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Daiwa Exceler LT Spinning Reel Review

Daiwa Exceler LT Spinning Reel Review

In this Daiwa Exceler LT Spinning Reel review, we found that this lightweight carbon constructed reel brings a lot to the table. You have a reel that is both tough and durable while remaining precise and smooth in performance while at the same time being extremely lightweight.

This reel has an air rotor and bail with a machined aluminum handle. It’s all complemented with a buttery smooth and long-lasting gear system. The Daiwa Exceler is something of an “every-mans” or womans reel. You get everything you want at an affordable price that fits every anglers budget.

If you’re looking to match or even exceed the performance of a more expensive reel with the Daiwa Exceler LT, you’re in luck. They use their “light and tough” engineering principles to design a minimalist reel for people who enjoy lightweight and easy-to-use reels. 

The minimalist engineering results in a smaller and more lightweight reel that is stronger than the competition due to carbon light composite material. The body of the Exceler is compact, with an upgraded Digigear drive offering the perfect combination of functionality and toughness. 

The reel provides a much more efficient strength-to-weight ratio than some other reels, which allows you to handle this one all day long without getting fatigued.

The Bottom Line

  • This is a great freshwater spinning reel for well under $100
  • Very smooth reel with great drag
  • High quality reel that is easy to maintain
  • Very durable and light carbon light housing

The Daiwa Exceler LT reel is an all-around winner and is available HERE.


Carbon Light Material Housing – The Daiwa Exceler LT stands strong by making their reels both durable and incredibly lightweight. With all of the models weighing between 6.4 and 8.4 ounces, you’ll have no problem fishing all day and not feeling fatigued at the end. 

LT Concept – The LT concept stands for Light and Tough, and that is the overall trend that makes the new series of reels from Daiwa stand out from the competition. Daiwa has a knack for making reels that maximize comfort and weight while not sacrificing durability and strength. While this reel might feel light, it certainly doesn’t feel cheap. 

Machined Aluminum Screw-In Handle – An often neglected feature of the fishing reel is the handle, and a lot of anglers don’t think about it. You’ll spend a lot of time holding onto this aluminum handle so it needs to be smooth and comfortable in your hand. This screw-in handle has a soft rubber grip on the end, and it provides a seamless connection between your fingertips and the gear. 

Air Rotor and Airbail – The Daiwa Air Rotor design weighs much less than traditional rotor designs. The main benefit of this feature is less weight and better distribution of stress throughout the reel. When you combine that with the airbail, you get maximum comfort, durability, smoothness, and reliability from the reel. All of these features combined offer a reel that operates as a top-of-the line offering without draining your wallet. 

1000D, 2500D, 3000D and 4000D come in 5.2:1 gear ratios – With 4 sizes and 5 models to choose from, you can find just the right size for your targeted species.. Of course, as you increase in model size, you also raise the overall weight of the reel. The 2500 size comes in a second model – the 2500D-XH with a 6.2:1 gear ratio for faster retreival.

Digigear Digital Gear Design – The digigear design is something unique to Daiwa reels. This process uses an incredibly precise CNC machine cut gear that offers a wide array of benefits. You get additional strength, noiseless rotation, and improved sensitivity. You want a reel that feels smooth when you crank it and strong when you want to set the hook.

 Features at a Glance

  • Carbon Light Material Housing
  • LT Concept
  • Machined Aluminum Screw-In Handle
  • Air Rotor and Airbail
  • 1000D, 2500D, 3000D and 4000D come in 5.2 : 1 gear ratios
  • 2500D XH comes in 6.2:1 gear ratio

The Daiwa Exceler LT spinning reel features an aluminum air spool that reduces the weight of the reel while improving the balance and feel of it as a whole. The machined aluminum handle maximizes comfort and gives you a secure connection to the gear. This results in complete comfort and control over the reel when battling a large bass or trout. 

The extraordinary Air Rotor and Air Bail designs continue to reduce the weight while spreading out the pressure of the line over the bail to the rest of the reel. The reel uses a 5+1 ball bearing system with a roller bearing for maximum performance and smoothness on retrievals.

I think the overall trend of this reel is maximum comfort for the lowest price and the lightest weight. If you typically find yourself fatigued after a long day of fishing, then switching to a lighter reel like the Exceler LT will make all the difference.

If we break the Daiwa Exceler LT spinning reel down and look at each of their models, they offer five different models, starting with the EXLT1000D and ending with the EXLT4000D-C. The 1000 size contains five ball bearing and one roller bearing.

It has a gear ratio of 5.2:1 and a retrieval rate of 25.5 inches. This reel weighs in at 6.4 ounces with 11 pounds of drag and is perfect for chasing those smaller trout and pan fish.

I really like the 2500 size for my everyday freshwater reel when targeting trout and bass.

The 2500D model has five ball bearings and one roller bearing. This reel has a gear ratio of 5.2:1 and a retrieval rate of 29.6 inches. The weight of the reel is 7.2 ounces, and it has a max drag of 22 pounds. 

If I am fishing with spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, swimming jigs or topwaters, I like a slightly faster retrieval rate, which I get with the 2500D-XH. The only difference here is the higher gear ratio of 6.2:1 and a retrieval rate of 34.5 inches. This reel also weighs 7.2 ounces and has 22 pounds of drag. 

Next, we step it up to the 3000 model, which has five ball bearings and one roller bearing with a 5.2:1 gear ratio. This reel has a retrieval rate of 31.6 inches, so it slows down a little, and it also weighs a bit more at 7.5 ounces. It still has 22 maximum pounds of drag. 

Lastly, we have the 4000 model with five ball bearings and one roller bearing. This one has a gear ratio of 5.2:1 and a retrieval rate of 32.5. This is the largest reel, and it weighs 8.4 ounces with 26.4 max pounds of drag. 

Field Test

At Salted Angler, we don’t discriminate against any style of fishing, and we understand that some reels are cut out for salt and some aren’t. I love nothing more than hitting those small ponds where I’m the only one on the water. With my Daiwa Exceler LT, I recently took to the water with high expectations.

I set out early in the morning on one of my favorite farm ponds, right down the road from where I live in NW Florida. I love early mornings, as you often get that early morning mist that is just so calm and peaceful.

I had the Daiwa Exceler LT 2500D paired with one of my favorite inshore rods, the G. Loomis E6X 842S MF. When it comes to rods, I tend to fish a lot of “saltwater” rods in freshwater just because I have them. 

Within just a few casts, I found myself with a really nice two-pound bass on the end of the line.

The reel is sensitive enough to feel the smaller nibbles and strong enough to give a solid hook set, but what I really appreciate is the smooth drag. I love fishing just beneath the surface with a noisy spinnerbait, and in those small ponds that aren’t fished often, I really succeed with this strategy.

After catching a half dozen bass in the 1-2 lb range, I decided that it was time to hand the rod and reel over to my wife while I enjoyed a nice warm cup of coffee. My wife does not fish as much as I do so I was curious to see how she liked the feel of the reel. She cast a dozen or so times and reported that she liked it a lot better than the Penn Battle II that she had been using. 

I asked her why and she said that the Daiwa was lighter and just felt smoother, more like driving her Lexus vs my Toyota 4Runner. Oh and of course, she managed to catch the biggest bass of the morning. That is the last time I let her use my rod and reel :-).


  • Lightweight and Comfortable
  • Easy to use for anglers of all levels
  • Highly affordable considering all the features


  • None really
  • Not suitable for saltwater


It almost feels wrong to compare this reel because, at its price point, you almost can’t compare it with any reel on the market currently. I’ll go ahead and try anyway. 

Sticking with the Daiwa brand, we’ll look at the Daiwa Fuego LT first. This reel is priced around $20 more than the Exceler LT, and it contains a lot of the same features. You get the air rotor and air bail, the digigear system, but you also get a magsealed main shaft and buttery smooth seven bearing system, which makes it better for saltwater applications. If you fish both freshwater and saltwater, I would upgrade to the Fuego LT.

Both of these reels weigh the same and have the same drags. They both focus on a light and tough philosophy, so it’s almost like comparing apples to oranges. You can read the complete Daiwa Fuego LT review HERE. 

Let’s switch gears and turn to Okuma. Here we have the Okuma Inspira. This reel is priced accordingly with the Daiwa Exceler, and it also uses a carbon fiber body for a lightweight and durable design. 

It comes with a cyclonic flow rotor, which is quite different than the Daiwa Exceler. This one offers improved airflow over the rotor, which reduces the chances of corrosion and helps with saltwater fishing. 

We would say to take the Okuma for saltwater applications but go with the Exceler LT for freshwater fishing and when you need more drag. You can read the full Okuma Inspira review HERE.

The last comparison we have is the Shimano NASCI. This is a high-quality reel priced a little more than the previous options. We still consider it highly affordable, given the fact that it’s loaded to the brim with features and retails for under $100.

It has the Shimano cold-forged gearing that offers smooth retrieval, and it comes with 360 degree weatherproofing to prevent rust and corrosion over time. One exciting feature that stands out about the Shimano NASCI is their “G Free Body.” They designed the reel to sit closer to the rod, which means you’ll have improved balance and comfort when fishing. 

Overall, the features of the Shimano NASCI don’t stand out far from the Daiwa Exceler LT and for the price you’re better off with a Daiwa. Read the full Shimano NASCI review HERE.

In Conclusion

If you’re looking for a reel that maximizes features while keeping the price low, this reel is a great option. The Daiwa Exceler LT gives you a lightweight reel that works well for beginners and experienced anglers alike. 

You get the Carbon Light housing which provides you with a lightweight and durable frame. The machined aluminum handle is comfortable even when you’re fishing all day. Plus, the air rotor and air bail are primarily responsible for the lightweight feel of this reel. You get maximum drag performance for a minimum weight and minimum damage to your bank account. 

Unless you’re consistently fishing saltwater or planning to reel in ten-pound bass all day, this reel will do the trick for you.


Thursday 31st of August 2023

Hello Coty, Thank you for this amazing review! Planning to buy exceler 2500LT but I`d love to do some saltwater fishing, like 10 days a year. It`ll still be the best choice in this price range?