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Fishing is one of the world’s favorite pastimes – but unfortunately, many people assume that it’s a hobby that’s too expensive to participate in.
That’s not the case, though. You don’t have to have a ton of money in order to enjoy a fun, successful day of fishing.
While it’s important to start on the right foot by purchasing the right gear, you don’t need to break the bank in order to do so. If you’re on a budget, you should consider purchasing more affordable equipment.
This article will review the best budget spinning reels to start you off on your search.
Best Budget Spinning Reels in 2023
Last update on 2023-09-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Reasons to Buy a Spinning Reel
If you’re new to fishing, you might be wondering if a spinning reel is the way to go.
Recommended by professional and inexperienced anglers alike, these reels are popular for just about any type of fishing.
They can be mounted to a rod and held in one hand while you use your other hand to reel.
They are versatile and effective, allowing you to enjoy the ability to send a light cast – while also getting some distance on that cast.
They let you cast lighter baits with ease and they usually also have line guides that circle your spool as you reel in.
They are perfect for fishing when you want a more lightweight, agile feel. They can be used to perform a variety of more advanced casts that might not be possible with a baitcasting reel.
Top Budget Spinning Reels – Cheap Affordable Options
Top 6 Budget Spinning Reels on The Market
Pflueger President Spinning Fishing Reel
There are plenty of reasons to love the Pflueger President Spinning Reel. Not only is it lightweight and easy to maneuver, but it’s dependable and affordable, too.
This fishing reel actually comes in several sizes – 20, 25, 30, 35, and 40. Each of these sizes has a gear ratio of 5.2:1 and can handle lines of various weights.
You’ll get ten stainless steel ball bearings (each of which is corrosion resistant) along with a sealed drag system.
Plus, this budget spinning reel comes with a braid-ready spool, mounted on a graphite body & rotor for lightweight functionality.
What I love about this spinning reel is that it’s affordable and it’s also durable so you don’t have to spend a ton of money in the long term.
When you’re shopping for a fishing reel, always remember to look at how often you are going to need to replace it (or even if you are going to need to replace it)
This is just as important as the sticker price of the reel.
- A portable option that can be taken with you on backwoods trips
- Corrosion-resistant features allow it to work well in saltwater
- Durable and lightweight
- A great budget spinning reel option.
- Lines have been known to twist
Abu Garcia Revo X Spinning Fishing Reel
The Abu Garcia Revo is a classic spinning reel that has undergone multiple transformations in recent years.
One of the most updated models, the Revo X, has a ton of features you’re sure to love – without cutting into your budget.
This affordable reel has a sleek, all-black finish and a ton of helpful features. Some of these are standard to the Revo line of products, while others have only recently been introduced.
For example, you’ll get a C6 carbon body and insert molded X-Craftic gearbox. The handle is made out of graphite, too, so you don’t have to worry about the durability of this reel.
At just 8.3 ounces, it’s one of the most lightweight reels you will find. It comes in multiple sizes and has a machined spool to which it is easy to attach braided lines.
It casts well – and casts evenly – for a solid day of fishing, even when you’re shopping on a budget.
- Has 6+1 stainless steel bearings with corrosion resistance
- Has a lightweight graphite rotor
- Superior rocket line management system
- A bit heavier than some other Revo models
Abu Garcia Orra S Spinning Fishing Reel
You don’t have to shell out hundreds of dollars to find a high-quality budget spinning reel – in fact, this one is one of the most affordable options you’re going to find.
The Abu Garcia Orra is a premium reel at a budget price. It has a molded frame design that is specifically engineered for lightweight and tight tolerance alignment.
It has a seamless appearance and a unique rocket line management system that will help you better control your line.
It also comes with a hybrid carbon matrix drag system that’s strong, smooth, and reliable. It can be spooled with 8lb fluorocarbon or 15lb braided line.
If those configurations don’t work for you, there are several other sizes available, too.
The reel comes with 6+1 stainless steel bearings that operate smoothly and effectively. This reel is lightweight and durable – you won’t be disappointed.
- Has a reliable Everlast bail system
- Smooth and consistent drag with the Carbon Matrix system
- Has 6+1 corrosion-resistant bearings
- Some users complain about the bail quality
Okuma Avenger Freshwater Spinning Reel
Another budget spinning reel for you to consider is the Okuma Avenger. This reel is available in multiple sizes, each of which is equipped to handle various amounts of line (as little as 65 yards of 6 lb in the 1000 model but as much as 270 yards of 20 lb in the 10000 model).
It includes a Japanese oiled felt drag system that is multi-disc, along with a quick-set anti-reverse roller bearing.
You’ll love the six ball bearings and the one roller bearing that offers smooth retrieve and performance, too.
It has a lightweight build yet is still sturdy. The reel is made with revolutionary CFR, or Cyclonic Flow Rotor, technology.
This creates a unique cyclone-like airflow within the reel that helps the reel dry out faster. This makes it one of the best for saltwater fishing, as the components aren’t as likely to become corroded.
For reels that won’t cost you an arm and a leg, this one really can’t be beat. It has everything you could possibly want for a successful day of fishing.
- Offers an impressive casting distance
- One of the best budget spinning reels for saltwater fishing
- Has a quick-set anti-reverse roller bearing to reduce friction and backlash
- Can be difficult to switch handle
Okuma Inspira Carbon Frame Lightweight Spinning Reel
If you’re looking for one of the best affordable spinning reels for both saltwater and freshwater use, look no further than the Okuma Inspire.
It has a solid carbon frame that adds to its strength yet doesn’t add to its sticker price. It comes in multiple sizes, 20, 30, and 40, so you are sure to find the reel that works best for your rod and fishing style.
The 30 is generally recommended for most freshwater fishing settings.
It’s designed with carbon side plates and has a rigid carbon frame. It also has an aluminum spool and handle. That’s right – no plastic.
It comes with a precision weight disc, which helps balance out your bail and rotor so you don’t experience a wobbly, unsteady retrieve.
It also has a progressive carbon fiber drag system – you’ll love how easy it is to set your drag.
- Available in multiple sizes
- All metal construction
- Rigid rear yoke reduces twisting and flexing
- Doesn’t come with extra spool
Pflueger Supreme Spinning Fishing Reel
Yes, another option by Pflueger! This reel is another one that you’re sure to love. It is built with a magnesium frame, which is a material that is generally reserved for only high-end reels.
Despite its high-end construction, this reel remains one of the most affordable and budget-friendly options you can buy.
It is lightweight and easy to use. It has a stainless steel drag stack of oil and felt along with a carbon inlay.
This helps to seal the drag against damage and corrosion, making it one of the top spinning reels for saltwater fishing.
The Pflueger Supreme also has an excellent line capacity (160-200 yards of 10-20lb braid, depending on the model) and a good retrieval rate. It is smooth, durable, reliable, and of course, affordable.
- Comes in several sizes
- Offers consistent drag pressure
- Aluminum handle is made out of aircraft-grade aluminum for added durability
- Doesn’t cast as far as some of the other budget spinning reels on this list
What to Consider When Shopping for a Budget Spinning Reel
Before you even start shopping around for a budget spinning reel, you should think carefully about what kinds of fish you intend to go after.
This will determine how much line your spool needs to hold.
For example, if you are going after large fish species (like those in the ocean) you are going to want to invest in a spinning reel with an extensive line capacity so that your reel can hold up well to the challenge of a battle with a big fish.
However, if you’re going after a little guy, line capacity may not be as important.
Pay close attention to the spool quality on your spinning reel. The spool is where your line will be contained, and believe it or not, not all spools are built alike.
Generally, the quality of the spool will determine the line capacity. Line capacity refers to how much line you can hold.
If you’re fishing in a small body of freshwater, like in a river, it may not matter much. But if you plan on heading out on saltwater, line capacity is incredibly important.
A big fish can easily run away with your line when you’re fishing in a large body of water – and the ocean definitely qualifies as big!
Drag is a term that refers to how much tension you have added or removed to your line.
It needs to be adjustable for maximum convenience and versatility, but unfortunately, many spinning reels don’t have that feature.
You’ll find reels with both rear and front drag adjustment. In general, front adjustment is easier to use and will also allow you to reel in super large fish with ease.
A front adjusted drag tends to be more powerful. Since it has a larger surface area, you will have an easier time controlling fish on the other side of your line.
Affordability – Don’t always go For The Cheapest
When you’re shopping for a new spinning reel, affordability is an important factor. Luckily, finding the best spinning reels under $100 is not a difficult feat.
There are plenty of affordable options out there. Look around and find out which one is most suited for you.
However, just because a spinning reel is under $100 doesn’t mean you should always choose a cheap one. Don’t compromise on the features that matter most to you.
Chances are, you’ll be able to find a reel that meets your list of desired features along with your specific budgetary restrictions.
Consider what kind of water you plan on fishing in. If you are planning on fishing in tough cover or saltwater, you must find a reel that is durable and built well.
Saltwater can take a toll on a reel, leading it to become inefficient (and ineffective) after multiple uses.
Look for a reel with corrosion-resistant features and make sure you clean it well after each use, even if it’s rated to be used in saltwater.
While finding a budget-friendly reel is important, you won’t be saving much money if you have to replace the reel every time it comes into contact with saltwater!
The bearings of your spinning reel are super important. Not only do these elements play a direct role in the lifespan of your reel, but they also control aspects of your fishing experience like stealth and comfort.
Poorly built bearings can be noisy and produce lots of friction or vibration. This can not only startle the fish but can also make for an uncomfortable day of fishing.
In general, the more bearings a reel has, the better.
However, you also need to make sure that the bearings your reel has are corrosion-resistant and made out of high-quality materials, especially if you are planning on using your reel in saltwater.
The handle quality of your reel is important both for functionality and for comfort.
While some spinning reel handles can be held with your right hand and reeled with the left, some are reversible. This will let you switch up what side your reel is on.
That may not sound like a very noteworthy feature, but if you are ambidextrous or like to switch up your hands while fishing, it’s vital.
It can also cut down on the discomfort and fatigue you experience while out there on the water.
Weight and Materials
Unfortunately, reel weight is a feature that manufacturers often skimp on when it comes to manufacturing budget spinning reels – it’s the first to go when they start trying to lower costs.
However, just because a reel is affordable doesn’t mean it needs to be a tank. Look for a reel built with materials that are optimized for weight.
Check the ounces listed on the reel description – there are plenty of options that weigh less than 10 oz.
The materials used in your reel are also important. Look for those made out of metal components, like graphite, aluminum, or composite – and try to avoid plastic as much as possible.
Don’t be a tough guy and overlook the importance of being comfortable during a long day of fishing!
You need to make sure your budget spinning reel of choice is not only easy for you to use (cross those cumbersome, awkward options off the list) but also comfortable.
A reel with an ergonomic handle (often made out of materials like EVA foam or other soft materials) and convenient design is best.
You may also want to look for a reel with adjustable features and if you can, give it a try before you decide to buy. This will give you a good idea of whether the reel is right for you.
Is a Budget Spinning Reel Right For Me?
Spinning reels can be used by anyone – and I do mean anyone. It doesn’t matter what your budget, lifestyle, or age might be. These reels offer the potential for a dynamic day of fishing with very little upfront cost to you.
Spinning reels are often more popular than baitcasting reels for many settings. This kind of reels don’t easily backlash, like a baitcasting reel, and they’re also lightweight, agile, and versatile.
Professionals love spinning reels for their versatility and functionality. You can accurately cast with a spinning reel, and you can find all kinds of premium models available.
However, if you’re an amateur angler – or buying a reel for an older child or someone else who is new to fishing – spinning reels are also the way to go.
If you’re new to fishing, the key is to invest in a lower-cost reel. That way, you can practice with a specific model before you work your way up to more advanced features.
When it comes to the best budget spinning reel, your options aren’t limited by your pocketbook. Consider picking up one of these affordable buys today!