Best Fishing Reels – 2020’s Top Picks & Reviews By Experts

Fishing is one of those hobbies that make you relax and give you an opportunity to enjoy nature. There are usually two kinds of people when it comes to fishing. One kind enjoys it more than anything else. The other kind hasn’t tried fishing yet.

The point is, you need to have the right gear in the first place in order to pursue your hobby of fishing. The fishing reel is probably the most important one among them all. That is of course if you don’t consider yourself a barbarian. You can just grab a pointy stick and jump right in the water if you do.

In this article, we’ve listed the best fishing reels for you. All of our choices have been tested and are people’s favorites. These fishing reels can take your fishing experience to the next level.

10 Best Fishing Reels Comparison

Picture Product Name Weight Gear Ratio Price
KastKing Royale Legend   7.7 ounces 6.3:1 Check Latest Price
Daiwa Bg Spinning Reel 16 ounces 5.6:1 Check Latest Price
Zebco 33 Authentic 5.6 ounces 3.6:1 Check Latest Price
KastKing Summer 8.8 ounces 5.0:1 Check Latest Price
Penn Squall LevelWind 30.4 ounces 4.9:1 Check Latest Price
Okuma Ceymar 8 ounces 5.6:1 Check Latest Price
SHIMANO STRADIC 11.8 ounces 6.0:1 Check Latest Price
Pflueger President Spincast 13.1 ounces Check Latest Price
Burning Shark Trolling 1.7 pounds 4.1:1 Check Latest Price
13 Fishing Creed GT 10.4 ounces  6.2:1 Check Latest Price

Things to Consider Before Buying Best Fishing Reels

Before jumping into the review, it’s important that you understand what our reviews are based on. There are a few criteria that come into play while choosing the right fishing reel.

The Type

Getting the right kind of fishing reel is equally as important as any other aspect of fishing. The types totally depend on personal preference. All three of the contenders have their own perks and advantages over the other. Let’s get to it.

Spincast: Spincast is one of the most basic designs of fishing reels. They are perfect for beginners because they are very easy to use. It’s one of the best fishing reels to start with. The spincast fishing reels have an enclosed casing to keep everything inside. The fishing line is fed out of a hole.

There is usually a button that pushes the line out. Once you stop pushing the button, the line will stop. There’s no backlash or twisting of the line. They are as simple as they come. It’s the least expensive type as well.

Spinning Reels: Spinning reels are the most popular kind on the market. They are also easy to use and beginner-friendly. They feature an open design where the spool hangs below the fishing rod, giving it a nice and balanced feel.

These fishing reels are superior to spincast reels in terms of line capacity. They can throw further and have a better chance of getting you some fish. Although they are beginner-friendly, it’s better if you have some experience beforehand.

Baitcasting Reels: It’s the most advanced kind of fishing reel available. You need the experience to tame this complex equipment. The spool will rotate once you cast the reel on to the water. Yes, they are hard to master. But once you do, there is nothing that can beat them in accuracy. You’ll be prone to backlashing and tangled lines. That’s why its best for people with moderate experience so that they can precisely control the line feed.

10 Best Fishing Reels – Reviews

Now that you have a tentative idea of how fishing reels operate, we can get started with the review. We recommend reading all of them so you have a better idea of what you actually want.

1. KastKing Royale Legend/Whitemax Low Profile Baitcasting Fishing Reel

The manufacturer’s tagline is ‘affordable innovation’. kastKing is already well-known for its innovative designs at affordable prices. Hence, the tagline. The Legend is probably the best fishing reel out there for advanced users. The fact that you get a baitcast fishing reel at this price is enough to surprise you.

First things first. The look. The design is very sleek which makes it appear like a very expensive fishing reel. The body is crafted from high-quality materials.

This best fishing reel features a low-profile design that allows you to operate at maximum efficiency. The handles are made out of stainless steel which is also padded to ensure maximum grip. The reel can handle up to 17.5lbs. of weight.

This fishing reel comes with an adjustable centrifugal and magnetic 10-level dual brake system which gives you the unheard amount of control over your casting. We know that baitcasting fishing reels are prone to backlash but this one is an exception.

The gear ratio of this best fishing reel is 7.0:1 which is made out of brass and is equipped with 11+1 noise free bearings. The spool is made of CNC machined and cross-drilled anodized aluminum. It’s very lightweight and easy to handle at all times.

This particular model from KastKing is perfect for bass fishing, trout fishing, ice fishing, and many other things. It’s corrosion-resistant so you can use it in saltwater as well.

Pros:

  • Very high-quality yet affordable
  • High weight capacity to catch bigger fish
  • Available in both right and left-handed versions
  • Very lightweight and easy to handle
  • Carbon fiber star drag system
  • Noise-free operation
  • 7.0:1 gear ratio
  • Baitcasting model for maximum control

Cons:

  • Not suitable for absolute beginners

2. Daiwa Bg Spinning Reel

It’s a spinning reel and suitable for the beginners out there. Daiwa might not be the most well-known company in the fishing industry, but it does make some compelling models. The particular spinning fishing reel is worth every penny.

It’s the flagship model from Daiwa line up. There is a huge size range from 1500-8000 so you have to very certain about your choices. Daiwa has been making fishing reels since 1995 so it knows what it’s doing.

All of the Bg reels from Daiwa comes in black anodizes aluminum casing. The reels look amazing and they perform amazingly as well. The housing itself is scratch proof so you can use them for a very long time.

One of the unique selling points of this model from Daiwa is the oversized Digigear. It’s undoubtedly one of the largest gears you’ll ever find on any spinning reels in this range. The big gear means you get a lot of power while casting the reel without using much energy. The ABS spool and the waterproof drag makes is a lot easier to use than conventional baitcasting fishing reels.

The range of this beginner-friendly best fishing reel is up to 190 yards and it can hold up to 6lbs. of weight. As it’s machined anodized aluminum, it weighs very less at around 8.5 ounces.

Pros:

  • Lightweight aluminum structure
  • Scratch-proof housing
  • Oversized Digigear
  • Waterproof drag system
  • Infinite dual anti-reverse system

Cons:

  • Material quality might not be the best

3. Zebco 33 Authentic Spincast Reel

It’s the first spincast fishing reel on our list. It’s from a company called Zebco and they make the best fishing reels for beginners. It’s the best value for money product on our list as well. It looks cool and it performs well.

Take note that you can’t hunt the largest fish in the water with this fishing reel. You have to keep in mind that it’s a spincast fishing reel it’s really intended for the beginners. With that said, this is one of the most durable spincast fishing reels you can get your hands on.

The body is entirely made out of nice polished metal. As it’s spincast, all the components and gears are hidden inside the steel casing. It has a gear ratio of 4.1:1 so you can understand that it might take a little time to pull the fishes in. It costs less than $20. What more could you ask from a fishing reel this affordable?

The action is very smooth at all contact points of this best fishing reel and the best thing is, the reel comes pre-spooled! It has a capacity of 10lbs. which is very commendable considering its purpose. It might the perfect tool to get started with the fishing game. But if you’re a seasoned angler, this might not be the right choice for you.

Pros:

  • Perfect for absolute beginners
  • 4.1:1 gear ratio
  • Amazing for catching small fishes
  • Weighs only a pound
  • Comes pre-spooled

Cons:

  • Not suitable for catching big fishes
  • Not the strongest of build

Also Read: The Best Baitcasting Rod To Pick

4. KastKing Centron 3000 Spinning Fishing Reel

Another best fishing reel from KastKing. We’ve already established the fact that KastKing is one of the toughest players in the fishing reel industry and the Centron 3000 is an amazing spinning reel from it. The company is here to tame the impossible.

This fishing reel from KastKing costs under $30 but don’t let it fool you. You can catch pretty big fishes with this beauty without having to worry about anything. The Centron 3000 has an amazing stopping power of 17.5lbs. which is pretty impressive. If you didn’t realize yet, it’s the same as the Royal Legend from the manufacturer’s own lineup.
The fishing reel comes with a hardened main shaft, a precision pinion gear, and a mesh drive gear. All of the components are very accurately measured and finished to achieve the maximum result.

Although it’s a spinning reel, the Centron 3000 is pretty lightweight at only 9.1 ounces. This means you can fight the biggest fish in the pond with all that power without having to struggle with the weight of the fishing reel itself.

5. Penn Squall LevelWind

Penn is a well-known manufacturer of best fishing reels for all kinds of people. This particular model, the Squall LevelWind is the successor of the GT series which was immensely popular among the fishing enthusiasts.

Penn features trolling reel technology which is great for fishing under any circumstances. As it’s the later model the GT series, it’s only obvious that the LevelWind is going to be better. And it is.

Trolling reels are perfect for fishing from a moving boat and catch massive fishes without any sweat. The reel is 30LW, which has a weight capacity of 30lbs. with a 370 yards line capacity. With this best fishing reel, you have the chance to explore uncharted territory on your favorite waterbody. It even works in saltwater as well.

This model form Penn is very lightweight thanks to its graphite frame and side plates. The main gear is made of marine-grade bronze alloy. The combination of lightness with strength has made it an impeccable choice as a fishing reel.

The quality of the reel is particularly noticeable. The price of this fishing reel is higher than most of the reels on our list and for good reasons. It’s a premium choice. If you have the dough to get a good-quality fishing reel you should definitely go for this one.

The Versa Handle system is capable to distinguish this fishing reel from the other ones because it’s adjustable on the go. It’s a must-have feature for experienced users to cope with all situations.

Pros:

  • Innovative Trolling Reel design
  • 370 yards and 30lbs. capacity
  • Suitable for both freshwater and saltwater
  • Made from very high-quality material

Cons:

  • Heavier than most fishing reels on the market
  • Comes with a hefty price

6. Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel C -10

When it comes to spinning reels, there is no better option than the Okuma Ceymar range. The C-10 is as best as spinning reels get in terms of quality and functionality. It’s a very lightweight model suitable for trout, sunfish, small perch and a lot of other smaller fish.

The capacity of this fishing reel is 110 yards with 4lbs. of weight. It means that you need to pair it with a very lightweight fishing rod in order to get the best results. As a result of the combination, you’ll be able to catch any fish you want.

The body of the best fishing reel is made out of corrosion-resistant materials so you can use it in both freshwater and saltwater. The drive system consists of 8 bearings and an elliptical gearing system for the smoothest performance.

The casting out and retrieving is very easy with this spinning reel. The innovative design from Okuma is very affordable as well. It’s a great model for the newcomers in the fishing scene.

Pros:

  • Simple spinning reel
  • 110 yards capacity with 4lbs. weight
  • Very lightweight and easy to handle
  • Perfect for fishing small fishes
  • Made with high-quality material
  • Anti-corrosive
  • A great choice for beginners

Cons:

  • Quality is not good enough to last a long time

7. Shimano Stradic HG Spinning Fishing Reel 1000 for Freshwater

If you also possess a hobby of bicycling, you should know about Shimano. They are very popular for their shifters and other bicycle accessories. But did you know Shimano made fishing reels as well?

The Stradic has been a very reliable choice for people who know what Shimano is capable of. The Shimano Stradic is immensely popular among both professional and amateur fishermen. It’s one of the most premium and best fishing reels available on the market as well.

You might think that you can get a baitcasting reel at this price. That’s true. But are you qualified enough to use a baitcasting reel? If not, the Stradic should be the choice for you. It’s lightweight, it has Hagane gear and body. It’s extremely durable and consistent.

The Dyna-balance rotor and Fluiddrive 2 system give an unparalleled smooth casting and retrieving experience. If you know about Shimano’s quality, you shouldn’t hesitate before choosing this spinning reel.
The Shimano Stradic is probably the best fishing reel out there. There might be other opinions about it but you can’t deny the smooth, durable and consistent action that Shimano provides you with.

Pros:

  • Maximum drag up to 24lbs.
  • Weighs very less at around 7 ounces
  • 6.0:1 gear ratio
  • Great for freshwater and saltwater fishing
  • Comes with Shimano’s good brand value

Cons:

  • Costs as much as a baitcasting reel

Also Read: Best Surf Fishing Rods – Pick Your Surf Fishing Rod Like a Pro

8. Pflueger President Spincast Fishing reel

We’re back again to the amazing world of spincast fishing reels. They are perfect for absolute beginners. Pflueger has done an amazing job of creating just the tool for you to enter the fishing scene.

A drawback of the most spincast fishing is that they don’t last very long as the spinning or baitcasting reels. But not this one from Pflueger. This is a heavy-duty model that will last you a long time until you make it to the intermediate level of fishing. So, if you’re genuinely interested in fishing, you can consider this best fishing reel.

The Pflueger President features an aluminum frame with dual titanium pins. It has a gear ratio of 3.8:1 which makes it faster than the conventional spincast fishing reels. The casting and retrieval of this fishing reel are very smooth although you don’t get the precision a baitcasting fishing reel can offer.

The grip comes with soft rubber to give you the perfect maneuver. The aluminum casing makes sure that weight way under the threshold. It’s superior to the other spincast fishing reel in our list, the Zebco one. Keep in mind that you can’t enter the big game with this fishing reel.

Pros:

  • 3.8:1 gear ratio for faster retrieving
  • Great for beginners
  • Weighs around 11.2 ounces
  • Heavy-duty than most other spincast reels

Cons:

  • Costs as much as a spinning reel

9. Burning Shark SHA40 Trolling Reel

Yet another trolling reel design but this time it’s from Burning Shark. It’s a pretty heavy-duty fishing reel designed for the ocean. You can catch sea bass, groupers, salmon and other saltwater fishes with ease using this fishing reel.

The line capacity on this best fishing reel is 430 yards with 20lbs. of weight capacity. The long line and the high weight threshold makes it a perfect choice for deep water fishing as well. The fishing reel is built using the highest-quality material like anodized aluminum or stainless steel. The handle on this fishing reel is made out of stainless steel instead of rubber to give it a more uniform look.

The stainless-steel handle might become a problem as well. If you have a tendency to get really intense with the fishing, it’s not impossible to get the reel wet. Once it’s wet, it might get slippery and cause you to lose control of the fish.

The gear ratio on this best fishing reel is 4.1:1 so it’s not the fastest out there. But the CNC aluminum spool has the ability to make the casting and retrieval process very smooth and silent. It’s a great option for the moderately experienced fishing enthusiasts or for people who are thinking about switching from spincast reels.

Pros:

  • Great for deep-sea fishing
  • Great line capacity with 430 yards 20lbs.
  • Very affordable and smartly priced
  • Features a trolling reel
  • Weighs only 1.7 pounds
  • Can handle large fishes easily

Cons:

  • Not the fastest trolling reel out there

10. One3 Creed GT 2000

The final best fishing reel on our list is a spinning reel. It’s a top of the line item for One3. While the spinning reels are not very well known for its casting distance, this particular one from One3 has blown all its competitors out of the water.

The design of the spool is very innovative and its working like a charm. The One3 is a lesser-known company than most other manufacturers whose mother company is 13 fishing. But One3 has been making compelling fishing reels for quite some time now.

The GT 2000 might not be the best at drag and power, but it can surely cast. If you value casting precision over anything in a spinning reel, go for the One3 Creed GT 2000 by all means. It features a gear ratio of 6.2:1 with Fat Bail wire. The rotor is made of Airfoil which aids in reducing the weight.

The fishing reel weighs only 11.2 ounces which are perfect for day to day fishing on your favorite waterbody. The reel itself features a very sleek and modern design. Just pair it up with good quality and lightweight fishing rods and you’re good to go.

Take Away

Having a good quality fishing reel is mandatory if you take your hobby of fishing seriously. It doesn’t matter whether you are a novice fisherman or a seasoned one, the right tool will always make your time more enjoyable. Choosing a fishing reel is just the start of the journey.

As for our recommendation, all of the products on our list are the best fishing reels. We’ve worked really hard to figure out the best spin cast, spinning and baitcasting fishing reels for you. kastKing and Shimano ones are the overall best. Read through the review carefully to determine exactly which one you need.

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Derek S. Webb
 

Derek Webb is a family man, outdoor enthusiast, and Editor-In-Chief at Outdoor On! He is a regular columnist in big media publication - writing from fishing to camping to various outdoor stuff.