Fishing reels can get pricey. One of the most essential pieces of gear, you’ll absolutely need a fishing reel to use your fishing rod to catch fish.
Reels are also probably some of the most complex pieces of fishing gear, which is why it’s often expensive to buy a quality reel. While we believe in investing in a high quality fishing reel, sometimes it’s not worth breaking the bank.
Luckily, there are plenty of budget-friendly spinning reels that work great. If you know what to look for, you can find a spinning reel for less than $50 without sacrificing performance.
Top 10 Spinning Reels Under $50
- Penn Pursuit II or III Spinning Reel
- KastKing Centron Spinning Reel
- Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel
- Shimano Sienna FE Spinning Reel
- Okuma Avenger ABF Baitfeeder Reel
- Piscifun Flame Spinning Reel
- Pflueger Trion Spinning Reel
- Mitchell 300 Spinning Reel
- KastKing Brutus Spinning Reel
- Cadence CS4 Spinning Reel
Penn Pursuit II or III Spinning Reel
Penn is known for some of the best reels on the market, and while some are a little pricier, they also have affordable options.
The Penn Pursuit II or Penn Pursuit III are both extremely effective spinning reels, made with high quality components. Both the model II and the updated model III are under $50 – the major difference between these two models is the sizes available.
The Penn Pursuit reels are made with a lightweight, corrosion resistant graphite body and an aluminum spool and sideplate. It is durable, but not bulky and still sensitive. This reel has an oiled felt drag system and four shielded, stainless steel ball bearings, creating smooth drag. It also has an anti-reverse bearing. The ergonomically designed handle makes for a comfortable grip.
The Pursuit II comes in sizes 3000, 4000, and 8000, and the Pursuit III comes in sizes 3000, 4000, 5000, 6000, 8000, and 2500.
KastKing Centron Spinning Reel
The Centron Spinning Reel from KastKing is another great choice – this is one of our picks for the best bass reels, so it holds up as a great reel in general, aside from its affordability. KastKing is known for superior products at a low price, and the Centron Spinning Reel is no different. It is made with quality components, and comes in a range of sizes from ultralight 500 to 5000.
The KastKing Centron Spinning Reel is made with an anodized aluminum spool and a strong, corrosion-resistant graphite frame. It has a high line capacity, but is still lightweight and compact. This spinning reel has a great drag system, with nine ball bearings and one anti-reverse bearing as well as a precision pinion gear, so it has a smooth but powerful drag.
Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel
The Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel is a favorite, regardless of price. The price is, however, under $50, unless you want an extra large size, which is still well under $100. For a light to standard spinning reel, the Okuma Ceymar is one of the best you can get for under $50. It comes in sizes 10, 20, 30, 40, 55, and 65. For a standard, versatile size, we recommend the 30.
The Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel is made with a machined aluminum spool,.brass pinion gear, and a corrosion resistant Blade body design. It has powerful, multi-disc drag system, and seven ball bearings plus a reverse bearing for smooth casting and retrieve. The balanced rotor system spins at high speeds without a wobble. The Okuma Ceymar also has a cozy, ergonomic grip, and comes with a 1 year limited warranty.
Shimano Sienna FE Spinning Reel
Shimano is one of the biggest names in fishing gear, and their reels make the top of most “best of” lists. Luckily, they also make affordable fishing reels. The Shimano Sienna FE Spinning Reel is made with the same quality as other Shimano reels, and is available for under $50. This freshwater reel comes in ultralight to heavier sizes, including 500, 1000, 2500, and 4000.
The Shimano Sienna FE has a new M-Compact body that moves the oscillation gear closer to the rod, improving both balance and angler fatigue. It has a propulsion line management system for longer casting and fewer backlashes. Dyna-Balance technology eliminates wobbling, and allows for smoother retrieve and more sensitivity. This reel is a great pick for under $50.
Okuma Avenger ABF Baitfeeder Reel
Another great choice from Okuma, the Avenger ABF Baitfeeder Reel is a versatile, high performance fishing reel. For under $50, this reel is made from quality components and is a favorite of many anglers. It comes in a range of sizes from 20 to 80, and while the heavier reels are a few extra dollars, you can get a mid-range, versatile spinning reel for under $50.
The Okuma Avenger ABF Baitfeeder reel has an on/off auto trip bait feeding system, improving hooksets. This is a great spinning reel for those who prefer using live bait due to this secondary drag system. It has seven ball bearings plus an anti-reverse bearing, so casting and retrieve is super smooth. The Okuma Avenger ABF Baitfeeder Reel is saltwater and freshwater safe, so a larger size would work well as a surf fishing reel.
Piscifun Flame Spinning Reel
The Piscifun Flame Spinning Reel is a favorite among anglers, not only for its price, but for its performance. It is, however, incredibly affordable, with four sizes, all under $30. This spinning reel comes in sizes 2000, 3000, 4000, and 5000, so you can get one for most styles of fishing. It’s also both freshwater and saltwater safe.
This lightweight spinning reel has a hollow graphite body, an X-shaped spool, and a reinforced metal main shaft for strength. The Piscifun Flame Spinning Reel has nine ball bearings plus an anti-reverse bearing for smooth performance. The spool is braid-ready, and with a maximum drag power of up to 19.8 pounds, you can reel in a trophy-sized catch with this inexpensive reel.
Pflueger Trion Spinning Reel
Pflueger is another well-known and respected fishing brand. The Pflueger Trion Spinning Reel is extremely inexpensive for its quality, with some of the lighter models under $30, and the heaviest size still under $40. This lightweight Pflueger spinning reel comes in sizes 20, 25, 30, 35, and 40.
The Pflueger Trion has a lightweight graphite body and rotor and an aircraft grade aluminum spool and handle. It has six stainless steel ball bearings, plus an anti-reverse bearing for smooth casting and retrieve. A stainless steel and oil felt corrosion resistant drag system provide consistent drag pressure. It’s also comfortable to hold, with a soft touch knob.
Mitchell 300 Spinning Reel
The Mitchell 300 Spinning Reel is another great choice under $50. This spinning reel is durable but lightweight, made with an advanced polymeric body and rotor and a tough aluminum spool and handle. Its sleek design also looks great for a low cost.
The Mitchell 300 Spinning Reel has a superior line management system, and the innovative Bail Halo design increases the strength of the rotor. It has eight ball bearings plus one anti-reverse bearing, so it has a super smooth performance. A multi-disk drag system provides consistent drag pressure when you reel in your catch.
KastKing Brutus Spinning Reel
Another great choice from Kastking, the Brutus Spinning Reel works great and costs less than $50. The low price doesn’t change the quality of this reel, which is made with top components and has features that improve its performance. The KastKing Brutus Spinning Reel comes in three sizes: 2000, 3000, and 4000, all under $25, so they’re really a bargain.
This spinning reel has a graphite frame and rotor and a spool made of aircraft grade aluminum, so it is lightweight but sturdy. It has four ball bearings plus an anti-reverse ball bearing for smooth and accurate casting and retrieve. The multi-disc drag system is adjustable and has up to 17.5 pounds of drag power. On a tight budget, the KastKing Brutus Spinning reel is a reliable, well-performing reel.
Cadence CS4 Spinning Reel
The Cadence CS4 Spinning Reel offers a low budget but high quality alternative to pricey spinning reels. This reel is made with top-notch components, and even comes with a one year warranty and 90 day return policy for a 100% refund if you aren’t satisfied. It comes in sizes 1000, 2000, 3000, and 4000, all under $50.
The Cadence CS4 Spinning Reel has a carbon composite frame. It has 8 corrosion resistant ball bearings, so casting and retrieve is super smooth. Made with an ergonomic EVA handle, the Cadence CS4 Spinning Reel is comfortable to hold over long days of fishing. This freshwater spinning reel is made to be strong and durable, with premium materials at a low cost.
How To Choose a Spinning Reel
You can find high quality spinning reels that perform for less than $50, but you have to know what to look for. There are a few factors that influence the performance of a reel. Check out these elements of a spinning reel to find one that is high quality, or to cater your reel choice to your preferred style of fishing.
Fishing reels can be made with a variety of materials, but it is important that they are durable. Many reel frames are made with carbon, graphite, or a metal like aluminum. These are generally preferred because they are strong, but not heavy. Internal pieces of the reel should be made with strong materials as well, and ideally should be corrosion resistant so that the reel does not rust or break down over time.
If you’re saltwater fishing, be sure to check that your reel is saltwater safe. Saltwater spinning reels should be made from materials that resist saltwater corrosion, as the salt will break them down faster otherwise.
The gear ratio on a fishing reel is how many times the reel turns per one turn of the handle. An average gear ratio is typically from 5:1 to 7:1. A higher gear ratio means that you can reel your catch in faster. On the flip side, however, a lower gear ratio typically provides more torque, which is good for reeling in big, fighting fish. Consider what kind of fish you’re targeting and what gear ratio you’d prefer before choosing a spinning reel.
Drag strength refers to how heavy a weight your reel can handle without breaking or failing. Maximum drag can range from around 8 to 20 pounds, but you don’t need a large drag strength if you’re targeting smaller fish. For big game fishing, be sure that your reel can handle the maximum size of your catch so you don’t lose a trophy sized fish.
Line capacity and reel size go hand-in-hand. The larger the reel, the more line capacity it will have. If you’re casting long distances or need extra line, check the line capacity of your reel so that you’re good to go. Most reel descriptions will list line capacity by the pound test of the line and whether it is monofilament or braided line.
Ball bearings are inside of the reel, and they allow it to smoothly operate without friction. Since they create the smooth casting and retrieve of your line, ball bearings are vital to the function of your reel. The more ball bearings, the smoother your reel, although quality is still more important than quantity.
Quality ball bearings are often made of stainless steel, and ideally are corrosion resistant and shielded within the reel so that the elements can’t reach them. For saltwater fishing, it is especially important that ball bearings are shielded and corrosion resistant.
If you’re fishing for long hours, it’s important that your reel is comfortable to hold and use. A fishing reel that makes your hand cramp up will make your fishing trip less fun, and could cost you a great catch if your hand slips. Look for spinning reels with ergonomically designed handles and padding for your comfort.
Find a Great Spinning Reel Under 50 Dollars
Don’t break the bank buying a new spinning reel – choose one of the reels from our list, known for their high quality and affordable pricing. Fishmasters can help you find all the best fishing gear, along with product reviews, helpful fishing tips, and more.
We’ve compiled the best spinning reels, all under $50 so you can stay on budget. These reels perform incredibly well for their low price, so you can still have a successful fishing trip without splurging on an expensive reel.