Without question, the most important piece of fishing gear we’ll ever own is our fishing rod or reel, so choosing the very best one is essential to the angler.
A spinning reel is the most popular choice for young and old anglers and is often the favorite for those who are completely new to this hobby.
The best spinning reel will likely look different for everyone, and you’ll have to factor in a few things to make sure you get the right one.
However, when it comes to the top-rated spinning reels, we’ve found those that constantly perform on the market and have many grateful users, so you don’t have to search too hard for your next investment.
Choosing a spinning reel means looking at the features it offers like the spool, drag, and handle, but also finding one that fits your skills and experience as an angler.
These open-faced reels are the ideal complement to a lightweight setup, and they’re enjoyed by both amateur and professional fishermen.
Therefore, finding the perfect one is a little more complicated than you might first think.
This buying guide was designed to help point you in the right direction of the best reel to meet your needs.
We’ve found a great mix of entry-level and advanced reels from the top spinning reel reviews, so all you have to do is pick one that suits you best.
With this essential piece of gear in your box, you can build your other equipment around it, and develop a comprehensive setup that’ll only lead to more successful and enjoyable fishing trips.
Best Spinning Reel
With hundreds of options on the market, we’ve narrowed down your search to bring you the best spinning reels we could find.
These range from specific tools like the best spinning reel for bass to the best value for money, so depending on what you’re looking for in a reel, we’re sure to have you covered.
Check out our recommendations for the best of the best spinning reels on the market today.
Winner: KastKing Emerald Eagle 2000
KastKing is a popular brand for anglers who want value for money, but quality gear and their KastKing Emerald Eagle is our top pick for the best spinning reel.
Not only is it the best fishing reel for the money, but it’s smooth to operate with a fast speed 6:2:1 gear ratio and a graphite frame and rotor that gives it a lightweight feel.
Featuring a 22lb carbon fiber drag, it has loads of strength against whatever fish you’re trying to catch.
The best thing about this reel that earned it out top spot was the smoothness of the drag.
This is achieved by their patented sealed carbon drag system that ensures the washers stay dry and able to perform.
The MaxiDur stainless steel ball bearings further add to this smoothness and give you the most accurate cast for a spinning reel at this price.
Having such a smooth drag system means less work, which is especially helpful for those who are new to fishing.
However, there were some minor inconveniences worth noting if you’re considering this setup.
Some users have found issues with the line twisting if they weren’t careful with the spool, so extra attention needs to be given on setup.
There were also mentions of a slight clicking sound coming from inside the reel as it was being retrieved, which could indicate bigger issues down the line.
KastKing has a range of different spinning reels in this collection, but the Emerald Eagle 2000 is our top pick.
It weighs around 8.8oz and features 10+1 bearings, with a mono capacity of 4/280.
You have the option of either a graphite or carbon fiber design, depending on your preference.
It has a braided line ready spool and a lightweight handle made of aluminum with ergonomic EVA knob, so you’re always in full control without getting any of the usual discomforts.
This quality spinning reel from KastKing costs around $50 when you shop on Amazon, but there are plenty of other upgrades and downgrades you can make to suit.
|Mono Capacity:||4/280 6/220|
|Number of Bearings:||10+1|
Although there’s no warranty offered by KastKing for the Emerald Eagle 2000, it has loads of happy customers who were thrilled at the smooth drag and lightweight construction, so we’re certain it’ll be your favorite as well.
Runner-Up: Pflueger President Pressp30x Spinning Reel
The Pflueger President range of spinning reels are among their most popular sellers, and our top pick would have to be the Pressp30x model.
With ten corrosion resistant ball bearings and lightweight construction of only 7.2oz, it’s so easy to pack up and take along anywhere and handles surprisingly well for something this size.
The fast gear ratio of 5:2:1 is a treat to work, it features a braid ready spool, and the bail is thick and durable.
This reel is incredibly easy to set up and disassemble, so it would be ideal for a beginner.
It’s also able to be used for either left or right-handed return, depending on your preference.
However, as it’s a bit more costly for an entry-level reel, you’ll want to make sure its features match your needs.
The smoothness of the drag is another great advantage that customers have noted compared to cheaper reels, and it will ultimately assist in you landing more fish.
Although users have mentioned that the drag is smooth, there does seem to be an issue finding the perfect setting for it.
Many reviewers stated that it was a little too tight to be effective and required more adjusting than they’d usually like.
For new anglers, this could present a problem, and you might need extra assistance to get it perfect.
The reel stalk is also short compared to others, so if you have larger hands or like more space, this might not be the option for you.
The Pflueger President Pressp30x Spinning Reel features a sealed drag system so that it stays lubricated without getting damage from water.
The body and rotor are both made of graphite, so it’s light but strong, and it offers a surprising amount of durability for something that feels so delicate.
With a mono capacity of 220/2 in terms of yards and pound, it’s pretty standard for something in this mid-level price range.
Although it’s more expensive than most entry-level rods, you are getting what you pay for with the Pflueger President Pressp30x Spinning Reel.
It costs around $60 for the reel on Amazon and is built to last for many years, like other Pflueger reels and rods.
If you’re happy to spend a little more, you’ll be rewarded with quality construction and smooth drag, provided you can get the settings right.
|Mono Capacity:||255/4; 145/6; 130/8|
|Number of Bearings:||10|
Alternative: Penn Battle II 3000 Spinning Fishing Reel
Penn is a name synonymous with quality fishing gear, and if you don’t mind paying extra, you’ll always be guaranteed the best of the best.
Within their range of Battle II Spinning Fishing Reels, we’ve chosen the 3000 model, also regarded as the best spinning wheel for bass fishing.
This durable full metal bodied reel has an aluminum bail wire and carbon fiber drag system, utilizing the best materials for each part.
The best thing about this spinning reel is how far it can cast, the smoothness of the drag, and how quickly it can be retrieved.
As the three main factors, an angler looks at when assessing a new spinning reel to purchase; it’s good to know that it ticks all three.
As an entry-level reel, it may be too expensive, but if you know how to handle a spinning reel, it’s a great choice.
One negative that a few customers mentioned was the weight of the reel.
Weighing around one pound, this is easily a few ounces more than others we’ve reviewed, and this extra weight ultimately affects its use.
The reel is made with a full metal body, so it can come as a shock how heavy it feels when you first use it.
However, if you’re someone who prefers a bulkier reel as it equates to extra strength, this probably won’t bother you as much.
Other cool features include the super line spool, which doesn’t need any back and is braid ready out of the box.
The line capacity rings are found at full capacity, 1/3 or 2/3. It features a carbon fiber drag system that gives you enough strength for large saltwater gamefish, and it does all of this without compromising on smoothness.
The gear ratio is 6:2:1, so it gets good speed when you need it, allowing you to keep up with whatever’s on the end of your line.
The Penn Battle II 3000 Spinning Fishing Reel is a costly affair, but if you’re only interested in high-quality fishing gear, then you’ll be happy to pay.
It’s currently listed on Amazon for around $80, and that’s with a current promotion and discount, so they usually retail for over $100.
Penn is known as a premium fishing gear brand, and everything they make comes with a one-year limited warranty, so their equipment is worth a look.
|Number of Bearings:||5|
Alternative: Penn Pursuit III 3000 Spinning Fishing Reel
Penn has another top spinning reel that we recommend for a mid-range budget, and that’s the Pursuit III 3000 model.
This spinning reel features a high speed 6:2:1 gear ratio for fast retrievals and is a pretty good weight of 11.8oz to suit all kinds of users and fish Made from a corrosion-resistant graphite body and an HT-100 carbon fiber drag system it utilizes only the best quality materials for a spinning reel like this.
What anglers love about this reel, besides it featuring the high-quality craftsmanship that Penn is famous for, is how lightweight the reel is.
Weighing around 11.8oz, it may be a little heavier than others we’ve reviewed, but it doesn’t feel it.
It has a corrosion-resistant graphite body that gives it this light touch but also keeps it incredibly strong, so it’s able to bring in the big fish.
On the negative side, though, some anglers have found that it can be a little noisy to operate.
The gears seem to be making noise from inside the reel, which can be off-putting.
Other users have found this 3000 smaller than others they’ve used in the past, which can lead to issues matching it with the right fishing rod.
This spinning reel from Penn features 4+1 shielded stainless steel bearings, so it runs with the smoothest of ease.
The drag system in place makes it an ideal choice for anyone looking to tackle larger saltwater fish, but it performs just as well for small catches during freshwater fishing as well.
With a line capacity of 200/8 and a line capacity ring indicator, you’ll always be aware of how much line is in the water and will be able to adjust accordingly.
With an entry-level price tag of around $50 on Amazon, but with the technology and high quality that people expect from Penn, the Pursuit III 3000 is great for new and experienced anglers.
This reel comes with a one-year limited warranty, so you know it’s well made, and whether you’re just starting out with fishing or need a reliable spinning reel to add to your extensive setup, the Penn Pursuit III 3000 is one to consider.
|Mono Capacity:||200/8 165/10 120/12|
|Number of Bearings:||4+1|
Alternative: Piscifun Flame 2000 Spinning Reel
If your number one priority is choosing a cheap entry-level spinning reel and you’re not too worried about the bells and whistles, the Piscifun Flame 2000 Spinning Rell is perfect.
This would make a great gift for a kid or beginner angler, and it weighs a very light 8.5oz.
As the 2000 model, it’s better for catching small fish off the beach, and with a 5:5:1 gear ratio, you should have no issues pulling them in quickly.
The best thing about this spinning reel is the low cost and the efficiency of such a small package.
The lightweight feel, thanks to its hollow graphite body, means you can carry it without a fuss and travel lightly to your fishing destination.
It’s good for children and those with little experience, offering a great entry-level spinning reel to get you started.
Although this reel features nine ball bearings plus a roller bearing, it could be a little smoother.
This is where customers noticed the most obvious difference from more experience models because it didn’t seem to drag and cast as smoothly.
This could affect the learning process for new anglers, but if you have extra patience and are willing to take some more time to learn, you’ll be able to figure out the niggles.
The design of the Piscifun Flame 2000 is a matte black body with a bright red aluminum spool that gives it its name.
It has a hollow graphite body with light reel gears and precision gears and features the braid ready spool normally found on more expensive models.
All of these parts combined allow you to get around 19.8lbs of drag power so you can catch small to medium weight fish.
It has a reinforced metal shaft, triple drag washers, and machined brass pinion gear, which are all great to see at this price point.
Piscifun doesn’t offer a warranty on this spinning reel, but it’s so affordable they don’t have to.
You can get the Piscifun Flame 2000 Spinning Reel on Amazon for under $20, so it’s a great way to kick off your fishing career.
This rod is lightweight, easy to use, and does a decent job of pulling in the smaller catches, so it’s pretty good value for the price.
|Number of Bearings:||9+1|
The Most Popular Reel for All Types of Anglers
There’s a good reason why the spinning reel remains the most popular choice for anglers looking for a general fishing tool that can do it all.
This open-faced reel is easy to set up, a dream to cast and gets rid of common issues like tangles and knots that often happen when you’re learning how to fish.
If you’re brand new to fishing, finding a good value spinning reel will be your entry into this hobby.
Even those with years of experience should still have a quality spinning reel in their arsenal as it’s the most accommodating and easy to use of all of the other options.
With our recommendations, you’re certain to find the perfect spinning reel that will serve you well for years to come.
Spinning Reel Buyer’s Guide
Every rod and reel combo you have helps you achieve a more successful fishing trip. This is definitely something you want to keep in mind as you find the best spinning reel for your next fishing trip.
Not only do you have to consider what kind of fish you are targeting, but you also need to consider where it is you will be fishing as well. For example, a harsh environment would be one that is in saltwater or brackish water. For this, you want saltwater fishing rods that have a top-quality reel that is rust-resistant.
Now you must consider the amount and the size of the line you are going to need to land your target fish species. Large freshwater fish like tarpon, for example, require a reel with enough line to make longer runs and a drag system that will handle the heat.
The reel should also be easy to use and something you look forward to using. If there is a lot of noise and vibration, then you are using a lower-quality reel. To fix this, consider the bearings. The bearings are what reduce the noise and vibration and will perform much better.
Another crucial part of your reel selection is reel construction. Some wanted to create a reel that was light enough for all-day casting, but they also had to make sure it was strong and durable enough to withstand going after larger and more aggressive fish. All metal components are used for more durable reels.
Speed Versus Power
Next, the gear ratio of the reel determines how fast you can retrieve the line along with how much power you have. Reels that have a ratio of 5.5:1 to 6.3:1 are considered fast retrieve reels. However, for more cranking power, you will want to consider a reel with a ratio of 4.1:1.
While this may sound like something to avoid, it is an important point to remember as you choose the best reel. Front and rear adjustment are what separate the drag in spinning reels. A rear adjustable drag is easier to work with while you are in the middle of fighting with a big fish. Or, you can look for a smoother drag that is tight enough to stay right where it is adjusted.
A spinning reel can handle line weights of two pounds and can also cast much lighter lures. All reel spools have a line capacity indication, and this is going to help you determine which reel to select. You can usually find this valuable information on the spool. If you try using a smaller diameter line on a larger spool, you will soon find problems with tangles happening inside of the reel.
Spinning Reel FAQ
Whether you’re new to fishing altogether or just want to brush up on your knowledge on this popular style of reel, we’ve got all of the answers you’re looking for.
These are some frequently asked questions about spinning reels with our expert answers, to give you some more background on the most commonly used fisherman’s tool out there.
How does a spinning reel work?
A spinning reel houses the fishing line in the bail, and it also keeps the line in order so that it can neatly come off the spool and onto the rod.
When you flip up the casting trigger to open the bail, it releases the line, and then it’s flipped back down again once casting is done.
Can you use a spinning reel on a casting rod?
Although it is possible to use a spinning reel on a casting rod, it’s generally not recommended.
The design of the rod and its guides do not match the spinning reel, and it can harm the performance of both the rod and reel, especially when it comes to the length of your cast.
It’s best to use spinning reels only on the rod they’ve been manufactured for.
What is the difference between baitcasting and spinning rods?
Baitcasting rods feature guide spacing, and the reel is on top of the rod while fishing.
A spinning rod will also have guides, but they’ll be smaller in size, and the reel won’t be located on top.
A casting rod is generally preferred for boat fishing, where spinning rods are better for everywhere else.
The spinning rod is easier to learn and prevents tangles, so they’re usually recommended for beginners.
How do I stop my spinning reel from spinning backward?
There are a few reasons why a spinning reel may be going in reverse and some simple fixes.
First, check that your reel’s anti-reverse function is on and in the correct position.
Next, check the bail to make sure it’s installed correctly and closed; otherwise, it can spin in reverse.
Finally, you should recalibrate the drag setting on your reel so that it spins the right way.
What is the switch on the bottom of a spinning reel?
The switch location on most modern spinning reels is the anti-reverse switch.
This prevents the reel from turning the wrong way and spinning backward, and it also engages the drag.
You can turn the switch off if needed, which some do if they plan on back-reeling, but for beginner anglers, it’s best to leave it engaged.
What to Look For in a Saltwater Spinning Reel?
When you are on the hunt for a saltwater spinning reel, consider the length, the power, and the action you are going to need. A longer fishing rod can cast further while a shorter fishing rod can give you more power.
What Spinning Reels for Bass Should You Use?
One of the best spinning reels for bass is the Shimano Stradic Ci4+. It comes in at 25 percent less weight and is water resistant due to its CoreProtect 360-degree coating that also extends its overall durability. Its gears make it even more powerful than die-cast aluminum and graphite.
What are Baitcaster Reels?
Baitcaster reels let you cast lures like jigs, spinner baits, and crankbaits with much more accuracy. However, there is also a drag resistance and it might require a higher skill set to thumb the spool as the line flows off of baitcaster reels.