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$

Are you in a hurry? here is our list:

  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

I consider Penn Fierce to be the durability winner in my collection (and the overall winner of course!). Apparently, they built this reel to be a tank. Wanna know why? Let’s talk about some of its features:

It features a full metal body and a side plate. They help keep your precise gear alignment alright even under heavy loads. It also includes an Aluminum spool that is braid-ready. The erases the need for a backing line if you’re going for braided lines. 

I also like its large handle. You really don’t want a reel with a small handle. It’s painful and dramatically affects your power. You probably don’t want to lose your catch just because of a small handle, right? 

It also features HT-100 carbon drag systems. The number 100 means that you can use up to 100 miles of fishing line against the drag of the reel and you won’t notice any significant change to the drag washers. What is special about these drag systems is that they can handle more than the older models. It also reduces the line breakage and reduces your chances of losing your fish. 

The rotor is also well balanced which delivers more smoothness during retrieves. The bail wire (the line gate part of the spool) is made from heavy-duty Aluminium which makes it highly durable. 

On the bad side, Penn Fierce can get a little noisy. You can also feel some clumsiness while holding it. It also contains a lower number of ball bearings than most spinning reels in its price range which is considered a little expensive. 

An overall opinion is that these spinning reels are winners. You won’t get the chance to change these bad boys very often thanks to their durability. I know that it might seem a little more expensive than other options, but this monster deserves every penny. 

Specifications

SpecificationsComment
Material:  Stainless Steel, AluminumA mix of corrosion resistance and durability.
Handle Material: AluminumGood For durability and strength.
Bearing Material: Stainless SteelA corrosion-resistant material as previously said.
Gear Ratio: 5.2: 1A mid-range gear ratio that is suitable for the price, but it’s not a lot.
Available sizes: Available in all the standard sizesThe 3000 is the perfect size for the majority of inshore saltwater fishing.
Line capacity: 6/160, 8/130, 10/110Considered low compared to other capacities in the market, however, it’s enough for fishing purposes.
4+1 shielded stainless steel ball bearings 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 the Penn Fierce saltwater spinning reel:




Kastking Sharky III saltwater spinning reel

Kastking Sharky III is one of the best budget saltwater spinning reels that made it on our list. It offers a unique combination of strength, smoothness, and affordability at the same time.

It features its KISS system which stands for Kastking Intrusion Shield System. These saltwater spinning reels are sealed with a unique resistant design that protects the spool, body, and rotor. It also helps keep the dirt and water away increasing the longevity of your gear.  

You usually need a backing line to use before the braided line. In Kastking Sharky III you can use the braided line directly on the spool with no worries thanks to its braid-ready spool. This allows for more capacity for the braided line. The spool is also made from Aluminium which increases its durability. 

I like the strength and smoothness of its triple disc carbon fiber drag system. It delivers a dragging strength up to 39.5 Ibs. The instant lock anti-reverse prevents the rotor from moving backward. This is great when fighting a fish. You really want to focus on fighting your catch instead of focusing on the line. 

This reel offers the highest amount of ball bearings in our collection and comes with nice packaging. 

Regarding the drawbacks, though Kastking is known for its great customer support. Some anglers experienced some poor support for manuals and repair parts. Kastking Sharky III is durable, but it’s not designed for heavy use so, you have to be careful. In addition, it can develop a strange clicking sound over time. Keep in mind that it doesn’t affect the performance in any way.  

Specifications

SpecificationsComment
Material: GraphiteA light material that is resistant to corrosion.
Handle Material: AluminumGood for strength and durability.
Bearing Material: Stainless Steelthe higher content of chromium makes it resistant to surface corrosion.
Gear Ratio: 5.2:1Suitable for fishing beginners and more versatile.
Available sizes: 1000:5000Suitable for different amounts of lines and different fish species.
Line capacity: 20/200 30/170 to 50/220 to 60/190Enough for basic fishing applications. I recommend having no less than 170 to 200 yards in your reel.
10+1 Stainless steel Ball BearingsA high number of ball bearings 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.



Okuma Inspira Saltwater Spinning Reel

I think Okuma Inspira deserves to be the smooth choice on our list. It’s rare to find such smoothness in the under $100 range. The lightness and quality of this saltwater spinning reel make it stand heavily in the market. 

Let’s talk first about its protection. It works with the Cyclonic Flow Rotor (CFR). It’s a technology that gets water away from the spooling system by creating a strong air current around the rotor. It’s great for minimising water intrusion which protects the parts from corrosion. 

The Torsion Control Armor. The longstanding 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.

Regarding its dragging system, it can deliver up to 13 Lbs. To be honest, it’s not the best in the market considering its price. Also, compared to other spinning reels in our collection, it’s not a plus point for Okuma Inspira. 

Okuma Inspira features its Centrifugal Disc Bail (CDB). It’s 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.

Just like Kastking Sharky III, it includes a heavy-duty, solid aluminum bail wire. This adds more strength and durability to the reel. You will also notice the quick-Set anti-reverse roller bearing. It’s essential for fish fighting, however, some anglers can fight without it.

Okuma Inspira is considered expensive compared to other options, however, it comes with a 1-year warranty. It doesn’t offer a spare spool which bothers me, but it’s okay. The reel is good-looking, well-protected, smooth, very lightweight, and offers good value for the price.

Specifications

SpecificationsComment
Material: C-40X carbonA stronger and lighter material than the traditional carbon.
Handle Material: AluminiumRigid and durable.
Bearing Material: Stainless SteelResistant to corrosion material due to the chromium content.
Gear Ratio: 5:1A good versatile option for beginners.
Available sizes: 20, 30, and 40 sizesSuitable 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 170/12Not the best line capacity, but is considered enough.
8BB + 1 RB stainless steel bearingsThe 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.



Cadence Stout Saltwater Spinning Reel

I like that this saltwater spinning reel has little to no cones detected until now among anglers who tried it. It’s a good mix between strength, powerful dragging, and lightness. 

Cadence Stout features a strong corrosion resistance. Its enhanced body alloy system resists corrosion and is supplied with an anti-flex GV-5H. It’s also saltwater treatment coated. This prevents corrosion and offers more durability.

Like the above examples, it comes with an Aluminium braid-ready spool. Regarding the drag system, It comes with 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. The reel also offers an instant anti-reverse action

Let’s talk about the handle. Cadence Stout offers an anti-slip EVA knob. EVA is much lighter than cork handles. It’s also less abrasive and feels warmer. However, Cork grips are better at wicking away moisture and deliver better sensitivity.  The handle is also interchangeable and you can move it to the left or right easily.

Overall, if you’re on a budget, you probably want to consider this saltwater spinning reel. 

Specifications

SpecificationsComment
Material:  Stainless Steel.Saltwater is efficient as it’s corrosion-resistant.
Handle Material: Die-cast AluminiumGood For durability and strength.
Bearing Material: Stainless SteelA corrosion-resistant material as previously said.
Gear Ratio: 5.2:1 to 6.2:1Gives you a variety of options. It can handle inshore and near shore fishing.
Available sizes: 1000 to 6000Suitable for different fish species and sizes.
Line capacity: 10/115 to 20/400A high line capacity! It also depends on what kind of fish you’re targeting.
7+ 1 sealed ball bearingsNot 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.



KastKing Megatron Freshwater and Saltwater Spinning Reel

Kastking is well known for providing quality fishing gear for a good price. Their customer support also is usually pretty good. In the Megatron model, Kastking is offering a rigid aluminum skeletal frame. It delivers durability and good strength for fighting fish. 

For the dragging, the reel comes with a smooth triple disc carbon fiber drag. The dragging power is quite strong and is up to 39.5 Lbs. It also provides a 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.

Like all our options, the reel features an anti-reverse lock mechanism. The lock is actually weak and sometimes switches on its own. The handle is made of Aluminium which is durable and strong. The ball bearings are made from corrosion-resistant stainless steel. 

Though I am impressed by how much value the Kastking Megatron spinning reel is offering, I can’t deny that it has some drawbacks that you need to keep in mind. First, it has a lower gear ratio than most other options. I don’t like how small the handle is. You will face some hard times trying to fight big fish thanks to this small handle. 

Specifications

SpecificationsComment
Material:  MetalThough it’s heavy, it’s good for saltwater purposes.
Handle Material: AluminiumGood For durability and strength.
Bearing Material: Stainless SteelA corrosion-resistant material as previously said.
Gear Ratio: 4.5:1 to 5:1A mid-range gear ratio that is suitable for the price, but it’s not a lot.
Available sizes: 2000 to 6000A wide variety of sizes open a lot of experience.
Line capacity: Varies widely depending on the line typeVisit their selling page to learn more. Overall, they offer a quite high line capacity. 
7+ 1 sealed ball bearingsIt’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 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 looks like a poor quality one
  • The anti-reverse lock is a bit weak and can switch an on/off on its own
  • The Handle is too small (which will make it harder to fish big fish like bass fishing)
  • The spool doesn’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:




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.