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5 Best Saltwater Spinning Reels Under $100 for 2018

I want to answer the question that I often get – “What is the best saltwater spinning reel under $100”.  The first question that you have to answer for yourself, is what type of fish are you going to be targeting with this saltwater spinning reel.

We have selected what we believe to be the 5 Best Saltwater Spinning Reels Under $100 that would be primarily used for inshore fishing. Several of the reels that we have selected have larger models that are also a good choice for surf casting.

While there are many more reels that you can consider when looking for a good inshore saltwater reel, we feel that for the money these are the Top 5.

If you do not see what you are looking for here, then we encourage you to take a look at all of our Full Reviews on dozens of other choices.

# 1 – Daiwa BG SW Spinning Reel

Salted Angler Rating: (9.5 / 10)

 

Our number one pick for the best saltwater spinning reel under $100 is the Daiwa BG Spinning Reel.

 

Top 5 Features

  1. Black Anodized Machined Aluminum Housing (“Hard Bodyz” Body & Side Cover)
  2. Over-sized Digigear (Digigear™ System) for strength
  3. Waterproof Drag System to withstand harsh saltwater conditions
  4. Air Rotor for balance and distributed stress
  5. Infinite Anti-Reverse System (4000 and Smaller), Dual Anti-Reverse System (4500 and Larger)
SizesBearingsDrag Range (lbs.)Gear RatiosWeight (oz.)
1500 - 80006+14.4 -335.3:1 - 5.7:18.5 -30

Overview

The new Daiwa BG SW Spinning Reel was re-released in the spring of 2016 as the newest version of the ever so popular Daiwa Black Gold that has been on the market since 1981. What makes these reels so popular is that they are extremely well manufactured and easy to care for due to their simplistic design.

Don’t let this reels’ simple design sway you from purchasing it.  It is an extremely smooth reel that is available in sizes from 1500 to target small species like Spotted Trout all the way up to the largest 8000 for your large fighting fish.  With a waterproof drag system made of carbon fiber washers and 6 ball bearing this is a great reel that not enough anglers are aware of.

# 2 – Shimano NASCI Spinning Reel

Salted Angler Rating: (9.2 / 10)

 

Our number two pick for the best saltwater spinning reel under $100 is the Shimano NASCI Spinning Reel.

 

Top 5 Features

  1. Hagane Cold Forged Gearing for silky smooth retrievals
  2. Shimano X-Ship Technology for better efficiency and stability
  3. Coreprotect Water Resistance for 360-degree water protection from the elements.
  4. G Free Body for Improved weight and balance (similar to Shimano Stella design)
  5. Composite Body for lightweight and durability
SizesBearingsDrag Range (lbs)Gear RatiosWeight (oz.)
1000 - 50004+17 - 245.0:1 -6.2:17.6 - 10.6

Overview

Shimano has long been known for producing quality and smooth retrieving reels.  The Shimano NASCI is an entry price reel from Shimano, but still incorporates some of the features that are found on more expensive reels like the Stradic FK and Stradic Ci4+. Features like Hagane cold-forged gearing that is extremely smooth and X-Ship technology that supports the pinion gear with A-RB roller bearings.

The Shimano NASCI is available in 5 models that are all geared towards inshore fishing and are very lightweight with the composite body.  As a saltwater fisherman, I really like the fact that the reel is protected by Shimano’s Coreprotect water resistant technology – a special coating that is applied to key areas of the reel to resist corrosion.

This is a great reel for targeting everything from small trout all the way up to medium sized snook and reds.

# 3 – Okuma Inspira Spinning Reel

Salted Angler Rating: (9.1 / 10)

 

Our number three pick for the best saltwater spinning reel under $100 is the Okuma Inspira Spinning Reel.

 

Top 5 Features

  1. Lightweight C-40X carbon frame and side plates making this a great reel to fish all day long without fatigue.
  2. 8BB + 1RB stainless steel bearings deliver a buttery retrieve.
  3. Carbon Fiber Drag with multi ratcheted drag adjustment.
  4. Precision machine cut brass pinion gears for longevity and smoothness
  5. CFR: Cyclonic Flow Rotor allows for even airflow drying the reel quicker and reducing corrosion.
SizesBearingsDrag Range (lbs)Gear RatiosWeight (oz.)
2000 - 40008+1135.0:16.5 - 9.1

Overview

The Okuma brand has been on the market for over 30 years and for some reason, many anglers are not as familiar with it as Okuma does not have the same massive advertising budgets as Penn and Shimano.  The Okuma Inspira was introduced to the market in 2015 and is super lightweight with its carbon fiber frame and side plates.  With 8 corrosion resistant stainless steel ball bearings, a quick set anti-reverse bearing, and the carbon fiber drag, the Okuma Inspira is ready to take on the majority of your inshore species.

With three sizes 2000, 3000 and 4000, the Okuma Inspira is a great size reel for everything from smaller trout and snapper up to your medium sized snook and redfish.  Every time I use my Okuma Inspira, I am amazed at the quality of the reel and the drag system at this entry level price point.

# 4 – Penn Battle II Spinning Reel

Salted Angler Rating: (9 / 10)

 

Our number four pick for the best saltwater spinning reel under $100 is the Penn Battle II Spinning Reel.

 

Top 5 Features

  1. Full metal body, side plate, and rotor for strength and durability
  2. HT-100 carbon fiber drag washers for a smooth and strong drag
  3. 5 sealed stainless steel ball bearings
  4. Superline spool with capacity rings and rubber inlay to go straight to braid.
  5. Heavy-duty aluminum bail wire
SizesBearingsDrag Range (lbs)Gear RatiosWeight (oz.)
1000 - 80005+19-305.2:1 - 6.2:18.1 - 30.2

Overview

The Penn Battle II is often thought of as the go-to quality starter reel for inshore fishing.  It has earned a reputation as being well built and durable as well as providing a smooth retrieve.  With 8 models ranging from the 1000 up to the 8000, it is easy to find just the right size for the species that you are targeting.  We have been fishing Penn Battles for years and overall they are a quality reel that will not disappoint.

The one thing that I will say about the Penn Battle II is that it is a bit heavier than I personally prefer for inshore fishing. However with the additional weight of the full metal body comes durability that you will not necessarily get in a lightweight reel.  The HT-100 Drag system is made of a carbon fiber disk that is very smooth and delivers drag ratings from 9 lbs up to 30 lbs on the 8000 model.  Overall, if you like the feel of a solid reel in your hands (some weight) then you will love the Penn Battle II.

# 5 – Pflueger Purist Spinning Reel

Salted Angler Rating: (9 / 10)

 

Rounding out our top 5 best saltwater spinning reels under $100 is the Pflueger Purist Spinning Reel.

 

Top 5 Features

  1. Black
SizesBearingsDrag Range (lbs)Gear RatiosWeight (oz.)
2500 - 40009+16 - 125.2:17.3 - 11.2

Overview

The Pflueger Purist is a great inshore reel for your saltwater fishing if you are targeting the mid-sized species.  With its hybrid aluminum and graphite body, this is a very lightweight reel with the 3000 model weighing in at only 8.5 oz (I love a light reel).  The Pflueger Purist boasts a sealed carbon fiber drag which is strong, smooth and great for inshore fishing.  We rated this reel slightly lower than the Okuma Inspira due to 9 lbs vs 13 lbs of drag on the 3000 size reel.

With 9 stainless steel ball bearings and the titanium coated line roller, I am impressed with how smooth the retrieve is as well as how this reel handles line management.   Overall this is a very good reel and was good enough to beat out the other contenders for our top 5 Best Saltwater Spinning Reels under $100.

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