Whether you’re a serious or casual angler, a good spinning reel is an essential tool for your arsenal. Spinning reels have far surpassed baitcasters as the reel of choice among anglers – and for a good reason. Their ease of use, flexibility and lack of a learning curve make them reign supreme in performance for both light-line applications and finesse techniques. If you’re already well-versed on the benefits of spinning reels and how to choose the right one for you, then head straight to our reviews for some of the best spinning reels out there. If you’re a beginner angler, however, take a look at our buyer’s guide for some tips that will give you all you need to know.
- 1 Benefits of Buying a Spinning Reel
- 1.1 What To Look For In A Quality Spinning Reel
- 1.2 Tips on How To Choose The Best Spinning Reel
- 1.3 What Else You Need To Know About Spinning Reels
- 1.4 Why should you choose a Spinning Reel?
- 1.5 Top 3 Best Spinning Reels for Under $100 Compared
- 1.6 Top 7 Best Spinning Reels for Under $100 Reviewed
Benefits of Buying a Spinning Reel
So, what makes spinning reels so beneficial?
As mentioned above, spinning reels are incredibly easy to use. Their versatility means they can be used to cast many different types of tackle, especially lightweight lures.
Let’s quickly highlight all the advantages they provide.
Ease of Use: Spinning reels are very easy to use. There is no learning curve to operating and casting a spinning reel, making them a great option for beginners. They are easy to adjust the drag, can use very light line and have no backlash, which is why most fishermen learn to fish using spinning reels.
Versatility: At one point, spinning reels were almost entirely used for light lines, but now stronger lines are commonly used on spinning reels as well. Since the introduction of braided gold lines, which provide more strength, spinning reels have proved more effective than baitcasters in snag-prone areas.
Easy to Adjust: When compared with a baitcaster, it is much easier to adjust the voltage and drag with a spinning reel, which can have a direct impact on the success of your casts.
Variety of Sizes: Spinning reels come in a wide variety of sizes too. Smaller reels are very popular for panfish, bass and walleye anglers.
Not Just For Beginners: Modern spinning reels are far superior to their early models. Capable of casting heavier lines, they are easy to care for and improvements in the body and design mean that there is no need for beginners to graduate up to different reels. Spinning reels are advantageous for all anglers.
Inexpensive: Spinning reels are also generally less expensive than other kinds of reels.
What To Look For In A Quality Spinning Reel
Each spinning reel will come with their own list of specifications and features, some more important than others. Here are what we believe are the most important things to look out for.
Material: Spinning reels are commonly made from plastic, aluminum, carbon or magnesium, with plastic and aluminum being the most common. In higher end, reels will usually use carbon or magnesium. We’d recommend either carbon or aluminum reels, at least to start, due to their affordability, durability and lightness.
Drag System: Most spinning reels have either a front drag system that is controlled with a dial or a rear drag system that is controlled with a knob. You’ll want a smooth drag that won’t jerk and cause your line to break.
Spool Size/Line Capacity: The line capacity will generally increase as you go up in spool sizes. The line and spool capacities should be listed by the manufacturers.
Size: We’ll be looking at reel size a little bit more below but the most basic takeaway is that the lighter the line you intend to use, the smaller the reel you need.
Gear Ratio: The gear ratio is the number of times the bail will rotate around the spool with a turn of the handle. High, medium or low-speed reels will depend on the type of fishing you intend to do. If in doubt, a medium reel is your best bet.
Bearings: The bearings are what make the handle and spool move together with more bearings leading to a smoother overall performance. Generally, the more bearings, the more expensive the reel so consider this carefully. You should look for a reel that has at least 4 or 5 bearings.
Anti-Reverse Handle: An anti-reverse handle prevents your handle from spinning backward so that your hook sets are more accurate. Many reels have an anti-reverse feature that can be turned on or off with a small lever or switch on the butt of the reel.
Tips on How To Choose The Best Spinning Reel
Now that you know what to look for, there are just a few more tips to keep in mind when looking for that perfect spinning reel.
Body: Look for a spinning reel with a solidly constructed body that will serve you well long-term. Spinning reels have more parts than casting reels so make sure that all the parts are working smoothly and are neither loose or flimsy. Fewer parts can reduce the chance of breakdown.
Weight: Weight should be considered simply due to your own level of stamina. If you’re holding a heavy reel for hours, it will increase fatigue. A lighter reel places less strain on the wrist and forearm and will reduce joint stress.
Size: Check the line capacity to make sure the reel you’re choosing is right for the weight of the line you intend to use. A heavier line will need a bigger sized reel. Spinning reels work better with lighter lines.
- Small Spinning Reels can vary from 2-10lb and are commonly used for fishing trout, bream, bass and whiting.
- Medium Spinning Reels can vary from 8-14lb and are commonly used for fishing snapper, morwong, tailor, cod and mulloway.
- Large Spinning Reels can vary from 10-25lb are commonly used for kingfish, salmon, snapper, cod, mackerel, morwong and mahi-mahi.
Price: There’s no avoiding the fact that you get what you pay for with spinning reels. A lot of popular spinning reels are priced $100-$200 but that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck if that’s beyond budget. You can find great spinning reels under $100 and even under $50. Check out our reviews to see what are our picks.
What Else You Need To Know About Spinning Reels
Most fishermen learn to fish on a spinning reel, so if you’re a beginner, don’t worry. Our buyer’s guide has given you a run-down on what you need to know before choosing a spinning reel of your own. If you want a few more details, here is what else you should know.
- A 6:1 gear ratio is considered high-speed reel a 5:1 gear ratio is considered medium and a 4:1 gear ratio is considered slow. A high or medium speed reel is your best bet but if you can afford two, then a high-speed and a low-speed reel would be beneficial as low-speed reels provide more torque for reeling in larger fish.
- Front drag systems generally offer more durability and better performance, while rear drag systems are easier to access, so they can be helpful when fighting fish.
- There are two basic spool types: skirted or internal. Internal spools were mostly used in older reels and have been almost entirely replaced by skirted spools. A long cast spool is a variation of the skirted spool that allows for less friction, providing increased casting distance.
- While most spinning reels will feature a switch that can turn on or off the anti-reverse handle, this feature is rarely turned on, if ever so finding a reel without any backward motion can be beneficial.
Why should you choose a Spinning Reel?
The major advantage when using a spinning reel is it’s ability to easily handle different fishing situations. You can get fish even during the toughest days when fishes are extra smart noticing your trap. You can use light line & light weight lures when using a spinning reel.
Fisherman commonly use spinning reels for live bait. It is most used for bass fishing, panfish and many other in the 6-10 pound range for freshwater.
Continue reading to find out our best list of spinning reels worth the money in 2017.
Top 3 Best Spinning Reels for Under $100 Compared
Top 7 Best Spinning Reels for Under $100 Reviewed
The Pflueger President Spinning Reel is a quality reel that offers high-performance smoothness all around for a price you can’t help but love.
-Construction: The Pflueger President is constructed of high-quality components in an attractive blue finish. The body and rotor are made from lightweight graphite, while the handle is constructed from aircraft grade aluminum. The result is a solid, durably-constructed body that will last a long time.
-Casting: The President’s spool is designed ready for braid, which allows it to be tied directly to the spool. The 9 ball bearings are made from corrosion resistant stainless steel and provide the Pluefer President fantastic support and excellent smoothness you can’t beat.
-Fishing: Casual and serious anglers alike will love fishing with the President spinning reel. The stainless steel and oil felt drag give a consistent drag pressure that is strong even in the smallest 4lb size. There are a few choices to choose from with the maximum size 10lbs.
Find out more by reading our Pflueger President Review.
The Penn Battle II Spinning Reel is the highest priced spinning reel on our list but don’t let that deter you. This heavy-duty spinning reel offers Penn’s HT-100 Versa-Drag washers, providing fantastic range and smoothness.
-Construction: The Penn Battle II Spinning Reel looks striking with its solid black finish with gold rings. Inside, you’ll find a non-corrosive full metal body, side plate and rotor. There is very little plastic to be found in the Battle II. The gearing is simple but well designed and made. The handle is lightweight and ergonomic and is ambidextrous as you can install the crank either side.
-Casting: The Penn Battle II Spinning Reel has a superline spool that needs no backing because of the rubber basket that keeps the superline from slipping. 5 sealed stainless steel bearings provide the Battle II with great stability and support.
-Fishing: Penn’s HT-100 Versa Drag washers offer silky smooth drag that makes it a favorite among anglers. Both sides of each drag can be used thanks to the washers that are keyed into the spool. So you get more range and smoother start-ups and higher max drags than many other reels at this price point. You’ve 8 sizes to choose from with the 8000 the maximum available.
Find out more by reading our Penn Battle Review.
Abu Garcia Orra S Spinning Reel
The Abu Garcia Orra S Spinning Reel is a sleek spinning reel offering high performance in a compact package.
-Construction: The sleek stainless steel, grey and red design of the Abu Garcia Orra S Spinning reel isn’t just beautiful to look at, it’s impressively built too. The aluminum reinforced carbon body is lightweight to minimize fatigue and arm strain and the gears are perfectly aligned in the X-Craftic gearbox. The 5.8:1 gear ratio offers medium speed that is perfect if you want to choose just one reel. The stainless steel and carbon construction provide great durability that is intended to last.
-Casting: This lightweight spinning reel still packs a punch with excellent balance and surprising power when casting. The machined aluminum spool is braid ready and allows the braid to be tied to the spool directly without slipping. The Abu Garcia Orra S Spinning Reel combines 6 stainless steel bearing with 1 roller bearing to improve corrosion resistance and provide greater durability and control.
-Fishing: The Abu Garcia Orra S has a carbon matrix hybrid system, designed to offer super smooth drag performance. The maximum line capacity offered is 8lbs, ideal if smallmouth bass and walleye are your usual quarry.
Find out more by reading our Top 7 Spinning Reels Under $100.
Okuma Trio High-Speed Spinning Reel, Black/Orange
With the Okuma Trio High-Speed Spinning Reel, you’ll get an aggressive design, high-speed gear ratio and Okuma’s revolutionary construction.
-Construction: The Okuma Trio High-Speed Spinning Reel boasts it’s revolutionary Crossover Construction Platform, which contains a crossover aluminum and graphite hybrid body and rotor. The pairing of a lightweight graphite side plates with a solid aluminum stern and rotor arm provide excellent strength but save on weight where possible. Accompanying the Crossover Construction Platform is the Trio High-Speed that features a 6:1 gear ratio, fast enough to pick up 11 inches more line per handle than standard speed reels.
-Casting: The Okuma Trio High-Speed Spinning Reel provides smooth action and great balance, thanks to the 9 ball bearings and 1 roller bearing of stainless steel construction. The hybrid graphite arbor and aluminum lip spool design offers excellent strength and rigidity under pressure, useful for that fight against the fish which almost got away.
-Fishing: The high-speed retrieval is definitely one of the best things about fishing with the Okuma Trio High-Speed Spinning Reel. Retrieval is quick, smooth and eases to reel in with the roller handle. The 6:1 gear ratio is certainly as fast as it claims and at this price point, it’s hard to find a spinning reel with a stronger drag. This means you can enjoy catching small and medium sized fish for a very long time with this but also can handle those 20 and 30 pounders when you need it to.
KastKing Orcas II All Metal Spinning Reel
Designed to be compact and lightweight, the KastKing Orcas II All Metal Spinning Reel has a high strength to weight ratio. Named after the Orca, one of the most powerful saltwater predators in the world, this spinning reel is designed to withstand fishing under even extreme conditions.
-Construction: The striking black and red finish encase a lightweight, yet sturdy solid aluminum alloy body and rotor. The special lightweight aluminum alloy is much stronger than a graphite reel, yet remaining easy enough to carry around without wrist or arm strain. The stainless steel shaft prevents rusting, while adding strength and power. The lightweight handle is also made from CNC machined aluminum. The brass gears are medium speed at 5.2:1 gear ratio, ideal for most of your needs and the precision machining ensures they fit together perfectly.
-Casting: The line-lay spool and power casting lip of the KastKing Orcas II allows the line a smoother flow off for farther, more accurate casts. The 10 stainless steel ball bearings and 1 roller bearing provide an exceptionally smooth ride
-Fishing: The KastKing Orcas II spinning reel is perfect for saltwater and freshwater fishing. It’s definitely a strong, solid reel that feels sturdy but light enough not to cause issues when you want a long day fishing. It has a powerful front drag system with a frame that can support it. The Triple Disc Carbon Fiber drag system is incredibly powerful for a reel of this price point and this new 2016 version has increased drag even in it’s lighter 2000 and 3000 models.
Shimano Sedona Spinning Reel
Shimano reels have always been a popular choice among anglers and the Shimano Sedona Spinning Reel is no different. This new improved Sedona has an increased line capacity in a more compact size with a Power Roller II and Propulsion Line Management that packs a powerful punch.
-Construction: The Shimano Sedona is designed to take a beating and still come back for more. With a durable, lightweight design that features the tough M-Compact Body of other Shimano reels at an affordable price tag. The M-Compact Body utilizes XGT7 composite material to lighten the weight, while still providing a rigid foundation. There’s very little plastic to be found here, with quality materials reigning supreme. The 5:1 gear ratio will give you medium speeds that will serve you well in saltwater and freshwater.
-Casting: The Shimano Sedona uses a Propulsion Line Management System to provide longer casting distances that sets it apart from others in this price range. It also prevents backlashes and wind knots from forming for a smoother performance. The Super Stopper II anti-reverse eliminates back play, while the Dyna-Balance Technology provides excellent balance by eliminating wobble during retrieve. This leaves the Sedona incredibly smooth and sensitive. The 3 ball bearings and 1 roller bearing are shielded to reduce the chances of sand and salt interfering with the rotation, making this spinning reel equally great for saltwater and freshwater angling.
-Fishing: Fishing with the Shimano Sedona will delight both casual and serious anglers with it’s super smooth drag from 1000 to 4000 size models. So light that you could fish all day without fatigue, the Sedona’s 5:1 offers fast retrieval that you can utilize in both saltwater and freshwater.
The Shimano Sienna Fd Spinning Reel
The Shimano Sienna raises the bar for entry-level spinning reels by providing incredible performance at a price you can’t beat. This may be the lowest priced spinning reel on our list but don’t overlook it. It rivals some models twice and triple it’s price, proving that sometimes the best equipment isn’t always the most expensive.
-Construction: The Shimano Sienna spinning reel is made primarily from graphite, with a graphite frame, sideplate and rotor. The aluminum spool is the only non-graphite in this reel. This gives the Sienna fantastic strength, while maintaining a lightweight feature that is a definite bonus. The durable construction makes this a reel that will last many years, even at this price.
-Casting: The Shimano Sienna uses much the same technology as it’s cousin, the Sedona, including the Propulsion Line Management System, Super Stopper II and Dyna-Balance Technology. So you’ll get the same longer casts, reduced backlash, anti-reverse and excellent balance that can be enjoyed on the Sedona.
-Fishing: The key feature of the Sienna is the Power Roller, which is a feature of the front drag system. It cures the annoying problem of line twists with a special grooved design that keeps the line firmly on the spool, without allowing for any potential twists or loops. The Sienna offers a drag power range between 7 and 15lbs.