7 Best Saltwater Spinning Reels | Review & Guide


Saltwater is an absolute beast for your reel, as the harsh conditions of the water damage it in one go. Most new anglers undermine this and use any reel in the water, which is not right. 

Best Saltwater Spinning Reels

Pro Tip

The best saltwater spinning reel is the one that has sealed bearings, corrosion-resistant, and waterproof design to withstand harsh saltwater conditions.

A spinning reel is your best companion when it comes to maintaining the smoothness and drag in saltwater. But how do you find one? If you have no clue, here is a complete guide on the best saltwater spinning reels based on drag, retrievals, brakes, and gear ratio. So, keep on reading to know more.

7 Best Saltwater Spinning Reels

1. PENN Slammer III Spinning Fishing Reel

PENN Slammer III Spinning Fishing Reel

Best Features:

  • Gear Ratio: 4.71
  • Reel Weight: 1 pounds
  • Hand Orientation: Right Hand
  • Material Construction: Stainless Steel, Metal

My first pick for the list of the best saltwater spinning reels is the Penn Slammer III, all thanks to its lightweight and smooth construction. It is equipped with a powerful dragging system that helps you catch several fish. Plus, it has no learning curve, so even new anglers can use it.

PENN Slammer III Spinning Fishing Reel

The first thing to appreciate about the reel is its metal build that has IPX6 ratings, which is water-resistant and reduces debris collection. It helped me a lot in handling friction and smoothly retrieving fish from the water. The manufacturers have also used high-pressure hoses to keep the water out of the reel, even if you are going deep in the salt water.

Another good feature of the reel is its massive dragging capacity, which can easily handle 25 pounds of force. I have used it for large, monstrous fish in the saltwater with minimal effort. Moreover, the 6+1 stainless steel bearings make sure the reel maintains its functionality, so you do not have to worry about constantly lubricating it.


  • Offers a smooth drag
  • Durable and lightweight
  • Easy to handle
  • Reduces friction significantly


  • It is expensive for a beginner’s reel

Wrapping up, the Penn Slammer III spinner reel is designed for beginners who are struggling with control and accuracy. This reel is best known for its durable construction quality that reduces friction and promotes strength, so you can effectively retrieve big fish from the deep water. Also, the addition of a no-pressure hose definitely adds to its worth.

2. Penn Spinfisher VI Spinning Fishing Reel

Penn Spinfisher VI Spinning Fishing Reel

Best Features:

  • Gear Ratio: 5:6:1
  • Reel Weight: 0.76 pounds
  • Hand Orientation: Left hand/ right hand
  • Material Construction: Stainless Steel, Carbon Fiber

Penn is undoubtedly the most renowned brand for fishing equipment, all credit to the quality and features it offers. This Spinfisher VI is no different and is designed for anyone who is a pro at his game and wants to enjoy the best of fishing in the saltwater. Anglers hesitant to get the Slammer III for its price can get their hands on this one, as it is essentially the same thing.

Penn Spinfisher VI Spinning Fishing Reel

For starters, both these spinning reels have a sturdy metal construction that is sealed, which means you won’t have issues with friction or water getting into the spool. It also has IPX6 ratings, meaning that it can survive deep waters and sand effectively. Here, the manufacturers have also added 5+1 bearings for reduced friction and smooth retrieval.

Lastly, let us discuss the dragging force of this reel, which is more than enough to catch medium to large fish easily. The reel has a dragging capacity of 30 pounds, meaning that you can easily catch large fish up to 6500 in size, like bass, perch, and pike, having no difficulty. I would also like to appreciate the fact that it comes with both hands, so you can choose the suitable one.


  • Waterproof and durable
  • Incredible dragging capacity
  • Affordable than Slammer III
  • Reduced friction/ smooth retrieval


  • Takes some time to get used to

In essence, the Penn Spinfisher is, without any doubt, the best choice for pro anglers who want to catch large fish in the saltwater. It comes with a strong build and stainless steel bearings that help you get a hold of the reel with reduced friction and resistance from the fish. Also, the high dragging capacity at this price definitely makes it a worthy investment.

3. Daiwa BG Spinning Reel

Daiwa BG Spinning Reel

Best Features:

  • Fishing Line Type: Braided
  • Reel Weight: 4 ounces
  • Hand Orientation: Right hand, left hand
  • Material Construction: Aluminum

Daiwa is a leading brand when it comes to fishing equipment for the quality and features it offers, and this BG spinning reel is no different. It is a great choice for anglers starting out in the saltwater and want a budget-friendly alternative. Not only this, but the fact that it is easy to use and comes with an intelligent drag mechanism makes it worth the money.

Daiwa BG Spinning Reel

First of all, the manufacturers have added the carbon fiber automatic dragging system that is relatively more stable and progressive for newbies. It reduces the chances of you losing your target and makes fishing more fun and interesting. Moreover, the good thing about the drag system is that it can be put on autopilot for automatic retrieval.

Now, if we talk about its capacity, this reel has a drag of 17.5 pounds, which works for bass, perch, or anything around 3500 quite effortlessly. The only downside of using this reel is that it requires lubrication and cleaning, especially when you are using it in saltwater, as the hose is not sealed. Despite this, it is water resistant and handles deep water well.


  • Effortless dragging mechanism
  • Waterproof and durable
  • Reasonable price tag
  • Easy to handle


  • It needs regular maintenance

Finally, the Daiwa BG spinning reel is undoubtedly the best option for beginners venturing into deep waters. The reel is designed with an automatic dragging system and waterproof construction that makes sure you feel comfortable with the retrievals. In addition, the high dragging capacity is more than enough to catch the desired fish.

4. Shimano Spinning Reel Bass 18 C14+

Shimano Spinning Reel Bass 18 C14+

Best Features:

  • Fishing Line Type: fluorochemical
  • Reel Weight: 195 g
  • Hand Orientation: Ambidextrous
  • Gear Ratio: 6:0

The C14+ reel from Shimano is definitely the lightest alternative you can get in the market. Using this in the early days of your fishing adventure in saltwater might be the wise decision, as controlling it and dragging fish with this reel requires minimal effort. Similarly, the 6+1 stainless steel bearing makes sure the retrievals are smooth and quick.

Shimano Spinning Reel Bass 18 C14+

Now, if we start with the design, the first thing to note about this reel is the metal construction that enables it to survive heavy water. Its black matte appearance looks equally impressive if you are conscious about his/ her gear selection. Also, this reel is designed for fluorochemical windings, which is pretty easy to work with.

Next, coming to the dragging capacity, this Shimano C14+ comes with a 6.0 practical gear ratio with around 195 spool shaft diameter. It offers a dragging capacity of 14.5 pounds, making it suitable for bass and perch. The only thing that can be improved about this reel design is its spool, as it can collect a lot of debris and water, cleaning which is a big mess.


  • Durable and sturdy
  • Offers a decent drag
  • Quick and easy retrieval
  • Reasonable price tag


  • It requires regular maintenance

Wrapping up, this Shimano C14+ spinning reel is a well-suited alternative for new anglers who want an affordable and effective solution to quick fish targets. It has a sturdy build with a medium dragging capacity, which is the perfect combination for fish around 3500. Likewise, its ambidextrous design works well for almost all anglers.

5. KastKing Sharky III Fishing Spinning Reel

KastKing Sharky III Fishing Spinning Reel

Best Features:

  • Fishing Line Type: Braided
  • Reel Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Hand Orientation: Ambidextrous
  • Material Construction: Stainless Steel, Aluminum

The Sharky III fishing reel from KastKing needs no introduction, and it would not be wrong to say that it is the lightest and smoothest alternative you can find in the market. It is best known for its 10+1 stainless steel ball bearings and higher dragging system that makes it survive tough conditions of saltwater. Despite this, it is easy to handle.

KastKing Sharky III Fishing Spinning Reel

The entire structure of the reel is made up of waterproof aluminum and graphite, so you do not have to worry about it getting damaged by the deep water. Moreover, unlike traditional KastKing reels, this one uses the K.I.S.S (Intrusion Shield System) that helps you reduce the debris and water collection in the spool. So there won’t be any interruption by the friction.

Moreover, let us discuss one of its best-selling features, which is the massive dragging power, which is even more than Slammer III. It has a best-in-class drag with 39.5 pounds drag, making it great for fish around 6500 in size, like perch and pike. It is accompanied by an oversized steel shaft that adds to the strength of the reel and makes retrievals easier than usual.


  • Durable and strong
  • Resist water ideally
  • Amazing dragging power
  • Quick/ easy retrievals


  • It may be costly

If you are up for spending money on a higher dragging power and convenience, the KastKing Sharky III might be the right choice. It is best known for its 39.5 pounds dragging capacity and stainless steel shaft that helps you with fast retrievals and control. Moreover, you will be surprised at how quiet and smooth this reel is despite the big size.

6. Shimano Stella Sw C Saltwater Spinning Reels

Shimano Stella Sw C Saltwater Spinning Reels

Best Features:

  • Fishing Line Type: Monofilament
  • Reel Weight: 420 grams
  • Hand Orientation: Ambidextrous
  • Gear Ratio: 5:7:1

This is a second reel recommendation from Shimano, and it is largely credited to its strong build and easy design. The Stella SW C is designed to catch big fish in the Best Saltwater Rod And Reel with a high dragging capacity and spinning tackle.

It also has a high gear ratio and machine. Shaft, not to mention an advanced drag system that definitely adds to a quick recovery and retrieval.

Shimano Stella Sw C Saltwater Spinning Reels

Now, let us first discuss its design that attracted me at first sight as an expert angler. It uses a slow oscillation and has a bail-shaped lip that reduces friction and helps you with a fast recovery. With this, I was able to balance the weight of the reel and extend the casting distance, making it comfortable for prolonged fishing adventures in deep water.

In the end, speaking of its dragging system, it is one of the advanced reels and has the ability to catch heavy targets like bluefin tuna, perch, wahoo, and sailfish. The drag is supported by a higher cold-forged gear placement and machined shaft that also improves accuracy and line capacity. This entire dragging setup handles high pressure well.


  • Advanced dragging support
  • Lightweight and durable
  • No debris/ sand collection
  • Great for expert anglers


  • It requires a lot of practice to get used to

In conclusion, this Shimano Stella SW C is a worthy alternative for professionals who want a mid-range spinning reel for saltwater adventures. The highlight of this design is its bail-shaped lip and advanced drag that can effortlessly handle heavy and big fish in the deep waters. The best part is that you do not have to worry about cleaning it constantly.

7. Okuma ITX Lightweight Carbon Fiber Spinning Reel

Okuma ITX Lightweight Carbon Fiber Spinning Reel

Best Features:

  • Fishing Line Type: Braided
  • Reel Weight: 0.5 pounds
  • Hand Orientation: Ambidextrous
  • Material Construction: Aluminum, Carbon Fiber, Stainless Steel

My last pick for this list of the best saltwater spinning reels is the Okuma ITX for its lightweight and smooth construction. It is a value-for-money long-term reel investment for beginners who want a reliable substitute to grow their skills. The thing that makes it stand out is the reliable anti-reverse that adjusts the brake as per the fish size, adding to the angler’s comfort.

Okuma ITX Lightweight Carbon Fiber Spinning Reel

So, starting off with the design, I would say the use of high-tech carbon fiber for the rotor makes it one of the strongest spinning reels out there. It is also designed in a way that promotes air and water flow, helping you with reduced friction and better retrievals. Here, the addition of carbon fiber also cuts down the weight significantly, making it easy to handle.

Finally, when it comes to dragging setup, the manufacturers have added a higher gear ratio of around 5:3:1 and a 40-inch line pickup that works with most medium-sized tunas and bass. The good thing is that it has stainless steel bearings and brass pinion gear that significantly improves the retrieval rate and reduces friction even in deep, concentrated water.


  • Offers quick retrievals
  • High gear ratio
  • Durable and waterproof
  • Easy to handle


  • Needs regular maintenance

Finally, the Okuma ITX spinning reel is a must-have for new anglers who want to catch considerably large fish from saltwater. It uses stainless steel bearings and pinion gears to help you get a hold of the reel and its retrieval while minimizing the effect of friction. Also, despite the fact that it is not sealed, the reel survives deep water.

How to Find the Best Saltwater Spinning Reel: Factors that Matters

Choosing a spinning reel is not as challenging as it seems once you have a clear idea of what you are looking for. Despite your design preferences, some principles remain the same. So, here are some things you need to consider before buying a saltwater spinning reel.

How to Find the Best Saltwater Spinning Reel
Infographic: How to Find the Best Saltwater Spinning Reel

Line Capacity

The line capacity of a reel means how many lines can fit on the spool, and it is important when you are venturing into saltwater. There are different types of lines available across the market, including braided ones, monofilaments, and fluorochemicals, all of which have their own perks. So, before choosing one, test each one out, and it may happen that one feels more comfortable for you than the other one.


Ball bearings are small components in your reel, responsible for reducing the friction from the water and promoting the smoothness of the reel operation. Typically, 5+1, 6+1, and 7+1 stainless steel bearings are highly preferred because of their ability to resist friction in deep water. So, before you buy a reel, check its bearings and choose a quality one based on your budget.

Dragging System

The dragging system is highly critical for an effective fishing experience, as it determines the ability of the reel to resist the fish’s effort to get out of the spool. It uses several washers and disks to drag the fish into the spool by matching its strength. So, if you are someone aiming to catch a large and heavy fish, a quality dragging system is a prerequisite.

Gear Ratio

Gear ratio also matters the most in determining the casting distance and precision of your tries. As per the simple rule, the higher the gear ratio is, the higher the number of spool rotations and the farther it can go in the water. Typically, mid-range reels have 6:2:1 gear, whereas the expert reels have anything above this number.

Material Construction

The material used to make your reel also determines how well it will perform in the water. Typically, options like aluminum and carbon fiber are preferred because of their sturdy nature and lightweight. Whatever you go for, make sure it is equipped enough to survive saltwater and feels comfortable in your hands.

Braking Mechanism

Finally, you also need to have a quality braking mechanism, as it determines how fast or slow your retrieval rate is based on the rotation of the spool. In the long term, braking helps you with backlash mess and overwhelming friction. There are two types of brakes available traditionally.

  • Magnetic brakes use multiple magnets to create resistance outside the spool. They are more accurate than centrifugal; however, it takes practice to adjust.
  • Centrifugal brakes use several small weights to push the spool to begin. It is relatively less effective but easier to adjust.


What is the best saltwater spinning reel?

Penn Spinfisher VI is undoubtedly one of the best saltwater spinning reels for its high dragging power and lightweight design. It can easily drag heavy fish (6500 in size) like blue tuna, bass, perch, and pike. Also, its steel bearings and sturdy build can effectively survive saltwater.

What type of reel is best for saltwater?

The best reel for saltwater is the one that is sturdy and resists corrosion. Preferably, for such conditions, anglers use waterproof aluminum and anodized aluminum so that it can be used for a long time. Moreover, you need something that is sealed so it does not collect debris, water, and sand.

Are spinning reels good for saltwater?

Yes, spinning reels are good for both saltwater and freshwater fishing. They have a rotating spool that can be mounted under the rod, so you can easily wind the line onto the spool. If you are using one in saltwater, just make sure it is durable and water-resistant.

Final Thoughts


If you are planning to enter the saltwater vicinity, make sure to get yourself a quality spinning reel that can survive the harsh, concentrated conditions. 

Choosing one requires a clear idea of your needs, like retrieval, dragging system, braking mechanism, and weight. If you are still confused, here are some of my favorites.

Finally, I hope this guide has helped you figure out which spinning reel is best for your requirements.

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