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5 Best Cheap Fishing Reels Compared in 2023

Last Updated: 27.01.23

Affordable Fishing Reels – Buying Guide, Reviews and Comparison


If you’re looking for the best fishing gear on the market, but you don’t have the time to go through the reviews we have prepared, this short paragraph can help you make an educated purchase. After looking at the feedback that the top-rated models in this line have garnered, we’ve conceded that the model that offers excellent value for the money is the Piscifun Flame Ultra Smooth Spinning Reel. The 9+1 ball bearings help this model achieve buttery smooth performance so that casting and retrieving become easier than ever. The zinc drive gear will give you powerful and consistent operation so that you can fight even the big fish with ease. The durable construction lets this model deliver long-term performance, and the compact design makes it easy to store. In the unfortunate event that our first selection is no longer available, we recommend you give the Zebco Authentic Spincast Fishing Reel a look.



Comparison table


The Good
The Bad



5 Best Cheap Fishing Reels (Reviews) in 2023


The best products in this category will be showcased below. Since all of these models have garnered the best cheap fishing reel reviews, it appears that they are worth the money. Besides, they won’t ruin your budget but will allow you to get the most of your fishing adventure.



1. Piscifun Flame Ultra Smooth Spinning Reel 


By using premium materials and expert craftsmanship, the manufacturer has managed to pack incredibly smooth performance and great power in a compact and lightweight frame. The narrow hollow graphite body and the lightweight reel gears allow this model to weigh just 8.5 ounces, which is great for anglers who care about portability.

The 9+1 high-quality ball bearings work hand in hand with the triple drag washer to let you achieve a very smooth cast and retrieve performance. You also won’t have to worry about the line breaking since this model can deliver consistent line out time and time again.

You can put your trust into this model to help you fight with the big fish since it includes an anti-corrosion zinc drive gear with precise mesh teeth that deliver great power and consistent operation. The Piscifun Flame reel offers a drag power of up to 19.8 lbs., which means that it can handle most fishing applications and techniques.


The smooth performance of the ball bearings and the balanced rotor design will make it easier for you to spool the line onto the reel evenly.

It features a high-quality braid ready spool, which is usually only available on high-end models, but Piscifun manages to provide a cost-effective product that doesn’t compromise quality.

It is hard not to praise the look of this model since the matte black body is paired with the red aluminum spool to achieve an exquisite appearance that is worthy of its Flame name.

This model is surprisingly lightweight, and it has a compact design that makes storing and transporting it a breeze.


The bail is a bit too large, and it can hit the hand of the angler, and this can make operating it feel uncomfortable.

It is difficult to achieve long casts since the spool has a small diameter, and it is very deep to achieve extra line capacity.

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2. Zebco Authentic Spincast Fishing Reel 


This affordable model manages to deliver an impressive range of features that will help make your fishing trips a resounding success. First of all, the ball bearing drive is of exceptional quality, and it delivers superior sturdiness and support to the reel. This results in better and smoother performance.

The drag system is worth praising as well since it allows for very fine adjustments so that you can enjoy a wider range of control. This way, you can tighten the drag or loosen it so that you can prevent the line from snapping. Speaking of the line, this option comes pre-spooled with a red 10-pound line.

It is also worth noting that this model is constructed from very lightweight graphite, which is a great material for a couple of reasons. It can repel corrosion much better than aluminum to keep the reel performing and looking great for longer. It is also tougher, and it can withstand bad weather and fishing conditions. 


It features a reversible handle that allows for both right- and left-hand retrieve so that all anglers can use the reel, regardless of their preferred side of retrieve.

There’s a bite alert feature that will produce a loud ticking sound once something hits the line, and it is a great addition, especially for amateur anglers.

It is made of durable yet lightweight graphite that can handle tough water conditions, including salt water, and the build itself is very dependable.

Despite being a very affordable option, this model manages to pack an incredible set of features, and it allows even amateur fishers to bring in the big catch.


The line that comes included with the reel is not of very good quality since it is very fragile, and it is only usable for catching small fish.

The anti-reverse system is not dependable, so it is best not to rely on it too much. 

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3. Penn Battle II Spinning Fishing Reel 


If you plan on going after big fish species living in saltwater environments, you just found your perfect ally. The Penn Battle II Spinning Fishing Reel is made to fight strong fish that can be challenging even not appropriately equipped. You can simply take a look at the specs and discover why this model behaves so well under the circumstances.

The body, side plates, and rotor are all made from metal, while the bail wire is constructed from aluminum. All these aspects contribute to this model’s overall sturdiness and guarantee that you will be able to use it for a long time.

The drag system is made from carbon fiber, another important aspect when it comes to smooth operation. Another thing to remember is that the ball bearing system includes 5 pieces, and they are all sealed to prevent moisture from getting inside. The instant anti-reverse feature comes in handy, as well.


No matter which way you look at this reel, you can’t help but notice how sturdy and reliable the overall design is.

Only high-grade materials were used in its making, which is one of the main reasons it is so durable and adaptable to saltwater fishing when you go after big species.

An HT 100 drag system contributes to the smoothness of operation, which is a little harder to achieve with this heavy-duty reel than others.

Cranking is fluid due to the 5-ball bearing system, sealed for keeping the saltwater from causing rust and corrosion.

The model comes equipped with a Superline spool that is ready for use with a braided line.


Be aware that this reel is on the heavy side, and coupling it with a lightweight rod will surely make the combo feel unbalanced and difficult to use.

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4. Pflueger President Spinning Fishing Reel 


Are you searching for a dependable spinning reel to use in your saltwater fishing adventures? The Pflueger President Spinning Fishing Reel provides you with some exciting advantages that put it head and shoulders above the competition. First of all, it comes with 10 ball bearings made from stainless steel that behave correctly in harsh conditions.

The drag washers are sealed so that the saltwater doesn’t get inside and causes corrosion and rust. From the first moment you will use this reel, you will notice its smooth operation, an aspect that depends on the lubricated drag system that works like a charm.

Another thing to mention is the slow oscillation gearing present. Its primary roles are to increase line lay and reduce twists and tangles. This way, you can rest assured that nothing will ruin your fishing trip. It delivers both performance and smooth operation in a good looking package.


The 10-ball bearing system is guaranteed to offer smooth operation, and you will feel when casting the line and retrieving it.

An important aspect is that the reel is ready to be used with a braided line, which means that there are no limits to what you can use to score that trophy fish you’ve been after.

Because the body and the rotor are made from graphite, the reel is considerably lighter than other models in its category made entirely from metal.

You will be able to take advantage of the slow oscillation gearing in place that makes sure your line doesn’t get twisted and tangled.


It can be a little tight on the rod, so that’s something you must bear in mind before deciding in its favor over other models on the market.

There is a bit of noise when casting the line, so taking it apart and greasing all the parts could be a solution.

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5. KastKing Brutus Spinning Reel CNC Aluminum


Are you looking for an affordable reel to complete your fishing gear and enjoy a fruitful fishing trip with your buddies? The new Brutus from KastKing represents an excellent choice if you’re on a budget. 

The product is designed to deliver incredible value and performance and is full-featured and easy to cast. It is available in four different sizes, ranging from 2000 to 5000 so you can pick the right option according to the type of freshwater fish you’re looking for. 

The Brutus spin reel comes with a lightweight and extremely durable graphite frame and rotor that will perform as well as products costing three times more. The spool is made of aircraft-grade aluminum to reduce the overall weight and provide long, accurate casts. 

The 5000 size reel comes with an aluminum handle for added strength and comfort, while all other sizes have a graphite handle arm. No matter your choice, you can rest assured the handle is comfortable and will allow your hands to rest properly. 


Smooth and reliable, the KastKing Brutus spinning reel performs as well as other products that cost a few times more, which means it is an excellent choice for those looking for a budget-friendly fishing accessory. 

The item features a zinc alloy main gear and a brass pinion gear to provide maximum durability and a low level of noise to not scare the fish away. 

The Brutus spin reel boasts a lightweight and strong graphite frame and rotor that doesn’t feel too heavy. 

You can choose from various sizes available, ranging from 2000 to 5000 so that you can catch any type of freshwater fish. 

The steel main shaft ensures strength at the core of the reel so you don’t have to worry about the item breaking, chipping, or bending. 


As we previously mentioned, the Brutus spinning reel is mainly designed to be used in fresh water, so we don’t recommend that you take it for a spin in salt waters such as the ocean as it might corrode or rust easily.

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Buying guide


If you’d like to get your chance at buying one of the good cheap fishing reels available out there but hardly know how to select the perfect one for your requirements, we’re here to help. Our comprehensive buying guide can take you through all the details you have to give some thought to before making your final decision. Since reading some extra info never hurt anyone, it wouldn’t be a bad idea if you kept reading.



Your fishing technique, as well as the species you’re targeting and the water conditions, have a lot to say when it comes to choosing the right unit, be it the best budget fishing reel or a more expensive one. There are four types that can be found on the current market: spincasting, spinning, baitcasting, and fly fishing options. The first are intended for beginners and amateurs as they’re easy to use and a lot more stable compared to others. In most cases, spincasting reels are also durable enough to take on long fishing trips without having to worry about whether they’ll break down or not.

Spinning reels require a little more degree of expertise on the part of the user because with these, there’s a high chance of a snarled line. Also, they tend to cost more compared to spincast alternatives, so it really boils down to whether you feel prepared to make an investment and take the risk of cutting the line from time to time.

Baitcasting units are typically more dependable than their counterparts considering that they’re built out of sturdier materials that allow anglers to use them both in freshwater and saltwater. Many of these products are destined for large fish and do a great job when it comes to handling heavier line.

Although some people tend to think that this isn’t true, even fly fishing reels require a certain amount of experience because their whipping action can lead to snarls for novices. These models have no handles to speak of, which is why they have to rely on a spring loaded mechanism.



As previously mentioned, you ought to bear in mind that reels are not made to be universal, which is why they might not offer the best results when used in different fishing circumstances. The dimensions of the reels should be correlated with the environment you’ll be doing your fishing in, as well as the fish you’re trying to catch. For example, both catfish and bass can be targeted using a baitcasting or spincasting unit, but these two would do little to nothing when targeting trout. Also, it’s important to note that using the same size of a reel in a lake and the ocean is not a good idea because the former situation calls for a lighter unit, whereas the second requires a much larger model.



Since you’re trying to find cheap fishing reels for sale, it goes without saying that you’re likely to come across a wide variety of models. The main rule to keep in mind when assessing the quality of build of a reel is to choose one that features scarcely any plastic parts. This material isn’t very reliable in the long run, and while such a model might help you complete your first fishing expedition, you might have the nasty surprise of breaking one component or the other on your next trip.


Gears and bearings

As previously mentioned, try to stay as far away as possible from gears made of plastic because they have a very important job. They are the ones that are responsible for connecting the handle to the spool and rolling the line onto it. The ball bearings have the role of smoothening the action, so the more they are, the better.




Best Reel Manufacturers Today


Whether you are shopping for the best closed face spinning reel or a regular one, you should know that certain reel manufacturers have managed to make iconic products that all anglers love. One such model is the Abu Garcia Black Max, just to mention one of the top of the line reels that are popular at the moment.


In case you are looking for a saltwater fishing reel, you cannot go wrong with the products made by Daiwa. Founded in 1955, this company has many years of experience under its belt, and its expertise is evident in the type of products they sell for anglers everywhere.

Should you decide to fish in weather conditions that involve cold, rain, and other harsh climate elements, you will find the Daiwa reels to be precisely what you need. One thing that makes Daiwa stand apart from other companies is its continuous dedication to implement technological advances so that its clients can benefit from the best products around.

Daiwa is also renowned for making truly lightweight rods that don’t sacrifice a stable structure for comfort. Equally sturdy and comfortable to use, Daiwa rods and reels are your best companions in harsh weather conditions.


Abu Garcia

We have already mentioned a model made by Abu Garcia that is highly popular right now, but this company is well known for many other products that leave its manufacturing lines year after year. A company founded in 1921 in Sweden, Abu Garcia is now part of Newell Rubbermaid, an US-based corporation.

When it comes to fishing rods, a lot of anglers swear by the ones made by Abu Garcia. The rods and reels made by this company are sold worldwide, and with thousands of satisfied customers, you know that you can’t go wrong if you pick one of its products, too.

Superior durability is what makes Abu Garcia reels so dependable and famous. Also, the outstanding grip provided can increase your performance as an angler, and that’s what counts most.



Shimano is a name that is a synonym to many things from bicycles to fishing gear. This Japan company has extracted the fishing knowledge of its people to create some of the most reliable rods and reels you can find anywhere. You may ask experts and seasoned anglers alike, and they will tell you that Shimano is their go-to brand whenever they want to purchase a new piece of fishing equipment.

Another thing you will notice about the rods and reels made by Shimano is that they have a beautiful design. Although it is not an element with a significant impact on the overall performance, it does make the Shimano products more appealing and shows that the company knows how to market its fishing gear.

With 80 years of experience under its belt in making reels, rods, tackles, and many other fishing accessories, Shimano is a name you should remember if you want excellent quality above everything else.



Another Asian reel manufacturer that makes it to our list is Okuma. This one is based in Taiwan, and its products deserve all the praise it has received over the years from clients and experts in fishing equipment.

If you have ever heard of Helios and Komodo, these are the names of two models created by Okuma that continue to enjoy great popularity. Ideal for fishing salmon, catfish or trout, the Okuma reels you can find on the market are made to offer you outstanding performance.

One thing you should know about these reels is that they are lightweight, yet durable. Also, it doesn’t matter if you are right-handed or left-handed since most products they make are a good fit for any angler. Also, when you must fight an energetic fish, they will help be on the winning side.



A company with a long-standing tradition in making fishing gear, Shakespeare is still one of the biggest players around. It was founded in 1898, so it has more than one century of experience under its belt. The reels it makes are known to be strong and reliable, and most customers say that they wouldn’t switch to another brand.

Whenever you look for best sellers in the rod and reel category in any shop, online or offline, don’t be surprised to see the name of this company popping up. Since anglers appear to be satisfied with how well these reels behave in all conditions, it is no wonder that they enjoy so much popularity.

Penn Fishing

Another traditional company that must be included in our list is Penn Fishing. Founded in 1932, the company has always specialized in making saltwater reels. Some of the products launched by this brand even won awards, and that is why many anglers want to get their hands on a Penn Fishing reel.

Of course, they make more than just reels. They also make excellent rods, and these are highly popular among fishermen, as well. Bear in mind that the reels they create are made from high-quality materials, such as aluminum and stainless steel. That means that they behave beautifully in saltwater, and you won’t have to worry about rust and corrosion.



The last name that makes it to our list is Rapala. This company also comes from a country where fishing is a long-standing tradition and represented for centuries the primary food source for the population living in the area. Rapala is located in Finland, but that’s only the headquarters now since branches are available in no fewer than 36 countries spread throughout the planet.

Excellent performance recommends the rods and reels this company makes. Rapala also designs other fishing gear, but the focus is placed on the necessary fishing equipment any angler needs to be successful. If you want to invest in a durable reel that will serve you for many years, you can count on the quality and expertise that makes Rapala the household name it is today.



Daiwa Shimano Alivio 1000 2500 3000S 4000 FD Reel


3-shimano-sienna-fdThe main difference between the formerly showcased products and this one is that the Sienna is a spinning reel and therefore, speaks to anglers who are interested in buying such a reel.

Its price range is user-friendly, without a doubt, as we’ve seen that, depending on the size you’ll be choosing, it has a high chance of being the best fishing reel under 50. The neat thing about this unit is that it is smooth and doesn’t make any noise to speak of, as reported by the many people who took to the internet to review the reel. Many anglers have emphasized that it doesn’t even vibrate, which is downright impressive for a spinning reel.

In addition, cleaning and maintenance are a piece of cake with the Sienna as it is remarkably easy to disassemble. In spite of the fact that the Sienna is rated for saltwater, we’ve seen that many anglers use it in freshwater, as well. In addition to all of this, you might want to be aware of the fact that this product features a remarkably sturdy construction, having been built with graphite and aluminum that render it corrosion-resistant.

To sum up, the Sienna is a living example that the best gear doesn’t have to cost a pretty penny.


Available in several different sizes, this fishing reel can address the needs of anglers with varying needs, skill levels, and fishing styles.

No matter which configuration you decide to get, this fishing reel offers the exact level of sensitivity that can help you feel the action in the water. Being aware of the reaction of the fish to the lure enables you to perform decisive hook setting.

Enjoy a smooth performance from all the components working well together. The frame, rotor, and side plate are all made out of graphite, a material known for its ability to transmit vibrations well while being lightweight.

The aluminum spool offers smooth operations and is also lightweight so it does not add significant weight to the entire reel structure.

Exceptionally inexpensive yet extra-efficient, this fishing reel makes a good investment for any avid angler who wants to bring their fishing adventures to a whole new level.


At least two customers consider the reel quite small for their needs.



Plusinno HongYing Series Fishing Reels Spinning


4-plusinno-ha3000The HongYing series should be on top of your list if what you’re focused on is getting the cheapest yet most reliable spinning reel out there. Available in multiple sizes, this product has been constructed to raise up to par under most circumstances so that its performance doesn’t disappoint you at all.

The 5.1:1 gear ratio as well as the fact that this unit features a metal body and an interchangeable collapsible handle should give you some pointers as to why this Plusinno model has slowly but surely won the hearts of amateurs and experienced anglers alike.

The line capacity differs depending on the model you’ll be choosing, so you need to select the right one for the species you’re targeting. With the help of this reel, you can have a shot at catching anything from crappies to bluegills and trout or salmon, depending on the dimension of your preferences.

Over one hundred fishermen and women were kind enough to write detailed favorable reviews about the capabilities of the series, and some say that the quality of this product is comparable to the one of Abu Garcia and Shimano products. That definitely counts for something since these two brands are the top choices of hardcore anglers.


Outfitted with a deep aluminum spool, this fishing reel comes with a light weight that makes it easy to control and handle.

Ideal for various ocean fishing applications, this option can also be used for pond, river, stream, and reservoir fishing.

With the computer-balanced rotor, the reel makes it easy and quick to release the fishing line with exceptional smoothness. This also means the entire fishing rig is kept from wobbling.

Aside from giving you a secure and sturdy setup, the reel also saves effort. The handle doesn’t need to be unscrewed like most other reels just to use space optimally.

The exclusive S-Curve oscillation system provides a dependable winding of the fishing line. Your choice of line is spooled securely and smoothly around so the release is smooth for casting and retrieves.


In keeping with the lightweight design, the spool seems to carry too little line capacity, according to some users. However, this element is optimized with a Shimano braid.



Piscifun Torrent Right Handed 6.3:1 13+1 Shielded Bearings


1-piscifun-p-pf1400If you’ve been trying to get your hands on one of the most remarkable cheap fishing reels online, look no further. It’s very likely that this Piscifun unit will meet and even exceed your expectations. First of all, it’s easy to cast as it has been designed to withstand even the roughest waters and toughest fish.

The 6.3:1 gear ratio and thirteen stainless steel ball bearings, as well as an extra roller bearing, make it worth considering, especially as this reel has a line capacity of 12 lbs at 100 yards. Unlike many of its competitors in the same approximate price range, the Piscifun model features parts made of fiberglass and brass.

Another reason you should feel tempted to consider this unit is that cleaning and maintenance are a breeze. Based on the owner feedback that we have analyzed with regard to this matter, it looks as if anglers have little to no issue when it comes to taking the reel apart, cleaning and oiling it and then putting it back together.

It stands to reason that you should tend to this process once you use the reel in saltwater. All in all, this product is the best budget fishing reel available nowadays as it beats the backlash and offers plenty of value for the price.


Delivering impressive power, this fishing rod features precision-engineered gears supplemented with three-disc, high-grade, carbon fiber drag washers. You can optimize the strong, 18-pound drag system that also contributes to the general durability of the unit.

Capable of handling the big catch, this option comes with a smooth 7.1:1 gear ratio. You obtain 7.1 revolutions of the spool with every single turn of the handle. This ensures the line gets mobilized quickly, especially during intense fishing situations.

Aside from the smooth and durable performance, the reel also comes with reinforced CNC machined brass gear. This component ensures a robust drag system for effortless casting and retrieves.

Control is still in your hands thanks to the 5+1 stainless steel bearings that move consistently together for a flawless execution of casts without stalling.

Offering accuracy and effectiveness, the reel is equipped with a magnetic brake for dynamic adjustments.


There have been times when some buyers couldn’t find usage instructions in the package. Beginners may not be able to optimize the reel use because of this.



KastKing Royale Legend Carbon Fiber Baitcasting Reels


2-kastking-royale-legendThe KastKing baitcasting reel is a sight for sore eyes, but it also doesn’t disappoint when it comes to performance and dynamics. Compared to other options we have seen while prospecting the market, this one is inexpensive and well-made, therefore combining two of the core purposes of beginners and amateurs.

What’s more, this reel has a lot of stamina and will allow you to tend to your tasks without bothering to check whether there is anything bad going on with its capabilities. It will most definitely not test your patience, what with its 7.0:1 gear ratio and 17.5lbs drag.

Smooth casts and retrieves can finally become a dream come true as this reel comes with 11 + 1 corrosion-resistant ball bearings. Also, it is worth noting that this is one of the quiet options out there as it hardly makes any noise and won’t scare off any of your catches.

The KastKing Royale Legend has been granted some of the best fishing reel reviews as many fishermen and women underline that, while this is a budget product, it does not perform like one. In fact, many go as far as to state that it outperforms their 200-dollar worth reels.


If you want a tournament-ready fishing rig, make sure this fishing reel is installed in your favorite fishing rod. The low-profile device offers easy handling and does not impede your line of sight so you can monitor the action of the fish on the bait easily.

Worried about spooking the fish during retrieves? This implement offers a silent yet high-speed line retrieval rate that is undetectable by the fish in the water.

Thanks to the precision-cut brass gear configuration, you are assured of low maintenance and optimal performance during casting and retrieves.

Recognition for this option is also due to the 11 + 1 shielded MaxiDur corrosion-resistant ball bearings that ensure a long tool life while supporting the need for quick and easy casting and retrieves.

Fine tuning the centrifugal and magnetic brake system is quick and easy as well. In addition, get maximum strength from the wiffle-style spool that is superbly lightweight.


Although not a significant drawback, the reel will need a bit of lubrication after you take it out of the package.



Shimano Spin Reel Clam


5-shimano-spin-reelIn spite of its very low price, this model has fishermen and women raving about it. It’s durable, light, and versatile enough to be used both in freshwater and saltwater alike.

The one-handed casting seems to impress most of the individuals who’ve purchased it, and the fact that it is easy to use is also a detail that matters. As it was to be expected from a unit costing less than thirty dollars, this reel has been constructed in China. However, we’ve noticed that the vast majority of the folks who rated the product don’t seem to be bothered by this as the reel is entirely capable of doing what it’s supposed to.

In short, this Shimano unit is a lightweight and reliable alternative that’s worth its weight in gold, especially as it comes with a frame, sideplate, rotor, spool, and rear drag made of graphite. Besides, it can be utilized with a great variety of lines, whether you prefer mono, PowerPro, or fluorocarbon.

Reversing the handle from left to right and the other way around is easy, based on what buyers had to say about this particular matter. Having been granted the appreciation of over two hundred anglers, it’s safe to say that the Shimano Spin Reel Clam offers plenty of value for the price.


A lightweight, rear-drag fishing reel, this option comes with some of the brand’s cool and revolutionary features. It is made from quality materials for dependable craftsmanship.

With the graphite side plate, frame, and spool, you get a lightweight structure in a capable fishing reel. This model accommodates mono, super, and fluorocarbon lines.

For a smooth and easy retrieval and casting, the reel features a lightweight rear drag that provides power in your hands to control the unit.

This size 40 reel comes with a line capacity of 10 to 20-pound test line. You can certainly target a variety of fish with those elements.

Light and versatile, this model allows casting using one hand. You can reverse the crank on the fly and still keep the rig under control. This helps prevent nasty bird’s nests.


The absence of an anti-reverse feature might not allow the use of this reel by a beginner angler.




1) What features should you be looking for in a new reel? 

2) A Guide to Fishing for the First Time

3) Basic Fishing Gear

4) Timeless Types of Fishing Reels



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