Best Fishing Reels to buy in 2023 – A complete guide

We understand that everybody who is reading this post might not have enough time to read a detailed review. Therefore, we have created a list of the best fishing reels you can buy in 2023, in case you are not fond of reading an in-depth review. Below is the list of best fishing reels to buy in 2️023:

  • Best Spinning Reel: Daiwa Ballistic LT
  • Budget Spinning Reel: Shimano Sienna FG
  • Best Fly Reel: Orvis Hydros
  • Budget Fly Reel: Redington Behemoth
  • Big-fish Fly Reel: Redington Grande
  • Best Casting Reel: Abu Garcia Revo EXD
  • Budget Casting Reel: Abu Garcia Black Max Low Profile

Fishing Reels Evolution

It was in 1195 AD that the fishing reel was first depicted in a painting by a Chinese artist, Ma Yuan. However, literary evidence suggests that fishing reels were in use even in theTyp 4th Century AD. Almost after 1700 years, fishing reels are still widely used today, albeit with improved design and performance. The advancement in technology has enabled fishing gear manufacturers to come up with better fishing reels every year. 21st-century fishing reels are lightweight and designed for best performance. Chronic Fishing has compiled a list of the best fishing reels suggested by the experts that you can buy in 2021 to make sure your fishing experience goes smoothly this weekend. We have included a brief buying guide with each product as well. Let’s find out if your favourite fishing reel can make it to our list of best fishing reels.

Types of Fishing Reels

When it comes to reels, there are three common types -fly, spinning, and casting. These reels are matched with their corresponding rod styles. Although there are many differences among these 3 types, we’ll only mention the basics here.

Spinning reels are generally easy to operate. They have a fixed spool around which gear is placed.

The 2nd type is the Baitcasting Reel. Unlike spinning reels, baitcasting reels contain a revolving spool, faced upwards. There is some thumb work required to properly operate this kind of reel. However, with enough practice, one can master it. The prime advantage of this reel is that it has high accuracy when it comes to casting. Moreover, it can allow the use of heavier lines. This reel is perfect for hunting heavier fishes that cause considerable trouble when hunted with a spinning reel.

The 3rd and final type is Fly Reels which are on a next level when it comes to accuracy and performance. These reels are very efficient in holding line and exerting drag. The capacity of a fly reel depends on its arbour size. If the arbour and spool of a fly reel are large, you can retrieve more lines with a single rotation of the handle. These reels are used mostly by professionals for hunting bigger fishes that require larger arbours.

Best Spinning Reel: Daiwa Ballistic LT 


Daiwa Ballistic LT is a lightweight reel designed for both freshwater and saltwater. It comes in 7 models ranging from 1000 to 6000 sizes with all of them having a pretty smooth drag. The 2500 size aluminium reel weighs around 6 ounces and is perfect for a smooth fishing experience.

Price: $258.00 on Amazon

The Pros:

  • Lightweight and durable Reel
  • Smooth drag experience 
  • Works in both freshwater and saltwater
  • Corrosion Resistant

The Cons:

  • High prices may deter some buyers.

Features & Specifications: 

  • ATD Drag
  • MAGSEALED – decreases entry of debris and water down the shaft
  • 7-Bearing System 1-CRBB, 5-BB and 1BB
  • Line Capacity (Lb. Test / Yards)-MONO: 4/250, 6/160, J-BRAID: 6/320, 8/200
  • ZAION Housing LT Concept- very light yet very strong

Best Budget Spinning Reel: Shimano Sienna FG


Shimano Sienna FG is the best budget option available out there when it comes to spinning reels. Although it weighs around 11 ounces, it still is a very good option because you can use it for a couple of years without any problem. Moreover, the low price makes it the best value-for-money option in spinning reels.

Price: $36.95 on Amazon

The Pros:

  • Good value for money
  • Excellent line control
  • Instant Anti Reverse

The Cons:

  • Low casting accuracy

Features & Specifications :

  • Made from long-lasting and durable material
  • Reel gives high performance and is well balanced.
  • Reduced wind knots owing to excellent line control
  • Longer casting distances due to propulsion spool lip design
  • Super Stopper II for instant anti-reverse with no back play

Best Fly Reel: Orvis Hydros


Choosing the best overall fly reel is not an easy task as there are a couple of nice options available. However, we consider Orvis Hydros the best fly reel considering its build quality and performance. Moreover, it costs way less than its competitors in the fly reels category. It is available in 5 sizes and weights between 4.7 pounds and 7.7 pounds. The standout feature of this fly reel is its drag setting which is way better than the pricier options available in the category of spinning reels.

Price: $198 on Amazon

The Pros:

  • Great build quality
  • Excellent line retrieval
  • Lightweight & Durable
  • Smooth Drag

The Cons:

  • Price might be a deal breaker for some buyers

Features & Specifications:

  • Drag clutch bearing is fully-sealed
  • The drag knob is easy to use and ergonomically improved
  • Line retrieval rate is excellent
  • Comes with a large and lightweight arbour
  • Zero start-up inertia
  • Radiused reel foot with kink-free leader protection

Best Budget Fly Reel: Redington Behemoth


If you are looking for a cheaper option in fly reels, then Redington Behemoth is what you need. Although it is a budget fly reel, its disc-drag system allows it to perform exceptionally well. The only drawback of this fly reel is that its drag system is not sealed. Therefore, you need to be extra cautious to prevent this fly reel from getting rusted while using it in saltwater. If you can do this extra effort, then Redington Behemoth is the best budget fly reel you can buy in 2023.

Price: $88.72 on Amazon

The Pros:

  • Excellent disc-drag system
  • Build quality is exceptional in this price tag.
  • Both left hand and right hand retrieval
  • Smooth drag
  • Great option under $100
  • Good performance 

The Cons:

  • Not ideal for saltwater

Features & Specifications:

  • A unique, nonmachinable die-cast construction 
  • Fast line retrieval with large arbour design
  • Easy conversion between left and right hand retrieval 
  • Easily adjustable and oversized drag knob

Best Big Fish Fly Reel: Redington Grande


Normal fly reels don’t work well when used to hook big fish as it requires some serious power. Most of the big fish fly reels cost at least 500$. However, we have chosen a budget option for you which will not disappoint you while hooking big fish. With aluminium construction, Redington Grande’s carbon fibre drag system will provide you a smooth fishing experience, that too under 500 bucks. Moreover, its carbon fibre drag system is fully sealed which will make sure that it doesn’t get corroded when used in saltwater. A 50 pounds drag pressure is all you need to win the big fish game.

Price: $309.80 on Amazon

The Pros:

  • Ideal for big-game fish
  • Great Drag Pressure
  • Durability
  • Corrosion protection
  • Ideal for saltwater
  • Great Performance
  • Excellent line retrieval

The Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Overkill for occasional anglers

Features & Specifications:

  • Super-Torque drag system made from carbon fibre is fully sealed thereby providing a smooth drag
  • V-spool comes with a backing canal arbour to avoid line stacking
  • Great build quality with CNC machined Aluminium construction 
  • Reel foot position is carefully optimised to minimise twisting of rod, and comes with a unique, rounded finish for the protection of leader/line when stowed 
  • An oversized palming rim to increase the drag and rigidity of the spool.

Best Casting Reel: Abu Garcia Revo EXD


When it comes to casting reels, Abu Garcia Revo EXD is on top of our list.

Although it might cost a little more than its competitors in casting reels, it certainly is good value for money. The Revo EXD provides you with 20 pounds of drag which is enough for a smooth fishing experience. It weighs around 7 ounces and contains 11 corrosion-resistant bearings. Yes, the price is high, but so is the quality.

Price: $374.40 on Amazon

The Pros:

  • Portable and compact option
  • Lightweight
  • Smooth drag application
  • Great build quality

The Cons:

  • High price tag

Features & Specifications:

  • Comes with 2 exd bearings in key places
  • C6 carbon side plates to reduce weight without compromising strength or durability.
  • 10 stainless steel HPCR bearings and 1 roller bearing to provide corrosion resistance
  • X2-craftic alloy frame to give corrosion protection
  • Carbon matrix drag system makes sure a smooth drag is applied throughout the drag range

Best Budget Casting Reel: Abu Garcia Black Max Low Profile


If you are looking for a cheaper option in casting reels, then Abu Garcia Black Max Low Profile is for you. The standout feature of this low cost casting reel is its one-piece graphite frame. Moreover, it is relatively easy to use as well which makes it a good option for beginners.

Price: $51.98 on Amazon

The Pros:

  • Low price
  • Beginner friendly
  • Ergonomic handle grip
  • Good casting accuracy

The Cons:

  • Compromise on durability
  • Not ideal for hard-fighting fish.

Features & Specifications: 

  • 4 stainless steel ball bearings
  • Increased range and casting accuracy of reel due to MagTrax brake system
  • Lightweight reel with one-piece graphite frame and side plates.
  • Compact bent handle and recessed reel to ensure an ergonomic grip.

Our Selection Criteria for best fishing reels

We have selected the best fishing reels based on five parameters: features, operation, line control, construction quality and versatility. Let’s explore these parameters a little.

Fishing Reel Features:

The first thing most of the buyers look for in a fishing reel are its features, and therefore it is also our first parameter to rank fishing reels.

Different fishing reels have different features in them. However, the features we mostly look for in a reel are automatic bail, the ergonomic grip of the handle, and instant stop reverse. We are not implying that you cannot fish without these features in your fishing reel. You certainly can. However, these features do give you an upper hand and make your fishing experience a lot smoother.

Another aspect we look at is whether these features benefit the operation of your fishing reel. It is quite possible that a fishing reel might have all the cool features and still give you a terrible fishing experience due to some design flaw.

Fishing Reel’s operation:

After looking at a fishing reel’s features, the next most important thing to look into is its operation. As discussed above, some fishing reels with all good features still do not perform up to the task. Therefore, looking at a fishing reel’s performance in the field is of prime importance. Drag control, casting and line retrieval are few important things we focus on when ranking fishing reels. If the fishing reel has good range and it is easy to apply drag force with precision, then we consider the operation of a fishing reel to be good. Ball roller and internal gear system gives a fair idea about the line retrieval system. Similarly, spool’s design plays an important role in determining the casting performance of a fishing reel.

All these factors when combined give an idea of how good or bad a reel might perform.

Fishing Reel’s Line Control:

After looking at a fishing reel’s features and operation, the next thing we need to look at is its line control. Seasoned anglers are not fond of line twisting. It is pertinent to mention here that good line control does not mean that knots will never occur. However, a fishing reel with good line control will minimise these knots to give you a smooth fishing experience.

Fishing Reel’s Construction:

A fishing reel’s build quality is the most overlooked parameter when people buy a fishing reel. Durability of a fishing reel is largely dependent on its construction materials. Moreover, if the construction materials are lighter and stronger like aluminium, for example, then performance of such a fishing reel is considerably enhanced. You can rely on such a fishing reel for a smooth fishing  experience for years to come.


There is no perfect reel out there. Different anglers have different requirements depending on the environment they are fishing in. For instance, a fishing reel that works just fine in fresh water might get corroded when used in saltwater. Similarly, every fishing reel is not suitable to catch hard-fighting fishes.  So, you have to choose the best fishing reel for yourself keeping in view your fishing environment and personal preferences. We can only help you decide that. If you think we have missed any reel that should have made it to our list of best fishing reels, please do leave a comment below and share your experience with us.






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