The 5 Best Spinning Reels Under $100? (There are some good ones...)

Find the 5 best spinning reels under $100. If you're in the market for a good quality spinning reel, and don't want to break the bank, you'll want to read this guide!

Best spinning reels under $100
What are the 5 best spinning reels under $100? Here's our guide.

Looking for a new spinning reel under $100? In this article, we will review five of the best options on the market and help you decide which one is right for you. All of these reels are great quality and perfect for beginner anglers. So, without further ado, let's get started.

There’s no need to go for a crazy high priced spinning reel. For most people, It’s best to buy a spinning reel that’s under $100.  At this price point, you're above budget spinning reels, but not pushing the limits of top spinning reels, AND you can still get a great fishing reel.  Higher price does not always mean a better spinning reel.

With all the fishing gear on the market, and if you take the time to read about all of them, you’ll have smoke shooting from your ears. The good news is we’ve done it for you.

The  is probably the easiest reel to use, and also they’re probably the easiest to fix in case of a line snarl. The spool is right there in front of you, and easy to access.

They’re the most common type of fishing reels available. And because of the differing spool sizes, they’re great for just about any type of fishing lines. Most of them can hold a large amount, whether it's mono line, fluorcarbon, or braided lines.   And with practice, you can be just as accurate as a baitcaster most of the time.

Our options for the best spinning reels that won't break the bank are below, then you can read how we choose and what considerations.

How We Choose

There are lots of options for choosing a spinning reel, especially the best fishing reel under $100.  Even though a $100 spinning reel is not considered a "budget reel", we feel there's a sweet spot for spinning reels in the $100 neighborhood.  There are many quality reels to be found here.

Our team has read through thousands of user reviews and star ratings to come up with a list that makes it easier for you to decide what spinning reel under $100 is the best for you to use. Don’t bother spending lots of time reading over many many reviews, we’ve done it for you to find the best budget friendly spinning reels.

There’s 5 options here that will be great for you. Read below for details and you can check the price on the spinning reel that you like.

What Are The 5 Best Spinning Reels Under $100?

1. Daiwa BG1500

A Versatile And Smooth Spinning Reel

Daiwa BG1500 spinning reel

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Why We Love It

We’re talking about spinning reels under $100, and this is the BG model that sits right at about that price. Daiwa also has other BG models that creep over $100.

The BG1500 is a very well made spinning reel, it just feels solid in your hand. This is a 1500 size and it feels like a bigger reel without being so bulky. When you’re really leaning into a fish on the fight, the heavy duty paddle on the handle, and the aluminum handle arm that stays tightened down all contribute nicely the overall feel.

The ABS swept spool handles line very well, you can fish it with mutiple line setups. It’ll cast smoothly and under control with less snarls than some other reels.  And pretty much all the different line types will perform nicely.

It’s also a nice-looking and lightweight spinning reel. It’s amazingly detailed, it’s durable and overall it’s just a fun and easy reel to fish, with its 5.6:1 gear ratio. And at about $99, it’s a fantastic value reel for the amount of features you get.

It’s listed as a saltwater reel, but freshwater anglers have caught on to how good this reel is, and it’s become wildly popular. It’s really smooth and has the toughness to handle both fresh and saltwater.

Here's What To Know:

Black Anodized Machined Aluminum Housing
Over-sized Digigear (Digigear System)
5.6:1 gear ratio
Large Line Capacity
Drag Max: 4.4
Dynamic Cut Aluminum ABS Spool
Rocket Line Management System
Braided Line Ready Spool
Waterproof Drag System
Infinite Anti-Reverse System (BG4000 and Smaller)
6+1 Ball Bearing System

2. Abu Garcia Revo X Spinning Reel

Best Spinning Reel With Super Smooth Drag

Abu Garcia Revo X

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Why We Love It

The Abu Garcia Revo X is a solid choice in the lineup of Revo spinning reels. It’s a durable reel, performs well than a lot of other reels, and the sleek dark body give this a bad a#** look. This reel features the C6 Molded carbon body, designed for all-day fishing comfort.

The casting efficiency is maximized by the Rocket Line Management system that allows for mono, braid, or even fluorocarbon line, your choice. The drag is consistent and smooth, and gives you the power and torque you need to pull big fish out of the slop.  It's one of the best inexpensive spinning reels on the market.

Here's What To Know:

6 stainless steel HPCR ball bearings + 1 roller bearing
Carbon Matrix hybrid drag system
IM-C^ body design
Rocket Line Management System
Rocket spool lip design
Large PVC knobs
Machined aluminum braid ready spool
Stainless steel main shaft and components
Everlast bail system
Slow Oscillation
5.2:1 - 5.8:1 gear ratio

3. Pflueger President Spinning Reel

Best Consistent Quality At A Great Price

Pflueger President Spinning Reel

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Why We Love It

The Pflueger President has been around for a while, and people love this reel because it’s a consistent quality performing reel at a great price, it's been a solid performer as a bass spinning reel. You’ll never have to apologize for rockin' the Pflueger President, and that’s why it makes our list of best spinning reels for under $100.

There’s a lot to like here: a smooth cranking reel that gives you easy smooth casting, care-free cranking, with its 10 stainless steel ball bearings and an excellent drag system.

Pflueger uses an oil-felt drag, so as you tighten the drag on the end of the spool, it creates pressure on the felt, which applies pressure to the spool. The oil-felt system has been around for a long time, some say it’s an old system, but it’s tried and true, and very reliable.  Most other spinning reels will have a carbon drag system.

It's a smooth performer because of the 10 stainless steel ball bearings.  It's also very lightweight.

Since this reel has a 5.2:1 gear ratio, you’ll have to weigh whether you need more speed, and if so, you may want the President XT which has higher gear ratios.

This reel is really popular with a lot of anglers, so much so that my fishing pal “Whitey” says “Gotta have me some Pflueger...”

Here’s what to know:

10 stainless steel ball bearings
Graphite body and rotor
Braid ready spool
Sealed drag system
Slow oscillation gearing
Aluminum handle and bail
Soft touch knob
5.2:1 gear ratio

4. KastKing Sharky III Fishing Reel

A Popular Reel At A Great Value

KastKing Sharky III Spinning Reel

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Why We Love It

This is the all new version of this popular reel.  KastKing says it's even lighter and tougher than previous models, but it's hard to tell because it's just pretty dang light. It has a high efficiency triple disc carbon fiber drag and 10+1 shielded stainless steel bearings. Its aluminum spool, precision manganese brass alloy gear, fiber reinforced body, and an oversized stainless steel main shaft makes this a really solid choice in a spinning reel.  There are options in sizes 1000 – 5000 that gives most everyone a setup they'll love.

This reel is ready for braid.  There's no need for backing line, which takes out the hassle. The 10 high quality stainless steel shielded ball bearings in every Sharky III are what makes the retrieve really smooth.

This model makes the list not only because it's smooth and light but because it's very affordable.  We like the sealed reel body making this reel great for saltwater or freshwater fishing. This reel makes the next fishing trip easier and helps save money.

Here’s what to know:

Aluminum handle
Large line capacity
Oversized stainless steel main shaft
Reliable triple disc carbon fiber drag
Manganese brass pinion gears
Intrusion shield system keeps water and dirt out
Braid ready aluminum spool
No backing line when spooling on braid fishing line
10 + 1 saltwater rated stainless steel ball bearings
Instant lock anti-reverse
Aluminum handle
High Fiber reinforced graphite body and rotor

5. Penn Battle III

Best To Handle Serious Abuse

Penn Battle III Spinning Reel

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Why We Love It

The PENN Battle III is a strong, smooth, and durable reel for under $100. Penn's proprietary CNC Gear Technology, HT-100 carbon fiber drag system, and the full metal body, make the Battle III a great all-around performer for the price.  And Penn makes this reels in sizes from 1000 to 10000, so there's a Battle III series model for every angler, at a fair price.

This model makes the list not only because it can handle abuse but because Penn is a trusted name in the fishing industry.

Here’s what to know:

Full Metal Body and sideplate
CNC Gear technology
HT-100 carbon fiber drag washers
5+1 sealed stainless steel ball bearing system

If you spend more time on saltwater, read our review of the 5 Best Saltwater Fishing Reels From Penn

What To Consider

Spool design

When you're looking for the best spinning reel, two of the most important design features to look for are the spool size and the spool lip. Both of these elements help reduce friction, which can be a big problem when you're trying to cast your line.

A big spool with more line capacity will allow more line to be released with only one tap on the lip, while a regular sized spool minimizes friction by angling the lip to reduce contact. Either way, these features can make a big difference in your ability to cast your line successfully.

A graphite spool won't crack, so look for an aluminum spool. Graphite might warp or deform as the line tightens down on the reel over time. Some lines like monofilament will actually shrink and tighten on the reel and put pressure on the spool, which aluminum can withstand a bit better than graphite.

Braided line tends to be more slippery and will spin on the spool.  If the spool has some type of non slip surface like rubber, that's a plus.

Number of Ball Bearings

Ball bearings make fishing reels roll more smoothly.  The more ball bearings, the better, it will crank easier.  Bearings tend to be either stainless steel, ceramic, or sometimes cheaper materials like chrome plated steel chrome steel.  These cheaper materials won't last as long so look for a higher number of ball bearings in either ceramic or stainless steel in any type of spinning reel.  Ceramic ball bearings will be better for a saltwater spinning reel, as ceramic resists corrosion better for saltwater fishing.

Drag System

A good solid reel will generally come with a carbon fiber drag system unless the manufacturer has one of those drag systems with some unique technology. A carbon fiber drag is infinitely adjustable, very easy to maintain, will not slip and rarely gets flat spots that cause slip.  Others will have a felt drag system.

Gear Ratio

Look for fast gear ratio for most situations.  The faster the gear ratio, the faster the spinning reel will retrieve your lure.  When you're trying to skip a lure topwater, like a frog or a popper, a fast gear ratio comes in handy.

The gear ratio consists of two numbers, where the first one is how many turns of the spool will happen with each full turn of the reel handle.  For example, a gear ratio of 6.0:1 means that that for every crank of the handle the spool will turn 6 times.

Some saltwater anglers will want faster reel models and a heavier reel size (and a heavier fishing rod) to help when fighting big fish.

Anti-Reverse System

Anti-reverse will stop the handle from spinning backward and creating backlash. Your line could snap if the drag and the anti-reverse system are not working together properly, and you've hooked into a larger fish.

Overall Weight

It's best to look for a lightweight spinning reel.  The heavier the entire reel the more fatigue will set in and make your fishing trip end earlier than it should.

Best Spinning Reels Under $100 FAQs

There’s a big difference between a $25 spinning reel and a $200 spinning reel. It’s like wine or whiskey, the true fan can tell the difference between an expensive brand and a cheaper one, but there are ones that are more budget-friendly that actually do compare nicely to the higher end. There are many really good spinning reels for under $100, hopefully our guide will help you choose the best one for you.

We’ve created a buyer’s guide of frequently asked questions to help you choose the best spinning reel for your budget. This guide will answer some of the top questions people ask when choosing a spinning reel below the $100 mark.

This is a list of what many consider to be the best spinning reels. All 5 of these are spinning reels under $100:

Daiwa BG 1500 (spinning reel under $100)
Abu Garcia Revo X (spinning reel under $100)
Pflueger President (spinning reel under $100)
Okuma Ceymar (spinning reel under $100)
KastKing Sharky III (spinning reel under $100)
Penn Battle III (spinning reel under $100)

What is the best gear ratio for the right spinning reel?

Spinning reels with 5.2:1 gear ratios are recommend for most fishing presentations.  If you need a faster retrieve on your fishing reel, go with a higher gear ratio.

How many ball bearings should be in a spinning reel?

Quality spinning reels will have at least 4 ball bearings. With 4 ball bearings as a minimum, it'll be smooth enough to fight a fish confidently.  And if it's a saltwater spinning reel make sure the bearings are of high quality to withstand the harsh conditions of saltwater fishing.

What makes a good quality spinning reel?

Most people feel it’s a smooth, easily adjustable drag. You want your fishing line to be let out in a smooth seamless way, without the pulls and jerks as the line casts out.

What size spinning reel is best for bass fishing?

A 1000 size reel is the smallest and most lightweight reel for bass fishing, and it’s the absolute minimum when looking for a bass spinning reel.  You may also like our review of The Best Spinning Reel For Bass.

Do more bearings mean a better fishing reel?

Better bearings in a well-made reel won’t corrode as quickly as cheaper bearings in a cheaper reel. High quality bearings also will result in longer distance and smooth casting, and easier reeling.

What makes a spinning reel better?

Smooth, easily-adjustable drag system makes a great spinning reel.  The drag system should let out line in a smooth casting, seamless manner.  It should perform the same, whether its a saltwater spinning reel or a freshwater spinning reel.  More line capacity is good to have in a spinning reel

What fishing line should be used in spinning reels under $100?

Most spinning reels under $100 have various line capacity and can handle many types of line.  Even the best budget spinning reels and also an entry level spinning reel will vary in line capacity.

What should I look for in the best saltwater spinning reel?

When looking for the best saltwater spinning reel, make sure it's corrosion resistant.  Most reels are sealed with rubber gaskets, making them suitable for saltwater or freshwater fishing

The summary on freshwater spinning reels

So what’s the bottom line on the best spinning reel that's budget friendly? There are several good ones but the DaiwaBG1500, the Abu Garcia Revo X and the Pflueger President are the 3 best spinning reels at the top of our list, with honorable mention to the KastKing Sharky III.

We’re generally leaning closer to the $100 mark, because there is a difference in quality when you compare $25 reels with $100 reels. As is most of the time, you get what you pay for. Focus on the key features and don’t get bogged down in the fancy manufacturers “lingo”.

Just click the orange button to check the price to find the best budget friendly spinning reel. Thanks!

Cheers to the outdoors,

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We recommend everything on this list. We hope you enjoy the goods we suggest! Just a little note, we may get a small commission on the sales from the links on this article should you order from here, which helps keep our site going. And prices are accurate at the moment of publication, but always check the final price on the best fishing line for spinning reels at the checkout page.