7 Best Fishing Reels for Every Angler in 2024

by | Last updated Jun 12, 2024

Best Overall Daiwa BG MQ
Daiwa BG MQ

A true workhorse with a durable aluminum body and a smooth 5.6:1 gear ratio, this reel boasts 6+1 corrosion-resistant ball bearings and a powerful 22 lb drag system. Perfect for both fresh and saltwater fishing, it’s reliable, versatile, and built to last.

Best Value KastKing Sharky III
KastKing Sharky III

This budget-friendly reel doesn’t skimp on features. With 10+1 shielded stainless steel bearings, a smooth 5.2:1 gear ratio, and a whopping 39.5 lb carbon fiber drag, it’s a steal for anglers seeking performance on a budget.

Most Featured Abu Garcia Revo SX
Abu Garcia Revo SX

Packed with technology like a 9+1 bearing system, MagTrax brake, and Carbon Matrix drag (up to 20 lbs), this reel is a dream for serious anglers. Its lightweight X2-Cräftic alloy frame and high gear ratios (up to 8.0:1) deliver unmatched performance and speed.

Best fishing reels

Are you tired of your fishing line tangling or your reel seizing upright when the fish starts to bite?

It was frustrating with cheap gear that breaks easily, leaving you empty-handed and disappointed.

We know how it feels to lose a big catch due to faulty equipment.

It’s not just the lost fish; it’s the wasted time, money, and the missed opportunity to make memories on the water. Don’t let bad gear ruin another fishing trip.

This guide is your fishing lifeline! We’ve done the hard work, testing and reviewing the top 7 fishing reels on the market in 2024.

Whether you’re a seasoned pro who needs a reliable workhorse or a beginner looking for an easy-to-use reel, we’ve got the perfect match for your fishing style and budget.

Let’s reel in the right gear and start landing those trophy fish!

What are the Best Fishing Reels?

The answer depends on your fishing style, budget, and the type of fish you’re after.

But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

Here are our top picks for the best fishing reels of 2024, carefully selected to meet the needs of every angler.

1. Daiwa BG MQ

This reel is like the trusty pickup truck of fishing gear. It’s tough, reliable, and gets the job done without any fuss. The BG MQ is built to last, and its smooth operation will make your fishing trips a whole lot more enjoyable.

Daiwa BG MQ

Our Take

0out of 10

The Daiwa BG MQ is an excellent all-around reel that offers a great combination of durability, performance, and affordability. It's a reliable workhorse that won't let you down.

Key Benefits:

  • Gear Ratio: 5.6:1 (retrieves 31 inches of line per crank)
  • Drag System: Carbon ATD (Advanced Tournament Drag) up to 22 lbs
  • Ball Bearings: 6 + 1 (corrosion-resistant)
  • Material: Aluminum body and side plate, Hard Bodyz design
  • Line Capacity: 220 yards of 10 lb mono
  • Weight: 9.4 oz (266g)

Pricing:

Daiwa BG MQ

Pros

  • Built like a tank. It can handle anything you throw at it.
  • Smooth as butter. Casting and retrieving are a breeze.
  • Powerful drag. You won't lose any fish to this reel.
  • Affordable. It is a great value for a very reasonable price.

Cons

  • It's a bit heavy for some anglers.
  • It's not the most stylish reel on the market.

2. Shimano Stradic FL

This reel is like a fine-tuned sports car. It's sleek, lightweight, and performs like a dream. The Stradic FL's silky smooth operation and powerful drag will hook you from the first cast.

Shimano Stradic FL

Our Take

0out of 10

The Shimano Stradic FL is an exceptional reel that excels in smoothness, lightweight design, and durability. It's a top performer that justifies its higher price tag for anglers seeking the best.

Key Benefits:

  • Gear Ratio: 6.2:1 (retrieves 36 inches of line per crank)
  • Drag System: MicroModule II Gear and SilentDrive technology (up to 24 lbs)
  • Ball Bearings: 6 + 1 (Shielded A-RB bearings)
  • Material: Hagane Body and X-Protect water-repellent coating
  • Line Capacity: 195 yards of 6 lb mono
  • Weight: 6.7 oz (190g)

Pricing:

  • Standard Model: $201.12 (depending on size)
  • Upgrades: Available in different sizes and gear ratios to suit your needs.
Shimano Stradic FL

Pros

  • Silky smooth operation. Feels like a dream in your hand.
  • Lightweight and comfortable. Perfect for long days on the water.
  • Powerful drag system. You'll have no trouble landing even the biggest fish.
  • Durable and reliable. Built to last.

Cons

  • It can be a bit pricey for some anglers.
  • It's not the most powerful reel on the market.

3. Penn Battle III

Think of this reel as the dependable boxer who always comes out swinging. It might not have all the fancy bells and whistles, but the Penn Battle III is tough, affordable, and packs a punch when it comes to performance. This is the reel you want when you need a reliable workhorse that won't break the bank.

Penn Battle III

Our Take

0out of 10

The Penn Battle III is a fantastic entry-level reel that offers exceptional value and performance for its price point. It's a reliable and durable choice for anglers of all levels.

Key Benefits:

  • Gear Ratio: 5.6:1 to 6.2:1 (depending on size, retrieves 31-36 inches of line per crank)
  • Drag System: HT-100 carbon fiber drag system (up to 25 lbs)
  • Ball Bearings: 5 + 1 (stainless steel)
  • Material: Full metal body and side plates, CNC Gear technology
  • Line Capacity: 220 yards of 15 lb mono (varies by size)
  • Weight: 11.2 oz (318g)

Pricing:

  • Standard Model: $94.55 (depending on size)
  • Upgrades: Available in spinning or baitcasting models, various sizes
Penn Battle III

Pros

  • Durable and tough. Built to withstand the elements and heavy use.
  • Smooth drag system. Consistently performs under pressure.
  • Great value for the price. Doesn't sacrifice performance for affordability.
  • Wide range of sizes and models. It can be used for various types of fishing.

Cons

  • It's not the lightest reel on the market.
  • Some anglers may prefer a higher gear ratio.

4. Abu Garcia Revo SX

If the Daiwa BG MQ is a trusty pickup, then the Abu Garcia Revo SX is a high-performance sports car. It's packed with advanced features that make it a dream to cast and retrieve. The Revo SX is designed for anglers who demand the best and are willing to pay for it.

Abu Garcia Revo SX

Our Take

0out of 10

The Abu Garcia Revo SX is a top-of-the-line reel that delivers exceptional performance and cutting-edge features. It's a dream for anglers who want the best and are willing to pay for it.

Key Benefits:

  • Gear Ratio: 6.2:1 to 8.0:1 (depending on model, retrieves 36-46 inches of line per crank)
  • Drag System: MagTrax brake system and Carbon Matrix drag (up to 20 lbs)
  • Ball Bearings: 9 + 1 (HPCR bearings)
  • Material: X2-Cräftic alloy frame and C6 carbon side plates
  • Line Capacity: 145 yards of 12 lb mono (varies by model)
  • Weight: 6.7 oz (190g)

Pricing:

  • Standard Model: $139.55 (depending on the model)
  • Upgrades: Available in various sizes and with a power handle option for extra cranking power.
Abu Garcia Revo SX

Pros

  • Extremely smooth and fast. It makes casting and retrieving effortless.
  • Lightweight and comfortable. Perfect for long days on the water.
  • Packed with advanced features. Gives you an edge on the water.
  • Stylish and modern design. It looks as good as it performs.

Cons

  • Expensive. This reel is not for the budget-conscious angler.
  • It's not as durable as some other reels on the market.

5. KastKing Sharky III

Don't let the affordable price fool you; the KastKing Sharky III is a reel that punches above its weight class. It's like the underdog athlete who surprises everyone with their skills and determination. The Sharky III delivers smooth performance, a comfortable feel, and a surprising amount of features for its budget-friendly price.

KastKing Sharky III

Our Take

0out of 10

The KastKing Sharky III is a fantastic reel for budget-minded anglers who don't want to sacrifice performance. It's a true value champion that will surprise you with its capabilities.

Key Benefits:

  • Gear Ratio: 5.2:1 (retrieves 30 inches of line per crank)
  • Drag System: Triple Disc carbon fiber drag (up to 39.5 lbs)
  • Ball Bearings: 10 + 1 shielded stainless steel bearings
  • Material: Graphite frame and rotor
  • Line Capacity: 265 yards of 8 lb mono
  • Weight: 9.5 oz (269g)

Pricing:

  • Standard Model: $55.99 (depending on size)
  • Upgrades: Available in various sizes and with a power handle option for extra cranking power.
KastKing Sharky III

Pros

  • Incredible value for the price. Delivers performance that rivals more expensive reels.
  • Smooth and powerful drag system. Can handle larger fish with ease.
  • Lightweight and comfortable. Perfect for long fishing sessions.
  • Corrosion-resistant bearings. They are built to last in harsh saltwater environments.

Cons

  • It's not as durable as some higher-end reels.
  • Some anglers may prefer a higher gear ratio.

6. Pflueger President XT

This reel is like a Swiss Army knife for anglers. It's adaptable, reliable, and always ready for action. The Pflueger President XT is a smooth operator that performs well in a variety of fishing situations, making it a great choice for both beginners and experienced anglers.

Pflueger President XT

Our Take

0out of 10

The Pflueger President XT is an excellent all-around reel that offers a winning combination of smoothness, versatility, and affordability. It's a great choice for anglers who want a reliable and versatile reel that won't break the bank.

Key Benefits:

  • Gear Ratio: 5.2:1 or 6.2:1 (depending on the model, retrieves 30-36 inches of line per crank)
  • Drag System: Sealed drag system with oiled felt washers (up to 10 lbs)
  • Ball Bearings: 9 + 1 (corrosion-resistant stainless steel)
  • Material: Graphite body and rotor
  • Line Capacity: 150 yards of 6 lb mono (varies by model)
  • Weight: 7.3 oz (207g)

Pricing:

  • Standard Model: $91.14 (depending on size and model)
  • Upgrades: Available in spinning and baitcasting models of various sizes.
Pflueger President XT

Pros

  • Smooth and reliable. Casting and retrieving feel effortless.
  • Lightweight and comfortable. Easy to handle all day long.
  • Versatile and adaptable. It can be used for a variety of fishing techniques.
  • Affordable. Offers great value for the price.

Cons

  • It's not the most powerful reel on the market.
  • The drag system may not be strong enough for very large fish.

7. Okuma Ceymar C-30

This reel is like a seasoned sailor, ready to brave the harshest conditions. The Okuma Ceymar C-30 is built to withstand the corrosive effects of saltwater, making it a great choice for anglers who love to chase fish in the ocean. It's not just tough; it's also smooth and reliable and offers excellent value for the price.

Okuma Ceymar C-30

Our Take

0out of 10

The Okuma Ceymar C-30 is a solid choice for anglers who fish in saltwater. It's durable, smooth, and affordable, making it a great value reel for both beginners and experienced anglers.

Key Benefits:

  • Gear Ratio: 5.0:1 (retrieves 28 inches of line per crank)
  • Drag System: Multi-disc oiled felt drag system (up to 13 lbs)
  • Ball Bearings: 6 + 1 (corrosion-resistant stainless steel)
  • Material: Graphite body and rotor, corrosion-resistant coating
  • Line Capacity: 160 yards of 8 lb mono
  • Weight: 8.5 oz (240g)

Pricing:

  • Standard Model: $68.37 (depending on size)
  • Upgrades: Available in various sizes to suit your needs.
Okuma Ceymar C-30

Pros

  • Corrosion-resistant. Built to last in saltwater environments.
  • Smooth and reliable. Casting and retrieving feel effortless.
  • Affordable. Offers great value for the price.
  • Comfortable handle. Reduces hand fatigue during long fishing sessions.

Cons

  • It's not the most powerful reel on the market.
  • The drag system may not be strong enough for very large fish.

What to Look for When Buying a Fishing Reel?

  • Gear Ratio: How fast the spool turns with each handle crank. Choose a lower gear ratio for larger fish and a higher one for faster retrieves.
  • Drag System: The amount of resistance the reel gives when a fish pulls on the line. Look for a smooth and consistent drag.
  • Ball Bearings: More ball bearings generally mean a smoother operation.
  • Material: Graphite reels are lightweight, while aluminum reels are more durable. Choose the material that best suits your fishing style and budget.
  • Line Capacity: How much fishing line the spool can hold. Choose a reel with a line capacity that matches the type of fishing you plan to do.
  • Weight: Consider the weight of the reel, especially if you plan to fish for extended periods.
  • Price: Fishing reels range in price from budget-friendly to high-end. Determine your budget before you start shopping.

How Can the Right Fishing Reel Benefit You?

Choosing the right fishing reel can be the difference between a frustrating day on the water and a successful fishing trip filled with excitement and trophy catches.

A good reel makes casting easier, reduces line tangles, and provides a smooth and consistent drag that helps you land even the most stubborn fish.

It can also enhance your fishing experience by reducing hand fatigue, increasing accuracy, and allowing you to fish for longer periods.

Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned angler, investing in a quality reel that matches your fishing style and needs is essential.

The right reel will improve your casting distance, accuracy, and overall fishing experience. So, don't settle for subpar equipment.

Upgrade your fishing gear and start reeling in the benefits!

Buyer's Guide

When diving into the world of fishing reels, we knew we had to cast a wide net to reel in the best information. Here's how we conducted our research:

  • Hands-On Testing: We got our hands dirty (and sometimes a little fishy!) by testing a variety of spinning reels and baitcasting reels in both freshwater fishing (like lake fishing) and saltwater fishing conditions. We looked for reels that were easy to use, offered a smooth cast and retrieve, and could handle different types of fish.
  • Expert Opinions: We didn't just rely on our own experiences. We consulted with seasoned anglers, fishing guides, and tackle shop experts to get their insights on the best reels on the market. We also dove into online forums and communities to see what real anglers had to say about their favorite reels.
  • In-Depth Reviews: We scoured the internet for detailed reviews from reputable sources like Outdoor Life, Wired2Fish, and Outdoor Gear Lab. We paid close attention to reviews that compared different reels side-by-side, highlighting their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Customer Feedback: We didn't just stop at expert reviews. We also dug into customer reviews on Amazon, Bass Pro Shops, and other online retailers to see what everyday anglers had to say about their experiences with different reels.
  • Feature Analysis: We compared the features of different reels, looking at everything from gear ratio and drag system to materials and line capacity. We wanted to find reels that offered the best combination of performance, durability, and value.
  • Price Comparison: We factored in the price of each reel, looking for options that offered the best value for the money. We considered both budget-friendly reels and high-end models, ensuring we had something for every angler's wallet.
  • Support and Warranty: We looked into the support and warranty options offered by different manufacturers, ensuring you're covered if anything goes wrong with your reel.

By combining hands-on testing with expert opinions, in-depth reviews, customer feedback, and thorough feature analysis, we were able to confidently identify the seven best fishing reels for every angler in 2024.

Whether you're looking for an incredibly light reel for trout fishing or a solid reel to handle monster saltwater reels like the Abu Garcia Revo Winch, we've got you covered.

Our recommendations include reels that are known for their great casting reel, smooth operation, powerful drag systems, and overall durability.

We also included a variety of lightweight reel and affordable options, ensuring there's a perfect reel for every angler's budget and fishing style.

Wrapping Up

Choosing the right fishing reel can significantly impact your ability to catch fish, especially when using lighter lures.

Factors like the reel's pinion gear, drag system, and overall design play a crucial role in line control, ensuring a smooth cast and retrieve.

It's worth investing in a high-quality reel that suits your needs for better line control and a more enjoyable fishing experience.

Remember, the best reel for you depends on your fishing style, budget, and the type of fish you're targeting.

If you're still unsure, don't hesitate to seek advice from more experienced anglers or tackle shop experts.

With the right reel in hand, you'll be well on your way to reeling in those trophy catches!

Frequently Asked Questions

What's the difference between spinning reels and baitcasting reels?

Spinning reels are generally easier to use, making them ideal for beginners. The spool is fixed, and the line flows off the end during a cast. Baitcasting reels are more complex but offer greater casting performance and accuracy, making them a favorite among experienced anglers.

Are heavier reels better?

Not necessarily. While heavier reels can be more durable and offer more power, they can also cause fatigue during long fishing trips. The best reel weight depends on your fishing style, target species, and personal preference.

How often should I clean and maintain my fishing reel?

Regular maintenance is crucial for ensuring your reel's longevity and performance. After each fishing trip, rinse your reel with fresh water and lubricate the moving parts. A deep cleaning every few months is also recommended.

What's the best reel for saltwater fishing?

Saltwater reels are specifically designed to withstand the corrosive effects of saltwater. Look for reels made from corrosion-resistant materials, such as stainless steel or sealed bearings. The Okuma Ceymar C-30 and Daiwa BG MQ are excellent choices for saltwater fishing.

How do I choose the right reel for my fishing style?

Consider the type of fishing you'll be doing, the species you're targeting, and your budget. If you're a beginner, a spinning reel with a lower gear ratio and ample line capacity is a good starting point. More experienced anglers may prefer a baitcasting reel or a reel designed for specific techniques, such as ultralight fishing or deep-sea fishing.