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Best Spinning Reels of 2021

Best Overall Choice
KastKing Sharky III Fishing Reel

KastKing Sharky III Fishing Reel

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Best Budget Choice
Sougayilang Spinning DK5000 Fishing Reel

Sougayilang Spinning DK5000 Fishing Reel with Left/Right Collapsible Wood Handle

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Best Premium Choice
Dr. Fish Saltwater Spinning Reel for Surf Fishing 10000

Dr. Fish Saltwater Spinning Reel for Surf Fishing 10000/12000

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Kyle W by Kyle W Updated on January 19, 2021. In Fishing

Fishing is a wonderful hobby that everyone can enjoy! Even if you know the perfect time to fish, you cannot catch anything if your equipment is not up to par. One of the most crucial parts of your fishing equipment is the reel. Without the best spinning reel, your chances of catching a fish are mediocre. You need to get the good stuff and upgrade your reel to what is best and most reliable.

Since there are many spinning reels available on the market today, which one will you choose? This product review will help you determine what brands and models are the best. Getting yourself a trusted spinning reel that will not hurt your budget is important so that you can have a wonderful and fun fishing experience.

Best Spinning Reels on the Market

1. Penn Battle II Spinning Fishing Reel

Penn Battle II Spinning Fishing Reel

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Penn’s fishing reel is the ultimate fishing reel that people who love fishing should have. This is primarily used for big saltwater game fishing because it has a wide range that can cover wider areas and is durable enough to withstand large catches. However, it is also a great choice for freshwater fishing! It has a full metal body and is very easy to maintain. It is further equipped with HT 100 carbon fiber drag system that allows you to experience a powerful drag smoothly.

We consider it the finest and best spinning reel because it has an instant anti-reverse mechanism that removes the back play on the rotor whenever you set the hook. There are five stainless steel sealed ball bearings on this reel too! It makes drag and retrieval easier as it prevents the reel from being corroded by saltwater.

Compared to the first version of this reel, Battle II has an additional line capacity ring to let you know how much line you have used and how much is left on the spool. This is a very important feature as it can impact your casting. Moreover, there is a rubber inlay on the spool itself. You can load braided lines even without the help of mono since the rubber inlay will hold on to the braided line and guarantees that there will be no slippage.

Pros

• Durable
• Great for both saltwater and freshwater fishing
• HT 100 carbon fiber drag system
• Anti-reverse system
• High-quality paint
• Addition of line capacity rings
• Stainless steel 5 sealed ball bearings
• High-quality and very solid

Cons

• Heavy to use
• May loosen up after use

Best Overall Choice

2. KastKing Sharky III Fishing Reel

KastKing Sharky III Fishing Reel

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Made from aluminum and with a stainless steel bearing, this 3rd generation Sharky fishing reel from KastKing is a good choice for those who want to get quality and a good price in one. KastKing is one of the leading brands in manufacturing the best spinning reel, and Sharky III is one of their many best so far.

What we truly like about this best spinning reel is the K.I.S.S. Yes, it’s a KISS that can make your fishing experience a better one. It stands for KastKing Intrusion Shield System that protects the spool, rotor, and body from water and dirt. This system enhances your reel’s durability and longevity as you can be assured that it is protected from harsh elements.

It also has Shark Fin Brain Ready spool made from aluminum that allows you to spool braided fishing lines without any back lines and extra tools. The body and rotor are made from graphite so that the reel can be free from corrosion. Moreover, it has a trustworthy triple disc carbon fiber drag and mesh manganese brass pinion gears to boost your fishing power.

Pros

• More line capacity
• Instant lock anti-reverse
• Great for both saltwater and freshwater fishing
• KastKing Intrusion Shield System (K.I.S.S.) for protection
• Anti-slip handle
• Super smooth retrieve
• Strong power
• Lightweight

Cons

• Line retrieval may become problematic at times
• Low bail

3. Piscifun Flame Spinning Reel

Piscifun Flame Spinning Reel

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If aesthetics are important for a spinning reel, then we recommend this Piscifun Flame spinning reel. Its matte black body combined with red aluminum spool offers a cool and modern vibe to your fishing gear. It is relatively lightweight, which makes casting and transport easier – thanks to its narrow and hollow graphite body and its light reel gears.

With nine ball bearings and one rolling bearing, you can be assured of a high-quality performance from this best spinning reel. It can drag up to 19.8 lbs with its triple drag washers that provide the smoothest drag operation with reduced line break! The drag showcases how powerful this spinning reel is despite it being lightweight. It further has a good line lay that spools the line evenly for you.

It also comes with four different series: 2000, 3000, 4000, and 5000. These series are important because it determines compatibility with water. For freshwater fishing, the 2000 and 3000 series are recommended. Whereas the 4000 and 5000 series are best used for saltwater fishing.

Pros

• Brass pinion gear
• Triple drag washers
• Ultra-lightweight
• Aesthetically good
• Braid-ready spool
• High-quality ball bearings
• Anti-corrosion zinc drive gear

Cons

• Casting distance may be limited
• Bail size may be too big for those with small hands

4. PLUSINNO GE3000 Spinning Reel

PLUSINNO GE3000 Spinning Reel

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PLUSINNO may be an unknown brand, but it doesn’t mean that it offers less functionality. Cheaper compared to others on this list, this is the best spinning reel choice for those who are on a budget but still want to cast and retrieve with ease.

With an exemplary drag and brake system, you will have a balanced and smooth fishing experience. This spinning reel is equipped with nine high-quality ball bearings and one anti-reverse bearing that enhances the drag and brake system. It is powerful enough to have 19.8 lbs of catch. Moreover, the drive gear and the hard metal main shaft add extra strength so that you get what you catch without it getting away.

This spinning reel is also lightweight and compact, an added bonus for fishing enthusiasts – all thanks to its graphite make-up and light CNC aluminum spool. It also has a rubberized center band insert that allows you to say goodbye to mono linebacking. You can fill the reel with braided lines without worrying so much about slippage.

Pros

• Stylish and chic with matte black body and gold layering
• Braid line-ready spool
• Lightweight and durable
• Power up to 19.8 lbs
• 9 + 1 ball bearings
• Corrosion-resistant
• Anti-twist line roller
• Non-slip handle

Cons

• Reel is small
• Bail does not stay open to allow proper casting

5. Cadence Elate Spinning Reel

Cadence Elate Spinning Reel

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Available in different sizes, the Elate Spinning Reel from Cadence is a wonderful choice for those who are seeking reliable and smooth performance. While most have 9 + 1 bearings, this spinning reel has a 10 + 1 ball bearing system, ensuring that your drag and retrieval process is relatively smooth. The carbon rotor is light and rigid, while the aluminum spool is braid-ready, allowing you to tie the braid without any backing.

You’ll also get a stainless steel and corrosion-resistant shaft to ensure your spinning reel’s durability and longevity. To top it all, it has a die-cast aluminum handle. The handle adds more strength to your reel power so that you can have a pleasurable fishing experience. Meanwhile, the carbon fiber drag system can generate a maximum drag of up to 20lbs! That’s one of the most powerful drags you can ever get.

Moreover, it is available in different sizes from 1000 to 4000. All sizes have left and right retrieval, which makes it easier and simpler to retrieve. So if you want one trustworthy spinning reel, this is one of the reels we highly recommend.

Pros

• Carbon and felt drag system
• Braid-ready aluminum spool
• Carbon rotor
• Lightweight and reliable
• Powerful performance
• Available in different sizes
• Perfect for game fish

Cons

• None so far

6. Pflueger PREXSTSP30X President XT Spinning Reel

Pflueger PREXSTSP30X President XT Spinning Reel

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Ambidextrous people take joy in this spinning reel with hand orientation intended for both left and right-handed individuals. While most reels are only good for right-handed people, this best spinning reel can be used by people who are left-handed too!

The main shaft is made from aluminum, which is significantly lighter than stainless steel by 30%. Meanwhile, the pinion gear is made from aluminum and weighs less than the traditional brass gear by 60%. The aluminum component of President XT makes the reel extra lightweight to use.

In addition to its lighter weight is its speed. The reels are ultra-fast because of the high-speed gear ratio used. It also has a braid-ready spool and a sealed drag system. The sealed drag system ensures that dust, saltwater, and sand will be ruled out, enhancing a smooth and reliable drag.

The spinning reel is specifically designed for light baits and can be used for most fishing techniques. Moreover, the handle is made from carbon fiber, and there is also a rubber cork knob. This offers a non-slip grip so that you can get a tight hold of your reel when needed for catching.

Pros

• Instant anti-reverse
• Braid-ready spool
• Sealed drag system for smooth drag and reel longevity
• Lightweight
• Aluminum main shaft and pinion gear
• Ultra-fast

Cons

• Maximum drag is only 10 lbs
• No braking system

7. RUNCL Spinning Fishing Reel Merced

RUNCL Spinning Fishing Reel Merced

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Once you find a fish to catch with the help of a fish finder, the next thing you need to have is a reliable fishing rod and reel. RUNCL’s spinning reel is made from a combination of nylon, aluminum, and stainless steel materials. Sizes available range from 2000 to 5000, giving you a wide selection of reels to choose from. It guarantees a highly efficient and smooth operation as it features high precision corrosion resistant ball bearings. The pinion gears made of solid zinc alloy also boast no clearance transmission system.

Moreover, the multi-disc drag system gives you a smooth and even performance that everyone can enjoy. The spool is braid-ready, and you do not have to worry about attaching monofilament backing anymore. It also has exemplary Computer Numerical Control (CNC) line management. This paves the way for an unfailing and reliable line lay that gives accurate casts. Most of the top-level reels today are made through CNC machines. You get the same function as a high-end reel brand for a fraction of the cost with RUNCL’s Merced.

The hollow out design is also an important feature to note. It makes your reel look chic and practically reduces the weight of the spinning reel while maintaining its strength and sturdiness.

Pros

• High precision corrosion resistant
• Durable stainless steel main shaft
• Strong brass drivetrain
• Sealed multi-disc drag system
• Braid-ready spool
• CNC-line management
• Stylish design
• Affordable
• Great for all ages
• Available in different sizes

Cons

• Reel may seize up

Best Budget Choice

8. Sougayilang Spinning DK5000 Fishing Reel with Left/Right Collapsible Wood Handle

Sougayilang Spinning DK5000 Fishing Reel

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For those on a tight budget, this Sougayilang spinning reel is the perfect fit. It is the most affordable reel on our list of the best spinning reel. But what it lacks in price, it compensates for functionality. Yes! You get something great for a cheap price!

Special features of this reasonably priced fishing reel include a CNC aluminum spool with great tensile gear and can accommodate more fishing lines. The dynamic rotor also has an advanced drag system that presents a strong stopping power. The carbon drag system enhances the smoothness of the drag and reduces breaks on the fishing line. Ball bearings are also corrosion-resistant to ensure that your reel is durable and has a longer lifespan.

The gears, which include the mesh drive and the pinion, are of premium quality. This will help you win over the fish fighting. Moreover, it is available in many different sizes for your fishing needs. You can choose among the following size series: 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000, and 6000.

These wide ranges of sizes see to it that you can fish wherever you are, from small spaces like ponds and streams to vast areas such as lakes and oceans. Getting this wonderful spinning reel from Sougayilang is truly a great choice, especially when you consider not spending too much to get it.

Pros

• Can be cast further
• Wood handle is collapsible
• Good line winding
• Metal line spool
• Dynamic rotor
• Exceptional line oscillation system
• Great choice for both right and left-handed people
• Very affordable
• Drag system is exemplary
• Strong stopping power

Cons

• Line bailer may wobble and get loose

Best Premium Choice

9. Dr. Fish Saltwater Spinning Reel for Surf Fishing 10000/12000

Dr. Fish Saltwater Spinning Reel for Surf Fishing 10000

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For those on a tight budget, this Sougayilang spinning reel is the perfect fit. It is the most affordable reel on our list of the best spinning reel. But what it lacks in price, it compensates for functionality. Yes! You get something great for a cheap price!

Special features of this reasonably priced fishing reel include a CNC aluminum spool with great tensile gear and can accommodate more fishing lines. The dynamic rotor also has an advanced drag system that presents a strong stopping power. The carbon drag system enhances the smoothness of the drag and reduces breaks on the fishing line. Ball bearings are also corrosion-resistant to ensure that your reel is durable and has a longer lifespan.

The gears, which include the mesh drive and the pinion, are of premium quality. This will help you win over the fish fighting. Moreover, it is available in many different sizes for your fishing needs. You can choose among the following size series: 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000, and 6000.

These wide ranges of sizes see to it that you can fish wherever you are, from small spaces like ponds and streams to vast areas such as lakes and oceans. Getting this wonderful spinning reel from Sougayilang is truly a great choice, especially when you consider not spending too much to get it.

Pros

• Great for surf fishing
• Maximum drag capacity is high
• Improved CNC aluminum handle
• Can withstand tough fights against big fishes
• Smooth and easy retrieval system
• Works well with heavy lines
• Casting distance is increased

Cons

• Heavy
• Bulky

10. Daiwa BG Saltwater Spinning Reel

Daiwa BG Saltwater Spinning Reel

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Daiwa is one of the trusted brands for reels. The BG Saltwater Spinning Reel is an excellent choice if you are looking for a sturdy and smooth reel with the right amount of drag. What we like about Daiwa’s BG reel is the fact that it is very easy to maintain and has a durable anodized body. It can withstand harsh elements better than aluminum.

It also features Daiwa’s Digigear System, which are oversized gears for smoother retrieval. It also lessens the stress on the gears, thus, increasing its lifespan and durability. The reel has an air rotor that is 15% lighter than traditional rotors from other fishing reel brands. Meanwhile, there are seven anti-rust bearings in total. Unfortunately, these bearings are not waterproof.

Moreover, the 1500 to 4000 series all have infinite anti-reverse systems, while the 4500 series and up have infinite dual anti-reverse systems. The solid screw-in handle is also a great feature since it feels very firm when you crank it as opposed to the regular handle designs of other reels. The bail also has a larger roll and pick-up to reduce line twisting and looping. The bail opens and locks easily too. This helps your fishing experience be more comfortable and successful.

Pros

• Braid-ready spool
• Carbon ATD Drag System
• Oversized gears for smooth retrieval
• Sturdy body
• Air rotor for more equilibrium
• Anti-reverse system is exemplary on all models

Cons

• Not waterproof except for the ATD drag system

How is a Spinning Reel Different from Other Fishing Reels?

If you are new to fishing, you might wonder about the different fishing paraphernalia you need to familiarize yourself with. One of the things you need to understand is that there are several types of fishing reels. The spinning reel is just one of the many types. Many people opt to use a spinning reel, however, because it is fairly easy to use. It is the most versatile among all fishing reels. It also gives you a chance at longer casting.

The spinning reel works by using a bail guide system. This system has a bail that holds the line and wraps it on the spool during retrieval. As you flip the bail across, it will release the line resulting in it falling freely from the spool. The spool does not spin during this process. Casting is made easy and effortless.

Spinning reels have adjustable drag, which is great for drift fishing. Its practicality and accuracy are also factors that many anglers like. But the one downside of a spinning reel is that most models of this reel type are not made for heavier lines.

What are the Different Spinning Reel Sizes?

To ensure that you get a catch, you need to get the best spinning reel with the right size. Most spinning reels nowadays have numbers in thousands. However, there are also those in just double figures or hundreds. For example, reels with sizes of 10, 100, and 1000 are just the same size.

  • 1000 to 3500 spinning reels for lightweight rod and small fishes
  • 4000 to 5000 spinning reels for snapper or barramundi rods
  • 6000 and higher spinning reels are large reels intended for different rod sizes and are typically used for heavy-weight fishing rods

Reel sizes are also important considerations, especially when you want to try different fishing techniques or if you want to target specific species of fish. Small-sized spinning reels are great for fishing tactics like jigging, spinning, and drop shotting. They are also the perfect size reels for perch and small wild brown trout.

On the other hand, bigger sizes are the go-to reels for fish like salmon, pike, medium to large size trout, and even barracuda. Reels with bigger sizes allow you to easily maneuver as it gives you more cranking power to ensure that you catch the fish. It also has a stronger drag system that can carry on large weights.

How to Choose the Best Spinning Reel

Just because a friend highly recommends it, or it has great reviews doesn’t mean that it’s the perfect spinning reel for you. Choosing the best spinning well may be tricky, especially for beginner anglers. You need a dependable reel to avoid common reel problems that can hamper your experience.

Here are the major factors that you need to take into consideration before selecting the spinning reel you need to buy:

Braid-Readiness

Some reels are not braid ready. This can be an issue if you are using a braided line. You need to use a mono backer if the spool of your reel isn’t braid-ready yet. To save time and effort, look for the best spinning reel with braid-ready spools.

Consider Line Capacity

Line capacity is an important factor since it determines the weight of what you can catch. Spinning reels can manage different line weights from the lowest to the heaviest lines. You can see the line capacity of the reel spool on the tag. Make sure that you match the line capacity with your rod’s capabilities too. You also need to match your reel with the species of fish you want to catch.

Match the Rod

Make sure that you match your reel to your rod. Using mismatched combinations will only result in ineffective fishing. Rods are made to conform to different line weights. Make sure that the reel size you will buy is intended for the rod you have.

Drag Pressure

There are two categories of drag in a spinning reel: front and rear. Front drags are more useful when you want to catch bigger fish. Front drags have a more effective compressing power needed for large fish. Meanwhile, the rear drag is also advantageous in its own way. A rear drag is more manageable when you’re in the middle of fighting fish resistance. It is also very useful whenever you use light lines for simple situations.

Whether you choose a front or rear drag, make sure that what you’ve chosen can be easily adjusted. The best spinning reel should also have a smooth drag and can secure itself tightly once you adjust it.

Perfect Bail

Bail acts as the passageway of the line on the spool. As the bail engages, the line cannot move from the spool. When you cast, the bail disengages, and it frees the line from the spool. The bail mechanism can determine a successful casting. You have to make sure that you get a reel with a good bail system to not open and close at the wrong time. Also, get a reel with the correct bail size comfortable for your hand to move around.

Know the Gear Ratio

The gear ratio determines line retrieval and cranking power. The gear ratio is an important factor whenever you want to retrieve reels. Those with a ratio of 5.5:1 to 6.3:1 are great choices for fast retrieval. However, if you opt for more power cranks, those with lower gear ratios such as 4.1:1 are better choices.

You may wonder what the numbers are, right? The first numbers are the number of times the spool turns every time you crank the reel handle to understand it better. So for a reel with a ratio of 5.5:1, it means that the spool will turn 5.5 times for every crank that you do on the reel’s handle. The gear ratio determines speed vs power. If you want more speed, go for those with a higher gear ratio. Meanwhile, if you aim for power, the lower gear ratio is better.

Target the Fish

Just because you have a reel doesn’t mean it works for all fish species. You do not fish aimlessly without knowing the species you want to catch and the bait to use. This is because different species require different amounts and sizes of lines too. Whatever fish you want to catch, make sure that you are using a reel to hold enough line for it. Large freshwater fishes may require the best spinning reel to hold a line capacity enough to allow long runs. Moreover, the reel’s drag system is also different depending on the species of fish you are targeting.

High-Quality Bearings

Bearings are crucial factors in effective fishing. The bearings in a reel determine how smooth the retrieval is. Also, fishes do not like noise and vibration. Suppose you have a low-quality reel with ineffective and poorly-made bearings, noise, and vibration increase, resulting in not catching anything at all. Moreover, look at the materials of the bearings and its features. Make sure that you purchase a reel with anti-rust and anti-corrosion bearings. This will ensure the longevity of your reel and smoother retrievals.

Material Made-Up

Materials used in creating the best spinning reel are different from each manufacturer. Some use all metal materials, while some make use of alloys. Though metal materials are the most durable ones, they are not as lightweight as the reels made from alloys.

Freshwater vs Saltwater

Just because they are both water bodies does not mean you can use the same reel. Saltwater has a tougher environment and harsher elements compared to freshwater. Thus, you need a stronger and top-quality reel here. This is where rust and corrosion-resistant bearings come in useful. Before getting your best spinning reel, make sure you know your fishing area well.

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