Daiwa BG SW Spinning Reel Review

In this review of the Daiwa BG SW Spinning Reel, we will take a look at what makes this Daiwa reel such a good bang for the buck.  

The new Daiwa BG saltwater fishing reels were released in the spring of 2016 as the newest version of the extremely popular Daiwa Black Gold that was first released in 1981.

For the money, this is an excellent reel that is sturdy and smooth with enough drag to handle everything from your smaller inshore species to your larger Pelagics off the boat or the beach.

Personally, the Daiwa BG has replaced the Penn Battle II as my favorite mid-weight solid and reliable reel for under $100.


The Bottom Line

  • My favorite saltwater spinning reel under $100 for inshore fishing
  • Very smooth reel with a great drag
  • High level of manufacturing quality, parts are easy to find and reel is easy to maintain
  • Very durable anodized body

The Daiwa BG SW reel is an all-around winner and is available HERE.

The Daiwa BG SW fishing reels come in 10 models and three gear ratios that range from a 1500 all the way through an 8000 which means that you can find the right size for almost all of your fishing needs from small spotted seatrout up to a hard fighting 60-70 lb shark.

The new model features some of Daiwa’s most popular components that are typically only found in higher end reels such as the Daiwa Saltist Spinning Reel.  

Some of the features I really like are the “Hard Bodyz” black anodized finish that provides a solid protective layer over the aluminum housing, carbon ATD drag system that is waterproof, the air rotor design and just the overall super smooth retrieve provided by the anti-rust ball bearings.

If you have been taking a look at the Penn Battle II saltwater spinning reel that runs about the same price then I would strongly suggest that you move the Daiwa BG SW reel one notch ahead of the Penn Battle II.

While I own several of the Penn Battle II reels, and they are good reels, they just do not compare to the Daiwa BG SW Spinning Reel when it comes to smoothness.  

I am talking about smoothness that I only typically expect to find in reels that cost 2-3 times as much like the Daiwa Saltist, Shimano Stradic FK and Shimano Stradic Ci4.

Is the Daiwa BG Waterproof?

The Daiwa BG is not “waterproof”, however the ATD drag system is waterproofed.  The remainder of the reel has good water protection but it is not designed to be dunked.  I fish from a kayak quite often and have occasionally dipped the reel and with a quick rinse in fresh water I have not had an issues so far.


Black Anodized Machined Aluminum Housing (“Hard Bodyz” Body & Side Cover) – We all know that anodized aluminum will stand up to the elements better than painted aluminum.  

Daiwa has taken it to the next level with the “Hard Bodyz” that is a very hard layer anodization process that will stand up to bumps and scrapes better than a traditional anodization process which means that your reel will last longer and be more corrosion resistant.

Over-sized Digigear (Digigear™ System) – These over-sized gears are digitally cut on what we think is a CNC machine as Daiwa is not forthcoming with that information.

The over-sized gear allows for more teeth to be in contact with each other at any point in time and this means that you get a smoother retrieve and it will extend the life of your reel as there is not as much stress on any one given tooth at a time.  

Another advantage of this design is increased torque and therefore more power when retrieving a larger fish.  The Daiwa BG SW fishing reels come in 3 gear ratios 5.3:1, 5.6:1 & 5.7:1 to handle a variety of fishing lures and styles.

Solid Screw-In Handle – Daiwa uses a screw-in handle as opposed to a through handle design.  This design means that there is no play between the handle arm and the main gear which leads to a very solid feel when cranking the handle.

Air Rotor – I really like the air rotor design as it seems to make for a more balanced reel while distributing the stress across the entire reel and it does all of this while still being about 15% lighter than a conventional rotor design.

Dynamic Cut Aluminum ABS Spool – Castability is the key and to have good castability you need to have the ability for the line to flow on and off the spool evenly.  

Daiwa is able to accomplish smooth line loading with its aluminum spool, all the way up to the edge of the spool lip, so far I have not experienced a single wind knot and the line does not seem to be getting memory twists that are so annoying.

Braided Line Ready Spool – In the center of the ABS spool you will find a rubber ring to allow you to go straight to the spool with braided line without the need to back with mono.

Carbon ATD Drag System – The ATD Tournament drag system is composed of a series of cross-cut carbon fiber washers that provides a very smooth drag from the time you set the hook all the way back to the boat or shore.  

What I like about the ATD is that there is none of the jerky motion that is so common in less expensive reels.

6BB+1RB – The seven stainless steel ball bearings in the Daiwa BG are all anti-rust bearings, but they are not shielded for water protection as you will find in most of the higher-end reels from Daiwa.

Infinite Anti-Reverse System (4000 and Smaller) – The models 1500 – 4000 all have an infinite anti-reverse system to eliminate any back play when setting the hook.

Infinite Dual Anti-Reverse System (4500 and Larger) – For the larger series of Daiwa BG’s both a roller bearing for the instant anti-reverse and a dog and ratchet, mechanical anti-reverse is used as a backup.

 Features at a Glance

  • Black Anodized Machined Aluminum Housing (“Hard Bodyz” Body & Side Cover)
  • Over-sized Digigear (Digigear™ System)
  • Solid Screw-In Handle
  • Air Rotor
  • Dynamic Cut Aluminum ABS Spool
  • Braided Line Ready Spool
  • Waterproof Drag System
  • Carbon ATD
  • Machined Aluminum Screw In Handle
  • Manual Return Bail (4500 and Larger)
  • 6BB+1RB Stainless Steel Ball Bearings
  • Infinite Anti-Reverse System (4000 and Smaller)
  • Infinite Dual Anti-Reverse System (4500 and Larger)

Field Test

For my field test, I paired a BG 4000 with a 6’6″ Penn Rampage Jig Fishing Rod.  Why a Penn you might ask vs. say an Ugly Stik, well I had a Penn Battle II 4000 strapped to it so I thought why not swap it out and see how the Daiwa compared to the Penn since they are similar in price point.

For the test, we headed about 5 miles offshore to a small wreck in about 40 feet of water to try our luck at some jigging for Snapper and Grouper using a variety of lures and jig heads.

The first thing I noticed about the Daiwa BG spinning reels was just how smooth the reel was.  I like my Penn for the money, but I have found a new reel that I have to say delivers more bang for the buck.

This fishing reel is smooth as butter and offers 17.6 lbs of non-jerky drag from the carbon ATD drag system as compared to Penn’s 15 lbs of drag with the HT-100 drag system.  Both drags are smooth but I am going to give the Daiwa BG a two thumbs up vs. one thumb up for the Penn.

When it came to reel in the catch mostly smaller 3-8 lb groupers the Daiwa was again very smooth and easy to crank with the solid metal handle and oversized knob.

I think that the oversized gears also make this reel just feel solid in your hands when bringing in the catch.  The price you pay for that solid feeling is in the weight.  The Penn weighs in at 12.8 oz. and the Daiwa is a hair more at 14.3 oz for the same 4000 sized model.

Overall I really like the Daiwa BG and I will continue to fish it and probably retire the Battle II for a guest setup.

For those of you who want all the details I have provided the chart below.

ModelMono Cap (yds/lb)Braid Cap (yds/lb)BearingsMax Drag (lbs)Gear RatioLine Retrieve (in)Weight (oz.)

Daiwa BG Sizes

We are often asked what are the most popular sized for the Daiwa BG spinning reels.  The Daiwa BG comes in 10 sizes ranging from the Daiwa BG 1500 with 4.4 lbs f drag all the way up to the Daiwa BG 8000 with a whopping 33 lbs of drag.

Daiwa BG 2500 and Daiwa BG 3000

For inshore fishing and bass fishing we have found the BG 2500 and BG 3000 to provide more than enough drag with 13.2 lbs and 15.4 lbs of respectfully.  This is a great size for all around fishing and will allow you to target all kids of fish and still make it a bit sporting.

Daiwa BG 4000 and Daiwa BG 5000

When we start to target large species of fish such as kings, baraccuda and cobia on the surface or snapper and grouper on the bottom we typically want a bit more of a reel.  The Daiwa BG 400o provides us with 17.6 lbs of drag and almost 40″ or retreival per revolution.  The Daiwa BG 5000 kicks the drag up to 22 lbs and provides 47″ of retreival.  The BG 5000 also gives us dual anti reverse with the addition of the mechanical dog and ratchet.


  • Smooth as silk
  • Hard anodized body
  • Great strong drag


  • Weight
  • The body is anodized but the spool is painted.

Daiwa BG Alternatives

So what would I suggest as an alternative to the Daiwa BG?  Usually, this is an easy question as there are several reels that fall in the same price point and offer similar features, this time it is not the case.

From a popularity standpoint in this price range, I am sure you are considering the Penn Battle II as it has been around for awhile and is a quality reel.  I think the Daiwa BG SW smokes the Penn in overall value.  Read the full Penn Battle II review HERE.

Another reel to put on your list to evaluate would be the Okuma Azores.  This is an excellent reel that will give you a size from 4000 – 9000 but offers more drag, 28 lbs on the 4000, plus corrosion resistance.  

Overall this is an excellent reel for a few dollars more but not quite as smooth.  Read the full Okuma Azores review HERE.

In Conclusion

For the money and for the range of reel sizes that are offered the Daiwa BG SW spinning reel is one of my new favorite reels.  

If you are not going to be fishing from a kayak or putting yourself in a situation where you need a fully sealed reel then you are going to be hard-pressed to find a better reel for the money.

Alan Hawk stated in his review that the Daiwa BG SW Spinning reel is one of the top 5 spinning reels of all time, I would have to agree that this is an excellent reel and will stay part of the main stable for years to come.

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Daiwa BG Saltwater Spinning Reel
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