Finding the best spinning reels for your adventure can help you catch more fisher, faster, and have a more enjoyable time fishing. There are many different models of fishing or spinning reels on the market today and the choices can be a bit confusing. That’s why we’ve tested and reviewed the top 10 best spinning reels on the market below.
Best Spinning Reels – Reviews
#1 – Penn Battle II Spinning Reel (2500) – Editor’s Choice
Although this spinning reel is a bit heavier than others listed here on the best spinning reels guide it’s still our top choice. The Penn Battle II Spinning reel is a powerful reel that has the durability to last for years of use.
One of the main features of this spinning reel is the drag and how it’s set up. The HT-100 drag system offers even professional anglers the power to control the drag efficiently while still offers a fluid, smooth operation. Carbon fiber elements in the drag system also ensure it will last for years even with heavy use.
This spinning reel has a full metal body, side-plate, and rotor to protect it’s mechanical parts from damage. The reel is also approved for fresh water as well as salt water use.
The reel is made to make fishing more fun and has added features that can certainly help when you’ve got a fish on. Marker rings on the spool help to let you know just how much line is left on the reel. Plus, you can use mono or braid fishing line with fear of the dreaded ‘bird nest’ on your spinning reel.
- Highly durable spinning reel with smooth operation and powerful enough to tackle even large saltwater gamefish
- Sealed metal construction on the reel body; side-plate; and rotor system helps to prevent damage even when used in salt water fishing
- Advanced carbon fiber drag system with proprietary grease offers more drag control while still delivering smooth operation
- Sealed stainless steel ball bearing ensure a smooth retrieve with the Penn Battle II. Plus it’s stainless steel ball bearing will last for years
- Highlighted spool does not require backing for braid line. Marking on the spool also help to show the amount of line left with just a glance.
#2 – Shimano Spirex RG Spinning Reel
Weighing only 8.8 ounces the Shimano Spirex RG spinning reel is easy to use and operate. It’s lightweight and the Quick Fire II system offers the angler to cast the reel with only one hand including setting the spool. It offers a smooth operation with instant locking reverse ball bearing. The unit contains 5 stainless steel ball bearings for forward use.
The spool is made of aluminum on this unit which helps with the weight of the entire unit while the body, rotor, and side-plate are made using graphite. The reel is made to be rugged and durable to withstand years of fishing.
One thing about this reel that doesn’t sit well with many users is the double handle. It takes some getting used to if you’ve never used a reel like this but it is worth mentioning. Even with the complaints about the double handle however we still think this is one of the best spinning reels available today.
- Large capacity line spool which holds up to 110 yards of fishing line rated at 6 pounds
- Quick Fire II system which offers easier operation
- Stainless steel ball bearings to ensure years of service
- Lightweight design weighing only 8.8 ounces means you can fish longer without getting tired
#3 – LONPAR Tideep Spinning Reel
We really liked the Lonpar Tideep Spinning reel because of it’s easy operation and extreme light weight. The spool is designed in such a way that allows longer casting. In fact, Lonpar claims the lip design can give you 10% longer casting.
Although the operation of this spinning reel is ultra quiet with no clicker to make noise when you’re reeling in, it’s appearance is a bit more loud. With a unique red and black design it really stands out.
The drag on this unit using carbon fiber discs that are encased inside the aluminum body and rotor. The unit is also water resistant for up to 60 seconds with a sealed body unit that has a gasket to prevent salt or fresh water from entering.
- Smooth and quiet operation with 9 ball bearings from Hamai machine
- Great looking reel with double color anodized spool and body
- Ultra lightweight spinning reel that holds up well even when used on larger fish
- Spool design allows for longer casting
- Typically comes with extra spool unit for easy changing
#4 – Burning Shark TT Fishing Reel
If you’re looking for the best looking and most intimidating design for a spinning reel then the Burning Shark TT Fishing Reel is for you. With an awesome design and bright orange accents it certainly makes a statement each time you go fishing with this beast.
But apart from how it looks, the operation is great too. It has a 12+1 ball bearing system which allows for a smooth operation and less likely to hang up even when under a load.
The Burning Shark TT Fishing Reel performs very well for it’s intended target fish. With medium action rods this is an amazing reel with drag that is even and consistent.
- Saltwater and Freshwater approved
- 5.1:1 gear ratio on this spinning reel
- Awesome carbon fiber design
- 13 ball bearing for smooth operation
#5 – Okuma Avenger ABF
It’s no secret that all the spinning reels listed in this guide for the best spinning reels of 2018 have the best performance. But the Okuma Avenger ABF is one of those reels that goes above and beyond. We really like the drag system on this Okuma reel as it was easily set and forget type of system with only minor adjustments needed.
One of the advantages of the Okuma Avenger ABF is it’s ability to to allow bait to run freely. It has a setting which can allow an angler to disengage the spinning reel spool so that it basically has zero drag. This secondary drag system allows for a huge variation to regular bait casting. It does take some time to get used to but once you’ve mastered how it works it can really help out when catching fish.
Although the Okuma Avenger ABF worked very well with smaller line sizes it was a bit troublesome with larger line sizes of 15 pounds or more.
- Use in Saltwater and freshwater
- Advanced baitfeeding system allows bait to run freely without drag
- Dual drag system allows for better hook setti
#6 – Daiwa Revros Spinning Reel
One of the brands that my father always recommended was Diawa. He was always a fan of the brand and the products they released. So I guess that makes me a bit biased to any spinning reel that bears the Diawa brand, but in any case, this is a great spinning reel especially for the price.
This Diawa spinning reel sports the Digigear digital gear design for better sensitivity. It can support line weights as low as 4 pounds which can really make the reel ultra sensitive and worthy to tackle those tricky situations for smaller gamefish.
- Air rotor for lighter weight and greater sensitivity
- Abs aluminum spool
- Digigear Digital gear design
- 8 bearing System (7 BB + 1 RB)
#7 – Daiwa Crossfire Spinning Reel
The Daiwa Crossfire Spinning Reel is one of the most affordable spinning reels we’ve included in this best spinning reels guide. While the cost of this reel is one of the lowest of all the reels listed it still delivers performance that is comparable to the more expensive reels we’ve included.
As I mentioned above I am a little biased when it comes to Diawa products but for the price this spinning reel simply can’t be beat. The operation is ultra smooth with little in the way of complaints.
I would like to see a heavier version available for larger fish in saltwater applications but for the price, this reel is very good.
- Twist Buster line twist reduction
- Digigear digital gear design offers optimized speed
- power and durability
- ABS aluminum spool has maximized core diameter to flow line more freely
- one-touch folding handle
#8 – Penn Pursuit II Spinning Fishing Reel
If you’re in the market for an affordable spinning reel the Penn Pursuit II is the pick of the guide. It is affordable at under $40 and offers some of the features of even the higher priced alternatives.
The body of the Penn Pursuit II spinning reel is made of graphite with the spool and rotor made of machined aluminum. This helps make the reel lightweight but also strong enough to handle those large gamefish.
- Great economical spinning reel that has superior performance
- Fluid retrieval systems that consists of 5 sealed stainless steel bearings
- Lightweight spinning reel that still offers heavyweight support
#9 – Penn Spinfisher V Spinning Reel
If you’re looking for a bit more hefty reel then the Penn Spinfisher V Spinning Reel is the best pick. It’s made for battling saltwater fish and it a bit heavier than other spinning reels of the same size.
Like many of the Penn spinning reels it has a marked spool so you’ll know just how much line you have left. With a glance you will know the spool is half, third, or more line left. It also sports a watertight design that can withstand the saltwater.
One of the best features of this spinning reel is it’s ability to cast to perfection. The bail is designed so that when tripped it doesn’t jerk and cause the bait to snap back. This also helps to keep live bait for longer periods especially for live bait that doesn’t secure well.
- Watertight; Full Metal Design Endures Harsh Conditions
- Sealed Slammer Drag System Delivers Robust; Smooth Drag
- Friction Trip Ramp for Pinpoint Casting
- Fluid Cranking with Stainless Steel Ball Bearings
- Superline Spool with Convenient Line Capacity Rings
#10 – Cadence – CS8 Spinning Reel
For one of the best spinning reels that is ultra lightweight then you’ll certainly need to look at the Cadence CS8 Spinning reel. This spinning reel is designed to be ultra lightweight by using magnesium and carbon composite construction.
It sports a carbon fiber disc drag system that holds up very well even when it’s put to the test with larger fish. Like many of the features of the Cadence CS8 you would expect the pricing to be much higher because it includes many features only found on higher end spinning reels but the price is actually low for this model.
The CS8 model only weighs an impressive 6.3 ounces so even a child angler would have no trouble at all operating this unit. It also makes those of us who fish a lot take note of the weight especially on those longer fishing trips with lots of casts and retrievals.
- Magnesium frame construction – ultra lightweight; extremely strong; and corrosion resistant even with saltwater applications
- Carbon composite rotor and side plate – lightweight and strong
- Carbon fiber drag system – smooth and consistent pressure
- Machined aluminium spool – braid ready without the need for backing line
#11 – Sougayilang Spinning Fishing Reel
This is an excellent and very popular fishing reel with a lot of positive reviews, as elaborated on earlier and after reading this Sougayilang spinning fishing reel review we hope you can see the value we think it has. It is perfect as a gift because all of the features are clearly outlined and every well rounded fisherman can use one of these on their steady fishing pole. No one will be left guessing or disappointed in the construction or features of this fantastic medium sized reel. It is the reel most likely to be selected by a wise shopper with a lot of “reel knowledge” and fishing savvy under their belt.
The price is very affordable. The Sougayilang Spinning Fishing Reel is a good buy for your money and you’ll enjoy it for many hours to come as a great fishing companion. If you are in the market for a durable fishing reel, this is the way to go. The reel has an exquisite appearance and perfect combination of mechanics and aesthetics.
- mooth Reeling and Light Weighed for Easy Handling. This reel is ultra smooth with its 13+1 shielded bearings and 5.1:1 gear ratio. A fully adjustable cast control with a “Sound S-curve Oscillation System” for good smooth line winding and a deep aluminum spool are all part of this excellently made spinning fishing reel. The anti-reverse lever stops immediately and is the perfect size for not getting in the way. It also has a powerful “Carbon Fiber” drag as an added bonus feature.
- Wide Range of Use. This reel is adaptable to most rods (as mentioned earlier) and is suitable for fishing in lakes, rivers, streams and medium size ocean fishing. This could be a “CON” to some wanting to catch large fish in the ocean. We think it has more of an advantage however which is why we included it in the Sougayilang spinning fishing reel review. This reel is for small to medium fish, such as Salmon, Trout, Bass, and Perch. It is the perfect reel for the “all-around-fisherman” who likes a reliable fishing pole no matter where he goes fishing. The retrieval ratio is 5.2:1 which is considered average for this size of reel.
- Precision made. The Sougayilang Spinning Fishing Reel is precision made and finished by machine. It is computer balanced and ultra thin with its streamline anti- corrosion alloy constructed body. The machine precision cut collapsible handle is interchangeable. You can use it with your left or right hand.
- Anti-Reverse System. The Sougayilang Spinning Fishing Reel has a great instant anti-reverse system. This system is uniquely designed to eliminate all handle backlash thereby allowing for proper hook sets.
What Should You Look For When Choosing the Best Spinning Reel
Although we do our very best to make sure we list only the best spinning reels available today it’s important to understand how they are rated. More importantly, how the difference in some of the features can impact you and your fishing needs. Fishing for spring trout is much different than fishing for large flat-head catfish and unless you choose the best reel for those applications you may lose that record setting fish.
The Different Parts of a Spinning Reel
The Reel Body
The main part of the spinning reel is known as the reel body. On better spinning reels the body is made out of lighter weight materials such as aluminum or carbon fiber. Reels with the body made from heavy metals such as steel will usually be needed in very large gamefish situations. Low quality spinning reels will have a plastic or PVC constructed reel body.
The Reel Spool
The reel spool is located on the top of the spinning reel. It is designed to hold fishing line that will be used on the reel. Almost all higher quality reel spools are made from CNC cut and machined hardened aluminum. A reel spool that is easily damaged such as those made from plastic can cut down on casting length significantly. Always choose a reel with aluminum or carbon fiber spool for best results. The size of the reel spool will also determine just how much line can be used on the reel.
The Reel Rotor
As the handle of the spinning reel turns so does the rotor of the spinning reel. One of the biggest differences when it comes to rotors is that gear ratio that is used. A higher gear ratio will retrieve the line faster but may not have as much torque. While a lower gear ratio will give you more torque but less of a retrieve with each turn of the handle.
What Size Reel Should You Use
Most of the spinning reels listed in this guide to the best spinning reels comes in different sizes. Choosing a size will usually depend on the target fish you will be attempting. Smaller fish will work better with smaller reels as the experience is much better when coupled correctly. For sport fishing, it’s best to have the correct reel size based on the line and target fish you will be using.
Most spinning reels are designed to work with fishing line of 6 to 12 pound test strength. Although higher quality reels that are larger can require larger line.
What Gear Ratio is Best For You
Having a spinning reel that retrieves quickly is sometimes a much needed feature. If you will be casting many times throughout the fishing trip have a easy to use gear ratio will work best as you will be able to cast and retrieve with much less effort.
However, if you plan on casting just a few times and need a lot of torque to get a larger fish in you may decide to use a lower gear ratio. A lower gear ratio can help to gain line on larger fish that are putting up a fight.
Setting the Maximum Drag and What It Is Used For
Hooking a large fish on your spinning reel can be quite exciting. As the fight for take line in starts to heat up it’s best to have a spinning reel with the correct drag. Larger fish will require more drag to be used. On any spinning reel you’ll want to have a drag that is smooth and easy to operate. Jerks and hangups with the drag can cause the line to break and you’ll lose that trophy fish.
Conclusion and Final Thoughts
The top 10 spinning reels we’ve listed above are some of the best on the market today. Most can be used in salt water and fresh water situations. While we think any of the spinning reels listed above will certainly be a worthy addition to your fishing tackle there is one that we think is better all around and that is the Penn Battle II Spinning Reel (2500 model). It’s very versatile and covers a huge range of fishing applications.
We’ve recommended Penn spinning reels in the past, because simply, they work great and are very durable. We’ve given the editor’s pick of the best spinning reels to the Penn Battle II Spinning Reel (2500). You can find out more about this reel by clicking here.