Best Saltwater Spinning Reels

Spinning reels may be the most common and used type of reel in the whole world. The reason is simple. Spinning reels are easy to use and reliable. The downside of having so many options is that it will take you quite some time to find the one reel that best suits your needs. 

But don’t worry. You don’t need to spend countless hours searching for the one reel that fully meets your expectations. We have taken the time to browse the web and come up with a selection of the 10 best saltwater spinning reels. Here you will surely find an option that suits your needs and budget. Let’s get on to it.

Quick Comparison

Best Budget Option

PLUSINNO Spinning Reel

Best Overall

Daiwa BG Saltwater Spinning Reel

Best Premium Option

PENN Spinfisher VI


Our Reviews – 10 Best Saltwater Spinning Reels:


PLUSINNO Spinning Reel

Best Budget Option

  • 9+1 Stainless steel ball bearings 
  • Maximum drag (pounds): from 15.4 to 19.8 
  • Gear ratio: 5.7:1
  • Weight (Ounces): 8.7 to 9.3 

PLUSINNO combines the best of two worlds by using graphite for the body and aluminum for anything else. 

It isn’t built for giants, of course. But it is an ideal choice for anglers looking for a saltwater spinning reel without breaking the bank. Plus, it does its job pleasantly well. The 9+1 stainless steel ball bearings ensure some degree of smoothness. 

The sealed stainless steel drag washers deliver up to 19.8 pounds of drag, depending on the model. It is not suitable for large species. Nevertheless, it is more than ok for the price.

The Good
The Not-So-Good

Daiwa BG Saltwater Spinning Reel

Best Overall

  • 6+1 Stainless steel ball bearings 
  • Single size: 4500
  • Maximum drag (pounds): 22
  • Gear ratio: 5.6:1
  • Weight (Ounces): 22

Leaping forward in terms of price, we have the Daiwa BG4500. It features a full black anodized aluminum construction. The braid-ready spool already comes with backing for braided lines. Hence, no need for a monofilament fishing line. 

The screw-in handle is large and yields enough torque to reel some big saltwater fishes. There is no game between the handle and the spool, which is always a good sign. 

As expected at his price point, the Daiwa BG saltwater spinning reel packs six stainless steel ball bearings. As a result, the reel stays as smooth as the first day. The anti-reverse system has its own dedicated ball bearing to prevent the adverse rotation of the rotor. 

The Good
The Not-So-Good

PENN Spinfisher VI Saltwater Spinning Reel

Best Premium Option

  • 5+1 Stainless steel ball bearings 
  • Nine sizes: From 2500 to 10500
  • Full aluminum body
  • Maximum drag (pounds): From 15 to 50
  • Weight (Ounces): 10.7 to 21.8

Do you want a saltwater spinning reel with an insane drag? Here, the PENN Spinfisher 10500 with 50 pounds of drag is undoubtedly the king. Plus, it has a buttery smooth performance. 

The Spinfisher VI has a full aluminum body with an IPX5 rating. Therefore, the interior will remain as clean and dry as the first day. In other words, both ball bearings and CNC gears will maintain their sweet operations for the years to come. 

The anodized aluminum spool needs no backing for the braided fishing line. It holds up to 490 yards of monofilament fishing line. Of course, this will change drastically according to the line thickness. Still, it is more than enough for most anglers.  

The Good
The Not-So-Good

Cadence Stout Saltwater Spinning Reel

  • 7+1 Stainless steel ball bearings 
  • Six sizes: From 1000 to 6000
  • Maximum drag (pounds): From 9.9 to 30.9
  • Gear ratio: 5.2, 5.6, and 6.2:1
  • Weight (Ounces): 7.4 to 17.6

The Stout saltwater spinning reel is a super choice for anglers looking for something sturdy and long-lasting. 

Construction-wise, we have a composite reel with an aluminum body and handle with a carbon body cover and rotor. In terms of internals, the Stout packs 7+1 sealed bearings, stainless steel main shaft, and zinc alloy gear. The entire construction has the same objective: Protect your reel against saltwater.

Depending on the model you purchase, you can enjoy a gear ratio of 5.2, 5.6, or 6.2:1 and a maximum drag of up to 30.9 pounds. Naturally, the 5000 and 6000 models are the ones with more drag. Thus, more suitable for large prey. 

The Good
The Not-So-Good

Seaknight Rapid Saltwater Spinning Reel

  • 10+1 Stainless steel ball bearings 
  • Maximum drag (pounds): From 13.2 to 22
  • Gear ratio: 4.7 and 6.2:1
  • Weight (Ounces): 8.46 to 9.88

Getting back to the mid-range, we have the pleasure to present the Rapid II by SeaKnight. It has a sturdy plastic outer shell with an aluminum rotor. Since the inside is isolated, neither water nor dust can enter, which enhances durability. 

The gear and main shaft are thicker than most other models. So durability is guaranteed. However, all reels, except for the 6000 model, have a fast 6.2:1 gear ratio rating. Something not usual for bulky internals. 

SeaKnight added a protective coating against corrosion to the exterior as well as the gears and main shaft. They even tested it for 72 continuous hours without noticing any rust formation. You don’t need to worry about corrosion with the Rapid II. 

According to the supplier, the Rapid II saltwater spinning reel is suitable for both salt and freshwater gamefish. But since it is plastic, we are not sure about how true this statement is. 

The Good
The Not-So-Good

KastKing Spartacus II Saltwater Fishing Reel

  • 7+1 Stainless steel ball bearings 
  • Maximum drag (pounds): 17.6 and 22
  • Gear ratio: 4.4 and 5.0:1
  • Weight (Ounces): From 8.9 to 12.5

KastKing is a synonym of affordability and quality. Fortunately for us, the Spartacus II spinning reel falls once again under this trend. 

The construction might not be the most beautiful thing you will ever see. But its aluminum frame, spool, and handle are thick and strong. This translates into durability, which is always more important than looks. 

Internal construction is as good as the outside. 7+1 double-shielded stainless steel ball bearings keep everything running smoothly even under heavy load. Furthermore, the SSR proprietary technology enhances gear stabilization. Thus, increasing cracking power and durability. 

Both the maximum drag and line capacity are more than ok for this price range. You will have no trouble landing any saltwater gamefish, especially with the 5000 model. It delivers 22 pounds of drag and holds up to 360 yards of 12-pound test monofilament line.

The Good
The Not-So-Good

SHIMANO NASCI Inshore Spinning Reels

  • 4+1 Stainless steel ball bearings 
  • Maximum drag (pounds): 20 and 24
  • Gear ratio: 6.2:1 
  • IPT (Inches): 36 and 39
  • Weight (Ounces): 8.8 and 10.4

Are you looking for something light without sacrificing strength? If so, make sure to check the NASCI saltwater spinning reel by SHIMANO. While it is not exactly cheap, it does pack a lot of features that compensate for the high price. 

The body, handle, as well as drive gears, feature a cold-forged aluminum construction. It is a common approach taken by SHIMANO because it, allegedly, increases strength. Truth be told, we haven’t tested it yet. But the fact that no one complains about durability is always a good sign. 

Although it is not 100% waterproof, the core protects technology keeps the water out of the drag system and gears. In the end, these are the places where such protection really matters. 

Drag is enough, and line capacity is not that impressive. Keep that in mind when fishing in the depths. 

The Good
The Not-So-Good

KastKing Sharky III Fresh or Saltwater Spinning Reel

  • 10+1 Stainless steel ball bearings 
  • Maximum drag (pounds): 33 and 39.5
  • Gear ratio: 5.2:1 
  • IPT (Inches): 27.8 and 33.8
  • Weight (Ounces): 7.4 and 10.6

After three generations, KastKing has managed to create another contender for the best saltwater spinning reel title. This time we will be reviewing Sharky III.

The composite construction features a reinforced graphite body and rotor paired with a hard-anodized aluminum spool. It doesn’t hold that much line. Therefore, it might not be the best option for deep fishing. Fortunately, the spool already has a rubberized coating, so no need for adding monofilament backing. 

Thanks to KastKing’s seal, neither water nor sand will find a way inside the Sharky III. Therefore, nothing will mess with the brass pinion gear, zinc alloy drive gear, and ball bearing movement. Needless to say, this increases endurance and long-term performance. 

On the other hand, the multi-disk carbon drag system delivers up to 39.5 pounds of power. This is more than enough for most saltwater gamefish.

The Good
The Not-So-Good

PENN Pursuit III Saltwater Spinning Reel

  • 4+1 Stainless steel ball bearings 
  • Maximum drag (pounds): from 10 to 25
  • Gear ratio: 5.3, 5.6, and 6.2:1
  • Weight (Ounces): From 9.8 to 29

You simply can’t go wrong with PENN products. Pursuit III is an ideal choice for anglers looking for a mid-range saltwater spinning reel at a decent price.

There are six different sizes available. Naturally, the larger models are more suitable for bigger fish and hold more lines. Keep in mind that they are also more expensive. Therefore, make sure to choose the size that best suits your budget. 

Regardless of the size, each Pursuit III features a graphite body with an anodized aluminum spool, and four shielded ball bearings that keep the internals moving smoothly. Despite having a carbon-fiber core, the reel is quite heavy. 

The Good
The Not-So-Good

Okuma Avenger Series Baitfeeder Reel

  • 6+1 Stainless steel ball bearings 
  • Maximum drag (pounds): From 6.6 to 26
  • Gear ratio: 4.5 and 5.0:1
  • Weight (Ounces): From 7.7 to 17.7

The Avenger ABF has a graphite body and rotor. As you might expect, the reel is pleasantly light to hold. Nevertheless, it is strong enough to cope with any monster you manage to catch. For saltwater fishing, we recommend using the ABF-4000 or larger. 

The anodized aluminum spool holds up to 320 yards of line. This will change depending on the thickness. Paired with the bait feeder system, this reel is an ideal choice for anglers fishing in the depths. Additionally, the multi-disc felt drag washer yields up to 26 pounds of drag. It is not as impressive as the PENN Spinfisher VI. But it will get the job done. 

Brass gears, seven stainless steel ball bearings, and the drag discs make for the internals. They all get the job done. But the felt drag washer could use some work to make them smoother.

The Good
The Not-So-Good

Finding the Best Saltwater Spinning Reel: What to Look For

Are there any differences between a saltwater and freshwater spinning reel? What should I look for when searching for a saltwater spinning reel? How features affect performance? We know that your head is full of questions. Don’t worry. We will address these and more in the following lines. So, bear a little longer and learn how to find the best saltwater spinning reel for you. 

Can I Use a Freshwater Spinning Reel in Saltwater?

Before we start talking about construction, and features, let us answer this question. While nothing stops you from using a freshwater reel in saltwater, it is not the brightest of ideas.

First, most freshwater spinning reels don’t have an anti-corrosion coating. Hence, they will get more affected by it than saltwater spinning reels. In other words, they will corrode more rapidly whether you rinse them or not. 

Additionally, some high-end saltwater spinning reels feature a sealed interior. Having such a feature provides an extra layer of security against the harmful effects of saltwater and sand. In conclusion, you can use a freshwater spinning reel in saltwater. But it is not recommended. 

Line Capacity

Depending on the spool size, the reel will hold more or less line. Naturally, you can wrap more fishing lines into larger spools. But, how much of a line is enough? It depends, of course, on the fish you are after. Massive, aggressive, and fast swimmers require more lines. 

Thickness is another factor that affects line capacity. For example, thicker lines require more space. Therefore, you won’t be able to spool that much line. In short, you must check two things. First, the reel must be compatible with the line test strength, or in other words, thickness. Then, see how many yards of that line the spool holds. Remember, the more, the better. 

If your budget allows it, go for a braid-ready spool. You will need to add a monofilament backing otherwise. Needless to say, this reduces the number of effective yards of line. 


Having a saltwater spinning reel with enough drag is as crucial as having one with sufficient line capacity. Like before, larger and aggressive spices require more drag. But, what is it? 

To simply put it, the drag is the amount of pressure the reel puts into the line to keep it from getting out of the spool. The higher the drag, the harder the fish must fight to get some line out. 

One thing here, you must always set a drag lower than the line’s test strength. The line will snap if you do otherwise. So, let’s say that you are using a 15-pound test line. The drag should be set around 10 pounds or less. Keep in mind that the drag is not there to keep the fish from escaping. It is something that you use to tire the fish out so you can reel it without too much trouble. This is the theory, at least. 

Most saltwater spinning packs either felt or carbon drag washers. The first is not as reliable as the latter. It isn’t as smooth and typically wears out faster. However, it is not as expensive as carbon drag washers. In the end, the ultimate decision depends on your budget. 

Handle Size

Handle size is one of those things that people often overlook. You must not do the same. Why? Well, the bigger the handle, the more leverage effect it yields. Therefore, the less power you need to apply. Reels with large power handles are more suitable for large saltwater fishes.

Typically most saltwater fishing reel features an aluminum handle. 

Ball Bearings: Quality Vs Quantity

When it comes down to ball bearings, some anglers say that the more, the merrier. However, this is not always true. It is crucial to know what these things do to understand why. 

Ball bearings are small concentrical rings with several tiny balls in between them. Their main task, as you might have guessed, is to reduce friction and transfer movement. Typically, most spinning reels feature stainless steel ball bearings. Although you might find some high-end models with ceramic ones. 

Now, while more ball bearings enhance smoothness, if they are of poor quality, they will eventually break down. In conclusion, look for shielded or sealed ball bearings, as these are the most durable.

Gear Ratio: Is It Important? 

Have you ever wondered what 5.0:1 or 4.6:1 mean? It shows how many times the spool rotates per crank handle. For instance, the spool spins five times each time you crank the handle in a 5.0:1 spinning reel.  

Higher gear ratios mean that the reel is faster, at the expense of power. Conversely, low gear ratios mean more power. Thus, low ratios are more suitable for gamefish, whereas higher gear ratios are better for smaller fish. So yes, the gear ratio is quite an important feature to consider. 

Line Retrieval Rate or IPT

Also known as inches per turn, it is the amount of line, in inches, that the spool takes each time you turn the handle. A higher IPT translated into a faster retrieve. 

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Hi! I’m Steven!

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 to share my extensive knowledge of all things fishing.

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