Saltwater fishing is fun and thrilling because you never know what the sea has in store for you. If you manage to land on a big fish, then your fishing reel will determine whether you will be able to catch the fish or not. When buying a saltwater fishing reel, you have to ensure that the reel has a smooth and stable drag system, or else it will become difficult for you to catch the larger, faster, and stronger fish. A good quality saltwater spinning reel for under $100, won’t let you down and will ensure that your target won’t swim away.
So, if you are serious about saltwater fishing and looking for a spinning reel at a reasonable price of $100 or less, then you have landed in the right place. In this post, we will take you through a comprehensive list of the best saltwater spinning reels for under $100. But before we start the list, let’s take a quick look at some of the factors that you will need to consider when buying a saltwater spinning reel.
Things to Consider While Buying Saltwater Spinning Reels
Saltwater contains many different types of big and powerful fish. So, if you want a better catch, then you have to ensure that your reel is compact enough to take on the challenge. If you are planning to buy the best saltwater spinning reels under $100, then you should consider the following factors.
#1 Body Types
The body of the reel, which is also known as the housing, can be made of aluminum, graphite, or with a combination of both. It is essential to understand that aluminum housing is more durable and stronger than graphite. Due to this reason, it can easily stand the corrosiveness of the harsh environment.
On the other hand, when it comes to graphite, it is not so durable or strong compared to aluminum. But it is lighter, and it will make fishing more enjoyable for you. So finally, it is fair to conclude that both types of housing have their unique pros and cons. According to your preference, you can pick any one of them that you like. If you want such a reel that can stand the harshness of the inshore & offshore environment, and the weight of the reel is not a big issue for you, then you can confidently opt for aluminum housing.
However, if you are looking for a lightweight reel, then you should stick with graphite housing. You can also pick a combination reel that contains both the features of aluminum and graphite.
#2 Drag System
The drag system of a spinning reel is one of the most important factors that you need to consider when buying a spinning reel. The drag of your wheel is responsible for applying pressure to a fish that you has been hooked. In addition, it also lets out the line and helps you to win the fight against a powerful fish. If your saltwater spinning reel doesn’t feature a high-quality drag, then you will risk breaking the line and losing the fish. So, if you are planning to buy a saltwater spinning reel that could help you to fight against large and powerful fish, then you have to ensure that it is equipped with a high-quality drag system.
The drag system of a reel can be categorized into different types – rear and front drag. It refers to the location of the drag controller. Front-drag, in general, features large drag washers and increases the performance of the anglers. So, it is not difficult to understand that the front-drag system should be your first preference for catching inshore or offshore fish. However, if you are confident about your fishing skills, then you can also opt for a rear-drag system. In fact, many anglers prefer fishing with a rear-drag system. So, according to your preference, you can pick any type of drag system that you’d like. But if you are a beginner, then we would recommend that you start with the front-drag system.
#3 Reel Gear Ratio
This is another crucial factor that you need to check when buying the best saltwater spinning reels for under $100. Gear ratio denotes the number of times that the bail rotates around the spool. Let’s simplify the concept of gear ratio with a simple example. Let’s suppose you buy such a reel that has a gear ratio of 4:1. It means that the bail of the reel rotates around the spool for four times on every single turn.
If you want to catch large and powerful inshore and offshore fish, then you have to opt for such a reel that has more than 4:1 gear ratio. A reel with 4:1 gear ratio is considered a slow-spinning reel. Due to this reason, it will make catching large fish a difficult job for you. So, opt for such a reel that has a gear ratio of at least 5:1. It will probably be even better if you buy such a reel that has 6:1 gear ratio.
#4 Ball Bearings
Spinning reels also feature ball bearings that provide stability, smoothness, and support. Many premium spinning reels also feature a roller bearing within the roller line. In general, it is fair to conclude that the higher the number of bearings that a reel contains, the smoother the reel will perform. Due to this reason, we always recommend anglers to opt for such a reel that includes the maximum number of ball bearings while still costing under $100. A higher number of ball bearings will make your fishing experience smoother and allow you to catch powerful, strong fish in a hassle-free way.
Choosing the size of the reel is not a difficult job, but you have to do it correctly. While selecting the right size of the reel, you have to determine the size of your fishing line. If you want to use a lighter line, then you will need a smaller reel and vice versa.
Top 10 Saltwater Spinning Reels Under $100
In this section, we will reveal the 10 best saltwater spinning reels that come under $100. But before we start our list, here’s a quick round-up of our top 5 picks.
|Reels||Material||Gear Ratio||Bearings||Corrosion Resistance||Our Overall Rating|
|Penn Battle II Spinning Fishing Reel||Full metal body, side plate, and rotor||5.2:1 – 6.2:1||6||9.7/10||9.8/10|
|Okuma Azores Saltwater Spinning Reel||Highest quality material||5.8:1||7 (6HPB + 1RB)||9.5/10||9.3/10|
|SHIMANO NASCI Compact Spinning Reel||High-quality materials like magnesium and also incorporates carbon fiber in the handle||5.0:1||5 (4 shielded stainless steel bearings & 1 roller bearing)||9.1/10||9.2/10|
|Okuma Inspira Carbon Frame Lightweight Spinning Reel||Highest quality material||5.0:1||9 (8BB+1RB)||8.8/10||8.7/10|
|Daiwa BG Saltwater Spinning Reel||Aluminum housing||5.6:1||7 (6BB+1RB)||8.6/10||8.5/10|
1. Penn Battle II Spinning Fishing Reel
This is an excellent saltwater fishing reel that is made of full metal. Due to this reason, the product is known for its durability. The compact design of this reel allows the product to withstand the corrosiveness of the saltwater. This reel has a total of 7 versions, and 3 of them are available under $100. These 3 models are BTLII1000, BTLII2000, and BTLII2500.
The gear ratio of BTLII1000 is 5.2:1, and its maximum drag capacity is 9 lbs. On the other hand, when it comes to BTLII2000, its maximum drag capacity is 10 lbs. and it features 6.2:1 gear ratio. The maximum drag capacity of BTLII2500 is 12lb, and its gear ratio is 6.2:1. All these models perform excellent in saltwater fishing conditions, and each of them features 6 bearings. So, overall it is fair to conclude that if you opt for any of these reels, then your fishing experience will be a smoother one. Their astonishing gear ratio will improve your fishing performance and empower you to catch those big fish.
So, if you are looking for one of the best saltwater fishing reels that comes under a $100 price tag, then Penn Battle II can be your best pick. Its heavy-duty aluminum bail wire, extreme line capacity, and super line spool give this reel a premium feel. This product also features an instant anti-reverse bearing, which will take your fishing performance to the next level. So finally, we would say that in our opinion, Penn Battle II’s 3 models – BTLII1000, BTLII2000, and BTLII2500 are our top picks that you can choose under $100.
2. Okuma Azores Saltwater Spinning Reel
This premium reel is made of high-quality material that makes this product suitable for saltwater fishing. This product has 5 different versions, but 2 of them are available under $100 – Z-40S and Z-55S. The gear ratio of both the version is 5.8:1, so they will surely improve your fishing efficiency. Both the models of Okuma Azores Saltwater Spinning Reel have 7 bearings. 6 among them are BB, and 1 is RB. All of these models are really liked and favorably well-reviewed by many fishermen.
The gear ratio and the number of bearings might be the same in both the models, but they are different in terms of weight, max drag pressure, line retrieve, braided line cap, and monoline cap. The weight of Z-40S is 12 oz. and its line retrieve is 34.8″. Its max drag pressure is 28 lbs. On the other hand, when it comes to Z-55S, it weighs around 18.6 oz. and its line retrieve is 39″. The max drag pressure of Z-55S is 29 lbs.
Both the model of Okuma Azores Saltwater Spinning Reel are high performers, but they have their own set of pros and cons. For example, the Z-40S is lighter than Z-55S, but its line retrieve, and max drag pressure is lower than Z-55S. According to your preference, you can pick any model you like and start your saltwater fishing adventure.
3. SHIMANO NASCI Compact Spinning Reel
This is another excellent saltwater spinning reel that is made of high quality of premium material such as magnesium. It also incorporates carbon fiber in the handle. Due to this reason, the reel doesn’t just provide solid performance but it is also lightweight. The product is available in many different versions, but few of its models come under $100. So, if you are looking for the best saltwater spinning reels under $100, then SHIMANO NASCI Compact Spinning Reel can be a good premium option.
The gear ratio of the reel is 5.0:1, and it has a total of 5 bearings. 4 among them are shielded stainless steel bearings and 1 roller bearing. The G free composite body of this product, its cold-forged handle, and thick bail wire are some of those premium features for which we have included this reel in the third position of this list.
4. Okuma Inspira Carbon Frame Lightweight Spinning Reel
This product is available in 3 different versions – ISX-20B, ISX-30B, and ISX-40B. All the models are available under $100, and their gear ratio is 5.0:1, which features 9 bearings. 8 among them are BB, and 1 is RB. So, one thing we can conclude from here that if you use this reel, then your efficiency and fishing smoothness will be really good, almost guaranteed.
The maximum drag speed of all the reels is the same, i.e. 13 lbs. However, there’s a difference in their weight, line retrieves, monoline cap, and braided line cap. The weight of ISX-20B is 6.5 oz. and its line retrieve is 22.6″. The weight of ISX-30B is 7.4 oz. and its line retrieve is 24.2″. On the other hand, when it comes to ISX-40B, it weighs around 9.1 oz. and its line retrieve is 29”.
All these models have their own pros and cons, and according to your preference, you can pick any model you like. But if you talk about the overall pros of this fishing reel, then its cyclonic flow technology, smooth drag, and lightweight come first in our mind. However, there are a few things that we didn’t like about this reel. For example, it is neither fully sealed nor braid ready. But if you are looking for a high performing saltwater fishing reel in this price range, then you can confidently opt for this product.
5. Daiwa BG Saltwater Spinning Reel
This product is made of high-quality aluminum, and due to this reason, Daiwa BG Saltwater Spinning Reel is known for its durability. The gear ratio of this reel is 5.6:1, and it has a total of 7 bearings. 6 among them are BB, and 1 is RB. The product features a solid screw-in handle, dynamic cut aluminum abs spool, and air rotor. These are the few things that give this reel a premium look & feel and also improves the fishing efficiency of the anglers.
The drag system of the reel is waterproof. This is the main reason that makes this reel a highly durable product. The reel also features an infinite anti-reverse and infinite dual anti-reverse system. I was new to Daiwa products when I first tried the reel and I was honestly really impressed. Hard to beat Daiwa when it comes to quality for a saltwater spinning reel at this price. So, if you are looking for the best saltwater spinning reels under $100, then Daiwa BG Saltwater Spinning Reel can be a good option.
6. Diwa Fishing Reels Spinning 8000 10000 14000 Series Spool Freshwater Saltwater Big-Game Surf Fishing
This is an astonishing fishing reel that is available in 3 different models, and all of them come under $100. It has a total of 13 stainless bearings. All of its bearings double shielded and saltwater rated. The bearing system of this reel isn’t just highly durable, but it will also improve your fishing experience.
The max drag of this reel is 70 lbs. So it is fair to conclude that if you use this reel, then you can easily catch large and powerful fish. The brand new design of this reel makes the product highly functional and gives it a superior look. The housing and the handle of the product are made of aluminum, and its hardware is made of stainless steel. So, it is not difficult to understand that the product can easily stand the corrosiveness of the saltwater.
Finally, we would conclude that all the models of Diwa Fishing Reel offer excellent features at affordable prices. So, if you are looking for a high-quality fishing reel that comes under $100, then you can confidently pick any of its models.
7. Okuma Avenger ABF Graphite Bait Feeder Reel
This is a classic saltwater spinning reel that comes under $100. The product has a total of 7 bearings, and 6 among them are regular ball bearings, and 1 is roller bearing. The line capacity of this reel is excellent – 10/290, and its weight is 16.3 ounces. So overall, it is fair to conclude that Okuma Avenger ABF Graphite Bait Feeder Reel is a lightweight product, and you can confidently use it for saltwater fishing.
There’s one thing we didn’t like about this feature-rich reel, its gear ratio. We always recommend anglers to opt for such a reel, which is equipped with at least 5:1 gear ratio. But unfortunately, the gear ratio of Okuma Avenger ABF Graphite Bait Feeder Reel is a bit lower, i.e., 4.5:1. So, we won’t recommend beginners to opt for this reel. However, if you are an experienced & skilled angler and looking for a classic reel which is available under the price tag of $100, then you can confidently opt for this product.
8. Diwa Spinning Fishing Reel
Anglers who are looking for a highly powerful fishing reel can consider this product. This product features 13 high-quality bearings that make the performance of this reel smoother. The maximum drag speed of this reel is excellent. It can easily handle up to 70 lbs. of fish smoothly. The reel doesn’t just perform precisely, but it also looks astonishing. It is available in two different colors – black & silver and both of them look like a premium reel.
The product also offers better line capacity than its competitors. So, if you want to go after large, fast, and powerful fish even then, you can consider using this reel. Finally, we will talk about its KCN intrusion shield system, which is hard to get in this price range. KCN has a unique protection system that makes this product water-resistant. Due to this reason, the product doesn’t just function smoothly, but it is also renowned for its durability.
9. Isafish Spinning Fishing Reel
This is the most budget-friendly reel listed in this post, but still, it is highly powerful and durable. The price-performance ratio of this reel is brilliant, and that’s the main reason for which the product has secured its place in our list.
The gear ratio of this reel is 4.7:1, which is quite good, and it features 12 shielded stainless steel ball bearings, which is excellent. The product is available in 5 different models, and all of them are renowned for their superb performance. So, anglers who are looking for a high-quality saltwater fishing reel at a low price can opt for Isafish Spinning Fishing Reel.
10. *BONUS* KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel (Not a Spinning Reel)
This bulletproof saltwater fishing reel has been reinforced with anodized aluminum side plates, precision-cut brass gears, industry-grade stainless steel worm gear, CNC machined spool, and stainless steel shaft. So, you might have already understood the fact that the manufacturer of this product, KastKing has ideally manufactured this reel so that it could stand the seawater environment. So, if you are looking for a highly durable saltwater fishing reel, then KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel can be your best pick.
The reel is super smooth to use because it features 7 ball bearings on Size 40 – 60 and 5 ball bearings on 70 – 90. The max drag of this reel is also excellent, and it can easily handle powerful big fish. So, finally, we would conclude that if you are looking for the best saltwater spinning reels under $100, then this product can be a good option.
Getting a great value out of your saltwater spinning reel means balancing its price against attributes like gear ratio, number of ball bearings, drag system, etc. Value pricing does not mean compromising the performance, built quality, and smoothness of the reel. All the saltwater spinning reels that we have mentioned above are high performing and robust. Most importantly, they come under an affordable price tag of $100. So, choose carefully and take your saltwater fishing efficiency & experience to the next level.