A spinning reel is an essential tool for fishing, and every angler should own one. Unfortunately, there are a lot of cheap spinning reels out there that will only fail to meet your angling needs. You’re better off investing in a high-quality reel that will serve you for years to come.
The good news is that high-quality doesn't necessarily mean "high price." When you shop around and do your research, it's possible to find a reliable, durable spinning reel for no more than $75. And guess what… we've done the research for you!
This guide will tell you everything there is to know about fishing with a spinning reel, but more importantly, you’ll be able to find the best spinning reel under $75 that money can buy.
Why Every Angler Needs A Spinning Reel
There's a lot of debate on whether to use a bait caster or spinning reel (we'll talk more on this later), but a spinning reel allows you to go back to the basics. Both beginners and pro anglers prefer it, and not just because a spinning reel is easy to use, but also because it’s lightweight, affordable, and works well in many unique fishing environments.
We're not saying that a bait caster isn't useful (in fact, most serious anglers have both a bait caster and a spinning reel in their gear collections). A spinning reel is just preferred in certain situations, especially for throwing light tackle since they only need to pull the weight of the line.
Choosing a Quality Spinning Reel Under $75
Type of Fish & Environment
No matter what piece of fishing gear you're in the market for, you should always, ALWAYS consider your intended fishing environment. This doesn't just refer to the type of fish you're hoping to catch, but also things like water movement, saltwater vs. freshwater, and temperature.
The spinning reel you choose depends a lot on the type of fish you’ll be angling. You should always be on the hunt for a reel with a solidly constructed body, but this is even more important if you’re angling for heavy-bodied fish. A solid reel won’t have any loose or flimsy parts, plus you’ll get to enjoy nothing but smooth operation as you reel in.
Body construction is a major consideration, but it’s not the only reel feature to look into. You’ll also want to consider the spinning reel size, which is ultimately determined by the weight of the line you’ll be using. You shouldn’t go above a 10-lb test line with a spinning reel, but most anglers opt for an 8-lb line. You’ll want to base the size of your reel on the line size you choose.
Gear ratio is another consideration, which refers to the number of times the spool turns each time the handle is turned. A slow-speed gear ratio would be 4:1, 5:1 is medium, and 6:1 and above is considered high-speed. A slow gear ratio is more ideal for reeling in large fish since it provides better torque, but a high ratio is best for fast retrieval. All in all, the gear ratio you choose depends on the type of fish.
A spinning reel's drag system is responsible for applying pressure to a hooked fish. Proper drag lets out the line during a fight between an angler and a fish, and if the drag isn't high in quality, you'll risk broken lines and lost fish. Spinning reel drag should be smooth and non-constrictive with adjustable tension.
When picking the best spinning reel, there are two types of drag to choose from - front and rear. Bass Pro says that "front-drag systems generally feature multiple, large drag washers that offer increased durability and performance in comparison to rear-drag models. Rear-drag controls are easier to access (especially when fighting fish), yet they don't stand up as well to large, hard fighting fish species."
A spinning reel’s ball bearings are placed within the body of the reel to provide support, stability, and smooth operation. A general rule of thumb is that the more ball bearings there are in a reel, the smoother it spins. It doesn’t just depend on the number of ball bearings, but also the material (stainless steel is often the smoothest).
Try to find something with at least 3 or 4 bearings, but keep in mind that a higher-bearing reel will increase the cost. But on the flip side, paying a bit extra for smooth spinning reel operation and better performance is entirely worth it (don't worry, even the best $75 models typically come with 5+ bearings).
A spinning reel spool is responsible for holding the line in place, but it does so much more than just that. It also plays a significant role in things like casting distance and smoothness. Graphite and anodized aluminum are the two most common materials used to construct spinning reel spools, and each has pros and cons. Graphite is lightweight and easier to handle, while aluminum is more durable and rigid.
There are two unique spool types to choose from: internal and skirted. The majority of modern-day anglers use skirted spools (the internal type is pretty outdated). Skirted spools are the better option since they prevent the line from becoming tangled within the reel housing.
No matter your fishing level, you should always choose a reel with anti-reverse handles. So many anglers focus solely on finding a handle with a substantial arm and knob, but anti-reverse functionality is just as important. Bass Pro says that “function prevents the handle from spinning backward so that hook sets are powerful and accurate.” Try to avoid a reel with any sort of backward motion.
West Marine retail store says that when selecting a spinning reel, "the line capacity of a reel is the maximum length of line that the spool can hold without overloading the reel. The diameter of the fishing line increases along with its strength, which means that a higher test line takes up more space on the spool." The thicker the line, the less of it you'll be able to put on your reel. If you need a thick line for pulling in heavy fish, go for a reel with a high line capacity.
5 Best Spinning Reels Under $75 Reviewed
1. Okuma Avenger ABF
Our Top Pick
5.0:1 (ABF 20)
190/4 (ABF 20)
The Okuma Avenger is our top pick, not only for its affordability but also for its durability and smooth performance. This is a bait feeder reel, which is a spinning reel that allows the fishing reel to be released without flipping the bail over as soon as a fish strikes. The line is freed as soon as a fish bites, so all you have to do is start turning the reel handle to engage the line and allow the hook to set.
All Okuma bait feeder reels focus on high-quality design, solid materials, and sturdy construction, and the Avenger ABF is no exception. This reel comes in a variety of sizes, but they’re all designed with optimal performance in mind. The rotor equalizing system is just one feature we love, allowing for “precision balance and eliminates all spool wobble for perfect alignments and smooth cranking.”
Another great feature of the Avenger is its cyclonic flow rotor. This just works to increase the airflow around the reel's rotor, which increases drying time and minimizes corrosion. Every angler knows the importance of keeping a reel dry while in storage, and Okuma is way ahead of the game on this. This feature doesn't just help to keep your reel dry, but to increase its overall lifespan.
The Avenger’s quick-set anti-reverse handles help to engage the reel with rock-solid hook sets, and the even flow roller system works to reduce line twists by allowing the line to roll freely without friction. Oh, and did we mention that this spinning reel comes with 7 ball bearings constructed from high-quality stainless steel? There’s nothing bad to say about the Avenger, but some users find it to be a bit too heavy. This, however, is the sign of durable construction and high-quality materials.
2. Pflueger President Pressp30x
Best Spinning Reel Under $75 For Crankbaits
20x - 40x
The Pfluger President reel is the perfect choice under $75 for crank baiting. Crankbait fishing is the technique of choice among bass anglers, but it can be used for a variety of fish and fishing environments. This reel isn't just for crank baiting since the 10 stainless steel ball bearings make it the ideal choice for any angler who is looking for a spinning reel with smooth, reliable performance.
Since the bearings are constructed from stainless steel, they're incredibly resistant to corrosion. The rest of the reel body and rotor is made from graphite; a lot of anglers prefer graphite to stainless steel since it's much lighter in weight, making it more comfortable to use for long periods. The sealed drag system comes with slow oscillation gearing, which works to minimize line twisting.
On the Plueger site, you’ll find a simple description of the President reel, and even though it’s short, this statement says it all:
Smooth performance at a great value! The President delivers features and performance that will impress over and over again.
Like the Avenger, this reel comes in a variety of sizes, catering to your specific line capacity, gear ratio, and angling needs. Aside from the fact that this is one of the smoothest spinning reels on the market, the main thing we love is that it’s solid and durable while also being lightweight and easy to handle. There aren’t many complaints about this one, especially considering the affordable price tag.
3. Daiwa Revros
Value For Money Option
If you're looking for amazing value in your next spinning reel, you'll love the Daiwa Revros. This reel performs like a top of the range model, but it still falls within the $75 budget. It comes with hefty winding power, optimized speed and durability, and reduced weight due to its unique shape. The Daiwa company says that the "new Revros spinning reel is a great value-priced reel...you simply can't find a better deal."So what gives the Revros so much value? There are 3 things, actually. The first is the air rotor, which provides higher sensitivity while also reducing weight. Daiwa says that
The Air Rotor weighs up to 15% less than ordinary rotor designs. Its unique shape reduces unnecessary weight while distributing stress more evenly throughout the rotor for maximum strength.
Second is the Digigear digital spool design. This digitally developed gearing system is embedded in the body of the reel, and it helps to smoothly transmit the power of the handle directly to the rotor. The third feature that makes this such a valuable asset to any angler's gear collection is the ABS aluminum spool. This adds to the lightweight design but doesn't take away from the reel's durability.
There is one drawback to the Revros, though. It’s not the ideal choice for beginners, mainly because the user manual is extremely detailed, but not necessarily in a good way. But if you’re well-practiced in the art of fishing, you’ll have no trouble.
4. Penn Fierce Live Liner
Best For Saltwater Fishing
1000 - 8000
Penn has always been a well-respected name among anglers, especially when it comes to the company's Fierce Live Liner reel. This reel is built with a full metal body and side plate for precise gear alignment, even under heavy loads. The rotor is balanced for smooth retrieval, it comes with an instant anti-reverse bearing, and it's available in multiple sizes. What more could you ask for?Not much, which is why this reel is regularly reviewed as one of the best, especially for fishing pros and beginners on a budget. Penn says that
The Fierce III can handle anything inshore or nearshore. A 4+1 shielded stainless steel ball-bearing system ensures smooth retrieves while the heavy-duty aluminum bail wire and superline spool allow for easy line management.
Even though it only comes with 5 total bearings (the other reviewed reels all have 7 or more), there's a lot that we love about this spinning reel. One of the most-loved features is the Live Liner adjustable drag system, which automatically disengages as soon as an angler turns the handle (perfect for bait fishing).
There are just a few minor drawbacks to the Penn Fierce. The first is that it can start to feel heavy, especially after a few hours of casting and spinning. The casting feature could be slightly improved, but keeping in mind that spinning reels aren't known for their long casts (baitcasters are better in that sense). Lastly, the drag tends to lock up when adjusted to the highest end of the range. But this doesn't happen often, and many anglers claim that it's not an issue at all.
5. SHIMANO Sedona FI
Best Spinning Reel For Freshwater Fishing Under $75
1000 - 8000
Just like Penn, Shimano is a name that most anglers are at least familiar with. The company specializes in high-end fishing gear, but they also offer a selection of products (mainly spinning and baitcasting reels) at the low-end price point. One of these products is the Sedona Fl, and even though it’s one of the more affordable Shimano reels, it still compares to many high-end reels on the market.Here's a detailed description of the Sedona Fl from the company itself:
The drag power has been upgraded and the gear ratios increased, meaning the series has models for everything from light freshwater to heavier offshore species in the larger models. Additionally, the weight has been reduced significantly across all sizes to reduce fatigue during long days of casting or jigging.
As you can see, the most current Sedona model has undergone some serious improvements, like updated drag and increased gear ratio. The key feature of this reel is its Hagane gearing, which provides long-lasting, strong performance and smoothness and works for both inshore and offshore angling.Another reason that the Sedona deserves our attention is its recent weight reduction. Shimano has worked tirelessly to reduce the weight of each Sedona size option while also keeping durability and performance. Even during full days of casting and jigging, you won’t feel strained or fatigued from holding this reel.
Spinning Reels vs. Baitcasting Reels
Choosing between spinning and baitcasting reels is a tough one - each reel type comes with pros and cons. The main thing to remember is that spinning reels are the ideal choice for beginners, so if you’re a newcomer to angling, the decision is already made for you (opt for a spinning reel).
The reason that this is the better choice for beginners is that they’re much simpler to learn with. Because of their ease of use and versatility, many anglers start with spinning reels and prefer them even decades down the road. However, not all anglers stick with spinning reels. The reel you choose to use ultimately depends on the bait you’re using, the fish you’re pursuing, and your overall preference.
Bass Pro says that "line size probably plays the most important role in tackle selection...Baitcast reels can handle heavier line and actually allow for longer casts than spinning gear in the same size range. A small spinning reel has a smaller, more narrow spool, which has a hard time with large diameter lines. Small bait cast reels can handle these lines and provide greater casting distance."
Choosing the Right Gear Ratio for a Spinning Reel
Similar to choosing between spinning vs. baitcasting, the gear ratio you choose depends on your specific angling situation. In the past, there weren't nearly as many gear ratios to choose from, but now things aren't as simple nowadays. The main thing you need to remember is that the lower the ratio, the slower the line will spin on the reel.When deciding on gear ratio, BassMaster says that
“whether you want something slow, fast or somewhere in between depends on what it is you're fishing and how you're fishing it.
Here’s a quick guide on when low/slow, medium, or high/fast gear ratio is best:
“when you're pitching and fighting a big bass in close quarters, you need to be able to catch up to that fish quickly if she heads toward the boat. You can only do that with a fast reel.”
Spinning Reel Sizing Guide
The main factor in deciding on reel size is the type of line you plan on using (lighter line requires a smaller reel), but this isn’t the only thing to consider. You’ll also want to think about where you intend to fish (a still lake or a fast-moving river?) as well as what you’ll be fishing for (large grouper or small trout?). To keep things simple, we've broken down the common reel sizes into small, medium, and large:
Small Spinning Reels
Each manufacturer has a different method of sizing its reels, but the general rule of thumb is that small reels range in size from 10/1000 to 35/3500. Small reels are suited for lakes, bays, rivers, and harbors, and they're ideal for catching small fish species, like trout, bream, whiting, perch, and luderick.
Medium Spinning Reels
Medium reels range in size from 40/4000 to 55/5500. They’re suited for the same type of fishing environments as small reels but can handle water that moves slightly faster and light offshore boat fishing. These are used for angling a variety of fish, including snapper, morwong, tailor, mangrove jack, cod, bonefish, barramundi, mull, and more.
Large Spinning Reels
Large spinning can handle larger fish species. These come in sizes ranging from 60/6000 all the way up to 30000. The largest reels are designed for heavy-duty work and can reel in massive fish and even sharks. They can be used for boat, beach, and rock fishing, and the most common fish species they're used for are snapper, salmon, kingfish, tuna, and mahi-mahi.
Fishing Tips for Beginners
Since spinning reels are the best choice for beginners, let’s go over some fishing tips for angling newcomers. The most important thing to remember is that safety comes first. Protect yourself from the sun, wear the proper safety gear, bring a first aid kit, and always stay hydrated.
Aside from "safety first," another phrase to remember while fishing is "patience is a virtue." Yes, it's a bit of a cliche, but learning how to be patient is a major challenge for beginners. This can be a time-consuming process, but the good news is that the more you practice and build on your technique, the more fish you’ll end up catching.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
Can I use a spinning reel for crankbaits?
Yes, not only can you use a spinning reel for crankbaits, but it's recommended that you do it in certain conditions. Fix.com says that
"a lure with a plastic lip that causes the bait to dive underwater can be classified as a crankbait. The depth ranges vary from just below the surface down to 20 feet or even deeper.”
Spinning reels for crankbaits are best for lightweight lures and cold water conditions.
Are there any special care and maintenance steps for spinning reels?
To extend the lifespan of your reel, you must regularly clean it and undergo the proper maintenance, like oiling the reel every so often. After each fishing trip, you’ll want to clean the exterior of the reel with fresh water (especially if you’ve been fishing in saltwater conditions). Then, remove the spool and spray the interior with WD-40 or another lubricating spray.
Do pros use spinning reels?
Many beginners start by using a spinning reel and then gravitate towards higher-level bait casters. Even though bait casters are seen as the pro-level reel type, there are plenty of pros who regularly use spinning reels. This is because spinning tackle comes with a lot of advantages, especially for throwing lighter lures or you're looking for easily adjustable drag while reeling in a big fish.
What are the best spinning reel brands under $75?
Daiwa, Okuma, Penn, and Shimano are some of the most well-known brands among anglers, and it’s possible to find a spinning reel for less than $75 from each one of them. Another top fishing gear manufacturer is Abu Garcia, but most of their products are well over $75.
Where can I buy these spinning reels for less than $75?
You can pop into your local outdoor gear store to buy a spinning reel, but the more convenient shopping method is to buy online. Amazon has a huge selection of products, all at the best prices. In addition to finding the best spinning reels under $75, Amazon offers everything you could possibly need for your next fishing trip, including fish finders, apparel, and fishing rods.
Out of all the best spinning reels under $75, the Okuma Avenger is still our #1 choice. It's rare to find such a high-end reel for a price so low, so take advantage of it while you can.
Okuma has gone above and beyond any angler's wildest expectations with this bait feeder in terms of performance, lifespan, and cost. It's not the only under-$75 option, though - you can't go wrong with any of the models on our list.