The 10 Best Fishing Reels – Reviews & Buying Guide

Best Fishing Reel

A fishing reel is a simple and yet vital tool for fishing with a rod. It is highly versatile and can be used to catch any type of fish, from freshwater bass to even marine game.

Best, if you have never used a fishing reel before, it has a low learning curve and very easy to use.

To help you find a good model for the money, we have hand-picked some of the best fishing reels currently on the market. Each one is different and suited for different needs.

So, which one is yours? Let's find out!

You can also read other product reviews on the same niche such as baitcasting reel, fly reelspincast reelspinning reelspinning reel under $100saltwater spinning reelrod and reel combo, and much more.

Product Name

Gear ratio

Weight

Material

Rating

Current Price

Penn Battle II Spinning Fishing Reel

6.2:1

16 oz

HT-100 Carbon Fiber

4.6

Pflueger Supreme XT Spinning Fishing Reel

6.2:1

9.6 oz

Magnesium

4.6

KastKing Royale Low Profile Baitcasting Reel

7.0:1

7.7 oz

Carbon Fiber

4.3

Zebco 33 Authentic Spincast Reel

3.6:1

7.2 oz

Aluminum Alloy

4.2

Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel

N/A

4.1 - 6.7 oz

Aluminum Alloy

4.7

Sougayilang Spinning Fishing Reel

5.2:1

8.6 - 14 oz

Aluminum

4.2

Penn Pursuit II Spinning Fishing Reel

N/A

9.6 oz

Graphite

4.5

Pflueger President Spinning Fishing Reel

5.2:1

11.4 oz

Graphite

4.5

Daiwa Ballistic EX Bass Fishing Reel

5.6:1

N/A

N/A

4.0

Penn Clash Spinning Fishing Reel

6.2: 1

10.4 oz

N/A

4.4

1. Penn Battle II Spinning Fishing Reel - Best Overall Fishing Reel

Editor's Rating: (4.6 / 5)

Penn Battle II Spinning Fishing Reel - Best Overall Fishing Reel
  • Max drag: N/A
  • Gear ratio: 6.2:1
  • Material: HT-100 Carbon Fiber
  • Weight: 16 ounces

One of the things that distinguish the Penn Battle II spinning fishing reel from other models is its excellent build construction, the rich feature set, and affordable price.

There are many different types of styles you can buy ranging from the Penn Battle II 1000 up to the Penn Battle II 8000 series. This model is made from high-quality HT-100 carbon fiber that is extremely durable and long-lasting.

Additionally, the handle of this fishing reel is large and very comfortable to hold. To make it more beginner friendly, the bail wire is easy to switch back-and-forth. You use the bail wire to cast your line and flick it back to lock in position.

Further, you can also adjust the drag on this fishing reel with the drag adjustment knob located right on the front of the spool.

All in all, it is difficult to beat this top-rated fishing reel as it has an excellent price to performance ratio. It is versatile, beginner friendly and will last you a long time.

Pros:

  • Solid build construction. Durable and long-lasting
  • Good gear ratio of 6.2:1 which makes it excellent for big game fishing
  • Made from durable and heavy-duty carbon fiber

Cons:

  • Not as lightweight as other fishing reels in this review

2. Pflueger Supreme XT Spinning Fishing Reel - Best Spinning Fishing Reel

Editor's Rating: (4.6 / 5)

Pflueger Supreme XT Spinning Fishing Reel - Best Spinning Fishing Reel
  • Max drag: N/A
  • Gear ratio: 6.2:1
  • Material: Magnesium
  • Weight: 9.6 ounces

This Pflueger model is another spinning fishing reel that is easy to use and intended for heavy-duty big game fishing.

The build construction in this model is excellent as it is built from a tough and lightweight Magnesium that is 20% lighter than conventional aluminum for the same durability. Having a tough fishing reel is very important, especially when you have a big game catch like tuna or marlin.

Moreover, the drag system in this model makes it a pleasure to use. It is very smooth thanks to the 10 ball bearing system inside. One of the best things is that it is self-lubricating and will require little to no maintenance.

For more versatility, the Supreme XT allows you to use braid ropes in the spool. The oversized reel and big gear ratio of 6.2:1 allows you to quickly reel the line, making it an excellent fishing reel for long-distance casting.

You can comfortably use this model in both saltwater and freshwater. Therefore, we nominate this reel from Pflueger as the best fishing reel in this review. It has the right balance of everything.

Pros:

  • Magnesium rotor and shell. Lightweight and durable
  • Large spool size and the big gear ratio of 6.2:1 makes it more performing for big game fishing
  • Versatile. Braid ropes can be used on the spool

Cons:

  • The price. It is an expensive model

3. KastKing Royale Low Profile Baitcasting Reel - Best Baitcast Fishing Reel

Editor's Rating: (4.3 / 5)

KastKing Royale Low Profile Baitcasting Reel - Best Baitcast Fishing Reel
  • Max drag: 17.5 lbs
  • Gear ratio: 7.0:1
  • Material: Carbon Fiber
  • Weight: 7.7 ounces

If you are looking for a fishing reel that has a large line capacity, then this model from KastKing is an excellent choice to consider. It was built with precision in mind and has a lot of internal technologies that will help enhance your fishing experience.

Moreover, this unit has an excellent build construction from carbon fiber that is tough and durable, so this baitcasting fishing reel will last a long time. The ball bearing brake system makes this reel very accurate as well as comfortable to cast and reel.

Due to its very decent 7.0:1 gear ratio, this fishing reel can be used for heavy-duty and long-distance casting for big game fishing.

It is a tournament ready reel that for the price has an excellent price to performance ratio. Therefore, we nominate the KastKing Royale as the best baitcast fishing reel in this review.

Pros:

  • Centrifugal brake system provides more control when casting
  • Dual handle is comfortable to use for an extended period
  • Large gear ratio makes it excellent for long-distance casting
  • Ball bearing system makes it comfortable to cast and reel in

Cons:

  • None

4. Zebco 33 Authentic Spincast Reel - Best Spincast Fishing Reel

Editor's Rating: (4.2 / 5)

Zebco 33 Authentic Spincast Reel - Best Spincast Fishing Reel
  • Max drag: 10 lbs
  • Gear ratio: 3.6:1
  • Material: Aluminum Alloy
  • Weight: 7.2 ounces

The Zebco 33 has been designed with price in mind. Indeed, this fishing reel is one of the most affordable you will find in this review. However, despite being highly affordable it still has a good feature set that makes it a worthwhile fishing reel.

For one, it has a lightweight and durable aluminum build construction which will make this reel last a long time. The gear ratio of 3.6:1 is not the best but as long as it is used for short distance casting and on small game like freshwater perch or bass, it will still be a strong performer.

Moreover, the dual handle is comfortable to use even for an extended period. What seriously differentiates this model from others, especially at this price point is the inclusion of a bite alert system. The spool will make a clicking sound every time you have a successful strike. Very neat!

All in all, despite a few shortcomings here and there, the Zebco 33 is still one of the best spincast fishing reels on the market, especially considering its extremely attractive price.

Pros:

  • Very affordable. Value for money
  • Aluminum build construction. Durable
  • Bite Alert makes a clicking sound to inform you that you have a catch

Cons:

  • Small gear ratio of 3.6:1. Not a good model for big game fishing

5. Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel - Best Fly Fishing Reel

Editor's Rating: (4.7 / 5)

Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel - Best Fly Fishing Reel
  • Max drag: 20 lbs
  • Gear ratio: N/A
  • Material: Aluminum Alloy
  • Weight: 4.1 - 6.7 ounces

The fly fishing reel is normally built for heavy-duty fishing. But other characteristics of this fishing rail is the highly durable and long-lasting build construction. The Piscifun Sword fishing reel is no different.

This model has a CNC machined aluminum body for precision and detail. Additionally, it employs a stainless steel clutch system that provides the smooth drag.

For more versatility, you have the option to choose the spool size during purchase. Of course, the bigger the spool size the higher the price. To sweeten the deal, you also have the choice of the color.

Due to its big drag of 20 lbs, this reel is mostly ideal for big game saltwater fishing. However, it is versatile enough to be used to catch smaller fish, especially when you go with a smaller spool that normally has a lower gear ratio.

All in all, it is difficult to beat the Piscifun Sword as it is one of the best fly fishing reels for the money.

Pros:

  • Affordable. Value for money
  • Clutch bearing system for a smooth drag
  • Lightweight and durable
  • Ability to choose the spool size on purchase

Cons:

  • Does not come with any instructions. Maintenance can be complicated

​6. Sougayilang Spinning Fishing Reel - Best Budget Fishing Reel

Editor's Rating: (4.2 / 5)

Sougayilang Spinning Fishing Reel - Best Budget Fishing Reel
  • Max drag: N/A
  • Gear ratio: 5.2:1
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Weight: 8.6 - 14 ounces

You do not need to have a big budget to get started with a fishing reel. The Sougayilang is a proof of that. This model is one of the best budget fishing reels in this review and it still manages to have a rich set of features and a decent aluminum build construction.

The Sougayilang is a lightweight fishing reel that comes under different spool sizes. You have the ability to choose the spool size based on your need during purchase. What is more impressive about this model is that it is CNC machine engineered for precision. This is something rare for a budget reel.

Even more impressive is its gear ratio of 5.2:1 which makes it an excellent freshwater spinning reel. It does not have a big throw distance but when affixed to a fishing rod it is an excellent fishing gear for river or lake fishing.

Pros:

  • Very affordable. Value for money
  • Excellent aluminum build construction. Durable and long-lasting
  • CNC machine engineered for precision

Cons:

  • Not for big game fishing

7. Penn Pursuit II Spinning Fishing Reel 

Editor's Rating: (4.5 / 5)

Penn Pursuit II Spinning Fishing Reel
  • Max drag: N/A
  • Gear ratio: N/A
  • Material: Graphite
  • Weight: 9.6 ounces

The Penn Pursuit II is a classical looking spinning fishing reel that simply gets the job done. It isn't the most attractive model but it has a rich set of features that make it desirable.

For one, the user has the ability to purchase this model under different sizes ranging from 3000 to 8000CP. The body is made from a tough graphite material that is lightweight and very durable. For a smoother drag, it uses a 4 ball bearing crank system that works both forward and backward.

The metal bail is very easy to flick when casting and can also be quickly locked in position by simply using your thumb. The handle is ergonomic and long, making it easy to use for an extended period.

Pros:

  • Durable build construction from graphite
  • Handle is ergonomic and easy to use for an extended period
  • Available in different sizes to suit individual needs

Cons:

  • Graphite body scratches easily

8. Pflueger President Spinning Fishing Reel 

Editor's Rating: (4.5 / 5)

Pflueger President Spinning Fishing Reel
  • Max drag: N/A
  • Gear ratio: 5.2:1
  • Material: Graphite
  • Weight: 11.4 ounces

Line twisting is a big problem when fishing with a reel. This is where models like the Pflueger President really shines. It has been engineered in such a way that it diminishes line twisting and provides you with a more fun fishing experience even if you cast a very long line.

Additionally, this model comes with every bell and whistle you would expect from a good fishing reel at this price point. It has a ball bearing drag system that is very smooth to use. The handle is comfortable and equally smooth and the metal bail can be flicked with only one thumb.

Best, you have the ability to choose different styles that come with different spool sizes.

Pros:

  • Excellent build construction. Durable and long-lasting
  • Braid line can be tied directly to the spool
  • 10 ball bearing system for a smoother drag. Self-lubricating drag system
  • Ability to purchase different spool sizes

Cons:

  • A little heavier than other spinning fishing reels when compared to other models of the same size
  • The graphite body scratches easily

9. Daiwa Ballistic EX Bass Fishing Reel 

Editor's Rating: (4 / 5)

Daiwa Ballistic EX Bass Fishing Reel
  • Max drag: 20 lbs
  • Gear ratio: 5.6:1
  • Material: N/A
  • Weight: N/A

If you need a versatile fishing reel that works both on freshwater and seawater, then the Daiwa Ballistic is an excellent model to consider. It has a very good aluminum build construction that is corrosion resistant to saltwater.

Additionally, as you would almost expect from a fishing reel of this price, it has a ball bearing system that makes casting and drag very smooth. But one other feature that demarks this model from others is its ability to be ambidextrous. Indeed, it can be used by both right-handed or left-handed users with equal ease.

The only caveat we have with this Daiwa spinning fishing reel is its steep price. There are similarly performing models in this fishing reel review that are much more affordable than this for almost the same feature set.

Pros:

  • Versatile. Can be used on both freshwater or saltwater
  • Corrosion resistant aluminum shell
  • Can be used by both right-handed and left-handed uses
  • 2 ball bearings system for a smoother drag

Cons:

  • The price. It is an expensive model

10. Penn Clash Spinning Fishing Reel 

Editor's Rating: (4.4 / 5)

Penn Clash Spinning Fishing Reel
  • Max drag: N/A
  • Gear ratio: 6.2:1
  • Material: N/A
  • Weight: 10.4 ounces

The Penn Clash is another popular spinning fishing reel. This isn't the cheapest model for the money, but it has a very rich set of features as well as a 6.2:1 gear ratio that makes it an excellent model for both freshwater and seawater game.

Of course, the drag can easily be adjusted in this fishing reel and it even allows braid ropes to be attached to the spool. The handle is large, ergonomic and comfortable to hold for an extended period. Furthermore, casting is very easy by simply flicking the metal braid with your thumb.

The build quality is superb and this Penn Clash fishing reel definitely looks and works as a professional model. If you can excuse the steep price, it is an excellent model to consider. To sweeten the deal, you can buy this model in different sizes ranging from 2000 up to 8000 for more versatility.

Pros:

  • Drag can quickly and easily be adjusted with the front drag adjustment knob
  • Big gear ratio of 6.2:1 makes it excellent for heavy-duty freshwater or saltwater fishing
  • Easy to use with a large and ergonomic handle

Cons:

  • The price. It is fairly expensive for a spinning fishing reel

Types of Fishing Reel 

#1. Spincast Reels

The spincast reel is the most popular type of fishing reel available on the market. It is very affordable and extremely beginner friendly. If you have never used a fishing reel before then it is highly recommended that you start with a Spincast reel mostly because of its very low learning curve.

It is fairly accurate and easy to cast. However, one of the disadvantages of the spincast reel is that it has a short throw as the reel is quite small. Therefore, it has a limited line capacity.

#2. Baitcasting Reels

The bait gas to reel is the most popular type of fishing reel in the world. It is used by millions of anglers, both beginners, semiprofessionals, and professionals every day with great satisfaction.

One of the best things about the baitcasting reel is that due to its inner engineering, it will prevent your line from getting tangled. This type of reel comes in both light and heavy models to suit individual needs.

The only problem with the baitcasting reel is that it has a small learning curve and it is not the most accurate for beginners. However, once you get the hang of it it is one of the best spinning fishing reels for the money.

#3. Spinning Reels

The spinning reel is a very popular model and one of the easiest types of fishing reels on the market. Basically, all you have to do is flick a metal bail wire with your thumb before casting and then flick it back to lock in position. It's that easy to use!

So much so, the spinning reel is the recommended type of fishing reel for absolute beginners because it is extremely easy to use.

#4. Surf Fishing Reels

The surf fishing reel is a saltwater fishing reel that has a solid build construction to withstand rough seas. The handle is usually enlarged in a surf fishing reel. This provides better ease-of-use and this type generally has a bigger gear ratio so that you can reel the line faster.

All this shows that the surf fishing reel is made for long distance line casting and designed for big game fishing.

#5. Offshore Reels

The offshore reel is very similar to the surf fishing reel as it has the same solid build construction allowing it to withstand big game fishing in the open sea.

Additionally, you will also find the same large handle and a mounting base that allows you to mount the reel solidly to your fishing rod. It usually sits perpendicular to your fishing rod with the handle protruding sideways.

#6. Trolling Reels

The trolling reel is one of the most solidly built fishing reels. It is usually made from machined aluminum or graphite that allows it to be used for heavy-duty big game fishing. Moreover, the trolling reel has been designed for deep-sea fishing like marlin, tuna, and even sharks.

This type of fishing reel is also one of the heaviest but it is understandable as it is meant to bring in a very large catch. One of the main advantages of this type of reel is that you can quickly and easily change the drag system from fighting mode to cranking in a matter of seconds.

#7. Fly Fishing Reels

The fly fishing reel has been designed for accuracy. Indeed, this type of fishing reel is one of the most accurate that money can buy. Additionally, it also has an exceptional build construction and is extremely durable.

It is not as versatile as other types of fishing reels but if most of the time you catch only one type of fish then the fly fishing reel is an excellent investment in the long run.

#8. Centerpin Reels

The centerpin reel is one of the oldest types of fishing reels around. It is not as common as other types of reels but many anglers prefer the centerpin reel mostly because it is a big game fishing reel. It offers a lot of ease-of-use due to its low drag.

This type of fishing reel sits perpendicular to the fishing rod and also requires special mounting so it cannot be installed on every type of fishing rods.

How to Buy a Fishing Reel

How to Buy a Fishing Reel

It can be difficult to choose the best fishing reel for the money. There are simply so many models on the market that it can be confusing for the average person. Below is some vital advice on how to buy a good model.

#1. Body

Most of the time, your hands will be on the body and the handle of the fishing reel. Therefore, it must be solidly constructed and durable. A lightweight fishing reel usually uses building materials like carbon fiber or graphite. They are very durable and extremely lightweight.

On the other hand, more budget fishing reels usually use a lightweight metal like aluminum. Aluminum is not as lightweight as carbon fiber but still quite durable. Additionally, it will also not rust and can be used for both freshwater and seawater fishing.

2. Size

The fishing reel size is directly linked to the type of fish you're trying to catch. The bigger the fish, logically the bigger must be the reel as well. That's because a larger reel has a bigger gear ratio as well which allows it to pull in larger catch more quickly and easily.

#3. Drag

Essentially, the drag in a fishing reel is how much force (measured in pounds) is required to pull the line from the reel. The less the drag, the easier it is to pull the line.

Additionally, this is an important factor as it allows you to calibrate the fishing reel based on the type and size of fish you're trying to catch. For bigger fish, you need a bigger drag. Therefore, it is important to keep an eye out for the maximum drag in your fishing reel.

Fortunately, this value can easily be adjusted by turning the drag adjustment lever clockwise to tighten and anti-clockwise to loosen. Make sure your preferred fishing reel has a drag adjustment knob.

#4. Gear Ratio

The gear ratio is essentially how many turns the line makes inside the reel when the handle is turned one time.

For example, a gear ratio of 7.0:1 simply means that when you turn the handle 360-degrees the fishing line will wrap around the spool 7 times. Consequently, the bigger the gear ratio, the easier it is to pull in the line.

#5. Weight

Weight is an important factor when choosing a good fishing reel for any type of fishing activities. It will dictate how comfortable and maneuverable the reel is.

Generally, it is better to get a model that is lightweight as it is much more comfortable to fish with for an extended period of time. However, for a bigger game, you may prefer a heavier model as it makes battling and cranking larger fish easier.

Conclusion

As we have seen in this fishing reel review, there are many models that come at different prices and fulfill different needs.

Whether you are a professional fisherman trying to win a competition or an absolute beginner just looking for a simple and affordable fishing reel, there is a model for you out there.

In case you have still not found the best fishing reel for the money, we recommend that you read our review one more time.