Best Saltwater Spinning Reels Under $100: Reviews and Buyer’s Guide
If you plan to do some serious saltwater fishing, it is paramount to have a good quality fishing reel. Typically, there are two major types of fishing reels you can choose from. You can go for a spinning or baitcasting reel.
Baitcasters are mostly recommended for experienced anglers, while both beginners and experienced anglers can use spinning reels. In this guide, I will focus on spinning reels.
There is a variety of spinning reels, but not all are worth your money. There are several factors you should consider before purchasing a spinning reel that is worth the price. I’ve researched, and I will provide you with the best saltwater reels under $100.
Why Choose a Spinning Reel?
Some people are convinced that baitcasters are better, but none is better than the other when you look at it critically. Both types are excellent under different circumstances. Here are the advantages a spinning reel has over baitcasters.
Spinning Reels are Excellent with Lighter Lures
Spinning reels are designed to cast lighter lures over long distances without facing any problems. For example, a spinning reel can cast a 1/32 ounce jig for panfish without any problem. On the other hand, you will find it challenging casting a 1/8 ounce lure with a baitcaster.
Spinning Reels Handle Wind Better
If the wind is at all a problem in your fishing location, a spinning tackle is a better option. Spinning tackles have proved to handle wind more efficiently than baitcasters.
It is Easier to Skip Lures with Spinning Reels
As you might have seen in movies, most characters use spinning reels to skip lures under hanging covers such as low limbs of trees and bushes. Yes, you can still skip lures with baitcasters, but it is not always an easy skill to master. Even professional anglers face backlashes with baitcasters. At least with a spinning reel, you won’t need to worry about backlashes.
Spinning Reels Have a Better Pendulum Effect
Many anglers often overlook this benefit, but it is a great benefit if you plan to do some deep fishing. The pendulum effect allows lures to sink straighter. Baitcasters often face resistance while sinking lures. That’s why it is common to see anglers stripping the line off by hand while using baitcasters. A better pendulum effect is vital when casting in a location with tall vegetation or seawalls.
Spinning Reels are Swappable
While purchasing a baitcaster, you must buy a reel for your dominant hand. For example, if you are right-handed, you should buy a right-handed baitcaster. If you buy a left-handed baitcaster, you will have a very challenging time. Spinning reels are swappable, so it doesn’t matter whether you are right or left-handed.
It’s Easier to Adjust the Drag with a Spinning Reel
Times will come when you will need to adjust the drag while fishing. The drag on a spinning reel is on top of it, meaning it is easier to adjust it. The drag on a baitcaster is located underneath the reel, making it harder to adjust it.
Buyer’s Guide: Features to Consider While Purchasing Best Value Saltwater Spinning Reels
For both beginners and skilled anglers, spinning reels are a great option. They are flexible, versatile, and they are often more affordable. However, it is vital to ensure that you choose a spinning tackle with all that is needed for saltwater fishing. While choosing, consider the following features.
The construction (material) of a spinning reel plays a vital role in determining its durability. The material needs to be corrosion-resistant since you will be fishing in saltwater bodies. Salt accelerates corrosion, and if the reel is not resistant, it will wear down much faster.
That said, a saltwater spinning reel should be made of materials such as stainless steel, aluminum, or other corrosion-resistant materials. Still, it is crucial to take proper care of the reel even if the material is corrosion-resistant. I will discuss more about taking care of saltwater fishing reels later in this guide.
Typically, saltwater will have larger fish than freshwater. With that in mind, it is vital to ensure that the fishing reel has a strong drag to handle these larger species. I recommend going for a spinning reel with a multi-disc drag system for the best experience.
You will want to buy a spinning reel with enough capacity to allow a long-running fish run and still retrieve it with ease. That said, some smaller reels may not have enough line capacity for such fish. While choosing the line capacity, kindly keep these three things in mind:
- The spinning reel’s line capacity (usually indicated on the reel or manufacturer website)
- The power of the fishing rod (whether heavy, light, or medium)
- Your target fish’s weight: Do you want to catch smaller fish like trout or large ones like catfish?
The gear ratio of a spinning reel is the number of times the spool will need to turn once you turn the handle once. Typically, the higher the gear ratio, the better the retrieval speed of a spinning reel.
However, a lower gear ratio usually means that the reel has more power. For example, a spinning reel with a 7:1 gear ratio will retrieve a lure faster, while the one with a 5:1 ratio will offer more power while battling a larger fish.
If you plan to cast over long distances and fish from topwater, I recommend going for a reel with a higher gear ratio. If you plan to catch some large fish in the open sea, an average gear ratio will do.
The number of ball bearings plays a huge role in determining the smoothness of a cast and retrieval. If your reel comes with two indecent ball bearings, there is a huge possibility that you will have a frustrating experience.
However, if your reel has a good number of decent ball bearings, it will feel smooth and stable. Please note that the quality and quantity of ball bearings go hand in hand. For example, a spinning reel with four quality ball bearings will have a smooth performance than the one with seven low-quality ball bearings.
Best Saltwater Spinning Reels Under $100 Reviews
The best budget spinning reel will depend on what you plan to catch. In this list, I provide you with great options for different saltwater fishing conditions. Hopefully, you will find a reel to serve your needs.
Daiwa BG2500- Best for Saltwater
Daiwa is a well-established brand for fishing gear, and they don’t disappoint with this spinning tackle for saltwater fishing. The reel comes with an excellent drag system and has been hailed as easy to use. It provides smooth performance and feels like an expensive tackle, despite its low cost.
The spinning reel comes with some fantastic features, which include:
Oversized Digigear System
Daiwa BG2500 spinning tackle comes with a BG Digigear, the largest drive gear from the company. The gear provides a user with a smooth experience and more power.
Solid Screw-In Handle
The handle is always an important consideration while purchasing a tackle. It connects the reel to the rod, and if it does not provide a tight “connection,” it will be hard to retrieve hard fighting fish. The Daiwa Screw-In design ensures there are zero movements between the handle arm and the main gear. You can rotate the handle with confidence.
BG2500’s spool design is one of its strong suits. The design provides maximum space in the spool, such that you can fill it right up into the edge without causing any friction that will cause breakage. This increases the spool’s line capacity and reduces the line’s memory.
- Weight: 0.4 kg (item weight), 0.73 pounds (item weight)
- Material: Synthetic (corrosion-resistant)
- Brand Name: Daiwa
- Handle material: Aluminum
- Gear ratio: 5:6:1
Daiwa has made a name for itself as a company that makes high-quality fishing gear for affordable prices. This spinning reel comes with some exciting features, which makes its performance impeccable. It has received a lot of love, and any angler looking for a durable spinning reel for saltwater fishing will love it. I recommend it to all anglers.
SeaKnight Rapid: Best for Saltwater and Freshwater Fishing
If you are looking for the best saltwater spinning reel under $50, the SeaKnight Rapid should be one of your considerations. SeaKnight is a company that has been around for almost forty years. They incorporate modern technology and art to provide high-quality but affordable gears. The SeaKnight Rapid is one of their fine examples.
The SeaKnight Rapid spinning rod has received a lot of love from its users, and it’s because of the fine features that come with it. These features include:
SeaKnight Rapid spinning rod is made of stainless steel, one of the finest materials for making fishing reels. Stainless steel is corrosion-resistant, and when you add the coating, it becomes even more resistant. The reel can stay in salt water for up to 72 hours without corroding.
Strong Power Drag
You will probably hook some large fish in saltwater, so it is only logical to use a fishing reel with a strong drag. The SeaKnight comes with a carbon fiber drag that provides up to 33 pounds of drag power. The drag also comes with three stainless steel drag washers.
It comes with a hollow dynamic rotor design, which creates a light rotation, decreasing air resistance. You can hold your reel all day without feeling too tired.
Waterproof Ball Bearings
The ball bearings of the spinning reel are waterproof to prevent the saltwater from inhibiting their rotation.
Precise Drive Gear
The drive gear for the SeaKnight Rapid is made of aluminum alloy, making it corrosion-resistant and powerful.
- Weight: 0.32 kg (package weight) 0.54 pounds (item weight)
- Material: Aluminum, stainless steel
- Gear Ratio: 6:2:1
- Brand Name: SeaKnight
The SeaKnight Rapid spinning reel is an excellent tackle for anyone looking for a versatile tackle to use in both salt and freshwater. It is beginner-friendly, smooth, and affordable. However, there have been a few complaints about its durability. Still, it is worth its price and I recommend it to all anglers.
Dr. Fish Saltwater 10000/12000: Best for Big Game
If you are looking for a saltwater spinning reel to use with heavy lines and land larger fish, the Dr. Fish Saltwater 10000 is a worthy consideration. It comes with a powerful drag, increased casting distance, and smooth action for saltwater fishing.
The Dr. Fish Saltwater spinning rod has received a lot of love, especially among experienced anglers, and it’s because of the great features that come with it. These features include:
A Big Gun for Big Game
This Dr. Fishing spinning rod is specifically designed for large fish and surfcasting. It is strong, durable, and corrosion-resistant. Expect to land some large fish with zero struggles when using it.
13+1 Ball Bearings
Dr. Fishing Saltwater 10000 comes with 13 ball bearings and one roller bearing. The bearings are of high-quality, so you can expect exceptional performance.
Huge CNC Aluminum Spool
This spool allows you to spool heavier and more line on your reel for battles with larger fish.
- Weight: 0.91 kg (package weight) 30.9 ounces (item weight)
- Brand Name: Dr. Fish
- Material: Stainless Steel, Graphite, Aluminum
Dr. Fish Saltwater 10000 is an excellent fishing reel for a big game. It is powerful, durable, and casts over a long distance. However, it is a bit bulky for most rods, so it might take you some time to find a perfect rod.
RUNCL Spinning Reel Titan II: Best All-Around
RUNCL spinning reel Titan II is a fantastic fishing reel for anyone looking for a saltwater fishing reel that comes at a relatively affordable price. The fishing reel is compatible with all types of lines, and it is lightweight, so it can accept most spinning rods. Unlike some spinning reels, the RUNCL Titan II is not noisy. Its brakes are exceptional, and it will serve you for quite some time.
RUNCL has been compared to some of the most expensive spinning reels, despite its low cost. The reason behind the comparison is its amazing features, which include:
Entire Shield System
The spinning reel features the RUNCL entire shield system (RESS), a feature that offers excellent protection to the body, rotor, and spool from dirt, sand, and water.
Adding a new line to the spool is not always an easy job for beginners. However, when you have a braid-ready spool, it makes your work easier. You won’t even need to back your monofilament line.
Super Power Drag
The RUNCL Titan II comes with multi-disc carbon fiber washers that make it quite powerful, providing you with up to 44 pounds. With such power, you can be guaranteed larger catches.
- Weight: 0.59 kg (package weight)
- Material: Aluminum, stainless steel
- Brand name: RUNCL
RUNCL has done it again with this powerful and beginner-friendly saltwater spinning reel. The reel works excellently, and it is beautiful looking. It is relatively affordable, and I recommend it to all anglers.
Piscifun Carbon X: Affordable for Everyone
If you are on a budget but still want a high-quality spinning rod, the Piscifun is an excellent consideration. The fishing reel has excellent drag, and the handle is quite comfortable. You can use it with all types of lines, from monofilament to braided lines.
The Piscifun Carbon X comes with some excellent features, which include:
EVA knobs are typically found in slightly expensive fishing rods, but Piscifun has made it affordable for everyone.
Reinforced Anti-Corrosion Stainless Steel
Piscifun Carbon X is made of reinforced anti-corrosion stainless steel, meaning you can use it in both fresh and saltwater. The screw-in aluminum handle and Zinc Alloy gear are other examples of unique and innovative features from Piscifun.
10+1 Corrosion-Resistant Ball Bearings
The Piscifun Carbon X comes with ten high-quality ball bearings plus one roller bearing. The bearings are also shield protected to avoid sand and debris from limiting mobility. You can expect a smooth performance from it.
- Weight: 0.26 kg (package weight), 5.7 ounces (item weight)
- Brand name: Piscifun
- Material: Aluminum, stainless steel
The Piscifun Carbon X is a budget-friendly reel that I recommend to all anglers. It is powerful, beautiful, durable, and it feels high-end, despite its low price.
OKUMA Avenger Baitfeeder: Best Quality for the Price
Okuma is known for its high-quality fishing reels, and they have done it again with the Avenger Baitfeeder. The tackle is budget-friendly, and it is superior in every way, among other tackles within its price range.
Like other Okuma fishing gears, the Avenger Baitfeeder comes with some excellent features, which include:
Variety of Sizes
The Avenger Baitfeeder comes in various sizes, so you can choose the right size for the type of fish you plan to catch, from bass to catfish.
Secondary Drag System
The Okuma Avenger Baitfeeder multi-disc drag system includes a secondary drag, making it even more powerful. You can use the reel to land larger fish effortlessly. It also makes the reel suitable for all types of fish.
6+1 Ball Bearings
It comes with six high-quality ball bearings and one roller bearing. This makes it smooth to cast and retrieve. Additionally, the 1-Quick-set anti-reverse gear makes it easier to use.
- Weight: Available in different weights, depending on the size you choose
- Warranty: one year
- Brand name: Okuma
- Material: Graphite
The new version of the Avenger Baitfeeder is excellent, and it comes at a budget-friendly price. It is powerful, beginner-friendly, and precise. You can use it to catch all types of fish, from trout to catfish. I recommend it to all anglers.
If you are searching for more budget-friendly all-around spinning reels, you may check our content on The 7 Best Smooth Casting Spinning Reels Under 100 dollars
Care Maintenance for Saltwater Spinning Reels Under $100
If you want your fishing gear to last for a long time, you will need to take proper care of them. Taking proper care of your fishing gear is even more important if you frequently fish in saltwater bodies. You need to ensure that they are regularly cleaned and oiled for the best performance.
In this section, I will show you how to keep your spinning reel at its best conditions. Before I dive into the care tips, here is what you will need:
- A head screwdriver
- Reel oil or lube
- A clean piece of cloth
To clean your spinning reel thoroughly, you will need to take everything apart and clean them separately. However, if you are not confident enough, kindly don’t disassemble your spinning tackle. It is not always easy to reassemble it.
- After every fishing trip, spray your tackle with freshwater. However, make sure not to drown the reel in freshwater or use a lot of pressure while spraying it.
- Remove all the sand and debris from the spool. Kindly remove it from the reel while cleaning it to avoid greasing your fishing line.
- Oil the reel seat. If you are using grease or oil, less is better than more.
- Put some oil where the reel’s handle spins and make sure to wipe off any excess oil on it. That way, the excess oil will not get onto your hands while fishing.
- Oil the area where the handle inserts into the reel’s body. Oiling the area makes it easy to move the handle.
- Clean and then lubricate the roller on the reel’s bail. It is vital always to keep the bail clean since the fishing line touches it with a lot of tension, and any debris or lack of movement may cause line breakage.
- Ensure the screws on your reel are tightened. The screws become loose with time, and you don’t want your reel to fall apart when you are about to land a major catch.
- Dib the clean peace of clean cloth in the alcohol and wipe down the entire reel with it. The alcohol helps prevent corrosion, which extends your reel’s lifetime.
Whether you fish daily or after a month, it is vital to keep your reel clean and oiled. I recommend cleaning and oiling your reel at least twice a month if you don’t fish that often. Please note that the reel can still corrode while sitting in the garage, so clean it even if you are not using it.
How to Fix Common Spinning Reel Problems
From time to time, you will encounter some problems with your spinning reel. Most of these problems can be avoided with proper care and maintenance. However, if they do occur, don’t panic since there are some easy fixes you can try from home.
A line twist can be a result of long-term use or spooling the line wrongly. It is especially more common when beginners are spooling new lines.
Solution: It is close to impossible to untwist the line. Therefore, your most effective solution will be to cut off the old line and replace it with a new one. This time, ensure to use a professional machine to spool the new line.
If there is a problem with the bail spring, there will be a mechanical failure. The bail spring fails to flip back open, which makes it impossible to cast. In most cases, the bail spring problem is caused by wear and tear. It may also be caused by the bail wire getting bent out of shape.
Solution: If the bail spring is a result of wear tear, the only solution is to replace it. The bails springs are available in most fishing stores, and you can do the replacement yourself. If the problem is caused by bent wire, you can fix it so it can sit where it should.
Slippage is often caused by wear and tear. However, it may also be caused by loosened screws that have shifted out of position. If the problem is caused by the latter, then it is easy to fix. Tighten the screws on their right positions as soon as possible.
Solution: If the problem is a result of wear and tear, you will need to replace the whole gear. It will be some time before it comes to that if you maintain proper care of your reel.
Reel bearings wear down with time. How long yours will last is determined by the quality of the bearings. Also, dirt and debris can get stuck into the internals of the bearings, causing problems.
Solution: There is no preventing the ball bearings from wearing down, but you can prolong their lifetime by doing the right things. Please note that over lubrication causes excessive wear. Therefore, only use about two drops of lubrication while lubricating the bearings. Replace the bearings if they are not working as they are supposed to.
Corrosion problems are quite common, especially to saltwater anglers. Rust impedes the performance of your tackle, and you may need to replace it.
Solution: Proper maintenance and storage is the key to preventing rust. If there are any signs of rust, remove them with a soft toothbrush. However, if it is seriously rusted, replace the reel.
FAQs Saltwater Spinning Reels Under $100
Here are the answers to the frequently asked questions about the best light saltwater spinning reels:
What are Spinning Reels Great At?
Spinning reels are excellent for light lures, surf casting, and catching both smaller and larger fish. They are versatile and relatively affordable than baitcasters. Also, they are an excellent choice for beginners since they are easier to learn compared to baitcasters.
Is a Spinning Reel better than a Baitcasting Reel?
None of the two types is better than the other. Both are excellent, and the best fishing reel will depend on your fishing condition. For example, if you want to catch smaller fish such as trout and panfish, a spinning reel will most probably do a better job than a baitcaster. On the other hand, if you want to cast heavier lures to land bigger fish like catfish, a baitcaster maybe the best option.
Can You Use a Baitcasting Rod on a Spinning Reel?
While it is technically possible, it is quite hard to use a casting rod on a spinning reel due to their differences. Casting rods are designed to bend in the opposite direction of spinning rods. That said, you should use a spinning rod for spinning reels.
How Do I Determine the Best Gear Ratio for My Spinning Reel?
Most people often think that the higher the gear ratio, the better the spinning rod is likely to be. However, that’s not always the case. The best gear ratio for a spinning reel will be determined by the type of fish you plan to catch and the fishing conditions.
Reels with a higher gear ratio offer faster retrievals. On the other hand, reels with a lower gear ratio offer more power. Therefore if you plan to catch larger fish, go for reels with a lower gear ratio. If you plan to catch fish from a distance, choose a reel with a higher gear ratio.
Getting a spinning reel worth the price is not always easy. You need to know what to look out for, do some research, and choose the one that balances quality, durability, and affordability. In this guide, I have discussed how to choose the best saltwater spinning reel under $100 and then provided you with some of the best spinning rods for saltwater fishing costing $100 and below.
Additionally, I have discussed how to fix various spinning reel problems and care maintenance tips for spinning reels. Hopefully, the guide will help you choose a perfect spinning tackle for saltwater fishing and take proper care of it. Thank you for reading through it.