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If you have made the decision to get yourself a new baitcaster reel, then you will quickly see just how many great quality reels are currently available.
This can be overwhelming, trying to figure out which reel is right for you.Enter your text here…
So, I have compiled a detailed list the best baitcaster reels so you can see what is available, the features and benefits of each, and then make a much more informed decision on which baitcaster reel is right for you.
To accommodate a range in budgets, I have compiled two lists: one for baitcaster reels over $100, and another for reels under $100.
- Best Baitcasting reels over $100
- Best Baitcasting reels under $100
Best Baitcasting reels over $100
1. Lew’s SuperDuty Wide Speed Spool Baitcast Reel (Editors Choice)
Lew’s SuperDuty Wide Speed Spool Baitcast Reel
The Lew’s SuperDuty Wide Speed Spool baitcaster is a very stylish reel that also has the performance to go with the looks.
It is designed for power fishing and throwing bigger and heavier lures, so if you need a reel that can handle big crankbaits and swimbaits, or you like to fish with the more cumbersome umbrella rigs, this is a great solution.
I feel that this reel is suitable for the first time baitcaster reel users, all the way through to the experience match fishing anglers, as it is easy to use and delivers a really high all-round performance.
It will take a bit of initial adjustment to get your braking dialled in, so expect to spend a bit of time doing this when you first get it. But once you do, it casts like a dream and you really do eliminate those backlash moments.
The widened spool on the will accommodate a lot of line (190 yards of either 50 lb. braid or 14 lb. mono), and also encourages longer casting distance.
The drag system is smooth and offers up to 14 lbs. resistance.
I think Lew’s are often overlooked and underrated, but they build some amazing reels that are right up there with the higher quality reels from the more well-known brands.
The SuperDuty Wide Speed Spool baitcast reel offers a range of great features, amazing performance and is very reasonably priced too. This is a top-quality baitcaster reel!
2. Shimano Metanium DC Low-Profile Baitcast Reel
Shimano Metanium DC Low-Profile Baitcast Reel
The Shimano Metanium DC low-profile baitcast reel is a premium reel that offers a wide range of modern technology.
It’s geared towards the advanced angler and comes with a premium price tag too.
But for those that want the best baitcaster reel and have the ability to get the best out of this, then it will be hard to find anything that can beat this in performance.
This Shimano Metanium DC reel contains a wealth of Shimano’s premium technology and features and gives the angler a lot of tuning options to create the optimal performance.
The I-DC5 (DC = digital control) braking on this reel can be adjusted so you can fine tune depending on the weight of the lure you are using, and also the type of line (braided, monofilament or flurocarbon).
You then have four brake strength options that you can control via an external dial on the reel, plus the microcomputer-driven Intelligent Auto mode, which will adjust up to 1000 times per second for the best control over your casts.
With this amount of control, you will find pin-point casting, even in a head wind, is possible with this reel. It helps you keep backlash down to a minimum and allows you to fish with more precision.
As soon as you start using the Shimano Metanium DC you will appreciate just how smooth this reel is, with the 9+1 bearing setup really making it purr.
It has a very good gear ratio for quick retrieves, and it offers up to 11 pounds of drag. It is also a very durable reel, so you can expect to get many years of optimal performance out of it.
There are two different sizes available for the Shimano Metanium DC reel, and both sizes are available in either left-handed or right-handed options.
3. Daiwa Steez SV TWS Baitcast Reel
Daiwa Steez SV TWS Baitcast Reel
This reel will not be for everyone because of the price. But if you have the budget and are in the market for a top-level baitcaster reel then the Daiwa Steez SV TWS is definitely one to take a closer look at.
The whole ‘STEEZ’ project by Daiwa was born back in 2006 (development on the project actually started in 2003, but the first STEEZ reel was launched in 2006), and was initially developed so Japanese angler Toshinari Namiki could come over to the US and compete in the US Bass tournaments.
Development of the STEEZ range of reels continued for well over a decade, with the premise always being to design and build reels that are light, super-responsive, and incredibly durable.
The Daiwa Steeze SV TWS baitcast reel is a product of this continued development, now in its second generation, and you can clearly see how this attention to detail and a clear focus over the years has paid off.
As you would expect, the design quality of the Daiwa Steeze SV TWS is extremely high. The reel is very light (just 5.5 oz.), yet it feels robust.
The components used on every part of these reel are Daiwa’s best, and they all work together in unison to deliver an impressive performance.
This reel is designed for finesse fishing, where you need that lightning fast response rate and deftly accurate casting ability.
The casting accuracy of this reel is truly impressive. It’s made possible by the Air Brake cast control system, which can be acutely dialed in using the Zero Adjuster which is located on the handle side of the reel.
The braking system works intuitively and will automatically adjust depending on your lure weight. Once you have initially tuned the brake in, the Zero Adjuster comes into play to ensure that your settings do not change while you are using the reel.
The micro-click star drag used on the Steez SV TWS allows for ultimate control when battling a hard fighting fish, and the design and positioning of the star drag allows for easy adjustment while in the heat of battle.
Daiwa have designed this reel to be durable. The body material is made of rigid magnesium for lightweight and durability. The reel size makes it very easy to handle, and it just feels smooth and extremely comfortable to use.
Overall, there is not much to not like about this Daiwa Steeze SV TWS baitcast reel, and a whole lot to admire. Expensive, yes. But you are getting a lot of top-level design quality by the Daiwa team, and years of development all rolled into one. It’s one impressive reel!
4. Abu Garcia Revo SX Baitcast Reel
Abu Garcia Revo SX Baitcast Reel
Abu Garcia has a wide range of baitcaster reels, but the one the stood out for me in this category was the Revo SX.
The reel feels extremely responsive, and you can feel the power of it as soon as you hook into your first fish.
Let’s get into the drag system on the Abu Garcia Revo SX first, as it really is a powerhouse.
The ‘Power Stack Carbon Matrix drag system’ is very smooth, and easy to adjust while in the heat of battle too. You also get up to 24 lbs. in drag resistance, so you have plenty in the tank to get into those really hard fighting fish. It is a really powerful and consistent drag system to use.
The casting ability of the Revo SX stands out also. First of all, it uses the Infini II spool design which seems to encourage long casting ability. Then the reel has the Duragear brass gearing with the advanced D2 gear design. This is a very effective braking system, and allows you to drop your lures right on the money each time.
It is a very good braking system that just seems to work well. It’s not that hard to tune in either, so you don’t have to be a professional angler to be able to get the best out of it.
Abu Garcia has done a lot to make this a durable reel, with the inclusion of a corrosion-resistant X2-Cräftic alloy frame with C6 carbon side plates.
Overall, the Abu Garcia Revo SX baitcaster is a light and powerful reel, that is very reasonably priced. I love how comfortable it is to use, and just how responsive the reel is. Great value and quality.
5. Shimano Calcutta B Round Baitcast Reel
Shimano Calcutta B Round Baitcast Reel
The Shimano Calcutta B round baitcast reel is very versatile, so if you are looking for a baitcasting reel that you can use in a wide range of fishing locations then this really is a great option.
The design of this reel is really solid. The body is a 1-piece forged aluminum frame, and it also has an aluminum spool and side plates, which gives it a strong and durable finish.
The Dartanium drag system on the Shimano Calcutta B offers a wide range of settings and is very easy to adjust. With a max drag of up to 18 lbs. you get a wide scope to target fish of all different sizes. The drag is very smooth on this reel.
The Variable brake system used on this reel is easy to tune in, and gives you a lot of control over your casting.
Overall, this is just a very smooth and reliable baitcaster reel that should give you years of performance.
6. Abu Garcia Ambassadeur C4 Classic Round Baitcast Reel
Abu Garcia Ambassadeur C4 Classic Round Baitcast Reel
The tried and test Abu Garcia Ambassadeur C4 classic round baitcast reel has become a really popular choice for anglers around the world.
It’s a powerful reel that is easy to use and offers a lot of versatility. If you are going to get a baitcaster reel for the first time, then this is a great one to start on.
From the first time you use this reel you will notice just how smooth it is. The retrieve feels effortless, it just gives you more confidence when using it.
The Carbon Matrix drag system is powerful and effective, and another element that runs as smooth as silk. With a maximum drag of up to 15 lbs. you have quite a bit in the tank for those harder fighting fish.
Abu Garcia wanted to make the C4 Classic lighter than previous models, and they did this by cutting down weight on a few components such as the spool which is 25% lighter than previous models, and the aluminum line guide, which is 65% lighter than before.
The casting ability on the C4 Classic is quite impressive. It casts long and is quite easy to cast with. The braking system works really well too, it applies just enough pressure to stop the spool from over-spinning and helps to prevent backlash.
The line is also very evenly distributed across the spool due to the synchronized level winding system. This helps with the casting and also when the drag is being used.
Overall, the Abu Garcia Ambassadeur C4 classic round baitcaster is a very comfortable and efficient reel to use, and at the price it sells for it offers good value for your money.
Best Baitcasting reels under $100
1. Shimano SLX Baitcast Reel (Editors Choice)
Shimano SLX Baitcast Reel
The Shimano SLX baitcast reel has a light and compact design that is comfortable to use. Due to this low-profile design, it is an easy reel for palming and gives you a lot of control on your retrieve and casting.
The smoothness of this reel can be compared to much more expensive reel options. It is very impressive just how silky-smooth and efficient the reel is.
The VBS (variable braking system) works by using centrifugal force to vary the amount of friction applied to the spool. It is an effective automated system, and those backlash moments can really be kept down to a minimum.
I really like the extended handle on the Shimano SLX. It makes it so easy to connect with and wind when you hook into a decent fish and makes the retrieve a very efficient process. It also seems pretty powerful on the retrieve.
The weight of the SLX is another surprising point for a reel in this price range. At just 6.9 ounces, you have a very lightweight reel that is a joy to handle. It makes casting lures all day that much easier, you won’t have to worry about arm fatigue like you do with some of the much heavier and more bulky reels.
The drag system is very responsive, and the star lever makes it easy to adjust. The adjustment range enables you to fine-tune your battles and with a max drag of up to 12 lbs. you have the ability to give those hard-fighting fish a very tough time.
The Shimano SLX baitcast reel is easy to use. I would say that if you are going to get a baitcaster reel for the first time, this is a great option to choose as the learning curve is minimal.
Overall, this is a great reel, I personally love it. And the value is exceptional, it really does feel like a reel that should be priced a lot higher than it is.
2. Quantum Accurist S3 PT Baitcast Reel
Quantum Accurist S3 PT Baitcast Reel
The Quantum Accurist S3 PT baitcast reel had a complete redesign in 2019, and a lot of Quantum’s new and improved technology and features were included in this model.
First of all, the reel looks great. It has a very appealing 1-piece white body with a black spool, and the low-profile design makes it easy to handle.
But the reel offers a lot more than just good looks. It performs really well too, and the new features that Quantum have added really makes this reel a top contender in the price range.
The PT ACS 3.0 centrifugal cast control system is one of the new features added to this reel. It works pretty well, and makes accurate casting a possibility, even for the less experienced baitcaster reel users. It does a good job at minimizing backlash, which is definitely something you need to avoid those unwanted, time-consuming tangles.
The ‘Flippin’ switch’ that Accurist uses on this reel allows you to depress the thumbar to let the line into free spool, and then re-engage again without having to turn the handle.
This is particularly useful for situations where a very quick flick cast is needed, or where trolling when in a boat if you have one hand on the rod and reel while the other is operating the motor.
The drag system on the Quantum Accurist S3 PT is both powerful and effective. With up to 18 lbs. in max drag, you have plenty of ability to tackle the hard fighters in the water.
Quantum also has a patent on their multi-drag disk design. The drag combines ceramic and carbon washers, the carbon washers providing the powerful stopping power and the ceramic washers provide a smooth and consistent drag performance.
The continuous anti-reverse system used on the S3 PT is instant, and will certainly help to improve hook-up rates.
Overall, the Quantum Accurist S3 PT baitcaster is a very good quality reel, and offers a reliable performance. It’s easy to use, and definitely a good purchase at the price it’s available at.
3. Lew’s Speed Spool LFS Baitcast Reel
Lew’s Speed Spool LFS Baitcast Reel – Great for the beginner
I do like the Lew’s baitcaster reel range in general, they offer good variety at really good prices. This Speed Spool LFS from Lew’s is a great example of packing a lot of quality into a budget friendly reel.
It has a compact low-profile design, and the oversized handle makes it very easy to wind.
The reel has a very good drag system, and the new oversized star drag lever makes it really easy to operate. It also has an audible click when adjusting the lever, which a lot of anglers like to have.
The braking system on the Lew’s Speed Spool LFS is easy to dial in, even if you have not used a baitcaster before. The adjustments allow you to really fine tune it as well, so you can get your casts just right whenever you change to a different weight lure. You should be able to reduce birds nest tangles to an absolute minimum when you get the reel tuned in.
4. Ardent Apex Ranger Baitcast Reel
Ardent Apex Ranger Baitcast Reel – Best entry level reel
If you’re looking to spend as little as possible on a baitcaster reel without forgoing the quality you need in a reel like this, then the Ardent Apex Ranger is a great choice.
The reel is surprisingly light (6.3 oz) yet is extremely well built. It is really easy to handle, and the operation is exceptionally smooth. The seven bearings (6+1) used in this reel provide the silky performance.
A braking system used in any baitcaster reel is the one part that can change the performance, and the appeal if the reel. Fortunately, the magnetic braking system used on the Ardent Apex Ranger works flawlessly and will really help you improve your casting ability and reduce backlash. It is very easy to tune in as well.
The Ardent Apex Ranger baitcaster reel definitely punches above its weight! It provides a really solid performance, is well built and easy to use. For a lower-cost entry level baitcaster reel, it’s hard to look past this one.
5. Abu Garcia Ambassadeur SX Baitcast Reel
Abu Garcia Ambassadeur SX Baitcast Reel
The Abu Garcia Ambassadeur SX is a round baitcast reel that is very versatile and provides a lot of power.
Although the reel looks quite rugged, it actually runs very smoothly. The multi-disk drag system works very well, it’s very responsive and with a max drag of 12.5 lbs you have a bit to work with when you hook into a harder fighting fish. The star drag lever makes it easy to adjust.
The casting ability with the Abu Garcia Ambassadeur SX is decent. The reel has a recessed foot which allows it to sit a bit lower in the rod, which does help with casting.
The aluminum frame on the reel is strong and rigid, you certainly get the feeling that the reel has been well built and can handle some rough treatment.
The 6-pin centrifugal brake system provides consistent brake pressure throughout the cast. It will require some thumbing to avoid backlash as always, but the brake is definitely a benefit.
The one thing I noticed was that I felt the handle was a little small. I feel it would have benefitted from having a slightly larger handle and would have made it easier on the retrieve.
Overall, the Abu Garcia Ambassadeur SX is a solid baitcaster reel that does what is supposed to do fairly well, and certainly offers you good bang for your buck
I hope that these lists of some of the best baitcaster reels has helped you make a more informed decision as to which one is best for you.
I would love you hear your thoughts on any of the reels mentioned above, or any other reels you may have tried that I have not included on my lists.