Spinning reels are almost the most common and sold fishing reels in the world today, mainly due to their straightforward simplicity. Moreover, they represent a middle ground between the complexity of baitcasters and the primitiveness of spincasting reels.
Not to mention, they come in all shapes, designs, and prices, so you’re bound to find something that ticks all your boxes. Today, we’ll discuss the five best spinning reels under $50, which is great if you’re on a budget.
|Model||Weight||Drag||Gear Ratio||Ball Bearings|
|Pflueger President||6.2-11.5 oz||6-14 lbs||5.2:1||7-10|
|Okuma Ceymar||5.9 oz||5 lbs||5.0:1||7+1|
|Pflueger Trion||6.3-11.3 oz||6-14 lbs||5.2:4, 5.2.1, 5.2:2||7|
|Mitchell 300||9.9 oz||14 lbs||5.1:1||7+1|
|PENN Pursuit III||9.8-29.1 oz||10-25 lbs||6.2:1, 5.6:1, 5.3:1||4+1|
The 5 Best Spinning Reels Under $50 in 2021
Now that we’re done scanning the technicalities of our top picks, let’s jump right into the detailed reviews that we’ve prepared for you.
1. Pflueger President – Best Overall
Our first spinning reel is by one of the pioneers of the fishing industry, Pflueger, and that’s partially why this model surpasses all expectations given its below $50 price tag.
Firstly, the Pflueger President is made out of stainless steel, including the ball bearings and the reverse bearing. According to the size you prefer, you can have 7 to 10 ball bearings. On the other hand, the gear ratio is the same for all models, 5.2:1, which is moderate and helps you retrieve your catch victoriously.
Adding to that convenience and flexibility, this spinning reel’s handle is ambidextrous, allowing you to use both hands in whichever position.
The whole reel can weigh between 6.2 and 11.5 oz according to the size, but either way, although it’s not the lightest on our list, it remains pretty light. Similarly, the oil-felt drag system can have a maximum anywhere between 6 and 14 lbs, which is pretty impressive. You won’t have any trouble holding or moving it.
It’s also constructed out of aircraft-grade aluminum, so it won’t break on you and is entirely corrosion-resistant.
Moreover, it enjoys the Soft Touch technology, which lessens friction between the hand and handle. Plus, the handle is dimpled, which enhances the grip that you have on it. On that note, the spool is braid-ready thanks to the specially designed grommets holding the lie in its place without any exterior help.
The concerns that come with the Pflueger President include the lines’ susceptibility to twisting every now and then, requiring you to untwist them manually, and the fact that it’s not designed for saltwater adventures.
- Corrosion-resistant ball bearings
- Anti-reverse bearing
- Braid-ready spool
- Oil-felt 6-14 lbs drag system
- Soft-touch dimpled aircraft-grade aluminum handle
- Sure-Click heavy-duty bail
- The line is prone to twisting
The Pflueger President is an excellent spinning reel with 7 to 10 ball bearings, a soft touch aircraft aluminum handle that can be fixed on either side, and a graphite inner built for the lightness of weight. There’s hardly anything to complain about when it comes to this reel!
2. Okuma Ceymar – Runner-Up
The Okuma Ceymar is next in line, bringing an impressive package of options and features to this competition. Precisely, that package entails the perfect balance between lightweights and durability.
This reel weighs between 5.9 and 10.5 oz. Consequently, it’s super easy to cast and retrieve without enduring too much pressure. Simultaneously, the graphite rotor and frame are highly durable, so it’ll take some significant damage for them to show any signs of wear and tear.
Moreover, it boasts seven ball bearings in addition to one anti-reverse bearing and an oiled-felt multi-disc drag system with a maximum of 5 lbs. Another impressive detail that has been added to the drag system is the clicking dial, which allows you to keep track of your drag adjustment.
Lastly, we’ll talk about the handle, which is ergonomically designed, ambidextrous, and constructed out of EVA foam, boosting the stability of your grip quite a few notches.
Sadly, this doesn’t help with the gear ratio, which stands at only 5.0:1, so the retrieval rate might be a little too slow for some avid fishermen. Besides, this reel too isn’t suitable for saltwater sport.
- EVA foam coated handle
- Graphite rotor and frame
- Adjustable clicking drag dial
- Anti-reverse bearing
- Multi-disc drag system
- Suitable for freshwater only
- 5.0:1 gear ratio
The Okuma Ceymar will take any beating that comes its way. Be it transportation, storage, the fishing itself, being dropped into muddy, dirty water; nothing will hinder the smoothness of its performance thanks to its extra light and sturdy graphite frame.
3. Pflueger Trion – Budget Pick
Although we’re looking at spinning reels that are all under $50, the Pflueger Trion is even more budget-friendly. So, as long as you’re experienced, pair it up with a good rod, and enjoy.
We say experienced because the Pflueger Trion can be a bit complicated, especially the handle, which is attached by having it aligned perfectly with the reel and twisting it clockwise until it clicks. That’s unlike other handles that are attached by using a knob on the other side. On that note, the removable handle is entirely made out of aluminum, so it can take quite the beating.
As for the technicalities of this reel, it has an overall stainless steel build, allowing for longevity and high tolerance, partnered with a graphite rotor, giving the reel much-needed lightness of weight at 6.3-11.3 oz.
Furthermore, the Pflueger Trion comes with seven ball bearings, including an anti-reverse one, in addition to a gear ratio of either 5.2:4, 5.2;1, or 5.2:2.
Let’s talk about the clicking bail, which alerts you to whether it’s closed or opened and is designed with a beveled edge. This edge allows the line to leave the reel smoothly and without any knots or tangles.
The maximum capacity of the drag system depends on the model, ranging between 6 and 14 lbs. Yet, all reels come with the same basics; a stainless steel oiled-felt multi-disc drag system offers just enough tug without overdoing it.
- Stainless steel, oiled-felt multi-disc drag system
- Seven ball bearings
- Anti-reverse bearing
- Steel build
- Graphite rotor
- Removable aluminum handle
- Clicking bail with a beveled edge
- Suitable for freshwater only
- A bit complicated to use
If you’re seeking a spinning reel with a great drag system, seven ball bearings, a removable handle, a beveled bail, and so much more without breaking the bank, then the Pflueger Trion is the perfect choice for you.
4. Mitchell 300 – Best Bail
The Mitchell 300 comes with a sleek modern design that’s bound to catch your eye. What’s more, although it may appear quite compact, it houses incredible power and sturdiness.
One of the main contributors to this strength is its bail designed with the Halo technology, which focuses on the core of the bail. So no matter how much pressure is applied, it’ll never bend or squeeze. Hence, every cast and retrieve will be extra smooth.
The Mitchell 300 doesn’t stop there; it boasts a polymeric construction, making it more robust than any singular metal. The inside’s body is made out of carbon fiber, granting it stability and lightness in equal measures.
Additionally, the spool isn’t just made out of aluminum; it’s double-anodized aluminum, making it extra corrosion-resistant. Moreover, it comes with seven ball bearings plus an anti-reverse bearing and a multi-disc drag system with a maximum of 14 lbs for equal pressure distribution.
The Mitchell 300 has a moderate weight of 9.9 oz and an EVA foam covered handle. Logically, all of these amazing qualities don’t come for free, which is why the Mitchell 300 is a bit more expensive than our other listings.
- Halo bail
- 14 lbs adjustable drag system
- Polymeric build
- Double anodized aluminum spool
- EVA foam covered pad
- Seven ball bearings
- One anti-reverse bearing
- Carbon fiber body
- Quite too small
- A bit pricey
If you want a reel that’ll be there for life and you’re financially capable of spending a bit more, the Mitchell 300 is a great option with its polymeric construction, carbon fiber body, double anodized aluminum spool, and Halo bail.
5. PENN Pursuit III – Best Drag System
Our last entry for today is the PENN Pursuit III. This reel comes with a top-notch HT-100 carbon-fiber oiled-felt drag system, whether you go with the smallest or the biggest size. Plus, it comes in six sizes, so you’ll have a maximum capacity between 10 and 25 lbs, all of which are pretty great.
According to the size you choose, you could have a gear ratio of either 6.2;1, 5.6:1, or 5.3:1, which are all entirely adequate for any kind of fishing you would like to practice.
Additionally, other factors contribute to this on-point performance, including the four ball bearings and one and anti-reverse bearing, which are all made out of stainless steel and shielded completely.
This paves a very sturdy way towards having this reel work with saltwater. That’s impressive since it’s the first reel we’ve encountered that can do that. Another aspect that helps with saltwater exposure is the anodized machined aluminum super-line spool, which also enjoys line capacity rings.
Sadly, the PENN Pursuit II is a bit too heavy at 9.8 to 29.1 oz; however, the graphite body takes the brunt off that number slightly.
- HT-100 carbon fiber 10-25 lbs drag system
- Four + one shielded stainless steel ball bearings
- Graphite body
- Anodized machined aluminum super-line spool
- Line capacity rings
- Six different sizes
- Suitable for beginners
- Saltwater approved
- Relatively heavy
Whether you’re an avid angler or a beginner, prefer salt or fresh water, or you’re going for the catch of a lifetime or just a daily outing, the PENN Pursuit II will always have your back.
How to Pick a Spinning Reel
Here’s what you need to consider when picking the best spinning reel for you – keep these in mind while you take your pick!
The structure and build of a spinning reel must be your first deciding factor. Plus, you need to correlate it with your budget and your target fishing space.
You’ll find reels made of all kinds of metals; stainless steel, aluminum, titanium, and polymeric reels.
Each one of them has its own merits, from strength to durability, all the way to lightness and precision. Always try to go for anti-corrosion reels that won’t ever rust. That’ll give you the freedom of fishing whenever you want, wherever you want.
The drag system explained in simple words would be “the counter-pressure applied against your catch as it runs away.” So, if you overdo it with the drag system setting, your line will most probably snap, and you’ll lose your catch.
On the other hand, if you underdo it, then the line will be too loose, and the catch will again escape. So, whenever you’re looking for fishing reels, search for an accurately adjustable drag system that’s completely sealed.
If you’re someone who goes for big catches, try to go for the highest maximum drag capacity possible to have the freedom even to adjust it while you’re fighting your fish.
The handle is one of the essential parts of a reel as you’ll be gripping onto your rod with one hand, and all of your energy will be going into steering that handle with the other.
That’s why it has to be ergonomically designed. EVA foam is always a great option to prevent calluses and injuries on your hands.
Besides, you must keep in mind that people are either right-handed or left-handed, so going for an ambidextrous handle will eliminate that point’s pressure.
Bail and Spool
Fishing is the process of casting and retrieval. The guard to these two actions is the bail, so it has to undergo a lot of pressure every day. That’s why you should invest in a high-quality bail that won’t bend or snap over time.
An example of that is the Halo bail that we’ve mentioned with the Mitchell 300 reel. Also, when the bail has a beveled lip, it allows the line to go out without facing any tangles or knots.
The school, on the other hand, is where the line goes. No matter what line you’re using, try to go for a braid-ready spool, as it has a better grip anyway, thanks to the grommets.
Plus, since it’s an exposed part of the reel, try to have it as protected as possible. An aluminum spool is always preferred as it’s naturally anti-corrosion and having it analyzed or double anodized is undoubtedly a plus.
As you can see, finding the best spinning reel for under $50 isn’t an impossible task. Since spinning reels have been around for so long, the market is chock-full of them. To wrap up, here are our final recommendations.
Our top pick is the Pflueger President. This reel is an excellent choice, thanks to many factors. Mainly, its oiled-felt seal has a 6-14 lbs drag system, tri-coated spool lip, short click heavy-duty bail, and last but not least, corrosion-resistant ball bearings.
Our next recommendation is our runner-up, the Okuma Ceymar, and this one comes with an EVA coated ergonomically designed handle for maximum comfort. That’s in addition to its graphite rotor and frame for durability and lightness of weight, plus its multi-disc drag system with a maximum of 5 lbs.
Lastly, our budget pick is the Pflueger Trion. This fantastic spinning reel boasts seven ball bearings, including an anti-reverse one, a titanium roller, a clicking bail with a beveled edge for smooth lines every time, and a super-strong steel build.