10 Best Baitcasting Reels in 2022- Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

Baitcasting reels are the ideal tools to take those trophy-sized fish out of the water. You can use them with a wider variety of lures and fishing lines. Besides, here you are in total control of your cast. So, make sure to purchase something of proven quality. Fortunately for you, we’ve done just that. On this list, you will find some of the best baitcasting reels for the money. 

At the end of this piece, you will find some of the most important things to look at when buying a baitcasting reel. Plus some common questions as a bonus. This will be especially helpful for those new to the baitcasting world.

Let’s get started. 

10 Best Baitcasting Reels Reviewed

KastKing Royale Legend II Baitcasting Reel 

Features: 

  • Gear Ratios: 5.4 and 7.2:1
  • Graphite Frame
  • Low profile 
  • Maximum drag (pounds): 17.64
  • Brass gears
  • CNC aluminum spool
  • 5+1 ball bearings 
  • EVA foam handle
  • IPT: 22.4 and 29.8

The Royale Legend II is KastKing’s second generation of affordable baitcasting reels. This time, however, they added a double bearing system and reduced the profile. 

The graphite frame is also lighter than previous generations. Plus, the machined cut aluminum spool holds up to 130 yards of line and needs no backing. On the other hand, the 8-magnet brake system prevents backlashes, something common on this type of reel. Hence, the Royal Legend II is an ideal option for beginners. 

Depending on the model, you can either have a 5.4 or 7.2:1 gear ratio. The first is more suitable for slow presentations. Conversely, the latter option is ideal for jigs and such lures. Both come with a super 17.64 pounds of maximum drag, plenty of power for most anglers. 

Pros:

  • Great value for your money
  • Powerful drag
  • Smooth performance
  • Fast ITP
  • No backlashes, good for beginners 

Cons: 

  • Grinding noise 
  • Questionable long-term durability 
  • It needs constant maintenance to keep it working 

Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Reel

Features: 

  • Gear Ratios: 5.3 and 7.1:1
  • Graphite Frame
  • Carbon drag washers
  • Low profile 
  • Maximum drag (pounds): 18
  • Brass gears
  • CNC aluminum spool
  • 5+1 stainless steel ball bearings 
  • EVA foam handle
  • IPT: 22.8 and 30

The Royal Legend II and the Piscifun Torrent are two similar baitcasting reels. The best thing is that they both retail around 40 bucks.

There are some differences between them, though. For instance, the IPT is slightly higher on both versions. The bearing count is the same as before. This time, however, they are single-shielded instead of double-shielded. Nevertheless, the experience is as smooth as it can be on a 40 dollar baitcasting reel. 

The self-lubricating design is something that you won’t find on many baitcasting reels. Simply remove the screw, fill the hole with oil, and you are good to go. The oil will get out at the exact moment the reel needs it the most. 

Pros: 

  • Smooth and powerful drag
  • Quick oil port 
  • Magnetic brake prevents backlashes
  • Larger internals decrease game
  • Double line winding shafts do a super job distributing the line 

Cons: 

  • Sometimes the line snags between the spool and the housing
  • Bird Nests are likely to occur when using bulky lures 
  • The thumb button is difficult to engage 

Abu Garcia Pro Max Low Profile Baitcasting Fishing Reel

Features: 

  • Gear Ratios: 7.1:1
  • Graphite Frame
  • Low profile 
  • Maximum drag (pounds): 18
  • Brass gears
  • Synthetic drag washers 
  • CNC aluminum spool
  • 7+1 stainless steel ball bearings 
  • High-density EVA foam handle
  • IPT: 29

Bumping on the price range a little, we find the third generation of Abu Garcia Pro Max baitcasting reels. It features a low-profile design with a carbon fiber frame to keep the weight down. 

Both the handle and the spool have an anodized aluminum core, no worries about rust on this end. The internal parts are also well made. Therefore, durability and outstanding performance are two things to expect from this baitcasting fishing reel. 

The Duragear brass gear and stainless steel ball bearings keep the reel running smoothly. Even under heavy load. The combination offers a fast 7.1:1 gear ratio with 29 IPT. Hence, the Pro Max is more suitable for spinnerbaits and similar lures. 

 Pros:

  • Smooth and precise drag
  • Superb built quality 
  • Perfect for long castings and fast retrieves 
  • Right and left-handed models 

Cons:

  • Brake system could use some work to decrease the likelihood of backlashes 
  • There is some noticeable play on the handle in some models 

KastKing Crixus Baitcasting Fishing Reel

Features: 

  • Gear Ratios: 6.5 and 7.2:1
  • Carbon frame
  • Low profile 
  • Maximum drag (pounds): 17.6
  • Heavy-duty brass gears
  • CNC aluminum spool
  • 7+1 stainless steel ball bearings 
  • Super polymer handle
  • IPT: 26.9 and 29.8
  • Magnetic brake system

We all know that KastKing offers quality at an affordable price. Therefore, it is hard not to review several of its products. 

Like before, the Crixus baitcasting fishing reel features a carbon frame. This time, however, KastKing added some nylon to the mixture to decrease the weight. The CNC aluminum spool is also different. It has a U shape that increases line capacity and speed. 

Inside the reel, we’ll find a set of heavy-duty brass gears. Along with the 7+1 double shielded ball bearings, they are responsible for keeping everything running. Let me tell you that, for the price, the KastKing Crixus baitcasting reel is pleasantly smooth. However, the retrieval is not as clean as the casting. 

Pros:

  • Comfortable and secure grips 
  • Decent line capacity 
  • Fairly light 
  • Smooth casting

Cons:

  • The thumb release button is higher than the average
  • Thin lines tend to get stuck between the spool and the frame 

SHIMANO SLX XT Series Baitcasting Reel

Features: 

  • Gear Ratios: 6.3, 7.2, and 8.2:1
  • Metallic body 
  • Low profile 
  • Maximum drag (pounds): 11 and 12
  • Brass gears
  • CNC aluminum spool
  • 5+1 ball bearings 
  • EVA foam handle
  • IPT: 25, 28, and 32
  • Line capacity (yards): Up to 150

Are you looking to step up your game? If so, you should consider SHIMANO’s SLX XT baitcasting reel. It packs a handful of premium features. But it doesn’t come cheap. So bear a little longer to discover if this is the best baitcasting reel for you.

It has a metallic body. As a result, there is little to no flex. Hence, the SLX XT offers much more efficient power usage. Despite being made of metal, the reel is surprisingly light. 

Like most SHIMANO gear, the STX XT is full of proprietary technologies. The SVS Infinity brake system, for instance, gives more control over the spool. This way, you can adjust your brake requirements according to the lure’s weight. Hence, seasoned anglers are the ones that will benefit from this reel the most. 

Pros:

  • More control over the spool and brake system 
  • Impressive line capacity for a low profile baitcasting fishing reel 
  • Sturdy frame with close to no flex
  • Fast line retrieve 
  • Even casting and drag system

Cons:

  • It is not the best option for beginners
  • Low maximum drag 

Ardent Apex Elite

Features: 

  • Gear Ratios: 6.5 and 7.3:1
  • Aluminum Frame
  • Low profile 
  • Maximum drag (pounds): 11
  • Brass gears
  • CNC aluminum spool
  • 12+1 ball bearings 
  • EVA foam handle
  • IPT: 26 and 30

Despite not being a renowned brand, the Ardent Apex Elite has made its way into this review. It features an aluminum frame and spool with a carbon fiber handle. 

You may choose between two different gear ratios. Both have the same maximum drag and yards line capacity. However, the 6.5:1 model is only available with a right-hand retrieve only. 

The magnetic brake does a decent job of preventing backlashes. Plus, the thumb trigger is easy to reach and squeeze. On the other hand, the Apex Elite has 12+1 stainless steel ball bearings. More than any other baitcasting reel we’ve reviewed thus far. Still, we think that it is a little bit too much. 

Pros:

  • Good line capacity
  • Fast and even line retrieve
  • Smooth thumb lever 
  • Easy to use brake system

Cons: 

  • The reel requires regular oiling to prevent noises 
  • Poor value for your money 
  • Mediocre drag 

Abu Garcia Ambassadeur C4 Baitcasting Round Reel

Features: 

  • Gear Ratios: 6.3:1
  • Stainless steel frame
  • Round profile 
  • Maximum drag (pounds): 15
  • CNC aluminum spool
  • 4+1 stainless steel ball bearings 
  • EVA foam handle
  • IPT: 30

It is about time that we talked about a round baitcasting fishing reel. For this, we’ve chosen the Ambassadeur C4 by Abu Garcia. It keeps the spirit of the Ambassadeur line. This can only mean one thing: Quality and great performance. 

The round profile enables you to wrap more lines on the spool, something critical when fishing at sea. Additionally, the stainless steel body and bearings are strong and resistant to corrosion. Therefore, you can use this baitcasting reel on fresh and saltwater alike. 

The carbon drag washers deliver up to 15 pounds of fishing stopping power. The star dial gives more control over the drag. Plus, it is quite sensitive. So, getting it right shouldn’t be much of an issue. 

Pros:

  • The larger handles give more cranking power. 
  • Huge line capacity 
  • The level wind helps with line distribution and even casting 
  • You can use it for both fresh and saltwater 

Cons:

  • There is no click alarm
  • Heavier than the average baitcasting reel 
  • Bird nest are likely to happen 

Pflueger President Low Profile Reel 

Features: 

  • Gear Ratios: 7.3:1
  • Aluminum Frame
  • Low profile 
  • Maximum drag (pounds): 12
  • CNC aluminum spool
  • 8+1 ball bearings 
  • Cork knobs
  • IPT: 31
  • Line capacity (yards): Up to 145 

The Pflueger President XT is another great mid-range baitcasting reel. Let’s break it down. 

This reel is not suitable for any kind of fishing, to begin with. Why? Well, it has a 7.3:1 and 31 IPT. Hence, it is more suitable for working swimbaits, jigs, spinnerbaits, or similar lures. Besides, the low drag means that President XT is not the best option for large or aggressive species. Nevertheless, it is more than enough power for bass. 

The aluminum frame keeps everything in place and offers more durability than a comparable graphite reel. Still, we don’t recommend using it on saltwater. 

The star drag dial and brake controls are both on the right-hand side of the reel. Using either one is a straightforward process, even for beginners.

Pros:

  • Great brake systems greatly reduce bird nests
  • Enough capacity for long cast
  • Impressive line retrieve 

Cons:

  • Not enough drag for large species 
  • It gets noisy 

KastKing ReKon Line Counter Round Baitcasting Fishing Reel

Features: 

  • Gear Ratios: 5.1 and 5.3:1
  • Graphite Frame
  • Round profile 
  • Maximum drag (pounds): 25 and 30
  • Brass drive gears
  • Stainless steel pinion gear
  • CNC aluminum spool
  • 3 ball bearings 
  • EVA foam handle
  • IPT: 33.5
  • Line capacity (Yards): Up to 420
  • Line counter 

Are you looking for the best baitcasting reel with a line counter? If so, the ReKon round baitcasting reel is the one for you. It has a light graphite frame. Nevertheless, it is strong enough to handle large fish.

The carbon drag washers deliver up to 30 pounds of stopping power. The drag system works well. It is not as smooth as the one found on low-profile reels, of course. But it will get the job done, especially with trophy-sized fish

The huge aluminum spools hold up to 420 yards of line. It will start clicking as soon as a fish gets some line out of it. This will come in handy when the time of setting the hook comes. You can choose between having a line counter or not. 

Three stainless steel double-shielded ball bearings are responsible for keeping the reel operational. However, the experience is not smooth at all. But it is something to expect on a reel of this type. 

Pros:

  • Impressive line capacity 
  • Incredibly maximum drag 
  • Fairly precise line counter 

Cons: 

  • It is not a smooth reel 
  • Uneven drag 

Lew’s Fishing Tournament Pro

Features: 

  • Gear Ratios: 6.8, 7.5, and 8.3:1
  • Aluminum Frame
  • Low profile 
  • Maximum drag (pounds): 20
  • Brass gears
  • CNC aluminum spool
  • 10+1 stainless steel bearings 
  • Aluminum handle
  • IPT: 28, 31, and 35
  • Line capacity: Up to 120 

The Lew’s Tournament Pro is more than just looks. It packs a lot of top-notch features that will come in handy on your next fishing trip. Unfortunately, we all know what this means. The reel is not exactly cheap. Still, it will pay itself in time; if you let it. 

It features an aluminum frame with carbon fiber side plates to decrease the overall weight. The U-shaped spool is not particularly large. It holds up to 120 yards of fishing line, depending on the thickness. So, it is not the most suitable baitcasting fishing reel for long casts. The reel comes with a speed dial that helps to increase or decrease spool tension.  

Getting inside the reel, we find a couple of brass gears, 11 stainless steel ball bearings, and carbon drag washers. In addition, you get a 6-pin adjustable brake. With over 27 positions, you are bound to find the one that best suits your needs. 

Pros:

  • Fast reel, great for working jigs and buzz lures 
  • Extremely light. It only weighs 6.4 ounces 
  • More casting control over light lures 
  • Gears and bearings offer a buttery smooth experience 

Cons: 

  • It is not suitable for trolling or long casting 
  • Not enough drag for large fish 
  • Flimsy brake dial 

Best Baitcasting Reel for Beginners: Piscifun Torrent

If you are new to the baitcasting world, you are likely seeking something that offers good value for the money. Then, the Piscifun Torrent is the answer to your prayers. 

The IPT and drag are both slightly higher than those found on the KastKing Royale Legend. Its direct competitor. Additionally, you get a self-lubricating reel. That’s right; the Piscifun Torrent features an oil port. Just unscrew, pour the oil inside, and the reel will do the rest. 

It also comes with a double shaft winding system. This is something that you normally find in high-end models. The pair keeps the winding system in place and ensures optimal operation. 

Best Baitcasting Reel for the Money: Abu Garcia Pro Max

When it comes down to choosing the best baitcasting reel on this list, the Abu Garcia Pro Max has no match. It also happens to be one of the smoothest reels here. 

Of course, it doesn’t have SHIMANO’s technology or the super brake system of Lew’s. But it costs way less than both of them.

It also beats the Pflueger President on maximum drag and casting performance. Although, the President is a great second option if you can’t find the Pro Max. 

Buyers Guide: Everything You Should Know About Baitcasting Reels 

The market is thriving with baitcasting reels. This is a good thing, to a certain degree. You will have plenty of options to choose from. But it will take you more time to figure out which one is the best baitcasting reel for the money. 

So, it is wise to take some time to know the reel you are buying, its features, and how they influence performance. Let’s get started. 

Round Vs Low Profile Baitcasting Reels 

Low-profile baitcasting reels are lighter and more compact than round-profile ones. They are newer and more sophisticated too.

The internal layout of both reels is different. For instance, low-profile baitcasting reels have their gears on the side. Thus, taking less space and allowing it to sit closer to the rod. As a result, these reels are easy to maneuver with. 

Materials of construction differ as well. Round baitcasting reels typically have a metallic frame. Anodized aluminum and stainless steel are the most popular options. The final result is a sturdy reel with no noticeable flex. Saltwater resistance is, maybe, one of the main advantages of round baitcasting reels. 

On the other hand, low profile or teardrop baitcasting reels commonly have an aluminum or graphite construction. 

Price

Setting the budget is the very first thing that you should do. This way, you won’t fall in love with a baitcasting reel that you can’t pay. 

Keep in mind that having a good budget gives you more flexibility. Plus, more expensive reels are typically better built. 

Gear Ratio

The gear ratio is one of the main features of any kind of reel. It measures how many times the spool spins per handle crank. Higher ratios mean a faster retrieve. Hence, such baitcasting reels are more suitable for fast lures such as jigs, buzz, and spinnerbaits. The lack of cracking power is the main drawback of this option. 

On the other hand, slower gear ratios, like 5.3:1, are more suitable for working crankbaits and deep diving lures. They yield more power as well. 

Most baitcasting fishing reels sit anywhere between 5.3 to 7.1:1. Go for a 6.4:1 when in doubt. It is a good all-rounder gear ratio. Hence, you can use a wider selection of lures and styles.

IPT

IPT stands for inches per turn. As it suggests, it states how many inches of line you can spool per handle crank. Contrary to what you might think, it has nothing to do with the gear ratio. In other words, a fast ratio does not necessarily mean a high IPT. 

However, a high IPT means that the baitcasting reel is better for water coverage and fast lures. 

Spool Size 

The spool size dictates how many yards of line you can wrap around it. As you might expect, a large spool holds more fishing line. Hence, they are more suitable for long casting and covering considerably wide areas. 

In contrast, small spools have a lesser line capacity. But they are a better option when it comes to flipping and pitching lures. 

The line thickness is another important factor to consider when choosing spool size. Thicker lines take more space. A larger spool will be the wisest decision here.  

Handle

Although it is often overlooked, the handle plays a major role in fishing, particularly when it comes down to reeling the fish back to the shore. 

A large handle, also known as a power handle, gives you more leverage. Hence, reducing the strength needed to lift the same weight. That’s the reason why many heavy-duty reels pack such a handle. 

You might be thinking. If a power handle is that great, why on earth would I want a short one? Well, ease of use and compactness are some of the perks in this case. Besides, there is no point in having an oversized handle if you are not after a big fish. 

Among baitcasting reels, round profile models are the only ones that feature a power handle. 

Line Capacity

Low-profile baitcasting reels aren’t known for their line capacity. The capacity is around 150 yards depending on the line. Thicker lines take more space. Hence, you wrap less line onto the spool.

Which is the best line capacity for you depends on the style and fish you are after. For instance, fast swimmers, heavy fish, and deep divers require more lines. Go for a round baitcasting reel if this is your case. 

Line capacity is not that important for small fish and short but precise casts. 

Tension and Brake System

Casting with a baitcasting reel is inherently mode difficult. Bird nests are common, especially among the inexperienced. Thankfully, you have two valuable allies here: The tension and brake system.

They help to keep the tension in the line before, during, and after casting. Hence, decreasing the likelihood of backlashes. The tension system keeps the line tight prior to a cast. 

On the other hand, reducing the spool speed is the job of the brake system. Remember that, because of friction, the lure often moves slower than the spool. Therefore, there will be more lines than needed if nothing stops it. In other words, you will end up with a nasty bird’s nest. 

Double-check both systems to ensure optimal performance and minimize backlashes. 

Centrifugal Vs Magnetic Brakes 

Any baitcasting reel either features a magnetic or centrifugal brake system. Some others use a mixture of both. So, which is the one for me? 

It will depend on your skill and needs. Centrifugal brakes rely on mechanical forces to slow down the spool. You can fine-tune the stopping power at any time using the side pins. Thus, giving more control to the angler. 

In contrast, magnetic brakes, as the name suggests, use magnetic forces to stop the spool. The farther away from the spool the magnets are, the more freely it will spin. Again, you can tune your settings via a dial on the side of your baitcasting reel. But you can only do it between casts. That’s why magnetic brakes are more user-friendly and an ideal option for beginners.

Drag Disks 

This is the last feature we’ll discuss. The drag is the minimum force needed to take the line out of the spool. It plays a crucial role as it helps keep the fish under control. 

Most low-profile baitcasting reels have up to 15 pounds of maximum drag. It is enough for any small to medium-sized fish. But if you ever need more power, you should go for a round baitcasting model. 

Use the dial next to the handle to increase or decrease drag. Bear in mind that it should always be lower than the line’s test strength. A good rule of thumb here is to set the drag around the 20% line’s breaking point. It is more likely to snap otherwise. 

Now, regardless of the profile, any baitcasting reel uses either carbon or felt drag disks. Which one is better is a question of preference.

Baitcasting Reels FAQs

Why are baitcaster better?

Most anglers start their fishing journey with a spinning or a spincast reel. Some don’t even leave their comfort zone. However, using a baitcasting reel has its perks.

For instance, a baitcaster can handle thicker lines, making them more suitable for fishing big fish. Additionally, you can cast farther with a baitcaster. You also have a higher degree of control over the cast. The lure typically goes to where you want. 

However, mastering baitcasting reels takes quite some time. Backlashes are a common thing with them, even in the hands of a seasoned angler.

Are baitcaster reels suitable for saltwater? 

Baitcasting reels have superior built quality. Most of them use graphite, anodized aluminum, and stainless steel. All of which are resistant to corrosion. Hence, yes, most baitcasting reels are suitable for salty environments, especially round profile ones. 

Which are the best baitcasting reel brands?

Having a product of a renowned brand always gives peace of mind. In this case, you can’t go wrong with an Abu Garcia, Lew’s, KastKing, Piscifun, SHIMANO, or Pflueger baitcaster reel. 

Which is the best gear ratio for me? 

It depends on what you are using. High gear ratios favor fast lures such as jigs and spinnerbaits. Here, something around 7:1 would be better.

In contrast, slow ratios work better with crankbaits and similar slower lures. Here something closer to 5:1 is the best bet.

Now, if you want a good all-rounder, you should go for a 6.4:1 baitcasting reel. It is neither fast nor slow. Hence, you can use a wider range of tactics with it. 

Can I use a baitcaster on a spinning rod?

The short answer is, yes, you can use a baitcasting reel on a spinning rod. However, don’t expect the same performance. Baitcasting and spinning rods have specific features that set them apart.

For example, line guides are bigger on spinning rods. Plus, the reel sits beneath the rod. As you can see, it is not the wisest decision to make. Check here if you wish to know more.

What is the best line for baitcasting reels?

Many anglers agree that braid is the best fishing line for baitcasters. They have less memory; thereby, decreasing the chances of bird nests. Additionally, they are stronger than monofilament lines.

Now, in terms of weight. You should not use light lines on baitcasting reels. Go for anything around 10-15 pounds. 

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I am an avid life long fisherman, having caught over 25,000 fish over the years. My life-long passion for fishing began when my father taught me how to fish at the age of ten. I started luremefish.com to share my extensive knowledge of all things fishing.

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