Best Spinning Reels – Top 3 Guide

Best Spinning Reels

Today you have an endless supply of spinning reels to pick from when shopping for a new reel. The market has been saturated with options.

While weeding through all your choices may be daunting, the abundance of spinning reels just means you can find a really good piece of equipment for a fair price.

In an effort to help you, we’ve compiled our “Top 3” list of the best spinning reels out there today. We’ve also included some honorable mentions, in case you’re the type of shopper that needs to see as many options as possible before making a selection.

It’s okay, we’re the same way!

This guide will help you select from the best spinning reels and get you closer to your pursuit of the big catch! Just below the table will be some explanations for deciding factors in our choices.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at our Top 3 Best Spinning Reels!

Best Spinning Reel

From all our options, we’ve selected the Okuma Avenger ABF, Penn Battle II 4000, and Pflueger President Spinning Reel as our top three choices for best spinning reels. Our hope was, from the large list of available spinning reels, come up with three great spinning reels that any angler would want to purchase.

There were many factors we considered for our list. We’ve discussed those factors below.

Who is this Spinning Reel for?

There are many different types of spinning reels, all designed for specific purposes. We wanted to find the best all around spinning reel. Some anglers just want a small reel for ultra light tackle. Others may want a reel to take offshore with them. These reels are for the angler who wants the best all around experience with one rod and one reel. Something that can handle the smaller fish all the way up to the trophies. You just never know what you will catch when you go fishing, so we thought to cover all our bases with our selections.

The Weight of the Reel

One thing that plagues anglers during their multi hour fishing trips is fatigue from casting and reeling repeatedly. While the weight differences are slight between our top three, the lighter the reel the better an angler will feel as the day progresses. So we considered total reel weight in our selection. Most reels fall into the same weight range, but there is a noticeable difference between aluminum and graphite reels.

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The Maximum Line Capacity

You can buy spinning reels that work great for ultra light line as well as reels for really heavy duty, deep sea ocean fishing line. But most anglers aren’t looking for either of those. Most anglers want a reel that can handle a little bit of both. So we determined the 10-12 pound test range would be a good maximum for our spinning reels. Keep in mind, this number is based on monofilament. Fluorocarbon and braid may be able to afford your higher test on your reel. For a good mid range, 10-12 pound test maximum was selected.

Gear Ratio

The gear ratio of a spinning reel is important because it indicates how quickly the line retrieval will be with each revolution. A quick definition of gear ratio as it applies to spinning reels is the first number indicates how many revolutions the bail makes around the spool. The second number indicates how many revolutions the handle makes. So, for a 4:1 reel, that would be four revolutions to one full handle revolution. Slow speed gear ratios are great for fishing big fish. They provide more torque when fighting a large fish. A 6:1 ratio is considered a high-speed reel. This is good for fast action. Our recommendation for this guide was to get as close to 5:1 as we could. This is a happy medium for anglers.

Ball Bearings

Simply put, the more ball bearings, the smoother the action on the reel. Sealed stainless steel are preferable over bushings as they provided added durability and control.

Now you know how we decided our best spinning reels

Now that you know how we made our decisions, let’s breakdown each specific reel. Let’s start with the Okuma Avenger ABF.

Best Spinning Reel For The Money

Okuma Avenger ABF

Okuma Avenger ABF Graphite Bait Feeder Reel
  • Baitfeeding System allows for disengagement of the spool and free-running line without opening the...
  • Multi-disk drag system with Japanese oiled felt drag washers
  • Six ball bearings and one quick-set anti-reverse roller bearing
  • Corrosion resistant construction and materials; one-year warranty

The Okuma Avenger ABF is a solid performing spinning reel. It’s one of Okuma’s most popular spinning reels and there’s no surprise why. Weighing 16.3 ounces, it’s the heaviest of our top three, but it’s a graphite body- meaning no corrosion from salt water. Unique to our top three reels, this reel has a patented On/Off auto trip bait feeding system. Great for fishing with live bait. The predator is allowed to take the bait and swim freely without resistance, allowing it to commit to eating the bait and provide a solid hook set. The spool is machined aluminum, two-tone anodized. But included with the reel is a graphite replacement spool, to ensure corrosion free fishing. With six stainless steel bearings, this reel is smooth.  The handle is stopped with one anti-reverse bearing. Setting the drag with precision is easy with the multi-drag, Japanese-oiled felt drag washers.

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The Okuma Avenger ABF series reel comes in many sizes. On our top three, we spotlighted the ABF 40, but their sizes range from 20 to 90. The Okuma Avenger ABF spinning reel is a top notch spinning reel at a really favorable price point. Of our top three, this was the least expensive.

Penn Battle II 4000 Spinning Reel

This Penn reel is our most expensive reel in the top three, but it certainly upholds Penns’ quality reputation. Considered by many to be the best spinning reel for the money, with five ball bearings, this reel provides smooth performance.

This reel has our fastest retrieval, with a 6.2:1 gear ratio. A friction trip ramp prevents premature bail trip during casting. Even though the body of this reel is metal, don’t let that fool you: this thing is water tight! With six seals installed for ultimate protection of your reels’ mechanisms, you can dunk your reel in the surf or let it ride in the spray without worry.

The coolest features on this reel involve the spool. It has a rubber gasket that eliminates the need for any line backing. Additionally, three line capacity rings are visible in the spool to alert you how much line you have when fighting a fish! Finally, the “Slammer Drag System” is truly sealed with one HT-100 Drag Washer on top of the spool and two underneath. This reel takes a max of 12-pound test monofilament line, but more test can be used with braided line.

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Penn Battle series reels come in multiple sizes. Browse Amazon for all the different sizes if this one is not right for you.

Pflueger President

Pflueger 6940 President Spinning Fishing Reel
  • Durable spinning fishing reel ideal for both seasoned anglers and casual hobbyists
  • 10 bearing system with 9 corrosion-resistant stainless steel ball bearings and instant anti-reverse...
  • Aircraft-grade aluminum handle and graphite body and rotor offer extreme durability
  • Stainless steel and oiled felt drag system delivers smooth, consistent drag pressure
  • Braid-ready spool allows braid to be tied directly to spool

The Pflueger President series is sneakily the most underrated reel on the market. At a modest price point, you just can’t beat the value added to the President series. I had never actually used a Pflueger before, but am very impressed with its performance! Weighing just 10.9 ounces, it is the lightest of the three reels we’ve featured. But don’t let its weight fool you; this reel is rugged and can withstand a beating. Made with a lightweight graphite body, this reel will stay corrosion free. Offering the smoothest performance, this reel has 10 stainless steel bearings. Additionally the reel has instant anti-reverse to prevent accidental kick back in the line.

This reel is braid ready; no mono backing required. This reel is also the biggest in its series, accepting 12-pound test (more for braided). Finally, with a stainless steel/oil felt drag, the drag pressure is consistent and corrosion resistant. We feel of the top 3, this is the best spinning reel under 100.

Other Spinning Reels

For some anglers, three choices are not enough. So we’ve included some other reels in a nice table below this if you’d like to see some other options.

PENN 1338219 Battle II 4000 Spinning Fishing Reel
PENN 1338219 Battle II 4000 Spinning Fishing Reel
Durable, high range spinning reel ideal for conquering big saltwater game fish; Foam grip pads
Get 27% OFF
Daiwa BG6500 BG Saltwater Spinning Reel
Daiwa BG6500 BG Saltwater Spinning Reel
Solid Screw-In Handle, Air Rotor, Dynamic Cut Aluminum ABS Spool; Braided Line Ready Spool, Waterproof Drag System, Carbon ATD, Line Per Handle Turn: 48.7"


Opinions will vary on what anglers think the best spinning reel is on the market today. This guide is intended to help you make your decision. We feel you will be satisfied with any of these reels, but if you need even more information, please be sure to click on their links to Amazon where you can read positive and negative reviews for each reel.

Good luck and happy fishing!

This page was last updated on 2022-08-29. Affiliate links and Product Images are from Amazon PAAPI

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