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Numerous spinning reels are on the market today, and choosing the right one can be pretty hectic. Buying the wrong spinning reel will waste your money and ruin your fishing day. To avoid such problems, we have compiled the top seven spinning reels that are easy to use and give you a competitive edge in the waters.
This guide will also expound on each spinning reel’s features, advantages, and disadvantages to help you choose one that suits your needs.
Top 3 Best Spinning Reels - Our Absolute Favorites
Best Overall Spinning Reel
Abu Garcia Revo SX
Best Spinning Reel for Ambidextrous
Penn Slammer III
Best Smoothness Spinning Reel
Top 7 Spinning Reels For Fishing: We Tested It
- Abu Garcia Revo SX– Best Overall Spinning Reel
- Penn Slammer III – Best for Ambidextrous Spinning Reel
- Pflueger President – Best Smoothness Spinning Reel
- Okuma Ceymar – Best Lightweight Spinning Reel
- Daiwa BG – Best Rated Spinning Reel
- Pflueger Patriarch – Best High End Spinning Reel
- Shimano Vanford – Best Saltwater Spinning Reel
Best Overall Spinning Reel
Abu Garcia Revo SX
WHY WE LIKE IT: Abu Garcia Revo SX tops our best spinning reel in 2023. We liked this reel because it features a carbon body design that maintains impressive weightlessness. This made it easier for us to crank on a big bass with zero flex in the reel’s frame.
Additionally, this reel features a hybrid drag system that allows us to do bass fishing all day without experiencing random backlashes, even when fishing in harsh weather conditions.
OVERVIEW: When using this reel, I liked how it operated smoothly and paired well even with a stiffer fluorocarbon line. I used it for salt and freshwater fishing, and I enjoyed fishing all day without experiencing random backlashes.
FEATURES: The Abu Garcia Revo SX is among the best high-performance spinning reels in 2023. Unlike most spinning reels that don’t consider ergonomics, this reel features a narrow, compact body structure that provides an ergonomic grip.
This reel features a spectacular management system; you can go fishing all day without experiencing any problems. This a great choice if you’re looking for a good spinning reel for bass fishing with outstanding accuracy and distance.
Penn Slammer III
WHY WE LIKE IT: I liked this reel because it’s designed for offshore fishing and can last for many years. We noticed that it’s made of Dura-Drag material that makes it even stronger and makes the drag to be super smooth.
Another feature that makes it to be in our list of the best spinning reels is the presence of line capacity rings. It’s pretty hard to see reels with line capacity rings, but this option made it easier to see how many lines were left on our spool.
- Line Capacity Rings: Yes
- Sealed Drag Systems: Yes
- CNC Gear Technology: Yes
- Stainless Steel Bearing: Yes
- Material: Stainless Steel, Metal
- Color: Black Gold
- Hand Orientation: Ambidextrous
- Item Weight: 1 Pound
- Handle and Bearing Material: Stainless Steel
OVERVIEW: I recommend this spinning reel to all anglers who like surf casting, as it can withstand the repetitive casting of heavy lures in harsh saltwater.
When using this reel, I realized it has precise brass gearing and an excellent drag capacity system, so it’s worth making this additional investment.
FEATURES: Penn Slammer III is a great spinning reel with a water-resistant rating of IPX6. It also supports a solid metal frame to enhance its strength and durability, a feature rarely found in other reels.
WHY WE LIKE IT: I can attest that this reel provides the best smooth retrieval among the many spinning reels I have used in the past. This is because it features a corrosion-resistant ten-bearing system that maintains consistent drag pressure.
I also like how its soft ergonomic knob made my work easier when gripping, and its aluminum handle enhanced its durability.
- 10 Bearing System: Yes
- Graphite Body and Rotor: Yes
- Sure-Click Bail System: Yes
- One-Year Warranty: Yes
- Material: Aluminum
- Item Weight: 0.45 Pounds
- Color: Multi
- Handle Material: Stainless Steel
- Hand Orientation: Ambidextrous
OVERVIEW: This is a great casting reel that comes with a braid-ready spool. In short, you use a series of vertical rubber grommets to tie the braid so your braided line won’t keep sliding.
I was quite impressed by this reel’s smooth operation, considering it’s inexpensive.
FEATURES: This is a good spinning reel, made with quality in mind. It’s smooth and works great with many rods, and is ideal for anglers who are just getting started and want an affordable quality reel.
WHY WE LIKE IT: What we liked most about this reel is its lightweight nature and precision elliptical gearing system. Its design made it easier to cast more accurately at an increased distance. We also loved how it offered smoother and uniform drag.
- Line Control System: Yes
- CNC Brass Pinion Gear: Yes
- Corrosion Resistant Body: Yes
- Lightweight: Yes
- Hand Orientation: Ambidextrous
- Material: Synthetic
- Weight: 0.5 Pounds
- Handle Material: Aluminum
- Color: Black, Red
- Fishing Line Type: Monofilament
OVERVIEW: This reel offers a great combination of values, performance, and durability. When using it, I liked how this reel offered a wide range of adjustable settings, so it was easier for me to switch between settings without experiencing any problem. I also enjoyed how the drag system was solid and didn’t slip or squeal when using it.
FEATURES: Since this reel is designed with technology in mind, you will like how it offers excellent versatility. It’s hard to find a perfect bass fishing reel, but this one has a larger spool that can handle a more extensive line capacity. So, you can use it for different fishing techniques and species.
WHY WE LIKE IT: We were impressed by how Daiwa BG spinning reel options were made with technology and durability in mind. This quality reel supports a dynamic BS spool and Digigear system that gives us a smooth retrieval when doing fresh and saltwater fishing.
We also liked how this reel feels in your hand. Unlike most reels, this fishing reel supports a heavy-duty aluminum handle that improves grip and stays tightened down when fighting with a big fish.
- Waterproof Drag System: Yes
- Manual Return Bail: Yes
- Dynamic Cut Aluminum ABS Spool: Yes
- Infinite Anti-Reverse System: Yes
- Material: Synthetic
- Weight: 0.25 Pounds
- Hand Orientation: Right Hand
- Fishing Line Type: Braided
OVERVIEW: I loved how this reel incorporated technology to make my fishing journey fun. When using it, I loved how its heavy-duty aluminum handle improved grip and stayed tightened down when I was fighting with a big bass.
I recommend this reel, especially if you plan to do inshore saltwater fishing, as it’s many features made my fishing journey extra smooth and easy.
FEATURES: Among all the reels in the market today, the Daiwa BG spinning reel is among the best reels, with outstanding construction, better line management, an excellent drag system, and comfortable heavy-duty handles.
Unlike other reels, this reel provides a large pickup and roller on the bails, preventing your fishing line from looping and twisting even when fishing in a harsh environment.
Best High End
WHY WE LIKE IT: What we loved most about this reel was its lightweight nature and how it was designed for technical fishing. This all-around fishing reel incorporates a magnesium rotor and body, making it perfect for inshore fishing.
We liked how their bearing system is shielded to provide smooth and friction-free retrieval. Also, their instant anti-reverse bearing protected us from experiencing any slop or snap when setting the hook.
OVERVIEW: I recommend it to all saltwater anglers seeking best ultralight spinning reels. This reel is made with durable materials that helped us withstand the harsh elements of inshore and saltwater fishing.
We have used these reels severally, and we can confirm that they have a good feel on the retrieve and are sensitive for jiggling.
FEATURES: It’s hard to find a light reel that can meet the expected performance. Pflueger Patriarch is among the few best spinning reels that are lightweight and robust for inshore fishing.
This reel also features a titanium-coated line roller and slow oscillation to provide the best management of all types of fishing lines.
WHY WE LIKE IT: What we liked most about this reel is its exceptional balance of affordability and performance. We loved the drag power that gave us relentless tension when handling big fish without overstressing the tackle.
Shimano Vanford is among the best saltwater spinning reels with enhanced features that ensure control and maximum sensitivity when setting our hook.
OVERVIEW: We loved this reel’s long-stroke spool because it allowed us to cast further accurately. We enjoyed the Silent drive system and micro module II combination, which allowed us to reel for bass with no vibration.
FEATURES: Shimano Vanford is a perfect spinning reel designed for saltwater anglers who want a reel with enough strength and durability. This reel is made with state-of-the-art technology for smooth retrieval and increased sensitivity.
Things to Keep In Mind Before Buying a Spinning Reel
When it comes to fishing, you must choose the best spinning reel to give you a competitive edge in the waters. So, how do you ensure you buy the right reel that will suit your needs? Here are essential factors you should consider when purchasing reels.
Trigger or Button
Some spinning reels have a button or trigger to switch between locked and free spools. A good reel should have a drag adjustment button to help you control the resistance you will feel when the fish is hooked.
The material you choose determines the durability and weight of your reel. The most common reel construction materials include graphite, aluminum, and carbon fiber.
Although aluminum is more potent, it makes your reel heavier, thus not a good option if you’re looking for a lightweight reel. Additionally, aluminum reels are more prone to corrosion, so they are not a good option if you intend to use them for saltwater fishing.
Weight of the Reel
Some reels are made of graphite or aluminum body while others combine both materials. Aluminum material is stronger and heavier, while graphite is lighter. If you intend to do freshwater fishing, it’s advisable to choose aluminum.
On the other hand, you should choose a graphite reel if you plan to do saltwater fishing, as it is corrosion-resistant.
Spinning Reel Size
The size of the reel you choose depends on the size of your fishing line. If you intend to use a lighter line, consider buying a smaller reel and vice versa. Ensure you check the line capacity when shopping to ensure you buy a reel with the correct capacity.
The casting distance of your spool determines your fishing success. Look for a spool that offers long casting as they improve accuracy and reduced friction.
Additionally, it’s advisable to use a reel with an aluminum spool. This is because reels made of graphite materials might deform as the line tightens, thus making you lose your catch.
The line capacity is the maximum length of a spool that can hold comfortably without overloading the reel. The line capacity is determined by the type of reel you’re using.
For example, a spool can hold more monofilament lines than braided lines. This is because a braided line’s capacity is usually higher than that of monofilament lines.
The gear ratio is determined by the amounts of times the bail rotates around your spool. The gear ratio you choose depends on the kind of fishing you’re doing. If you want to use lures that need fast retrieval, using a spinning reel with a higher gear ratio is advisable.
Sensitivity of the Reel
The kind of fishing you’re practicing determines the type of reel you choose. If you are doing ice fishing, choose a balanced reel that can improve sensitivity so you can detect even the slightest fish strike.
The bearing system determines how smooth your retrieval will be. Ideally, you should choose a reel with more bearings to ensure your retrieval cranks easily.
Also, ensure your bearings are made of ceramic and stainless steel because they are long lasting and don’t rust.
The drag system determines the pressure you use to hook a fish and during a fight with the hooked fish. Good spinning reels should offer smooth, non-constrictive drag. Your line should pull out smoothly regardless of the tension set on the drag.
Good fishing reels should have anti-reverse handles to prevent the handles from moving backward when setting the hook. These handles allow you to set the hooks accurately without experiencing any backward motion.
Numerous brands in the market today claim to have good spinning reels. However, some of these brands don’t meet the quality standards and might disappoint you in the long run.
Ideally, you should choose spinning reels from a reputable brand with positive reviews.
It’s always good to consider the value of the reel you’re buying, as some might not be perfect if you are on a budget. High-performance reels are expensive as they have better components, including better drag systems.
However, other reels are pocket-friendly and are still effective and durable.
Spinning Reels vs Other Types of Reels
Apart from spinning reels, there are other types of reels and rods in the market that serve the same purpose. Here are the most popular options.
Spinning Versus Spincasting Reels
Spincasting reels are the simplest to use and ideal for beginners and children who want to start testing the waters. They feature a button that allows you to switch between a locked and free spool.
Unlike the spin-casting reels, spinning reels come with a metal bail and open face that prevents the line from falling. These reels are usually mounted on the bottom of your rod to provide better balance when adjusting the drag.
Spinning Versus Baitcasting Reels
Unlike a spinning reel with its spool mounted on the bottom, a baitcasting reel has a spool mounted on top of the rod. A baitcasting reel is more advanced than other reels, as it can handle multiple baits and lures.
Additionally, baitcasting reels work well with most lines, including the fluorocarbon, monofilament, and braided line types.
Spinning Versus Conventional Reels
Conventional reels have a fixed spool mounted on top of the rod and are designed for bottom fishing and trolling.
Conventional reels are designed to handle heavier line weights as they have a more powerful drag system, while spinning reels are ideal for anglers targeting smaller fish.
Frequently Asked Questions
An excellent cheap spinning reel should be affordable and have a reliable drag system. It should provide a better balance with your rod, thus making your fishing journey enjoyable.
High-performance reels are quite expensive as they have better components and a better drag system. However, remember that not all expensive reels meet your expectations, so you should do your due diligence before buying one.
A 3000 reel is best for deep-sea fishing anglers as it can withstand harsh conditions and heavy drag. It also can hold up to a 100-yard line, thus making it ideal for casting long distances.
A good 4000 reel has enough power to comfortably catch fish like an average-sized snapper, snook, or redfish. These spinning reels hold mono lines of about 8-20 lb. and braided lines of 8-20 lb. These reels are ideal for fishing in rivers, lakes, light boat fishing, harbors, and bays.