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Finding a quality fishing reel for under $100-- what makes a good reel.

Updated on May 19, 2014

What makes a reel good?

If you are wondering what makes a good fishing reel there are plenty of stipulations. Ball bearings for instance: the amount of ball bearings you have does not mean that the reel is better. You could have all the ball bearings in the world and you will still have problems if the rest of your reel's parts are not up to par.

Cheaper, less expensive are usually made of unhardened aluminum. Aluminum breaks down over time the more you use it. That is why you should stick to brass or hardened aluminum. You could end up significantly saving money over time

When you spend more money you are usually getting better materials in your gear. Materials such as graphite, aluminum, and magnesium are all used differently in any particular model. not to mention certain plastics.

Where you buy your reel from matters-- if its from China run!! Stick to Swiss made brands, along with the United States and Japan.

A $100 reel can come in handy for almost any type of fishing and it should last almost a lifetime.

Best $100 spinning reels list

  1. Daiwa SS Tournament
  2. Shimano Symetre FJ
  3. Penn Battle
  4. Okuma Epixor EB Bait Feeder
  5. Daiwa Black Gold
  6. Johnny Morris Signature Series
  7. Abu Garcia Orra SX
  8. Pflueger Supreme MG
  9. Browning Fishing Midas
  10. Daiwa Aird
  11. Quantam KVD signature series
  12. Shimano Symetre
  13. Daiwa Whisker SS Tournament

Where should I buy my reel from?


If you have never tried to shopped online many, many people have used Ebay, Amazon, etc. Read the following link to brush up on safely shopping online:

Here are the benefits of each type of store. They are all great, but if I had to choose, Ebay would be my favorite place to buy first. The following list actually shows which stores are my favorite to shop for gear- in order.


  • Ebay - If you are looking to find the best deals then always check Ebay. People always have to give up fishing and end up selling their reels and tackle. If you buy during the off-season, you can end up getting an even better prices. As I said- this is my personal top pick for buying almost anything(especially fishing gear) at some of the best prices out there..

- Always look for item lots on Ebay. A "lot" is when someone has a group of things to sell, many times for a really cheap price.

  • Amazon - The best store to get the lowest prices on almost any piece of gear. Checking reviews on Amazon is an absolute must . It is also a great place to compare prices with any other store-- they have the best retail prices around. Going to Amazon for a price reference and before buying an item elsewhere is a MUST.
  • Bass Pro Shops / Cabelas – if you want the best fishing products on the market instantly they most likely will have them, but expect to pay full retail price. Prices are a up a little if you go here, but the do have awesome sales at times. Always check the bargain cave//clearance places online.

-This is a fantastic place to take the kids. Everyone enjoys going to at least once and the kids will not be bored..

  • Walmart / Target / Dicks ETC - You can get some pretty good deals, but the selection at there stores is not near the other options. A big reason why is they aren't solely a fishing store and there are no real experts that can help you. Most reels there are sub-par. If you aren't looking for a long-term reel then this is a great place to go. Not saying they won’t last forever, but you better believe the quality isn't as good.

-If you just want to go fishing and need a quick setup, then this is the place.

  • Local Bait shops - You will usually pay full price here, however you are supporting a local business, so that is always a good thing. That doesn't mean their prices aren't comparable to the bigger stores. The internet is a great place to see what you should be paying! They know the baits that work in the surrounding area, and they can give you tips on where to fish. They also have plenty of experts that come in and give them knowledge that they can share with you. Buying from them will help you gain knowledge about the area.

Are you right handed or left handed?

Please do not turn your spinning reel upside down-- this is completely incorrect! It will also get you a lot of shaking head of disappointment if any fishermen see you doing it. Most reels can be easily changed in order to fit the needs of both righties and lefties. And even 4 year old can do it!


Me and my family is right handed-- meaning we reel with our left(which is standard). The great thing about most of the reels today, if you are lefty it takes only seconds to switch the reeling handle to the other side. You simply unscrew the opposite side and take the handle off then put the handle in the other side and screw the little piece back on so the handle is tight once again.

Always do your research!

Make sure you understand the basics of the spinning reel, especially how to spool it.

Not too long ago going to Walmart, or the local bait shop, to buy your gear was pretty standard. You'd decide if you liked it then and there and would be stuck with your choice. Luckily, now you can do research before buying anything. The internet has all of the latest and best information available, be sure to check out all of the review you can on the specific product you are thinking about getting.

Be sure to make sure that the spinning reel is right for you. They look like they are hard to use, but if you ask me, they can't get much easier.


Story on scumbag meme

Yes the story above actually happened. I had one really nice reel (Shimano Sustain) and an extra POS from Walmart. I let him and his girlfriend borrow both. Not until 3 weeks later when I asked for it back did I get the strangest, oh crap look ever. He told me that he dropped one of them it but wasn't sure if it was the good one. I sent him home to go get my reels and when he got back I found out that he had lost my reel.

The worst part was he waited 4 weeks to tell me, which is way too much time for that reel to sit in the nasty muck filled water. Had he told me that day or the next.. well he might not be out $400. I told him repeatedly that the reel I used was expensive.. That is what you get for trying to impress your girlfriend.

It was my fault because it was an expensive reel

Notes for beginning fishermen

  • Whenever you are fishing in a public place, you will need a fishing license if you are 16 or older. Ponds and other ceraint places you do not need a license, but it is good to always check.
  • When you buy a reel please remember it usually does not come with the stick aka the rod. Every state requires it's own license. Make sure Freshwater and Saltwater are both on your license if you plan are going to fish in both.

Please leave feedback!

Researching which reels are the best took plenty of time to put this together, and I am always looking for experts opinions. Please feel free to add anything to the comments section below-- you can also contact me directly. If you have any helpful links or tips that are relevant to this buying inexpensive reels, please share! I appreciate any and all feedback, if this page is crap or lacks info- tell me!

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