8 Best Shimano Spinning Reels of 2021 Reviewed

Man fishing on jetty at dawn.

Shimano is renowned all over the world for the precision of its reels. All of their reels are durable and reliable for a long time, but anglers in the know particularly favor Shimano spinning reels because they’re easy to use and effective at hauling fish out of the water.

Many standout features make the spinning reels in this guide some of the most popular on the market. Hagane gears give them unbelievably smooth reel action and their strong drag systems give them fish-stopping power.

Perhaps most importantly, these spinning reels can last for decades with minimal maintenance. Whether you want to go freshwater or saltwater fishing, these spinning reels are up to the job.

Certain models are better for different locations, but this guide has the perfect Shimano reel for you no matter where you want to cast your line. Read on to find out which Shimano spinning reels are the best for your kind of fishing!

In a hurry? Here’s the test winner after 10 hours of research:

Overview
BEST OVERALL
Shimano STC3000XGFL Stradic C3000 FL Spinning Reel
Title
Shimano Stradic FL C3000
Price
$208.88
Rating
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Details
BEST OVERALL
Overview
Shimano STC3000XGFL Stradic C3000 FL Spinning Reel
Title
Shimano Stradic FL C3000
Price
$208.88
Rating
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Details

8 Best Shimano Spinning Reels of 2021 Reviewed – Overview

Here are the top 5 picks (keep scrolling for picks 6 – 8).

Overview
Shimano STC3000XGFL Stradic C3000 FL Spinning Reel
Shimano Sedona 4000 FI Spinning Fishing Reel Model 2017, SE4000FI
Shimano Nasci 4000 FB spinning fishing reel with front drag, NAS4000FB
Shimano Stella Sw C Saltwater Spinning Reels, STLSW18000HGC
Shimano ULTC3000HGFC Ultegra C3000HGFC Spinning Reel, Front Drag
Title
Shimano Stradic FL C3000
Shimano Sedona Fi
Shimano Nasci 4000
Shimano Stella Saltwater Spinning Reel
Shimano Ultegra C3000
Price
$208.88
$74.49
Price not available
$1,099.99
$169.94
Rating
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
⭐⭐⭐⭐
⭐⭐⭐⭐
Overview
Shimano STC3000XGFL Stradic C3000 FL Spinning Reel
Title
Shimano Stradic FL C3000
Price
$208.88
Rating
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Details
Overview
Shimano Sedona 4000 FI Spinning Fishing Reel Model 2017, SE4000FI
Title
Shimano Sedona Fi
Price
$74.49
Rating
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Details
Overview
Shimano Nasci 4000 FB spinning fishing reel with front drag, NAS4000FB
Title
Shimano Nasci 4000
Price
Price not available
Rating
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Details
Overview
Shimano Stella Sw C Saltwater Spinning Reels, STLSW18000HGC
Title
Shimano Stella Saltwater Spinning Reel
Price
$1,099.99
Rating
⭐⭐⭐⭐
Details
Overview
Shimano ULTC3000HGFC Ultegra C3000HGFC Spinning Reel, Front Drag
Title
Shimano Ultegra C3000
Price
$169.94
Rating
⭐⭐⭐⭐
Details

1. Shimano Stradic FL C3000

Shimano STC3000XGFL Stradic C3000 FL Spinning Reel
131 Reviews
Shimano STC3000XGFL Stradic C3000 FL Spinning Reel
  • Hagane Gear - Boasts amazing strength and durability

The Shimano Stradic had a facelift in 2019 that made some of its unique design features even better. For one thing, it has Micro Module Gear II construction, which is pretty much what it sounds like it would be – the internal Hagane gearing is built smaller than it is on older models, which reduces the overall reel weight.

The gear teeth have also been honed in with even more precision so the reel operates with little to no noise. S A-RB ball bearings add to the smoothness of the reeling and make for a super-smooth operation.

X-Protect construction with small water channels prevents debris and salt from getting into the reel and jamming up the gears, which improves the Stradic’s water resistance and makes it a great reel for saltwater angling. 

A Hagane body that’s highly rigid pairs with the strong X-Ship internal gearing to give the Stradic a staggering amount of durability. You can drop this thing on the deck of a boat or even on concrete without worrying about it breaking.

Cross carbon drag makes this reel powerful commensurate with the durability of the gearing and the body. Shimano has also constructed this reel with something called a long stroke spool, which means the spool has more space for the line.

That bodes well for its line capacity and also ensures it has a greater casting distance than you would get on a similar reel from another manufacturer. There are 6 ball bearings and one anti-reverse bearing in this reel. Its 6.4:1 gear ratio is fast but not too fast, perfect for anglers who aren’t casting out tons of line or using lightning-fast lures.

A 20-pound max drag allows anglers to stop really large fish, so you can get all your freshwater bass fishing and inshore saltwater fishing done with this reel no problem. 

Pros:

  • S A-RB bearings for silent operation
  • Longer casts
  • Strong maximum drag
  • Durable Hakane body
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • Fairly high investment

Check Latest Price >>

2. Shimano Sedona Fi

The Sedona spinning reel is a perfect blend of everything that makes the Shimano brand a favorite amongst anglers. It’s made with high-quality Hagane gears that make reeling in and casting out a breeze. You can tell Shimano has built this reel to last a long time.

Those interior gears and the spool are built out of sturdy metals like aluminum and magnesium that are just pliable enough to bend without breaking. The Sedona also comes in many various sizes running from the 1000 to the 5000.

The lower the number, the smaller the reel. If you chase smaller targets or prefer an ultralight fishing setup, then the 1000 or 2000 size will probably be more suitable for you. The larger reels are better for inshore fishing for game fish that require larger lures.

Three ball bearings and one anti-reverse bearing give additional smoothness to the action on this reel. Its propulsion line management system, which is a particular lip design on the spool, helps the Shimano Sedona FI maintain better line control on the cast and prevent backlashes and bird’s nests from interrupting your fishing.

Cross carbon drag gives the angler plenty of power so you can turn a fish on a run with relative ease. While this isn’t the lightest spinning reel in the impressive lineup of Shimano fishing reels, it is balanced with something they call a G-free body, which pushes the reel’s center of gravity closer to the rod and makes casting out repeatedly less stressful on your wrists and hands. 

Shimano also offers this model at a competitive price. You’d be hard-pressed to find such a high-performance reel at this price point from most other manufacturers, especially one that can stand the test of time the way the Shimano Sedona can.

Pros:

  • Easy casting
  • Well-balanced
  • Durable material
  • Affordable price
  • Variety of reel sizes available

Cons:

  • Could be lighter

Check Latest Price >>

3. Shimano Nasci 4000

The gold trim on this Shimano spinning reel is a great addition to a high-quality reel. It looks good in a rod holder or in hand on the deck of a boat. Rubber gaskets make the front drag system completely waterproof, so while this is a solid freshwater reel you can also take it out on the ocean as well. 

A 6.2:1 gear ratio is plenty for getting lures back to the boat quickly without having to crank the handle a ton. Shimano’s Coreprotect design makes this spinning reel water-resistant so that internal parts like the roller clutch and line roller are less likely to be damaged.

X-ship technology, which entails ball-bearing support at both ends of the pinion gear that allows the reel to rotate, gives this reel a fantastic feel when you’re casting out and reeling in. It also has the propulsion line management system that makes so many Shimano spinning reels so effortless to use and helps increase any angler’s casting distance and prevent wind knots.

The Nasci has a bit higher line capacity than other reels of a similar size, so if you like to throw your lure a great distance or fish in wide-open waters, this reel will be a great fit for you. While the internal gears are cold-forged with the Hagane metal that Shimano is famous for, the rest of the reel is built with an equally high-quality stainless steel that is fairly corrosion-resistant and won’t rust.

With a little maintenance and care, this reel will last many seasons of fishing and remain dependable and effective throughout all of them.

Pros:

  • Higher line capacity
  • Water-resistant & rust resistant
  • Fantastic line handling
  • Increased casting distance
  • Waterproof drag system

Cons:

  • Heavy

Check Latest Price >>

4. Shimano Stella Saltwater Spinning Reel

Don’t balk at the price tag on this model – if you’re a serious angler, this incredibly effective spinning reel all but guarantees a return on your investment in the form of record personal bests and a stellar overall fishing experience every time you go out on the water.

It appears Shimano put everything they have into the Stella reel. In addition to some of the features that other models have, such as a waterproof drag, X-protect, S A-RB bearings, and Hagane gearing, the Shimano Stella also has a two-speed oscillation system called Aero Wrap II that distributes line better across the spool and makes the line handling out of this world. 

Plus, the body of this reel is made out of the same strong Hagane metal as the internal gears are. It not only has unmatched durability but it’s also completely waterproof. An infinity drive makes winding this reel smooth as butter, which pairs well with the smooth drag system.

Thanks to a thicker main gear and X-Rigid bails, gears, handles, and rotors, this thing packs a punch. You’ll be able to turn large-sized targets with the whopping 62 pounds of drag power on the Stella, although you should probably invest in a fishing harness to get the full benefit of this incredible strength.

A total of 14 ball bearings keep things running without much noise or any hangups and a 51-inch retrieve-per-crank rate will help you get your lures back after a long-distance cast. All in all, this reel is top of the line. If you have the cash to invest in your gear and you don’t mind how heavy it is, this is the best tool for getting those huge fish out of the water.

It also comes with Shimano’s Platinum Premier Service Plan, which is a kind of warranty guarantee that allows you to send this reel in for repairs on a fast time frame when needed.

Pros:

  • Durable
  • Extremely high max drag
  • Waterproof
  • Warranty service protection
  • Great line handling

Cons:

  • High price tag
  • Weighs a lot

Check Latest Price >>

5. Shimano Ultegra C3000

If you’re looking for most of the same features as the Shimano Stella but can’t justify the investment, the Ultegra is a very well-designed spinning reel for a fraction of the cost. Micromodule Gear II design means the gears on this product fit together well and operate incredibly smoothly.

Aero Wrap II and the Propulsion Line Management System will help you get the perfect line lay even when you cast out a great distance. Although it’s not guaranteed to be waterproof the way the all-Hagane body reels are, there is still X-Protect water channeling that prevents most water and almost all debris from getting into the drag system, so this is as good a saltwater reel as it is useful for freshwater fishing. 

Anglers who have used the Shimano Stradic CI4 will appreciate the reduced weight on the Ultegra, which features the same material as the Stradic CI4 does. It’s not an ultralight reel but it’s still not going to wear out your hands and wrists while you’re casting. 

The one-piece bail on this reel helps line fly off and wind back onto the spool more easily, reducing tension and line snaps. It’s a well-balanced reel that’s easy to cast long distances and it’s durable enough to last you a long time. 20 pounds of drag power will be enough for most targets you can haul in without a harness and other more intense gear.

Pros:

  • Freshwater & saltwater appropriate
  • Reduced weight
  • Fewer line snaps
  • Micromodule gear design for smooth action
  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • No warranty backing

Check Latest Price >>

6. Shimano Sienna FG

A great budget option for your secondary spinning reel or for beginner anglers who don’t need the most expensive models just yet, the Sienna FG is a dependable little spinning reel that has enough power and durability to get fish out of the water. 

It might lack some of the fancier features that can be found on the pricier reels in Shimano’s lineup, but it still has a respectable 9 pounds of drag power. Freshwater targets like bass and smaller inshore targets will still be well within your grasp with the Sienna FG on your rod. 

The 5.0:1 gear ratio may sound low, but the reel has a 28-inch retrieve-per-crank that will move your lures through the water plenty fast enough without requiring tons of cranking. The Propulsion Line Management System is still in place on this model, so you can look forward to the same great line handling that other Shimano spinning reels have to offer. 

It also has Super Stopper II technology, so that 9 pounds of drag power hits above its weight class. 4 well-placed ball bearings make the action of this reel smooth and the noise it makes during reeling is low enough to not be disturbing. 

Broadly speaking, the Sienna FG promises the same fun fishing experience as other Shimano reels at much higher price points. Beginners and budget shoppers can both access the quality and performance this company is known for with this spinning reel.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Super Stopper II drag
  • Propulsion Line Management System
  • High retrieve-per-crank
  • Durable

Cons:

  • Lacks many design features found on other Shimano reels

Check Latest Price >>

7. Shimano Baitrunner D

Shimano Baitrunner 6000D, Saltwater Spinning Fishing Reel
  • This classic live bait reel features a secondary drag system that allows free spooling with the bail closed and allows your bait to move naturally

Their Baitrunner line is Shimano’s solution for anglers chasing smaller targets in more limited bodies of water. But the Baitrunner D has an increased max drag compared with the other Baitrunners so you can still go after mid-sized targets. 

Shimano’s standout design feature on this and all other Baitrunners is the spool, which has a lever that allows the angler to release line off a controlled free spool. Casting and getting that perfect line lay is much easier with this feature on the reel.

Varispeed gear design also helps improve line lay. A cold-forged aluminum spool holds onto the line well and remains resilient even when you have a stubborn fish on. An oil port makes adding lubrication much easier and will save tons of time during your pre- and post-season maintenance.

The body of this reel is guaranteed waterproof so everything should stay in good working order for a long time to come. The 4.4:1 gear ratio is on the low side and this reel does have a high enough line capacity to facilitate long casts, so you might find yourself cranking the handle a bit more often.

However, the internal gears and the aluminum handle make cranking a breeze so you won’t be fatigued even if you do have to do a lot of reeling in.

Pros:

  • Easy to get great line lay
  • Aluminum spool
  • Increased drag power
  • Easy maintenance 
  • Waterproof body

Cons:

  • Low gear ratio

Check Latest Price >>

8. Shimano Syncopate

Shimano Syncopate 1000FG Front Drag Freshwater Spinning Reel
  • The Syncopate spinning reel provides efficient and reliable performance at an incredibly low price

If you’re on the market for a quick run-and-gun reel, you should give the Syncopate a try. The graphite body is lightweight yet durable so it can handle accidents without getting ruined. It has a decent 5.1:1 gear ratio and either 7 or 13 pounds of drag power depending on which model you purchase. 

Casting one-handed and repeated casting is easy with this spinning reel, so if you like pitching and flipping but don’t prefer fishing with a baitcaster then this reel is a great solution. Quickfire II design places the line and trigger close together and near your hand. Fast adjustments during your fishing trip are much easier with the Syncopate. 

The Propulsion Line Management System helps protect your cast against wind knots and will help you get a good line lay more frequently. The smaller Syncopate model is lightweight enough to pair well with a light rod for an almost ultralight fishing setup. Casting repeatedly is easier on the hands and wrists because it doesn’t weigh as much as some of the other Shimano spinning reels on this list. 

Pros:

  • Graphite body
  • Built for one-handed casts
  • Nice line handling
  • Lightweight
  • Durable

Cons:

  • Fewer design features

Check Latest Price >>

Our Winner:

Overview
BEST OVERALL
Shimano STC3000XGFL Stradic C3000 FL Spinning Reel
Title
Shimano Stradic FL C3000
Price
$208.88
Rating
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Details
BEST OVERALL
Overview
Shimano STC3000XGFL Stradic C3000 FL Spinning Reel
Title
Shimano Stradic FL C3000
Price
$208.88
Rating
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Details

If you’re looking for the best Shimano spinning reel, the Shimano Stradic FL is the best you can find on Amazon. It has all the peak performance features and the high attention to detail that Shimano reels are famous for and it doesn’t require a huge investment.

Whether you’re just getting into the sport or you’re a seasoned professional, this spinning reel has everything you need to haul in some serious fish.

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    Riley Draper

    Riley Draper is a writer and entrepreneur from Chattanooga, Tennessee. As a world traveler, he has been to more than fifty countries and hiked some of the most elusive trails in the world. He is the co-founder of WeCounsel Solutions and has published work in both national and global outlets, including the Times Free Press, Patch, and Healthcare Global. When he's not writing, he's probably on a hiking trip or climbing in the mountains.