Zebco 808 vs 888 Reels – 2023 Review & Buyers Guide

Spincast reels are one of the best available on the market in 2023 simply for simplicity. They’re perfect for beginners or children who are just beginning to fish and want to master the basics before getting too complicated with their equipment.

Zebco is one of the leading brands for spincast reels, and the 808 and 888 are two of their best sellers.

On the surface, it might not seem like there’s that much difference between the two products, but if you want to make sure you have the best possible reel for your setup and your needs, it’s essential to consider the subtle benefits of each.

zebco 808 fishing reel compared to 888
Differences Between Zebco 808 vs 888 Reels

In this comparison article, we’ll look at the differences and similarities between the Zebco 808 and the 888 to help you find the best Zebco reel for you and have you out on the water, catching monsters in no time!

Differences Between Zebco 808 and 888 Reels

We’ll start by comparing the differences between the two:

Zebco 808 Spincast Fishing Reel, Powerful All Metal Gears, Quickset...
  • QuickSet Anti-Reverse; Built-In Bite Alert; Dial-adjustable...
  • All-metal gears; Ceramic Pick-up Pin; Patented no-tangle...
  • 2.6:1 gear ratio; 19 IPT; 145 yds/20 lb mono line capacity
  • Pre-spooled with 20 lb Zebco line
Zebco 888 Spincast Fishing Reel, Size 80 Reel, Changeable Right- or...
  • EASY-TO-USE: Clean, smart and sleek design, the Zebco 888...
  • HEAVY DUTY: This size 80 spincast reel is ready for extreme...
  • BUILT-IN BITE ALERT: You will be amazed by the audio...
  • SMOOTH & POWERFUL: Utilize the powerful dial-adjustable...

Casing Material

The first aspect of each reel we’ll be looking at is the material they are made of.

The 808 uses a plastic front cover and casing, whereas the 888 exterior is stainless steel.

There is a slight difference in weight between these two materials, with the 888’s stainless steel being slightly heavier. However, the casing contributes very little to the reel’s overall weight, so that you won’t notice it. We’ll talk more about the weight differences in a later section.

The most significant difference between the two materials is that stainless steel is more robust and durable. This means it’s better suited for some of the rougher conditions you might find yourself in while fishing.

Of course, both materials won’t be damaged if any water gets into them (they’d both be pretty terrible if that was the case!), but you’ll find that the 888 is less likely to break or damage as quickly.

Therefore, we think the 888 is superior in terms of its material for its casing.

Ball Bearings

One of the critical differences in how each reel is constructed is that the 888 uses three ball bearings, whereas the 808 uses bushings instead.

You might be thinking, “what do ball bearings even do in a fishing reel?” (learn about the different fishing reel types, spinning, baitcasting, and fly here) and that’s a very fair question.

It comes down to how smooth the retrieval is with each reel. Reeling your line back in will be softer with the 888 because it uses these ball bearings to allow the line to move through the revolution more easily.

With the 808, bushings are used for the same purpose, but they aren’t as effective. One benefit of using bushings instead of ball bearings is that they make the reel more durable and handy for saltwater fishing (learn about the types of lures for freshwater and saltwater fishing here).

However, in terms of which system provides a reel that’s easier to use, the 888 comes out on top.


As we already touched upon, the difference in weight between these two reels isn’t huge. The 808 weighs 17.1oz, and the 888 is 19.5oz.

One of the contributing factors to this difference is the material used for the casing of each reel; however, it’s mainly due to the ball bearings that the 888 uses, while the 808 does not.

Line Capacity

When you buy either of these reels, they’ll come with some Zebco fishing line already pre-spooled inside.

This is a neat bonus for buying the reel that means you won’t have to worry about getting your own separately, but it also indicates how many lines each reel can fit even if you want to use your own.

The 808 comes with a 20-pound Zebco fishing line (learn more about monofilament vs fluorocarbon vs braided fishing line here), whereas the 888 has 25 pounds already fitted.

It’s pretty clear then that this round goes to the 888. Even if you don’t want to use a 25-pound reel for your fishing purposes, at least the option is there.

Anti Reverse System

Both the Zebco 808 and 888 reels feature an anti-reverse mechanism. This system prevents the revolution from turning backward and adds an extra level of drag to stop a fish from escaping your grasp.

The 808 uses a quickset anti-reverse mechanism, meaning the system will engage automatically without giving you much control over it.

Alternatively, the 888’s continuous anti-reverse mechanism lets you switch it on and off if you want to back-reel manually, rather than allowing the fish to fight against natural drag in the water.

Both systems are pretty effective, but the 888’s level of control gives it the upper hand in this category.

Similarities Between Zebco 808 and 888 Reels

Despite all these differences, the 808 and 888 are two reasonably similar reels produced by the same brand.

Both reels use a dial-adjustable magnum drag system, which performs very well in various pressures and situations. This is one of the things that sets both of these reels above some of the competition when it comes to catching bigger fish (learn about the best bass fishing rod and reel combos here).

A bait clicker is also used by both reels, providing an excellent way for you to keep track and be alert when a fish has taken your bait. This dual drag system allows some slack on the line, allowing a fish to pull offline.

However, when this happens, the clicker system produces a clicking noise, so you’ll know what’s happening under the water even when you can’t see for yourself.

The two reels are also similar in terms of the gear ratio: 2.6:1. The gear ratio refers to the rate at which the reel picks up the line. For example, the spool of these reels will turn 2.6 times for every full rotation of the handle.

Zebco 808 vs 888 Reels Final Thoughts

Generally, both of these reels are some of the best you can get on the market at this price point. Zebco is a well-established brand for fishing gear, and these reels are two of their best sellers.

However, the Zebco 888 comes out on top overall quality when you compare the two.

The exterior uses a robust, stainless steel casing that keeps it durable and allows you to use it more aggressively for more extended periods.

The internal mechanism is also superior, using a system with three ball bearings to smooth retrieval, regardless of how strong a fish might be.

However, if you’re specifically looking to use a reel for saltwater fishing, the 808 might be the one to go for. The bushings that the 808 uses instead of ball bearings are more durable in saltwater fishing conditions. Therefore, if you’re exclusively fishing in those conditions, you might find that the 808 lasts longer.

Zebco 808 vs 888 Reels FAQs

Is A Zebco 808 Good For Saltwater Fishing?

Because it uses an internal reel system with bushings instead of ball bearings, the 808 is less likely to corrode or be damaged while fishing in saltwater conditions. This means it probably is better if you’re fishing exclusively in saltwater conditions.

Is The Zebco 888 Good For Catfishing?

The Zebco 888 is well suited for catching bigger fish such as catfish. This is because it uses more substantial materials to hold a heavier fishing line, making it more difficult for the bigger fish to get away.

Can You Use A Spincast Reel In Saltwater?

Spincast reels do work in saltwater. However, they are likely to corrode or wear out more quickly than in freshwater in these conditions.

The Zebco 808 is a suitable reel for saltwater fishing because its internal reeling system uses bushings, which are less likely to be damaged than a system with ball bearings.

Videos Comparing the Zebco 888 vs 888 Reels

The following videos will help you compare the Zebco 808 vs 888 reels and provide additional best practices.

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