Best Spinning Reels For Fishing

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Pflueger Supreme 40XT
Test Winner: Pflueger Supreme 40XT
Amazon Link
Spinning reels are relatively easy to learn how to use and don’t take long to master casting. Even though they are often the first reel a beginner comes into contact, this does not by any means mean that they are only for beginners. That being said, there is a multitude of spinning reels on the market and whether you are a beginner or a seasoned fisherman or angler buying the right spinning reel is important. We have taken an in-depth look at what to look for, gear ratios, body types, and drag systems - and other things you need to consider for the type of fishing and type of fishing you do. Take a look at the best freshwater or saltwater spinning reels of 2019.

Standout Picks

Pflueger Supreme XT Spinning Fishing Reel
Pflueger got their hooks (literally) into the fishing world in 1881. Quality and attention to detail have always been their number one priority, and this spinning reel is no exception. Crafted from strong and lightweight materials, this may just be your favorite new fishing companion.
Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Reel
This reel comes to you from Piscifun which is known throughout the fishing industry for their fishing gear. This reel is no exception as it is built from highly durable material and made to last. A great reel and feels smooth when reeling in a fish that just got on the line.
Amazon Link
$39.49
Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel
This reel from Piscifun is sleek and stylish but may take some time to get used to. For the price this reel is one that will last you many years to come, it also comes with a three-year warranty so if there are any issues Piscifun will provide a replacement within the confines of the warranty. If you are in the market for a new reel, this may be the one for you.
Amazon Link
$49.99
KastKing Royale Legend Baitcasting Fishing Reel
This reel from KastKing comes at us with an affordable price tag and also with more than a thousand customer reviews that will allow you to know exactly what you can expect from this reel. If you are looking for a new reel and want something that will fit your budget, look no further.
Amazon Link
Okuma Makaira Off Shore Lever Drag Trolling Reel
Okuma is a Taiwanese based company operating since 1986. This golden beauty encompasses some of the company's truest values, which include "advanced materials and dynamic designs." The Makaira reel is incredibly strong and great for chasing big game fish.
Amazon Link
$644.99
KastKing Speed Demon Pro Baitcasting Reel
This Kastking reel is one to check out. It is built to be durable and last you many years to come. It also is quite stylish and will fit your rod nicely.
Amazon Link
Penn Pursuit II & III Spinning Fishing Reel
Penn is one of the most well-known manufacturers in the fishing world. Since 1932, experienced anglers have chosen their products to take out to the open waters. This reel from Penn is one of the most cost-efficient on our list, without sacrificing style or durability.
Amazon Link
Shimano Spirex RG Spinning Reel
Shimano is a well-known name in many sports. They create high-quality cycling, fishing, and rowing equipment. This reel is one of the few on our list that utilizes rear drag. Considering the affordability and high-quality function, this is a great reel.
Abu Garcia Revo SX Spinning Reel
Oddly enough, back in 1921, the founder of Abu Garica started out making watches and taxi-meters. After WWII, there was less demand for these products and the brilliant founder focused his efforts into something else, fishing reels. Over the years, the company has continued to improve and is dedicated to designing quality products.
DAIWA 10 CROSSCAST 4000
This is a very versatile reel that can be used to catch a multitude of fish. Daiwa got its start in the fishing world back in 1955. They have a great reputation for producing quality and innovative products. This Crosscast reel is one of their most versatile designs.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Materials

The body of the reel is just as important as everything else. The Body gives the reel strength. Most good quality reels are made from either, Aluminium, Graphite, Magnesium and sometimes steel. You will see spinning reels with plastic bodies, these are to be avoided, they are made mainly for beginners and children’s fishing rod and reel combos, however even if I was buying for a child under 10 I would still buy equipment that the child will have success with. Just imagine you have bought an 8 year their first rod and reel and on the first trip, they get a bite and then their reel falls apart before the fight has even begun. Aluminum and graphite are all very good materials for reel bodies. Stainless steel is strong but heavy and rarely seen in the whole body but rather components inside the body. If you are planning to fish in saltwater, graphite will be more durable against the harshness of saltwater, but on the whole. Graphite bodies are not as strong as Aluminium.

Aluminum is OK for saltwater and definitely strong enough, but over time the body will show fatigue due to the exposure to the saltwater and to prolong the usable life you should always clear your reel after a trip. If you are only going to be fishing freshwater, lakes and rivers then I would recommend the aluminum body as they are strong and often slightly less expensive than graphite. Magnesium is expensive but has as strong as aluminum but a lot lighter. I have not used a magnesium reel, but due to the weight, I feel they might take a bit of getting used to with regards to rod balance. I believe that they would be great for freshwater fishing, but I am concerned about saltwater. Magnesium as metal corrodes readily with saltwater, and the magnesium reels sold as saltwater reels all need a thick epoxy coating. If you do use a magnesium reel for saltwater I would check the coating and paint on the body for signs of chips or scratches. If anyone wants to send me a magnesium reel to test to destruction I am happy to do so.

Use

A gear ratio is a number of turns of the crank handle compared to the number of times the spool turns. You will see gear ratios with numbers such as 6.2:1 this means that the spool will turn 6.2 times for every 1 turn of the crank handle. The higher the ratio the faster the spool reels in line. Most spinning reels have a gear ratio between 5.0:1 to 7.0:1. But just because you have a gear ratio of 7.0:1 does not necessarily mean that it will reel in line quicker than s 6.0:1, you have to factor in the diameter of the reel. A large diameter reel will pull in more line per turn than a small diameter reel. Another set of numbers you might see are IPT (inches per turn) this is a number of inches reeled in per one turn of the handle. I have never found that gear ratio makes a huge difference in the actual job of catching fish, but others swear by a specific ratio for specific fish and waters.

The spinning reel is simple and easy to learn. With a few outings, one can master the basics and cast them with confidence. One can memorize this line: reach back, aim, throw and let go. Assuming the reel has properly threaded the fishing line through the pole guides and a lure or bait, the task is to launch the bait out into the water and catch fish.

The first step is to hold the pole and reel correctly. If right-handed, hold the pole with left hand on the lower handle and right hand above on the pole. The stem of the reel should be between the middle and ring fingers of the right hand. Put the index finger of the right hand on the line curling it in the joint of the fingertip.

Then use the left hand to open the bail so that the line sits across the index finger. Return the left hand to the handle. Looking out over the water to the area where the bait should land, one must reach back, aim, throw and let go of the string.

The bait will fly out over the water and plop into the surface and sink. Holding the pole in the right hand, one should immediately turn the handle of the spinning reel and tighten the line. This motion will start the bait moving toward the pole. The retrieve gives action to the lure. If bait fishing, one must tighten the line and wait for a strike. Fishing with lures tends to be more active and interesting than the bait and wait routine. The lure engages the angler in a match of wits with the fish to entice a strike. The art of fishing with lures involves making the lure move in a way that triggers the fish to strike it. Most of the time that means making the lure swim like something the fish recognizes as food or prey.

Adjustability

Drag is important. The drag on a spinning reel will enable you to land bigger fish than the line strength suggests is possible. Fish put up a fight and will pull, most of this strain is taken in the rod bend and flex, but you don’t want the line to break, for one you lose the fish, but also the fish swims away with the hook still in its jaw, which is not good for the fish, and your tackle. The drag system helps to stop this happening. The drag system is a mechanical system that allows pressure to be applied to the line spool, via the use of friction plates inside the reel to brake the spool. The idea is to give even and constant pressure without jerkiness. As the fish pulls the reel will allow the line to spool instead of braking. This along with good technique can land you some big fish, and big fish is what it is all about.

There are two types of drag systems for spinning reels. Rear or Front drag systems. Front drag systems have the drag adjustment on the front of the spool, they are simpler mechanically and produce a constant drag and usually with higher drag forces. They are easy to set, but not as easy to adjust whilst mid-fight. Rear drag systems the adjustment is at the rear of the reel. They have a more complicated mechanically, and not as consistent or smooth a drag as front drag systems, but they are a lot easier to adjust mid-fight. I prefer front drag systems and I would recommend beginners to use front drag systems, set the drag strength before casting based on your line strength and then just leave it alone.

Most front drag systems use a washer drag system where washer discs are stacked on the spool shaft, then the pressure is applied to the washers or discs to increase and decrease the drag by the screw on the front of the reel. If you are fishing for big fish which will have a greater pulling power will generate quite a lot of heat in the drag washers. For this reason, drag washers are made from Teflon and Carbon fiber. Steel is sometimes used in reels designed with lower drags.

This really depends on the condition, line strength and type of fish you are trying to catch. But as a rule of thumb set the drag to 1/3 the breaking strength of the line, no more than half then the breaking strength. For example, if you have a 10kg line, set the drag to 3kg to 5 kg.

Durability

Spinning reels must be strong enough to handle heavy loads and strong shocks. In some large saltwater and freshwater species, fish weigh more than 100 pounds. Bluewater species like Marlin run above 500 pounds.

Fishing reels must withstand the sudden shocks of the strike on the baits and then handle the load of landing the large fish. The average species are much smaller, and the reels are sized to the lower weight ranges. The spinning reels must handle the loads and forces the small and medium fish exert.

The strength of a spinning reel comes from the metal shaft and gears inside the housing. These precision metal pieces fit together exactly and move in unison to pull the line in towards the angler and land the fish. The case or housing keeps the shaft and gears in the perfect alignment so that the shaft and gears turn and pull the line back onto the spool.

Also read about best waders for cold water

The important construction values are high-strength materials, precision engineering, corrosion resistance, internal seals, and high-quality components.

Top Ten Spinning Reels

1. Pflueger Supreme 40XT

Where to buy
Pflueger Supreme XT Spinning Fishing Reel
Amazon Link

Pflueger got their hooks (literally) into the fishing world in 1881. Quality and attention to detail have always been their number one priority, and this spinning reel is no exception. Crafted from strong and lightweight materials, this may just be your favorite new fishing companion.

Read more

Materials
Weighing just one pound, The Pflueger Supreme is the lightest spinning reel from Pflueger. It achieves this from the manufacturing materials but does not lose any strength, The main body and rotor are made from Magnesium, which is incredibly light with a strength similar to steel. The rotor is aluminum and the crank handle is carbon fiber.

The inner workings of the reel are also of equal if not higher quality. The bearing system is a 10 stainless steel sealed and corrosion resisting unit, which will enable a smooth and even retrieval of the line on to the spool.

The look of the reel is good in black with orange details, although I’m sure the color of a reel is not forefront in your mind.

Use
The spool is suitable for braided lines as well as a standard line, great if you are looking to hook some big fish or small sharks from the beach. The maximum drag pressure is 13.89-pounds. This reel can be used in both fresh and saltwater. There are ten barrings designed into this reel, making it very smooth. For each full turn of the reel’s handle (gear ratio), the spool makes 6.2 rotations.

Adjustability
The Front drag system is a seal carbon drag washer system. Washer drag systems use washer discs in a stack on the spool shaft, then pressure is applied to the washers or discs to increase and decrease the drag. The crank handle can be reversed to be left or right-handed.

Durability
Altogether, Pflueger has used the lightest and strongest materials available in the construction on this reel. Each Pflueger reel comes with a one-year warranty. Customer feedback has shown us that the company provides stellar customer service.

2. Piscifun Torrent

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$39.49
Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Reel
Amazon Link

This reel comes to you from Piscifun which is known throughout the fishing industry for their fishing gear. This reel is no exception as it is built from highly durable material and made to last. A great reel and feels smooth when reeling in a fish that just got on the line.

Read more

Materials
This reel is made from brass, stainless steel, and carbon fiber. It feels light but is quite durable. This reel is built with durability in mind and will hold up over time. It is a reel you will have for many years to become and will soon become your favorite reel.

Use
This spinning reel is silent and easy to use. It has a long smooth handle to ensure a comfortable grip and that you will have no issues reeling in the fish that just grabbed your line. It also casts smoothly and reels in smoothly which is exactly what you want when you are looking to invest in a new reel.

Adjustability
This reel is quite basic and has a simple drag system. It also has magnetic brakes to ensure you cast accurately and can reel the line back in smoothly without tangling.

Durability
This reel is durable for the price and will hold up over time. When holding it in your hand you can feel and see the quality.

Amazon Link
$39.49

3. Piscifun Sword

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$49.99
Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel
Amazon Link

This reel from Piscifun is sleek and stylish but may take some time to get used to. For the price this reel is one that will last you many years to come, it also comes with a three-year warranty so if there are any issues Piscifun will provide a replacement within the confines of the warranty. If you are in the market for a new reel, this may be the one for you.

Read more

Materials
This reel is made from aluminum and is abrasion and weather resistant. The reel feels a bit heavy but that is due to the material and durability of the material.

Use
This reel is primarily used for fly fishing and if you are an avid fly fisherman, this reel will be a great addition to your gear. It casts smoothly and is easy to use.

Adjustability
This reel is quite basic and has a simple drag system.

Durability
This reel is quite durable and is weather and abrasion-resistant. It also comes with a three-year warranty so if you have any issues, Piscifun will replace it, within the confines of the warranty conditions.

Amazon Link
$49.99

4. KastKing Royale Legend

Where to buy
Amazon Link
KastKing Royale Legend Baitcasting Fishing Reel
Amazon Link

This reel from KastKing comes at us with an affordable price tag and also with more than a thousand customer reviews that will allow you to know exactly what you can expect from this reel. If you are looking for a new reel and want something that will fit your budget, look no further.

Read more

Materials
This spinning reel is made from brass and carbon fiber. It feels light but is quite durable. The only issues that have been reported are the gear system that can act up over time.

Use
This reel is silent and easy to use. It also has dual brakes for smooth casting and smooth reeling in to ensure that if you get a fish on the line you will have no issue reeling that fish in with ease.

Adjustability
This reel is quite basic and has a simple drag system. It also has dual brakes to ensure you cast accurately and can reel the line back in smoothly without tangling.

Durability
This reel is durable for the price and will hold up over time. The only issue that has been seen is the gear system that can wear down over time but KastKing provides excellent customer service, so if you experience issues they will replace with minimal questions asked.

Amazon Link

5. Okuma Makaira MK-20000LS

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$644.99
Okuma Makaira Off Shore Lever Drag Trolling Reel
Amazon Link

Okuma is a Taiwanese based company operating since 1986. This golden beauty encompasses some of the company's truest values, which include "advanced materials and dynamic designs." The Makaira reel is incredibly strong and great for chasing big game fish.

Read more

Materials
The main body is machine cut forged aluminum with an aluminum flow rotor and stainless steel gearing. The main spool shaft is also stainless steel for added strength. The Spool shaft is supported by nine ball bearings and a roller bearing enabling smooth line retrieval no matter what the pull on the line.

The front drag system is a Dual force drag system, meaning that instead of applying drag to just one surface area of the spool, this drag system has been designed to apply drag to all surface areas of the spool, therefore, maximizing drag and heat dissipation. In total, this reel weighs about two pounds.

Use
This reel is ideal for saltwater, and specifically for giant fish, Amberjack, Yellowtail, Marlin, Bluefin and Yellowfin Tuna. It is definitely not for fishing in a lake, although it would work. It has a maximum drag pressure of 66-pounds. The gear ratio is 5.8:1.

Adjustability
The handle is non-reversible but the reel is available with either right-handed or left-handed.

Durability
The whole reel is sealed to prevent salt water ingress, with 23 different oil retaining O-rings and gaskets making all the internal mechanical parts are watertight. The body is forged aluminum and then machine cut, this is how they make a car engine, so imagine the strength of the body over a pressed aluminum body.

Amazon Link
$644.99

6. KastKing Speed Demon Pro

Where to buy
Amazon Link
KastKing Speed Demon Pro Baitcasting Reel
Amazon Link

This Kastking reel is one to check out. It is built to be durable and last you many years to come. It also is quite stylish and will fit your rod nicely.

Read more

Materials
This reel is made from brass, stainless steel, and carbon fiber. It feels light but is quite durable. This reel is built with durability in mind and will hold up over time. It is a reel you will have for many years to become and will soon become your favorite reel.

Use
This reel is silent and easy to use. It has a long smooth handle to ensure a comfortable grip and that you will have no issues reeling in the fish that just grabbed your line. It also casts smoothly and reels in smoothly which is exactly what you want when you are looking to invest in a new reel.

Adjustability
This reel is quite basic and has a simple drag system. It also has magnetic brakes to ensure you cast accurately and can reel the line back in smoothly without tangling.

Durability
This reel is durable for the price and will hold up over time. When holding it in your hand you can feel and see the quality.

Amazon Link

7. Penn Pursuit II

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Penn Pursuit II & III Spinning Fishing Reel
Amazon Link

Penn is one of the most well-known manufacturers in the fishing world. Since 1932, experienced anglers have chosen their products to take out to the open waters. This reel from Penn is one of the most cost-efficient on our list, without sacrificing style or durability.

Read more

Materials
The Penn Pursuit II 3000 is an excellent all-round reel. It has a graphite body and rotor to reduce the weight (1.54-pounds) and enable superior balance, matched with a machined and anodized to reduce corrosion spool. The spool is supported with 5 shielded stainless steel ball bearings.

The drag system is an oiled felt disc system, being felt reduces heat and allows a more smooth pull through the line.

Use
The front drag system is smooth and easy to use. The maximum drag pressure of this reel is 9.9-pounds. This reel is incredibly versatile and available in six different sizes, making it possible to buy one of each and build up your tackle box. The gear ratio is 5.2:1.

Adjustability
The handle is reversible to the right or left-handed.

Durability
This reel is great value for money for anyone wanting an excellent quality reel for saltwater fishing or freshwater course but without breaking the bank. The design and construction will give many years of trouble-free angling, from a reel manufacturer with years of experience in reels and fishing.

Amazon Link

8. Shimano Spirex RG 4,000

Where to buy
Shimano Spirex RG Spinning Reel
Amazon Link

Shimano is a well-known name in many sports. They create high-quality cycling, fishing, and rowing equipment. This reel is one of the few on our list that utilizes rear drag. Considering the affordability and high-quality function, this is a great reel.

Read more

Materials
This reel has been described as “rock solid.” Multiple strong materials band together this make this masterpiece. The frame, side plate, and rotor are made from graphite and the spool is made from cold-forged aluminum. There are six stainless steel ball bearings, allowing for smooth flow with just a hint of tension. This reel weighs in just under one pound, at 14.5-ounces.

Use
Due to the small size of this reel, it is mostly recommended for freshwater. The maximum drag of this reel is nine pounds. The gear ratio is 6.2:1. It is one of the few reels on this list that uses a rear drag. Past users have enjoyed using it to catch trout, catfish, and bass.

Adjustability
This reel is capable of both left and right-hand retrieve.

Durability
Thanks to the excellent mash-up of graphite and aluminum, you can depend on this reel to last for quite a long time! Customers claim that this reel continues to function like new even after owning it for many years. Shimano offers a two-year warranty on all reels and rods.

9. Abu Garcia Revo SX

Where to buy
Abu Garcia Revo SX Spinning Reel
Amazon Link

Oddly enough, back in 1921, the founder of Abu Garica started out making watches and taxi-meters. After WWII, there was less demand for these products and the brilliant founder focused his efforts into something else, fishing reels. Over the years, the company has continued to improve and is dedicated to designing quality products.

Read more

Materials
Visually, this reel looks great, it is matte black with red and silver details. This reel is designed for freshwater so it doesn’t need to stand up the corrosive conditions of a saltwater reel. This enables Abu Garcia to use different materials that reduce weight while making the performance tailored to freshwater. The body is carbon with an aluminum gearbox, which is incredibly light (7.2-grams) and offers good feel through the handle, giving confidence to the angler and reel. The spool is supported with 9 stainless steel bearing for smooth line retrieval.

Use
The front drag system uses carbon matrix discs, which gives a smooth and reliable performance. The gear ratio is 6.1:1 and the maximum drag pressure is 9.9-pounds. This reel is small, but do not let that fool you into thinking it can catch good fish, large Bass should be no problem with this reel. There is also an anti-reverse switch to prevent backward spinning.

Adjustability
The handle is reversible for right or left-handed positions.

Durability
This reel is designed with strong materials and is a dependable addition to this list and your collection. Abu Garica offers a 30-day full money back return policy, even though we think it is unlikely that you will not be pleased with this reel.

You could also check out our full review about Abu Garcia Pro Max fishing reel, which is a high-quality top of the line these products.

10. Daiwa 10 Crosscast 4000

Where to buy
DAIWA 10 CROSSCAST 4000
Amazon Link

This is a very versatile reel that can be used to catch a multitude of fish. Daiwa got its start in the fishing world back in 1955. They have a great reputation for producing quality and innovative products. This Crosscast reel is one of their most versatile designs.

Read more

Materials
The body and reversible right and left-handed handle are both aluminum, the spool is aluminum and designed for long accurate casting. The reel weighs 1.5-pounds. The spool shaft is supported with 3 ball bearings, which is a lot slower than the other reels I have reviewed here but it is enough for a smooth line return. The drag is a front drag. The bail has to be returned to position manually after casting, but this is no great hardship. The reel also includes a spare spool which is always handy to have.

Use
The Daiwa Crosscast is a great reel for a beginner in freshwater fishing whether you are going to fish on lakes, course fishing, riverbank or canal fishing or even in the middle of a lake in a rowboat. It doesn’t matter what type of fish you are trying to catch, Carp, Perch, Pike, or even Bass, this reel will be able to catch them. When you decide that you really want to catch for example Carp then you may choose a different reel for that fish, and even if you do I guarantee that you will still have the cross-cast with you on your spare rod because you know it will always perform. It has a maximum drag pressure of 14-pounds. The gear ratio is 4.1:1.

Adjustability
The handle is reversible for right or left-handed anglers.

Durability
The aluminum used to make this reel provides it with a strong and sturdy feel. There is a one-year warranty associated with all Daiwa reels.