Trying to find the best spinning reel is something that can strike fear into the hearts of even the most experienced angler.

With so many options and so much new, impressive technology available, it’s natural to feel a little overwhelmed.

Best Spinning Reels Under $200 (Saltwater & Freshwater)

Finding the right spinning reel is something that takes time to figure out and you’ll want to compare all the different options out there.

Add a $200 cap to this, and you’ve got yourself a dilemma!

Thankfully, a cap of $200 does not limit your options too badly, though you will have to sacrifice some of the top-end reels and look to second-hand options if you want to find something that is perfect for you without breaking your wallet.

In this article, we’re going to be breaking down some of the best Spinning Reels for under $200 on the market today.

We’ll be covering a wide range of sizes, from 1500 all the way up to 8000 so that you have a lot of different options to choose from.

We’ve also made sure to include an extensive buyer’s guide that will explain the reasons why we made out choices.

So let’s delve into the deep waters of Spinning Reels! 

Best All Round

Daiwa BG Spinning Reel

If you were to ask any really experienced fisher what the best spinning reel is for under $200, one of the first products you’re likely to hear them recommend is the Daiwa BG.

Daiwa is a Japanese brand that has for a long time now created some of the best equipment out there.

This particular reel gives you a lot of options in terms of size – with the smallest being 1500, all the way up to 8000.

With this in mind, it’s important to note that the limitations of this reel start with large, offshore fishing – but for anything else you might want to catch, Daiwa has you covered.

It’s probably best suited for rock angling and surf fishing, but you’ll be able to get good use out of it no matter where you are. 

When it comes to internal components, the Diawa BG comes with carbon washers and a graphite air rotor that create a smooth and easy to control drag.

We found the body of this spinning reel to be durable and ergonomically designed, and the crank to be light in your hands and easy to turn, which is especially useful when you’re needing to make quick spins. 

We wanted to place this high up on our list because it’s hard to beat for the price. You can usually find this spinning reel for under $200, especially if you can find a second-hand one.

Daiwa makes the kind of gear that you can trust over long periods of time, so this may well be the perfect reel for you. 

Pros

  • Crank: Super smooth and light to turn.
  • Spool Capacity: great spool capacity that allows you to reel in fish with ease. 
  • Ranges: vast ranges which make it suitable for different fishing locations.

Cons

  • 8000 and Below: can’t go higher than 8000 in range, which makes it unsuitable for large, offshore fishing. 

Cheapest Option

KastKing Sharky III Fishing Reel 

Since we’re looking at all the options for under $200, we wanted to make sure we included a very low-end option.

So if you’re looking for something that will get you the most for a small amount of money, the KastKing Sharky III offers unmatched quality for its price. 

To start up, it ranges from 1000lc to 500lc in range, with options for 2000, 3000 and 4000 between.

Its cover material and handles are aluminum, and it comes in a black/blue color finish.

One of the things you’ll have to sacrifice for the price is the general durability, but we still found the KastKing Sharky III surprisingly durable for its price point.

It’s a little heavier than others on this list at 15oz, but it feels surprisingly light in your hands. 

Some of the other impressive features are its lightweight nature and a smooth retrieve.

Its internal components include 10+1 MaxiDur Shielded stainless steel ball bearings and an instant anti-reverse.

Another thing to mention here is its K.I.S.S (KastKing Intrusion Shield System) sealing, which has been included to keep it waterproof and dirt-resistant. 

Pros

  • Price: Amazing starting price point, that means you get a fairly high-quality product for not much.
  • K.I.S.S Sealing: offers you great protection from water and dirt. 
  • Reel: Very smooth and lightweight-feeling, especially considering its price.

Cons

  • Durability: the main problem with this reel is that it’s less sturdy than others on the list and won’t last as long as other, more up-market products. 

Best For Inshore Saltwater Fishing

Quantum Smoke Inshore Spinning Reel

If you’re looking for something that has been made for inshore saltwater fishing, then the Quantum Smoke is going to be perfect for you.

This is one of the fastest spinning reels on the market and slightly overlooked considering its capabilities. 

If you’ve been fishing for a while, Quantum isn’t a brand that you’re likely to have seen placed up against other favorites such as Daiwa, Shimano, or Penn.

This particular reel is lightweight and comes in 4 sizes and 6 different models.

One thing to know off the bat is quite how lightweight it is, even in its larger sizes that go up to 5000 (coming in at 10.5 oz). 

The key features of the Quantum Smoke are its extremely smooth reel, made up of a sealed ceramic and carbon drag system.

It’s made of a marine-grade alloy that was originally created for use in marine engines.

We found this alloy to be particularly sturdy and much more impressive than some of the other reels we took a look at for this article.

Its spool is made of aluminum and has been ported to better balance its weight. 

It’s worth noting that this reel is specifically for inshore saltwater fishing.

Whilst you might get some use out of it elsewhere, it’s been made for this purpose specifically so that’s where you’re going to get the absolute most out of it. 

Pros

  • MaxCast II Spool: Made of aluminum and very lightweight. 
  • Casing: marine-grade alloy which is extremely durable. 
  • Reel: very fast and smooth, which means you can spin fast. 

Cons

  • Range: Smaller ranges than others on this list, so if you’re looking for something more versatile it might not be the reel for you. 

Other Options

Penn Conflict II Spinning Reel

This one is on the upper end of our set price range, but its sheer range and slick design are worth the cost.

Penn is another tried and trusted brand, one that is usually more tied to heavier reels.

The Penn Conflict II breaks away from this mold with its light crank and intricate 7-point, stainless steel ballbearing system, and its ht-100 carbon fiber drag washers. 

If you decide to go for this reel, you’ll have a lot of different range options, from 2000 all the way up to 8000.

They also have options for Long Cast, which is the same reel with some extra range. It’s slightly heavier than other reels on this list, with the 8000lc coming in at 1.96 pounds.

It’s not the smoothest reel you’ll ever find, but because of how lightweight it is you’ll find yourself getting used to it very quickly. 

One nice feature that is important to note is that the dedicated hand orientation for this reel is ambidextrous, meaning that it caters to both left and right-handed people.

We also love the design, which is a slick black color and looks great without trying too hard. 

Pros

  • Size/Weight: Extremely small and very lightweight. 
  • Range: Lots of different sizes, including ‘LC’ versions, which are tall and shallow, allowing for faster casting. 
  • Crank: Very light crank adds to the overall feel of spinning. 

Cons

  • Polymer Material Choice: Polymer might not be as durable over time. 

SHIMANO Stradic FL Spinning Fishing Reel

Last up, we couldn’t finish our list without including at least one SHIMANO Spinning Reel. Shimano is another Japanese company that has been making fishing gear for a very long time.

If you’re looking for something that will serve you in a wide range of different scenarios, then this might be the perfect real for you.

If you’re an angler who likes to fish in saltwater and freshwater, then this reel is going to give you lots of options so that you can swap as you please.

The versatility comes with its size and accessibility options, with a size range spanning from 1000 all the way up to 5000.

This is a reel that’s going to give you a lot of use for its price, with a smooth reel, a strong yet lightweight body, and cross carbon drag.

This reel features what is called ‘Aero Wrap II,’ which is an oscillation system that has been created to help reduce friction, especially in long-distance casting.

Its design shape allows the spool to sit closer to the rod, which allows for a lot of extra control and makes this rod feel a lot nicer to hold, especially over the course of a long fishing session. 

All in all, although this reel sits at the upper end of our price range, it is an investment that you’ll be able to use for years and years.

Shimano is a recognized brand for a reason, and the sheer durability and intricate design make this a lifetime purchase providing you properly care for it.

Pros

  • Advanced Oscillation System: Creates much less friction and makes fishing feel so much smoother.
  • Versatility: Perfect for both freshwater and saltwater fishing.
  • Frame: A frame that is both strong and lightweight,  the best of both worlds! 

Cons

  • Maintenance: One of the things you’ll find difficult here is taking it apart to conduct regular cleaning or maintenance. 

Buyer’s Guide

So that was our list of the 5 best spinning reels for under $200, but how did we reach our conclusions?

In the section below, we’re going to be breaking down each aspect of a spinning reel so that you can get a better understanding of the most important things to look out for when shopping in stores or searching online.

It’s important to consider how these factors interact with each other, as well as your own personal fishing style and goals.

Reel Sizes 

First up, the size of your reel is going to be integral to what you end up choosing. As a general rule, saltwater spinning reels tend to be larger than freshwater reels.

This is because the kinds of fish you’ll find in saltwater are likely to be much larger and stronger than those you’ll find in freshwater.

If you try catching a large fish with a small reel, you’re likely to find all the line being pulled off – and the fishing getting away from your grasp! 

Consider for a moment where you are going to be fishing. If you’re somebody who is only looking to catch small, freshwater fish, then a small reel is going to be fine for you.

But on the other hand, if you’re looking to catch much larger fish in a saltwater setting, then the larger the reel the better! 

One of the problems with trying to find a large reel size for under $200, is that you have fewer options available to you, but that’s not to say you have no options.

Try to pinpoint the types of fish that you’re going to be targeting before you make your decision.

Reel Brand 

This might seem like an obvious one, but certain brands are trusted by anglers for a reason.

Some of the most popular fishing brands include Daiwa, Shimano, Penn Fishing, Shakespeare, and Eagle Claw.

These are all brands that have a history of making reliable gear that lasts for a long time, and that’s why we’ve included them in our list above.

However, that’s not to say that other brands don’t also have potential. Take for example the Quantum Smoke product we listed above.

It’s a far lesser-known brand, but because of this, it has some features that make it stand out. 

The best way to work out if a brand is good is to compare product reviews from a wide variety of different products on offer.

If you see anglers taking them seriously or talking about them, then they’re likely to be a safe bet!

However, if you want something you can be more sure of then you can opt for one of the more established brands for quality assurance. 

Internal Components 

Another thing to consider is the internal components of a fishing reel.

These will be the difference between a good fishing reel that feels amazing, and one that has problems with friction and in its general design. 

Take ballbearings for example. The material used to make them is going to be integral to the overall feel of your reel.

Modern fishing reels will typically feature bearing systems from one all the way up to ten.

A good rule of thumb here is it’s not how many ball bearings make a good internal system, but the design of said ball bearings.

You can get a good understanding of this by checking out customer reviews and seeing how smooth it feels to cast. 

Covering

The materials used to make up the main body of a fishing reel are going to be very important in how long it will last.

It’s important to remember that a fishing reel is a tool, one that will go through a lot of wear and tear if you’re an avid fisher. 

You want a body that is tough and a crank that will sustain a lot of spinning.

One of the best materials for a reel body is aluminum, and you’ll often see this listed within product descriptions. 

Final Thoughts

So there you have it! When it comes to searching for a fishing reel below $200, it’s important that you know there are a lot of options out there.

The most important questions to ask yourself before committing to a purchase are your individual fishing goals and styles.

With all the options out there, it’s likely you’ll be able to find something that is well suited for your needs.

We hope that this article has given you some insight into the world of lower-end fishing reels and that you now feel a lot more confident about pinpointing which is the best for you.

We wish you the best of luck on your next fishing adventure, and hope that you can make that perfect catch!

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