Baitcasting reels are tremendously versatile, and powerful, have considerable casting distance, and can catch almost any species. Seasoned anglers prefer to use them combined with baitcasting rods when fishing for large species due to the extreme amounts of pressure that the rod and reel can withstand.
With that said, you might think that a good baitcasting reel will cost you a fortune; however, that’s not true. Today, we’ve reviewed the 5 best baitcasting reels under $100 that are sure to hook any fisher out there.
At a Glance:
- Abu Garcia Revo4 X
- KastKing Royale Legend
- Lew’s Speed Spool LFS
- Piscifun Phantom Carbon
- Pflueger President XT Low Profile
The 5 Best Baitcasting Reels Under $100 in 2023
Now, let’s cut to the chase and get down to these reels and see what they offer to bring to the table.
1. Abu Garcia Revo4 X
The Abu Garcia Revo4 X is an all-rounder that’s entirely made of graphite and comes with side plates. That graphite construction plays a significant role in decreasing the reel’s weight, making it incredibly lightweight relative to other baitcasting reels and even when compared to spinning ones.
In addition to being lightweight, the Abu Garcia Revo4 X is quite small in size, and it features ergonomically designed handles. So, as you can imagine, you can use it for long periods without feeling any strain or pressure on your wrist or fingertips.
As for functionality, the reel comes with 7 stainless steel ball bearings, providing you with fantastic line retrieval. The line retrieval process is super smooth and quite fast, supported by the MagTrax brake system that accurately controls the spool’s rotations when casting.
On that note, the brake system obliterates the issue of bird nests, which many baitcasting reel users always worry about.
When it comes to the drag system, Abu Garcia Revo4 X packs more than a punch. No matter the amount of pressure applied to the drag system, it’ll always ensure that the line never gets stuck.
Unfortunately, though, the reel isn’t without downsides, the main being the side cover placements. Even though the reel is exceptionally comfortable, the side covers can be a bit uncomfortable, especially after holding the reel for a long time.
- Graphite body
- Small size
- 7 stainless steel ball bearings
- MagTrax brake system
- Smooth drag system
- Side covers placements can be a bit uncomfortable
The Abu Garcia Revo4 X is the best baitcasting reel under $100, rocking a graphite body that makes it lightweight. Plus, it boasts 7 stainless steel ball bearings and a smooth drag system, all assisting you in hassle-free line retrievals.
2. KastKing Royale Legend
The KastKing Royale Legend sports a low-profile design, making it a perfect fit for light spin fishing. In addition to that, its weight of 7.5 ounces ensures that you’ll be absolutely comfortable when using it, even for long periods.
This reel is built to last; it has a stainless steel main shaft, brass gearing, and a drag system constructed out of carbon fiber. Speaking of the drag system, it’s an immensely strong one that can withstand up to 17.5 pounds of pressure with ease, empowering it to catch large fish species easily.
Additionally, it has 12 ball bearings alongside a 7.0:1 hi-speed retrieve, which makes it ideal for speedy lure, pitching, and flipping. You can get your lude back in a blink of an eye!
Furthermore, it rocks a combined braking system that utilizes both centrifugal force and magnets that provide pressure at the cast’s ending. In contrast, the centrifugal force does the same at the cast’s beginning. This brake system is ideal for avoiding backlash and bird nests.
Not only is this a durable reel, but it’s also a comfortable one; its handles are non-slip EVA ones that are ergonomically designed to relieve your wrist and your fingers from stress and strain no matter how long you use the reel.
Sadly, though, this reel isn’t suitable for beginners; it requires accuracy and precision that only seasoned anglers can muster.
- Weighs 7.5 ounces
- Non-slip EVA handles
- Comfortable to use
- Low-profile design
- 17.5 lbs drag system
- 12 ball bearings
- Combined brake system
- Not suitable for beginners
A combined brake system that utilizes magnets and centrifugal force with 12 ball bearings and a pretty strong drag system make the KastKing Royale Legend a standout baitcasting reel under $100. Still, though, you need to be familiar with baitcasting reels to make use of all of its features.
3. Lew’s Speed Spool LFS
The Lew’s Speed Spool LFS stands out when it comes to smoothness – no reel can compare to it. Boasting ten double-shielded stainless steel bearings to keep out all the dust and debris, this reel is both rust and corrosion-resistant, making it ideal for saltwater usage without worrying about it being ruined.
Moreover, its frame is constructed from a single-piece aluminum frame accompanied by a bearing-supported pinion that reduces friction. These two features ensure that the reel’s life span is elongated and make it more comfortable and lightweight.
As for the line capacity, it’s pretty decent, with an ability to hold ample amounts of monofilament line. Furthermore, the drag star houses an audible click that allows you to put multiple lines all at once. However, when casting, it tends to create some noise.
On top of that, the Lew’s Speed Spool LFS is super easy to maintain. There’s an external lube port that you can easily use to add drops of lubricants whenever needed. We advise you to lubricate your reel at least two times a year to keep it performing effectively.
Sadly, the reel has its cons. In addition to the audible click in the drag star generating noise while casting, the drag system is weak compared to other reels.
- Ten stainless steel bearings
- External lube port
- The frame is made out of a single-piece aluminum
- Decent line capacity
- Loud casts
- The drag system is somewhat underwhelming
The Lew’s Speed Spool LFS is an excellent baitcasting reel that’s easy to maintain due to the external lube port it features. Plus, it has ten double-shielded stainless steel bearings and comes with a decent line capacity, granting you durability like nothing else.
4. Piscifun Phantom Carbon
The Piscifun Phantom Carbon is a powerful reel that’s meant for big fish – backed by an 18 lbs. drag system made out of fiberglass, enabling it to easily withstand the tug and pressure applied by more vigorous species. It’s also worth mentioning that there are two variants of this reel; a left-handed one and the other is right-handed.
Furthermore, the gear ratio is 7.1:1, and the retrieval speed is medium, but it’s more than enough. Besides, the Piscifun Phantom Carbon features a magnetic brake system that prevents any backlash or birds nests from forming.
As for the ball bearings, the Piscifun Phantom Carbon sports 5+1 ball bearings that provide smooth, unhindered, and fast line retrievals.
Unfortunately, though, it’s not exactly beginner-friendly, so it may be a hassle to use for first-timers.
- Has an 18 lbs. fiberglass drag system
- 7.1:11 gear ratio
- Magnetic brake system prevents backlash and birds nests
- 5+1 ball bearings
- Two variants, one right-handed and one left-handed
- Can be difficult to use for first-timers
If you’re after a baitcasting reel that’ll help you catch big fish, the Piscifun Phantom Carbon is your new best friend. Its fiberglass drag system can withstand up to 18 lbs, in addition to the magnetic brake system that makes for one spectacular reel. What more could you need?
5. Pflueger President XT Low Profile
Seeking a workhorse baitcasting reel that can take a beating? Let’s introduce you to the Pflueger President XT Low Profile, one of the best low profile baitcasting reels that can be effortlessly cast without thumbing the spool, granting you a breezy fishing experience.
When you combine its lightweight with its narrow profile, you’ll get a reel that’s capable of catching salmon, bass, and more. Additionally, it has a more than decent line capacity, along with 9 ball bearings.
Moving on to the gear ratio, the Pflueger President XT Low Profile features a 7.2:1 gear ratio, which is quite fast. The 7.2 turns pull in 31 inches of line with every crank of the handle, which is more than enough to catch almost any species of fish. Not only that, but this reel is perfect for pulling up a drop shot lure.
The overall feel and design are spectacular, the handle’s length is perfect, and the placement of the knobs is excellent. They make any angler feel comfortable and relaxed.
Add to that the cork tips on the handles, alongside the fact that the handles are made of high-quality aluminum, and you have yourself a reel that’s made for comfort.
This reel’s only downside is the torque; there’s way less torque on the handles than we could’ve wished for.
- Narrow profile
- 9 ball bearings
- 7.2:1 gear ratio
- Cork tips on the handle
- Not enough torque
If you want to fish for salmon using a low-profile baitcasting rod, then definitely go for the Pflueger President XT Low Profile. It’s a powerful reel with 9 ball bearings and a 7.2:1 gear ratio. Plus, it retrieves lines effortlessly and with ease, so why not go for it?
Read also: The 5 Best Spinning Reels Under $100 in 2023
Factors to Consider Before Picking a Baitcasting Reel
Choosing a good baitcasting reel is no easy task; there are a plethora of different types, all with different features. Here are the critical elements that you need to consider before picking a baitcasting reel.
Baitcasting reels have two main designs; low profile designs and round spool designs, each with its own uses.
Low Profile Design
Low profile baitcasting reels are designed for light spin fishing; they’re lightweight and comfortable. You can use them for long periods without feeling strain or without feeling tired.
Round Spool Design
On the other hand, the round spool baitcasting reels are designed to hold more line, making them ideal for long-distance casting.
You should choose your reel’s design based on your fishing style. For instance, if you prefer light fishing where you can enjoy your reel without any fatigue or strain, you need a low profile design reel. If you want a large line capacity, then go for a round spool designed reel.
Baitcasting reels usually have one of two gear ratios, either 7.1:1 or 8.2:1. These numbers represent the spool rotation’s speed and are directly proportional relation to the gear’s ratio.
The first number indicates the number of spool rotations for every time you turn the handle, meaning that your spool rotates 7.1 or 8.2 times for each time you turn the handle. A reel with a 7.1:1 gear ratio has medium speed and is perfect for all users, while a reel with an 8.2:1 gear ratio is faster and will need more seasoned users to handle it.
Baitcasting reels utilize a brake system to prevent backlash; that’s achieved as the brake system generates tension to slow down the spool and thus preventing baitcaster bird nests. There are three main types of brake systems; centrifugal, magnetic, and combined braking systems.
Magnetic Brake Systems
They use magnets that the user can utilize before casting to apply pressure; they’re ideal when using slow spools at the cast’s ending.
Centrifugal Brake Systems
Gravity is the keyword here, as the cast’s energy engages centrifugal brakes that extend to generate pressure when starting the cast.
Combined Brake Systems
These utilize both magnets and centrifugal brakes, where the centrifugal brakes apply pressure at the cast’s beginning while the magnet does the same at its ending.
To sum up, these are the best 5 baitcasting reels under $100 you can find today, all possessing superb features and spectacular specifications. That’s why you might be confused and lose your way between them, so we’ll get to some final recommendations.
Our top pick is the Abu Garcia Revo X Low Profile, with a graphite body, lightweight and small size. Plus, it’s incredibly comfortable to use and comes with 7 stainless steel ball bearings and a pretty smooth drag system. Still, please pay attention to the placement of the side covers as they can get uncomfortable.
Our runner-up is the Lew’s Speed Spool LFS, which is all about maintenance and long shelf life, mainly due to the external lube port. Furthermore, it has ten stainless steel ball bearings, an adequate line capacity, and a frame that’s made out of a single-piece aluminum. But, it has a somewhat weak drag system, and the casting process can be noisy.
Last but not least, the Pflueger President XT Low Profile is one of the best low profile baitcasting reels. It’s lightweight, can take a beating, and has a narrow profile. Additionally, it’s comfortable as there are cork tips on the handle, and it comes with 9 ball bearings and a 7.2:1 gear ratio. However, the handle’s torque is subpar.