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The 5 Best Spinning Reels for Braided Lines (Compared)

I’ll let you in on the worst-kept secret in the angling world. All or nearly all spinning reels support different types of fishing lines, allowing you to choose when you want to use a monofilament or braided line.

Hence, selecting the best spinning reel for braided lines involves more than just checking whether the reel’s spool is braid-ready or its braid capacity. A braided line can contain up to 16 strains of fiber, which makes it more durable and sensitive than the standard monofilament line.

That’s why most anglers consider braided lines on spinning reels superior to fluorocarbon and monofilament lines due to their abrasion resistance and enhanced sensitivity.

I’ll walk you through the key features of the best spinning reels for braided lines to help you pick the model that fits your spinning rod perfectly.

Bottom Line Up Front

Besides extending your casting distance and enabling you to react as soon as the fish takes the bait, the best spinning reels for braided lines are packed with features that allow you to recover the line quickly or adjust line tension when fighting a fish.

The Pflueger President is my favorite entry-level spinning reel for braided lines because it offers a lot of bang for the buck. Still, its performance isn’t comparable to that of mid-range and top-of-the-line models like the Penn Spinfisher VI or Van Staal VR.

My Top Picks at a Glance

Model Braid-ready Spool Braid Capacity  Price Range 
Quantum Cabo PT Yes From 30/270 to 65/380 $$$
Pflueger President Yes From 6/125 to 14/280 $
Shimano Vanford No From 8/105 to 30/235 $$$
Penn Spinfisher VI Yes From 15/220 to 80/540 $$$
Van Staal VR Yes From 20/400 to 300/530 $$$$

The Crucial Factors to Consider When Choosing a Spinning Reel for a Braided Line

My fishing gear collection includes more spinning reels than I use, and I’m always on the lookout for new models I must add to my collection. I’m mentioning this because I want to show you how much I love using these reels.

Some manufacturers indicate that some models have braid-ready spools, often prompting inexperienced anglers to think they can’t use braided lines with all spinning reels.

This designation only indicates that a reel has a rubber band in the spool’s arbor that allows you to spool a braided line without monofilament line backing. However, you can put masking tape over the conventional spinning reel’s arbor to prevent line slipping when using a braided line.

Backing a braided line with a monofilament line is advisable in either case because it will ensure your line won’t slip from the arbor. Hence, getting a spinning reel with a braid-ready spool has never been at the top of my priority list.

On the other hand, checking the reel’s braid capacity is paramount because it will tell you the maximum line length and test you can spool on a reel.

Let’s explore other factors you should consider when selecting a spinning reel for a braided line.

  • Reel size: This parameter tells you how big the reel’s spool is and how many yards of line it can hold. It also indicates the size of the fish you can catch, so there’s no need to get a 4500 if you plan to angle for relatively small species.
  • Drag System: The reel’s drag system controls the amount of pressure you can apply to the line without breaking it (braided or any other) when the fish takes the bait. As a general rule of thumb, the max drag setting shouldn’t exceed 30% of the line’s test.
  • Recovery rate: The ability to cast lures over longer distances is one of the advantages of using a braided line. The reel’s recovery rate will show you how quickly you can retrieve the line after casting.
  • The reel’s overall quality: How durable your spinning reel will be depends on the quality of its components.

The Benefits of Using Braided Lines on Spinning Reels

Braided fishing lines were trendy when I started angling a couple of decades ago. Their popularity has increased since, especially among the pro anglers, and for a good reason because braided lines enable them to cast further and with more accuracy.

The maximum length of a monoline you can spool on a spinning reel is usually shorter than the length of a braided line.

Consequently, replacing a monoline with a smaller-diameter braided line will allow you to avoid vegetation or similar obstacles and minimize line friction during casting.

Despite having smaller diameters than mono lines, braided lines offer more strength, which makes them more suitable for angling in challenging conditions.

Braided lines aren’t as prone to stretching as mono lines and allow you to react faster when using a light lure, which increases your hook-setting efficiency.

Selection Criteria

After years of using spinning reels, I still find it challenging to determine the model’s quality just by looking at its specifications. That’s why I considered other factors besides the model’s features while selecting the best spinning reels for braided lines for this article.

Intended use, price range, or the model’s compatibility with industry-leading spinning rods like G. Loomis E6X or Star Stellar Lite also played an essential part in my decision-making process.

Here’s a quick overview of the main criteria I used to shortlist the best spinning reels for braided lines:

  • Maximum Braid Capacity: All spinning reels in this article are available in multiple sizes, so you can choose the model with the braid capacity that fits your needs.
  • The model’s durability: I only considered models capable of withstanding years of heavy-duty usage.
  • Angler’s experience: I relied on this criterion to select reels suitable for beginners and skilled pro anglers.

Top 5 Spinning Reels for Braided Lines

Quantum Cabo PT – The Best Saltwater Spinning Reel for Braided Lines

The Quantum Cabo PT is among my favorite spinning reels for inshore and offshore angling because it allows me to handle large saltwater fish with ease.

The Quantum’s model is available in sizes ranging from 4000 to 8000, so its maximum braid capacity depends on the size you choose. Its spool is braid-ready, so you don’t have to use mono backing when spooling a braided line.

Moreover, the reel has an impressive Sealed Magnesium CSC drag system with 30 lbs for the 4000-size and 50 lbs for the 8000-size drag capacity. The system is easily adjustable, and you can quickly increase or decrease line tension to fit your current needs.

All reels’ variants have SaltGuard 2.0 multi-layer protection, so they’re unlikely to rust even if exposed to saltwater daily. Check out our Quantum Cabo PTSE review for more information about this stunning saltwater spinning reel.

Pros

  • The reel is lightweight and virtually indestructible.
  • The manufacturer offers a 5-year warranty.
  • It utilizes a highly efficient line management system.
  • The Cabo PT supports braid lines with tests up to 65 lbs.

Cons

  • It exceeds the needs of most anglers.
  • This reel can have just two gear ratios.

Pflueger President – The Best Entry-Level Spinning Reel for Braided Lines

Although its features aren’t comparable to those offered by Quantum Cabo PT or Shimano Vanford, Pflueger President is still among the entry-level spinning reels for braided lines.

The reel is braid-ready, so using the monofilament backing to spool the line is optional, but the maximum braid capacity depends on the model’s size. The Pfluger President is available in five sizes, but the 20-size model only supports braid lines up to 6/125 and offers 7 lbs of drag.

The most robust variant of this spinning reel has a 40-size and 10 lbs of drag. Hence, you won’t be able to use the Pfluger President reel to catch larger fish, regardless of the model you pick.

All variants have stainless steel components, lightweight graphite bodies, and an anti-reverse function.

Pros

  • Excellent recovery rates
  • The reel is corrosion-resistant.
  • It’s great for anglers who use light lures.
  • A budget-friendly option for recreational anglers

Cons

  • It’s only suitable for light-weight usage.
  • The reel can get noisy under pressure.

Shimano Vanford – The Best Hybrid Spinning Reel for Braided Lines

Don’t miss out on Shimano Vanford if you’re looking for a spinning reel you can use for freshwater and inshore fishing. This hybrid reel features a long-stroke spool that allows you to make long casts without sacrificing accuracy.

None of the reel’s variants is braid-ready, so you must use the monofilament backing to ensure the braided line won’t slip from the spool. However, the reel’s other features more than compensate for this shortcoming.

The CI4+ G-Free body, propulsion line management system, Cross Carbon drag system, or X-Protect water-resistance technology are some of the reasons why so many anglers love using Shimano Vanford.

The reel’s sizes range from 500 to 5000, so the braid and drag capacity will depend on the size you choose. You can find more information about this reel in our Shimano Vanford review.

Pros

  • The reel adds the minimum weight to your spinning rod.
  • Anglers can use this reel to catch bass, trout, and even larger fish species.
  • The reel is available in six sizes.
  • Shimano Vanford is noiseless.

Cons

  • Spooling a braided line can be challenging for beginners.

Penn Spinfisher VI – The Best Mid-Range Spinning Reel for Braided Lines

The Superline Spool is the Penn Spinfisher VI’s feature that will most likely attract your attention if you’re searching for a spinning reel that lets you spool a braided line without monofilament backing.

However, this isn’t the only impressive feature Penn’s incredibly popular spinning reel has to offer because its spool includes line capacity rings that show you how much line you have left on the spool.

The Spinfisher VI has a sealed drag system with HT-100 drag washers that give you total control over the line tension.

The braid capacity is remarkable since you can use up to 435 yards of 80 test line on its 9500-size version. Hence, Spinfisher VI can fight even the most stubborn large saltwater fish. Here’s our Penn Spinfisher VI review if you want to learn more about it.

Pros

  • The reel is braid-ready.
  • High gear-system precision due to CNC technology
  • A full-metal body protects the gears under heavy loads.
  • It’s compatible with most braided lines.

Cons

  • The warranty period expires after one year.

Van Staal VR – The Best High-End Spinning Reel for Braided Lines

An all-star among spinning reels for braided lines, Van Staal VR, gives anglers everything they need to fight and reel in a trophy fish. The reel performs well in all weather conditions because its aluminum body is fully sealed and submersible.

Its drag system is also waterproof and can handle between 25 and 40 lbs of pressure. Van Staal VR is equipped with MicroClick technology that improves tuning accuracy and lets you adjust the line tension in seconds.

Spooling the reel with a braided line is simple because you don’t need the monoline backing. The line’s length ranges from 360 to 530 yards, allowing you to cast baits over long distances easily.

Van Staal’s model comes with a custom kit, so you can choose between bail and bail-less reel configurations.

Pros

  • Ball bearings don’t rust quickly.
  • Effortless spooling process for mono and braided lines
  • The aluminum body and stainless steel shaft lessen the reel’s flex.
  • All models have 13 or 14 ball bearings.

Cons

  • Some versions of this reel weigh close to 20 oz.
  • Van Staal VR is expensive.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Often Should I Replace a Braided Line on a Spinning Reel?

Braided lines don’t break or get damaged easily. You should change the braided line on a spinning reel annually if you’re an avid angler and spend most of your time on the water.

What is the Best Spinning Reel Size for Braided Lines?

The reel size you’ll choose depends on your preference and the fish you want to catch. Most anglers use braided lines with 4000-size reels, but nothing prevents you from using a braided line on a smaller-sized reel.

How Much Monofilament Backing Should I Use When Spooling a Braided Line on a Spinning Reel?

The length of monofilament backing depends on the reel’s line capacity and size, but in most cases, the monofilament backing should take around a third of the reel’s line capacity.

My Verdict: Deciding Which Spinning Reel for Braided Line to Choose

The first thing that comes to mind whenever I decide to get a new spinning reel is the ideal location to use it. Afterward, I think about the size of fish I can catch at that location.

I use this information to select the reel model and size that would allow me to use braided lines powerful enough to withstand the pressure I expect from the fish I plan to catch.

My advice is to get an inexpensive spinning reel like the Pflueger President if you don’t need a lot of drag power and you’re still new to braided lines. As you get more comfortable with angling for large fish, you can upgrade to Shimano Vanford, Van Staal VR, or Penn Spinfisher VI.