Buying Guide: Use The Best Spinning Reels

If you don’t know a lot about fishing rods, a reel is one of the most, if not the most important part of the rod. Without a reel you wouldn’t be able to tire the fish out on the other end of the line, it would make it almost impossible to cast long distances and it would also result in many more broken fishing lines. In order to help you to be able to pick out a quality spinning reel, we have come up with a buyer’s guide as well as a list of some of our picks for the top spinning reels available on the market.

Top 10 Best Spinning Reels for the Money 2017

REELSOUR RATING
Pflueger President Spinning Reel
(4.8 / 5)
KastKing Royale Legend Baitcasting Fishing Reel – Perfect Baitcasting Reel – 11 + 1 Shielded Bearings – 17.5 Lb Carbon Fiber Drag - 7.0:1 Gear Ratio
(4.6 / 5)
2017 Daiwa BG Spinning Reels Collection
(4.7 / 5)
Sougayilang Left/right Interchangeable Collapsible Handle Spinning Fishing Reel with 5.2:1 Gear Ratio 12+1 Ball Bearings for Freshwater Saltwater Fishing
(4.6 / 5)
Penn Fierce II Spinning Reel
(4.7 / 5)
KastKing Mela II Spinning Reel - Light, Smooth Spinning Fishing Reel, 10 + 1 BB, Powerful Carbon Fiber Drag, FREE Spare Graphite Spool
(4.4 / 5)
Pisfun Spinning Fishing Reel Metal Spool 6bb for Freshwater Saltwater 500 1000 2000 3000 4000 5000 6000 Series
(4.1 / 5)
SANLIKE Aluminum alloy High Speed(4.7:1) Spinning Reel Fishing Tackle for Freshwater Saltwater Fishing Reels Left/Right Interchangeable Handle 5000 Serial
(4.5 / 5)
PENN Spinfisher V Spinning Reel
(4.6 / 5)
KastKing Sharky II Spinning Reel, Carbon Fiber Drag, Brass Gears, Stainless Steel Components, 41.5 Pounds Max Drag, 10 + 1 Ball Bearings
(4.4 / 5)
*ratings based on value, performance and quality

What To Consider

Not sure which spinning reel is the best for your needs? Let our guide below help you to find a good option for your needs. We also share some of our favorites when it comes to the top spinning reels on the market.

Drag

If you want to be able to fight a fish and tire them out, the drag is extremely important. A drag is essentially a pair of plates on the interior of a fishing reel. These plates rotate the wheel backwards when the fish pulls too hard on the rod, letting line out towards the fish and preventing the line from snapping on you. Being able to change the amount of drag on your line is extremely important depending on the size of the fish that you are catching and it can easily be the difference between a lost and a caught fish. Generally speaking there are two types of drags that you will find on the market. The two types are front drag systems and rear drag systems. The main difference between the two systems is that the front drag system normally has multiple washers which increase both how long the unit lasts for as well as how effective the drag on the unit is. Rear drag systems on the other hand are easier for you to adjust, but are not as effective and therefore it is more difficult to fight larger fish with them.

Size

Another important purchasing decision that you will have to make is the size of the reel that you want to purchase. You are going to have to think about what strength of line you intend to use on your rod and you are also really going to have to think about the size of the fish that you intend to mainly fish for. It is important to make sure that you keep in mind that a line that has a higher strength is going to be easier to spot in the water. The lighter the line you use, the smaller the reel you should go for. Generally speaking on the spool of any reel you will be able to find its line capacity. The line capacity stated will generally be about the average capacity that the rod is capable of using which is something that you should keep in mind. When considering the size of the reel, is always a good idea to check and see how the reel actually attaches onto your rod as some reels are more difficult than others. The last thing you want to happen is to order a rod holder and have it not fit onto your rod properly so make sure that you check beforehand. You may also want to check to see if you have the right line for your new reel especially if you want to try it out soon after it arrives.

Purpose

One of the things that you are going to have to decide when purchasing a reel is where you are going to use the reel. Not all reels are meant to be used for saltwater fishing and some rods will actually begin to corrode over time if you use them for it. It is important to make sure that you look to see if the rod has some kind of a finish on it so that it will last you for a longer length of time. Another thing that you may want to look for is spare parts that come with a reel. The odd time you will find that companies throw in something like a spare spool with your purchase of the rod and something as small as this can really give you some peace of mind with your purchase.

Spool

One of the most important aspects of a fishing rod is a spool. A spool plays a role in both casting distance and how smooth the rod feels to reel in. Generally spools will be made out of graphite material or they will be made out of aluminum. Graphite rods are generally cheaper and lighter while aluminum offers strength and durability. You should always make sure that you check out the line capacity of a rod before you purchase one, so that you can be sure it will work for where you want to use the reel. Line capacities of reels are generally stated as a fraction and you will see something like: 5/220 in the product specifications. This fraction means that if you are using 5 lb line, the reel will be able to hold 220 yards worth of line on it. You can see how line capacity could be extremely important if you are doing something like deep sea fishing. No matter where you are fishing, you wouldn’t want to run out of line as the line is very likely to break off once you hit the end of it, losing your fish in the process. Sometimes manufacturers will list more than one fraction as not everyone uses the same weight of line depending on what they are fishing for.

Gear Ratios

One of the things you will notice about a spinning reel is that they have different gear ratios. A gear ratio is essentially the number of times the bail goes around the spool for every full turn of the handle. The numbers can differ quite a bit, but generally speaking will stay between about 4 and 7 depending on the manufacturer. To help give you an idea as to what different ratios mean, here is a breakdown of some ratios:

  • 4:1- These are among the slowest speed reels on the market. This type of reel is ideal for larger fish as these reels have more torque and will allow you to be able to reel in a larger fish at a faster speed.
  • 5:1- These reels are medium speed and are great if you aren’t really sure as to how big the fish is going to be on the other end of the line. The reels have a fair amount of torque, but not as much as the 4:1 gear ratio models.
  • 6:1- These reels are considered to be high speed reels. They may not be that great at fighting big fish, but they can do the job if they have to.

Interchangeable Design

One aspect of a rod that you may not have thought about before is what hand you use in order to reel in the rod. Different people like to use different hands to hold and cast the rod than others and it is truly a matter of which hand you are the most comfortable with using. A left handed retrieve reel is means that you are going to be turning the handle on the rod with your left hand. A right handed retrieve reel is the opposite, you turn the handle with your right hand in order to reel in. Many rods do have interchangeable designs that allow you to be able to switch between a left handed and right handed retrieve as you need. It is important to keep in mind, especially if you are looking at cheap reels, that not all reels are interchangeable and some of them you will need to make sure that you buy the correct hand for your fishing style.

Ball Bearings

One thing that you should know about spinning fishing reels is that ball bearings play a large role in the overall smoothness of the reel. The more ball bearings that are contained in the reel, the smoother the handle will work resulting in a more pleasant experience. If you see two rods sitting next to each other and the specifications are directly on the rod, always take a glance at the ball bearings as they should have a large impact on your decision. You will definitely pay for more ball bearings, but it is definitely one thing that you can physically feel as a difference in the overall quality of the rod. Keep in mind that you may also want to look for ball bearings that state they are anti- corrosion as corroded ball bearings aren’t going to give you a very smooth fishing experience.

Our Spinning Reel Reviews

Still not sure which is the best option for you? Check out our reviews below to learn more about our top picks!

KastKing Royale Legend Baitcasting Fishing Reel Review

KastKing Royale Legend Baitcasting Fishing Reel – Perfect Baitcasting Reel – 11 + 1 Shielded Bearings – 17.5 Lb Carbon Fiber Drag - 7.0:1 Gear RatioIf you are looking to get a rod with a high gear ratio for a reasonable price tag, then this reel could definitely be the one for you. This reel features a very high 7:1 gear ratio and comes in a left as well as a right handed design. This reel is made out of aluminum which offers the benefit of being both light weight and durable. There are lots of ball bearings within this rod which helps to make it extremely smooth to use.

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Pros:

  • 12 corrosion resistant ball bearings are used to make the design extremely smooth
  • Designed to be a very quiet rod when reeling in or casting so that you don’t scare the fish away
  • Advanced braking system in the unit allows you to be able to cast with very good accuracy
  • Available for a very low price tag especially considering the amount of ball bearings that are inside of the unit

Cons:

  • This reel is not interchangeable between a left and right handed design, you have to make sure that you buy the correct hand at the checkout
  • A 7:1 ratio is quite high and it can be a challenge to reel in larger fish with this design

Verdict:

So long as you aren’t going to be catching giant fish, it will be hard to beat the smoothness and reliability that this reel has to offer. Finding a reel that has this many ball bearings in order to smooth out your fishing experience doesn’t happen very often and you will definitely see a noticeable difference when you are reeling in a fish on this reel.

Sougayilang Left/right Interchangeable Collapsible Handle Spinning Fishing Reel Review

Sougayilang Left/right Interchangeable Collapsible Handle Spinning Fishing Reel with 5.2:1 Gear Ratio 12+1 Ball Bearings for Freshwater Saltwater FishingIf you are looking to get a reel with a lower gear ratio then this could definitely be one that might be of interest to you. This reel is six different sizes, all capable of fitting different lines. The reels sport a gear ratio of either 5.1:1 or 5.2:1 meaning that they will be pretty effective at being able to pull in some larger fish. These reels are loaded with ball bearings and offer an extremely smooth fishing experience which is awesome considering the average price tag that these reels are.

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Pros:

  • 2:1 or 5.1:1 gear ratio is quite effective at reeling in larger fish
  • This reel is interchangeable between a left and right handed design
  • A total of 13 ball bearing are built into this reel in order to offer an extremely smooth fishing experience
  • Aluminum spool is used in the design to increase the durability of the unit
  • Designed so that the reel can be used for both freshwater and saltwater fishing

Cons:

  • If you are constantly catching huge fish, you may want to look for a reel with an even lower gear ratio

Verdict:

So long as you aren’t constantly going fishing for large fish then this reel is likely to do the job for you. A gear ratio of this size is nice as it still allows you to be able to catch smaller fish if you desire and it allows you to be able to fight larger fish with ease. You will love how smooth this rod feels thanks to the huge amount of ball bearings that are incorporated into the design of the unit. Overall a very nice unit for an average price tag and definitely a big competitor in the marketplace.

KastKing Mela II Spinning Reel Review

KastKing Mela II Spinning Reel - Light, Smooth Spinning Fishing Reel, 10 + 1 BB, Powerful Carbon Fiber Drag, FREE Spare Graphite SpoolIf you don’t care about some of the more expensive features of reels such as an aluminum spool, then this could very well be the product for you. Thanks to this reel not having quite as nice of features, it has a lower price tag and fits within most people’s budgets. A graphite spool is used in the design and it has a black finish over top of it so that it is more corrosion proof.

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Pros:

  • There are eleven ball bearings used in the design of this reel which allows the reel to be extremely smooth
  • Very low price tag for a reel
  • Available in four different sizes so that you can choose a line weight that is better for the type of fish that you like to try and catch
  • Graphite is pretty durable when combined with the black finish that was put on the unit
  • Comes with a spare spool

Cons:

  • Does not have an aluminum spool which makes it a little more prone to corrosion over time.

Verdict:

If you want a light weight rod and you don’t want to pay a high price to get one then this reel could definitely be the one for you. The 11 ball bearings built into the design of this reel are going to give you a very smooth fishing experience and not a feeling that you would expect from a reel with this low of a price tag. Even though this rod may wear out faster due to the material that it is made from, you can have some peace of mind knowing that you have a spare spool sitting there ready to go whenever you need to use it.

Pisfun Spinning Fishing Reel Review

Pisfun Spinning Fishing Reel Metal Spool 6bb for Freshwater Saltwater 500 1000 2000 3000 4000 5000 6000 SeriesProbably the best thing about this reel is its price tag. It will be hard to find something with this low of a price on the market that is in working order. This reel has 6 ball bearings in its design which allows it to be relatively smooth when reeling and casting. The nice thing about this reel is that even though it is a low price, the manufacturer still has your back. With this product the manufacturer offers a satisfaction guarantee and they will refund you your money if you aren’t satisfied with your purchase.

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Pros:

  • A 5:1 gear ratio on the reel allows you to be able to fight larger fish with relative ease
  • Available in seven different models so that you can have the line capacity that you want on your rod
  • Six sealed ball bearings for a fairly smooth reel in and cast
  • Pretty lightweight reel
  • Can be used in both salt water and freshwater
  • Coated in a painted finish in order to make the reel more durable

Cons:

  • Some users may want more ball bearings inside of their reels in order to have a smoother fishing experience

Verdict:

If you want something for a low price tag that will last you for a decent length of time, then this could definitely be the reel for you. This reel may not be the smoothest reel around with just a six ball bearing design, but it will get the job done. You shouldn’t have too hard of a time trying to catch both large and small fish with this reel thanks to the 5:1 gear ratio incorporated into the design. It may be a good idea to store this reel indoors if you don’t want it to corrode as it isn’t made out of aluminum which is something to keep in mind.

SANLIKE Aluminum Alloy High Speed Spinning Reel Review

SANLIKE Aluminum alloy High Speed(4.7:1) Spinning Reel Fishing Tackle for Freshwater Saltwater Fishing Reels Left/Right Interchangeable Handle 5000 SerialIf you have an average budget and are looking for quality then you may be interested in this unit. This reel is light weight and the design allows the user to be able to switch between a left and a right handed design as they please. This unit is actually quite small in size which allows you to be able to handle it quite easily and helps with things like casting and reeling. The gear ratio on this rod is relatively small at just a 4.7:1 ratio meaning that you shouldn’t have too much difficulty reeling in some larger fish when you are using this rod.

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Pros:

  • This rod can be used in both saltwater and freshwater areas
  • This rod can be switched between a left and a right handed design as you need
  • The rod is light weight in design meaning it is fairly easy to handle
  • Three size options are available so that you can choose the line weight that you desire
  • Made out of aluminum alloy which allows the reel to be quite durable
  • Pretty low price tag considering the features incorporated into the design

Cons:

  • A 4.7:1 gear ratio may be a little bit too small for some users looking to catch smaller fish

Verdict:

So long as you plan to go fishing for some larger fish then this reel could very well be the one for you. It is hard to beat an aluminum based design for this kind of a price tag and it is also hard to find something that offers the ability to be used interchangeably as a left and right handed design. This reel is definitely a quality that almost doesn’t match its low price tag and is definitely a game changing reel when out on the water.

To Conclude:

Hopefully after reading this article you now feel as though you have a better grasp on the things that you should look for in a fishing reel. Always remember to make sure that you know who you are buying from so that you can have some peace of mind, knowing that you are covered under a nice warranty and a generous return policy. It truly is the smaller details that can make all the difference in the world when it comes to a fishing reel. Best of luck in your search for a good reel and hope that you find one that matches your wants and needs.

Fishing reels via SHAWSHANK61/Pixabay

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