3 Best Spinning Reels Under $50

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Hey there my fellow fishing enthusiasts. Today, for those of you looking to get yourself a good spinning fishing reel on a budget, I have had a good look around and come up with my 3 best spinning reels under $50 this year.

For many, fishing is something that is enjoyed from time to time when away on vacation, looking for something to do with the kids on a weekend or when the boys get together. And of course if this you, then the want or need to buy an expensive fishing reel is not something that really appeals. Luckily then, there are quite a few good options out there that will certainly provide you with some good quality for under $50.

Let’s have a look…

My 3 recommended spinning reels under $50

I will review these in more detail below but if you just want to get moving without all the carry on, my 3 are listed here for your convenience:

02/19/2024 08:35 am GMT Lasso Brag

What are spinning reels?

best fishing reels under 50 - spinning reel

If you a completely new to the whole fishing caper, let’s start with a spinning reel 101. Also known as ‘open face’ reels or ‘eggbeaters’, these reel types wind the line onto a front spool which is held on by a ‘bail’. Line is wound in via a handle on the side which is ratioed to bring the line in faster than the handle is turned. These are fantastic reels for beginners as they rarely tangle and as the inner workings are generally housed within a waterproof case, they are easy to maintain. Their main components are as follows:

  • Bearings – As with a car wheel, the spinning mechanisms inside a spinning fishing reel generally incorporate ball bearings for smoother operation. From my experience, most come with between 3 and 10 and I was always told that the more you can get for the price, the better. If the specifications are listed as 10 + 1 for example, this means that there are 10 ball bearings in the main housing and also a roller bearing incorporated into the bail to make line retrieval easier.
  • Ratio – One advantage of a spinning fishing reel is the winding ratio. This is usually set anywhere for 3:1 up to 6 or 7:1 (often listed as 6.0:1 etc.) This simply means that for every time the user turns the handle a full rotation, the spool holding the line has actually turned 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7 times meaning less winding for faster line retrieval.
  • Drag – The drag of a fishing reel is its ability to release a little bit of line when a fish strikes or is being pulled in. This is in place to reduce the chances of a bigger fish snapping the line as it fights. In general, the more you pay for a reel, the better the drag system should be regardless, if the reel you are looking at doesn’t have a drag system on it – put it down.
  • Casing: This is the part of the reel that contains the springs, levers, gear cogs etc. that make much of the stuff above work. For a beginner, avoid any reel that doesn’t have this all housed in a sealed, waterproof casing. These are low maintenance and the components will not rust.
  • Size: Fishing reels come in all sizes from 1000 up to 10000. The size of the reel determines the line strength that can be loaded. There is a lot to this however at the end of the day, unless there is the possibility of a really big fish, or the need to add a heavier sinker if the current is strong, I would recommend anything that starts with a 2 or 3 as this simply means everything is a little lighter.

What should you be looking for?

Ok, so as with anything to do with anything, the less you pay for something the less quality you are likely to experience in the product. And whilst this is also true when it comes to fishing reels, there are some things that you can look for that can provide the same effectiveness and durability as the high end models for a much cheaper price.

So with that in mind I have chosen to highlight below what to look for in terms of a budget spinning reel to ensure that you are getting good value for the price.

best fishing reels under 50 - man fishing

Internal component manufacture

Spinning reels contain all number of components inside them that make everything ‘turn’ smoothly whilst fishing. Mostly these are made of stainless steel or brass and the high end models are CNC machined for a little more precision and silence in operation. If you can find a budget model with CNC machined components, then that is a good thing.


Most reels these days incorporate some sort of waterproofing in their components as saltwater in particular can do significant damage to the internal workings of a reel. Hence, anything that can be done to keep this out, will definitely increase its lifespan so look for:

  • Fully encased bearings
  • Corrosion-resistant components
  • Corrosion resistant coating on all external parts (bales, screws etc.)
  • Fully sealed, or increased seals around casing

As above, the more water resistant components that are included, the longer the reel will last.


As above, the drag of a reel is an area where the high end reels really come into their own. Most budget models contain stainless steel washers which work fine. Carbon fiber washers however provide for better quality and some budget reels include these as well.


Most manufacturers outline how ‘tough’ the casing of their reels are. Fortunately, regardless of the price point, most are made of metal, graphite or carbon and fully encased as well adding to greater component protection. However, look for reels that are waterproof rated with terms such as “PX5 sealed body and spool” etc. commonly used.

Other Influences

There are some other areas to consider as well when looking at a budget fishing reel. These don’t effect the outcomes as much as the above however they are worth considering:

  • Handle – Most are built with good quality EVA or rubber handles – some are oversized for greater comfort.
  • Anti reverse switch – Look for instant anti-reverse for extra security when it is needed.
  • Line holder – This is the little tab on the side of the reel housing that holds the end of the fishing line if it is not rigged up. These are not often thought of when a reel is purchased but something that is really missed if it is not there.
  • Interchangeable winder – There are not many that don’t do this these days however this is the ability to swap the winder handle around to allow for left or right-handed use.
best fishing reels under 50 - reel on shelf


Are cheaper fishing reels worth it?

Look, there is always the old adage that you get what you pay for. That said, many budget model reels on the market today will last an intermittent fisher a long time and certainly work well. The difference however from a higher end model comes from the lack of precision machining of the gear and waterproof seals in the casing. However if you are not fishing every weekend and rinse the reel thoroughly after each use, then with the options listed here you will be good to go time after time!

My three recommendations broken down

So based on the information above, and my own experience, I recommend the following for beginners:

1. SHIMANO Sienna Spinning Fishing Reel

This first reel is a great option form a well-known brand for a great price. The component manufacture is of the highest quality with its “Propulsion Line Management System” and large line capacity making a great option for beginners and casual users alike. Its specifications include:

  • Size: 500 – 4000 (stick to the 2500 – 4000 range for good all round use).
  • Bearings: 3 + 1
  • Ratio: 5.0:1 – 6.2:1 depending on size
  • Composition: Aluminium
  • Drag: Yes
  • Anti reverse switch: Instant
  • Line holder: yes
  • Interchangeable winder: Yes

Other advantages include:

  • Super Stopper II instant anti-reverse.

Why have I chosen it?

I have used a number of Shimano reels in my time and found them all to be excellent in terms of durability and smoothness of use so based on that and the specs included, I feel this is a great option for those looking for a good reel for a great price. Stick to the 2500 – 4000 mark unless you are looking for something smaller for the kids.

2. Piscifun Viper X Spinning Reel

Our next option provides many high end inclusions for a budget price and is a great option for those who plan to fish a little more or work mainly in saltwater. Like the others in this list, Piscifun is well-known and trusted and this option does nothing to tarnish the brand. Its specifications include:

  • Size: 500 – 5000 (stick to the 2500 – 4000 range for good all round use)
  • Bearings: 10 + 1 shielded stainless steel bearings
  • Ratio: 5.2:1 – 6.2:1 depending on size
  • Composition: Graphite cover with premium zinc alloy drive gear with CNC machined spool
  • Drag: On front of spool – Carbon washers
  • Anti reverse switch: Instant
  • Line holder: yes
  • Interchangeable winder: Yes

Other advantages include:

  • “Innovative Waterproof Tech” for extra protection
  • Smooth EVA handle
  • Braid ready spool

Why have I chosen it?

I have chosen this reel for its high end quality for a low end price. It will work well in all conditions and for beginners and more the experienced fishers. For casual use, you could do a lot worse than this option in my opinion.

3. Abu Garcia Silver Max STX Spinning Reel

The third reel I have chosen provides super lightweight fishing for all ranges of ability from another well-known brand. The fully graphite body and machined aluminium spool provide comfort and durability that is often found in the higher end models. Its specifications include:

  • Size: 2000 – 4000
  • Bearings: 5 + 1
  • Ratio: 5.2:1 – 5.8:1 depending on size
  • Composition: Lightweight graphite and aluminum
  • Drag: On front of spool
  • Anti reverse switch: yes
  • Line holder: yes
  • Interchangeable winder: Yes

Other advantages include:

  • Everlast bail system for improved durability
  • Rocket Line Management™ and Rocket Spool Lip Design™ for extended casting distance

Why have I chosen it?

I have chosen this option for those who are after a good super lightweight reel that provides great durability for the price. The components are extremely well manufactured and the precision cut aluminium spool means greater casting and retrieving smoothness as well. If you like to hike before you fish, then this is the answer for you.

Check out my: Abu Garcia Max STX Spinning Reel Review


And there it is – my 3 best spinning reels under $50 for the budget minded fisher in 2021. I hope it has been helpful and as usual, please let me know of your experiences with them.

Also, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, concerns, corrections or would like me to check anything else out for you.

Until next time

Have fun


3 best fishing reels under 50

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Hi, I'm Paul

I am a passionate fishing, camping and four wheeled driving hobbyist who researches, tests and educates around issues and equipment relevant to them.

I am by no means a professional however my passion is to assist you in making informed decisions about buying and using awesome gear that will give you the best chance of success at whatever you are doing for the best price.

Please get in touch if you have any questions.