3 Best Spinning Reels for the Money in 2019

If you're shopping for a new workhorse spinning reel and want to make sure your dollars are well spent, this article showcases three of the best spinning reels for the money that are currently available. And if you're not sure what makes a good spinning reel, we've included some insights that will bring you up to speed.

What to Look for in a Spinning Reel

Regardless of fishing style, favorite species, or experience level, every angler should have at least one spinning reel in their gear collection. Spinning reels are reliable, easy to use, and get the job done when a big fish takes your bait.

Although spinning reels are relatively simple machines, there are a few key components that make some spinning reels better than others.

Here are three things to keep in mind when shopping for a spinning reel...

Bearing Count

The bearings in a spinning reel keep the reel spinning and cranking smooth whether retrieving a lure or reeling in a fish. Generally, the more bearings a spinning reel has the smoother it is and the more it costs.

Aiming to purchase a spinning reel with the highest bearing count you can afford is a good approach, but you should also take into consideration the type of bearings used.

The best spinning reels, especially those designed for use in saltwater, have either shielded or fully sealed ball bearings that keep damaging saltwater and contaminants out. While fully sealed bearings are the best, they are generally found on expensive high-end reels. Shielded bearings will perform exceptionally well, even in saltwater, as long as you try not to dunk your reel and rinse it with freshwater after every use.

Drag Strength

Basically, the bigger and faster the fish you're after, the more drag strength your reel must have. If you primarily chase largemouth bass, a reel with up to 15 pounds of drag will suit you well. If you go after larger species, or if you do a lot of trolling, a reel with a heavier drag is essential.

All of the reels on our list have very strong drags, especially given their affordable price.

Corrosion Resistance

Finally, look at how corrosion resistant a spinning reel is — especially if you plan on fishing in saltwater. Saltwater can get into the nooks and crannies of a reel and corrode away any materials that are not corrosion-resistant.

If you only plan on fishing freshwater lakes and rivers, corrosion resistance isn't as big of a deal. That said, get a reel with some level of corrosion resistance and you won't have to worry about your reel rusting, no matter what conditions you fish.

Best Spinning Reels for the Money

1. Penn Fierce 2

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You can always count on Penn to deliver reels of incredible value, and that holds true with the Penn Fierce 2.

This reel is a new-and-improved version of the ever faithful Fierce 1 and has several updated features that make it one heck of a reel for the price.

An all aluminum body, spool, and handle make the Fierce 2 rigid and tough.

You really want a rigid reel when fighting sizable fish, as a good fish can put tremendous stress on a reel and cause it to torque. A super-thick bail wire gives the Fierce 2 additional durability, which comes in handy if — more like when — you drop it on the deck of your boat.

The Penn Fierce 2 can be used for both freshwater and saltwater, but take note that its five ball bearings are only shielded and not fully sealed. As long as you don't make a habit of dunking the reel in saltwater, it should be okay — especially if you rinse it with freshwater after every use.

With eight reel sizes to choose from (1000 to 8000), there's a Penn Fierce 2 that will reel in just about anything you hook into from bass and walleye to redfish and stripers.

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One of the smoothest, toughest, and best bang-for-your-buck reels currently on the market is the Daiwa BG spinning reel. Totally revamped, the new version of this iconic reel is equipped to handle everything from casting giant lures for musky to chugging big topwaters for ferocious jacks.

The first thing you'll notice about the new Daiwa BG is how smooth it is. This buttery feel comes from a combination of several parts: the stout, anodized machined aluminum body, spool, and handle; the over-sized digitally cut gear system; and seven stainless steel ball bearings.

The Daiwa BG is available in nine sizes from the 1500 with a max drag of 4.4 pounds to the 8000 with a max drag of 33 pounds. So, whether you're looking for a sweet new reel for your new crappie rod or in need of something bigger to pair with your surf rod, the Daiwa BG is hands down one of the best spinning reels for the money.

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When you think of high-quality spinning reels, KastKing isn't the first name that comes to mind.

But this company has been cranking out solid reels with an emphasis on value since 2011, and the Triton Dualis is one that shouldn't be overlooked.

What sets the Triton Dualis apart is its two-speed system that gives you the option to shift the reel into either a high or low gear ratio.

The low gear offers more torque for fishing larger bait and hefting in bigger fish, whereas the high gear is better for vertical jigging or high-speed topwater techniques.

It's like you get two spinning reels for the price of one.

A graphite body keeps the Triton Dualis lightweight, while a machined aluminum spool and handle gives the reel plenty of backbone to horse in big fish. Carbon fiber drag washers provide up to 22 pounds of smooth, reliable drag pressure on the largest size reel (5000), and 10 shielded stainless steel ball bearings keep the reel running smooth.

The Triton Dualis is approved for saltwater use, but since the body isn't sealed and the bearings aren't fully sealed, it's best to give it a good rinse after fishing in saltwater. Other than that, it has plenty of muscle and line capacity to handle big fish whether in freshwater or salt.


Thanks to fishing reel technology that gets better and better every year, anglers now have tons of options when shopping for the best spinning reels for the money. The three reels we've recommended here each offer something different in terms of form and function, but chances are you'll be happy with anyone you choose.

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