10 Best Spinning Reels for 2021

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Photo: dasburton

The spinning reel is a highly popular reel that is used by young anglers, beginners, and experts alike. It distinguishes itself from other types of fishing reels by its versatility in both freshwater and seawater.

Additionally, one of the best things about the spinning reel it is that is very easy to operate. In fact, even if you have never used a spinning reel before, you will be comfortable casting and reeling with it in a matter of minutes.

If you are fresh on the market for a top-rated spinning reel, we have exactly what you need!

Keep reading to find out more!

Reviews of the 10 Best Spinning Reels

1. Pflueger Supreme XT – Best Overall Spinning Reel

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The Pflueger Supreme XT is a quality spinning reel that is made for heavy-duty fishing in both freshwater and saltwater. Indeed, it has a corrosion-free frame made from lightweight and durable magnesium.

Additionally, the spool size in this unit is pretty decent which allows you to cast your fishing light at great distances with excellent accuracy.

To make the drag smooth and offer the user with greater comfort, this fishing reel is equipped with no less than 10 stainless steel ball bearings. It makes the drag, casting and reeling exceptionally smooth.

Further, the handle is also heavy-duty and is made from a special carbon material that is 21% lighter than regular aluminum. Even more so, this reel is very comfortable and can be used for an extended period.

Indeed, there are many things that when put together make the Pflueger Supreme XT one of the best spinning reels on the market today.


  • 10 corrosion-free ball bearings for a smooth the drag
  • Can be used for both saltwater and freshwater fishing
  • Large and comfortable handle made from carbon


  • The price. It is a little expensive

2. Penn Spinfisher V – Best Saltwater Spinning Reel

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The Penn Spinfisher V is a good spinning reel that focuses on build construction and flexibility. The whole frame is 100% watertight which makes it an excellent fishing reel for both freshwater and seawater.

Additionally, the user has a wide selection of sizes during purchase which makes it very flexible and tailor-made for individual needs. The drag uses a 5 shielded stainless steel ball bearing system that makes it very smooth and comfortable to use.

Talking about comfort, this Penn spinning reel has one of the most ergonomic handles we know of. It is large and the hand sits comfortably on its oversized handle for maximum comfort it. Therefore, it can be used for long fishing hours without experiencing any hand fatigue.

All in all, due to the solid and watertight build construction of this reel, we elect it as the best saltwater spinning reel in this review. It fully deserves it!


  • Supersized handle offers better handling ergonomic
  • 100% watertight. Excellent for both freshwater and seawater
  • Quality build construction. Durable and long-lasting
  • Large choice of sizes for more versatility


  • The price. It is expensive when compared to other models
  • A little bit heavy at 22.5 oz. Not the most maneuverable spinning reel

3. KastKing Summer & Cetron – Best Budget Spinning Reel

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Not everyone has several hundred bucks to spend on a spinning reel. This is where models like the KastKing Summer and KastKing Cetron come in. KastKing is a new player in the field that is known for making quality fishing reels at an affordable price.

The Summer line of KastKing fishing lines is blue over black in color while the Cetron has a distinctive blue and white color. However, they both are pretty similar in terms of features and functionality.

One of the most distinguishing factors of this spinning reel is definitely its lightweight that makes them easy to maneuver around. There are multiple models to choose from depending on your need and all of them have a graphite frame that is long-lasting.

One of the best things about this spinning reel is its flexibility in both freshwater and seawater. Indeed, despite its very low price, it can be used in both without worry. Therefore, taking into account its price and performance ratio, this spinning reel is by far the best budget spinning reel in this review.


  • Very affordable. Value for money
  • Flexible. Can be using both freshwater and seawater
  • Lightweight. Easy to maneuver


  • Not the best performing spinning reel when it comes to heavy-duty big-game fishing

4. Abu Garcia Revo SX – Best Freshwater Spinning Reel

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The Abu Garcia Revo SX is a very high-quality spinning wheel that is made by one of the leaders of the fishing reel industry. This unit has a durable and tough C6 Carbon frame and distinguishes itself from other models with its high gear ratio of 6.2:1.

With such a high gear ratio, this is a fast-spinning reel and it can be used for long-distance casting. This unit will reel the line quickly and easily.

One of the best things about this model is its large handle that is very comfortable and the smooth drag system offers an exceptional user experience. This is the type of spinning reel that can be used for long hours without experiencing fatigue or boredom.

Moreover, the user can choose the size of this spinning reel based on need during purchase. Very flexible indeed. Despite all this, the Revo SX is still made for freshwater fishing as it lacks the build construction for seawater.

However, this is not a disadvantage as this unit is the best freshwater spinning reel in terms of performance and ease of use. Simply put, when it comes to freshwater there are simply no models on the market that can beat it.


  • Tough C6 Carbon frame. Durable and long-lasting
  • Ability to choose a size on purchase
  • Smooth drag system
  • Very comfortable handle


  • The price. This spinning reel is very expensive
  • Recommended only for freshwater

5. Pflueger President Spinning Reel 

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The Pflueger President is a more modestly priced spinning reel that still offers a rich set of features along with a tough and durable graphite build construction.

The user has the choice between 4 different sizes and you can even choose between the left or right-hand models for convenience. One of the best things about this model is that it has 9 ball bearings that make the drag incredibly smooth.

Additionally, reeling the fishing line in reverse with this reel is very easy as all that is required is the push of a button and it will automatically start reverse mode.

All in all, this model is an affordable spinning reel that is a very simple and straightforward fishing reel. In fact, almost anyone with any experience level can start using this fishing reel right away.


  • Relatively affordable
  • Ability to choose different sizes
  • Easy to engage reverse mode with the push of a button
  • Solid build construction from graphite


  • Not recommended for seawater fishing

6. Penn Fierce Spinning Reel 

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Penn Fierce spinning reels are known throughout the industry for their excellent build construction and durability. This unit is no different. It has an exceptional build construction. This reel has a solid stainless steel shaft and a metal frame that makes it highly durable and long-lasting.

Moreover, at this price, you expect only the best and the Penn Fierce delivers. It has a ball bearing system inside that makes line casting, retrieving and drag very smooth. Overall, it offers a very pleasant and comfortable fishing experience.

It is a little bit on the heavy side at 19 ounces and the gear ratio of 5.6:1 good have been a little bit better. However, it is still fast enough for casual fishing whether it is freshwater or seawater angling.


  • Stainless steel shaft. Extremely durable and long-lasting
  • Large and soft touch handle for more comfort
  • Very smooth drag as well as smooth retrieves


  • The price could have been a little bit more competitive
  • One other the heaviest spinning reel in this review at 19 ounces

7. Kastking Sharky III Spinning Reel 

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We are actually amazed that a fishing reel like the Kastking Sharky III actually exists. It has a very decent build construction and yet has one of the best prices to performance ratio we have seen.

The user even has the choice between sizes that are suited for both freshwater and seawater depending on need. Additionally, the ball bearing system inside makes it an incredibly smooth spinning reel to use.

The frame is made from aluminum which is durable and long-lasting. Not bad for the price. Even more impressive, that max drag in this unit is 48.5 lbs which show that it can be used for big-game fishing.


  • Affordable. Value for money
  • High max drag of 48.5 lbs. ideal for big-game fishing
  • Aluminum frame. Durable and long-lasting
  • Ball bearing system for a butter smooth drag


  • None

8. Shimano Spirex RG Spinning Reel 

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One of the best things about this Shimano spinning reel is its large handle and the big gear ratio of 6.2:1 that makes it a fast reel for retrieving a long line quickly.

The graphite frame is durable and tough, but the user will need to observe some preliminary precautions when using it since it scratches easily.

Moreover, this reel is one of the lightest we have reviewed at 9.9 lbs. It will be easy to maneuver and offers more accuracy simply because it is easier to control.

Further, the brake system can quickly be engaged by the front metal bail and the brake resistance can be easily adjusted with front handle knob. Indeed, everything is easily accessible in this spinning reel.


  • Big gear ratio of 6.2:1 makes it fast to retrieve a line
  • Lightweight at 9.9 ounces. Easy to maneuver
  • Ideal for both left-handed and right-handed users
  • 6 ball bearings for a smoother drag


  • The graphite frame scratches easily

9. Okuma Trio High-Speed Spinning Reel 

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The Okuma is a budget spinning reel that despite being extremely affordable has an excellent build construction. That frame is made of graphite which is tough and durable and it even sports corrosion resistant part that makes it flexible in both freshwater and seawater.

Moreover, there are 10 ball bearings that give it a very smooth drag. Even better, this unit has been computer balanced for maximum accuracy during casting and retrieving.

The handle is not the largest we have seen, but it is adequate for the medium size spool that this spinning reel comes equipped with. For even more versatility, you have the option to choose the size to fit your need and purpose.


  • Ability to choose spool size
  • Computer balanced rotor for more accuracy
  • Front metal bail acts as a brake system
  • Suitable for both freshwater and seawater


  • Small handle. Not the most ergonomic
  • Heavier than other models at 17.6 oz

10. Okuma Avenger Lightweight Spinning Reel 

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The Okuma Avenger is one of the best spinning reels on the market when it comes to price to performance ratio. Indeed, this fishing reel is one of the most affordable units that money can buy.

Furthermore, it weighs an impressive 8 ounces which makes it one of the most lightweight spinning reel in this review. It is highly maneuverable and will not cause hand fatigue. Moreover, the max drag of only 6 lbs. shows that this reel is more suited for small fishes rather than big game.

The 7 ball bearings in the Okuma Avenger gives it a very smooth drag as well as an excellent overall user experience. This is a small and affordable spinning reel that is suitable for a wide range of fishing environments, from freshwater to seawater game.


  • Extremely lightweight at 8 ounces. Very maneuverable
  • Ability to choose the size on purchase
  • Very smooth drag due to 7 ball bearing system


  • Small handle. Not the most ergonomic

Saltwater vs. Freshwater Spinning Reel

Photo: candlewoodlakeguideservice.com

One of the best things about the spinning reel is that it is a versatile fishing tool. It can be used for both saltwater and freshwater fishing without any issues. Nevertheless, while a saltwater fishing reel can be used in freshwater as well, the reverse is not true.

Therefore, we have deemed it important to show you the differences between those 2 types of fishing reels so that you can make the right choice. Here is a quick overview of what those fishing reels are all about.

Saltwater Fishing Reels

The saltwater fishing reel is generally a heavy-duty and higher grade reel. Made from higher quality materials that are durable and long-lasting. Although it is not as popular as the freshwater reel, the saltwater fishing reel is more versatile and long-lasting.


  • Versatile. Can be used in both freshwater and saltwater
  • Heavy-duty build construction with carbon fiber discs and more sophisticated ball bearing systems
  • Spool is watertight and corrosion-free
  • Performance not affected over time. The saltwater fishing reel is more long-lasting
  • Larger spool size for long-distance casting or big game fishing.
  • It can more easily be re-spooled with a braided or mono line for more convenience


  • The price. It’s more expensive due to better quality materials used in its construction
  • It generally weighs more than a freshwater reel

Freshwater Fishing Reels

On the other hand, the freshwater fishing reel is usually a smaller and lighter solution when compared to the saltwater fishing reel. It has a smaller spool and most of the time it is intended for casting in short distances, which is more appropriate when fishing in small rivers or lakes.

However, the freshwater fishing reel is by far the most popular type of reel sold in North American and elsewhere.


  • Generally more affordable than a saltwater fishing reel
  • Lighter and more maneuverable
  • More popular and greater diversity in models and types
  • Easier to use as there are less complex parts


  • Spool may not be watertight. It is affected by saltwater and performance will decline over time
  • Smaller spool. Not ideal for long-distance casting
  • Does not perform well in a big game or heavy-duty fishing

How to Buy the Best Spinning Reel

Photo geekingfish

Before purchasing a spinning reel, there are some important factors to take into account. Here are the most important ones:

1. Drag

What the drag is basically the amount of force requires for your catch to start spinning the spool. The higher the drag, the less sensitive the reel but you will also be able to fight bigger fishes with a higher drag value.

Moreover, the drag in a spinning reel is managed by various technologies so as to make it smoother and offer a more comfortable experience when fighting a big catch.

2. Gear Ratio

The gear ratio in a spinning reel is essentially the speed at which the reel can retrieve the fishing line with one turn of the handle. The higher the gear ratio, the faster the spinning reel will be able to retrieve that line.

If you are doing long-distance fishing and casting your line very far away, then it is usually preferred that you use a higher gear ratio for better ease-of-use.

3. Metal Bail

The metal bail is the U-shape metal rod at the front of the spinning reel. What this does is allow you to stop or release the spool with your finger. Additionally, the metal bail also helps to reel in the fishing line in a more efficient manner.

Ensure that the metal bail is located right at the front of the spinning reel for easy access and that it has an adjustable brake system for versatility.

4. Size

A spinning reel with a big spool will be able to accommodate a lot of fishing line making it ideal for long-distance fishing. However, the caveat is that a fishing reel with a big spool is more difficult to maneuver and cast.

As with everything, we recommend that you choose a spinning reel size based on your need and purpose. Most good spinning reel models will offer you the ability to choose the size of the spool during purchase.

5. Bearing

The ball bearing system and shows that you get a smooth experience when casting or reeling the spinning reel. Some of the best spinning wheels on the market come with multiple metal ball bearings to ensure a smooth casting drag.

Additionally, carbon fiber discs are also used in high-quality spinning reels for a smoother and more efficient drag.

6. Handle

The handle of the spinning reel is where your hands will rest most of the time when operating this fishing tool. Therefore, it is important that this handle is large and ergonomic so as to comfortably accommodate your hand.

Best, ensure that it is coated with a soft rubber material for more comfort and ease of use. Remember, most of the time your hands will be wet, therefore the handle also needs to be anti-skid.

7. Material

Of course, the material used in the build construction of the spinning wheel is one of the most important aspects. This will dictate how strong and how long your spinning reel will last.

Ensure that the frame is made from high quality and durable material like aluminum, carbon fiber or graphite. Those materials have a long lifetime.

By Rocksweeper/shutterstock


As we have seen, the spinning reel requires almost no experience. Anyone can start using it, and it is a great introduction for young anglers who have never fished with a reel before.

Moreover, the spinning reel can be used for heavy-duty fishing on big game and will last you a long time due to its quality build construction. All in all, if you are interested in any type of fishing whether it is in saltwater or freshwater, the spinning reel is an absolute must-have.

If you have read our review and have still not found the best spinning reel for your need then we recommend that you go through it one more time.


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Jack Bollinger
Born in Massachusetts, Jack is an avid fisherman most of his life. He is currently a fishing guide in the bay of California. He has been fishing for more than 40 years and fly-fishing for more than 30. His favorite fish to catch is the rainbow trout and small-mouth bass. He has earned many top places in different lake fishing competitions.

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