10 Best Spinning Reels Under $100

Best Spinning Reels Under $100

Welcome to our Best Spinning Reels Under $100 reviews.

Whether you are an avid angler on a budget or a beginner, you need a reliable reel for a successful fishing trip. But finding a quality spinning reel at an affordable price can be a challenge. So, we have reviewed some of the top fishing reels on the market to find you the Best Spinning Reels Under 100.

If you are in a hurry: Penn Pursuit IV is the Best Spinning Reel Under $100 as per our reviews.

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Penn Pursuit IV Spinning Reel
  • PENN PURSUIT IV INSHORE SPINNING REEL: The PENN Pursuit IV...
  • SLEEK AND DURABLE: PENN Pursuit IV fishing reels feature a...
  • SMOOTH, EFFICIENT GEARS: Recovers at the rate of 37" | 94cm...

Last update on 2024-06-20 / Paid links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Here is our pick of the top spinning reels under 100.

Our Top 10 Picks

  1. Penn Pursuit IV – Best Overall
  2. KastKing Sharky III – Alternative/ Runner-up
  3. Shimano Sedona FI – Best for Bass
  4. Penn Fierce III – Best Saltwater
  5. Okuma Ceymar – Best Ultralight
  6. Shimano Sahara FI – Best for Trout
  7. Sharky Baitfeeder – Best for Surf Fishing
  8. KastKing Centron 500 – Best for Ice Fishing
  9. Pflueger President – Best Smoothness
  10. KastKing Summer – Best Under 50

The 10 Best Spinning Reels Under $100

Now, let us move to our in-depth reviews.

1. Penn Pursuit IV

PENN Pursuit IV Inshore Spinning Fishing...
  • Size: 4000
  • Gear Ratio: 6.2:1
  • Ball Bearings: 5
  • Max Drag: 15 lbs
  • Weight: 12.4 oz

Penn Pursuit IV comes loaded with many features. It uses top-quality materials for bringing in the biggest fish. The full metal construction makes this reel ideal even for harsh use.

When you open the box, you will find the reel in two pieces wrapped up in plastic. You can feel the quality when you first pick it up.

To assemble you place the handle on the main part of the spool and turn it like you would if you were reeling in a fish. When it locks then you are all set to load the line. You can attach it to your rod and start reeling in the massive fish like a pro. It is stylish as well as easy to use.

The 4 sealed ball bearings provide amazing smoothness to catch larger fish. Each component of this reel is made to ensure you land the fish no matter the size.

Penn Pursuit IV is the newer version of the very popular Penn Pursuit III line of reels. It is a reasonably priced spinning reel that’s designed to stand up against even more expensive options.

2. KastKing Sharky III

KastKing Sharky III Spinning Fishing...
  • Size: 3000
  • Gear Ratio: 5.2:1
  • Ball Bearings: 10+1
  • Max Drag: 33 lbs
  • Weight: 9.2 oz

When you are ready to start fishing like a pro the Sharky III is one of the most popular spinning reels out there. It is a lightweight high-quality spinning reel you can use to catch large fish up to 39 lbs. It is suitable for both saltwater and freshwater fishing.

Sharky III comes in an attractive box. You will notice its solid build and smooth movement of gears. You will not find a better option that can handle or perform as well at this price.

The box may look small but it packs one of the top-rated reel models on the market. You will also find the cleaning and maintenance instructions in the box.

It comes with a large spool and a handle in the box. You can attach the handle to the spool by uncapping the handle hole and placing the handle in the spool hole and turning it. Make sure to screw in the cap on the other side of the spool.

KastKing is well known for making fishing gear that gives you the best bang for your buck. They have a one-year peace of mind warranty.

3. Shimano Sedona FI

Shimano Sedona 2500FI HG Freshwater Spinning...
  • Size: 2500
  • Gear Ratio: 6.2:1
  • Ball Bearings: 3+1
  • Max Drag: 9 lbs
  • Weight: 8.6 oz

If you are planning to target bass, then look no further than the Shimano Sedona FI 2500HG. You cannot get a better reel for bass fishing!

The specs include a 6.2:1 gear ratio and a 3+1 ball-bearing system. The weight is a little less than 9 oz. The line retrieve is 36 inches and the max drag is 9 lbs.

Shimano Sedona FI gets its power from the cross-carbon drag. It makes the drag very smooth without sacrificing power. If you hit something big you will definitely feel the power while reeling the fish in. We have even caught large striped bass on this reel.

Shimano Sedona FI uses Hagane gears for extra smooth reeling. It’s super strong and helps you bring in the big saltwater fish. We use it for offshore fishing, but you can use it for inshore as well.

We use Sedona FI all the time as we love the way it casts. The cross-carbon drag keeps it smooth when we catch a big fish and it starts running. It is the best spinning reel for bass under $100 as per our reviews.

4. Penn Fierce III

PENN Fierce III Spinning Inshore Fishing...
  • Size: 2500
  • Gear Ratio: 6.2:1
  • Ball Bearings: 5
  • Max Drag: 15 lbs
  • Weight: 11.8 oz

Penn has a reputation for making tough reels designed for catching bigger fish. The Fierce III is the best saltwater spinning reel under 100 as it stands at the peak of Penn’s saltwater range.

As you unbox it, you’ll find the packaging is well-designed. It is large enough to house the reel, the crank, cardboard shock padding, and some bubble wrap.

The crank installs on either side and is very easy to change. Simply unscrew the crank and switch the cap from one size to the other.

Penn Fierce III is a smooth and durable reel out of the box. It uses all aluminum components including a durable spool. It comes with anti-corrosive paint to ensure it serves you well for years.

Penn uses a Techno-Balanced rotor for smooth retrieves. The full metal body and side plate help in keeping gear alignment precise even under heavy loads. This reduces play between the gears to give you extreme cranking power.

Penn Fierce III continues to use HT-100 carbon fiber drag washers that allow it to use both sides of the washer. As a result, Penn Fierce III provides enough drag to help you land any inshore saltwater fish.

5. Okuma Ceymar

okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel Size 10 - 5Lb Max...
  • Size: C-10
  • Gear Ratio: 5.0:1
  • Ball Bearings: 6+1
  • Max Drag: 3 lbs
  • Weight: 5.9 oz

Okuma has designed the Ceymar with a focus on making it lightweight and versatile.

Out of the box, you will find Okuma Ceymar has a narrow blade design. The machined two-tone anodized aluminum spool looks attractive. The reel feels very lightweight and well-balanced in hand.

We tested the C-10 size that offers 4 lbs drag. It is more than enough power for ultralight fishing. The C-10 size has a max line capacity of 210/2, 110/4, or 70/6.

It comes with 7 bearings + 1 reverse-bearing system to give you the ultimate smoothness of the retrieve. The quick-set anti-reverse bearing helps you stop any slippage. It also has a RESII system to balance the rotor mechanism

Okuma Ceymar C-10 made an excellent combination with our ultralight fishing rod. So we tested it with 2 to 5 lbs test lines during our fishing trip. We used this combination for catching several trout and panfish in the 1/4 lbs to 4 lbs range.

The solid aluminum bail wire provided exceptional control. The ergonomic grip and the lightweight EVA handle offered excellent comfort.

Okuma Ceymar is the best ultralight spinning reel under $100 as per our reviews. It comes with a standard 1-year manufacturer warranty. For more information visit the manufacturer’s website.

6. Shimano Sahara FI

Shimano Sahara 2500 FI Spinning Fishing Reel...
  • Size: 2500
  • Gear Ratio: 5.0:1
  • Ball Bearings: 4+1
  • Max Drag: 20 lbs
  • Weight: 8.8 oz

We have used several Shimano reels over the years. But along with so many great things, comes change. The Shimano Sahara FI comes with many new and advanced features.

The reel is still sleek as usual, as we have come to expect. It weighs only 8.8 ounces. But the technology offered to us is now unmatched.

The G-Free body moved the center of gravity toward the angler’s hand. It helps in reducing fatigue and improving casts. The Propulsion Line Management System provides longer casting. The Hagane gear helps bring in the big fish. The X-Ship system improves gear durability.

We recently tested the Sahara FI 2500 size during our trout fishing trip to Dixon Lake. We spooled it a 2lb mono line and paired it with our 7’6″ Fenwick Elite Tech ultralight rod. The whole setup was lightweight and comfortable.

Can’t say enough good things, as we used this reel to land quite a few trout and panfish, including a 5 lb wild cutthroat. Even you will have a tough time finding any negative reviews online. It is the best 2500 spinning reel under 100 on the market.

Shimano Sahara FI carries a 1-year warranty. But make sure the serial number remains visible. Otherwise, Shimano may not provide the warranty.

7. Sharky Baitfeeder

KastKing Sharky Baitfeeder III Spinning...
  • Size: 6000
  • Gear Ratio: 5.5:1
  • Ball Bearings: 10+1
  • Max Drag: 26.5 lbs front/ 4.4 lbs rear
  • Weight: 16.1 oz

Sharky Baitfeeder III is an excellent reel for saltwater anglers. You can use it for casting big baits or slow-rolling heavy baits. It comes with dual drags that let you control the way you land your catch.

The classic front drag is useful for those fish who like to fight. The baitfeeder rear drag is great for letting the fish run and then turning the handle to tighten the drag. You just need to flip the lever to switch the baitfeeder system on or off.

We tested the 6000-size during our fishing trip to the Outer Banks. The Sharky Baitfeeder III 6000 comes with a powerful 5.5:1 gear ratio. It delivers 26.5 lbs of front drag and 4.4 lbs of rear drag.

We spooled our reel with 30 lbs braid and paired it with a 12-foot surf rod for surf fishing. It delivered more than enough drag to handle all the fish we were targeting. We used this setup to catch several Atlantic croakers, skates, specks, and bluefish.

The line recovery was great, especially considering the gear ratio. The retrieve was nice and smooth without fail. It helped us bring in those big catches that we had hoped to land.

8. KastKing Centron 500

KastKing Centron Spinning Reel, Size 500...
  • Size: 500
  • Gear Ratio: 5.2:1
  • Ball Bearings: 9+1
  • Max Drag: 11 lbs
  • Weight: 7.3 oz

The Centron is among the top-selling reels out there. It is easy to use even for entry-level anglers. The premium features and specifications make it a great spinning reel.

The Centron 500 is ideal for ice fishing. It is an ultralight and compact reel that’s perfect for ice fishing rods.

Out of the box, you will notice the reel comes in an attractive, brilliant finish. It has a unique design thanks to the dual-tone aluminum anodized spool. It uses a graphite frame to make the reel lightweight. The handle is right and left interchangeable.

The build quality is great and all components seem durable. You need not bother about breaking this solid spinning reel. You can use it in harsh conditions which would wear away reels even 5x the price.

We tested the Centron 500 during our ice fishing trip. We paired it with our ice fishing rod, and it balanced the rod perfectly.

Centron 500 spins very smoothly and it was the only reel that didn’t freeze up. It comes loaded with all the essential features for most anglers. We used it to catch several walleye during our trip.

9. Pflueger President

Pflueger President Spinning Reel, Size 30...
  • Size: 30
  • Gear Ratio: 5.2:1
  • Ball Bearings: 10
  • Max Drag: 10 lbs
  • Weight: 8.8 oz

Pflueger President comes with 10 + 1 bearings for a significant difference in smoothness. In fact, it is the smoothest reel compared to other options in the same price range.

The reel comes preassembled in the box eliminating the need to put the handle on. But it does not include any spares. We take it as a sign that it is going to last a long time.

The body and rotor use lightweight magnesium, while the handle uses carbon fiber. Many anglers consider aluminum reels as stronger. But Pflueger President feels so much better in hand than our aluminum reels.

We have extensively tested the Pflueger President during different fishing trips to local lakes and rivers. It has helped us catch more than our fair share of trout, bass, and bluefish. Some of them have gotten up to 5 lbs, but the reel was able to handle them all with ease.

The President has many impressive features that set it apart. Our favorite is the slow-oscillation gearing system. It moves the spool up and down at a slower rate so that the line doesn’t get caught or twisted.

10. KastKing Summer 3000

KastKing Centron Lite Spinning Reel, Size...
  • Size: 3000
  • Gear Ratio: 5.2:1
  • Ball Bearings: 9+1
  • Max Drag: 13 lbs
  • Weight: 9.5 oz

KastKing Summer is an incredible reel for the price. We recently tested the 3000-size and found it one of the best spinning reels under 50.

Inside the box, you will find a sleek and attractive reel. The box comes with styrofoam to protect the reel during shipping.

The two-color anodized aluminum spool makes it attractive. The aluminum construction and graphite frame make it lightweight. The hardened metal main shaft improves durability.

The KastKing Summer 3000 weighs 9.5 oz. It comes with a 5.2:1 gear ratio and delivers up to 13 pounds of drag. It has a mono capacity of 8/330, 10/270 lbs/yds.

It has 9 bearings and an instant anti-reverse bearing. It stops immediately when you try to reel it backward. This offers a strong and smooth pull for the anglers.

We tested our new reel on our recent freshwater fishing trip. We spooled it with a 20 lb braided line and 10 lb leader and paired it with a 7-feet medium fast-action rod.

Using this setup, we caught several fish including a 4 lb bass on our first cast. We were primarily throwing 3/32 oz shaky heads and finesse 4″ baits.

Buying Guide: How to Choose a Spinning Reel

If you’re looking to buy a new spinning reel, you should carefully consider these factors before picking one.

Reel Size

We are often asked how to choose the right spinning reel size. The right way is to ask yourself a few questions.

Where do you plan to fish, lake, river, small streams, or offshore? Are you a beginner or an advanced angler? Do you need an average-sized or small-sized reel for a specific fishing type? And what size of fish do you plan to catch? Do you want to catch large fish (like tuna) or small fish (like trout)?

If you catch a big fish, you’ll need a big enough reel to handle it. If you’re targeting smaller fish, then you will be fine with even a smaller reel.

When starting out, one must understand that reel size is not always the key to catching big fish. Some of the components of the reel are more important than the reel size.

You may like to read our reviews of the Best Trout Fishing Rods if you’re looking for a new rod for your trout fishing trip.

Line Capacity

Line capacity is the amount of line you can load on the reel. The capacity depends on the type of line and the line rating. The heavier the fish you are targeting, the larger the line rating needs to be.

Line capacity is measured in lbs/yds. This number is important to know when you’re purchasing the line.

You Need Bigger Spinning Reels for Catching Bigger Fish

Drag System

One of the top things to consider when choosing a spinning reel is the drag system. This is more important with larger models as you use them to catch bigger fish that can put up more of a fight.

The drag system controls the speed of a spinning reel by changing the angle of the drag wire and the angle of the spool. Sealed drag systems are common in saltwater fishing reels.

The drag system is a big part of why you want to buy the reel. So you want a drag system that is smooth and allows you to catch even larger fish. The drag should smoothly engage when you feel a pull from the fish.

Gear Ratio

The gear ratio determines the spool spins for every single turn of the handle. A 5.5:1 gear ratio means that the spool spins 5.5 times per one rotation of the handle.

The reel with the right gear ratio might not be the most expensive. But it can make a big difference, especially when it comes to catching the fish you want.

A lot of people ask us about which gear ratio we use and what we like.

The right gear ratio is the one that broadens your fishing opportunities. It should allow you to fish in different situations, and catch more fish.

Recovery Rate of Line

The line recovery rate is usually measured in IPT or inches per turn. Different types of reels will recover lines at different speeds.

If a reel has a 35 IPT, it means that with one full rotation of the handle, the reel would retrieve 35 inches of line.

Spinning Reel Line Recovery Rate

Ball Bearings

As the spool turns, the bearings inside the reel help to make it smooth. It’s hard to beat the quality, performance, and reliability that come from stainless steel ball bearings. They are very durable and completely corrosion-resistant. Stainless steel bearings are easy to clean and maintenance-free.

The number of ball bearings in most budget reels ranges from four to six. It’s a misconception that more bearings mean better performance. You need four or five bearings and you are good to go!

Anti-Reverse Mechanism

A lot of people ask us what anti-reverse is, and what it does. The main benefit of this feature is that it will not allow the line to unwind if you do not want it to.

Most spinning reels on the market come with an anti-reverse and many anglers use this feature. It is usually controlled by switches or levers placed at the bottom.

Material and Construction

The material of the reel makes a difference as well. The reels can be made from aluminum or graphite, with aluminum being more durable but graphite weighing less.

Quality fishing reels should be solid with no flimsy parts. There are some models that feel cheap and won’t be able to handle tough conditions.

Price

The price is a big factor in deciding whether to buy it or not. If the reel is too pricey, it may not be worth your money.

A spinning reel is a good deal at around $100. If you like, you can buy a budget reel for even less than $50.

FAQs

In this section, we have tried answering some of the most common questions that we get from our readers.

What is the Best Spinning Rod and Reel Combo Under 100?

Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 is the Best Spinning Combo Under 100. It is an affordable option for someone who wants to learn how to fish without spending too much money.

The Ugly Stik GX2 features a 6-foot, medium-power rod with an aluminum, two-piece frame. It also includes a 30-size reel.

The rod uses a combination of graphite and fiberglass, giving it a solid backbone. It feels great in hand and casts with little effort. It has a sensitive tip that can feel the lightest of bites.

The reel on this combo is smooth and easy to handle. The spinning reel features 3 ball bearings and an instant anti-reverse bearing for smooth casting and retrieval of line. You can convert the reel to left-hand retrieve.

The Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 is a great pick for beginners as well as experienced anglers. It has everything you need to get started fishing! We have used it on many occasions and have had great results every time.

If you would like to check out more options, then you can read our reviews of the Best Fishing Rod and Reel Combos for Beginners.

What is the Best Spinning Reel Under 100 for Bass?

The bass is one of the most popular game fish. You need a quality reel for Bass fishing.

Generally, saltwater reels cost more as compared to freshwater reels. If you are planning to fish in saltwater, then you must consider that while choosing a reel.

Out of all the options we reviewed, Shimano Sedona FI is our pick for bass fishing.

What to Expect From a $100 Spinning Reel?

You can use a 100 dollar spinning reel for many different types of fishing. But here’s the truth: a $100 reel is not going to be the absolute best reel. So you must know what to expect from a spinning reel under 100 before you buy one.

Heavier Reels. The total weight starts to increase as manufacturers use cheaper materials that aren’t optimized for weight. Heavier reels are not bad. But keep an eye on how much they weigh as a long day of fishing can hurt your wrists.

No Spare Spools. The price of a reel is usually determined by what kind of spool it has. Higher-priced reels tend to come with a spare spool. But a reel with one spool usually costs less. Most reels under $100 come with one braid-ready standard spool. This is perfect as it saves time and money.

Spinning Reel Spool
Budget Spinning Reels Come With a Single Standard Spool.

Cheaper Materials. To cut costs, some manufacturers may use cheaper materials instead of quality ones. While it’s not necessarily bad, they do wear out faster and give a less solid feel than durable materials. Finally, you must avoid plastic models. They break easily and don’t last long.

Unsealed Drags and Bearings. Most cheap options don’t use a seal to keep dirt and sand out. This is not usually an issue if you fish in freshwater. But if you fish in saltwater, it may compromise your reel.

What is the Life Span of Inexpensive Spinning Reels?

Spinning reels are available in a range of price points, from $20 to $200. We’ve been using cheap spinning reels in the $50-$100 range for a few years now. And we’ve been performing a life cycle analysis. After all these years of experience with every reel, we thought we will share our findings.

The good news is that even the cheapest spinning reels can last a long, long time. The bad news is that if you’re not careful, you could end up wasting your money.

The reels we analyzed were all made by different companies. Every reel was of a different size and line capacity. So how did they all die? The answer is simple: they all died of old age.

The main reason they are inexpensive is not that they are not durable. But rather because they are made from cheap materials. They have good power, drag, and performance.

We’ve gotten way more out of our investment than we have gotten out of our more expensive picks.

Our Verdict

Penn Pursuit IV is our pick for the Best Spinning Reel under $100. It’s not the cheapest spinning reel on the market, but it’s great value for the money. It has some of the best features found in more expensive reels but without a high price tag. It is an affordable reel with top-rated performance.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about our reviews or testing methodology. We are happy to answer any queries that we get.

We hope you like our pick of the Best Spinning Reels Under $100. If you have any suggestions then you can let us know via the comments section. We will include them in our next update.