6 Best budget spinning reels now – huge value small price tag

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Trying to find a well-made reel that doesn’t cost a fortune takes a bit of experience and searching.

That’s why I put together this list of best budget spinning reels in 2023, to help anglers like you find a bargain that will last you. along time.

In this blog post, we present the six best budget spinning reels available today, offering outstanding value for their modest price tags.

From solid construction to smooth performance, these reels prove that you don’t have to sacrifice quality for affordability. Get ready to discover your next fishing companion that won’t empty your wallet.

Let’s get straight into it…

Best budget spinning reel for saltwater – Okuma Rockaway Surf reel

This reel I’m talking about is a real steal when it comes to price and performance for surf, beach, rock, and pier fishing.

It’s perfect for casting long distances and has a big spool capacity, so you can be way up on the beach or jetty and still reach those fishy spots.

Though you might not expose it to saltwater often, it can handle it without any problems. These reels are tough and built to withstand the elements.

I’ve heard from fellow anglers that they rarely have issues with saltwater damage or the need for repairs, as long as you take care of them and give them a proper cleaning.

That means they can last a long time and cast far, making them great choices for surf fishing.

Let’s talk about some of the pros of the Okuma Rockaway.

Okuma Rockaway Rating Score

4.6 stars

  • Performance: 4.5 stars
  • Durability: 4.6 stars
  • Value for Money: 4.7 stars

Okuma Rockaway Spinning Reel at a glance

  • Best for: Your first long cast surf reel if you are budget-conscious.
  • Sizes: 6000, 8000
  • Drag: 26lbs max drag, or 35lbs max drag
  • Line capacity: 400yds/40lb braid on the 6000
  • Weight: 17oz
  • Read the full review of the Okuma Rockaway here

Okuma Rockaway Spinning Reel Pros

Spool capacity

The 6000 model size can hold up to 300 yards of 50lb braid, which means you can launch your bait or lure out into the surf like a torpedo and target those big predators lurking out there.

Smooth crank and oscillation

The reel’s smooth oscillation and 5 ball bearings provide a comfortable reeling experience, and the bronze pinion gear adds to its durability and performance over time.

Chunky handle grip

One thing I really like about this reel is the chunky EVA foam handle. It’s perfect for those sandy and wet conditions you often encounter while surf fishing.

It gives you a comfortable grip and makes reeling in a beach monster a lot easier. Plus, the handle is one solid piece, which adds rigidity and reduces flex when you’re battling a fish.

Okuma Rockaway Spinning Reel Cons

Now, let’s talk about a couple of cons when it comes to the Okuma Rockaway.

Pointless anti-reverse switch

First off, it has an anti-reverse switch that some anglers find unnecessary. It’s positioned in a way that makes them worry about accidentally hitting it when fighting larger fish. It’s something to keep in mind.

Clunky bail arm

Another downside is that the bail arm can be a bit clunky and sticky at times when you try to flip it over. It might not always operate as smoothly as you’d like.

Additionally, while the reel feels stable, it’s not as solid and rigid as some other models like the Daiwa BG or Penn Battle 3. So, when you’re fighting bigger fish, you might worry about the reel flexing and the gears inside.


Overall, the Okuma Rockaway is a great reel for surf, beach, rock, and pier fishing. It offers impressive casting distance, durability, and comfort, but it does have a couple of minor drawbacks to keep in mind. Happy fishing!

Best budget spinning reel for bass – Shimano Sienna

This reel was actually one of the first ones I bought when I started doing closer inshore surf fishing. It’s been a fantastic little reel, especially for beginners who don’t want to spend a fortune.

I’ve used this reel for a variety of fishing scenarios, and it has performed well. I’ve knocked it around and splashed it in the surf, and I’ve also used it to target bass in freshwater over the past few years.

So far, I haven’t encountered any issues with it. However, I haven’t submerged it completely, so I’d recommend avoiding giving it a dunk, just to be safe. Since it’s a budget reel, it doesn’t have decent water seals.

I actually have the 2500 size reel, and it has been great for targeting fish close to the shore, like whiting that hang out just behind the first breaker, using worms as bait. It’s a versatile reel that can handle various fishing situations.

I’ve also heard from other anglers that they’ve used the 3000 size of this reel for catching blues, stripers, and speckled trout, and some have even landed carp weighing over 20 pounds without any issues.

Let’s have a look in more detail…

Shimano Sienna FG Rating Score

4.7 stars

  • Performance: 4.7 stars
  • Durability: 4.6 stars
  • Value for Money: 5 stars
Photo of Shimano Sienna by the Author

Shimano Sienna FG Spinnig Reel at a glance

  • Best for: Beginner surf anglers, beach casters and rock fishermen
  • Sizes: 500-4000
  • Drag: 19lbs on the 4000 size
  • Line capacity: 180yds / 30lb braid
  • Weight: 11.3oz on the 4000 model
  • Read the full Shimano Sienna review here.

Shimano Sienna FG Spinnig Reel Pros:

Solid Construction

Unlike some reels that are mainly made of plastic, the body of the Shimano Sienna FG actually contains aluminum, adding to its overall solidity.

Capable Drag

The drag on this reel can handle surprisingly hard-fighting fish. It’s a reliable and capable feature.

Great Value

Considering the price you pay, the Shimano Sienna FG offers a ton of value. It’s an excellent choice for a gift or as a first reel for a beginner angler.


These reels are widely stocked in sports store chains in Australia and are used in tough conditions and applications. This speaks volumes about their durability.

Shimano Sienna FG Spinnig Reel Cons:

Small Drag Wheel

Some anglers find the drag wheel to be on the smaller side, which can make it easy to accidentally slip over when you need to adjust it.

Slight Handle Play

While there is a little bit of play in the handle, it’s not as significant as you might expect. It doesn’t affect the overall functionality of the reel.

Small Handle Knob

The handle knob on the Shimano Sienna FG is relatively small. It’s worth noting that in wet or slimy conditions, it can be easy to slip off.

Vulnerable Anti-Reverse Switch

The anti-reverse switch on this reel can become susceptible to water and sand exposure. Additionally, some anglers question the necessity of having an anti-reverse switch when surf fishing.


Overall, the Shimano Sienna FG is a solid reel with its aluminum-containing body, capable drag, and great value for the price. However, it does have a few drawbacks, such as a small drag wheel, slight handle play, a small handle knob, and a potentially vulnerable anti-reverse switch. These considerations aside, it’s a reliable choice for various fishing conditions.

Best spinning reel under $50 – Daiwa SweepFire

This reel I’ve chosen here is incredibly cheap, but it performs way better than you’d expect.

Most of it is made of plastic, but here’s the cool part: it actually has some solid metal parts, which is pretty rare for such a low-priced reel.

I got myself a 4000 size Daiwa Sweepfire reel specifically for beach casting, and if you take a look at the photo, you’ll see that I’ve been rough with it over the past 3 years! Despite all that, I haven’t had any issues with it until recently.

I’ve dunked it in the ocean, let it get blasted by sand, dropped it in all sorts of messy situations, and I haven’t really washed or rinsed it every single time. But I have found this reel has been a total workhorse for the money.

Only after a few years of abuse did the anti-reverse mechanism break (which can apparently be fixed). Honestly, I’m thinking of buying one or two new ones to have as spare reels for when my friends come fishing with me. It’d be a great first reel for kids too!

When I first bought this reel, I didn’t have high expectations, but it has pleasantly surprised me. It’s fantastic for inshore surf fishing, but could be applied just as well to other types of fishing, too.

Let’s look at some more specs in detail…

Daiwa Sweepfire Rating Score

4.5 stars

  • Performance: 4.2 stars
  • Durability: 4.5 stars
  • Value for Money: to 5 stars
Author's photo of Daiwa Sweepfire

Daiwa Sweepfire Spinning Reel at a glance

  • Best for: A cheap inshore surf reel you don’t mind others using, or want something effective to turn to for bait fishing.
  • Sizes: 1000 – 5000 and the 500s in between.
  • Drag: 13.2lbs max drag on the 4000 size
  • Line capacity: 280yds/30lb braid on the 4000 size.
  • Weight: 13.4oz on the 4000 size.
  • Read the full Daiwa Sweepfire Review here.

Daiwa Sweepfire Spinning Reel Pros:

Impressive Spool Capacity

The Daiwa Sweepfire has a massive spool capacity, especially in the 4000 size, which makes it perfect for surf casting. You’ll be able to reach surprising distances from the beach with this reel.

Smooth Drag and Rotor

Despite facing various conditions, the drag and rotor of this reel have remained pretty smooth. The only noticeable change has been a slight stickiness while reeling, accompanied by a faint noise.

Digigears and ABS Spool

The reel features Digigears, which is a trademark of Daiwa, and the engineering is pretty straightforward. Additionally, the ABS spool helps with casting far distances, particularly on the 4000 size reel.

Daiwa Sweepfire Spinning Reel Cons:

Small Drag Adjustment Wheel

Some anglers find that the drag adjustment wheel feels a bit small, and it can be easy to slip on when you’re trying to make quick adjustments, especially if your hands are wet.

Uncomfortable Handle

The handle is made of hard plastic, which can become a little uncomfortable if you’re lure fishing in the surf all day. Additionally, it can be a bit slippery if your hands are slimy.

Flex in the Reel

Due to the presence of plastic elements in the reel, there is a bit of flex when reeling in a fish. This can affect the overall rigidity of the reel.

Daiwa Sweepfire Summary

Considering the price point of the Daiwa Sweepfire, it’s hard to be too critical. It offers good value for the money you pay.

Overall, the Daiwa Sweepfire is a reel with impressive spool capacity, smooth drag, and the added benefits of Digigears and an ABS spool. It has a few drawbacks, including a small drag adjustment wheel, an uncomfortable handle, and some flex in the reel. Nevertheless, it remains a viable option considering its price.

Best spinning reel under $100 – Pflueger President

This is a reel that as come to my attention recently, particularly when searching for a good value reel.

You just have to look across a few fishing forums online and you’ll see that the Pflueger President spinning reel is a highly recommended choice for anglers looking for a reliable and versatile fishing reel.

It seems to have gained a solid reputation among fishing enthusiasts for exceptional performance, durability, and smooth operation at a low price.

The Pflueger President spinning reel is suitable for a wide range of anglers, including beginners and experienced fishermen alike.

If you’re just starting out with fishing, the Pflueger President seems like a solid first choice. Its user-friendly design and intuitive features make it easy to handle, helping you enjoy a smooth and hassle-free fishing experience.

And whether you prefer freshwater or saltwater fishing, the President spinning reel performs exceptionally well in various fishing environments. It is versatile enough to handle different fishing techniques, including casting, spinning, and jigging.

Let’s take a closer look at why this reel is worth considering.

Pflueger President Rating Score

4.7 stars

  • Performance: 4.6 stars
  • Durability: 4.7 stars
  • Value for Money: 4.8 stars

Pflueger President Pros

Smooth Performance

The Pflueger President reel is known for its silky-smooth operation. Its high-quality ball bearings and precise gear alignment contribute to a seamless reeling experience, allowing you to cast and retrieve with ease.


Built with quality materials, the President reel offers durability that stands up to the test of time. It can handle the demands of regular fishing, even in harsh saltwater conditions, without compromising its performance.

Lightweight and Ergonomic

The reel’s lightweight design makes it comfortable to use for extended periods. Additionally, the ergonomic handle provides a secure grip, reducing fatigue and enhancing control while reeling in your catch.

Excellent Drag System

The President reel features a reliable drag system that provides smooth and consistent pressure. This allows you to easily handle hard-fighting fish without the risk of line breakage.

Pflueger President Cons

Limited Line Capacity

Compared to some larger-sized reels, the line capacity of the Pflueger President may be slightly limited. If you’re targeting larger fish species or require a significant amount of line, you may need to consider a larger reel.

Fewer Advanced Features

While the President reel performs exceptionally well for its price range, it may lack some advanced features found in higher-end models. However, it still delivers impressive performance without unnecessary complexity.

Pflueger President Summary

In summary, the Pflueger President spinning reel is a top recommendation for anglers seeking a reliable, versatile, and user-friendly fishing reel. It offers smooth performance, durability, and a comfortable grip, making it an ideal choice for beginners and all-around anglers. While it may have a limited line capacity and lack some advanced features, its overall value and performance make it a popular option among fishing enthusiasts.

Best spinning reel under $150 – Penn Battle 3

In my opinion, this reel is a strong contender for the title of one of the best spinning reels for its price. At the time of writing, this reel falls just within this price range for most of the sizes.

If you want to compare the Daiwa BG and Penn Battle 3 reels in detail, check out our comprehensive comparison here.

The Penn Battle 3 is a significant improvement over its predecessor, the Battle 2. It’s a reliable and trusted reel that many saltwater anglers rely on for different applications and species.

One cool feature is its solid metal body, which not only feels great in your hands but also provides excellent rigidity and minimal flex when reeling and applying pressure. It’s not often you find such a solid reel with such sturdy metal bodies in this price range.

I’ve put this reel on the list because the Penn Battle 3 offers remarkable performance and value, and is chosen by so many anglers out there. Its solid metal body, responsive gear system, and high-quality construction make it a popular choice among anglers.

Penn Battle III Rating Score

4.8 stars

  • Performance: 4.7 stars
  • Durability: 4.8 stars
  • Value for Money: 4.8 stars
Photo of Penn Battle 3 taken by the Author

Penn Battle 3 at a glance

  • Best for: Those with a slightly tighter budget willing to trade off a little performance compared to the Daiwa BG.
  • Sizes: 1000 up to 10,000, with faster gear ratios in the larger models (4k, 6k, 8k).
  • Drag: Max drag of 15lbs on the 4000 model.
  • Line capacity: 185yds / 30lb braid
  • Weight: 12.2oz on the 4000 size, jumps to 20.8oz on the 6000
  • Read the full Penn Battle 3 Review here.

Penn Battle III Pros

CNC Machine-Cut Gears

Penn has equipped the Battle III reels with CNC machine-cut gears that feature deep gear teeth. This design creates power in the reel, preventing flex or slippage when under pressure. This is a significant upgrade from the earlier Battle 2 model, addressing previous complaints about the gears not being solid enough.

Sealed Bearing System and Side Plate

The Battle III reel has a sealed bearing system and side plate, contributing to its ability to keep saltwater out. While it may not be fully submersible, it is designed to withstand saltwater exposure and performs well in saltwater fishing conditions. However, for maximum water resistance, the Spinfisher VI might be a better choice (reviewed below).

Penn HT100 Drag System

The Battle III reel features the renowned Penn HT100 drag system, providing ample stopping power when battling big fish that make strong runs and sudden turns.

User-Friendly Design

The reel boasts a large, grippy Penn-style EVA handle, which enhances comfort and provides a secure grip during fishing. Additionally, the drag adjustment wheel is chunky and easy to grip, making it convenient to adjust the drag settings.

Penn Battle III Cons

Lower Line Capacity

The standard models of the Battle III reel have a lower line capacity compared to reels like the Daiwa BG, which is an important consideration for some types of fishing, like boat or surf fishing. For example, the 4000 size of the Battle III can hold 185 yards of 30lb braid, whereas the Daiwa BG offers 280 yards in the same category.

Slightly Less Smooth Operation

Some anglers have noticed that the Battle III reel feels slightly less smooth compared to other reels in a similar price range, particularly in comparison to the Daiwa BG. It may feel a bit “bumpy” at the top and bottom of the spool oscillation under pressure.

This could be attributed to the reel’s seals, which may be a design trade-off for increased durability. Like my SPinfishver VI, the Penn Battle 3 feels a bit slow to reel with a little friction to it, but this goes away after a few good uses.

Penn Battle 3 Summary

Overall, I’m impressed with what you get for the money with the Penn Battle 3: CNC machine-cut gears, sealed bearing system, and powerful HT100 drag system. It offers user-friendly features like a comfortable handle and easy-to-adjust drag settings. However, it has a lower line capacity than some competing reels and may not provide the same level of smoothness as higher-end options.

Best spinning reel under $200 – Daiwa BG

When it comes to getting the most bang for your buck, the Daiwa BG spinning reel truly stands out.

Many anglers out there, including me, believe its exceptional performance and durability make it worth much more than its price tag suggests.

This reel consistently receives rave reviews across the internet, and I couldn’t agree more.

I personally purchased the Daiwa BG for my beach casting needs, and I have no doubt that it will keep going for a long time to come. The BG is versatile too coming in many sizes, so you can put it to the test across lots of different applications.

The reel is built with an impressive level of durability and incorporates advanced technology for the cost, making it an incredible value for the money.

And the best part? It’s not even that expensive when compared to other high-quality reels on the market that carry similar technology.

Let’s take a deeper look into the Daiwa BG…

Daiwa BG Rating Score

4.9 stars

  • Performance: 4.9 stars
  • Durability: 5 stars
  • Value for Money: 5 stars
Author photo of the Daiwa BG Reel

Daiwa BG at a glance

  • Best for: Surf anglers looking to upgrade from entry-level gear, and those who want a reliable workhorse reel for the beach.
  • Sizes: 10 sizes. 1500 – 5000, 6500, 8000.
  • Drag: 17.6lbs max drag on a 4000 size
  • Line capacity: 280yds/30lb braid OR 200yds/40lb on the 4000 size
  • Weight: 14.3 oz on the 4000 size
  • Read the full Daiwa BG Review here.

Daiwa BG Pros

Solid Construction and Rigidity

The Daiwa BG boasts a combination of a sturdy anodized metal body, oversized Digigears with deep teeth, the new Air Rotor technology, and the ATD drag system.

These features make the reel incredibly solid, rigid, and reliable in-hand. The one-piece handle that engages with the main gear further enhances its sturdiness.

Smooth Performance

The Daiwa BG is equipped with high-quality ball bearings (Minebea) typically found in top-end reels like the Daiwa Saltiga or Shimano Stella. This contributes to the reel’s impressive smoothness, providing an enjoyable fishing experience.

Versatile Handle Position

One neat feature of the Daiwa BG is the ability to easily change the handle position.

Whether you prefer the handle on the left or right side, or want to switch it up during a fishing session, it’s a simple process to adjust the handle.

The reel comes set with a default handle position, but you have the flexibility to customize it to your preference.

Daiwa BG Cons

Slim Bail Arm

Compared to other reels like the Penn Battle 3, the Daiwa BG’s bail arm appears relatively slim. While everything else about the reel feels solid, some anglers may prefer a more robust bail arm design.

Moderate Gear Ratio

The Daiwa BG features a gear ratio of 5.7:1, which may not be the fastest in its class. However, the wider spool compensates for this, allowing for relatively quick line retrieval compared to certain competitors like the Penn Battle 3.

Daiwa BG Summary

The Daiwa BG offers an impressive set of advantages for anglers seeking a reliable and versatile spinning reel. I really like its solid construction, smooth performance, and its customizable handle position make it a standout choice.

While the reel’s bail arm could be beefier, and the gear ratio may not be the fastest, the Daiwa BG’s overall performance and value make it an excellent option for both beginners and experienced anglers alike.