Best Saltwater Fishing Reels In 2023 (The Top-Notch Reels)

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Choosing a saltwater spinning reel, especially if it is your first time, is daunting as well as overwhelmingly unnerving. What products are featherlight? Which material withstands the harshness of saltwater? How to get yourself a promising deal?

I assume these are a few out of many questions bouncing in your head, yearning for answers. Heading out to the market without understanding how to look for will less likely have fruitful results. You may end up floundering with a product that doesn’t befit your needs.

Luckily, I have rounded up some products that go well with saltwater fishing, making it a breeze for you to choose. Each name in the listicle offers a wide range of compelling features that complements a variety of angling styles. Not to forget, I’ve assembled a small guide in the end as well for more enlightenment.

Best Saltwater Spinning Reels – Comparison Chart 2023


Product Name




Small Product Image 1 - Penn Battle II & III

Penn Battle II & III

HT 100 carbon fiber drag system.

Superline spool.


Small Product Image 2 - KastKing Sharky III

KastKing Sharky III

Super smooth.

Water resistant design for its spool.

 Instant lock anti-reverse.

Small Product Image 3 - Daiwa Bg

Daiwa BG

Solid Screw-In Handle.

Infinite Anti-Reverse System.

Dynamic Cut Aluminum ABS Spool.

Small Product Image 4 - Piscifun Flame

Piscifun Flame


Braid Ready Spool.

 Incredible drag power up to 19.8 Lb.

Small Product Image 5 - Penn Slammer III

Penn Slammer III

CNC Gear technology.

IP6 Sealed body.

6+1 stainless steel bearing system.

Small Product Image 6 - Daiwa SSaltist

Daiwa SSaltist

Magsealed line rolle.

"HardBodyz" body and side cover.

Air Bail–tubular stainless.

Best Saltwater Spinning Reels

Since the weapon defines the wielder’s fate, make sure you are choosing the right one. For this, there is a lot of factors you need to consider — speed, quality, functionality, durability, ergonomics, etc.

By analyzing these aforesaid elements, I have hand-picked some highly functional and good-performing spinning reels. So, Let’s help you choose the saltwater spinning reel of your dreams.

#1 – Penn Battle II & III Spinning Fishing Reel

– Key Features

  • Drag system: front drag
  • Heavy-duty aluminum bail wire
  • Reel handle position: right/left
  • Battle II sizes: 2
  • Battle III sizes: 9
  • Battle II gear ratio (4000, 6000): 6.2:1, 5.6:1
  • Battle III gear ratio (1000 to 10,000): 5.2:1, 6.2:1, 7.0:1, 5.6:1, 4.7:1, 5.3:1, 4.2:1
  • Battle II recovery rate: 37,” 41.”
  • Battle III recovery rate: 22” – 37.”
  • Mono Capacity yd/lb. Battle II: 270/8 220/10 165/12, 335/15 230/20 210/25
  • Mono Capacity yd/lb. Battle III (1000): 275/2 135/4 105/6

– Positives:

  • They are strong and can handle rough use.
  • Due to solid constriction, they are built to last.
  • Penn Battle III comes in a wide range of sizes.
  • The drag system is awesome and provides smooth performance.
  • They lie towards the cheaper end of the price spectrum.
  • They can effectively withstand saltwater.

– Drawbacks:

  • The number of bearings isn’t as much as it should be.
  • Penn Battle II only offers two sizes.
  • It is slightly heavier than other reels on the list.

Take your saltwater fishing game on another level with this masterpiece, which is ideal for long-range battles with herculean fishes. The exceptional sturdiness and durability come from its full-metal frame construction, enabling the reel to withstand heavy use. Additionally, the aluminum bail wire just adds up to the overall strength.

Sometimes reels that provide incredible drag end up sacrificing smoothness, which is a prevalent problem with most products. Penn Battle II & III, on the other hand, deliver incredibly smooth performance with an outstanding carbon fiber HT 100 drag system.

Pen Battle two II packs 5 stainless steel ball bearings, whereas Battle III is outfitted with 6 bearings. The number may not be as much as others in the list, they still perform well enough to be considered. The system is sealed so that corrosion can be prevented, making it a suitable choice for catching saltwater fishes.

My Verdict:

Anglers looking for a durable and sturdy tool for heavy-duty fishing can’t overlook these marvelous models. Both reels have strong construction, which holds paramount importance when it comes to catching big hunts.

Although some features and design elements could be better, it is still a desirable option for budget-minded fishermen.

#2 – KastKing Sharky III

– Key Features

  • Shielded stainless steel ball bearings
  • Reel sizes: 5
  • High density EVA grips
  • Ball bearings: 10 + 1
  • Drag power(lb.): 33 to 39.5
  • Gear ratio: 5.2:1
  • Weight(oz): 6.9 to 10.5
  • Inch per turn: 26.2 to 33.4
  • Standard line capacity (mono) lb./yds (10): 6/200, 8/170, 10/130
  • Standard line capacity (braid) lb./yds (10): 20/180, 30/95, 40/75

– Positives:

  • It comes in various sizes.
  • It is ideal for both freshwaters as well as saltwater fishing.
  • You can capture big fishes with this reel.
  • Because of the graphite body, the body doesn’t get corroded.
  • The performance is very smooth and impressive.
  • It provides good value within an affordable price tag.
  • The lines do not twist or tangle because of its smart engineering.

– Drawbacks:

  • The line retrieval sometimes doesn’t work as smoothly as it should.
  • The design doesn’t suit right-handed people well.

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Kasking Sharky is the Cadillac of saltwater spinning reels, considering the fact that it is jam-packed with amazing features. What attracts the most crowd is the 10-ball bearing system, which is sealed and always ready for saltwater adventures. It ensures you have the smoothest performance and effortless hunt, no matter what the species.

Compared to its previous models, it has significantly improved, especially in terms of durability. Sharky III has a special protection system that safeguards the reel’s body, rotor, and spool from not only water but also projectile dust and debris.

Nothing infuriates an angler more than a twisted line that jams the system, compelling the wielder to wet his hands to untangle. That won’t be a problem for this spinning reel as it caries an anti-twist line roller, which prevents twists and tangles.

My Verdict:

No saltwater or freshwater fish will be able to escape the range of Sharky III. The reel allows us to cast a line at great distances and conquer the area.

Overall, the instruments work very smoothly, allowing you to have a hassle-free experience — not to mention, the lines on this reel don’t tangle, which is an unmatched relief. On top of all, the graphite body and brawny framework ensure longevity.

#3 – Daiwa BG Saltwater Spinning Reel

– Key Features

  • Anodized machined aluminum housing
  • Waterproof drag system
  • Reel sizes: 10
  • Dynamic cut aluminum ABS spool
  • Ball bearings: 6 + 1
  • Max drag (lbs.): 4.4 to 33
  • Gear ratio: 5.6:1, 5.7:1, 5.3:1
  • Weight (oz.): 8.5 to 30
  • Line retrieve (in): 28.3 to 53.3
  • Braid cap (yds/lb.) (1500): 8/220, 10/130, 15/100
  • Mono cap (yds/lb.) (1500): 4/155, 6/100, 8/80

– Positives:

  • The performance is very smooth.
  • The solid anodized body provides great protection.
  • Drag power is immense.
  • The drag system is waterproof, ensuring longevity.
  • It comes in many different sizes.
  • The spool is sturdy, and the lines do not twist together.
  • The ball bearings are immune to rust.
  • It is quite easy to operate.

– Drawbacks:

  • The body has an anodized finish except for the spool, which is painted.
  • It is heavy when compared to its rivals.
  • The systems aren’t fully sealed.

The thing that quickly makes this a worthy reel is that it comes in ten different sizes and various gear ratios. It means anglers will have a wide range of options to match the specs with their specific needs. The components found in the Daiwa BG rivals one of the best tools present in the marketplace.

Another feature that you will absolutely appreciate is its anodized finished body, acting as an impenetrable barrier that fortifies the inner aluminum construct. The drag system is the only part of the reel that is waterproof. The rest of the body deflects moisture to a certain degree.

All the seven ball bearings in Daiwa are rust-resistant, but they lack waterproof protection, which is something you will only find in costly products. The aluminum spool provides impressive castability, which ensures high levels of precision. Also, the lines do not twist, and you will be able to cast with great accuracy.

My Verdict:

As it provides ten different versions, it is worth checking out. You can easily find the specifications that compliment your angling style.

The reel is perfect for situations where you don’t need completely sealed mechanisms. Some parts are waterproof, but the rest of the reel is relatively vulnerable.

Within given price, it would be hard to find such a competent product. It is an excellent performer and will serve you for many long years.

#4 – Piscifun Flame Spinning Reel

– Key Features

  • Ball bearings: 9 + 1
  • Gear ratio: 5.2:1
  • Reel sizes: 4
  • Max drag (lbs.): 13.2 to 19.8
  • Weight (oz): 8.5 to 13.2
  • Braid line capacity lbs./yd (2000, 3000, 4000, 5000,): 12/400, 25/290, 45/175, 60/165
  • Mono line capacity lbs./yd (2000, 3000, 4000, 5000,): 5/330, 11/195, 18/130, 30/110
  • Line retrieval (inches): 25.2 to 30.7

– Positives:

  • The handles provide a strong grip over the tool.
  • The reel looks stunning, and the colors are stylish.
  • It is compatible with braid lines.
  • The hollow graphite construction makes it very lightweight.
  • It comes in various sizes that work for various angling preferences.
  • The drag power is surprisingly amazing.
  • The performance is very smooth, all thanks to the abundance of ball bearings.

– Drawbacks:

  • It isn’t an ideal option for capturing very large fishes.
  • The casting distance is limited.
  • The anti-reverse mechanism has some structural flaws.

Piscifun proves that reels aren’t just about functionality, but also exquisite appearance. The name embodies the outlook of this piece of art — the red vibrant spool and the matte black frame. You will be thrilled to have this stunning instrument in your spinning reel arsenal, as it would be a great addition.

The body is ultra-lightweight because of hollow graphite construction. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned user, you will find it pretty easy to operate. Together the precision gear system and 10 ball bearings allow an insanely smooth performance, which makes the process fun rather than a hassle.

Moreover, Flame’s immense drag power delivers power to even wrestle with the mammoth sea monsters. You would just love how strong this gadget is against fishes of all sorts. It comes in various sizes, and you have one for every species.

My Verdict:

If you are looking for a reel that can catch small to medium fishes but is also easy to operate, Piscifun Flame will suit you. It has surprisingly amazing looks, including red and black hues that complement each other.

Above all, it is an economical spinning reel, and it would be difficult to find such an amazing instrument in this price range.

#5 – Penn Slammer III

– Key Features

  • Ball bearings: 7 + 1
  • IPX6 sealed system
  • Instant anti-reverse
  • Reel sizes: 10
  • 6500-10500 sizes have manual bail trip
  • 3500-5500 sizes have automatic bail trip
  • Drag Type: front drag
  • Max drag (lbs.): 30 to 50
  • Gear ratio range: 6.2:1, 5.6:1, 4.7:1, 4.2:1, 5.3:1
  • Reel spool material: heavy-duty aluminum
  • Reel handle position: left and right
  • Recovery rate (inches): 37 to 50
  • Mono Capacity yd/lb. (3500): 480/4 360/6 285/8
  • Braid Capacity yd/lb. (3500): 310/10 270/15 220/20

– Positives:

  • It is a rugged performer when it comes to heavy-duty fishing.
  • The performance is smooth and efficient.
  • It doesn’t allow water to reach the inner systems.
  • The handle has a firm grip, which goes for both left- and right-handed people.
  • It comes in various sizes, giving you a lot of options to match your needs.
  • It offers a range of gear ratios.

– Drawbacks:

  • It creates a faint but noticeable metal-rubbing sound, which is annoying.
  • It is slightly heavier than other models in the same price range.

With Pen Slammer III, there will be no reason to hold yourself back, considering its body is completely sealed. Since moisture can’t reach the internal system, it can handle the intense fishing game. Additionally, the side plates and full-metal construction adds up to its strength and rigidity.

In my opinion, what sets Penn apart from its competition is its drag capability. It features the robust Dura-Drag system — a similar feature found in one of the best professional reels. Even the smaller 3500 model provides a whopping 15kg pressure, which is impressive considering the small size. Whereas the more you move towards larger sizes, the pressure immensely increases.

Further, the eight high-quality ball bearings guarantee smooth performance and facile triumph over big fishes. The CNG gear system adds up to the value this reel brings in the overall experience.

My Verdict:

Whether you yearn for inshore or on-boat adventure, you will find Slammer III as a beau ideal of saltwater fishing reels. Most of the credit for its durability goes to the IPX6 sealed system, which acts as an impassable barrier for moisture.

Also, with Dura-Drag, quality ball bearings, and CNC gear tech, you can expect nothing but amazing performance. Therefore, it is accepted as a praiseworthy gadget for heavy-duty fishing all over the world.

#6 – Daiwa Saltist Spinning Reel

– Key Features

  • Ball bearings: 8 + 1
  • Waterproof ATD Carbon Drag System
  • Dynamic Cut ABS Aluminum spool
  • Mag sealed main shaft and line roller
  • Max drag (lbs.): 15 to 33
  • Reel sizes: 7
  • Gear ratio: 5.6:1, 5.7:1
  • Weight (oz.): 9.5 to 30
  • Line retrieve (inches): 33.2 to 53.3
  • Braid cap yds/lb. (2500): 15/190, 20/170, 30/120
  • Mono cap yds/lb. (2500): 6/210, 8/170, 10/140

– Positives:

  • The waterproof material enhances the overall durability.
  • The drag is powerful enough for big fishes.
  • The aluminum spool can handle rough use.
  • It comes in a range of different sizes.
  • It has good enough line capacity.
  • The reel is strong and highly durable.
  • The body and parts are resistant to corrosion.
  • It is a good option for saltwater fishing.

– Drawbacks:

  • The larger models are heavy and hard to operate.
  • It is on the expensive side of the spectrum.

When saltwater and dirt enter the reel’s body or motor, it leads to the instrument’s demise. But that won’t happen in the case of Saltist, given the fact that it is reinforced with Mags sealed main shaft and line roller. The magic lies in the magnetic oil, which deflects the water so efficiently that it wouldn’t be wrong to call this t waterproof.

Compared with other models we have discussed; the router design of this reel stands out with its smart engineering that reduces the weight by around 15%. As a result, it is much easier to operate and handle, making it desirable for anglers with all experience levels.

No matter how efficient your reel, if the systems aren’t protected from corrosion, it will not last for long. Thankfully, the ball bearings are resistant to corrosion, protecting against the harshness of saltwater. Plus, nine bearings ensure that you experience ultimate smoothness and ease during fishing sessions.

My Verdict:

As it reeks of quality, it won’t disappoint you. But the great durability and performance come at a steep price. It might be a little expensive, but in the end, the investment will be worth it.

If you are finding something lightweight, I suggest you stay away from higher models. Other than that, it is a great option, and you should not hesitate to purchase this masterpiece.

Best Saltwater Spinning Reels: The A-Z Buying Guide

While purchasing a fishing reel, there are tons of factors that weigh on one’s decision. They need to be addressed before progressing with a purchase. Plus, it can be prodigiously overwhelming when you have no prior experience. Here we have covered a few things that will help you get one of the best saltwater spinning reels.

More Reading:

Is It Braid Friendly?

Finding out whether your reel is braid-friendly or not is an important consideration, especially when you are trying to upskill your game. Remember, not all reels are braid-friendly, and the ones that are will have a rubber ring that surrounds the spool’s middle region — it is where the braided line grips tightly.

Showing an image of fishing reel

In the older versions, you may not find these features, considering they only supported mono-filament lines. The newer versions, on the other hand, have a specially tailored design, lip shape, and spool to support the more efficient braids.

Braid friendly reels are somewhat expensive, but it will pay off your investment fast with quality performance. You would be able to cast for considerably long distances and wrestle with colossal trophies that aren’t easy to capture. The added strength will surely take your fishing game to another level.

How Much Drag Do You Need?

Without a drag system, the lines will break every time you get into a rough fight with a hunt. It acts like a safety clutch that prevents the line from breaking under enormous tension. Therefore, while purchasing a quality saltwater fishing reel, you should know how much drag it offers.

image of Man fishing in the river

The drag you require depends on the application. For instance, if you are hunting down Tunas, the drag should be 33% or 1/3rd of the pound test or breaking the strength of the line. For a reel having 50 lbs. of monoline, the drag should be around 15 lbs.

Similarly, the drag differs for other species as well. For catching lake fishes such as trout, the drag as much as 8 lbs. would be enough. Whereas a majestic salmon would require a value between 11 to 17 lbs. You should, therefore, figure out the purpose first before determining the drag.

Is The Spool Quite Enough For Braid?

Finding out whether the spool is quite enough for the braid or not is a prerequisite when it comes to purchasing the right equipment. Too little braid will restrict your range, whereas too much will be prone to wind knots. Commonly, a spool having the capacity for 200 yards will suffice for various applications.

showing the image of a fishing reel along side the lake

However, if you are casting about a reel that helps you conquer great distances, then make sure the spool is enough for more than 200 yards of braided lines. Remember that overdoing will cause more trouble rather than providing you the benefits you seek.

For instance, the braid should always remain below the reel’s lip. Usually, anglers go for 1/16th of an inch level of the lip. In case it goes above the lip, it simply means that you have overdone it.

The Capacity

As the name vividly suggests, it is the peak capacity of the line’s length that the spool can accommodate without overburdening the space. Another thing that you must keep in mind is that a bigger diameter means more strength for the line, but it will occupy more space. For instance, 160 yds of 30 lb. line occupy the same space as 100 yds of 50 lbs. line or 120 yds of 40 lbs. test line.

Manufacturers usually list the capacities for braided as well as the monofilament lines, which makes choosing a piece of cake. The capacity of the former exceeds the latter’s because braided lines have a smaller diameter and stronger result. All thanks to the sturdiness and rigidity of the Spectra and Dacron material.

What Type Of Material Is Good For You?

How long will the equipment last? Is it easy to handle and carry around? Can it survive in the long onshore brawls with huge trophies? The answer lies in the material you choose for your fishing reel.

person trying to do fishing in the river

The two most common types of materials are used in this area — aluminum and graphite. The former has a reputation of solid performance and durability, where the latter is inherently lighter. For portability, ease of use, and hassle-free management, graphite would be a sensible option. However, if you want a reel that can withstand great pressure more brilliantly, then aluminum is preferable.

You don’t need to dwell in a dilemma just because you can’t decide between these two. Just go for a hybrid option — a reel having both aluminum and graphite parts. Hybrid reels usually have a graphite body, which keeps the frame light and an aluminum spool for the added strength.

Is The Fishing Reel Protected From Corrosion?

Saltwater wreaks havoc on unprotected reels and destroys them inside out, giving rise to corrosion. It acts as a persistent disease and not only halts the normal functionality of the system but also shortens the device’s lifespan. That is exactly why today’s saltwater reels are reinforced with protective layers and durable material that can withstand acute corrosion.

Showing how fishing reel looks after getting Carrosion
Image Credits: BocaBearings

You should go for any metal alloy, especially aluminum, if you want a reel that won’t wear out in a day. Make sure the internal systems are sealed, and the walls are lined with an anodized aluminum finish for enhanced protection.

Renowned manufacturers like Okuma and Alutecnos utilize tough aluminum alloy for the frame construction for corrosion resistance. What’s more, they also put up a fine aluminum finish to not only deflect the effects of saltwater but also protect the exterior from wear and tear.

What Type Of Material Is Good For You?

An anti-reverse switch comes in handy during your on-water skirmishes when the fish persistently fights back. This switch helps you reverse reel without relying only on the drag system for the retrieval. It can be manipulated by a simple switch, which is located just below the reel.

image of yellow fishing reel

While casting, the system should be frictionless to allow the lure to reach maximal distance. However, if any sort of grinding occurs, the line won’t easily come off. Thus, reducing the overall casting distance. That is where ball bearings come in and smoothen the process for effective performance.

They reduce friction and enhance the speed of the device, making casting easier. Without these friction-managing balls, it would be ten times harder to retrieve and cast the line. Remember, the greater number of bearings are present, the better and faster will be the performance. And that is exactly why we have chosen above the best saltwater spinning reels having many bearings.

How To Clean A Reel After Saltwater Fishing?

After a saltwater fishing trip, the equipment should be cleaned to prevent the salt from accumulating and damaging the instrument, which shortens its lifetime. To avoid such disappointment, continue reading to find out ways to clean the reel immaculately.

Experts recommend cleaning the reel right after a fishing session. That is primarily because the more time you leave the salt on, the higher will be the chances of surface damage. The situation will worsen if the salt manages to penetrate deep into the interior.

Here are a few steps to clean the saltwater fishing reel:

  • Step 1: To prevent the salty water from entering the interior, tighten up the drag.
  • Step 2: Take a towel and clean the surface carefully to remove any visible grime or salt.
  • Step 3: Rinse the equipment with soapy warm water. As a result, salt residue, dirt, oil, and lubrication will start to come off easily.
  • Step 4: Disassemble the spool if you can effectively clean the parts.
  • Step 5: To deal with places where your fingers can’t reach, use a cotton tip.
  • Step 6: In the end, spray the body with water pressure to wash away scrapped salt and residue.

After you are done cleaning, remove the excess water using a dry towel, or you can leave the device to air dry. Now, use the company-recommended lubricant in different places for a smooth performing system. Put the lubricant everywhere according to the instructions given in the manual.

Final Verdict:

Say farewell to hours of non-stop research as with the guide that I’ve provided, the best saltwater fishing reels are at your fingertips. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, there is everything for everyone, covering the needs of various angler skill levels and styles.

Out of all the marvelous items, the product that stands on top of the list is KastKing Sharky III. The reason I picked it as the best is the incredibly smooth performance, decent casting range, high precision, and impressive durability. Undoubtedly, it will provide you with many bangs for your buck.

Also, don’t forget to scrutinize the small buying guide, which is the key to purchasing a glorious saltwater spinning reel.

Frequently Asked Questions

#1 – What Is The Best Spinning Reel For Saltwater?

All of the aforementioned products qualify to be called best spinning reel, but one stands out in terms of performance — KastKing Sharky III. It is designed to provide ultra-smooth processes along with a pretty decent casting range. It will, without a doubt, complete your fishing reel collection.

#2 – What Is the Best Saltwater Spinning Reel For The Money?

Considering the range of features it offers, Piscifun Flame Spinning Reel is the best spinning reel for money — not to forget, it looks stunning, and it would be nearly impossible to find such visual appeal in the given price tag.

#3 – Is Shimano Stradic a Saltwater Reel?

No doubt, it is a saltwater reel and a spectacular one. Shimano Stradic is setting a new bar of competition in the market with its splendid performance and an astonishingly low price. It is indeed a force to be reckoned with.

#4 – Can I Use A Freshwater Reel in Saltwater?

As mentioned repeatedly above, saltwater ravages unprotected reels. So, unless your freshwater reel carries anti-corrosion features and sealed bearings, you should avoid using it in saltwater at all costs.

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  • Since 2009 I've been writing on different media portals about fishing. Here on this website, it's time to share those experiences I've witnessed in my entire life so far. Let me help you get the best stuff you need while fishing.

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