Close up Photo of a Fisherman Using a Spinning Reel

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

Wanna know a secret? Buying a new spinning reel makes me nervous.

Which is why I created a thorough guide on how to get the best spinning reel for your money…

After considering all the options our top picks were…

Although I mastered the art of picking the best spinning reel for the money —I still get anxious at checkout.

My upper lip beads with sweat. My heart skips a beat. My hands shake a little.

It’s not just because I’m giddy about buying a new toy. It’s because I’m a little paranoid. 

I’m scared I might buy a piece of crap. Because let’s face it —not all reels are created equal. 

That goes for expensive reels too. You can spend hundreds on a high-end spinner. And boom —6 months later it’s toast. 

Or maybe you get a cheaper spinning reel. But you quickly realize it has major problems.

Both scenarios have happened to me! So I took the time to understand what features are important. Now I know what to look for and what pitfalls to avoid. 

If you’re hunting a spinning reel that’s worth the money —stick around. I’ll show you 7 spinners you can count on. 

Okay, let’s get down to it. Here’s my list of spinning reels that won’t break your heart —

The Top Three Spinning Reels for your Money

Here are our top three choices from the lineup, each one in its own category…

Best All-Around Spinning Reel for the Money

Cadence Spinning Reel CS10

It’s lightweight with durable components. It’s solidified with a magnesium frame, plus a carbon rotor and side panel for protection.

Cadence Spinning Reel CS10

Light and Solid Build

Cadence set out to create a lightweight reel with solid components. Its magnesium frame/carbon composite rotor hit the mark and each model comes with an aluminum braid ready spool.

With 11 ball bearings and a powerful drag system it can handle bass, trout and walleye. You get a quiet, smooth retrieve and a solid hook-set. 

A few of the CS10 models have a high gear ratio —6:2:1. The lightest model delivers a 5:2:1 gear ratio —which is medium.

All-in-all, It has the functionality of a high-end reel at an affordable price…

All-in-all, It has the functionality of a high-end reel at an affordable price. It’s the epitome of great all-around value. 

Best Spinning Reel on a Budget

RUNCL Spinning Reel TITAN I

The RUNCL rolls out with 10 ball bearings and has a max drag of 33 – 44 pounds. It’s infused with enhanced wear resistance —so gears stay smooth.

RUNCL Spinning Reel TITAN I

The Titan I quickly made a name for itself – its craftsmanship and performance are great considering the price.

It’s a budget-friendly spinning reel that checks every box…

It’s a budget-friendly spinning reel that checks every box. This spinner packs 10 ball bearings and has a max drag of 33 – 44 pounds. 

Its carbon-fiber washers boost the drag by 40%. If you need a spinning reel that can fight big gamefish —the Titan I is your huckleberry. 

It’s built to be smooth and balanced, with solid brass pinion gears and an upgraded aluminum drivetrain.

Designed to be Light

Runcl used a “hollowed out design” to make this reel lightweight. Iit also uses an aluminum-vented spool and “hollow out” rotor making it durable, yet easy on the wrists. 

If you want a reliable spinning reel for cheaper —try the Titan I. It packs a lot of quality for the price. 

Best High-end Spinning Reel for the Money

Shimano Stradic HG Freshwater Spinning Reel

It’s design and body prevent flex, warp and distortion. Ultimately, the HG is a bit pricier —but worth the money.

Shimano Stradic HG Freshwater Spinning Reel

Spend More for Quality

If you’re okay with spending a little more, the HG is a solid choice. It’s built like a lightweight tank and packs a butter-smooth performance. 

Anglers say it has a smooth retrieve and casts further than any spinning reel they’ve used. That’s because it’s crafted with Hagane technology.

It includes a Dyna-Balance rotor and Fluid Drive II System, which gives it superior casting and retrieving.

Its Propulsion Line Management System is also a big factor, helping line flow off the spool with ease. Even with 7 ball bearings, you get longer casts and less line kinks.

This sleek spinner also packs X-Ship technology. It eliminates friction between the spool and gears…

This sleek spinner also packs X-Ship technology. It eliminates friction between the spool and gears, giving a more durable spinning reel designed for casting long-distance.

Its Hagane body is made of aluminum and magnesium that protects the micro-module gears from erosion and shock. If you’re hunting a spinner that will last a long time the Stradic is a smart choice. 

It also eliminates flex, warp, and distortion. All things considered, the HG is a spinning reel worth the money. 

The Best 7 Spinning Reels for the Money

We’ve lined out all our top picks for spinning reels and pitted them against each other.

Each one’s a winner in its own right and they all have their different strengths…

KastKing Valiant Eagle Spinning Reel

The Valiant Eagle is a tad on the heavy side. But its high gear ratio (6:2:1) and 11 ball bearings make up for it –they give it a fast, fluid retrieve.

KastKing Valiant Eagle Spinning Reel

High Ball Bearing Count for Smooth Performance 

The Valiant Eagle is a tad on the heavy side. But its high gear ratio (6:2:1) and 11 ball bearings make up for it –they give it a fast, fluid retrieve.

The Eagle also has a patented line management system. It makes fishing line lay evenly on the spool, which translates into longer, smoother casts. 

Components Built to Last 

The Eagle packs an expanded pinion system and sliding stabilizer. If you’re looking for a spinner with solid, durable and dependable gears it’s a great choice.

Its spool is smooth, and forged from machined aircraft aluminum…

Its spool is smooth, and forged from machined aircraft aluminum. It stands up to everyday use and comes braid line-ready.

If you’re after a hog –maybe a 7-pound plus largemouth — no worries. The Eagle can handle big catches. It also stands up to saltwater –you’re not limited to freshwater fishing. 

High-Quality Drag System and Strong Housing 

This spinning reel has a sealed carbon drag system. It’s water-resistant with 18 – 22 pounds of resistance.

You also get a tough reel that protects its components. Its housing and rotor are forged from carbon –so it’s built to last a long time.

The handle is also constructed of lightweight aluminum. But to be fair, some people say it’s awkward to grip.

Specs

Pros

  • High gear ratio: 6:2:1
  • Expanded pinion system for more durability
  • Sliding stabilizer for dependable performance
  • Strong, machined aircraft aluminum spool
  • Braid line-ready
  • Sealed carbon drag system built for big-size fish
  • Line management system for longer casts
  • Carbon housing and rotor
  • Lightweight aluminum handle

Cons

  • A tad on the heavier side compared to ultralight reels
  • Handle can be awkward to grip and operate
  • Complaints that the ball bearings make it noisy
  • Reports that the graphite body can twist and distort

Pflueger President Spinning Reel

The lightest model weighs 6.2 ounces. But don’t mistake its lightness for weakness.

Pflueger President Spinning Reel

Lightweight and Strong

The lightest model weighs 6.2 ounces. But don’t mistake its lightness for weakness.

don’t mistake its lightness for weakness…

It has a graphite body that protects the stainless steel shaft and components. Some anglers like carbon bodies better, but if you love lightweight reels, it’s a huge plus.

The Pflueger also has corrosion-resistant parts that keep things flowing smooth and functional.

Its double-anodized aluminum spool helps the line lay flat and resist kinks. It also comes ready for braid —straight out of the box.

Impressive Ball-Bearing Count

The Pflueger President utilizes 7 – 10 ball bearings, depending on which model you buy — the lightest model has 7 and the others have 10. 

On the flipside, its gear ratio is 5:2:1 —which is somewhat mediocre. It works for ultralight lures and heavy lures, but you may want to look at other options if reeling speed is a concern.

Anti-reverse and Multi-disc Drag System

Its drag is designed to battle gamefish with ease. It’s crafted from stainless steel and is oil felt. Anglers say it handles fish extremely well. 

There is one complaint – the drag tends to wear out with above-average use. 

Also, some anglers say it looks cheap. They prefer carbon housing because it’s stronger.

Specs

  • Mono Capacities –200/2 – 130/8
  • Braid Capacity –180/4 – 160/10
  • Max Drag –6 – 14 pounds
  • Gear Ratio–5:2:1
  • Ball Bearings –7-10
  • Weight — 6.2 – 8.8 ounces
  • Line Retrieve Per Crank –20-25 inches
  • Retrieve side –Left and Right
  • See the full specs for the Pflueger President Spinning Reel

Pros

  • Up to 10 ball bearings.
  • One of the most lightweight spinning reels on the market
  • Stainless steel shaft and components.
  • Corrosion-resistant build.
  • Braid-ready, double-anodized aluminum spool.
  • Resist kinks and loops.
  • Multi-disc drag system.
  • Anti-reverse feature

Cons

  • Drag can wear out over time, under high use.
  • Constructed with lightweight graphite housing.
  • Some anglers say it has a “cheap” appearance

Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel

The Ceymar has earned a reputation as a reliable spinning reel that holds up to high use.

Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel

Lightweight and Reliable

The Ceymar has earned a reputation as a reliable spinning reel that holds up to high use. 

It boasts a heavy-duty aluminum bail wire and packs a brass pinion gear. It’s on a par with the top spinning reels on the market. 

The Ceymar has a zinc die-cast handle for more strength and torque…

Smooth reeling is its forte. The Ceymar has a zinc die-cast handle for more strength and torque, which comes in handy when you’re fighting bigger fish.

The body is graphite. It’s not quite as tough as carbon, but it’s lightweight and corrosion-resistant. It protects against water and debris very well.

Smooth and Precise

This spinning reel is equipped with an even-flow roller system, which stops friction on the line roller so the line won’t twist.

It also has a rotor-equalizing system that keeps perfect alignment…

It also has a rotor-equalizing system that keeps perfect alignment. This technology helps eliminate spool wobble for better reel balance. 

You also get a spinning reel with anti-reverse, which is a real life-saver when you set the hook on big crappie or bass. 

Okuma designed the Ceymar with a narrow blade body, which gives it a beautiful sleek and aerodynamic look. 

Matches Up with High-End Spinning Reels

Some spinning reels boast 10 ball bearings, but the Ceymar has 7 or 8 –depending on the model.

It has a smooth cast and retrieve –even with an average bearing count…

It has a smooth cast and retrieve –even with an average bearing count. There’s enough built-in technology to offset this slight weakness.

For example, it has a line control system that masters line-lay — you get smoother spool-flow for fluid casts and retrieve. 

However, the Ceymar isn’t perfect. Some anglers say it has weird neck flexibility. Others say it’s too dinky —they prefer carbon over graphite. 

There are some complaints of spindle-warp as well. This happens when the line wraps around the spindle, but most anglers have no trouble. 

Specs

  • Mono Capacities –210/2 – 170/12
  • Braid Capacity– N/A
  • Max Drag —6 – 13 pounds
  • Gear Ratio –5:0:1
  • Ball Bearings —7 – 8
  • Weight –6 – 10 ounces
  • Line Retrieve Per Crank —21 – 29 inches
  • Retrieve side –Left and Right
  • See the full specs for the Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel

Pros

  • Has 7 – 8 stainless-steel ball bearings (depending on the model)
  • Machine-cut brass pinion gear.
  • Zinc die-cast handle for higher torque
  • Even-flow roller system for less friction
  • Built-in rotor-equalizer to keep balanced alignment
  • Precision elliptical gearing system
  • Quick-set anti-reverse feature
  • Line control technology for even line-lay

Cons

  • Might have too much neck flexibility
  • Line has a tendency to wrap around the spindle

KastKing Sharky III Spinning Reel

The Sharky is a perfect splice of economy and quality. It almost feels like a high-end reel in disguise.

KastKing Sharky III Spinning Reel

Affordable Spinning Reel with High-Quality Features

The Sharky is a perfect splice of economy and quality. It almost feels like a high-end reel in disguise.

The Sharky is a perfect splice of economy and quality…

It wields 11 double-shielded stainless steel ball bearings –which is one of the highest on the list. They help deliver an ultra-smooth cast. 

The rotor and the housing are constructed of high percentage fiber graphite, making it a durable spinning reel that’s light on the wrists. 

Ultralight with a Heavy Drag 

The Sharky boasts a 33 – 40-pound drag system. That’s a lot for a lightweight spinning reel!

If you snag a trophy bass, its hefty drag gives you a fighting chance. If you’re targeting king-size gamefish, go with a heavier reel model. 

The drag system is made of triple-disc carbon fiber, which is tough and stands up to debris and water.

Components You Can Count On 

The Sharky’s brass pinion gear gives it a smooth, natural retrieve. Its 5:2:1 gear ratio falls a bit flat, but its high-quality components pick up the slack.

The Sharky’s brass pinion gear gives it a smooth, natural retrieve…

This spinning reel is built with an “intrusion shield system”. In a nutshell its gears, bearings and rotor are sealed off from water and debris.

It also packs an anti-lock/anti-reverse feature, plus an aluminum spool and comes ready for braided or monofilament line right out of the box. 

All-in-all, it’s a smart choice. Some anglers say it’s drag system and gear ratio are a turn-off or that some models feel a bit heavy. It’s not perfect —but it works well. 

Specs

  • Mono Capacities –200/6 – 160/16
  • Braid Capacity –200/20 – 160/70
  • Max Drag —33 – 40 pounds
  • Gear Ratio –5:2:1
  • Ball Bearings –10
  • Weight –6.9 – 10.5 ounces
  • Line Retrieve Per Crank —26 – 33
  • Retrieve side –Left and Right
  • See the full specs for the KastKing Sharky III Spinning Reel

Pros

  • Best mix of quality and economy
  • Heavy 33 – 40-pound drag for bigger fish
  • Brass pinion gear for butter-smooth function
  • Triple disc carbon-fiber drag
  • Intrusion shield system preserves vital components
  • Anti-lock/anti-reverse feature for better hook sets
  • Aluminum spool for braided or monofilament line

Cons

  • Unimpressive 5:2:1 gear ratio
  • Complaints about the drag eroding after heavy use

Best All-Around Spinning Reel for the Money

Cadence Spinning Reel CS10

It’s lightweight with durable components. It’s solidified with a magnesium frame, plus a carbon rotor and side panel for protection.

Cadence Spinning Reel CS10

A Specimen Among Spinning Reels

Cadence hit the sweet-spot with the CS10. In my opinion, it’s the best all-around spinning reel for the money.

It’s lightweight with durable components…

It’s lightweight with durable components. It’s solidified with a magnesium frame, plus a carbon rotor and side panel for protection.

With 11 ball bearings and precision alignment, it delivers a smooth performance. You get a nice cast and retrieve with all size lures.

Spool and Gears Are Good to Go 

Some CS10 models have a high gear ratio —6:2:1. The lightest model has a 5:2:1 gear ratio.

As mentioned, it can handle bigger gamefish, but It’s also a spinning reel made for casting weightless rigs.

It’s good for finesse fishing with weedless rigs…

You can cast into nooks and bends with ease. It’s good for finesse fishing with weedless rigs and is helpful when fishing for river smallmouth.

The spool is made of aluminum and lined with rubber grips to prevent slippage, helping your line stay free of kinks. 

It comes ready for braided line and line flows off its spool nicely. If you want a spinning reel that can cast a long way —you’ve found your choice. 

Tough Carbon Fiber Drag System 

The CS10 has a solid drag and is built to handle all sizes of fish. The max drag is 11 – 20 pounds —depending on the reel model.

The CS10 has a solid drag and is built to handle all sizes of fish…

It’s designed to exert even pressure and allows fine tuned adjustments in pinpoint increments to prevent fractures and gear erosion. It performs like a beast when a fish is on!

If you’re into roughing it on the river—fear not, the CS10 is a spinning reel built for kayak fishing. The drag is water-resistant plus the reel is light and strong. 

Specs

  • Mono Capacities –110/6 – 220/10
  • Braid Capacity —115/10 – 260/20
  • Max Drag —11 – 20 pounds
  • Gear Ratio —5:2:1 – 6:2:1
  • Ball Bearings –11
  • Weight —6.3 – 8.5 ounces
  • Line Retrieve Per Crank —25 – 38 inches
  • See the full specs for the Cadence Spinning Reel CS10

Pros

  • Carbon rotor and side panel for durability and protection.
  • 11 ball bearings and precision alignment
  • A high gear ratio of 6:2:1
  • Can handle bigger gamefish
  • Ideal for casting weightless rigs.
  • Good for finesse fishing
  • Rubber grips that stop fishing line from slipping
  • Durable aluminum spool
  • Comes ready for braided line.
  • Has a solid carbon-fiber drag system.

Cons

  • Some complaints of “too much play” in the oversized handle.
  • Tends to get a bit noisy under a heavy load
  • Reel stem size and placement is questionable.

Best Spinning Reel on a Budget

RUNCL Spinning Reel TITAN I

The RUNCL rolls out with 10 ball bearings and has a max drag of 33 – 44 pounds. It’s infused with enhanced wear resistance —so gears stay smooth.

RUNCL Spinning Reel TITAN I

Built Like a Boss and Fairly Priced

This is my choice for best spinning reel on a budget. Its craftsmanship and performance make it an easy choice. 

The RUNCL rolls out with 10 ball bearings and has a max drag of 33 – 44 pounds. It’s infused with enhanced wear resistance —so gears stay smooth.

Its multi-disc carbon fiber washers give the drag a 40% boost in power…

Its multi-disc carbon fiber washers give the drag a 40% boost in power. You can snag a lunker largemouth with no worries. 

Upgraded Components and Sweet Technology

The Titan I has a solid brass pinion gear and improved aluminum drivetrain. This makes it one of the smoothest, most balanced spinning reels for the money.

The Gear ratio is pretty good for such an affordable spinning reel, ranging from 5:3:1 – 5:1:1.

Runcl exacted a “hollow out design”, which gives this reel a strong, lightweight rotor —tough yet easy on the wrists. 

It also has an aluminum-vented spool, making it light and sturdy.

RUNCL Entire Shield System

This feature protects the main body, spool and rotor. It also keeps water, sand and dirt out.

Also, the rotor is protected by phosphate coating. This is especially handy for saltwater fishing.

Specs

  • Mono Capacities —290/0.18 – 150/.50
  • Braid Capacity —N/A
  • Max Drag —33 -44 pounds
  • Gear Ratio —5:3:1 – 5:1:1
  • Ball Bearings —10
  • Weight —8.8 ounces – 13 ounces
  • Line Retrieve Per Crank —28 -37 inches
  • Retrieve side –Left and Right
  • See the full specs for the RUNCL Spinning Reel TITAN I

Pros

  • 10 ball bearings
  • Max drag of 33 – 44 pounds
  • Multi-disc carbon fiber washers boost drag power
  • Solid brass pinion gear
  • Improved aluminum drivetrain
  • Smooth and balanced spinning reel
  • Hollowed out design. it gives it a strong, yet lightweight rotor
  • Aluminum-vented spool
  • RUNCL Entire Shield System

Cons

  • Some reports of reel jamming
  • Limited line capacity
  • Mediocre gear ratio

Editor’s Choice

Shimano Stradic HG Freshwater Spinning Reel

It’s design and body prevent flex, warp and distortion. Ultimately, the HG is a bit pricier —but worth the money.

Shimano Stradic HG Freshwater Spinning Reel

Next-Level Spinning Reel Technology 

Last but not least —here comes the HG. It’s my selection for best high-end spinning reel for the money.

This blue and silver spinner is designed with X-Ship technology, giving it that butter-smooth performance.

designed with X-Ship technology, giving it that butter-smooth performance…

Basically, this technology eliminates friction! It makes the HG a more durable spinning reel, ideal for long-distance casting.

Smooth, Strong Gear Alignment

Hagane technology is a beautiful thing. It gives you superior balance —allowing the gears to stay in perfect alignment.

The gears are crafted through cold-forging, increasing reel strength and durability.

The HG has a high gear ratio so it’s ideal for spinning lures and finesse fishing. It packs a 6:0:1 or a 6:2:1 ratio depending on the reel model.

ideal for spinning lures and finesse fishing…

The HG has a Dyna-Balance rotor and Fluid Drive II system, forming an advanced line management system.

It allows the line to flow off the spool smooth as silk, resulting in a superior casting and retrieving.

Even with 7 ball bearings, you get longer casts and fewer line kinks. 

Dependable Housing and Drag

Its Hagane body is an aluminum and magnesium splice. It’s lightweight —but protects the micro-module gears from erosion and shock. 

This spinner has heavy drag options ranging from 7 – 24 pounds. If you go with a heavier model, you can tackle bigger fish. 

It’s design and body prevent flex, warp and distortion. Ultimately, the HG is a bit pricier —but worth the money. 

Specs

Pros

  • X-Ship technology for awesome performance
  • Reduced friction for more durability
  • Balanced gears with sturdy, precise alignment
  • Dyna-balance rotor
  • Fluid Drive II System
  • High gear ratio (6:0:1 or a 6:2:1)
  • Silky-smooth spool flow
  • Strong Hagane body
  • Flex, warp and distortion resistant

Cons

  • Complaints that it’s noisy under heavy loads
  • Mediocre ball bearing count
  • Is a more expensive spinning reel

After I diving into all the spinning reels on my list, I should address the two elephants in the room. Because you’re probably wondering — 

“Why should I buy a spinning reel?” and “What makes a spinning reel worth the money?”

So here we go…

Top Reasons to Buy a Spinning Reel —

There are lots of advantages to using a spinning reel. Every serious angler should have one in their arsenal.

Better Line Flow

When using a spinning reel, the line flows more smoothly off the spool. This is because a spinning reel has less drag restriction. 

This helps a lot when you’re using braided line, allowing you to cast further –plus you won’t have to deal with kinks.

The reduced friction also helps protect and control fine monofilament line, making it last longer and behave better.

Fisherman Casting a Line
Fisherman Casting a Line

Cast Lures Further 

What’s the main thing anglers love about spinners? They allow longer casts. 

The smooth line flow lets you fling lures further and get more distance with lightweight lures. This comes in especially handy if you’re targeting hot spots in a lake or river. 

This is crucial when you’re stalking bass or crappie. It’s easier to keep your distance and cast into hotspots without spooking them.

More Accurate Casting

Spinning reels let you cast with better accuracy. It’s another benefit of the smooth spool-flow.

You can hit nooks, inlets and crevasses with more precision. And you’ll end up with less limb brim.

You can hit nooks, inlets and crevasses with more precision…

Ever heard of drop shot fishing? It’s an ideal technique for working your lure into cover and honey-holes.

Skip casting is another way to ease your lure into sweet-spots. It’s an old trick, but really helps you pinpoint casts to land bass under docks or fallen trees, 

Lots of Spinning Reels are Ultralight 

Many spinners weigh 6 – 9 ounces. Some weigh less than 6 ounces and can still snag a good-size fish.

TIP

Ultralight spinning reels are convenient to carry for all-day use — perfect for camping trips or kayaking. 

Use a Spinning Reel to Stop Backlash

Spinning reels are less likely to backlash. Once again, it’s because the line flows freely from the spool. 

However, they’re not perfect. If the spool is uneven a kink can from and… boom —backlash. 

What causes an uneven spool? The culprit is usually loose spooling.

So make sure your spool is tight with no room for kinks or loops and you should be good to go.

Get Rid of the “Pendulum Effect”

Here’s a scientific reason why spinning reels are better than baitcasters. It’s because they stop the pendulum effect.

What is the pendulum effect? Basically, it’s when your lure drifts towards you as it sinks due to spool resistance. 

As mentioned, spinning reels have no resistance, which allows rotation to stay smooth and even.

spinning reels have no resistance, which allows rotation to stay smooth and even…

This is a big advantage in deep water. The deeper the water, the more the lure drifts straight down. That’s why spinning reels give you an edge when fishing vertical cover like fallen trees and bluffs walls.

Spinning Reel

Better Drag Location

Spinning reels tend to have a better-placed drag so you can quickly adjust it during the fight. 

Baitcasters are more difficult to tweak with a fish on. The drag tends to be close to the handle —which makes it hard to access. 

When you’re wrestling a nice-size bass, this is a big deal. It can be the difference between landing or losing a fish. 

It’s worth noting that rear drags are easier to access with a fish on, but many anglers say front drags are stronger. 

Now you know the advantages of using a spinning reel, but how do you pick out a good spinning reel?

Great question. Let’s dive into that…

What Are the Criteria for a Good Spinning Reel?

There are a few key factors that separate quality spinning reels from bad ones. I’ll crack them open one at the time — 

What is The Best Gear Ratio?

Gear ratio determines the retrieving speed. It’s pretty simple. 

It’s how much line is reeled per rotation of the crank. You want a reel with at least a 5:1 gear ratio —which is medium speed. A reel with a 6:1 ratio or more is high-speed. 

So do you need a medium or high speed retrieve? 

Great question! 

It depends on the action/speed of your lure. If you need a fast and smooth presentation, go with a high gear ratio. 

A high-speed reel is ideal for running a spinnerbait or buzzbait through the shallows. If you’re working a worm or topwater lure at a slow pace, a 5:1 will work.

If you’re using an ultralight lure I suggest a 6:1 or 7:1 ratio. It gives you more play for a finesse presentation

Okay, now that we’re clear on gear ratio let’s delve into the drag system. It’s a crucial part of any reel. 

What’s The Best Drag System for a Spinning Reel?

The drag allows fishing line to release during the fight and stops the line from breaking. That’s a pretty big deal! It keeps you from losing lures and fish —plus it helps avoid backlash. 

Also, you want a durable reel. Most drag systems are carbon, graphite, aluminum or magnesium, with cold-forged aluminum and carbon being the strongest and most corrosion-resistant.

Carbon and magnesium are some of the lightest drag materials. Graphite is the most lightweight, plus it’s non-corrosive so works great for saltwater fishing. 

RECOMMENDATION

Try to get a spinning reel that’s water-tight and water-resistant. This helps eliminate slipping and preserves function. 

Also keep an eye out for spinning reels with multi-disc drag systems, these tend to be more durable and perform better. Remember to check the reviews and feedback on reels to make sure you’re getting one with a smooth drag, 

Okay, It’s time to talk about bearings. So let’s get on the ball — pun intended!

Ball Bearings
Ball Bearings

How Important Are Ball Bearings?

Ball bearings give a spinning reel smooth performance. Some use bushings —but bearings are more reliable. 

Try to find a spraining reel with sealed stainless steel bearings. These offer the most control and durability. 

TIP

Ideally, you want a spinning reel with lots of ball bearings, but remember they tend to be more expensive. 

A good rule of thumb —4 ball bearings is the minimum. Anything less than that will reduce performance. 

Honestly, I won’t buy a reel with less than 7 ball bearings. That’s just my personal standard. 

The spool choice will also affect a spinner’s performance. Let’s jump into that —

Does the Spool on a Spinning Reel Matter?

Yes! The spool matters. It affects fluidity and casting distance. 

Spools are typically made of anodized aluminum or graphite and each has an advantage. 

Aluminum is the strongest and most durable. But graphite spools are lighter —yet not as tough. 

Okay, we’ve talked about gears, spool and ball bearings. Now let’s talk about what protects them.

What is the Best Reel Housing for a Spinning Reel?

The housing serves as the mighty protector of the gears. So it needs to be tough!

The highest quality spinners have aluminum, carbon or graphite housing, which help protect against corrosion. 

TIP

If you’re saltwater fishing then graphite is best and if you’re freshwater fishing, aluminum or carbon is a smart choice. 

Now you know what makes a spinning reel worth buying. It’s time for a quick look on the top three spinning reels for the money…

Quick Review of the Best Spinning Reels for the Money

Here is a quick look on our top three picks…

Well, it’s that part of the journey where I leave it with you. I’ve spilled my guts and sang like a canary about spinning reels that are worth the money. 

Hopefully you can use this article to buy a reel you feel good about. Heck, maybe you’ll get one on my list! 

Just remember —it’s not about what you spend. It’s about what you spend it on. 

I know that may sound corny and cliche’, but when you’re catching fish with your new spinning reel, it will ring true. 

Let us know how your next fishing trip goes —especially if you have luck with a recommended spinning reel. Email us a pic and your story —we might make you famous!

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