What Makes The Best Fishing Reels Stand Out?

There’s a thing about the best fishing reels. They can’t simply be found in any retail store you walk into. They require an extensive search. And a serious angler, you have to be very selective with the type of fishing reel you use. Therefore, if you truly want to make a good decision it is very important you understand how the different types of fishing reels work and how they suite specific fishing situations.


*Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.

The Things You Should Pay Attention To Before Buying

Quality reels operate in a fairly simple manner – they spool out the line in uniform coils through the rod’s guides and into the water with minimal tangles or backlashes. To achieve such performance, fishing reel has to meet the following specifications.

# Drag System

Drag system

The term drag system refers to the friction discs located inside the reel. Its purpose is to provide enough tension to hold the line in place while catching bigger fish. A good drag system spools the line and hooks smoothly without sudden jerks that can cause the line to break.

On the modern fishing reels the drag system is located either at the front or at the rear. You control the line tension by adjusting the dial or knob respectively. Of course, quality drag systems almost always fetch a higher market price.

# Line Capacity And Spool Size

Line Capacity Or Spool Size

The bigger the reel, the bigger the line capacity it can handle. Fortunately, the current fishing reels allow you to use different spool sizes suitable both monofilament and braided fishing lines. As a rule of thumb, it’s always advisable to buy an extra fishing reel with a different spool size to act as a backup for your main unit.

# Frame Material And Weight Of The Reel

The fishing reel frames can be made from four different materials – aluminum, plastic, magnesium, and carbon. Most over-the-counter reels are made of either aluminum or plastic. On the other hand, carbon and magnesium are mostly used in on high-end fishing reels and tend to be a bit pricey.

Frame Material And Weight Of The Reel

As for the entry level units, they are often made from aluminum and carbon. These materials are not only tough but also lightweight and retail at a lower price compared to magnesium. Plastic reels are ideal for leisure fishing but have a shorter shelf life which is an important consideration for pro anglers.

# Line Recovery

Line recovery is the rate at the fishing reel in one turn of the handle, and it’s measured in inches. Spinning reels generally spool more inches of line compared to bait-casting reels.

# Fishing Reel Bearings

Fishing reel bearings are tiny metallic balls used to reduce the friction between the spool and the handle. They are used inside the handle shaft, the anti-reverse, the main gear, and on the line roller.

Now, it’s easy to be duped into thinking that the more bearings you have, the more efficiently the reel will perform. However, you only need a maximum of five bearings in your reel for it to function efficiently. The reels with 8 to 9 bearings are only more expensive and do not offer anything special over the 5 bearing reels. So, avoid paying exorbitantly for additional bearings that you do not need.

Fishing reel bearings

# Anti-reverse

The anti-reverse prevents that backward action of the reel handle you often experience while fishing. Freshwater reels are usually fitted with the anti-reverse mechanism, which is a black lever fitted on the reel’s rear. Inexperienced anglers often keep the anti-reverse intact to prevent their reels from unwinding. However, if you are a professional angler, switching off the anti-reverse can help you to back reel the rood effectively when battling bigger fish or ocean currents.


# Type Of Fishing Reel

Type of fishing reel

There are two major types of fishing reels: freshwater and the saltwater fishing reels. Freshwater reels are used in smaller water bodies like lakes or streams. Saltwater reels are ideal for larger water bodies like oceans, bays, or seas.

Also, Fishing reels can be further subdivided into three styles namely – spinning, casting, and spin-cast reels. Casting reels are a professional angler’s choice, especially when spooling longer or heavier lines. Bait-casting reels also come in handy when angling for larger or stronger fish species and are suitable for both fresh and salt water bodies.

Type of fishing reel

Spinning reels are the simplest to operate and recommended for beginners or kids. They are mounted on the underside of the fishing rod with the reel handle located unconventionally, to the left. Spinning reels are fitted with anti-reverse to prevent the line from spooling when fish takes the bait.

The spin-casts are a blend between the spinning and casting reels. The reel is enclosed in a protective cover with a single opening that acts as the line’s outlet. The spool line remains locked until the angler casts it by using a thumb button fixed on the spool cover. As the angler releases the button, the bait or lure will draw the line in the desired trajectory.

5 Best Fishing Reels On The Market

*Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.

Via Amazon.com

If I did not have four more fishing reels to review, the KastKing stealth fishing reel would have easily been my first choice. I would certainly recommend it for the angler looking for a lightweight, durable, and efficient unit. The build quality is great, and the frame is, for the better part, is constructed from pure metal with only a few plastic parts.

KastKing stealth fishing reels have undergone a couple of major improvements through the years. These days, the frame, the handle, and the spool are all made from cold-forged aluminum, while the side plates and the rotor inside the unit are made from lightweight graphite. With such a strong metallic body, the KastKing fishing reel only weighs 9 oz.

The drag system consists of tightly packed steel stacks fitted together with felt washers. This set up allows the reel to lock up to 15 pounds of reel line while still remaining smooth and functional. An excellent choice for the situations when I’m battling an oversized walleye.


  • Line casting is aided by, what the manufacturer defines as a propulsion line management system. This is a special feature that allows the line to flow smoothly off the spool producing the longer and more efficient casts.
  • The A-RB bearings located inside the reel frame are doing the excellent job of reducing the friction between the reel and the handle. The bearings are enclosed in a protective cover that doesn’t only protect them from debris but also ensures they will continue to work effectively.
  • The ball bearings are tiny enough to fit snuggly inside the frame and are held in position by a ‘click’ mechanism.
  • The sturdy frame and excellent drag system combination make for a perfect reel to catch the larger species.
  • The KastKing fishing reel is available in different sizes.


  • The reel may not be suitable for freshwater fishing

Via Amazon.com

A go-to reel if you looking for a sturdy body and a weight. All the components are of high quality and masterfully put together to produce a top-notch product with an amazing casting power.

The entire frame, rotor, and side plates are all constructed from high-quality magnesium. This makes for a very lightweight, balanced, and durable reel. The inclusion of carbon fiber composite ensures that unique turgid, but at the same time featherweight feel of the whole package.


  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Smooth performance


  • A bit pricey

Via Amazon.com

Compared to the other mentions on this list, the Penn battle fishing reel feels a bit heavier in hand. That can be contributed to the inner aluminum gear set and carbon-molded body frame. The side plates and the handle are also made from carbon-insert molding. Although the inclusion of these materials makes the product a bit heavier than some buyers would like, there is no denying that we are talking about a highly durable reel suitable for a couple of specific fishing techniques.

For instance, I tried the reel for a drop shot fishing and even threw it into a couple of shaky head-fishing situations and I’m happy to report it held out perfectly. The drag system designed from carbon matrix deserves a special shout-out. Not only does it feel silky smooth when you’re spooling the line, but it also provides a reliable amount of tension to prevent the line from backlashing or snapping. Keep in mind, though, that the reel was designed specifically for braided lines of up to 20 pounds.


  • With a smooth gear set and metal-fortified frame, the reel can comfortably spool up to 10 or 20 feet.
  • A perfect choice for all the people that enjoy gaming flukes, shaky heads or drop shots.


Via Amazon.com

The KastKing Sharky fishing reel offers some very quality specs for this price point. As a matter of fact, the components inside can give some more expensive rivals a very serious run for their money. So, if you are looking for an extremely durable and efficient product that won’t rob you of your hard-earned money, this just might be the one.

What makes it so special? Well, the frame is constructed from X-Craftic alloy and the spool is machine-forged from pure aluminum. Inside the body you can find an equally strong aluminum gearbox with a reliable dura-gear mechanism that does a great job adding to the crank power of the reel.

As for the actual performance, it’s obvious that the reel was designed for braided fishing lines. It spools seamless lines secured by a bail system that opens and shuts with a distinct click. To cut a long story short, it works smooth and lives up to its reputation. Also, it’s worth mentioning the reel can handle up to 12 pounds of line with a casting ability of 15 to 17 feet. Combine that with the fortified alloy frame, I don’t think any angler will be caught unaware by sudden jolts or flexes produced by the fish trying to break free from the bait.


  • Excellent drag system.
  • Durable and efficient.
  • Long casting ability.
  • Affordable.


  • The reel is not suitable for monofilament lines.

Via Amazon.com

If I had to describe this reel in the shortest manner possible I would say it’s effective and affordable. Granted the pocket-friendly price tag is is a product of the bits of plastic used for construction but it’s hard to deny that the reel still provides the same performance as other quality products from higher price categories. As a matter of fact, it even sports some unique features all experienced anglers love.

The Suogayilang fishing reel’s body is compact and constructed from pure aluminum and plastic. The feature that makes the anglers love this product, however, is the X-Ship gear system we are accustomed to see on some much more expensive, high-end units. Suffice to say, the mechanism works great and holds the stainless steel bearing firmly in place from the end to end. .


  • The smooth casting ability pdovided by the excellent X-Ship gear mechanism.
  • The reel provides a very smooth crank of the line when the fish tags. Each time I was under the impression that the line will not break.
  • The line management is quite commendable.
  • The reel doesn’t suffer from line twists and tangles


  • The plastic components don’t feel all too durable. I’m afraid I will have to replace them sooner than later.


All the five reviewed fishing reels provide a lot of value for the money you are asked to spend. However, in my opinion the number one sport goes to Suogayilang fishing reel. Everything about it, ranging from durable construction and the excellent drag mechanism to its casting capabilities, both ashore or offshore speaks of quality and good performance.

Thanks to the stainless steel drag system, my 15-pound line had an ample tolerance to any flexing or sharp jerking I would get from a fish. In addition, Suogayilang fishing reel has an exquisite finish that neatly conceals the durable aluminum and graphite components inside the body.

Lucas Bryant

Hi, I’m Lucas Bryant and fishing is one of the most important parts of my life. I usually go fishing with my friends and have many fishing competition. That why I like to research and create many tips to get more fishes to win a race. I hope my experience will be useful for you.

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