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There’s only one way to find a top rated spinning reel that performs for you and doesn’t strain your budget. And that is to get all the reels you can find and test them.
The availability of options can pose a lot of challenges while selecting the best spinning reel. A beginner angler may require an affordable lightweight reel, whereas, a pro may require a high performance reel.
Whatever your need maybe, we have got you covered.
The goal of this guide is to help you find the best spinning reel for the money. You will also learn further about the features of a good open-faced reel and the best options that are currently available on the market.
Overview of the 10 Best Spinning Reels
|Shimano Stradic FK||Bearing: 6+1 | Gear Ratio: 6.0:1 – 6.2:1 | Drag: 7 – 24 | Line Retrieve: 31 – 41”|
|Shimano Stradic CI4+||Bearing: 6+1 | Gear Ratio: 6.0:1 – 6.2:1 | Drag: 7 – 24 | Line Retrieve: 31 – 39”|
|Okuma Fishing Tackle Trio||Bearing: 9+1 | Gear Ratio: 4.5:1 – 5.0:1 | Drag: 18 – 22 | Line Retrieve: 25 – 38”|
|Shimano Sienna FE||Bearing: 1+1 | Gear Ratio: 5.0:1 | Drag: 9 | Line Retrieve: 24 – 32”|
|Penn Pursuit II||Bearing: 5+1 | Gear Ratio: 4.3:1 – 5.2:1 | Drag: 10 – 25 | Line Retrieve: 25 – 31”|
|Pflueger President||Bearing: 9+1 | Gear Ratio: 5.2:1 | Drag: 18 | Line Retrieve: 28″|
|Shimano Spirex RG||Bearing: 5+1 | Gear Ratio: 5.7:1 – 6.2:1 | Drag: 6 – 9 | Line Retrieve: 28 – 33”|
|Okuma Trio Ladies Edition||Bearing: 9+1 | Gear Ratio: 5.0:1 | Drag: 18 – 20 | Line Retrieve: 22 – 28”|
|Okuma Avenger ABF Graphite||Bearing: 6+1 | Gear Ratio: 4.5:1 – 5.0:1 | Drag: 8 – 22 | Line Retrieve: 25 – 40”|
|Daiwa BG Spinning Reel||Bearing: 6+1 | Gear Ratio: 5.3:1 – 5.7:1 | Drag: 4.4 – 33 | Line Retrieve: 28.3 – 53.3”|
Advantage Of A Spinning Reel
Spinning reels (a.k.a Open-faced reels) are an essential piece of fishing tackle loved by a beginner as well as a professional angler.
They are very easy to use and can be adjusted and dragged easily as compared to other types of reels. Moreover, learning how to use, and how to cast a spinning reel is quite easy.
Also, open faced reels are available in a wide range of sizes. When compared with a baitcasting reel, an open faced reel is more advantageous because of its overall versatility.
This is one of the biggest reasons why most people opt for open face reels over other options.
They only have to pull the actual weight of the line, which means that they are particularly useful for light line and lightweight lures.
The 10 Best Spinning Reel Reviews
What is the best spinning reel for you? To answer this question accurately you need to ask yourself a few questions.
Questions like, the type of fish you are targeting; planning to fish in saltwater or freshwater; do you have a budget or brand preference?
Read on to find reviews of the top spinning reels from the top brands in the market.
01. Shimano Stradic FK
- Excellent line capacity & casting distance
- Smooth smooth & braking system
- High gear ratio with great cranking power
- Drag system not very durable
The Shimano Stradic FK is a top rated open-faced reel from Shimano that is both reliable and affordable. For many years the Sedric series of reels has been very popular amongst freshwater, as well as saltwater anglers.
The Stradic FK reel is constructed with high-quality material with a few plastic parts on the low-stress areas making it lightweight without sacrificing strength.
The Shimano FK comes with a cold forged gear coupled with the X-SHIP pinion gear for a butter smooth gear operation. The gear ratio is on the higher side making it ideal for quicker line and bait retrieval.
The Stradic FK comes with a stacked front drag system for easy access.
It is not the most exceptional brake system in the market for such a promising reel but can put up a fight between 7 – 24 lbs depending on the model.
The reel features 6 high-quality S A-RB ball bearing which is shielded on the both sides to prevent debris from clogging the bearings. The reel also comes with a single Super Stopper II anti-reverse roller bearing which helps eliminate rotor back play (no anti-reverse lever).
The reels Aero Wrap II and Power Roller II helps minimize line twist thus reducing line memory. The SKs Propulsion Line Management System and smooth spool lip design reduce friction thus increasing casting distance.
The Shimano Stradic FK is a high performing spinning reel loved by many from the serious hobby anglers to charter captains. The Stradic FK doesn’t have a lot of downsides worth mentioning. Except for the fact, the reels drag is a little disappointment, not for its quality but for the finest perfection it prevents.
The Stradic FK from Shimano is one of the best spinning reel choices for beginner anglers who are looking for an affordable reel with the most demanding technologies.
With this reel in your fishing gear arsenal, you can confidently fish at a river, lake or off-shore for small species. This is a reel that will work and perform flawlessly for years to come with a little bit of maintenance.
Mono (#Test/yd): 2/270 to 14/165 | PowerPro(# Test/yd): 10/95 to 40/160 | Max Drag (lb): 7 to 24 | Gear Ratio: 6.0:1 to 6.2:1 | Line Retrieve Per Crank (Inches): 31 to 41” | Ball Bearings: 6+1 | Weight (OZ): 6.9 to 11.3 | Retrieve: Reversible
02. Shimano Stradic CI4+
- Lightweight and powerful reel
- Waterproof high performing breaking system
- Smooth and efficient gears
- High price point
The Shimano Stradic Ci4+ is a high-quality, lightweight open-faced reel that is designed for performance. The Ci4+ is loaded up with Shimano’s latest exciting features that make it one of the best ultralight spinning reel for serious anglers.
The Ci4+ is constructed out of carbon fiber making it lighter and stronger than its predecessors. The reel features the newly developed Magnumlite rotor which adds to the strength and cuts down weight.
The reels paddle style grip ensures less fumble and slips when fighting an arrogant catch. The grip is also hollowed out from the inside to save on weight.
The reel is very responsive, thanks to its X-Ship gears producing improved gear efficiency and alignment through a double bearing supported pinion gear system. This superior gear mesh ensures more cranking power and adds torque to your retrieve.
The most impressive feature of the Ci4+ is its smooth drag system. Whether you are fighting small trout, predator fish or inshore saltwater species, this break system will not disappoint you.
The Stradic Ci4+ FB from Shimano is an all-around spinning fishing reel that is suitable for both freshwater and light saltwater applications.
The reel comes with all the latest functionality from Shimano making it an ideal gear that is worthy of adding to your fishing arsenal.
The lack of anti-reverse lever may add to some disappointment but the other outstanding features will make up for it. If you are a beginner looking for a good spinning reel that will be both reliable and budget-friendly, the Stradic Ci4+ is your best bet.
Mono (#Test/yd): 2/270 to 12/160 | PowerPro (# Test/yd): 10/95 to 50/150 | Max Drag (lb): 7 to 24 | Gear Ratio: 6.0:1 to 6.2:1 | Line Retrieve Per Crank (Inches): 31 to 39” | Ball Bearings: 6+1 | Weight (OZ): 5.6 to 8.1 | Retrieve: Reversible
03. Okuma Fishing Tackle Trio
- On/Off auto trip bait feeding system
- Quick-Set anti-reverse roller bearing
- Heavy duty, solid aluminum bail wire
- Plastic spool and drag knob
It is difficult to keep precise control over your fishing line while feeding line to the running fish. Most standard spinning reels are of no good as the bail is either open or closed, or the drag is engaged.
The New Okuma Trio Baitfeeder Spinning Reel solves this problem by completely disengaging the drag while the bail remains closed.
This baitfeeder reel features a simple on/off switch on the rear of the reel that completely disengages the drag system and the gears. This allows the catch to run around with the bait without any restriction. The secondary micro-click rear brake ensures fine control over the biting fish while allowing it to move freely.
When required, with a turn of the reel handle knob disengages the baitfeeder system and re-engages the drive and drag.
The Trio Baitfeeder incorporates Crossover Construction technology from the standard Trio and Trio High-Speed families. This Crossover Construction makes the reel lightweight and sturdy with the use of graphite and aluminum on the high-stress areas.
With such a powerful reel by your side, you can rest assured that you can land in the big trophy catch in your next fishing trip.
Mono (#Test/yd): 6/200 to 25/260 | Max Drag (lb): 18 to 22 | Gear Ratio: 4.5:1 to 5.0:1 | Line Retrieve Per Crank (Inches): 25 to 38” | Ball Bearings: 9+1 | Weight (OZ): 11.8 to 24.6 | Retrieve: Reversible
04. Shimano Sienna FE
- Smooth and high-performing
- Strong braking system
- A bit stiff bail arm
The Shimano Sienna FE is the latest incarnation of the Sienna line of the fishing reels. For a decade, the Sienna series of spinning reels have been the best-rated spinning reel in terms of price and quality.
The new improved Sienna FE comes packed with some of the latest developments in fishing reel technology. These exciting technologies combined make the FE spinning reel high-performing, lightweight and durable.
The reel features an M-Compact body which ensures better balance by moving the oscillation gear close to the rod. This improves the balance of the reel which in turn reducing angler’s fatigue.
The Sienna FE employs Shimano’s proprietary Propulsion Line Management System ensuring better casting distance while reducing line management issues.
The reel comes with a smooth and heavy-duty brake for the price point (up to 9 lbs).
The Shimano Sienna FE line of the spinning reel is undoubtedly one of the best spinning reel for the price range. The reel puts up a great fight for most small freshwater to inshore species.
The 2 ball bearing may be a bit of disappointment but this doesn’t affect the overall performance. You won’t find a more versatile fishing reel at this price point.
Mono (#Test/yd): 2/270 to 12/160 | PowerPro (# Test/yd): 10/95 to 50/150 | Max Drag (lb): 9 | Gear Ratio: 5.0:1 | Line Retrieve Per Crank (Inches): 24 to 32” | Ball Bearings: 1+1 | Weight (OZ): 7.4 to 11.8 | Retrieve: Reversible
05. Penn Pursuit II
- Very affordable
- Strong drag system
- Corrosion resistant
- Oil felt washers demand maintenance
Durability, smoothness, and performance are the core feature anglers expect from Penn and the Pursuit 2 couples it all in a sleek body. The Penn Battle II is designed for anglers looking for a high-end reel at an affordable price.
The mat black color with silver trimming of the Pursuit 2 makes it stand out in the crowd. The ultralight, super tough graphite body makes the reel durable and allergic to corrosion.
The anodized aluminum spool ensures strength and reduces wobbles under heavy loads. The line capacity rings help anglers determine the amount of line remaining on the spool.
The Pursuit II comes with oil felt technology which ensures drag washers are lubricated at all times. These lubricated washers keep the drag system smooth and eliminate line and rod snaps.
Penn Pursuit II is a good spinning reel for the money. It is both high-performing and reliable that is design to perform for years to come.
The Pursuit 2’s wide range of fishing styles from fresh to saltwater fishing, left to right-handed cranking options makes it a versatile reel loved by many entry-level anglers.
Mono (#Test/yd): 6/235 to 30/260 | PowerPro (# Test/yd): 10/280 to 80/380 | Max Drag (lb): 10 to 25 | Gear Ratio: 4.3:1 to 5.2:1 | Line Retrieve Per Crank (Inches): 25 to 31” | Ball Bearings: 4+1 | Weight (OZ): 11.9 to 27.4 | Retrieve: Reversible
06. Pflueger President
- Both durable and reliable
- Smooth drag system
- Braid ready spool
- Not ideal for saltwater use
The Pflueger President Spinning Reel is one of the most popular reels designed to deliver extreme durability and smooth performance. This fishing reel comes bundled with plenty of exciting features that are appreciated by both seasoned and professional anglers.
The reel comes with 9 stainless steel ball bearings for a butter smooth operation. The instant anti-reverse uses one-way clutch bearing which eliminates backslash improving crank control.
The Pflueger President features a double-anodized aluminum spool for better protection. The braid-ready spool comes with distinctive hole pattern further reducing weight.
The President offers larger aluminum bail wire with titanium coated line-roller which eliminates line twist. You can enjoy exceptional pull control thanks to its oil felt multi-disk drag system.
The Pflueger President is undoubtedly a top-rated spinning reel that is both durable and lightweight. The reel is designed to make sure you catch and hold the biggest freshwater species without any issue.
The use of aircraft grade aluminum and graphite makes the reel very rigid, ensuring top performance for years to come.
Mono (#Test/yd): 8/270, 10/190, 12/170 | Max Drag (lb): 6 to 14 | Gear Ratio: 5.0:1 | Line Retrieve Per Crank (Inches): 20.2 to 31.6” | Ball Bearings: 6+1 to9+1 | Weight (OZ): 6.2 to 11.5 | Retrieve: Reversible
07. Shimano Spirex RG
- High speed line retrieval
- Strong rear drag
- Rubber handle grips
- Faster line draw may be an issue for some
The Shimano Spirex RG is a good spinning reel that comes packed with a lot of exciting technology with an incredible price tag making fishing a fun activity. The reel is loved by many occasional anglers due to the fact it requires less maintenance.
The Spirex RG’s features a Quick Fire II that satisfies most experienced anglers who love the concept of one-handed casting. The reel employs the A-RB bearing system which ensures smooth cranking of the reel.
The reel features a lightweight spool with a high line capacity for more line storage. The Propulsion Line Management System ensures casting distance and eliminates line management issues.
The gear ration on the Spirex RG is on the higher side make line retrieval super quick.
With a high gear ratio and double knob handle the Spirex RG can crank in line super fast.
The Shimano Spirex RG is an excellent reel that is high-performing and user-friendly. The reels two knob handle adds to the level of comfort. But the reel may be a bit fast for few users as it is built for speed. Overall it is an excellent reel for the money.
Mono (#Test/yd): 2/270 to 12/160 | PowerPro (# Test/yd): 10/95 to 50/145 | Max Drag (lb): 6 to 9 | Gear Ratio: 5.7:1 to 6.2:1 | Line Retrieve Per Crank (Inches): 28 to 33” | Ball Bearings: 5+1 | Weight (OZ): 9.9 to 14.5 | Retrieve: Reversible
08. Okuma Trio Ladies Edition
- Corrosion resistant
- Strong reliable drag
- Color makes it ideal for only ladies
The Ladies Edition of Okuma Trio is a popular spinning reel that comes in a sweet pink color that is best suited for our lady anglers. The reels ultralight high-performing design makes it most lay anglers go to reel.
The reel uses crossover aluminum and graphite hybrid body and rotor to produce a lightweight fishing reel for both fresh and saltwater applications.
The Ladies Trio High-Speed reel features a lightning-fast gear ratio (6.2:1) which is ideal for agile fast running fish.
The multi-disk oil felt disk ensures smooth drag pressure to hold onto a hard fighting fish. The 9+1 stainless steel ball bearing makes for cranking process as smooth as a hot knife through butter.
The Ladies Trio High-Speed reel is a reel that provides for all the fishing needs of a lady angler. The reels durability, smoothness, performance and most importantly the color makes it one of the best spinning reel for ladies.
A matching pink fishing rod combo like the Santiam coupled with the Ladies Trio will make a perfect gift for your wife, daughter or mother.
Mono (#Test/yd): 4/90 to 12/170 | Max Drag (lb): 18 to 20 | Gear Ratio: 5.0:1 | Line Retrieve Per Crank (Inches): 22 to 28” | Ball Bearings: 9+1 | Weight (OZ): 8.8 to 11 | Retrieve: Reversible
09. Okuma Avenger ABF Graphite
- For both freshwater and saltwater
- Comes with an excellent bait feeder system
- Corrosion resistant
- Comes with a metal knob
The Okuma Avenger “ABF” bait feeder spinning reel is a refined piece of a fishing reel that is designed to produce results. The reel’s unique combination of the Live Line Bait Feeding System and tournament grade precision makes it a popular spinning wheel amongst users.
The reel comes with a multi-disk oil felt drag system that has the stopping power of a monster. Coming in with 6 stainless steel ball bearings for smoother operation. The one quick-set roller bearings eliminate rotor back play and line tangle.
The Avenger ABF features a live bait feeding system that allows the main drag to disengage with the flip of a switch. Tension on the spool can be adjusted with the rear drag while the fish runs with the bait.
The Okuma Avenger ABF baitfeeder is an outstanding reel, especially for an entry-level angler. The aluminum handle knob may not be very comfortable on the hands but can be quickly changed with a more comfortable rubber or foam knob.
That being said, the reel offers a lot in terms of durability, performance, and functionality. If you are looking for a baitfeeding reel at an affordable price point, then this is a great option.
Mono (#Test/yd): 4/190 to 30/330 | Max Drag (lb): 8 to 22 | Gear Ratio: 4.5:1 to 5.0:1 | Line Retrieve Per Crank (Inches): 25 to 40” | Ball Bearings: 6+1 | Weight (OZ): 8.8 to 27.6 | Retrieve: Reversible
10. Daiwa BG Spinning Reel
- Silk Smooth
- Corrosion resistant
- Strong drag
- Spool is painted not anodized
The New Daiwa BG spinning reel series is an advance upgraded version of the extremely popular Daiwa Black Gold that was first released in 1981. The reels quality manufacturing combined with the top fishing technology and a sleek design matched with an affordable price tag, you have a reel that is going to be as popular as its predecessors.
The New BG series of reels come in 10 different sizes ranging from ultralight freshwater to heavy-duty saltwater game fishing. The Daiwa BG series come with the most advanced components from Daiwa that are typically found in high-end reels like the Daiwa Saltist and Daiwa Ballistic.
The New Daiwa BG comes integrated with the Over-sized Digigear (Digigear™ System), never seen in a reel at this price point. These oversized gears increase gear-tooth contact points, providing more cranking power and torque. These machined cut Digigears ensures smooth performance thus extending gear life.
The lightweight ABS spool comes braid-ready with a large diameter which eliminates line memory from forming. The larger core diameter and reverse taper ensure 100% line use.
This reel comes with a machined aluminum body and side cover for added strength. Additionally, the reels body and side covers are Black Anodized to make it scratch and corrosion resistant.
The Daiwa BG series of spinning reels are my new favorite for the value it returns in terms of the performance, versatility, sizing option. It is a reel designed to serve the needs of most amateur and demanding anglers.
If you aren’t planning to fish from a kayak or out in the deep sea submerging the reel then the New BG is going to be a reel you should consider. Most users have quoted the New Daiwa BG to be the top spinning reel of all times.
Note: Manual Return Bail (4500 and Larger), Infinite Anti-Reverse System (4000 and Smaller), Infinite Dual Anti-Reverse System (4500 and Larger).
Mono (#Test/yd): 4/155 to 30/370 | PowerPro (# Test/yd): 8/220 to 80/440 | Max Drag (lb): 4.4 to 33 | Gear Ratio: 5.3:1 to 5.7:1 | Line Retrieve Per Crank (Inches): 28.3 to 53.3” | Ball Bearings: 6+1 | Weight (OZ): 8.5 to 30 | Retrieve: Reversible
With the different aspects of a good spinning reel presented above, there is no doubt that the Shimano Stradic FE & the New Daiwa BG are the best choices there are! In fact, it is rare in a spinning reel model to be high-performing while being affordable at the same time.
Both the reels perform flawlessly in both saltwater and freshwater conditions. Thus they are awarded as the best spinning reels in 2018 for novice and experts in our top 10 spinning reel list.