Skip to Content

Best Spinning Reel Reviews

When asking what the best spinning reel is, you first have to determine what type of fishing you are going to be doing and what size fish you are going to be targeting.  The next thing you have to determine is how much you want to invest in your equipment.

We have looked at the major spinning reel manufacturers and done in-depth reviews on a number of their reels.  We think that it is important for you to know that these are unbiased reviews as we purchase or borrow these reels, they are not provided by the manufacturer.

We also want you to know that we update this information on a regular basis. If you want to stay informed click on the Get-Notifications to the right or sign up for our Email List.

When doing our reviews we look at things such as:

  • Durability
  • Range of Sizes
  • Gear Ratios
  • Material Used For Construction
  • Types of Bearings
  • Manufacturing Process
  • Weight
  • Retrieval Rates
  • How it Performs On The Water
  • Value
  • Pros and Cons
  • Suggested Alternatives

Our objective is to provide you with all the information you need to make an informed purchase.

Below are the manufacturers we have completed reviews for.  Click thru to the individual manufacturer’s page and you will see a list of all the reels we have reviewed.  If there is a particular spinning reel that you would like to see a review for, please shoot us an email and let know.

Best Abu Garcia Spinning Reels

Abu Garcia introduced their first spinning reel in 1955, the Abu 444.  Since then the company has been producing high-quality reels that have continued to use the latest technology to deliver reels that anglers everywhere regard as some of the best made.

The Abu Garcia Revo series of reels were introduced in 2010 and have continued to evolve.  Abu Garcia is really known for reels in the 10 -40 size range which covers your smaller species up to around 15 – 20 lbs.

Read all the Abu Garcia Spinning Reel Reviews HERE.

Best Daiwa Spinning Reels

Daiwa has quickly become one of the favorite brands of reels that we review and fish with for a number of reasons.

We have found that the Daiwa reels are consistently very smooth and well engineered.  There are a number of reels to choose from in the mid-price tier as well as several of our favorites like the Daiwa BG SW our pick for “Best Reel For The Money” and the Daiwa Fuego LT one of our favorite lightweight spinning reels.

Read all the Daiwa Spinning Reel Reviews HERE.

Best Fin-Nor Spinning Reels

Fin-Nor is a brand that many people are not familiar with even though it has been around since 1933.

The brand is known for both their spinning reels as well as their conventional reels that have landed world record-breaking marlins such as the 1,560 lb black marlin caught in 1953 by Alfred Glassell while filming Hearnest Hemingway’s The Old Man and The Sea

Read all the Fin-Nor Spinning Reel Reviews HERE.

Best Florida Fishing Products Spinning Reels

Florida Fishing Products LogoFlorida Fishing Products is a newer entry to the fishing gear marketplace and a welcome addition.  They are focused on building quality products that are designed to withstand hars saltwater conditions.

Based in Tampa, Fl they have great grounds in their backyard to test gear as well as access to a huge group of avid anglers.

Read all the Florida Fishing Products Spinning Reel Reviews HERE.

Best Okuma Spinning Reels

Okuma is a reel manufacturer based out of Taiwan that has been producing quality fishing gear since 1986.  They offer a wide range of spinning reels from under $75 to well over $750 so you are sure to find one that fits your budget and needs.

A few of our favorites are the Okuma Inspira, an inexpensive and lightweight reel that does not feel cheap and the Okuma Helios SX a lightweight reel based on a carbon fiber frame.

Read all the Okuma Spinning Reel Reviews HERE.

Best Penn Spinning Reels

The name Penn is synonymous with fishing and for good reason.  Penn has been making quality fishing gear since 1932 and chances are if you have done any fishing that you have probably held a Penn reel in your hands at one time or another.

Penn offers a wide range of spinning reels from the inexpensive Penn Pursuit II to a wide range of reels in the mid-tier range such as the Penn Battle II and the Penn Spinfisher VI up to the Penn Slammer III.

Read all the Penn Spinning Reel Reviews HERE.

Best Pflueger Spinning Reels

Pflueger is a name that has been around since1881 when they started as a simple fish hook company.  In 1954 Pflueger introduced their first spinning reel.

While primarily known for their freshwater spinning reels, Pflueger makes a number of spinning reels that are suitable for saltwater fishing as well.  A few of our favorite Pflueger reels are the Pflueger President a great introductory reel and the Pflueger Supreme XT a super lightweight saltwater ready reel.

Read all the Pflueger Spinning Reel Reviews HERE.

Best Quantum Spinning Reels

Quantum is one of a handful of Zebco brands of reels and has been in business since 1984.  They are primarily known for producing excellent baitcasting reels for bass fishing, however, they have several spinning reels that consistently are praised for their quality.

The Quantum Smoke Inshore PT and the Quantum Cabo PTsE are a few of our favorite spinning reels that are geared primarily for the inshore fisherman with a medium sized budget that demands quality in their fishing gear.

Read all the Quantum Spinning Reel Reviews HERE.

Best Shimano Spinning Reels

While the name Shimano might be at the bottom of this list, it is only due to the fact that we sorted the list alphabetically.  Shimano is consistently at the top of the spinning reel game and for many people, they are considered to be the “only choice”.

Shimano consistently makes good products, especially for saltwater.  A few of our favorites are the Shimano Spheros SW, the Shimano Stradic Ci4+ and of course the legendary Shimano Stella SW if budget is of no concern and you want only the best.

Read all the Shimano Spinning Reel Reviews HERE.

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQ’s About Spinning Reels

Overall Versatility – One of the best things about a spinning reel is that you can use it to fish for many types of fish in many types with many types of lures and/or live bait.  A single spinning reel in a 2500-3000 size will cover everything from small panfish and trout all the way up to a 10lb redfish if you have the right reel and line combination.

Ease of Use – If you are new to fishing or someone that does not fish that often then a spinning reel is the right choice for you as it does not take very long to achieve a high level of proficiency.  The spinning reel simply requires you to hold the line with your index finger, flip the bail back into the casting position and then throw the lure while letting your finger off of the line at the same time.  This is compared to using a baitcasting reel where you have to control the speed of the spool with your finger or you will end up with a major backlash that will take you the better part of the afternoon to get untangled.

Better for Light Lures – Another big advantage of both freshwater and saltwater spinning reels is their ability to cast very lightweight lures. When casting any lure that weighs less than a ¼ oz you will be able to get much more distance from a spinning reel than a baitcasting reel.  The reason for this is that the fixed and open spool design allows the line to be pulled off of the spool without the spool having to turn. This is as compared to a baitcasting reel that has to spin as it allows the line to roll off of the spool. 

Better for Live Bait – If you are fishing with live bait it is very easy to adjust the drag on a spinning reel to allow the line to be pulled off when there is a strike.  In fact, there a whole series of spinning reels called “baitrunners, live liners, bait feeders or Free Spools” that have a secondary drag system that allows you to switch from a very light drag to the main drag with the flick of a lever.  You can read all about Baitrunner Spinning Reels HERE.

Easy to Adjust Drag – With a spinning reel the drag setting is located on the top of the reel and can easily be adjusted during the fight.

Better for Finesse Fishing –  If you are targeting smaller trout, panfish or smaller bass then you want to be using small jigs, spinners, twitch baits and small crankbaits.  All of these are perfectly suited for a lightweight spinning reel size 3000 and below and a lightweight rod with a fast action. Here is more on how to choose the right fishing rod.

Better for Skipping Lures – There are many times when you want to skip a lure under a dock or low hanging branches.  Unless you are really good with a baitcasting reel you will find the spinning reel is much better suited for this task as you are much less likely to get backlashes.

Better for a Free Fall Presentation – When you want your lure to sink straight down it is much easier to get that to happen with a spinning reel than a baitcaster as the line can be pulled off the spool without the spool needing to spin.  This is why you will sometimes see a fisherman pull line from their spool on a baitcasting reel so the lure drops straight down and is not pulled towards the fisherman.

Easy to Switch to Left or Right Handed – With a baitcasting reel the handle is permanently affixed to one side or the other.  With a spinning reel in most cases, it is as easy as unscrewing the handle from one side and screwing it in on the other. This makes it very easy to share your reel with someone who uses the “wrong” hand. 

Latest posts by Salted Angler Team (see all)