Buyer’s Guide & Information

Best Spinning Reels Reviewed

Cast various types of tackle and catch more fish with the best spinning reel. Find models for all budgets with this complete review guide.

by Andrew

Buyer’s Guide & Information

Best Spinning Reels Reviewed

Cast various types of tackle and catch more fish with the best spinning reel. Find models for all budgets with this complete review guide.

by Andrew

by Andrew

A high-quality spinning reel is crucial for anglers who prefer them to baitcasters or want to fish in saltwater environments.

The best spinning reel should be able to stand up to strong targets, clean easily, and have good line lay. If you’re shopping for the right spinning reel, this guide is for you.

Why Use a Spinning Reel?

Many anglers like spinning reels because they’re easier to use and clean than baitcasters. Also, they're great for using lighter setups. Trout fishing, for example, where finesse fishing tactics and fly lures are used, works great with a spinning reel.

Some anglers prefer jigging with a spinning reel because it's easier to let the lure sink to the bottom. Spinning reels are great for saltwater since they can be sprayed off at the end. Ideally, that will be enough for most of the time, with some more intensive cleaning periodically. Beginners and ocean anglers can both reel in great catches on a spinning reel.

Buyer’s Guide: Considerations for Choosing a Spinning Reel

Type of Fish & Environment

Baitcasters tend to offer more control over casting, but that doesn't mean spinning reels can't cast well. Landing casts in specific places like you might do river fishing or trying to pull bass out from undercover is absolutely still possible with a spinning reel, and some of them can even cast pretty far with the right rod. Not all spinning reels handle salt and sediment the same. Some are sealed and can be dunked or fished inshore, where additional particles are rolling in with the waves.

Reel Features

The best spinning reels have full metal bodies and a moderately fast gear ratio. Don't expect a really fast ratio on any of them, but some get into the high sixes. Most are also lightweight, making them easy to balance on a rod. They're generally relatively small, aside from the monster sizes that are built for catching huge ocean targets.

Spinning reels should be comfortable to hold and have some torque in the handle. That depends on what it’s made of and how much grip it has. The internal gears should also be built to provide some torque.

Drag System

For the most stopping power, pick a drag system made out of a durable material like carbon fiber. They last longer and have more strength. There are other kinds like oiled felt that cost much less but wear out faster, too.

Drag systems can be controlled on the front or rear of the reel. Front drag systems usually have larger washers and therefore perform better, but rear drag can be quickly modified when you have a fish on. Many spinning reels have both, allowing the angler the best of both worlds.

Ball Bearings & Bail

Well-placed ball bearings go a long way making the operation of a spinning reel smooth. A bearing-supported pinion gear adds smoothness and also keeps gears from wearing down for longer. Some low-quality reels try to hide behind low bearing counts, so make sure to do your research.

The bail can be manual or automatic. Look for one made out of a durable metal like aluminum. It should never flip on accident, only when you flip it. It should also be built right into the body rather than attaching with screws that may loosen or get lost during maintenance.

Spool Style

Many spools are made of strong materials like machined aluminum to ensure they will keep performing under pressure. Most spinning reels these days have a skirted spool that goes right up to the front of the reel body.

This meeting point is called the lip, and it can affect line lay and how line comes off the reel. The motion of the spool and the way line comes off the reel both affect how smooth the reel feels. There are also oversized spools that can hold more line and pull in more line per turn of the handle.

Anti-Reverse Handles

To keep the handle from accidentally turning the other way and losing line to a fish during a fight, almost every reel now has a bearing in the handle that stops backward motion. This is called the anti-reverse.

Instant anti-reverse means there should be no reverse movement whatsoever, while other anti-reverse handles might wiggle back a slight amount. Handles can also be joined to the reel with a thread or with a rivet that goes through the body and attaches with a rivet on the other side. Riveted handles offer more power and reeling strength.

Line Capacity

Spinning reels should hold enough line to keep a fish snagged if it goes on a run. Some fishing styles like trolling and vertical jigging at great depths require having a lot of line available as well. Some reels are designed not to need any backing for braided line and hold line right up to the lip without any casting interference, allowing the angler even more line at hand.

Design & Appearance

Most modern spinning reels are designed in one or two colors out of strong metal materials like graphite or aluminum. The best spinning reels also have some kind of corrosion-resistance treatment to keep them looking and working great for many seasons.

The way the reel body is joined should be flush and feel like one solid piece. Reels get dropped and banged around all the time, so the right reel should be able to withstand some abuse without bending out of shape or scratching easily.

Price & Warranty

Spinning reels can run from several hundred dollars to well under fifty. There is a difference in construction and materials used, but most name-brand reels perform admirably at every price point. Standard warranties last for one year from the original sale and protect against mistakes during manufacture. Other warranties last longer, up to the lifetime of the reel, and might cover a bit more, but the limited warranty is the most common by far.

10 Best Spinning Reels Reviewed

Not sure which brand to purchase? We have reviewed the best models available to anglers and explained why these are our top choices. Read our reviews and watch our video to find the products for you and start catching fish today!

1. Penn Slammer III

Our Top Pick

Reel Weight

1.52 lbs.

Max Drag

40 lbs.

Line Capacity

Mono: 390/12, 345/15, 205/20

Braid: 485/30, 410/40, 355/50

Ball Bearings

7 + 1

Gear Ratio


The Penn Slammer III fishing reel is one of the toughest and most watertight spinning reels on the market. Its whole body, including the side plate and rotor, is built with diecast aluminum that withstands the general maelstrom of wind, water, and corrosive salt that angling tends to involve.

The front drag system offers just about as much drag as the average angler can withstand without using a harness and has been sealed off to prevent the entry of saltwater and ensure the longevity of the patented Dura-Drag discs.

Inside the reel, Computer Numerical Control (CNC) crafted gears are constructed to a very high level of precision to keep them moving smoothly, and that shows in the performance of the Slammer III. Even at the lighter sizes like the 3500, one wouldn't consider the Slammer an ultralight spinning reel. It's more of a robust powerhouse reel built for handling strong and active targets in saltwater or freshwater.

Anglers can enjoy the advantages of a slower gear ratio on this reel. Larger lures for bigger fish do great on this reel, as do more moderately-sized swimbaits thanks to the fairly fast 42" retrieval rate. The smaller sizes in this reel series are excellent for light and ultralight jigs and lures, while the larger reels (up to a 10500) can even haul in sharks.

These reels just look good, too, doubling the appeal of the high-quality watertight body. Pair it on a 6' rod for jigging or a 7' rod for horizontal fishing, and you'll have one of the strongest spinning reel combos available.

  • Full metal aluminum body
  • Watertight casing
  • Powerful drag
  • One-year limited warranty
  • Attractive reel design
  • Might be overkill for small targets

2. Daiwa BG 1500

Best Saltwater Spinning Reel

Reel Weight

0.54 lbs.

Max Drag

4.4 lbs.

Line Capacity

Mono: 155/4, 100/6

Braid: 220/8, 130/10

Ball Bearings

6 + 1

Gear Ratio


Similar to the Slammer III, especially in terms of its color scheme and solid metal machined aluminum construction, this line offers perhaps the most successful of the ultralight Daiwa spinning reels as well as big stoppers like the BG6500 that have increased drag and line capacity.

The 1500 is a fantastic light spinning reel that’s been designed to hold braid all the way up to the lip without requiring any mono backing or any otherwise unusable line wound deep against the spool. A wider diameter gives this reel a slower gear ratio, which is not optimal for the smaller reels in this series, but they do have a higher inch-per-turn rate of 48.7” on retrieval.

One way Daiwa has managed to cut weight in this reel series while still using full metal construction is through the use of an air rotor, which is a design that cuts out excess material and redistributes stress across the rotor to create a high-quality and strong rotor.

The drive gears have been built larger than the standard to increase contact, providing more torque and a smoother operation overall. An ‘infinite’ anti-reverse means there’s no give whatsoever in the handle, unlike on some lower-quality spinning reels whose handles wiggle slightly. All the reels larger than the 4500 have a manual bail, which doesn’t trip inadvertently as automatic bails are liable to do from time to time.

The larger reels also have increased drag capacity. For anglers who like to wade out, the 1500 is the best inshore saltwater spinning reel because it’s easily carried with little other tackle, casts soft plastics well, and holds up well enough to catch the 2- or 3-pounders weekend anglers are likely more used to. The larger sizes work just as well for inshore fishing for larger, tougher targets like albies and bonito.

  • Lightweight
  • Fast retrieve rate
  • Extra torque in gears & handle
  • No-give handle
  •  Use braid with no backing
  • Slow gear ratio for a light reel
  • Auto bail on smaller reels

3. PENN Spinfisher V 8500ll

Most Popular Model

Reel Weight

2 lbs.

Max Drag

35 lbs.

Line Capacity

Mono: 440/20, 300/30, 250/40

Braid: 650/40, 540/50, 470/65

Ball Bearings

5 + 1

Gear Ratio


For many of the same benefits offered by other saltwater spinning reels at a lower price, the Penn Spinfisher V spinning reel is the most popular model. It has a robust full metal body that's built to be watertight to keep corrosive elements away from critical interior parts like the main gear and the drag system.

Braid can be wound directly onto the spool with no backing and fits right up to the lip without any interference or backlashing. This is not a lightweight reel, but it is a powerful reel that can handle saltwater angling, even in the surf.

One of the standout features of this reel is its castability. Most of the time, casting with a spinning reel can be less than impressive, but with this Penn reel has a narrow spool and lays line down perfectly every time. If you pair it with the right 10'+ fishing rod, you'll be able to send your lures flying what seems like a mile. The only downside is that with the weight of this reel, casting repeatedly over long periods is likely to tire out the hands and arms.

The cranking action is smooth on this reel, which isn't a huge surprise coming from Penn. What is pleasantly unexpected is the stopping power it has. Typically there's a tradeoff between casting and power, but this reel has both in abundance.

Despite its weight, this reel is going to do whatever you'd need a large spinning reel to do. It's the best spinning reel for the money, and that investment is bound to keep serving you for a long time thanks to its durable, watertight construction.

  • Tons of stopping power
  • Watertight full metal body
  • Manual bail
  • Casts great
  • No backing required
  • May cause hand & arm fatigue

4. KastKing Sharky III 1000

Best Budget Spinning Reel

Reel Weight

0.43 lbs.

Max Drag

33 lbs.

Line Capacity

Mono: 200/6, 170/8, 130/10

Braid: 180/20, 95/30, 75/40

Ball Bearings

10 + 1

Gear Ratio


If the other reels in this guide are outside your price range, KastKing has your back as the bust budget spinning reel. Their Sharky III series has a variety of sizes ranging from 1000 to 5000, each for a price that won't break the bank.

It's a powerful reel that packs a whopping 39.5 pounds of drag at the larger 4000 and 5000 sizes. There are a ton of stainless steel ball bearings inside the reel that are saltwater rated and double-shielded to keep water and dirt out and give the whole operation a nice easy movement.

The critical parts inside the reel are all made out of high-quality materials. The pinion gears are brass, the spool is aluminum, and the main shaft is stainless steel and built to be oversized for better contact. All of this gives the reel not only durability but a nearly silent operation.

The handle is also made out of aluminum, so it feels great even in a fight when there's a strong fish on. It's all put together in a lightweight package that is easy to cast without fatigue. The spool can also hold more braid than most spinning reels and doesn't require a mono backing.

In terms of construction, the bail has two prominent screws joining it to the rest of the reel, which takes away from the design of the reel, which is otherwise uniformly visually appealing. The bail, along with the front and rear drag knobs, feels sturdy enough during use, but there are a few more nooks and crannies in the body of this reel that could potentially let water and corrosive elements in and need additional attention during cleaning.

  • Lightweight
  • Quiet, smooth operation
  • Strong brass & aluminum interior
  • Powerful drag system
  • Solid bail & handle
  • Takes longer to clean
  • Visible screws

5. Shimano Stradic Ci4+ 4000 XG

Best Spinning Reel for Bass

Reel Weight

0.51 lbs.

Max Drag

24 lbs.

Line Capacity

Mono: 240/8, 200/10, 160/12

Braid: 280/15, 170/30, 150/50

Ball Bearings

6 + 1

Gear Ratio


Occupying the perfect middle area for anglers who fish bass but haven’t yet mastered the art of the baitcasting reel or simply prefer not to use one, the Shimano Stradic Ci4+ spinning reel brings a faster gear ratio and enough line capacity to cast out crankbaits, frogs, spinnerbait, or whatever your preferred lure may be.

The body is made of reinforced carbon fiber, as indicated by the Ci4 in the name. More well-balanced weight distribution in the reel helps reduce fatigue and hand cramps during casting over long periods. Shimano has also taken pains to integrate a specially-designed rotor that’s significantly lighter than older models.

The best spinning reel for bass fishing needs to have enough power to turn a fish, but not so much that it robs the sport of all its fun. Fighting bass on this reel is really fun because it can get the target into the boat, but it still gives anglers the fight that makes the catch so satisfying. The front drag seems sound and hangs in there bite after bite. One of Shimano's signature features, the precision-pressed Hagane gear, has also been incorporated into this reel for smoother operation and additional torque.

Even at heavier test, this reel can hold plenty of line for casting, trolling, or fishing jigs. With the right fishing rod, it can be a go-to all-purpose bass fishing reel that won't get in the way. It's easily the best Shimano spinning reel currently on the market for anglers who are looking for a straightforward, easy-to-use bass catcher.

It also works great with braid, doesn't fall victim to line twist very often if it does at all, and can be used with finesse lures. Pair it with a fast-action rod that can rip lures out of the weeds, and you'll be pulling in the bass in no time.

  • Carbon fiber body
  • Great castability
  • No line twists
  • Precision Shimano gears
  • Well-balanced reel
  • Drag could be higher

6. Abu Garcia Revo Sx

Best Spinning Reel for Trout

Reel Weight

0.45 lbs.

Max Drag

10 lbs.

Line Capacity

Mono: 110/6

Braid: 150/6

Ball Bearings

8 + 1

Gear Ratio


Ideal for trout fishing thanks to its lightweight and the smoothness of its operation, the Abu Garcia Revo Sx is smaller than other spinning reels overall but doesn’t sacrifice any of the performance features needed for trout fishing like line capacity or retrieval rate. It works great with lighter lures and flies used to pull trout from rivers and streams.

It can cast well enough to get the hook into small rock ponds, and the line lay is fine enough to let the line out into the current for the perfect trout presentation. There's also a special design in the lip of the spool that controls how fast the line comes off for more control on a cast.

For being so lightweight, this Abu Garcia spinning reel is also very durable. The front drag system has carbon plates that do a good job turning fish back toward the angler but still allow for trout to swallow lures a bit deeper for the perfect hook set.

A machined aluminum spool performs well under pressure and doesn’t slip. The bail is sturdy and flips easily if you have the right touch for it. For those looking to improve their use of a spinning reel or learn how to use one, this reel is simple enough to be a great starter reel.

This might not be the best reel to use for really heavy line, although the Revo2Sx40 can hold a bit more. The good news is that with a fluoro leader and the right technique, some pretty big fish can still be caught on this reel.

  • Strong no-slip spool
  • Fast gear ratio
  • Lightweight
  • Casts well
  • Good for beginners
  • Not suited for heavy test

7. Daiwa Ballistic LT Freshwater 4000D

Top Rated by Users

Reel Weight

0.49 lbs.

Max Drag

26.4 lbs.

Line Capacity

Mono: 10/360, 250/14

Braid: 280/20, 200/30

Ball Bearings

5 + 1

Gear Ratio


Not only is this line of Daiwa spinning reels built to be lightweight and strong, but they also have several varying design elements that make the various reels in this series great for use in many different conditions. They all have a deeper spool that was built to hold more line, but the larger reels like the 6000D-C have been built with a compact shape to make them more versatile and easier to use.

The 4000D is the perfect blend of all the various benefits available in this Daiwa spinning reel line. It has as much drag power as Daiwa has made available in the Ballistics, doesn’t weigh as much as the largest option, and has a comparable retrieval rate.

For additional protection against saltwater or silt in surf or freshwater, Daiwa has included magnetic oil in these reels. This oil is used to make a magnetic seal that keeps the pinion ball bearings, which are already corrosion-resistant, clean, and in good working order. Daiwa has also used their lighter-weight air rotor to shed an ounce or two off this reel. The main gear is made of an aluminum alloy that has been very precisely machined to transfer energy from the angler more efficiently.

One of the only negative aspects of this reel is the waterproofing, which is done with magnetic oil as mentioned. Other reels with a complete seal can be dunked in saltwater and surf with little issue, but this Daiwa spinning reel will not be as resilient. It can handle spray and contact with water, but dunking it underneath the waves completely could cause problems. That being said, this reel casts well and stops fish in their tracks, and there's not much more you can ask for than that.

  • Deep spool design
  • Good retrieval rate & drag
  • Sealed ball bearings
  • Smooth operation
  • Lightweight reel
  • Less waterproof

8. Shimano Stradic HG

Best Freshwater Spinning Reel

Reel Weight

0.44 lbs.

Max Drag

7 lbs.

Line Capacity

Mono: 270/2, 140/4, 110/6

Braid: 95/10, 85/15, 65/20

Ball Bearings

6 + 1

Gear Ratio


While baitcasting reels might have cornered the market on freshwater angling for a lot of fishing enthusiasts, there are still some excepted spinning reels that prove the rule. This Shimano is one of those reels.

The durable Hagane material that keeps so many Shimano reels working season after season is used inside and out on the Stradic HG. One of the biggest draws to the company for many anglers, the X-Ship technology, has been built into this reel as well. It’s more a cohesive design strategy than a specific piece of the reel, but the key components are larger gears for more efficiency and increased torque.

The X-Ship design also provides for a super easy handle rotation. Bearings supporting the pinion gear also protect against common reel system shortfalls. All in all, it's an attempt to make Shimano spinning reels more powerful and more effective, and it works to great success in this model.

Cranking the handle is smooth, and the resistance in the drag system, while less than on some more robust reels, is consistent and dependable. The weight of the reel has also been reconstructed to move it closer to the angler's hand for a more balanced feeling.

It can be a little challenging to understand what exactly is in this reel because it's all described in promotional jargon, but rest assured that Shimano has put some serious work into making this reel perform well beyond what's expected from a spinning reel of this size.

20-pound and above targets are not impossible to catch with this reel and the proper setup, although smaller fish and finesse angling is more common. It will take some greasing or oiling every now and again to keep the gears working silently, but it's not a taxing process to do once a year or so.

  • Handle cranks smoothly
  • Balanced reel weight
  • Bearing-supported pinion
  • Increased torque
  • Even drag pressure
  • May require regular re-oiling

9. Cadence CS5

Best Ultralight Spinning Reel

Reel Weight

0.52 lbs.

Max Drag

36 lbs.

Line Capacity

Mono: 240/4, 160/6, 125/8

Braid: 220/8, 165/10, 120/15

Ball Bearings

8 + 1

Gear Ratio


Barely any heavier than the lightest spinning reels available, the Cadence CS5 packs a considerable punch in terms of stopping power and speed. It can certainly haul some fish in, and the easiness of it’s cranking and casting is just what anglers of all kinds are looking for.

Most of the reel body and the side plates are built from a carbon composite that doesn’t feel as hearty as some of the more expensive models but doesn’t feel cheap either. It still has a carbon fiber drag system and a machined aluminum spool, both of which can take a tremendous beating.

Part of what makes this reel operate so smoothly is its large number of ball bearings, but their placement is just as important. Where most other spinning reels that are saltwater-rated have some kind of seal or waterproofing, the CS5 seems to rely solely on the corrosion resistance of its ball bearings, which will withstand some of the elements but probably not rougher situations like surf fishing or submersion. Still, for this kind of price point, the Cadence CS5 is plenty tough.

The amount of line this reel can hold and the controlling effect the drag system has on casting will allow the user to fish swimbaits, crankbaits, spoons, and jigs with this reel. Keeping in mind that it’s a light reel and should be used to fish small targets with light lures, this is still likely the best spinning reel under $100 for the versatility it has in freshwater sources where baitcasters normally reign.

  • 3-year manufacturer’s warranty
  • Casts well
  • Holds plenty of line
  • Strong drag
  • Smooth reeling
  • No waterproof seal
  • Not great for heavy lures

10. Okuma Ceymar C-10

Best Spinning Reel Under $50

Reel Weight

0.37 lbs.

Max Drag

5 lbs.

Line Capacity

Mono: 210/2, 110/4, 70/6

Ball Bearings

7 + 1

Gear Ratio


In those situations where the angler doesn’t want to accidentally overpower the fish, or in ice fishing scenarios where large rods and reels are simply impractical, the right small spinning reel can be a huge asset.

The Okuma Ceymar C-10 is perfect for situations where a fast gear ratio isn't necessary, but a good amount of line is. That means the fight with your target is likely to take a little longer, but that's the fun part of fishing anyway. Unlike higher-end Okuma spinning reels, the drag system on this reel is made of oiled felt. It can't handle a huge amount of pressure and felt won't last as long as other materials like carbon discs. If you have the know-how to swap them out, then this reel will last a bit longer. 

The rest of the reel is durable and moves fluidly. A machined aluminum spool works every bit as well as those on reels that cost twice as much. The body is corrosion-resistant graphite, which is both lightweight and suitable for saltwater use. The bail wire and the handle are both made of aluminum as well, giving a greater sense of strength and sureness. Cranking the handle is comfortable and easy, especially on the larger C-65 model that comes with an ergonomic handle.

Remember that this is a very small reel, and it should serve you well in finesse fishing and small target scenarios. It's what other manufacturers might rate about a 500. If you put too much stress on the smaller sizes in this reel series, they could give in or take some serious damage. But for a quick spinning reel that can get fish under five pounds fairly easily, this is the best spinning reel under $50.

  • Ultralightweight
  • Ideal for ice or trout fishing
  • Graphite body
  • Aluminum handle & bail
  • Inexpensive
  • Oiled felt drag system

Quick Guide to Spinning Reel Mechanism & Operation

When the handle is rotated forward on a spinning reel, the bail rotates to guide line back onto the spool. The bail can be flipped to disengage it, which allows line to flow off the spool during a cast. Drag helps control line on a cast and adds tension on the line to help stop fish.

Too much drag can snap the line, while too little will let the fish swim away with your line. Fish can also be controlled with the anti-reverse switch, which will allow the angler to back-reel to afford more line.

Choosing the Right Gear Ratio

  • Low Gear Ratio/Slow - (5.1:1 thru 5.4:1)
    Slower gear speeds are better for larger lures and slow trolling. For murky water and in cold environments, low gear ratios are best. Bigger targets that like larger bait and lures are also better caught with slow speeds. Larger reels tend to have these lower ratios because the spool has a wider circumference.
  • Medium Gear Ratio/Medium - (6.1:1 thru 6.4:1)
    Beginners and all-species anglers are best off with a medium gear ratio. This allows the angler to slowly reel trolling lures or crank faster to get crankbaits or spoons to come in faster. Most anglers won’t have the technique to use really fast gear speeds effectively, so these medium speeds work best for the majority.
  • High Gear Ratio/Fast - (7.1:1 thru 8.1:1)
    Preferred by the pros, fast gears allow lures to be pulled through the water quickly with less cranking on the handle. Fishing jigs deep in the water or pulling crankbaits and swimbaits through the water column is easier with these reels because you can let the lure slow down by stopping the handle.

Spinning Reel Sizing Guide

Try to match the size of the reel with your target and what the average size fish is where you usually fish. Technique is also an important consideration. If you plan on casting a long distance, then a reel with greater line capacity will be needed.

Remember that spin reel test comes in different weights, and reels hold less of a larger line. Larger reels might be called 8000 or 800 size. They hold more line and can also be filled 2/3rds of the way for less line twist.

Using a Spinning Reel for the First Time

How to put line on a spinning reel
  1. 1
    Start by tying a small knot at the end of the factory line.
  2. 2
    Tie a slipknot at the end that can be wrapped around the spool.
  3. 3
    Pull the main line to tighten the slipknot around the spool. Make sure the bail is open!
  4. 4
    Reel backward and make sure the line is spooling the same direction as it's coming off the factory spool.
How to spool a spinning reel

Spinning reels put line on a reel clockwise, so the line should come off the factory spool counterclockwise to help eliminate line twist. Some lubricants can be applied to fishing line during spooling that will help resolve memory issues in the test and keep the line lasting longer.

How to cast a spinning reel
  1. 1
    Rotate the bail, so the line is close to your finger and grab it with that finger.
  2. 2
    Open the bail and then bring the rod back to about noon or eleven o’clock and cast it to about three or four o’clock.
  3. 3
    Snap the bail closed when the lure gets where you want it.

People Also Ask (FAQs)

How can I fix a broken anti-reverse on a spinning reel?

Many times the anti-reverse just needs to be cleaned out. Make sure it’s free of gunk and grime before you start more advanced repair. They’re usually held on with a pin and spring. If the spring is loose, just put it back on carefully. If the pin is broken or missing, you’ll need new housing, which is a much greater effort.

Can saltwater spinning reels be used in freshwater environments?

They can, and it's not a bad idea to do so. While salt is more corrosive, there is still dirt and mineral particulate in freshwater that can enter a reel and jam it up. Saltwater spinning reels that have been sealed will also last longer in freshwater than unsealed freshwater reels, just make sure the specs match your target.

What are the differences between a spin casting reel vs. baitcaster vs. spinning reel?

A baitcasting reel is harder to cast at first. The spool itself moves on a baitcaster, and a thumb is required to cast properly. Spinning reels have a bail that moves around the spool to lay line, and casting is much easier for most.

A spincasting reel is kind of a mix of the two; it’s a baitcaster that’s operated with a thumb on a button on the rear of the reel. This is how many anglers get their start, but some continue using spincasters well after the early stages.

What is the best fishing line for spinning reels?

Most of the best spinning reels have been designed to use braided Powerpro line without needing any backing. That means all of the line on the spool can be used. There are other strong braided lines that work well with a fluoro leader, but in the end, it depends on how and what you're fishing.

What types of lures and baits should I use with my spinning reel?

Larger reels generally call for larger lures and baits. For live bait, a larger spinning reel with a huge line capacity for shark and tuna works best. For finesse fishing trout, an ultralight spinning reel with light fly lures does excellent. Bass fishing with a medium-sized reel and anything between 10 and the 20-pound test is best.

What are the best spinning reel brands?

Shimano, Daiwa, and Penn are widely considered to make the best top of the line spinning reels. KastKing makes the best entry-level reels for the lowest investment. Okuma runs the gamut, offering simpler beginner reels and sophisticated pro-level reels. Brands like Cadence and Abu Garcia make spinning reels that perform great and are accessible for the majority of anglers.

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

Spray off a spinning reel with fresh water after each use in any environment. If you have a method of blow-drying or toweling off the reel after that, you should. Some lubricants and treatments can be applied as a final step, just make sure the reel is dry before you store it. Store reels off the rod with the line fixed some way in a dry, level place.

Where is the best place to find spinning reels for sale?

Most of the major brands have their own websites, but the merchandise is generally limited to only the newest iterations of their reels. Try Amazon, where manufacturers offload lots of their reels from preceding years at fair prices with just as much quality as you’d get from a brick and mortar store.


The right spinning reel should have a durable, well-designed body, tons of drag power, and good line capacity. The Penn Slammer III is the perfect versatile tool for all sorts of angling, which is what makes it the best spinning reel on the market.