7 Of The Best Spinning Reels Reviews – A Guide for Saltwater and Freshwater

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A solid fishing reel can be the difference between landing the big one and watching it swim away with your lure in its mouth. 

Fishing companies know the importance of the right gear, and there are tons of options out there. 

In this article, we’ll wade through the confusion, explaining technical terms, reviewing some of the best spinning reels out there (for your wallet, too), and ultimately picking the cheap and high-end winners for saltwater, freshwater, and specific fish.

Top 4 Best Spinning Reels (Summary)



Image Product Details  

Abu Garcia REVO2S30 Revo S Spinning...

Smooth performanceAbu Garcia
  • Compact design
  • Lightweight graphite rotor
  • Corrosion-resistant

Daiwa Crossfire Front Drag Spinning...

Big handle and crank knobDaiwa
  • Smooth, quiet gearing
  • Infinite Anti-Reverse
  • Easy to use

PENN 1338220 Battle II 5000 Spinning...

Most DurablePenn
  • Effective drag system
  • Sturdy feel in hand
  • Comfortable handle

Shimano Stradic Ci4+ 4000 FB Spinning...

  • Amazing line management
  • Smooth operation
  • Lightweight and portable

For more detailed and complete product reviews on benefits and features, keep reading.

7 Best Spinning Reels Reviews

1. Pflueger Supreme XT – Best Freshwater Spinning Reel

Just as a different model of this Pflueger is great for every kind of fishing, this one is perfect for freshwater fishing.

This reel has a really smooth cast and is made to stop fish from getting away with your line. An anti-reverse can do you a lot of good in any kind of water, but you will probably find it very useful in freshwater.

This may be a more expensive reel, but you will understand why it is so expensive after you use it a couple of times.

This reel is incredibly well made and you’ll be able to get tons of fish with it. It will definitely improve your game when you’re out on the water.

Pflueger SUPXTSP30X Supreme XT Spinning...

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2. Abu Garcia Revo S Spinning Reel – Best for Beginners

This reel has 7 ball bearings and a drag system that makes sure that your experience is nice and smooth.

Although this reel is a little bit more expensive, it is a great reel for beginners. This reel has great performance and it is very sturdy.

This means that if you start out on this reel, then you’re going to have a reel that you can use for a very long time.

This reel will always be a great part of your fishing arsenal, so the money that is spent on it won’t be wasted. Even if you don’t fish all the time, this reel will do very well when you get around to it.

Abu Garcia REVO2S30 Revo S Spinning...

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3. Daiwa Crossfire – Best for the Money

When you look for a reel, you may want to focus on the best that you can get for your money.

Instead of looking at all the features, you’ll be focused on what you can save. You might want a cheaper reel to try out a new kind of reel or maybe you just don’t have the budget for a better reel.

Whatever your reason, this reel is going to fit you well. This reel can be found for under 50 dollars for the most models, which makes it one of the least expensive reel on the list.

There are obvious downsides to this reel like the fact that it only has three ball bearings. But it is a light and sturdy reel made of aluminum. While it may not be the best, it won’t break the bank.

Daiwa Crossfire Front Drag Spinning...

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4. Penn Battle II – Best for Drag System

The drag system in your reel can make a world of difference when you are actually out on the water and especially when you are dealing with larger fish that can pull your line hard.

If you’re struggling to keep those big fish coming in, then you might need to get a better reel. This Penn reel has got you covered.

This reel has a system that will make sure that your line doesn’t get let out while you are fishing. This means that you will be able to keep hold of those fish that were just too tough for your other reel.

The reel is on the more expensive side, but you’ll find that you’re just paying for the quality of the reel that you are getting.

PENN 1338220 Battle II 5000 Spinning...

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5.  Shimano Stradic Ci4+ – Best Reel Body

While every reel has their strong suit, you will find that a well-designed reel with nice materials and features will be able to help you out a lot. This Shimano reel has a lot of great things going for it.

The design of the reel looks nice, but it is also very functional. It has six ball bearings which is neither the most nor the least about of ball bearings that you will find in a reel. There are many different options to pick from, which means that you’ll be able to find one that has the line capacity and extras that you really want.

This reel is expensive, but the design of the reel and everything that you can find on this reel makes it worth the money. You’ll be able to hold plenty of line and catch all the fish you want with this line.

You will find that this reel will be one of the best additions to your fishing gear lineup. It’ll work well until the end and make sure that you can catch all the fish that you hook.

Shimano Stradic Ci4+ 4000 FB Spinning...

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6. Okuma Avenger ABF Graphite – Best for Amount of Line

For some fishermen, the amount of line that you can have on your reel is incredibly important. Whether you need it for deep sea fishing or just to make sure that you will have plenty of line left if something happens while you are out on the water.

This reel has six ball bearings, which isn’t bad for a reel, but it’s not the most that you can get. It is also might not be the sturdiest reel that you will ever use.

However, for the price that you can get it for is incredibly reasonable. You will be able to hold a lot of line, even if the reel won’t hold up forever.

Okuma ABF-90 Avenger Baitfeeder Spinning...

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7. Lew’s Fishing Mach II – Best for Amount of Ball Bearings

The number of ball bearings in a reel can really affect how well the reel works.

For some people, the number of ball bearings can really affect whether or not you are going to purchase a reel. However, the number of ball bearings is just a small part of what makes this reel truly incredible.

The reel has 10 ball bearings, but you will also be able to use this reel for any hand. You can give this reel to anyone without worrying about whether or not they will be able to really utilize it. They will be able to adjust it so that it works for their fishing style.

This reel is also fairly inexpensive. You might find some noise problems with the reel, but those issues aren’t going to take away from the smooth casting and reeling that you will have with this reel.

Lew's Mach 2 200 6.2:1 Spinning Reel

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How to Choose the Best Spinning Reel

If you’re looking for a beginner reel for kids, spincast (closed-face) reels are the easiest to operate, or if you’re looking for a precision casting reel for exclusively bass, baitcast may be a better choice. Spinning (open face) reels are a great all-around choice, and that’s what we’re focusing on here today. The fixed, open spools don’t tangle like baitcasting reels and allow feather-light line and lures to be cast with ease.

Here’s what to look for when buying a spinning reel:



1. Quality construction – Higher-quality materials lead to a higher-quality reel. Look for all-metal construction with, if possible, an aluminum body and spool and sealed, stainless steel bearings. A top-of-the-line reel will last a lifetime.

2. Specificity – Different fish and different conditions call for different reels. If you’re not going for a specific fish, or you don’t really know, a good place to start is the size. To find the right one, determine the test strength of the line you’ll be using. The middle line capacity will be printed on the spool; for example, if it says 8 LB/175 YDS, that reel is built to handle 6 and 10 pound line as well. 175 yards is how much normal fishing line (aka monofilament) that spool can hold.

3. Power – The gear ratio of the reel will determine how easily it will get your fish out of the water. A lower gear ratio, meaning the bail wraps line fewer times around the spool for each turn of the crank, will give you more torque for larger fish. 4:1 is a typical low gear ratio. A higher gear ratio, such as 6:1, will retrieve, or “pick up,” faster, bringing in smaller fish quicker. If you’re not sure, look for a happy medium of 5:1.

4. Resistance – With an open-face design, spinning reels naturally have very little resistance. This is important for smooth retrieval, but also for casting; with less resistance, it’s possible to precision cast smaller, lighter baits. A good determinant for the smoothness in a reel is the number of ball bearings it has. Look for at least five, and spring for more if your wallet can handle it. Above five, an inexperienced fisherman likely won’t be able to tell the difference. All of the reels we’re reviewing have over five ball bearings.

5. Drag – While resistance is bad, a proper drag system is a necessity. It’s responsible for letting out line while you’re in the heat of battle. A jerky, restrictive system will raise the probability of the line pulling taut and breaking, so, at any tension, your reel should be smooth and consistent. Exposure to the elements degrades the reel over time, so the best of today’s drag systems are sealed and waterproof.

6. Retrieve – A quality reel won’t move backwards when setting the hook. It will lock tight, allowing you to set the hook, and then it will stack line fluidly and evenly onto the spool. “Birds-nest” is not a word you want to describe your line.

7. Weight – Heavier reels stress your joints and exhaust your hands and arms much faster than lighter ones. More expensive reels aren’t necessarily lighter, because there’s also oftentimes a quality tradeoff here; aluminum, a stronger, more durable, and less flexible metal than graphite, also weighs more. Ultimately, even in the upper echelon of reels, you’ll have to decide whether longevity or weight is more important to you.

Best Spinning Reel for Bass, Trout, Crappie


1. Best Bass Spinning Reel – Bass typically hang around in hard-to-reach areas, so a reel that can cast with precision and pull off some difficult techniques, like flipping or pitching, is a must.

2. Best Trout Spinning Reel – Trout can be found in so many different conditions, like deep down for lake trout or below rapids for brook trout, that you need a variable reel to handle them all.

3. Best Crappie Spinning Reel – Crappie have a sensitive bite and a soft lip, so it’s important to feel everything that’s happening in the water. Look for a small reel with the ability to retrieve quickly and maintain a taut line so the fish can’t shake it free. Less important is a high maximum drag and line capacity.


Even with so many options out there, finding the right reel doesn’t need to take hours of research. If you’ve made it this far, hopefully we helped you understand some of the technical terms that come with buying a reel, while also helping you come to conclusions about which reel is right for you. Good luck out there!

Photo of author

Louis McCarthy

With over 40 years of fishing experience, I am a true veteran of the sport with a passion for reeling in the big ones. From coast to coast, I have lived in some of the best fishing spots the US has to offer. I enjoy sharing my knowledge and love for the sport, one catch at a time. Join me as I explore the great outdoors and share my expertise in the art of fishing. Follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

5 thoughts on “7 Of The Best Spinning Reels Reviews – A Guide for Saltwater and Freshwater”

  1. I love fishing so much, every year in summer vacation I go to fishing with my husband. A good fishing reel is most important for catch fish and enjoy the fishing, This article is so good for a buyer for select his/her best fishing reel

  2. This is a great inspiring article.I am pretty much pleased with your good work.You put really very helpful information. Actually a super flexible spinning reel is very important factor for your fishing time. As a beginner we don’t know about fishing reel which is the best. So your article would be help us finding the right fishing reel.

  3. Thank you for the article, the information was sweet and to the point. Though I’ve been fishing for a while now, it’s nice to freshen up on the basics, newest products on the market, and what factors to consider prior to entering the market. Thank you for the article, I enjoyed it, and will look for further publishings.


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