The spinning reel showdown between the Daiwa BG and the Penn Battle II is a clash of epic proportions. Penn is one of the most well-respected names in the fishing reel industry, while Daiwa is my personal favorite when it comes to fishing tackle of all varieties, reels no exception. When I set out to review these two reels and decide on a winner, I was incredibly intrigued to see how the story would play out.
So, when the dust settled in the contest of Daiwa BG vs. Battle II, was there a clear winner? The answer to that is yes, but you’ll want to read the entire review to understand why.
The criteria being used in this spinning reel showdown are threefold:
- Construction Materials
I rank these criteria in descending order. The materials used in the reel directly affect performance, making that the most important factor. But performance is meaningless unless the customer is receiving value for their money. If performance and value are a dead heat, style is the perfect tiebreaker.
The body, side plate, and rotor of the Battle II are entirely made of metal. Exactly what kind of metal remains a mystery because Penn does not specify.
The washers that apply drag are made from high-quality HT-100 carbon fiber. The drag washers are now keyed, allowing both sides of the drag washer to be used. This provides 20% more drag than the previous Battle I.
A huge plus for the Battle II is that all five ball bearings are sealed and made from stainless steel. The previous Battle was not sealed, and sealed bearings are the biggest factor in saltwater reel durability.
Another addition over the previous Battle is that line capacity rings have been added to the spool. Line capacity rings help the angler to understand how much line is left on the reel, which can be incredibly useful during a fight with a big fish.
Lastly, the bail wire is constructed of heavy-duty aluminum.
When it comes to product features, Daiwa wins for providing the most amount of details. On the Daiwa BG, the metal construction not only has an identity, it even has a fun internal name. The BG is constructed of black anodized machined aluminum, and this “Hard Bodyz” design is featured on the body and side cover. The black anodization treatment is done to increase corrosion and scratch resistance and allows for better adhesion to the aluminum. Meaning no chips or peeling will occur which is common on painted surfaces.
The BG also features an oversized Digigear system. When the gears are larger, the gear teeth are also larger. This means there are larger contact points for the gear teeth, leading to both smoother operation and a longer lifespan for the reel. The oversized Digigear on the BG is the largest drive gear in Daiwa’s history of making spinning reels.
Another highlight of the Daiwa BG is that it uses an air rotor rather than a standard rotor. By using an air rotor, Daiwa eliminates weight while evenly distributing stress throughout the rotor.
The smallest Daiwa BG comes in a 1500 size and ranges up to 8000. Below are all sizes and specs:
|Model||Action||Bearings||Gear Ratio||Line Per Turn||Wt. (Oz.)||Line Capacity||Drag|
|BG1500||UL / –||6+1||5.6:1||28.3″||8.5||4/155, 6/100, 8/80||4.4|
|J-BRAID: 8/220, 10/130, 15/100|
|BG2000||M / L||6+1||5.6:1||29.5″||8.5||6/135, 8/110, 10/90||4.4|
|J-BRAID: 10/160, 15/130, 20/110|
|BG2500||H / ML||6+1||5.6:1||33.2″||9.3||6/210, 8/170, 10/140||13.2|
|J-BRAID: 15/190, 20/170, 30/120|
|BG3000||XH / M||6+1||5.6:1||37.4″||10.8||8/240, 10/200, 12/170||15.4|
|J-BRAID: 15/280, 20/240, 30/190|
|BG3500||XH / M||6+1||5.7:1||38.5″||14.1||10/240, 12/210, 14/170||17.6|
|J-BRAID: 20/310, 30/230, 40/150|
|BG4000||– / M||6+1||5.7:1||39.9″||14.3||10/300, 12/260, 14/210||17.6|
|J-BRAID: 20/370, 30/280, 40/200|
|BG4500||– / MH||6+1||5.7:1||43.1″||22||14/350, 17/280, 20/210||22|
|J-BRAID: 40/340, 50/270, 65/230|
|BG5000||– / H||6+1||5.7:1||47.4″||22.6||14/470, 17/380, 20/280||22|
|J-BRAID: 40/480, 50/360, 65/310|
|BG6500||– / H||6+1||5.3:1||48.7″||29.5||20/370, 25/310,30/260||33|
|J-BRAID: 50/550, 65/440, 80/330|
|BG8000||– / XH||6+1||5.3:1||53.3″||30||20/550, 25/440, 30/370||33|
|J-BRAID: 50/730, 65/590, 80/440|
Penn has a slightly different lineup than Daiwa. They start with a smaller model in the 1000 series but do not include quite the breadth of Daiwa’s offerings. Here are the sizes and specs for the Battle II:
|Model||Bearings||Gear Ratio||Line Per Turn||Wt. (Oz.)||Line Capacity||Drag|
|1000||6||5.2:1||22″||8.1||2/275, 4/135, 6/105||9|
|BRAID: 6/160, 8/130, 10/110|
|2000||6||6.2:1||30″||9.8||4/240, 6/180, 8/125||10|
|BRAID: 8/210, 10/180, 15/100|
|2500||6||6.2:1||33″||9.3||6/255, 8/175, 10/140||12|
|BRAID: 10/240, 15/220, 20/160|
|3000||6||6.2:1||35″||12.3||8/200, 10/165, 12/120||15|
|BRAID: 15/250, 20/180, 30/130|
|4000||6||6.2:1||37″||12.8||8/270, 10/220, 12/165||15|
|BRAID: 15/360, 20/260, 30/280|
|5000||6||5.6:1||36″||19.8||12/225, 15/200, 40/240||25|
|BRAID: 20/420, 30/300, 40/240|
|BRAID: 30/490, 40/390, 50/335|
|8000||6||5.3:1||44″||30.2||20/340, 25/310, 30/230||30|
|BRAID: 50/475, 65/390, 80/345|
Key Differences in Construction:
- Penn has sealed ball bearings, and Daiwa, unfortunately, does not include their excellent mag-seal technology on this reel. This is a clear point to Penn if you’re primarily fishing on saltwater. Almost to the point of it being a default win to Penn if you are buying for saltwater fishing.
- The Daiwa reels are lighter overall when compared to the Penn reels.
- The housing of Daiwa reels is superior to Penn. Black anodized aluminum trumps the “metal” being used by Penn.
- Other differences of note:
- Daiwa has oversized “Digigears.” Point to Daiwa.
- Penn has HT-100 keyed drag washers. Point to Penn.
- Penn does not offer a 3500 series, Daiwa does.
- Penn does not offer a 4500 series, Daiwa does.
- Daiwa has a much larger spool capacity on the 5000, at a cost of 2.8 ounces of weight.
- Penn offers a 6000, while Daiwa counters with a 6500.
- The Penn 6000 is more comparable to the Daiwa 5000 than it is to the Daiwa 6500.
Penn Battle II 1000 vs. Daiwa BG 1500
For a little more weight (0.4 oz) you can increase your spool size with the Daiwa BG 1500. You can also increase your retrieval rate by 6.2” per turn on the BG compared to Battle II.
One key difference to note though is that the Battle II 1000 has a max drag of 9 lbs, while the 1500 has a max drag of just 4 lbs. This may seem significant, but the truth is that you don’t go after big fish with this size of the reel, so you shouldn’t need that extra five pounds.
Value: The BG comes in under $78 while the Battle II will cost you just under $80 at Amazon.
Verdict: Daiwa BG.
Personally, I prefer the Daiwa BG’s small tradeoff in weight for the extra spool size and retrieval rate. The max drag weight is a non-issue for such a small reel.
The 2000 Series Showdown
Retrieval rates are nearly identical for the 2000 series, but that’s where the similarities end.
The Daiwa BG is a full 1.3 ounces lighter, while the Battle II has a larger spool capacity and higher max drag.
Value: This is where Battle II separates itself. The Daiwa will cost about $95 while Battle II comes in under $80.
Verdict: Penn Battle II.
Again, the Daiwa is suiting it’s second smallest reel towards smaller fish and lighter design. In contrast, Penn is offering a slimmer version of their 2500 reel. But value is the trump card here for Penn.
The 2500 Series Showdown
The Battle II lags slightly behind the BG here, with 1.2 fewer pounds of max drag. Both reels weigh exactly 9.3 ounces and the Daiwa has 0.2” more retrieval per turn. Battle II holds the advantage in line capacity.
Value: Battle II again comes in at about $80, while the Daiwa can cost around $110.
Verdict: Battle II. While this is mostly down to personal preference, value is the tiebreaker.
The 3000 Series Showdown
- BG 3000 series is both lighter (0.4 oz less) and has a larger line capacity than the Battle II 3000.
- BG has a larger retrieval rate (37.4” to 35”).
- BG has a 15.4 lb max drag, compared to Battle II at 15 lb max drag.
Value: Battle II costs right around $100 while the BG costs $90.
Verdict: If you’re looking to buy a 3000 reel for freshwater fishing, the choice is clearly the Daiwa BG.
The 8000 Series Showdown
- Much lower retrieval rate of 44” on the Battle II 8000 compared to 53.3” on the BG.
- Three fewer pounds of max drag on the Battle II.
- Nearly identical weights, the Battle II is 0.2 ounces heavier.
- Despite this, Daiwa again maintains a massive advantage in spool capacity on their 8000 compared to the Penn Battle II.
Verdict: Clear win for Daiwa.
Now that we’ve gone through all the specs, it’s time to touch on style. This is more of a personal taste category, so I’ll keep it brief.
Daiwa gets the win from me here, and it’s not much of a contest. The reels use similar color combinations, both black backgrounds with yellowish highlights. I prefer the sharpness of the glossy black on bright yellow on the BG. Especially when compared to the old school looking gold on soft black featured on the Battle II.
As far as materials and performance go, Daiwa has a slight lead in this department. But then you realize that Penn has sealed ball bearings which is always going to be a trump card on saltwater.
Each reel offers high-quality materials and excels in different areas. Daiwa features their Digigear technology and separates from Penn with black anodized aluminum. Penn separates from Daiwa with improved drag coming from their HT-100 keyed drag washers.
Overall, Daiwa has lighter reels while maintaining similar spool capacity compared to Penn. However, Penn has a higher gear ratio and can handle bigger fish with a higher max drag.
If I wanted to cop-out, I’d say Penn is the winner for saltwater and Daiwa is the winner for freshwater. I personally don’t get to saltwater fish very often. But if I did, I’d want to own one or two smaller Daiwa BG reels for freshwater and grab a larger Battle II for saltwater.
But I am not going to cop-out, and we will crown a winner.
In the Spinning Showdown pitting the Daiwa BG vs. The Penn Battle II the winner is:
Penn Battle II
This award really should come down to personal preference, but ultimately, the Penn is a much better value for the dollar. In a contest this close, value trumps style.