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13 Best Baitcasting Reels (2022 Reviews & Buyer’s Guide)

The best baitcasting reel will allow you to throw the same bait over and over with consistency and accuracy. That’s where baitcasters excel, repetition. They should fit your hand so that it’s comfortable while you move your lure in just the right way to give it the presentation that will elicit a strike. You’ll also want a smooth drag system to prevent the fish from going into structure and breaking your line.

In this guide, we cover a wide variety of bait caster options for various situations and budgets. As much as we’d all like to rock the top-of-the-line Shimano, sometimes a budget option will suffice.

Our Top Picks

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Most Durable
Shimano Fishing Tranx 300Hg A Low Profile Reels [TRX300AHG]
Best for Beginners
KastKing Royale Legend GT Baitcasting Reels, New Low Profile Design Baitcaster Fishing Reel, Magnet Braking System, 17.6 Lbs Carbon Fiber Drag, 5+1 Shielded Stainless Steel Bearings
Best Value for Money
Lew's Tournament MP Speed Spool Baitcast Fishing Reel, Right-Hand Retrieve, 5.6:1 Gear Ratio, One-Piece Aluminum Body with Graphite Side Plate, Black/Red
Feature 1
Oversized rubber knobs with 102mm double handle
Eight crossfire magnets for faster braking
Zero Reverse one-way clutch bearing
Feature 2
5+1 stainless steel bearings
5 + 1 double-shielded stainless steel ball bearings
Utilizes 95mm aluminum reel handle and Combat Grip paddle knobs and Combat Grip thumb bar
Most Durable
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Shimano Fishing Tranx 300Hg A Low Profile Reels [TRX300AHG]
Product Name
Feature 1
Oversized rubber knobs with 102mm double handle
Feature 2
5+1 stainless steel bearings
Best for Beginners
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KastKing Royale Legend GT Baitcasting Reels, New Low Profile Design Baitcaster Fishing Reel, Magnet Braking System, 17.6 Lbs Carbon Fiber Drag, 5+1 Shielded Stainless Steel Bearings
Feature 1
Eight crossfire magnets for faster braking
Feature 2
5 + 1 double-shielded stainless steel ball bearings
Best Value for Money
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Lew's Tournament MP Speed Spool Baitcast Fishing Reel, Right-Hand Retrieve, 5.6:1 Gear Ratio, One-Piece Aluminum Body with Graphite Side Plate, Black/Red
Feature 1
Zero Reverse one-way clutch bearing
Feature 2
Utilizes 95mm aluminum reel handle and Combat Grip paddle knobs and Combat Grip thumb bar

Best Rated Baitcasting Reels

1. Shimano Tranx 

Most Durable Baitcasting Reel

  Key Features

  • Oversized rubber knobs with 102mm double handle
  • Available in left-handed or right-handed models
  • 5+1 stainless steel bearings
  • Famed advantages for casting longer distances than some competitors
  • Available with one of the nicest reputations in the business

If you’re an angler who targets bigger fish at longer casting ranges, the Shimano Trax is the best option for you. It uses High-Efficiency Gearing (HEG) and X-Ship bearing supported pinion gear for effortless and powerful reeling.

It’s made with a special construction that’s impact-resistant and water-resistant to withstand even the harshest weather. 

Shimano Warranty Information: Link


2. Daiwa Lexa 400 HD

Most Versatile Baitcasting Reel

Daiwa Lexa 400 HD Casting Reel
  • Redesigned Heavy Duty Clutch System, All Grease Bearing…
  • Stainless Steel Drive Gear & Pinion Gear, 7 Bearing System…
  • EVA Custom Handle Knob, Ultimate Tournament carbon drag…

Key Features

  • UTD carbon drag 
  • Makes use of a grease-bearing system for smooth reeling
  • Extended Counterbalanced Handle
  • Excellent reputation for bass fishing and for school-size yellowfin tuna
  • A great mix of affordability and durability

Daiwa Lexa is equipped with a UTD carbon drag rod with an aluminum side frame to catch dominant fish efficiently. The EVA custom knob ensures that you have great control of the reel.

To prevent backlash, the magnetic brake system slows down the spooling action once it reaches the bottom of the sea or the end of the cast. This baitcasting reel enjoys an excellent reputation for durability at an affordable price.

Daiwa Warranty Information: Link


3. Abu Garcia Revo SX Low Profile Fishing Reel

Best in Fast Line Retrieval

Sale
Abu Garcia REVO4 SX Revo SX Low Profile Fishing Reel, black/red
  • 9 stainless steel ball bearings plus 1 roller bearing…
  • X2-Craftic alloy frame for increased corrosion resistance….
  • C6 carbon side plates provide significant weight reduction…

Key Features

  • Power stack carbon matrix drag System
  • X2-Craftic alloy frame
  • Maximum drag pressure up to 24 pounds
  • Great reputation among people who throw plastics at big fish

The Abu Garcia baitcasting reel is strong and lightweight that features an X2-Craftic alloy frame construction and Infini II aluminum spool design that delivers high drag pressure that’s efficient in handling extreme loads.

It has a dual braking system and a gear ratio of 6.6:1 up to 7.3:1. If you’re casting heavy bait, its DuraClutch design helps in reducing thumb bar resistance for smooth and comfortable casting and reeling. This reel is well-loved by folk who cast big heavy plastic baits.

Abu Garcia Warranty Information: Link


4. Lew’s Tournament MP Speed Spool LFS Baitcast Reel 

Best Value for Money Baitcast Reel

Sale
Lew’s Tournament MP Speed Spool Baitcast Fishing Reel, Right-Hand Retrieve, 5.6:1 Gear Ratio, One-Piece Aluminum Body with Graphite Side Plate, Black/Red
  • ULTRA-DURABLE PERFORMANCE: Long after its competitors fizzle…
  • EFFORTLESS FISHING: The Tournament MP’s Zero Reverse…
  • HIGH-CALIBER DESIGN: This baitcast reel features a 5.6:1…

Key Features

  • Available for both right-handed and left-handed
  • Zero Reverse one-way clutch bearing
  • Utilizes 95mm aluminum reel handle and Combat Grip paddle knobs and Combat Grip thumb bar
  • This baitcasting reel is well-loved by folk who cast big heavy plastic baits.

For easy navigation, Lew’s Tournament Speed Pool has an externally adjustable Multi-Setting Brake (MSB) dual-cast control system with disk-mounted internal brake shoes and a 10-bearing system.

Hence, it’s easier to cast any type of lure at a distance. It uses P2 Super Pinion gear to ensure stability and extended gear life.


5. Shimano Curado K Baitcast Reel

Best to Maneuver Baitcast Reel

Sale
Shimano Curado 200K Lowprofile Freshwater Fishing Reel
  • Built tournament tough, this low-profile baitcasting reel is…
  • Featuring Shimano’s latest technology such as the super…
  • Employs SVS Infinity braking system providing easy-to-manage…

Key Features

  • Corrosive-resistant ball bearings
  • Uses SVS Infinity braking system
  • X-Ship technology for long-lasting performance in freshwater
  • Extremely smooth performance for demanding bass fishing

The Curado reel is a go-to fishing accessory for tournament anglers with its durability and ease of use. It’s available in multiple gear ratios for up to 8.5:1, perfect for a wide range of applications.

It utilizes a digital chip to monitor and control the magnetic brakes easily. Even though it’s lightweight at 7.6 ounces, it’s still efficient to be maneuvered in windy conditions.


6. Daiwa Tatula

Best Distance Casting Reel for the Money

Sale
Daiwa, Tatula Baitcasting Reel, 100, 6.3:1 Gear Ratio, 8 Bearings, 11 lb Max Drag, Left Hand
  • Compact 38mm Sized Aluminum Frame for ergonomic fit
  • Zero Adjuster
  • Magforce-Z cast control

Key Features

  • 9 Ball bearings
  • 13-pound drag power 
  • Multiple gear ratios from 5.4:1 to 8.1:1 
  • Excellent reputation for long casts with minimal effort

The Daiwa Tatula is lightweight with its featherweight of 6.9 ounces, suitable for distance casting with its T-Wing system-level wind and Zero Adjuster spool setting for a longer and more accurate cast.

It’s the smallest and lightest reel among the Daiwa models making it a go-to reel for junior anglers or those who have small hands or anglers getting used to long days on the water throwing artificial baits.


7. KastKing Royale Legend GT Baitcasting Reels

Best for Beginners

KastKing Royale Legend GT Baitcasting Reels, New Low Profile Design Baitcaster Fishing Reel, Magnet Braking System, 17.6 Lbs Carbon Fiber Drag, 5+1 Shielded Stainless Steel Bearings
  • GREAT FOR BEGINNERS – The 1st Generation Royal legend…
  • BIGGER LINE CAPACITY – Royale Legend I is a bigger…
  • PERFORMANCE – Low profile design bait caster with a super…

Key Features

  • Eight crossfire magnets for faster braking
  • 5 + 1 double-shielded stainless steel ball bearings
  • The oval-shaped ceramic line for even lay of the line
  • KastKing engineering on every cast
  • Unrivalled low maintenance design

The KastKing Royale is suitable for both freshwater and saltwater fishing. It has a fast gear ratio of 7.0:1 that ensures a fast and smooth casting and reeling.

This baitcaster reel is known as the “grand touch” with its soft and comfortable aluminum alloy handle and high-grade EVA knobs. For optimum casting control, it utilizes a dual brake system and an adjustable magnetic brake. This reel is great for people who want minimal maintenance in an affordable package.


7. Abu Garcia Revo IKE Low Profile Reel Baitcast Fishing Reel

Best in Construction

Sale
Abu Garcia, Revo IKE Low Profile Casting Reel, 6.6:1 Gear Ratio, 11 Bearings, 27″ Retrieve Rate, Right Hand
  • 10 stainless steel ball bearings + 1 roller bearing
  • X2-Cräftic alloy frame: This material provides exceptional…
  • C6 carbon palm side plates deliver significant weight…

Key Features

  • Four styles to choose from
  • Uses stack carbon matrix system
  • Gullwing side plate for easy brake and spool access
  • Simple construction with easy access maintenance
  • Easy operation

This Abu Garcia Reel is designed with features to ensure better performance, such as the G2 gear design for durability, a 10+1 stainless steel HPCR bearing system, a MagTrax braking system, and a titanium-coated line to avoid line breakage.

It may be equipped with advanced features, but beginners will not have a hard time operating it.


9. Shimano Curado DC Baitcasting Reel

Best in Braking System

Key Features

  • X-Ship pinion support bearing and MicroModule gearing
  • S-ARB shielded stainless steel anti-rust ball bearings
  • Carbon alloy construction
  • Great reputation for ease of use over the course of a full day casting light baits to picky largemouth

The Shimano Curado is known for its Unique “Cast Smart” Digital Control technology that monitors the spool speed to ensure that the right amount of brake is applied at the right distance and prevents backlash.

This is the best casting reel for all skill levels with its ease of use, durability, and performance. The DC feature reduces casting fatigue


10. Pflueger President XT Low Profile Baitcasting Reel

Best Reel Frame

Sale
Pflueger® President® XT Low Profile Reel
  • 9 Bearing System: Corrosion resistant stainless steel ball…
  • XT Low Profile
  • Magnetic Breaking System: Externally adjustable break…

Key Features

  • A gear ratio of 7.3:1 for smooth reeling
  • Soft-touch rubber knob
  • Aircraft-grade aluminum handle
  • Simple foolproof mag system
  • Well trusted by the inshore crew in Southern CA for a wide range of uses.

If you’re looking for a cheap but incredible reel with a way of navigation like a beginner reel and performance like that of a tournament reel, the Pflueger Reel is a top option. This reel is well-loved among southern California half day patrons, for a reason.

It has a magnetic braking system that can be adjusted to have easy control of the spool. Since it has a corrosion-resistant steel ball bearing, it can be used in all types of water.


11. Lew’s Team Lew’s HyperMag Speed Spool Baitcast Reel

Most Lightweight Reel

Sale
Lew’s Team Lews HyperMag SLP 8.3:1 Left Hand Baitcast Reel
  • Fishing reel: Reel constructed from 1-piece magnesium frame…
  • Casting reel: Features a premium 11-bearing system with…
  • Baitcasting reels: Includes a double anodized aluminum spool…

Key Features

  • SpeedCast adjustable centrifugal braking system 
  • Hard-anodized aluminum alloy
  • Titanium-coated Zirconia line guide
  • Very easy to hold in the hand all-day

This HyperMag Reel is known as the lightest reel, with its overall weight of 5.4 ounces. It features a fast spooling mechanism with its aircraft-grade Duralumin U-shape spool, and it’s constructed with a lightweight carbon C45 side plate and 1-piece magnesium frame.

Its casting reel has a premium 11-bearing system and uses a Zero Reverse one-way clutch bearing.


12. Lew’s Reels BB1SHZ Speed Spool Baitcast Reel 

Best for Right-Handed

Key Features

  • 7.1:1 gear ratio
  • External lube port and patented speed keeper hook keeper
  • 27 position Speed Cast Adjustable Centrifugal Breaking (ACB) system
  • Tough construction for trolling and other applications away from the boat or bank

This fishing reel has a rugged but comfortable construction. It can carry a load of up to 20 pounds that’s made possible by its zirconia line guide, Zero Reverse one-way clutch bearings, and stainless steel double-shielded bearings.

It’s also equipped with a carbon fiber handle with Winn Dri-Tac knobs helpful in long hours of fishing.


13. Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Reel 

Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Reel, 18LB Carbon Fiber Drag Magnetic Braking System Low Profile Casting Reel, 5.3:1 Gear Ratio Affordable High-tech Innovation Baitcast Fishing Reels, Right Handed
  • 【Powerful】Advanced triple carbon washers gives the…
  • 【Durable】The fishing reel adopt industrial durable…
  • 【Simplify Operation】The Torrent reel uses a magnetic…

Key Features

  • 4.33 inches extended crank for a sleeker design
  • Double wind shaft
  • It uses a high-grade carbon fiber drag system
  • Carbon frame construction resistant to saltwater
  • Lots of Stainless Steel is used internally

With its corrosion-resistant stainless steel springs, screws, highly precision-cut gears, and optimal shielded bearings, the Piscifun is one of the most heavy-duty baitcasting reels at the most reasonable price. It’s powerful with its 7.1:1 gear ratio partnered up with five magnets for backlash control.

Retro baitcasting reel
Old school baitcasting reel. Source: Ilkka Jukarainen

What Should I Look For When Buying the Best Baitcasting Reels

Here are the different features to consider in searching for a casting reel for easy navigation and maneuvering:

Gear Ratio

Gear ratios refer to the speed in retrieving the lure. It’s also the count of how many times the spool turns as you rotate the handle. 

A higher gear ratio would mean a faster retrieving of the lure. However, lower gear ratios are efficient if you need more strength while you catch big fish or you’re into bass fishing.

Fishing Tip: If you’re into bass fishing, check out our article on bass fishing rod and reel to help you find the right one for you!

Bearings and Materials

The ball bearings and the materials which the reel is made from greatly influence the spool’s performance.

The more ball bearing the reel has, the better friction control it can deliver. For durability, choose the one made from aluminum, graphite, ceramic, titanium, or stainless steel materials. Bearings may wear out though as well, depending on the use.

Spool

The spool holds the fishing line. It ensures that the line won’t be tangled for smooth drag.

The spool size would depend on the quality of the line. A deep spool can be used for multiple lines if you’re to catch bigger and heavier fish that requires a heavier line. Shallow spools cast farther, deeper spools will hold more line.

Left-Handed or Right-Handed

Most models of baitcasting reels come in different hand orientations suitable for left-handed or right-handed anglers.

Navigating the casting reel will be much more accurate and comfortable if you use the correct reel type, depending on your dominant hand.

Braking System

One of the issues encountered in using baitcasting reels is backlashes. In order to avoid it, braking systems are integrated to slow down the spool while casting.

There are two types of braking systems; the adjustable magnet type and the centrifugal which uses friction.

Advantages of Baitcasting Reels

If you’re looking to throw the same bait often then it makes sense to use a baitcaster. Their low-profile design is comfortable to hold for maximum dexterity allowing you an accurate cast. They aren’t particularly good for light lures. You’re going to want a bit of mass to help prevent bird nests.

Their smaller spool also reduces the pulling power. That’s why if you’re targeting big fish you’ll want to use a conventional reel. The new technology such as mag brakes also lessen the chance of bird nets which is beneficial to new anglers.

Johanes Godoy
Fishing Editor
Johanes is a talented Editor for Cast & Spear. She's helped edit and write hundreds of articles on fishing and the outdoors. When she's not editing, she's exploring the world and documenting it on her own blog.
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Articles » Gear Reviews » 13 Best Baitcasting Reels (2022 Reviews & Buyer’s Guide)