Best Saltwater Spinning Reels

Last Updated: March 9th, 2020

Saltwater spinning reels need to be able to survive in one of the harshest environments a reel could be in. The constant sun, salt, grit and spray can damage a reel quickly. You’ll need one that can not only handle the conditions but also manage any fish the ocean might throw at you.

Finding a reel that can do all of this is not easy as there is so much to think about and the last thing anyone want’s is for their fishing to be affected by a reel.


At A Glance: Top 3 Saltwater Spinning Reels


I have taken some of the best saltwater spinning reels on the market and reviewed them against each other to hopefully make your choice a little easier.

OUR TOP PICKS

Daiwa SALTIGA5000H Saltwater Spinning Fishing Reel, 17-20 lb, Blue
Best Overall
Daiwa SALTIGA
  • Big Line capacity
  • High drag pressure
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Daiwa BG5000 BG Saltwater Spinning Reel, 5000, 5.7: 1 Gear Ratio, 6+1 Bearings, 47.40' Retrieve Rate, 22 lb Max Drag,Black/Gold
Best Budget Reel
Daiwa BG
  • Strong, smooth drag.
  • Durable
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Penn 1338222 Battle II 8000 Spinning Fishing Reel
Best Allrounder
Penn Battle II
  • Quick retrieve
  • Smooth, powerful drag
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Abu Garcia Revo Inshore Spinning,Blue,Black,40
Abu Garcia Revo Inshore
  • Light
  • Quick retrieve rate
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Accurate TwinDrag SR Spinning Reels (SR30)
Accurate TwinDrag SR Spinning Reels
  • Big line capacity
  • Amazing quality
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SHIMANO Stradic C3000FL XG Spinning Fishing Reel, Left/Right Hand Retrieve
SHIMANO Stradic FL Spinning Reel
  • Lightweight
  • Durable
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Penn 1259880 Spinfisher V Spinning Fishing Reel, 8500LL
PENN Spinfisher V
  • Strong reel
  • Great drag
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Penn Slammer 3
  • Durable
  • Great casting range
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Best Saltwater Spinning Reels


Daiwa SALTIGA

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

The Saltiga is a saltwater specialist, Daiwa have put this together to handle everything the ocean can throw at it. The handle and body are made from aluminum while Daiwa’s own magnetic oil runs around the insides to stop any salt or dirt getting into the inner workings. This makes for a reel that will be super reliable for a long time.

The largest model has an insane line capacity and drag. It can hold 550 yards of braid with 66lbs of drag pressure. You can hook anything and relax knowing your reel can handle it. The drag is made for a multi-disc carbon system and while being powerful it’s also super smooth.

The retrieve is super-fast at 50 inches per turn thanks to the high gear ratio and does well under pressure with the impressive gears and ball bearings.

This is perfect reel for surf or offshore fishing, just be sure to buy the size that matches the species you’re after. It’s quite heavy to cast with for long periods of time but it needs to be for those big fish out there.

Pros

  • Big Line capacity
  • High drag pressure
  • Fast retrieve rate
  • Durable
  • Reliable
  • Smooth

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Expensive
SEE ON AMAZON

Daiwa BG

Daiwa BG5000 BG Saltwater Spinning Reel, 5000, 5.7: 1 Gear Ratio, 6+1 Bearings, 47.40' Retrieve Rate, 22 lb Max Drag,Black/Gold

This is a great saltwater reel from Daiwa and it’s priced very well too. They have made sure it’s durable, corrosion resistant and have put a lot of thought into the features.

The body is made from aluminum to ensure it’s strong and stands up well to a life in the sea. It stays rigid while holding the Digigear System that makes the retrieve on this reel so smooth.

The dynamic cut ABS spool is made from aluminum and comes braid-ready. This ensures an even line lay and that the braid won’t slip while you fill it. The line capacity is huge on the largest model and will hold enough to manage any species out there. Daiwa have added a large roller and a pick up on the bail to reduce line twists and loops to make sure you spend your time fishing instead of untangling.

The drag is made of a triple disc carbon fiber system. It’s smooth and powerful with a great max for big offshore species. The drag is waterproof to ensure no salt or dirt gets into the reel but be sure to maintain it regardless.

The retrieve is fast and smooth thanks to the large diameter spool, gear ratio and ball bearings. You’ll be able to put some serious pressure on a fish and get your baits in quickly.

The BG is a heavy reel and will be tiring to cast but it needs to be that weight to handle big fish. The reel is great value but also does need looking after. The bail roller can corrode and maybe need replacing quite often. They aren’t expensive but it could get annoying.

Pros

  • Strong, smooth drag.
  • Durable
  • Quick, smooth materials
  • Made of good materials
  • Great price

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Bail roller can corrode
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Penn Battle II

Penn 1338222 Battle II 8000 Spinning Fishing Reel

The Penn Battle II is a really good reel. It’s a piece of kit you can rely on whether you fish the surf or offshore. The reel has been well made and will stand up well to the salty environment. It made from aluminum which keeps the body rigid and reduces any play when you’re winding against pressure.

The retrieve is super quick with its multiple ball bearings and high gear ratio, you won’t struggle to get you baits in quickly or give lures the action they need.

The drag in this reel is Penn’s HT-100 Slammer drag. It is made of a carbon fiber multi-disc system and is one of the most reliable drags around. The drag is smooth, powerful and will last in saltwater.

The reel comes with 5 sealed stainless steel ball bearings, anti-reverse, Superline spool and a heavy aluminum bail wire. The spool is braid-ready and includes line capacity rings so you know where you’re at when filling it or fighting a fish.

This is a great reel overall at a good price. It is a little heavy and the main gear can go after a few seasons but it’s easily replaced.

Pros

  • Quick retrieve
  • Smooth, powerful drag
  • Durable
  • Reliable
  • Good price
  • Large line capacity

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Main gear can go after a season or two
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Abu Garcia Revo Inshore

Abu Garcia Revo Inshore Spinning,Blue,Black,40

The Revo Inshore is made for inshore fishing as the name dictates. It’ll handle any inshore species but I don’t think of it as a surf or offshore reel as it doesn’t have the line capacity for that and you may lose the fish of your dreams.

It’s designed for a life in the salt with is aluminum body and machined aluminum main gear. These make it both tough and corrosion-resistant. The drag is made from a carbon fiber disc system, is smooth, reliable and strong. It’s easily adjusted in small increments to ensure you can set the perfect drag for whatever line class you’re fishing.

It comes with Abu’s Rocket line management system to help cast far, accurately and reduce any backlashes or wind knots. The spool is also made from aluminum and is braid ready for easy filling.

It’s a very light reel and great for casting with all day which is the usual tactic when inshore fishing. The retrieve is also quick and smooth, so you’ll be able to fish any lure the way you want to.

The arm can get a bit sticky on this reel and the bearings grand after a while but they are easily replaced.

Pros

  • Light
  • Quick retrieve rate
  • Good caster
  • Durable
  • Reduces line twist and wind knots

Cons

  • Inshore only
  • Reel arm can stick
  • Bearings go after a while
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Accurate TwinDrag SR Spinning Reels

Accurate TwinDrag SR Spinning Reels (SR30)

Accurate have made this reel to be bomb proof and catch the strongest fish out there, primarily marlin or big tuna. It’s made from the best ingredients and has almost no plastic anywhere inside it.

The reel is made from aircraft grade aluminum and uses a twin drag system, the only one in the world, that includes a heat dissipating system too. If you have ever hooked a marlin or something similar, you know how quickly your reel can heat up when the fish takes a long run. It can get so hot it burns your hands when you touch it and accurate have made this reel for that moment in particular. There is a preset knob to set your drag tension on as well, similar to an offshore conventional reel so you can get a very high drag quickly if you need to.

The spool takes a huge amount of line and the retrieve is super-fast. This is one of the best offshore reels in the world and the price does reflect that but if you want to catch marlin on a spinning reel, this is the one to use.

Pros

  • Big line capacity
  • Amazing quality
  • Twin drag system
  • Made for offshore
  • Smooth, powerful drag
  • Good retrieve

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Heavy
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SHIMANO Stradic FL Spinning Reel

SHIMANO Stradic C3000FL XG Spinning Fishing Reel, Left/Right Hand Retrieve

Shimano makes excellent reels, are known for their quality and consistently improving their products. This reel is no exception. It has a full metal body which is super rigid to ensure its impact resistant and has zero body flex. This keeps the gears aligned and gives you maximum efficiency on every wind.

The reel features Shimano’s CrossCarbonDrag and is known as the smoothest drag they have ever made. It comes with a lot more drag settings that usual, is powerful and smooth as butter, of course.

The ball bearings are stainless steel and shielded to both sides to stop sand and salt getting into their rotation. The reel also has X Protect that adds another layer of defense to a harsh salty environment. This reel will last, especially if you look after it. X Protect works by shielding and channeling water through the system so it doesn’t make it to the critical parts of the reel.

It’s great to cast with too but it does have a small line capacity and a low max drag. This makes it an excellent inshore reel but it won’t handle big fish in the surf or offshore.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Reliable
  • Smooth
  • Well built

Cons

  • Low line capacity
  • Low max drag
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PENN Spinfisher V

Penn 1259880 Spinfisher V Spinning Fishing Reel, 8500LL

The Spinfisher V comes with a watertight durable construction to ensure nothing can get into the inner workings of the reel. The full metal body, rotor, and side plate are heavy duty to put up with a life at sea.

This reel also has the HT-100 Slammer drag system. It’s smooth, reliable, powerful and sealed. It’s prefect for targeting big fish in the surf or offshore. The retrieve is also smooth thanks to the 5 shielded stainless steel ball bearings and does well under pressure.

The reel also has some handy features like anti-reverse and a friction trip ramp that stops the bail arm tipping while you’re casting, we all know how annoying that can be.

The Superline spool is braid-ready with capacity rings for easy filling and knowing how much line you have at all times.

Overall a great reel but it’s a bit heavy and the seals seem to hold water instead of letting it out, so be sure to dry them full after every use.

Pros

  • Strong reel
  • Great drag
  • Durable
  • Good value

Cons

  • A bit heavy
  • Can hold water
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Penn Slammer 3

The Penn Slammer 3 is one of my favorite offshore reels and I always feel safe hooking a big fish with it. It’s durable, bulky and heavy but it needs to be to handle the offshore giants it’s made for.

The reel casts very well, has an awesome carbon drag system and is made to last with its full metal body. The spool is braid-ready, holds a lot of line and the retrieve is solid.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Great casting range
  • Reliable drag
  • Smooth

Cons

  • Heavy
SEE ON AMAZON

What to Look for When Buying a Spinning Reel

What are you trying to catch?

Before buying a reel, try to decide if it’s for a particular species or size of fish, or if you want a reel that can handle a range of species. Naturally if you’re marlin fishing you’ll want the biggest and best but if you like catching small tarpon, then you won’t need the same power. Be sure to the pick the size and quality that reflects the kind of fishing you’ll be doing.

Line Capacity

This is also related to what you want to catch and every reel comes with a different line capacity. You’ll always needs enough line to cast far enough and to handle the runs of the fish you hook. Make sure the line capacity matches what you’re targeting and the size line you want to use.

Using Braid

Braid will slip on a reel that’s not made for it and will cause a lot of headaches. If you plan on using braid, and it is recommended, make sure the reel comes with a braid-ready spool. Most reels these days come braid-ready but always check.

Does It Matter What Weight My Reel Is

There can be a big range in the weight of similar reels and this is usually down to the materials the reel is made from. This affects two things, quality and casting. If you plan to cast all day long you’ll want a lighter reel so it doesn’t get tiring but you would probably get used to a heavy reel after a while anyway. That being said you don’t want to compromise on quality either, so try and find the balance between the two. If you want the best quality will keeping the reel light, look for a reel with a carbon fiber body.

The Most Important Factor – Corrosion & Durability

Using a reel is a bit a like a love affair. Once you get to know all their imperfections and get used to them, you’ll end up loving them. The last thing you want is for a reel you’ve come to like to fall apart due to corrosion affecting it. You could suffer from a lot of issues and not be able to use it very often.

The more resistant your reel is the less you’ll have to maintain it and the longer it will last. Make sure it’s made of quality materials like aluminum, carbon fiber and graphite, and that it’s as sealed as it can be to protect the inner workings.

Drag, It Needs To Be Smooth

Drag is one of the things you will rely on most when fighting a fish. It puts pressure against the fish and helps you keep control during the fight. To make sure of this the drag on the reel you choose needs to be smooth and unhindered. If it’s glitchy or sticky you could end up losing a lot of fish and tackle. The line should come off the reel consistently at every drag setting and you should test this when you have the reel.

Make to sure to get a reel with enough drag pressure for the fish you’re targeting too. This way you won’t be bringing a knife to a gun fight. It should also be sealed and made from quality materials like carbon fiber.

Our Favorites

The best on a budget reel is the Daiwa BG. It has an amazing price, a large number of sizes to choose from and has all the features you need. It’s not the best quality, and that’s obvious for the price it has but it is made from good materials and will last. It comes with a great line capacity and max drag so you can target big fish too.

Daiwa BG5000 BG Saltwater Spinning Reel, 5000, 5.7: 1 Gear Ratio, 6+1 Bearings, 47.40" Retrieve Rate, 22 lb Max Drag,Black/Gold
  • Black Anodized Machined Aluminum Housing ("Hard Bodyz" Body & Side Cover), Over-sized Digigear (Digigear System)
  • Solid Screw-In Handle, Air Rotor, Dynamic Cut Aluminum ABS Spool

The all-rounder from the group is the Penn Battle II. This reel has been made to survive, especially if you look after it well. The line capacity and max drag are tip-top plus it casts like a dream, you could ask for much more. It is made of quality materials and will stand the test of time in salty conditions.

Sale
Penn 1338222 Battle II 8000 Spinning Fishing Reel
  • Battle II Spinning Reel 8000
  • Superline Spool

The editor’s choice is, without doubt, the Daiwa Saltiga. The Saltiga is picture-perfect for targeting big fish whether in the surf or offshore. You can be confident using it in any situation and for any species. It’s made from top draw materials with a lot of thought to be able to last in the salt and handle the biggest, baddest fish out there.

Daiwa SALTIGA5000H Saltwater Spinning Fishing Reel, 17-20 lb, Blue
  • MAG SEALD support anglers with it's best performance for fighting His taget fish
  • Daiwa new saltiga 2015 has atd (automatic drag System)