A successful fishing trip is a composite of several components. One often overlooked component is the fishing reel.
New anglers don’t recognize the importance of a good spinning reel until they are out on the water and realize that something is seriously amiss.
The market is flooded with spinning reels of varying sizes and capacities. Some of these reels cost a good amount of money.
However, there are many great spinning reels from reliable manufacturers that are also pocket friendly. We reviewed some of the best spinning reels under 100 dollars.
Quick Overview – Top 10 Best Spinning Reels under 100
- Penn Battle II – Great value for money.
- Pflueger Supreme XT – Premium spinning reel.
- SHIMANO Sedona FI – High-end performance at a low price.
- Pflueger Supreme – Good balance between price and performance.
- Daiwa BG – Reliable spinning reel from a reliable manufacturer.
- Pflueger President XT – Well-performing 10-bearing budget reel.
- Okuma Inspira Isx – Reel with cyclonic flow rotor.
- Okuma Trio – Innovative reel on a budget.
- Daiwa Revros – Durable 8-bearing spinning reel.
- Penn Fierce II Live Liner – Inexpensive and reliable fishing reel.
Comparison of Top 10 Best Spinning Reels under 100 Dollars in 2021
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Best Spinning Reels under $100 (Reviewed for 2021)
Not all budget spinning reels are worth the money. It takes careful consideration to pick the good from the bad. You can start with our top ten recommendations for the best budget spinning reels to get a better idea.
1. Penn Battle II – Best Value for Money Reel
It rarely happens that our recommendations start and end with products from the same brand. This goes to show the diversity in Penn’s offerings. The company delivers exceptional quality at any price, and that could not have been more evident than it is in Battle II.
This well-made fishing reel takes the top spot in our recommendations; not because it is the most expensive but because it offers the best value for money.
The Battle II from Penn is a mid-range spinning reel that offers a ton of features. It feels premium and will serve you well for years with just a bit of maintenance.
Penn’s focus for this reel is ergonomics. Yes, the device features advanced capabilities. But what complements these capabilities is a comfortable knob that reduces stress during longer operations.
The Battle II is not a lightweight reel. A sturdy full-metal build, rotor, and side plate owe to its bulkier form factor.
However, this weight does not take away from the comfort of using the device as it is ergonomically designed. If anything, it allows the reel to hold its own against bigger fish and reel them in without considerable effort.
The spinning reel features instant anti-reverse which is made possible by the one-way bearing. This reduces the rotor’s back play when the hook is set. The device also makes use of a carbon-fiber drag system.
The HT-100 makes for a smooth drag when the reel is under load from a caught fish. The mechanism makes use of a keyed washer which increases the drag pressure by 20%.
- Great value for money
- Durable and sturdy build
- Smooth and powerful drag
- Anti-reverse capability
- Marked, braid-ready spool
- A bit heavy
The Penn Battle II presents itself as an affordable and powerful spinning reel. It then proves its claims over the time it is put to use. This is a sturdy and enduring fishing reel that lets you cast further and reel your catch back in with enhanced control.
2. Pflueger Supreme XT – Durable and Powerful Reel
The Supreme XT is an upgrade of the popular Supreme spinning reel we reviewed earlier in this article. The Supreme XT is among Pflueger’s premium offerings, and it also happens to be the most expensive recommendation on this list.
This small device offers incredibly smooth drag and powerful performance. It also manages to do this at a lightweight.
Sporting a braid-ready spool made from anodized aluminum and a magnesium body and rotor, the Supreme XT is ideally equipped for tackling the big fish.
The aluminum and magnesium components allow the reel to weigh less than 6 ounces. The carbon-fiber drag system also contributes to the reel’s light design.
By eliminating unnecessary steel components, the Supreme XT retains the performance but sheds the extra weight. It also helps dampen the noise of the moving gears which makes for a pleasant angling experience.
The device’s carbon drag system is sealed for enhanced smoothness and increased durability. The system features an inlay knob design which allows it to cut on a substantial 30% of its weight.
Among other features of note on the Supreme XT is the reel’s smartly designed handle. The handle is made from carbon-fiber with an EVA knob. The components of the handle and the knob contribute to comfortable handling, in addition to being extremely durable.
The components achieve these performance enhancements without adding significantly to the device’s weight. This reel comes with a 10-bearing system.
- 9 BB + 1 RB bearing system
- Magnesium body, rotor and side plate
- Carbon-fiber spool
- Inlay drag knob mechanism
- Braid can tangle inside roller
The Supreme XT is a high-end spinning reel from Pflueger. The reel boasts a streamlined design that smartly incorporates advanced features that enhance performance. Although the performance does not come cheap, an experienced fisherman will appreciate the control it provides.
3. Shimano Sedona FI – Premium Performance on a Budget
Shimano may not be a seasoned manufacturer as some others, but its products have captured the market in a short time.
Shimano gear is known to incorporate premium features you would normally find on much more expensive reels at affordable prices. The Sedona FI is light, strong, and fast – three features that make up any good fishing reel.
Everything about the Sedona FI translates to quality. The reel comes with Hagane gearing system. This is an advanced cold-forged mechanism that you see on much pricier spinning reels.
This metal gearing system gives anglers more control over their catch. It also makes retrievals easier through cold-forged technology and a specialized 3D design.
Shimano advertises the Sedona FI as having a G-Free body. This unique design moves the reel’s center of gravity closer to the rod. By doing this, the reel distributes weight better and makes it easy for fishermen to manage the rod.
It also helps reduce the stress of extended usage. The result of these design choices is a powerful and smooth fishing experience.
Shimano also incorporates its new propulsion line management mechanism in this reel. This comprises of a spool lip design that results in improved casting distance and reduced wind knots and backlash.
The reel has been tested for optimal performance in over ten thousand different fishing rods from various manufacturers. Furthermore, Shimano’s Varispeed Oscillation deters the line from accumulating on one side of the spool.
- Hagane cold-forged gearing
- G-Free design
- Efficient propulsion management
- Varispeed Oscillation
- No reverse direction switch
Budget spinning reels don’t get any better than the SHIMANO Sedona FI. It is a bit expensive, compared to some of our other recommendations.
However, we place it in the budget category because it offers a tremendously higher value than the price it is being marketed.
Editor’s Choice: 10 Best Inshore Spinning Reels That You Should Buy in 2020
4. Pflueger Supreme – Best Budget Spinning Reel
Pflueger, it seems, has mastered the art of value innovation. Its range of spinning reels sits at various price points, from low-end to mid-range to the significantly more expensive.
Other manufacturers take from their lower-end models so buyers would choose the expensive variants instead. Unlike them, Pflueger ensures that all its offerings deliver remarkable performance at any price point.
The Supreme is a lightweight and durable mid-range spinning reel. The Supreme is designed to make fishing effortless and it does this quite well. Users will notice considerably less stress when handling bigger fish while smaller fish are a breeze to reel in.
Smooth and responsive, the Supreme is among the best freshwater spinning reels the company has produced.
The primary design choice that contributes to the Supreme’s lightweight and durable performance is its magnesium build. Both the body and the side plate have been crafted from magnesium.
Since magnesium has anti-corrosive properties, the reel can stand up against the effects of weather and external elements, such as saltwater, for longer than other alternatives.
A quick look at other design choices also reveals that the device is built for durability. The spool is made from double-anodized aluminum for added protection against corrosion.
Machine ported walls contribute to its lightweight. The drag system is made from carbon-fiber and completely sealed for enhanced smoothness and durability. The reel features a 9-bearing system.
- Magnesium build, side plate and rotor
- Double-anodized spool
- Carbon-fiber drags system
- On/off anti-reverse bearing
- Anti-twist line roller
- Difficult disassembly
The Pflueger Supreme sits snugly between the company’s affordable and pricier offerings. As such, it offers a good balance of both.
There are plenty of advanced features that make difficult fishing tasks a breeze so this will be a nice addition to professional fishing gear.
5. Daiwa BG – Capable Air Rotor Reel
The Daiwa BG is a more feature-rich version of the affordable spinning reel we reviewed earlier in the article. Daiwa, as we know, has been in business for a good while.
Its experience with fishing equipment manufacturing since 1955 has led to highly efficient and smart spinning reels that excel in power and handling.
One of the first things you notice about the Daiwa BG is it’s incredibly lightweight. What you begin to notice over years of use is its durability. Both of these features are owed to the reel’s aluminum body and its dynamic cut ABS spool.
Having an aluminum build allows the device to be lighter than steel reels while providing the same level of durability and weather resistance.
The sealed bearing and drag system offer two-fold benefits. The seal protects the bearing system from water and other elements. This protects the gear from being damaged due to corrosion.
The sealed drag system ensures that the reel stays effective through years of use. The second benefit of the sealed drag system is that it can operate at maximum efficiency. Casting and retrieval are smooth in both saltwater and freshwater.
The ABS spool eliminates line tangling which is a recurring issue on many reels. By doing this, the spool reduces one of the major hassles that fishermen face with their reels.
The reel features a 6 BB + 1 RB bearing system for smooth operation. The air rotor also helps keep the operation as smooth as possible. It reduces the chances of loops, line twists, and wind knots.
- Braid-ready spool
- 7-bearing system
- Air rotor system
- Aluminum and carbon-fiber build
- Sealed bearing system
- Non-anodized spool
The Daiwa BG is a fishing reel that does not disappoint. It is a durable, heavy-duty spinning reel that is made from high-quality and durable materials. Despite all the power, it is a lightweight device that is suitable for users of all ages.
6. Pflueger President XT – Smooth Casting Performance
Now that we are moving into a slightly higher price range, we will see a lot of Pflueger spinning reels. Pflueger is counted among the oldest and most experienced manufacturers of fishing gear.
It has been dishing out premium gear at affordable rates ever since it began operations in 1881. Pflueger reels, like President XT, work with a variety of fishing styles.
President XT comes as part of the company’s affordable ‘President’ series. It is a pocket-friendly fishing reel that does its best to not compromise on quality and succeeds.
This impressive balance between price and performance comes as a result of Pflueger’s extensive experience in the fishing equipment manufacturing business. President XT is an innovative spinning reel that shines due to smart design.
The spinning reel features a 10-bearing system which is always a welcome addition to any budget fishing reel. The bearing system allows smooth casting and easy retrieval.
President XT is available in five spool sizes between 20 and 40. This gives a lot of options to users indulging in different fishing styles at different locations.
The main shaft of the President XT is made out of aluminum. This makes the reel 30% lighter than spinning reels which are made out of stainless steel.
The traditional brass gears on conventional spinning reels have also been replaced by aluminum gears to increase stability and reduce the reel’s weight by 60%. The carbon-fiber secondary shaft also contributes to the reel’s lightweight.
- 10-bearing system
- Braid-ready spool
- The bearing system is fully sealed
- Sturdy and lightweight
- Uncomfortable rubber knob
A good fishing reel does not have to cost a lot of dollars to deliver fantastic performance, and President XT proves this. It is the perfect companion for your casual fishing trips and will also serve professional users well for more demanding fishing tasks.
7. Okuma Inspira Isx – Lightweight and Durable
Another inspiring offering from Okuma is the Inspira Isx. The company has only been around for a bit over thirty years in an industry with far more seasoned manufacturers.
However, the company has made quite a name for itself in innovation and producing fairly priced equipment.
The Inspira Isx spinning reel for saltwater fishing is one such value offering from the company. It is targeted at price-conscious fishermen that want great performance from their equipment.
First introduced in 2015, the Inspira Isx is a slightly pumped-up model of the company’s Helios SX. The reel comprises a carbon-fiber C-40X frame and side plates of the same material. The reel features 8BB + 1 RB bearings.
The choice of the C-40X for the frame and the side pates imbue the reel with considerable power without adding too much to the weight.
The new carbon-fiber technology allows the reel to be 25% lighter and yet 50% stronger than its conventional counterparts.
Another benefit of this material choice is that the material is weather resistant. Thereby, it will stand against corrosion and deliver long-lasting performance.
The Inspira Isx employs a cyclonic flow rotor. Not only is this a stylish rotor fit for a modern fishing reel, but it is also one that enhances the airflow.
The design allows for increased airflow and distributes it evenly so the device can dry faster once you are done fishing. This is an important feature for any fishing reel since it reduces the chances of corrosion due to overexposure to saltwater.
- Cyclonic flow rotor
- Affordably priced
- Carbon-fiber C-40X frame and plates
- 9-bearing system
- Lightweight design
- Smooth yet powerful drag
- Not completely sealed
Not all fishing trips require a clunky, pumped up spinning reel. For the casual fishing trip to the lake, the Okuma Inspira Isx is an ideal choice that offers all the essential features a good fishing reel should.
8. Okuma Trio – Smart and Innovative Design
The Trio is a line of affordable and high-speed spinning reels from Okuma. At first glance, it is clearly noticeable that the Trio is a unique hybrid fishing reel that packs a lot of innovation in a small body.
Graphite side plates deliver a lot of power without making the device too heavy to handle.
The Trio is a stunning piece of equipment. Its polished metal build and black accents attract users even before they are exposed to its solid set of features.
The build quality also gives a lot of reasons to be impressed. The Trio is among the strongest fishing reels we have tested at this price point.
This powerful spinning reel offers a lot of drag power. This helps keep the effects of the casting unnoticeable while allowing users to catch any fish with ease, regardless of its size.
The included multi-disc drag washer on top of the spool and a carbon-fiber washer at the bottom allow for dual-force drag.
Okuma packs a lot of innovation in this small device. This can be observed in the form of the reel’s cross-over build and spool design.
The stem comprises of stamped aluminum with the addition of two graphite plates on both sides. The device features 10 BB + 1 RB stainless-steel bearings.
- Cross-over design
- Dual graphite plates
- Eleven bearing system
- Dual force drag
- Weather resistant, anti-corrosive materials
- Annoying cracking noise on some models
Okuma has successfully made a highly innovative spinning reel and markets it at a competitive price.
This is a device that will serve you well on your casual fishing trips as it makes catching big fish an effortless experience.
9. Daiwa Revros – Smooth 8-Bearing Reel
Daiwa is a manufacturer of premium fishing equipment known for its mid-range and high-end product offerings. However, Daiwa has broken from protocol in recent years and entered the budget fishing equipment market.
This has been a successful addition to the manufacturer’s impressive portfolio. The Reveros is a prime example of affordable high-end gear.
Daiwa’s efforts of producing a low-priced version of its premium models have culminated in the Daiwa Revros.
This is a sturdy metal reel and offers great performance. An ergonomic design and a carefully selected set of performance-enhancement features make it a great choice for new, casual, and even professional fishermen. The reel features an air rotor design.
The air rotor allows the Revros to retain a lightweight and enhances its sensitivity. Made from a Zaion carbon composite, the rotor is almost 15% lighter than conventional rotors.
The design also allows for optimal weight distribution which improves its handling. An aluminum body adds to the device’s durability without adding too much to the weight.
The Revros features an 8-bearing, stainless-steel system. The bearing system is distributed as 7BB + 1RB. This helps maintain consistency in the device’s castings and retrievals.
A sturdy well-crafted frame ensures that the moving components avoid unnecessary contact with each other. This minimizes friction and allows the device to retain its integrity for longer.
- Durable aluminum build
- 8-bearing system
- ABS spool minimizes friction
- Digigear design ensures speed, durability and power
- A bit complicated for new users
Daiwa has made an exceptional spinning reel with powerful and reliable performance. What is impressive is that the manufacturer has achieved this at an affordable price. This, however, is not a low-end device if performance is a consideration.
10. Penn Fierce II Live Liner – Best Inexpensive Fishing Reel
The Fierce II Live Liner is a great budget fishing reel from a reliable manufacturer. As you will see further on in this list, there are some manufacturers that produce good quality equipment at all price points.
The Penn Fierce II is a rugged fishing reel that the manufacturer first introduced in 2015. Since then, this inexpensive spinning reel has become a consumer favorite due to its price and build quality.
The Fierce II does not offer a lot of features more premium reels do. It is an entry-level reel that captures praise due to its ergonomic design and premium construction.
What you get in the Fierce II is a versatile fishing reel that dishes out a great amount of power. Numerous carefully placed features allow users to catch fish as easily as possible.
The reel comes with a techno-balanced rotor, a full metal body, and four shielded stainless-steel ball bearings. The casting of the Fierce II is an effortless task.
The spool lip is designed to minimize friction between the spool and the line. The ball bearings and the precision cut on the gearing also help make the retrieval smooth.
The drag adjustment knob is easily adjustable on the go and is designed to give an easy adjusting experience to new users. It has clear directional arrows to remind users which adjustments will increase or reduce the pressure.
- Techno-balanced rotor
- Durable metal body
- Stainless-steel shielded ball bearings
- Stacked drag system
- Solid primary shaft
- A bit heavy
The Penn Fierce II is perfect for new users and for casual fishing trips. Its rugged build and plenty of efficient design choices make for a durable spinning reel.
It dishes out reliable performance every time. The workhorse reel is powerful enough to let you catch the bigger fish.
How to Buy the Best Spinning Reels Under $100
Shopping for a spinning real can be a cumbersome process, especially if it is your first time shopping for fishing equipment.
As with anything, there are good spinning reels and bad spinning reels. Similarly, there are cheap offerings and expensive offerings.
Trouble arises for new buyers because some terribly bad reels do a great job of passing themselves off as good ones.
Not all cheap fishing reels are bad, but a lot of them are. Therefore, it takes a significant level of knowledge to differentiate the good from the bad.
Equipped with the relevant knowledge, you will be able to pick out the best deals and get your hands on a fishing reel that is both affordable and reliable.
Many leading manufacturers offer a good selection of budget gear, some of which we picked out for our review.
The market is teeming with similar options, and we are here to equip you with the knowledge you need to pick out the best ones.
The following are some of the most important considerations when searching the market for an affordable spinning reel.
Among the most important features in any spinning reel is its dragging system. The dragging mechanism allows you to increase or reduce the pressure on your fishing line. This is an adjustable feature that helps users handle the pressure the fish exerts once it is hooked.
The better the drag system is, the easier it is for anglers to manage the caught fish and reel it in smoothly. The type of adjustment the dragging system employs makes a considerable difference in the reel’s usability. There are two main types of drag adjustments – front and rear.
A spinning reel with a front adjustment is the most favored by seasoned anglers. It is also the only one to consider if you will be reeling in bigger fish.
The reason why front-adjusted dragging systems are so popular is that they are very easy to adjust on the go.
Front-adjusted dragging systems also have a bigger surface area. This enables fishermen to better control large and heavy fish on the other side of the fishing line.
A rear adjustment on the dragging system is more complicated to adjust. It is fine for light fishing but considers the front adjustment for more serious angling.
The capacity of the spool is also an important consideration. It is common to overlook the spool capacity when looking for a new spinning reel.
The size of the spool isn’t a consideration if you will only be fishing in shallow waters. However, if you are considering more serious angling out in the open waters, you will have to consider how much fishing line your spool can hold.
If you are going to catch small fish and intend to fish only in freshwater bodies, then a smaller spool will serve you just fine. However, if you intend to take on the bigger fish, you need a wide spool that can hold more of the line.
This is because bigger fish put up more of a fight, and you will have to use a larger line to bring them in successfully.
Quality of Bearings
The bearings inside your fishing reel are responsible for producing the spin that carries your fishing reel.
The number of bearings and their quality determines how efficiently all the moving parts operate within the reel. You should ideally consider a fishing reel with a minimum of five bearings.
Good quality bearings cut down on extra noise and vibration so you can have a comfortable angling experience.
You would also want to avoid the noise so that you don’t scare the fish away. Good quality bearings also let you cast farther with less effort.
Always consider the quality of the bearings when assessing a fishing reel. If you will be fishing for bigger fish or fishing in saltwater, get a reel with the best quality bearings that fall within your budget.
The bearings should be able to spin effortlessly so you can retrieve your catch with the minimum amount of jerks.
Best Spinning Reels under 100 (FAQs)
We understand that selecting equipment for your fishing trip can be daunting. You want to get everything right so you don’t return empty-handed. In addition to our handy buying guide, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions new buyers normally have.
✅ Which spinning reel size should I select?
Spinning reel sizes are represented as 1000, 2000, and so on. The bigger the number is, the larger the spinning reel is going to be. 1000 is for light fishing rods and suitable for beginners. 3000 upwards is for serious angling where you intend to catch big fish. A 2000 spinning reel is the perfect middle ground for most anglers, and you should consider this for your initial trips.
✅ Aren’t bait-casting reels better than spinning reels?
Bait-casting reels are better than spinning reels only in some instances. They allow for precision casts that professional fishermen can benefit from. However, bait-casting reels are difficult to manage and a hassle to maintain. They require a lot of experience for perfect casting which you will lack if you are a new angler. For casual fishing, spinning reels are a much better choice.
✅ Do I need an expensive spinning reel?
The primary reason why new fishermen consider buying an expensive spinning reel is that they assume that a cheap reel will be of low quality. However, this isn’t always the case. Although there are plenty of low-quality reels, there are also numerous good-quality ones. For casual fishing, we recommend buying a budget reel from a reliable manufacturer.
We hope that our buying guide will help new anglers get into the hobby with more confidence. A good fishing experience relies heavily on the right gear. Selecting the gear isn’t difficult, it just requires that you check things off the list until you find the gear that ticks all the boxes.
Our recommendations for the best budget reels are some of the best spinning reels under 100 dollars. Where some products have strayed from this budget slightly, it is because they offer unparalleled value or a great set of features.
The Pflueger Supreme XT, for instance, sits slightly north of the proposed budget but offers performance that is worth twice as much.
However, it is our top pick that truly captures what a good fishing reel should be. The Penn Battle II is a solid piece of work that is sturdy, well-built, and capable of getting you the bigger fish – all at an affordable price tag.