The Best Fishing Reel Brands of 2020

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Looking for a fishing reel for your first fishing trip? Well, we would like to offer a few fishing reel brands to your attention.

There are many reels on the market that you could choose from. Perhaps too many. But by narrowing your options down to a few brands, you should be able to make things a little easier for yourself.

Below, we will introduce you to reel brands in a few reel categories – spinning reels, baitcasting reels, trolling reels, fly reels, and spincast reels. Hopefully, such a breakdown will allow you to find what you are looking for quicker.

With that said, let’s have a look at the best fishing reel brands in each of these categories!

The Best Fishing Reel Brands of 2019

Spinning Reel Brands

Shimano

Bestseller No. 1
SHIMANO Stradic 2500FL HG Spinning Fishing...
  • HaganeBody - The HAGANE Body is a metal reel body with high rigidity. The body stiffness and impact resistance virtually eliminates body flexing. The result transforms the angler's actions directly...
  • X-Ship - provides improved gear durability. By supporting the pinion gear on both ends with bearings, the pinion gear maintains precise alignment with the drive gear. This means the gears will stay in...
Bestseller No. 2
Shimano Sedona 3000FI HG; Freshwater Spinning...
  • With its updated design and cold forged HAGANE gears, the Shimano Sedona spinning reel offers a number of significant performance upgrades at an affordable value
  • Incorporates Shimano’s flagship HAGANE gearing that provides long-lasting, strong, and durable performance and smoothness giving anglers the strength for both inshore and offshore action

Shimano is one of the best-known names in the fishing tackle market, if not the best-known. This Japanese brand is also quite renowned for its cycling components and rowing equipment, so you have probably heard this name more than once when shopping for bicycles or maybe rowing shoes.

Shimano offers many types of reels, and – a little spoiler alert – this brand will be featured for a few other fishing reel categories.

The total number of spinning reel models offered by Shimano as of October 2020 was 55 – 10 surf spinning, 20 saltwater spinning, and 25 regular spinning reels. Not only that, but Shimano offers fishing reels across multiple ranges, allowing newbies or experienced anglers alike to find something by their budget and needs.

Penn

SaleBestseller No. 1
Penn 1338219 Battle II 4000 Spinning Fishing...
  • Durable, high range spinning reel ideal for conquering big saltwater game fish
  • Full metal body, sideplate, and rotor and heavy-duty aluminum bail wire offer exceptional durability
Bestseller No. 2
PENN Fierce II Spinning
  • Spinning fishing reel offers premium performance and durability at an exceptional value
  • Durable construction with full metal body and side plates plus heavy duty aluminum bail wire

Penn’s selection of spinning fishing reels isn’t nearly as wide as that of Shimano. But while you do have only 15 models in total to choose from, Penn’s assortment should be pretty enough for most people.

On the lower end, you have the Penn Fierce III spinning reel, an inexpensive but solid piece of equipment that will appeal to newbies or those who don’t need an over-the-top spinning reel. This reel has all the basics you would want, as well as fairly decent build quality.

On the higher end, you have the Torque II spinning reel that’s just shy of costing a grand. This guy offers a remarkable sealed body design along with exceptional smoothness delivered 9+1 stainless steel bearings.

Aside from these two reels, you have 13 models in between that would be more suitable for the not so demanding angler. And by the way, most of Penn’s fishing reels are in the middle price range, with Torque II being the only higher-end model as of October 2019. This makes this brand quite a good option for those who want something good but not too pricey.

Okuma

SaleBestseller No. 1
Okuma Ceymar Lightweight Spinning Reel- C-30
553 Reviews
Okuma Ceymar Lightweight Spinning Reel- C-30
  • Gear Ratio: 5.0:1, Precision Elliptical Gearing system
  • 7BB + 1RB bearing system, Quick-Set anti-reverse roller bearing
SaleBestseller No. 2
Okuma EPXT-30 Epixor XT Spinning Reel, 30,...
  • Tca: torsion control Armor reduces twisting
  • Multi-disc, Japanese oiled felt drag washers

Okuma is another well-known fishing tackle manufacturer.

The spinning reel variety of Okuma is pretty remarkable – you have 35 regular reels, 3 saltwater reels, and 6 surf spinning reels. While Shimano offers a wider selection of saltwater and surf spinning reels, Okuma may actually be better in the regular spinning reel department.

The high-end Okuma spinning reels like the Surf 8k are particularly remarkable since they boast the wide array of technology used by Okuma in their reels. The Surf 8k reel is filled with patented design solutions like a rotor brake system and the rotor with brush guards, which shows that Okuma has its own vision and direction in fishing reel design.

Pflueger

Bestseller No. 1
Pflueger PRESXTSP30X President XT Spinning...
  • 10 bearing System - corrosion resistant stainless ball bearings
  • Aluminum main shaft - 30% lighter than stainless steel
Bestseller No. 2
Pflueger PRESSP30X President Spinning Fishing...
  • 10 bearing System : corrosion resistant stainless steel ball bearings
  • Graphite body and rotor : lightweight graphite reel construction.Braid ready spool - allows Braid to be tied directly to spool

Pflueger isn’t the most renowned fishing reel manufacturer on the market since it doesn’t have those really spectacular high-end models. However, if you are on a tighter budget, then this brand may be a good option for you.

Pflueger offers 12 spinning reel models, and the prices don’t go over $300! If you desperately need a fishing reel, then you may also go for the $30-$50 models like the Monarch Ice or the President spinning reels.

The “you get what you pay for” rule will apply to this brand’s cheap reels, but if you don’t need anything too over-the-top, Pflueger is a solid option.

Daiwa

SaleBestseller No. 1
Daiwa BG8000 BG Saltwater Spinning Reel,...
  • Black Anodized Machined Aluminum Housing ("Hard Bodyz" Body & Side Cover), Over-sized Digigear (Digigear System)
  • Solid Screw-In Handle, Air Rotor, Dynamic Cut Aluminum ABS Spool
SaleBestseller No. 2
Daiwa BG5000 BG Saltwater Spinning Reel,...
  • Black Anodized Machined Aluminum Housing ("Hard Bodyz" Body & Side Cover), Over-sized Digigear (Digigear System)
  • Solid Screw-In Handle, Air Rotor, Dynamic Cut Aluminum ABS Spool

Daiwa doesn’t sell the most expensive spinning reels either, but they do have a few interesting things to offer.

The first is the Exist spinning reel that’s a product of Daiwa’s 60 years of innovation. While this particular reel is far from being the priciest model out there, it does offer a remarkable combination of durability, lightness, and smoothness. This spinning reel is among the more cost-efficient models you can find out there.

Then, you have the middle-end Certate LT spinning reel with its aim at corrosion resistance, particularly thanks to the 10 corrosion-resistant ball bearings.

Aside from these two reels, you have 22 others to choose from, and each offers its own interesting features.

KastKing

Bestseller No. 1
KastKing Sharky III Spinning Fishing...
  • NEXT-GEN - KastKing Sharky III spinning reels look great. They are built tough to land trophy fish in saltwater and freshwater. Sharky III are superb lightweight fishing reels built with a high...
  • PURE POWER - You will love Sharky III spinning reel's amazing best-in-class up to 39.5LBs / 18KG of smooth, reliable triple disc carbon fiber drag, oversized stainless-steel main shaft, and stronger...
Bestseller No. 2
KastKing Emerald Eagle Spinning Reel,Size...
  • Emerald Eagle Addition – The new dynamic KastKing Emerald Eagle is part of the KastKing series of Valiant Eagle spinning reels. This edition with dazzling green trim reflects with the brilliance of...
  • Light, Fast, Strong - KastKing Valiant Eagle fishing reels convey speed, power, relentless pursuit and fearless spirit in the hunt. The Emerald Eagle edition honors America’s symbol by providing an...

And the last notable brand in the spinning reel category is KastKing, which is a great option for those who are looking for inexpensive fishing reels whether because you are a newbie or a not too demanding angler.

The spinning reel selection of KastKing doesn’t go over $100, with the most expensive model as of October 2020 being the Speed Demon Pro with its $99.98 price tag.

On the lower end, you have things like the $29.98 Mela II reel, or even the $19.98 Summer spinning reel!

Now, since KastKing’s reels are very cheap, there isn’t too much to expect from them. But this won’t necessarily be a problem if you don’t need that much!

Baitcasting Reel Brands

Abu Garcia

SaleBestseller No. 1
Abu Garcia SMAX3 Silver Max Low Profile...
  • One-piece graphite frame
  • 5 stainless steel ball bearings + 1 roller bearing
Bestseller No. 2
Abu Garcia 1365366 Black Max Low Profile...
551 Reviews
Abu Garcia 1365366 Black Max Low Profile...
  • Lightweight design with one piece graphite frame and side plates
  • 4 stainless steel ball bearings

Abu Garcia is the go-to reel brand if you want a middle-end baitcasting reel. This company may be able to also satisfy you if you are looking for some low-end options.

The reel selection of these guys is pretty remarkable – you have 16 round baitcasting reels and 29 low-profile baitcasting reels. This is a much wider selection than those offered by the more renowned brands, e.g. Okuma with its 6 models.

And while you have more low-profile baitcasting reels to choose from, you can find good low- to middle-end reels in both categories represented by Abu Garcia.

Shimano

Bestseller No. 1
Shimano SLX 150, Low Profile Baitcasting Reel
  • The Shimano SLX is an incredibly sleek looking baitcaster with a stunning matte black finish and beautiful blue accents
  • This reel is 22% more compact than the Caenan Baitcaster but its small size does not mean it lacks in strength; and with an amazing 150 PowerPro line capacity for such a compact reel
Bestseller No. 2
SHIMANO CURADO DC 150, LowProfile Baitcasting...
122 Reviews
SHIMANO CURADO DC 150, LowProfile Baitcasting...
  • SUPERIORITY – The Curado DC low-profile reel is the most advanced of all Curado models. Augmented with Shimano’s all new Digital Control Braking System that builds on the Curado’s legacy of...
  • CAST SMARTER – Shimano’s new Digital Control braking system utilizes a microcomputer to monitor spool speed 1000 times every second and apply the perfect amount of brake to prevent backlash and...

Is it a surprise that Shimano has made it into our list for the second time? Well, 34 regular and 8 saltwater baitcasting reels are a pretty good reason for this brand to be featured again!

Now, Shimano offers a couple fewer baitcasting reels than Abu Garcia, and the selections of the two brands are a little different. Abu Garcia also has more saltwater baitcasting reels, though not that Shimano is too far behind in this regard.

However, given that the two reel brands are pretty close to each other in terms of price, Shimano is a good alternative to Abu Garcia (and the other way around) if you find that Abu Garcia’s reels aren’t exactly what you are looking for.

Lew’s

SaleBestseller No. 1
Lews Fishing SS1SHA Speed Spool LFS...
  • One-piece aluminum frame with easily removable palming graphite sideplate
  • Drilled, machine forged and anodized aluminum 34mm spool
SaleBestseller No. 2
Lews Fishing, Pro-Ti Speed Spool SLP Casting...
  • Strong one-piece aluminum SLP frame and sideplates with Titanium Deposition finish
  • Aircraft-grade double anodized Duralumin drilled and chamfered U-shape 32mm spool

Lew’s is yet another solid brand option if you are looking for a baitcasting fishing reel for not too much money. This brand offered 28 models in total as of October 2019, with the priciest Pro-Ti Speed Spool model costing $349.99. Though this model is far from being the most sophisticated baitcasting reel on the market, it still has great smoothness and durability to boast.

At the other end of the spectrum, you have extremely cheap models like the Speed Cast Underspin or the Speed Cast Spincast, both costing $19.99. These can’t boast exceptional durability or smoothness, but they are good enough for the newbie angler.

Trolling Reel Brands

Cabela’s

SaleBestseller No. 1
Okuma Magda Pro Line Counter Levelwind...
  • Made of highest quality material
  • Manufacturer: Okuma
SaleBestseller No. 2
Okuma Cold Water Linecounter Trolling Reel...
  • Lightweight, corrosion-resistant frame & sideplates
  • Multi-disc, carbonite drag System

On the trolling reel market, you aren’t going to find as many reel models as in other categories. You probably won’t find more than a couple of models from a single brand, but there are nonetheless a few brands who you can buy trolling reels from.

One of them is Cabela’s with its DepthMaster trolling reel line that includes lower- to middle-end models. If you can’t spend more than around $200 on a trolling reel, then Cabela’s reels may interest you.

Okuma

SaleBestseller No. 1
Okuma Cold Water Linecounter Trolling Reel...
  • Made using the highest quality materials
  • Tested for reliability and quality
SaleBestseller No. 2
Okuma Magda Pro Line Counter Levelwind...
  • Made using the highest quality materials
  • Tested for reliability and quality

Okuma is a little bit better than Cabela’s in terms of the trolling reel selection.

You have the Line Counter reel line that’s specifically designed for boat fishing, with high-performance options like the Coldwater Line Counter, Convector Line Counter, and Magda Line Counter reel lines. In total, you have 6 models in the lower and middle end.

Well, such a selection sure is nowhere near the 35 models in the Okuma spinning reel line, but given how specific trolling reels are, 6 reels to choose from is pretty good.

Shimano

Bestseller No. 1
Shimano Triton TLD25 Lever Drag Graphite...
  • Shimano's incredibly versatile Triton Lever Drag Reels deliver unsurpassed performance for casting; live-bait and trolling fishermen who demand precise; specialized equipment
  • Features incredibly strong and durable 1-piece graphite body; precision stainless steel gears and main shaft; power handle with oil-ported torpedo knob; 1-piece cold-forged aluminum spool; and strike...
SaleBestseller No. 2
Shimano Tekota 300 Conventional Saltwater...
  • The Tekota trolling reel is a great solution for anglers who troll for both fresh and saltwater species by offering great line capacity; construction and advanced features
  • Constructed into a one-piece die-cast aluminum frame that provides tight tolerances and durability and is built to last season after season

Shimano is a fairly good option if you are ready to spend the money on a solid middle-end trolling reel.

The reel selection with Shimano is a little bit poorer than with Okuma. To be more precise, Shimano offers just 2 trolling reel models – the Tekota A that’s priced around $200 and the Charter Special that’s a little bit cheaper.

At the moment of this post’s writing, the Tekota A line offered 8 size options, whereas Charter Special had only 2. While you may be able to find what you are looking for in the Charter Special Line, the Tekota A series is more likely to provide you with what you want.

Fly Reel Brands

Orvis

Bestseller No. 1
Orvis Clearwater Large Arbor Reels/Only...
  • Stealthy matte-gray powder-coat finish
  • The best performance-to-value reel in the industry
Bestseller No. 2
ORVIS BATTENKILL DISC REEL Size II, Line 3 -...
  • Mid-arbor design
  • Technically superior sealed-drag based on the Hydros SL

Things are a little better in the fly reel department. In this market segment, you actually have brands that are focused on fly fishing tackle specifically.

One of these brands is Orvis. While Orvis can’t boast the widest selection of fly reels on the market, you can find both cheap and expensive fly reels from it.

If you want something less expensive, then the Clearwater Large Arbor or Battenkill reels costing around $100 may interest you. But if you are up to spending a few hundred dollars on a great reel, you could opt for Mirage fly reels that cost from around $500 to $800.

Echo

Bestseller No. 1
Echo Ion Fly Reel, 2/3
  • Maintenance-free rulon disc drag with low start-up resistance
  • Backlash-free, instant drag reaction
Bestseller No. 2
Echo Ion Fly Reel Size 4/5 Black
  • Maintenance-free Rulon disc drag
  • Low start-up resistance protects light tippets

Echo is also specifically focused on fly fishing tackle. And while Echo only offers 3 fly reels to choose from, this brand is a nice option if you are looking for a cheaper reel.

The priciest fly reel from Echo costs just $139, while the budget Base reel is priced at just $39. You also have the Ion line in between with a price tag of $79-$99 depending on the model, which shows that Echo is pretty decently represented in the lower end.

Piscifun

Bestseller No. 1
Piscifun Sword ‖ Light Weight Fly Fishing...
  • THREE-YEAR WARRANTY - Your reel has been set at the factory for left-hand retrieve. To convert your reel to right-hand retrieve, please contact us for guidance.
  • SOLID and LIGHTER WEIGHT - Precision CNC-machined 6061-T6 aluminum alloy for high-impact durability; Larger CNC hollow design makes the reel lighter than ordinary ones.
Bestseller No. 2
Piscifun Aoka Fly Fishing Reels with...
  • Three Year Warranty - Your reel has been set at the factory for left-hand retrieve. To convert your reel to right-hand retrieve, please contact us for guidance.
  • Smooth Drag - Cork/Teflon disc drag system with one-way clutch bearing for smooth immediate drag engagement.

Finally, we have Piscifun, a fishing tackle brand that has a few other reel kinds other than fly reels. These guys are focused around the lower end across their entire reel selection, which makes this brand another good option if you have a tight budget.

Piscifun offers 10 fly reel models to choose from, and their price doesn’t go over $100. Most of the Piscifun reels are priced around $50, which isn’t as cheap as Echo reels, but it’s cheap enough if you are looking for an inexpensive beginner’s fly reel.

Spincasting Reel Brands

Daiwa

SaleBestseller No. 1
Daiwa Goldcast Spincast Reel, GC80
  • Gear ratio: 4.1: 1
  • Line capacity: 75/8
SaleBestseller No. 2
Daiwa Goldcast Spincast Reel, GC120
49 Reviews
Daiwa Goldcast Spincast Reel, GC120
  • Gear ratio: 4.1: 1
  • Line capacity: 100/12

Daiwa’s selection of spincast reels pales in comparison with its spinning reel line we’ve overviewed earlier, but that’s actually how things go on the spincast reel market. You only have a few brands to choose from, and there aren’t too many options available to you.

The Daiwa spincast reel lineup includes 4 not too expensive models. On the higher end are the Goldcast and Silvercast reels with smooth operation, and you also have the Underspin and Minicast reels if you aren’t too demanding.

Pflueger

Bestseller No. 1
Pflueger PRES10SCB President Spincast Fishing...
  • 5 Bearing System Corrosion resistant stainless steel ball bearings
  • Aluminum Frame Ensures precise gear alignment
Bestseller No. 2
Pflueger Trion Spincast Fishing Reel
  • 2 bearing system
  • Aluminum cone

Pflueger only has 2 spincast reel models, but priced under $40, they appear to be pretty decent for beginners or those who don’t need an over-the-top spincast reel. 

The $39.99 President spincast reel isn’t going to be the absolute best reel on the market, but it seems to be a fairly solid option of a lower-end spincast reel. And if you want something even cheaper, then the $25.49-$29.99 Trio line could be a good option for you.

Zebco

Bestseller No. 1
Zebco/Quantum ZO3PRO, 10, BX3 Zebco/ Quantum,...
410 Reviews
Zebco/Quantum ZO3PRO, 10, BX3 Zebco/ Quantum,...
  • POWERFUL REEL: The Omega Pro Spincast is a closed-cast fishing reel that comes pre-spooled with 10-pound Zebco fishing line. This reel features aluminum covers, an extra Dual-Paddle handle, and a...
  • SMOOTH RETRIEVAL: This reel features 7 bearings (6 + clutch), a 19-inch retrieve rate, right/left hand retrieve, and all-metal gears to stand tough for many fishing adventures to come!
Bestseller No. 2
Zebco 202 Spincast Reel, 10 lb
  • Zebco 202KBK BX 202 spin cast reel
  • 2.8:1 pre spooled 10lb box

Finally, we have Zebco. With a selection of over 20 spincast reels, Zebco is a great option if you are looking for a very inexpensive spincast fishing reel. The spincast models of this brand don’t go over $100, and you can also find reels that cost as low as $20 or even $10!

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