come. The machined aluminum spool is another great plus.

One thing that is worth mentioning is that the computer balancing system used for this model, called Okuma Resii, ensures that there will be no wobble and noise when using this reel. Equipped with an S-Curve oscillation feature, this reel is truly dependable. The product is thoroughly tested for durability, which means that you can count on it.

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14. Isafish Ultra Smooth


The name of this spinning reel says it all. The graphite body of the reel keeps the total weight to the minimum desired. At the same time, the black finish ensures that corrosion will not be able to ruin your good looking reel. The smooth operation provided by the reel is enhanced by the drag system.

Let’s talk a little about the ball bearing system. With a 12+1 configuration, you can expect great things from this reel. The bearings will ensure smooth operation and extra control, and you will have nothing to hold against it.

The brake system is oiled with Japanese grease for flawless operation and the aluminum alloy used for a few of the components will keep rust and corrosion at bay. The EVA handle will withstand sweaty hands a great deal, and that will help you with catching more fish.

The comfortable grip on the handle will only make everything better. The overall design is created with your needs in mind. The spool has a lightweight honeycomb design that ensures both strength and a low total weight. All in all, this is a model you should consider if you need a spinning reel for bass that will not let you down.

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Best trout spinning reel


15. Plusinno Hong Ying Series


Since only record-breaking trout are heavy enough to put a significant strain on the reel a cheaper model of mid to large size with smooth action and plenty of space for line might be enough to invest in when targeting this fish.

Disregarding construction quality, which can increase the price of the product by factors, the number of ball bearings used will give you a good indication of how smooth and silent the bale action will feel.

The Plusinno Hong Ying series features an impressive number of 12+1 ball bearings, with one for the instant anti-reverse, which is reported to be pretty swift. Expectedly, most customers also find it smooth enough to praise.

Another nice thing about it is the all-metal construction, which should make it sturdy enough for the moving parts to stay in line even under the weight of a struggling 40-pound trout.

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Best spinning reel for catfish


16. Sougayilang Spinning Reel


This series of reels from Sougayilang offers the same functionality as more expensive products but only at a fraction of the cost. This is partly because you won’t be paying for the brand name, and partly because it isn’t meant to handle large lake fish, at least not without its gears or shaft misalignment.

For everything that might be lurking beneath the rivers or lakes of the continental Eastern United States, however, it should do a stellar job.

With 13+1 ball bearings working its drive shaft, instant anti-reverse function, the action it offers is surprisingly smooth, with little in the way of vibration, crackling and bothersome clicking noises reported by customers.

Depending on the model, it has either a 5.2:1 or 5.1:1 gear ratio, which will offer a good average between line draw speed and the torque required to drag in sizable fish.

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Best crappie spinning reel


17. Shimano Stradic Ci4+


This Shimano product is bristling with innovation to provide a better user experience. As we would expect from this premium brand both reduced weight and better balance have been factored in as means to improve the user experience.

As such, the internal components are distributed around a point directly underneath the user’s hand so that the center of weight falls perpendicularly to where most of his strength will naturally concentrate.

Furthermore, the design features a patented Magnumlite rotor, which decreases the weight of the reel by 17% while also being significantly more rigid than a regular piece. This translates into less play when being subjected to significant outside forces.

A cold forging process called “Hagane”, which naturally increases the steel’s toughness had been employed in the construction of its internal bits. To further reduce weight, some parts are made out of Ci4 carbon, which is tougher than more common varieties of carbon fiber employed.  

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Best walleye spinning reel


18. Pflueger President


Pflueger established itself as a reliable fishing kit manufacturer for the mid to high price range and its products rarely fail to deliver. The president series does as good a job as one would expect, garnering many positive reviews from customers, especially concerning its reliability and smoothness.

To keep the weight low while not compromising rigidity, graphite was used for the body and rotor, which besides making it sturdy enough for most medium sized fish will also ensure for years of rust-free service.

Other parts, such as the handle and spool are made of aircraft grade aluminum, anodized in the case of the latter so it doesn’t oxidize when the wet line is wrapped around it.

The action is reported to be smooth, driven by 9 stainless steel ball bearings with another one employed for the on/off instant anti-reverse action. Users also comment that the product looks sturdy and holds well to drop tests.

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19. Quantum Fishing Accurist 25, 8-Bearing Spinning Reel


If you’re looking for a premium device and you don’t mind having to spend more money to get it, the Quantum Accurist Pti is an alternative that is worth thinking about. This durable tool comes with an aluminum frame that allows it to have a light body without losing any of its strength.

The gear side also uses a custom machined aluminum that is strong enough to create a solid foundation for the gears drive, bearings, and shaft. The employment of a full-aluminum body gives the product a polished look, as well as the guarantee of a device that will last longer and be able to withstand a greater amount of force. An ideal tool to aid you in catching large walleyes.

When chasing an elusive fish, you won’t have to worry that your line or the mechanics inside the spinning reels will break. This option uses ceramic drag washers that can dissipate the extreme heat that can occur when a hard running fish pulls away.

Because durability is the selling point for the Quantum Accurist Pti, the bail wire is made from a flexible and durable nickel titanium so that you won’t have to worry about this moving piece ever breaking.

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20. Fin Nor Mega Lite Spinning Reel


If you are looking for an affordable alternative that will not only help you save money, but that will also give you the power and durability you need to succeed, the Fin-Nor Mega-Lite is exactly what you require. The 60-size of this option makes it a versatile product that can be used for numerous types of fishing, including walleye but also bottom fish or mahi-mahi.

Despite the low price, get ready to receive some really cool features including the Fin-Nor MegaLock infinite anti-reverse clutch system and a changeable right/left hand retrieve. These features help make the Fin-Nor Mega Lite a device that is easily customizable, and that can adapt to a wider range of users.

Due to the use of light materials, this alternative as the name also implies it incredibly light. This makes it easy to cast for a long period of time without getting tired which is ideal for when you want to spend most of your day fishing.

Even if this is a lightweight tool, you must not confuse this with lack of durability or strength. The Fin-Nor Mega Lite has a rigid body that is ready to face even the bigger fish. Similarly, the spool is made out of strong aluminum spool which makes it great for bottom fishing.

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21. Shimano Sahara-R RD Fishing Reel


The Shimano Spirex RG offers a line capacity of 4 pounds/140 yards and a maximum drag of 6 pounds. These specifications make it great for walleye fishing as you’ll be able to catch even the bigger ones without having to drop a sweat. Similarly, the 140 yards casting area is more than enough to please even the more experienced fishermen.

Speaking of casting, this device uses the latest QuickFire II One-Handed Casting System you will be able to cast with just one hand without having to sacrifice distance for comfort. By using a graphite frame, side plate, and rotor, the Shimano Spirex RG is an extremely lightweight alternative that is ideal for people that enjoy being able to fish for long periods of time without feeling tired.

The use of graphite will also allow you to use this reel for saltwater fishing as unlike plastic or aluminum, graphite is not affected in any way by salt. The six shielded stainless steel ball bearings make operating this option a smooth and straightforward experience.

Unlike other alternatives on the market, the Shimano Spirex RG uses a rear drag which customers love due to how convenient it to use as opposed to the front drag.

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22. Plusinno HongYing Series Fishing Reels Spinning Freshwater Saltwater


If affordability is what you seek, you will find it close to impossible to find an alternative that will help you save as much money as the PLUSINNO HongYing Series. This inexpensive product is perfect for people that either just starting their journey into the world of fishing and even for more experienced fishermen that just want a good product that will not have them break the bank.

By using an aluminum design, you can be sure that this option is one that will not be taxing to your hands even when fishing for long periods of time. In fact, with a weight of just 8 ounces, this is one of the lightest alternatives in this price range that you will be able to find.

Additionally, the product is equipped with a power drive gear that will improve the strength of your reel in order to allow you to catch even the most aggressive fish. The s-curve oscillation system improves the line winding which means that casting the line will be easier and you’ll be able to reach further distances.

Unlike other reels that will sometimes turn back before the anti-reverse kicks in, the PLUSINNO HongYing Series features an instant anti-reverse system that does its job properly.

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Best steelhead spinning reel


23. Okuma Helios


With the Helios line, Okuma tried to achieve the best strength to weight ratio, primarily by employing a new type of graphite material. Unlike other varieties of carbon fiber, the C-40X is woven from significantly longer carbon strands of various compositions.

This is claimed to increase strength by 50%, while also cutting weight by 25%. Customer reviewers found the product’s weight to be comparable with that of smaller sized reels, so at least the second part of the statement checks out.

Since the only couple of complaints, we found regarding the reel’s durability had to do with manufacturing defects, the first statement might be equally truthful.  

Another thing that recommends this product is the good amount of line it can hold on the spool, with as much as 175 yards of 15lb test monofilament for the 40 sized model, and even more than that for braided.

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Best salmon spinning reel


24. Piscifun Destroyer


The Piscifun Destroyer series appears to be aimed at providing a good medium between lightweight, which is preferable for freshwater fishing, and good tensile strength, which is necessary for handling large offshore fish.

This should make it suitable for salmon fishing regardless the time of year, as this species can be found both in lakes and coastal water, depending on the season.

To give it better resistance against a corrosive environment, the external body and the spool are made of specially treated aluminum while the drag is sealed to prevent water from seeping through. Likewise, the seven stainless steel ball bearings driving the rotor, for which graphite was used as a material to cut down on weight.  

The bigger sizes can hold quite a deal of medium-high test line on the spool, up to 180 yards of 12lb test for mono and 250 yards of 14 lb if you’re using braid.

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Best tuna spinning reel


25. Shimano Twin Power


Saltwater tunas can get pretty large and the marine environment is punishing on all pieces of machinery, so a well built, heavy-duty spinning reel is what you are going to be looking at if you’re angling for tuna.

Shimano is already well renowned for its high manufacturing standard, and with the Twin Power we’ve looked at they achieved a new level of robustness by employing some new building techniques.

All the load-bearing bits of its body are, of course, made of metal, obtained via a new technological process of cold forging that the Japanese company refers to as “Hagane”. This makes the final material overall less brittle and better able to handle high amounts of stress for a sustained period of time as compared to stainless steel and aluminum that’s been obtained through more traditional methods.

The body also offers a hermetical seal, so that the gears and bearings are better protected from the highly corrosive salty environment.

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Best spinning reel under $50


26. Shimano FX


From the Shimano FX series, the most popular model with anglers seems to be the one sized at 25, which offers a surprisingly smooth action in a highly resilient and compact package.

Despite the affordable cost, it has some of the patented features you get with Shimano reels, like a variable speed spool and a counter-balanced rotor that prevents wobbling during a retrieve.

Like other similar products from the manufacturer, it only has 1+1 bearings, with one being used for the anti-reverse.  

Both the materials employed and the maximum line capacity should make it suitable for catching light to medium freshwater fish, albeit some users report that it can also be used for light surf fishing over extended periods of time with little problem.

The spool is made of diecast aluminum, which is fairly hard to oxidize under the influence of water or salty air while the frame, sideplate, and rotor are graphite, which doesn’t rust under most conditions.

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Best spinning reel under $100


27. Shimano Sienna


The affordable Sienna series from Shimano comes in sizes ranging from 10 to 40 (or 1000 to 4000, depending on the convention you prefer) that can fill the niche from ultra-light panfish angling to medium weight saltwater fishing.

While the build quality is representative of the Japanese manufacturer, the price appears to have been kept (relatively) low by reducing complexity. Some sizes of the series act on just two bearings, with one of them working the anti-reverse action.

Despite this, most users are satisfied by its smooth running action and generally find it comfortable to cast with, thanks to its low weight and good weight distribution. Like other small models from the manufacturer, the oscillating gear is placed closer to the rod, so vibrations aren’t felt as strongly.

Most sizes come with a 9 lb drag, but 19 lb drag varieties can also be purchased.

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Best Okuma spinning reel


28. Okuma Avenger


The particular Okuma B series we’ve looked at is perfectly suited for all freshwater fishing applications and just rightly priced for the (relatively) undemanding duties of dragging walleye, catfish or bass.

It also has a unique feature, called the Okuma Baitfeeder which should help you out when fishing with live bait. This basically allows you to disengage the drag at a press of a button so that the fish will allow the hook to get a better hold by eating the bait before it feels any force from the line.

The action was found to be smooth enough by users and comparatively less noisy than other reels of similar size (30), while the amount of line its spool can hold definitely places it in the upper ranges. Expect to be able to fit around 230 yards of 15 lb test braided, as one customer reports of doing.

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Best Daiwa spinning reel


29. Daiwa Crossfire


Despite being relatively small, all the members of this Daiwa series employ a front drag — which is mainly used for off-shore, heavy duty models. This solution seems to have been adopted to provide better ease of use since most customers find the frontal knob placed at the top of the unit very comfortable to access.

The smallest unit in the series, the CF500 was found to be especially pretty pleasant to operate, with a smooth retrieve offered by 3 ball bearings and a swift anti-reverse action worked by one roller bearing. It also allows for a lot of reach and precision when casting thanks to a gyro-spin balanced rotor.

This particular unit might work well for ultralight fishing, with a relatively small gear ratio of 4.9:1 allowing for great control when dragging smaller game. The spool isn’t exactly sizable, accommodating only 190 yards of 2 lb test mono and 60 yards of 6 lb, but this isn’t such a great drawback considering the type of fishing it is intended for.    

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Thousands of years ago the only way to catch a fish was with your bare hands or by using a net or primitive fishing pole. While there are still people who enjoy the challenge these methods present, most anglers prefer using a rod with an attached reel. In this buying guide you will find all of the information you need to confidently choose the best spinning reel to manage your line and catch your targeted fish.



What is Spin Fishing?


Spin fishing is a popular method used by novice and experienced anglers to catch rainbow trout and other freshwater fish, and the only gear that is needed is a rod, reel, fishing line and some small lures. This method of fishing is also referred to as “threadlining”, since the lures attached to the line are designed to imitate small bait in hopes of encouraging the fish to bite.

The rods used in spin fishing generally range in length from 1.80 meters to 2.40m, and most experienced anglers recommend using a monofilament line. When it is time to choose the reel, there are a few aspects you will want to consider.



Choosing the Right Spinning Reel


Choosing the right type of spinning reel is critical for a successful fishing trip. Most spinning reels are designed for casting in fresh water and there are two types to choose from.


Ultra Light Spinning Reels

These compact reels are designed to work with 2 to 6 pound lines and are an excellent choice when you are fishing in small streams.


Light-Medium Spinning Reels

Generally preferred by experienced anglers, these versatile reels are ideal for fishing in streams, lakes, and rivers. The reels are capable of holding 8 to 15 pound lines, and can smoothly bring in anything from trout to catfish and bass.

There are also heavy spinning reels that are designed for saltwater fishing, and it is best to speak with an expert before you make a decision.


Spinning Lures

Lures are another important consideration, and the right one for you will often depend on the type of fish you are trying to catch. Some of the commonly used spinning lures are generally constructed from metal, rubber, plastic, feathers, or wood, and all have the ability to turn, float, and hopefully entice a fish to bite. While some lures will work better in certain situations, finding the right one often comes down to simple “trial and error”.


The environment

There is a different set of requirements imposed by a fresh or saltwater environment on a fishing reel. Arguably the most important of these has to do with the far higher corrosive potential of saltwater, which can very easily rust unprotected steel pieces, such as the bearings, making the reel virtually unusable.

Stainless steel or anodized aluminum is used for saltwater models, and often times the bearings are made out of chrome-steel alloys that are nearly impervious to oxidation. Some models also have parts of their bodies hermetically sealed to prevent water from seeping in, which also offers good protection against sand when fishing from a beach.

Another aspect has to do with the greater mechanical forces a saltwater reel is expected to handle, as oceanic fish tend to be bigger and more aggressive than their lake and river dwelling counterparts. Consequently, saltwater reels are made to be sturdy, with metal being preferred in their construction over lightweight composites. This makes them both physically heavier but also gives them a higher weight rating than freshwater models.

More often than not, this also translates into a higher cost, which can be considered an inescapable downside when angling for deep-sea fish. You can get away with using a small, lightweight and inexpensive unit on a lake, but not so offshore.


Construction quality

Construction quality affects overall durability but also user experience. A reel with poor quality bearings will give out a lot of noise and vibration, which will prove bothersome over long periods of time while making it harder to cast and retrieve properly.

Some consider the number of bearings as a general indication of quality, but this is not necessarily so. Manufacturing tolerances can have a greater impact on how smooth the action will feel and a high-quality 4-bearings reel will often handle better than a poorly made 10-bearings one.

Poor machine work is easy to spot if the various bits and pieces of the reel have any play. If the spool wobbles on the shaft, then it’s not far-fetched to assume that the internal gears won’t fit any tighter.

Good construction quality comes at a high cost, however, which might not always be justifiable for a casual angler who doesn’t put his tackle through considerable strain, since cheaper units tend to offer the same degree of functionality as more expensive ones.

Size and weight

Tackle sizes can get a little confusing, as each manufacturer tends to rate the size of their reels and rods following internal conventions. Luckily, the values are close enough to give you an approximation of the weight class a product fits under.

To denote size, either two or four-figure number is used. These are basically equivalent to one another, meaning a size 1000 will be the same as a size 10, and both of them smaller than a 25 reel.

Another way to appreciate size is the test rating of the line the reel is intended to be paired up with. Although it’s measured in pounds, this doesn’t refer to the line’s actual mass (although closely connected to it), but to the amount of weight it can hold before snapping.

The line’s test weight is proportional to the reel size, for example, a size 10 works best with lightweight lines, between 2 lb and 6 lb test, while a 40 is usually good with 8 lb to 15 lb test. These figures are also useful when deciding what reel one should buy for the fish he or she is targeting since the test figures are roughly equivalent to the maximum weight allowance of the game.

When pairing with the rod, a factor to consider is balance, as the center of weight should ideally be as close to your hands as possible. This means that a top-heavy rod will feel more natural, and will allow for better dexterity when balanced by a large reel, although adding extra weight to an already sizable set-up might seem counter-intuitive.

Lightweight rods are generally used for panfish like smaller bass or crappie, and they are best combined with an equally lightweight reel, that won’t cause fatigue over long periods of time. Specifically for this type of casual, light fishing, many manufacturers sell rod and reel kits together as a combo.


Targeted species

Besides the size rating of the spool, the species you are targeting also dictates the line capacity that will be needed, as well as the force of the drag.

For example, aggressive oceanic species like stingrays, but also large freshwater fish such as muskies or pikes will require a lot of large diameter line to be extended and also enough drag to keep it from breaking under their sudden moves, so a high capacity spool and forceful drag are a must.

In the case of smaller fish, the weight of the gear should be kept to a minimum, so that the angler will more accurately be able to register a bite. The need for a longer reach, such as when angling for bass during summers, is solved in this case by opting for a lower test line, with a smaller diameter, rather than going for a high capacity spool.



Spinning Reels Described


Spinning or open-faced reels consist of a body, spool, handle, bail, gears, and adjustments for the drag. All spinning reels are able to be attached to a rod, which can vary in length and width. Most experts recommend using a spinning reel for fresh water, though it is important to consider the size of the fish you are chasing. Lightweight spinning reels are ideal for perch, trout and other small game fish, while heavy duty models are recommended for larger species.

The best fishing reel reviews state that while the size will often be determined by the type of fish you are casting for, the characteristics you want to look for in a reel will remain the same.




The materials used in the body will often depend on the price of the reel, though it should be noted that this can affect its performance. Spinning reels constructed from cast aluminum and graphite materials are generally lightweight, durable, and often resistant to rust and corrosion.



Spools are generally constructed from sturdy aluminum or graphite, and it is the part of the reel that keeps your fishing line neatly wound. The spool spins to release or wind in the line, and it can be found in varying sizes. The size of the spool will determine the amount of line it can hold, and there are some that are designed specifically for longer casts.




One of the most important features to look for on a handle is its anti reverse capabilities. If the handle cannot be locked quickly and easily in place after you’ve cast the line and closed the bail, you should consider a different reel. Anti reverse spinning reel handles prevent the line from running out and keep it taut, along with ensuring your hook is securely set in the fish. Handles should also be durable and comfortable to grip.


Almost all spinning reels feature a bail, which prevents the line from continuously running through the spool after you have cast. It should be easy to snap open and closed, and durable enough to withstand frequent use.



The gears allow the reel to spin, and help the line wrap smoothly around the spool to prevent snarling. The number of gears in a spinning reel often depends on its price, and experts recommend choosing one with a higher number. You also want the gears to be constructed from durable metal to prevent stripping.



Another important aspect to consider is drag resistance, and this is often determined by the type of fish. You want the line to be able to smoothly play out when a fish is hooked, and easily wind back in without breaking and losing your catch. The best spinning reel will feature minimal drag resistance so you can easily go after large and small game fish.



Ball bearings ensure the reel operates smoothly, and you will always want to choose a rig that uses 4 or more. Stainless steel ball bearings are generally preferred over bushings, and will provide you with a smooth cast and return every time.



Best spinning reel brands


For a mid-priced manufacturer, Okuma certainly punches above its weight, with some of their more popular products comparing favorably to well-established brands like Shimano or Pflueger. Albeit, the Taiwanese firm tends to focus more on freshwater fishing tackle, where the demands for quality aren’t that high.

The overall manufacturing standard offered by the Taiwanese firm is found to be satisfactory, but where they shine is in coming up with novelty solutions for meeting the demands of today’s angler, both through employing new cutting-edge materials and introducing new features to their products.



The Japanese manufacturer is already a household name among fishing and biking enthusiasts alike. Their products run the gamut from simple and affordable to top quality pieces fit for international competitions, but they are all considered to display the same level of competent construction.

Shimano tries to stay ahead of the competition through constant innovation in regards to building techniques, new features and materials employed. It follows this philosophy to the extent that even their more modestly priced models can be found to exhibit some of the trademark features introduced by the company.


Penn has earned a nearly legendary status among anglers, with the best spinning reels from this American manufacturer being the go-to for use in fishing competition. The company has been around for a long time, and vintage Penn tackle is can be found on display in antique stores, sometimes still in full working order.

It would be nearly unthinkable for a company with such a proud heritage to release something less than top quality products and Penn reels still deliver some of the best performance and reliability to be found in the business.


With a very long tradition in gear manufacturing, Mitchell entered the American fishing tackle market at the middle of the 20th century. They quickly established themselves as a top brand, with their products earning rave reviews for their toughness and performance.

The Saltist series of reels is still considered to be one of the most durable on the market today, especially well suited for heavy offshore fishing applications. The high quality of their drags, built from a patented carbon composite, is appreciated by salt and freshwater anglers alike, while the Exceler’s smooth action often leaves users surprised.



Pflueger has been in business since 1881, long before the invention of the spinning reel although they were some of its earliest adopters, with the first product of this kind bearing the brand coming off in 1954.

Their substantial American following finds Pflueger made reels to be thoughtfully engineered, with a substantial emphasis put on satisfying the actual requirements of most anglers, as opposed to buffing up specs that are rarely relevant when out on the water. The functionality and good value of their products are well appreciated and often times survive for longer than the more expensive competition.


Abu Garcia

Abu Garcia reels can often be found in the moderately priced category, where they garner rave reviews for their surprisingly good quality and resilience. If you’re looking for good value for money in a product that can still handle regular use over many many years, then Abu Garcia might just deliver.

Their saltwater fishing line is known to endure just as well as premium models and lose very little of its performance with extended use, without reaching the price range of a small second-hand car. Their lighter reels are considered to provide good performance in the less demanding field of freshwater fishing.  



Founded in 2012, this American company is a newcomer to the world of fishing tackle, but the fact that it was started by a group of anglers, keenly aware of what the needs of the modern fishing enthusiast actually are, it’s enough to keep it close to the competition.

KastKing reels tend to offer precisely the user requires, with little in the way of added features that might sometimes serve only at increasing retail cost. This often leaves customers surprised at the good quality the company delivers for an affordable price.



To most anglers, Piscifun is better known as a supplier than as a manufacturer of fishing tackle. The products bearing their own company name aren’t to be overlooked, however, as they represent the culmination of years of experience in determining what the modern angler best appreciates in a product.

They tend to aim towards the best buy section of reel reviews, with their products being usually affordable without coming off as cheap. The top of the range saltwater models usually feature an all-metal construction and can keep up with the strains imposed by heavy-duty angling.




The right spinning reel is one that features a durable construction and is able to offer a smooth performance. The number of ball bearings and the gear ratio should be carefully considered, and it is extremely important to ensure that it features anti reverse capabilities. Where and what you are angling for will also affect your decision, along with how comfortable the reel is to use. If it quickly becomes part of your “go to” fishing gear, you’ll know that you’ve found the right spinning reel.




1) Spinning vs Bait Casting Reels

2) Types of fishing reels

3) Don’t worry about a backlash with a spinning reel

4) Six Advantages of Spinning Tackle



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