Casting Reel Held by a Fisherman

Best Baitcasting Reels For The Money (2020 Buyer’s Guide)

If you’re ready to upgrade to a baitcaster from a spinning reel then you’ll want one that isn’t too expensive to start with.

It’s about finding a good reel to get your bearings with and learning to love baitcasting.

There are a lot of well-priced baitcasters on the market but which is the best baitcasting reel for the money?

Here we have put together a review of some of the best to make it a little easier for you… 

The Top Three

Here are our top three reels from the review, each in its own category.

Best All-Rounder

Lew’s Fishing Tournament MB Baitcasting Reel

This reel is lighter thanks to its low profile, perfect if you plan on casting all day. It’s made from a die-cast aluminum frame with removable graphite side plates, both durable and corrosion-resistant materials.

Lew’s Fishing Tournament MB Baitcasting Reel

This reel is about the best quality for a reasonable price.

It needs to last a long time and get the job done.

It should be good on all factors and be durable.

The winner is the Lews Fishing Tournament MB Baitcasting Reel.

This reel does it all. It has a great drag, it casts very well, the retrieve is excellent and it’s made of quality materials.

Best on a Budget

KastKing Stealth Baitcasting Reel

This reel is built with carbon fiber – making it corrosion-resistant, durable and light for easy, all-day casting. The drag is smooth and powerful, made up of carbon fiber discs and aluminum washers. It’ll stop fish and last a long time.

KastKing Stealth Baitcasting Reel

This is all about the best reel for the best price.

It’ll catch fish, last and it won’t break the bank. 

The best on a budget reel is the KastKing Stealth.

This reel is actually as good as any in the lineup and its amazing value.

It’s super light, very durable, casts nicely and the drag is solid.

There isn’t much more you can ask for.

Editor’s Choice

KastKing Royale Legend Baitcasting Reel

This reel has a 10 level dual-brake that works on a dual system. The 10 levels allow you to tweak it for the perfect cast. It’s very sensitive and can take a while to learn but it’s worth the effort to get to the perfect casting setup.

KastKing Royale Legend Baitcasting Reel

This is about my personal choice based on my years of fishing experience. 

If it was me I would go for the KastKing Royale Legend.

It’s sensitive, easy to use, the retrieve rate is off the charts and the drag is solid.

It’s really durable and can also be used in saltwater. It’s simple yet effective and will last. 

What to Look for

These are the things you need to consider before you buy a baitcaster. 

What are you fishing for?

Your reel needs to be able to handle the fish you want to catch and the environments you want to fish in.

It has to be of high enough quality to survive harsh environments and to land big fish without failing.

Keep this in your mind when you’re looking for a new reel.

Line Capacity

Line capacity is important, in both casting and landing a fish.

If you’re planning on fishing in freshwater for bass or trout, then most baitcasters will have enough line for you.

TIP

If you want to go into the ocean and target big fish, then you’ll want a big line capacity so you won’t get spooled. 

Using Braid

Braid is the line to use in this day and age.

It can be tricky to spool correctly on your reel as it can slip.

Most reels will come with a braid ready spool to help you with this but just check before you buy.

RECOMMENDATION

If you’re new to baitcasters, start with mono as it’ll be easier to learn to cast with and you’ll get fewer backlashes.

Once you have mastered mono, move on to braid. 

How Heavy Is The Reel

Light reels make for an easy day on the water.

Fishing with a baitcaster means a lot of casting, a heavy reel will slow you down and you’ll get tired.

RECOMMENDATION

Check the weights of the reels you like and make sure it’s not too heavy. 

Corrosion & Durability

Corrosion and durability are of utmost importance in ensuring your reel lasts a long time.

You’re looking for a reel made of quality corrosion resistant materials with a durable design. 

Drag, Strong and Smooth 

Your drag needs to be smooth and powerful enough for the species you’re after.

Look at the drag materials (they should be corrosion resistant) and be sure to read the reviews regarding smoothness.

If you’re looking for big fish, check the maximum drag setting can handle them.

RECOMMENDATION

It’s best to test the drag if you can, simply crank it up and pull some line off it. If it’s smooth, you have a good one. 

Gear Ratio

Gear ratio refers to the number of turns of the spool per wind of the reel.

If it states, 6.5:1, then the spool turns 6.5 times for one turn of the handle.

The higher the ratio the quicker the retrieve and the better the retrieve rate.

This is very useful if you need to wind your baits in quickly or stop fish tangling you up in snags. 

Braking 

The brake on a baitcaster puts a little pressure on the spool while you cast to stop your line from birds nesting.

It puts a tiny bit of drag on the spool so you can cast without the spool bird-nesting.

A good brake will make sure your reel casts well and will help you avoid any issues on the water.

TIP

A bad brake can be a real headache so be sure to check the brake works well. 

Right vs Left-handed

You can’t switch the retrieve on a baitcaster to left or right, you’ll have to buy the reel with your chosen side.

If you have fished before, you might want to use the same hand you usually wind with.

TIP

If you are new to fishing then the choice is yours, it’s a personal preference.

Try out a reel and see which side feels more comfortable.

Our Reels Of Choice 

Kast King Spartacus Baitcasting Fishing Reel

This reel is made with a lot of features for the price. The brakes are magnetic and sensitive but they can cause backlashes and take some time to learn.

Kast King Spartacus Baitcasting Fishing Reel

This reel is made with a lot of features for the price…

The brakes are magnetic and sensitive but they can cause backlashes and take some time to learn.

The cast is good and smooth overall but the thumb bar can disengage while you’re casting.

This can get annoying, but it doesn’t happen very often

TIP

The reel is about an ounce or two heavier than other similar reels, so bear this in mind if you’re casting all day. 

Drag System

The drag is excellent – it’s smooth and is made up of a carbon fiber disc system. It’s max drag is high and will handle some big fish.

The reel is smooth thanks to aluminum braid ready spool, 12 bearings, and precision brass gears.

The gears can begin to grind after a while in some cases, but again this is rare. 

The reel comes with instant anti-reverse for good hook sets.

In addition, it’s high gear ratio means you can wind fast and put pressure on fish trying to snag you. 

Specs

Pros

  • Excellent quality for value
  • The drag is powerful and smooth.
  • Good gear ratio and retrieve rate.

Cons

  • Not the best brake – can cause backlashes.
  • Gears can grind after a while.
  • Thumb bar can disengage.
  • A little on the heavy side.

Best on a Budget

KastKing Stealth Baitcasting Reel

This reel is built with carbon fiber – making it corrosion-resistant, durable and light for easy, all-day casting. The drag is smooth and powerful, made up of carbon fiber discs and aluminum washers. It’ll stop fish and last a long time.

KastKing Stealth Baitcasting Reel

This reel is built with carbon fiber – making it corrosion-resistant, durable and light for easy, all-day casting.

The drag is smooth and powerful, made up of carbon fiber discs and aluminum washers. It’ll stop fish and last a long time.

Casting

The reel casts well thanks to its dual 7 magnet and centrifugal brake system.

You can tune it in for any situation, but it does take some time to get right as the spool is super fast – so expect a few backlashes in the beginning.

It can backlash a lot with light line if the spool is very full.

It’s made up of quality materials all over, from the carbon body, alloy gears and aluminum components to sure-grip EVA knobs. This reel is made to survive!

The retrieve rate is high and fast thanks to the 7.0:1 gear ratio.

It’s higher than most but it does make an odd grinding sound on some models.

Even so, the reel still works fine – it’s just a bit noisy. 

Specs

  • Mono capacity LB/YD : 10/200,12/165,14/120
  • Braid capacity mm/YD : 0.26/180,0.28/150,0.30/110
  • Max Drag : 16.5lb
  • Gear Ratio : 7:0:1
  • Ball bearings : 11+1
  • Weight : 5.98oz
  • Retrieve rate, per crank : 31.5”
  • Retrieve Side : Right or Left, choose when you order
  • See the full specs for the KastKing Stealth Baitcasting Reel

Pros

  • Very light for all-day casting.
  • The drag is smooth and reliable.
  • The carbon build makes it very corrosion resistant and durable.

Cons

  • Can backlash when the spool is full.
  • Grinding sound on the retrieve.
  • It takes time to get used to.

Abu Garcia Black Max Low Profile Baitcasting Fishing Reel

This reel has been described as feeling a little flimsy due to the light plastic feel, but it does mean it’s light for easy casting all day long. The spool is made from aluminum and is braid ready for easy spooling.

Abu Garcia Black Max Low Profile Baitcasting Fishing Reel

This reel has been described as feeling a little flimsy due to the light plastic feel, but it does mean it’s light for easy casting all day long.

The spool is made from aluminum and is braid ready for easy spooling.

TIP

The braking system is magnetic and it’s quite hard to master – you’ll have quite a few backlashes getting used to this when you get started.

It’s also known to fail a bit and give quite a few issues – these reports are rare and are likely a down to misuse.

Drag System

The drag is smooth and powerful.

It has a good max drag for stopping fish and you can adjust the drag in very small increments so you get it just right. 

The retrieve rate and gear ratio are about average, so it’ll be quick and smooth enough for most situations. 

Specs

Pros

  • Smooth and fine drag adjustment.
  • The retrieve is smooth and fast.
  • The drag is powerful.

Cons

  • Hard to get the settings right.
  • A lot of plastic, feels flimsy.
  • The braking system can cause backlashes.

Best All-Rounder

Lews Fishing Tournament MB Baitcast Reel

This reel is lighter thanks to its low profile, perfect if you plan on casting all day. It’s made from a die-cast aluminum frame with removable graphite side plates, both durable and corrosion-resistant materials.

Lews Fishing Tournament MB Baitcast Reel

This reel is lighter thanks to its low profile, perfect if you plan on casting all day.

It’s made from a die-cast aluminum frame with removable graphite side plates, both durable and corrosion-resistant materials.

This reel is lighter thanks to its low profile, perfect if you plan on casting all day…

The brake system uses magnets externally and a centrifugal system internally, allowing you to set it at a lot of levels.

This system is hard to work out to begin with and not getting it right will create a lot of backlashes.

Once you get it right, it casts like a dream though!

TIP

The spool is noisy on the cast, this isn’t a defect, it’s just how the reel is and some anglers find it annoying. 

The drag is made up of a carbon composite system and is smooth and reliable.

The max drag is a little lower than other reels in the line up at 14lbs but it’s enough for most situations.

The gear ratio is high at 6.8:1 for a quick and fast retrieve but unfortunately the retrieve rate numbers are not specified anywhere. 

The reel also features instant anti-reverse and an external lube port for easy maintenance. 

Specs

Pros

  • Excellent caster.
  • Great quality materials.
  • Smooth drag and retrieve.

Cons

  • Takes time to learn its settings.
  • The spool is noisy.
  • It can backlash a lot.

Abu Garcia Revo SX Low Profile Fishing Reel

This is the fourth generation of this reel and is the most durable, powerful and high-performance one yet. Unfortunately, it still has a few kinks to iron out though. The best thing about this reel is it’s simplicity

Abu Garcia Revo SX Low Profile Fishing Reel

This is the fourth generation of this reel and is the most durable, powerful and high-performance one yet.

Unfortunately, it still has a few kinks to iron out though.

The best thing about this reel is it’s simplicity – its the perfect baitcaster for beginners to start off with.

It’s basic and easy to use, but it’s a little on the heavy side and does feel like it’s compromised on quality.

The best thing about this reel is it’s simplicity – its the perfect baitcaster for beginners to start off with…

But it’s a gem for the price! The retrieve is very smooth, with a high gear ratio and a quick retrieve rate – your bait and fish will be coming in quick!

The carbon matrix drag system is smooth and very powerful, with a max drag of 25lbs.

It’s one of the strongest drags in the review, so if big fish is your thing, seriously consider this reel.

TIP

The reel casts fine on calm days but on windy days it seems to fail often.

The side plate is easily popped off by mistake and easily lost on a cast – you’ll have to keep an eye on this. 

Specs

Pros

  • Super smooth retrieve.
  • A high maximum drag.
  • Simple, good for beginners to baitcasters.

Cons

  • Side plate lever flawed and won’t close tight, it can fall off on the cast.
  • Casts badly in the wind.
  • Not the best quality.
  • A little heavy.

KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel

The KastKing Rover round baitcasting reel works as both a baitcaster and a trolling reel. The size 40-60 models come with a 2-pin centrifugal brake that’s good for casting. The reel is made mostly of metal and contains barely any plastic

KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel

The KastKing Rover round baitcasting reel works as both a baitcaster and a trolling reel.

The size 40-60 models come with a 2-pin centrifugal brake that’s good for casting.

The reel is made mostly of metal and contains barely any plastic, making for a high-quality, corrosion-resistant, durable reel.

The gears are made of brass and stainless steel, while the spool, body, and side plates are built from aluminum.

The reel is made mostly of metal and contains barely any plastic, making for a high-quality, corrosion-resistant, durable reel…

The drag is formed of a carbon fiber disc system, that’s super smooth and has a max of 30lbs.

That’s a lot of drag and you’ll not struggle to land some monsters with it.

In terms of casting, the spool lock does tend to slip, making a lot of backlashes.

Weight

It’s a heavy reel and will make you tired casting it all day, this is mainly because it’s made for trolling and casting.

The reel has a huge line capacity but the gear ratio and retrieve rate aren’t the quickest.

It’s not slow though, you’ll still get your bait in quick and put some pressure on fish! 

Specs

Pros

  • Well made from quality materials for corrosion resistance.
  • Huge line capacity
  • Massive max drag.

Cons

  • Heavy.
  • Low retrieve rate.
  • The spool lock can release on its own making backlashes.

Editor’s Choice

KastKing Royale Legend Baitcasting Reels

This reel has a 10 level dual-brake that works on a dual system. The 10 levels allow you to tweak it for the perfect cast. It’s very sensitive and can take a while to learn but it’s worth the effort to get to the perfect casting setup.

KastKing Royale Legend Baitcasting Reels

This reel has a 10 level dual-brake that works on a dual system.

The 10 levels allow you to tweak it for the perfect cast.

It’s very sensitive and can take a while to learn but it’s worth the effort to get to the perfect casting setup.

The spool is noisy while casting, however, which some people find a little annoying. 

The reel is about average in weight, easy to cast all day…

The reel is about average in weight, easy to cast all day with and is braid ready with a CNC machined aluminum spool.

The drag is made of a carbon fiber disc system and has a solid max drag. It’s also smooth and will stop a fish if it tries anything. 

This reel has a high gear ratio of 7.0:1 and its retrieve rate is excellent.

You’ll be getting fish and lures in quicker than ever.

TIP

Its primarily designed for freshwater but would be fine in saltwater with the proper maintenance. 

Specs

Pros

  • The drag is smooth and strong.
  • Good for casting.
  • Comfortable and easy to use.

Cons

  • Sensitive brake adjustments.
  • Noisy during the cast.
  • Feels flimsy.

Best All-Rounder

The allrounder goes to the Lews Fishing Tournament MB Baitcasting Reel.

Lews have been around for a while and are known for their quality.

This reel can do it all. It’s a bit tricky to get used to but once you do, you’ll be casting like a dream.

That drag is super smooth and strong – overall it’s built to last and the retrieve is excellent. 

Best on a Budget

The best on a budget reel is the KastKing Stealth.

This reel is actually as good or even better than any of the others in the lineup and its amazing value.

It’s super light thanks to its carbon body which also makes it very durable. The reel has a smooth, strong drag and casts beautifully, 

Editor’s Choice

The editor’s choice is the KastKing Royale Legend. It’s well-made with the angler in mind.

The brake is super sensitive and adjustable so you can get your casting just right. It’s a simple reel, easy to use and both the drag and retrieve are awesome.

It’s really durable and can also be used in saltwater.

There we have it, the best baitcasters on the market for the money.

If you’re new to baitcasting, choose a simpler model and practice. Once you’re used to it, then you can upgrade.

Baitcasters are fun reels and it’s always nice to have a new challenge in your fishing life. 

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