Without a doubt, a spinning reel is one of the most essential things you need for a fishing trip.
This is the case for people going fishing in all sorts of environments, from ocean fishing to lakes, and for all sorts of weather conditions.
A lot of modern fishing equipment can get pretty expensive though, so what’s an angler to do?
There are so many great spinning reels out there and some are at really big prices. However, you’ll be happy to know that there are some hidden gems out there under the $50 mark.
In this article, we’ll dive into some of the best spinning reels out there under $50, along with a handy buyer’s guide that will show you how to choose a good quality spinning reel on a budget.
In a hurry? This one’s a reel catch!
Best Spinning Reels Under $50 - Comparison Table
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Best Spinning Reels Under $50 - Reviews
The KastKing Megatron is one of the most durable spinning reels on this list with an impressive drag to boot, and thankfully you’ll get all of that under $50.
A big catch? We think so!
The spinning reel has a massive 33 pounds drag capacity, so it’s great if you’re likely to be fishing in an area where the fish are particularly large. Even if you’re not in one of those areas, you never know when you may encounter a big fish! It’s also got an anti-reverse handle, which is particularly handy.
It offers good casting action, coming equipped with 8 bearings overall. These bearings are made of a durable hard-wearing steel that will last a long time, travelling with you from lake to river for years to come.
Better yet? If you’re a sea fishing connoisseur, then you needn’t worry - the KastKing Megatron 3000 is suitable for saltwater and freshwater alike.
The frame of the spinning reel is made with aluminum, which should highlight to you the amount of durability and robustness that this reel can offer. It’s smooth to use, and you can fit the cranking handles to either the right or left, which is ideal for those of us out there that aren’t ambidextrous!
The gears inside of the reel are made of machined alloy for the primary gear, and this is joined with brass pinion gear, which adds to the smooth usability of the device.
It also comes highly recommended by a plethora of fisherman across the globe, so what are you waiting for?
There is a lot of fantastic fishing equipment to choose from in the SHIMANO range, and the Sienna SN4000FE is a testament to the great quality fishing gear they provide.
The reel is very affordable for those on a budget and it’s also super strong too, what more could you possibly want?
The reel comes with an anti-reverse system, stopping the reel from moving backwards and causing the line to have any issues. This helps to create a seamless fishing experience that you will surely enjoy.
The reel can be used in a range of different environments including saltwater, and it’s designed with anti-fatigue features that will allow you to go fishing for hours on end without any problems.
The reel only comes with two bearings, but despite this it’s also very easy and smooth to use, with a fantastic value for money.
If you struggle with holding your rod for hours on end, the Pflueger Trion Tri20x is sure to be a huge asset to you. It’s incredibly lightweight weighing as little as 5.9 ounces. It’s very portable for this reason.
It’s very smooth to use as a result of its 6 steel ball bearing system, which is also very durable and adds to the ease of use.
It’s made of graphite and is very durable, despite the materials weighing so little. It comes with an aluminum spool too, and an aluminum handle.
The only issue with this spinning reel is that it’s not got a lot of drag capacity so it’s better suited to smaller fish. It’s not ideal for larger fish.
If this is not an issue to you, then this is more than adequate for a good price point.
The Piscifun Flame Spinning Reel 5000 is a smooth operator that is made of a rather unique design. It comes with a whole bunch of fantastic features that we are quite certain you will adore.
This is one of the smoothest options on this list, with a total of 9 ball bearings, and an additional roller bearing that makes it even smoother.
It’s very lightweight at only 10 ounces and yet it’s still long lasting and durable, coming with a brass pinion gear and some triple washers. It’s also got a pretty impressive drag capacity too, so it’s ideal for netting larger fish.
The Piscifun Flame Spinning Reel 5000 is a wonderful budget pick that still has a lot of character and quality. It comes with a braid-read spool too which is a huge upside.
It’s more suited to freshwater fishing, but if you don’t go to saltwater areas often then it’s not a huge problem.
The KastKing Lancelot is definitely a good pick for you if you want to keep your budget tight. This price on this spinning reel is pretty deceiving, as it offers a whole lot more than its low price tag would have you believe.
The reel comes with a good quality aluminum spool, and it also has an anti-reverse system. The handle is reversible and you can cater it to whatever side your dominant hand is on, left or right.
It comes with a fairly decent drag capability that can go up to 17.5 pounds, so you can use it for fishing trout and bass. The spinning reel comes with five steel ball bearings in total that make it incredibly smooth to use, and it has a feature called a line keeper that helps you to fasten the line to the reel once you’ve sorted out your bait.
Though it’s not got quite as many features as some of the other spinning reels on this list, the KastKing Lancelot is still absolutely a solid option that will give you a lot of value for money.
It’s also ideal if you’re just starting out and don’t want to spend a fortune on fishing gear as you’re just testing the waters.
Best Spinning Reels Under $50 - Buyers Guide
There are so many things to consider and so many options out there for spinning reels, so it’s ultra important that you choose a reel that will work well for you and your individual needs.
Things like the reel’s design, and the features it includes can all determine how a reel performs. Also consider the types of fish that you’re going to be trying to catch as this will also change what you buy.
What your gear is made out of is especially important. They can change how durable the reel is and how strong it is. Metals usually help with giving extra power and tend to last the longest, and will allow you to catch large fish like catfish, some northern fishes and smaller fish like tuna.
Plastic reels are better for catching small fishes but they don’t last a super long time. Also, if you’re fishing in saltwater, you should buy reels that don’t corrode as saltwater can cause some big damage to your reels otherwise.
An anti-reverse handle is a good idea as it will stop the spinning reel from going back, and it makes sure the fish doesn’t escape. It’s especially useful for fighting the tougher fishes and it means the handle doesn’t jerk about which is very beneficial.
If you’re primarily fishing for larger fish then this will be very beneficial to you.
A good spinning reel should be able to cope with the pressure when you hook even a behemoth of a fish. Your spinning reel should be able to put up a big fight, especially if it’s for saltwater fishing as in this case you’re more likely to hook a bigger fish.
The standard gear ratio is usually 5:1. The ratio determines how quickly you can get your line back when you cast it and the level of power. For example, a 6:1 ratio will allow you to get your line back fairly quickly.
Lower ratios like a 4:1 provide a bit more power when you’re trying to net those larger catches, but they’re usually much slower with trying to retrieve the line when it can put a lot of physical strain on you and make you feel more tired.
A good line retrieval rate is especially important too and the number can be vastly different on each spinning reel.
The smoothness of your reel depends on the quality and amount of ball bearings that the reel has. Usually, the more ball bearings that the reel has the more smooth it will be to use.
It’s best to use a steel bearing system that can resist corrosion even in saltwater.
How heavy your reel is will determine how comfortable you are for the experience. For example, more lightweight reels are much easier to hold for hours on end while you’re waiting for that large catch. A lightweight reel is ideally what you should be aiming for in this sense, but you shouldn’t just choose something lightweight at the expense of a good quality reel.
Make sure the reel is durable but made of more lightweight materials such as graphite, as this will ensure that it’s both lightweight and strong. You should also consider how the reel can handle extra weight on the fishing line. You need to make sure that your fishing reel will go hand in hand with the kind of line that you intend to use.
Ideally, you want a fishing reel that’s affordable but that doesn’t cut corners when it comes to quality. It needs to be designed to withstand the strain of fighting fish and you need something that will last you a long time. Make sure you check the kind of quality of the materials used, as we’ve mentioned above, including on the rotor, spool, frame, bail wire, gears, drag system, bearings and the handle.
You should be able to discern whether it will provide the kind of performance you’re looking from with that.
You should always check the position of the handle on the reel when buying a spinning reel. A lot of versions only have a handle on one side which can be problematic if that doesn’t correspond with your dominant hand. Fortunately there are a few picks on this list that have reversible designs, so you can put the handle on the side that you need it on.
It may be a ‘just in case,’ but it’s still important! Try to make sure that your reel is made by a good brand that comes with accolades and try to find one that comes backed by a solid warranty package. This way, if anything happens to the reel then you have a fall back option where the manufacturer can cover you and you’ve not wasted lots of money on a faulty reel.
Frequently Asked Questions
So, what’s a spinning reel?
Well reader, we’re glad you asked. A spinning reel for fishing is a type of reel where the spool is fixed in place for the fishing line. It spins as you retrieve the line, and it can cast light lures from a distance. As you can imagine, this can be pretty useful.
What is the difference between a spinning reel and baitcasting reel?
If you’re a beginner, spinning reels are usually more suited to you. They can be cast further out and are usually a lot easier to cast. However, baitcasting reels tend to be more accurate when they are correctly used. Spinning reels tend to be used with handles on either the left or the right.
Can I use a normal rod with my fishing spinning reel?
You will need the corresponding fishing rod that goes with a spinning reel, conveniently called a spinning rod. If you already own a fishing rod that you want to use the reel with then you will need to make sure that you have the line capacity for the reel that will match your rod.
What you really need is a rod that is well-matched and balanced in both the reel and the rod. If you don’t already have one, try to get one that has the same characteristics as your reel, matching in power, action and the line capacity.
Do I need to have a special line to go with my spinning reel?
As you may imagine, spinning reels work best when the fishing line corresponds well with it. Whatever fishing line you intend to use will influence what kind of spinning reel you should get. Always check the amount of line capacity that the reel has so that you can check if it’s the right one to use with your fishing line.
If you’re going to use a braided fishing line then you should choose a reel that’s already braid-read in the spool so that you can spool it easily without having to add any backing and so you don’t get any slippage.
Is it worth buying a spinning reel for under $50, or are the better ones all more expensive?
It is absolutely worth buying a spinning reel for under $50. Yes, it’s a lower price, but this by no means indicated that it’s not a good reel. In fact, a lot of the picks we have on this guide are exceptional and just as good, if not more so, than ones at double their price point. $50 is a decent budget for a good quality spinning reel. This is more than enough of a budget!
The main difference between a budget spinning reel is the materials that are used to make the reel. More of the expensive reels are made with much higher quality materials. Generally this can mostly mean that the expensive reels are more lightweight but can still provide a good amount of drag.
Can I use spinning reels for saltwater?
The answer to this question largely depends on the make and model that you get. Ultimately, you should always double check whether the manufacturer has specified if the reel can be used in saltwater as this is the best guidance you will get. Some spinning reels can’t be used in saltwater as they can make the reel a lot more likely to corrode.
It needs to be properly treated in order for it to be properly used in saltwater conditions.