The best budget spinning reel for each angler depends on the type of fishing that is planned on. There are multiple choices of budget spinning reels for all types: freshwater fishing as well as inshore, offshore, and surf saltwater fishing.
Those have several typical construction and performance functions that we’ll discuss in this guide. Understanding the major components of a quality and serviceable spinning reel will help you choose the best spinning reel under 100 for your needs at an awesome price.
Top 5 Best Spinning Reels Under 100 Dollars
|Penn Battle II|
Best For Bass
|SHIMANO Sedona FI|
1. Penn Battle II — Best Saltwater Spinning Reel Under 100 Dollars
The Penn is manufactured with a full aluminum body, sideplate, rotor, and bail wire. It comes with a strong carbon fiber drag system that has smooth adjustments.
The Battle II features 5 sealed stainless steel bearings and has an anti-reverse bearing system. It has a high capacity spool well suited for heavyweight braided line. The Penn Battle II will hold enough line to handle fishing in 100 feet of water without any line issues.
The Battle II features the great construction that Penn is known for and also enjoys Penn’s reputation for excellent customer service.
The Penn Battle II is a very durable and strong reel well suited for offshore fishing for Snapper, Grouper, and larger species as well. With proper cleaning and maintenance, The Battle II is designed for a long life of saltwater fishing. It provides a great combination of durability and function at a great price.
- It is available in left-handed or right-handed retrieve.
- The body design and construction of the Penn are durable and strong.
- It is heavy and may wear down some anglers during a long day on the water.
2. Daiwa BG — Most Versatile Spinning Reel Under 100 Dollars
The Daiwa BG is made of machined aluminum and features a waterproof carbon drag system. That uses 6 ball bearings and has a 5.6:1 gear ratio. It has an all-time anti-reverse system. The spool design on the BG provides exceptionally smooth casting and handles braided line as well as it does monofilament.
The Daiwa BG is usable in almost every fishing application depending on the size reel used and when it is matched with a proper rod. From ultralight freshwater tackle to surf and inshore saltwater fishing, the Daiwa is adaptable to large and small species.
The waterproof drag compares favorably with many more expensive equipment. The drag allows for fine adjustments during a fight and provides confidence that the line will stand up and handle the pressure when a large fish is hooked.
The BG is great for all-around versatility and multiple fishing styles. The smooth retrieval and sturdy drag make it a great choice for anglers of all ages and skill levels.
- It is designed to withstand saltwater conditions and is very durable.
- The BG is comfortable and has a highly ergonomic design.
- The bail wire is a bit sticky without regular lubrication.
3. Pflueger President — Best Bass Spinning Reel Under 100 Dollars
The President is made of lightweight graphite and has a water-sealed drag system. It features 10 stainless steel ball bearings and has a smooth retrieval.
The anti-reverse system can be switched on and off in the event that an angler wants to keep the handle spinning when idle. The front positioned drag system allows for fine adjustments when battling bass and other freshwater fish.
The President is an easy to use spinning reel with a bail wire designed for comfortable repetitive use on a long day on the water. It features a Sure-Click bail that produces an audible clicking sound to give immediate feedback and certainty that the bail is closed and the line is secured.
The President is a great choice for many lighter-duty freshwater fishing techniques. It is lightweight and casts well for bass fishing and even for ultralight applications. The Pflueger President has a smooth retrieval that makes for fun fights with bass and other freshwater species.
- The graphite President is lightweight and comfortable during long outings.
- The ball bearing system is of very good quality for an affordable reel and provides very smooth turning.
- It requires some attention during retrieval to avoid line twist with monofilament line.
4. SHIMANO Sedona FI — Best Freshwater Ultralight Spinning Reel Under 100 Dollars
Shimano’s Sedona Fl is an excellent lightweight and compact spinning reel for all smaller freshwater species, including smallmouth, panfish, sauger, and crappie. That comes with Shimano’s famous cold-forged Hagane gears and is the first Shimano reel in the under-$100 price point to offer these highly engineered and reliable gears.
The Shimano Sedona Fl has a sufficiently sensitive drag system and a high gear ratio to make for fun ultralight fishing. The Sedona is lightweight and comfortable when jigging and manipulating ultralight tackle over an extended time.
The spool and reel function well with light and ultralight line and tackle, allowing for accurate casting and placement of lighter baits and lures.
The Shimano Sedona is a great choice for a value freshwater ultralight setup. If you haven’t tried ultralight tackle before, the Sedona can provide for fun fights and learning experiences working with ultralight line and tackle. The Sedona makes Shimano’s famous quality engineering available at a modest price.
- The drag system is well suited for ultralight fishing when paired with a good ultralight rod.
- This is a great rod for younger anglers who want to enjoy the learning experience of ultralight fishing.
- The Shimano has some retrieval issues if it gets wet. These problems normally resolve when the Sedona dries out.
5. Okuma Ceymar — Best Beginner’s Spinning Reel Under 100 Dollars
The Okuma Ceymar makes a great entry-level spinning equipment for younger and beginning anglers. The Okuma’s 8 ball bearing system is comfortable and its graphite construction provides a lightweight and well-balanced experience.
The Ceymar’s rotor system and line roller make retrieval simple and efficient. It is compact and ergonomic with a design intended for ease of use.
The drag system is reliable and has easy adjustments for those learning about making changes in drag during a fight with a fish and the demands that different fish place on a drag system. Beginners generally learn much better using a front drag system like the one found on the Ceymar.
The Ceymar is a great reel at an inexpensive price for young people. The Okuma is lightweight and simple to operate. When you move on to other spinning equipment, the Ceymar will make for an excellent backup reel or as an additional rig when trolling or fishing from the bank or a dock.
- It is very user-friendly for all skill levels and allows beginners to focus on their lure and the fish.
- It is designed more for its light weight and ease of use than its durability.
Spinning Reels Shopping Guide and Review
Spinning reels have become the most popular choice for anglers of all skill levels and for virtually every style of fishing over the years. Those are easy to use and do not require the practice and patience that baitcasting reels typically demand.
Spinning reels are the choice of anglers who are interested in versatility and simple function in all settings. Those can cast all kinds of tackle, including lures and live bait rigs. These reels are most useful for lighter tackle and line weights, although a properly configured spinning reel can also handle heavier weight tackle.
Spinning reels are just about as easy to use as spincast reels while being more versatile and more durable and sturdy in every meaningful comparison. With a minimal amount of practice and experience, anglers will find spinning reels to be much more useful and enjoyable than traditional spincast reels.
Spinning reels do not provide the casting accuracy normally found in most quality baitcasting reels. However, the value and durability of a good spinning reel can easily tip the scales in favor of a great value spinning reel for most anglers. Many very experienced anglers simply prefer spinning reels over baitcasters because the mounting of the reel below the rod provides a more balanced and comfortable feel.
Every spinning reel has certain features and attributes that should be considered when deciding which reel is best for you.
Construction Materials and Design
Most main spinning reel components are made from aluminum or graphite. Aluminum is generally more durable and resistant to corrosion, which makes it preferable for the more demanding environmental conditions involved with saltwater fishing. Graphite is lighter in weight and are usually more suited to freshwater fishing with lighter tackle.
A spinning reel should have a solid body with a strong bail wire, as strength is the key to smooth spinning reel operation.
The gear ratio is a measure of the number of times the bail spins around the spool to retrieve line with every turn of the reel’s handle. It is an important measure of how much power you can put into a battle with a fish on the line.
When using heavier tackle and line for larger species, smaller ratios are useful. Ratios between 4:1 and 5:1 provide slower and more powerful retrievals.
Larger ratios (around 6:1 or higher) are faster retrieving reels and are suitable for almost all smaller fish.
Drag systems are designed to hold line firm against a fish attacking the lure and then allow the line to come off of the reel when a fish is hooked and applying pressure.
Spinning reels typically have either front drag or rear drag systems. Front drags typically use large washers and are durable and provide great drag strength. Rear drag systems can be easier to adjust on the fly while fighting a fish and can be very effective when using light or ultralight tackle and line.
The main thing to look for in a drag system is smooth adjustment ability on a system that holds line tight and does not lose its setting.
Quality ball bearings give a reel a feeling of smooth operation and ease of use. Nothing is much more frustrating than dealing with a cheap reel without decent bearings. Jerky and rattling reel operation makes for a very frustrating experience. Bearings of quality construction help a reel feel smooth and stable.
Quantity goes along with quality when evaluating a reel’s bearings. Usually, a higher number of bearings is a good indication of quality. However, a reel with 10 low-quality bearings does not compare favorably with a reel with fewer bearings of higher quality.
High-quality bearings are especially important for saltwater fishing, as resistance to corrosion is key to a equipment’s durability and usefulness.
When a spinning reel is matched with the right rod, an angler can use line as light as 2-pound test or as heavy as the largest saltwater species demand. Depending on the type of fishing you do, the line capacity can be an important variable to consider.
A designed line capacity has a direct impact on the size and shape. Pay careful attention to a reel’s capacity and do not go outside the specifications with line weight or length. Light line on a high capacity reel leads to tangles and spool issues. Heavy line on a light capacity reel will reduce the line length you can use to less than is needed for most heavy tackle conditions.
Spinning reels come with either internal or skirted reels. Most modern spinning reels are designed with skirted reels. Some experienced anglers still prefer internal spools, although they are prone to tangling and other performance issues when not used correctly.
Skirted reels are suitable for fishers of all skill levels and provide essentially similar performance and casting ability as older spool designs.
Modern spinning reels include anti-reverse handles or have an anti-reverse switch. An anti-reverse setting keeps the reel’s handle from spinning backward, which allows for a solid hook-set when a fish takes the lure or bait.
Anti-reverse works in conjunction with your drag system to ensure that the line is secure and tight when the time comes to forcefully and accurately set the hook and begin the fight with that big fish.
Finally, consider the basic ergonomics of the reel. Comfort over a long day of fishing also requires that you decide if you want a left- or right-handed retrieve reel. Do you prefer to cast and retrieve with the same hand, or change the rod up between hands with each cast? Many value-priced spinning reels offer both left- and right-handed retrieval or allow for the crank handle to be changed from one side of the reel to the other to match your preference.
Spinning reels are ideal for most saltwater shore fishing, especially surf casting. They are also excellent in freshwater and are easier to use for most anglers than conventional or baitcasting setups. For boaters, they are great for fishing with light tackle and for casting.
Baitcast reels can handle heavier line and actually allow for longer casts than spinning gear in the same size range. A small spinning reel has a smaller, more narrow spool, which has a hard time with large diameter lines. Small baitcast reels can handle these lines and provide greater casting distance.
Numbers (1000, 2000, 3000, 4000 …) show the diameter of the spool. Bigger the diameter means more line you spool your fishing reel with. Basically, fishing reel with 1000 spool can hold around 165 yards of nylon fishing line in size 1. 2000 – 330 yards etc.
Best used with 4-8 pound line, the 1000 size works best when fishing for bass, walleye, or medium size trout.
Gear ratios determine the speed at which a reel picks up line. Fishing reels with agear ratio of 6.3:1 means the spool rotates 6.3 times for every 360-degree turn of the reel handle.
When you turn the handle of a spinning reel, the gears turn the spool. The line passes under the bail via the line roller and winds onto the spool. To cast, the bail is lowered and the line held with a finger during a normal casting/throwing motion.
While it is technically possible, you should not use a spinning reel on a casting rod. The guides on the casting rod are much smaller and will affect your casting distance. Also, casting rods are meant to bend in the other direction, so using them with spinning reels can break them.
Most spinning reels include the reverse option for the specific tastes of a minority of seasoned anglers. Some people like to “walk back” a fighting fish by turning the handle backward, thereby avoiding the use of the drag system. This method can be effective, but it is very “old school” and rarely used by beginning anglers. In almost all cases, the anti-reverse is best left turned on.
The drag on a spinning reel is the tension or resistance offered by the reel when line is pulled off of it. You can test the drag by simply yanking on the line once it has been passed under the bail and through the roller. The drag is adjusted by the knob on top of the spool. You typically want the line to pull off of the spool, but not too easily. This is so that you can successfully fight a fish without having it take all your line.
Getting a great value in a spinning reel means balancing price against the attributes we have discussed in this article. Value pricing does not mean compromising quality, durability, and awesome functionality — if you shop carefully. We hope this guide has been of use. Let us know of any questions or comments below.