Best Spinning Reel Reviews 2018

Spinning reels come in different sizes, types and shapes, so difficulty arises when you want to make a choice. To help alleviate this difficulty, we looked into the numerous spinning reels available and finally narrowed them down to five top brands with some of the best spinning reels on the market. We carried out this review based on one product per brand, but we’d also like to point out that the featured brands have other great spinning reels that might interest you. We encourage you to take a look at them via the navigation links provided in the review.
Overview
PROS
CONS
SPECS
Size
Ball Bearings
Rollers
Drag
Material
Our Top Choice
PENN Spinfisher V Spinning Reel
The PENN Fishing Tackle Company's products have been anglers’ first choice for over 90 years owing to their quality and designs.
Its body offers protection for the gears and other components, while the five shielded stainless steel ball bearings ensure smooth operations.
The bearings may fail within a short time.
13 x 12 x 7 inches, 3.4 lbs
6
1
34 lbs
Stainless steel
Best Value
Okuma Avenger Baitfeeder Spinning Reel
Okuma Fishing Tackle produces fishing gears that inspires your passion for fishing. Its products are carefully crafted from the highest quality materials.
Its 6BB+1RB roller bearing works in tandem with the single, anti-reverse roller bearing. The auto bait system has an on/off switch that controls the spool.
The handle may not be as durable as desired.
12 x 12 x 6 inches, 3 lbs
6
1
30 lbs
Stainless steel
Shimano Saragosa SW Reels
Shimano uses precision engineering and technology to produce top-notch fishing tackles for anglers worldwide.
The smooth, waterproof drag system is powerful enough to stop the toughest fish in the water, and the enhanced paladin gearing system is durable.
Some buyers have received units with defective parts.
13 x 13 x 6 inches, 3 lbs
6
1
44 lbs
Stainless steel
Abu Garcia Orra SX Spinning Reel
Abu Garcia products are synonymous with ergonomic design and top-flight functionality that remains unmatched in the industry.
Its bearings ensure consistent, seamless operation, and the Carbon-Matrix drag system gives exceptional and smooth drag performance.
This spinning reel is so good, we just wish it could cast the line and reel in the fish all on its own!
12 x 12 x 6 inches, 3 lbs
5
1
40 lbs
Stainless steel
Pflueger President Spinning Reel
Pflueger manufactures items that are innovative, unique and reliable. Each little detail is given close attention to make a top product.
Its braid ready spool lets you tie off the braid directly to the spool without slipping. The stainless steel oiled felt drag system is smooth and consistent.
The bail system may need some fine-tuning, as there are reports about stiff bail operation.
13 x 13 x 6 inches, 4 lbs
9
1
35 lbs
Stainless steel

(Updated )
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Watch Our Spinning Reel Review

How Do I Choose the Best Spinning Reel?

Fishing is a major pastime game and hobby for many people, and a major source of livelihood for some, especially those living in coastal regions. The art of fishing has evolved over time, just like many other ancient activities, from a simple hook, line and sinker model to a largely mechanized model. There are now many forms of fishing, especially in sport fishing, where anglers compete with the water elements, fish and themselves. These different forms include surf fishing, trolling, jigging, bottom fishing, live bait and many others. Whether you’re into it for the fun and thrill, or you’re fishing for business, having top-performing fishing gear is of paramount importance. You wouldn’t want to get into battle with a large and furiously thrashing fish caught on a hook that is attached to the end of flimsy or less-than-capable equipment.

A good spinning reel is one item every angler should have. It is usually used in combination with a fishing rod. The spinning reel basically serves to cast the fishing line attached to its spool and then reel it in when a fish gets hooked to its end. It has so many great features that let you make great catches seamlessly and almost effortlessly when you’re out in your boat. It’s also designed to afford maximum enjoyment for thrillseekers who derive joy from fish battles. Spinning reels are easy to use and are well suited for both saltwater and freshwater fishing.

Now that you know why you should invest in a spinning reel, let’s also take a look at the features that you need to check for before making your final decision. These features include size, type of bearing system, number of bearings, construction material, drag type, and cost.
Price
Generally, the amount of money you’re willing to spend determines the quality, brand and features of the product you end up with. There are almost always several varieties of any product with different feature combinations, so you can strike a balance between functionality and cost. For items such as spinning reels, it’ll be far easier and less expensive in the long run to make a one-time investment in quality than make several purchases of cheaper products that will keep disappointing.

The prices of the spinning reels in our review range from $59.95 to $405, to give you an unbeatable price selection from top renowned brands featured in this review. While conducting our research, we stumbled on some cheap spinning reels made from flimsy materials and components. Since we wouldn’t want you to deal with products that will fall apart in no time, we decided to ignore them and present only trusted products and brands to you.
Features
Choosing and buying great spinning reels may not be an easy feat, but once you understand the key features, your selection process becomes quite simplified. Here are some of the important features to look for:
  • Size of the spinning reel
  • Type of bearing system
  • Number of bearings
  • Type of drag
  • Extra features
  • Construction material
Construction and Design
Spinning reels are generally designed to be compact in nature. Because they are handheld and hand-operated, it is necessary for them to come in sizes that can be easily managed. A good spinning reel should be extremely lightweight, so that you contend with only the weight of the fish at the end of the line. A spinning reel can weigh from eight pounds to about 23 pounds. There are a few heavy-duty spinning reels that are used by larger ships or vessels, but those ones are mounted on the fishing vessels and use some form of mechanized casting and reeling-in system.

Different brands equip their spinning rods with different types of bearings. A bearing system helps the moving parts of the spinning reel operate more freely and smoothly by reducing friction and heat between them. Bearings can be made from different materials, including graphite or aluminum. The most commonly used material is stainless steel, because it is corrosion-resistant, thus increasing the longevity of the reel. A common type of bearing is the ball bearing, which is mostly used in designing spinning reels. Some brands equip their spinning reels with other quality bearing types, such as the HPCR stainless steel bearings seen in the Abu Garcia Orra SX spinning reels.

The drag system in a spinning reel is actually a friction device. It works by producing friction that acts as a braking mechanism to checkmate the run of the fish at the end of the line. To achieve this friction, turn the drag knob on the spool. This applies pressure on a set of rotating washers attached to the spinning spool. This pressure then exerts friction on the line, thereby slowing the movement of the line so you can successfully reel it, and the fish, of course, in. Different brands use different brand systems and washers. The washers can be designed to function dry or with lots of oil. An oiled washer-drag system is preferable because the oil improves smooth operation.

The body of a spinning reel encases the gearbox and most of the moving parts. It can be constructed from either plastic, machined aluminum or graphite. If you’re interested in lightweight spinning reels, look for one with a graphite frame, as it’s the lightest among all the materials. Aluminum is the most durable, while plastic is less reliable but less expensive.
Performance and Ease of Use
The number of bearings in a spinning reel plays an important role in how smoothly and nicely the reel operates. A five-bearing reel will spin longer and faster than a two-bearing reel. The five-bearing spinning reel will have a smoother operation than the two-bearing reel if both of them are carrying the same drag load. Since bearings reduce friction and heat build-up in the spinning reel, reels with fewer bearings will fall apart faster than ones with more bearings due to more friction and heat build-up. If you’re an occasional fisher, you can make do with a two-bearing spinning reel, but for the serious angler, a five-plus bearing spinning reel should be ideal for you.

The spinning reel handle is usually made from graphite or machined aluminum, with a soft-touch knob for easy and firm grip. Some brands fabricate their spinning reel’s handle so it can be swapped from left to right to suit the individual’s preference. The handle is rotated for the line and fish retrieval, after it’s been cast.

The gearbox located inside the body and connected to the spool spindle and the handle is designed solely to increase the number of spindle rotations per handle rotation. This is known as the gear ratio. It varies from brand to brand, and even among models from the same brand. A gear ratio of five to one simply means that for every one rotation of the handle, the spindle rotates five times. The higher the gear ratio, the higher the spool spindle rotation and the faster the line is reeled in.

Most spinning reels come with an anti-reverse lever, which may or may not be infinite. The anti-reverse lever prevents the reel from backward rotation when it’s engaged. If disengaged, the gearbox will have free rein to rotate in either direction. For an infinite anti-reverse system, the lever is permanently engaged, so there’s absolutely no room for the gearbox to rotate backwards.

A spinning reel is easy to use. They can be set up and running in just a matter of minutes. It’s also a low-maintenance tool, requiring you to rinse it out in fresh water after each use. The mechanism of its working parts is easy to understand and repair, while its parts are easy to come by when a replacement is needed.

What is the Best Spinning Reel?

Choosing the most appropriate spinning reel can be very frustrating, especially if you’re new to fishing, as there are many pertinent factors to be considered. After reading our detailed product buying guide, you should now be able to confidently pick the spinning reel that best suits you. Now to the individual product reviews.
Our Top Choice
The PENN Spinfisher V Spinning Reel has a stabilizing metal sideplate, sealed drag system, 3 HT-100 drag washers and full metallic body. For a spinning reel with main shaft made of stainless steel and four stainless steel ball bearings, you should check out the Penn Fierce Spinning Reel.
PENN Watertight Spinfisher V Spinning Reel – Available in 11 Sizes

PENN Spinning Reel 1259874 - 0


Features
The PENN Fishing Tackle Company, founded by Otto Henze, is a renowned brand when it comes to the fishing industry. Its products have been anglers’ first choice for well over 90 years because of their top-quality nature and designs. Its products are made from the best materials and are designed for top performance, with production lines ranging from fishing reels and rods to tools, equipment and apparel. Its inspiration comes from the fact that numerous anglers round the world have an overwhelming trust and faith in the brand.

The PENN Spinfisher V Spinning Reel is watertight and prevents saltwater from entering the gearbox or drag system. It features a metal sideplate that keeps the gears precisely aligned under heavy loads, and a sealed drag system with 3 HT-100 drag washers. Its complete metallic body can withstand more than a few bangs and falls. It has an anodized and machined superline spool with capacity rings, a single instant anti-reverse bearing and five stainless steel ball bearings that are shielded.

Here are more spinning reels from PENN that you might like:
  • Penn Fierce II Spinning Reel: Has a full metal body and sideplate for perfect gear alignment, techno-balanced rotor for smooth retrievals, 4 + 1 shielded stainless steel ball bearings and instant, anti-reverse bearing
  • Penn 2000 Fierce Spinning Fishing Reel, Left/Right: Has the main shaft made from corrosion-resistant stainless steel, infinite anti-reverse, machined and anodized aluminum spool and handle with a soft touch knob
  • Penn 5000 Fierce Spinning Fishing Reel, Left/Right: Has four corrosion-resistant stainless steel ball bearings and main shaft, machined and anodized aluminum handle with a soft touch knob
  • PENN Pursuit II Spinning Reel: Constructed with a lightweight and corrosion-resistant graphite material. Has 4 + 1 shielded stainless steel ball bearing model, infinite anti-reverse and a machined and anodized aluminum spool
  • Penn Squall Level Wind Reel is designed with an instant anti reverse bearing, lightweight graphite body and sideplate, main gear forged from bronze and a pinion gear
Best Value
The Okuma Avenger Baitfeeder Spinning Reel has a watertight, multi-disc drag seal system, 6BB+1RB roller bearing system and corrosion-resistant graphite body. If you’d prefer a spinning reel with Precision Dual Force Drag System, get the Okuma Cedros High Speed Spinning Reel.
Okuma Avenger Graphite Baitfeeder Reel – Available in 6 Sizes

Okuma Spinning Reel Avenger ABF-20a


Features
Okuma Fishing Tackle products showcase functional designs that are geared towards meeting every user’s needs when it comes to fishing. With more than 30 years of fishing gear manufacturing experience, it remains the number one go-to brand for freshwater and saltwater fishing, for both the professional angler and the hobbyist fisher. Its top-notch fishing rods include fly rods, float rods and spinning rods, and its reels include spinning, bait cast, trolling and fly reels.

The Okuma Avenger Baitfeeder Spinning Reel is a great tool that is used by anglers in both saltwater and freshwater fishing. Sometimes it's advantageous for the angler to allow the fish get a strong hold on the freely swimming bait before hooking it up. This spinning reel has undergone several form upgrades and refinements to function in this advanced capacity. Here are some of the features that set it apart:
  • The auto trip bait system comes with an on/off switch control that disengages the spool without opening the bail
  • Its drag seal system is watertight with a multi-disc, Japanese oiled felt drag washer for smooth, high-performance operation
  • Its body is manufactured from corrosion-resistant graphite, and the handle is made from die-cast, rigid aluminum
  • The pinion gear functions on a precision Elliptical Gearing system and is crafted from precision machine cut brass
  • Dual-toned anodized spool made from machined aluminum
  • Its bail wire is made from corrosion-resistant stainless steel
  • Spare ported graphite spool included
  • Comes with a one-year product warranty
  • The Rotor Equalizing System (RESII) has a computer balanced precision
The Shimano Saragosa SW Reels are suitable for all fishing. They have 44 pounds of waterproof drag, corrosion-resistant graphite rotors and dartainium II drag washers. For a surfcasting spinning reel with 1 S A-RB+3BB+1, you may want to see the Shimano Ultegra XSD-Surfcasting Fishing Reel.
Shimano Saragosa SW Reels Spinning Reel – Available In 7 Sizes

Shimano Spinning Reel SRG5000SW - 5000


Features
Shimano was established in Japan in 1921. It’s dedicated to the use of precision engineering and technology to produce great fishing tackles. Its durable, functional and perfectly designed products have been rated as the number one fishing line by anglers all over the world. Its product lines include fishing reels, fishing rods, lures, clothing and fishing gear. Since its inception, it has been manufacturing products that are in keeping with the declaration of its visionary founder: “I aim to make Shimano’s products the best in Kansai, then the best in Japan, and finally the best in the world."

The Shimano Saragosa SW Reels are classical, versatile and powerful reels that are extremely suitable for surf fishing, jigging, trolling, bottom fishing, live bait and just about any form of fish battle you can think of. You’ll be glad and thankful to own them because of the high durability and resilient nature. Here are the functional features:
  • Outfitted with an X-Ship, X-Drag, X-Shield and X-Protect system that is tough and unique
  • About 44 pounds of smooth and waterproof drag system that is able to combat and stop the toughest, fastest fish in the water
  • Ergonomically designed septon handle grips with a machined aluminum handle shank
  • Drag washers made from dartainium II
  • Propulsion Line Management System works with a direct drive mechanism
  • Enhanced paladin gearing system for better durability
  • 5+1 S A-RB Shielded Ball Bearings with a stopperless design and a super stopper II anti-reverse
  • Aluminum casing with corrosion-resistant graphite rotors
  • Single-piece bail wire and a spool made from cold-forged aluminum
  • Dyna-Balance and Fluid Drive II let you take on the meanest species under the toughest conditions with elegance and strength
  • Powered by a power roller III system
The Abu Garcia Orra SX Spinning Reel is extremely powerful and resilient. It has eight stainless steel HPCR bearings, Insert Molded C6 body and X-Craftic gearbox design. If you’re looking for a spinning reel with four stainless steel bearings and a power disc drag system, check out the Abu Garcia Black Max Low Profile Reel.
Abu Garcia Orra SX Spinning Reel – Available in 3 Sizes and 2 Styles

Abu Garcia Spinning Reel 1324536 – 10 - Box


Features
Since 1921, Abu Garcia has consistently proved itself to the sport fishing community the world over as a go-to brand when it comes to anything that has to do with fishing. Its products still bear the light precision engineering skills of its founder, a quality that distinguishes it among its peers. It has been awarded the “Purveyor to the Royal Swedish Court,” an honor bestowed on select manufacturing companies that have excelled in quality and craftsmanship.

The Abu Garcia Orra SX Spinning Reel is a powerful and resilient spinning reel that is easy to use, lightweight and exceptionally functional. It has an ergonomic design and feel that you can’t help but love right out of the box, and it gives you amazing value for its surprisingly budget-friendly price. Here are its distinguishing features:
  • Eight stainless steel HPCR bearings and one roller bearing for consistent and smooth operation while protecting the unit from corrosion
  • Body frame is designed and constructed with reinforced aluminum C-6 carbon
  • Insert Molded C6 (IM-C6) carbon body design is seamlessly combined with the X-Craftic gearbox design, to give a lightweight unit housing perfectly aligned gears
  • Patented Rocket Line Management system provides exceptional casting control for all types of fishing lines
  • Rocket spool lip actively controls the line as it comes off the spool, improving the vast control and precision
  • Main shaft and its components are made from corrosion-resistant stainless steel
  • Patented Everlast bail system for better durability and resilience
  • Drag system based on the unique Carbon-Matrix system that gives an exceptional and smooth drag performance all through the drag range
  • Slowly oscillating design that provides absolute even line lay for all types of lines
  • Braid ready spool lets you tie off the braid to the spool in a non-slip fashion, and is made from machined aluminum
The Pflueger President Spinning Reel is moderately priced, with a spool made of double anodized aluminum. It's compact, lightweight, and has smooth operation. if you need a spinning reel with on/off instant anti-reverse bearing and eight stainless steel ball bearings, see the Pflueger Supreme Spinning Reel.
Pflueger President Spinning Reel – Available in 5 Sizes

Pflueger Spinning Reel 1236618 – 4-Pound/100-Yard


Features
The legendary Pflueger brand is a household name among anglers and fishing fanatics. Its industry-leading products are found in all aspects of fishing rods and tackles and play a leading role in the fishing gear industry. The first Pflueger Bait cast reel was made in 1916. Since then, Pflueger has created numerous innovations in fishing reels. Its product lines are varied and have something for every angler, whether professional or amateur.

The Pflueger President Spinning Reel is a moderately priced spinning reel for those on a budget. It has a sleek and compact design, quality build and smooth casting and reeling operations. It sometimes out-performs some higher-end reels, as attested to by numerous users the world over. It’s very resilient, can withstand pretty much any fishing condition and needs extremely minimal maintenance routine. Here are more of its notable features:
  • Moderate reeling capacity of four pounds per 100 yards of line
  • Body and rotor made of lightweight corrosion-resistant graphite
  • Braid ready spool lets the braid be tied to the spool directly and securely without slipping
  • Felt drag system made from stainless steel and well-oiled for consistent and smooth drag and corrosion-resistance
  • Handle is constructed from aircraft grade aluminum for high durability
  • Titanium line roller with an anti-twist feature
  • Bail wire is made of thick and rigid aluminum that prevents misshaping
  • Spool has clear hole patterns and is made from machined, ported and double-anodized aluminum
  • Comes with nine stainless steel ball bearings and an anti-reverse, one-way clutch bearing that functions instantly

Get the Best Spinning Reel of 2018!

Now that you have taken the time to go through our review, we are sure that you will be able to choose the spinning reel best suited to your needs. Go ahead and pick a great spinning reel from our reviewed products.

Our Top Choice
PENN Spinfisher V Spinning Reel
Best Value
Okuma Avenger Baitfeeder Spinning Reel
Shimano Saragosa SW Reels
Abu Garcia Orra SX Spinning Reel
Pflueger President Spinning Reel