Looking for a spinning reel under $150? For this price, you can get a solid spinning reel that’ll last for years with proper maintenance. These options shown are all solid investments that will perform. If you are choosing a reel for the first time or need a refresher, click here to learn more about how to choose the proper spinning reel for you first. All of these reels on this page are designed for around 8 pound test line and therefore would be good all around fishing reels for bass, walleyes, northern pike, and most other freshwater species. Read more here about how to choose a spinning reel, or to help you decide between a baitcasting and a spinning reel click here.
Penn Clash Spinning Reel*** Click here for more info ***
This full-metal reel combines a beautiful appearance with durability and smoothness. With 8 high quality ball bearings plus one roller bearing, the Clash should be smooth as butter. It is made out of all metal for durability. The handle is covered with foam for comfort on a long day on the water. It is probably the best spinning reel under 150 dollars.
This specific model, the 2500, is the heaviest out of these three reels, weighing in at 8.5 ounces due to it’s full metal construction. It has a gear ratio of 6.2:1, which is a very good middle ground for gear ratios, not too fast and not to slow. This will help this reel pull in 33 full inches of line per full turn of the handle. The line capacity is great, holding 175 yards of 8 pound test monofilament.
The drag system is smooth and can be tightened to withstand as much as 12 pounds of pressure. As you can see in the picture, the drag knob is easy to access while fighting a fish.
With almost no knocks, this reel is going to be a solid purchase for years to come. The all-metal construction should help it last for years, while the amount and quality of bearings should make it silky smooth for that time period as well, and the awesome look it has will have your buddies drooling.
Abu Garcia Revo SX Spinning Reel (SX30 Model)*** Click here for more info ***
Another smooth reel by another top manufacturer, the Abu Garcia Revo SX in the 30 size is a good option for your next reel as well. Our lightest model at only 7.9 ounces, this reel is also beautiful and will look great on any rod. The handle is ergonomically covered with foam.
This reel is designed to hold 175 yards of 8 pound test line as well, and has a gear ratio of 6.2:1, a great middle ground for reels between power and speed. This will haul in 35 inches of line per turn. The drag system will hold pressure of up to 11 pounds, and the drag knob is also easy to grip when you need to. The drag is made of carbon and is very smooth as well.
Abu Garcia did something unique with the bail to help with line propulsion – if you take a look at the lip of the bail, it is curled forward to provide no resistance when line is coming off.
This is another great option for a reel, being very similar to the Penn Clash – same retrieve ratio, but this will actually pull in more line per turn. It’s also lighter. The drag system is a little lighter but not significantly, and the looks of this reel are also highly attractive. You’ll find it’s one of the top reels under 150 bucks.
Pflueger Supreme XT Spinning Reel*** Click here for more info ***
One of Pflueger’s top reels, the Supreme XT is a fishing machine. This reel actually has 9 ball bearings plus one roller bearing to make it one of the smoothest reels on the market. It also has the 6.2:1 gear ratio, which is a perfect midpoint between power and speed, and each full turn of the handle will bring in 33.8″. The body of this reel is made from magnesium for strength yet still being very lightweight. The only caution with magnesium is not to use it around saltwater, which will corrode it very quickly.
At 8 ounces, this is a very light reel. It will actually hold 185 yards of 8 pound test, which is 10 more than the other two reels hold. Pflueger has been known for years for only making some of the smoothest reels on the market, and this one is no different.
Shimano Stradic FK HG Frontdrag Spinning Reel*** Click here for more info ***
The Shimano Stradic has been a reliable reel for years for fisherman all over the world! It’s smooth and powerful, and it comes at a great price. Here, we will discuss the 2500 model, but you can get sizes as small as the 1000 up to the 5000. We find that the 2500 is probably the most commonly used for freshwater fishing.
They have 6 high quality ball bearings to make it smooth, and it can retrieve 35 inches of line per rotation of the handle. This of course depends on the size you get and how much line you have on it.
The standard gear ratio on these is 6:1, meaning the spool will spin 6 full times for each rotation of the handle. That makes this good all-around reel – not too slow, but still with plenty of reeling power. The max drag is 20 pounds, and it’s a front drag system. The 2500 model weighs 8.3 ounces, which is a fairly standard weight for reels this size.
All in all, this is a great reel coming from a great manufacturer that should serve you for years!
Daiwa Lexa Spinning Reel
Daiwa is well-known for their precision and quality manufactured reels, and the Daiwa Lexa is one that they have had for years as well. In fact, they also make a baitcasting reel under the same name that is also outstanding. Here, we will review the 2500 model as well, because that is the size most people end up using for freshwater fishing.
It’s a 5 ball bearing system with one roller bearing, and it can retrieve 35 inches of line per rotation of the handle. The gear ratio on this is 6:1 as well as the Shimano Stradic 2500, which is a happy medium of speed and power for a multipurpose reel.
The 2500 model weighs in at 9.9 ounces, which isn’t too crazy out of the ordinary, though definitely the heaviest reel here. The price is right if you are looking to save a little more money and don’t mind a little extra weight, and you’ll definitely get the performance out of this reel that you’re looking for!
Let’s go into more depth as to what can separate spinning reels from each other, and why a reel around 150 bucks is going to be so much higher quality than, say, a 30 dollar spinning reel. Hopefully by the time you are done reading this guide, you’ll have a much better understanding of what type of reel you normally like and it’s just a matter of narrowing it down to the brand you want to buy. There are four main things to consider:
- Ball Bearings
- Gear Ratio
For starters and most obviously, the frames vary widely from each other. This is where weight is added on or subtracted, and also where comfort and ergonomics rule. Also, the frames must be built out of good material to last a long time, through many dunkings, and many drops from various heights.
You’ll find that many cheaper reels include a lot of plastic on the frame itself, and as you pay more, there is less plastic and more aluminum and stainless steel. Which do you think is more durable? I’d put my money on the all-metal frames. At your price of 150, you should be looking only for all-metal frames if possible.
How heavy is the reel? For around 150 dollars, you can get fairly light reels that will last. For most fisherman, weight is never a huge factor, but it is nice to have a reel that balances nicely with your rod so you can comfortably fish all day long.
And lastly, take a look at the handle of the reel you are considering. There is a wide variety of handles and materials, and you can also get covers for them to modify them if you want. You’ll find most are shaped like ovals and circles, and it’s up to you to decide which you prefer. Personally, I like the oval shapes a whole lot better since they are more comfortable for me to grip, but some people like the circles since you can never miss the handle if you have to grab for it quickly.
The second important factor when looking at buying a spinning reel is going to be the number and quality of ball bearings a reel has. Ball bearings are what the reel spins on inside of it, and in general, the more the better in my experience. It just creates a smoother reel with less play and wobble, as well as a reel that lasts longer.
What’s a good number of ball bearings? For full size reels (not ultralight), 8-10 is a great number, and 6-8 will still give solid performance. Below 6 is questionable since then you’re relying on the quality of the ball bearings alone. Ultralight reels are a little different – those normally don’t have much more than 6 ball bearings.
Gear ratio is highly important for fisherman. It is what controls how fast your reel physically reels your lure in. Ratio is shown in the format of, for example, 6.2:1, so a number, colon, then the number 1. The first number is how many times the spool spins, and the second number is how many times the handle spins (normally always one time).
In simpler terms, you could say the the gear ratio shows how many times the spool will spin with one full rotation of the handle. In the 6.2:1 example, the spool would spin 6.2 times for every full rotation of the handle.
The higher the gear ratio, the faster but less powerful a reel is, and the lower the number, the slower but more powerful the reel is considered to be. This is due to basic physics – think of riding your bike. As you change gears, you get more torque and less power, or vice versa.
So, how is all this applicable to you? You should look at the speed of the lures you are fishing as well as the fish you are targeting, and the power you’ll need to haul them in. A panfish fisherman doesn’t need much power but it is handy to be able to reel lures in fast, so a higher gear ratio is ideal. Someone who fishes crankbaits for bass would want a fast ratio, while someone who fishes fake worms for bass might want a little slower reel with more power.
Look at all the factors and decide where you want to be on the spectrum. When you start looking, you’ll find a lot of reels around 6:1 – that’s because that’s about the middle of the pack, where a reel will still have power and speed. If you target many species and throw many lures, go with that gear ratio. If you target big fish with big lures, it can be helpful to go lower.
Most drags nowadays, especially in spinning reels around or under 150 bucks, are pretty solid and nothing to worry about. You can definitely take a look at different drag maximums to make sure you are getting what you want, but as far as mechanics go, you just don’t have much to worry about unless you see many other people complaining that the drag was junk.
Putting it all together
Now that you know the big four considerations for your spinning reel, the next step is to put it all together and get a reel that’ll perform for you and your exact situation. What you will want to do first is put together a mental list of the species of fish you will be fishing for – their average size in your area and the size lures you’ll be casting to get them. Then, you can put together technical specs for the reel you want. After that, it’s as simple as setting your price point and finding the reel you like best in that range. Feel free to comment below if you have questions!
What Type of Line Should I use on my Spinning Reel?
Nowadays there are so many options for line that you can fish with it can be confusing, especially to those newer to fishing. The lines are getting better and better, and more and more companies are popping up with innovative new lines that you can fish with.
There are a few primary types of line on the market: monofilament, fluorocarbon, and braided line. All three can have their own separate time and place. The only issue is that fisherman rarely target one species only, so let’s go over each of the types and you can choose the type that works best for you.
Monofilament, or mono, is a single strand of synthetic plastic that is stretched until it meets the diameter and strength of whatever size line it is. This is the most basic and definitely the cheapest kind on the market. In general, it is highly stretchable, retains some memory, isn’t ultra sensitive, but it is the cheapest and it is also hard for fish to see in clear water. It’s also less dense than the other two types and actually is a floating line, which can create subtle differences in your lure presentation. You shouldn’t use it if you have light lures that you are trying to get down to a depth, as it will really slow the drop down!!
The floating aspect is important – if you have lures, like topwater, that stay near or on the surface, it can really help the presentation, but if you have light or medium size lures that need to get down past 10 feet, you could be waiting awhile after you cast for the lure to get down there.
Since it’s stretchy, it actually can be a good shock absorber for snags and hard-hitting fish. If you fish with braid or fluorocarbon and don’t have the drag set properly, sooner or later you’ll be reeling in and get a hard hit or a snag and your lure will be gone. Monofilament is stretchy enough to easily absorb that shock and instead you will end up trying to free it from a snag.
Let’s go over the benefits of mono:
- Stretchy (if that’s an advantage for you)
Since it’s so stretchy, monofilament is not very sensitive at all compared to braid and fluorocarbon. Our recommendation is to get sort of a “hybrid” type of line – the one we show below is perfect if you are looking to save money on your fishing line. With this, you can get some stretchiness and some sensitivity at a great price.
All in all, mono is functional if you want to save money, if you need stretch, or if you need your line to float, but keep reading if you don’t. If you do, the Kastking Fluorokote above is what we recommend.
Fluorocarbon is regarded as separate than mono, but it’s actually a monofilament line made out of fluorocarbon. Fluorocarbon is just about everything that standard mono isn’t, and even more invisible. It’s sensitive, it’s not stretchy, it’s highly invisible, and it’s actually a sinking line. It is a little bit more costly than mono, but not by much. If the following things are important to you, fluorocarbon is the type to get:
- Low memory
- Solid hooksets (no stretch)
The biggest consideration with fluorocarbon lines today is what type to get. There are so many that advertise as 100% fluorocarbon, but they must all be the same, right? No, actually there are differences in how they are treated and in the quality of materials used to make them. You’ll find there are fluorocarbons out there that have less memory than others, are more sensitive than others, and perform all around better than a run-of-the-mill fluorocarbon.
Our pick as the very best fluorocarbon fishing line on the market today is Seaguar InvizX, pictured below. In my own experience, this has had the least memory, so little it’s pretty much nonexistent. It’s also sensitive and invisible. This is the type of line I fish with myself.
Lastly, we have braid, which is by far the strongest line for its diameter. Braid is made by braiding together several smaller threads to create one ultra-strong thread. It has no stretch whatsoever, making it very sensitive. However, it isn’t invisible, making it a poor candidate for fussier fish unless you use a clear leader.
Braid has a very low diameter to strength ratio in comparison to either of the above two lines – for example, 10 lb braid would have a diameter of much less than 10 lb mono or fluorocarbon. This means when buying, you should actually match up the diameter to the same diameter of mono or fluorocarbon your reel and rod are rated for so they perform at their best.
If the following are important to you, then braid is a good candidate for you:
- Not invisible
- Far casts due to being coated with smooth coat
- Low diameter to strength ratio
Braid really does have upside when it comes to fishing for toothy predators like northerns – they aren’t fussy about what line you use, and you can get some serious strength in your line. Our recommendation for the best braided line on the market is the classic PowerPro, one of the most trusted names in braid.
All of these reels are some of the top spinning reels under 150 dollars on the market. They’ll get the job done and more. Choose the one that you like best, whether that’s just looks, weight, line capacity, or retrieve rate. Good luck and good luck fishing!