Fishing is fun, but not every fisherman agrees. We believe that many people who find fishing to be a nuisance make the mistake of picking out the wrong gear.
When your gear complements your fishing style, fishing ceases to be a chore. One such component is the fishing reel. We look at some of the best ultralight spinning reels in this article.
One of the most important recommendations we make to aspiring fishermen is to use a light spinning reel. Light reels are easy to control, and they will build your confidence during the first few fishing trips.
To make your purchase easier, we have compiled a list of top 10 ultralight spinning reels and included a buyer’s guide as well.
Quick Overview – Top 10 Best Ultralight Spinning Reels
- Shimano Stradic Ci4+ – Great balance of price and performance.
- Shimano Stella FI – Extreme power for the distinguishing angler.
- Abu Garcia Revo Premier – Premium features at half the cost.
- Okuma Helios – Sleek and innovative fishing reel.
- KastKing Sharky III – Good reel for the money.
- Shimano Sedona FI – Premium performance on a budget.
- Okuma RTX – Lightweight 8-bearing fishing reel.
- Pflueger President – Powerful freshwater reel.
- Okuma Ceymar – Inexpensive yet capable spinning reel.
- Piscifun Phantom – Small reel with good drag power.
Comparison of Top 10 Best Ultralight Spinning Reels in 2020
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Best Ultralight Spinning Reels Reviewed
Choosing a spinning reel purely on the basis of its weight would be unwise. There are many factors that must be considered.
We have sifted through dozens of spinning reels to find the best and the lightest in the market. The following are our top picks for the best ultralight spinning reels you can buy.
1. Shimano Stradic Ci4+ – Best Value for Money Spinning Reel
Another quality fishing reel from Shimano, the Stradic Ci4+ is an affordable and balanced offering from the company.
Not the company’s most expensive offering, but the Ci4+ packs enough premium features to make it a professional angler’s primary choice.
The Stradic Ci4+ gets its name from the Ci4+ carbon composite build that it features. The reel is extremely lightweight – so much so that you might even forget that it is still attached to your fishing rod.
This is the most important feature of any fishing reel. It allows you to control your casts better, has more control over your retrievals, and keeps on going for longer.
This spinning reel comes with a Magnumlite Rotor. This rotor weighs 20% less than conventional rotors and is also better balanced.
Due to the rotor, users have to generate less inertia during the retrieval operation. Starting and stopping the retrieve is easier so you get a smoother experience while reeling in your catch.
The X-ship pinion gear design enhances efficiency. This system places the pinion gear near the primary drive gear so that more power is transmitted to the rotor from the handle.
Two A-RB roller bearings support the pinion gear. This enhances stability and prevents the pinion gear from twisting. It also minimizes rotor deflection during difficult operations.
- Lightweight build
- Magnumlite Rotor
- G-free body
- Core Protect weather-resistance
- CI4+ carbon composite body
- Anti-reverse switch is small
The Shimano Stradic Ci4+ is one of the best ultralight spinning reels for the price. The tremendous value for money that it delivers makes it our top recommendation.
A lightweight design, smooth retrieval, and increased control make it an ideal purchase for casual and professional users.
2. Shimano Stella FI – Premium Performance at a Premium Price Tag
Shimano is a versatile manufacturer. We say this because we see huge variations in its offerings. Earlier in this article, we reviewed one of the most inexpensive spinning reels on the market from the company.
Now we will be reviewing one of the most expensive. The Stella FI attracts the fishing enthusiast with its incomparable performance and scares others away with its price tag.
The Stella FI promises two things – performance, and an aesthetic that screams high-end. It won’t be a stretch to claim that it is one of the most visually appealing fishing reels we have ever reviewed.
It is also the most beautiful offering from Shimano so far. Although the design is no different from the traditional spinning reel, Shimano enhances that profile with beautifully crafted curves and angles.
This spinning reel is among the most powerful small-profile reels on the market, yet it weighs only 6.3 ounces.
This is made possible through the use of carbon-composite materials shaped into a G-Free body.
This design moves the oscillation system to a point under the drive gear, thereby shifting its center of gravity. This improves balance and reduces wobbles during the retrieval operation.
The Stella FI operates on a 13 BB + 1 RB enhanced corrosion-resistant bearing system. The reel’s MicroModule gear system improves the power and torque and reduces vibrations.
Shimano uses Coreprotect to seal off the body, the roller clutch, and the line roller from the harmful effects of saltwater.
- G-Free body
- Stunning design
- 14-bearing system
- MicroModule gear mechanism
- S-Direct Drive
- Too expensive
Shimano’s Stella FI is not for everyone. It is one of the best ultralight spinning reels which is targeted at advanced anglers that demand the best from their equipment.
If you want a reel that delivers an edge in every department and are not afraid to pay for it, the Stella FI is made for you.
3. Abu Garcia Revo Premier – Best Ultralight Spinning Reel for the Money
Abu Garcia is a Chinese fishing equipment manufacturer that has slowly been rewriting perceptions. These products have crafted a niche and a distinct identity.
The products may lack the finesse of those from other more established brands, but they excel in other departments.
The Revo Premier is a massive leap from the budget spinning reels we have reviewed up to this point, both in price and in performance.
This is a high-end fishing reel that packs plenty of advanced features and performance enhancements.
These features give professional users increased control over their catch. To the recreational user, the Revo Premier promises a great time.
The body is built to deliver optimal performance while cutting on excess weight as much as possible. The insert-molded C6 build comprises of an x-craft gearbox and a C6 carbon composite.
The unique design and material selection translate to a snug body. This keeps the gears in alignment and weighs as little as possible so users can have a comfortable fishing experience for longer.
The spinning reel comes with a 12-bearing system, comprising of 11 stainless-steel HPCR ball bearings and one roller bearing.
All the bearings are corrosion-resistant so users will not observe the performance diminishing even after continued use.
Both casting and retrieval operations are smooth, owing to the advanced AMGearing System and a carbon-matric drag system.
- Precision gear mechanism
- C6 carbon build and rotor
- Smart ergonomic design
- Great value for money
- Durable and lightweight
- Limited size options
The Revo Premier from Abu Garcia is a unique proposition. It is an expensive reel that offers the precision and efficiency of even more expensive spinning reels.
It is perfectly suited for serious anglers looking for a professional-grade fishing reel on a comparatively lower budget.
4. Okuma Helios – Innovative and Powerful
The Okuma Helios is a lightweight and affordable spinning reel. Released in 2016, the reel was among the first from the company to feature a slew of performance upgrades for their budget range. The Helios is a device targeted both at recreational and professional users.
The Helios features a carbon-composite construction that is both durable and strong. The C-40X carbon composite comprises of carbon-fiber strands and resin, both of which work together to create a durable but lightweight compound.
When compared to other carbon-fiber reels, the Helios is 50% more durable and 25% lighter.
The Helios comes with a computer-balanced rotor. A weight attached to the inside of the rotor ensures that the balance is equally spread.
Computer balancing also reduces jerks and wobbles when casting and retrieving the line. The spool is crafted from anodized aluminum for reduced weight and enhanced durability.
The Helios also employs Okuma’s patented elliptical gear system. This is an oscillation gear that increases durability and makes casting and retrieval operations steadier.
The innovative gear system protects the reel against corrosion as well as the action of heat and other external elements. Isolating the internals makes for a smother fishing experience.
- C-40X carbon composite build
- Affordably priced
- Computer-balanced rotor
- Elliptical gear system
- Hydro-block mechanism
- Low drag capacity
The Helios is a professional-grade spinning reel at the price of an entry-level device. It features a bunch of innovations that we did not see on budget models that came before Helios. Since this has now become an older model, you can often get it at a really low price.
5. KastKing Sharky III – Heavily Shielded and Durable
KastKing has become a reliable name in fishing accessories manufacturing. The company is known for delivering high-quality products with top-notch performance at affordable rates.
The Sharky III follows in the footsteps of its predecessors – it offers an ultralight and easy-to-use solution for your casting needs.
The Sharky III has been a customer favorite since its initial introduction in 2018. It is especially popular with budget-conscious anglers as it offers a good balance between price and performance.
KastKing focuses on keeping the fishing experience as hassle-free and enjoyable as possible, and the Sharky III is no different.
The highlight of this reel is KastKing’s K.I.S.S. system. Short for the KastKing Intrusion Shield System, K.I.S.S. is a protection system that covers the reel’s body, spool, and rotor.
The system seals off the reel’s essential components against damage from saltwater, dirt, and other elements. The result is enhanced durability and a largely increased lifespan.
The other highlight, one which we don’t see very often on budget reels such as this one, is its 10-bearing system.
The bearing system is smooth and double-shielded. It allows for smooth and jerk-free casting and retrieval for as long as the reel is in use. The shielding ensures that the bearings do not lose their efficiency or smoothness over time.
- K.I.S.S. protection system
- Double-shielded 10 bearing system
- Aluminum spool and handle
- Fiber-reinforced graphite frame and rotor
- Some minor issues with line retrieval
The KastKing Sharky III is a versatile spinning reel that you can use both for freshwater and saltwater fishing.
KastKing focuses on enhancing the reel’s longevity through advanced protection systems. These systems ensure that you will get a consistent and reliable fishing experience every time.
6. Shimano Sedona FI – Best Ultralight Spinning Reel Under $100
Shimano is a comparatively new entrant to the fishing accessories market. However, it has left quite a mark in a short time.
This is evident from its inclusion in almost every buying recommendation list. The company has made a name delivering premium features at competitive prices.
The Sedona FI from Shimano is a budget spinning reel, but only in price. As far as the build quality and features are concerned, this is a premium offering from the company.
This is a light fishing reel that holds up to frequent use as long as you carry out basic maintenance. The Sedona FI offers many features that you will only find on more expensive spinning reels.
One such feature is the reel’s Hagane gearing system. This is a cold-forged advanced mechanism that the company employs to increase the number of control users have over the device.
It enhances the balance and precision of the spool and the dragging system. The cold-forged technology and the 3D-design enable fishermen to retrieve small and large fish with considerable ease.
Shimano designs the Sedona FI with a G-Free body. This design structure shifts the center of gravity of the reel closer to the rod.
What this means for the reel’s usability is increased precision and control. Moving the center of gravity balances the weight better so fishermen can cast and retrieve with increased power, control and ease.
- Advanced cold-forged Hagane gearing system
- G-Free body design
- Reduced wind knots and backlash
- Varispeed oscillation
- Directional switches not present
We test a lot of spinning reels at various price points. Few excel as much in delivering exceptional value for money as the Shimano Sedona FI. Due to a strong set of advanced features, we think it is the best ultralight spinning reel under $100.
7. Okuma RTX – Light and Inexpensive
We look at another budget offering from Okuma. The Okuma RTX is a more feature-rich version of the barebones budget spinning reel we reviewed earlier in the article.
Okuma focuses only on features that enhance the reel’s performance rather than aesthetics, thereby allowing it to achieve enhanced performance at a low price.
The Okuma RTX is a freshwater spinning reel that is designed to give users an easy and comfortable fishing experience. The frame and the rotor are made from lightweight C-40X carbon-fiber composite.
The material owes to the reel’s exceptionally low weight of just 6.6 ounces. The company claims that the C-40X construction allows the reel to be 25% lighter than other reels.
Okuma has not compromised on the reel’s durability or sturdiness either. A combination of carbon-fiber, stainless-steel and aluminum components contribute to its enhanced strength.
Okuma claims the construction to be 50% sturdier than other carbon-composite spinning reels. We have not seen anything that negates these claims during our testing.
The Okuma RTX features an 8-bearing system comprising of stainless-steel bearings. The bearings remain smooth and no noticeable reduction in performance is observed even after continued exposure to saltwater or sand.
However, in order to enhance its lifespan, a thorough cleanse after each use is advised. We were also impressed by the reel’s considerable drag which sits at 13 lbs.
- Good value for money
- Affordably priced
- 8 bearing system
- Lightweight build
- Not too aesthetically pleasing
Okuma’s RTX budget spinning reel is not the most beautiful we have seen, but it does not have to be. It is designed for fishermen who value performance and durability over aesthetic.
A smooth bearing system and smart design choices make it one of the most practical options at this price.
8. Pflueger President – Best Ultralight Spinning Reel Trout Fishing
Pflueger is a premium fishing gear manufacturer. It is also one of the oldest in the market. Ever since it began operations in 1881, the company has been releasing high-quality equipment at affordable rates. Pflueger reels are built for versatility and performance.
Just as we have seen on some other lightweight budget reels, the primary frame and rotor of the President are designed from graphite.
Graphite remains the material of choice for such spinning reels due to its lightweight and durable nature. The President is 10% lighter than other reels at this price that does not feature a graphite construction.
The handle is smooth and does not cause discomfort during long operations. It also allows for a steady grip, so users stay in control of their reel as they cast the bait and retrieve their catch.
The knob’s dimpled design also helps with control during these operations. The handle is crafted from aluminum which increases the reel’s durability without adding too much to the weight.
The Pflueger President features a 10-bearing system comprising of stainless-steel, corrosion-resistant bearings.
The bearing system is smoother than what you will find on similar fishing reels which makes it a great choice for new users.
Casting is effortless and users will experience less jerks on retrieval owing to the smooth bearings. The spool design also prevents the line from tangling often.
- Great freshwater performance
- Durable and light build
- Corrosion-resistant bearings
- Affordably priced
- Unsealed internal components
With the President, Pflueger proves that it is just as capable of making good budget gear as it is of more expensive, premium equipment.
The company does not cut corners in their budget model to force users to opt for their high-end reels. An ideal choice for beginners, the President is lightweight and easy to use.
9. Okuma Ceymar – Best Inexpensive Ultralight Spinning Reel
It is a common misconception that you cannot find high-quality fishing reels on a low budget. Okuma intends to rewrite this misconception with the line of affordable yet capable fishing reels.
The Ceymar is an excellent budget reel that delivers great value for money. Although this is a freshwater reel, its versatility is impressive.
The Okuma Ceymar is a lightweight freshwater reel. Graphite has been used for the primary frame as well as the rotor. This contributes to the reel’s lightweight.
The reel is designed with an 8-bearing system which allows for a good level of smoothness in casting and retrievals.
The reel also benefits from powerful elliptical gearing and multi-disk drag mechanism.
Although this is an inexpensive and fairly barebones spinning reel, it left us impressed with its gearing and drag system.
The drag system gives users sufficient control over the retrievals with a number of adjustability options.
For newbie anglers who want to get the hang of drag adjustability without spending a lot of money, the Okuma Ceymar is the ideal choice.
Despite possessing an unsealed design, the Ceymar is greatly durable. This comes as a result of the reel’s graphite and aluminum components.
The build is corrosion-resistant, and it will withstand saltwater provided you give it a good rinse after each use.
The reel delivers a consistent level of efficiency and effectiveness even after extended usage.
- Corrosion-resistant body
- Ultralight build
- Multi-disc drag mechanism
- 7 BB + 1 RB system
- Unsealed design
The Okuma Ceymar is a budget reel with limited functionality. It is missing a lot of features and functional aesthetics of more expensive alternatives, but that is to be expected at this price.
This is a solid entry-level offering, and probably the best ultralight spinning reel under $50.
10. Piscifun’s Phantom – Powerful and Ultralight
Piscifun has been kicking up quite a conversation with its innovative fishing gear. How has the company garnered such an appeal over a short period?
This could be owed to their ability to manufacture exciting equipment at prices the mass of fishermen can afford.
We review a lot of fishing reels, both budget, and premium, but few manage to generate any real excitement. The Piscifun Phantom embodies what it means to be a modern fishing reel.
It is aesthetically appealing and exceptionally lightweight. The reel only weighs 5.7 ounces. What is impressive is that it does not achieve this at the expense of usability.
The primary frame and body of the reel is designed from light carbon composite. The handle is carbon-fiber, and the spool is made from aluminum that has been hollowed out for weight reduction.
From the choice of materials, it is evident that Piscifun wanted to achieve a durable build while cutting on excess weight as much as possible.
Featuring a 7-bearing system, the Piscifun Phantom adopts a shielded design to safeguard the integrity of the internal components.
This protects the bearings and other components from exposure to the elements, thereby enhancing their lifespan. The reel also uses an anodized aluminum gearing system as well as centrifugal and magnetic brakes.
- Lightweight build
- Anodized aluminum gear
- 7-bearing system
- Drag power of 17 lbs.
- Takes some getting used-to for new users
The Piscifun Phantom offers plenty of power in a lightweight body. This is an ergonomically designed fishing reel that sits perfectly balanced with your fishing rod.
The reel is designed to enhance control when reeling in the fish, and extended usage is also not an issue.
How to Buy the Best Ultralight Spinning Reels
When planning your foray into fishing, you will be faced with many obstacles and hard decisions. One such decision is the type of fishing reel you choose. A fishing reel may be the smallest component in your fishing setup, but it is very important.
The fishing reel attaches to the fishing rod and carries the line that the bait is attached to. It is also the component that comes into play when retrieving the catch.
The more powerful and efficient a reel is, the easier it is to cast the bait and reel in the catch.
A lot of new users assume that power comes with a bigger size and heavier weight. This is not in the least bit true.
A good fishing reel is light and does not add a lot of weight to your fishing setup. It is the reel’s gear and bearing systems that determine how efficiently it performs.
Choosing a fishing reel can be a problem for new users as there is a lot of consideration that goes into picking the right one.
With several different types of reels and hundreds of options available in the market, it is important to choose a fishing reel that suits your needs.
What are the Advantages/Benefits of an Ultralight Spinning Reel?
Spinning reels allow users more control over their fishing rod. Easy casting and retrieval enable new users to ease into their hobby.
Without a spinning reel, they might get burdened by complicated setups and maintenance procedures.
Spinning reels effectively reduce the number of issues you face while fishing. This makes them the ideal choice of professionals for a majority of fishing tasks. Because spinning reels are so light, they call for other accessories to be light as well.
All the little bits and pieces add up when you are packing for your trip, so a light spinning reel actually helps you reduce the weight you travel with.
Another advantage that spinning reels have over other types of reels is that they do not need much energy to cast the bait out.
The fixed spool on the spinning reel also enhances accuracy and precision. This is something new users benefit from just as much as seasoned anglers do.
What to Look for in a Great Ultralight Spinning Reel
Not all light spinning reels perform well. This is because some manufacturers achieve light weight by compromising on certain critical features.
The absence of these core features results in reduced efficiency and performance. The following are some critical aspects to consider when purchasing an ultralight spinning reel.
The materials used in crafting the reel determine not only its weight but also its durability. Some budget manufacturers will use low-quality materials to create an ultralight reel. However, such reels will not hold up to the pressures of everyday fishing.
Good ultralight fishing reels are made from either aluminum or a carbon-graphite composite. Aluminum reels are recommended if you intend to catch bigger fish. They are slightly heavier and more rigid.
These reels produce more torque which you can benefit from when reeling in big fish. If weight is a primary consideration and you will not be fishing for heavy fish, you should go for graphite reels.
The reel’s drag mechanism comes into play when you are reeling in your catch. The more power the drag system has, the easier it is for you to retrieve your catch.
Always match the capability of the drag system with your fishing requirement when making the purchase. Another important consideration is the type of adjustment system the drag mechanism employs.
All drag systems will either employ a front or a rear adjustment. Rear-adjusted drag systems are still in fashion and work well for many fishing tasks.
However, it is front-adjusted drag systems that experts recommend. Front-adjusted drag is easier to adjust on the go.
It also gives users an edge when retrieving bigger fish as it is more well-balanced.
Quality of Bearings
The smoothness and efficiency of all the moving parts in the reel depend on the bearings.
Two major aspects of the bearings affect your fishing experience –their quality, and the amount of bearings present. As a general rule, more is always better.
The bearings should ideally be made of a sturdy and smooth material that will not lose its effectiveness over time.
Most commonly, bearings are made from stainless steel which is corrosion resistant. The better corrosion resistance the bearings have, the longer they will continue to be effective.
Best Ultralight Spinning Reels FAQs
It is understandable that you have a lot of queries if it is your first time putting together fishing equipment.
You will find that the online fishing community is a helpful one, and you can find assistance on several forums. To make things easier, we answer some of the most recurring questions that new users ask.
✅ What Is Gear Ratio and Line Retrieval?
Some fishing reels mention the gear ratio and line retrieval they can achieve. These two factors determine how quickly you can retrieve your catch. The gear ratio is the measure of how many times the bait has been rotated around the spool. This, in turn, determines how much line is reeled in with each turn of the handle.
✅ How Many Bearings Should the Reel Have?
The number of bearings determines how smoothly your line is cast out and your catch is reeled in. The more the bearings are, the easier the fishing will be. Reels with a higher number of bearings will be smoother and function better. For a smooth experience, consider a reel with at least five bearings.
However, the number of bearings does not make a difference if the bearings present are of low quality.
✅ Does the Reel Size Matter?
In almost all cases, size matters. However, this does not necessarily mean that bigger is better. Bigger reels are heavier and more difficult to manage. They will also tire you out quicker. Large reels take in larger spools. Therefore, you should consider one only if you will be indulging in deep-sea fishing or intend to reel in some very big fish.
Buying the right fishing gear is important if you wish to have the optimal fishing experience. Many new users find fishing to be a chore. This is only because they fail in selecting the right gear that complements their fishing needs and style.
Our top pick, the Stradic Ci4+ from Shimano is a reel that has it all – great performance, sufficient power, and an affordable price.
However, if you are looking to get the best performance money can buy, you cannot go wrong with the ultra-powerful Stella FI from the same company.
We hope that our guide will act as a starting point for your foray into successful fishing. It helps to make a list of important considerations and then check them one by one when shopping for a fishing reel.
For this article, we have selected some of the best ultralight spinning reels – any of which should serve you well.