Best Saltwater Spinning Reels: Top 5 Saltwater Reel Reviews & Guides

best saltwater spinning reels

Experienced anglers make it a point to choose the right fishing reel depending on their purpose of use. For example, for those who would want to explore the open seas, catching big fishes, getting the best saltwater spinning reel is important. On the other hand, those who would like to start with freshwater angling could prefer a freshwater spinning reel or one that is more general.

Does the choice of type of spinning reel matter?

Saltwater fishing requires some specialized reels. This is because the internal gears of saltwater fishing reels are typically made using special alloys which are designed to be corrosion resistant. These alloys are pricier compared to general spinning reels.

However, you do not have to spend a whole lot of money just to have a good saltwater reel. Many options can give you the right value for your money. This guide aims to help you find the best saltwater spinning reels for your inshore & offshore needs.

Overview: Top 5 Saltwater Spinning Reel Reviews

These days, we see several brands offering their best saltwater spinning reels for the money. Some manufacturers have been in the industry longer than others, making them well reputed when it comes to quality. Others, however, despite being referred to as ‘new entry’ offer options that are not just of good quality, but affordable at the same time.

Still, this is challenging on the part of beginners, in particular, who might not know where to start. To help you out with this task, we have come up with a list of reviews showing the features of the top 5 spinning reels for saltwater, combining factors including quality, performance, and affordability.

5. Shimano Baitrunner OC Review

Shimano Baitrunner OC

Shimano Baitrunner OC Spinning Reel is known for its legendary drivetrain, alongside an auto-return bait runner features which offer better castability. They also ensure less backlash, less line friction, wind knots and tangles, better and comfortable grips, higher max drag, and a wide range of settings as compared to its predecessors.

Let’s consider the following features to see the Shimano Baitrunner OC Spinning Reel model is worth your money:

  • This model is made up of XT-7 graphite frame and rotor and X7- graphite side plate.
  • It also features a propulsion line management system which makes castability even better.
  • Equipped with a cold forged aluminum spool and an oversized power roller.
  • Highly recommended for use in saltwater.
  • The Shimano Baitrunner OC Reel is compatible for use with Mono, PowerPro, and Fluorocarbon lines.

All in all, the Shimano Baitrunner OC Spinning Reel is a good option for both inshore and offshore fishing. It comes with a drag system and a better finish compared to other models out there. It feels superb knowing that Shimano is known for its quality reputation.

4. Penn Conflict Review

Penn Conflict Spinning Reel

Under the Penn conflict line, there are several options that you can choose from. It comes in sizes ranging between 1000 and 8000. It also has an added version of 2500 size to give way to additional requirements. When it comes to weight, the lightest is at 7.80, while the highest is at 29.10. Choosing a perfect fishing reel size is important in order to ensure performance.

The following features make the Penn Conflict a preferred option for many anglers and fishers:

  • The Penn Conflict model weighs about 3 to 10% less compared to the Battle ONE and TWO models under the same brand.
  • The body of Conflict models are made of graphite, ensuring an intense makeup.
  • The bearings used in this model are sealed, not shielded.
  • It features braid ready spool and line capacity rings.

The Penn Conflict Spinning Reel model is a standout because of its line management, rotor and line lay. It stays light as compared to the standards of other spinning reel models on the market. It comes with all features such as full metal body, braid ready spool, keeping itself highly relevant even in the current day market. One thing that Penn Conflict users like is its EVA foam knob based handle, which makes it very comfortable for fishing even on a cold day.

3. Okuma Cedros Review

Okuma Cedros Spinning Reel

The Okuma Cedros Spinning Reel is designed especially for saltwater fishing. It is one of the most affordable options out there - one thing that Okuma is well known for. Considering that it is designed for saltwater use, there is an assurance of high-quality materials used in the manufacturing of this model.

The features that make this model a standout option include the following:

  • The Okuma Cedros comes with six models in total, with the weight scale ranging from 11 oz to 23 oz.
  • This spinning reel model comes with a dual force drag which uses the empty spinning reel underside.
  • With the bigger secondary drag surface area, heat is dissipated more evenly.
  • The model’s high-density gearing offers high-density gears that are corrosion resistant.
  • The elliptical oscillation system feature of this model offers a fantastic line lay.

While some reviews mentioned that users experienced hesitation initially, Okuma Cedros Spinning Reel turned out to be quite decent. The reel is made exclusively for high-speed action techniques, which will perform well especially with something such as deep water fishing.

2. Penn Clash Review

Penn Clash Spinning Reel

With the release of the ‘Clash’ spinning reel line, Penn has found a way to clash with the competition effectively, so to say. It is a reel that features full metal body outside, with CNC machine gears inside.

It is a perfect combination of balance and price, offering a step up in performance and technology. It also provides anglers and fishers with an excellent range of 7 models to select from.

Let’s take a closer look at the features that made the Penn Clash worth the investment:

  • It comes with metal bodied reels which can reduce, if not eliminate, twists.
  • The model has a Computer Numeric Control (CNC) gear which results to a retrieve that is smoother.
  • The leveline oscillation system of this model maintains the balance of the spool while it is spinning.
  • The patented drag washers of Penn offer top of the line system to Clash drag technology.
  • Achieving a smoother service means more bearings. Its stainless steel aspect makes it an exceptional for saltwater fishing.

The overall value of this Penn Clash Spinning Reel lies in the attention that it gives to its primary parts. Rather than charging customers a high price on extra features, it invests more on essential features. With seven range models to select from, fishers can expect a wide variety of uses, thus being able to deal with a wide variety of fish species effectively.

The clash is a reel that is designed for beginners who wants to spend quality time fishing. It will not break your bank, for sure, providing a steady and continuous use. If maintained properly, this spinning reel model will indeed work and last for years.

1. Penn Battle 2 Review

Penn Battle 2 Spinning Reel

Penn Battle 2 is an open face reel which comes in 8 available sizes, with the lightest at 1000. It also introduced a size 2500 which fills in the gap of the other sizes. The max drag of Penn Battle 2 steadily grows from 9 to 30 in each of the versions.

Every model comes with a front drag which are the most obvious option these days. The weight starts at 8oz for the 1000 model, with the heaviest at 30oz for size 8000.

The following features make the Penn Battle 2 Spinning Reel a real winner:

  • Corrosion resistance is taken even further, thanks to the improved paint job.
  • Comes with 5 sealed ball bearings. This time, however, they are not shielded but made of sealed stainless steel.
  • It is also equipped with an increased drag pressure, achieved through the use of the previous Penn Conflict
  • The line capacity rings of this model is an innovation which allows anglers to know how much fishing line is left on the reel.
  • This model is effective in hooking big fishes or when fishing at a dead stop.

No doubt, the Penn Battle 2 Spinning Reel is a good upgrade compared to the first version. It can be considered as a mid-class spinning reel that will allow you to enjoy saltwater fishing with all of its features.

Purchasing this model is an excellent investment especially for those who love fishing because there is an assurance of reliability and performance. Despite the fact that it is very affordable as compared to other reels, and often considered as low-end because of that, Penn has never compromised anything when it comes to performance or quality with the Penn Battle 2 Spinning Reel.

Major Differences: Saltwater vs. Freshwater Reels

Beginner anglers usually wonder why they need to invest in a good saltwater fishing reel compared to a reel that is designed for general use. Others feel that they are identical. However, the outside appearance of a fishing reel does not address all of the unique engineering necessary for the actual needs of anglers.

This means that what matters is what is on the reels – the features that make it useful for saltwater use.

Here are some of the major differences between these types of reels depending on their use, whether they are for saltwater or freshwater fishing:

  • In general, spinning reels made for saltwater fishing are designed for catching bigger fishes. This is the reason why they are usually designed with greater line capacity compared to freshwater ones.
  • Freshwater reels may corrode and get damaged when they come in contact directly with saltwater.
  • Salt is too strong for the metal. This is why saltwater spinning reels are usually made out of stainless steel, as well as other components that are corrosion resistant.

Saltwater OR Freshwater Reels: Which One to Purchase?

The decision on which type of spinning reel to purchase ultimately depends on the budget. However, spinning reels that are designed for saltwater use are certainly worth your investment since they may be used for both saltwater and freshwater. With saltwater reels, there is no need to deal with the damages which may come as a result of salt exposure, and may even be used in freshwater without any issue, at all.

While freshwater spinning reels also come with their advantages, they cannot last a long time when used in saltwater. While others recommend rinsing them with fresh water afterward, this cannot be a long-term solution. You need to get a corrosion resistant reel. If it is financially possible, experts recommend purchasing saltwater reel, such as the models that are included in the list above.


After summarizing all the features of each of the models mentioned above, no doubt, the Penn Battle 2 Spinning Reel is the best option that you can take into consideration. The official website of the product highlights all of the features and specifications of this model. It is a good combination of performance, quality, and affordability.

If you are searching for a good option for saltwater spinning reels that offer good value for your money, without sacrificing quality, no doubt that this is the best choice for you. Its high-quality materials and components, availability of sizes, and positive feedback from other anglers gives you a reason to give it attention. With such high quality spinning reel at your side for your next fishing trip, you can be assured of an all improved experience, as backed up by reviews coming from other expert anglers.

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