Designed for power and efficiency, the Shimano Stradic FL is for those who want a sturdy yet lightweight workhorse spinning reel for all conditions.
Sizes: Small (1000, 2500, 3000) to Medium (4000, 5000)
Weight: 6.5oz for size 1000.
Gear Ratio: 6.0:1, 6.2:1, and 6.4:1
Made with premium materials
Attractive design and durable construction
Uses high-end Shimano technologies
Can handle freshwater and saltwater fishing
Delivers a worry-free fishing experience
Pricier than most
Why it’s Worthy
Coated in Shimano’s silver X-Protect, the Stradic FL sports an attractive minimalist look that also serves to protect the metal from the elements.
This high-quality spinning reel is also one of the strongest on our list, thanks to its HAGANE Body construction.
It has a rigid body that eliminates flexing, resists impact, and maximizes power output.
In terms of materials, Shimano spared no expense on the Stradic FL.
This great spinning reel has a solid aluminum handle and frames, a cold-forged aluminum spool, carbon fiber drag washers, graphite rotor, and side plate, and a durable yet smooth steel Cross Carbon Drag system that can tolerate up to 15 lbs of weight.
When it comes to weight, it’s pretty light, though still not as much as its older but more lightweight brother, the Shimano Stradic Ci4.
It sports other Shimano technologies, as well. First, it has a Propulsion Line Management System, which minimizes backlashes while lengthening your casts.
Two, its bearings are SA-RB to protect it against salt and sand. Three, it has a more comfortable G-FreeBody system that minimizes fatigue.
Lastly, it uses a combination of MicroModule Gear II and Silent Drive to maximize the tolerances of the tiniest internal components.
This probably comes as no surprise, but if you want the Shimano Stradic FL’s top-of-the-line features, you’re going to have to pay a premium, too.
It’s definitely one of the most expensive spinning reels around, though it does provide a greater value compared to cheap reels.
It’s a good spinning reel designed to give you not just the best fishing experience regardless of the niche, but also the assurance that you’re buying something that you can use for the years to come – as long as you’re willing to pay the price.
All in all, the Shimano Stradic FL may not be a perfect spinning reel, but it definitely comes close.
If you want something designed specifically to tackle the harsh seas, then the Penn Slammer III should be your top pick.
Without a doubt, this great spinning reel is a protective, durable tool that can withstand whatever corrosive element and big fish that will inevitably come your way.
Sizes: Small (3500), Medium (4500, 5500) and Large (6500, 7500, 8500, 9500, 10500)
Weight: 13.9 oz for size 3500
Gear Ratio: 4.2:1, 4.7:1, 5.3:1, 5.6:1, and 6.2:1
Robust and low maintenance
Durable, waterproof construction
Smooth and heavy-duty drag capacity
Strong enough to tackle any kind of fishing
Drag is tight even on the lowest setting
All-metal construction adds a bit of weight
Why It’s Worthy
If you’re looking to challenge the high seas on your next fishing trip, then look no further than the Penn Slammer III.
One of the best saltwater reels on the market, this spinning reel can easily repel dirt, salt, water, and other debris that often causes cheap reals to fail, thanks to its full metal body that’s rated IPX6 waterproof.
This characteristic doesn’t just make for a long-lasting spinning reel.
In fact, the Penn Slammer III is also one of the most functional low-maintenance options right now.
You can do the bare minimum and just keep it clean and dry when not in use, and that’s already enough to ensure that it lasts for years.
The high-quality construction works in combination with Penn’s proprietary Dura-Drag carbon fiber drag washer, which offers a smooth drag while improving the structural integrity of the whole drag system.
It also has 7 stainless steel ball bearings – 6 IPX6-sealed ones and a 7th for the anti-reverse system.
There’s even an automatic bail trip for the small to medium-sized fishing reels, although it’s lacking in the larger variants.
With the Slammer III, you can chase all sorts of fish anywhere you want, regardless if you’re part of the beginners or the veteran saltwater anglers crowd.
Even the smallest option (3500) has a whopping 35lbs maximum drag, and it scales up proportionally to the size.
That said, this is no lightweight spinning reel.
The all-metal construction adds to the weight, even if you choose the smallest option.
It’s definitely weightier than its other sibling, the Penn Battle II, whose size 1000 option weighs around 8 ounces.
Both are considered heavy compared to other spinning reels, but the Penn Battle II is at least a lighter reel than the Slammer III.
if you like a flexible drag setting, you won’t find it here.
The Slammer III offers a smooth drag experience, but even the lowest setting on the smallest size will be pretty tight.
It’s robust equipment, for sure, and it won’t fail you when it comes to the kind of fish that it can handle.
If you want durability and flexibility and don’t mind a lot of drag, then the Penn Slammer III is certainly a good spinning reel for you.
If you want to chase some bass, then you’re going to need a heavy-duty yet lightweight reel for the task.
The Abu Garcia Revo SX has those in spades, creating a versatile rod and reel combo that is amazingly suited for bass fishing but can also be used for anything else you throw at it.
Sizes: Small (1000, 2000, 3000) and Medium (4000)
Weight: 7.20oz for size 1000
Gear Ratio: 6.2:1
Long line capacity
Exceptionally fast recovery
Durable C6 Carbon body construction
Line management system minimizes jams
No reel size above 4000
Difficult to find spare parts for repair
Retrieval system is prone to malfunctions
Why It’s Worthy
Bass can be very aggressive fishes, which is exactly why they’re so rewarding to catch.
However, if you really want to step up to the challenge, your spinning reel needs to be able to maximize casting distance and have a fast enough gear ratio to overpower this amazing animal.
It’s a good thing that the Abu Garcia Revo SX achieves this pretty well. It doesn’t have the same speedy gear ratio as baitcasting reels, but it’s close.
This great spinning reel offers a versatile 6.2:1 gear ratio, 8 stainless steel bearings, one roller bearing, a machined aluminum spool (which is also a braid ready spool) and gearing system, and a carbon matrix drag system.
The body is also made with C6 carbon for maximum durability.
With these features, you get a super-smooth operation on extremely sturdy parts: a must when enduring the aggressiveness of bass.
Line capacity is also important, especially when dealing with hard-to-catch bass.
When it fights, you will need to give and take slack, and the longer the line is, the more time you can match against the fish.
The Revo SX model offers a line capacity of 6/110 (6lbs and 110 yards) for the smallest option.
Paired with a max drag of 10lbs and a fast recovery of 30 inches per turn, you get the perfect spec ranges for bass fishing.
There’s also the Rocket Line Management System, which makes sure that you never experience a line twist during crucial moments.
It can also use all kinds of fishing lines, including a mono and a braid fishing line.
Plus, with its braid ready spool, fishing with a braided line is much easier.
That said, one of its weaknesses is its durability.
The line roller is especially prone to malfunctions as it can’t handle strong cranking power, which can be a problem since it’s not easy to find spare parts for this model.
It doesn’t offer anything beyond a 4000 reel size, but if all you want to do is some bass fishing, especially with a braided line, then Abu Garcia Revo SX’s options should be more than enough.
You’re going to need some of the most exceptional drag systems and the most lightweight construction if you want to fish for trout.
Luckily for you, the Daiwa Ballistic LT is a spinning reel capable of this and more.
Sizes: Small (1000, 2500, 2500HX, 3000), Medium (4000, 5000) and Large (6000)
Weight: 5.8oz for size 1000
Gear Ratio: 5.1:1, 5.2:1, 5.3:1, and 6.2:1
Refined drag system
Heavy drag pressure capacity
Innovative sealing system
Handle is prone to malfunctions
Difficult to repair
Why It’s Worthy
Fly reels may be the most favored fishing reels when it comes to catching trout, but you can also easily do it with a reliable spinning reel.
A good fishing reel for catching trout is ideally lightweight, especially if you’re one of those anglers fishing in an area with plenty of hiding spots for fishes since you’ll have to move around a lot.
That’s why it’s a good thing that the Daiwa Ballistic LT is one of the lightest fishing reels on the list.
This spinning reel starts at 5.8 ounces of weight for the smallest option, making it one of the most compact freshwater spinning reels on the market right now.
Despite how light it is, the Ballistic LT can dish out some pretty great drag power.
The size 1000 reel has a maximum drag of 11lbs, while the 4000 and above sizes can go up to 26lbs. and can go up to 26lbs on the 4000 and above sizes.
The multi-disc drag system itself is worth praising, as well.
Daiwa used a special kind of grease engineered to have variable viscosity, which makes it gradually become firmer the more your catch tries to struggle.
It also features an innovative MAGSEALED system that creates a protective barrier against dust, water, and other harmful elements with the use of MAGOIL, a permanent sealant that is solidified with magnets.
Although this makes the spinning reel more difficult to repair, it does reduce weight and contributes to the Daiwa Ballistic LT’s super smooth returns.
If there’s one weakness we can find, it’s the durability of the handle.
For some reason, this part seems to be more fragile than the rest, making it more prone to malfunctions and early wear.
Other than that, the Daiwa Ballistic LT is a dynamite of a spinning reel designed to make your trout-catching experience a more enjoyable one – even when compared to a fly reel.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the most durable spinning reel?
If durability is the most important consideration for you, check out the Penn Slammer III with its all-metal construction and IPX6 rating. Although it’s well known as a perfect spinning reel for saltwater adventures, this reel can easily withstand rough use and even rougher conditions.
Who makes the best spinning reels?
All the spinning reels on our list are made by great companies, but perhaps the best reel manufacturer on this list is Shimano, creator of the Stradic FL and plenty of other reels. The Stradic FL, in particular, is one of the top spinning reels around.
What is a good affordable reel?
The Lew’s Custom Inshore Speed Spin packs a ton of features into one cost-effective package. Although it’s definitely a cheaper reel compared to the others, it’s also a versatile piece of equipment that you can use in various fishing activities, regardless of your fishing techniques.
In short, it's a cheap reel that performs more like those in the expensive spinning reel category.
Are expensive reels worth buying?
The best fishing reels don't have to be expensive in order to be good – and spinning reels are no exception. That said, paying for a more expensive fishing reel does have some benefits, especially if you're serious about fishing.
Recreational anglers may be able to get away with using cheap spinning reels with adequate quality, but if you're one of those saltwater anglers or if you're planning on doing any kind of difficult fishing, investing in higher-end spinning reel categories will save you from a lot of pain later on.
What is the best all-around fishing reel?
There's no one-size-fits-all when it comes to the best spinning reels. However, if you’re looking for good balance and versatility, then Shimano’s Stradic FL is a good choice for fishing gear.