Anglers who target big fish with heavy lures know that they need the best baitcasting reel they can afford. But with hundreds of baitcasting reels on the market, it can be hard to decide which one will best meet your needs. In this article, we will look at ten of the best baitcasting reels on the market today and break down what you should look for when it’s time to gear up.

For our review of the best baitcasting reels, we chose products with a range of prices and features to give you a representative mix of what’s on the market. We broke down the features of each reel and provided the price, warranty info, and some pros and cons for each reel. In the end, we also chose one overall top pick based on quality, performance, and value.

Product FAQ

Man fishing with the best baitcasting reel

Photo by Laura Stanley from Pexels

What Is a Baitcasting Reel?

What Do Baitcasting Reels Do?

How Does Baitcasting Reels Work?

Where Can You Buy Them?

What Should You Look for in a Baitcasting Reel?

How We Reviewed the Best Baitcasting Reels

Man holding the best baitcasting reel while fishing

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For this review of the best baitcasting reels, we chose a list of products that run the gamut from high-end to value. All of these reels work similarly, but they have different components and quality levels. To give a better idea about these differences, we looked at the features of each and also provided some pros and cons for each as a quick reference.

For our overall top pick, we selected a product that we feel is the best baitcasting reel for the money. It may not be the best selection for every angler on the water, but it’s the best combination of price, quality, and performance.

Overall Price Range of the Best Baitcasting Reels

The price on baitcasting reels fluctuates greatly depending on the brand, model, features, and even the time of year when you shop. The reels in this article range between around $50 on the lower end and around $500 on the high end.

What We Reviewed

  • SHIMANO Chronarch MGL Baitcasting Fishing Reel
  • SHIMANO Curado
  • Lews Fishing Team Pro Magnesium LFS Speed Spool
  • Abu Garcia BMAX3 Max Low-Profile Baitcast Fishing Reel
  • Lews Fishing TPG1SH Tournament Pro G Speed Spool Reel
  • KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel
  • 13 Fishing Concept A Fishing Reels
  • Daiwa Tatula Baitcast Reel
  • SHIMANO Citica
  • Piscifun Perseus Low Profile Baitcasting Reel
Sale
Shimano Chronarch MGL CHMGL150 Baitcasting Fishing Reel, Gear Ratio:...
  • GEAR RATIO - 6.2:1; WEIGHT - 6.5 oz
  • LINE RETRIEVE - 26; MAX DRAG - 11
  • MONO LINE CAPACITY - 10/120, 12/110, 14/90; PowerPRO LINE CAPACITY - 20/150, 30/135, 40/105

Features

This reel features a carbon body that is similar to those found on higher-end reels from Shimano. This is a great choice for those who need the sensitivity to cast lighter lines and lures but also launch heavier loads like poppers and spoons.

Pros

  • Magnum Lite spool
  • SVS Infinity braking system
  • Available in 8.1:1 gear ration
  • Smooth cast and retrieve

Cons

  • More expensive than some comparable reels

Warranty

Shimano covers this reel with a two-year limited warranty.

Shimano Curado 200 IHG right hand baitcast fishing reel, CU200IHG
  • High gear baitcast spinning fishing reel, Gear ratio: 7.2:1, Retrieve: right
  • Mono line capacity (lbs/yds): 8/180,10/155,14/110
  • PowerPro line capacity (lbs/yds): 30/190,50/120,65/80

Features

Shimano’s Curado reel is one of the best baitcasting reels available for saltwater fishing. It’s a strong a powerful reel, but also made specifically for ultralight weight. Like the Chronarch, this baitcaster from Shimano has a lot of premium features that are often found on other products at a higher price point.

Pros

  • SVS Infinity brake system
  • Precision aluminum S3D spool
  • Quick Fire II clutch bar casting system
  • PV power handle grips

Cons

  • On the highest end of price for this class of reel 

Warranty

This reel is also covered with a two-year warranty.

Sale
Lew's Fishing Team Lew's Hyper Mag Speed Spool SLP TLH1XHL Reels
  • FISHING REEL: Reel constructed from one-piece magnesium frame with lightweight carbon C45 sideplates, aircraft-grade...
  • CASTING REEL: Features a premium 11-bearing system with double-shielded stainless steel ball bearings and Zero Reverse...
  • BAITCASTING REELS: Includes a double anodized aluminum spool tension adjustment with audible click, a rugged carbon...

Features

This is an ultralight fishing reel that provides excellent strength, quality, and performance. With a single-piece magnesium frame and carbon side plates, this baitcaster from Lew’s will accept up to 20lb test line. With their patented Speed Spool, this reel will also get you dialed in without any wasted time on the water.

Pros

  • Carbon C45 side plates
  • Duralumin drilled U-shaped spool
  • SpeedCast adjustable centrifugal braking (ACB) system

Cons

  • Gold accenting may wear down over time

Warranty

This reel is covered with a one-year limited warranty.

Abu Garcia BMAX3-L Black Max Low-Profile Baitcast Fishing Reel, Left...
  • Lightweight design with one-piece graphite frame and side plates
  • 4 stainless steel ball bearings
  • Power Disk system

Features

The BMAX3 baitcaster from Abu Garcia offers an excellent quality product at a low price. This reel features a graphite chassis and sides, so it’s very light but also super strong. It has a simple ball bearing design to ensure excellent casting and retrieving without too many added bells and whistles.

Pros

  • Power Disk design for easy drag 
  • MagTrax brake system
  • Compact bent handle for a sleek profile

Cons

  • Only four ball bearings 
  • Lower quality components than higher end reels

Warranty

This reel is covered by a one-year limited warranty.

Features

The TPG1SH from Lews is a speed-oriented entry onto our list of the best baitcasting reels. This reel features an anodized aluminum frame with C45 carbon walls. The U-shaped spool is made of double-anodized aluminum and bored with a 12-hole design. Overall this is a fast and smooth reel that won’t break the bank for a premium product.

Pros

  • 10:1 gear option
  • Titanium-coated zirconia line guide
  • Light 95mm carbon fiber handle

Cons

  • May require a stiffer rod for added rigidity

Warranty

This reel is covered by Lews’ limited one-year warranty.

KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel, Right Handed Fishing...
  • BULLET PROOF - The hot Rover reel just became hotter. The KastKing Rover round baitcasting reel has been reinforced with...
  • MORE POWERFUL - You will love the stronger, more powerful KastKing Rover round baitcasting reel with a superior carbon...
  • SUPER SMOOTH - KastKing Rover reels have premium MaxiDur double shielded stainless steel ball bearings (6 + 1 BBs on...

Features

The KastKing Rover baitcasting reel is a catfish oriented reel with hard anodized aluminum sides and spool. This reel boasts 20 LB / 9 KG of drag, which is controllable with a 6 + 1 ball bearing construction. This is an affordable reel that gives lots of retrieval power for those wanting to troll and bottom fish for large species in both saltwater and freshwater.

Pros

  • Excellent quality for price
  • Super smooth action 
  • Stainless steel internal components

Cons

  • Lacks sleek appearance of some high-end reels

Warranty

This reel features a one-year limited warranty.

Sale
13 FISHING Concept A3 6.3:1 Right Hand Freshwater/Saltwater...
  • SMOOTH PERFORMANCE - With over 30+ lbs of fish stopping power, the Bull Drag System, puts the brakes on the hardest...
  • JAPANESE HAMAI CUT GEARING - This big low-profile fishing reel is cut with Japanese Hamai precision; the new H.A.M....
  • DURABLE & RUGGED REEL - 13 Fishing Concept A3 heavy-duty fishing reel includes anti-corrosion bearings and ocean armor 2...

Features

This is a sleek baitcasting reel with an aluminum frame and composite sides. It has a stylized diamond-shaped head that helps for smooth casting and retrieves over long distances. Additionally, the proprietary Concept Brake System allows for lures as light as 3/16oz and as heavy as 1oz.

Pros

  • Sleek all-black appearance
  • Cork handles
  • Powerful casting ability

Cons

  • Lack of direct brake access

Warranty

This reel is covered with a one-year limited warranty.

Daiwa Tatula Btcst Reel Type R Tatula Btcst Reel-R100XS
  • Made using the highest quality components
  • Used by professional fishermen worldwide
  • Tested for durability and quality

Features

Daiwa’s Tatula reel is a versatile option for those looking for one of the best baitcasting reels on the market. This reel is simple and affordable enough for beginners, but also has plenty of performance for more experienced anglers. With a stout 132 pounds of drag and Daiwa’s signature T-wing line guide system, the Tatula is a feature-rich reel for smooth casting and large lures.

Pros

  • Ultimate Tournament Carbon (UTD) drag
  • T-Wing aperture for low line tension
  • Excellent drag weight

Cons

  • Harder to change drag weight than some reels

Warranty

Daiwa covers their reels with a one-year or 200 use-hour warranty.

Shimano Citica 200 I, Baitcast Fishing Reel Right Hand, CI200I
  • Retrieve: Right, Gear ratio: 6.3:1, Weight: 7.40 ounce
  • Mono Line Capacity (lbs/yd): 8/180,10/155,14/110
  • PowerPro Line Capacity (lbs/yd): 30/190,50/120,65/80

Features

Shimano’s Citica reel boasts high-quality features in a sleek and minimal package. This is a highly adjustable product in part because of the Infinity SVS brake system. Shimano makes some of the best baitcasting reels on the market, and they’ve loaded the Citica with many other top features including an S3D stable spool, S-A-RB bearings, and their proprietary X-Ship pinion system.

Pros

  • Premium features at a reasonable price
  • Super durable
  • Long casting with the SVS braking system

Cons

  • Simple aesthetic may not appeal to every angler

Warranty

This reel is covered with Shimano’s two-year warranty.

Piscifun Perseus Low Profile Baitcasting Reel - Dual Brakes, 18.5LB...
  • POWERFUL - Precise brass gears paired with 3 Premium carbon fiber drag washers provide an ultra-strong 18.5LBs drag...
  • EXTRAORDINARY FEEL - Dynamic 6-pin Centrifugal brake plus Magnetic brake provide the anglers with on-the-fly tournament...
  • ANTI-CORROSION - Corrosion Resistant Premium gears and superior quality 5+1 shield stainless steel bearings to ensure...

Features

The Perseus baitcasting reel from Piscifun is another high-quality and low-cost entry on our list of the best baitcasting reels. This reel boasts a carbon fiber drag system with 18.5 pounds to help you get big and strong fish into the boat. It’s got Piscifun’s Dynamic 6-pin Centrifugal drag system to ensure not only long, smooth casting but also easy retrieves. Best of all, this reel is dead quiet for long days on the water.

Pros

  • Carbon fiber drag construction
  • High-quality CNC construction
  • Excellent value for the price

Cons

  • Less durable than higher end reels

Warranty

This reel features a limited one-year warranty.

The Verdict

Fisherman is holding the best baitcasting reel

Image by Calin Pike from Pixabay

Our overall top pick on this list of the best baitcasting reels is the Shimano Curado. Over the years this series of reels has become an industry leader for Shimano, and for good reason. It’s a strong, smooth casting reel that has a premium feel that will appeal to novices and professionals alike. Despite this reel’s diminutive weight, it has competitive hauling power to ensure that you will not only get your bait where you need it, but also get it back safely.

At nearly $500, this reel may not be the initial choice for an angler looking for their first baitcasting reel. With that said, this reel is loaded with high-end features that more than justify the cost. The Hagane metal frame will hold up for years of abuse without excessive maintenance. Casting is also a dream with this premium reel as it boasts Shimano’s X-Ship and Super Free Spool to keep line friction at an absolute minimum.

If you’re an experienced angler who is ready to invest in a premium reel, we think the Shimano Curado is worth a close look. This reel will give elite level control and casting ability with simple controls that anyone can figure out. Shimano is known for making some of the best baitcasting reels on the market and the Curado truly upholds that mantle. With Shimano’s two-year warranty in hand, you can hardly go wrong with this baitcasting reel.

Featured Image by Arto Kojo from Pixabay

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