10 Best Spinning Reels Under $100: Reviewed & Compared

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When fishing, it’s important to have the right gear to catch fish. A spinning reel is a critical piece of fishing equipment and one of the simplest to use for beginner and intermediate fisherman. Investing in fishing gear doesn’t need to break the bank, however, and we have compiled a list of our favorite spinning reels under $100.

Preview

Model

Gear Ratio

Line Capacity

Check Price

Penn 1338219 Battle II 4000 Spinning Fishing...

Penn Battle II

6.2:1

⅓, ⅔, and full capacity yds/lbs

Okuma Azores Saltwater Spinning Reel Size 55

Okuma Azores

5.8:1

10-15 Lbs.

PENN Fierce III Reel

Penn Fierce III 8000C

6.2:1

475/50 yds/lbs

Daiwa BG4000 BG Saltwater Spinning Reel,...

Daiwa Bg

5.6:1

8 yds 170/lbs

Cadence CS8 Spinning Reel, Ultralight Fast...

Cadence CS8-3000

6.2:1

10/150 yds/lbs

Shimano Nasci C 3000 HG FB compact spinning...

SHIMANO NASCI Inshore

6.2:1

10/200 yds/lbs

KastKing Speed Demon Spinning Reel,Size 3000

KastKing Speed Demon

7.2:1

142/10 yds/lbs

Shimano Sedona 8000FI; Freshwater Spinning...

SHIMANO Sedona SE8000FI

5.0:1

85/15 yds/lbs

Pflueger Supreme Spinning Reel

Pflueger Supreme

6.2:1

160/10 yds/lbs

Abu Garcia REVO2X40 Revo x Spinning Fishing...

Abu Garcia Revo X

6.2:1

175/8 yds/lbs


Why Every Angler Needs a Spinning Reel

Spinning reels provide a few advantages from other reels but are ultimately best for simple fishing and easy water environments. Spinning reels are best for long-distance fishing. If a fisher wants to cast a long line into the water, the spinning reel is perfect.

Spinning reels cannot handle heavy lines, however, and are best for fishermen who want to use light baits such as live bait and soft plastic bait. Spinning reels are not restricted by drag and, therefore, can cast long, deep lines. Fishers also use spinning reels for crankbaits, light jerkbaits, and drop-shots. Purchasing an affordable spinning reel is a smart decision for any casual fisherman or pro angler who wants a long line with no drag.


Choosing a Quality Spinning Reel Under $100

Type of Fish & Environment

When choosing a spinning reel, consider the type of fish and the environment. Most spinning reels are best for lightweight fish, such as small bass. Calm water is also best for spinning reels. Choose a spinning reel that is listed as an ideal choice for the fish you want to catch and the water environment.

Weight & Size

Spinning reels come in different weight sizes. Ultralight spinning reels are typically between 0.5 lbs and 1.5 lbs, while lightweight spinning reels weigh approximately 1.5 lbs to 3 lbs. We recommend choosing an ultralight spinning reel when possible for small fish and calm waters because it offers smoother drag and a quicker cast. Lightweight spinning reels are great for slightly heavier fish or a somewhat slower cast but still typically require calm water.

Reel Features

Look for a solidly constructed body, ideally a full metal body, for your spinning reel. Consider whether or not you want anti-reverse handles, which are handy for drag and keep the reel from spinning backward. Also, consider the gear ratio you want: low, medium, or high.

Drag System

Your drag system creates tension on the fishing line by adding or removing friction. A tighter drag system gives the angler more control over the fish, while a lighter drag system allows the fish to fight back. Most drag systems can be adjusted to offer a light or tight drag. Consider the type of materials used to create the drag system. We recommend choosing carbon fiber materials when possible. 

Ball Bearings

Stainless steel ball bearings are the premier choice for spinning reels. It is essential to choose a durable, tough material that can stay in place. Most spinning reels have several ball bearings, and we recommend selecting a model with at least five ball bearings for best fishing results.

Spool Style

Most spool styles today are skirted; however, internal spools still exist with a few manufacturers. We recommend choosing a skirted spool style because it is less likely to end up tangled. Internal spools are housed entirely inside the spool, so when tangles occur, there isn't a feasible way to untangle the spool. Skirted spools lower the risk of lines twisting and make it possible to untangle them.

Line Capacity

Make sure that you check the line capacity on the spinning reel that you purchase. The line capacity rating displays middle line capacity, and therefore you can adjust the rating. For example, a middle line capacity of 6lbs can hold a 6lb line as well as a 4 lb or 8 lb line.

Warranty

Most warranties are one year at this price range. The more extended the warranty, the more protection offered if a part of your spinning reel malfunctions. Consider the warranty in comparison to the price.


10 Best Spinning Reels Under $100 Reviewed

1. Penn Battle II

Our top pick!

Reel Size

5 x 4 x 3 Inches

Weight

1 lb

Gear Ratio

6.2:1

Line Capacity

⅓, ⅔, and full capacity yds/lbs

Ball Bearings

5

Warranty

1-year manufacturer’s

Our top pick for spinning reels under $100 is the Penn Battle II. This spinning reel model comes in a variety of configurations with models 1000, 2000, 2500, 3000, 4000, and 5000 under $100. These spinning reel configurations all come in a classic black and gold finish for premium, luxury style. This model has a full metal body and side plate for added durability.

The aluminum bail is sturdy and tough. The spool line has ⅓, ⅔, and full capacity line capacity. With 5 stainless steel ball bearings, this model offers smooth cranks and quick drag with HT carbon fiber drag system. This model is perfect for fast retrieval and offers more power than expected for a traditional spinning reel.

Moj wrote on Penn Fishing, “Great combination for ultralight fishing, the Penn Battle II is an extremely strong and reliable reel, with exceptionally fine combat brakes.”

Customers have reported that the drag knob can bend after repeated use and may require a quick repair. Other customers have said that there is excess grease used in the gear housing that may make the reel feel stuck or stiff. This can be resolved by "breaking in" the reel through repeated use. If you want an affordable, high-quality, stylish spinning reel, then we recommend the Penn Battle II for you.

Pros
  • Stylish black and gold finish
  • Wide range of configuration models
  • Full metal body
  • HT 100 carbon fiber drag system
Cons
  • Drag knob can bend
  • Excess grease

2. Okuma Azores

Runner up

Reel Size

6 x 6 x 4 Inches

Weight

1.32 lbs

Gear Ratio

5.8:1

Line Capacity

10-15 lbs.

Ball Bearings

6 ball bearings

Warranty

1-year

The Okuma Azores is the runner up option on our list. This spinning reel is designed specifically for saltwater fishing. The Hydro “block water” tight seal is ideal for keeping water out of the main system. The Precision Dual Force Drag system is state-of-the-art and offers superior casting distance with customizable drag options.

The drag system is made with corrosion-resistant carbonite and felt drag washers for maximum durability. The solid aluminum bail wire is matched with an aluminum spool and arm handle. The brass gear is listed at a gear ratio of 5.8:1. This model comes with a one year manufacturer’s warranty.

This model has a line capacity of 10-15 lbs and 6 ball bearings. The handle can also be switched from the right side to the left side for added flexibility. Customers have noted that this model is heavier than other lightweight models.

The reel weighs approximately 1.32 lbs and shouldn't be challenging to hold. However, customers who want an ultralight spinning reel will be disappointed. This model also lacks a self-closing bail. If you plan to fish primarily in saltwater and want a high-quality spinning reel with an excellent drag system, then we recommend this model.

Pros
  • Specially designed for Saltwater fishing
  • Hydro “block water” tight seal
  • Precision Dual Force Drag system
Cons
  • Does not have self-closing bail
  • Heavier than other lightweight models

3. Penn Fierce III 8000C

best saltwater spinning reel under $100

Reel Size

4.7 x 4.7 x 3.2 Inches

Weight

0.76 lbs

Gear Ratio

6.2:1

Line Capacity

475/50 yds/lbs

Ball Bearings

5 ball bearings

Warranty

1 year manufacturer’s

The Penn Fierce III 8000C is the best saltwater spinning reel under $100. This saltwater spinning reel is specially designed for saltwater fishing trips. The Penn Fierce III line has several models with different sizes: 1000, 2500, 3000, 4000, 5000, 6000, and 8000. All models are under $100; however, we recommend the 2500 model for most anglers.

This model is highly durable and made out of high-quality build parts. This saltwater spinning reel has a full metal body and stainless steel ball bearings. This spinning reel has five ball bearings and a gear ratio of 6.2:1. Heavy-duty aluminum bail wire with a braid-ready spool makes it easy to begin fishing immediately. An instant anti-reverse mechanism with the bearing system helps keep hooksets steady and strong. This spinning reel also comes with a one-year manufacturer warranty.

“I fish only freshwater (Great Lakes Salmonid species) even though Penn reels are marketed as saltwater reels, for me that means they are heavy duty reels that can take a lot of punishment and more than capable of handling hand fighting Salmonid species,” wrote Charlie on Penn Fishing.

Customers have reported, however, that the gears require frequent cleaning after use. For anglers fishing in saltwater, make sure that you wash the gears after each trip out. Customers have also reported that the bail spring may fail over time. If you want a high-quality saltwater spinning reel with a full metal body, we recommend this model.

Pros
  • Highly durable
  • Full metal body
  • Stainless steel ball bearings
Cons
  • Gears require frequent cleansing
  • Bail spring failure

4. Daiwa Bg

Best surf spinning reel under $100

Reel Size

6 x 5 x 4 Inches

Weight

0.88 lbs

Gear Ratio

5.6:1

Line Capacity

8 yds 170/lbs

Ball Bearings

6+1

Warranty

1-year

The best surf spinning reel under $100 is the Daiwa Bg Spinning Reel. This model comes in 1500, 2500, 4000, 4500, 5000, and 6000 models. The 1500, 2500, and 4000 are all under $100, but we recommend the 2500 model for most anglers.

The Daiwa Bg spinning reel 2500 model features an infinite anti-reverse system. This system limits handle movement and limits the amount of shock the reel experiences. This spinning reel is ideal for both saltwater and freshwater. It has a gorgeous professional aesthetic with a high-quality black aluminum body and simple, orange finishes. The braided line ready spool helps create fast retrieval, and the line capacity hits 8/170. This is a tough spinning reel ready for long fishing trips.

Laddie wrote on BassPro, “The reel is just as advertised. It is extremely smooth, and casts great with plenty of drag.”

Customers noted that the foot of this reel doesn’t fit on every fishing pole. It’s a bit larger and may need to be adjusted. This reel model can also develop a "catch" on the retrieval. When this happens, a few adjustments may need to be made. This model from Daiwa comes with a one-year limited warranty.

Pros
  • Infinite Anti-Reverse System
  • Fast Retrieval
  • Professional Style
Cons
  • Catch can develop on retrieval
  • Foot of reel doesn’t fit every fishing pole

5. Cadence CS8-3000

best ultralight spinning reel under $100

Reel Size

6.3 x 5.5 x 3.5 Inches

Weight

0.46 lbs

Gear Ratio

6.2:1

Line Capacity

10/150 yds/lbs

Ball Bearings

9 + 1

Warranty

1- year manufacturer’s

The Cadence CS8-3000 is the best ultralight spinning reel under $100. This spinning reel model is highly portable and ultralight, weighing just 7.4 oz. This model comes with 9 stainless steel ball bearings and 1 additional instant anti-reverse bearing for smooth retrieval.

The highly sophisticated carbon fiber drag system ensures that users can adjust drag power for different types of fish. The aluminum spool is braid ready for easy set-up. The main body on this spinning reel is made out of magnesium rather than aluminum, which makes it lighter and stronger than comparable spinning reels. The power here means that anglers won't have to worry about flexing when hooking fish and reeling them in.

This reel has a gear ratio of 6.2:1 and has a line capacity of 10/150 yards/lbs. Users have noted that this spinning reel has difficulty handling heavier fish. If you consistently hunt for fish over 20 lbs., we recommend choosing another reel. Other customers have reported that the ends of the reel are not as smooth as other reels. However, the ergonomic handle on this reel makes it easy to grip and guide while fishing. This spinning reel offers a one-year limited warranty.

Pros
  • Ultralight
  • Highly portable
  • Carbon fiber drag system
  • Magnesium core material
Cons
  • Sharp Ends
  • Difficulty handling heavier fish

6. SHIMANO NASCI

best inshore spinning reel under 100

Reel Size

5.8 x 5.2 x 3.6 Inches

Weight

0.55 lbs

Gear Ratio

6.2:1

Line Capacity

10/200 yds/lbs

Ball Bearings

4

Warranty

1- year

The Shimano NASCI Inshore is the best inshore spinning reel under 100. This Shimano NASCI Inshore line comes with several model numbers; however, we recommend the 3000 model. This model has a gear ratio of 6.2:1 and a line capacity of 10/200 yds/lbs. This model includes a retrieval range of 26-41 inches and has a drag power range of 7-24 lbs.

This spinning reel operates with a front drag, which offers greater control while fishing. Hagane gear materials means that each metal component is built with defined teeth and a tough body. Shimano gear is cold-forged for strength and does not use cutting to create the reel. It works well in both freshwater and saltwater settings. Aesthetically, this spinning reel has a black, aluminum, and gold finish.

The propulsion line management system on this reel is also ideal for many inshore anglers. The spool lip design allows anglers to propel longer casts. Customers have reported that this model has a tight hand area that can be too small for large hands or fingers. If you wear an XL glove, we recommend choosing a different spinning reel for comfort.

Other hand sizes should not have a problem with the hand space. This spinning reel also comes without an anti-reverse switch, which may bother some anglers. If you want a great inshore fishing reel, we recommend this SHIMANO NASCI 3000 model. Shimano has backed this spinning reel with a one year warranty.

Pros
  • Propulsion Line Management system
  • Front drag system
  • Hagane Gear materials
Cons
  • Tight hand area for large hands
  • No anti-reverse switch

7. KastKing Speed Demon

best for bass fishing Under $100

Reel Size

6.5 x 6.1 x 3.1 Inches

Weight

0.61 lbs

Gear Ratio

7.2:1

Line Capacity

142/10 yds/lbs

Ball Bearings

10

Warranty

1- year

The KastKing Speed Demon is the best spinning reel under $100 for bass fishing. KastKing Speed Demon comes in a few different models, but we recommend the 3000 model. This model has a fast gear ratio of 7.2:1 for superior performance.

The carbon drag system is made up of three carbon discs that provide strength while still delivering a smooth, flawless cast. This model is perfect for bass fishing because bass are an aggressive fish that requires fast casts and strong retrieval. Anglers will appreciate that this model comes with 10 stainless steel ball bearings for a flawless casting to retrieval process. This reel is lightweight and has an aluminum frame.

Aesthetically, this reel is a combination of black and classic red. This reel has a shine that can make your fishing rod stand out from the crowd. A few customers have noted that the drag can stick on this model.

The best way to resolve this problem is to keep the reel lubricated. Other anglers noted that one of the screws on the handle tends to unscrew with repeated use. Tightening the handle screws after purchase can help fix this problem. This spinning reel comes with a one year warranty from KastKing.

Pros
  • Fast gear ratio of 7.2:1
  • Carbon drag system
  • 10 stainless steel ball bearings
Cons
  • Screw needs to be tightened on handle
  • Drag can stick

8. SHIMANO Sedona SE8000FI

best Shimano spinning reel under 100

Reel Size

Not Available

Weight

0.475 lbs

Gear Ratio

5.0:1

Line Capacity

85/15 yds/lbs

Ball Bearings

3

Warranty

1- year

The best Shimano spinning reel under 100 is the Shimano Sedona SE8000FI. This spinning reel comes in a vibrant color choice with a mixture of light silver aluminum and light gold. The G-Free body helps pull the center of gravity closer to the rod, which makes it easy for anglers to hold and use while casting. This can keep general fatigue from setting in.

Hagane Gears are also present on this Shimano fishing reel. The core metal pieces of this reel were made without cutting work, which ensures that the reel remains strong and smooth. Shimano added the cross carbon drag system as well for a clean, effortless cast. To keep wind knots from interfering with the rod, Shimano added their propulsion line management system.

Hung wrote on Tackle Direct, “Very good reel, surprisingly smooth and very quiet. The price is reasonable for this quality, awesome!”

Customers have noted, however, that the drag can stick on this model over time. We recommend lubricating this spinning reel to avoid this problem. This spinning reel also works best with small and medium-sized fish. If you plan to hunt for fish over 15 lbs. then we recommend choosing another reel. Shimano offers a one year warranty on their spinning reels, including this model.

Pros
  • G-Free Body
  • Hagane Gears
  • Shiny aesthetic with a mix of silver aluminum and light gold
Cons
  • Cannot handle heavy fish
  • Drag can stick

9. Pflueger Supreme

best for trout fishing

Reel Size

4.4 x 4 x 3 Inches

Weight

0.16 lbs

Gear Ratio

6.2:1

Line Capacity

160/10 yds/lbs

Ball Bearings

9

Warranty

1- year

The best for trout fishing spinning reel on our list is the Pflueger Supreme. When fishing for trout, it is important to have a spinning reel that is ultra lightweight and can handle bait, lures, and flies. The Pflueger Supreme comes in the 25x, 30x, 35x, and 40x models. We recommend choosing the 30x for most anglers.

This spinning reel has a magnesium body and rotor, which creates an ultra lightweight reel at 0.16 lbs with a 6.2:1 gear ratio. The aircraft-grade aluminum handle is lightweight and ergonomic to prevent fishing hand fatigue. The braid ready spool makes it possible to attach the braid directly to the spool. This spinning reel has a classic look with an aluminum, black, and oil-rubbed gold aesthetic.

Bull wrote on BassPro, “This reel is ideal for jiggling and casting small/medium size walleye baits. The reel is lightweight and super smooth. The drag system works great on all size fish.”

This spinning reel is an ultra lightweight model and does not have the same strength as heavier reels. If you plan to hunt smaller fish in the 2-10 lb range, such as trout, this is an excellent reel with plenty of strength. Users did note that the dust cover pops off frequently, but this can be easily replaced. Pflueger spinning reel has a one year warranty. 

Pros
  • Ultra lightweight
  • Magnesium body
Cons
  • Dust cover pops off
  • Not as strong as other reels

10. Abu Garcia Revo X

best freshwater spinning reel under $100

Reel Size

5.9 x 3.2 x 5.9 Inches

Weight

0.61 lbs

Gear Ratio

6.2:1

Line Capacity

175/8 yds/lbs

Ball Bearings

7

Warranty

1- year

The Abu Garcia Revo X is the best freshwater spinning reel under $100. This freshwater spinning reel is available in several models: 2x10, 2x20, 2x30, and 2x40. We recommend choosing the 2x30 model for your freshwater fishing needs. The lightweight graphite rotor is smooth and keeps gears in alignment. The carbon drag system is smooth and clean when casting for an easy, relaxing fishing outing. 

The slow oscillation in this model keeps the line even for more effective casting and fish retrieval. The aluminum spool is braid-ready, and the alloy frame is strong. This reel can handle all freshwater fish species. The rocket line management allows anglers to change fishing lines for various fish types while offering precise control over the lines. This model comes with PVC handle knobs that are comfortable and easy-to-grasp.

Wade wrote on Abu Garcia, “Impressive reel for $100! Incredibly smooth and will handle anything from a drop-shot rig to a big spook.”

The spinning reel is in a standard all-black aesthetic that will pair well with any fishing rod. However, some customers have said that the black paint looks cheap and not as polished as other spinning reel models. Other customers have noted that oil is needed to keep the reel lubricated for maximum smoothness. The Abu Garcia Revo X comes with a one year warranty from Abu Garcia.

Pros
  • Carbon drag system
  • Lightweight graphite rotor
  • Slow oscillation
Cons
  • Oil needed
  • Paint looks cheap

Spinning Reels vs. Baitcasting Reels

Spinning reels are the better choice for beginner anglers when compared to baitcasting reels. Baitcasting reels allow for more maneuverability and better overall accuracy. However, baitcasting reels are heavier and are best for large fish. If you are a beginner angler and planning to primarily catch smaller fish as well as learn how to navigate casting, the spinning reel is preferable.


Choosing the Right Gear Ratio for a Spinning Reel

There are several different types of fishing gear ratio options: Low Gear Ratio/Slow (5.1:1 thru 5.4:1), Medium Gear Ratio/Medium (6.1:1 thru 6.4:1), and High Gear Ratio/Fast (7.1:1 thru 8.1:1). The best gear ratio for spinning reels depends on the type of fishing that you want to do.

We recommend the 6.4:1 option or a Medium Gear Ratio for most beginner fishermen. This medium ratio allows anglers to work with a fast casting or slow casting experience. We also recommend choosing a High Gear Ratio at 7.1:1 to 8.1:1 for beginner fishers who want to cast fast and bring in fish quickly. The higher gear ratio is best for fish that require more bait movement after the cast and need faster bait movement.


Spinning Reel Sizing Guide

Each spinning reel size is sized based on manufacturer choices. These fishing reel sizes have different sizes based on the manufacturer, and therefore it can be challenging to choose the best reel size. We recommend selecting a reel size that corresponds to your particular fishing pole. The smaller models will have sizing around 20, 25, or 1,000, 2000.

Moving to 30, 40, or 3,000, 4000 is a much larger model. We recommend choosing the spinning reel size based on your fishing pole recommendations (fishing poles will offer reel recommendation sizing). The 30/3000+ is the best choice for a heavy-duty, strong option for fishing in all environments. The 20/25+ is considered a lightweight and highly portable option.


Fishing Tips for Beginners

There are a few basic fishing tips that every beginner angler should know. First, to go fishing you will need to obtain a fishing license. When you obtain your fishing license, your state will let you know what areas you can visit and what materials you can use to fish. Next, you will need to purchase a fishing rod, fishing reel, and attach a fishing line.

Then you can purchase your hook and bait. We recommend choosing a fishing location and focusing on a particular type of fish before choosing the hook and bait. Different fish respond best to different types of bait and require different hooks. You will also need pliers to remove the hook from the fish mouth. Once you have these basic essentials, you can head out to the lake or ocean and begin fishing!


People Also Ask (FAQs)

Can I use a spinning reel for crankbaits?

Yes! You can use a spinning reel for crankbaits. Spinning reels can cast cranks further compared to a baitcasting reel. Most fishermen recommend using spinning reels for crankbaits in cold water. In warmer water, a baitcasting reel may be better for crankbait fishing.

Are there any special care and maintenance steps for spinning reels?

After you finish fishing, take the time to properly clean your spinning reel by first removing the reel and then running a soft damp cloth over the reel. Try to make sure that all of the grime, sand, and dirt from fishing have been removed. Store your spinning reel in a cool, dry location to keep it safe between outings. We also recommend lubricating your spinning reel before every fishing trip.

Do pros use spinning reels?

Yes, pros use spinning reels. Primarily spinning reels are used for long-distance fishing. When fishers need to be able to cast a long line, spinning reels are the ideal choice. Spinning reels are also best for drop-shotting, crankbaits, and light jerkbaits.

What can fishermen expect at this price point?

At $100 and below, fishermen can expect average materials and a substantial drag range. Cheaper spinning reels fall below $50, and these options on our list are affordable but offer higher-quality materials in comparison for greater performance and durability. Higher price points around $150 are more closely aligned to pro fishing reels and are not necessary for most hobbyists.

Where can I buy these spinning reels for less than $100?

You can buy premiere spinning reels for less than $100 on various websites. Amazon is always a reliable choice, while we also recommend Cabelas or the brands websites. Each can offer their own discounts so its best to shop around and check prices on each.


Conclusion

Spinning reels are the best choice for anglers who want to fish in gentle water with light bait. Our top pick for the best spinning reel under $100 is the Penn Battle II. This model is ideal for beginner and intermediate anglers who want a fast spin, smooth drag, and quick bait reaction time. It is both an affordable and high-quality spinning reel. A close second is the Okuma Azores model.