Daiwa BG Review – Extraordinary Value in a Powerful reel

The Daiwa BG is one of the most popular reels on the market, and for good reason.

You are getting a hell of a lot of value in this reel at a perfectly acceptable price. Daiwa has included features that you’d find on reels 2-4 times the price, like the Saltiga and Stella reels.

Daiwa BG

Author photo of the Daiwa BG Reel

Best Surf Reel Overall

  • Crazy value for money
  • Features you find in top-end reel models
  • Incredibly versatile, reliable and durable

I bought one for fishing the surf because I wanted a solid, reliable reel that can handle the strain on the gears that fishing in the surf can give.

And I expect to hold on to the Daiwa BG and be using it for a very long time.

There is just tonnes of durability and technology packed into this reel that make it so worth the money.

Let’s look at what the Daiwa BG is best at and any watchouts…

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We have tested and compared a range of reels for different surf fishing applications – click here to read the about the best reels for surf fishing.

Who should invest in the Daiwa BG? 

The Daiwa BG offers tonnes of high-spec reel technology at a fraction of the price of other reels that contain similar features.

It’s an incredibly versatile reel that can be applied effectively to freshwater fishing and saltwater. And the wide range of sizes can see you fishing light gear for smaller species on the lake, or tackling heavy fish in the raging surf on the larger reel sizes.

It’s an incredibly smooth, reliable reel that feels solid in your hand and gives you confidence while fishing.

The Daiwa BG is a popular choice with charter boast because of its durability, power and ultimately value.

But I’d recommend it to almost any angler looking for a top-quality reel. Especially to anglers stepping out of the beginner phase and looking to upgrade their setup and take their fishing to the next level.

See how the Daiwa BG compares to the higher-priced Penn Spinfisher reel in our Daiwa BG vs Penn Spinfisher VI article!

Daiwa BG specs

  • 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
  • Bearings: 7
  • Gear ratio: 5.6:1
  • Handle side: Interchangeable right and left

Daiwa BG Pros

Daiwa BG’s solid anodized aluminum body

The Daiwa BG overall is one solid-feeling reel. Straight out of the box you feel it’s rigidity. And the last thing you want when battling big fish is a reel that gives and moves unnecessarily.

The reel’s strength comes in large part due to the material of the reel body, which is anodized aluminum. This means is super lightweight for a solid metal, strong, and also corrosion resistant compared to other metals out there.

A photo of a Daiwa BG for Review

Daiwa BG’s Digigear depth and durability

Daiwa’s Digigears also sit in the Daiwa BG, transferring power and control into the hand of the angler.

The teeth of the gears themselves are much deeper and thicker than many reels out there.

They call them ‘Digi’ because they have been digitally cut from the metal which Daiwa claims gives them maximum precision so that the gears connect perfectly without slippage or give – super important for fighting fish under pressure!

Daiwa BG’s Super light and sensitive Air Rotor tech

Following the theme of strength and lightness, Daiwa’s Air Rotor wraps the Daiwa BG. The design of this rotor provides surprising sensitivity for a reel of this price range. Daiwa says that this Air Rotor design provides more balance to the reel with a combination of stability and sensitivity, through the way the arches of the rotor have been designed.

Daiwa’s responsive ATD Drag Grease

The ATD drag grease in the Dawia BG is said to contribute to lower inertia when the drag starts. This is important because if your reel drag has high inertia when a fish strikes and strips your line there may be a risk of line breakage. The character of the grease itself changes when the drag starts to create the high responsiveness of the drag system.

The tapered ABS spool on the Daiwa BG

As mainly a surf angler, I really like this feature. The tapered design of the ABS spool allows even line distribution and importantly a much more even, friction-free process of de-spooling when you cast. This means line comes off the spool much faster and evenly giving you much farther casts that typical standard reel spools that are not tapered.

The spool width is also oversized compared to other reels – allowing for more line capacity on the Daiwa BG vs something like the Penn Battle 3.

The BG’s solid one-piece, interchangeable handle

It may seem trivial, but when you have a reel that is so beautifully designed and built to be solid, rigid and without give, it would be a shame to have a handle with multiple moving parts with any give that would detract from the stability of the reel body and mechanics.

The Daiwa BG handle comes as one solid part and it feels great. You immediately feel the connection to the reel’s gears and the power that it can deliver. Winding forward and backward you don’t feel any give in the mechanics, it’s a great feeling.

The handle is also interchangeable, so you can have it on the left or right hand side.

Some anglers have a preference for which side they fish with.

Personally, I don’t – I have set ups with reel handles on both sides and that suits me. At the time of writing this, I have tennis elbow in my right arm, so winding furiously with my right hand is painful… and it’s not going to stop me fishing!

Plus, if you’re fishing on the beach all day, as I often do, one arm can become tired and it’s nice to switch it up between rods and reels.

A photo of a Daiwa BG handle for Review

Click here for our opinion on the best spinning reels by Daiwa.

Daiwa BG’s top-end ball bearings

This is one of the standout features of the Dawia BG that contributes to its smoothness and stability and which surprised many anglers when the new BG was released.

And that is the Minebea ball bearings you’ll find within the reel. These are extremely high quality ball bearing systems.

Do you know the Shimano Stella? Or the Daiwa Saltiga? And you know how much they cost…? The best part of a $1000 bucks.

Well the lowly Daiwa BG, costing only around $100 in fact contains the same ball bearing system as these top-of-market reels that many anglers only dream of owning.

These bearings are what give the Daiwa BG it’s liquid smoothness at a fraction of the price you would expect.

The smoothness of the Daiwa BG

To round off this section I wanted to comment on the Daiwa BG’s smoothness overall. It’s what you notice first about the feel of the reel when you take it out of the box – turn the handle and enjoy!

And when you look collectively at the features and technology that have been built into the BG, and understand their quality you begin to understand why it is a reel that is so smooth, even under pressure and strain of fish fighting in the tough surf conditions.

Daiwa BG Cons

While durable, it’s not totally waterproof

There is immense levels of durability built into this reel but it’s not bullet-… or should I say water-proof.

There are some seals, one on the drag I believe but that might be it.

So if you’re taking it surf fishing, like me, then you’ll want to be a little careful of heavy splashing and probably best avoid a good dunking as it will need disassembling and cleaning properly.

I’ve heard of surf anglers giving them a beating on the beach, and with a little care and rinsing have had no issues over a number of years using their Daiwa BG reels.

If you need a reel with added sealing, read our comparison between the Daiwa BG vs Spinfisher VI.

The handle knob doesn’t match the performance of the reel

Maybe I’m particularly sensitive to this one, but an uncomfortable, small handle while surf fishing is not fun.

The Daiwa BG handle isn’t THAT bad but it could be better – bigger and better.

Personally, I think EVA foam is the best material for surf fishing because it is grippier and more comfortable with sandy, slimy wet hands.

The BG’s handle is a little small for me and the material was tacky and not great feeling in the hand.

A pointless anti-reverse switch, but built well

I’ve mentioned this quite a lot before about anti-reverse switches with surf fishing, but I don’t really see the use in them. There are other more effective and less clunky ways to give line out.

The Daiwa BG does have an anti-reverse switch on it, but I don’t see the need.

That said, the anti-reverse clutch is said to be far superior to other reel models in that its parts are made of metal rather than plastic. This means that the antireverse potentially lasts a lot longer.

Aesthetically and in terms of usability and feel, the other thing I noticed pretty quickly, especially with a Penn Battle 3 sat next to the Daiwa BG, is the slimness of the bail arm.

Go in-depth into our Daiwa BG versus Penn Battle 3 reels comparison here.

Slim bail wire

For all of the Daiwa BG’s other elements and features that are chunky, strong and built well, the bail arm felt so skinny.

The bail arm that holds the wire is plastic which I thought oh dear when combined with the slim bail wire, but in fact, the bail arm despite being plastic is incredibly stable and holds its own very well under use.

So luckily a skinny bail wire doesn’t detract from the performance and rigidity overall.

Daiwa BG Performance

As mentioned the Daiwa BG is a versatile piece of kit that performs excellently across different applications.

In its ultralight and light sizes, the sensitivity of the air rotor and lightweight body design allow for precise finesse fishing. If you’re targeting crappie or small trout the Daiwa BG’s precision and sensitivity when paired with a high performance ultralight rod will create a great fishing experience.

For the medium to larger sizes, I’m going to talk about performance in the context of surf fishing, which is the main type of fishing I do.

Surf fishing demands quite a lot of performance and reliability from reels. I have some predominantly plastic-bodied reels that are a backup and they bend and flex terribly under the pressure of fish in the surf.

The Daiwa BG doesn’t suffer this problem. It is robust and transfers the power of your reeling hand effectively and efficiently while retrieving.

There is no give in the reel or handle, and when trying to navigate fish through the choppy surf this can be a deal breaker between a kept or lost fish. Fish turn, get moved and are motivated by the swell to change directions and can gain additional power from the moving surf. You don’t want a reel that gives an inch!

In terms of reeling speed, the gear ratio at face value seems slow. But the Daiwa BG has a wider spool meaning the length of line you are actually reeling in is longer, therefore your retrieve is actually faster – great for lure fishing in the surf.

On the 4000 your winding in 39.9 inches per handle rotation!

See how the Daiwa BG and Penn SPinfisher VI compare!

Daiwa BG sizes

The Daiwa BG comes in multiple different sizes – see size shart below.

This means that no matter what fishing you’re doing, there’s likely a size for you – from ultralight to heavier-weight fishing.

ModelBearingsMax Drag (lbs)Weight (oz.)Gear RatioLine Retrieve (in)Braid Cap (yds/lb)Mono Cap (yds/lb)

Daiwa BG Construction

Overall the construction dn engineering of this reel is impressive for the price. It’s hard not to be impressed by the Daiwa BG.

  • The reel stem and body are solid anodized aluminium for strength not at the cost of weight.
  • Strong, stable brass pinion gears connect with the deep teeth of the main gear to avoid slippage and give when fighting big fish – it feels solid.
  • The deep, thick Digigears cut straight from aluminum.
  • The anti-reverse clutch is metal not plastic, surprisingly, because plastic is so common. This is a nice touch and adds to its robustness.
  • As mentioned the ball bearings are premium high grade.
  • The bail arm is plastic but still incredibly robust under pressure.
  • The rotor is plastic but Daiwa’s much-copied arched design provides additional strength and stability even under great amounts of pressure on the reel.

Daiwa BG FAQs

Is Daiwa BG good for saltwater?

The Daiwa BG is a good saltwater reel and is popular with surf and rock anglers, and also with charter boats that need a solid workhorse of a reel.

That said, there is only one waterproof seal on the drag and the Daiwa BG is not intended to be dunked in saltwater. It should withstand sand and water splashes, but you should clean it after every fishing trip to keep it clean and operating well.

Is Daiwa BG good for freshwater?

The Daiwa BG is a fantastic reel for freshwater. In fact, I intend to use it sometimes for targeting bass. The 1500-2500 sizes handle ultralight fishing very well due to the lightweight aluminum body, the sensitive light Air Rotor, and the large retrieval-per-crank ratio for fishing with lures that require fast retrieval.

Is Daiwa better than Shimano?

Daiwa has some features and products that some anglers would claim as being better than Shimano – but you’ll find exactly the same with other anglers that prefer Shimano.

Ultimately I think it comes down to personal preference and the experience you’ve had with reels over time.

However, I’ve not seen so much fuss and popularity around a reel like the Daiwa BG about a similar reel coming from Shimano. The Shimano Stradic might be close but not in price – it’s about double the BG cost.

What does Daiwa BG stand for?

BG stands for ‘Black-Gold’ which was the previous line of Daiwa reels that the BG was following. The original Black-Gold reels were around for 35 years due to their longevity and durability.

Some say the latest Daiwa BG is a very different reel in terms of its engineering and features, and that the main inheritance is the colour and name!

Is Daiwa BG made in China?

Daiwa was founded in Japan and a lot of its manufacturing happens there, however, a lot has moved overseas too across Asia and even the UK.

The Daiwa BG is largely manufactured in China. Because Daiwa owns its manufacturing plants and can produce volumes of the reel, it can afford to (and has) pack lots of value into less costly reels. The Daiwa BG is a great example of this.