Best 5 Spinning Reels Under $100 For Saltwater Fishing in 2022

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Here are our reviews about the best saltwater spinning reel under 100$ in 2022.

Saltwater fishing is enjoyable but is tougher than freshwater. Having the right gear that can bear the impact of saltness on it, is quite important. Choosing the spinning reel that suits your style and skills is not always an easy mission. You have to go through a variety of technical features and specifications and choose from a broad range of saltwater reels in the market.

That’s why I spent too many hours reading tons of reviews to pick the best saltwater spinning reels in the market considering the budget which is under 100$. I put them all in one article and added a buying guide to help you make your choice.

Our Top Picks

  1. Penn Fierce reel (The Overall Winner).
  2. Okuma Inspira Spinning Reel (Best Value For Money).
  3. Kastking sharky III saltwater spinning reel (Budget Choice).

Top 5 best saltwater spinning reels under 100$

  1. Penn Fierce reel. (The Overall Winner)
  2. Kastking sharky III saltwater spinning reel. (Best Budget spinning reel)
  3. Okuma Inspira Spinning Reel. (Best Value For Money)
  4. Cadence Stout Saltwater Spinning Reel
  5. KastKing Megatron Freshwater and Saltwater Spinning Reel.

Let’s start:

Penn Fierce spinning reel




Top Features

  1. Full Metal Body And Side Plate: helps keeping precise gear alignment under heavy loads
  2. Aluminum Spool: Erases the need for a backing line when using a braided line.
  3. Large Handle: Having to deal with a small handle is painful and can dramatically affect the fighting and cause you to lose your power and your catch. That’s why a large handle can make a potential difference. 
  4. A durable, very strong and smooth drag system.
  5. Well-balanced rotor: Delivers smoothness.
  6. Heavy-duty Aluminum Bail Wire: Stronger and more durable.

Model and Specifications

Material:  Stainless Steel, Aluminum. A mix of corrosion resistance and durability.

Handle Material: Aluminum. Good For durability and strength.

Package Dimensions: 9 x 7 x 3 inches; 4.8 Ounces

Bearing Material: Stainless Steel. A corrosion-resistant material as previously said.

Gear Ratio: 5.2: 1, A mid-range gear ratio that is suitable for the price, but it’s not a lot.

Available sizes: Available in all the standard sizes. The 3000 is the perfect size for the majority of inshore saltwater fishing.

Line capacity: 6/160, 8/130, 10/110. Considered low compared to other capacities in the market, however, it’s enough for fishing purposes.

4+1 shielded stainless steel ball Bearings: I don’t like it to be honest. For the price, I think they should have added more ball bearings.

What makes it stand?

  • Considerable durability.
  • Great Customer support.
  • High Value for the money.
  • An oversized handle.
  • Very strong drag that can be adjusted mid fight with ease.
  • Fairly lightweight reel.

Cons

  • More expensive than other options
  • A slightly clumsy feeling.
  • Sometimes it’s a little bit loud.
  • Low number of ball bearings.

Here is a quick video review of Penn Fierce saltwater spinning reel:

Verdict

The durability winner in our collection. This fishing reel is built like a tank. You get the chance to replace these bad boys very often. The oversized handle and the strong dragging make a difference. Maybe it’s a little bit more expensive, but in my opinion, this spinning reel deserves every penny.




Kastking sharky III saltwater spinning reel




Top Features

  1. K.I.S.S. (KastKing Intrusion Shield System): Sharky III saltwater spinning reels are sealed with K.I.S.S, a unique water resistant design that protects spool, body and rotor and keeps that dirt and water away.
  2. Braid ready machined aluminum spool: Releases you from the need to use a backing line while spooling on a braid fishing line, which allows more capacity for braid line.
  3. Triple Disc Carbon Fiber Drag System: Ensures stronger dragging up to 39.5 Ibs.
  4. Instant lock anti-reverse: Prevents the rotor from moving backwards, which is beneficial when fighting a fish and your catch won’t skip easily.

Model and Specifications

Material: Graphite, A light material that is resistant to corrosion.

Handle Material: Aluminum, Good for strength and durability.

Package Dimensions: 5.67 x 5.08 x 2.91 inches; 14.39 Ounces

Bearing Material: Stainless Steel, the higher content of chromium makes it resistant to surface corrosion.

Gear Ratio: 5.2:1, Suitable for fishing beginners and more versatile.

Available sizes: 1000:5000. Suitable for different amounts of lines and different fish species.

Line capacity: 20/200 30/170 to 50/220 to 60/190. Enough for basic fishing applications. I recommend having no less than 170 to 200 yards in your reel.

10+1 Stainless steel Ball Bearings: A high number of ball bearings that enable better performance and good smoothness in a spinning reel.

What makes it stand?

  1. The ability to switch the side of the retrieving handle.
  2. A rubber middle section with multiple grip spots so your braid won’t slip when spooling.
  3. Cheaper option.
  4. Nice Packaging
  5. Good customer service
  6. Strong drag system
  7. Good value for the price.
  8. Smooth dragging and casting.
  9. The Highest number of ball bearings.

Cons

  1. Thin support for manuals and repair parts.
  2. This spinning reel is not designed for heavy use.(Not very durable)
  3. The sizes are smaller than the standard spinning reel market. (go for 5000 if you want 3000)
  4. It can develop a strange clicking sound when you turn the handle over time and usage, however, it doesn’t affect the performance.

Verdict

Sharky iii fishing reel is one of the best saltwater spinning reels for under 100$ that can bring you trophy fish. With the mesh manganese/brass pinion gears in addition to the above-mentioned features, it offers strength with smoothness and affordability. 




Okuma Inspira Saltwater Spinning Reel




Top Features

  1. Torsion Control Armor: The longstand carbon fiber resists friction. The rigid rear yoke reduces flex and twist leading to a more solid foundation and good working life. This creates a rigid system maintaining the alignment of the parts.
  2. Progressive Drag: Can deliver up to 13 Lbs. To be honest, it’s not the best in the market considering its price.
  3. Cyclonic Flow Rotor (CFR): A technology that  gets water away from the spooling system by creating a strong air current around the rotor. Great for making water intrusion as low as possible and corrosion protection.
  4. Centrifugal Disc Bail (CDB): An Okuma’s technology that incorporated a heavier brass disc manipulating its weight and balance to provide easier bail operation, increasing strength and adding more stability.
  5. Heavy-duty, solid aluminum bail wire: That adds more strength to the reel.
  6. Quick-Set anti-reverse roller bearing: Essential for fish fighting, however some anglers can fight without it.

Model and Specs

Material: C-40X carbon. A stronger and lighter material than the traditional carbon.

Handle Material: Aluminum, Rigid and durable.

Package Dimensions: around  5 x 5 x 4 inches; 3.2 Ounces

Bearing Material: Stainless Steel. Resistant to corrosion material due to the chromium content.

Gear Ratio: 5:1, A good versatile option for beginners.

Available sizes: 20, 30, and 40 sizes. Suitable for different kinds of fish from small ones like trout to longer and large fish types like bass fishing. I recommend getting the 40 size for saltwater applications.

Line capacity: 120/6 and 170/12. Not the best line capacity, but is considered enough.

8BB + 1 RB stainless steel bearings: The number of ball bearings won’t let you down and provides good smoothness.

What makes it stand?

  • 1-year limited warranty
  • Good looking and smooth reel.
  • Very lightweight spinning reel.
  • The retrieving handle can be switched to the other side.
  • Though it has an open style body, the sand/grit doesn’t get into it. Thanks to the CFR technology.
  • Great quality for the price.

Cons

  • More expensive than other options
  • No spare spool

Notes:

  1. Be aware that it’s smaller than the standard, if you want a 3000 go for 4000
  2. Keep in mind to rense in fresh water after use.

Verdict

It is rare to find a saltwater reel under 100 with the smoothness of this reel. The lightness and the quality of this saltwater reel make it stand heavily in the market. With the CFR technology that keeps sand and dirt away added to the 8+1 ball bearings and the above-mentioned features, this reel makes a great value for the money. However, drag power can be an obstacle for some people.




Cadence Stout Saltwater Spinning Reel




Top Features

  1. Strong Corrosion Resistance: An enhanced body alloy system resists corrosion and is supplied with an anti flex GV-5H.
  2. Saltwater treatment coated: prevents corrosion and offers more durability.
  3. Aluminum ready spool: More capacity by eliminating the need for backing line when using the braid.
  4. Carbon Fiber Drag System: Carbon is strong and bears extremes of temperatures. For example, You can use it for ice fishing, if you want. The max drag is 41 Ibs which is quite strong.
  5. Anti-slip EVA knob: More comfortable, but less durable.
  6. Instant anti-reverse action.

Model and Specifications

Material:  Stainless Steel. Saltwater efficient as it’s corrosion-resistant.

Handle Material: Die-cast Aluminum. Good For durability and strength.

Package Dimensions:  6.02 x 5.98 x 4.09 inches; 4.23 Ounces

Bearing Material: Stainless Steel. A corrosion-resistant material as previously said.

Gear Ratio: 5.2:1 to 6.2:1, Gives you a variety of options. It can handle inshore and nearshore fishing.

Available sizes: 1000 to 6000. Suitable for different fish species and sizes.

Line capacity: 10/115 to 20/400. A high line capacity! It also depends on what kind of fish you’re targeting.

7+ 1 sealed ball bearings: Not the top of the market, but suitable for the price and can do the job without noticeable differences and high smoothness.

What makes it stand?

  • Left/right interchangeable handle.
  • Smooth drag.
  • Solic construction and closed seal system.
  • Pretty light weight, yet it’s strong.
  • Good quality for the price.

Cons

  • Smaller than the standard, go for a 4000 if you need a 3000.

Verdict

With little to no cones detected until now, this reel makes a good option. It mixes between strength, powerful dragging, and lightness.  Consider purchasing it if you’re on a budget and want a highly saltwater-resistant reel.




KastKing Megatron Freshwater and Saltwater Spinning Reel




Top Features

  1. Rigid Aluminum Skeletal Frame: Offers a unique durability and good strength in fish fighting situations.
  2. Smooth Carbon Drag System: A triple disc carbon fiber drag that is able to drag up to 39.5 Lbs with smoothness.
  3. Durable Zinc Alloy:  Matched with a pinion gear machined from solid brass. Both of them offer rigidity and smoothness to be able to bear the tough situations.
  4. An Anti Reverse Lock.

Model and Specifications

Material:  Metal. Though it’s heavy, it’s good for saltwater purposes.

Handle Material: Aluminum. Good For durability and strength.

Package Dimensions: 5.28 x 4.96 x 3.58 inches; 12.73 Ounces

Bearing Material: Stainless Steel. A corrosion-resistant material as previously said.

Gear Ratio: 4.5:1 to 5:1, A mid-range gear ratio that is suitable for the price, but it’s not a lot.

Available sizes: 2000 to 6000. A wide variety of sizes open a lot of experience.

Line capacity: Varies widely depending on the line type. Visit their selling page to learn more. Overall, they offer a quite high line capacity. 

7+ 1 sealed ball bearings: It’s not the best, but it’s just enough and anything more than that won’t make a huge difference.

What makes it stand?

  • Left/right retrieval handle
  • Impressive strong drag system that can even fit for larger fish
  • Comfortable knob
  • Smooth reel.
  • Light Weight
  • Great customer support
  • Great Value compared to the cash you pay
  • Sealed bearings

Cons

  • Lower gear ratio than other options, which means sower retrieval
  • The gear grease inside look like a poor quality one
  • The anti reverse lock a bit weak and can switch an on/off on its own
  • The Handle is too small (will make it harder to fish big fish like bass fishing)
  • The spool don’t hold the amount of line advertised
  • Poor design of the bail, it can close on its own and make the lure snap off.

Check out this short KastKing Megatron best saltwater spinning reel:

Verdict

A strong dragging system with durability and great customer support.  I know I said this reel can withstand larger fish, but if you’re after a real huge catch, consider going for a little beefier option.




Buying Guide on the best saltwater spinning reel under 100$

best saltwater spinning reel under 100$

Choosing the best spinning reel in the market according to your budget isn’t always an easy task, especially if it’s a saltwater spinning reel that has specific requirements. Here is a buying guide that contains the most important specifications and features to look for when comparing between reels:

Anti-Reverse Functioning 

No one wants to let his catch escape because the spinning reel turned backward while fighting! An anti-reverse mechanism prevents the fish from pulling your line forwards and saves you the pain of looking for a new catch and saves you a lost lure also. Test the reel by pulling the line out with your hands. if there’s a backward movement in the handle, it’s probably not the best choice.

Some anglers don’t like the anti-reverse function, I recommend looking for a reel with a switch that can enable or disable it.

Note: Keep in mind to get a reel with a long handle and a large knob. This makes it easier to hold in wet moments.


Ball Bearings

Ball bearings are a component in the spinning reels and it directly contributes to the reel’s functionality. 

Generally speaking, the more ball bearings you get, the smoother the reel and the better performance, experience, and noise-free retrieval. You should aim for the highest number of ball bearings. But, it’s not always the case, you should care about getting high-quality ball bearings. High-number low-quality ball bearings will get poor performance compared to low-number high-quality ones.

Getting a reel with a lot of ball bearings may be costly. If you’re on a budget, go for a reel with about 6-7 ball bearings. This can do the job and the difference between it and the reels that contain more is often not huge.


Corrosion-Resistance and Water-proofing

This point is essential for saltwater fishermen. Saltwater is quite tough and quickly damages your reel by corroding and eating away at its metal components, making it highly less durable and greatly affecting its performance. 

Don’t be afraid to invest a little bit more in a sealed gear system that stops water from getting in and corrosion resistance parts. This will save you from buying another reel after a short time of using it.


Drag system

Drag systems are designed to hold the line against a fish and help you pull it. The drag rating tells you how much power the spinning reel can bear against a fish. Typically, you need to get max drag ratings that are equal to or slightly more than the weight of the targeted species. There are 2 types of drag systems:

Front Drag Systems

Large washers are more durable and have stronger dragging abilities. It’s also far smoother than rear drag.

Rear Drag Systems

Effective for light and ultra-light tackles and easier to adjust while battling a fish.

I recommend going for a front drag system, you won’t need to go all the way through the reel’s body. The mechanics are just positioned correctly on the end of the spool

Don’t forget to check if the reel jerks or has some kind of stuttering before buying it. You need a high-quality drag system that is as smooth as possible.


Gear ratio for spinning reels

To make it as simple as possible, the gear ratio is how many times the reel spool when you turn the handle once. For example, a 4:1 gear ratio means that you get 4 reel rotations for every time you rotate the handle. It’s an important measure of power and speed.

You’ve to know what species you’re after, before choosing the right gear ratio for you. If you’re targeting fast small fish, go for the high-speed retrieval of the high gear ratio. In contrast, if you’re after a large heavy fish that requires power, a low gear ratio is a more suitable solution.

A gear ratio of 1:6 is considered a fast one, whereas 1:4 is one of the slow ones. For average anglers and fishing beginners, A mid-range gear ratio is appropriate as it’s suitable for most lures and baits.


Construction & Material

Generally, you need a reel with a strong construction that can bear the toughness of saltwater fishing and its corrosive powers. Ensure the high-quality components and how it’s tied up. Corrosion-resistant materials include graphite, heavy-duty aluminum, high-grade stainless steel, ceramic, carbon fiber, and titanium. 

Pay attention to picking the ones that have protective coatings and shielded can construction to get more durability for your saltwater spinning reel.

Also, you need light-weighted reels for saltwater fishing. Plastic reels are cheap and extremely lightweight, but they are weak and won’t hold it for too long. My personal opinion is to stay away from them.


Weight

This is an important factor for long fishing sessions. For instance, fishing trout requires too much casting and takes many hours. You can avoid getting tired early by picking lightweight gear. Graphite and aluminum provide more lightness in weight while preserving their rigidity. Some companies also offer smart designs that take down some weight without sacrificing strength.

Also, keep in your mind that your reel should be a good match with your rod.


Warranty

You want to stick to a well-made spinning reel. A warranty is a good sign that you’re buying a high-quality reel. No one will offer a warranty on low-quality gear. Usually, they don’t have quality and performance issues. It also assures you that you’re covered in case you received some broken product.


Line Capacity

Choose your line before choosing your spinning reel capacity. You can choose the lightest line out there and the heaviest line for the most enormous saltwater species, but make sure that the line specifications match your reel line capacity.

Heavy lines with low capacity spinning reels mean less line length than expected. Light line with high capacity means more spooling issues.


Spool Design

There are 2 types of spinning reels:

  1. Internal reels
  2. Skirted reels

The performance and casting capabilities are comparable in both types, but the internal spinning reel can result in some tangling issues that need professionals to deal with it.

Choose the old internal reels only, if you’re an experienced angler who knows what he’s doing. Skirted reels are a better option for beginners and it’s suitable for all levels.


Comfortability in reels.

Consider it if you like to go on long fishing sessions. Choosing left or right-handed retrieving depends on your personal preference. Keep in mind that some reels offer the ability to change the side of the handle if you like to switch the casting hand. The double-handed reels come at a little more price.

Frequently Asked Questions


What size reel is best for saltwater?

A medium-size spinning reel (4000-5500) is considered most suitable for saltwater fishing. Also, make sure to choose the size depending on the chosen line.

Are there a difference between saltwater and freshwater spinning reels?

Not that much of a difference to be honest. In terms of functionality and performance, both are pretty much the same. The main difference here is the anti-corrosion benefits offered by saltwater reels. 

Saltwater is tough and can eat out at the gear easily which means it can ruin your day and affect the longevity and performance of a freshwater spinning reel. You need a saltwater-made reel, so you don’t have to purchase a lot of reels and waste more money.

Does more ball bearing mean better reel?

If they are of the same quality then yes.

How much drag is enough?

Generally speaking, You need to set the drag at 25% to ⅓ of your line breaking strength. So, it highly depends on how strong your lines are.

Are spinning reels better than baitcasters for saltwater fishing?

I can’t say yes or no. It’s a matter of personal preference. Here are some differences between them to think about:
1. Saltwater spinning reels tend to be stronger and sturdier, however it limits you to spinning rods only.
2. Considering the weight, spinning reels are usually lighter.
3. Spinning reels are easier to control, so it’s more appropriate for beginners.
4. Baitcasters have stronger dragging compared to spinning ones.

Is it suitable to use saltwater spinning reels with casting rods?

From a technical perspective, you can do it. There are problems though:
1. Casting rods tend to have smaller eyelets which affects the casting distance. 
2. Casting rods bends in the other direction compared to spinning reels which means they can be broken.

Do I have to use a special rod for those saltwater reels?

You can use any spinning rod. Keep in mind that they have to be saltwater or corrosion-resistant to get the best experience possible.

The Bottom Line

Having the required skills is essential, but also selecting the highest quality gear possible is crucial to get the best out of your fishing trips considering enjoyment and catches. With your budget in your mind, you should think beyond this and make your decision upon different qualities. After considering various parameters, we choose Penn Fierce saltwater spinning reel to be our overall winner. 

We hope our guide makes choosing the best saltwater spinning under 100$ an easier task.