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Top Baitcasting Fishing Reels Reviews

Written by James Schulz

Baitcasting reels are one of the most well-loved types of fishing gear because of their dependability and versatility.

A light reel might be good for lighter lures, smaller fishes, and overall lighter use, but if you have a good baitcaster reel, you can do that and more.

However, there are many choices in the market, and each one peddles its own technologies as the best.

Are you looking for a new baitcasting reel?

To help you pick an excellent baitcasting reel for your next fish run, here are the top 10 best baitcasting reels of 2021.

At a Glance

Best Baitcasting Reel (for Bass, Freshwater, Left-Handed, Etc)

1) Best Value for Money: Lew’s Tournament MP Speed Spool Casting Reel

Lew's Tournament MP Speed Spool

Designed specifically to help you win your next tournament, this baitcasting reel from Lew’s Fishing is armed with competitive features at a reasonable price.

Key Features

  • Sizes: Small (1000)
  • Weight: 7.0oz for variation TS1SMP
  • Bearings: 10
  • Gear Ratio: 5.6:1, 6.8:1, 7.5:1, 7.3:1


  • Cost-effective
  • Super smooth cast and retrieve
  • Features zero reverse
  • Balanced and comfortable grip
  • 5-speed braking


  • Spool size is comparatively small
  • Drag weight is unremarkable

Performance that won’t break the bank – that’s what Lew’s Tournament MP Speed Spool Casting Reel promises.

Made for the competitive angler who wants the most bang for their buck, this baitcasting reel guarantees a full arsenal of benefits.

For one, its main appeal is its casting ability smoothed by its astounding 9 stainless steel bearing plus one roller bearing system.

It also sports Lew’s P2 Super Pinion gear system, creating a compact, aligned, and stable gearing system, with several gear ratios to choose from.

What makes it the best baitcasting reel in our opinion is how well it casts and retrieves.

The Tournament MP Speed Spool is ideal to use with both crankbaits and jerk baits, and will get you through walleye and bass fishing, in addition to other freshwater catches.

Aside from that, it sports more than enough features to enhance your fishing experience.

Its zero reverse feature eliminates backlash for every cast and even allows for easier hook setting no matter what bait you’re using.

It also has adjustable retrieve speeds, a patented auto-reset function to help you hook more fish, 5 brake pressures, and Lew’s own “pendulum weight system” for a more comfortable grip.

However, for a baitcasting reel mainly designed for competitions, it does have a smaller spool size compared to other Lew’s baitcasting reels. The line drag is also not exceptional, so you might want to pass if you need something better in that aspect.

Nevertheless, we still deem Lew’s Tournament MP Speed Spool as the best baitcasting reel for its balanced functionality, design, and price.


2) Most Durable: Piscifun Torrent Reel

Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Reel

If you want something that can weather the hard knocks that will inevitably come your way while chasing bigger fishes, then you should get something as sturdy as the Piscifun Torrent.

Key Features

  • Sizes: Small (1000)
  • Weight: 8.0 oz for both variants
  • Bearings: 6
  • Gear Ratio: 5.3:1, 7.1:1


  • Very cost-effective
  • Machined brass drive gear
  • Easy maintenance with drilled oil port
  • Double winding shaft for faster retrieves
  • 10-setting magnetic brake system for on-the-fly adjustments


  • Cheap-feeling handle
  • Thumb bar isn’t sturdy
  • Light reels don’t cast far

Our second best baitcasting reel is the Piscifun Torrent, with its fantastic price and great performance.

At less than half a hundred bucks, this capable reel can go head-to-head with some of the best baitcasting reels around.

For one, the Torrent is made to be sturdy where it truly counts: the interior workings.

The screws, springs, and other reinforcements are made with Japanese Hamai Cut stainless steel.

It also has a powerful machined brass gear, along with six shielded stainless steel ball bearings and four 3-layer carbon fiber drag washers for 18lbs of steady drag pressure.

Aside from those high-performance features, this reel also features a 10-setting magnetic braking system for unparalleled pressure control.

It also has 30 inches of maximum line retrieve per turn, courtesy of its impressive double winding shafts that are comparable to more expensive reels.

Lastly, it has two gear ratios and even a convenient drilled oil port.

It does have a few weaknesses, though. For one, it can’t cast light reels well, and the thumb bar feels a bit too delicate.

The handle is also not as satisfactory since it’s rather small and feels cheap.

All things considered, though, those are pretty minor complaints.

After all, the quality performance that the Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Reel brings to the table at this price point, such as its durability and exceptional braking system, makes it one of the best baitcasting reels around.


3) Best for Beginners: KastKing Royale Legend GT Baitcasting Reels

KastKing Royale Legend GT

If you want something that will give you a decent return on your investment and contains basic and reliable features, then look no further than the KastKing Royale Legend GT casting reel.

Key Features

  • Size: Small (2000)
  • Weight: 7.2oz
  • Bearings: 6
  • Gear Ratio: 7.2:1


  • 9-level magnetic brake system
  • Comfortable grip and handle setup
  • Sturdy and reliable internals
  • Relatively fast retrieve
  • Decent drag pressure


  • Generates a lot of noise
  • Doesn’t have the best build quality

Compared to the previously reviewed Piscifun Torrent baitcasting reel, the Royale Legend GT feels pretty similar, with just a few shortcomings.

Nevertheless, it does have its own strong points that can match it to top baitcasting reels.

Just like the Torrent, the Royale Legend GT is also very cost-effective and won’t burn a hole through your pocket.

It also provides a pretty functional experience, with Grand Touch grips that are made to feel soft and natural on your hand.

It’s mounted on a sturdy aluminum alloy handle and made with sturdy high-grade EVA knobs.

Plus, when it comes to functionality, it’s hard to be disappointed with the Piscifun Torrent.

This incredible reel has a brass gear system, six double-shielded stainless steel ball bearings, and four carbon fiber drag discs that generate 17.6 lbs of drag pressure.

Typical of a magnetic braking system, this baitcasting reel is adjustable, with nine levels of magnetic brakes.

It has only 1 gear ratio, but the 7.2:1 ratio of this baitcast reel results in a fairly speedy experience, with about 29.8 inches of line spooled per turn.

It doesn’t have the best build quality, though, as there are plenty of plastic components to its construction.

This baitcasting reel also generates a fair amount of noise during casting, which might put off some beginner anglers who expect a noiseless cast.

Overall, with its low price and solid performance, the KastKing Royale Legend GT casting reel presents pretty solid features that can help beginner anglers improve their skills.


4) Best Construction: Abu Garcia Revo IKE Low Profile Baitcasting Reel

Abu Garcia Revo IKE Low Profile

Cast in a unique, attractive finish, this baitcasting reel is one of the best-made reels on the list, boasting premium materials and a high-grade construction and design.

Key Features

  • Size: Medium (4000)
  • Weight: 7.6oz for Revo4Ike variant
  • Bearings: 11
  • Gear Ratio: 6.6:1, 8.0:1


  • Great price for value
  • Superior casting range
  • Sturdy and well-designed build
  • 11 bearings to deliver super-smooth action
  • Unique, attractive, and corrosion-resistant finish


  • A bit on the expensive side
  • The braking system can be sensitive to winds

One of the most striking characteristics of the Abu Garcia Revo IKE Low Profile Reel is its finish.

It has an iridescent metallic purple hue that shifts into different colors depending on the light.

This is certainly an attention-catching reel that will draw some gazes on your next fishing trip.

But it’s not all for show – the attractive finish is actually an anodized coat that offers another level of corrosion resistance.

Aside from that, this casting reel also sports a premium and sturdy make.

The metal reel body is made of X2-Craftic alloy.

It has 11 stainless steel ball bearings that facilitate ultra-smooth drag action and a brass Duragear gearing system for precise interior working.

It also has a side plate made of C6 carbon and another made of aluminum.

These properties come together to deliver a superior casting range and an ultra-smooth, line-eating action because of its excellent 6.6:1 and 8.0:1 gear ratios.

It also has a capable maximum drag of 24lbs generated by the Power Stack Carbon Matrix Drag System.

This drag system uses a keyed-cartridge carbon fiber drag system to increase drag pressure while maintaining the silky-smooth action.

You do have to pay a premium for the equally premium material and construction, but the price tag is well worth its many top-of-the-line features.

In addition to this, the braking system can be a little difficult to master and can be finicky in head and crosswinds.

Mastery comes with practice, though, and once you’re attuned to the nuances of this reel’s braking system, it’ll be just as great as any other braking systems around.

All in all, you should expect nothing but the best performance from this premium, low-profile baitcasting reel.


5) Best Distance Casting Reel: Daiwa Tatula 100 TWS

Daiwa Tatula 100 TWS

Although baitcasting reels are supposed to deliver superior casting distance, not all of them are made equal. Some deliver a superior distance-casting experience, such as the Daiwa Tatula 100 TWS.

Key Features

  • Size: Small (1000)
  • Weight: 6.9oz
  • Bearings: 8
  • Gear Ratio: 6.3:1, 7.1:1


  • Sturdy aluminum frame
  • Featherlight and compact
  • Made to be comfortable
  • Long and accurate casts


  • Won’t do well in saltwater fishing
  • Zero Adjuster might not sit well with most anglers

The Daiwa Tatula 100 TWS Baitcasting Reel is a lightweight, compact number that packs quite a punch.

It measures 38mm in diameter and has an impressive reel weight of only 6.9 ounces, which adds to its astounding casting distance thanks to its T-Wing System (TWS.)

This is a revolutionary method that allows the line to exit the spool without making the same amount of friction compared to traditional line guide systems.

This reduced friction allows your line to exit freely, casting your bait for longer distances, more accurately, and even reducing backlash in the process.

The Daiwa Tatula 100 TWS also has two gear ratios for your preference. It offers a versatile 6.3:1 ratio, with the option to upgrade to a higher gear ratio if you desire.

Aside from that, this casting reel is also made to be comfortable.

The frame is made of sturdy, lightweight aluminum, and the handle features Soft Touch Handle Knobs for increased comfort.

That said, this baitcasting reel isn’t sealed, so it won’t do well in saltwater fishing.

The Zero Adjuster feature also seemed awkward to us – the knob placement is cramped, which doesn’t allow for much versatility.

Overall, the Daiwa Tatula 100 TWS is a lightweight, compact contender that will allow you to smoothly throw your lines farther and more accurately.


6) Best Frame: Pflueger President XT Low Profile Reel

Pflueger President XT Low Profile Reel

With the perfect balance between affordability, durability, and functionality, the Pflueger President XT will lead the way towards your next best fishing experience.

Key Features

  • Size: Small (3000)
  • Weight: 6.8oz
  • Bearings: 9
  • Gear Ratio: 7.3:1


  • Cheap but functional
  • Can be used on saltwater
  • Sturdy and great looking frame
  • Superior retrieve rate at 31 inches per turn
  • High gear ratio and 10 ball bearings for smooth action


  • Thin aluminum handle

The President XT carries with it the legacy of the time-tested fishing accessory company Pflueger.

Light and compact, this baitcasting reel sports an attractive, retro look that is subdued yet classy.

More than just a treat for the eyes, it also has a great set of features, especially considering its affordable price tag.

The Pflueger President XT features a top-grade, aircraft-grade aluminum frame, allowing it to take a pounding while remaining light in hand.

It has an equally strong anodized aluminum spool, 9 stainless steel ball bearings, and a gear ratio of 7.3:1, which offers a superior retrieve rate at 31 inches a turn.

It also has a sealed drag system, which means you can use it in saltwater.

Wherever you decide to use it, though, it’s guaranteed to be pretty comfortable.

The handle is light and corrosion-resistant, and the knobs are made with vintage-looking cork – soft and grippy for your reeling enjoyment.

However, the handle is also quite fragile, which can be problematic, especially when fighting large fish.

It’s not a major disadvantage, though, and the President XT remains to be a great, cost-efficient introductory baitcasting reel, with a neat reel frame to boot.


7) Most Advanced: Shimano Curado DC


Fish reels are as old as time, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be improved with the right technology.

The Shimano Curado DC smart baitcasting reel shows us just how the right piece of tech can up our traditional fishing game.

Key Features

  • Sizes: Small (1500, 1510)
  • Weight: 7.8 oz for size 1500
  • Bearings: 7
  • Gear Ratio: 6.2:1, 7.4:1, 8.5:1


  • Computer-assisted braking system
  • Perfect long-distance cast on any situation
  • Solid Hagane frame and X-ship construction
  • Durable S A-RB ball bearings for smooth drag


  • Expensive
  • Heavier and bigger for baitcasting
  • Max drag pressure can be improved

Shimano has a worldwide reputation for creating dependable, long-lasting, and high-end baitcasting fishing reels, and the Curado DC is the epitome of their construction prowess.

It’s similar to the Shimano Curado K Baitcast with an SVS Infinity braking system, but unlike that one, the Curado DC offers some new technologies.

In fact, perhaps the main advantage of this baitcast reel compared to the Curado K baitcast reel is its computer-assisted Digital Control braking system.

This reel uses a microcomputer that monitors your casting and automatically adjusts the brake pressure on the spool to give you the perfect cast each time.

It has 4 settings on its braking system going from lightest to heaviest bait setting.

At its 4th setting, you can practically cast anything over a superbly long distance, even during tough wind conditions.

But it offers more than intuitive and efficient computer assistance.

It’s a sleek, round reel, and it has a professional-looking, shimmery gray finish.

Typical of Shimano makes, this SA-RB bearing baitcaster reel is tough and solid.

Made of C14+ carbon, it can easily take on whatever challenges you throw at it.  It also sports a cross carbon fiber drag system, Hagane frame, X-ship construction, and 3 gear ratios.

For all of its charm and efficiency, though, the maximum drag sits only at about 11lbs.

This is an aspect that can definitely be improved, especially since it sits on the mid-to-high-price point.

It’s also slightly bulkier and heavier than what you’re used to of typical baitcaster reels. Aside from those, though, this reel doesn’t have any major problems.

The Shimano Curado DC is one of the best baitcasting reels around, offering a smooth, perfect cast every time.


8) Best for Bass: Abu Garcia Revo SX Low Profile Fishing Reel

Abu Garcia Revo SX Low Profile

Going for your next big fish, maybe bass fishing? All bass anglers need the sturdiness, accuracy, and control of the Abu Garcia Revo SX with them.

Key Features

  • Weight: 7.7 oz for size REVO4SX model
  • Bearings: 10
  • Gear Ratio: 6.6:1, 7.3.1


  • Durable and light frame
  • Impressive drag pressure
  • Smooth 10-ball bearing construction
  • Features a dual brake system
  • Dependable brass gear and internals


  • Generates noise
  • Flimsy spooling system compared to frame

Why It’s Worthy

When going for bigger fish, such as in bass fishing, you’re going to want a dependable baitcast reel with the durability and drag capacity to match.

A great example of this is the Abu Garcia SX Low Profile Fishing Reel.

This light reel is made for professional bass anglers to enhance their bass fishing experience.

It features a feather-light and corrosion-resistant X-2 Craftic alloy frame, side palm plates made of C6 Carbon, and 10 stainless steel ball bearings – a solid construction designed to withstand aggressive fish.

The Revo SX Low also has 6.2:1 or 7.3:1 gear ratios, DuraGear brass gear, DuraClutch, and an Infini dual braking system to give you an impressively far, accurate, and smooth casting.

In addition to this, it sports Abu Garcia’s own Power Stack Carbon Matrix Drag System.

This drag system delivers an astounding 24 lbs of drag to fight big fish.

The Abu Garcia reel can do this due to the unique addition of keyed cartridge to the carbon fiber drag system, providing additional pressure.

On the downside, the spooling system is not the most durable, and it’s a noisy caster compared to most baitcasting reels.

Minor drawbacks aside, the Abu Garcia Revo SX Fishing Reel is a dependable fighter to add to your big fish arsenal, especially when bass fishing.


9) Best For Freshwater: Shimano Chronarch MGL 150

Shimano Chronarch MGL Low

Minimalist and sleek, the Shimano Chronarch MGL 150 is a premium, capable freshwater all-rounder that lets you fish at your best under any conditions.

Key Features

  • Sizes: Small (1500, 1510)
  • Weight: 6.5oz for size 1500
  • Bearings: 9
  • Gear Ratio: 6.2:1, 7.1:1, 8.1:1


  • Three gear ratios
  • Silky smooth retrieves
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Effortless long-distance casting
  • Performs well in freshwater settings


  • High-end price tag
  • Only rated for freshwater use

The compact, lightweight reel, Shimano Chronarch MGL 150, packs quite an arsenal of premium Shimano technologies designed to give you the best fishing experience.

One of its primary strengths is its Magnumlite Spool, which makes pulling feel very smooth and requires only a little force to get your handle spinning and hauling lines.

Plus, with the Super Free Spool technology, you can effortlessly cast a greater distance than ever before – second only to other Shimano reels with their own DC systems.

It also features Shimano’s trademark Micromodule gearing, outfitting it with a compact, capable gear train that fits closely to each other and provides you with robust internal construction

This results in consistent, silky smooth casting and retrieving.

In addition to that, this reel also packs an SVS Infinity for more precise casting adjustments, cross carbon fiber drag, X-ship construction, and 9 durable S A-RB stainless steel ball bearings.

It’s only designed for freshwater fishing, though, which, at this price point, is a hefty sum to pay for this limit.

Also, if you want a higher drag pressure for bigger fish runs, you might want to take a pass at this because the Chronarch MGL only delivers about 11lbs of max drag.

Nevertheless, it’s a robust piece of equipment designed to excel no matter what kind of fishing you do on the freshwater.


10) Best Corrosion-free: 13 Fishing Concept Z

13 Fishing Concept Z

Designed specifically to minimize corrosion risk for a wide variety of inshore fishing applications, the Concept Z is an exciting innovation that is set to give anglers rugged functionality and impressive durability.

Key Features

  • Sizes: Small (2000)
  • Weight: 6.4oz
  • Bearings: polymer hybrid
  • Gear Ratio: 6.6:1, 7.3:1, 8.1:1


  • Excellent drag capacity
  • High corrosion resistance
  • Three choices of gear ratios
  • Lightweight and packed with features
  • Smooth and long-distance casting ability


  • Expensive
  • Quite a noisy operation

As anglers, one of our most constant and most pressing issues is how to keep our reels corrosion-free at all times.

Corrosion is the primary enemy of most reel’s precious steel ball bearings, and the grinding feeling that comes from damaged bearings is simply the worst.

13 Fishing has designed the concept Z to address this issue by eliminating the use of steel ball bearings entirely and instead opting for solid polymer bearings.

This design choice does several positive things.

The first is that it drastically reduces corrosion since polymer offers greater corrosion resistance than stainless steel.

This is a plus, especially for inshore applications where your reel is likely to acquire dirt, seaspray, and even get dunked outright into salty water.

Second, stainless steel is comparatively heavy, so replacing stainless steel ball bearings with polymer modules also reduces the weight.

This allows Concept Z to pack more features while remaining light and comfortable.

Lastly, the polymer modules that the Z Concept introduces spin faster and produce less friction because it doesn’t expand as it heats up in their spin.

This means the Z Concept can have an exceptionally farther and smoother casting range for your line despite not having stainless steel bearings.

Aside from that winning feature, this reel also sports Hamai cut gears, a 6ix-pin centrifugal force braking system, an easy access plate, an open Arrowhead line guide, an impressive 22 lbs drag capacity, and three variants with different gear ratios.

On the downside, it’s quite expensive, pretty much on the same level as high-end traditional baitcaster reels.

Plus, it also generates quite a bit of noise, and not just because of the ball bearings.

There’s a significant whirring sound while casting and a small chattering sound during retrieves.

That said, if you want a reel that you can use hard and put away wet, then the 13 Fishing Concept Z should be on top of your list.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What makes a good baitcasting reel?

There are many things that make an excellent baitcasting reel, like a good baitcasting rod in general. But if you want something specifically for you, you should choose one that delivers a great performance, lasts a long time, and has a price tag that you’re comfortable with.

Luckily for you, there’s bound to be an awesome baitcasting reel for you on our list.

From the premium Abu Garcia Revo IKE Low Profile Reel and Shimano Curado DC, to the capable budget options the likes of Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Reel, you can pick your own best baitcasting reel on this list.

What is the easiest one to use?

Most bait casting reels are easy to use when you’ve grown accustomed to their features and quirks. However, a beginner probably wouldn’t care too much about their reel setup, such as their gear ratio, or a stack carbon matrix drag, or a dual cast control system.

So if you want the best baitcasting reel for beginners, we suggest a stripped-down yet still competent reel, such as the KastKing Royale Legend GT or the Lew’s Tournament MP Speed Spool.

These cheap but quality reels are sturdy, functional pieces that can guide you through the curve of learning how to fish.

How do you pick a baitcaster reel?

As mentioned above, the best baitcasting reel for you should align with your usage, skill level, and budget. Usage refers to the kind of fishing that you do. Since there are many fishing techniques, you should pick a high quality reel that is either amazing in one, or that can do everything fairly well.

Your skill level is basically your experience.

If you’re a beginner, the best baitcasting reel for you is something made for newbies, or something made to suit everyone like the Shimano Curado DC.

Lastly, baitcasting reel varies widely in price, so you have to make sure that you balance your budget to your wants.

The best reels shouldn't have to cost you your entire month's salary just to give you an outstanding experience.

Is a baitcasting reel better than a spinning reel?

Not necessarily since both reels have their own strengths, like other reels. Spinning reels are made for light applications and delicate fishing techniques. They offer great functionality and flexibility when used for light lures and fishing for small to medium-sized fish.

Baitcasting reels, on the other hand, are less delicate and flexible. Instead, they're designed for increased power and torque.

With this type of reel, you can cast your bait farther and reel in bigger and more aggressive fishes.

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