Let’s face it, not everyone is a saltwater angler. That’s even truer if someone is actually getting into fishing for the first time. It’s not a good idea to jump on a boat and head to the middle of the sea to stack up your boat with some sea monsters! That simply doesn’t work for someone who is kicking off the fishing journey.
So, freshwater it is! The best way to have a great start. But do you need to buy expensive reels that are meant for saltwater? Well, not actually. Most makers do have a line of reels that are actually meant for freshwater with a cheaper price tag. If you are low on your budget and looking for the best freshwater spinning reel under $100, well, you are where you should be!
Let’s find out the best choices that we have picked for you!
Quick Reviews: Best Freshwater Spinning Reels Under $100
Got no time? Here’s a quick review of what we have covered.
1. Editor’s Pick: Daiwa Df100A Giant Spin Reel 3.4:1 1Bb 30Lb/320Yd
“A superior piece of the reel with a great line capacity and smoothness for fishing in the saltwater”
2. Best Durable: Pflueger President Spinning Fishing Reel
“Made from graphite material, this one is the synonym of durability even under a $100 budget.”
3. Best Gear Ratio: Lew’s Mach 2 Spinning Reel
“With 6.2:1 gear ratio in place, this one offers the smoothest of reeling and casting experience for any angler,”
4. Best Overall: Tempo Apex Spinning Reel
“This highly advanced spinning reel boasts of its bearings and aircraft-graded build quality at a premium price.”
5. Best Lightweight: Tempo Spinning Reel- Vertix-2000 Fishing Reel
“Having all the excellent facilities of a spinning reel at an amazing weight is going to be a game-changer for most new anglers!”
>>What To Expect From A $100 Spinning Reel?
Weight: The weight of the reel at this price point will be a bit heavier. Why? Well, to cut the budget short, the materials that the makers use will not be quite optimized to reduce weight. So, it will be a bit heavy.
More Plastic: Yes, again, to cut the price, not all the parts will be steel or aluminum. You must expect some parts to be made from plastic. However, you can still find some that don’t use plastic at all, but you have to keep a sharp eye for that.
No Spare Spool: To be on the budget, most spinning reel packages will not come with a separate spool just in case. However, these spools will be braid-ready, which is a sigh of relief.
Unsealed Components: To save cost, most spinning reels will come with no sealing for different components. So, you better be careful in using the reels in the water and try not to dip them in the water every now and then.
Top 5 Best Freshwater Spinning Reel Under $100 Reviews
We took our time to analyze the available options from the sea of spinning reels out there. After spending hours of reviewing and scrutiny, these are the 5 spinning reels that we have found worth your bucks. Keep reading till the end!
1. Daiwa Df100A Giant Spin Reel 3.4:1 1Bb 30Lb/320Yd
As you can tell, we are starting off with a Giant Spin Reel. The Daiwa Df100A is pretty famous among fishers who are particularly in favor of spinning reels. The giant size has got something to do with it.
That means this huge size comes with a lot of benefits. Like you can easily handle it with your hands without any chance of slipping off.
Then again, the entire piece is crafted from durable material so that you can pick up some of the most rebellious fishes from the water. Thanks to its multi-drag system, it’s no big deal for this giant fellow.
What We Like
(+) Oversized Design
As we have discussed, the oversize design comes as a blessing for this. Apart from smooth handling, this giant size helps the reel to house more lines than its counterparts. So, that puts you in a very comfortable position if you are catching big fishes.
(+) 7 Ball Bearings
It has 6+1 ball bearings to smoothly rotate the inner parts. This makes sure nothing gets stuck in the middle of your drag or cast, and you end up getting the biggest beast out there. Plus, these bearings are made from stainless steel for long-term reliability, too.
(+) Build Quality
The body of the reel is crafted from durable stainless steel. This tells you how durable it can be for long-term use. Then again, the spool is made from aluminum which is fully anodized. This means even if you are using it frequently for a long time, you won’t have to deal with corrosion.
Keep In Mind
Well, yes, being a giant reel, it has its own baggage. It is a bit heavy when you are operating for a long time. So, that’s a trade-off for better performance.
This Is Good For
If you are looking for a smooth reel that is easy to handle and loads a lot of lines, you can easily pick this one up.
2. Pflueger President Spinning Fishing Reel
From a heavyweight device to a lightweight solution, we present the Pflueger President spinning reel. Made from pure and solid graphite, the reel is equally lightweight and durable. You can put your trust in this for durability and rust-free construction. Then again, it has 7 bearings inside to allow smooth movement of the interior.
Being always lubricated, the reel makes it pretty easy for you to fish on some of the heaviest fishes in the water. Thanks to its sealed drag system, the improved mechanism helps it to achieve the hardest result.
What We Like
(+) Strong Build Quality
The entire frame of this reel is made from strong and lightweight graphite. On the one hand, you have superior durability and build quality; on the other hand, you can enjoy a lightweight experience while you are fishing.
(+) 7 Bearing System
Apart from the fact that it’s quite lightweight and enjoyable to use, the reel also offers smooth operation. This is possible because of its excellent ball-bearing system. The 7 ball bearings inside the reel help the internal mechanism run smoothly.
(+) Slow Oscillating Gearing
A significant feature of the reel is its slow oscillating gearing system. This eventually makes it smooth for the line to shoot out of the spool, and it also reduces the chance of a backlash.
Keep In Mind
(-) A Bit Noisy
It makes a bit of grinding noise while retrieving. So, if you are not really a fan of listening to this noise, this will be a bit irritating.
This Is Good For
Being made from graphite, this one promises durability and strength. If you are looking for something reliable on a long-term basis, this one is it.
3. Lew’s Mach 2 Spinning Reel
There’s no way we could ignore a spinning reel from Lew’s when it comes to picking up a reel under 100 bucks. The Mach 2 spinning reel is just the perfect one that fits the category. With a 10 bearing system, no wonder this one offers an extraordinary feeling of smoothness for your fishing experience.
Moreover, the gear system comes with an excellent ratio of 6.2:1 that allows effortless reeling out. Supported by a durable aluminum build-up, the Mach 2 spinning reel is the right choice for a heavy-duty fishing endeavor.
What We Like
(+) 10 Bearing System
The first thing that impressed us about this spinning reel is its 10 bearing system. Usually, at this price range, the bearing count comes lower at around 6 or 7. Having 10 stainless steel bearings inside puts it in a more comfortable position to deliver better smoothness.
(+) Comfortable Handle
The handle on this device is an excellent one. It’s crafted from aluminum and covered with an advanced polymer Dri-Tac knob. So, you can feel the comfort while holding it for a long time. It reduces fatigue, too.
(+) Strong Skeleton
Built from high-quality aluminum, the body and the side plate of the reel are quite strong. If you are using it at random without taking proper care, it still will withstand the pressure and impact very easily.
Keep In Mind
(-) Loud Device
The casting and retrieving do make a bit of a loud sound. It’s not going to be a soothing experience if there’s silence around you.
This Is Good For
Its 10 bearing system, with the help of an excellent 6.2:1 gear ratio, builds an impressive system of smooth casting and reeling. At a budgeted price tag, this one is a wise choice for many.
4. Tempo Apex Spinning Reel
There comes a time when you need to be prepared for the worst. Having a well-functional fishing gear set is such an example. If you can ensure that you are equipped with the best possible fishing reel, you are ready to accept any challenge ahead. Owning a Tempo Apex spinning reel exactly reflects that philosophy.
Being made from exceptionally superior material, the Tempo Apex spinning reel is one of the strongest reels we have reviewed so far. Coupled with the Japanese high-quality ball bearing system, the device has become a masterpiece for any angler.
What We Like
(+) 11 Bearing System
10+1, that’s how the 11 bearing system works on this device. You can count on the bearings that ensure that each and every part of the reel is working in a simultaneous and harmonic way to offer the best possible casting and retrieving experience.
(+) Strong Build Quality
Crafting the reel’s structure from aircraft-grade aluminum was a bold decision from Tempo. They have nailed it in this case, as this one is pretty durable and rugged. So, no matter how many times a week you are planning on fishing, this is your betting horse.
(+) Superior Drag Force
Not so surprisingly, the spinning reel features an amazing drag system that delivers the maximum retrieval experience. You can pull up to 39 pounds of weight from the water with the help of this useful drag force.
Keep In Mind
(-) Premium Price
Yes, the features are awesome and mind-boggling, but it comes with a premium price tag that must be considered before picking it up.
This Is Good For
Made from aircraft-grade aluminum surely puts it way ahead of its competition. Then again, the 11 Japanese ball-bearing system ensures proper movement of inner parts. If you have the budget, it’s definitely the one you should go for.
5. Tempo Spinning Reel- Vertix-2000 Fishing Reel
Finally, we have the lightest freshwater spinning reel on our list to wrap our reviews up. By lightweight, we actually mean it. Even though the device is crafted from high-quality and seemingly heavyweight graphite, it actually weighs only 7 ounces. Holding it in your hands won’t feel like a thing, but when it comes to dragging some beasts, it feels like a masterpiece.
Then again, the rubber handle will make it even more comfortable for you. Its anti-sleep design allows you to get the most convenient grip possible. Plus, its break-ready machined aluminum spool also takes special care of line-slipping. Overall, this is a deal-breaker for any angler.
What We Like
(+) Lightweight Design
To be exact, the device weighs just 6.7 ounces. However, it hasn’t sacrificed any of its superior build quality to achieve that. It’s totally made from light graphite. Both the frame and the side plate are purely built from the same quality of graphite for the best output.
(+) 11 Ball Bearings
As for the bearings inside, there are exactly 11 (10+1) ball bearings. These are super smooth bearings that are built from stainless steel material to ensure maximum smoothness. No rust and no corrosion to worry about.
(+) Optimum Gear Ratio
Gear ratio plays a vital role in allowing top-class drag and cast. That’s why this one, even being a lightweight option, comes with a higher gear ratio of 6.2:1. It’s super easy to reel out the line and drag in some of the toughest and heaviest fishes in the water!
Keep In Mind
(-) Match The Rod
As the reel is quite lightweight, it may not be suitable to use with a heavy rod. You may need to check if the rod you are using fits perfectly with the reel, in the case of ergonomics.
This Is Good For
The fact that it’s impressively lightweight makes it an ideal choice for most anglers – newbies and experts alike. If you are looking for a comfortable fishing solution, this one is a good fit.
Maintenance Tips for Spinning Reels
It’s not just getting a spinning reel and using it without taking care of it. You must ensure that you are running proper maintenance of the reel to keep it performing the best. Here are some quick tips for maintenance.
- Remove the handle and the cap slowly and in a soft manner. Don’t put pressure on it. Slowly loosen it up and then open the cap.
- Apply reel oil drop on different bearings. Don’t overdo it; make it simple and quick.
- Slowly remove the side plate by unscrewing the 3 or 4 screws on it. Pour oil drop on the gears and pinions.
- Take a scoop of grease on a screwdriver tip and apply it to the gear
- Don’t take out the gears from their place.
- Apply a drop of grease to the spool shaft.
- Try to apply oil drop on each of the bail attachments of the spool.
Try to follow these steps every time you are taking care of the reel. It will make sure that the reel will last longer than you expect.
What To Look For Before Buying a Freshwater Spinning Reel Under 100 Dollar?
Okay, as you are really into buying the best freshwater spinning reel under $100, you need to be careful about the features and prospects of the reel. Here, we are going to point out some of the issues that you should be very careful about when buying such a spinning reel.
This is no brainer that you need to check the price tag first. As you are on a budget and don’t plan to spend more than 100 bucks for the reel, it’s a wise move to filter out the options that come with more than 100 bucks price tags. So, check the price before even going into details.
The Drag System
No matter how much you are spending on a reel, the drag system must not be off-track. It’s the power that you need to pull the fish out of the pool. A multi-disc drag system is going to be the perfect suit for any kind of fish on any water. From small to even monster fishes – a multi-disc drag system can take care of all.
Check the drag capacity first. Anything that goes beyond 15 pounds should be considered for freshwater.
Check the line capacity of the reel before you make a purchase. Spinning reels come in two different line capacities – braided and monofilament. If you are using the braided one, it will have a lower diameter but with a greater level of strength.
And generally, the larger the spool, the more lines it can accommodate. So, the more lines you have on the spool, the better chance is that you can cast it further away than you can. It’s not really a requirement, but it’s always great to have provision.
As freshwater reels under 100 bucks won’t be using high-quality alloy materials, it won’t be that lightweight. However, it’s not that you won’t find a combination of aluminum and plastic that can come under a decent weight count. So, try to find the best combination that offers a lightweight formation.
Bearings are the key components that work inside the reel to keep the inner parts moving. Unless the inner parts are moving in an effortless format, you won’t be getting the traction and smoothness you are looking for. So, the rule of thumb is, the more bearings inside, the better it is. Plus, look for a reel that has stainless steel ball bearings. This will reduce the chance of rust and corrosion.
Gear ratio refers to how many rotations the spool will make if you are rotating the handle for once. So, the more it turns, the faster and easier the casting and retrieving will be. So, take your time to analyze the gear ratio offered by different reels and pick the one that suits your deal best. It’s safer to go for any ratio from 5:1 to 6.5:1.
Often overlooked, a handle is one of the key components of a spinning reel. Don’t go for the reels that offer a small handle that you can’t grab with your hand. Oversized handles with comfortable padding are going to be the most convenient for you. It won’t slip while you are in an intensive reeling job, making it safer than the ones that occasionally slip due to uncomfortable covering.
Frequently Asked Questions- FAQ
Q1. What is the best freshwater spinning reel on the market?
Ans. Depending on your budget, the best choice may vary. However, if you are not really into spending more than 100 bucks, the Tempo Apex Spinning Reel should be a good candidate for this place. However, the other four reels that we have reviewed here can also be considered for their brilliant build-up and performance.
Q2. What is the best cheap spinning reel for freshwater?
Ans. According to our reviews, the Tempo Vertix 2000 is the best option if you are looking for a cheap freshwater reel. You can grab it easily for under 30 bucks, and it offers great fishing support with an amazing gear ratio.
Q3. Can I use a freshwater reel in saltwater?
Ans. On a broader note, yes, you can use a freshwater reel in saltwater. However, it will be great if you can limit the use. Meaning, if you are not too frequent in using a freshwater reel in saltwater, it will be better. The fact is, a freshwater reel isn’t really made to last or withstand saltwater. So, even though it can support a lot in the saltwater, it’s best to avoid using it anywhere else other than freshwater.
Q4. How long will a freshwater reel last in saltwater?
Ans. There’s no clear-cut timeline that you can refer to for a freshwater reel to last in the saltwater, but it’s not the best practice. So, it may or may not survive a few months of rigorous use in saltwater. So, unless you have spent a minimum amount on your freshwater reel, it will be wise to keep it away from saltwater at any point.
Q5. What is the difference between saltwater and freshwater reels?
Ans. The first and foremost difference between a saltwater reel and a freshwater reel is the fact that a saltwater reel is made for use in saltwater. On the other hand, a freshwater reel is, obviously, designed to be used in freshwater.
The other differences are the build quality, gear ratio, sealed components, lines, and cost. Saltwater reels are built with superior materials like heavy-duty alloy to withstand corrosion and rust. Then again, there are a few sealed components that guard the parts against dipping into the water. Plus, these reels use heavier lines to catch heavier fish.
On the other hand, freshwater reels use fairly regular materials and come with fewer sealed parts. As for the line, freshwater reels use lighter lines. As for the cost, these reels cost less than saltwater reels.
Q6. Are spinning reels good for bass fishing?
Ans. The answer is yes; spinning reels do actually prove to be a better option for bass fishing at some point. For instance, when the bass is locked to a smaller bait, a spinning reel should be an ideal one to catch the bass at that point.
A hundred-dollar budget is not that low, actually. You can actually find most of the cheapest options out there fall under the 50 bucks price range, and they do perform great for a beginner. So, if you are looking for the best freshwater spinning reel under $100, it’s pretty evident that you are going to end up picking one of the most promising and functional reels from the available options.
We hope our suggestions would make it easier for you to pick up your reel. However, if you are in a fix and want to make a decision ASAP, we would suggest you pick the Tempo Apex Spinning Reel. Its aircraft-grade build quality and Japanese-made bearings are going to make your fishing experience a smooth one. It’s durable, it’s smooth, and it’s pretty lightweight, too! Happy fishing!