Often people worry a lot more about lures than reels. While the right lure is important to attract the fish you are after, it is the reel that helps in the optimum presentation of the lure. The best lure and reel combination will increase the chances of you bagging a fish.
When you visit a fishing store you will see that spinning reels are the ones most on display. They are popular because they are easy to use, less expensive, and can adapt to most fishing scenarios. To a beginner, however, choosing the best spinning reel is a difficult proposition. We have brought a guide with reviews of some of the best spinning reels in the market to help newbies start on the right note.
Best Spinning Reels Reviews Of 2023
Shimano has long been a respected manufacturer of reels and other fishing equipment. The Shimano Stradic offers a rotational smoothness and power transfer at a great price point.
The G Free Body technology in the Stradic helps to reduce fatigue and enhance casting comfort as the reel's center of gravity is shifted closer to the hand position on the rod. The X-Ship offers improved gear durability and helps cast longer with even light lures.
The HAGANE Body along with the HAGANE Gear gives you great durability, long-lasting smoothness, and comfort. The Cross Carbon Drag material provides a wide range of drag settings and unparalleled drag performance.
When combined with the X Protect and the A-RB bearings, the Shimano Stradic has supreme water and sand resistance. With all-around performance and great features, this affordable high-performance reel covers most fishing scenarios. At this price point and exhaustive features, the Shimano Stradic is one of the best saltwater spinning reels.
Back by popular demand, the PENN Slammer III is built for heavy-duty fishing from a boat or shore. The comeback version has upgraded features and is trusted by big game fishermen all over the world.
The PENN Slammer features a full metal body, side plate, and rotor. This gives it good durability even in extreme fishing conditions. Moreover, its IP6 sealed body and spool design offer superior protection for saltwater fishing.
The CNC gear technology and spool design along with the 6+1 stainless steel bearing system offer a smooth performance while fighting big fish. The Sealed Slammer drag system with Dura-Drag allows you to cast long and smoothly.
Overall, we reckon that the PENN Slammer III is one of the best offshore spinning reels. It is smooth, durable, and eminently suitable for big fish. This reel also performs well in freshwater for huge catfish. Go for it if you are after big fish in the sea or terrestrial water bodies.
Lew’s is popular among both amateur and professional anglers for their quality and innovation since 1949. The Lew’s Custom spinning reel is built for durability and can handle a wide variety of fishing scenarios.
With a lightweight aluminum body, this reel features a stainless steel 7-bearing system with 6 ball bearings and a Zero Reverse one-way clutch bearing. The innovative flush and drain port allow for easy maintenance and lubrication.
The Lew’s Custom spinning reel gives you a feel of sturdiness due to the stainless steel main shaft and C60 carbon skeletal speed rotor. The sealed carbon drag system and a double anodized aluminum spool along with the Speed Lube ensure a smooth performance.
The Lew’s Custom spinning reel is a lightweight reel built to handle big fish and harsh conditions. This workhorse-of-a-reel punches above its weight at the price point it comes in. We consider this version of Lew’s as one of the best inshore spinning reels.
In the business of producing quality fishing products for more than 120 years, the Pflueger takes pride in craftsmanship and commitment to new technology. The President excels in both features and performance.
The Pflueger President reel packs plenty of features to make it one of the best ultralight spinning reels at the price point. Don’t let its affordability and weight fool you. This product is made from quality materials and is highly durable.
The President’s 7-bearing system with corrosion-resistant stainless steel ball bearings is reliable in all conditions. The graphite body is lightweight and strong. The medium 5.2 gear ratio is perfect for newbie anglers.
The sealed drag system in the President ensures that the reel is always lubricated and this offers supreme smoothness. With such amazing features and durability, the Pflueger President is highly recommended for beginners to do freshwater fishing.
The Supreme is another affordable and quality product from the Pflueger stable. Made of lightweight materials, we consider the Supreme to be one of the best freshwater spinning reels.
The Supreme is made of a magnesium frame, carbon rotor, and aluminum handle. This makes it light in weight and suitable for all kinds of freshwater fishing scenarios. Do not let its weight fool you. This reel is very durable. It will last you years with proper maintenance.
The 10-bearing system in the Supreme gives you superior performance and the sealed drag ensures constant lubrication. The casts are smooth and accurate even with a lightweight jig. The accurate drag settings allow you to reel in even the grumpiest fish with ease on light lines.
We were impressed with the Pflueger Supreme. The Pflueger’s legendary reliability and durability stand out in this reel. The price may on the high side for an entry-level spinning reel in this segment, but this is due to the materials used.
The Shimano Vanford is another quality offering from this premium fishing equipment manufacturer. The Vanford F is touted to test the boundaries of technology and engineering found in spinning reels.
The Vanford is built upon a CI4+ body and offers a lightweight feel and rigidity. It incorporates a MagnumLite (MGL) Rotor which offers 48% less rotational inertia than conventional rotor constructions.
The X-Protect technology and water-channeling construction further increase this reel's durability. The Vanford is in its elements in most fishing scenarios and is especially good for bass. In fact, we consider it one of the best spinning reels for bass.
The Vanford’s cold-forged HAGANE Gear offers superior fishing performance and durability. In addition, the SilentDrive and MicroModule Gear II technologies give you a new level of smooth rotational performance with reduced reel vibration. The Long Stroke Spool technology gives you an increased casting distance and smooth retrieval.
Daiwa has been in the market since 1955. They are known to pack a ton of technologies into their products and make them available at affordable rates.
When it comes to price, features, and tech, the Daiwa Bg impresses. If you are looking for an affordable workhorse for freshwater and light saltwater fishing, this awesome reel fits the bill.
The Daiwa Bg is a leaner and meaner version of their popular Daiwa series. It features a black anodized machined aluminum housing that is light, yet sturdy. With the solid screwed-in handle, air rotor, and Dynamic Cut Aluminum ABS Spool, the Daiwa Bg packs a good mix of looks and utility.
This reel comes with a braided line-ready spool and a waterproof drag system. The 4500 and larger versions contain the manual return bail. With a gear ratio of 5.6:1 and a max drag of 15.4 and an anti-reverse system, this reel can handle most fishing scenarios.
Okuma makes fishing reels with a passion by incorporating advanced materials, dynamic design, and commitment to longevity. The Okuma Ceymar brings with it a full line-up of advanced performance features.
The Okuma Ceymar series has three different models suited to different fishing scenarios. All models feature a fluid 8-bearing drive system and Okuma precision elliptical gearing. The rigid machined aluminum spool lays an excellent foundation for monofilament and braided fishing lines.
This workhorse has a heavy-duty solid aluminum bail wire and oversized line roller to deliver consistent performance for a long time. The rotor system is perfectly balanced with Okuma RESII computer balancing for wobble-free spinning at high speeds.
The Ceymar has a forged aluminum handle arm which is extremely comfortable for long fishing sessions. This feature-packed reel delivers a complete fishing experience and is highly recommended for passionate beginners.
PENN is a known manufacturer in the fishing circle and has been wowing anglers for decades. The PENN Fierce II and III are a beast when it comes to saltwater angling.
Released in 2015, the PENN Fierce II was so successful that the manufacturers decided to release an upgraded PENN Fierce III. Both the versions come in sizes ranging from 1000 to 8000. Both the reels feature Penns HT-100 carbon fiber drag washers and a 4+1 shielded stainless steel ball-bearing setup.
The affordable PENN series are a boon to inshore fishing enthusiasts who are looking at quality, feature-packed, and durable reels. All you have to do is get the right rod to use with these exceptional reels.
Apart from delivering buttery smooth performance, the design also protects the reel from saltwater corrosion. The unique techno-balanced rotor helps in wobble-free spinning at high speeds. The HT-100 Drag Washers are large, stiff, and extremely durable.
The PENN Battle II is another exceptional offering from the Penn stable. Like all Penn products, this reel stands out for its affordability and performance.
Built for most punishing saltwater battles, the PENN Battle features a full metal body, side plate, and a rotor with 5 sealed ball bearings. The HT-100 Versa-Drag carbon fiber drag system provides maximum drag and the pullback is nullified due to the anti-reverse bearing.
The drag washers in this reel are treated with PENN’s proprietary grease for long-lasting performance. This reel is fitted with a rubber gasket to prevent line slippage. The thoughtfully added line capacity rings, conveniently display the amount of line you have remaining.
With great pricing, features, technology, and durability, the PENN Battle II has everything going for it. This reel is so good that we consider it one of the best saltwater fishing reels in this price range. If you are passionate about saltwater fishing and want a reel to last for years, the PENN Battle is for you.
Things To Consider Before Buying Best Spinning Reel
Though we have reviewed a variety of spinning reels in the above section, a person new to angling will have a tough time deciding what reel will suit them best. It is, for this reason, we decided to include a buying guide. Read on.
Where do you plan to fish?
Fishing can be broadly divided into freshwater and saltwater fishing. Saltwater fishing has its own challenges. Firstly, the saltwater is corrosive. Secondly, the fishes are bigger, and lastly, the expanse of water is vast. You need a reel that is resistant to corrosion, highly durable to reel in big fish, and features a higher line capacity to accommodate large lengths of heavy braided lines.
In freshwater, the fishes generally tend to be smaller and the volume of water is lesser when compared to the open ocean. Reels suitable for freshwater will not be heavy-duty like their freshwater cousins. They are usually less expensive, smaller, and less durable.
It makes no sense to splurge on a saltwater reel if you are going to only fish in freshwater. That being said, some reels are suitable for both, fresh and salt water. If you think you will occasionally hit the sea, you can consider buying them.
How big is the reel?
The size of the reel depends on your target fish species. How much length of line the reel can hold is also determined by its size. Small size reels (10-35) with a line capacity of 4-14 lbs are less expensive and suitable for fishing small lakes, rivers, and ponds for trout or panfish.
The medium size reels (40-55) can hold up to 40 lbs of weight and are mostly used to catch salmon, and bone fish at harbors, lakes, and ponds. Large size reels (60-85) can handle up to 80 lbs and are used for large fishes like salmon, and cod in seawater. Extra-large size reels (100-300) can handle up to 100 lbs weight and are suitable for much bigger fish.
How much does the reel weigh?
Reels usually used for sea fishing are heavy as they are made of durable materials to handle the rigors of saltwater fishing. Freshwater reels on the other hand are lighter. That being said, the reel weight also determines how long you can fish without your arms getting exhausted. It makes no sense to take a heavy-duty reel if your target species is small.
What is the reel made of?
Reel parts are made of different materials like stainless steel, magnesium, carbon, aluminum, etc. Good quality and durable reels will be made of high-quality materials like high-grade aluminum or stainless steel with non-corrosive properties. These reels last longer and perform well in a wide range of conditions.
How much does it cost?
Reels can cost anywhere between $30 and $3000. In our review section, we have selected affordable spinning reels that punch above their weight when it comes to features. The costlier reels are made with the best materials to give you durability and excellent performance. If you plan to fish in freshwater, you can get excellent spinning reels for around $60. For saltwater fishing, a good beginner reel will cost you around $130.
What other features to consider?
FAQ’s about spinning reel
What is the gear ratio of a spinning reel?
The gear ratio determines how many times your spool is spinning per a full handle turn of your spinning reel. For casting lighter lures, a higher gear ratio is ideal. For live or dead bait, a lower gear ratio is suitable. Most reels come with a gear ratio of 5.2:1 to 6.2:1. If you are a bass fisherman, a gear ratio of 7.0:1 will be ideal for quickly retrieving drop shot rigs or tube baits when fishing in deep water.
What type of drag should a spinning reel have?
A drag system puts pressure on the spool and stops it from releasing more line. This enables you to reel in big and powerful fish without breaking the line. Most fishing experts reckon that the optimal drag tension is around 30% of the strength of the line. In spinning reels, drags can be located on the front, or in the back. The front drags are more durable. But, beginners will find drags at the back more convenient. But they are not as effective as front drags.
What size spinning reel is best for bass fishing?
For bass, anything from 2000 to 3000 sizes is suitable. But, we recommend 3000 sizes as it will let you go after other fishes like Walleye, Northern Pike, and smaller catfish too.
Angling is a wonderful hobby. No wonder it is so popular. Along with the right equipment, fishing requires almost a Zen-like focus. Once you arrive at the right reel and rod combo, hit the waters. Enjoy the process and the nature around you. Do not worry about hooking fish at first.
We believe that our write-up will make your quest for the best spinning reels less complicated. Test your new spinning reel in your favorite fishing spot. Practice casting and lure presentation with your new gear. Focus on the process, and everything else will fall in place.