The 4 Best Baitcasting Reels (Buying Guide)
Are you thinking of upgrading from a spinning reel to a baitcasting reel? Then you need to read this post! To help you navigate your way towards the top-rated options on the market, we’ve created a handy Best Baitcasting Reel overview. You’re welcome!
We’ve included styles for every preference and budget. From very affordable reels that still deliver the quality needed for a smooth cast, to slightly more expensive options that come with state-of-the-art perks. We’re confident there’s a perfect catch for every angler.
In a hurry? Here’s the test winner after 10 hours of research:
To help you even further, we’ve also included some additional information on baitcast reels at the bottom of this post. In our buying guide and FAQ, we go into more detail on why you need a baitcasting reel in your gear collection. Ideal for casting over longer distances, and with outstanding brake control, this style can take your fishing game to the next level.
Discover our top picks, overall winner, and buying guide below:
Best Baitcasting Reel – Overview
Abu Garcia Revo SX Low Profile Fishing Reel
This model features an ergonomic, flat-topped shape with a recessed spool and contoured, easy-grip handle. According to the brand, this fourth generation of Revo SX promises to be the most powerful, high-performance style yet. The Revo SX Low Profile features an improved DuraClutch design, enhanced further by an upgraded Infini brake system. This state-of-the-art brake system allows nearly limitless adjustability, customizing your braking power with each case. It combines a sealed, centrifugal brake system with the special MagTrax magnetic brake technique. This dual braking system gives you even more cast control, as you can engage or disengage the brake blocks to adjust the pressure at any time.
Alloy frame and brass gear
The Revo SX Low Profile Fishing Reel by Abu Garcia is made of top-grade materials, including an X2-Cräftic alloy frame. This material provides corrosion resistance and extra rigidity for better gear alignment. The special Duragear™ brass gear on this style helps maintain the quality of the reel. Whilst the Everslik-coated pinion shaft and pawl make the spool more wear-resistant, whilst also reducing friction.
Other perks of this best-selling baitcast real are its titanium-coated line guides, Instant Anti-Reverse option, keyed Power Stack Carbon Matrix Drag System, C6 carbon side-plates, and contoured handle. The Revo SX is compatible with both monofilament and braided fishing lines.
The Abu Garcia Revo SX Low Profile Fishing Reel weighs 7.87 oz and has a gear ratio of 6.6:1, which amounts to a line retrieval of 27 inches per turn. The style comes with 10 ball bearings, 9 of which are stainless steel ball bearings and 1 is a roller bearing. The max drag of the Revo SX Low Profile is 24 lbs.
We’ll admit: this Abu Garcia baitcasting reel may not be the fanciest Revo model (that honor goes to the Revo MGX and/or MGXTREME), but we think this product strikes the perfect balance between price and performance. If you want a reel with a quality aluminum frame, carbon fiber drag system, and outstanding dual-braking technology: this could be your match. Delivering enough comfort and ease-of-usage, that it will keep you casting for hours on end.
KastKing Royale Legend Baitcasting Reel
The KastKing Royale Legend features a low profile reel silhouette. This means the reel sits close to the rod, ideal for smooth casting over longer distances. However, it also makes it less suited for trolling or catching heavy fish (see our Buying Guide for more explanation on this). That said, for most anglers, this offers all the ergonomic handling, performance, and comfort needed.
This baitcaster features an innovative dual, 10-level brake system. This magnetic and centrifugal brake system allows for superior control when casting, seamlessly reducing the risk of backlash and tangles. The model has a 7.0:1. brass gear ratio, and comes with 11+1 corrosion-resistant ball bearings. Frankly, you don’t need that many, but when they are included in the price, you might as well enjoy the luxury of having them. The KastKing Royale Legend also includes ceramic line guides that are compatible with both monofilament and braided fishing lines. We would have preferred titanium line guides, as these are slightly more durable, for the Royale Legend’s affordability, we think settling for ceramic options is a fair compromise.
Eva foam non-slip handle
The KastKing Royale Legend also comes with oversized handles made of stainless steel and enhanced with non-slip EVA foam grips. This EVA foam helps with moisture-control and provides a comfortable, solid hold. The spool is made of anodized lightweight aluminum that won’t weigh down your grip, yet still delivering 17.5 pounds of max drag power.
With many 5-star customer reviews on quality and performance, the KastKing Royale Legend is an affordable baitcast reel that – according to other angling enthusiasts – truly delivers excellent value-for-money. And we couldn’t agree more!
Daiwa Tatula CT R100XS Baitcast Fishing Reel
Though the Daiwa Tatula CT Baitcast Fishing Reel is a more expensive option on this list, we reckon it’s worth the investment if you’re after top-grade quality and performance. The brand has been producing first-class fishing gear since 1955, giving over half a decade of in-depth expertise. One of the leading names in spinning reels and baitcasting reels, Daiwa is a trusted choice by both amateur fishing enthusiasts and professional/competitive anglers.
Daiwa Tatula CT Baitcast Fishing Reel is designed for an ultra-smooth drag and long-distance casting, relying on a big line capacity and innovative braking system to deliver optimal performance. The Tatula collection contains various high-quality baitcast reels with gear ratios such as 5.4:1, 6.3:1, and 7.3:1. But if you want the quickest retrieval and maximum potential, the Daiwa Tatula CT Baitcast Fishing Reel with an 8.1:1 gear ratio (as listed in this product description) is your match. It has a line retrieval of 33.9 inches per handle turn, allowing for super-fast, high-speed action when you need to strike.
Super corrosion-resistant ball bearings
The Daiwa Tatula CT R100XS Baitcast Fishing Reel is a right-handed, low-profile style that weighs just 7.6 oz. Made of quality components such as an aluminum frame and side plate, it has been extensively quality tested for durability and performance. Ensuring you receive a product that lives up to and exceeds expectations. This Tatula R100XS model also comes with 8 ball bearings. These include 2 ‘Super Corrosion Resistant Ball Bearings’, 5 ‘Stainless Steel Ball Bearings’, and 1 ‘Roller Bearing’, as specified by Daiwa.
Another big perk is the Daiwa Tatula CT R100XS Baitcast Fishing Reel’s special MagForce Z magnetic drag system. This patented casting control system, developed exclusively by Daiwa, intelligently controls the intensity of the magnetic fields throughout the cast. Not only will it allow you to maximize the casting distance, but it also prevents tangling. The MagForce Z drag system controls the centrifugal force of the spool during the first half of the cast when tangling of the line is a real risk. During the second half of the cast, it automatically reduces the resistance. This enables you to cast further, as less drag pressure is applied to the spool. Regarding max drag force, this style has 13.2 lbs.
Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Reel
The Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Reel features a low profile design. The body of the reel is made of lightweight graphite, further enhanced by an adjustable carbon fiber drag washer. The shielded bearing system (5 + 1 bearings) and brass gears enable smooth casting. Whilst the easily removable side plate and side plate oil port make maintenance a breeze.
Reinforced gears and magnetic braking
The silhouette comes with an extended 4.75-inch handle that includes EVA knobs for extra comfort, leverage, and control. Even though this is one of the cheaper models on the market, the Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Reel is surprisingly durable. For example, its gears are reinforced for speedy retrieval, whilst also ensuring they can withstand even the most heavy-duty scenarios.
The Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Reel has a magnetic brake system that includes 5 magnets and magnetic dial-in settings. Easy to use, beginners can easily get to grips with this braking system, reducing the risk of ‘bird’s nests’ in your line. The style comes with a 7.1:1 high gear ratio for quick retrieval. And its line-retrieve per turn is approximately 30 inches. The style’s drag system has an 18 pounds max drag power, which should be sufficient for most amateur anglers.
Every option on this Best Baitcasting Reel overview is a great choice in fishing gear. However, as each has its pros and cons, the ‘best’ option is only determined by your personal criteria. For example, if you’re on a budget, you might not want to spend more than 100 dollars on the reel. Which limits your choices to the Piscifun Torrent or KastKing Royale Legend. Fortunately, even though both these reels are budget-friendly, they don’t compromise on quality and performance. Ensuring you still get to enjoy a smooth cast, even on a smaller budget. That said, for those anglers that want top-grade quality and loads of fancy features, the Abu Garcia Revo SX Low Profile and Daiwa Tatula CT R100XS could tick all the boxes. Though slightly more expensive, they’re a smart investment if you want a high-end style that will last you for years. With innovative brake technologies, lightweight construction, and maximum control during casting; both reels offer first-class benefits that make their prices worth it.
It’s nearly impossible to pick a winner, as all 4 reels have their specific appeal. However, if we had to make a choice, we’d rate the KastKing Royale Legend as the best-value option on this overview. Yes, it might not be as fancy as the Abu Garcia Revo SX Low Profile, but for a fraction of the price, we reckon it delivers outstanding value-for-money. The max drag power of 17.5 lbs is adequate, the gear ratio of 7.0:1 is impressive. And it also comes with 11 ball bearings, a dual brake system (magnetic and centrifugal), and even an EVA foam grip handle. For the price listed, we think simply can’t go wrong.
Finding the Best Baitcasting Reel – Buying Guide
With so many products available in shops and online at Amazon, it can be difficult to determine which baitcasting reel matches your requirements best. That is why we are listing some of the most important buying criteria when shopping for this piece of fishing gear. Factors to consider are the gear ratio, the drag system and braking system, the weight of a reel, the bearing system, line capacity, and – of course – budget and quality. Get educated about each factor below, and learn how to make a well-informed choice in Best Baitcasting Reels:
The gear ratio of a baitcasting reel refers to how quickly you’re able to retrieve the line. This is one of the most important factors when buying a baitcasting reel, though at first, the gear ratio might seem a bit confusing. We’ll try to explain it as clearly as we can…
The gear ratio is noted down as 3 numbers, for example, 6.4:1 or 7.1:1. This sequence of numbers is quite simple to decipher. The first two digits indicate how many revolutions the spool will make on each turn of the reel. The last digit simply confirms the number of turns. Or, to put it simply:
A baitcasting reel with a gear ratio of 5.4:1. will make 5.4 revolutions for each turn of the reel handle. And a baitcasting reel with a gear ratio of 7.1:1 will make 7.1 spins for each turn of the handle, etc.
The higher the gear ratio, the faster you’re able to retrieve your catch. However, do keep in mind that this also makes retrieving bigger fish, a bigger challenge. Baitcasting reels with a lower gear ratio might not reel in a catch quickly, but they will make retrieving a heavy fish more comfortable and controlled.
If you want maximum control and minimum backlash, a quality braking system is a must-have on any baitcasting reel. An integrated braking system helps slow down the cast, reducing the risk of backlash and a nasty bird’s nest on your reel. The annoyance of dealing with a cluster of unspooled fishing line can ruin your angling trip, so getting a reel with a proper braking system is key.
In general, baitcasting reels can come with two types of brakes: magnetic and centrifugal.
Magnetic braking systems
Magnetic braking systems are easy-to-use, making it a great choice for first-time or less experienced baitcasting fishing enthusiasts. This type of braking system relies on magnets to control the speed of your cast. Be aware that the magnetic braking applies the same constant resistance throughout the entire cast, so last-minute tweaks are not an option. You do however have the chance to adjust the magnetic braking power between casts. Most magnetic brake reels feature a small dial on the side of the reel. By turning the dial, you’re able to increase or decrease the distance between the magnets and the spool. The further the magnets are away from the spool, the faster and freer your spool can spin. And the closer the magnets are positioned to the spool, the stronger it will slow down the cast.
Mechanical friction braking systems
Mechanical friction brakes are also known as centrifugal brakes. This type of braking system uses centrifugal force and pins to slow down your cast. By working the pins on the side of the reel plate, you’re able to adjust the braking force applied on the spool. The benefit of a centrifugal braking system over a magnetic one is that the latter option allows you to tweak the braking easily, for example, when casting in strong winds. More fine-tuned than magnetic braking, friction braking also allows for more minor adjustments, enabling you to apply the perfect amount of braking force on each go. Do note that this system is slightly more tricky to master, and will take practice to make perfect. Which is why we recommend it more for experienced anglers than beginners.
Line capacity is a big factor when it comes to deciding on which baitcasting reel to purchase. Overall, baitcasting reels with a low profile should have more than sufficient line capacity to handle fish types like bass. But for saltwater fishing, deepwater fishing, or when targetting bigger fish, a higher line capacity is recommended. There isn’t a ‘perfect’ line capacity, as each type of fish and fishing location has different requirements. However, by sizing up to a larger capacity, it does make the reel more versatile.
Left-handed or right-handed
Baitcasting reels are available in both left and right-handed varieties. It’s tempting to instantly pick a type based on your dominant hand. For example: if you’re right-handed, a right-handed model. But this means that even though you cast with right-handed, you need to move the reel to your left hand to crank with your right after you’ve made the cast. For left-handed reels, this process is the same only reversed: cast with left, switch rod to the right hand, and crank once again with left. It’s important to note that with baitcasting reels, handles cannot be swapped out as easily as they can with spinning wheels. So picking the correct style, either right-handed or left-handed, upon purchasing is crucial.
The frame of a baitcasting fishing reel can be made of various materials, but most common are aluminum and graphite. Both lightweight and corrosion-proof, graphite is slighter lighter and cheaper than aluminum. The trade-off is that graphite is also less heavy-duty and durable in the long-term or under strain, so if you plan on catching the big ones, aluminum might be a better – though slightly heftier – choice. Picking a one-piece frame is also recommended, as the fewer components/parts a frame has, the less prone it is to breaking.
Most baitcasting reels these days come with quality aluminum spools, lightweight and low maintenance. However, one aluminum spool might not be the same top-grade quality as the other. A tip is to look for forged aluminum spools instead of die-cast aluminum spools. Forged spools are more heavy-duty, durable, and less prone to scratching or abrasions. That said, die-cast spools are often more affordable, and still make an excellent choice for beginners to baitcasting.
You don’t need a lot of bearings, as long as the top of your line reel has a few good ones. You might get tempted when a manufacturer lists a dozen bearings on their products, but honestly, this isn’t necessary. Instead, choose a product that has either shielded, double-shielded, or sealed bearings, to experience better performance and casting. A product with approximately 8 ball bearings should already be more than sufficient for most amateur anglers.
Also, we’d advise you to upgrade to a baitcasting reel with ceramic ball bearings, as stainless steel ones can slow the cast when greased. Don’t worry, finding a design with ceramic ball bearings won’t be a challenge, as most established fishing brands these days prefer this option over traditional steel bearings.
Look for baitcast styles that feature titanium line guides. Some cheaper, low-grade models on the market use ceramic line guides instead, but these are more prone to cracking and/or breaking under pressure. Also, titanium is much more resistant to wear and tear, even with hardcore usage. It may be more expensive on initial purchase, but upgrading to titanium line guides will pay off in the long term.
Baitcasting Reels – FAQ
Why do I need a baitcasting reel?
A baitcasting reel comes with various exciting benefits when compared to a traditional spinning reel. Firstly, the line is spooled in the same direction as your line guides, which reduces friction and line kinking, plus allows you to cast further and over greater distances. Secondly, with mechanical friction brakes, you’re able to tweak the braking power precisely to enjoy the perfect cast distance.
How do I use a baitcasting reel?
Getting to grips with a baitcasting reel will require practice, patience, and then some more practice. Controlling cast distance and smoothly handling the brakes is a learning process, but don’t worry: every angler should be able to master this skill.
If you want a more in-depth explanation, check out our handy editorial on How to Use a Baitcaster. Additionally, you can also review the video below if you want a more visual explanation of the process:
Why does the profile of a baitcasting reel matter?
The profile of a baitcasting reel refers to how close the reel sits to the rod. There are two profiles to choose from: low profile and a rounded profile. Both styles differ in design, function, and are suited for different types of fishing.
Low Profile Baitcasting Reels
A low profile baitcasting reel is the preferred style of frame silhouette for most anglers. A low profile baitcasting reel sits closer to the rod and is small and lightweight. The ergonomic design makes them easier to use, exerting less pressure on your wrist. Low profile baitcasting reels are more stable than rounded profile baitcasting reels and make casting easier. If you plan to cast a lot, a low profile is recommended, as this style is particularly designed to support your casting abilities.
Round Profile Baitcasting Reel
A round profile baitcasting reel is gripped from behind, meaning it offers greater torque than a low-profile reel. As a round-profile reel gives more torque, it’s more suitable for catching larger fish, and compatible with bigger lures. Round profile baitcasting reels are also able to hold a lot more fishing line. Making them more adequate for anglers who want to cast at great depths, or for trolling.
What are the best baitcasting reel brands?
Though we can’t say there’s a single brand that reigns supreme, there are a few names that instantly come to mind when discussing baitcasting gear. These include Penn, Shimano, Daiwa, Abu Garcia, KastKing, Piscifun, and Lew’s. Now, we’re not saying that by buying from these brands, you avoid any disappointment. However, it does reduce the risk of receiving a low-grade product or a dupe. Established brands invest tons of time, money, and resources into product development, to beat the competition. This means you can profit from products that are continuously improved and upgraded to the highest quality standard. That said, there are some very good niche brands and new brands on the market, but if you don’t want to take risks, one of the above-mentioned names is a solid, authentic choice.