The Best Spinning Reels Rated And Reviewed. Time to Land that Catch

Best Spinning Reels
Joe
Written by Joe

I want to help you choose the best spinning reel for your money. I’ve looked at 10 top choices available for every type of Angler – here’s what I found

Every angler needs at least one spinning reel in their fishing gear. These reels are readily available in retail stores but unfortunately, most of them just don’t cut it. Some of them might do when you find yourself in a pinch while others are toys. But if you are an avid fisherman and on this page, then you deserve a far more superior spinning reel. Our comprehensive guide reviews the best spinning reels and what you should consider during your search.

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KastKing Sharky II Fishing Reel - Smooth Spinning Reel - 48.5 Lb Carbon Fiber Max Drag - 10+1 Superior Ball Bearings-Brass Gears - Top Quality at An Affordable Price!KastKing Sharky II Fishing Reel - Smooth Spinning Reel - 48.5 Lb Carbon Fiber Max Drag - 10+1 Superior Ball Bearings-Brass Gears - Top Quality at An Affordable Price!

excellent MID RANGE model

KastKing Sharky II Fishing Reel - Smooth Spinning Reel - 48.5 Lb Carbon Fiber Max Drag - 10+1 Superior Ball Bearings-Brass Gears
  • Special Feature
  • Water intrusion resistance system
  • Triple disc carbon fiber drag system with 48.5lbs capacity
  • 10+1 MaxiDur bearings
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KastKing Summer and Centron Spinning Reels Spinning Fishing Reel 9 +1 BB Light Weight Ultra Smooth PowerfulKastKing Summer and Centron Spinning Reels Spinning Fishing Reel 9 +1 BB Light Weight Ultra Smooth Powerful

for the budget minded

KastKing Summer and Centron Spinning Reels Spinning Fishing Reel 9 +1 BB Light Weight Ultra Smooth Powerful
  • Special Feature
  • Narrow graphite frame and computer balancing system
  • Superior drag system with 17.5lbs capacity
  • 9 ball bearings and one anti-reverse bearing
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Penn Fierce II 3000 Spinning Fishing ReelPenn Fierce II 3000 Spinning Fishing Reel

Joe's Top Choice

Penn Fierce II 3000 Spinning Fishing Reel
  • Special Feature
  • Full metal body
  • Fluid cranking with 4 shielded ball bearings
  • Instant anti-reverse bearing
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Penn CLA4000 Clash Spinning Fishing ReelPenn CLA4000 Clash Spinning Fishing Reel
Penn CLA4000 Clash Spinning Fishing Reel
  • Special Feature
  • 6.2:1 gear ratio
  • 8+1 bearing system
  • Available in seven styles
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Shimano STRADIC FK SPINNING REELShimano STRADIC FK SPINNING REEL
Shimano STRADIC FK SPINNING REEL
  • Special Feature
  • Metal Hagane body and X-Ship technology
  • Dyna-Balance technology
  • Propulsion Line Management System
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Shimano Ultegra XTD ULT5500XTD Surf Spinning ReelShimano Ultegra XTD ULT5500XTD Surf Spinning Reel
Shimano Ultegra XTD ULT5500XTD Surf Spinning Reel
  • Special Feature
  • Gear ratio of 5.3:1 and retrieval rate of 41 inches
  • X-Ship for gear durability
  • Super slow oscillation for precision line lay
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Daiwa Revros 2500H Spinning Fishing Reel Left/Right Hand - 5.6:1 - REV2500HDaiwa Revros 2500H Spinning Fishing Reel Left/Right Hand - 5.6:1 - REV2500H
Daiwa Revros 2500H Spinning Fishing Reel Left/Right Hand - 5.6:1 - REV2500H
  • Special Feature
  • Digigear digital gear design
  • Composite body, cover and rotor
  • 8 bearing system
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Daiwa BG Spinning ReelsDaiwa BG Spinning Reels
Daiwa BG Spinning Reels
  • Special Feature
  • Hardbodyz body and side plates
  • Cut aluminum ABS spool
  • Waterproof drag system
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5001646 Daiwa Fuego Spinning Reel L/UL 6.0:1 Gear Ratio5001646 Daiwa Fuego Spinning Reel L/UL 6.0:1 Gear Ratio
5001646 Daiwa Fuego Spinning Reel L/UL 6.0:1 Gear Ratio
  • Special Feature
  • High gear ratio of 6.0:1
  • 9 ball bearings
  • Maximum drag of 8.8 pounds
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Okuma Trio High Speed Spinning Reel, Black/Orange
  • Special Feature
  • Hybrid spool design with aluminum lip and graphite arbor
  • Crossover graphite and aluminum hybrid body
  • Precision dual drag system
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KastKing Sharky II Fishing Reel - Smooth Spinning Reel - 48.5 Lb Carbon Fiber Max Drag - 10+1 Superior Ball Bearings-Brass Gears - Top Quality at An Affordable Price!KastKing Sharky II Fishing Reel - Smooth Spinning Reel - 48.5 Lb Carbon Fiber Max Drag - 10+1 Superior Ball Bearings-Brass Gears - Top Quality at An Affordable Price!

Launched in 2016, the KastKing Sharky II offers more power and effortless fishing experience. It boasts a triple disk drag made from carbon fiber and with a 48.5 lbs capacity, it is quite outstanding in its class. It comes in 1500, 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000 and 6000 series sizes. As such, you are guaranteed to get something for every species or technique.

The reel comes with a CNC machined aluminum spool that has more line capacity, more even line lay and internal grooves for lube retention. It has 10+1 MaxiDur ball bearings made from corrosion resistant material. We especially love the stainless steel main shaft and strong precision brass gears. The reel has a bold look and isn’t tough to handle.

Pros:
  • Butter smooth operation with 10+1 MaxiDur ball bearings
  • Offers up to 48.5 lbs of drag capability
  • Perfect for multiple fishing techniques
  • New and improved body, spool, rotor and gears
Cons:
  • Some users complained that the reel started binding up, making it difficult to retrieve the line
KastKing Summer and Centron Spinning Reels Spinning Fishing Reel 9 +1 BB Light Weight Ultra Smooth PowerfulKastKing Summer and Centron Spinning Reels Spinning Fishing Reel 9 +1 BB Light Weight Ultra Smooth Powerful

The KastKing Centron 2000 offers a great feature combination at an affordable price. It turns any angler into a pro and is one of the best reels for freshwater fishing. KastKing combines a computer balancing system with a lightweight graphite frame design to give you an awesome compact reel. It has a superior drag system with an incredible stopping power of 17.5 pounds. The mesh drive gear, hardened metal shaft, and precision machined pinion gear provide added fighting power.

The Centron 2000 comes with nine ball bearings and an additional bearing for anti-reverse stop, thus giving anglers ultra smooth performance. The reel is produced in a black and blue combo and holds more line than pricier models. Also included is a power launch lip for farther casting and an upgraded T-knob that drives directly through the main gear to give you more control.

Pros:
  • Powerful drag system that can bear up to 17.5 pounds
  • Narrow graphite frame design and computer balancing system
  • Drive gear offers plenty of accuracy for fishing
  • Smooth performance with anti-reverse stop and ball bearings
Cons:
  • Not ideal for saltwater fishing
Penn Fierce II 3000 Spinning Fishing ReelPenn Fierce II 3000 Spinning Fishing Reel

The Penn Fierce II is a high-quality spinning reel that was first released in 2015. It was designed to combine the high-end features of the Penn Battle II and the affordable price of the Penn Pursuit II. The side plates are made for durability and to help with maintaining gear alignments. Both the handle and spool are made from machined, anodized aluminum. The result is a smooth touch-spin, giving anglers less wear on their hands and line.

While you may not always need it, the infinite anti-reverse can help with avoiding snapping in certain situations. It also helps increase the versatility of your reel. The four stainless steel bearings that ensure smooth spinning without making the reel overpriced. Other notable features include a Techno-Balanced rotor for smooth retrieve and Superline Spool Line Capacity Rings.

Pros:
  • Full metal body for improved performance and longevity
  • Incredible cranking power with 4 stainless steel ball bearings
  • Versatile gear ratios and easy to adjust the drag
  • Great retrieval rate
Cons:
  • Heavy and not fully sealed
Penn CLA4000 Clash Spinning Fishing ReelPenn CLA4000 Clash Spinning Fishing Reel

The Penn Clash 4000 boasts a visually appealing black gloss and matte finish with gold accents. It offers excellent quality with an all-metal body including an aluminum spool, handle, side plates and bail. Unlike other models in the series that have an aluminum rotor, this one comes with a carbon graphite rotor. The body is well sealed and resists corrosion well. The spool allows for direct braid attachment thanks to the textured gasket. It also has line capacity rings along the base for easy monitoring.

The Penn Clash 4000 uses Computer Numerical Control gear technology to optimize gear to gear contact and fitting. It comes with a brass pinion gear and aluminum gear. The bushings and postings used for support are also sturdy and well designed. The reel has a 6.2:1 gear ratio and a retrieval rate of 37 inches. It utilizes a Levelline Oscillation System to keep the rotor at a constant speed and lay the line down evenly, regardless of speed and pressure put unto the reel. The HT-100 carbon fiber drag system is top stacked and uses carbon fiber and stainless steel washers.

Pros:
  • Includes 8+1 bearings for smooth operation
  • Anti-reverse bearing prevents back play
  • Features thick aluminum bail with friction trip ramp
  • Incorporates DuraGear Technology to ensure durable drive oscillation
Cons:
  • Bulky design
Shimano STRADIC FK SPINNING REELShimano STRADIC FK SPINNING REEL

If you have ever used older Shimano Stradik reels, you will notice the cosmetic differences between them and the Stradic FK instantly. In addition to a great appearance, the Shimano Stradic FK incorporates most of the company’s patented spinning reel technologies. It is available in five different sizes to cover multiple fishing techniques. The gear ratio hovers around the 6.1 range and the retrieval rate is a little higher than what you’d expect at that range.

The reel comes with a 6+1 bearing system that includes 6 S A-RB bearings and a single Super Stopper II anti-reverse roller bearing. Users loved the stacked front drag system as it uses steel and felt washers. It is also capable of generating up to 24 pounds of drag pressure. The X-Ship technology utilizes key bearing placements to ensure ample support and proper alignment of the gears. Another innovation incorporated in this reel is the Aero Wrap II oscillation system to reduce friction between the wraps and Power Roller II line management system to add casting distance.

Pros:
  • All metal aluminum body for sturdiness and longevity
  • Hagane technology minimizes flax
  • Uses X-shield gaskets to keep water and grime out
  • Propulsion line management
Cons:
  • Lacks anti-reverse switch
Shimano Ultegra XTD ULT5500XTD Surf Spinning ReelShimano Ultegra XTD ULT5500XTD Surf Spinning Reel

The Shimano Ultegra XTD 5500 is an impressive piece of hardware that packs top quality functions into a slender body. It has a beautiful black matte finish that goes well with your rods. The slow oscillation ensures a perfect and smooth lay line, making it easier to cast. The spool can accommodate up to 250 yards of line weighing 150 pounds.

The drag system is another factor that makes the Ultegra XTD5500 popular among anglers. It has a maximum pull of 33 lbs, making it an excellent choice for the heaviest loads. The reel has a gear ratio of 5.3:1 and a retrieval rate of 41 inches. It comes with three shielded stainless steel, one S A-RB, and one roller bearing.

Pros:
  • X-ship technology provides improved gear durability
  • Super slow oscillation guarantees precision line lay
  • High gear ratio and retrieval rate
Cons:
  • Doesn’t include a spare spool
Daiwa Revros 2500H Spinning Fishing Reel Left/Right Hand - 5.6:1 - REV2500HDaiwa Revros 2500H Spinning Fishing Reel Left/Right Hand - 5.6:1 - REV2500H

The Daiwa REVROS spinning reel is one of the most feature-packed reels in its price range. It delivers durable and smooth spinning performance at an affordable price. Highlights include eight bearings for fluid casts and retrieves. The sturdy frame helps keep the components in perfect alignment. The Digital Gear Design provides a hefty winding power while optimizing durability and speed.

Also featured is an ABS spool that minimizes friction for easier and longer casts. It has a large diameter to ensure the line flows freely in larger coils. The air rotor is made from composite material and has a unique shape that reduces unnecessary weight.

Pros:
  • Unique air rotor design minimizes weight and provides greater sensitivity
  • Features eight bearing system
  • Equipped with Digigear Digital gear design
Cons:
  • The line tends to get loose and tangled around the spool
Daiwa BG Spinning ReelsDaiwa BG Spinning Reels

The Daiwa BG Spinning Reels comes in multiple sizes and at an attractive price point of less than $150. It is one of the best saltwater reels from Daiwa and an excellent choice for bass fishermen. It comes with an aluminum body, dynamic cut ABS spool, and waterproof drag system. Also included is a machined aluminum screw-in handle for comfortable handling.The ABS spool lays line quite well and can be used with fluorocarbon or braid lines. The air rotor improves the casting distance. This drag system is super smooth and allows you to make the smallest adjustments with ease.

Pros:
  • Comes in multiple sizes
  • Equipped with a waterproof drag system
  • Great value at an affordable price
Cons:
  • Uses plastic washers
5001646 Daiwa Fuego Spinning Reel L/UL 6.0:1 Gear Ratio5001646 Daiwa Fuego Spinning Reel L/UL 6.0:1 Gear Ratio

The Daiwa Fuego Spinning Reel boasts a HardBodyz body design that ensures durability and strength. The air rotor offers greater sensitivity and reduces the unit’s weight. It uses a unique bearing system that includes 1RB, 1CRBB and 7 ball bearings. The machine cut aluminum handle provides added comfort when working with an EVA custom knob. Also featured is an ABS aluminum spool for easier casting.

Pros:
  • Air rotor design weighs up to 15% less than standard ones
  • Comes with stainless steel bearings that last longer
  • Narrow and rigid aluminum HardBodyz body for strength
Cons:
  • Lacks spare spool

This is a hybrid designed spinning reel with a lot of innovations. Its long list of impressive features includes graphite side plates for increased strength without making the reel too heavy. The main attraction is the crossover body and spool design. Okuma uses two materials for the drag system housed in an aluminum shell. It also uses dual force drag with a carbon fiber washer at the bottom of the spool and multi-disc Japanese-oiled drag washer at the top of the washer. The hybrid motor is designed to provide maximum output while aluminum rotor keeps the weight down. Like other spinning reels, this one features an anti-reverse bearing.

Pros:
  • Crossover design reduces weight and makes the reel smoother
  • Can be used for small and larger fish
  • Available in three versions
Cons:
  • Offers affordability by sacrificing quality

Advantages of Spinning Reels Over Baitcasting Reels

While suitable for large baits, baitcasting reels may not always be the solution you need to reel in the catch. This is where spinning reels come in. Their ability to handle lighter lines and cast light baits makes them very easy to cast, especially for beginners.

Spinning reels are also quite versatile. They can be used in live bait presentations, hence popular among bass, walleye, and panfish anglers. You can use them with spinners, small crankbaits, and small jigs.

What really makes spinning reels popular is that they are great for all experience levels. They can be used to teach beginners to cast and fish. Similarly, one can upgrade and take advantage of better features that come with refined models as they gain experience.

Factors to Consider When Shopping for a Spinning Reel

Where you will fish

Will you be heading to open waters of Great Lakes where freshwater, big fishing is common? Do you plan on fishing in small rivers, inland lakes or coastal waters? This knowledge will help with making a few decisions. If you are a casual fisherman who will be heading to freshwaters, then a pricey saltwater spinning reel won’t be necessary. You may have to open up your budget for a sturdier reel if you plan on putting it through harsh conditions. A model with a graphite body will do.

Reel body and housing

This is one of the most important parts of any spinning reel. The common choices are aluminum, graphite or a combination of both depending on the manufacturer. While stronger than graphite, aluminum doesn’t offer a lot of flex. However, it is a great choice for freshwater fishing and anyone who doesn’t mind the extra weight. Graphite reels are lighter and offer a slight increase in flex. That combined with the increased corrosion resistance makes graphite spinning reels the ultimate choice. Other options worth looking into include carbon fiber and magnesium.

Reel size and line capacity

Choosing the right reel size will save you a lot of frustration on your fishing trips. The size of your spinning reel depends a lot on the size of the rod you plan to use. A smaller reel is your best bet if using a lighter rod. In any case, a 10 lbs test line should be the maximum strength to use on a spinning reel. Many models come in three of four sizes and the total line capacity increases with increase in spool size. Most manufacturers provide spool capacities for braided and monofilament lines. In addition, some reels come with an extra spool that can be used with a different type of line.

Drag system

It applies pressure to hooked fish and allows some give when reeling the catch in. What you need is a smooth and non-constrictive drag that allows you to reel in the fish smoothly. You should also consider the quality of the drag system, particularly if you will be fishing for bigger fish. Rear drag reels are easily accessible and controlled with a knob while front drag reels have a lot of moving parts and are controlled by a dial. Whether you opt for a front or rear drag reel, you can still control the amount of tension on the spool.

Spool

Skirted spool reels are quite common since they create less drag on the line. The last few years have seen multiple spool innovations that piqued the interest of anglers. While they are slight variants of the skirted spool design, long-cast spools and mag spools offer reduced friction and longer cast distances.

Gear ratios

The gear ratio usually affects how easy it will be to haul in heavy objects and how fast the reel will retrieve the line. It represents the number of revolutions of the spool per single turn of the handle. A 6.4:1 gear ratio means that the spool will spin 6.4 turns for every handle turn. The lower the ratio, the slower the retrieval and the easier it is to haul in a heavy load. Considering the gear ratio is important when choosing a spinning reel for different types of baits. You should also think about the intended purpose for your reel and how fast you want to be able to move the bait.

Best spinning reel brands

While choosing the best brands is always subjective, the truth is that most brands are pretty good thanks to the advancement of technology. However, there are a few brands that experience anglers always swear by.

  • Daiwa made its first spinning reel in 1955 and has since grown to become one of the largest tackle companies in the world. Their success is largely attributed to an emphasis on quality and innovation, resulting in a long list of features and materials that have become the standard in the fishing industry.
  • Shimano is a Japanese company that manufactures cycling components as well as fishing and rowing equipment. They offer a vast range of fishing rods, lines, lures, reels, and other fishing accessories that have become the first choice for many anglers.
  • Penn is an American company primarily known for innovative and quality fishing rods and reels. There are more than 220 different models to their name, most of them saltwater fishing reels.
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