Last Updated on June 21, 2021 by Donnell Henderson
Want to make your fishing expeditions more successful and enjoyable?
The secret is getting the right fishing gear, particularly the best fishing reel. With a good fishing reel, casting the line and pulling out fish becomes pretty easy and enjoyable.
However, selecting the right fishing reel can be challenging because of the extensive selections on the market.
To help you out, we selected the leading fishing reels on the market and reviewed them. We have also included a buying guide, pointing out what you should consider when choosing a fishing reel.
Keep reading to learn more about the top fishing reels and pick the ideal one for your fishing excursions!
My Top Pick
The KastKing Valiant Eagle Gold Spinning Reel is our first choice. The fishing reel is light and comes with top-of-the-range features, such as shielded stainless steel bearings, that make fishing easy and fulfilling.
- The Best Fishing Reel Reviews
- 1. KastKing Valiant Eagle Gold Spinning Reel – Best Fishing Reel for the Money
- 2. Penn SQL30LW Squall Level Wind – Runner Up
- 3. Zebco 33 Authentic Spincast Reel
- 4. Abu Garcia Revo SX Spinning Reel
- 5. KastKing Summer and Centron Spinning Reel
- 6. Daiwa BG Saltwater Spinning Reel
- 7. Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel C-10
- 8. Reels Spincast Pflueger PRES10SCX President
- 9. Burning Shark Trolling Reel Saltwater Level Wind Reels
- How to Choose the Best Fishing Reel
- Final Thoughts
The Best Fishing Reel Reviews
1. KastKing Valiant Eagle Gold Spinning Reel – Best Fishing Reel for the Money
KastKing has won praise worldwide as one of the top fishing reel designers, and this Royale Legend GT Baitcasting is a testimony of their commitment to quality. The fishing reel is made for top-performance, and you can count on it to make fishing fun and rewarding. You will also love the sleek design that makes it a perfect addition for a weekend or holiday fishing outing.
Straight out of the box, the first thing you will notice about the fishing reel is that it looks great. The sleek design makes the reel look like it would cost hundreds of dollars, but it is priced affordably. The body is done using high-quality materials that help to optimize performance and make it long-lasting. For example, it features double-shielded stainless steel bearings and precision-cut brass gears.
To make using this fishing reel more effective, the handle is made of stainless steel padded in non-slip foam. Furthermore, it comes with a lovely 7.0:1 ratio that is pretty quiet when you reel to avoid scaring away the fish. Using this fishing reel, you can handle up to 17.5 pounds of fish.
- Weight: 7.5 ounces
- Gear ratio: 7.0:1
- Materials: Stainless steel bearings, brass shaft, and brass pinion gear
- Bearings: Shielded stainless steel
- A great option for anglers targeting large fish
- Available in both right and left-handed versions
- A great pick for fishing in freshwater
- Sold affordably
- Not so easy to use for beginners
2. Penn SQL30LW Squall Level Wind – Runner Up
Coming close to our first pick is this high-performance Penn SQL30LW Squall LevelWind from Penn. The fishing reel is the successor to the popular GT series and comes with notable improvements. Penn designed the SQL30LW Squall LevelWind for anglers who prefer fishing from moving boats and targeting big fish. So, if you have been targeting the smaller fish and think it is time to upgrade, this is one of the top fishing reels to consider.
The materials used to design the fishing reel are selected for high-performance in a wide range of conditions. With a forged machined aluminum spool, and graphite side plates and frame, the fishing reel is very reliable for saltwater fishing without adding a lot of weight. Furthermore, the main gear is made of bronze, while the pinion gear is designed using steel for smooth and comfortable cranking.
You will also like the proprietary greased HT-100 Versa Drag system that allows for multiple drag settings to get fish out of the water. The anti-reverse bearing design eliminates any form of back play in the handle, making it easy to overcome the fighting fish. With this fishing reel, every fish that takes your bait has no escape.
- Weight: 30.3 ounces
- Material: Stainless steel, graphite, and bronze
- Hand orientation: Left hand
- A great pick for saltwater fishing
- Durable construction with stainless steel, graphite, and bronze materials
- Its HT-100 carbon fiber drag system makes fishing smooth and enjoyable
- A great option when targeting large fish on the sea
3. Zebco 33 Authentic Spincast Reel
Our best value product on this list is this Zebco 33 Authentic Spincast Reel, which you can get for less than $20. We liked this fishing reel because although it comes with a low price tag, its features qualify it for a higher price tag. However, you need to contend with the fact that it might not be the best option when targeting large fish.
The fishing reel is designed using a durable all-metal body that firmly holds the gearing system and makes it durable. It also comes with a quickset anti-reverse clutch and a gear ratio of 3.6:1, which makes it pretty smooth when pulling out fish from the water. It feels firm on hands, and it is pretty easy to use.
Zebco went a step further and added rubberized handles that make it pretty comfortable even when fishing for hours. The reel also comes with a red line that makes it easy for you to notice when a fish has been hooked on the other end.
- Weight: 0.01 pound
- Gear ratio: 3.6:1
- Reel cover: Industrial strength brushed stainless steel
- Great for beginners and occasional fishermen
- The quickset anti-reverse clutch makes the fishing reel very smooth
- Easy to use
- Not suitable for catching large fish
4. Abu Garcia Revo SX Spinning Reel
Abu Garcia is one of the popular and loved brands, especially by modern anglers, for its commitment to designing quality products. This Abu Garcia Revo SX Spinning Reel builds on the previous Revo SX generations’ features, but it maintains the signature rigidity. We found the Revo SX very easy to use, whether fishing from a mobile or moving boat.
When you go out fishing, the most important thing is controlling your line and enjoying overpowering the fish out of the water. This is why Abu Garcia used the Rocket Line Management System that helps to improve casting distance and line control.
Another outstanding thing about the spinning fishing reel is that it combines an x-Craftic gearbox design with a C6-carbon body that makes it feel very light in your hand. Besides, you will also like the spinning reel for its ability to maintain perfect alignment even under duress, offering you ample leverage to outdo the hard-pulling fish.
- Drag: 10-17 pounds
- Weight: 7.2 ounces
- Gear ratio: 6.2:1
- Bearing: Shielded stainless steel
- Good for both freshwater and saltwater fishing
- Lightweight construction allows users to fish without suffering from fatigue
- Comes with a sleek and attractive design
- Easy to use
5. KastKing Summer and Centron Spinning Reel
KastKing makes our list again with this Summer Centron, an amazing fishing reel that has become so popular with holidaymakers. The fishing reel is loaded with top-of-the-range features for high-performance.
The most notable feature of this fishing reel is the strong and large CNC machined aluminum spool for even line lay. It also features internal grooves for better lube retention and more fishing line capacity. With these features, you can rely on the reel to go after the big fish.
The design of this reel is also aimed at giving you total control over the fishing line. It comes with nine ball bearings and a one-way anti-reverse bearing for extra smooth performance. Also notable is the hardened main shaft and mesh drive gear for more fish-fighting power. So, even when you get a large fish, this fishing reel makes it pretty easy to pull it out of the water.
- Weight: 9.92 ounces
- Material: Aluminum and graphite
- Spool: CNC machined aluminum spool
- Frame: High-tensile strength graphite frame
- Attractive finish
- High-tensile strength graphite frame
- Offers superior drag system for more drag power
- Precision gear system for better performance
- A great option when targeting large fish
- Aluminum parts can get corroded rather fast when fishing in salty waters
6. Daiwa BG Saltwater Spinning Reel
Daiwa is another leading fishing gear company with outstanding products, such as this BG saltwater spinning reel. The fishing reel is the company’s flagship saltwater reel model. The focus of Daiwa when designing this fishing reel was to help make fishing easy and enjoyable for both professional and amateur anglers.
The spinning reel is made with black anodized machined aluminum housing that gives it a very lovely appearance. It is also scratch-proof, and all you need is wiping off the dirt after every fishing expedition to get back the shiny appearance.
Another feature that makes the BG series standout is the oversized Digigear. We established that it is one of the biggest gears on the spinning reels, implying that you get a lot of power when cranking. Other features that make this fishing reel amazing include its mechanics, such as the ABS spool and waterproof drag. Although it does not come cheap, this fishing reel is one of the most effective models on the market.
- Weight: 0.8-pound
- Material: Aluminum and carbon
- Gear ratio: 5.6:1
- Anti-reverse system: Infinite anti-reverse system
- Casting and retrieval are very smooth
- Amazing cranking power makes it easy to retrieve large fish
- Lightweight construction
- A sleek and attractive design
- Strong and durable
7. Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel C-10
The next fishing reel on our list is this popular Ceymar Spinning Reel C-10 from Okuma. It rocks a lightweight construction, and it is one of the best options when targeting small fish, such as sunfish and trout. We also liked the fishing reel because it is pretty easy to use, even for new anglers.
The Ceymar Spinning Reel C-10 is designed with a corrosion-resistant body that makes it a good option for both freshwater and saltwater fishing. However, we found it a better option for fishing in fresh waters because of the small size. Despite this, you will still be able to comfortably pull out a four-pound fish using the reel and a lightweight fishing rod. We found this ample for occasional anglers and fishing newbies.
Another outstanding thing about this fishing reel is the rotor system that features RESII computer balancing, which allows spinning at very high speed without wobbling. Furthermore, the forged aluminum handle arm allows for total control while the EVA knobs make it very comfortable when fishing.
- Weight: 6 ounces
- Gear: Machined aluminum
- Drag: Multi-disc drag system
- Can be used for both freshwater and saltwater fishing
- Good option for beginners and intermediates
- Uses Okuma RESII computer balancing for efficient spinning at top speeds
- Made with forged aluminum handle arm and EVA handle for extra comfort
- Easy to use for both amateurs and experienced anglers
- Sold affordably
- Not suitable when targeting large fish
- Not durable
8. Reels Spincast Pflueger PRES10SCX President
For serious anglers who want something heavy-duty, this Reels Spincast Pflueger PRES10SCX President will be a great find. Although spincast fishing reels were traditionally considered the better option for people targeting small fish, advances in technology have ushered in newer models for serious anglers. We found the Pflueger PRES10SCX President very easy to use, making every fishing activity enjoyable.
The fishing reel is designed using an aluminum frame and core and wear-resistant titanium pins that help to make it strong and lightweight. To make reeling easy, this fishing reel uses five ball bearings that help to keep rolling friction low. Furthermore, it uses an Instant Anti-Reverse system and features a soft-touch rubber knob that provides a comfortable grip needed for landing a big catch.
- Weight: 11.2 ounces
- Material: Aluminum frame, titanium pins, and stainless steel bearing
- Gear ratio: 3.8:1
- A good choice for both beginners and seasoned anglers
- Comes with a soft-touch knob for extra comfort when fishing
- Uses instant anti-reverse system to make pulling out your fish easy
- Constructed with aluminum body and wear-resistant titanium pins for extra durability
- Sold affordably
- Easy to use
- Not very effective if targeting big fish
9. Burning Shark Trolling Reel Saltwater Level Wind Reels
The last fishing reel to make our list is the Burning Shark Trolling model, which is designed with the ocean angler in mind. From its design to materials, this fishing reel was meant for high-performance, and you can count on it to effortlessly pull out salmon, sea bass, or other big fish. Well, if you have probably tried other reels but want a more satisfying model, this might be the perfect option.
The most notable thing about this reel is the all-metal construction that makes it strong and durable. With the spool designed from aluminum, gear from stainless steel, and a corrosion-resistant frame, you are sure that this fishing reel will not break down or retire anytime soon.
When you go out fishing, especially in the deep waters, it is important to appreciate that large fish, such as bass and salmon, do not give up easily. However, this reel is designed to help you overcome the challenge easily. Burning Shark used a Double Dog Ratchet System that helps to prevent the handle from reversing when pulling out fish. This implies that no matter how big the fish you have baited is, you can comfortably get it out with this reel.
- Weight: 23 ounces
- Gear ratio: 4.1:1
- Material: Aluminum and stainless steel
- Designed with high-quality metal with anti-corrosion coating
- Uses Double Dog Ratchet System to prevent the handle from reversing
- A great option when targeting large fish in the deep waters
- Lightweight construction and good cranking system
- Some beginners find the fishing reel challenging to use
How to Choose the Best Fishing Reel
After reading through our top nine fishing reels, you have probably identified the perfect one. If you have not, this buying guide will help you to further narrow down to the best pick.
Know the Different Types of Fishing Reels
There is a wide range of fishing reels on the market, and knowing them can help to make the process of identifying the right one easy and fast. Here are some of the common types:
As the name suggests, the spool of these fishing reels is covered. They are mainly designed using graphite or aluminum and are recommended for amateur fishermen or occasional anglers targeting small fish.
Baitcasting reels are made for anglers targeting big fish, such as catfish and salmon. The reel is positioned on the top of the fishing rod and is very effective when looking for accurate casts. For example, you can easily slow down the lure so that it falls into the water without scaring away nearby fish.
These fishing reels are designed for offshore trolling. This means that you can cast them from the back of a moving boat to catch fish. The reels are positioned on the upper part of fishing rods, and they are mainly recommended when targeting big fish.
Open Face Reel
This is another common type of fishing reel, and it is designed with an open spool. Fishermen prefer these reels because they are very easy to use, especially when targeting small fish. However, it is difficult to catch large fish with them.
This type of reel is pretty basic, and most fly reel models don’t have much of a drag system at all, as it is designed for catching smaller fish.
Will You Be Fishing in Fresh or Salt Water?
One of the most important things when thinking of buying a fishing reel is to know where you will go fishing. So, will you be fishing in the coastal saltwater, rivers, or inland lakes?
Knowing where you will go fishing makes it easy for you to decide the nature of the fishing reel to select. If you will be fishing in freshwaters, such as inland lakes and rivers, a corrosion-free fishing reel will not be necessary. So, a reel designed using a material such as aluminum will be okay.
However, you should go for a fishing reel designed with a corrosion-resistant body if you will be fishing in salty coastal waters. Some good examples are reels designed using materials that do not oxidize easily, such as graphite and shielded stainless steel.
Aspects to Consider
Although fishing reels have the same operating principle, their specifications determine how effectively you can use them when fishing. So, here are some crucial aspects of the fishing reels that you should consider:
Spool Size and Line Capacity
The spool size and line capacity of a fishing line largely depend on the fish you target to catch. If you target to catch bigger fish, the best option is a fishing reel with a bigger spool. If you go for a small spool, the line capacity will be low, meaning that you will only be able to catch small fish. Therefore, it is paramount to compare the capacities of the selected fishing reels before making the decision on what to buy.
When you go out fishing, it is important to appreciate that it is you who will be holding the gear. In some cases, this could mean holding it for hours waiting for the fish to take the bait. When a fish is baited, you will have to deal with additional weight trying to control its resistance. Therefore, it is advisable to select a model that is not too bulky or heavy to handle.
Drag and Anti-Reverse System
Drag and anti-reverse systems are some of the most important aspects of a fishing reel.
Drag is used to help maintain pressure on the fishing line to avoid snapping. Anti-reverse action is used to prevent the reel from turning in both directions. It also helps to reduce the chances of the fish running away after taking the bait.
When a fish takes your bait, you have to grab the handle and start reeling without slipping off. Therefore, you should look for a fishing reel that comes with a grippy and ergonomic handle to make pulling the fish easy. In addition, the handle should be firmly done so that it will not break down as you pull, and the fish fights back trying to escape.
When we are still at the grip, it is paramount to also consider whether you are right-handed or left-handled. For example, if you are right-handed, it means that you cast with the right hand and reel with the other hand. Therefore, you should go for the model with the reeling knob on the left.
If you fail to factor hand orientation, it implies that you will have to keep changing hands, which can be inconveniencing, especially when targeting a big catch.
Fishing reels can be really expensive. The good thing is that the price range is pretty wide, from less than $20 to well over $300. As you draw the budget for the fishing reel, we recommend considering personal goals and quality. For example, if you are a starter or intend to go out fishing only during holidays, a cheap fishing reel for handling small fish should be okay.
However, serious anglers who target large fish such as mature bass and salmon should go for high-quality fishing reels, which do not come cheap. These are models that can help you to pull out fish weighing over 30 pounds.
Buy From the Best Brands
The growing demand for fishing gear has attracted a lot of dealers in the industry, but not all of them are focused on quality. To be sure of picking the right fishing reel, it is advisable to only buy from the trusted brands. These are manufacturers that are known for making high-quality fishing gear.
To know if a manufacturer is committed to quality, you can read expert reviews and check past users’ feedback. Top-rated manufacturers, such as KastKing and Penn, also sell their products with binding warranties. The lovely thing about the fishing reels that we have reviewed in this post is that they are all drawn from some of the best brands.
If you want to make every fishing outing successful and enjoyable, you should start by assembling the right fishing gear. The fishing reel you chose will be particularly important because it determines how comfortably you can cast the line and pull out the fish. In this post, we have reviewed the best fishing reels on the market, and you can count on them to make fishing expeditions satisfying.
Although we vouch for the nine fishing reels that we reviewed in this post (we liked them, really liked them), the KastKing Valiant Eagle Gold Spinning Reel was the best of them all. It has a lovely sleek design and delivers outstanding performance that every angler yearns for when going out fishing.