20 Best Spinning Reels Under $100 (2020): Buyer’s Guide and Unbiased Reviews

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Are you on a quest to find the best spinning reels under $100?

Then you’re in the right place. Because I have done the hard work for you and have reviewed dozens of products to bring you the best spinning reels under $100.

In addition, I will introduce the following related topics.

  • Product Details (Including advantages and disadvantages) 
  • Spinning Reels Buyer’s Guide
  • Advantages of the Best Spinning Reel for less than $100
  • Top Spinning Reel Brands
  • Fishing Techniques Using Spinning Reels
  • Spinning Reel Care Tips

I will also answer some common questions.

  • What You Can Expect From A Spinning Reel That Costs Under $100?
  • What’s the Life Span of Inexpensive Spinning Reels?
  • Are Fishing Rods and Fishing Reels Different?
  • Fishing Reel Grease or Oil – Which Should I Use?
  • Are the Bearings in Spinning Reels Important?
  • Are Saltwater Reels and Freshwater Ones Different?
  • What’s the Difference between Spinning Reel and Bait Cast Reel?

Without further ado, let’s begin!

#Note: At the time of writing this post, the prices of these products were below $100. Because the actual prices may change at any time. Maybe some products are already over $100. Usually, it will not change much.

Chief Editor


Hours Researching

Products Evaluated

Reviews Considered

Researched Sources

Top 3 Picks ( In a Hurry? Here are the winners )

Editor’s Choice & Best Seller
Penn 1338216 Battle II 2000 Spinning Fishing Reel
Professional's Choice
Penn 1259871 Spinfisher V Spinning Fishing Reel, 4500
Best Value
KastKing Centron Spinning Reel,Size 3000 Fishing Reel
Penn 1338216 Battle II 2000 Spinning Fishing Reel
Penn 1259871 Spinfisher V Spinning Fishing Reel, 4500
KastKing Centron Spinning Reel,Size 3000 Fishing Reel
Price not available
Our Rating
Editor’s Choice & Best Seller
Penn 1338216 Battle II 2000 Spinning Fishing Reel
Penn 1338216 Battle II 2000 Spinning Fishing Reel
Our Rating
Read Full Review
View on Amazon
Professional's Choice
Penn 1259871 Spinfisher V Spinning Fishing Reel, 4500
Penn 1259871 Spinfisher V Spinning Fishing Reel, 4500
Price not available
Our Rating
Read Full Review
View on Amazon
Best Value
KastKing Centron Spinning Reel,Size 3000 Fishing Reel
KastKing Centron Spinning Reel,Size 3000 Fishing Reel
Our Rating
Read Full Review
View on Amazon

Best Spinning Reels Under $100

If your budget for tackle is limited or you are similar to me and you are constantly buying new reels to match up to different fishing applications, it is not necessary to spend a lot of money when it comes to this type of reel. This is also a good reel option for those “weekend warriors” who are unable to go fishing as frequently as they would like to. Regardless of your situation, it is not necessary to spend so much money on your spinning reels, so here is my list of the best spinning reels for less than $100.

1. Penn 1338216 Battle II 2000 Spinning Fishing Reel – Editor’s Choice & Best Seller

Penn 1338216 Battle II 2000 Spinning Fishing Reel
  • Durable, high range spinning reel ideal for conquering big saltwater...
  • Full metal body, sideplate, and rotor and heavy duty aluminum bail...
  • HT 100 carbon fiber drag system provides powerful drag without...
  • Fluid cranking with 5 sealed stainless steel ball bearings and instant...
  • Superline spool requires no backing, is braid ready, and has line...

This is a reel that comes from a well-known name in fishing. Classified as a superior spinning reel for Bass, The Battle II offers all the features that any avid angler would need and want. Introduced about 5 years back, the Battle II is the improved and upgraded version to the Penn Battle.

One of these improvements includes the paint which has made this upgraded reel more resistant to chemicals and water, which will protect the reel from rust and corrosion. The sealed ball bearings made from stainless-steel are made to handle the spray caused by salt and fresh water.

If you are after catching a record-breaking Spanish Mackeral or a record Largemouth Bass, the Battle II offers a smoother retrieval and incredible strength.

  • Full metal side plates and body for added durability
  • The carbon-fiber drag systems assist in smoother retrievals
  • The anti-reverse feature prevents the backward movement of the handle as soon as the drag starts to pull
  • The superline spool provides a way to load this reel with a braid without a monofilament backing
  • The capacity rings will let you know as soon as your spool is 1/3, 2/3, full
  • The more common complaint involves that the reel is heavy, yet this is expected when it comes to an all-metal construction

2. Okuma Avenger ABF Graphite Bait Feeder Reel

Okuma Avenger ABF Graphite Bait Feeder Reel
  • Baitfeeding System allows for disengagement of the spool and...
  • Multi-disk drag system with Japanese oiled felt drag washers
  • Six ball bearings and one quick-set anti-reverse roller bearing
  • Corrosion resistant construction and materials; one-year warranty

The Avenger ABF Series reel by Okuma makes use of graphite. It is the bait-feeding technique of the reel which allows for the spool to disengage. To describe this further, without having to open the bail, this reel allows for a free-running line.

This model also comes with Drag Washers which are Japanese Oiled filled ( and we all know the reason why Japanese oil is said to be commendable).

This reel from Okuma also comes with a multi-disk and drag system. The overall bearing of the reel is 7 which concludes 6 ball bearings and 1 quick-set and anti-reverse roller bearing.

This type of reel is resistant to corrosion. The ABF Graphite Bait Feeder Reel also comes with an efficient drag washer which will keep the fishing-reel running over a long time. The multi-drag technique happens to be geared up by the fishing-reel.

This model comes with a 1-year warranty. One of the only drawbacks that users may experience has to do with its clicker which is a bit on the quiet side.

  • Comes with a total of 7 bearings
  • The drag washers are oil filled
  • 1-year warranty
  • Comes with a multi-disk drag method
  • The clicker is too quiet

3. KastKing Summer and Centron Spinning Reels, 9 +1 BB Light Weight, Ultra Smooth Powerful – Best Value

KastKing Centron Spinning Reel,Size 3000 Fishing Reel
  • GREAT VALUE - Loaded with features yet low on price. KastKing...
  • LIGHTWEIGHT - narrow graphite frame design and computer balancing...
  • HIGH POWERED - KastKing Summer/Centron spinning reel's Superior Drag...
  • SMOOTH PERFORMANCE - Summer/Centron's nine quality ball bearings and...
  • LOOKING GOOD - Summer/Centron's attractive, brilliant finish and its...

The Summer And Centron Spinning Reels from KastKing are a good deal when you judge them according to their price. This reel is far more affordable when compared to just about any of the freshwater reels currently available. In addition to affordability, this reel is also rated in the higher positions when considering flexibility.

These spinning reels weigh around 8.9 oz which is safe to say this is a reel that is lightweight. The frame is narrow and made from graphite, and it also includes the computer balancing-system which improves performance.

This also offers anglers with a high-powered drag system that offers an impressive spinning power of up to 17.5 lbs. Its main shaft includes a hardened metal which also features a superior mesh-drive gear and meticulously machined pinion-gear.

It also comes with 9 ball bearings, a power-launch lip, and 2 different color anodized spools made from aluminum which makes it one of the best competitors when it comes to most other anglers.

If you prefer a lightweight reel, then this is probably the ideal choice for your fishing needs. It is even light enough for a child to bear.

Its 9 ball bearings are what makes it one of the top-rated spinning reels which makes it easier to pass through all types of water. The one drawback about this KastKing model is that it may not be the best choice for saltwater fishing.

  • 2 color anodized spool
  • 9 ball bearings
  • Lightweight
  • Is only compatible with freshwater

4. Penn 1259871 Spinfisher V Spinning Fishing Reel – Professional’s Choice

Penn 1259871 Spinfisher V Spinning Fishing Reel, 4500
  • Watertight spinning reel performs reliably in saltwater and sand...
  • Durable construction with full metal body, side plate, and techno...
  • Sealed HT-100 Slammer drag system provides robust, silky-smooth drag,...
  • Fluid cranking with 5 shielded stainless steel ball bearings and...
  • Superline spool requires no backing, is braid ready, and has line...

The Penn Spinfisher V is one of the very few reels which comes with the 5 + 1 bearing construct. I personally feel like this is an advancement in the right direction.

The side plates and body on this spinning reel are made from metal and the Techno-Balanced rotor which complements this. In addition to the other impressive features, is the Superline spool which is machined and anodized with aluminum.

The Spinfisher V features a drag-system that is sealed HT-100. This is combined with its immediate anti-reverse mechanism.

When it comes to power, I call this spinning reel a beast. It might be true that there is a better machine available with similar capacities to this model. Yet the way that this Spinfisher is able to synergize symmetry with the spinning mechanism is really outstanding.

When it comes to this spinning reel it becomes important that you are using the right rod. The Spinfisher is already heavy when it comes to power, which means you need a rod to match up to this task. I personally recommend the Penn Carnage Spinning rod.

To test out the strength of this reel, I hooked it to a big 300lb barbell where I was able to lift it easily from the ground. Surprisingly it was able to hand the load without any hitches. And keep in mind that this rod is pretty thin.

If you are already accustomed to 65lb braids, I doubt you will be able to find a spinning reel that is better on the markets.

  • Body and side plates made out of full-metal
  • Comes with a 5 + 1 bearing construct
  • Machined and anodized aluminum
  • Fast anti-reverse motion
  • The line capacity-ring with a superline spool
  • Very powerful
  • The functions may be complex for beginners
  • Has a lot more power than is necessary
  • The sound can be slightly unsettling
  • Not recommended for newbies

5. Pflueger 6930 President Spinning Fishing Reel

Pflueger 6930 President Spinning Fishing Reel
  • Durable spinning fishing reel ideal for both seasoned anglers and...
  • 10 bearing system with 9 corrosion-resistant stainless steel ball...
  • Aircraft-grade aluminum handle and graphite body and rotor offer...
  • Stainless steel and oiled felt drag system delivers smooth, consistent...
  • Braid-ready spool allows braid to be tied directly to spool

Rated as a top-rated spinning reel for saltwater, with various models that you can choose from. It is known for its incredibly smooth operation when it comes to retrieving and casting.

Regardless of if you are a novice or professional angler, you will be able to find a design that matches up to your needs. The durability is truly outstanding, and it is easy to enjoy fishing using this reel for many hours at a time. When you choose the Pflueger President Spinning Reel, it is important to think about the fish you plan to catch. This manufacturer offers a number of designs that match up to differing fishing goals.

  • There are many sizes to choose from
  • The body is made from light graphite ideal for faster fishing
  • It is strong and durable and able to handle the fish that are strong with ease
  • It offers smooth operation and great drag
  • Many people do not like this product’s frame material.

6. Penn Pursuit II Spinning Fishing Reel

Penn Pursuit II Spinning Fishing Reel
  • Spinning fishing reel delivers premium fish-fighting power for anglers...
  • Durable construction with graphite body, aluminum sideplate, and...
  • Oiled felt drag system offers considerable drag pressure without...
  • Fluid cranking with 4 shielded stainless steel ball bearings and...
  • Ergonomic handle for comfortable reeling

The Penn Pursuit II was designed and built on the same platform and foundation as the higher end Penn reels such as the Sargus. Essentially means that this reel comes from very “good stock.” The reel comes with an oil felt drag system, so when you experience any stickiness feeling, you can add reel oil to its drag.  There are improved knobs (larger and softer) on the handle for retrieval and more comfortable grip.

  • Well made, durable and tough components
  • Built on the top Penn reel platform
  • Great value reel for saltwater anglers
  • Not seal (be careful to not submerge the reel)
  • No ultralight models (3000 is the smallest size)

7. KastKing Sharky III Fishing Reel – New Spinning Reel

KastKing Sharky III Fishing Reel - New Spinning Reel - Carbon Fiber 39.5 LBs Max Drag - 10+1 Stainless BB for...
  • NEXT-GEN - The brand new design KastKing Sharky III spinning reels are...
  • PURE POWER - You will love Sharky III spinning reel's amazing...
  • K.I.S.S. - Sharky III spinning reels are sealed with a KISS! Sharky...
  • SUPER SMOOTH - You'll be blown away by the quiet, silky smooth...
  • AFFORDABLE INNOVATION - Sharky III spinning reel is loaded with...

This is an upgraded Sharky II spinning reel version. It comes equipped with a rotor and zero-flex durable body that provides the appropriate construction for both freshwater and saltwater fishing. The stainless steel oversized main shaft has been designed for durability and strength while its 11 corrosion-resistant ball bearings offer the smoothness that is necessary to operate a friction-less and noise free reel. The braid-ready high-grade pool is sealed to protect against corrosion forming agents to reduce the performance and reliability of the reel. The drag system can give you up to 33 pounds that are comprised of 3 carbon disc drag washers. It has a 5.2:1 gear ratio and this reel can be used to target most of the inshore saltwater species and those species that are hard fighters. It does not have a fast line retrieve but you will get plenty of torque to pull big fish in like Salmon. The Sharky III is available in 5 sizes and is the ideal saltwater and freshwater spinning reel.

  • Saltwater and freshwater spinning reel
  • High drag power
  • Braid ready spool
  • For smooth operation, high numbers of ball bearings and durable housing
  • Low gear ratio for species that are hard fighters
  • The interchangeable handle is not comfortable to use

8. Okuma Trio High Speed Spinning Reel

Okuma Trio High Speed Spinning Reel, Black/Orange
  • Hybrid spool design with graphite arbor and aluminum lip
  • Crossover aluminum and graphite hybrid body and rotor design
  • Precision Dual Force Drag System (DFD): Incorporates both surfaces of...
  • 10 BB + 1 RB stainless steel bearings
  • Quick-set anti-reverse roller bearing

This is one of the top saltwater spinning reels that costs less than $100. The Okuma Trio’s hybrid spool design makes the reel lightweight and sturdy enough for inshore saltwater and freshwater fishing. Its hybrid design is found throughout the reel is intended to provide maximum output and keeping it as lightweight as possible at the same time.

Okuma Fishing Tackle is headquartered in Taiwan has provided affordable, quality fishing equipment for more than 30 years to adventurous fishermen all over the world. Okuma Fishing Tackle, since 1986, has focused on fishing reels and rods. They are committed to using innovative designs and high-quality materials to produce the ultimate tool.

  • The combination of graphite and aluminum offer a reel that is lightweight yet tough enough to bring in the fish
  • Anti-reverse roller bearing enable the drag to work without needing to move the handle
  • Corrosion-resistant coating protect this reel against corrosion and rust that occurs around the water
  • Dual force drag offers smooth retrieving and maximum drag pressure
  • Water-tight drag seal helps to prevent the collection of water inside the reel
  • Might be hard to close the bell when casting

9. Penn FRCII2500LL Fierce II Spinning Live Liners

Penn FRCII2500LL Fierce II Spinning Live Liners
  • Full metal body and side plate keep precise gear alignment under heavy...
  • Well-balanced rotor gives smooth retrieves
  • 4+1 shielded stainless steel ball Bearings
  • Instant Anti-Reverse bearing
  • Heavy-duty aluminum bail Wire

This reel definitely lives up to its name with its side plates and full metal body, along with heavy-duty aluminum bail wire. The Penn Fierce II reel is tough and has been designed to be able to take some abuse. However, the added grit makes the weight of the reel a bit higher with other comparable reels. There are 8 different models of the reel (sizes 1000 up to 8000) so that there are reel sizes for micro up to large sized fish. There is the Superline Spool as well that provides a bit more line capacity compared to other reels that are comparable.

  • Strong materials for a solid reel (may handle high abuse)
  • High line capacity
  • Many reel sizes and models available
  • excellent saltwater weekend warrior or beginner angler
  • Reel body isn’t sealed (might need to oil after the reel is submerged)
  • Heavier weight

10. Daiwa Bg Spinning Reel

Daiwa BG2000 BG Saltwater Spinning Reel, 2000, 5.6: 1 Gear Ratio, 6+1 Bearings, 29.50" Retrieve Rate, 4.40 lb...
  • Black Anodized Machined Aluminum Housing ("Hard Bodyz" Body & Side...
  • Solid Screw-In Handle, Air Rotor, Dynamic Cut Aluminum ABS Spool
  • Braided Line Ready Spool, Waterproof Drag System, Carbon ATD, Line Per...
  • Manual Return Bail (4500 and Larger), 6BB+1RB, Gear Ratio: 5.6:1, Drag...
  • Line Capacity (Lb. Test / Yards): 6/135, 8/110, 10/90 J-BRAID: 10/160,...

The Daiwa BG series reels range from big game saltwater to freshwater tools, which provide you with a wide range and comprehensive line of fishing reel options. The Daiwa BG 2000 is a reel that is budget-friendly that is design with an aluminum dynamic cut ABS spool and budget-friendly reel designed. The internal parts of the saltwater spinning reel are protected by the aluminum frame and protect it against the sea’s corrosive effects. The gold and black are anodized on the aluminum, to prevent a chipped surface or peeling. With a 5.6:1 gear ratio comes with the ideal balance of power and speed so that you can target nearly any kind of species. Its drag can be adjusted up to a 4.4 maximum, which allows you to take on species that have a tendency to fight hard. The Daiwa BG reels are available in different sizes that come with a braided line ready spool, anti-reverse system, and manual return bails.

  • Durable Aluminum Housing
  • Adjustable Drag
  • Anti-Reverse System
  • Ideal for both salt water and fresh water fishing
  • Scratch and corrosion resistant
  • This reel is heavy

More Products (Our Rating: 4 Stars)

11. KastKing New Assassin Carbon Baitcasting Reel
KastKing Assassin Carbon Baitcasting Reel,Left Handed Reel
  •  LIGHT WEIGHT – Our lightest baitcasting reel! ‘Bulletproof’...
  • STOPPING POWER – gives you smooth, impressive 4 disc carbon fiber...
  • DUAL BRAKES – dynamic 6-pin centrifugal and magnetic brakes for...
  • SMOOTH – 11 + 1 shielded corrosion resistant MaxiDur ball bearings,...
  • DAZZLING OPTICS – Midnight black finish with brilliant blue...
12. KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel
KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel, Right Handed Fishing Reel,Rover60
  • BULLET PROOF - The hot Rover reel just became hotter. The KastKing...
  • MORE POWERFUL - You will love the stronger, more powerful KastKing...
  • SUPER SMOOTH - KastKing Rover reels have premium MaxiDur double...
  • VERSATILE - KastKing Rover is a perfect conventional reel for...
  • FISH INTO THE FUTURE - KastKing Rover conventional reels are built...
13. Abu Garcia 1365366 Black Max Low Profile Reel
Abu Garcia 1365366 Black Max Low Profile Reel, 6.4: 1 Gear Ratio, 5 Bearings, 26" Retrieve Rate, 18Lb Max...
  • Lightweight design with one piece graphite frame and side plates
  • 4 stainless steel ball bearings
  • Power Disk system
  • MagTrax brake system boosts range and accuracy of casts
  • Compact bent handle and recessed reel provide an ergonomic grip
14. Piscifun Spinning Reel Lightweight Smooth Fishing Reel 3000
Piscifun Spinning Reel Lightweight Smooth Fishing Reel 5.1:1 10+1BB 17.6LB Carbon Fiber Drag Spin Reels 3000...
  • Braid Ready - CNC Machined aluminum braid ready spool allows braid to...
  • Light Weight - Graphite body and rotor provides a LONG-LASTING...
  • Unparalleled STOPPING POWER - The spinning reel features a superior...
  • Butter Smooth - 10+1 anti-corrosion stainless steel bearings plus...
  • Anti-corrosion - The fishing reel features Sealed Rubber Ring in the...
15. Daiwa Revros 2500H Spinning Fishing Reel Left/Right Hand
Daiwa Revros 2500H Spinning Fishing Reel Left/Right Hand - 5.6:1 - REV2500H
  • Hefty winding power
  • Optimized speed and durability
  • Unique shape reduces unnecessary weight
16. Piscifun New Sealed Spinning Reel 2000 Series
Piscifun Honor Spinning Reel Sealed Carbon Fiber Drag Light Weight Ultra Smooth 13.2LB Drag Fishing Spinning...
  • PROFESSIONAL - Designed for saltwater & freshwater applications....
  • BUTTER SMOOTH - 10 + 1 sealed bearings provide increased corrosion...
  • HIGH POWER - Up to 22.1 lbs carbon fiber max drag. Precise stainless...
  • LIGHT & DURABLE - Carbon fiber rotor provides significant weight...
  • PERFORMANCE - An aluminum reinforced graphite body design seamlessly...
17. CS8 Spinning Reels,Ultralight Premium Magnesium Frame Fishing Reel
Cadence CS8 Spinning Reel, Ultralight Fast Speed Premium Magnesium Frame Fishing Reel with 10 Low Torque...
  • 【What You Get from Cadence】 1-Year Manufacturer's Warranty and 90...
  • 【Light Weight】 CMC(Carbon-Magnesium-Carbon) Main body using...
  • 【Ultra-Smooth & Fast】 Fishing reels shielded 9 corrosion resistant...
  • 【Powerful】CS8 Spinning reel's Superior Drag System offers...
  • 【Great Value】Cadence spinning reels offer the angler...
18. Pflueger 6.2:1 Gear Ratio 25.20
Pflueger PRESXTSP30X President XT Spinning Reel, 30
  • 10 bearing System - corrosion resistant stainless ball bearings
  • Aluminum main shaft - 30% lighter than stainless steel
  • Aluminum pinion gear - 60% lighter than traditional brass gear
19. Okuma Ceymar Lightweight Spinning Reel- C-40
Okuma Ceymar Lightweight Spinning Reel- C-40
  • Gear Ratio: 5.0:1, Precision Elliptical Gearing system
  • 7BB + 1RB bearing system, Quick-Set anti-reverse roller bearing
  • Multi-disc, oiled felt drag system, Ambidextrous
20. Okuma Trio Ladies Edition High Speed Trio-LE40 Graphite Spinning Reel
Okuma Trio Ladies Edition High Speed Trio-LE40 Graphite Spinning Reel, (190 Yards- 10LB)
  • Made using the highest quality materials
  • Tested for reliability and quality
  • Used by professionals worldwide
  • Hybrid spool design with graphite arbor and aluminum lip
  • Crossover aluminum and graphite hybrid body and rotor design

Advantages of the Best Spinning Reel for less than $100

You can find different types and models of spinning reels in the market. They can also have various price tags that range from low up to high. The average budget is $100 to buy a quality reel. There are definitely many benefits offered by the best spinning reels for under $100, including:

  • Affordable for beginners
  • Easy access for fishing sports
  • Satisfies the user at an affordable price range
  • This kind of reel offers the best fishing outcomes
  • Can be given as a gift
  • The best spinning reels for under $100 are better than bait casters

What You Can Expect From A Spinning Reel That Costs Under $100

Reel Weight – With this spinning reel class the total weight of the reel begins to creep up as less expensive materials are used by the manufacturers that are not as well optimized for weight. In itself, a heavier reel isn’t a bad thing, but you need to watch out for those ounces since it can take a toll on your wrist on long days.

More Plastic Components – In order to save on costs, some reel manufacturers will use plastic parts instead of metal one. Plastic is not necessarily bad. However, it is less solid, wears out faster and has a less refined feeling than what metal components provide.

No Spare Spools – Reels that cost less than $100 usually one come with one spool, whereas higher price reels with come with a spare braid ready spool along with the standard spool. Fortunately, the standard spools are braid ready, and this is important, especially when a spinning reel is being used to fish for bass.

Unsealed Bearings and Drags – In order to save on cost, usually the drag stacks are not sealed on less expensive reels. Usually, that isn’t a factor unless you are fishing on a beach or bank frequently where dirt and sand may get into the components.

Spinning Reels Buyer’s Guide

The performance and quality of a fishing reel play a crucial role in determining the kind of fishing experience you will have whether you enjoy the activity as a profession, a hobby or for pleasure. If you’re not careful while choosing a reel, you could end up with a tool that does not serve its purpose and which could frustrate you. To avoid wasting your money and time on the wrong type of reel, we’re here to provide you advise on factors to consider when looking to buy a spinning reel that suits your fishing style.

1. Fishing Rod Compatibility

Spinning reels are generally used with fishing rods, so if you don’t have a fishing rod, consider buying one. If you already have one, then ensure that the reel you pick for it is compatible with the rod. However, if you plan on starting with a reel then getting a rod later, ensure the rod you get matches your reel. Remember that both reels and rods have weight capacities and need to match if you want to have a set the works.

2. Body Construction

All the things that come with a reel are placed on or in the reel’s body, so it is essential to ensure that the reel looks and feels sturdy to ensure the mechanism inside is protected. Reels are typically made using graphite or cast aluminum and shouldn’t be too bulky or heavy. Heavy reels can be very hard to handle, especially for novice users and children. At the same time, it also shouldn’t be too light as it’ll not have the strength to sustain heavy loads. Consider looking for reels that have little holes on them as part of their design – these holes give the reel a bit of lightness without compromising their integrity and making the reel too fragile or weak. Another factor to consider when looking at a reel’s frame is if it’s anti-corrosion. With a waterproof reel, you can go saltwater fishing as they’re less predisposed to damage.

3. Quality

As we’ve already seen, reel housings can be made using graphite or aluminum or a mixture of both. A spinning reel has more parts than a casting reel. So, when choosing a reel, make sure that it has no loose parts and that everything is compact and sturdy. If the reel’s parts and housing are of need quality, then it’ll last much longer and will be able to withstand all sorts of harsh weather conditions.

4. Line Capacity

There are three things that you need to consider when it comes to a reel’s line. It is essential that you consider the reel’s line capacity, the kind of fishing you’re interested (what is your targeted fish species? How light or heavy is the species you want to fish?), and what your rod is able to handle. With spinning reels, depending on your model, you should be able to handle even the most massive lines to the lowest weight.

5. Spool

Fishing lines, which are cast into the water, are held in place by spools. Spools made of aluminum are quite durable and are the preferred option; however, they aren’t as light graphite ones. So you will have to decide if you want something lightweight or more durable. Nevertheless, always use the suggested line size with your spool to avoid problematic casting and tangles. If your spool is designed for light lines, avoid using heavy ones since that could cause stiffness. At the same time, using small lines on larger spools could create lots of tangles, making casting a bit hard. If your spool is branded ‘line-ready’, you’ll notice that it possesses the ability to become accustomed to the line that is used frequently.

6. Anti-Reverse Action

Anti-reverse action is especially useful for beginners looking to catch smaller fish that don’t put up a “dragging” fight. This feature helps keep the reel from turning during catches and gives you the ability to retrieve your fish without too much of a struggle. However, it is essential to ensure that the anti-reverse action can be stopped using an anti-reverse switch, which stops or activates the feature according to the type of fish you are looking to catch. The switch’s placement will determine how quickly and easily you can turn it off and on.

7. Drag Systems

Your reel’s drag capacity will determine whether you will retrieve your catch or if you will watch it swim away. Reliable drag systems will trigger the release of more line in good time as your catch pulls the line as it tries to escape. If the right amount of line isn’t released at the right time, then your catch will have an opportunity to break the line and escape before you react. Having total control of the drag will allow you to adjust the system accordingly since some fish pull harder than others. Different reels have different levels of drag. If you want to catch your preferred type of fish, it is vital that you consider a reel’s drag power before you invest in one. So, if you are after the biggies, ensure your reel’s drag is on the higher side. The operation style and placement of the drag should also be considered if you want to access it without time loss.

8. Gear Ratio

Spinning reels have gear ratios that read a certain number like 7.1:1 or 5.2:1. These ratios indicate the number of rotations or turn the spool makes per turn of its handle. For instance, 7.1:1 means that the spool spins 7.1 times with each turn, while 5.2:1 means that it turns 5.2 times with each handle turn. The lower the gear ratio, the slower a reel is.

These numbers denote the Inches per Turn, which allows you to know the number of lines that’ll be retrieved with one full turn of the handle. It is essential that you consider the kind of fish you are looking to catch since most of the bigger baits pull harder. Requiring a high torque reel while fighting a humongous bass will require more speed.

9. Speed vs. Power

It is crucial that you determine whether you need more cranking power or speed from your reel to catch a specific type of fish or for the kind of fishing you are planning on undertaking. The higher a reel’s gear ratio, the higher the retrieving line speed will be. But if you are after more cranking power, then get a reel with lower gear ratios.

10. Bearings

Your reel’s bearing quality will determine how noise free and smooth your reel will perform. Bearings of low-quality will cause the reel to vibrate and deliver annoying sounds throughout your fishing expedition. The more bearings a reel has, the better its retrieve. However, the bearings need to be high grade if you want to get the best results. Reels with five high-quality bearings with retrieve your catch smoothly with less vibration and noise compared to one with 6 or more poor-grade bearings. As such, it’s essential that your reel’s bearings aren’t only many, but are also of good quality. For saltwater fishing, ensure your bearings are corrosion resistant if you want them to last long.

11. Convenience

It does not matter if you are an experienced or beginner angler, or whether you fish for fun, or if it is how you make a living, when choosing fishing equipment, convenience and comfort are the two most important factors to consider if you want to get tools that suit your fishing styles and needs. The reel you get should make your fishing process hassle-free and easy. Look for features such as changeable sides for left or right-hand users and consider the placement of all the buttons, handles and switches for easy access. Spinning reels are great for beginners since they are quite easy to get used to since they have very little complex features and their mechanisms are quite simple.

12. Brands

Choosing a well-known brand’s spinning reel will provide you with the kind of assurance you want when it comes to performance and quality. While branded reels might not guarantee you that they don’t have any flaws or that they are the best, the thing is, they have lesser risks than tools with no names. Branded reels have a reputation to maintain, so they tend to be very careful when creating their products. If you are new to fishing and aren’t that familiar with fishing reels, then the best thing to do is to go for branded reels made by reputable manufacturers.

Top Spinning Reel Brands

Today’s market is awash with hundreds of spinning reel brands providing thousands of products and brands that are trusted by most people tend to dominate the market. However, trust in a brand doesn’t just happen – it is usually as a result of the brand producing quality and performance-oriented spinning reels that offer value for money. Here is a look at the three top spinning reel brands in the market:


Penn, which was established in 1932, is the king when it comes to saltwater fishing gear. The company is committed to manufacturing technically-advanced, modern fishing equipment and delivering them to anglers all around the world. They’re makers of some of the highest quality fishing tackles and accessories.


A trust originating in Taiwan but practiced globally today, Okuma is a fishing equipment and accessories company that manufactures a wide range of fishing tackles for fishing in freshwater lakes to mountain lakes to seashores. The Okuma tackle has been bequeathed several awards for inspiring and quality-oriented sports equipment.


Shimano is a Japan-based multinational Company that makes all types of sporting equipment from rowing to cycling to fishing equipment. The company just recently launched X stores all across Europe and is getting enormous acclaim and great response for the superior and quality products that outshine the competition.

What’s the Life Span of Inexpensive Spinning Reels?

Excluding a reel’s specifications, that is its materials, structures, etc., its life span will usually boil down to two primary things – maintenance and usage. If you are using your reel every week, expect it not to last very long. Well, that’s normal. At the same time, the type of water you are fishing will also affect your reel’s lifespan. Saltwater can have a heavy toll on reel bearings, washings, components, etc. As a result, reels that are used to fish saltwater tend to have much shorter life spans.

With that being said, it is worth noting that you can prolong your reel’s lifespan with proper care and maintenance – something that must be done to any reel (be it a higher-end or lower-end reel.) The maintenance of your reel should be an annual thing and should include wiping it down of any stains and dirt, tightening loose screws, and adding grease or oil. Consider disassembling your reels after every two years and clean out all components, and make sure to apply new grease and oil before reassembling it. Such simple maintenance and care practices have kept one of my cheap fishing reels going for years now!

Fishing Techniques Using Spinning Reels

Knowing one or two spinning reel fishing techniques isn’t that hard. While working, a spinning reel utilizes a fixed line spool that is backed up by a roller wheel and a safeguard. The roller wheel moves around the spool, which is set to one position, to take up and release the line.

This enables users to cast the rod at different distances, which allows it to catch medium or small fishes. This is one of the ways spinning reels work to catch different fish.

Once you have set up your spinning reel and understand the basics explained here, it is just a matter of time before you start using your spinning reel like a pro.

Spinning Reel Care Tips

If you want your spinning reel to serve you for a very long time, proper care and maintenance are essential. Here are some care tips for you to consider:

Tools assembly: Ensure that you’ve assembled all the necessary tools before you start working on your reel. This way, your stuff will be organized and at hand.

Cleaning supply assembly: Also ensure that all the cleaning supplies you need are assembled too. You cannot ignore how important the cleaning of your reel is mid or at the end of your fishing expedition. When everything is at hand, you should have an easier time caring for your reel when needed.

Correct positioning: Always makes sure that the spool, reel, and all other spinning accessories are placed in the right position. Wrong positioning could imbalance your reel or create extra pressure, factors that could damage your reel. At the same time, wrong positioning could lead to you failing to catch your fish, so consider holding your reel accurately and follow the proper positioning when assembling and disassembling.

Taking apart your reel: When repairing or cleaning your reel, take it apart carefully. Do not clean the unit as a whole as it will not give you the kind of results you want.

Secure fishing line: Another crucial thing to keep in mind is making sure you secure your fishing line before removing the spool.

Apart from the facts mentioned above, there are several other things that you need to consider to ensure your spinning reel serves its purpose and lasts a long time. They include:

  • To handle springs and wire clips, use a pair of tweezers
  • Clean your reel’s parts with Simple Green
  • Always oil your unit’s bearings
  • Grease your reel’s gears regularly and properly

Fishing Reel FAQs

Are Fishing Rods and Fishing Reels Different?

Yes, fishing rods and reels are two different things. However, when it comes to casting rods, they are both reels and rods.

Fishing Reel Grease or Oil – Which Should I Use?

Oiling your spinning reel is okay, but keep in mind that oil doesn’t last that long. Consider using grease as it is a longer-lasting and more effective lubrication option compared to oil.

Are the Bearings in Spinning Reels Important?

Bearings in spinning reels play a crucial role. The more they are in a reel, the better its performance will be.

Are Saltwater Reels and Freshwater Ones Different?

Freshwater spinning reels are made for fishing in freshwater only; which means they are different from saltwater ones. While saltwater reels can be used to fish in freshwater, freshwater ones can’t be used in saltwater as it may damage them.

What’s the Difference between Spinning Reel and Bait Cast Reel?

Bait cast reels need some of the bait’s, tackle’s or lure’s weight for the line to be put out. Bait cast reels can be tricky to use and are usually used by seasoned anglers. Newbie and inexperienced anglers should consider using spinning reels with more lines as they are easier to operate.


The competition amongst fishing reel manufacturers to provide both experienced and newbie anglers with high-quality, dependable yet affordable reels is currently at a fever pitch. We all have our preferences when it comes to the type of reel and brand we’d like to use. In this list, we’ve listed some of the top spinning reels on the market for saltwater and freshwater fishing and which cost less than $100. You can buy one for use as a primary or backup reel with confidence that you’re choosing one of the most high-performing and reliable reels on the market.


Best Spinning Reels Under $100 ( Top 3 Picks )

Editor’s Choice & Best Seller
Penn 1338216 Battle II 2000 Spinning Fishing Reel
Professional's Choice
Penn 1259871 Spinfisher V Spinning Fishing Reel, 4500
Best Value
KastKing Centron Spinning Reel,Size 3000 Fishing Reel
Penn 1338216 Battle II 2000 Spinning Fishing Reel
Penn 1259871 Spinfisher V Spinning Fishing Reel, 4500
KastKing Centron Spinning Reel,Size 3000 Fishing Reel
Price not available
Our Rating
Editor’s Choice & Best Seller
Penn 1338216 Battle II 2000 Spinning Fishing Reel
Penn 1338216 Battle II 2000 Spinning Fishing Reel
Our Rating
Read Full Review
View on Amazon
Professional's Choice
Penn 1259871 Spinfisher V Spinning Fishing Reel, 4500
Penn 1259871 Spinfisher V Spinning Fishing Reel, 4500
Price not available
Our Rating
Read Full Review
View on Amazon
Best Value
KastKing Centron Spinning Reel,Size 3000 Fishing Reel
KastKing Centron Spinning Reel,Size 3000 Fishing Reel
Our Rating
Read Full Review
View on Amazon

Last update on 2020-05-14 / Rating by Author / Affiliate links, Images, Descriptions & Price from Amazon Product Advertising API

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