Spinning reels are perfect for casting numerous types of tackle and are used by millions of anglers around the world. Finding the best spinning reel, however, can be difficult. There are many different uses for them, whether it’s for your favorite hobby or hunting various species of fish.
To find the best spinning reel on the market, we have scanned through the market and came across 38 different models. In our research, we have found that the Pflueger President ticks all the right boxes. It’s extremely smooth, has a brilliant build quality and excels in all the key tests. If you’re looking for something different, we also have a few more top spinning reels for you.
If you wish to work out which spinning reel fits your needs, there is plenty for you to think about. The size, capacity, number of bearings, gear ratio, max drag weight, and overall weight are all vitally important. Thankfully with our countless hours of research, we make it as easy as possible. We have contacted several expert sources, checked official websites, and taken into account fishers’ reviews to give you the best information available. To make this easy to digest, we’ve created a comparison table, detailed product reviews, a comprehensive buying guide, and FAQs. Let’s get started!
More features: lightweight graphite construction, sealed drag system
Pflueger makes many great fishing reels, and this is another incredible example. As soon as you get it in your hand, you can feel the level of quality that it has. It feels light, but the quality of the materials helps to make it extremely durable.
It weighs 8.8oz, which provides a good balance. This is their 30 size reel, but they also have them in sizes of 20, 25, 35, and 40. Their line capacities are noted on their page if you were looking for something different. Whichever you choose, you’ll get a brilliant performance.
If you’re looking for the best spinning reel for bass, then this would be a great option. It has a medium-speed gear ratio, and the drag and casting of the reel are both exceptionally smooth every time.
A bit of grime can get into the reel, but thankfully, it’s easy to take apart, and, therefore, maintenance is fairly simple. You want a quality reel that you’re going to be able to rely on, and this model does its job extremely well in that regard. It’s excellent value for money, and you’re sure to love it.
The Shimano ST2500HGFL is a great bass fishing reel incorporating G Free Body technology that has been developed to ensure the center of gravity for the reel is closer to the rod to reduce user fatigue and enhance casting comfort.
The HAGANE Body ensures high rigidity, with impact resistance to eliminate body flexing. This can transform your action into direct cranking power, creating efficiency and strength. This is enhanced by the cross carbon drag material that provides a wider variety of settings and offers the smoothest Shimano drag performance to date.
The ST2500HGFL also features X-Ship that enhances durability. It supports pinion gear at both ends to maintain precise alignment. Essentially, this means that gears will remain in the same position, regardless of the load, eliminating friction between gear and spool shaft.
The gears themselves are Micro Modular Gear II state of art designed gears. These have been further advanced through the Shimano manufacturing technology. The drive gear and pinion gear surfaces have been analyzed and then updated in the pursuit of perfection.
Finally, the reel has X-Protect a water repellent coating to provide high level water resistance without compromising rotor rotation and light gear.
More features: anodized machined aluminum housing, manual return bail, dual anti-reverse system
Daiwa has been able to make one of the most attractive spinning reels out there with this model that has many excellent qualities. It has a fantastic level of strength both in this model and the seven other sizes available.
Unfortunately, this product is quite heavy. This version weighs 22oz, which may be too much for some people looking to do a full day of fishing. There may be others, however, who prefer the feel of a heavy spinning reel.
With a gear ratio of 5.6:1, this reel finds a good middle ground, and it might be ideal for those who find a ratio of 6.0:1 a little too fast. The action is very balanced, and you’ll find it to be very responsive to any adjustments that you want to make. You get a perfect line lay, which adds to the ease of use that you get from the reel.
If you’re hoping to get many years of use out of your freshwater reel, then this would be a good option for freshwater fishing. With the anodized machined aluminum housing and other high-quality materials, it will be able to stand the test of time, even in harsher environments.
More features: Cyclonic Flow Rotor, Torsion Control Armor
If you’re looking for the lightest spinning reel out there, then you’ve come to the right place. At just 7.1oz, this is going to feel like a feather in your hand, but when it comes to fighting fish, it is still able to pack a punch.
There are also other sizes available, which are all incredibly light. One thing that can be a little annoying is that the bail arm can be a little awkward to use for some. Other than that, it’s a high-quality reel with great features.
The max drag on this spinning reel is quite high at 13.2lbs. Moreover, it is smooth, meaning you have the lowest risk of losing your catch or snapping the line. With the 9 bearings it has, the action is going to be very impressive.
The gear ratio is on the slower side, which is important to consider. If you prefer to have it that way, then you’ll find this ultralight spinning reel to be perfect for your needs. You’ll be able to catch a large variety of different fish with ease.
When it comes to inshore spinning reels, the Abu Garcia Revo X 40-spin has generated considerable attention. It comes in four sizes and features an impressive line capacity of mono – 240/8 190/10 135/12 and braid – 190/14 (YD/LBS), so that it could cater to a range of fishing needs.
The configuration of 6 stainless steel HPCR™ bearings and 1 roller bearing hints at smooth operation, which is critical for anglers looking for consistent performance. With a gear ratio of 6.2:1, it sits on the faster side of the spectrum, allowing for quicker retrievals. Its max drag of 11 lbs might not be the heaviest in the market but is ample for many inshore species. Weighing in at just 8 oz, the reel feels light, which can be beneficial for extended fishing sessions.
A highlight of the Revo X is its design. The reel flaunts a Zenon-inspired A-SYM body design aimed at reducing body size and optimizing weight balance. The AM-G fully machined gear system emphasizes smoothness and cranking power. Furthermore, the V-Rotor design combined with the Rocket line management system accommodates mono, braid, and even the trickier fluorocarbon. Also, features such as the Carbon Matrix™ drag system, aluminum handle with co-molded soft touch knobs, and slow oscillation, raise its profile.
If you’re looking for a durable reel with a high level of max drag, then this is going to be a great option. You get 20lbs of play with that drag, and it comes with a knob that is very easy to adjust in order to get the response you want.
A key design flaw to note here is that the handle is a wide diamond shape. It’s not something we liked, but this will be down to personal preference. It can just be a little hard to grip instantly when you get a bite if it’s at the wrong angle.
We’ve put that down as a con, but in reality, there is very little to complain about with this model. If you’re going to be fishing near saltwater, then the IPX5 sealing on the reel is going to be appealing. This ensures that nothing will get in to damage it. That enables it to have long-term durability and be easy to maintain. Thanks to its durability and water-tight sealing, it is one of the best surf fishing reels.
There is a vast range of sizes available with this model, so you’re certain to get the perfect fit for you. While they may not have the number of bearings others boast, they all offer a reliable and comfortable action. All of the reel sizes have great specifications, and they will work perfectly on many different types of fish.
The Sharky III reel by KastKing is a significant upgrade from its predecessors. Tailored for diverse fishing environments, its K.I.S.S protection (KastKing Intrusion Shield System) ensures the spool, body, and rotor remain free from water damage and dirt, extending its lifespan. The reel is corrosion-resistant whether you’re fishing from a pier, shore, or stream.
Its ultra-smooth performance is attributed to the 10 double-shielded stainless steel ball bearings. An anti-twist line roller prevents the hassle of tangles, enhancing the fishing experience. The high-density EVA grips ensure a firm hold even in wet conditions. The Sharky III is ideal for capturing larger fish and it boasts a robust system supporting up to 39.5 pounds. The reel is available in sizes 1000 to 5000 and is designed for powerful retrievals. Its spool operates quietly and smoothly, and with the shark fin braid-ready aluminum spool, there’s no need for a backing line, offering more line capacity than many competitors. Its compact design, combined with its weight, durability, and other features, positions the Sharky III as a top baitfeeder spinning reel option.
More features: magnesium frame, carbon fiber handle, machined alumium main gear
The President model from Pflueger was our Editor’s Choice, but this Supreme XT model from the same manufacturer could have easily have taken that crown. The build quality is breathtaking, and it has all the features you’d expect from a premium quality model.
Designed for versatility, the Pflueger Supreme XT spinning reel is suitable for both freshwater and saltwater fishing, especially for anglers in search of a quality mid-sized reel. Weighing in as the lightest reel in Pflueger’s lineup, its ultralightweight magnesium body and rotor deliver exceptional sturdiness without adding unnecessary weight to your rod.
The Supreme XT is available in four sizes, each equipped with a 5.2:1 gear ratio. The aluminum spool is primed for braided line, enhanced with rubber ridges for secure line grip. This reel features a sealed carbon fiber drag system at the spool’s top, making it apt for diverse fishing conditions, whether freshwater or saltwater inshore.
Unique attributes of the Supreme XT include a lightweight carbon fiber handle paired with an EVA handle knob, ensuring a comfortable and efficient retrieve. The reel’s Sure-Click bail design guarantees a confident snap sound when opened, complemented by an anti-twist titanium line roller for even line lay during retrieval. Furthermore, the instant anti-reverse ensures prompt and firm hooksets.
If you’re looking for the highest number of bearings, then the 11 that you get here are going to be appealing to you. It leads to one of the smoothest actions out there, and you’ll be able to control your line easily.
One issue with this reel is that the line can often get caught under the spool, which can be a little annoying. Other than that, it has a lot going for it. The gear ratio is high, allowing you to retrieve your line quickly and efficiently.
There are four different size options available, but they are all quite light, and you’re not going to have any problems using the reel for a long time. With a low price, it also represents brilliant value for money when compared to other cheaper reels out there.
If you wish to get the highest quality drag, then it will be hard to find one better than this. There are six carbon disks in the system, which allow it to be very accurate and give you the control that you’re looking for. You can easily adjust it, and that will enable you to catch a wide range of fish.
More features: fold down anodized aluminum with LEW’S Combat Grip paddle, fully adjustable drag system, balanced stainless steel bail
Lew’s Fishing has been able to make an affordable reel that has a very stylish design. While the great color may catch the eye of many anglers, more importantly, the reel is going to allow you to catch plenty of fish.
It’s a perfect reel for those looking for the best trout spinning reel, and it has a marvelous level of durability despite weighing only 9 ounces. It comes in sizes from 30″ to 32″ depending on your preference, and they all have a good line capacity.
The only issue with the reel is that it can be a little noisy with a little bit of a grind, but it doesn’t seem to affect how it performs. The action of the reel is extremely smooth, and it helps to make it easy to cast over quite long distances.
The gear ratio allows for quick retrieval, and the fully adjustable drag system provides the flexibility you need to catch various types of fish. The strong materials make this a good option for anyone fishing in challenging environments.
Selecting a spinning reel can be a tricky decision. They all have slightly different qualities with many different features to consider. In this section, we go into further detail about all the key features that are going to affect your choice. Once you’ve gone through this guide, you should have clarity of what is going to be important to you.
In order to get the right spinning reel, you should decide where you will be fishing and what type of fish you will be trying to catch. Larger fish will need a larger reel, and if you’re going to be saltwater fishing, then you need a saltwater spinning reel that can cope with that harsh environment. As we go through each section here, make a note of how each feature relates to the type of fishing you plan on doing. That way, you’ll get a picture of the best spinning reel for you.
Working out the reel size can be a little confusing at first. You will see numbers such as 40 or 4000. A good starting point is to note that 30 = 3000, 40 = 4000 and so on. They relate to how much line can be held on the spinning reel.
There are many reels out there with a great range of sizes, such as the Okuma Helios HSX.
The right reel size for you will depend on the type of fish that you plan on catching.
If you plan on fishing small lakes and ponds, then you’re only going to need a smaller reel. If you’re fishing off a boat or a beach, then you’ll need a larger reel. It’s a good idea to check the line capacity to see which size is going to be ideal for your needs.
With line capacity, you’ll see figures such as “12/120”. The smaller figure relates to the weight that the line is going to be able to take in pounds, and the other is how many yards that you’re going to be able to get on the line.
This is important when determining the weight of fish you want to catch, how far you’ll be casting, and also the amount of drag you’ll set on your reel. If you need a thick fishing line, you want to make sure your reel is large enough to hold enough of it.
Then we get on to the argument of mono vs. braided line. Mono is by far the more commonly used line as its much cheaper. The downside is that it’s much thicker than the braided line, and, therefore, you won’t get as much on your reel.
As a general rule, the more bearings the reel has, the smoother it’s going to be. This can lead to some anglers to jump for the reel with the most bearings without looking at other features. The reality is a little bit more complicated than that.
There’s no point having loads of bearings in the reel if the overall build quality is poor, and also, there are different grades of bearings. You want to make sure that your reel has the build quality to justify the bearings that it has. The Pflueger Supreme XT is a good example of this as it has 10 bearings and also features brilliant build quality.
In a spinning reel, you want it to have a good amount of drag weight. This refers to the amount of pressure that can be applied to the line before it lets loose to prevent the line from breaking. At 22lbs, the Daiwa BG has a great max drag, which will enable you to catch a wide range of fish.
When the line weight hits the desired point, the line is released from plates. You want this release of the line to be as smooth as possible, and you also want to adjust the amount of drag easily depending on the type of line you’re using and the fish that you wanted to catch.
The gear ratio relates to how many rotations of the reel you get from one rotation of the handle. For example, a ratio of 5.0:1 means that for every turn of the handle, the reel is going to spin around 5 times. This ratio is seen as a good balance at a medium speed. The Okuma Helios HSX is a great example of a reel with this ratio.
If you want to be able to reel your fish in a little faster, then you’ll want to have a higher ratio. The 6.2:1 ratio found with 13 Fishing Creed GT is very quick, but some may not like the feel of it. This depends on personal preference and the type of fish that you want to catch.
All these features are fairly pointless if the overall build quality of the spinning reel is lacking. You want to ensure it is made from the highest quality materials and has a solid construction that isn’t going to let you down.
Having a sealed reel is a great feature as this helps to protect the inner components and keep them lubricated.
A lightweight reel, such as the Pflueger Supreme XT, uses carbon fiber and other premium materials to give it that low weight while not sacrificing on quality. These features are going to be even more important in harsh environments, such as boat fishing.
The overall weight of the reel is going to be important, especially for those people who will have that weight in their hands for a full day of fishing. Some people prefer to have a heavier reel, such as the 22oz Daiwa BG, as they feel it offers more stability and balance.
Others like having as light a reel as possible with a model such as the Pflueger President at just 8.8oz. While a low weight is great, you don’t want to compromise on durability. If that weight is achieved through cheap materials and not carbon fiber, for example, then it won’t be as strong.
There are a few additional features that can add some quality to the reel.
Instant anti-reverse – You only want your reel to go in the direction you need it too. The instant system will prevent it from speeding into reverse.
Adjustable drag – There are times when the drag on a reel is going to be too high for your needs. You want to be able to set it to your needs.
Comfortable handle – It’s a great idea to check the handle as it’s an often overlooked feature. Make sure it’s going to be comfortable and easy enough for you to use.
Sealed system – On higher-end models, the inner working of the reel is sealed to prevent water intrusion and grime intrusion, which can cause rust and reduce smoothness.
As with many other products, price is an essential consideration. In this list, we have shown some premium price options, budget options, and everything in between.
At the top end of the scale is the Shimano ST2500HGFL Stradic at a little over $200. It has impressive quality with all the features that you’d expect from a high-end model.
If you’re looking for a balance between budget and quality, then the Penn Spinfisher VI is an excellent option. It is light and has a smooth operation with a drag that is very easy to adjust.
If you’re looking for incredible value for money, then you’ll find that with the Lew’s Fishing Mach 1. It is a brilliant option that costs around $50, so you can’t complain about minor flaws. It features a wide range of features, while also being made of high-quality materials.
There are many different sizes of spinning reels, and they all have slightly different features and qualities.
When looking for a quality spinning reel, it’s hard to look past the Pflueger President. It simply excels in every single category there is, especially considering how cheap it is.
Do you want something even more affordable? The Lew’s Fishing Mach 1 reel is a great choice with its solid construction. It will be perfect for longer casts.
If you don’t care about money and simply want the premium product, the Shimano ST2500HGFL Stradic is a truly fantastic spinning reel. Its build quality is excellent with smooth operation and great drag.
While these three are all well-made spinning reels, the other seven we’ve looked at here are also worth considering. We hope that our list of the top fishing reels will help you find the best spinning reel that matches your needs.