Man Fishing at a Lake

6 Best Underspin Reels in 2020 Reviewed (Buyer’s Guide)

Underspin reels (also known as triggerspin reels) have always been thought of as newbie or kids reels thanks to how lightweight and simple they are to use.

After considering all the options our top picks were…

However, recently underspin or triggerspin reels are getting a bit more sophisticated and fishermen are starting to give more of a challenge.

These products are perfect for freshwater fishing when targeting small size panfish and will make the whole experience far more fun than using a big spinning reel.

It’s quite hard to pick the best underspin reel out there and that’s why we have made this guide.

The Top Three

First, here are our top three reels from the reviews, each in its own category. 

Best All-Rounder

Zebco 33 Micro Gold Triggerspin Reel

This is another pro triggerspin reel, but from Zebco this time. They have added all the bells and whistles to build a reel that’s sophisticated while being easy to operate.

Zebco 33 Micro Gold Triggerspin Reel

This reel needs to do everything well, have many helpful features yet also have an acceptable price tag. The all-rounder is the Zebco 33 Micro Gold Triggerspin Reel. It’s a beautiful triggerspin reel with a competitive price tag that will work in all situations for pros and beginners a like. 

Best on a Budget

Shakespeare Synergy Steel Underspin Reel

You might have thought that these steel reels are simple, but the Shakespeare brand has made this steel model full of features that make it quite the sophisticated compact reel.

Shakespeare Synergy Steel Underspin Reel

The best on a budget reel is how it sounds. We want the best features we can get for the smallest price. The clear winner here is the Shakespeare Synergy Steel Underspin Reel. This is a sophisticated compact reel that will last and has a price tag your wallet will like. 

Editor’s Choice

Daiwa Underspin Reel-XD

This reel is not only good for beginners, but Daiwa has gone out of their way to build an underspin reel for pros that is designed to catch those big fish that will only take on really lightweight gear.

Daiwa Underspin Reel-XD

This is my favorite reel from the review based on my years of experience, I really like it. The editor’s pick is the Daiwa Underspin Reel-XD. The Daiwa Underspin XD is a reel I could see myself trusting to target big fish day in and day out

Things To Consider When Choosing an Underspin Reel

What are you fishing for?

Using an underspin reel does limit your options when it comes to what to fish for. They’re built for lightweight fishing and will only really work for fishing smaller freshwater and saltwater species.

Using an underspin reel does limit your options when it comes to what to fish for…

That being said there are some differences between different models which will allow you to target larger fish, so be sure to check up on these when you’re looking at different models. 

Line Capacity

Line capacity varies slightly between underspin reels and the main factor to consider is what you’re trying to catch. If you’re after bigger fish, then I recommend picking a fishing reel that has a big enough line capacity to manage what you’re trying to catch. 

Using Braid

These reels usually come pre-spooled with mono and it is better than braid. This is because the mono will cast from the reel much more smoothly. That being said, you may put braid on them if you want more line with a higher breaking strain.

NOTE

It might be hard to fill their spools with braid if it’s not designed for it and you may have to open up the reel and wrap some electrical tape around their spools to prevent slippage. 

Hooded Person Fishing on a Boat
Hooded Person Fishing on a Boat

Weight of the Reel

The different weights of underspin reels won’t have any effect on your cast. They’re so lightweight to begin with and a heavier reel won’t be that noticeable.

TIP

If you will purchase the reel for a small child though, you might want to go for a lighter model so they don’t get tired cast. 

Corrosion & Durability

Corrosion and durability are important to have in every reel no matter how simple they are. Make sure the reel is made from quality materials that won’t rust to ensure it’s longevity. The last thing you want is for the reel to break after a few months of use. 

Drag

A good drag system is a smooth drag. You don’t want your drag system to slip or stick as this will wreak havoc when you’re trying to land a fish. It should come off the reel in a continuous and consistent manner in every setting.

The power of your system should match the line on your reel and what you’re trying to catch…

The power of your should match the line on your reel and what you’re trying to catch. On underspin reels, the average max drag is about 6 pounds which is low in the world of reels, but some do stretch higher than that. 

Gear Ratios

These ratios are about the number of times the spool will turn per crank of the handle. High ratios will give you a nice fast retrieve to help get your line in quickly.

This is very useful when fishing lures that need to come in fast or to put pressure on a stubborn fish.

NOTE

Even though underspin reels are quite basic in terms of design, they do have some good ratios of gear that are worth looking out for

Fishing with a Underspin Reel
Fishing with a Underspin Reel

Advantages Of Underspin Reels 

The main advantages in the design of underspin reels revolve around their simplicity. They’re super easy to cast and come with a trigger button which you can easily press when you want to release line from the reel.

The main advantages of underspin reels revolve around their simplicity…

This makes it an ideal reel for kids and beginner anglers alike. The spools on these reels are covered by a rounded hood with a hole in it to allow the line to pass through.

The hood is usually produced from either hard plastic or aluminum and stops the line from tangling and backlashing.

It also protects the reel from water and dirt that would damage it.

They are designed for light line fishing and create an awesome challenge for anglers…

Another advantage is that these reels are a lot of fun to use. They are designed for light line fishing and create an awesome challenge for anglers to chase large freshwater species, that would otherwise be easier when spinning or baitcasting. 

Let this list help you find the best underspin reel for your needs.

Reel Reviews

Best on a Budget

Shakespeare Synergy Steel Underspin Reel

You might have thought that these stainless steel reels are simple, but Shakespeare has built this steel reel full of features that make it quite the sophisticated compact reel.

Shakespeare Synergy Steel Underspin Reel

You might have thought that these stainless steel reels are simple, but Shakespeare has built this stainless steel reel full of features that make it quite the sophisticated compact reel.

Shakespeare has built this stainless steel reel full of features that make it quite the sophisticated compact reel…

The Shakespeare Synergy Steel includes a stainless steel front cone and rear cover for durability and corrosion resistance. The front cone and rear cover are likely to take much of the abuse the reel will deal with. It needs to be strong – making stainless steel an excellent option.

Durable Line Guide

It also features a titanium line guide and a durable elastomer pinch ring. The titanium line guide feature will help reduce the wear on the line as it exits the hood of the reel. Being made of titanium also helps the line guide less prone to corrosion.

Adjustable Drag

The drag is externally adjustable and uses a multi-disc system. This makes it smooth yet durable and the max is around 6 pounds – perfect for this size reel. The cast is great, but the trigger does feel a little delicate – so practice care when using it.

Gear Ratio

The 3.3 to 1 gear ratio is pretty satisfactory, giving you a solid retrieve rate that feels very smooth even against strong fish. It has a great line capacity for light line fishing, includes anti-reverse, a graphite frame and an easy switch left and right hand retrieve.

NOTE

It’s a small reel and its size may not fit some rods out there, be aware of this before you purchase. Overall it’s a nice, fun, durable reel that’s perfect for kids, beginners and lightweight line enthusiasts alike. 

Specs

Pros

  • Durable construction
  • Easy to use
  • Drag is smooth and adjustable
  • Anti-reverse
  • Titanium line guide

Cons

  • Trigger feels fragile
  • Tiny reel that may not fit all rods

Lew’s Fishing MUS1 Slab Shaker Underspin Reel

Lew’s Mr. Crappie Slab Shaker is a great looking product from Lews that’s uncomplicated to use and perfect for all levels of fisherman.

Lew’s Fishing MUS1 Slab Shaker Underspin Reel

Lew’s Mr. Crappie Slab Shaker is a great looking product from Lews that’s uncomplicated to use and perfect for all levels of fisherman.

It’s made with an aluminum nose front cone and spool, giving its body great durability and corrosion resistance. The aluminum front cone and aluminum spool will last a while, even if it’s treated badly.

Lew’s Mr. Crappie Slab Shaker is a great looking product that’s uncomplicated to use and perfect for all levels of fisherman…

The drag is smooth and effortless to adjust thanks to the accessible dial on the outside. This makes it an excellent option for pro anglers wanting to target bigger fish with an underspin – for that extra challenge. The drag system can fail, but this is a rare occurrence. 

Ball Bearing System

The retrieve is smooth and quick thanks to the ball bearing drive system and the 4.3 : 1 gear ratio it has. The ball bearing drive system and 4.3:1 ratio will let you fish super lightweight lures quickly, for fishing those fussy fish that won’t eat when using heavier lines.

Casting and Trigger Action 

The cast is great and the trigger action runs smoothly. You won’t be caught out by a stubborn trigger button that won’t release line. It can be quickly switched from left to right-hand wind, making it perfect for sharing on a family fishing day out or when teaching a group of beginners. 

Specs

Pros

  • Smooth cast
  • Good line lay
  • Good value
  • Ball Bearing Drive System

Cons

  • Drag can fail

BM Ultra-Lite Underspin DL1 Reel

This is a simple closed face reel that’s a pleasure fishing with. It has a very nice cast and comes pre-spooled with a quality 8lb line.

BM Ultra-Lite Underspin DL1 Reel

This is a simple closed face reel that’s a pleasure fishing with. It has a very nice cast and comes pre-spooled with a quality 8lb line.

made from die-cast aluminum to give it a durable feel while keeping it lightweight…

Their spools are made from die-cast aluminum to give it a durable feel while keeping it lightweight. It comes with a spare graphite spool so you can swap in lighter or heavier lines on the fly, this graphite spool is very useful when the conditions may change or if you’re targeting a spooky fish.

Drag and Retrieve

The drag is smooth and easily adjusts at the front of the reel. The retrieve isn’t so smooth and feels a little catchy. This doesn’t actually affect the reel mechanically in any way and the line still comes in fine. The gear ratio gives this reel a solid retrieve rate so you can fish lightweight lures fast. 

It’s easily switched from right to left-hand retrieve, making it fun and easy to use for the whole family and it comes at a great price too. 

Specs

  • Mono capacity Yards/Pounds: 100/6
  • Braid capacity Yards/Pounds: N/A
  • Gear Ratio: 4.7:1
  • Ball bearings: No Ball Bearings
  • Weight: N/A
  • Retrieve rate, per crank: N/A
  • Retrieve Side: N/A
  • Die Cast Aluminum Spool

Pros

  • Good Cast
  • Comes with line
  • Well made

Cons

  • Catchy retrieve

Editor’s Choice

Daiwa Underspin Reel-XD

This reel is not only great for beginners, but Daiwa has gone out of their way to build an underspin reel for pros that is designed to catch those big fish that will only take on really lightweight gear.

Daiwa Underspin Reel-XD

This reel is not only great for beginners, but Daiwa has gone out of their way to build one of the best underspin reels for pros that is designed to catch those big fish that will only take on really lightweight gear.

This reel is not only great for beginners, but Daiwa has gone out of their way to build an underspin reel for pros…

The drag is strong, smooth and easily adjustable from a rear dial, this keeps it out the way so you won’t be changing it by accident. 

The Daiwa Underspin Reel XD is available in many sizes and the larger size is made for 12lb line, with an impressive 25.9” per crank retrieve rate. That is off the charts for an underspin reel!

Build

It’s made from aluminum alloy. The aluminum alloy build makes its body durable and corrosion-resistant. The titanium nitride line pickup turns with the line for less wear and an easier cast. 

NOTE

These reels do come with line, but you should change it out as it’s of poor quality. Another drawback is that the tangle prevention system under the front cone does fail after some time in some cases. 

Specs

  • Mono capacity Yards/Pounds: 12/100
  • Braid capacity Pounds/Yards: N/A
  • Gear Ratio: 4.3:1
  • Ball bearings: 1
  • Weight: 10.8oz
  • Retrieve rate, per crank: 25.9”
  • Retrieve Side: R or L (choose when you order)
  • Aluminum Alloy Build
  • Titanium nitride line pickup
  • See the full specs for the Daiwa Underspin Reel-XD

Pros

  • Good value
  • Made to catch Big fish
  • Reduces tangles and backlashes
  • Durable
  • Smooth drag

Cons

  • Poor quality line is included
  • Tangle-prevention mechanisms can fail over time

Best All-Rounder

Zebco 33 Micro Gold Triggerspin Reel

This is another pro triggerspin reel, but from Zebco this time. They have included all the bells and whistles to build a reel that’s sophisticated while being easy to operate.

Zebco 33 Micro Gold Triggerspin Reel

This is another pro triggerspin reel, but from Zebco this time. They have included all the bells and whistles to build a reel that’s sophisticated while being easy to operate.

They have included all the bells and whistles to build a reel that’s sophisticated while being easy to operate…

The reel is made from graphite, brass and stainless steel. These are quality materials that make it strong, corrosion-resistant, lightweight and durable.

Retrieve

The retrieve is quick, yet smooth, thanks to the 2 bearing system and a high ratio of gears. Most underpin reels feature 1 bearing and the one additional bearing feature here is noticeable.

NOTE

Some of the models may produce a grinding noise when winding – it doesn’t affect the reel’s functionality, but it may get annoying.

Drag System

The drag system is tough and smooth. It’s adjustments change in micro increments so you can set the perfect pressure for your light line fishing. The reel is painless to cast using any rod. It can be put on any rod such as a spin rod, even a fly rod.

Overall it’s an excellent reel, but it does need much more care and maintenance than other models and it’s even a little more expensive.

Specs

  • Mono capacity Yards/Pounds: 90/4
  • Braid capacity Yards/Pounds: N/A
  • Gear Ratio 4.3:1
  • Ball bearings: 3
  • Wt: 6.1oz
  • Retrieve rate, per crank: 16 inch
  • Retrieve Side: R or L (choose when you order)
  • Made of Graphite, Brass and Stainless Steel

Pros

  • Good drag
  • Can be used on a fly rod
  • Easy to cast
  • Durable
  • Quick retrieve

Cons

  • Needs maintenance
  • Tends to make a grinding noise when in use

Pflueger President Spincast Fishing Reel

The President spincast reel comes with 5 bearings for an extra smooth retrieve under pressure. Combined with the high gear ratio giving the President spincast reel a great retrieve rate.

Pflueger President Spincast Fishing Reel

Plueger has also tried to up the game on a spincast reel here, but hasn’t done quite as well as Zebco or Daiwa.

The President reel comes with 5 bearings for an extra smooth retrieve under pressure…

The President reel comes with 5 bearings for an extra smooth retrieve under pressure. Combined with the high gear ratio giving this closed spincast reel a great retrieve rate. The President reel is made from aluminum for corrosion-resistance, but unfortunately it’s not the best in terms of durability and many of its parts tend to fall off or break much easily.

The drag is spool applied and is adjusted on a dial from the outside. It’s sleek when it works, but it can stick on occasion. The line capacity is great on this fishing reel and if you get a solid one with a good drag system, it’ll be perfect for chasing shy big fish.

Specs

Pros

  • Corrosion-resistant.
  • Great line capacity.
  • Sleek, fast retrieve.

Cons

  • Not durable, parts break off
  • Drag can stick

Conclusion

After considering all the options our top picks were…

Best All-Rounder

The all-rounder is the Zebco 33 Micro Gold Triggerspin Reel. It’s a durable well-made triggerspin fishing reel that is super versatile and easy to operate. It’s a great triggerspin reel for beginner or pro anglers looking for a challenging experience, has a sleek drag system, solid retrieve and good line capacity.

Best on a Budget

The best on a budget reel is the Shakespeare Synergy Steel Underspin Reel. This reel is easy to use, perfect for beginner anglers. It casts well, has a smooth drag system and will last for a long time. Oh, and the price is awesome!

Editor’s Choice

The editor’s pick is the Daiwa Underspin Reel-XD. This is a top end fishing reel that’s built to last and catch big fish. Every part of the fishing reel is assembled with the best quality components and it has been put together for pros looking to catch those elusive trophies.

There we have it, the best underspin reels on the market. I hope you enjoyed the reviews and find it useful when you’re going to choose the best underspin reel for your needs. Please share and recommend this guide or our page if you like the content.

If you’re a beginner or a pro, underspin reels are always a fantastic way to learn and give yourself a challenge against some big, hard to catch fish!

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