Spinning reels have become the go-to fishing reels in modern times. Although many still use conventional reels, the spinning type of 2022 typically offers more versatility when working with different kinds of tackle, including artificial lure and live bait.
If you’re a beginner, getting to grips with a conventional reel can take some time. Just when you think you’ve got your catch, you lose the line, and the fish gets away. Spinning reels remedy this problem by being easy to master for beginners as well as more experienced anglers.
Many of us like to fish from the shore, but this isn’t possible with a conventional reel as they are commonly used for the open sea, deeper waters, and ocean fishing.
If you’re like us, you’ll agree that there is nothing better than sitting back on a shoreline and casting your rod for a day of fishing (learn about the best swimbait rods here). Spinning reels have revolutionized the fishing game (see the differences between the Shimano Sedona and Sahara reels here) and will be your perfect companion, but some can be very expensive.
Not everyone can afford the most costly models, but there is no need to sacrifice quality even on a budget.
We have done a spot of fishing ourselves and caught the best cheap spinning reels on the market today. Our in-depth reviews will look at the pros and cons of each reel, so there will be no need to cast doubt about any reels again.
OUR TOP PICK
OUR TOP PICK
If you’re reading this, you are looking for the best cheap spinning reels available today. Thankfully, our top choice is just that with high-quality and lightweight construction for ease of use on the water.
The PENN Pursuit III Spinning Fishing Rod has a very smooth action that is easy to master in a short amount of time. This product comes equipped with a high-precision gear system that makes the retrieval fish process much simpler and more fluid than most on the market. Including an oiled-felt drag system results in a very powerful and easily adjustable drag performance to reel the fish in.
There are many similarities between high-end reels with this PENN Pursuit Spinning reel (learn more about the Penn Battle vs Spinfisher reels here). A reinforced stainless steel spool and the aluminum handle make the structure very durable and solid for long-lasting use. We love the jet-black design with silver trimmings to add style and elegance to the rod.
- Available in 5 sizes – Get to choose from light freshwater applications to heavier marine spin fishing to suit most fishing needs
- Ergonomic design – Results in an easy to use reel for a great user experience
- Highly durable – A stainless steel build as well as shielded stainless steel ball bearings result in a very tough structure that can endure corrosive saltwater conditions for long-lasting use
- Bail arm can become stuck – This can affect the casting mechanism negatively, not allowing the line to run smoothly off the spool.
For a great value spinning reel, look no further than the KastKing Summer Spinning Reel. This affordable, lightweight reel has the full package. It’s very smooth to use and looks fantastic when matched with any rod, and promises to turn any angler into a pro in no time!
Its narrow graphite frame combined with its high-performance computer balancing system means the KastKing Spinning reel is compact for easy handling and powerful enough to catch stronger fish.
Thanks to a Superior Drag System, it provides up to 17.5 lbs of stopping power, so don’t be afraid to tackle some beasts in the water.
The KastKing sports a hardened metal main shaft, a strong mesh drive gear, and a precision machine pinion gear to fight against the power of the fish, so you should be able to reel them in all day long with no hassle.
Ideal for beginners and pros, the KastKing Spinning reel offers smooth performance, and if you’re not a fisherman, it could be the perfect gift for an angler in your life.
- Budget-friendly – It has an array of features similar to high-end reels for a much lower price.
- Easy to use – Ideal for beginners to learn the ropes of spinning reels as well as the more experienced fisherman
- Powerful launch lip – This allows for further casting and holds more line than many of its competitors.
- Reel drag tangles – Some customers have reported that the reel can become tangled, meaning they have had to cut the line and start again.
Next up is an excellent spinning reel from Pflueger (learn about the differences between the Pflueger President 20 and 25), one of the most highly regarded brands on the market. Out of all Pflueger’s reels, their President series is perhaps the most popular of the lot for an array of reasons.
One is its outstanding characteristics and features that meet the demands of most anglers while coming at a low price compared to others.
Versatility is the name of the game with the Pflueger President Spinning Fishing Reel. You can use this on freshwater and saltwater thanks to a lightweight, graphite body that is corrosion-resistant. An innovative rotor design results in very smooth handling when tackling tougher fish.
Your performance will be helped thanks to the aluminum bail that comes with a sure-click system. One of the stand-out features is its multi-disc drag system. This enables a very powerful and smooth action when on the water.
- Durable and solid build – Corrosion-resistant steel bearings help this reel power through freshwater and saltwater conditions resulting in a long-lasting product
- Elegant and sleek design – Very stylish to suit you and your fishing gear
- Lightweight graphite body – Easy to use and control with very solid construction to withstand the power of some fish
- Handle’s grip loosens over time – This can affect the overall handling of the reel negatively.
Another budget-friendly spinning reel is the feature-rich Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel. Many of us have a tiger budget when buying spinning reels, but types like this offer all the features you need at a minimum price.
The Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel is pretty compact for easy use and has a unique design. It is built with eight stainless steel ball-bearings that combine with the Okuma precision elliptical design system. This positively impacts your fishing experience by making it smoother in casting and retrievals.
Its construction is very sturdy yet lightweight, meaning you can transport the reel with ease and use it for longer periods without putting any strain on your hands. Its high-performance drag system allows you to make swift and simple adjustments while fighting a fish.
There are various sizes available to suit most types of fishing so that you can have a professional fishing experience for a much lower price than many of its competitors.
- Feature-rich – Includes various features such as the Okuma precision elliptical design system, which makes casting and retrieving smoother.
- Offers maximum durability – Solid aluminum construction can withstand harsh conditions for long periods.
- Smooth action – 8 ball bearings allow for a very smooth action when fishing, leaving less strain on your hands and arms.
- The drag system’s oil felts dry out – This can damage the whole reel by seizing up and breaking the line.
If you are in the market for a stylish spinning reel with a highly distinguished design, the Mitchell 300 Spinning Fishing Reel may be the right one for you. Looks may not be everything when spinning reels, but it’s always a bonus to stand out alongside your fishing buddies!
One feature that caught our attention is this reel’s ability to provide a supremely smooth retrieval action. During line retrieval, there is absolute silence leaving you in a state of blissful serenity on the sunny riverbank. Alongside this is an anti-reverse function that works instantly to improve the efficiency and speed at which you set the hook.
The Mitchell 300 Spinning Fishing Reel has a graphite body construction that is durable, strong, and lightweight for easy use. This should prevent muscle fatigue in your hands when holding the reel for hours on end.
You can be forgiven for thinking this reel isn’t as powerful as some due to its lightweight nature but don’t be fooled. As soon as you come up against a larger, stronger fish, you will be surprised by the sheer power this spinning reel can provide.
- Lightweight – Easy to carry around and hold for a long time, limiting muscle fatigue in your hands
- Smooth retrieval action – Its excellent design allows you to retrieve your fish in silence with a very smooth action for added comfort.
- Multi-disc drag system – Delivers a consistent drag pressure when up against heavier and lighter loads to help you catch different-sized fish easily.
- Unreliable anti-reverse mechanism – Although this works superbly, on the whole, it can sometimes become stuck, leaving users frustrated.
There is no doubt that you will love the Daiwa BG8000 BG Saltwater Spinning Reel. Although more expensive than our previous entries on this list, this newest model from Daiwa is still a very affordable option with the smoothness and durability of more expensive spinning reels.
With its 7-bearing system, the Daiwa Saltwater Spinning Reel will help you catch various fish, from deep-sea fishing to the big catch of the day. The line of this reel sits very well and even as well as having a superb line capacity.
An infinite dual anti-reverse system prevents your reel from turning backward and engaging the drag, so fishing should be a breeze with this reel. Its ergonomic design means you will be able to hold it for hours without suffering from any strain in your hands. Once you’re done, its compact and lightweight frame is easy to carry and transport to your next destination.
The Daiwa BG8000 BG Saltwater Spinning Reel is constructed with rust and corrosion-resistant materials for safe use in salty waters for long-lasting use. Coming in variable sizes, the Daiwa Spinning reel should suit all of your angling needs.
- Strong, powerful drag – Helps you catch and retrieve larger fish
- Ergonomic design – Very easy to use, reducing muscle fatigue in your hands, and very convenient to carry
- Rust/corrosion-resistant – Suitable for saltwater fishing over long periods
- The spool is only painted – This tends to rust quite easily and sometimes quickly due to no rust-resistant materials in this part.
- Bearings are not shielded from saltwater impairments – Bearings can become worn and rust easily due to saltwater.
Okuma makes it onto our list again, but this time with the ROX Spinning Combo. If you’re on the lookout for a reliable spinning reel and fishing rod combo, the Okuma ROX Spinning Combo could be just the product for getting you started on your angling journey.
An innovative construction sports a variety of top-quality features that most high-end reels would be proud of. Its multi-disc drag system with oil felt results in the ROX Spinning Combo being a highly efficient product with a smooth drag action. This will enable you to pull heavier fish out of the water without breaking the line.
The Okuma Rox Spinning Combo includes foam grips for a very user-friendly and comfortable experience. Furthermore, its glass fiber construction is durable enough to tackle larger fish for many days on the shoreline.
The spinning reel’s size is ideal for catching more powerful and sizable fish such as tuna. When combined with its lightweight nature, the Okuma ROX Spinning Combo could become your most reliable companion on long fishing weekends.
- Reel and rod combo – Get two for the price of one to save you money on buying a separate rod.
- Smooth drag system – Very smooth drag action for catching larger fish more easily and comfortably.
- Strong design – Fiberglass construction is strong enough to tackle larger fish such as tuna and lightweight enough to carry easily.
- Not as durable as some competitors – Its fiberglass construction is solid enough but not as strong and long-lasting as some aluminum or graphite models.
Best Cheap Spinning Reel Buying Guide
Choosing the best cheap spinning reel for your needs requires some careful consideration and thought. A wide range of brands offers various features with each spinning reel, which can become very confusing. Therefore, it is important to know what to look for to get the best reel for your buck.
Below are some of the most important features and factors you should pay careful attention to when buying a new spinning reel.
The body and weight
Reel bodies are usually called the “housing,” typically made up of aluminum or graphite. Sometimes you will find they are made from a combination of both.
Strength and weight are important but deciding on which is more vital to you and your needs is down to a personal preference. Aluminum housing is usually much stronger and less flexible than lighter graphite. The best quality freshwater reels generally have stronger aluminum bodies, but if you regularly fish in saltwater surroundings, graphite is the best choice because of its corrosion-resistant qualities.
You should also consider how solidly built the spinning reel’s body is. There should be an absence of any loose or weakened parts while all components should perform smoothly with no back play. You will find that some spinning reels have a higher number of parts than casting reels. Reels with fewer parts reduce the chances of mechanical failure and breakdown.
Weight is another important aspect as this determines how much fatigue you may experience while fishing. Lighter reels will put less strain on your wrists and forearms and are best if you are out on the water for long periods. The weight of most reels is found in ounces, so you should compare the weights of different reels before investing in one.
Spinning reel size
The lighter the line you use, the smaller your reel should be. The highest strength and diameter used on any spinning reel shouldn’t exceed 10 lbs, but this is only applicable for freshwater fishing instead of heavy trolling scenarios (see the best trolling rods for salmon here) or saltwater environments.
To ensure your reel is rated for the pound-test line you want to use, check information on the line capacity found on the reel’s spool or in a product chart online. This chart usually shows the middle line capacity, so if it displays “6 lb/90 yds”, that reel will be suited for a 4 and 8 lb line.
The gear ratio of the spinning reel is the number of times its bail revolves around the spool of the reel with a single turn of the handle. Spinning reels differ from casting reels as the spool is fixed, while the bail is wrapped on the spool as the handle is turned.
Reels with a slower speed have a gear ratio of 4:1. This provides more torque which is very useful when trying to reel in larger fish. High-speed reels have a ratio of 6:1 or sometimes higher, which is helpful when retrieving your lure quickly.
If you are unsure of what is best for you, you should choose a 5:1 ratio as it is versatile for most kinds of fishing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are ball bearings in a spinning reel better?
Ball bearings are very important in a good-quality reel as they make the handle’s rotation smoother. It is generally believed that the more ball bearings in a reel, the better the performance will be.
Reels with ball bearings are generally more expensive, but some are an exception. They are typically made from stainless steel and found in the gearbox inside the reel.
Are expensive reels always better?
There is no definitive answer to this as every fisher has a personal preference and requirement for spinning reels.
Expensive reels are not necessary if you are a beginner (see the best beginner rods by Zebco here) or novice in angling. On the other hand, if you are a committed angler and a seasoned professional, investing in an expensive reel would be a good idea as they offer more high-end features, greater durability, and superior quality.
Nonetheless, cheaper reels are still very popular and reliable for providing what most anglers require.