Buyer’s Guide & Information

Best Spinning Reels Under $50 Reviewed

Find a budget spinning reel under $50 with our review guide. We rate top fishing brands so you can purchase a cheap fishing reel that spins.

by Andrew

Buyer’s Guide & Information

Best Spinning Reels Under $50 Reviewed

Find a budget spinning reel under $50 with our review guide. We rate top fishing brands so you can purchase a cheap fishing reel that spins.

by Andrew

by Andrew

There’s a misconception that the best results on the water can only be achieved by investing in high dollar equipment. An expensive price tag signals that a product is a safe and reliable option for many of us, but spending outside of your price range doesn’t have to be your default.

A spinning reel with the right design and performance can be found at an affordable rate. The simple truth is that when it comes to investing in great quality gear, you really only need to know what to look for.

In this review, we share the best budget spinning reels on the market and break down which key features are worth the investment. 

Preview

Product

Reel Size/Weight

Gear Ratio

Ball Bearings

Check Price

Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel

Okuma Ceymar C-10

1000/3.8 lbs

5.0:1

7

PENN Pursuit III 4000C Spinning Fishing Reel,...

Penn Pursuit III 4000C

4000/0.76 lbs

6.2:1

5

Shimano Sienna 1000FE Freshwater Spinning...

SHIMANO Sienna FE

2500/0.06 lbs

5.01:1

2

KastKing Summer Spinning Reel,Size 5000...

KastKing Summer 50005

5000/0.86 lbs

4.5:1

10

Pflueger Trion Spinning Fishing Reel

Pflueger Trion 20B

8.61 oz

5.2:1

7

Piscifun Flame Spinning Reels Light Weight...

Piscifun Flame

5000/0.82 lbs

5.2:1

10

CS4 Spinning Reel,Cadence Ultralight & Fast...

Cadence CS4

3000/0.75 lbs

6.2:1

8


The Benefits of Fishing With A Cheap Spinning Reel

When it comes to fishing reels, anglers can alternate between spincast, baitcasting, and spinning reels. Spincast reels are beginner-friendly but can limit casting distance, whereas baitcasting reels can be difficult to maneuver until adequately mastered. 

A spinning reel is an excellent option for an angler at any experience level.

Fishing environment and type of target fish will impact which spinning reel you should have on hand. Spinning reels tend to be great for small to mid-sized freshwater species like trout, salmon, and perch. A reel with the right features and type of line can handle fish on the bigger side.  

An affordable spinning reel is an excellent piece of gear for beginners, especially those still discovering their own angling styles and preferences.


What To Look For When Buying A Spinning Reel Under $50

Type of Fish & Environment

Spinning reels are most commonly used in freshwater environments but can also be used in saltwater environments depending on the reel’s structure. When it comes to saltwater angling, it's necessary to find a corrosion-resistant reel. The sizes of target fish can vary depending on a reel's line capacity and drag system. 

Reel Features

Good quality spinning reels are solidly constructed, typically with graphite or aluminum material. Both materials are durable, but graphite has a lighter weight. Depending on your target fish, you’ll want to find a reel size within three main categories: 1000 to 3500, 4000 to 5500, and 6000 to 9500. Lower sizes are best suited for targeting smaller fish, while higher reel sizes are better for heavy-weight catches. Depending on angling preferences, you’ll want to keep gear ratio, grip, and weight in mind.

Drag System & Strength

A spinning reel’s drag system impacts your ability as an angler to create tension on the line without breaking it once you hook a fish. Front drag reels are considered a dependable option, especially for a smoother drag, but rear drags can be easier to adjust when reeling in your catch.

Ball Bearings & Bail

Ball bearings and bail have a crucial role when casting out the line. The ball bearings play a big part in reducing friction, while the bail prevents the spool from unraveling when engaged. Typically, there’s a correlation between the number of ball bearings and how smooth the process is. A good rule of thumb is to look for a reel with five bearings, but also remember that a few good quality bearings can outlast more low quality bearings.

Spool Style

There are two main types of spool style: internal and skirted. Internal spools can lead to long-distance casting but are prone to line tangles. This is an issue that the skirted spool is designed to remedy. A main difference between the two is that the internal spool is inside a rotating cup while the skirted spool isn’t.

Anti-Reverse Handles

This feature can be helpful when reeling in your target fish. On most models with this feature, there will be a switch on the lower part of a reel that enables back reeling. Not all spinning reels have this option, so be on the lookout for ones that do. 

Line Capacity & Gear Ratio

Line capacity and gear ratio go hand-in-hand. A reel with a capacity for a larger spool will allow for a thicker, more heavy-duty line. This will, in turn, make the reel more effective at catching midsize to large fish.

Gear ratio refers to how quickly the reel picks up the line during a 360 degree reel handle rotation. A lower gear ratio, like 5.3:1, works well for smaller target fish, while the higher gear ratios are quicker to give more fighting power when reeling in a catch.

Manufacturer’s Warranty

Most brands offer warranty plans when you purchase a spinning reel from them. Warranty coverage ranges from limited to lifetime coverage and is subject to a brand’s discretion. It’s highly likely that any manufacturing issues or defaults will be covered if reported within the plan's specified time constraints. 


7 Best Spinning Reels Under $50 Reviewed

1. Okuma Ceymar C-10

Best Spinning Reel Under $50

Reel Size/Weight

1000/3.8 lbs

Gear Ratio

5.0:1

Line Capacity

210/2 (0.12); 110/4 (0.17); 70/6 (0.22)

Ball Bearings

7

Dimensions

N/A

Key Feature

Corrosion-resistant Blade Body design

We have ranked the Okuma Ceymar C-10 as the best spinning reel under $50 for several reasons. This reel is designed for longevity with corrosion-resistant material and features that improve the angler's experience when out on the water.

The graphite body is paired with aluminum material in the bail wire and handle. Not only does the reel’s material construction provide a sleek appearance, but it also contributes to its lightweight and durable functionality. The EVA handle knobs were custom selected for the angler’s comfortability while the aluminum handle arm ensures full control when reeling in your catch.

For anglers looking for the best drag system, the Ceymar C-10 is the reel for you. The multi-disc drag system has a maximum drag pressure of five pounds, and this feature gives anglers the upper hand when battling a fish. This feature and the quick-set anti-reverse roller bearing ensure that anglers with this reel will have full control of the line at all times.

When it comes to finding a spinning reel that doesn’t sacrifice high quality for affordability, this is our top pick on the market today. Not to mention, Okuma offers a one-year limited warranty plan in the case of manufacturing issues or malfunctions. 

Pros
  • Multi-disk drag system
  • 7 BB + 1 RB increases smoothness
  • Corrosion-resistant material
  • Aluminum spool
Cons
  • Not as suited for larger target fish

2. Penn Pursuit III 4000C

Best Saltwater Spinning Reel Under $50

Reel Size/Weight

4000/0.76 lbs

Gear Ratio

6.2:1

Line Capacity

270/8; 220/10; 165/12

Ball Bearings

5

Dimensions

6.25 x 4.75 x 0.34 in

Key Feature

Superline Spool

Finding a spinning reel that functions great in saltwater environments can be challenging, which is why we took on the task of finding the best saltwater spinning reel on the market. Out of the many options on the market today, the Penn Pursuit III 4000C stands out as the best affordable reel for this specialized purpose.

The reel has been constructed with durable graphite and aluminum material. Corrosion-resistant properties are very important in any reel, but especially ones used for saltwater angling—the body construction and the stainless steel bearing material work to prevent any corrosion or rust buildup.

The drag system features carbon fiber drag washers, which are included to improve smoothness when handling and reeling in heavier target fish species. The superline spool is made from machined and anodized aluminum material and prevents the line from slipping without the need for excess backing.

Anglers looking for more versatility in a spinning reel will be pleased with this option. The graphite body contributes to a lightweight feel, but at the same time provides enough backbone for catching large-sized gamefish. This is achieved without the spinning reel being excessively bulky or heavy, which is an issue some anglers have with baitcasting reels.

Pros
  • Corrosion-resistant and lightweight
  • Excellent for saltwater environments
  • Stainless-steel bearing system
  • Carbon fiber drag washers
Cons
  • The smaller size might limit the types of line you use

3. SHIMANO Sienna FE

Best Rated Spinning Reel Under $50

Reel Size/Weight

2500/0.06 lbs

Gear Ratio

5.01:1

Line Capacity

10/150; 15/145; 30/100

Ball Bearings

2

Dimensions

6.60 x 5.30 x 3.80 in

Key Feature

M-Compact Body

The best rated spinning reel on the market for under $50 is the SHIMANO Sienna FE. Anglers looking for an affordable option with a reputation for being well-worth the investment should look no further.

This reel is designed with the same features you’d find in a high-end reel with a few specialized installments as well. The M-Compact Body is a key feature in the reel’s design that brings maximum results. This particular amenity improves the balance of the reel by positioning the oscillation gear closer to the rod. Not to mention, this will prevent you as the angler from exerting more energy than necessary.

SHIMANO considered everything from extending casting distance to preventing backlash and wind knots when manufacturing the propulsion line management system. By accounting for the shortcomings of other brands’ reel performance, SHIMANO takes measures to reduce the risk of these issues occurring.

The drag system has a maximum capacity of nine pounds and a gear ratio of 5.01:1, making it optimal for small to mid-sized target fish.  

The Dyna-Balance feature works to eliminate shakiness on the line when reeling in your catch. This reel is a great option for beginner and experienced anglers whether fishing in freshwater or inshore environments.  

Pros
  • M-Compact Body
  • Accounts for angler’s comfort
  • Dyna-Balance
  • Propulsion line management system
Cons
  • Not as well-suited for large target fish

4. KastKing Summer 50005

Best Spinning Reel For Bass Under $50

Reel Size/Weight

5000/0.86 lbs

Gear Ratio

4.5:1

Line Capacity

12/330; 16/245

Ball Bearings

10

Dimensions

5.6 x 4.5 x 4 in

Key Feature

Power launch tip

The KastKing Summer 50005 is the best affordable spinning reel for bass that we’ve found on the market to date. With a graphite frame and aluminum installments, this reel is designed for long-term, heavy-duty use.

The ambidextrous hand orientation makes it an optimal choice for anyone. The ball bearings, which includes an anti-reverse bearing, contribute to a smooth performance overall. The aluminum material in the handle and spool is lightweight and corrosion-resistant.

A key installment to this reel is the power launch tip. This function allows for a more extended cast and will come in handy when angling for heavier fish in deeper waters. The KastKing Summer 50005 has one of the highest maximum drag capacities among our best-ranked spinning reels. With a maximum drag of 17.5 pounds, this reel is capable of handling heavier bass.

Additional features include the metal main shaft, mesh drive gear, and precision machined pinion gear. These features make it easier for the angler to reel in a target fish with a bit of weight. Even line lay and fishing line capacity won’t be an issue with this reel.

All-in-all, this reel is a great option for anglers looking to catch bass or other bigger target species.

Pros
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Aluminum spool
  • Great drag system
  • Precision pinion gear system
Cons
  • Less suited for smaller target fish

5. Pflueger Trion 20B

Best Budget Freshwater Spinning Reel

Reel Size/Weight

8.61 oz

Gear Ratio

5.2:1

Line Capacity

180/4; 125/6; 100/8

Ball Bearings

7

Dimensions

7.5 x 7 x 3 in

Key Feature

Stainless steel oil felt drag

We regard the Pflueger Trion 20B New Model as the best budget freshwater spinning reel. Anglers can choose between various reel sizes that range in price from the mid $30s to about $80.

The body of the reel is constructed with graphite material and is designed to have slow oscillation gearing. The benefit of this aspect of the design is that there is less friction when anglers cast the line, and as a result, anglers can reach farther casting distances with more accuracy. The aluminum material features include the spool and the handle.

The stainless steel oil felt drag is a unique feature for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the stainless steel material is corrosion-resistant and durable for long-term use as long as anglers regularly clean and maintain the equipment. Secondly, oiled-felt is a common drag type that can lead to increased friction and a seized line if the felt is not properly maintained or wears away over time. 

To take the best care of this reel's drag system, loosen the felt discs after a fishing trip and use a cleaning solvent to dissolve any built-up dirt. Apply some oil to the felt disks, and you’re all set.  

Pros
  • Slow oscillation gearing
  • Graphite and aluminum material
  • 7 ball bearings
Cons
  • Felt washers should be checked regularly

6. Piscifun Flame

Value For Money

Reel Size/Weight

5000/0.82 lbs

Gear Ratio

5.2:1

Line Capacity

0.50/100

Ball Bearings

10

Dimensions

N/A

Key Feature

Braid ready spool

The Piscifun Flame stands out for its striking appearance and excellent quality design, which is why this spinning reel will get you the best value for your money.

Constructed with a blend of graphite and aluminum material, this reel will prove durable for years with the proper care and maintenance.

This reel has the highest drag power capacity among our featured favorites, with up to 19.8 pounds. Because of its drag capacity and body design, the Piscifun Flame can handle and withstand resistance from large target fish in freshwater and saltwater environments. The triple drag washers further reduce the risk of a line break and allow for seamless drag operation.

Notable features include the reel’s anti-corrosion zinc drive gear and reinforced metal main shaft. There are nine ball bearings with an additional roller bearing that comes in handy, whether reeling in mid-sized or large fish.

Among the reel’s installments and features is a braid ready spool, which is typically only included on top of the line reels with high price points. Piscifun’s inclusion of this feature is a structural decision that truly sets this reel apart from others. Without a doubt, anglers will get the best value on a modest budget.

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Comparable to high end reels
  • Braid ready spool
  • Triple drag washers
Cons
  • Not made of graphite material, if graphite is your preference

7. Cadence CS4

Best Ultralight Spinning Reel Under $50

Reel Size/Weight

3000/0.75 lbs

Gear Ratio

6.2:1

Line Capacity

8/180; 10/150; 12/110

Ball Bearings

8

Dimensions

N/A

Key Feature

Carbon composite frame

The best ultralight spinning reel for under $50 is the Cadence CS4.

Constructed with premium materials and a carbon composite frame, this reel is strong and durable for the long haul. The eight corrosion-resistant stainless steel ball bearings reduce friction when engaged and are largely responsible for creating an overall smooth operation.

Angling with ultralight equipment can be done at any experience level, and this spinning reel is the perfect choice for anglers looking to try their hand at ultralight fishing for the first time. The lightweight but sturdy design makes it great for catching game fish such as bass, walleye, trout, and redfish.

Like the Piscifun Flame and KastKing Summer 50005 spinning reels, this reel has a pretty high maximum drag power. In this case, the maximum drag caps off at 14 pounds. Additionally, the reel has a gear ratio of 6.2:1 and an EVA carbon fiber handle. Reel features such as these improve an angler’s efficiency and comfort when on the water.

A one-year warranty and 90-day return policy come with your purchase of this reel, so your investment is protected if a manufacturing problem arises.

For every purchase of this spinning reel, Cadence will donate gear to youth through the brand’s charity partners. 

Pros
  • Premium materials
  • Great brand
  • High end feel
  • Corrosion-resistant
Cons
  • Not as optimal for large target fish

Cheap Spinning Reels Vs. Baitcasting Reels

When it comes to spinning reels and baitcasting reels, the two have some design and functionality differences. Baitcasting reels are known for having heavier line capacities to hook larger fish, but these reels tend to be bulky and complicated to use. Spinning reels are easier to maneuver and require less of a learning curve to master. Not to mention, the price points for spinning reels are far cheaper than baitcasting reels on the market.


How To Setup & Use Budget Spinning Reels

The rod seat is where the reel sits on the fishing rod, so slide the reel into place and secure it tightly. Once you do this, it's time to add line to the spool on the spinning reel. Having a spool box on hand will help during this process because you’ll have the most control over the line. Create an overhand knot on the line and wrap it around the spool. After doing this,  run the line through the guide closest to the reel and turn the handle to loop the line around the spool. You’re all set for angling.

Now that you’ve prepped the rod and reel, it’s time to cast a bait. This resource provides helpful step-by-step tips for how to do so.


People Also Ask (FAQs)

Can I use a spinning reel for crankbaits?

Definitely. Spinning reels are great for catching smaller target fish, and crankbaits are well-suited for this type of fishing.

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

Most spinning reels will be corrosion-resistant, but it’s still necessary to regularly clean a spinning reel to ensure long-term use. After a fishing trip, remove the reel from the rod and wipe away dirt with a damp cloth. Now and then, use a solvent spray like WD-40 to maintain a rust-free surface.

Do pros use spinning reels, or are they only suitable for beginners?

While baitcasting reels are a popular choice among pros, spinning reels are just as well-suited for pros as they are for beginners. 

What are the best spinning reel brands under $50?

The best brands with spinning reels priced under $50 have to be Okuma, Penn, SHIMANO, KastKing, Pflueger, Piscifun, and Cadence.

Where can I find good cheap spinning reels for less than $50?

The spinning reels in this review can all be purchased through Amazon and shipped to you at your convenience. 


Conclusion

Finding the right spinning reel for your fishing gear doesn’t have to come at a great expense to your bank account. If you know what features to look for, you will be able to find reels like the Okuma Ceymar C-10 that are high quality without high dollar price tags.

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