Best Reel Brands in 2020

Last Updated: April 9th, 2020

In a world now ruled by online transactions and reviews more than ever, making a name for yourself amongst the fishing marketplace is no easy task. Everyone is battling for a place in the market with new and old manufactures rising or falling while trying to fit ‘something different’ into the eyes and hands of the consumer.

Today’s consumer is a lot more sophisticated than ever, with access to hundreds of articles, reviews, and knowledge around every product they think of purchasing, it’s become much for companies to put their products into the hards of customers.

The only way to stay afloat in the market place is to make high-quality products at competitive prices. Through doing this, brands can create trust and loyalty with their customers and often, especially in the fishing world, gain a customer for life. Here are the best reel brands out there, all of them I’m sure you know and they have survived through quality production and correct pricing.

 

 

OUR TOP PICKS

Penn International VIS 2 Speed Reel
PENN
  • Long-standing
  • Quality
VIEW ON AMAZON →
Shimano TLD30IIA 2-Speed Lever Drag Fishing Reel
Shimano
  • Quality
  • Thoughtful
VIEW ON AMAZON →
Daiwa SALTIGA5000H Saltwater Spinning Fishing Reel, 17-20 lb, Blue
Daiwa
  • Quality
  • Innovation
VIEW ON AMAZON →
Abu Garcia 1365366 Black Max Low Profile Reel, 6.4: 1 Gear Ratio, 5 Bearings, 26' Retrieve Rate, 18Lb Max Drag, RH, Boxed
Abu Garcia
  • Quality
  • Trusted
VIEW ON AMAZON →
Okuma Ceymar Lightweight Spinning Reel- C-30
Okuma
  • Quality
  • Affordable
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Cadence Spinning Reel,CS5 Pro Ultralight Carbon Fiber Fishing Reel with 9 Durable & Corrosion Resistant Bearings for Saltwater or Freshwater,Super Smooth Powerful Reel with 36 LBs Max Drag(CS5-2000)
Cadence
  • Quality
  • Affordable
VIEW ON AMAZON →
Pflueger PRESSP30X President Spinning Fishing Reel
Pflueger
  • Quality
  • Long standing
VIEW ON AMAZON →
KastKing Royale Legend Baitcasting Reels,Elite Series Fishing Reel,7.3:1 Gear Ratio,Right Handed,Jet Black
KastKing
  • By fishermen for fishermen
  • New ideas
VIEW ON AMAZON →

Best Reel Brands


PENN

Penn International VIS 2 Speed Reel

PENN have been making reels longer than most manufacturers and started their work in the fishing market in 1932. Over the years they have wound their way into the hearts of many anglers as one of the most trusted brands out there. You know that feeling of ‘this is going to be a good day’ that happens when you get on a charter boat and see that every reel is a PENN. It’s incredible that a brand can even do that and PENN have done it by making quality products that they stand behind, fix and repair for years on end.

It’s not just their sterling reputation that keeps them going but also their need to innovate. PENN are excellent at staying ahead of the times when it comes to reel technology and by doing so create products that fit the needs of the modern angler. Combine that with trust, quality and excellent repairs, who wouldn’t trust this brand.

They have made some amazing reels both spinning and conventional, the Penn Slammer III and the Penn International being the best in each department, in my opinion.

Pros

  • Long-standing
  • Quality
  • Great service
  • Innovation
See On Amazon

Shimano

Shimano TLD30IIA 2-Speed Lever Drag Fishing Reel

Shimano have always been a leader in the fishing market, whether it’s rods, fly rods (G Loomis) and reels, they have made quality and trusted products for every angler out there.

Shimano’s visionary, Shozaburo Shimano declared in 1921, “I aim to make Shimano’s products the best in Kansai, then the best in Japan, and finally the best in the world” and that’s exactly what they have been doing for almost the last 100 years.

The key to Shimano’s success is their ability to tap into exactly what the angler needs to get the most out of every day on the water. They aren’t making tools to catch fish, they’re making everyone’s fishing day a little bit easier and more enjoyable and you feel this when using their products. This mindset has lead them to innovate their reels in ways others haven’t with features that only Shimano can provide. With reels like the Tiagra and the Stella, they arguably have made some of the best reels ever.

Pros

  • Quality
  • Thoughtful
  • Long-standing
  • Innovative
  • Anglers at their core
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Daiwa

Daiwa SALTIGA5000H Saltwater Spinning Fishing Reel, 17-20 lb, Blue

Daiwa were a bit of a late starter compared to Penn and Shimano, entering the market in 1958. Their company culture is built around challenge, innovation, and originality with an aim to create happiness from fishing. They strive to lead the fishing market in innovation and have done so, being the first to come up with some new technologies.

They created MAGSEALED which was one of the biggest game-changers in the market. Their patented MAGOIL runs around the inner-workings of some of their top reels to not only make a reel stay smooth as butter but also to eliminate the intrusion of dust/dirt/salt that would otherwise cause issues.

Daiwa continue to innovate and have made reels at every budget with quality. Some of their most impressive reels to date have been the SSaltist and the amazing value BG.

Pros

  • Quality
  • Innovation
See On Amazon

Abu Garcia

Abu Garcia 1365366 Black Max Low Profile Reel, 6.4: 1 Gear Ratio, 5 Bearings, 26' Retrieve Rate, 18Lb Max Drag, RH, Boxed

Abu Gracia sounds like a Spanish brand and they had me fooled for years. It’s actually Swedish and was founded with the original name AB Urfabriken. 

The company started using their refined precision engineering talent to make watches and more but after the war demand dropped and they used their skills to make high-quality fishing reels instead. Quite a story there.

Every reel that comes out of Abu’s Swedish manufacturing is made to the highest quality possible, to the point that they won an award called “Purveyor To The Royal Swedish Court” given only to manufacturers of highest standards of quality and craftsmanship.

Through years of experience, Abu have remained a top contender in the market that anglers have consistently put their faith in. Now days their more expensive reels are still made in Sweden but there has been a manufacturing move to Asia for their less expensive reels which some anglers are saying has dropped the quality. It would be shame if the trust they have built over the years was lost because of this.

Some of the world’s favorite reels are Abu Garcia, namely the Revo series that won the best freshwater reel award.​​

Pros

  • Quality
  • Trusted
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Moved some manufacturing out of Sweden
See On Amazon

Okuma

Okuma Ceymar Lightweight Spinning Reel- C-30

Okuma are a Taiwanese company that have been making not only reels rods too. Their products span trolling, baitcasting, spinning and even fly. They’ve been in the business for over 30 years delivery great and affordable equipment to a trusting customer base.

They keep themselves in the game using innovative designs, ideas and new materials that make their products a joy to use. One of their big wins in the market was the Okuma Cedros High-Speed Spinning Reel that’s not only a spinning reel but specifically designed for vertical jigging. They saw a gap in the market and owned it.

Their products are up there with the best and are a valuable addition to fresh and saltwater fishing the world over.

Pros

  • Quality
  • Affordable
See On Amazon

Cadence

Cadence Spinning Reel,CS5 Pro Ultralight Carbon Fiber Fishing Reel with 9 Durable & Corrosion Resistant Bearings for Saltwater or Freshwater,Super Smooth Powerful Reel with 36 LBs Max Drag(CS5-2000)

Cadence built their business on the idea to make awesome fishing gear that’s affordable. They want everyone who would like to catch a fish to be able to do so with quality gear, no matter their financial status. In a world where people seem to be spending time in the outdoors less and less, a company that strives to make being in nature affordable is something we need to see more around the globe.

Their motto of ‘Go Fishing. Give Back’ has seen them donate hundreds of fishing combos to children in need to help them get out and enjoy the good things in life.

But enough about their ideas, what about the products. They make quality gear we can all afford and trust, what more could you ask for. Some of their most popular reels are the CS and CB range.

Pros

  • Quality
  • Affordable
  • Good ethos
  • Give back
See On Amazon

Pflueger

Pflueger PRESSP30X President Spinning Fishing Reel

Pflueger started off by making hooks in 1881, yes that’s right 1881, they’ve been around for over a century. It wasn’t until later on when Ernest F. Pflueger’s son, Earnest A. Pflueger, took over and decided to open up the manufacturing to every product needed by fishermen.

They made their first reel, a baitcaster, in 1916 and their first spinning reel in 1954. This company has been around the block, twice, and they continue to be a market leader in the fishing industry.

Their products are top quality, reliable and loved the world over. One of their top reels is the Pflueger President, featured above. This reel has been many a fisherman’s first purchase that has led them to be loyal to Pflueger ever since. Other great reels include the President Baitcaster and the Supreme.

Pros

  • Quality
  • Long standing
  • Innovative
  • Market leader
See On Amazon

KastKing

KastKing Royale Legend Baitcasting Reels,Elite Series Fishing Reel,7.3:1 Gear Ratio,Right Handed,Jet Black

KastKing only came into the market in 2013, talk about being the new kid on the block. It was started with the idea: “What if we utilize our expertise and experience to produce an angling business and tackle that everyone can buy? Through direct funding as well as reliable service methods, we might pass the monetary savings on to the customer. After that, any type of angler will enjoy fishing without having to spend much. If we can make angling budget-friendly, we will certainly make it enjoyable!”

Now, you might think these cost reductions come as a result of poor quality but this is not the case. By doing things a little differently, KastKing managed to reduce costs in other parts of the business outside of production, namely conventional marketing, retail areas, commissions and pass them on to the customer. Some out of the box thinking there.

Today they make some of the coolest, affordable reels around while maintaining good quality. Some of their favorite reels amongst fishermen are the Sharky III and the Rover Round.

 

Pros

  • By fishermen for fishermen
  • New ideas
  • Quality
  • Affordable
See You On Amazon

What To Look For In A Reel Brand

Credibility

​You wouldn’t fly on an airline that crashes consistently, would you? Of course not, no one would, even if a flight to Rome was $1. The same goes for fishing reels. You’re looking for a brand that delivers what it says it does, day in, day out and stands by their products.

​​​Price 

​​​Pretty much all manufacturers have affordable reels these days, whether it’s Shimano or KastKing, there will most likely be a reel made by your preferred brand in your budget. Be careful though, brand loyalty when it comes to budget choices can lead you into a poor purchase. Take your time to read reviews and see what that particular reel is saying. 

That being said, not all manufacturers work in the top end of the price spectrum, and if you’re looking for a reel of the utmost quality without any budgetary concerns, I’d bet you’ll be shopping around Shimano, Penn, and Daiwa.

​Corporate Responsibility 

Conscious consumers, are you one? We, as a global population, need to be better at this and use our spending power to create some change in the world. You control where your money goes and what it supports, try to support the right things.

​Innovation 

This one of the most important aspects. Staying ahead of the curve and making a fisherman’s life easier is essentially the job of all fishing tackle in the world. A good brand will always be looking for new ideas to add to their reels so we fishermen can catch bigger fish, on smaller gear and have more fun than ever doing it.

Product Quality

​This is all about functionality and longevity. Does the reel do what it says it does and will it last a long time? Any brand that can provide this will create trust, earn loyalty and have a supportive customer base. 

​Customer Service

Some reel’s come with a lifetime warranty and that says this to me ‘we believe in our product so much, that we’ll keep it alive for the rest of your/its life’. You cant ask for more confidence in a company that’s immediately translated to the consumer. The best brands are on hand to replace parts, fix reels, learn from product failures and improve them.

Our Top 3

I have to admit, I’m biased here, thanks to the loyalty some brands have created in me, so here are the editor’s top 3.

Shimano. Some of the biggest and most memorable fish of my life have been landed thanks to Shimano, I trust them implicitly.

SHIMANO Tiagra Conventional Saltwater Lever Drag Reel, TI50WLRSA
  • HAGANE Body: The HAGANE Body is a metal reel body with high rigidity. The body rigidity and impact resistance virtually eliminates body flexing. The result transforms the angler's actions directly into cranking power. It's efficiency through strength.
  • HIgh Efficiency Gearing (HEG) consists of not only the gears, but also the frame, setplate, and handle-side sideplate. First we increased the size of the drive gear and the pinion gear to offer increased leverage and power. By using a one-piece frame that incorporates the setplate and adding a one-piece stamped sideplate, we have eliminated flex in the drive train that causes gears to bind under pressure.

Penn. I have owned and used so many PENN reels and they have never once let me down, I don’t think they ever will.

PENN 1338218 Battle II Spinning Reel, 3000
  • Durable, high range spinning reel ideal for conquering big saltwater game fish
  • Full metal body, side plate, and rotor and heavy duty aluminum bail wire offer exceptional durability

Cadence. The ethos of this company is something I strongly believe in and is worth supporting with your hard-earned cash. 

CS10 Strong Premium Magnesium Frame Fishing Reel (CS10-4000)
  • WHAT MAKES THE CS10: The Cadence CS10 features a magnesium frame, 10 ball bearings + 1 instant anti-reverse bearing, carbon composite rotor and side plate, carbon fiber drag system, a braid ready machined aluminum spool, an oversized ergonomic EVA handle knob, carbon fiber handle and machined aluminum one piece bail. The CS10 is built to deliver.
  • PREMIUM MATERIALS: The Cadence CS10 is engineered to deliver a premium reel at a greater value than competitors. The lightweight design is made possible with magnesium and carbon composite construction. The foundation is a light magnesium frame, spinning a lighter carbon rotor all gliding on 11 corrosion resistant bearings. The braid ready aluminum spool houses a carbon fiber drag system that delivers even pressure. The weight is further enhanced with a carbon handle and ergonomic EVA knob.