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9 Best Spinning Reels for Fishing Reviewed in 2020 (US & UK)

Last updated on 9th Jan 2020 by Jess

Quick Comparison: Which spinning reels are best for anglers?

We spoke to over 20 different active fishermen who take part in both sea and river fishing on what they look for when choosing a spinning reel. We then tested more than 50 different models and checked their gear ratio, robustness, material of construction, and ease of reeling.

In the end, we had a consensus among our team that the SeaKnight AXE 11BB anti-corrosion spinning reel is the best spinning reel on the market. It features stainless steel ball bearings, has a 6.2:1 gear ratio which allows fast speeds, boasts anti-corrosion and anti-salt construction.
We found 9 addition models that performed exceptionally well against our criteria as well. The Abu Garcia cardinal SX front spinning reel, for example, has a decent gear ratio and is also the most lightweight product on our list.
  1. 1
    100%
    100%

    SeaKnight AXE 11BB Anti-Corrosion Spinning Reel

    The SeaKnight AXE 11BB features stainless steel ball bearings that made spinning the reel easy and efficient. It is also quite durable and can take tremendous pressure. The anti-corrosion and anti-salt construction makes it a good choice for sea fishing. We also liked the 6.2.1 gear ratio that worked for faster speeds.

    The main drawback of this model had to do with the size. The fact that it is on the smaller end means that it is not ideal for reeling larger fish. We also noticed that after repeated use, it does get a bit noisy with the gears starting to produce a grinding noise.

    The Good
    • Sturdy and strong frame.
    • Faster 6:2:1 gear ratio.
    • Durable.
    The Bad
    • Quite small.
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  2. 2
    96%
    96%

    Abu Garcia Cardinal SX Front Drag Spinning Reel

    The Abu Garcia features a sturdy frame which could handle a lot of pressure from the fighting fish caught on the other end of the line. The fact that it comes with 5 ball bearings provide for smooth reeling. The aluminum spool makes it highly durable.

    On the downside, the heaviness of the gear mechanism of the Abu Garcia is a double-edged sword. For, where at one end it allows fisherman to draw in big fish, it also makes the whole frame quite heavy, on the other.

    The Good
    • Good looking design.
    • Sturdy aluminum spool.
    • Provided smooth reeling.
    The Bad
    • Could be a bit heavy.
    • Gear mechanism was not the fastest.
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  3. 3
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    96%

    Yoshikawa Carp Baitfeeder Spinning Reel Review

    The Yoshikawa Carp Spinning Reel has an aesthetically pleasing design and is large enough to handle immense pressure from the carp. We were able to reel in the carp with very little strain on the reel. It is a versatile model which you can use both on rivers as well as on large lakes.

    However, we noticed that the fold up handle doesn’t lock in place when you want to store the reel away. The fishing line also doesn’t lay neatly on the spool.

    The Good
    • Highly versatile.
    • Strong and durable construction.
    • Can take a lot of pressure.
    The Bad
    • The handle doesn’t lock in place.
    • The fishing line doesn’t lay on the line neatly.
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  4. 4
    92%
    92%

    FLADEN CHARTER 70 Front Drag Large Spinning Reel

    The FLADEN Charter 70 comes with a front drag mechanism which is simple to use and can handle plenty of force. It also features a large spool that takes a lot of line. That makes it easier for the fishermen to cast on a boat or at the shore since it could reach much further out.

    Like the Shimano Rear Hyperloop spinning wheel, it comes with an anti-twist line roller. On the downside, the spinning reel doesn’t seem like it would last very long.

    The Good
    • Front drag mechanism.
    • Large spool.
    • Anti-twist roller.
    The Bad
    • Doesn’t have a durable frame.
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  5. 5
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    90%

    Daiwa Crossfire Spinning Reel Review

    The front drag mechanism of the Daiwa crossfire spinning reel enables it to withstand a lot of pressure from the fighting fish on the other end of the line. Its frame is robust and the overall design of the spinning reel is aesthetically pleasing.

    However, we didn’t care much for the 3 ball bearings. Unlike the KaskKing summer and centron spinning reel, they provide a smooth reeling. We also noted that the spinning reel is a bit on the heavier side.

    The Good
    • Good looking design.
    • Strong and sturdy construction.
    • Can take a lot of pressure.
    The Bad
    • Came with just 3 ball bearings.
    • Quite heavy.
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  6. 6
    88%
    88%

    Shimano NEW Rear Drag Hyperloop RB Fishing Reel

    Like the NGT 2X CKR30, the Shimano hyperloop RB fishing reel is a versatile option which is capable of for both float and feeder fishing. It comes with a power roller which helps to reduce the twisting as the fish struggles to break free from the line.

    On the downside, the small size of this spinning reel reduces its utility against bigger fish. Also, it is also not the most durable reel.

     

    The Good
    • Good looking design.
    • Versatile.
    • Designed to reduce twisting.
    The Bad
    • Not very durable.
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  7. 7
    86%
    86%

    KastKing Summer and Centron Spinning Reel Review

    The drag system of the KastKing creates a strong stopping power. Its hardened metal shaft enables it to withstand tremendous pressure. This model has more ball bearings than the SeaKnight AXE which make spinning the reel more fluid and efficient. We also liked that it was lightweight and features a stylish design.

    What we noticed with the KastKing is that you cannot fill up the spool as it ends up forming knots and keeps getting tangled which makes casting the line a little bit difficult.

     

    The Good
    • Smooth reeling.
    • Good looking design.
    • Strong and durable.
    The Bad
    • Creates knots and gets tangled once the spool is filled to the top.
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  8. 8
    72%
    72%

    Shakespeare Beta Freespool Spinning Reel Review

    What we immediately noticed with the Shakespeare beta is how lightweight it feels. It is due to the graphite body. However, the fact that it is lightweight doesn’t mean that the Shakespeare Beta would give-in to big fish, as its spinning reel could withstand tremendous pressure from the same.

    However, there was a drawback. As much as it could take some heavy pressure, the Shakespeare beta is not the most ideal for larger fish such as carp or salmon.

     

    The Good
    • Graphite frame.
    • Smooth reeling mechanism.
    • Lightweight design.
    The Bad
    • Not the best for larger fish.
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  9. 9
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    NGT 2X CKR30 Black Fishing Reels Review

    The NGT 2X CKR30 comes preloaded with a strong 8lb fishing line. You can both float and feeder fish with this model and it even allows small carp to spinning on the rivers to catch trout and game fish.

    However, we didn’t like the plastic frame of the NGT 2X CKR30 spinning reel. It looked as if it would not handle the pressure of bigger fish very well.

    The Good
    • Comes with an 8lb fishing line.
    • Versatile.
    • Good looking frame.
    The Bad
    • Doesn’t seem to very sturdy and could break under too much pressure.
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Side-by-side: Which spinning reels are best for anglers?

100%

SeaKnight AXE 11BB Anti-Corrosion Spinning Reel

  • Sturdy and strong frame.
  • Faster 6:2:1 gear ratio.
  • Durable.
Check price on amazon
96%

Abu Garcia Cardinal SX Front Drag Spinning Reel

  • Good looking design.
  • Sturdy aluminum spool.
  • Provided smooth reeling.
Check price on amazon
96%

Yoshikawa Carp Baitfeeder Spinning Reel Review

  • Highly versatile.
  • Strong and durable construction.
  • Can take a lot of pressure.
Check price on amazon
92%

FLADEN CHARTER 70 Front Drag Large Spinning Reel

  • Front drag mechanism.
  • Large spool.
  • Anti-twist roller.
Check price on amazon
90%

Daiwa Crossfire Spinning Reel Review

  • Good looking design.
  • Strong and sturdy construction.
  • Can take a lot of pressure.
Check price on amazon
88%

Shimano NEW Rear Drag Hyperloop RB Fishing Reel

  • Good looking design.
  • Versatile.
  • Designed to reduce twisting.
Check price on amazon
86%

KastKing Summer and Centron Spinning Reel Review

  • Smooth reeling.
  • Good looking design.
  • Strong and durable.
Check price on amazon
72%

Shakespeare Beta Freespool Spinning Reel Review

  • Graphite frame.
  • Smooth reeling mechanism.
  • Lightweight design.
Check price on amazon
70%

NGT 2X CKR30 Black Fishing Reels Review

  • Comes with an 8lb fishing line.
  • Versatile.
  • Good looking frame.
Check price on amazon

Frequently asked questions

What Is a Spinning Reel?

Spinning reels are a fishing technology that features a reel that…well, spins. However, unlike the regular bait-casters, the spool on the spinning reel is static and doesn’t move.

Spinning reels also come with a drag system where you can adjust the resistance which makes pulling fish easier.

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Spinning Reels?

Advantages

  • In comparison with a traditional baitcaster or flywheel, spinning wheels are easy to use and you are also less likely to end up with a tangled mess of a line.
  • Second, spinning reels feature a drag system that allows you to adjust resistance. The struggling fish on the other end feels less drag which means it will put up less of a fight helping you pull it to you whenever its taking a break.
  • Since their spool is fixed in comparison to a flywheel, pulling out the line becomes much easier with spinning reels.

Disadvantages

  • The drag mechanism can cause the line to break if it is exposed to too much pressure especially when reeling in larger fish.

What Is the Approximate Price Range for Spinning Reels?

The prices of spinning reels can vary with a large margin. Some can cost as high as £5000. At the same time, you can find a good performing spinning reel for as low as £20.

What Should I Look for When Choosing Spinning Reels?

Spinning Reel Action

The first thing you should consider is the spinning reel action. Is it front or rear? The front variety is durable and can handle a lot of pressure making it the better choice when going after big fish.

On the other hand, the rear type of spinning reel is much easier to use. If you have never used a spinning reel before, this could be your best bet.

Number of baits

Obviously, you want a spinning reel that performs and rotates with very little effort. Check the number of ball bearings and remember: the more, the merrier.

Gear Ratio

Gear ratio means how many times the reel turns when you turn the handle. The more times the reel turns the better. It is yet another important factor in a spinning reel which you shouldn’t overlook.

Material of Construction

You simply cannot ignore the material of construction of especially the spool and the spinning reel frame. Aluminum is heavy but more durable and allows you to haul in bigger fish. Graphite, on the other hand, is lighter.

However, despite the fact that it is less prone to wear like aluminum, graphite doesn’t perform very well under intense pressure.

What Is the Best Spinning Reel? Why Is It the Best?

The SeaKnight NAGA fishing reel is the best spinning reel. Apart from looking neat and stylish, it features a carbon fiber drag system that is super durable. It is also very simple to use and affordable as well.

What Is the Best Spinning Reel for Trout?

The 2X CKR30 black fishing reel is the best spinning reel for trout. It comes with an 8lb line and can be used for a variety of fishing methods such as filter feeding or float.

What’s the Best Spinning Reel for Saltwater? Why Is It the Best?

The Plusinno TM HongYing spinning reel is our choice for the best spinning reel for saltwater. It has a deep aluminum spool that is highly durable and can take a lot of pressure as well as a thick ball spring.

How Does Spinning Reels Work?

A spinning reel features a fixed spool and a wheel. The wheel rotates over the static spool discharging the fishing line.

What’s the Best Spinning Reel for Bass? Why Is It the Best?

The OriGlam mini Spinning reel is the best spinning reel for bass. This one has a high-speed gear ratio of 4:3:1 and is salt and dust resistant.

What’s the Best Spinning Reel for Salmon? Why Is It the Best?

The AbuGarcia Cardinal SX Front drag spinning reel is the best spinning reel for salmon. It features a graphite lightweight frame but also has a spool made from aluminum making it highly durable and able to withstand a lot of pressure.

What Is the Best Spinning Reel for Steelhead? Why Is It the Best?

The quantum fishing acurist PT8BB spinning reel is the best spinning reel for steelhead. It is lightweight with a graphite construction. It also comes with a split-grip EVA handle for durability.