Last Updated on February 5, 2021 by Donnell Henderson
Spinning reels are an excellent fishing tool when it comes to catching small- to medium-sized fish. They offer both power and speed for an exciting fishing experience and are flexible, affordable, and user-friendly. Most models even come equipped with reversible handles.
You don’t have to break the bank to get a high-quality and reliable spinning reel, either. Let’s explore some of the best spinning reels under $100, so you can choose what suits your specific needs.
My Top Pick
We especially recommend the PENN Battle II Spinning Reel. This option ticks all the boxes that define the best budget-friendly fishing reel. It features heavy-duty Construction, offers smooth operation, and is ideal for both freshwater and saltwater fishing.
- The Best Spinning Reel Under $100 Reviewed
- 1. PENN Battle II – Best Spinning Reel Under 100 Dollars Overall
- 2. Abu Garcia Revo X – Best Lightweight Spinning Reel Under $100
- 3. Daiwa BG 2000 – Best for Saltwater Fishing
- 4. PENN Spinfisher V – Great for Heavy Saltwater Fishing
- 5. Piscifun Venom 1000 – Best Spinning Under 100 Dollars for Light Fishing
- 6. PENN FRCII8000 Fierce II – Best Value for The Money
- 7. Pflueger President XT – Best Entry Level Spinning Reel Under $100
- Buying Guide: What to Look For In A Budget Spinning Reel
- Final Thoughts
The Best Spinning Reel Under $100 Reviewed
1. PENN Battle II – Best Spinning Reel Under 100 Dollars Overall
The PENN Battle II Spinning Reel is popular mainly for its maximum drag, smooth operation, and broader range compared to its competitors. This is attributable to the carbon fiber drag washers on each side of the spool adding 20 percent tighter drag.
- HT-100 carbon fiber drag washers
- Full metal Construction
- Five ball bearings
- Robust aluminum bail wire
- Instant anti-reverse bearing
- Line capacity rings
- Superline spool
This spinning reel features heavy-duty and beautiful Construction, with a drag that is as smooth as silk. The body is built from steel, maintaining gear alignment even under massive stress. This heavy-duty piece of gear also features a rubber gasket, which prevents the Superline from slipping.
The PENN Battle II reel comes in eight different sizes, to suit various fishing applications. If you’re into freshwater fishing, for example, the PENN Battle 1000 would be a perfect choice for you. It is the lightest of the eight models.
The standard PENN Battle II models sport a 521 gear ratio, while the gear ratio for the larger models is at 621. Gear ratios determine the power of the reels so that you can choose the right model depending on your specific needs. Unfortunately, the PENN Battle II is not fully sealed and may allow some particles to enter into the system, compromising its performance.
- Competitively priced
- Solid Construction
- Smooth drag system
- Braid-ready marked spool capacity
- Not fully sealed
- Tends to be affected by wind knots
Overall, the PENN Battle II is one of the most budget-friendly spinning reels to fulfill both your saltwater and freshwater fishing needs effectively. With a full metal body, you can expect this reel to serve you well for a good number of years. For the price, it delivers exceptionally smooth performance.
Overall Rating 4.8/5.0
2. Abu Garcia Revo X – Best Lightweight Spinning Reel Under $100
If you are looking for a perfect balance between performance and dependability, you might want to invest in an Abu Garcia Revo X Spinning Reel. The Abu Garcia Revo X’s innovative design, premium performance, and fail-safe durability make it one of the best spinning reels under $100.
- Aluminum Spool
- Graphite rotor
- Seven ball bearings
- 21 gear ratio
- Insert-molded C6 carbon body
- Instant anti-reverse
- Everlast™ bail system
- X-craftic™ gearbox design
- Weight 7.5 ounces
The Revo X features solid Insert Molded C6 (IM-C6) carbon Construction, which makes it lightweight and comfortable to handle. With this spinning reel, you can retrieve your fish quite fast, thanks to its 621 gear ratio. Boasting a 30-inch-per-crank retrieve rate, this reel ensures your fight with your catch doesn’t last too long.
Equipped with a Rocket Line management system, the Revo X sports optimal casting performance. With this system, you can fish with not only mono and braided line but also fluorocarbon, which is normally challenging to manage.
Also worthy of note is the rocket spool lip feature, which minimizes the formation of wind knots and backlashes, resulting in a highly smooth operation. What’s more, the Revo X features an instantaneous anti-reverse function, which ensures the rotor doesn’t move backward so you can get solid hooksets.
The Revo X’s six stainless steel, roller bearings help promote smooth and stable performance. Another outstanding feature of this fishing reel is the Carbon Matrix hybrid system, which allows you to catch mid-sized fish with a maximum drag weight of 10 lbs.
You can position the handle of Revo X on either the right or left side depending on your preference. The only downside of this reel is that its maximum drag capacity is quite limited.
- Smooth operation
- Ideal for both saltwater and freshwater fishing
- Durable Construction
- Corrosion resistant
- Compact and lightweight
- Excellent line management
- Max drag capacity is somewhat limited
The Abu Garcia Revo X is an excellent option for anyone looking for the ultimate balance between strength, lightness, durability, and affordability. It is also great for ice-fishing and is designed to maximize casting distance which minimizes frustration, thanks to its Rocket Line management system.
Overall Summary 4.7/5.0
3. Daiwa BG 2000 – Best for Saltwater Fishing
The Daiwa BG series offers various options for freshwater and saltwater fishing reels. When looking for an affordable and reliable saltwater fishing reel, the Daiwa BG 2000 would be the ideal choice for you.
- “Hard Bodyz” body and side cover
- 6 +1 ball bearings
- Infinite anti-reverse system
- Waterproof drag system
- Machined-aluminum screw in the handle
- Carbon ATD
- Digi-gear system
- Dynamic cut aluminum ABS spool
- Braided line ready spool
- Air rotor
The BG 2000 features an aluminum frame that protects the internal components from the corrosive effects of the marine environment. The aluminum is anodized, ensuring that the surface doesn’t chip or peel off.
With a gear ratio of 561, the BG 2000 provides the perfect balance of power and speed so you can target virtually all types of fish. You have the ability to adjust your drag up to 4.4 with this reel, allowing you to handle even the hardest-fighting species.
Other valuable features of the BG 2000 include manual return bails, braided-line-ready spool, and manual return bails. If you’re looking for a lightweight spinning reel, however, this may not be the right choice for you as it is quite heavy.
- Scratch and corrosion resistant
- Great for saltwater fishing
- Adjustable drag
- Robust aluminum housing
- Anti-Reverse System
- Quite heavy
The Daiwa BG 2000 offers the best value for a top-quality saltwater fishing reel. It is a well-built reel that will give you years of diligent service. You may not find this level of quality in any other fishing reel under $100.
Overall Rating 4.5/5.0
4. PENN Spinfisher V – Great for Heavy Saltwater Fishing
The PENN Spinfisher V is among the top choices for heavy saltwater fishing. It offers open-face reeling and is available in eleven different sizes so that you can find the right one for the weight of fish you are planning to fish. Unlike the conventional reels, which employ a revolving spool when casting and retrieving, the open-face has a stationary spool for line storage. One advantage the stationary spool provides is the line stops uncoiling once the cast is completed, permitting backlash-free operation.
- Five shielded stainless-steel ball bearing system
- Heavy aluminum bail wire
- Instantaneous anti-reverse system
- Line capacity
- Stainless-steel main shaft and alloy main gear
- Maximum drag system
- Friction trip ramp averts premature bail trip when casting
This reel comes in numerous weights. It is built with PENN’s exclusive watertight design, ensuring saltwater and other detrimental elements don’t enter the gearbox or drag system. It also has a rubber gasket, which prevents the Superline from slipping.
Another valuable feature is the line capacity rings, which help you determine the amount of line that is left when fighting it out with your catch. Moreover, the reel is designed to help you handle hard-fighting fish species like marlin and tuna, thanks to its maximum drag feature.
The major setback of the PENN Spinfisher V is that it doesn’t perform as efficiently as some other fishing reels in its class. While it has a great drag system, smooth reel, and long casting distance; it may not be the right choice for an experienced angler.
- Waterproof design
- Great HT-100 slammer drag
- Quality finish
- Excellent line lay
- Superb braking
- Gear tends to wear after heavy use
- Not completely watertight as advertised
The PENN Spinfisher V is among the most complete, heavy, saltwater spinning reels currently available on the market. It can be an excellent option for an offshore angler who is looking for a reel that can last at least a decade despite wear and tear.
Overall Rating 4.5/5.0
5. Piscifun Venom 1000 – Best Spinning Under 100 Dollars for Light Fishing
The Piscifun Venom 1000 is another fantastic reel for saltwater fishing. It features a lightweight graphite frame and ten corrosion-resistant ball bearings for silent and smooth operation.
- Gear ratio 5.11
- Bearings 9+1
- Maximum drag 13.2 lbs.
- Weight 6.91 ounces
- Line retrieve 19.7 inches
- Braid capacity 10 lbs., 180 yards
- Mono capacity 6 lbs., 130 yards
- Three Premium carbon-fiber drag washers
- Sealed drag design
- CNC aluminum spool with carbon shield
- Machined braided-ready aluminum spool
The Venom 1000’s anti-corrosion stainless ball bearings can survive the harsh conditions of saltwater. It also features a premium carbon-fiber drag system that can deliver up to 13.2 pounds of maximum power. This allows you to tackle the hardest fighting fish.
It’s worth noting that the Venom 1000 can also be used in freshwater fishing, and it handles the task effectively. Its drag system includes a sealed rubber ring, which helps minimize the risk of corrosion and promotes smooth performance by preventing moisture, sand, and dust particles from getting into the system.
Additionally, this reel is equipped with a machined-aluminum, braid-ready spool, which saves you the stress of dealing with complications associated with tying the braid. It has a braid capacity of 1000/10lbs/180yds and a retrieve of 19.7 inches per handle turn.
Some users have pointed out that this reel jams occasionally. Nonetheless, it is a perfect choice for light applications such as bass fishing.
- Handles both freshwater and saltwater fishing pretty well
- Ideal for ultralight fishing
- Silent and smooth operation
- The reel tends to jam occasionally
The Piscifun Venom 1000 is an excellent option for anyone looking for an affordable and reliable spinning reel for ultralight fishing. Its lightweight graphite frame and ten corrosion-resistant bearings give it the ability to bear the inflexibilities of the saltwater environment— it won’t disappoint whether you acquire it for freshwater or saltwater fishing.
Overall Rating 4.4/5.0
6. PENN FRCII8000 Fierce II – Best Value for The Money
Since its inception in 1932, PENN Fishing Tackle Company has Consistently produced high-quality, innovative fishing reels that meet the needs of both novices and experienced anglers across the globe. Their products are designed to offer dependability and an unmatched power at an affordable price, and the PENN Frcii8000 Fierce II is no exception.
- Full metal body and side plate
- Five shielded stainless-steel ball bearings
- Techno-Balanced™ rotor for smooth retrieves
- Robust aluminum bail wire
- Instant anti-reverse bearing
- Superline spool
- Line capacity rings
The Frcii8000 Fierce II features a die-cast aluminum Construction, which is useful in upholding proper gear alignment even under massive stress. They also ensure the reel is durable and can deliver years of diligent service.
The impressive paint quality protects the reel effectively against the harsh saltwater environment that may result in its corrosion. The reel has a gear ratio of 531, with a maximum drag of 25 lbs. It can retrieve 44 inches of line per crank.
What’s more, the Fierce II is equipped with a techno-balanced rotor designed to deliver an unparalleled smooth retrieve. Working with the reel’s five-bearing system, the rotor results in an unmatched seamless performance.
Keep in mind that the ball bearings are shielded against water but are not sealed. One of the bearings serves as an anti-reverse, delivering a powerful retrieve while saving you the stress associated with handle back-play.
Another remarkable feature of the reel is its robust aluminum bail wire, which promotes durability and ensures the smoothness of the line management. The spool features integrated rubber, allowing you to mount a braid directly without the need to back it up with mono.
- Robust Construction
- Superb drag system
- Excellent corrosion resistance
- Not 100-percent sealed
- Quite heavy
The PENN Frcii8000 Fierce II offers great value for the money. It was designed to provide resolute performance in the harshest conditions. While it is highly affordable, it is also a high-quality piece of equipment that can serve you for a good number of years, provided it gets proper maintenance.
Overall Rating 4.4/5.0
7. Pflueger President XT – Best Entry Level Spinning Reel Under $100
Anglers love Pflueger reels for their high quality at a competitive price point. If you’re looking to learn the ropes of angling before you can invest in a high-end spinning reel, you may want to start off with the Pflueger President XT.
- Bearings 8+1
- Retrieve rate 31 inches
- Gear ratio 7.31
- Mono line capacity 12lbs., 145 yards
- Breaking system Magnetic
- Aluminum main shaft
- Braid ready spool
- Aluminum pinion gear
- Sealed drag system
- Carbon handle
- Rubber cork knob
The President XT reel features nine high-quality, double-shielded stainless-steel bearings, delivering exceptionally smooth operation. One of the bearings serves as anti-reverse, offering great control and precision.
This reel also features an aluminum frame with aluminum side-plated handle, making it an excellent choice for both freshwater and saltwater fishing. However, it is recommended for inshore saltwater fishing. The 731 gear ratio makes it a fast reel, but it will lose some cranking power when fishing for larger fish in the open ocean.
Nonetheless, the President XT remains a great reel for bass fishing. It is equipped with a multi-task drag system that is easy to adjust and impressively accurate. What’s more, the reel is very comfortable to hold and is crafted with palming in mind.
- Highly ergonomic
- Durable aluminum Construction
- Side plate completely disconnects from the plate, making brake adjustment with one hand quite difficult
Overall, the Pflueger President XT is an excellent entry-level spinning reel, built with heavy-duty aluminum and aggressive features for an exceptionally smooth and fast operation. Despite its minor setbacks, it will certainly get the job done regardless of your skill level.
Overall Rating 4.3/5.0
Buying Guide: What to Look For In A Budget Spinning Reel
When it comes to choosing a lower-priced fishing reel, there are a few features to consider if you want to get the best spinning reel under $100. There are also other budget-priced spinning reels that provide a great combination of satisfactory performance and longevity.
Drag System – The drag system determines how the fishing line comes off the spool. If the fish pulls on the line hard enough, the reel rotates backward, letting the line out and preventing the line from breaking.
Over time, the drag washer may wear out and begin to fail eventually requiring a replacement. The higher or tighter the drag, the slower the line comes off. The drag system is defined by a weight range, usually in pounds or kilograms. You should keep this specification in mind when choosing a budget fishing reel since the maximum drag weight should at least match the weight of your target fish.
Materials and Weight –The weight of the reel has a significant impact on your fishing success. You want reel weight that is comfortable to handle. Reels are generally made of graphite, plastic, or aluminum. While graphite reels are the lightest, they are a bit weaker than aluminum. Aluminum is more durable but heavier. Plastic reels are not your best choice in terms of reliability and durability.
Line Rating & Capacity – Spinning reels normally have the line rating and capacity marked on them, like 10/140, 8/170, etc. The numbers indicate the weight of the line/yards that you can put onto the spool. 8/170, for example, means 170 yards of 8 pounds mono.
It’s essential to understand the line rating and capacity as it helps you determine the weight and amount for which the reel is rated. You’ll also be able to determine the size of fish for which the reel is rated.
Gear System – Every spinning reel comes equipped with a definite gear system that determines the number of times the spool turns for a single rotation of the handle. This is referred to as the gear ratio. With a low gear ratio, you’ll have an easy time cranking your reel, but you’ll need to rotate the reel more times than you would with a higher gear ratio.
Anti-Reverse – This feature ensures that the spinning reel handle doesn’t unwind accidentally. A reel that is equipped with anti-reverse is normally controlled by a small black lever at the back. It is advisable to choose a reel that has anti-reverse as it comes in handy when you’re dealing with hard-fighting fish, saving you from unnecessary back-reeling.
Level-Wind Mechanism – A good spinning reel should have a balanced wind function, designed to automatically distribute the line on the spool uniformly from side to side when retrieving. If your reel doesn’t have a balanced wind mechanism, you’ll have to distribute the line manually, which can be difficult and time-Consuming.
Handle – Many people overlook the handle when purchasing a budget spinning reel. The handle is an integral component of a reel as it undergoes a lot of stress when you’re handling a large or aggressive fish. Be sure the handle feels comfortable and gives you the feel of power while handling a hard-fighting catch.
Durability – Buying cheap doesn’t mean going for something that won’t stand the test of time. You don’t want to replace your reel after only a short period of time. You should choose something that is sturdy, well-made, and is repairable.
If you are tight on finances or simply want to add several reels to your fishing arsenal to handle various tasks, there’s a wide selection of high-quality, budget-friendly spinning reels from which to choose. We’ve reviewed some of the top-rated spinning reels under $100 and also shared some tips to help you choose the right one.
We hope this article helps you find a spinning reel that suits your needs. You may want to pay special attention to the PENN Battle II spinning reel as it beats all the other reels in terms of quality and performance.