Brand Comparison

Lew’s Reels Reviewed

by Andrew

Brand Comparison

Lew’s Reels Reviewed

by Andrew

by Andrew

Having the right fishing gear has a significant impact on your angling experience, especially when it comes to reels. Lew's is one of the number one brands on the market for high-quality fishing equipment at affordable prices.

Out of hundreds of fishing reel brands, Lew's is preferred by amateur and professional anglers around the United States and the world. They were already featured on the best baitcaster combos under $200, so you know you’re getting value. This review is for any angler searching for their new Lew’s reel.

Preview

Product

Weight

Gear Ratio

Line Capacity

Check Price

Lew's Custom SLP 7.5:1 Left Hand Baitcast...

Lew’s Custom Speed Spool

0.6 lbs.

6.8:1

110yds/12lbs.

LEW'S (MC1SH) Fishing Mach Crush Speed Spool...

Lew’s Mach Crush

0.45 lbs.

7.5:1

110yds/12lbs.

Lews Fishing, Custom Pro Speed Spin Spinning...

Lew’s Custom Pro Speed Spin

0.63 lbs.

6.2:1

190yds/12lbs.

Lew's Custom Inshore SLP 7.5:1 Left Hand...

Lew’s Fishing Custom Inshore SLP Speed Spool MSB

0.41 lbs.

7.5:1

140yds/12lbs.

Lews Fishing, Custom Black LFS Baitcasting 1...

Lew’s Fishing Custom Black LFS Baitcast Combo

0.66 lbs.

7.5:1

120yds/12lbs.

Lew's Mach Smash 30 Spin 6'6'-1 Medium...

Lew’s Mach Smash

0.5 lbs.

6.2:1

145yds/10lbs.

Lew's Team Lews HyperMag SLP 8.3:1 Left Hand...

Lew’s Fishing Team Lew’s HyperMag

0.34 lbs.

8.3:1

110yds/12lbs.

Lews TS1SHMB Fishing, Tournament MB Baitcast...

Lew’s Fishing Tournament MB

0.4 lbs.

7.5:1

120yds/12lbs.

Lew's Speed Cast 5.3:1 Right Hand Casting...

Lew’s Fishing Lew’s Speed Cast SC600

0.74 lbs.

5.3:1

300yds/15lbs.


Unique Features of Lew’s Fishing Reels

Wide Range of Reel Types & Styles

Lew’s offers a reel for every occasion. Their range includes lightweight reels, designs for fresh and saltwater, professional tournament reels, baitcasters and spinners, durable SuperDuty, and lightweight Speed Spools. No matter your needs, Lew’s has the right type and style of reel available.

Zero Reverse Function

Lew’s seminal ZRXtra reverse system provides the stopping power needed to reel in the biggest fish. When needed, this zero reverse function is quick to activate and highly effective, offering professional anglers the high gear standards necessary to catch winning fish.

Solid Brass Speed Gears

Lew’s precise Speed Gears are super strong and offer a smooth cranking interface. These durable brass gears are beloved by anglers for their precision alignment, making for smoother operation and extended gear life.

Various Innovative Braking Systems

There are several different kinds of top-of-the-line braking systems offered across Lew's range of reels, each using the best technology to provide you with a smooth experience. The MSB (Multi-Setting Brake) offers a fully externally-adjustable magnetic braking system combined with an internal centrifugal brake. Another innovative braking system is the ACB (Adjustable Centrifugal Brake) QuietCast with extreme braking power while maintaining a quiet and smooth control over the line. Other excellent Lew’s braking systems include the 4-pin ACB SpeedCast and the SmartPlus 6-pin CBS (Centrifugal Brake System).

Easy-to-Use Cast Control

The dual cast control system utilizes an external click dial to adjust the internal magnetic brake, as well as individually dis-engageable internal brake shoes working with the Centrifugal Brake System. This means you have optimal control over your cast, and adjustments are easy to make at any time.

Patented Speed Keeper Design

Lew’s Speed Keeper hook keeper makes sure your reel offers the most convenient way to fish. This feature swings in and out to secure and release your hook, so it’s there as soon as you need it. The Speed Keeper hook keeper conveniently tucks away under your reel when not in use. This unique feature can be handy, allowing Texas-rigged baits to stay rigged, preventing scratches and damage to your reel.

Winn Dri-Tac Handle Knobs

These comfortable reel handles allow you to maintain complete control over each cast and prevent hand fatigue over long fishing trips. Winn Dri-Tac Handle Knobs have a famously secure grip used in professional tournaments. Anglers love that you can customize your Lew’s knob by color.

Patented Speed Dial

A coin is used to turn this dial to indicator arrows marked with Monofilament, Fluorocarbon, and Braided symbols to help you quickly and easily identify line type. Lew’s patented Speed Dial makes pound testing and checking your line more intuitive.

High-Performance Accessories

As if all the fantastic features of Lew's reels weren’t enough, you can upgrade your reels even further to fully personalize them to your technique. High-power handle kits with custom knobs and adjustable strength handles let you optimize your fishing game.


9 Best Lew’s Fishing Reels Reviewed

1. Lew’s Custom Speed Spool

Best Overall Lew’s Fishing Reel

Reel Size

-

Weight

0.6 lbs.

Gear Ratio

6.8:1

Line Capacity

110yds/12lbs.

Max Drag

20 lbs.

Ball Bearings

9 + 1

The best overall fishing reel from the beloved brand of Lew’s has to be the Custom Speed Spool. This baitcaster has a fantastic cast thanks to the smooth brass gears, with no backlash using even the lightest lures. Lew’s patented Speed Dial is included to help you quickly identify your line, especially useful for anglers who often change between line types. The Dri-Tac handle means you can return directly to your rod after unhooking a fish without wasting precious time drying your hands.

When changing your bait, adjusting the braking system is easy with the external controls. The Lew's Custom Speed Spool uses the MSB dual cast control system to adjust your brakes to the appropriate settings. All it takes is a few clicks before you’re ready to cast again. The low-profile design makes this reel incredibly convenient and comfortable to use without compromising on function. Small and lightweight, the Custom Speed Spool delivers all the performance of a larger reel.

With Lew’s Custom Speed Spool, you get all the benefits of an expensive baitcaster but at an affordable price. A carbon fiber drag system gives you a tremendous amount of power without adding to the overall weight. The easily adjustable tension knob and patented brake system make every cast a dream, with the comfortable Winn grips allowing you to enjoy full days of fishing.


2. Lew’s Mach Crush

Best Lew’s Baitcaster Reel  

Reel Size

7 x 8 x 3 Inches

Weight

0.45 lbs.

Gear Ratio

7.5:1

Line Capacity

110yds/12lbs.

Max Drag

20 lbs.

Ball Bearings

9 + 1

This baitcaster reel promises a beautifully smooth cast and retrieve every single time, even if you’re throwing awkward lures. Jerkbaits, for example, can be tricky to achieve distance, but Lew's Mach Crush is so flawless that you’ll be surprised how far you can cast. The 20 max drag means this reel can bring in large fish, but the agile and lightweight system can also be used with smaller lures for finesse work.

Lew's' SLP (Super Low Profile) system makes another appearance on this reel, ensuring a strong but lightweight graphite frame. Our only gripe with this system is the palming plate, which can easily fall off if you forget to lock. However, it’s a small price to pay for a perfect fit in hand, which will have you fishing for hours on end combined with the lightweight materials. Some customers complain that the reel becomes noisier after use, but proper reel cleaning and care are the solutions to this problem.

The premium zero reverse system offers 9 double-shielded ball bearings and a 10th one-way clutch bearing to give you full control over the line. When you need to make adjustments, Lew’s MSB utilizes an external click dial for on-to-go changes and an internal centrifugal brake system that can be perfectly tailored to your needs. This Lew’s Mach Crush Reel review finds potential longevity issues with the lightweight gear, but the number of high-tech features more than make up for it.


3. Lew’s Custom Pro Speed Spin

Best Lew’s Spinning Reel

Reel Size

5.31 x 3.46 x 5.51 Inches

Weight

0.63 lbs.

Gear Ratio

6.2:1

Line Capacity

190yds/12lbs.

Max Drag

24 lbs.

Ball Bearings

11 + 1

This professional reel boasts a massive list of Lew's most advanced technologies. The Custom Pro Speed Spin was designed by Team Lew's for anglers who care about performance. For days when you’re fishing lighter lines and lures, a quality spinning reel is necessary. This Lew’s reel offers the very best compromise between weight and power, as while it's made for lighter loads, the max drag is a huge 24 pounds. 

Longevity is boosted by a built-in flush and drain port, so it’s even easier to lubricate and maintain your reel. Tournament anglers love this feature because during a competition, you can address and resolve performance issues in a heartbeat when every second counts. The Lew's Custom Pro Speed Spin has an ultra-fast retrieve thanks to the 11 ball bearings, complemented by a sealed, one-way clutch bearing in the Zero Reverse system.

The Custom Pro Speed Spin brings a new meaning to all-weather fishing. A speed lube system offers unparalleled smoothness throughout blistering heat and sub-zero temperatures. The internal Speed Gears are made from high-strength precision cut aluminum, which allows your casts to fly far and wide.

Our only performance complaint with this Lew's Spinning Reel is that the bail only opens in a specific position, which could be annoying when time is tight. This can make the cast and retrieve process a little clunky, but for the majority of your fishing trip, you’ll find it easy and smooth to use. This high-end reel is an excellent choice for bass fishing, as well as trout and salmon.


4. Lew’s Fishing Custom Inshore SLP Speed Spool MSB

Best Lew’s Inshore Reel

Reel Size

5.75 x 5 x 3 Inches

Weight

0.41 lbs.

Gear Ratio

7.5:1

Line Capacity

140yds/12lbs.

Max Drag

24 lbs.

Ball Bearings

9 + 1

Lew's Custom Inshore Speed Spool gives you all the power you need to fight the biggest inshore fish. The spool holds 140 yards of 12-pound monofilament line, which allows for surprising strength from a lightweight reel. A single-piece aluminum frame and carbon and graphite side plates make this Lew’s inshore reel strong without adding weight.

This reel features the new Lew's combat grip pad, which adds comfort and control, a necessary feature if you want to reel in the most challenging catch. The 32mm SLP spool allows you to start and accelerate faster than larger spools while maintaining a low profile, balancing the rod, so every cast feels intuitive.

This strong reel is an excellent choice for beginners and experienced anglers alike. It's effortless to use and casts smoothly at a considerable distance. Because this reel is likely to be used in saltwater, it needs features to combat the harsh nature of this environment. The 10-bearing system is sealed with corrosion-resistant steel; however, we'd like to see a flush and lubrication system on this model. Accidental submersion in water is a likely event on any fishing trip, but salt and sand can cause damage to your reel.

Most users find that the Lew’s Custom Inshore Reel holds up just fine to salt and sand, but include this in your considerations regarding longer-term gear wear. Overall, this is the best Lew's Inshore Reel equipped with essential features. The premium 10-bearing system, including an anti-reverse clutch bearing, combines with the speedy spool in a low-profile package to offer comfortable and enjoyable days of inshore fishing.


5. Lew’s Fishing Custom Black LFS Baitcast Combo

Best Lew’s Baitcasting Rod and Reel Combo 

Reel Size

5.8 x 4.5 x 2.8 Inches

Weight

0.66 lbs.

Gear Ratio

7.5:1

Line Capacity

120yds/12lbs.

Max Drag

20 lbs.

Ball Bearings

9 + 1

Another hit from the pro designers at Lew’s Team is the Custom Black Speed Spool LFS Baitcast Combo. Winning the “Best Rod & Reel Combo” at ICAST for five years running, this tournament pro combo is not to be overlooked. An excellent combination of leading Lew’s technologies have been applied to this rod and reel combo, offering everything an angler could desire. The patented Speed Dial and Speed Keeper are installed alongside a 10-bearing MSB and Zero Reverse System.

Winn Dri-Tac reel knobs are matched with a Dri-Tac split grip for optimal control. Just above the grip, Lew’s exclusive Vibration Transfer Ring system offers direct contact with the line so that you can fish with precision. The rod also features American Tackle Microwave guides with nanolite inserts with zero resistance, letting your casts fly. If you’re highly specific, you might find the center balance of this rod and combo setup a little too far forward, but most anglers won’t notice this slight issue.

Whether you’re fishing from the shore or in a boat, a smooth cast is promised every time thanks to the high strength Super Pinion brass gears, which also have great durability. The speed spool reel has LFS technology. This means a more streamlined profile than larger reels without compromising on strength with the aluminum frame. This award-winning combo cannot be beaten on baitcasting ability, but anglers on a budget should check out baitcasting combos below $100.


6. Lew’s Mach Smash

Best Lew’s Spinning Reel Combo

Reel Size

-

Weight

0.5 lbs.

Gear Ratio

6.2:1

Line Capacity

145yds/10lbs.

Max Drag

17 lbs.

Ball Bearings

7 + 1

Lew’s’ answer to their award-winning baitcasting combo is the Mach Smash, an eye-catching red reel and rod ready to use straight away. This combo is the answer to every light-line fishing eventuality, taking up to 145 yards of 10-pound braid. As always, a super smooth retrieve is promised by the high strength solid brass Speed Gears, helped along by Speed Lube, which promises effortless fishing no matter the weather.

This combo uses a skeletal graphite rotor and reel seat to optimize weight while retaining strength and durability, so it’s comfortable to use all day. Winn Dri-Tac is used on the grip, and EVA butt will help keep your rod stable. We also love that this rod and reel combo can be adjusted for either right or left-hand use, making it easier to share the angling fun around.

In place of the Speed Keeper, this rod offers a patented “No Foul” hook keeper in the split, so entanglements are no worry. An oversized multi-disc drag system gives you all the torque you want when you need it, alongside the Zero Reverse bearing. Tough enough for saltwater uses and light enough to fight hard against any fish, this combo is great for catching big reds and snook. It’s no trolling reel, but this combo is difficult to beat for inshore use and pure value. 


7. Lew’s Fishing Team Lew’s HyperMag

Top of the Range Baitcast Reel  

Reel Size

5 x 5.25 x 3 Inches

Weight

0.34 lbs.

Gear Ratio

8.3:1

Line Capacity

110yds/12lbs.

Max Drag

20 lbs.

Ball Bearings

10 + 1

Team Lew’s HyperMag Speed Spool is a truly high-end baitcasting reel. It’s easy to see why this reel is top of the line weighing in at only 5.4 ounces, with a one-piece magnesium frame and carbon C45 side plates. The spool itself is made from aircraft-grade Duralumin, and the inner gears are anodized aluminum, completing the ultra-light construction of the body. This Super Low Profile baitcaster is just as powerful as traditional-sized reels but with a trimmed-down body that can handle the full days of fishing that anglers need.

Unlike most Lew's reels, this model features the SpeedCast Adjustable Centrifugal brake rather than the regular MSB. This is externally adjustable, unlike other reels with 27 positions, so no matter your technique, every cast is as smooth as butter. Combined with the premium 11-bearing system, it’s easy to see how this top of the range reel has earned its price tag. Casual anglers probably won’t notice the difference between this reel and cheaper options, but performance fishers can appreciate the high-tech improvements.

Lew’s patented Speed Dial and Speed Keeper hook are included as with all their top-line products, making your experience using this reel easier and more enjoyable. An external lube port is another addition we appreciate, making gear maintenance more convenient no matter the time.

The Team Lew’s HyperMag has a slightly lower max drag than other options at 20 lbs, as the Inshore reel we reviewed can handle up to 24. However, you won’t achieve the same performance as this baitcasting titan, so it's worth having this slightly lighter-duty reel for most fishing purposes. 


8. Lew’s Fishing Tournament MB

Best Value for Money Baitcaster

Reel Size

6 x 5 x 3Inches

Weight

0.4 lbs.

Gear Ratio

7.5:1

Line Capacity

120yds/12lbs.

Max Drag

20 lbs.

Ball Bearings

9 + 1

If you want a far-reaching reel you can rely on for competitive fishing, particularly bass, the Lew’s Fishing Tournament MB could be perfect. Even the smallest and lightest baits will fly a country mile when cast by this reel; it may take some getting used to because the cast is so smooth, you’re likely to overshoot your target at first. However, we promise that perseverance is worth it.

Lew’s dual cast control system allows you to make tiny adjustments and get your setting just right, using the external MSB and internal centrifugal brakes. This reel is a part of the Lighter, Faster, Stronger range and employs Speed Spool technology, promising the optimal fishing performance. When changing your drag settings, an audible “click” will help you keep track of drag and tension.

An ergonomic design complete with Combat Grip handles and thumb bar promises it’s comfortable to use throughout the day, helped along by a strong aluminum and graphite construction weighing only 6.7 ounces. The oversized handle knobs are especially useful as they help to maintain grip when splashing around. The drag is incredibly reliable, so you don't have to worry about line slippage, staying smooth even when fighting the largest fish due to the 10 double-shielded ball bearings.


9. Lew’s Fishing Lew’s Speed Cast SC600

Best Lew’s Catfish Reel  

Reel Size

1 x 1 x 1 Inches

Weight

0.74 lbs.

Gear Ratio

5.3:1

Line Capacity

300yds/15lbs.

Max Drag

15 lbs.

Ball Bearings

4 + 1

When fishing for cats, you need more power than what you’d get from a regular reel. Catfish of any size are strong and stubborn; they will fight you every step of the way. You need a heavy-duty reel that can still be relied upon to be smooth and accurate. Enter the Lew's Fishing Speed Cast, a simplified reel with a whole lot of strength. To find out more about what makes the perfect catfish reel, check out our article.

If you’re a cast-and-wait angler or enjoy a spot of catfish trolling, this reel is an excellent buy. It offers fantastic value for money with a smooth cast and retrieval, no matter the fish's size. Casting long distance is no issue with the 5 bearing system, including Lew's famous Zero Reverse one-way clutch bearing. The main gear and crankshaft of the Fishing Lew's Speed Cast are made from brass to ensure high strength, while anodized aluminum is used on the side plates and housing to create a sturdy case.

Use the aluminum star to control the carbon fiber drag system as you reel in huge catfish, working with a massive line capacity of 300 yards. Grip tight to the oversize EVA power handle, which some anglers prefer for fighting strong fish. However, we miss the Winn Dri-Tac handles featured on most of Lew's reels, as they would come in useful when splashing around with the catfish. It’s worth noting that these are available to purchase separately as some of Lew’s high-performance accessories.


Pros & Cons of Lews Fishing Reels

Pros
  • Top-of-the-line braking systems
  • Zero Reverse technology
  • Precision cut gears
  • High-performance pro-angler equipment
  • Superior casting distance
  • Patented speed keeper
  • No backlash
  • Works with the lightest baits and lures
Cons
  • Performance over time is limited
  • Centrifugal brakes don’t suit every angler
  • Higher-end price range

About the Lew’s Company

Lew’s are a legendary brand with a dedicated following, beloved for years on end by anglers the world-around. The company was founded in 1949 by Lew Childre, who wanted to build fishing equipment far superior to what was currently available. Among his first innovations were lightweight graphite fishing rods made for bass tournament anglers.

In 1973, Lew decided to revolutionize reels as well as rods. He introduced the very first Speed Spool, a peculiar teardrop-shaped reel that many anglers thought was strange until they tried it. The unique low profile and improved comfort in the palm took America by storm because of vast performance improvements over every competitor. This innovative design is still used in Lew's market-leading reels today.

Today, Lew's is headquartered in Springfield, MO. Their continued mission is to innovate, focusing on performance, building lighter, faster, and stronger angling gear.


The Lew’s Range of Fishing Reels Explained

  • Casting Reels
    Baitcasting reels allow for high precision with jigs, crankbaits, and more. They can launch further than the average spinning reel and smoother using mid-size baits. However, a casting reel requires more experience to use, and mastery requires a lot of practice. You control the line's speed, which, if you don’t perfect, can cause a backlash and a lot of tangles.
  • Spinning Reels
    Spinners are far more suited to the inexperienced angler and can also be ideal in settings where accuracy isn’t as important. They’re simple and easy to use and may handle lighter baits such as soft plastics better.
  • Rod & Reel Combos
    Lew’s rod and reel combos take the confusion out of the equation. They provide a full setup that is ready to use and guaranteed to work well together. Rod and reel combos come as either a spinner or a baitcaster, so the same guidelines from above apply. With several award-winning combinations, Lew’s rods and reels are to be trusted.

Comparing Lew’s Reels to Other Reel Brands

  • Lew's Vs. Abu Garcia
    Lew's is a brand that always prioritizes performance, and in this area, they excel against Abu Garcia. However, the durability of Lew's is occasionally called into question, and Abu Garcia is known for using higher quality materials. The two brands are similar in price, with Lew's generally offering slightly more features for the money. In particular, Lew’s casting reels have a higher performance than Abu Garcia’s equivalent.
  • Lew's Vs. Shimano
    The primary argument for Shimano over Lew’s is a more simplistic design, but in most cases, Lew’s blows the other brand out of the water. It’s difficult to beat offerings of pro and tournament level gear at the same prices as entry-level equipment in other brands. It could be argued that Shimano has slightly improved longevity, but Lew’s still wins hands-down on performance.
  • Lew's Vs. 13 Fishing
    Lew’s reels hold up far better than 13 Fishing reels in saltwater and tend to be more durable in general. Both brands offer a respectable casting distance, but features like the patented Speed Dial give Lew’s reels much easier adjustments. Lew’s reels are even priced cheaper than many of 13 Fishing’s offerings, making your decision between the two brands even easier.
  • Lew's vs. Pfleuger
    Considering baitcasting reels, Lew's are difficult to beat. However, the company has focused less on spinning reels, and Pfleuger could advance in this area. Even dedicated Lew’s fans turn to Pfleuger for their spinning needs, although they are priced higher. You can get a fantastic Lew's spinning reel on a budget, but for a little more money, Pfleuger offers competition. 

People also Ask (FAQs)

How do I spool a Lew’s fishing reel?

Firstly, attach your Lew's reel to your fishing rod. Thread your line through the first eyelet of the rod and then through the worm guide at the front of your reel. Some Lew's reels have a drilled hole to thread the line through, so if your reel has this, thread it through there next and use a uni-knot to secure it. If you don’t have pre-drilled holes, tie your line around the spool and complete 20 full revolutions before securing it with either back-to-back or uni-knot. Keep a firm tension on the line as you wind the rest of the length around the spool to prevent line slippage when fighting a big fish.

How to set up and cast Lew’s fishing reels?

After spooling your fishing reel, you need to set the spool tension using Lew's patented Speed Dial. Using a lure and about 10 inches of line, adjust the tension so that it takes about 3 seconds for your lure to drop to the ground. Ensure your centrifugal brakes are set in a symmetrical pattern; 2 or 3 is best to start with. Magnetic brakes can be adjusted externally until you feel your cast is right. Watch this video from Lew’s for more information on setting up your reel.

Are there any special maintenance steps for Lew’s fishing reels?

Lew’s recommends opening and oiling your reel after every use, but most anglers don’t follow this advice. At the very least, it’s vital to rinse and dry your reel after any exposure to saltwater and oil it regularly to ensure continued performance. When you do oil your reel, remember that a little goes a long way, and too much will actually hinder your cast. Store your Lew’s reels in a clean and dry tackle box away from any contaminants.

Do Lew’s fishing reels have a lifetime warranty?

No, while certain Lew's rods are available with a lifetime warranty, Lew's reels come with a limited one-year warranty. You must register your new reel online within 30 days of purchase to benefit from free repairs and replacements. Warranties are void if you or a non-licensed business attempts to repair a Lew’s product.

How do I contact Lew's for reel warranty repairs?

You can contact Lew’s customer service using their toll-free number (1.877.470.LEWS) or email at info@lews.com. More information can be found on Lew’s website. You could also get directly in contact with Lew’s parts and service using service@lews.com.

Where can I buy this brand of fishing reels and other Lew’s reel parts?

You can buy Lew's reels directly from Lew's website, but we prefer purchasing through Amazon. Amazon often has special offers, sales, and deals where you can get better value for money on Lew’s products. You can usually find the very best prices through Amazon over Target or TackleWarehouse. If you buy new, these still fall within Lew’s one-year limited warranty. Amazon is also a fantastic resource to read customer reviews so you can see what other anglers think before making your purchase.


Conclusion

Lew’s are a fantastic brand for fishing equipment, and particularly their baitcasting reels are tough to beat. Our number one recommendation is Lew's Speed Spool SLP, a perfect combination of the original sleek design that made Lew’s famous and the implementation of the newest fishing technologies.

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