The 5 Best Spinning Reels Under 100 in 2021

When it comes to versatility, spinning reels tend to outshine spincast reels to a great extent, as they can be used to cast a wide range of tackle from live bait to artificial lures. They’re also more robust than spincast fishing reels, and they’re compatible with more line options.

Whether you’re into ice fishing, panfishing, or open-ocean fishing, you need a reliable spinning reel in your arsenal. So, stick around, as we’re about to shed light on the best spinning reels under $100.

At a Glance:

  1. KastKing Sharky III – Best Overall
  2. Daiwa BG2500  – Best Performance
  3. Pflueger President – Best Design
  4. Piscifun Flame Red – Most Affordable
  5. Pflueger PRESXTSP30X – Best Value

The 5 Best Spinning Reels Under 100 in 2021

There are plenty of factors to take into consideration when in the market for a spinning reel, as you’ll learn shortly. So, to simplify your selection process, we’ve narrowed down your options to five reliable, high-quality reels that are guaranteed to deliver excellent performance.

1. KastKing Sharky III – Best Overall

KastKing Sharky III

The KastKing Sharky III is a spinning reel that strikes the perfect balance between performance and affordability. It’s built with fiber-reinforced graphite, meaning that it can handle trophy fish that like to put up a fight.

Moreover, this reel delivers up to 39.5lbs worth of smooth, triple-disc drag. Pair that with an oversized stainless-steel shaft and mesh-manganese pinion gears, and you get a ton of fishing muscle. And it’s worth noting that the drag is super quiet, which makes this reel the perfect fit for a relaxing fishing excursion.

However, we’d say that the reel’s paint may chip off. But then again, that doesn’t interfere with the fishing experience much. Also, we’d advise you to size up, as its size runs a bit small. For instance, if you want a size 4,000, consider a size 6,000 instead.

Pros:

  • Smooth and quiet performance
  • Fiber-reinforced graphite body
  • Water-resistant spool and rotor
  • Perfect for saltwater fishing
  • Instant-lock anti-reverse function

Cons:

  • Sizes run a bit small
  • Paint chips off easily

Final Verdict

The KastKing Sharky III is a smooth, sturdy, and affordable spinning reel that’s perfect for saltwater fishing, especially surf fishing.

2. Daiwa BG2500 – Best Performance

Daiwa BG2500

The Daiwa BG2500 boasts super-smooth performance and impressive drag, thanks to its carbon drag system, which offers a maximum of 13.2 pounds worth of drag. Also, the machined, anodized aluminum housing and the stainless steel bail arm guarantee maximum durability.

Not to mention, This spinning reel is one of the few spinning reels that are beloved by virtually all fishers. After all, it’s the latest iteration of the classic Black Gold, which has been around since the ‘80s.

Furthermore, the BG2500 is ideal for soft-bait or spin fishing. It isn’t the best for jigging, but you can still use it for micro-jigging, as it has a 5.6:1 retrieve. Overall, this is a gorgeous spinning reel that packs a serious punch.

Pros:

  • Sturdy, anodized housing
  • Lightweight and easy to control
  • Oversized digigear system
  • Has an anti-reverse system
  • The drag system is waterproof

Cons:

  • Not the best option for jigging
  • Hard to set up for right-hand retrieve

Final Verdict

If you’re in the market for a spinning reel that you can pair with a soft bait rod to ensure smooth retrieves, the BG2500 is your best bet.

3. Pflueger President – Best Design

Pflueger President

If you’re someone who pays as much attention to aesthetic appeal as they do to performance, you’re in for a treat with the Pflueger President. This spinning reel is the definition of eye candy, but it’s definitely not all looks with no hooks, no pun intended.

Featuring a graphite body and rotor, this spinning reel unit is both sturdy and lightweight. Also, it comes with a braid-ready spool, meaning that you can tie a braided line directly to the pool.

Moreover, the Pflueger President features a sealed drag system and seven stainless steel ball bearings that are highly resistant to corrosion, ensuring a smooth, long-lasting performance. Nevertheless, we would’ve liked more drag. Also, this isn’t the reel to catch big fish.

Pros:

  • Aesthetically appealing design
  • Lightweight yet highly durable
  • Corrosion-resistant ball bearings
  • Ambidextrous hand orientation
  • Excellent lay with little to no twisting

Cons:

  • Could use a bit more drag
  • Not suitable for large fish

Final Verdict

Looking for a slinky and smooth spinning reel to help you catch small-to-moderate freshwater fish? It doesn’t get better than the Pfleuger President at this price range.

4. Piscifun Flame Red – Most Affordable

Piscifun Flame Red

Finding a sub-$30 spinning reel that delivers smooth performance may seem like mission impossible, but we’re happy to tell you that the Piscifun Flame fits the bill perfectly. And the best part is it won’t break the bank.

Also, the reel has a hollow graphite body that weighs around 8.5 ounces, making it one of the most lightweight options on the market. It’s equipped with nine ball bearings and one roller bearing to ensure precision and smoothness. Furthermore, it delivers an excellent drag of 19.8lbs, so it’s ideal for small fish.

Accordingly, this is a perfect spinning reel for beginner anglers who are still learning the ropes. It isn’t the smoothest or the most durable, but it offers a ton of value for the price. Avoid using it to catch large fish, though.

Pros:

  • Super affordable
  • Ambidextrous hand orientation
  • Lightweight construction
  • Fairly smooth performance
  • Available in many sizes

Cons:

  • Not the most durable option
  • Not suitable for large fish

Final Verdict

If you’ve just taken up fishing and you’re looking for a good spinning reel that won’t wreak havoc on your wallet, you can’t go wrong with the Piscifun Flame.

5. Pflueger PRESXTSP30X – Best Value

Pflueger PRESXTSP30X

Pflueger is known for its highly durable, heavy-duty fishing reels, and the Pflueger PRESXTSP30X is an excellent representation of its build quality. This is one of the sturdiest spinning reels within the $100 price point, featuring stainless steel ball bearings, a stainless steel handle, an aluminum main shaft, and an aluminum pinion gear.

Despite its heavy-duty build, this spinning reel manages to maintain lightness and easy maneuverability. It’s also remarkably smooth, seeing as it features ten corrosion-resistant bearings. And it has a high-speed gear ratio, which makes it ideal for aggressive fish. Nonetheless, we wouldn’t recommend you use this for heavy applications.

Pros:

  • Outstanding build quality
  • Lightweight and easy to control
  • Smooth performance
  • Aesthetically appealing design
  • Corrosion-resistant bearings

Cons:

  • The spool is small and tangles at times
  • Not the best for heavy applications

Final Verdict

There’s no beating the Pflueger PRESXTSP30X when it comes to value for the price. At around $70, this spinning reel offers superior build quality, excellent maneuverability, and super-smooth performance.

How to Choose the Perfect Spinning Reel

If you need extra help, here are a few factors in a spinning reel to take into consideration if you wish to ensure the most bang for your buck:

Reel Size

You need to consider the size of the spinning reel with respect to the power of your spinning rod. Spinning reels vary significantly in size, from small all the way up to very large.

Generally speaking, the larger your spinning rod is, the larger your reel has to be. If you have a lightweight or light-power spinning rod, you need a size 1,000-3,500 spinning reel. For medium-power rods, size 4,000-5,500 is the way to go.

For anything from a medium to a heavy-power spinning rod, you’re going to need a size 6,000-9,500 reel. Lastly, if you have an ultra-power rod, your spinning reel needs to be sized 10,000 or beyond.

Please note that some manufacturers use 2-3 digits instead of 4-5 to indicate the size of their spinning reels. So, rather than 1,000, 4,000, and 10,000, for instance, you’ll see 10, 40, and 100.

Line Size

Many beginner anglers make the mistake of pairing a heavy setup with a lightweight line, then wonder why the line breaks off whenever they attempt to set a hook. There are also beginner fishers who do the exact opposite by pairing light setups with heavy lines, which not only messes with the rod’s finesse but also limits the spool’s room.

However, it would help if you found the perfect balance between reel size and line size. For example, with size 1,000-3,500 reels, you should opt for 2-10lb mono or 4-14lb braid lines. And with size 4,000-5,500 reels, an 8-14lb mono or a 15-50lb braid line would be ideal.

Now, if you have a heavy-duty reel sized 6,000-9,500, you’re going to need an equally robust line. We’re taking 12-30lb mono or 30-80lb braid. Lastly, if your reel is size 10,000 and up, go for a 12lb+ mono or a 50lb+ braid line.

Reel Gear Ratio

Spinning reels have fixed spools, unlike their casting counterparts. They also have a bail that wraps around the fishing line and then onto the spool when you turn the handle. So, it’s vital to consider the reel’s gear ratio before you buy it.

And the gear ratio is the number of rotations the bail does around the spool per one handle turn. For instance, a 4:1 gear ratio indicates that the bail rotates four times around the spool per turn.

Also, reels with a 4:1 gear ratio are considered slow. Such reels are perfect for reeling in large fish because they provide a great deal of torque. Alternatively, a reel with a 6:1 ratio is considered fast, and it’s perfect for small fish.

If you’re on a tight budget, we recommend opting for a medium-speed reel with a gear ratio of 5:1. If you can afford to get more than one spinning reel, we’d recommend buying a low-speed, medium-speed, and high-speed reel so that you can handle a wide variety of fish.

Drag System

The reel’s drag system is responsible for two things: releasing line during reel-ins and applying pressure to a hooked catch. And having a poor drag system can result in a broken line or a lost fish.

To assess whether or not a reel’s drag system is worthwhile, try pulling the line on multiple tension settings. If you can draw the line smoothly without any constrictions regardless of drag tension, you know the reel is equipped with a quality drag system.

Note that drag systems come in two variants: front and rear. Front drag systems are typically equipped with large washers that help ensure excellent durability and performance. Otherwise, rear drag systems are much easier to access and maneuver, especially when you’re trying to catch small-to-medium fish.

Ball Bearings

The ball bearings (bushings) found in spinning reels serve to provide stability, support, and smoothness. The more bearings a fishing reel has, the smoother its performance will be.

Moreover, ball bearings come in a few different materials. We strongly recommend opting for a reel that features sealed stainless steel ball bearings, as they provide the most control and are the most durable.

And if you’re on a tight budget, try not to opt for a spinning reel that has less than four ball bearings. Such reels tend to be unresponsive and inconvenient to fish with.

Final Thoughts

All in all, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to get your hands on a high-quality spinning reel that’ll stand the test of time; the above-reviewed reels are a testament to that. For one, KastKing Sharky III is arguably the ultimate sub-$100 spinning reel. It’s remarkably durable, smooth, and quiet. It also packs a serious punch as far as to drag.

And the Daiwa BG2500 comes at a close second, as it features an anodized housing, an oversized digigear system, and a waterproof drag system. Lastly, if you prioritize cost-effectiveness, then you ought to consider the Pflueger President. Happy fishing!

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