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The 12 Best Spinning Reels [2020 Buying Guide]

Fishing is undoubtedly the favorite pastime of every American. Thus, whether you are a new angler or a professional fisherman, you must have sound knowledge about the best spinning reels. In the world of fishing, you must have the correct gear. Spinning reels are an essential part of any fishing gear. Spinning reels can make or break the situation for you. It can make the difference between a great catch and watching your fish go away with your bait. You must know how to decide on the best reel.

Since there are multiple manufacturers, spinning reels comes in a variety of size, shape, power, features, and prices. Purchasing a new one or replacing an old one can be an insurmountable task for you. Spinning reels have to be selected based on the type of water you want fish in, the kind of fish you want to catch, and the budget that you have allocated.

If you are looking for some advice on the best spinning reels, then look no further. We have listed down the best spinning reels available in the market. We have also included a buyer’s guide to inform you about the factors that must consider before buying. Our list of the 12 best spinning reels and the buyer’s guide would help you navigate and select the best gear for yourself. It would surely make your fishing experience a smooth and memorable one.

Top 12 Best-Rated Spinning Reels

1. Pflueger President XT Spinning Reel

Stand-out features

  • Very light and durable
  • Sealed drag system
  • Rubber cork knobs 
  • 10 bearing system

The Pflueger President XT Spinning Reel is a perfect combination of affordability and effectiveness. It is lightweight, ultra-fast, and ensures long-lasting performance.

It comes with a 10-bearing system, reel size of 20, 7 ball bearing system, braid capacity of 180/4, aluminum shaft and gear, and sealed drag system. The sealed drag system provides high fish fighting power and keeps unwanted debris away.  Carbon (Graphite) goes into the making of the handles while rubber for the cork knob. The stainless-steel bearing system increases movements and reduces corrosion.

The aluminum shaft makes the reel almost 30% lighter than the stainless-steel ones. In contrast, the pinion gear makes it 60% lighter than the traditional brass ones. The reel allows a direct connection between the braid and the spool for long-lasting performance. The cork knobs are well designed and ensure that there is a minimum strain on your wrists. The spinning reel comes with only one spool; you must consider purchasing an extra for emergency purposes.

President XT comes in 5 variations depending on size. Select size 25 or smaller for pan or bass fishing while opting for a larger size for steelhead and trout fishing. The max drag, gear ratio, and weight vary with the size. 

Combining lightweight with finesse in design, the Pflueger President XT Spinning Reel delivers performance with durability.


2. Penn Battle II Spinning Fishing Reel

Stand-out features

  • Smooth drag system
  • Anti-reverse switch
  • Small in size and affordable in price 
  • Lightweight and non-corrosive, suitable for saltwater fishing

This reel prepares you for your battle against the big fishes in saltwater. It is very affordable, but that does not mean that the company has compromised with quality. The Penn Battle II comes with a full metal body, HT-100 carbon fiber washers, anti-reverse bearing, and durable design. 

The HT-100 drag washers provide a smooth experience even under a heavy load. Unlike other reels, it wouldn’t release the line and help you in catching the bigger fishes. The reel uses two-sided of the drag washers so that you can fight against the hard-pulling fishes. The anti-reverse bearing system eliminates any kind of pullback, ensuring a smooth reel. To ensure long-lasting performance, the drag washers equip themselves with a special kind of grease.

The body consists of aluminum and carbon. It makes the reel lightweight and durable. It prevents any kind of water intrusion and provides the perfect precision in catching fishes. Another outstanding feature is that the spool of this reel has a rubber gasket, which ensures durability even under high-pressure situations. The 5 stainless-steel bearings help to give longevity to the reel.

Indeed, it is one of the best budget reels in the market. It comes in eight varieties of gear ratios and reel sizes.


3. Shimano Stradic CI4+ Fishing Reel

Stand-out features

  • Dyna balance giving exceptional smoothness
  • Hagane body and gear
  • Anti-rust bearings 
  • High retrieve and casting performance

The Shimano Stradic CI4+ is a perfect combination of strength and precision. It consists of Shimano’s CI4+ material, which is 250% better in ruggedness than the old CI4 material. The frame and handle are made of graphite to reduce weight and increase durability. The handle has an EVA grip so that it never slips from your hands.

It uses the G-Free body of Shimano, which places the worm drive and oscillating panel closer to the reel body. The Magnum lite rotor ensures better rigidity and stability to the reel. The C14+ has the X-shipping gears, which gives 20% more power to your reels for the bigger fishes. The waterproof coating on the exterior prevents any water from entering the roller and clutch areas. 

The balanced rotor and Shimano’s propulsion system gives extraordinary smoothness and precision to your casting experience. Though this reel is mainly used for fishing in freshwaters, you can also use it for inshore bass fishing in the saltwater. Just remember to rinse and clean it with fresh water after you’re done fishing in the saltwater.


4. Daiwa BG Spinning Reel

Stand-out features

  • Much smoother than other competitors
  • Drag capacity of 17.6 lbs.
  • Provides stability and extra torque power
  • Dynamic Cut ABS Aluminum Spool
  • Dual Anti-Reverse system

Daiwa has put together the best material with its most exceptional quality into creating the BG Spinning Reel. It comes in every size you can think of, from 1500 to 8000, ideally suited for freshwater to saltwater fishing. With an anodized aluminum body, 7-ball bearing structure, anti-rust coating, and a carbon ATD drag mechanism, this is going to give you a seamless experience.

The aluminum body makes the reel lighter, helps to withstand all the scratches and bumps, and gives it longevity. The whole body feels strengthened while cranking due to the screw, which sets the handle in place. It is much more rigid as compared to most other reels in the market. It is because the stress is uniformly distributed all over the reel by an air rotor. The black and golden color gives it an impressive design to stand out from the crowd.  

There is an oversized Digi gear attached to the body, which provides extra torque and increases the lifetime of the reel. It comes with a 6+1 stainless-steel bearing system and an anti-reverse designation. It is going to be your best friend when you go for your next fishing adventure.


5. Penn Spinfisher V Spinning Reel

Stand-out features

  • Gasket seal to protect the reel
  • The drag is strong and sturdy (20 – 40 lbs.)
  • Techno balanced rotor
  • Anodized aluminum spool (super line) with line capacity rings

The Penn Spinfisher V Spinning Reel, with its anodized aluminum spool, instant reverse bearing, and a fantastic drag features, makes its low-price worth it. This is the most popular reel that I use on my boat.

The HT-100 Slammer drag gives it the power to withstand extreme range drag and still ensure smooth functionality. The full metal body makes it durable and long-lasting. You can drag it to the maximum without breaking the line since it comes with the latest drag knob. Besides, all the washers and bearings are well greased to ensure flawless performance. Precise and long-distance casting becomes comfortable with this reel, as it comes with a friction trip ramp. The 6 shielded ball bearings and anti-reverse system provide fluidity to each cranking. 

Depending on your needs, you can choose from many variations. The gear-ratio, ring capacity, and other specifications vary from model to model. It is one of the best spinning reels for saltwater and sandy places. It is watertight, durable, and provides extreme rigidity to withstand harsh conditions.


6. KastKing Kodiak Saltwater Spinning Reel

Stand-out features

  • High capacity and extreme drag up to 40 lbs.
  • It comes with a 10+1 ball bearing system rendering exceptional smoothness.
  • Waterproof and corrosion-resistant, ideally suited for saltwater

This reel is equipped with the anodized aluminum spool and rotor structure and is ready to join you to catch the bigger fishes. 

Corrosion-resistant drag and brass gears enable it to endure the saltwater and sandy environment. It has a thicker main body (up to 15% thicker than the competitors), which helps to withstand a drag of 40 lbs. The thick body, combined with the gears and carbon drag, gives it the power to catch the toughest fish. The exterior has a 10+1 ball bearing system, which gives excellent smoothness. In contrast, the interior has a waterproof matrix and drag washers. The corrosion-resistant drag and the stainless-steel bearings decrease the negative impacts of saltwater corrosion.

It has an EVA knob so that you can grip better, and both left and right-handed people can use it. The name comes from the Alaskan bears, which catches the salmon. It is so strong that it can pull out a jeep from mud. The high capacity and low gear ratio make it a beast of its kind. All the variations of this model are guaranteed to give your power and performance.


7. Abu Garcia Revo SX Spinning Reel 

Stand-out features

  • It is ultra-lightweight
  • Carbon-Matrix technology to withstand drag pressure
  • 9+1 shielded ball bearing system to ensure smooth operations
  • Adjustable brakes to prevent any kind of backlash

With a high gear ratio and lightweight material, this is indeed the James Bond of the fishing world. It combines quality with a sleek design to deliver exceptional performance. This reel is just 6.6 ounce in weight and has a drag capacity of 20 lbs. It is the perfect companion when you set sail for small to medium-sized fishes.

With an advanced gear system and computerized internal components, there is hardly any room for any glitches or errors. The carbon body and the sleek looking black and red design creates a unique overall construction. The frame is made from alloy steel, while are rotors are made of graphite, thereby ensuring corrosion resistance. 

It comes with an adjustable, magnetic brake, which makes it easy to operate, prevents backlash, and produces no sound when it is operational. The Carbon-Matrix technology in the washers helps it to endure enough pressure to catch the tough ones. It has 9 stainless-steal ball bearings with an additional rotor, which makes it smoother and freer. Each component is so well-designed that optimizes itself for giving you the best performance. It gives the reel a perfect balance between lightweight and durability.

If you are heading towards the freshwaters, then carry the Bond with you. It is ready to encounter any situation.


8. Okuma Avenger ABF Graphite Bait Feeder Spinning Reel

Stand-out features

  • Alternate on and off mode bait feeding mechanism
  • Cyclonic rotor flow for faster drying
  • Machine cut brass gear for precision
  • Corrosion-resistant body, frame, rotor, and side plates

Okuma has been delivering quality and precision for the last 31 years, and this is no exception. 

The Okuma Avenger ABF Graphite Bait Feeder Spinning Reel comes with the Okuma’s precision gearing system (Elliptical Gearing).  It is present to provide enhanced functionality, increased smoothness, and durability. This reel is for all-round fishing, from fishing in the rivers to angling in the sea waters. 

The rod is super smooth due to the 7-ball bearing structure and Japanese oil-felt washers. The spinning reel has a cyclonic rotor, auto trip bait feeding mechanisms, and a tight metal handle. The anti-reverse system provides solid hooksets while the rotor equalizing mechanism is providing precision and balance during cranking.

The reel is resistant to corrosion, so you can easily take it into the saltwater or seawater for fishing. Additionally, you get a 1-year warranty from Okuma for any breakage or damage. In case you have a large catch, and you want to tire them out, this is a perfect choice. The easy to use switch allows a free flow of the line.


9. Shimano Sienna Fe Spinning Reel

Stand-out features

  • Die-cast aluminum spool
  • Exceptional balance as the gear is closer to the rod
  • The Dyna balancer rotor gives super smooth rotations
  • Longer casting with reduced backlash

Equipped with the best fishing reel technology, the Shimano Sienna Fe Spinning Reel, stands out as an all-purpose spinning reel. If you are looking for value for money, then this is the most dependable reel. This reel has been a very popular choice for freshwater fishermen.

The primary modification from the other Shimano models is the M-compact body, which brings the rod and the gear closer to each other. This feature provides balance and stability to the whole reel. The new propulsion management system increases the length of the cast while preventing any kind of backlash or wind knots. The new Dyna balanced technology counterbalances the rotor. 

Moreover, it has an anti-reverse stopping mechanism that removes the repetitive back and plays movement. It is lightweight (7 ounces) and has a drag capacity of 9 lbs. This reel from Shimano is designed especially for freshwater fishing and is the best companions for newbies and infrequent anglers.


10. Piscifun Spinning Reel Lightweight Smooth Fishing Reel

Stand-out features

  • The exceptional fish stopping power of 26.5 lbs.
  • Butter smooth operations with the 11 ball bearings
  • Triple bearing supported brass pinion gear

This 10+1 bearing, lightweight spinning reel offers an incredible drag of 26.5 lbs. The matte black body with the red aluminum spool provides a unique design to this reel. 

The CNC based machined aluminum braid connects the braid to directly with the spool giving no room for any slips. The graphite body, frame, and rotor make it lightweight, but it does not sacrifice on strength, power, and durability. The powerful three carbon-fiber superior drag system equipped this reel with an incredible drag of 26.5 lbs. Thus, the reel becomes a perfect choice for both fresh and saltwater fishing.

It stands out with its 11 anti-corrosion; stainless-steel ball bearings and gears make it as smooth as butter. The reinforced alloy gear, stainless-steel body, and a boosted main shaft is responsible for giving it strength, smoothness, durability, and performance. The sealed rubber rings in the drag prevent corrosion and moisture from disrupting the operations. This feature makes the drag even smoother, and it shines more than its competitors.

The flat knobs (1000 – 3000) models are suited for freshwater fishing while the big knobs (4000 and 5000) models and best suited for big saltwater fishes.


11. Goture Metal Spool Fishing Spinning Reel

Stand-out features

  • Easy to operate (by even newbies and women)
  • Japanese washers (oil drag)
  • Powerful drag capacity with a lightweight body

Years of research and development have culminated together to bring you the most stylish looking spinning reel – the Goture Metal Spool Fishing Spinning Reel. You need not compromise functionality for design. This reel is light, durable, and easy to use. 

It comes with a multitask drag system, Japanese washers, 7 smooth bearings, and an excellent braking system. No one can now stop you from having a great fishing experience. The anti-reverse mechanism prevents entanglement and provides a longer throw. The outlet becomes smooth, reducing the chances of wear and tear, even if a novice handles it.

The superior dragging power and durability come from the precision gears (brass gears), metal shaft, and three-disc carbon washers. We know that this spinning reel is so easy to operate that even women and newbies can easily enjoy fishing.

The Spinning reel comes with an exceptionally balanced mechanism allowing to interchange the right and left handle. It combines high performance with a long-lasting life for a great fishing experience. Finally, it comes with a one-year warranty. Till that point, it’s the company’s headache – all you need to do is enjoy fishing.


12. Goswot 12BB Ball Bearing Fishing Spinning Reel

Stand-out features

  • Wooden handle with button
  • Line Oscillating system
  • 12-ball bearing system to provide exceptional smoothness

If you are on the lookout for an ultra-thin, streamlined body and durable spinning reel, then this must be on your list. The Goswot spinning reel comes with a lightweight design, incredible combinations, and easy to use features that anyone can use it. The 12-ball bearing system makes it so smooth that anyone can be a great fishing experience. No doubt, this is an all-round spinning reel at an incredible price.

The left and right arms can are interchangeable. Thus, you would not get tired and can keep fishing for long. It has a metal cup, an interchangeable rocker arm with a wooden handle. It is also one of the most comfortable configurable spinning reels in the market. The arm and handle are interchangeable with every model in this range.

The handle also comes with a button so that you can fold it anytime and anywhere. The plastic body is equipped with an additional base to increase the catch capacity. The lightweight body, delicate design, and smooth functionality keep it going under any circumstances.


Having gone through the list of the top 12 spinning reels, you are now well-versed with the different options available in the market. But this is not enough. To get the best experience, you must be aware of the different brands, the terminologies, components of a reel, and what are the features that you must check before purchasing a reel. We have provided a buyer’s guide for purchasing spinning reels in 2020. 

Let us begin with the different brands, and then we would go into the components of a spinning reel.

We have listed the top 5 brands, which have established themselves for their exceptional high-quality spinning reels.

Top Brands for Spinning Reels

1. Penn

With over 80 years of experience, Penn is the most favorite name in freshwater fishing. Their reels have been a part of many tournaments with pride and distinction. More than 1300 International Game Fish Association records are there using their reels. In 2006, the Saltwater Reel of the year award went to the Penn Torque. 

Their reels use anodized aluminum and the best technologies in the gears and bearings. No doubt, the reels are lightweight and the best choice for fishing in the saltwater.

2. Pflueger

 It was started way back in 1881, by Ernest F. Pflueger for manufacturing fishing tackles. Even today, it is a benchmark name in the fishing industry. The reels and equipment are of world-class standards, and they take pride in producing the most excellent products.

They work on three pillars, innovation, dependability, and attention to detail. In other words, their products are superior and premium. Over 120 years of research and experience goes into their reels, and nothing but the best comes out for you.

3. Shimano

Shimano is a Japanese company engaged in the manufacture of fishing, cycling, and rowing equipment. Their fishing reels are present across the world, and it represents their best-selling series. If you love adventure and sports, then definitely this is a name you must think. 

In the world of fishing, they are famous for their excellent reels, rods, lines, lures, clothing, and equipment. Their reels come at an affordable price. They are known for performance, durability, and longevity.

4. Daiwa

Daiwa is another Japanese company engaged in the manufacture of fishing equipment since 1958. Since then, they have been striving towards becoming a top seller of fishing reels. Their products boast of advanced technologies and outstanding production methods.

Their reels are very light and well equipped for any occasion. Also, most of their reels have 9 or more bearings, which ensures smooth and proper functionality.

5. KastKing

This company is pretty new as compared to the ones above; rather, you can call it to be a startup. In 2013, fee MBA students took a break and established this company to manufacture fishing tools and equipment. In no time they become a popular name in the world of fishing. The meticulous attention to customer feedback helps them to design products that can be easily used by all.

They have received various awards from AliExpress, eBay, and likewise. In the world of spinning reels, they are already an established name. Focusing on quality and innovation is their motto. They bring great products at an affordable price so that you can always enjoy fishing.


Now, we would identify the different components of the spinning reel. This part would familiarize you with the different terminologies used so far.

1. Body

The body consists of either graphite, aluminum, or magnesium. At times, the rotor is made of aluminum, while the frame and shaft consist of graphite. Though graphite is lighter than aluminum, yet the latter goes into the body because of its strength and durability. It also depends on the kind of water you want to fish in. Aluminum would be suited for freshwater activities while graphite for the saltwater adventure. It all depends on who is using the reel and under what conditions.

2. Size

It is pretty straightforward. The larger the fishing line you want to catch, the more prominent the size would be. Also, the gear ratio, capacity, and drag changes with the size. The diameter and strength should be of a minimum of the 10-pound test line.

3. Handle

The handle is nothing but the crank of a reel. Its primary purpose is to roll the fishing line up to the spool. Most handles are flexible; they are transferrable from one side to another. This feature makes it easy for anyone, whether a left-handed or right-handed person, to use the reel. The latest models are coming with better grips for better performance. The handles consist of metals, but few companies are preferring wood over metals.

4. Spool 

You may be a novice and not much aware of this term – spool. It is a cylindrical looking tool used to wind and unwind the fishing line. The main activity of the spool is to hold the fishing line firmly to the rod. Spools have aluminum, plastic, steel, or graphite as their materials. You must select your spool depending on the test line and size of the reel.

5. Bail

The primary purpose of the bail is to stop the line from spooling out. This part is a significant headache for many fishers. The selection of the bail depends on the type of reel purchased.

6. Drag

The primary purpose of the drag is to allow the real line to move out. The drag should be able to withstand the capacity and pressure as per the fishing line you are aiming to catch. It should be tight enough so that the reel line is secure, and it would eventually tire the fishes. There are two kinds of drag system; the front one controlled by a dial and the rear one, controlled by a knob.

As beginners, you must try with the low-pressure ones, increasing the pressure gradually as you gain experience. Initially, putting too much pressure might break the drag.

7. Gears & Bearings

Bearings and gears ensure smooth functionality. The larger the number of bearings, the smoother experience you would have. Always try to go for the maximum number of ball bearings in your budget. Beginners must go for at least 5 bearing reels. 

Another thing that you must understand is the gear ratio. A 5:1 ratio means that the bail would complete five rotations for every one rotation of the handle. It depends on the kind of fish you are going to catch. For smaller ones, a 4:1 would be sufficient. Also, the gears must be well greased and capable enough to withstand the pressure. Always avoid plastic gears and bearings; they tend to break very easily. Stainless-steel bearings and Japanese gears are the best ones.

Finally, we would discuss what those features that you must look out for in a spinning reel are. A spinning reel comes with hundreds of specifications. You will surely get lost if you start looking into all the features and specifications. That’s why we have highlighted the essential features which matter. This guide would help you select the best spinning reel for yourself.

  • The Drag System – The first thing you must check is the quality of the drag. The money that you are paying for the reel is mainly for the drag system. The drag capacity depends on the type of fish you want to catch. For smaller ones, 10-lbs would be sufficient, while for large ones, as high as 25 lbs might be needed. The primary purpose of the drag is to ensure a smooth reeling so that you can reel back the ship without putting many efforts. Improper selection of the drag would put unnecessary pressure on the shaft, eventually breaking it. 
  • The Reel Size And Line Capacity – The reel size depends on the type of catch you are aiming it. The total capacity and reel size are directly proportional to each other. You must have seen a number like 35-45 or 4000-5000. The bigger the number, the more significant is the reel size and line capacity. The small ones range from 10 to 35, medium ones from 40 – 60, large ones from 70 to 90 while the biggest ones range from 100 to 300. If you want to catch fish of size 5lbs, then something around 10 to 25 would suffice your cause.
  • Weight – The next most crucial thing is the weight. Since it is an outdoor activity, weight plays an important role. The ease of use, the portability, and the feel of the reel depend on the weight. You must not think that price and weight are directly proportional. The most expensive ones can be pretty heavy. It depends on the material used. As already discussed, aluminum gives you strength but increases weight, while graphite would reduce quality as well as weight. If you have lusty arms and muscular biceps, then the weight of the reel does not matter.
  • Construction Quality – This depends on many things; materials used, type of handle, color, design, and weight.  Metal ones last for a longer time than the plastics ones. Always avoid the plastics ones. The quality also depends on the user. For some, the weight is of utmost importance, while for some others, the aesthetics matter a lot. Reels have handles designed only for right-handed people, while many handled are interchangeable. Some people may not prefer a movable handle. Again, some people might prefer to change sides to reduce the efforts put on a single hand. Opt for the best quality material for the body, shaft, bearings, and gear. The reel is something that you would not buy each day. Hence, do not compromise on quality for money.
  • Bearings on the Reel – Bearings make the movement of the spool smooth. For newbies, reels with 4 – 5 bearings are enough. You need bearings in the main shaft, main gear, anti-recoil unit, and line roller unit. When you see reels with 10 12 bearings, it means it is replacing the bushes inside with bearings. No doubt, it would make the operations smoother, but it might increase the cost. Do not spend unnecessarily on increasing the bearings.
  • Anti-Return Mechanism – Many times, when you catch a big fish, you may experience backlash. This feature is mostly for experienced fishers. Thus, you must check out reels with an anti-return mechanism. It would prevent the spool from unwinding unintentionally. The best part is that using a handle or a knob; you can turn off this anti-return system. But it is always advised to opt for one, irrespective of whether you would use it regularly or not.
  • Warranty – Spinning reels do not come cheap. Hence, some kind of assurance would keep you at ease while using the fishing reels. Thus, opting for products with a warranty would be a wise decision. Most manufacturers come with a one-year warranty on their parts. Some companies, especially the ones who haven’t established themselves, also offer money-back facilities. If you are confused with your options, then opting for the money-back option is a great choice. Once you feel the reel is not up to the mark, you can always take your money back upon returning the reel. A particular product suits your specifications well but does not come with a warranty. You should purchase an additional warranty from a third party. At the same time, if you are purchasing anything below $30, then you may not go for a warranty. Still, a warranty must accompany any purchase of around $100.

Conclusion

We hope now you can easily decide on the spinning reel that is best suited for your needs. With many manufacturers coming into the scene, the price of the reels is decreasing day by day. Thus, finding the best reel would not be much of a challenge. You must focus on the features you want so that you can quickly narrow your search. It is not always necessary to opt for the big brand names in the market. Even the small companies and startups alike are continually striving to provide the best products at an affordable price. Since there are a plethora of products in the market, we advise you to go through our recommendations thoroughly. You may also seek user reviews and feedback from people who have used the products. 

Now with all the information at your fingertips, you need to act. Decide on the type of waters you want to fish in and the kind of fish you want to catch. Accordingly, decide on the weight, material, bearings, and other features. Finally, go through our list of products so that you can choose the best for yourself. What are you waiting for, pull out your sunglasses, fishing hats, and backpacks and get ready to fish.