Best Saltwater Spinning Reels – Definitive Guide & Reviews

When you go fishing, maybe the most critical part of all your accessories and tools is the spinning reel. Without the proper one, you won’t have an enjoyable and fruitful fishing experience.

A spinning reel is not only essential to hold the line while you fish, but it also helps to retrieve fishes from the sea with their leverage & pulling power. So, if you don’t have the right one - you may eventually lose your catch and wish you had a better reel.

Luckily for you, we know precisely how you can pick the best saltwater spinning reel according to your needs. Depending on the fish you think of catching and the environment you will be fishing at - the following spinning reel reviews will give you everything you need to know and more. Before that, take a look our top fly fishing rods if you really love fly fishing.

Best Saltwater Spinning Reels 2020



Gear Ratio

Our Score


penn battle 2

Penn Battle 2



Shimano Stradic FK

Shimano Stradic FK



Daiwa Black Gold

Daiwa Black Gold



PENN Squall LevelWind

PENN Squall LevelWind



KastKing Sharky 3

KastKing Sharky 3



Best Saltwater Spinning Reel - Reviews

We know you are eager to buy a spinning reel for saltwater now. But you won’t make the right choice if you don’t take a look at the many options available in the market.

Here are the top spinning reels you should review before making a decision;

1. Penn Battle II - Best Saltwater Spinning Reel

penn battle 2

Capable of supporting a mono of 5kg without problems, and perfect for braids of up to 12 pounds, the Penn Battle II is a magnificent choice for demanding small & medium-sized fishers.

It is one of the most durable & resistant in the market and offers a wide array of reel sizes that go from 2000 up to 8000. The 2500 version is the most reliable of them all, and the one with the most reviews - confirming its overall performance & excellent results.

The full-metal body and the side plate comprise a high-quality device entirely. Add the rotor and the stainless steel ball bearings with sealing, and you get an outstandingly resistant product that lasts for years.

But the fascinating part of this reel is the HT-100 Versa-Drag carbon fiber system which offers exceptional leverage for a superior drag. And of course, it provides an anti-reverse option so you can never lose your catch, with little pullback and with a very smooth feeling.

The whole performance is also fantastic. Improved with grease in the drag washers, you can be sure it will support even the most demanding performances without problems. You can use it with any braid as well, mostly 12-pound ones for better results.

And to make it even better, the spool of the reel is visible and aids always to know how much line remains when using. This way you never get short.


  • Durable & resistant metal body with side plates and heavy-duty aluminum bail & rotor
  • Sealed stainless steel bearing provide excellent performance and anti-reverse feature
  • Visible and convenient Superline spool design helps to keep the line in check at all times
  • Carbon Fiber HT-100 Versa Drag system offers exceptional drag power & smoothness


  • Bearing construction may be frustrating for users who like to disassemble their reels

Where to Buy

2. Shimano Stradic FK - Best Saltwater Spinning Reel Under 200

Shimano Stradic FK

With a premium build and one of the most technology-oriented designs, the Shimano Stradic HG-FK provides all the necessary features & quirks for a perfect fishing experience. Known as the best saltwater spinning reel under 200, this is an option you shouldn’t overlook.

You can find it in models from 1000 up to 5000 in size, providing different approaches depending on the user’s needs. In all models, however, it uses the latest technology on gearing & dragging, which improves overall performance exponentially.

The X-Ship tech, for example, offers the best angler’s experience. You won’t feel any drag or pullback with it, especially when you add the Hagana gearing and body, two parts that promote smoothness and overall durability.

An essential part of the reel is the G-Free body, which boasting a very reliable build can balance weight well and helps to avoid fatigue & augments comfort.

The same happens with the Dyna-Balance rotor and the Fluidrive II systems, improving overall smoothness and helping to get a much more comfortable and effortless experience.The CF Aluminum Cold Forget spool is another part to remember. It offers the chance to be aware of the line quantity at all times.

This way, you never get short and can save the line for different performances according to your needs. And what’s even better, it works fantastically with the Power Roller II - adding less pullback and much more dragging power to the reel.

Finally, you get the Propulsion Line Management System from Shimano, which not only reduce overall line problems you may have but also increase the ease of use and reliability of the product.


  • X-Ship tech with Hagana gearing and body offer exceptional performance & resilience
  • G-Free Body, Dyna-Balance rotor and FluiDrive II promote smoothness & ease of use
  • Convenient CF Aluminum Cold Forget spool helps to be more aware of line quantity
  • Sturdy and reliable design with Propulsion Line Management & Power Roller II systems


  • No anti-reverse feature may feel slightly disappointing for some users

Where to Buy

3. Daiwa Black Gold (BG) - Best Saltwater Spinning Reel Under 100

Daiwa Black Gold

The best saltwater spinning reel under 100 for many, the Daiwa NG is a fantastic choice for those who look for a classic design with cutting-edge performance.

This is one of the most innovative designs out there, perfect for comfort and smoothness, which delivers exceptional results in many different ways.

You will get a light design that allows users to feel completely strain-free when using, reducing fatigue and overall tiredness after a while. The body is wholly made of aluminum, which means it is also one of the most durable & resistant out there.

This Hard Bodyz tech from Daiwa provides a machined touch that no other brand can match.The anodized surface helps to reduce overall corrosion and protects against scratches and contaminants.

With its shiny black look, you will be able to enjoy an excellent design that not only provides excellent results but also makes you look good while using it. The paint won’t ship or peal as other models do, and it will manage to keep that way for years.

Strength and stability are also two additional features you get with this spinning reel. The gearing system and the contact points help you get much more smoothness and overall performance from it. It reduces pullbacks and promotes a better drag.

The oversized drive gear, for example, will make pulling a lot easier as well. You won’t have to spend more than just a few minutes with your catch. No matter the size you choose from 1500 to 8000, the Daiwa BG is an excellent choice without a doubt.


  • Exceptional aluminum body & build promotes a more durable and resilient experience
  • Oversized drive gearing system helps to achieve a smoother & effortless performance
  • Anodized surface keeps the device always shiny and resistant to most contaminants
  • Offers the broader array of sizes between 1500 and 8000 in ten different models


  • Slightly more substantial than most options may feel uncomfortable for some users

Where to Buy

4. PENN Squall LevelWind - Best Saltwater Spinning Reel for the Money

The Squall LevelWind series of PENN is the best saltwater spinning reel for the money. Boasting exceptional features and one of the most versatile sets of models, your fishing experience will get better as soon as you get one of these.

The design of the reel alongside a durable build promotes a much more reliable set of results. From having a lightweight graphite frame with the side plate and a forged design with machined aluminum spool plus the main gear made of bronze and a steel pinion - this reel is not an option to dismiss.

It also manages to look good, with an innovative touch with a matte finish that no other reel offers. This allows superior resistant to most corrosive contaminants as well as a much more durable surface that lasts for years before showing signs of wear.

The gearing is also essential to mention, as the most important part of the reel, here you get an HT-100 Drag system boasting two steel bearings. This allows exceptional results, more resistance, and expert-like dragging capacity.

In addition to its power, you also get an Instant Anti-Reverse feature, which helps not only to get more power but also to prevent pullbacks. The best of all, you can find this reel in seven different models according to your weight needs and line requirements.

The conventional look, the mechanical braking system, and top-notch dragging performance make this device an outstanding choice for anyone. Strong, durable, and resistant - you get everything you need and more for a very affordable cost with this reel.


  • Durable & reliable build with aluminum spool & bronze gearing
  • Lightweight graphite frame and side plates offer more versatility and comfort
  • Sturdy stainless steel pinion promotes a smoother experience
  • HT-100 Drag system with Anti-Reverse system improve overall power & performance


  • Unreliable spool indications may not feel useful for most users

Where to Buy

5. KastKing Sharky 3 - Best Affordable Saltwater Spinning Reel

KastKing Sharky 3

KastKing is the perfect brand for affordable yet incredibly reliable products in the fishing niche. And of course, the Sharky III is easily the best saltwater spinning reel under 50, thanks to an exceptional array of features and the most innovative design for cheap reels.

It looks impressive, provides top-notch results, and offers one of the most reliable constructions in the market - despite being a cheap option.

What stands out on this device is the outstanding power it offers. Coming with a disc carbon-fiber drag system and a stainless steel shaft, you will be able to cast practically any type of fish quickly.

When you add the strong manganese brass pinion gears, you get an absolute Hercules for a meager price. Then you get the KISS. This is a patented protection design by KastKing which allows the device to reduce the wear & harm to the spool, the rotor, and overall body.

The KastKing Intrusion Shield keeps water, dirt, and dust out of the gearing, which helps to produce a more durable and reliable product entirely. But despite its power and resilient, the product is still very smooth.

The Shark Fin Braid Ready aluminum spool promotes the most fluid experience you can think of. It is also quiet and helps you still get the drag power you demand without problems.

And of course, even after adding the instant lock anti-reverse feature, the aluminum handle, and the shielded ball bearings - this product costs much less than most choices out there. You’ll get a product that won’t disappoint you in any way.


  • Excellent bearing build with carbon fiber drag and double shielded gearings for strength
  • Smooth & reliable Shark Fin Braid Ready aluminum spool with Anti-Reverse feature
  • Durable & reliable KISS system that protects the gear, rotor, and part of the body
  • Innovative & good-looking design only KastKing can offer


  • Not recommended for heavy casting due to low-grade bearing system

Where to Buy

Things that Make the Best Saltwater Spinning Reel

To pick the perfect saltwater spinning reel, you need to know as much as you can about them. Here, we talk about each one of the features you should take into account before buying your spinning reel.

1. Capacity & Size

From having up to 300 yards of line capacity to offering different sizes for braids and monofilaments - you must always take into consideration how capable if the reel.

In saltwater, long runs are pretty standard, as well as bigger fishes than in lakes and rivers. That’s why it is critical to pick a reel that not only supports your weight capacity according to the fish you want to catch, but also that offers enough line capacity to catch far-away fish.
Make sure the reel you pick offers at least 300 yards of capacity up to 500 for the largest ones.

For size, it is important to note the numbers between 1000 (10) or 8000 (80), or more when needed. The larger the size of the reel, the stronger the braided line you can use - so the most resilient reel you have for larger fish than usual.

Always go for something that fits your requirements here. Remember to make sure it offers enough line capacity as well as the perfect braided line depending on the fish size you want to catch.

2. Weight

Even though many people don’t care about this part, it has a significant impact on how easy & comfortable the reel is when you use it.

A spinning reel will probably spend hours on your hand before you catch something and the action begins. This means you need to pick a light enough product to avoid fatigue & strain in your hands when holding.

However, it is crucial the reel is not too fragile either - so it does not leave any strength & sturdiness behind. For us, a medium-weight reel is always perfect, especially stainless steel and carbon fiber ones.

3. Resistance & Protection

From having a shielded casing to boasting anti-corrosion finish – you can pick a reel by considering how resistant and durable it is.

Saltwater can be corrosive and abrasive, so you need to pick Something that withstands the wear over time. Coatings and special paints will always be very useful for casting reels for the ocean, as well as additional shield casings that reduce dust, dirt, and water for getting inside the bearings.

4. Drag System

The mechanical part that allows the device to have resistance and pulling strength is the drag system. Most drag systems offer between 30 and 40 pounds of resistance, yet we recommend going for at least 50 pounds of drag performance to avoid bursts and strong pullbacks.

The drag system build is also essential. Patented systems from known brands may also provide superior strength, increasing overall power and overall drag performance. The better the drag system you pick, the better your experience will be.

5. Bearing System

All parts inside the spinning reel are movable, so they need to use a bearing system to provide resistance & durability.

This bearing system can get damaged pretty quickly, so it is critical to pick a reel with a superior quality build made of bronze, steel or carbon fiber. It is also recommended to go for smoother bearings, so your reel can avoid common stoppages or bursts that may harm the system eventually.

Frequently Asked Questions

You may think you have it all figured out already, but we are pretty sure you do not have an idea of what to pick yet. To make it easier, here are a few common doubts most users have before buying with their respective answer - take a look!

How does a reel work?

How does the anti-reverse feature work?

How can I install the braided line on the spool?

Do I need to do maintenance to my spinning reel?


It is not easy, but knowing as much as you can about these devices is enough to eventually pick the perfect product for your needs.

The best saltwater spinning reel is the one that meets your requirements and budget. So, here we focused on showing you exactly all the features & price-related advantages you get with each.

Don’t hesitate to buy the right spinning reel now - you will have an unforgettable experience with our choices!

Glen Jensen

This is Glen Jensen founder of Fisher Picks. I started this blog to provide guide and reviews of best fishing & outdoor products.

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