Whether you are completely new to fishing or someone who is experienced with the sport, the reality is that having quality gear can help you have the best possible experience. Having the best spinning reel can be a huge part of that. Having a great spinning reel can make your experience on the water even more fun than usual.
With more people getting involved in fishing, tons of companies are offering quality fishing reels. This can make it complicated to determine which is the best for your needs. That’s why we wanted to share some insight into the options you have with the best spinning reels, so you know exactly what to look at and what the complicated terminology means.
We’ve rounded up the top 10 spinning reels and what features they offer to anglers. We’ll also give a few tips that can assist you in determining which reel is the one that is right for you. First, let’s look at the top reels and what they offer you on the water.
The Best Spinning Reels for 2020: Reviews & Comparisons
Penn Slammer III 4500 Spinning Reel
There are a few sizes available in the Penn Slammer III, but we’ll be mainly focusing on the 4500 model. Each of these spinning reels has an IPX6 waterproof rating so you don’t have to worry about spray from a boat causing damage to your reel. This spinner reel also has a tightly sealed gear box and drag system to prevent water and sand from reaching the inside of the reel.
The Slammer III uses a new Dura-Drag system for this spinning reel. This is done to create increased drag pressure and ensure the user gets smooth operation while fishing. The material used with this system is the same material used in high-performance racing cars. This makes it possible for it to handle even the most brutal encounters with fighting fish on the water while keeping the drag system running smoothly.
As a contender for the best saltwater spinning reel, it’s likely no surprise that it uses CNC gear technology. The gear system is made from machine-milled precision brass. This also adds to the smooth operation and durability of the spinner reel. It also provides you with a reel that has a huge amount of cranking power. This is important when you hook a big catch and want to bring it in.
This spinning reel isn’t the lightest option out there, but it feels solid and well-built when you use it. However, there are other reels that are lighter, and some may prefer that option. It’s also one of the more expensive reels on the list based on the durability and extra technology used to create the reel.
Shimano Stradic HG ST1000HGFK Freshwater Spinning Fishing Reel
The Stradic HG ST1000HGFK is a freshwater fishing reel offering tons of great features for a reasonable price. It has a sleek design and spinning reel reviews note that it offers exceptional performance. It is capable of offering a smooth fishing experience in all sorts of environments. The spinning reel is made to handle heavy line and large fish and works best in freshwater fishing situations.
Rather than using an inexpensive and less quality material for the housing, this reel uses a metal body. This gives extra durability to the reel which is a must for a serious angler. This reel has a front drag system and can handle from seven to 24 pounds, which makes it a reel that you can count on even in extreme situations. It also has 6 + 1 ball bearings, which further adds to the smoothness of using the spinner reel. The only real negative is that some users find that the placement of the spool is a little awkward.
As with other Shimano spinning fishing reels, it offers minimal friction which adds to accuracy and strength. It also includes Dyna-Balance and the Fluidrive II system which improves the responsiveness of the reel when you need it the most. Something that you won’t have to stress about when using this reel is casting or retrieval of fish. Snags won’t be an issue and you can expect a smooth reel in to bring in the big fish you want.
Pflueger Supreme XT SUPXTSP30X Spinning Fishing Reel
This is a superlight spinning reel with a rotor, body, and side plate all created from magnesium. It’s one of the lightest reels out there and even a few ounces lighter than the President line of Pflueger spinning reels. Beyond being light and simple to use, the magnesium construction is also strong and durable. The reel is appropriate for use in both freshwater and saltwater environments, so it is a versatile reel choice.
The Supreme XT has a braid-ready spool with rubber grommets. What that means is that you have no need to put monofilament backing on it. This makes is easy to use since you simply tie in the braid and spool it up without dealing with taping the braided lines to seal them. This spinning reel also comes with a second spool just in case you lose or damage the first, which is a plus. This reel can be used for small and medium sized fish of all types from crappie to bass and trout.
Another excellent feature with this reel is that is offers a carbon inlay drag knob design. This is a single piece design that uses a lot less material than the last knob used on these spinning reels. This reel also has a 9 + 1 bearing system for balance and smoothness when fishing. The handle is made of carbon fiber to make it stronger and lighter while the handle knob is made of EVA. This reel is great with lures of any size, even the smaller ones.
Penn Spinfisher V 4500 Spinning Fishing Reel
Penn is one of the top names in the running for best saltwater spinning reels. These devices attach to a rod to easily wind fishing lines. The Spinfisher V is one of the top choices out there with lots of high-quality features that offer flexibility and comfort while fishing in any sort of water. One of the benefits of this reel is that it has a water tight design. This is done by using a series of rubber gaskets through the product. That means that even when doing something else, water isn’t going to make its way into the reel’s gearbox.
This choice of the Penn saltwater spinning reels offers 100 drag on the top of the spool while the other two can be found on the bottom. This is what creates a tight seal for your spool. These things make the reel have a powerful pull so you can manage to stop even massive saltwater fish. It has an instant reverse beating with 5 + 1 sealed balls to add power to your reel. It gives you an extra level of control when dealing with an extreme catch.
With a full side plate and metal body, this keeps the gear in alignment when pulling large fish. The gears are computer controlled and designed to give the exact needed tolerance for smoothness in whatever fishing you do. The aluminum ball wire within the reel is another important aspect of the spinning reel which offers additional durability. If the reel hits another item, it won’t easily bend or become damaged.
Penn Battle II 4000 Spinning Fishing Reel
Another of the best Penn saltwater reels is the Battle II. Unlike some manufacturers, this is a company that cares about how effective and efficient the reel is rather than how inexpensively it can be made. As such, the spinning reel is made of carbon fiber and heavy-duty aluminum. The carbon fiber alone is one of the best materials you can get for a spin reel. This works well with the aluminum that is built to last while still being comfortable to use.
The drag system on this top 10 spinning reel is highly-effective and made to allow you to go after the biggest fish found in the sea. While it isn’t an overly expensive reel, it’s one that many people consider the best spinning reel for the money. One of the reasons for that is because while you’re pulling a fish in, the Battle II isn’t going to release the line and make things difficult for you. This can create a more positive fishing experience.
The outside of the reel is fully metal, along with the rotor and the side plane. It has 5 + 1 ball bearings to offer a smooth stroke compared to other spinning reels available. It is entirely sealed which make it even more water resistant than the competitors. This is a feature that adds a lot when it comes to the reel lasting a long time.
Penn Fierce II 2500 Spinning Fishing Reel
Penn saltwater reels are largely regarded as some of the best saltwater reels, as you may have guessed by how often they appear on this list. The Fierce II is not an exception to this and is often lauded in spinning reel reviews. The construction and design are both top of the line, rather than being a spinning reel that relies on gimmicks and extra features.
This reel has an all-metal body which supports the gear system well. The handle and spool are made form anodized aluminum while the aluminum bail wire is high-quality and will stand up to bending and twisting. It can hold plenty of line regardless of the model you look at. This allows you to easily fish for the largest fish in the ocean. The spool is braid ready and there are line capacity rings built in which is a nice perk. For those who are about aesthetics, it’s also a sleek and nice-looking reel with a black body and red accents. It has a look that really shows off the fact that it is meant for serious performance.
With the all-metal body, it’s not overly surprising that it weighs a bit more than some reels. However, it doesn’t seem bulky or overly heavy while in use. With the addition of the perfect rod, it has a large amount of balance to prevent fatigue during a long day of casting and reeling in fish. The knob for drag adjustment is simple and audible clicks it offers helps notify you of how much you are tightening or loosening pressure.
Pflueger President PRESSP30X Spinning Reel
The Pflueger President is one of the best spinning reel for bass and all sorts of other fish you find lurking in the waters. With a name like President, you know that this is going to be a powerful and top-rated spinner reel. This Pflueger president review will explain exactly what to expect if you choose this as your new reel.
This reel is fully capable of handling any kind of bait your throw at it, whether artificial or live. Most of the reel is created using graphite which also makes it highly durable. The spool portion of the spinning reel is double anodized machine ported aluminum. As with many other reels in this range, it does include an instant anti-reverse bearing which offers nearly instant crank control. It has a corrosion resistant design that can be used in saltwater or freshwater with ease.
This reel has a one-year warranty and has plenty of great features going for it. The handle feels nice in the hand and isn’t going to slip or cause cramping when you need the exact opposite. It has a 9 + 1 ball bearing system which makes it smoother than most of the other reels on the market today. It also has a high drag rating so hauling in those large fish won’t be an issue.
KastKing Sharky III 3000 Fishing Reel
One of the first things you are going to notice about the KastKing Sharky III spinning reel is that it is super inexpensive compared to some of the other items on this list. That might make you wary about this reel, but the reality is that it’s not just an inexpensive spinning reel that will fall apart on you the first time you cast. It’s worth considering for any angler, but especially useful for those on a tight budget.
This reel has a strong build while sporting an aesthetically appealing design. It isn’t one of those reels that only works in freshwater. It has resistance to corrosion, so saltwater isn’t a problem when using the Sharky III. Both the body and rotor are reinforced with graphite which makes it the durable option many will appreciate.
The spool on this spinning reel is made of aluminum which is braid ready and able to offer smooth performance. It uses 10 + 1 ball bearings which only adds to that degree of smoothness. It also has the instant lock anti-reverse feature that adds safety when fishing. When you look at it as a whole reel, you’re getting a lot of features for a truly incredible price.
Okuma Ceymar Lightweight Spinning Reel C-55
The Okuma Ceymar is another of the top spinning reels found at an inexpensive price. It offers efficiency in all sorts of different environments without requiring you to break the bank. There are five different models of this spinning reel, but we’ll mainly be looking at the C-55.
It’s one of the least expensive of the reels from Ceymar and is made from lightweight and durable materials. This makes it comfortable to transport and use on the water. The reel can be used in either the left or right hand, so it works for all anglers.
It has a bearing system of 7 + 1 and a gear ratio of 5.0:1. The reel makes use of the Elliptical Gearing System which offers smooth and easy fishing through casting and drag. It also has a multi-disc drag system which adds to the efficiency of casting when out on the water. The reel is super durable with a graphite rotor and frame to keep it in good condition for a long time.
Okuma Avenger ABF 40 Graphite Bait Feeder Reel
The Avenger from Okuma is a six-bearing reel at a reasonable price with a durable build and the capabilities for extreme performance. It features a graphite body, which is light and strong, with resistance to corrosion. That makes it a fantastic option for both freshwater and saltwater fishing. The handle and spool are made of aluminum and the entire thing weighs only nine ounces in total.
The controls on the reel are a bit oversized compared to other top spinning reels, which feels nice in the hand. The bait feed adjustment, front drag adjustment, crank knob, anti-reverse lock, and knob are all super easy to use, even for those who wear gloves.
The bait feed capability is something you don’t see on every reel which makes it excellent for fish with delicate bites like catfish and walleye. The roller system on the bail, oiled felt drag discs, and balanced rotor add to the smoothness and performance of this inexpensive spinning reel, perfect for beginners as well as expert anglers.
How to Choose the Ultimate Spinning Reel
There are numerous things to think about when choosing a spinning reel. These reels are designed to have an open-faced, fixed position that lines up with the rod. The spool doesn’t move while the rotor spins, hence the name spinning reel. These reels are made to mount below your rod and typically held in the right hand while the other hand cranks the reel. However, some models do come with the ability to use them in either hand.
We’re going to look at what you should watch when perusing spinning rods so you can make the best decision for yourself.
About Weight and Body
Most spinning reels you will find are going to be created of graphite or aluminum. Quite a few of them are made with some parts that use each of those materials. Those who want the ultimate strength and durability are going to want to go with a reel made of aluminum. Anglers who are more interested in a lightweight and portable reel are going to be better suited to a graphite spinner reel.
Based on that, if you’re doing saltwater fishing, aluminum might be the best choice but those who want to fish for long periods will often do best with a graphite reel.
Determining the Right Size of Reel
The reel size that you choose should be based on the fishing line that you plan to use. Basically, this is easy to determine if you know that the lighter your line is going to be, the smaller the reel you want to choose to go with it. As an example, if your line is eight pounds, a reel rated for six, eight, and ten would be a good choice for you.
Understanding Gear Ratios
The first thing to be aware of is what the gear ratio actually means. It applies to the number of times that a bail rotates around your spool each time you crank the handle. If you are mainly looking to catch stubborn or heavy fish, you may be best off with a small gear ratio such as 4:1 or 5:1. On the other hand, a 6:1 ratio is reasonable for fish what are smaller and easier to catch.
Selecting an Excellent Drag System
The drag systems for your reel are crucial because these are what add pressure to a fish that is hooked and help to release line while trying to bring in a fish. These can be rear drag or front drag, which simply applies to where the system is located. What front drags have going for them is the application of large washers which makes the reel durable and add to the performance of the reel. Rear drags, on the other hand, are typically simpler to access, especially when in the thick of a fight with a fish.
What to Know About Ball Bearings
We’ve mentioned ball bearings throughout this article and for good reason. The bearings are what offers support, stability, and smoothness when using your reel. However, the recommendation for choosing ball bearings is simple. When you have more ball bearings, this adds additional smoothness to your reel. This is one area where more is always a good thing so don’t be afraid to go wild.
Thinking About the Spool
As you likely already know, the spool is what holds your line, adds smoothness, and controls your casting distance. There are two types of spools, although one is going out of favor in recent years. Internal spools are becoming outdated and being replaced by skirted spools. The internal type has an issue in that they can get all tangled up in the reel body.
Whether to Choose an Anti-Reverse Switch
Most people looking at spinning reels are going to want to be sure that it has an anti-reverse switch. This is a feature that helps prevent your handle from flying backward when your hook hits a fish and offers extra stability to your catch.
Which Top Spinning Reel to Select
The reality is that there are tons of options out there for reels, but once you know what you’re going to be fishing for, it isn’t difficult to choose the right one. Each of the reels mentioned here is high-quality and offers a great option for fishing. All you need to do is take the tips and information above and decide on which fits your fishing style. From there, you can choose the features that matter to you the most and get a perfect reel to fit your ideal rod.