Spinning reels are very popular among anglers for a number of reasons but their simplicity and easy casting ability are probably amongst the top reasons. The less complicated design of a spinning reel makes it ideal for beginners and anglers who wish to cast light lures. The main thing that sets a spinning reel apart from other kinds of reels is its open-faced spool that is fixed and positioned in line with the rod. The reels are mounted below the rods and usually have swappable handles for both right-hand and left-hand users.
Depending on your method of release and targeted species, you can get several different models of spinning reels to suit your style. But if you have a budget to maintain then your search gets narrowed down to a few selected models in the market. There are many cheap models all over but you will not get satisfactory results from them all so that is why we have created this post for those who wish to get a decent spinning reel within $100.
All the spinning reels which we have reviewed in this post are from reputable brands so the quality and performance should not be an issue and they are all unique in their own sense so you will surely find something to suit your individual fishing style.
Best Spinning Reel under $100 We Reviewed Today
1.Daiwa BG 2000
2.Penn Fierce II Spinning Fishing Reel
3.Abu Garcia Pro Max Spinning Reel
4.Piscifun venom 1000
5.Kastking Sharky III Fishing Reel
6.Okuma Coronado Baitfeeder Spinning Reel
7.Penn Passion Lady’s Spinning Reel
8.SHIMANO NASCI FB Spinning Reel
9.Pflueger President XT Spinning Reel
10.Daiwa SS Tournament Reel
Top 10 Spinning Reel under $100 Reviews
The reels from the Daiwa BG series range from freshwater to big game saltwater tools, providing you with a complete and wide range of fishing reels to choose from. The Daiwa BG 2000 is a budget-friendly reel designed with aluminum housing and a dynamic cut aluminum ABS spool. The aluminum frame protects the internal parts of this saltwater spinning reel and shields it from the corrosive effects of the sea. The black and gold are anodized on the aluminum, preventing any peel off or chip surface. With a gear ratio of 5.6:1 it comes with the perfect balance of speed and power so you can target almost all kinds of species. The drag is adjustable to a maximum of 4.4, enabling you to tackle species that tend to put up a fight. Available in various sizes, the Daiwa BG reels come with manual return bails, anti-reverse system, and a braided line ready spool.
- Corrosion and scratch resistant
- Ideal for both fresh water and salt water fishing
- Anti-Reverse System
- Adjustable Drag
- Durable Aluminum Housing
- The reel is heavy
The Penn Fierce II is a spinning reel designed for power tackle. It comes at an affordable price but is crafted with high-grade materials and equipped with some amazing features like durable aluminum housing and graphite rotor. If you want some reliable performance but cannot spend more than $100 on a fishing reel then this might be the perfect tool for you. It features 5 ball bearings to give you the smoothest usage and its internal parts are all enclosed in a full metal body with a stainless steel main beam. To ensure easy operation and the best results even on a day with the harshest weather conditions, the reel comes with an instant anti-reverse bearing and high-quality aluminum bail wire, which will help you tackle your targeted species with the least effort from your side. The super line spool is braided line ready with a braid capacity YD/LB of 160/6 130/8 110/10, and mono capacity YD/LB of 275/2 135/4 105/6. The oiled felt drag system on the Penn Fierce II has a maximum drag of 7lb. For its price, this reel casts smooth and will add value to your collection of fishing equipment.
- Heavy duty aluminum housing
- Super line spool
- 5 ball bearings ensure less friction
- A few customers had encountered drag failure
- There have been reports of the spool getting jammed.
The Pro Max by Abu Garcia proves that you do not always have to break the bank to own a decent reel that casts far and performs with accuracy. It offers one of the smoothest retrieves and allows you to successfully land your target with ease. Equipped with 6 ball bearings and 1 roller bearing, the Pro Max operates not only quietly but with minimum vibration and the least friction. The graphite body and rotor are exceptionally lightweight but strong and sturdy enough to protect its internal mechanism and also withstand harsh weather conditions. The spool is machined aluminum so it has amazing power but it does not add any bulkiness to the reel. Users of this reel have mentioned that it can be used for saltwater fishing but we would recommend some extra care if that is something you would like to do. The gear ratio is 5.2:1 which is great for big swimbaits, deep water spinnerbaits and any bait that pulls a lot.
- The Pro Max has great casting power
- It offers a smooth retrieve
- Lightweight frame
- The high number of ball bearings provide a smooth operation
- The low gear ratio provides a lot of torque in order to land species of fish that put up a fight.
- Requires extra maintenance if used for saltwater fishing.
The Venom is an excellent reel for saltwater fishing for two reasons: one- its lightweight graphite frame and 10 anti-corrosion stainless steel bearings can withstand the harsh conditions of saltwater and two- the premium carbon fiber drag system which offers up to 13.2 lbs of maximum power can tackle even the toughest fighting fish. But this reel isn’t only for saltwater fishing; it can handle freshwater fishing just as well. A sealed rubber ring in the drag reduces the risk of corrosion and ensures smooth operation by keeping all dust particles, moisture, and sand at bay. If you want to avoid all the complications that come with tying the braid then you will be glad to know that this reel comes with a machined aluminum bid ready spool. The braid capacity is 1000 | 10lb/180yds | and has a retrieve of 19.7 inches per turn of a handle. If you are looking for a reel for light fishing such as bass fishing then the venom 1000 will not let you down.
- Great for both salt water and fresh water fishing
- The size 1000 is ideal for ultralight fishing
- 10 ball bearings ensure silent and smooth operation
- Some customers mentioned that the reel had jammed on some occasions.
This is an upgraded version of the Sharky III spinning reel. It has a zero-flex durable aluminum body and rotor that gives it the appropriate construction for both saltwater and freshwater fishing. The oversized stainless steel main shaft is crafted for strength and durability while the 11 corrosion-resistant ball bearings provide the smoothness required to operate a noise free and friction-less reel. The high-grade braid-ready spool is sealed for protection against corrosion forming agents that reduce the reliability and performance of the reel. You can get up to 33 lbs from the drag system that is made up of 3 carbon disc drag washers. The gear ratio is 5.2:1 and you can use this reel to target most steelhead inshore saltwater species and species that fight hard. The line retrieve isn’t as fast but you can get a lot of torque to pull in the biggies like Salmon. Available in 5 different sizes, the Sharky III is your perfect freshwater and a saltwater spinning reel.
- A freshwater and saltwater spinning reel
- Braid ready spool
- High drag power
- Low gear ratio for hard fighting species
- Durable housing and high number of ball bearing for smooth operation
- The interchangeable handle is not very comfortable to use
If you are more interested in a baitfeeder spinning reel for surf-fishing then check out the Coronado by Okuma. It is a very lightweight reel with all internal mechanism protected inside corrosion-resistant graphite housing with a graphite rotor. The machined aluminum two-toned anodized spool gives the reel extra sturdiness with the mixed materials in the construction while the patented auto trip bait feeding system allows you to fish live-lined bait. The dual forced drag system is equipped with Japanese oiled felt drag washers that offer you a maximum drag of 20lbs. With a low gear ratio of 4.5:1 the Coronado is a very powerful reel with just the right amount of torque needed for smooth and effortless retrieves. For the angler’s comfort, the handle is ergonomically designed and comes with a big knob. This baitfeeder spinning reel is affordable and one of the best reels you can get for the money in terms of quality and performance.
- Great for surf fishing
- The light graphite makes the reel very easy to handle and reduces user fatigue
- Mixed materials provide extra strength and durability
- Heavy duty and salt tolerant
- 5 ball bearings for smooth and frictionless operation
- A few reports of the reel breaking with big game fish
You can probably guess from the name that the Penn Passion has been specially designed for female anglers. It has all the necessary and common features of any regular spinning reel but the size and shape have been crafted to fit female hands. Although the reel is relatively smaller in size, it has great cranking power and is great for saltwater fishing. The full metal body gives it all the strength it needs to last through harsh conditions while the graphite rotor keeps it on the lighter end. For smooth and noise free engaging, the Penn Passion is equipped with 5 ball bearings and the HT-100 drag system. With other features like a Superline spool, line capacity ring and 5.2:1 gear ratio, this reel is a complete package for any lady interested in saltwater fishing. In terms of visuals and comfort, ladies will love the pink accents and comfortable WINN grips on the reel. If you are looking to gift a spinning reel to any special lady in your life then the Penn Passion will make an excellent choice.
- Beautiful visuals
- Lots of cranking power
- Smooth retrieves and maximum drag
- Comfortable to use
- The reel is small in size and not ideal for big hands
If you are familiar with Shimano reels then you will know about their Hagane gear and CoreProtect which gave their more expensive model’s immense gear strength in the past. Now, this feature can be found in their Shimano Nasci FB of the P4 series. For the smoothest reeling experience even under the harshest conditions, this lightweight graphite reel is the best buy for the money. The reel is recommended for light freshwater and medium saltwater fishing and is available in various sizes. We tested the size 2500 reel which has a gear ratio of 5.0:1 and a maximum drag of 20lbs, making it ideal for species that give you a hard time by fighting back during a retrieve. Line capacity is lb/yds: 6/200, 8/140, 10/120 while the line retrieves per crank is 29 inches / 73 centimeter. The reel’s internal mechanism is protected by 4 shielded stainless steel and 1 roller bearing which reduce vibration and noise during use.
- Powerful gear system
- Smooth retrieves
- Ideal for both fresh water and salt water fishing
- No anti-reverse switch
While testing Pflueger’s President XT spinning reel we were immediately impressed with its cool red accents design and attractive color quality. The reel looks stylish and has an ‘expensive’ aura to it. But that’s not all there is to this nice looking tool. Despite its lightweight, which anglers love as it reduces user fatigue on a long fishing day, the reel has amazing cranking power and very smooth retrieves. It features an aluminum shaft and an aluminum pinion gear with 7 corrosion-resistant ball bearings for a clean performance. The braid ready spool and sealed drag system ensure longevity and less complicated fishing experience. The gear ratio is 5.2:1.
- Attractive design
- Braid ready spool
- Comfortable handle
- The screw on handle needs to be tightened with a lot of force or less it may come off during use.
The Daiwa SS Tournament Reel in model number SS1300 is a popular freshwater spinning reel among anglers who like to fish with tools that are light in weight but lash out massive power in performance. This reel is great for casting long distances and has an oversized drag that is micro adjustable. You will love the stopping power on the SS Tournament which has a maximum drag of 15.4 lbs. Daiwa has incorporated their lifetime bail spring on this model which prevents any further risk of breakage and deteriorating. The line on the spool is smoothly wrapped in a cross-wrapped pattern with the Precision Worm Gear Level-wind so you can enjoy tangle free flow of the line during casting. The handle side can be switched and is also foldable, allowing you to store it without taking it off the reel. For its price, this reel performs extremely well when fishing for medium freshwater species.
- Casts long
- Great for bass fishing
- Durable construction
- Decent drag power
- Foldable and side-switchable handle
- Not ideal for saltwater fishing
The quality and performance of your fishing reel are crucial when it comes to having the best fishing experience, whether you are taking part in the activity for pleasure, as a hobby or profession. If you are not careful while selecting the reel you can end up with a tool that will not serve its purpose right and frustrate you even further. To avoid wasting your time and money on the wrong kind of reel, we are here to provide you with some information on how to buy the best spinning reel for your style of fishing.
1.Compatibility with your Fishing Rod
You will be using your reel with a fishing rod and if you already have the rod then make sure the reel you are picking out is compatible with it. But if you are starting out with the reel and then planning to get a rod then get a rod to match your reel. Remember that both rods and reels have weight capacity so they should match if you want a set that works well.
Everything that comes within a reel is placed in or on its body so you have to make sure that it feels and looks sturdy, in order to protect all the mechanism inside. Usually made from cast aluminum or graphite, reels should not be too heavy or bulky as heavy reels can be difficult to handle, especial if the user is a beginner or a child, but the reel should also not be too light or else it will not have the power to tackle heavy loads. You can look for reels that come with little holes in them, which is a part of the design made to give the tool a bit of lightness without making it too weak or fragile. Another important trait of the body or frame to look at is if it is anti-corrosion. Water-proof reels will enable you to take them out for saltwater fishing too as they are less prone to damage.
As mentioned above, reels can be made of an Aluminum or Graphite housing or even a mixture of both. Spinning reels have more parts than casting reels so make sure when selecting a design that there are no loose parts and everything is designed in a sturdy and compact manner. If the reel has good quality housing and quality parts then it will last you longer and also be able to withstand all kinds of harsh weather conditions.
There are 3 things to keep in mind when it comes to the line. You must check out what the reels line capacity is, what your rod can handle and how heavy or light fishing you are interested in, i.e. the targeted species of fish. With a spinning reel, depending on the model, you can get it to handle even the lowest weight to the heaviest lines.
Spools hold the fishing line, which you cast into the water. Aluminum spools are very durable and very much preferred but they are not as light as graphite reels, so you must choose if you want something more durable or lightweight. Always use the recommended line size with the spool to avoid tangles and problematic casting. If the spool is designed for light lines then avoid using heavy lines like that can cause stiffness just like using smaller lines on a larger spool can create a lot of tangles, making it hard for you to cast freely. If the spool is braided ‘line-ready’ then you will notice that the spool has the ability to become accustomed to the frequently used line.
This option is particularly useful for the beginners who wish to catch smaller fish that will not put up a huge dragging fight. The anti-reverse action prevents the reel from turning back during a catch and enables you to reclaim your fish without much struggle. But it is important to make sure that this action can be stopped with an Anti-Reverse Switch, which activates or stops this feature according to the kind of fish you are aiming for. The placement of this switch will determine how easily and quickly you can turn it on or switch it off.
Depending on the drag capacity of your reel you can either retrieve your precious catch or watch it escape. A good drag system will activate the release of more line just in time as your fish pulls the line to escape. If the right amount of line is not released at the correct time then the fish will be able to break the line and swim away before you can react. But you must also have a feel of total control on the drag so you can adjust it accordingly because some fish tend to pull harder than others. Not all reels have the kind of drag you may be looking for in order to catch your preferred species of fish, so you have to make sure you check out the drag power before investing on a specific reel. In simple words, if it is the biggies you are after then the drag has to be very much on the higher side. The placement and operation style of the drag must also be looked at so you can access it without much loss of time.
Your spinning reel will have a gear ratio that will read certain numbers like for example 5.2:1 or 7.1:1. This indicates the number of turns or rotations the spool will make per turn of the handle. For instance 5.2:1 means that the spool inside spins 5.2 times per single turn while 7.1:1 means it will turn 7.1 times with every turn of the handle. The lower the ratio the slower the reel is going to be.
The number also tells you Inches per Turn when you want to know how many lines will be retrieved as you turn the handle fully once. Decide on the kind of fish you want to catch because most big baits will pull harder, requiring a reel of high torque while fighting a big bass will need greater speed.
9.Speed VS Power
You need to decide on whether you need more speed or cranking power from your reel for the kind of fishing or the species of fish you wish to target. The higher the gear ratio, the higher the speed in retrieving the line will be, but if it is more cranking power that you are after then go for reels with a lower gear ratio.
The quality of the bears will determine how smooth and noise free your reel performs. Low-quality bearings will cause your reel to deliver an annoying noise throughout your fishing time and it will also vibrate more. The more the bearings, the better the retrieve but they must be high grade in order to get satisfactory results. A reel with 5 high-quality bearings will retrieve smoother with less noise and vibration compared to a reel with 7 or more poor grade bearings, so it is important that the bearings are not only high in number but in quality as well. In case of saltwater fishing, the bearings must be corrosion resistance so they can last longer.
It isn’t a matter of whether you are a beginner or an experienced angler, whether you fish as a hobby or it is something you make a living out of, comfort and convenience is an important factor when it comes to fishing equipment. Your reel should make the whole process of fishing seem easy and hassle-free. Look out for features like changeable sides for right or left-hand users and the placement of all the switches, buttons, handles, etc for quick access. Spinning reels are generally pretty easy for beginners to get used to because they are designed with simple mechanisms and have very less to no complicated features.
Choosing a spinning reel from one of the well-known brands will give you the assurance you need when it comes to quality and performance. A branded reel might not guarantee that it is the best reel or that it will not have any flaws, but they carry lesser risks than no-name tools. Brands have a reputation to uphold so they are more careful when making their products. If you are not very familiar with fishing reels then it is best you stick to reels from reputable manufacturers.
Best Brands for Spinning Reels under $100
We have compiled a list of a few (not all) best brand names which you can trust for your first spinning reel. Most of these brands manufacture reels for all kinds of anglers and come in a wide range of prices. Even if you are an experienced angler and just want to build up your collection of fishing equipment, these are some of the names to look out for.
This American manufacturer of fishing reels and rods has been around since 1932 and is best known for their good performing and high-quality saltwater fishing equipment. Since saltwater fishing requires reels that are mainly corrosion-resistant and very durable, PENN reels provide just that. They have excellent aluminum and stainless steel fishing reels that are perfect for both fresh and saltwater fishing. Although PENN spinning reels come with a variety of prices the one we included in our list today is the Penn Fierce II Spinning Fishing Reel and the Penn Passion Lady’s Spinning Reel.
Shimano is not only well known for their fishing reels, but they also manufacture a lot of other products such as rowing equipment, sports supplies, and bicycles. Any angler familiar with the name will agree that Shimano reels are great for both freshwater and saltwater fishing and can be effective in catching small species to the biggies in any water. Their reels are extremely durable and with ergonomic designs, they are great for long hours of activity. Check out the SHIMANO NASCI Compact Spinning Reel in our list that has all the essential features but comes in an affordable price range.
Dating back to 1881, the name Pflueger first name to light with Ernest F. Pflueger finding a fish hook name under the name of Enterprise Manufacturing Company. Things took another turn when in 1916 the first Pflueger Baitcast reel was designed. Their spinning reels were introduced in 1954 and since then they have earned worldwide recognition. Starting from reels to kits to combos, there is something for every angler, no matter the level of skills or budget one may have. Pflueger President XT Spinning Reel is a budget-friendly fishing reel which may interest you if you are looking for something of decent quality but at an affordable price.
This California based company was formed in 1955 and is now one of the most trusted and well-reputed brands in the fishing industry. Daiwa has several different lines of fishing reels for the mid-level, advanced and beginner level anglers so you are sure to find something for your style and level of fishing. Most of the budget-priced reels come with all the necessary features that anglers look for while the top-line reels offer all that and more. Common features include a well-constructed drag system, braid-ready spool, and durable frame structure. Check out the Daiwa BG 2000 and the Daiwa Tournament Reel if you are seeking something from their budget-line.
Founded in 1921in Sweden, Abu Garcia is another well-liked name in the spinning reel market. The manufacturers now hold their headquarters in the USA but anglers from all over the world are familiar with their line of products. Although the company offers items which are more on the high-end, you can still find a few good affordable spinning reels within the $100 range, like the one we included in this post- Abu Garcia Pro Max Spinning Reel. If you can afford something a bit more expensive then you will have a wider range of some great reels to choose from because their budget models do not score too high in the features department. Designed for both freshwater and saltwater Abu Garcia fishing reels offer a lot of variety and options to their customers.
Benefits of Spinning Tackle
As an angler, you will want to try different techniques for different styles of fishing but we are here to discuss the advantages of spinning tackle over other forms. Sometimes spinning tackle will be your only best option when it comes to handling some situations. Let us look at some ways in which this style tops in fishing.
1. If you are casting a light lure, let us say anything below ½ of an ounce then nothing can beat the distance of a spinning reel and rod, particularly when fishing in clear water or water with a lot of pressure. A lot of best anglers in the world still prefer to use spinning tackle for drop-shotting, shaky heads and throwing light lures like jerkbaits and crankbaits.
2. As a beginner, it is difficult to skip lures with baitcasters but it seems much easier when doing so with spinning tackle.
3. Casting on a day when it is windy may not seem all that fun or easy, especially if you are casting baitcasters into the wind. But if your lures are on the lighter side then you can do it like a pro with effectiveness with the spinning tackle, which does not backlash.
4. Perfect for both right-handed and left-handed people, the handles on spinning reels are mostly designed for easy and quick swapping from side to side. This way you do not have to worry about picking a spinning reel specifically designed for your dominant side.
5. With spinning tackle, lures sink down straighter because the lines on a spinning reel uncoil more freely.
6. The drag is easily adjustable and well accessible on a spinning reel which makes it easier to handle a fighting fish. No matter what species of fish you target, the drag system and its placement is very crucial so that you can retrieve a lot faster and with more control.
7.Easy to use. Spinning reels are great for both beginners and experienced anglers but a newbie, in particular, will be able to learn how to cast quite easily with a spinning reel due to its simple design and operation.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How can I minimize damage to my reel during use?
The biggest mistake one can make when fishing in saltwater is to use a reel that is not water-proof or corrosion- resistant. Make sure your reel is designed for saltwater fishing if you are going to be fishing in saltwater because it can damage the body of the reel as well as the interior mechanisms. Use your reel for its specified species of fish and make sure to clean it afterward as it is likely that you will be handling it with wet and sticky hands.
2. What do I need to do in order to maintain my reels well?
Do not store away your reel without cleaning it after every use. Make sure to wipe it dry and try your best to keep it away from excess grease or water, even during use. Dropping your reel on the ground may cause it to break or the internal parts to loosen so keep it safely stored away at a place where it will not accidentally fall from a height.
3. Should I go for a spinning reel with a high gear ratio or low gear ratio?
It depends on the targeted species of fish because some fish are fast while some are strong so you have to decide between speed and power. Reels with high ratios offer more spins per handle turn which is great to retrieve the fast fish. But if you are after the big fish which you know will put on a fight then you will need more cranking power, which is offered by the low ratio gears.
Using the correct fishing equipment will make all the difference when it comes to the sport because without the appropriate tools you will not be able to enjoy the experience and neither will you be satisfied with the results at the end of the day. No matter how good your skills are or how full of fish the lake is, you will not be able to catch to your heart’s content with poorly made fishing equipment and a decent reel is a must among the tools. Having a budget may restrict you to an extent but with a little bit of research and a lot of comparing different models, you can get yourself something that will do the job well.