Many angles want to purchase the best spinning reel for their fishing needs that will also not hurt their wallet. A spinning reel under $100 sounds good, right? But the choosing part can be quite complicated and can be a dilemma among newbies who are still working with various terms and how these parts actually work. Also, there is a wide variety and prices of spinning reels in the marketplace to choose from already!
Here is a quick tip: higher prices do not always suggest a better quality of fishing equipment. You could still find the best spinning reel with the same features as a more expensive one even on a budget. In this article, we provide you with the things to consider in buying your spinning reel, some tips for beginners, and our top five picks to help you select the best spinning reel for your next fishing activity.
Top 10 Spinning Reel Overview
|Max Drag (lb)
|1. Penn Battle II & III
|5.2:1 – 6.2:1
|22″ – 44″
|9 – 30
|8.1 – 30.2
|2. Shimano Sedona
|4.6:1 – 6.2:1
|26″ – 41″
|7 – 24
|7.6 – 10.6
|3. Okuma Inspira
|27″ – 30″
|10 - 12
|7.5 - 9.5
|4. Pflueger President
|20.2″ – 31.6″
|6 – 14
|7.5 – 11.5
|5. Daiwa BG
|5.3:1 – 5.7:1
|28.3″ – 53.3″
|4.4 – 33
|8.5 – 30
|6. Pflueger Supreme
|5.2:1 – 6.2:1
|22.8″ – 38.6″
|8 – 14
|6.6 – 9.6
|7. Penn Pursuit III
|5.3:1 – 6.2:1
|33″ – 43″
|10 – 25
|9.8 – 29.1
|8. Shimano Sahara
|5.0:1 – 6.2:1
|29″ – 41″
|2.5 – 11
|7.6 – 10.6
|9. KastKing Sharky III
|26.2″ – 33.4″
|13 – 39
|6.9 – 10.5
|10. Abu Garcia Elite Max
|5.6:1 – 6.2:1
|28.2″ – 38″
|14 – 18
|7.9 – 13.3
Things to Consider in Choosing the Best Spinning Reel
In choosing the best spinning reel, you have to be a smart buyer. Before heading to your nearest shops or checking on online stores, read this buying guide first as we listed down the certain things that you should consider before buying your very own spinning reel.
The number of times that the ball rotates around the spool is described by the gear ratio. It is considered to be a vital feature for a good spinning reel for the greater the gear ratio means faster-retrieving speed.
A spinning reel with a 4:1 gear ratio has a slow-speed retrieve while a 6:1 gear ratio is considered fast. Selecting a spinning reel with a high, low, or medium retrieve speed depends on your preferred style of fishing; but for a good all-around spinning reel, you may choose a model with a 5:1 gear ratio.
Apart from the gear ratio, consider the number of ball bearings for your spinning reel. Keep in mind that the smoothness of the retrieve also depends on the number of ball bearings your spinning reel has.
A minimum of five ball bearings is an ideal number for the best spinning reel, already giving you a lot of smoothness for only an affordable price.
You may decide to purchase a spinning reel with more ball bearings, but many fishing enthusiasts have attested that they cannot find a huge difference between five bearings and have even more.
In looking for the best spinning reel in the market, checking for an anti-reverse handle is a must. Its main purpose is to prevent the handle from spinning in a backward direction. Having an anti-reserve handle makes the hook sets accurate and powerful!
And while we are discussing handles, you should consider looking for a handle that is comfortable and allows a firmer grip.
Spinning Reel Material and Weight
Most of the spinning reels out there can be made from either aluminum or graphite that gives longer durability and strength under pressure.
Take note, however, that spinning reels made from aluminum are heavier compared to graphite which is relatively lighter. It is important to consider the weight of the equipment especially when you are spending plenty of time fishing because of the heavier the spinning reel, the more chance it could cause strain on the wrist and forearm of the angler.
If you also want to have greater success in your next fishing trip and reduce the risk of broken lines on your spinning reel, you must ensure having a smooth, high-quality, non-constrictive drag in your spinning reel.
The drag system of a spinning reel basically points to where the location of the drag controls. There are two types of drag systems available: front-drag and rear-drag systems, one that offers increased durability and performance and one that is easier to access.
Spools on a Spinning Reel
Spools serve an important role in holding the line and the casting distance during fishing. Best look for a “long cast” feature of a spinning reel’s spool as it allows for less line friction and increases the casting distance for an angler, covering a huge area of fishable water.
There are plenty of spinning reels under $100 with a good spool that is made from aluminum, not graphite which would often crack.
Do not buy a cheaper spinning reel with shims for it could cause changes in the orientation of the spool. Fishing lines should lie flat and level with no humps when you load them on the spinning reel. Casting with a level line is important to increase the distance as it leaves smoothly without being snagged.
Our Top Picks for the Best Spinning Reel under 100 Dollars
To further help you choose the best spinning reel under $100, we have compiled our top spinning reel picks, each with different features that may best suit your specific needs:
If your aim is to catch big saltwater fish, then this spinning reel works best for you. With its high range and durable material, you can expect this spinning reel to endure fish of different weights. Its body, side plate, and rotor are all full metal and its bail wire is made out of aluminum to give you remarkable durability. Because of its HT 100 carbon fiber drag system, you can expect a powerful drag while still maintaining smoothness in casting.
Also, there is no need to worry about fluid cranking, as this spinning reel has five sealed ball bearings made of stainless steel and an instant anti-reverse bearing. What’s even greater about this spinning reel is that its spool needs no backing, aside from its braid being ready and its line capacity rings that could range from 1/3 to full capacity.
- Gearing is useful for fast retrieval
- Good for catching big fish
- Exceptional Retrieval
- There can be too much heavy grease
Even with its low price, you can get everything you generally need for a spinning reel. By incorporating its flagship HAGANE gearing, this spinning reel boasts its durability, strength, and long-lasting performance. It’s so flexible and can be used in both inshore and offshore fishing. Its spools are specially designed to have an increased line capacity and at the same time, maintain a compact body.
It is also designed to allow fishers to cast longer while trying to prevent the formation of bird nests, backlashes, and wind knots. This has a maximum drag power of 7 pounds and a gear ratio of 5.0:1.
- Allows long-distance casting
- Increased line capacity
- Remarkable drag power
- May be difficult to reel when it gets extremely wet
What’s exceptional about this spinning reel is its lightweight characteristic. Its long-lasting performance is ensured by its carbon fiber construction, and its rigid rear yoke that helps reduce twists and flex. Its drag power could reach up to 13 lbs while still maintaining smooth casting. You don’t need to worry when this spinning reel gets wet as it provides a mechanism through strong airflow to minimize water corrosion and intrusion.
Its carbon fiber framing makes your fishing worthwhile as it is stronger than graphite reel frames but is lighter, making it easy to handle. To maintain the stability of the fishing reel, it features a centrifugal disc bail that is perfectly balanced and weighted.
- Can minimize water intrusion
- Fiber framing makes the fishing reel lighter
- Maintains alignment of internal parts in the long term
- Might not be best for catching heavy-weight fish
One of the highlights of this fishing reel is its corrosion-resistant 7 bearing system. The stainless steel ball bearings inside make sure that the spinning wheel is durable and could last longer. To make it lightweight, it features a body and rotor made of graphite, with a braid that can directly be tied to the spool. Because of its sealed drag system, you can make sure that this reel is always lubricated and maintains a smooth operation.
This fishing reel also decreases line twists because of its slow oscillation gearing.
- Prevents line twists
- 7 bearing system prevents corrosion
- Ultra-light reel for comfortable use
- Not suitable for big fish
Like the previous fishing reels, this product is braided line-ready, so you do not need to worry about the hassle. Additionally, its waterproof drag system makes it durable and long-lasting. Because it is made out of aluminum housing, this spinning reel does not only look elegant but can also be used over time without breaking. It has an infinite anti-reverse and an infinite dual anti-reverse system depending on the size of your choice.
Only weighing 8.5 oz, this is good for those who are just starting to fish. For its affordable price, it’s already very sufficient for your basic fishing needs.
- Reel is lightweight yet solid
- Very affordable and exceptional drag system
- Braided line-ready, infinite anti-reverse system
- Bail roller may corrode easily
What to Expect from a Spinning Reel Under 100 Dollars
We have reviewed some of the best spinning reels under $100 in the market today, which are growing popular for many aspiring anglers for having a lower price range. After checking out for valuable resources and asking for opinions from experienced anglers, you will never fail in finding a good spinning reel.
But watch out as there are also plenty of spinning reel out there that offers to be great, but actually are not, especially if you are really a little short on budget for fishing equipment.
After compiling dozens of reviews from different anglers with experiences in using a spinning reel, we have listed down some of the things you could expect from a spinning reel under $100 that hopefully could serve as your guide in what to expect for an affordable spinning reel that is the best fit with your rod and your specific needs.
- Keep an eye for the weight of a spinning reel under $100 as some of the producers utilize inferior materials that could affect the equipment’s weight. When your spinning reel is heavier it could possibly strain your wrists when used for a long time of use.
- Check if the spinning reel has more plastic elements. Some manufacturers would sometimes use plastic on many parts of the spinning reel to save them money on the production cost. While it still has the same functions, a plastic spinning reel can be damaged faster. Having a metal spinning reel will also feel more refined than the plastic one.
- Cheaper spinning reels have drag stacks that are usually not sealed.
- Buying a spinning reel under $100 usually has only one spool, unlike some of the expensive spinning reels that provide you with a spare braid-ready spool. On a positive note, in the spinning reels under $100, you will already get a standard spool which is braided ready.
- Regardless of the price, other important features that you should look for in buying a spinning reel are the number of ball bearings, the capacity of your fishing line; and the maximum drag level.
Tips for Beginners in Fishing
One of the favorite outdoor activities for many people is fishing. Catching fish in the coming weekend can be a mix of relaxing and challenging at the same time.
While some say that fishing can be daunting, especially among first-time anglers; but trust us, the nitty-gritties in fishing are simple and anyone can pick it up easily. We already have mentioned above some of the things to look for in buying the best spinning reel. With the combination of the right gears, sufficient information, and a good attitude, you will find yourself spending hours on the water catching some fish.
And to help you get through on your first fishing trip successfully, we have compiled these important tips specifically covering the basics in fishing, gears, and some useful fishing skills.
1. First, you need to know where you should go fishing. Identify where is the nearest local water in your area that allows fishing. Consider talking to people, like experienced anglers about where the best spots to fish are, as most likely they are familiar with the latest information about local fishing spots. At large, starting out your fishing experience in lakes is a great option as they often have a huge volume and various species of fish to catch compared to rivers.
2. Now that you know where the local fishing spots in your area are, make sure that you have a fishing license. Some licenses are being issued at your local fishing shops or online. Do not worry, the price of a fishing license is usually inexpensive.
3. Prepare ahead of time your essential and non-essential fishing items to prevent leaving things behind. Apart from your spinning reel and rod combo, bring items like sunscreen, first aid kit, and rain gear. Also, take a bottle of water with you to keep you hydrated on your fishing trip.
4. Have good etiquette in fishing for it is important to be respectful of other anglers and spots you have chosen. It is best not to go to a spot where someone else is already fishing. In crowded fishing spots, give enough space to other anglers, depending on if the fishing spot is crowded or has lesser people around. An important reminder: know whether the fishing spot is catch and release, limited to artificial lures, or fly-fishing only.
5. Going on a fishing trip should have the right combination of tools. For beginning anglers, a spinning reel and rod is the best combo. Your local shop could help you find the right beginner rod that will fit your fishing needs.
For baits, you can start with live worms or PowerBait—also known as dough bait that has a scent that fishes like. While lures, designed to also attract fish can also be an effective option. Your fishing checklist should also include helpful items such as bobbers, which indicate that you have captured a fish; a rubber net; and needle-nose pliers, used to retrieve lures from the mouth of the fish. To help you organize your items, we also suggest you purchase a small tackle box where you can keep your lures and bait.
6. Learning basic knots can be useful in fishing. The improved clinch knot is a significant knot in fishing for it attaches your hook or lures to your fishing line. As you continue to improve your fishing skills, you can always learn more fishing knots available in various resources like Palomar Knot to connect your hook to the line and Berkley Surgeon’s Knot to connect two pieces of the line.
7. It can also be helpful to your fishing activity if you know how to “read” the water or basically know where the fish are commonly staying. Fishes–both in lakes and rivers– are usually hanging out in areas with good cover where they will be out in the sight of predators.
8. Casting can be easy but still requires patience. In fishing for more and bigger fishes, the casting distance in fishing is important. A longer cast means you are farther away from the fishes and minimizing the chance of driving them away.
Here are some ways to maximize your casting distance:
- You need to have the right rod, reel, and fishing line, as they need to be in sync to be able to use their potentials.
- Use light lines that can be cast farther but do not go too light that could also break off.
- Maximizing casting distance in fishing actually does not literally mean throwing it hard as possible. It could even result in a shorter distance due to imbalanced spool speed. Instead of having a home run swing, try for a smoother cast,
9. Get familiar with the drag system of the spinning reel you have purchased. The drag dial depends on the size of the fish you’re trying to catch.
10. Be careful when hooking a fish as you want to avoid two things: your fishing line breaking due to the mass and strength of the fish or the fish “spitting” your lure or bait. You need to set the hook from the fish’s mouth with just the right pressure and timing.
11. After you have hooked and reeled your target fish, it is also suggested to use a net to successfully get the fish and avoid it from escaping back to the water. If you intend to release the fish back into the water, do not let it run out of breath and try not to squeeze the fish’s stomach and touch its gills as it will rather harm the fish.
Keep this in mind: As you gain more experience, your fishing needs and skills will continue to expand; likely consider upgrading your equipment and adding more tools for your next fishing trip. For now, just enjoy practicing the basics as you get on the water, and do not let yourself get frustrated quickly with your first-time fishing experience.
Whether you’re just beginning or not, your spinning reel plays a huge role in your fishing activity. It is then very important to choose the spinning reel that fits your needs and could best aid you in fishing. An exceptional spinning reel, however, does not always mean the expensive one. There are a lot of spinning reels that do not cost a lot but work just as well.
We have provided you with our list of the best spinning reels under $100 that you can choose from and a guide on how to choose the best spinning reel for you. This will not only help you maximize your budget, but this will also aid your fishing activity as you aim to get that big catch.