Are you looking for a new spinning reel?
If so, then this round-up review is perfect for you. We’ve put together the top 5 best spinning reels under $50 and included a buyer’s guide to help you make an informed decision. Plus, we answer any frequently asked questions about these products.
Keep scrolling to read our reviews on the 5 best spinning reels under $50 today!
Best Spinning Reels Under $50 Reviewed
Shimano FX Spinning Reel
Shimano is one of the most trusted names in fishing for a reason. They make dependable and well-performing products and have done so since 1983. They make some of the most expensive fishing reels on the market, but the Shimano FX is very affordable and delivers on performance as well, and is why this reel has earned the top spot for best spinning reel under $50.
The FX series consists of many sizes but the one we tested and recommend is the FX2000FC with a 5.0:1 gear ratio. It is a versatile medium-light reel that will easily handle 6 to 10 pound test line.
Longer casts are easily achieved thanks to the roller clutch and propulsion lip spool design.
We recommend this spinning reel when targeting species such as panfish, trout, and bass.
Penn Pursuit 3
PENN has a reputation unlike any other in the fishing community. They have been producing high-quality fishing reels since 1959 and are now manufacturing over 70 different models designed for both saltwater and freshwater applications.
The PENN Pursuit 3 features the same technology and performance you expect from PENN, but at an entry-level price point.
The lightweight Pursuit III is a dependable reel that can withstand the abuse from large saltwater fish. It includes an HT-100 carbon fiber drag system, designed to battle against any saltwater species you will come across, with maximum drag.
After using the Pursuit lll we may tempt to leave some of our $150 reels sitting in the garage the next time we head out. This saltwater spinning reel from PENN checks all the boxes and most importantly just feels right in your hands.
Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel
Okuma is a well-known name in the fishing industry by offering affordable products at an exceptional value. The Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel is no different and includes many premium features you only expect to find on many higher-priced reels.
The Ceymar series spinning reel consists of 6 different models ranging from $42-$88. They offer the C-10 which is the smallest fishing reel in the lineup suited for 4 lb. test line all the way up to the C-65 which is designed to carry 260 yards of 20 lb. test line.
The C-30 we tested features a cast aluminum frame, side plate, and rotor construction combined with an anodized aluminum spool for strength. Another feature that stood out is the anti-rust bearing system to protect against corrosion from saltwater exposure.
These saltwater spinning reels will serve you well when targeting larger species of fish.
Piscifun Viper X Spinning Reel
When it comes to fishing gear manufacturers who are committed to innovation, Piscifun is one of the best in the business. They manufacture high-quality products at affordable prices with excellent customer service.
The Viper X spinning reel includes several features you come to expect from premium reels, including a stainless steel spool lip, 5 stainless steel bearings, and a one-piece aluminum frame.
At 9.5 ounces (0.36 kg), it is a lightweight spinning reel and delivers on performance. You can use this reel for all types of freshwater fishing including bass, walleye, and trout with confidence knowing the durability and quality you expect from Piscifun.
The Viper X is the best ultralight spinning reel we tested and overall and excellent spinning reel.
Pflueger Trion Spinning Reel
Pflueger has been producing quality fishing equipment since 1916. They have a reputation for excellence when it comes to reels, that started out making baitcasting reels but now produce rods and reels for just about every fishing application.
The Trion series consists of 10 different models that all include the same features including; a smooth ball bearing drive, double anodized aluminum spool, titanium coated line guide, and a durable stainless steel bail wire.
The Trion 20 is designed for anglers that target trout, but can also be used to cast fish for panfish, bass, or walleye with the proper application.
It’s a lightweight reel at 7 ounces (0.26 kg) making it easy to use all day long without fatigue. It includes an adjustable disc drag system, allowing you to have complete control with smaller fish with maximum drag, especially when fishing rivers and streams.
Buyer’s Guide For Choosing the Best Spinning Reel Under $50
What is the best spinning reel money can buy?
For our complete guide on the best spinning reels available, be sure to check our page …….. where we round up the best spinning reels regardless of price.
Below is our pick for the best spinning reel overall.
The craftsmanship that went into the Shimano Stradic C5000 FL Spinning Reel is truly superb. It comes with Shimano’s Cross Carbon Drag system, which is just about the smoothest drag you can imagine. With a max drag of 24 pounds, you can also be confident that you won’t be overpowered by any fish.
Is more ball bearings in a reel better?
In most cases, the greater number of ball bearings a reel contains will result in smoother performance. We recommend purchasing from anyone on our list because they all have excellent quality stainless steel ball bearings and are provided quality and durability!
When choosing a spinning reel, it is important to consider what material it is made out of and determine if it is durable enough to withstand the conditions you fish in, especially when saltwater fishing.
For saltwater fishing, go with a reel made out of graphite, as this material is known to resist the urge to corrode.
For fresh fishing, the elements tend to be more forgiving, therefore we recommend opting for an aluminum reel because of the pinpoint casts and smooth action this material provides.
Spinning reel sizes have a wide range and not choosing the right size can hinder your experience and ultimately your chance of catching fish.
Surf fishing and offshore fishing will typically require spinning reels no smaller than 6000 while freshwater fishing for trout and steelhead would be more in the 1000-4000 range. The smaller the fish the smaller the reel, you catch my drift.
There are two basic types of ball bearings found inside spinning reels, stainless steel, and ceramic. The higher number of ball bearings a reel contains typically results in smoother performance. Stainless steel ball bearings are a bit more expensive but will be able to withstand the saltwater better when compared to ceramic ball bearings.
The gear ratio on a fishing reel determines how fast the reel turns, with higher numbers being faster.
There are three types of gear ratios that you can use when fishing —, fast, medium, and slow. The slow group includes anything with a 5:1 or lower ratio, the medium holds around 6: 1 and finally there is high-speed stuff at 7: 1. I usually have one in each category depending on what kind of bait I’m using.
A good way of choosing what gear ratio to choose is by considering your target species, technique, and the bait you will be using. See below for more info regarding the proper gear ratio to go with.
High-speed reels have a 7:1 gear ratio or higher. The modern high-speed reels are stronger than ever before and still lightning fast. They used to be considered only for catching smaller fish, but you now see them more and more being able to take on hard fighting fish, including bass.
They can handle hard hook sets or heavy torque from fighting big fish while still being the most effective for catching lighter fish. When you’re fighting a bigger fish in close quarters, catching up to them quickly can be difficult. This is where having a fast reel really helps!
Reels with a gear ratio of 6:1 are considered medium speed reels, your “do it all reel”. They can a variety of fish species, and you can slow or speed up the reel as needed. The sweet spot for medium-speed reels is when using spinnerbaits, topwater lures, jerkbaits, and many other baits. A medium gear ratio is a great choice if you’re looking to go with just one reel for all of your fishing applications.
A slow gear ratio is 5:1 or lower. These reels are best for maintaining your bait at its maximum depth while still having a good feel for what your lure is doing.
I use a slow gear ratio when crankbaiting in deeper water, so I can still maintain my feel of the bait.
Ceramic vs Stainless Steel Bearings
Stainless steel ball bearings are more durable than ceramic bearings but can corrode in saltwater fishing applications. Ceramic bearings provide a better cast but do not perform as well when it comes to durability.
Ceramic bearings are also more expensive than stainless steel so you have to take this into consideration when budgeting your purchase.
Spinning reels typically range between 4 ounces (0.15 kg) to 10 ounces (0.38 kg), with ultralight spinning reel models being made available for anglers targeting trout and panfish.
Typically the more a reel weighs, the better it will perform, but this is not always true. You have to take into consideration what material the reel is made out of and how big it is as well before ruling out a lighter weight model.
Price vs Quality
Just because you pay for something does not necessarily mean that you are.
When it comes to selecting a budget spinning reel under $50 you will find that all models perform well enough, so be sure to compare specs instead of price when making your selection.
The most important thing is to ensure that the reel you choose is durable and dependable. If you take good care of your equipment and maintain it accordingly, these reels will last for many seasons of hard use.
For more guidance on choosing a fishing reel, be sure to check out the pages below: