The market is currently overflooded with spinning reels, for how perfect they are for both seasoned anglers and new ones. Not to mention, they’re ideal for catching small to medium fish. Yet, just like anything else, there’s quite a broad price range of spinning reels.
However, today we’ll be discussing the best spinning reels under $100 for all fishers on a budget. Don’t think that because these reels cost less than $100, they’re of low quality or don’t perform well enough. That’s far from accurate, and we’re about to show you how.
At a Glance:
- Daiwa BG2500 BG
- Daiwa Bg
- KastKing Sharky III
- Penn Battle II
- Daiwa Exceler LT EXLT2500D-XH
The 5 Best Spinning Reels Under $100 in 2021
Now, without further ado, let’s get to our five spinning reels under $100 to help you catch all the trouts and catfish that you could dream of.
1. Daiwa BG2500 BG
The Daiwa BG2500 BG is incredibly constructed, making it as robust and durable as ever, which is why it easily made it to the top of this list.
The reel’s whole body is made out of Carbon ATD, which makes it completely waterproof. Plus, it has a hard-core metal that acts as an exterior shield. Add to that the slanted side-blades and rotor, and you’ve got yourself one of the toughest, most durable, and most water-resistant spinning reels.
This model comes with anti-reversal handles with a single roller bearing, granting the rotor and the gear a strong switching effect that makes them rigid and robust during line retrieval. Consequently, the reel is capable of stopping the rotor instantly, which guarantees you a much smoother line retrieval process and makes cranking more worthwhile and efficient.
As for the bearings, they have a gutter system that prevents slippage while ensuring that you can efficiently drag your catch to you.
When it comes to the casting distance, this reel can be easily used to catch salmon while standing on the shore. It’s compatible with smooth line-lay with a range of up to 33 inches per cast.
The only downside to this otherwise excellent spinning reel is its weight. It’s heavy compared to other reels; however, that doesn’t take a single thing away from it.
What We Like:
- Body made out of Carbon ATD
- Hard-core metal acts as an exterior shield
- Anti-reversal handles
- Gutter system in the bearings prevents slippage
- Compatible with smooth line-lay
- Long casting distance
What We Don’t Like:
The Daiwa BG2500 BG is a water-resistant spinning reel made out of Carbon ATD that ensures you nothing short of durability. Plus, it has anti-reversal handles that prevent the handles from going backward and a gutter system that prevents slippage. Could it get better?
2. Daiwa Bg
Yet another spinning reel by Daiwa, the Bg boasts incredible water and corrosion-resistant qualities. Its entire body is made out of machined aluminum, which awards it with a robust build and a long lifespan.
The reel’s water-resistant capabilities come in the form of a waterproof carbon drag system with a 5.6:1 gear ratio and 6 high-quality ball bearings. The drag system is immensely strong, and it makes you feel comfortable when using it. Besides, it gives you the ability to make subtle and minor tunings during your tug-of-war with your prized catch.
We’re also big fans of this spinning reel’s anti-reverse system that prevents the handles from going backward. Plus, the spool handles both the monofilament line and braided line with equal smoothness and efficiency.
One of our additional favorite features of the Daiwa Bg is its ability to be used in both saltwater and freshwater. It’s made for use in inshore saltwater, and it’s among the top spinning reels when it comes to that. Nonetheless, its performance doesn’t falter one bit if it’s used in freshwater.
It’s also worth mentioning that this reel comes in seven sizes that you can choose from, each with different specifications to suit different fishers. Some of them also come with additional features, like the Air Rotor and the Twistbuster II.
On the downside, the bail wire requires frequent lubrication, and if you’re a beginner, we advise you to steer clear of the larger sizes as they’ll be too complicated and hard to handle.
What We Like:
- Made from machined aluminum
- Waterproof drag system
- Anti-reverse system
- Spool handles both braided and monofilament line
- Can be used in saltwater and freshwater
- Comes in many sizes
What We Don’t Like:
- Large sizes aren’t suitable for beginners
- The bail wire needs constant lubrication
The Daiwa Bg is an excellent spinning reel with a waterproof drag system, anti-reverse system, and offered in multiple sizes. However, large sizes are more suitable for seasoned anglers and expect to lubricate the bail wire frequently.
3. KastKing Sharky III
The KastKing Sharky III’s most prominent feature is its K.I.S.S protection system for the whole reel (KastKing Intrusion Shield System), a feature strictly exclusive to KastKing. So, with this reel, the rotor, spool, and body are protected, enabling them to be dust and water-resistant and increasing the reel’s lifespan in the process.
Moving on, the Sharky III comes with ten double-shielded ball bearings made out of high-quality stainless steel. They’ll make fishing a breeze and will help you in catching big catches.
And if you’re worried about your line getting tangled when fishing, this reel boasts an anti-twist line roller to prevent that. Braided lines tend to get tangled more often than not; therefore, the anti-twist roller will come in handy and will allow you to keep your hands dry.
No matter the water terrain you’ll be fishing in, this spinning reel has got you covered from a local pond to an ocean. It can easily withstand challenging weather conditions and even saltwater, so you don’t have to worry about either rust or corrosion eating away at it.
Moreover, the grips are high-density EVA ones, meaning that they’re comfortable and easy to control. No matter how wet your hand, you’ll never lose grip of these handles.
When it comes to sizes, the Sharky III comes in five different ones. From 1000 to 5000, there’s a reel for every angler. Plus, this reel can catch fish that weigh up to 39.5 lbs.
One of the underwhelming things about this reel is its line retrieval, though. It’s not as smooth as we’d have liked – you may face some bumps while retrieving your line.
What We Like:
- K.I.S.S reel protection system
- Ten high-quality stainless steel ball bearings
- Anti-twist line roller
- Can be used in any water terrain
- High-density EVA handles
- Comes in five different sizes
What We Don’t Like:
- Line retrieval isn’t smooth
If you’re looking for a reel to use in any water type, the Sharky III is your new fishing buddy. Backed by the K.I.S.S system and being water and corrosion-resistant, you can’t go wrong with this one. Plus, it has comfortable high-density EVA handles and an anti-twist line roller that’ll stop the line from being tangled. So, what more do you need?
4. Penn Battle II
If what you need is the ultimate saltwater spinning reel, look no further than the Penn Battle II. Its strength, durability, and ease of use make it the perfect reel for catching large saltwater species like Grouper, the mighty Jack Crevalle, and the Snapper.
When it comes to line retrieval, this spinning reel stands out amongst its peers; the line is extremely easy to pull. Additionally, the stainless steel ball bearings will prevent the wire from being tangled, so you’ll have a tangle-free and trouble-free fishing experience.
Furthermore, the reel’s body is made out of durable aluminum that contributes to its water-resistance and lifespan, along with a bail wire made out of aluminum. As for the drag system, it’s constructed out of carbon fiber, which makes it light, more comfortable to control, and contributes to the whole process being smoother and sturdier.
Nonetheless, the Penn Battle II still has some cons. For instance, it’s heavy, which makes it hard to use for long periods. Also, it’s relatively larger than its peers; its size combined with its weight may cause wrist or arm fatigue. Lastly, it’s more oriented towards seasoned anglers, so we don’t recommend this for first-timers or beginners.
What We Like:
- Robust aluminum construction
- Smooth line retrieval
- Powerful enough to catch Groupers
- Perfect for saltwater fishing
- Stainless steel ball bearings
- Carbon fiber drag system
What We Don’t Like:
- Not suitable for beginners
If you’re a seasoned angler with strong arms and wrists and want to catch large saltwater species, go for the Penn Battle II. Its stainless steel ball-bearings and carbon fiber drag system combined with its aluminum body make it ideal for saltwater fishing.
5. Daiwa Exceler LT EXLT2500D-XH
Our final spinning reel of the day is the Daiwa Exceler LT EXLT2500D-XH, an ambidextrous one that we’ve come to appreciate since not many reels give you the option of using them with either left or right hands.
In terms of construction, this reel has a light carbon housing material, which increases its durability, and contributes to its overall weight. This makes it more lightweight and perfect for use over long periods.
The handle has a screw-in design, and it’s made out of machined aluminum. It’s incredibly comfortable to grab, and you won’t feel tired or experience any wrist or finger strain if you use it for a long time. Furthermore, the handle’s end has a soft rubber grip that grants you a nearly seamless connection between the grip and your fingers.
This reel is all about comfort, and some of the main contributing features to your overall comfort are the airbail and the air rotor. Combine the airbail with the air rotor, and you’ll get excellent durability, smoothness, and comfort. That’s all due to the air rotor’s design, which weighs less and distributes stress and pressure throughout the reel more effectively.
Even though we’re talking about the 2500 model, it always pays dividends to know that there are 4 sizes and 5 models. Of course, when picking a larger model, you increase the reel’s weight.
Another great feature that this reel possesses is the Digigear Digital gear design; this unique design exclusive to Daiwa reels provides the reel with unparalleled smoothness when cranking along with immense strength when setting the hook.
On the other hand, this reel is more suited for freshwater fishing only. Its components don’t fare well with saltwater.
What We Like:
- Ambidextrous reel
- Light carbon housing
- Screw-in handle with a soft rubber grip
- Air rotor and airbail
- Digigear Digital gear design
What We Don’t Like:
- Not suitable for saltwater fishing
If you need a freshwater reel that’s all about comfort, go for the Daiwa Exceler LT EXLT2500D-XH. Its Digigear Digital gear design alongside the airbail and air rotor makes it very comfortable and immensely strong.
How to Buy Spinning Reels
Now that we’re done reviewing these spectacular models, it’s time that we become familiar with the specifications and features that we looked for in every spinning reel.
The reel’s ball bearings need to be of high quality as they ease your use and provide you with smoother operation and gentler line retrieval. Many anglers tend to think that the higher the number of ball bearings, the more quality you’ll obtain. That might be true, but it’s not the norm; a reel with 8 low-quality ball bearings won’t be up to your standards.
The drag system controls the line’s speed when going through the spool. Choosing the drag system falls entirely to your liking, where a lower or a loose drag system makes the line move faster and easier through the spool. In contrast, a tighter or higher drag system will make the line move through the spool with more difficulty.
We previously mentioned that choosing a drag system is entirely your choice, but we advise you to select a more loose drag system due to them making the line move faster and more efficiently.
Anti-reverse handles or anti-reverse switches are a feature that’s being implemented in newer spinning reels. What are their uses, you might wonder? They’re used in conjunction with the drag system to prevent the handle from spinning backward, making your hook more rigid.
They’re perfect for whenever you want to take on some massive fish and are worried about your handle slipping and moving backward. The anti-reverse handles will prevent your handle from doing that.
Fishing requires patience; that’s why you’ll need a comfortable reel that’s ergonomically designed. Also, consider whether you want a right-handed or left-handed reel. If you need both, go for ambidextrous reels.
There you have it – those are the best spinning reels under $100 you can find today. All of them are top-quality spinning reels with spectacular features and even better specifications. So, now, let’s get down to some recommendations.
If what you seek is the absolute best, then go for the Daiwa BG2500 BG. It has a carbon ATD body, a hard-core metal that acts as an exterior shield, and a long casting distance. Not to mention, it’s waterproof and can be used in both saltwater and freshwater. Still, be wary of its weight as it’s somewhat heavy.
If what worries you the most is your line getting tangled, then the KastKing Sharky III is the reel for you. It has an anti-twist line roller that prevents your line from being tangled, plus the K.I.S.S reel protection system and its high-density EVA handles that offer maximum comfort. Nevertheless, the line retrieval isn’t exactly smooth.
Finally, if what you’re searching for is comfort, go for the Daiwa Exceler LT EXLT2500D-XH. It’s ambidextrous, features a screw-in handle with soft rubber grips, and boasts the Digigear Digital gear design. Unfortunately, it isn’t suitable for saltwater fishing, though.