Last Updated on May 6, 2021 by Wesley Littlefield
We all want to know that we are buying the best fishing reel possible in our price range. So which brand should you buy? The best fishing reel brand is the one that fits your budget, the style of reel you are most comfortable with, and the type of fishing you plan on doing.
The brand you decide is best should depend on a few factors. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before purchasing the best fishing reel. What type of fishing do you plan on doing? What is your price range? What style of reel do you want?
Top Fishing Brands for Your Type of Fishing
The type of fishing you will be doing determines what fishing reel brands would be best for you to look into.
For instance, if you are going to be ice fishing you will want the best ice fishing reels which will differ from the best trolling reels. Not all fishing reel brands produce ice fishing reels.
Do you plan on inshore fishing with your new reel? The brand that makes the best inshore fishing reel won’t necessarily be the brand that makes the best fly fishing reel. You will need something that is corrosion-resistant against brackish water and saltwater fishing.
The Best Style of Fishing Reel for You
The best brands are often known for manufacturing a certain type of reel and then branching off into producing other fishing products once they have become established.
Are you buying a new reel to become a better bass angler? You will want to buy the best baitcasting reel you can afford.
What if you’re looking to buy the best ultralight fishing reel to chase after panfish or trout? You will be looking at different characteristics and brands when choosing an ultralight spinning reel vs a fly fishing reel. Both can be used in freshwater but they are very different styles.
Good Fishing Reel Brands within Your Budget
Fishing reels can be very expensive! Especially, when you are buying from the best fishing reel brands. However, there are multiple options for all of us.
No matter what your price range is you can find quality reels made by several different brands. Just because you can’t spend an arm and a leg on new fishing gear doesn’t mean you can’t get the high-quality fishing tackle.
The Top 12 Fishing Reel Companies
The following is a list of companies I consider buying from when I’m in the market for a new reel. Anglers across the country trust these companies for their angling needs!
Lew’s is an American-based manufacturer of fishing products. They sell baitcasting reels, spinning reels, and fishing rods. I regularly use several Lew’s products while on my fishing adventures and have no complaints!
What makes Lew’s stand out above other companies is not only their high-quality reels in every price range but also their American Hero Program.
“The Lew’s American Hero series is more than just rods and reels; it is our promise. With a sincere respect for and in genuine honor of our American veterans, Lew’s® pledges a portion of profits from the sale of every American Hero rod, along with select other Lew’s products, for the purpose of supporting and helping organized programs that benefit the mind, spirit, soul and body of our veterans in their return to enjoying recreational opportunities outdoors, such as fishing.”
The top of the line Lew’s casting reel is the Team Lew’s Pro-TI Speed Spool SLP Series.
The top of the line Lew’s spinning reel is the Team Lew’s Custom Pro Speed Spin Series.
2. Abu Garcia
Abu Garcia introduced its first fishing reel in 1941 from Sweden and never looked back. They currently manufacture all types of fishing gear from reels, rods, apparel, fishing tools, and fishing equipment. An Abu Garcia rod and baitcasting reel combo was my first purchase when I decided to get serious about bass fishing.
The top of the line Abu Garcia low profile baitcaster is the Revo MGXtreme Low Profile.
The top of the line Abu Garcia spinning reel is the Revo MGXtreme Spinning.
Shimano is a Japanese company that prides itself on “Creating the most innovative products and processes you can hold in your hand today.” Shimano makes cycling, rowing, and fishing products. They have a selection of spinning reels, low-profile reels, surf reels, conventional reels, saltwater spinning reels, electric reels, and round reels!
The top of the line Shimano spinning reel is the Shimano Stella SW Spinning Reel.
The top of the line Shimano low-profile reel is the Metanium DC Baitcast Reel.
“Daiwa’s first spinning reel rolled off the assembly line in 1955. Since then, the company has grown into one of the largest and most influential tackle companies in the world today.” They offer baitcasting reels, round casting reels, spinning reels, saltwater spinning reels, spincast reels, saltwater conventional reels, line counter reels, power assist reels, fly & mooching reels.
The top of the line Daiwa saltwater spinning reel is the BG MQ Saltwater Spinning Fishing Reel
The top of the line Daiwa mooching reel is the Salmon Mooching Reel.
5. 13 Fishing
One of the newer companies on the list is 13 Fishing. Founded in 2012, they are based in Clearwater, Florida. 13 Fishing offers rods, reels, baits, and other fishing gear. For their reel selection, they offer freshwater, saltwater, and hard water (ice) reels.
The top of the line 13 Fishing baitcaster reel is the Concept Boss.
The top of the line spinning reel Prototype X.
Another of the newer companies to make the top 12 list is KastKing. 2013 was the founding year of their parent company EPoseidon. Their mission statement says,
“We strive to achieve affordable innovation through novel concepts and ingenious designs.
We seek unprecedented cost-effective e-commerce practices to directly market to consumers, cutting fishing tackle costs by 30% or more on average.
E=M2C is our equation. Eposeidon, our parent company, equals manufacturing directly to consumers.”
What makes KastKing stand out amongst its competitors is its pricing without sacrificing quality. They offer reels, rods, and fishing lines amongst other fishing gear.
The top of the line KastKing casting reel is the KastKing Bassinator Elite Baitcasting Reel.
The top of the line KastKing spinning reel is the KastKing Valiant Eagle Series Spinning Reel – Bald Eagle Edition Fishing Reel.
The top of the line KastKing spincast reel is the KastKing Brutus Spincast Fishing Reel.
7. Penn Fishing
Penn Fishing was founded in 1932 by Otte Henze, a German immigrant to the United States. “Mr. Henze dreamed of one day owning his own company, and building fishing reels that would set world records.” Fast forward to 2004 and Penn Fishing reels hold more than 1,400 IGFA world records! I’d say Mr. Henze’s dream was accomplished! They manufacture and sell fishing rods and reels designed for saltwater. Penn is definitely what I would consider a high-end saltwater fishing reel company.
The top of the line Penn Fishing spinning reel is the Torque II Spinning.
The top of the line Penn Fishing conventional reel is the International VISW.
Beginning as a hook manufacturer in 1881, Pflueger has since expanded manufacturing to include fishing rods and reels. “The legendary line of Pflueger reels & rods are designed for the discriminating angler.” They offer customers spinning reels, spincast reels, low-profile baitcasting reels, and fly fishing reels.
The top of the line Pflueger spinning reel is the Pflueger Patriarch Spinning Reel.
The top of the line Pflueger spincast reel is the Pflueger President Spincast Reel.
The top of the line Pflueger low profile baitcasting reel is the Pflueger President XT Low Profile Reel.
1986 is the year in which Okuma Fishing Tackle Co. was founded. “OKUMA FISHING delivers quality and affordable fishing rods such as fly rods, float rods, spinning rods; fishing reels including spinning, baitcasting fishing reel, trolling, and fly reels.” They have an extensive selection of reels to choose from, sure to meet any of your fishing needs! Okuma has a wide variety of spinning reels, saltwater spinning reels, surf spinning reels, bait feeder reels, baitcasting reels, star drag reels, line counters, lever drag reels, fly, float, mooching reels, and carp reels.
The top of the line Okuma lever drag reel is the Makaira Sea Silver.
The top of the line Okuma fly reel is the RAW-II Float Reel.
If you went fishing as a young child chances are you were handed a Zebco fishing reel. In 1947 Zebco created the first spincast reel and hasn’t looked back since. The headquarters are located in Tulsa, Oklahoma. They not only offer their famous spincast reels but also spinning reels, trigger spin reels, and conventional reels.
The top of the line Zebco spincast reel is the BULLET.
The best Zebco spinning reel is the ROAM.
Founded in 2013 Piscifun is dedicated to making fishing affordable and fun without leaving the quality lacking. They offer fishing reels, fishing rods, fishing tools, storage bags, and fishing lines. You can choose from casting reels, spinning reels, fly reels, or ice fishing reels.
The top of the line Piscifun casting reel is the Piscifun Salis X Trolling Reel Conventional Level Wind Reel.
The top of the line Piscifun spinning reel is the Piscifun Carbon X Spinning Reel.
Quantum is the second company located in Tulsa, Oklahoma to make the list. They keep it simple, offering fishing reels and rods to match. You can choose from baitcasting reels, conventional reels, or spinning reels.
The top of the line Quantum baitcasting reel is the SMOKE HD Baitcast Reel.
The top of the line Quantum conventional reel is the Nova Conventional Reel.
The best spinning reel Quantum offers is the CABO Spinning Reel.
Characteristics of the Best Fishing Brands
Fishing gear manufacturers must meet certain criteria to be the best.
Quality is at the top of the criteria list. Price often comes with quality, however, several of the brands mentioned in the list above provide quality products at an affordable price.
Durability goes hand in hand with quality. If you’re like me you plan on using your fishing equipment for years to come. You want a fishing reel that will last you for the rest of your life.
Ingenuity drives the best brands in the world. If the company is only copying its competitors and not providing something unique to the market then in my opinion it is not one of the best fishing brands.
Where to Buy the Best Reel Brands
The best fishing reel brands can be found at most major sporting goods stores, however, there are a few that only sell directly to you the customer. That could be through their website or Amazon. To my surprise, I was able to find all of the high-performance fishing brands in this top 12 list on Amazon.
It’s always a good idea to get your hands on a reel before you buy it, even if you plan on buying the reel online. If you will first go to a sporting goods store that carries the reels you are interested in and hold them in your hands it will help you make a more informed decision on which reel is the best for you!
The Top Fishing Reel is…
The top fishing reel is the highest quality reel you can afford that is going to meet your needs as an angler. Not only does this matter if you are freshwater fishing Vs Saltwater fishing, but this is also going to depend on what species of fish you are chasing.
On your next fishing trip, if you want to catch catfish then you will need a different reel than if you were going crappie fishing. Line capacity and a good drag system are going to be more important to you when chasing big fish like catfish. While chasing smaller game fish like crappie does require a sensitive drag system it will not be the same as you will need while catching large fish.
The gear ratio is more important when bass fishing than trout fishing. Certain bass lures perform best when reeled at certain speeds and a specific gear ratio makes this much easier to keep at that optimum speed or depth.
The most important thing to knowing what the top fishing reel for you is knowing what you are wanting out of the reel. Are you going to need it to be an all-metal body with stainless steel ball bearings, or can you get away with a plastic body? Do you need the instant anti-reverse with a smooth drag or do you prefer something else? Are you concerned with the gearing in the reel or not?
There is no all-encompassing perfect reel. There is, however, the perfect reel for the perfect situation.
Conclusion: What is the Best Fishing Reel Brand For You?
By now you realize that every fishing company claims to be the best. Only one company can be the best and YOU get to decide which company that is going to be. The best fishing reel brand is going to best fit your fishing needs within your budget! It’s time to put your fishing reel to the test and go catch more fish!