Top 10 Best Fishing Reels

The right reel will make fishing a pleasure, and if properly cared for, it should give you years of service. Today, we’re going to discuss the two most popular types of fishing reels and give you our list of the best fishing reels available.

As you set your sights on being the best fisherman you can be, you’re going to want the top equipment. One of the most important decisions you’ll make is which reel to buy. 

Fishing is one of the most fun and relaxing pastimes you can choose. A beautiful day on the water, a good friend (or some peaceful solitude), and a lunker on the end of your line means life doesn’t get much better. If you’re lucky, you might even come home with dinner.

Once you’ve taken up fishing as a hobby, you’re bound to get more serious about it as time goes by.

BEST FISHING REELS: COMPARISON TABLE


SPINNING REELS

BAIT-CASTING REELS

HOW WE REVIEWED THE BEST FISHING REELS


fishing tool box

Image via Freepik

When we put our list together, we spent many hours researching dozens of reels, both spinning reels and bait-casters, made by many manufacturers. We reviewed data compiled from professional testing, looked at opinions from expert anglers, and put many models through their paces under varying conditions.

We looked at available features, quality of construction, ease of use, and price. We feel confident we’re giving you a choice of the best fishing reels on the market.

OUR LIST OF THE BEST FISHING REELS ON THE MARKET


Spinning Reels

  • OKUMA Helios Lightweight Spinning Reel
  • Daiwa BG Spinning Reel
  • Shimano Spirex FG Spinning Reel (6.2:1)
  • Lews Fishing Mach Speed Spin MS300 Reel
  • Pflueger President XT Spinning Reel
  • Abu Garcia Pro Max Spinning Reel

Bait-casting Reels

  • SHIMANO Metanium MGL 6.2:1 Casting Reel
  • Abu Garcia Revo MG Xtreme Reel
  • Ardent Apex Elite Fishing Reel
  • Daiwa Tatula CT Bait-cast Fishing Reel
  • 13 Fishing Concept A3 8:1:1 Gear Ratio Fishing Reel

THE BEST SPINNING REELS


Let’s look at some specific features and discuss pros and cons of what makes our top spinners some of the best fishing reels you can own.

1

OKUMA HELIOS LIGHTWEIGHT SPINNING REEL

This model is beautifully designed, operates smoothly, and is priced very competitively.

The C-40X graphite and aluminum construction make this reel very light but also sturdy. 

Even with a large fish on, there is little flex, particularly for a reel this lightweight. Overall, this reel is loaded with features and technology you’d expect from a more expensive model.

Pros

  • Very light but sturdy
  • Excellent drag mechanism
  • Good balance
  • Competitively priced

Cons

  • Not many cons. The light weight might make it feel a bit flimsy (but we assure you, it’s not)
PRICE

This reel can be found on Amazon for around $100, with the largest model coming in around $125.

warranty

This reel is backed by a one-year limited warranty from the manufacturer.


2

DAIWA BG SPINNING REEL

This reel comes in a host of models for freshwater or saltwater fishing.

It features Daiwa’s “Hard Bodyz” black anodized finish, which is a solid protective layer covering an aluminum housing. 

A waterproof carbon ATD drag system and a smooth retrieve are made possible by the anti-rust ball bearings.

Pros

  • “Bullet-proof” body construction
  • Smooth cast and retrieve
  • Solid drag system

Cons

  • It’s a bit heavy
  • The spool is not anodized
PRICE

This reel can be found on Amazon for around $ to $$, depending on the model you choose.

warranty

This reel is backed by a one-year limited warranty from the manufacturer.


3

SHIMANO SPIREX FG SPINNING REEL (6.2:1)

This light-duty reel features Shimano’s S-Concept, which means smooth operation and a relaxed retrieve.

Drag performance is top-notch, and the Varispeed oscillation reduces issues with line lay. 

It has an SR one-piece bail wire, the frame and rotor are made of graphite, and it uses anti-rust ball bearings.

Pros

  • Smooth, consistent drag
  • Easy casting for a spinner
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • Double handle feels odd
PRICE

This reel can be found on Amazon for around $.

warranty

This reel is backed by a two-year limited warranty from the manufacturer.


4

LEWS FISHING MACH SPEED SPIN MS300 REEL

This reel features an 8 ball bearing system with a zero reverse clutch bearing, yielding excellent cast and retrieve qualities.

A skeletal graphite rotor is encased in a graphite body to keep weight down while still giving you solid construction and performance. Continuing with the quality build theme, a double anodized knurled aluminum spool and heavy-duty aluminum bail wire finish things off.

Pros

  • Good gear ratio
  • Solid rotor operation
  • Good price

Cons

  • Drag settings not as precise as some
PRICE

This reel can be found on Amazon for around $.

warranty

This reel is backed by a one-year limited warranty from the manufacturer.


5

PFLUEGER PRESIDENT XT SPINNING REEL

Offering a smooth-running seven bearing system and a braid-ready spool, this reel is a performance winner.

The sealed carbon drag is powerful, and because it is sealed, it keeps dirt out for years of reliable fishing. 

This spinner features an aluminum shaft that is 30% lighter than stainless steel, reducing the weight without lessening its strength.

Pros

  • Spool is braided line-ready
  • Drag is sealed for protection
  • The handle is made of carbon fiber

Cons

  • Has a cork knob
PRICE

This reel can be found on Amazon for around $ to $$, depending on which model you choose.

warranty

This reel is backed by a one-year limited warranty from the manufacturer.


6

ABU GARCIA PRO MAX SPINNING REEL

Featuring a light graphite frame/rotor combination, this reel comes with the company’s Rocket Line Management System, including the Rocket Spool Lip design for distance casting and less knotting from the wind. 

Its seven ball bearing system keeps it smooth, and the Slow Oscillation system reduces line management problems.

Pros

  • Graphite construction
  • Good casting range
  • Bargain priced

Cons

  • None
PRICE

This reel can be found on Amazon for around $.

warranty

This reel is backed by a one-year limited warranty from the manufacturer.

THE BEST BAIT-CASTING REELS


Now, let’s look at some specific features and discuss pros and cons of what makes our top bait-casters some of the best fishing reels you can own.

1

SHIMANO METANIUM MGL 6.2:1 CASTING REEL

Operating with a low moment of inertia, this reel improves casting distance by 20% and gives cranking a light and smooth feel.

Its MAGNUMLITE spool design is made of magnesium and aluminum and all but eliminates flex, warp, and distortion.

Finally, its SVS Infinity technology gives consistent spool control and brake system.

Pros

  • Top-of-the-line construction
  • High-end features
  • 10 + 1 bearing system

Cons

  • Quite expensive
PRICE

This reel can be found on Amazon for around $$, depending on the model.

warranty

This reel is backed by a two-year limited warranty from the manufacturer.


2

ABU GARCIA REVO MG XTREME REEL

This is the lightest Revo model ever produced. It weighs just 4 1/2 ounces.

It uses a new Super Lightweight Concept (SLC) spool design and hybrid-ceramic ball bearings. 

Features include a one-piece X-Mag alloy frame, C6 carbon plates, Infinitely Variable Centrifugal Brake (IVCB), and a Carbon Matrix Star Drag system.

Pros

  • Super lightweight
  • Top-of-the-line technology
  • Surprisingly durable

Cons

  • Very expensive
PRICE

This reel can be found on Amazon for around $$$

warranty

This reel is backed by a one-year limited warranty from the manufacturer.


3

ARDENT APEX ELITE FISHING REEL

This reel uses a 13 ball bearing set-up and weighs under 6 ounces.

The Deep V 6061 T6 machined aluminum spool increases line capacity and helps to reduce weight. 

The adjustable 270-degree magnetic brake system allows for quick adjustments while using. A carbon fiber swept handle with EVA grips gives you superior cranking leverage.

Pros

  • Strong aluminum construction
  • Aluminum star drag
  • Great warranty

Cons

  • More plastic than top-end models
PRICE

This reel can be found on Amazon for around $$

warranty

This reel is backed by a three-year limited warranty from the manufacturer.


4

DAIWA TATULA CT BAIT-CAST FISHING REEL

This small but versatile reel comes in 4 speeds.

It is built on a one-piece aluminum frame, fits easily in your hand, and is a smooth performer. 

With an Air Rotation spool and T-Wing Levelwind system, it produces good line flow at reduced angles for elite casting capabilities. It uses an 8-bearing system with instant anti-reverse.

Pros

  • Easy-turning air rotation spool
  • Excellent fit, strength, and castability
  • Great price

Cons

  • Reports of durability issues
PRICE

This reel can be found on Amazon for around $$

warranty

This reel is backed by a one-year limited warranty from the manufacturer.


5

13 FISHING CONCEPT A3 8:1:1 GEAR RATIO FISHING REEL

This reel gives you great power from a low profile platform. It is very strong, with H.A.M. gears cut from hardened brass.

 Its Bull Drag System creates 30 pounds of stopping power, its foundation is a HD aluminum frame with anti-reverse stopping system, and it adds an Arrowhead line guide system. 

It uses a seven ball bearing design and holds up to 240 yards of 12-pound braid.

Pros

  • Bulldog drag system
  • Japanese Hamai Cut Gearing
  • Trick Shop Compatible

Cons

  • Cork handle grips
PRICE

This reel can be found on Amazon for around $$

warranty

This reel is backed by a one-year limited warranty from the manufacturer.

TWO COMMON TYPES OF FISHING REELS


There are several types of fishing reels available, but we’re going to focus on the two most popular varieties used by freshwater and saltwater fishermen.

Spinning reels and bait-casting reels are versatile, durable, and are sure to start a friendly argument about which is better. The truth is, they’re both excellent choices for most fishing conditions.

man fishing

Image via Freepik

Spinning Reels

This type of reel has a fixed, open spool which is positioned underneath and in-line with your rod. The spool is stationary with a rotary line guide that spins around the spool. This type of reel is held in the right hand while the crank is operated by the left. Some models have the ability to be reversed according to the user’s handedness.

Spinners are some of the best fishing reels for beginners and seasoned anglers because they’re easy to use and are great in- a lot of fishing circumstances. They’re best for a light line where you need to cast either a very light lure or don’t want to damage your live bait when casting for distance. They’re available to fit any budget and are the most popular type of fishing reel on the market.

Bait-casting Reels

This type of reel has a revolving spool, a trigger handle, and sits on top of your rod. It’s really the opposite of a spinning reel. It gives a fisherman the ability to use certain techniques and presentations when wanting to use a heavier line.

Some less experienced anglers avoid bait-casting reels because they’ve heard stories of the line tangling on the spool; this is called a “bird nest.” They’re actually easy to get used to with some practice and are considered some of the best fishing reels by advanced anglers.

Bait-casting reels come in both left- and right-handed models. Handles cannot be swapped out like they can with spinning reels, so be sure to know what you’re after before buying. Like spinning reels, there’s one available for all budgets. The more features you want, the larger your budget will need to be.

Some Key Differences Between the Two

Both types made our list of the best fishing reels because they both offer advantages and features that make them solid choices when buying a reel. There are a few general differences between them—other than appearance and set-up—that might tip the scales one way or the other.

Spinning reels are easier to use and, therefore, more popular with inexperienced or casual anglers. They are better when using light line and light lures, and they all but eliminate backlash when casting.

They’re a solid choice for all-around fishing. Bait-casters are better when casting precision is needed around obstacles like docks, low hanging limbs, and lily pads. While they do take some practice to master, they generally will cast farther and more accurately than a spinner. Whichever type you choose, you’ll end up with one of the best fishing reels available.

CONCLUSION


Man fishing by the lake

Image via Freepik

Choosing one of the best fishing reels is a tall order. There are so many variables, including what fish you’re targeting, what features mean the most to you, and the size of your budget.

We’ve provided our list of the best fishing reels on the market to appeal to anglers of all skill levels and budgets. We hope you’ll use this information to make the choice that’s right for you and to fall more in love with the best pastime there is.

Featured Image via Freepik

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