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Best Baitcasting Reel Under $100

Whether you’re hitting the lake in search of a ten-pounder or on the coast targeting stripers and sea bass, it’s tough to argue the efficiency or effectiveness of baitcasting reels. 

person fishing with a baitcaster reel

Baitcasters provide tons of stopping power in an exceptionally lightweight package, and technological advancements have virtually eliminated the issues that older baitcasters were plagued by (backlashes, anyone?). 

person holding a baitcaster reel

With all the new technology, today’s premium baitcasters can cost up to $500. Thankfully, you don’t need to shell out tons of money to purchase an excellent baitcaster, and there are plenty of perfect models available for $100 or less.

Today, we’re going to check out the best baitcasting reels under $100. With ample line capacity, a variety of gear ratios, and plenty of drag, you’ll no doubt be able to find the perfect baitcaster for you from the list below. 

Best 10 Baitcasters For $100 or Less

  1. Shimano SLX Baitcasting Reel
  2. Abu Garcia Ambassadeur S Round Baitcast Fishing Reel
  3. Lews Speed Spool LFS Baitcasting Reel
  4. KastKing Royale Legend 
  5. Daiwa CC80 
  6. KastKing Crixus Armor X
  7. Pflueger President Low Profile
  8. Piscifun Phantom
  9. Quantum Accurist Baitcast Fishing Reel
  10. Cadence CB8 Baitcasting Reels

Shimano SLX Baitcasting Reel

Shimano is a name that needs no introduction, and their SLX line of baitcasters delivers Shimano quality and tons of new tech for a Benjamin Franklin. 

a shimano slx baitcaster

This reel offers an 8.2:1 gear ratio for an ultra-fast retrieve, which helps you spend more time in the strike zone and less time retrieving or casting.

The SLX also features the Hagane body design for increased rigidity without any added weight. With 12 pounds of max drag, this reel also has the stopping power you need to put more fish on the deck this season. 

Critical Specs 

  • Line Capacity (Yards/test): 150/20#, 135/30#, 105/40#
  • Gear Ratio: 8.2:1
  • Bearings: 3+1
  • Drag: 12 pounds
  • Weight: 6.9 ounces

Abu Garcia Ambassadeur S Round Baitcast Fishing Reel

A proven classic that anglers have been relying on for decades, the Ambassadeur S reels offer a classic design with modern performance upgrades to help you make the most of your next fishing trip. 

an abu garcia ambassadeur baitcaster

This reel provides the highest line capacity of all the baitcasters on our list, so it’s ideal for bottom fishing in the bay or ocean, and it’s built to stand up to the demands of saltwater fishing.

With 12.5 pounds of drag, the Ambassadeur S has the power you need to land virtually any freshwater species and most inshore saltwater species. 

Critical Specs 

  • Line Capacity (Yards/test): 350/30#
  • Gear Ratio: 5.1:1 
  • Bearings: 2
  • Drag: 12.5 pounds
  • Weight: 11.2 ounces

Lews Speed Spool LFS Baitcasting Reel

Lews is a legendary name in bass fishing thanks to products like their Speed Spool LFS baitcasters. This reel is exceptionally lightweight, and it’s packed with features you rarely see on reels under $100. 

lews speed spool baitcaster

The retrieve is ultra-smooth thanks to the 9+1 double shielded bearings, and with a gear ratio of 7.5:1, you can burn lures back to you to get another cast-off in less time.

An external lube port ensures you can easily keep the internal components working their best, and magnetic cast control ensures that you can cast a country mile with no backlash.

Critical Specs 

  • Line Capacity (Yards/test): 
  • Gear Ratio: 7.5:1
  • Bearings: 9+1
  • Drag: 15 pounds
  • Weight: 7.1 ounces

KastKing Royale Legend

KastKing is one of the newest brands on the market, but what they lack in experience, they’re making up for with premium features at an excellent price. 

a kastking royale baitcaster reel

This reel offers more line capacity than most low-profile baitcasters, an ideal gear ratio for most fishing styles, and over 17 pounds of drag.

10+1 ball bearings provide an exceptionally smooth retrieve, and five-element magnetic casting assistance is equally smooth when you’re casting for distance. 

Critical Specs 

  • Line Capacity (Yards/test): 130/50#
  • Gear Ratio: 6.6:1
  • Bearings: 10+1
  • Drag: 17.6 pounds
  • Weight: 7.2 ounces

Daiwa CC80

The CC80 from Daiwa is one of their most affordable compact baitcasters, and it delivers features that far exceed the price you’ll pay for this reel.

cloesup of a daiwa cc80 baitcaster

The frame is incredibly compact, allowing you to palm it all day long comfortably, and the carbon frame is exceptionally durable. 

This is one of the cheaper reels on our list, but you don’t have to make sacrifices on the features. The CC80 offers a fast retrieve thanks to a 7.5:1 gear ratio, magnetic casting assist, and plenty of line capacity. What’s not to like?

Critical Specs 

  • Line Capacity (Yards/test): 115/30#, 85/40#
  • Gear Ratio: 7.5:1
  • Bearings: 4+1
  • Drag: 15 pounds
  • Weight: 6.9 ounces

KastKing Crixus Armor X

Fans of KastKing’s affordable baitcasters will love the Crixus Armor X, which offers top-of-the-line features without breaking the $100 mark. 

a kastking crixus armor baitcaster reel

The aluminum frame is among the lightest at only 6.8 ounces, and the 4-disc carbon drag system delivers an impressive 17.6 pounds of drag. Casting assistance is powered by an array of 8 magnets which dramatically increases distance and accuracy. 

KastKing might not have the pedigree of the biggest brands, but they’re forcing anglers to take notice of the quality of their features.

Critical Specs 

  • Line Capacity (Yards/test): 125/40#, 110/50#, 80/65#
  • Gear Ratio: 7.2:1
  • Bearings: 9+1
  • Drag: 17.6 pounds
  • Weight: 6.8 ounces

Pflueger President Low Profile

Pflueger is one of the oldest names in fishing, but the President XT is decidedly modern.

a pflueger president baitcaster reel

This reel also has one of the largest spools on the market, which allows for the additional line capacity you want when fishing deeper waters, or fighting bigger fish. 

If there’s anything to gripe about, the President XT only offers 12 pounds of drag, which is less than most competitors.

Still, it provides everything else you could want as far as smoothness, casting assistance, and durability.

Critical Specs 

  • Line Capacity (Yards/test): 185/20#, 140/30#, 100/50#
  • Gear Ratio: 7.3:1
  • Bearings: 9
  • Drag: 12 pounds
  • Weight: 6.8 ounces

Piscifun Phantom

If you’re after the lightest baitcaster on the market, the Piscifun Phantom is an excellent choice for you.

a piscifun phantom baitcaster reel

This reel is a fairly close copy of pricier reels from Shimano and Daiwa, and they’re available at a fraction of the price. 

The carbon frame of the Phantom is exceptionally lightweight, and the whole outfit is only 5.7 ounces. This reel delivers 17 pounds of drag, plenty of line capacity, and a high gear ratio for a fast retrieve.

The Phantom could be a bit smoother, but it’s still an excellent reel at an even better price.

Critical Specs 

  • Line Capacity (Yards/test): 120/30#
  • Gear Ratio: 7.0:1
  • Bearings: 6+1
  • Drag: 17 pounds
  • Weight: 5.7 ounces

Quantum Accurist Baitcast Fishing Reel

The Accurist from Quantum is an absolute workhorse that’s been proven in some of the harshest fishing environments, and it’s one of the best baitcasting reels under $100.

a quantum accurist baitcaster reel

This reel has it all: strong enough for saltwater fishing, plenty of line capacity, magnetic casting assist, and a smooth retrieve. 

The Accurist also has a unique feature that bass anglers will go wild for, called the flipping switch.

When the flipping switch is engaged, the reel immediately returns to gear when you release the thumb switch, so you can effectively fish with one hand while covering a ton of water.

Critical Specs 

  • Line Capacity (Yards/test): 170/30#
  • Gear Ratio: 6.3:1
  • Bearings: 8+1
  • Drag: 18 pounds
  • Weight: 7.5 ounces

Cadence CB8 Baitcasting Reels

The CB8 from Cadence is a very compelling option for anglers who want the most drag possible in a compact baitcaster.

a cadence cb8 baitcaster reel

This reel offers an impressive 20 pounds of drag, so it can reliably stop big fish in their tracks. 

The magnetic casting assistance isn’t quite as easy to dial in as some of the other models on our list, but this one offers plenty to like outside of that caveat.

If you’re looking to spend less than $75 on a reel, this one can deliver a ton of drag, plenty of line capacity, and exceptional smoothness. 

Critical Specs 

  • Line Capacity (Yards/test): 140/30#
  • Gear Ratio: 5.6:1
  • Bearings: 9+1
  • Drag: 20 pounds
  • Weight: 6.7 ounces

Final Thoughts

There’s never been a better time to be an angler, thanks to all of the advancements in gear over the last few decades.

Today’s baitcasters are easier to use with more drag and a faster retrieve than ever before, and you can score a great reel for $100 or in some cases even less!

The models above represent the best baitcasting reels under $100. If we had to pick just one as our best overall, we’d recommend the Quantum Accurist, which delivers tons of drag, innovative features, and the build quality you need for fresh or saltwater fishing.

1 comment

  • I still use mainly older Shimano and ABU Garcia baitcasting reels, some of them more than 30 years old! I can’t seem to find a reel these days that suits my needs, they’re all too fast or too small for me to hold comfortably. I have no use for a gear ratio higher than 6:1 and I hate thumb bar releases. Almost all of my reels have the line release on the side. I find that if I cup the thumb bar style reels in my palm I usually end up putting them in freespool mode by accident. What’s an old school fisherman like myself to do if I need a new baitcasting reel these days?

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