8 BEST Spinning Reels for Under 100$: Buyer's Guide!

BEST Spinning Reels for Under 100$

Buying a fishing reel can be a tedious task, especially if you are a beginner.

Hundreds of models are available on the market, and all of the manufacturers claim that their product is the best.

Differences can be minimal and the price range can vary significantly. That is the reason I decided to make a list of the best ones that are reasonably priced but their quality and performance is comparable to more expensive models.

After a long time of searching and trying different ones, I finally found 8 spinning reels that are definitely worth their price.

So, if you want to know what is the best spinning reel for under 100$ for your needs, you can find information about a specific product, and a few more tips on how to choose them, in the following chapters:

How to Choose the Best Spinning Reel? Few Tips ...
Here are: 8 BEST Spinning Reels for Under 100$
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) about Spinning Reels:
 - What are Spinning Reels Good for (Benefits)?
 - What to Look for in a Spinning Reel?
 - Which Brand of Spinning Reels is the Best?
 - What is the Best Gear Ratio for Spinning Reels?
 - Is More Ball Bearings in a Reel Better?
 - What is the Difference Between Spinning and Baitcasting Reel?

How to Choose the Best Spinning Reel? Few Tips ...

When choosing a reel, you will come across many information about reel parts, and materials, together with gears and similar features.

In order to choose the best ones, you have to know the difference and why is it important.

Here are a few features to consider when buying a spinning reel:

Housing Material

Housing is usually made of graphite or aluminium.

Graphite housing is lighter, and that can be important of you plan to hold the rod in your hands a lot. Small weight difference doesn’t seem a lot, but after a few hours, it can be significant. Graphite is a bit weaker, but it is also suitable for saltwater fishing, because it is corrosion resistant.

Aluminium housing is stronger and more flexible, which makes it ideal for rough use and freshwater fishing.

Both options are good, and it is up to you to decide which one is better for your needs.

Whichever you choose, make sure al the reel movements are smooth and that there are no poorly connected or loose parts.

Size

Reels come in different sizes, usually marked in “thousands”. For example, 3000 size is smaller than 8000.

Depending on your rod and the rest of your gear (reel has to be compatible with the rod), and the targeted fish species, you should pick the one that is big enough to withstand certain weights and forces, but not to big. Many beginners like to take a bigger one because they hope to catch a record-breaking fish, but you should choose according to your needs, not wishes.

Reel size also determines which line you will use. Bigger reels go with heavier lines.

Reel size also determines how long the line of a certain diameter can fit on it.

If you fish for medium sized bass, go with some medium reel sizes and 8-pound fishing line.

Gear ratio

Gear ratio determines how many times the bail rotates around the spool with a single turn of a handle. Because the spool is fixed, this shouldn’t be confused with gear ration of free-spool reels where the spool rotates a certain number of times with a single turn of a handle.

High, low and medium speeds are available and it should be chosen according to a fishing style you intend to practice.

Example of low speed is 4:1, where the bail rotates around the spool 4 times for a single turn of a handle. Fast ones are 6:1 or more.

Beginners that like to fish using different techniques should go for medium speeds, like 5:1, because those can be used in various occasions.

Drag

Drag is a feature that enables putting certain amount of pressure on a fish that is hooked and letting out the line. When choosing a reel, try the drag and see how the line goes out.

The movement should be smooth and steady at all tensions.

Drag can be front and rear. Rear drag is easier to control when retrieving the fish, however it is not suitable for large fish that fight hard. Front drag has higher durability and has big drag washers.

Bearings

Bearings are located within the housing and their main task is to ensure smooth and steady reel operation.

Price usually increases with the number of bearings. If possible, choose models with sealed bearings made from stainless steel.

Keep in mind that the higher the number of bearings, the reel operates better.

However, this is true only if the reel is quality made. Cheap models from questionable manufacturers are frequently advertised as the best and they contain a lot of bearings. They can actually be worse than quality made models with lower number of bearings.

Spool

Same as the housing, spools can be made of aluminium or graphite.

Spools are there to accommodate the whole line length and a good spool will make your casting and retrieving easier.

When it comes to materiel, both have same advantages and disadvantages as the housing. Quality made reel that is smooth and steady will be very “forgiving” to your mistakes and less line twisting and tangling will occur.

Design of a spool can be wide and shallow or narrow and deep. The shape determines casting distance and retrieving. The deeper the spool the more friction occurs while casting. Because it is narrow, the line has to unwind more times for the same length to go out. Some manufacturers created specially shaped spool lips to overcome this problem.

The “Feeling”

Take the reel in your hand if possible and try to use it ...

The handle should be solid and not wobbly, cranking should be smooth and the handle has to be made in a way that you feel like you are in control and that nothing is slipping away.

Best Spinning Reels for Under 100 - With Fishing Rod

Here are: 8 BEST Spinning Reels for Under 100$

Here I will list the best spinning reels for under 100$ together with their features and advantages.

It should help you decide which product could be suitable for you.

KastKing Summer and Centron Spinning Reel

The first one on the list is a model made by KastKing.

This reel is available in different sizes, so you can choose the one you need. The smallest size available is 500 which is very small and suitable for ultralight fishing only. The largest one is 5000 which makes a solid medium range.

The housing is made from graphite which makes it corrosion resistant and light. Handle is made from aluminium and it lays well in the hand.

The frame is narrow which makes it compact and small. The smallest size is suitable for ice fishing too. Drag system is very efficient and stopping power can withstand the force up to 17,5 lbs, in larger models. Instant anti-reverse makes it smooth to operate and setting a hook can be done with no problem.

Gear ratio is from 5.0:1 to 6.2:1, depending on a model and size.

Nine ball bearings are quality made and you can rest assured that the reel will operate smoothly and efficiently.

Aluminium spool has a precisely designed lip to reduce friction and enable distant casting. Because of its design, it enables even line lay.

And for all those who like their equipment to look nice, this black and blue/white and blue reel will amaze you. And the best thing is that, depending on a size, price varies between 25 and 35 $ which is an exceptional price. You can buy it on Amazon (here).

Penn Battle II Spinning Reel

Penn has one very interesting model of a spinning reel, and that is Penn Battle II.

Numerous sizes are available, but only smaller ones, 1000, 2000, and 2500 cost less that 100$. The price is around 98$ which makes it among the most expensive ones on this list.

The reel is extremely dependable and durable. It has 5 ball bearings made of stainless stell and they are completely sealed to provide maximum smoothness.

Housing is metal and strong. Bail wire is very strong and durable too. When you look at it, it is obvious that this reel can withstand some rough use. It is suitable for saltwater too.

Instant anti-reverse enables precise hook setting. Drag system is made from carbon fiber and it enables powerful but smooth drag.

The gear ratio is high, and it is 6.2:1.

Because only smaller sizes are available for the given price range, the downside is that if you choose it, you will have to use a bit lighter setup.

KastKing Sharky III Spinning Reel

KastKing Sharky is another model on this list made by this manufacturer.

It comes at a slightly higher price that the previous KastKing model, and varies between 50 – 65$, depending on a size.

Multiple sizes are available and those include 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000 and 5000. Gear ratio is 5.2:1. The reel is saltwater rated.

Reinforced fiber graphite housing is light and corrosion free, while aluminium handle and spool are very durable.

Triple disc carbon fiber drag can withstand forces up to 39,5 lbs. Spool, body and the rotor are sealed and protected from dirt and water.

Double shielded stainless steel bearings are quality made and this model has 10 of them.

Of course, this model too has instant anti-reverse.

If you are willing to spend a bit more, this KastKing is a better option than the first one. For a bit higher price, you will get more performance.

PENN Pursuit III Spinning Reel

Penn has a lot of great reels and one of them is Pursuit III model.

Sizes vary from 2500 to 8000, and the price, depending on the size, is 40-70$. Gear ratio varies from 5.3:1 to 6.2:1, where larger sizes are slower.

Graphite body is light and corrosion free. Of course, it is saltwater rated. Aluminium spool is designed to enable the line to lay smoothly and evenly.

Carbon fiber drag washers enable smooth and firm drag.

There are 4 quality made, shielded stainless steel ball bearings. Instant anti-reverse is a must, and this model has it too.

This is a very versatile reel, available in a variety of sizes so no matter what are your wishes, Penn Pursuit III will be up for a challenge.

Although all the features are basic, the quality of this product is superior.

Daiwa BG2500 BG Spinning Reel

This model comes at a top of the price range, costing around 97$. As the title suggests, this saltwater-rated reel comes in one size, 2500, only.

Anodized aluminium housing is corrosion resistant and durable. Handle is large and strong and fits very well in the hand.

Gear ratio is medium, 5.6:1. For such a small reel it has very high drag force, more than 13lbs. Infinite anti-reverse means that there is zero backplay, and this technology doesn’t just sound fancy, it really locks instantly.

There are 6 extremely well made and smooth ball bearings and you will be surprised how smooth this reel feels.

Daiwa BG models have one more innovation, and that is the largest drive gear ever implemented in their spinning reel models. As the result, the torque is increased and the reel has more power.

The rotor is a so called “air rotor” designed in a way that the strength and performance remained the same but the weight is reduced 15%.

This reel offers outstanding performance and materials.

If you choose this reel you will not go wrong, and it can be compared, if not even outperform, much pricier models.

PisciFun Flame Spinning Reel

This reel is available 2000 – 5000 sizes. Sizes 2000 and 3000 are made for freshwater fishing, while bigger ones, 3000 and 5000 are made for saltwater use.

Graphite housing is light but strong, and similar to many other models on this list, the handle is made of aluminium.

Quality ball bearings enable smooth usage, and 9 of them are enough to perform very well. Triple drag washer reduces the possibility of line breaking.

Spool and rotor are well made and balanced so the line lays exceptionally well. Gear ratio is 5.2:1.

Considering that the price varies from 25 to 35$ depending on a size, this reel offers decent performance and it is great for a beginner who is buying on a budget and wants to have a dependable reel for learning purposes.

Sougayilang Spinning Reel

This is one of the cheapest options on the list, where the largest, 4000, model costs just 34$, while the smallest, 1000 model comes at 27$.

Available in these 4 sizes, this reel is suitable for those looking for something in small-medium range.

The reel housing, together with a spool and handle is made od of aluminium. Gear ratio varies from 5.1:1 to 5.5:1.

Instant anti-reverse enables precise hooking. This model has 13 corrosion resistant ball bearings which enable smooth operation, however, the quality of those is not the same as in some previously mentioned models.

Triple carbon drag washers are a great feature on this otherwise basic reel and your line won’t break easily when you fight a larger fish.

The best thing about this model is that you get additional graphite spool. Aluminium one has greater line capacity and because the frame is hollow, aluminium one is both lighter and stronger than the graphite one.

This is a decent beginner model and you will gain precious experience before moving on to something better.

SHIMANO Sedona Fi Spinning Reel

The last one on the list is Shimano Sedona Fi.

Depending on a size, the price starts at around 70 dollars for smaller models. The models are available up to 5000 size.

This model features famous, cold forged HAGANE gears that offer exceptional performance.

Double anodized and machine cut spool can accommodate more line while it remains small and compact.

Propulsion line, another great Shimano feature, enables long casting distances with less friction.

Gear ratio is medium, 5.0:1.

Three quality made ball bearings may sound insufficient, but with Shimano, it is quality over quantity, so rest assured, this reel is more than capable of performing any task with smoothness and ease.

This model, in my opinion, is one of the best ones on the list, together with Daiwa. It may be a bit pricier but it is worth it.

Both beginners and experienced anglers can benefit a lot from this reel. If your budget is not too limited, consider these reels.

Best Spinning Reels for Under 100 - Black Reel and Blue Line

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) about Spinning Reels:

When choosing a reel, inexperienced anglers often have a lot of questions, and here I will answer the most common ones.

Some of them were partially answered in the first chapter, however, I will provide a few more details here.

- What are Spinning Reels Good for (Benefits)?

Spinning reels are the best reel choice for a beginner, or even an experienced angler who needs one to perform a specific task.

Spinning reels are exceptionally good for lighter setup. Casting large distances with a very light bait can be easily done.

Casting into the wind is also one of the greatest advantages and there is less chance that a backlash will occur.

Manoeuvring lures under low covers like trees or docks can easily be done with spinning reel. Spinning ones are great for skipping lures and you will learn the technique easily. Using baitcaster for this requires enormous amount of experience and practice.

Lures that are meant to sink can sink easily without too much rocking back and forward. Because baitcasters, unlike spinning reels, have a free spool, when a lure pulls the free spool it is influenced by resistance and can start swinging slightly.

It is easier to adjust drag during fighting a fish on a spinning reel.

A lot of spinning reels have an option to swap the handle from side to side, for both left- and right-hand use, while baitcasters are usually produced for one use only and you choose the one you need.

As you can see, spinning reels have various advantages which are very useful.

- What to Look for in a Spinning Reel?

This question was mostly answered in the previous chapter. I would like to add that you should pair suitable rod and reel. If you already have a rod, choose a compatible reel. You can even take it to a fishing store and ask for advice.

If you are buying a reel first, the same goes for the rod afterwards. Some manufacturers even offer sets for beginners, where you will get both the rod and the reel so that you don’t make a mistake.

Another feature to consider is instant anti-reverse. That means that the handle has no backward motion. Backward motion disables precise hook setting and makes it harder for you.

And one of the most important things is to always buy from reputable manufacturers. Saving a few dollars by buying something suspicious will result in bad reel performance and it will cost you more in the end because you will soon realize you need to buy a better one.

- Which Brand of Spinning Reels is the Best?

This question is hard to answer. A lot of reputable manufacturers have products with similar features in similar price range and no matter which one you choose; you will get a quality made and dependable product.

It is up to you to decide which one suits you the best and choose among those small differences. If you ask different anglers, you would get different answers.

If I have to choose, I will say Shimano or Daiwa, at least in the “best spinning reel for under 100$” category, because they have very long traditions in manufacturing fishing reels and are among the first manufacturers when it comes to innovation, upgrading products, and developing new technologies.

- What is the Best Gear Ratio for Spinning Reels?

Gear ratio is an important feature and slow, medium and high ratios have certain advantages and are meant to be used in different conditions.

If you are a beginner or want to have a multi-functional spinning reel, you should choose medium one, around 5:1.

Medium reels can be “slowed” by simply turning the handle a bit slower, so you can use this reel in all kinds of situations and with different lures while practicing different fishing techniques. When you gain some experience and see what works the best for you, you can buy more specialized reel. But having one medium sized reel with medium gear ratio is always beneficial, even for experienced anglers, to use at as a spare reel.

- Is More Ball Bearings in a Reel Better?

We already mentioned ball bearings, and if you observe reels made by a reputable manufacturer who used quality materials and the construction process was flawless, then yes, the more ball bearings the reel has, the better it is.

When you consider all the possible reels on the market, quality bearings beat the quantity. Except for stainless steel, ceramic bearings can be quite good and ensure fluid and smooth reel operation.

High quality bearings, no matter the number, can withstand rough use and fighting a heavy and strong fish, while low quality ones will get affected by it.

They have to be sealed to keep any kind of impurities outside and maintain low friction. If you are buying on a budget, it is best to buy one with smaller number of high-quality bearings. For those who can spend a bit more, buy one with high number of bearings that are quality made. Unfortunately, the price of those can be very high.

All of the reels mentioned in the previous chapter fall into the best spinning reel for under 100 $ category and by choosing those you will get a quality made products and a good reel for more than a reasonable price.

- What is the Difference Between Spinning and Baitcasting Reel?

The main difference is that spinning reels have fixed spool, while baitcasting reels have free spool that turns.

Baitcasting reels are positioned above the rod handle, and sit on top, while spinning ones are hanging underneath. The spool orientation is different too. On baitcasting reels the spool is in line with the rod while on spinning ones is perpendicular.

Spinning reels are better for casting light lures, they are easier to use, and cheaper. Their disadvantages are that they are less durable, heavier and that the line can tangle easily.

Baitcasters are suitable for larger and stronger tackle and targeting large specimens. They can accommodate heavier and longer line and casting distance is higher. They are stronger, more durable and lightweight.

However, baitcasting reels are more expensive and harder to use. They are not suitable for beginners and before using them you should gain some experience on spinning reels.

Best Spinning Reels for Under 100 - Gear Ratio

Conclusion

Choosing a spinning reel doesn’t have to be complicated, and before you choose the best one, learn about important features to observe and take into consideration.

The list of the best spinning reels under 100$ has multiple great options and no matter which one you choose; you will not go wrong.

Choose according to your needs and keep it simple, especially if you are just a beginner.

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