For many, fishing is an enjoyable pastime; however, it can also be costly. You want to ensure that you are equipped with the best quality equipment in 2022, but for those with a more restricted budget, this may seem unattainable. The quality of your fishing gear will determine how well it performs.
Thankfully, you do not have to spend lots on your spinning reel as many worthy options retail below $100. Of course, they will not boast the quality of high-end alternatives, but they perform well while remaining affordable. We have browsed the market and selected our top picks of the best spinning reels available, all of which retail under $100.
OUR TOP PICK
OUR TOP PICK
As a brand, KastKing is recognized for producing high-quality reels, and the KastKing Summer and Centron Spinning Reel is no exception. Entering the market at a very affordable price provides users with many features without breaking the bank.
It has 9+1 quality ball bearings and a powerful drag system that will deliver superior drag power and impressive stopping power up to a weight of 17.5 LBS. The high-quality ball bearings deliver smooth performance, and the anti-reverse bearing prevents the reel from turning backward.
The main shaft is made from hardened metal, enclosed in a durable graphite, corrosion-resistant frame. The mesh drive gear is accompanied by precision machined pinion gears that are strong enough to tolerate fierce fish.
- Handle design – The handle can be interchanged to the right or left to cater to different hand orientations.
- Lightweight – weighing only 0.62 pounds, this is a lightweight spool that is comfortable to handle.
- Power Launch Lip – this feature allows you to cast the line to a further distance.
- Durability – the durability could be improved as the components are prone to breaking down when exposed to harsh elements.
The PENN Pursuit III is a versatile spinning reel (learn more about the Penn Battle and Spinfisher reels here) that is available in a selection of sizes. The smaller sizes are the cheapest, and the price will increase with the larger models. This lightweight reel delivers smooth performance, making it an ideal choice for beginner anglers in particular.
Durably constructed with a corrosion-resistant graphite body, it can withstand both saltwater and freshwater. It also includes an HT-100 Carbon Fiber Drag System, which can endure abuse from large species of saltwater fish.
The smooth gear system allows for smooth casting and retrieval, and the improved line lay ensures that the line doesn’t become tangled or twisting during casting, so it isn’t going to hinder the performance.
- Size availability – there is a vast selection of sizes available, so you can select the best option for the fish species you intend to catch.
- Line Capacity Rings – this feature will inform you how many lines you currently have cast out.
- Anti-reverse bearing – this will stop the line from traveling backward once it has been cast.
- Noisy – this reel can be quite noisy, and some anglers may find this distracting.
The Pflueger President Spinning Fishing Reel (learn about the differences between the Pflueger President 20 and 25) is a popular option amongst those on a budget. The handle is made from stainless steel with a graphite body and rotor. Although the graphite is lightweight, it is durable and can endure intense use without compromising on performance.
This model has seven ball bearings which are responsible for smooth line retrieval. Made from stainless steel, the components will resist corrosion inflicted by different weather conditions. It also features a sealed drag system which allows for smoother performance. The slow oscillation gearing improves the layout of the line while stopping it from twisting unnecessarily.
Available in a range of sizes, you can select the best option for your needs. It is also lightweight at only 0.46 pounds, so you can hold it comfortably without experiencing wrist fatigue.
- Soft-touch knob – the handle is coated with a soft-touch material which will make it comfortable to hold.
- Smooth Drag – This allows you to feed the line to catch fish without worrying about catching or jerking in the process.
- Lightweight – As a lightweight reel, it will be easy to handle without compromising performance or durability.
- Noise – some customers have reported that this reel is a little noisy, and some may find this a little distracting.
The Piscifun Flame Spinning Reel is sleek in appearance with a matte black body and red aluminum spool, and it is sure to be an impressive addition to your fishing gear. Delivering powerful performance, this reel has a maximum drag power of 19.8 LBs.
The nine high-quality ball bearings paired with a roller bearing provide smooth performance. The selection of sizes allows you to choose the most appropriate option for the size of the fish you will be catching and the environment you will be fishing in.
This reel has been durably constructed with a lightweight graphite body and an aluminum handle. The anti-corrosion zinc drive gear can endure different conditions while also battling against bigger and tougher fish.
- Even Line Lay – This feature keeps the line straight and prevents it from tangling, which will help increase the casting distance.
- Lightweight – as a lightweight fishing reel, it will be easy to handle without resulting in wrist fatigue.
- The Sizes – the different sizes are suited to different environments and species of fish.
- The Quality – the quality of the components could be improved as they are prone to deteriorating when exposed to saltwater for prolonged periods.
In comparison to many competitor offerings, the Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel is particularly lightweight. Despite this, it continues to hold its own in regard to performance. Weighing a minimal 5 pounds, it is easy to handle and will not cause wrist fatigue—the weight increases along with the size of the reel.
It has a max drag pressure of 5 pounds, and a multi-disc oil felt drag system for smooth casting and retrieval. Aside from this, it also features a quick-set anti-reverse rolling bearing which will prevent it from traveling backward.
The range of sizes caters to different environments. The smaller variations are intended for catching small freshwater trout, while the larger models are intended for large saltwater fish.
- Style Availability – this reel is available in various sizes so that you can select the best option for your fishing needs.
- The design – The open rotor designs will ensure that the spool dries out quicker.
- Comfort – The handle is coated in a soft material which will make it comfortable to handle.
- The line capacity – As a smaller reel, it has a lower line capacity, so it may not cater to the needs of all users.
The KastKing Sharky III Spinning Reel has been made to last. It is extremely durable, constructed with a fiber-reinforced graphite body and rotor with stainless steel bearings and an aluminum handle. It is corrosion-resistant when used in a saltwater environment.
It has a smooth and reliable carbon fiber drag system that offers 39.5 Lbs of stopping power along with strong precision mesh brass pinion gears for more power when fighting against bigger fish. Impressively this reel also offers more line capacity than most other brands.
The spool, body, and rotor are protected thanks to the water-resistant design, which shield them from water and dirt particles. Because of this, you needn’t worry about the reel getting damaged by the elements.
- Anti-twist line roller – this feature prevents the line from tangling and snagging for smooth casting and retrieval.
- Eva Grips – allow you to maintain a secure grip on the handle even when using the reel in adverse weather conditions.
- Size Availability – as this reel is available in five different sizes, you can select the best option for your fishing requirements.
- The smoothness of gears – Some customers have reported that moving the gears can be a little difficult as they don’t transition very smoothly.
As a brand, PLUSINNO is recognized for producing high-quality fishing gear. This spinning reel has nine high-quality ball bearings for smooth performance, and the one-way anti-reverse bearing prevents the line from traveling backward once it has been cast.
Although this is a lightweight reel, it offers impressive stopping power of up to 13 LBS thanks to the superior drag system. Sleekly designed, this reel boasts a matt black body and a graphite frame with an aluminum handle for enhanced durability.
This particular model has a 5:2:1 precision-matched zinc alloy drive gear system which provides plenty of power. There are three different sizes available, so angles are provided with the versatility to select the option they require for the species they intend to catch.
- Interchangeable Handle – this handle can be positioned on the right or left, depending on your hand orientation.
- Anti Twist line roller – prevents the line from tangling and snarling.
- Affordability – this reel retails at the lower end of the price range, making it excellent value for money.
- Durability – this reel is prone to rust when used in saltwater.
The Sougayilang Spinning Fishing Reel is durably constructed to endure the elements and the battle against tougher fish. It features precision brass gears, the main metal shaft, and an aluminum handle.
It has 13+1 high-quality ball bearings, which deliver smooth performance, and they are also corrosion-resistant, so they will refrain from becoming damaged easily. Aside from this, it also features an anti-reverse bearing to stop the line from traveling backward.
The drag system offers impressive stopping power, and the high-quality handle allows you to cast the line to a farther distance. As a lightweight reel, it will be easy and comfortable to handle even during lengthy fishing sessions.
- Size – this reel is available in 5 size options so you can select the best option for the fishing environment and species.
- Large handle – enhances the comfort of the user when fishing for prolonged periods.
- Smooth system – makes it easier to cast and retrieve the line.
- Handle positioning – the handle is prone to wobbling and loosening, which some may find disruptive to the reel’s performance.
The SHIMANO Sedano FL Spinning Reel is a slightly more expensive option with an updated design for enhanced performance. The durable HAGANE system offers long-lasting use while providing the strength that is needed to target tougher fish.
Thanks to the lightweight feel of this reel, it can be used during lengthy fishing trips without resulting in the onset of wrist fatigue, and this weight reduction applies to all of the available sizes.
The propulsion line management system allows you to cast the line smoothly, and it also retrieves the line, in the same manner, so you needn’t worry about it getting tangled or caught in the process. You will also be able to cast the line to a greater distance too.
- Size – Available in various sizes, you can select the best-suited model for your fishing needs.
- Lightweight – The lightweight feel of this spinning reel will make it easier to hold during lengthy fishing outings.
- Gear system – although this is a budget-friendly reel, it has a powerful gear system that is typically found on high-end models.
- No anti-reverse function – Unfortunately, this reel doesn’t incorporate this feature which would stop the line from traveling backward.
The Piscifun Carbon X Spinning reel has a carbon body, rotor, and side plate with an aluminum handle and stainless steel components. The combination of materials creates a high-quality and durable spinning reel.
You can use this reel for prolonged periods without experiencing wrist fatigue, thanks to the feel of the Carbon X material. It also features an EVA knob that is comfortable to hold and allows you to maintain a secure grasp even in poor weather conditions.
The 10+1 stainless steel ball bearings allow for smooth operation while also making the retrieval of the line much easier. Impressively, it also has 33LBS of drag power, so you can battle against the tougher fish too.
- Gear ratio – the 6:2:1 gear ratio makes it easier to catch stronger fish.
- Sealed rubber rings – this protects the drag from getting damaged by dirt or dust.
- Screw-in handles – this makes it easy to assemble the handle to the body of the reel.
- Durability – this reel isn’t the best option for saltwater, or the components are likely to begin corroding.
The Mitchell 300 Spinning Fishing Reel is a budget-friendly option available in a range of sizes to accommodate the needs of different anglers. Weighing 0.8 LBS, it is a lightweight option that doesn’t compromise on performance or the features that it offers.
The superior line management system prevents any entanglements from occurring when casting and retrieving the line. The multi-drag system also provides plenty of pressure allowing users to target light and heavy loads.
This reel features eight ball bearings for smooth operation. It also has an anti-reverse feature that will stop the line from traveling backward once cast. The innovative bail halo design also enhances the strength of the motor.
- Size – It is available in 6 different sizes to accommodate the conditions of different environments and species.
- Gripped handle – the grips and surface of the handle make it easier to maintain a secure grasp.
- Lightweight – as an ultralight reel, it is easy to handle and will not cause wrist fatigue.
- Loosened drag – unfortunately, the drag requires tightening as it is prone to loosening from the position in which it is set.
Best Spinning Reel Under $100 Buying Guide
Your spinning reel should boast many features. Before investing in a new spinning reel, there are several factors that you will need to consider.
Spinning reels are available in various sizes, and it is important to select your option according to the type of fish you will catch. The small models are intended for ultralight lure fishing, while the larger models are intended for larger species like pike and salmon (see the best salmon and steelhead fishing rods here).
Once you have established the territory you will be fishing in and the species you will be targeting, you can select your reel. Doing so will ensure that you establish a balanced setup.
The Gear Ratio
The gear ratio required will depend on the type of fish that you are going to be catching. The gear ratio is calculated by the number of rotations the aluminum bail wire makes around the reel with one complete handle turn.
For example, a real with a 4:1 ratio will rotate four times for every single handle rotation. However, this is a little slow, so most will likely select a 5:1 or 6:1 ratio as they will function faster.
The Ball Bearings
More ball bearings mean that the retrieval motion of the reel will be smoother.
Reels with the maximum ball bearings tend to be more costly, so those with around 6 to 7 ball bearings provide the most viable option.
High-Quality Drag System
The drag system utilizes a series of disks and washers which are connected to the spool. Upon contact with a fish attempting to escape, the pressure will be transmitted, which will slow down the fish’s movements while ensuring that the line doesn’t break.
It is also helpful against more powerful and fierce fish that present a greater risk to the line. A high-quality system ensures that the line is released in a smooth and controlled manner without jerking.
When choosing your spinning reel, it is important to consider the conditions that will be used. Saltwater is harsher, often causing the reel components to begin corroding if they have not been durably constructed.
Freshwater isn’t as abrasive. An ultralight spinning reel made from stainless steel or aluminum will be much more effective in withstanding harsh elements.
The reel must be comfortable to hold. You will struggle to cast and retrieve it if it is too heavy, particularly during a lengthy fishing trip. As a result, you will likely be left dealing with wrist fatigue.
Although the reel’s weight is important as it can influence how enjoyable your fishing experience is, you shouldn’t solely base your purchase upon this factor. Those that feel overly light may compromise on quality and durability. Graphite is a light but durable material. Although aluminum is heavier, it is the strongest and most durable option.
Line Rating and Capacity
The reel will state the line rating and capacity as this will identify the weight of the line that can be attached to the spool and the size of fish that the reel is suitable for.
A line that is too heavy isn’t going to deliver the expected casting performance. A line that is too light is likely to endure more damage, particularly when used to catch larger fish.
Frequently Asked Questions
What size spinning reel should I get?
Determining what size spinning reel you require depends on the environment that you will be fishing in.
A mid-sized reel will be sufficient for a light tackle in freshwater or estuaries but strong against heavier tackle in the ocean.