6 Best Spinning Reels Under $150: Reviewed & Compared

Last Updated on

Fishing or specifically fly fishing is a great way to relax and break away from the rush of everyday life. However, the right equipment is paramount if you want to get good results. The best spinning reels have a proven reputation for improving your fishing performance and ensuring that you get the perfect catch when you need to.

If you are in the market for a new spinning reel, you have come to the right place. In this article, we will be looking at some of the top spinning reels on the market today. Additionally, you can find all the essential information to help you choose the right spinning reel and answer whether you need a bait caster or spinning reel.

Preview

Product

Gear Ratio

Line Capacity (yds/lbs.)

Check Price

Penn 641-1366179 Clash Spinning Fishing Reel

Penn Clash

2500

6.2:1

255/6.175

Pflueger SUPXTSP30X Supreme XT Spinning...

Pflueger

Supreme XT

6.2:1

145/6

Penn 1338222 Battle II 8000 Spinning Fishing...

Penn Battle II

8000

5.3:1

340/2; 310/2.5; 230/3

SHIMANO Ultegra 4000 FB Front Drag Spinning...

SHIMANO ULTEGRA Freshwater 4000

5.0:1

270/2; 140/4; 110/6

Daiwa BG8000 BG Saltwater Spinning Reel,...

Daiwa BG8000

5.1:6

550/20; 440/425; 370/30

Okuma Cedros High Speed Spinning Reel...

Okuma Cedros 

6.2:1

260/25


How Spinning Reels Work

The spinning reel is the most widely recognized of all the fishing reels. It is one of the easiest fishing reels to use and does not require any real maintenance. It is effortless to set up these reels while anyone with any level of skill can choose to use these fishing reels. There are a variety of fishing reels that one can choose from:

  • Spinning reel
    These are the least sophisticated of all the fishing reels, making them very popular among recreational anglers.
  • Baitcasting
    Baitcasting is a spoon that is attached to your reel, but these are not for beginners and need some skill as it might end up going wrong.
  • Spincast Reel
    The spincast reel has similar features and properties to the spinning reel. However, the gears and small features are enclosed, which limits accuracy.
  • Conventional Reel
    If you need to catch bigger fish, you might consider looking at the conventional reel. Beginners might have issues using it.

The spinning reel comes with many benefits over all the other fishing reels. Aside from being easy to use, it does not require too much time to set up, and adjustments are made on the fly. Beginners can use these reels to get into angling, and they work with most fishing rods. The only downside is that they are not made for catching large fish.


What Makes A Good Spinning Reel For Under $150?

Beginners might choose any spinning reel they can get their hands on. However, it is not always the best choice if you don't have some information about what makes a spinning reel be one of the best on the market. We have done some more in-depth research into the top spinning reels to help understand the important considerations. The following things are essential to consider:

Type of Fish & Environment

Spinning reels will give you a lot of versatility. However, they are mainly used for small fish that do not have a lot of fight. In the deep sea, you might find yourself struggling to reel in the big ones. For freshwater fishing, you might need to look at the aluminum spinning reel with basic durability, and they are affordable.

Those who prefer fishing in saltwater might need to dole out a couple of extra bucks to buy a graphite reel. The graphite does not have any metal that is exposed, which means that it can resist some of the corrosion from saltwater. The graphite reel will also work when you use it in freshwater conditions in terms of durability.

Reel Features

The reel features are probably the most important part of selecting a fishing reel. Not all of these reels have the same features, which makes them more effective in different circumstances. The following features are what you need to look at and keep in mind, but it does not mean that the other considerations can be ignored.

  • Size
    The size of the fishing reel is important but very easy to choose. It will depend on the fishing line. The 10-pound test line is one of the biggest, but for smaller fish, you can use a lighter line and smaller reel.
  • Gear Ratio
    The gear ratio refers to how many times the bail wraps around the spool in a single turn. The ratios can range from 4:1 to 8:1, with the latter being one of the faster-retrieving spools. It also comes down to the size of the fish you are targeting.
  • Weight
    The weight is not as important for the effect it has on the reel as it has on the rod. A heavy rod can induce more fatigue, but it is also larger for a heavier line.
  • Grip
    The grip should be comfortable in your hands, but the grip on the spinning mechanism is universal with a design the makes reeling much easier.
  • Compatibility
    The last significant feature is to make sure if all of the features mentioned above are compatible with your rod. If you have a flimsy rod, it might not be as effective.

As you might have noticed, the fish and environment also tie into the features. The features you will deem important will come down to which size fish you are targeting and if the environment is right. The more features you have for your fishing reel, the more expensive it will be.

Drag System

If you like to catch fish that put up a fight, the drag is important to consider. It refers to the pressure that is applied to the hook, but also affects the line when you need to let out some line. There are two drag systems to look at, with one of them being the front and the other being the rear drag system.

  • Front
    These drag systems are the more durable of the two drag systems and have large drag washers. They can be harder to access but work best for larger fish.
  • Rear
    For smaller fish, you might consider the rear drag system. It is smaller and offers easy access for fights.

The drag system is one you need to maintain, as it could have an adverse effect if not running smoothly. You might find that the line can snag, and often it might break, leaving you chasing a fish. We recommend following the maintenance instructions.

Ball Bearings

The ball bearing can go either way. It can make the reel perform smoother, but it also spikes the price of reels. The more ball bearings you have, the smoother your reel will perform. Ball bearings are preferred over the bushings. You can still consider bushings, but stainless steel ball bearings are more durable and easier to control.

You must find a reel that suits your pocket, and the number of ball bearings will be reflected in what you are willing to pay. As a rule of thumb, at least four ball bearings seem to be the norm for a good spinning reel.

Spool Style

You will need to choose the right spool style for your specific fishing technique. Aside from the materials, you will find that skirted or internal spools are what you have to look at. The alternative long cast skirted spool is slightly longer and reduces some of the friction on the line, resulting in more distance.

The internal spool is now a thing of the past due to the increased possibility of your line being entangled. They are harder to take apart, which means you lose time fishing. The skirted spool gets rid of this issue by opening it up and giving you more access. Adjustments are also much easier to make with these skirted spools.

The Mag Spool Technology is for the serious anglers with a wider and flatter approach, but still taking the idea of the skirted spool. These are for heavy line capacities, which means you can go fishing for larger targets.

Anti-Reverse Handles

The worst thing you can deal with is a handle that automatically spins backward when a fish is hooked. The anti-reverse feature will keep the handle from automatically spinning while increasing the power of your hook. The backward motion is helpful in certain circumstances, but we don't recommend it to beginners looking to fish recreationally.

Design & Appearance

Most of the features we discussed so far have affected the design and appearance. However, the materials used for construction are the most important. Graphite is lightweight, giving you more freedom and reducing fatigue, but aluminum is more durable. The downside to aluminum is the risk of corrosion that is posed by fishing in saltwater.

The handle is another aesthetic part that affects the design. A handle with a large knob that you will grab the first time is the best choice. It will give you the few seconds you need to speed up the reeling process.

Price & Warranty

The last one is the price that you need to look at. A professional angler will have an expensive reel and rod. However, you can find good deals on rods with reels already attached. Over time, it is possible to make the upgrades you need to the rod and reel. The warranty will vary from each brand, but it is essential if you buy expensive brands.


6 Best Spinning Reels Under $150 Reviewed

1. Penn Clash 2500

Our Top Pick

Reel Size/Weight

25/8.5

Gear Ratio

6.2:1

Line Capacity (yds/lbs.)

255/6.175

Ball Bearings

8+1

Warranty

None

The Penn Clash 2500 is the best spinning reel under $150. It comes with a metal body, completely secure with a side plate that can add some sort of durability. It comes with 8 ball bearings, giving the fishing reel a smooth action. With the additional bearings, it will work for a wide variety of fish, and different fishing spots.

An anti-reverse system is straightforward but effective. It stops the reel from automatically moving in the wrong direction when you hook a big one. The handles are interchangeable, making it possible to find a comfortable position, whether it is left or right. The downside is that the reel is not enclosed, exposing the inner components to things like corrosion.

The competitive price of the Penn Clash 2500 makes it an effective tool to use for beginners and intermediates. It is available in a variety of different sizes, depending on the fish species you are targeting. The reel is the best reel when you look at a combination of compelling features and durable components.

Pros
  • Wide fishing capabilities
  • Reasonable price
  • Durable body
  • Anti Reverse System
  • Ambidextrous handle design
Cons
  • Prone to corrosion
  • Could have included a carry case

2. Pflueger Supreme XT

Runner-Up

Reel Size/Weight

30/9.6

Gear Ratio

6.2:1

Line Capacity (yds/lbs.)

145/6

Ball Bearings

10

Warranty

6 months

If you are looking for a lightweight reel, the Pflueger Supreme XT upxtsp30x is one of the top options to consider. It is made with a magnesium body and a carbon handle. The combination of these two materials gives it durability and lighter weight. The carbon drag system also gives you a smooth reeling action when needed.

Once again, stainless steel is chosen for the bearings, but since you have 10 bearings, it is very smooth and easy to reel in. The bearings and the body is corrosion-resistant, which makes it an excellent option for saltwater fishing. We also enjoy the sealed spool system, which keeps the unit lubricated and easy to use.

With all of these features, it is one of the most affordable options on the market today. All of the features are ideal, and they are made for the right purpose. The handle is also ergonomic to make it fit comfortably in your hands. It has an anti-reverse system, but most people will enjoy using the SMART retrieve system as the reel is marketed for easy retrieving.

Pros
  • Ideal for saltwater fishing
  • Sealed spool increases lubrication
  • SMART Retrieve system
  • Anti Reverse System
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Short warranty
  • Prone to line twist

3. Penn Battle II 8000

Best Rated Spinning Reel Under 150

Reel Size/Weight

80/2.2

Gear Ratio

5.3:1

Line Capacity (yds/lbs.)

340/2; 310/2.5; 230/3

Ball Bearings

6

Warranty

No Warranty

As a beginner, you might need to consider looking at the best rated spinning reels if you don’t have any advanced knowledge. The Penn Battle II 8000 features aluminum construction that could prevent corrosion for the most part. Six stainless steel bearings are part of the construction that gives you a relatively smooth reeling motion.

The super line spool system is an advanced system that offers more yardages for the weight. It has a full metal body that protects the rotor and the body of the reel. However, it could be a bit heavy for many people that are used to carbon or magnesium. We should also mention that the reel is braid ready with line capacity rings.

In terms of the price, it is not one of the most expensive spinning reels on the market. However, it is durable and has simple features that almost anyone can figure out in just a couple of minutes. The anti-reverse system can help many individuals when it comes to reeling in some of the larger fish species in the ocean.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Easy for anyone to use
  • Anti-reverse system
  • Versatile
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Not for advanced anglers
  • Lacks a warranty

4. SHIMANO ULTEGRA 4000

Best Freshwater Spinning Reel Under $150

Reel Size/Weight

40/7.1

Gear Ratio

5.0:1

Line Capacity (yds/lbs.)

270/2; 140/4; 110/6

Ball Bearings

6

Warranty

No Warranty

Shimano is one of the most reliable brands when it comes to various aspects of outdoor sports. The SHIMANO ULTEGRA Freshwater 4000 is one of their leading spinning reels with a comfortable 5:0:1 gear ratio. It is constructed to be durable in all conditions and features 9 different models that you choose in various sizes.

X-Ship Technology is one of the newest features that will help to improve the gearing and make it much less sophisticated to reel in fish. The Coreprotect is an additional tech feature, adding to the overall durability of the reel. With the sealing technology, you don't need to worry about the reel being prone to corrosion in normal conditions.

Shimano is an affordable brand, and the features might not be the best, but they bring a new perspective to the equipment. The elegant look is something that many people can also get used to on their rod. We recommend it for the versatility, but while it is durable, it might have issues near saltwater that could cause some corrosion.

Pros
  • Freshwater design
  • Multiple tech features
  • affordable
  • Available in 9 models
  • Reliable brand
Cons
  • Not for saltwater
  • Heavy

5. Daiwa BG8000

Best Saltwater Spinning Reel Under $150

Reel Size/Weight

80/2.5

Gear Ratio

5.1:6

Line Capacity (yds/lbs.)

550/20; 440/425; 370/30

Ball Bearings

6+1

Warranty

No Warranty

The Daiwa BG8000 is a slightly more advanced spinning reel than some of the others. It has the latest technology that one needs for durability. Anodized aluminum is used in the construction of the housing, and the housing will be corrosion resistant. Additionally, it simultaneously protects the 7 ball bearings from the conditions.

The oversized Digi-gear technology will ease the retrieval rate. It allows you to retrieve larger fish without putting in too much effort. The air rotor is not the most common for a spinning reel. However, it is much lighter. The waterproof spool system is useful for reducing the chances that water can cause damage or corrosion.

Surprisingly the Daiwa BG8000 Spinning Reel is not an expensive option, but the main focus is for the reel to give you durability. The ABS spool solidly screws in to ensure that you can comfortably reel in your catch. Due to the overall durability of the fishing reel, it is one of the best options that we could recommend for fishing in saltwater.

Pros
  • Saltwater resistant
  • Fully enclosed
  • Excellent Line Capacity
  • Dual Anti Reverse System
  • Stylish Design
Cons
  • Might be too heavy
  • Complex design

6. Okuma Cedros High-Speed

Best Spinning Reel For The Money

Reel Size/Weight

80/1.6

Gear Ratio

6.2:1

Line Capacity (yds/lbs.)

260/25

Ball Bearings

4+1

Warranty

No Warranty

Price is always a concern for new anglers, but the Okuma Cedros High-Speed Spinning Reel is a viable candidate when we look at reels that have a smooth action, with decent durability. The die-cast aluminum construction on the outer part and side plate, making it useful for freshwater fishing. It also protects the inner components from damage. 

The fitted dual Force Drag System is what is effective for various fishing situations, while the anti-reverse system can be adjusted with a flick of the finger to ensure you don't need to deal with the line running out. Since the reel is not corrosion-resistant, the Hydro-Block system will seal out all the edges and sides to ensure that no corrosion damages it.

The Okuma Cedros High-Speed Spinning Reel is a reel designed for the beginner, and it is found at an affordable price. You can find it in four different models depending on your needs and the type of fishing you are targeting. When it comes to value for your money, we would recommend it as one of the leading options.

Pros
  • Hydro-Block Technology
  • Anti-reverse system
  • Affordable
  • Four different models
  • Dual Force Drag
Cons
  • Only five bearings
  • Not corrosion resistant

Choosing The Right Gear Ratio For A Spinning Reel

Once you have found the important features and you are sure about the reel you want to buy, you might notice the gear ratio. The gear ratio is just as important as any other part of the fishing reel. It is measured by a number to 1. The numbers might be 6.2:1, which refers to how many times the spool on the inside of the reel will turn with each rotation of the handle. The example above will allow the spool to turn 6.2 times for each turn of the handle.

This means that the higher the number, the more the spool with turn, leading to either a faster or slower reel speed. Depending on the type of fish and location you choose for your adventure, it will have an impact on your decision. Here is a short breakdown of the different gear ratios to give you some more information.

  • Low Gear Ratio/Slow (5.1:1 thru 5.4:1)
    The Low Gear Ratio is the ideal reel for deep crankbaits and deep spinnerbaits. Since the reel movement is much slower, your bait will remain in the strike zone for much longer. It is ideal for heavier spinnerbaits, which means you don't need to put in as much effort. By putting in less effort, you save your energy while the reel does all the work.
  • Medium Gear Ratio/Medium (6.1:1 thru 6.4:1)
    Shallow crankbaits and medium depth baits work best with these reel ratios. Since they rely mostly on targeting large, yet still aggressive fish, they allow you to have a faster reaction. The faster reaction makes it easier to reel and hook. However, they might not be efficient for deep crankbaits. It is the perfect intermediate option for bass anglers.
  • High Gear Ratio/Fast (7.1:1 thru 8.1:1)
    Jerk baits, jigsaw, and other spinners are ideal for these types of ratios. They are extremely fast and can be great for fishing more than 30-yards from the boat. Unfortunately, they don't keep the bait in the strike zone for too long, but very aggressive fish will enjoy the speed of the bait. For fighting large bass, you need a lot of speed and all the reel help you can find. The high gear ratio will be handy in these situations.

Spinning Reel Sizing Guide

Fishing reels have many numbers that can confuse people when they are looking to buy the right reel. You might notice that one brand sets the reel number at 1000, while the other brand only says 10. Many brands choose four numbers, where others choose only two. However, you will find that the reel size of 1000 is the same as another brand's reel size of 10. E.g.10=1000. (For this section, we will be using only two numbers)

The reel size you choose will depend on the fish you are looking at. For smaller fish, you need to look at any reel size in the range of 10-35. With such a reel, you can catch normal lake fish around 5-pounds. For fish with a medium size, you will be looking at anything in the range of 60, but it is not worth overspending as the price increases with the size.

For anglers that like to explore and target a variety of fish, a reel size of 80 is generally the best option for most people. Deep-sea anglers might consider looking at reels that have a size of up to 300. However, these are extremely strong, and they need a lot of maintenance. We should also mention that they are costly. To sum it all up:

  • 10-35: Small Fish
  • 40-60: Medium Fish
  • 60-80: Large Fish
  • 100-300: Deep Sea Fish

It is also best to consider your budget, as your budget will have a reel impact on the reel you choose. Consulting an expert could be helpful, but most people already know the size of the average size of the fish they are targeting.


How to Spool a Spinning Reel

To spool a spinning reel is a very easy task for some people, but for many people, it can take a lot of effort. There are many more decisions that one needs to make before even getting started. If you want a complete detailed explanation, you can find how to spool a spinning reel here, with all the detailed information.


Frequently Asked Questions

While we have tried to be thorough and answer everything you need to know in the article, there are still a few things that people can struggle with. To ensure that you don't need to struggle, we have pinpointed a couple of questions commonly found. These questions can help you in finding the best spinning reel on the market today:

Do pros use spinning reels?

Professional anglers use spinning reels depending on the situation. Since it is a modern option with a lot of versatility, it is a very effective method of fishing.

Can I use a spinning reel for crankbaits?

Crankbaits can be used with any spinning reel. However, there are various crankbait types you need to consider that will depend on the size of your spinning reel.

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

Any part of your fishing equipment is subject to regular maintenance. Keeping it clean and lubricated will ensure the unit remains working and also prevent the build-up of any rust. Storing it in a dry environment away from moisture is recommended.

What are the best spinning reel brands on the market?

All the brands we have on the list are considered reliable and come with a good reputation. However, Penn, Shimano, and Daiwa are some of the very best to consider. A simple internet search can reveal the reliability of spinning reels.

Where can I buy these spinning reels for less than $150?

Amazon is one of the best online spots to find all your fishing equipment. You can get fair prices and always get what you pay for.


Conclusion

The best spinning reels under 150 are easy to find and affordable. If you are on a tight budget, you don't need to give up your hobby, and one of these reels might even be better than your current spinning reel. The Penn Clash 2500 is one of the best for under $150, and it comes with all features needed for saltwater and freshwater fishing.