Best Budget Spinning Reels for 2024

Updated on March 3, 2024

Spinning reels are crucial for anglers of all skill levels, providing versatility and ease for a range of fishing scenarios. In this article, we focus on the best budget spinning reels on the market.

When buying a spinning reel, you need to consider the type of fishing, the size of the fish, and your budget. We’ve researched and tested several budget spinning reels to identify those offering the best value.

Durability is a key factor when buying a budget spinning reel. Other considerations include the reel’s weight, the number of ball bearings, and the gear ratio. We’ve considered all these factors to identify the top budget reels for performance and durability.

In the subsequent section, we detail our standout reels, discussing their features, pros, and cons to aid your purchasing decision.

Best Budget Spinning Reels

As avid anglers, we know that finding the right spinning reel can be a daunting task. With so many options available, it can be difficult to determine which one is the best fit for your needs. That’s why we’ve done the research and put together a list of the best budget spinning reels on the market. These reels are not only affordable, but also reliable and high-performing. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned angler, these spinning reels will help you catch more fish without breaking the bank.

KastKing Centron & Centron Lite Spinning Reels

KastKing Centron & Centron Lite Spinning Reels, Size 500 is Perfect for Ice Fishing, Up to 17.5Lbs Max Drag, 5.2:1 Gear Ratio, Ultra Smooth Powerful, CNC Aluminum Spool, 9+1 BB Light Weight

We highly recommend the KastKing Centron & Centron Lite Spinning Reels for those looking for a budget-friendly option that doesn't sacrifice quality.

Pros:
  • The Superior Drag System offers incredible stopping power up to 17.5LBs.
  • The 9 quality ball bearings and one instant stop one-way anti-reverse bearing give it ultra-smooth performance.
  • The narrow graphite frame design and computer balancing system combined with high performance in the compact Spinning Reel make the KastKing Centron series an excellent gift for anybody who loves fishing.
Cons:
  • The handle is not collapsible on the Centron series, which may be a downside for some anglers who prefer a more compact design.
  • Some users have reported that the drag system may require occasional adjustment.
  • The Centron Lite Fishing Reel is only available in one size, which may not be suitable for all fishing needs.
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We were impressed with the KastKing Centron & Centron Lite Spinning Reels during our testing. The reels are lightweight and easy to handle, making them a great choice for anglers of all skill levels. The CNC machined aluminum spool with a more even line lay and internal grooves for lube retention ensures smooth casting and retrieval. The two color options, black-blue and white-blue, offer a stylish design that will appeal to many anglers.

The Centron series offers a range of sizes suitable for various fishing needs, while the Centron Lite Fishing Reel is perfect for ice fishing. The anti-reverse system is reliable, and the precision machined pinion gear provides excellent fish fighting power. The anodized aluminum spool with a power launch lip for farther casting holds more line than other spinning reels in the same-size models.

Overall, the KastKing Centron & Centron Lite Spinning Reels are an ideal choice for those looking for a budget-friendly option without sacrificing quality. The reels offer a range of features that make them a great choice for both novice and experienced anglers alike.

KastKing Zephyr Spinning Reel

KastKing Zephyr Spinning Reel Green Size 4000,Light to 5.6oz, 7+1BB Smooth Powerful Fishing Reel, Fresh&Saltwater Fishing Reel, Oversized Stainless Steel Main Shaft

If you're looking for a budget-friendly spinning reel that doesn't compromise on performance, the KastKing Zephyr Spinning Reel is definitely worth considering.

Pros:
  • The reel is incredibly lightweight, making it perfect for finesse fishing applications in freshwater, such as trout/panfish/ice fishing.
  • The carbon fiber drag is ultra-smooth, and the oversized stainless steel main shaft and brass pinion gear provide excellent durability.
  • The braid fishing line ready CNC machined aluminum two-tone spool prevents braid line from slipping under pressure, so you don't need to add monofilament fishing line backing.
Cons:
  • The reel is not suitable for heavy-duty fishing applications.
  • Some users have reported issues with the line stacking and not overlapping, which can cause problems when casting.
  • The reel may not be as durable as some higher-end models.
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We were impressed with the KastKing Zephyr Spinning Reel’s performance during our testing. The reel is incredibly lightweight, which makes it easy to handle and perfect for finesse fishing applications in freshwater. The carbon fiber drag is ultra-smooth, and we found that the oversized stainless steel main shaft and brass pinion gear provided excellent durability.

The braid fishing line ready CNC machined aluminum two-tone spool is a nice touch, and it prevents braid line from slipping under pressure, so you don’t need to add monofilament fishing line backing. The reel also has a rugged, stealthy tone on tone (gloss and flat black) paint scheme with strategic cutouts added to keep the weight down and maintain a tactical look. A black EVA knob adds to the blackout package.

However, the reel is not suitable for heavy-duty fishing applications, and some users have reported issues with the line stacking and not overlapping, which can cause problems when casting. Additionally, the reel may not be as durable as some higher-end models. Overall, if you’re looking for a budget-friendly spinning reel that doesn’t compromise on performance, the KastKing Zephyr Spinning Reel is definitely worth considering.

ACETOP Spinning Reel

Spinning Reel, Lightweight Inshore Surf Fishing Reel, Heavy Duty Smooth Catfish Spinning Fishing Reel for Saltwater Freshwater Fishing Smooth Fishing Spinning Reel

If you're looking for a budget-friendly spinning reel, the ACETOP Spinning Reel is definitely worth considering.

Pros:
  • Lightweight and easy to use for long periods of time
  • Smooth drag system for reeling in large fish
  • High-quality construction with durable materials
Cons:
  • May not be suitable for heavy-duty fishing
  • Reverse lock may malfunction after extended use
  • Some users have reported issues with the internal main gear breaking
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Our team has tested out the ACETOP Spinning Reel and found it to be a reliable and efficient option for anglers on a budget. The lightweight design makes it easy to use for extended periods of time, while the smooth drag system allows for easy reeling in of larger fish.

One of the standout features of this spinning reel is its high-quality construction. The CNC technology and fine workmanship make it durable and long-lasting, while the metal outlet ring ensures that the fishing line won’t be damaged or jammed.

However, it’s important to note that the ACETOP Spinning Reel may not be suitable for heavy-duty fishing. Some users have reported issues with the reverse lock malfunctioning after extended use, which can be frustrating for anglers.

Overall, if you’re looking for an affordable spinning reel that can handle most fishing situations, the ACETOP Spinning Reel is definitely worth considering. Just be aware of its limitations and use it accordingly.

KastKing Royale Legend II Ice Spinning Reel

KastKing Royale Legend II Ice Fishing Reel, 5.8 oz- Size 500 Spinning Reel, Green

If you're looking for a budget-friendly spinning reel for ice fishing, the KastKing Royale Legend II is a great option.

Pros:
  • Durable graphite body and rotor
  • Smooth operation with 5+1 shielded steel ball bearings
  • Lightweight and versatile for various fishing techniques
Cons:
  • Drag system may not be as smooth as expected
  • Some users reported noise issues
  • Retrieval may be sticky out of the box
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We were impressed by the durability of the KastKing Royale Legend II’s graphite body and rotor, which make it perfect for ice fishing. The reel’s smooth operation is thanks to its 5+1 shielded steel ball bearings, which combine with precision cut zinc alloy main gears and manganese brass pinion gears for a great cranking feel. We also appreciated the reel’s lightweight design, which makes it versatile for various fishing techniques.

However, some users reported issues with the drag system not being as smooth as expected, and some experienced noise issues. Additionally, some users found that the retrieval was sticky out of the box, but this may be resolved with a little oiling.

Overall, the KastKing Royale Legend II is a solid budget option for ice fishing.

KastKing Valiant Eagle Gold Spinning Reel

KastKing Valiant Eagle Spinning Reels, Black Gold Fishing Reel, Size 3000

Looking for a budget-friendly spinning reel with exceptional performance? Look no further than the KastKing Valiant Eagle Gold Spinning Reel.

Pros:
  • The 22 LB multi-disc carbon fiber drag provides impressive fighting power for reeling in big fish.
  • The 6.2:1 gear ratio and lightweight body make for fast, effortless retrieves.
  • The braid line-ready spool eliminates the need for monofilament backing, making it easier to set up and use.
Cons:
  • The handle may be too small for those with larger hands.
  • Some users have reported occasional issues with the bail not closing properly.
  • The reel may not be as durable as higher-end models.
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Our experience with the KastKing Valiant Eagle Gold Spinning Reel has been overwhelmingly positive. The reel feels lightweight and well-balanced in the hand, making it easy to use for extended periods of time. The 22 LB drag system is powerful and consistent, allowing us to reel in even the biggest fish with ease.

We were particularly impressed with the braid line-ready spool, which eliminated the need for any extra setup steps and allowed us to get out on the water faster. The 6.2:1 gear ratio also made for fast, effortless retrieves, which is especially useful when trying to catch fast-moving fish.

The only downsides we found were the small handle size, which may not be comfortable for those with larger hands, and occasional issues with the bail not closing properly. However, these were minor issues that didn’t significantly impact our overall experience with the reel.

Overall, we highly recommend the KastKing Valiant Eagle Gold Spinning Reel for anyone looking for a budget-friendly reel that doesn’t sacrifice performance.

Piscifun Viper X Spinning Reels

Piscifun Viper X Spinning Reel, Ultralight 6.2:1 High Speed Spinning Fishing Reel, 10+1BB, Carbon Fiber 33 LB Max Drag,2000 Series

Looking for a budget spinning reel that can handle both saltwater and freshwater fishing? The Piscifun Viper X spinning reel may be the one for you.

Pros:
  • With a max drag of 33lbs, this spinning reel can handle even the toughest fish.
  • Equipped with double shielded stainless steel bearings, the Viper X provides silky smooth performance that's reliable and consistent.
  • The Viper X spinning reel is lighter and more stylish than other reels in its class, without sacrificing overall strength.
Cons:
  • The anti-reverse feature on this reel may not be as strong as on other models.
  • Some users have reported issues with the line getting tangled on the spool.
  • The handle may be a bit too small for larger hands.
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We recently had the opportunity to test out the Piscifun Viper X spinning reel and were impressed with its performance. The reel is lightweight and easy to handle, making it a great choice for all-day fishing trips. The smooth drag system allowed us to easily reel in both small and large fish, and the waterproof design ensured that the reel held up well even in wet conditions.

One thing to keep in mind is that the anti-reverse feature on this reel may not be as strong as on other models, so it’s important to keep a firm grip on the handle when reeling in a fish. Additionally, we did experience some issues with the line getting tangled on the spool, which can be frustrating when you’re trying to quickly reel in a catch.

Overall, we think the Piscifun Viper X spinning reel is a great budget option for both saltwater and freshwater fishing. Its lightweight design, smooth performance, and waterproof features make it a versatile choice for anglers of all skill levels.

KastKing Sharky III Fishing Reel

KastKing Sharky III Spinning Fishing Reel,Size 3000

We highly recommend the KastKing Sharky III Fishing Reel for anglers who want a budget-friendly option that doesn't skimp on quality.

Pros:
  • The Sharky III has an impressive 39.5LBs / 18KG of smooth, reliable triple disc carbon fiber drag.
  • The unique Shark Fin Braid Ready aluminum spool means you no longer need to use backing line when spooling on braid fishing line.
  • The KastKing Intrusion Shield System (K.I.S.S.) helps keep water and dirt out, making this reel a great choice for both saltwater and freshwater fishing.
Cons:
  • Some users have reported issues with the reel's line twist.
  • The handle is a bit on the short side, which may be uncomfortable for some anglers.
  • The reel's drag adjustment can be a bit tricky to fine-tune.
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We were blown away by the quiet, silky smooth retrieve of the Sharky III. The reel’s high-quality construction is evident in its fiber reinforced graphite body and rotor, oversized stainless-steel main shaft, and precision mesh manganese brass pinion gears. The Sharky III’s 10 + 1 high quality, saltwater rated double shielded stainless steel ball bearings and instant lock anti-reverse make for a seamless fishing experience.

Overall, the KastKing Sharky III Fishing Reel is an affordable, innovative option that offers plenty of features and performance for its price point.

Sougayilang Colorful Fishing Reel 13 +1 BB Light Weight Ultra Smooth Powerful Spinning Reels, with CNC Line Management Graphite Frame, for Freshwater

Sougayilang Fishing Reel Light Weight Ultra Smooth Aluminum Spinning Fishing Reel-13+1BB - LY1000

If you're looking for an affordable spinning reel with great features, then the Sougayilang Colorful Fishing Reel might be the one for you.

Pros:
  • Lightweight yet strong graphite frame
  • Superior drag system for stopping power
  • Corrosion-resistant smooth ball bearings for smooth performance
Cons:
  • Grip might be too big for some
  • Sizing is strange for a 1000
  • Some users reported issues with the line getting stuck
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We’ve used the Sougayilang LY Series spinning reel for a while now and we’re impressed with its performance. The lightweight graphite frame makes it easy to handle, while the superior drag system provides excellent stopping power. The 13 corrosion-resistant ball bearings ensure a smooth performance, making it a great choice for lighter freshwater applications.

One of the drawbacks we’ve noticed is that the grip might be too big for some users. Additionally, some users reported issues with the line getting stuck, although we haven’t experienced this ourselves. The sizing is also strange for a 1000, which might be a concern for some anglers.

Overall, the Sougayilang Colorful Fishing Reel is a great budget option for those looking for a reliable spinning reel. It’s ideal for gamefish like bass, walleye, and trout, as well as inshore species like redfish and flounder. If you’re looking for a spinning reel that provides great value for money, then this might be the one for you.

KastKing Brutus Spinning Reel

KastKing Brutus Spinning Reel,Size 3000 Fishing Reel

If you're looking for a budget spinning reel that performs well, the KastKing Brutus Spinning Reel is definitely worth considering.

Pros:
  • The lightweight, yet strong graphite frame and rotor make it easy to handle and cast accurately.
  • The zinc alloy main gear and brass pinion gear provide durability and low noise.
  • The smooth, infinitely adjustable, multi-disc drag system delivers up to 17.5 pounds of run-stopping drag power.
Cons:
  • The bail can be a bit stiff at times.
  • Some users have reported issues with the handle arm on the 4000 size reel.
  • The anti-reverse can be a bit slow to engage.
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We recently had the opportunity to test out the KastKing Brutus Spinning Reel and were impressed with its overall performance. The lightweight graphite frame and rotor made it easy to handle and cast accurately, even when using lighter lures. The machined aircraft grade aluminum spool reduced weight and delivered long, accurate casts.

The zinc alloy main gear and brass pinion gear provided durability and low noise, and the steel main shaft ensured strength at the core of the reel. The four ball bearings were positioned in the most important performance locations, and the instant anti-reverse bearing allowed for quick hook sets.

The smooth, infinitely adjustable, multi-disc drag system delivered up to 17.5 pounds of run-stopping drag power, making it suitable for a variety of freshwater species. We were able to reel in fish with ease and felt confident in the reel’s reliability.

While the bail can be a bit stiff at times, we found that this was easily remedied with a bit of lubrication. Some users have reported issues with the handle arm on the 4000 size reel, but we did not experience any problems during our testing. The anti-reverse can be a bit slow to engage, but this is a minor issue that did not affect our overall experience with the reel.

Overall, we would definitely recommend the KastKing Brutus Spinning Reel to anyone looking for a budget spinning reel that performs well. It’s reliable, lightweight, and delivers exceptional value for its price point.

Sougayilang Spinning Fishing Reel

Sougayilang Spinning Fishing Reels Smooth 11BB for Inshore Boat Rock Freshwater Saltwater Fishing-DK1000

If you're looking for an affordable spinning reel that performs well, the Sougayilang Spinning Fishing Reel is a great option.

Pros:
  • The reel has a smooth and powerful retrieve, making it easy to reel in your catch.
  • The left/right interchangeable collapsible wood handle is comfortable to hold and easy to use.
  • The reel is suitable for both freshwater and saltwater fishing, making it versatile for different environments.
Cons:
  • The joints on the handle allow for movement, which can make the handle feel wobbly.
  • The fit and finish of the reel is not great, but for the price, it performs well.
  • The reel is a bit heavier compared to some other spinning reels on the market.
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We’ve used the Sougayilang Spinning Fishing Reel for both freshwater and saltwater fishing, and it has performed well in both environments. The 11BB fishing reel has a smooth and powerful retrieve, making it easy to reel in your catch. The left/right interchangeable collapsible wood handle is comfortable to hold and easy to use, allowing you to fish for extended periods without experiencing hand fatigue.

While the fit and finish of the reel is not great, it performs well for its price point. The joints on the handle allow for movement, which can make the handle feel wobbly, but it doesn’t affect the overall performance of the reel. The reel is a bit heavier compared to some other spinning reels on the market, but it’s not so heavy that it affects your ability to fish comfortably.

Overall, if you’re looking for an affordable spinning reel that performs well in both freshwater and saltwater environments, the Sougayilang Spinning Fishing Reel is a great option.

Buying Guide

When it comes to buying a budget spinning reel, it’s important to consider a few key features to ensure you get the best product for your money. Here are some factors to keep in mind:

Material

Spinning reels are made from different materials, with the most common being aluminum, graphite, and carbon fiber. Aluminum is durable but heavy, while graphite is lightweight but less durable. Carbon fiber is the most expensive but also the lightest and most durable.

Size and Weight

The size and weight of the spinning reel will depend on the type of fish you’re targeting. Lighter reels are ideal for smaller fish, while heavier reels are better for larger fish. The size of the reel will also affect the line capacity, so make sure to choose a reel that can hold enough line for your needs.

Gear Ratio

The gear ratio determines how many times the spool rotates for each turn of the handle. A higher gear ratio means the reel retrieves the line faster, while a lower gear ratio provides more power for reeling in larger fish. Consider the type of fishing you’ll be doing and choose a gear ratio that suits your needs.

Drag System

The drag system is what allows you to control the tension on the line when a fish is pulling. Look for a spinning reel with a smooth and adjustable drag system that can handle the weight of the fish you’ll be catching.

Ball Bearings

The number and quality of ball bearings in a spinning reel affect its smoothness and durability. Look for a reel with at least 4-5 ball bearings, and make sure they are made from high-quality materials.

By considering these factors, you can choose the best budget spinning reel for your needs. Remember to keep in mind the type of fishing you’ll be doing and choose a reel that can handle the size and weight of the fish you’ll be catching.

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I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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