Best Fishing Reel for the Money

Last Updated: 13.08.19

Fishing reels – Buying guide, Reviews & Comparison


If you want to find the best fishing gear, but you don’t have time to go through the buying tips and reviews prepared by our research team, this short paragraph should tell you everything you need to know about the best fishing reel for the money. After analyzing a lot of feedback coming from both amateur and professional fishermen, we have concluded that the Zebco Omega ZO3 is the best because of its seven-bearing design that delivers superbly smooth retrieves and casting. The stainless steel bearings ensure protection from chipping and corrosion. The unique, soft-sealed soft-touch rubber thumb button facilitates easy release of fishing line and also enables proper positioning of the lure. The anti-reverse action of the reel ensures that the handle does not turn backwards as the line is released from the reel when the drag is used. If the Zebco Omega Z03 is unavailable, you should consider the Abu Garcia BMAX3 as it is a reliable alternative both in terms of performance and quality.



Comparison table


The Good
The Bad



Our top choices


Zebco Omega ZO3


Designed for medium-type fishing, the Zebco Omega ZO3 is the market’s first-ever seven-bearing spincast reel that features a unique, sealed, rubber, soft-touch thumb button that enables you to stop the lure at the precise position while facilitating effortless release of fishing line. Boasting an aircraft-grade aluminum body, this fishing reel is constructed with an ergonomic design to enable seasoned anglers to get a fantastic fishing experience every time.

The stainless steel bearings ensure smooth casting and retrieves and allow the line to flow freely from the spool. Easy line release is also facilitated by the anti-reverse mechanism that prevents the handle from turning backwards. The quick-change spool system enables easy changing of the fishing line. The ultra-smooth gear drive delivers efficient and effortless retrievals and line casting.

The triple-cam multi-disc drag provides consistent and reliable drag for effortless control of the fishing reel. The level wind oscillating spool ensures that as the line is retrieved back onto the reel, the moving line guide can help in the uniform distribution of line from side to side onto the spool to prevent line tangling or snarls.

Offering 3X positive line pickup, this fishing reel is best used with 10-pound line weight and provides a large 85-yard line capacity. The ceramic line guide ensures smooth line flow and release.

Buy from for ($57.16)





Abu Garcia BMAX3 


Engineered with 4 stainless steel bearings and 1 roller bearing, the Abu Garcia BMAX3 ensures smooth fishing operation for an awesome angling experience every time. The reel has a machined aluminum spool that maintains the lightweight design while endowing the product with adequate strength.

You can expect nothing less than a smooth drag performance thanks to the power disk drag system. You are assured of extended gear life thanks to the Duragear brass gear. The Magtrax brake System delivers consistent brake pressure while casting for effortless operation. This model works smoothly and dependably for flawless casting and retrieves. It delivers balanced performance.

This is a smooth-working fishing tool that offers consistent functionality. It makes every fishing trip worth taking. It has a compact bent handle and star drag that deliver a more ergonomic design to facilitate easy use. The recessed reel foot also contributes to the ergonomic design of this fishing tool. The one-piece graphite frame ensures durability for years of use. The graphite sideplates make the unit lightweight yet strong and stable so you can enjoy many fishing seasons using this fishing reel.

Delivering class-leading performance in one compact and lightweight package, this fishing reel incorporates a fresh new take on styling with the value and reliability that Abu Garcia has been known for with anglers.

Buy from for ($39.97)




Wright & McGill Dragonfly


The Wright & McGill Dragonfly is made using tough 6061 Bar Stock Aluminum that keeps the device protected against chipping and corrosion while being lightweight.

This fishing reel features a Graphite Disc Drag that works to efficiently release the fishing line at a measurable and controllable pace, thus preventing tangling and frequent breakages and wastage. Its super large arbor design prevents jamming while backing while making the process speedier. You can enjoy faster retrieve rates, more consistent drags and easier casting with reduced occurrences of bird’s nests or line tangles.

To facilitate effortless storage and transport, this model comes with its own carry case, which also protects the sensitive components when the tool placed inside a crowded tackle box. This fishing reel boasts cutting-edge engineering coupled with high quality materials for years of use and dependable functionality.

Extra lightweight at just 5.15 ounces, this fishing implement accommodates a ⅞ line weight and has a line capacity of 135 yards WF 8 with 20-pound backing. With its breathtaking style, this fly fishing reel will ensure a natural presentation of the bait during fly angling activities. It offers a truly practical design that will make you proud and satisfied during every fly fishing trip.

Buy from for ($70.82)





Buying guide


When looking to get a new reel, you should be able to differentiate one model from the next based on the components and main features, as these can be used to determine how one is better than the other. Know your specific fishing needs, your skills and abilities in order for you to pick just the perfect one for you. These are the aspects to consider when looking at various spinning reels on the market.

Choose the best type for your needs

Novice anglers are best equipped with a spinning reel because of how it offers easier casting and retrieves compared to a conventional fishing reel. Spinning reels offer simple operation and do not present backlash as a bothersome issue. Otherwise known as an open-faced reel, a spinning reel is practical for most fishing applications while operating nicely with 14-pound test lines or lighter. Heavier lines are used for ocean spinning reels while ultra-light spinning reels use lighter fishing lines. Bird’s nests or snarled lines are a tendency with spinning reels, which can be reduced by manually flipping the bail closed after casting and prior to turning the handle. The spool on a spinning reel is fixed, while the bail winds the line around it by moving around the spool. Spinning reels typically come with left- and right-handed switchable handles.

Baitcasting or conventional reels offer adjustable casting control and are designed for more skilled anglers who have more proficient casting abilities. That being said, plenty of seasoned fishers still prefer spinning reels over conventional reels or baitcasters. A baitcasting reel enables maximization of distance along with overall performance. The spool is exposed and the housing is streamlined in a baitcasting reel. The line is kept from getting snarled because of the side-to-side movement of the line guide. There are two grips on the handles. Conventional reels come in different sizes and are picked for freshwater and saltwater fishing.

Beginner anglers also choose spincasting reels, which provide a good level of stability and ease of use. The face of the reel covers the spool so line snarls rarely occur and when they do, it is only because the line bail is left open. When the handle is given a half turn, the bail gets closed. An audible click tells you the bail is closed. Avoid having too much line on the spool. Spincasting reels are generally durable and come at considerably low costs.

Fly fishing reels carry a unique design and functionality. Outfitted with a large spool with a grip externally attached to it, a fly fishing reel doesn’t have internal gears. It is a lightweight yet durable tool, which allows you to whip the line to and fro to imitate the natural movement of flying insects. Some models come with automatic winding. Fly fishing reels do not have a handle as the line is spooled by the reel via a spring-loaded system. Fly fishing reels are not for beginners because they require specific techniques for successful functionality. The bottom line: choose a fishing reel you are comfortable using and that offers easy operation for you.


Choose a reel with the right size, balance and stability

For ocean fishing, you will need a bigger model than what is used for lake and river fishing. Besides, ocean fishing reels will be too challenging to transport when angling in most freshwater lakes and streams. You’ll also need to think about the type of fish you’ll be angling for. For most trout species, a fly fishing reel works best. When targeting catfish and bass, check out baitcasting and spincasting reels. Ultra-light reels are best for targeting 1- to 5-pound catches. Remember to select the reel according to the waters and fish you’ll be angling.

The reel should feel smooth and solid with every turn of the handle. The rotor assembly and handle quality influence this aspect in spinning reels. With a poorly balanced rotor, a wobble is noticeable. You want the handle to be counterbalanced, as this ensures smooth operation and ease of use.

You also want infinite anti-reverse in both conventional and spinning reels. This system helps eliminate play in the handle of the reel to deliver positive and more solid hook setting. Any form of handle kickback can make you lose the fish during attempts to drive the hook home. Soft-grip ergonomic knobs are preferred by anglers, as they enable a secure grip during wet conditions.


Select a fishing reel with top quality components

Reel housings are mostly built using graphite or aluminum. Generally, anodized aluminum is used to make stronger reels that have greater durability compared to graphite reels. However, the greater weight of anodized aluminum reels can be an issue. Light and resistant to corrosion, graphite reels do not have the same level of durability and strength as forged or die cast aluminum models. Plenty of conventional reels have multi-piece bodies just like spinning reels, which are designed that way. However, one-piece or unibody models have been introduced into the market by some reel manufacturers. The one-piece design contributes to the greater strength and overall integrity of the unit while ensuring a lightweight design.

Plenty of brands and models of fishing reels are on the market. While this can make the buying decision more difficult, the buying guide above will hopefully help you become a more informed customer.



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