Some spinning reels are expensive. But if you’re on a budget that doesn’t mean you can’t find a good one. We’ve rounded up the ten best spinning reel under $50 and reviewed them here so you don’t have to wonder if that cheap reel you’ve seen is any good. Construction quality, braking systems, durability and casting experience are all rated below. We also detail the specifications of each reel. Our Buyers Guide will help you determine which low-cost reels good quality and are a better buy than their competitors. The FAQs will also help you know what to look out for when reel shopping on a tight budget for best spinning reel under $50.

Popular Choice

Ceymar Spinning Reel OKUMA


OKUMA Ceymar Lightweight, narrow-body design for less fatigue best spinning reel under 50 dollar

Top PickMost Popular

300 Spinning Reel MITCHELL

★★★★★MITCHELL 300 Carbon fiber drag for increased durability best spinning reel under 50 dollar

Best Value

Centron 2000 KASTKING

★★★★★KASTKING Centron 2000 lightweight Compact, Affordable best spinning reel under 50 dollar




MITCHELL 300 Carbon fiber drag for increased durability best spinning reel under 50 dollar

General Impression

Mitchell introduced the first modern spinning reel in 1948. For the last 70 years, they have produced innovative, quality reels at a reasonable price every angler can afford. The 300 has been designed using the latest in construction materials and systems that work together for peak performance. The body and rotor are constructed from the latest polymer while the spool and handle are machined aluminum. Eight ball bearings and a line management system allow for long casts and smooth operation. The anti-reverse system eliminates backlash and puts you in control of the fight. The innovative Halo Bail keeps the line from rubbing on the spool. The multi-disk drag system provides just the right amount of pressure where it is needed to land both light and heavy loads. Whether a beginner just getting started or a seasoned veteran the 300 deserves a place in your tackle box. As an added consideration, the 300 is very popular amongst drop shot fishermen. It will prove incredibly effective when paired with good technique and a quality drop shot fishing rod. Considered among the best spinning reel under $50.


PRIMARY MATERIAL: Polymer, Aluminum
MAX DRAG: 14 lbs


  • Polymer body and aluminum spool reduces weight and fatigue
  • Innovative systems that work together for peak performance
  • Made by the first company to introduce the modern spinning reel
  • Carbon fiber drag for increased durability


  • Spool capacity is less than other models in the same category
  • Only available in small sizes, with largest being 4000
  • Spare parts are not readily available

KASTKING Centron 2000


KASTKING Centron 2000 lightweight Compact, Affordable best spinning reel under 50 dollar

General Impression

Being a spinning reel boasting 10 quality ball bearings, you can rest assured friction and tears will be minimized, so you’ll be in for a smooth ride.
The aluminum core makes for a lightweight piece of gear that won’t lack in performance and power, offering you a nice casting experience.
The powerful drag and superb stopping power will make you a winner in every water power battle.
Thanks to its graphite frames, the Centron 2000 is corrosion-free, so you can enjoy a nice saltwater fishing session, worry-free. High on our top list for best spinning reel under $50.


PRIMARY MATERIAL: Aluminum, Graphite
WEIGHT: 8.6 oz
MAX DRAG: 12 lbs


  • Powerful launch
  • Compact
  • Affordable
  • Two-color anodized spool
  • Ambidextrous
  • Beginner-friendly


  • Might not be a pro’s favorite

OKUMA Ceymar

General Impression

This lightweight spinning reel offers a sleek, narrow blade graphite body that provides the perfect foundation. Add a machined aluminum 2-tone anodized spool, aluminum bail, and forged aluminum handle and you have a real workhorse ready for the toughest day on the water. The multi-disc oil felt drag system and elliptical gear system with 8 stainless steel bearings can take the fight to the biggest fish out there. A computer balanced rotor equalizing system eliminates spool wobble which in turn reduces fatigue while lengthening reel life.


PRIMARY MATERIAL: Graphite, Aluminum
REEL SIZE: 10,20,30, 40
WEIGHT: 6.0, 6.8, 8.2, 10 oz


  • Lightweight, narrow-body design for less fatigue
  • A total of 8 stainless steel ball bearings for exceptional performance
  • Rotor equalizing system eliminated spool wobble
  • Multi-disc drag system for ultimate control


  • Small size may not be a good fit for everyone
  • Some users have reported a problem with line catching on the spindle
  • Because the body and gears are not sealed it may not be the best choice for saltwater

PENN Pursuit III

General Impression

Penn is known for supplying some of the finest rods and reels available. While many of their products are considered high-end, they do offer a few items for the entry-level angler. These entry-level products are the same high quality with a few fewer features and less expensive components. The Pursuit series of reels is a perfect example. The body is constructed from lightweight graphite and accompanied by an anodized aluminum spool and side plate. The drag system consists of oiled felt washers and 4 stainless steel bearing, with a fifth anti-reverse bearing as well. Everything is topped off with a large ergonomically designed handle. What you get is a reel that performs far above its price. The graphite and aluminum components are both lightweight and corrosion-resistant. This allows for use in both fresh and saltwater. The 4+1 bearing offers farther casting and smooth retrieval. Plus, it offers an automatic anti-reverse feature. The oversized handle is comfortable to grip and allows for better leverage when battling fish.


PRIMARY MATERIAL: Graphite, Aluminum
REEL SIZE: 2500 , 3000
WEIGHT: 9-8, 11.8 oz
MAX DRAG: 10, 12 lbs


  • Automatic anti-reverse feature to prevent backlash
  • Suitable for both fresh and saltwater use
  • Superline spool is suitable for monofilament or braided line and marked for 1/3, 2/3 and full capacity
  • HT-100 drag system is one of the most reliable available in this price range


  • Only available in 2500 or 3000 sizes for under $50
  • A little bit bulkier than expected
  • These reels are not sealed against water entering the housing

PISCIFUN Viper X 3000

General Impression

Many won’t think they’ll get quality and high-performance spinning reel for under $30, but that’s exactly what the Viper X 3000 will deliver, without breaking the bank. Constructed out of graphite, the Viper X 3000 is both lighter and stronger, due to an innovative mold technology that ensures a high rate of endurance.
Thanks to the fast 6.2:1 ratio and the high-speed retrieval, the Viper X 3000 makes sure you’ll win every power struggle between you and your game. Detailed with 10+1 stainless steel ball bearings, smooth and steady performance is guaranteed, so you can forget about the line snapping or tangling up.


WEIGHT: 8.6 oz
MAX DRAG: 22 lbs


  • Affordable
  • Quality made
  • Comfortable EVA knob
  • Perfect line capacity
  • Powerful drag
  • Ambidextrous


  • Some of the edges might be rough


General Impression

Sometimes tested favorites are the way to go and Pflueger’s Trion is just that. Over the years it has built a loyal following thanks to dependability, smooth action, and a reasonable price tag. By taking a design that has been tested streamside and updating with modern materials you get a top-quality reel, high on our best spinning reel under $50, with a bottom basement price tag. With 7 bearings, an anti-reverse bearing (operated by a flip switch) and multi-disc stainless steel & oiled felt drag system you get a reel capable of landing big fish with ease. The double anodized aluminum spool, graphite body, anti-twist titanium line roller and aluminum handle translate into a lightweight rod that performs under heavy pressure.


PRIMARY MATERIAL: Graphite, Aluminum
REEL SIZE: 20, 30, 35, 40
WEIGHT: 7.5 to 11.3 oz
MAX DRAG: 10, 12 & 14 lbs
GEAR RATIO: 5.2:1, 5.2:2 & 5:2.4


  • Lightweight components without sacrificing durability
  • Stainless steel bearings offer superior smoothness and casting distance
  • Backed by year of experience in building some of the finest freshwater reel available
  • Multiple sizes available allowing you to use same set up for a variety of species


  • The handle can be difficult to remove and reassemble for storage & use
  • Although corrosion resistant it is not sealed making it a less than perfect choice for saltwater
  • The plastic handle is not as nice as rosewood material used on previous models


General Impression

This is a great rod for the price. Quality Japanese craftsmanship with many features not usually found in this price range. The graphite body and aluminum spool offer reduced weight even though it has a full-size traditional design. Multi-disk felt drag system with machined brass pinion gear for increased durability. Six stainless steel ball bearings and anti-reverse setting for smooth casting and rock-solid hook sets. Even flow roller system to reduce line twist. Corrosion-resistant frame, side plate, and rotor allows for use in both fresh and saltwater. As if this is not enough you also get the automatic bait feeding system. This allows the fish to take the bait without feeling tension from the line and permits a better hook set on the fish. Not bad for best spinning reel under $50, plus it is covered by a 1-year limited warranty.


PRIMARY MATERIAL: Graphite, Aluminum
REEL SIZE: 500, 1000, 4000, 6000, 8000
WEIGHT: 6.7 to 17.8 oz
MAX DRAG: 6 to 26 lbs
GEAR RATIO: 5:0:1, 4:5:1


  • Plenty of features normally found only on much more expensive reels
  • The automatic bait feeding system is a big plus when fishing live bait
  • Available in 5 sizes from 500 to 8000
  • Backed by 1-year limited warranty
  • Suitable for fresh and saltwater


  • Although it is available in 6 sizes some of the more popular mid-range sizes are missing
  • The spool is not braid ready, surprising for a reel intended for saltwater
  • Some users have complained the line does not always lay evenly on the spool

PFLUEGER President

General Impression

The President is a spin-cast fishing reel model, courtesy of Pflueger, that offers a nice level of quality at an affordable price. This particular piece of fishing essentials is a neat choice for both newbies and experienced anglers.
Made out of aluminum, this spinning reel is quite light, ensuring smooth navigation, plus, due to its 5 ball bearings, friction is brought down to a minimum.
The soft-touch rubber knob delivers nice traction while being comfortable enough to offer a firm grip for reeling in your fishing trophy.


WEIGHT: 10.8 oz
MAX DRAG: 6 lbs
GEAR RATIO: 3.4: 1


  • Affordable
  • Firmly built
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Manufacturer guarantee included
  • Ambidextrous


  • Only comes in small reel sizes
  • Humble lbs test line


General Impression

It is hard to believe this reel can be had for less than $30. From the moment you open the package and see the striking red and black design you will be in awe. Of course, looks are not everything. This reel has the features you need to back up those you see. With an astounding 10 bearing (9 standard plus one rolling) it is without a doubt one of the smoothest operating reels available regardless of the price tag. The brass pinion gear and triple washers provide a maximum drag just shy of 20 pounds and extreme durability. Thanks to the hollow design graphite body and aluminum spool it still weighs in at less than 10 ounces. This combination of features means you will be getting one of the sharpest looking, smoothest operating reels available. It also means you will be paying a fraction of what competitors charge.


PRIMARY MATERIAL: Graphite, Aluminum
REEL SIZE: 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000
WEIGHT: 8.5 oz
MAX DRAG: 19.8 lbs


  • Lightweight design results in less fatigue when used
  • Despite weighing in at less than 10 ounces the maximum drag is very impressive
  • It is available in 4 different sizes for pursuing a variety of species
  • With 10 bearings this is one of the smoothest casting reels in any price range
  • The unique design is as eye-catching as it is functional
  • Comes ready for use with braided line


  • Is not the best choice for saltwater
  • There are no line capacity markers on the spool
  • Gear ratio is lighter than other reels in the same class

DIWA Deluxe 4000

General Impression

The Deluxe 4000 model by Diwa is one sturdy piece of fishing gear that will deliver quite a bang for your buck.
Featuring some great perks, like an interchangeable ambidextrous handle, superb line-laying oscillation system, and superslim streamline core design, the Deluxe 4000 is a fine choice even for the pickiest of anglers.
It performs quite well in many water environments, so you won’t regret using it while ocean boat fishing, rock fishing, and other techniques.
Thanks to its aluminum alloy construction, this spinning reel is sturdy and light at the same time, and the 14 ball bearings ensure you get minimum friction and maximum performance.


WEIGHT: 10.7 oz
MAX DRAG: 55 lbs


  • Affordable
  • Powerful drag
  • Durable


  • It might rust

Buyer's Guide

If you are searching for a new spinning reel be prepared for two things: sticker shock and confusion. There reels, like those on the list, that cost less than $50. There is also the other end of the spectrum where reels cost several hundred dollars or more. This can cause confusion and concern for the inexperienced shopper. Why the huge difference in price? Are $50 reels going to be good enough? How do I separate the quality inexpensive reel from the cheap junk?

As you have probably figured out already not all reels are created equal. You also can not depend on price alone to determine quality. The previous list is a perfect example of a quality rod available at a price most anglers can afford. A similar list could be made with an equal number of lesser quality reels that cost far more. Instead of focusing on price you need to consider the features available and how they will compliment your fishing activities.

Quality Construction

You may want an inexpensive reel but that doesn’t mean you want to throw your money away. Not very long ago it was nearly impossible to purchase a graphite and aluminum reel for $50 or less. Thanks to advances in technology that is no longer true. Most of the reels on the above list include graphite or composite bodies and frames with aluminum spools, bail wires and handles. Stainless steel ball bearing, carbon or oiled disk drag systems and even brass gears are common as well. The proper combination of these materials will provide a lightweight, durable reel that will last for many seasons if cared for properly.

Try to avoid plastic or steel components as this is decrease durability or increase weight. Regardless of what materials are used look for a reel that is solid without excessive wobbling when used. It should feel comfortable in the hand and all handles, knobs or releases should be easily reached.


Too many anglers fail to consider weight when purchasing a reel. While a heavy, stout reel may be nearly impervious to the elements and last a lifetime it will be uncomfortable to use for more than a short time. Lightweight materials such as graphite and aluminum are a consideration. Next, you want to look at the overall design. A narrower body or smaller overall footprint will also reduce the weight. Just make sure you select a reel that is still larger enough to handle the type of fishing you will be doing; the species being targeted and tackle you will be using. Portability is another factor one would need to consider – Is the angler able to easily fit his reel in a backpack when hiking to the next fishing spot?

Ball Bearings

When you look at a specific reel the bearing count is a feature that is commonly highlighted but what does this mean? Most reels will list the bearing count a 4+1, meaning it has 4 bearing in the main hub plus one for roller or anti-reverse function. Is this a matter of more is better? Yes and no. Typically having more bearings will provide smoother operation and longer life. However, you also need to consider construction. A high number of low-quality bearings will fail long before a lower number of high-quality bearings. Selecting a reel with an anti-reverse function will help prevent backlash and ensure a solid hookset.

Most reels in the under $50 class will have 4 to 8 bearings. These will typically be stainless steel as it is corrosion resistant and highly durable. Those designed for saltwater use may also include shielding or replace the stainless-steel bearing with Corrosion Resistant Ball Bearings (CRBB) constructed from a higher quality alloy. An anti-reverse function is also common in this price range.

Maximum Drag

Many anglers focus on the maximum drag, picking a reel simply because it has a higher maximum drag available. This is not always an accurate measurement of quality. It is also often unnecessary. You want to look for a reel that has a maximum drag equal to approximately one quarter or one third the breaking strength of the line you will be using. If using 20 lb. test you do not need more than 10 pounds of drag. Next, you need to consider the drag system. Reels in this range will typically rely on a series of washers to produce drag. When tightened the drag you add more pressure to the washers, increasing drag. A multiple washer system will last longer than a single washer. Carbon washers will last longer than oiled felt washers.

Gear Ratio

The gear ratio determines how quickly the line will be retrieved. A 6:1 gear ratio is higher than a 4:1 gear ratio resulting in faster line retrieval. While the faster gear ratio reduces overall power and your ability to catch bigger fish but is less tiring to use. A lower gear ratio provides increased power but will fatigue the user quicker. The average reel, including most in the $50 price range, will have a gear ration near 5:1.

Water Resistance

IF you plan on fishing in freshwater having a water-resistant reel is nice but not necessary. The bigger concern is dirt. With proper care and occasional cleaning, this reel will function well even if completely submerged for a short period of time.

When fishing in saltwater water-resistance becomes more important. Saltwater is far more corrosive and will lead to early failure in reels designed for freshwater only use. If you will be fishing in saltwater look for a reel that is sealed or shielded and constructed from corrosive resistant material.


Selecting a reel constructed by a reputable brand will increase the likelihood it is constructed properly and will function as intended. However, even the best manufacturers can make mistakes or let an inferior product slip through their screening process. This is when a solid warranty and excellent customer service with be worth its weight in gold. Most reputable companies will provide a written warranty explaining what is covered, for how long the warranty is extended and how to make a claim.


1. What is the best cheap spinning reel?

If by cheap you mean inexpensive all of the reels above are excellent choices. The PENN Pursuit III is our selection as best spinning reel under $50 and the PISCIFUN Flame is our selection for Best Under $30. Both of these reels are quality made and suitable for a wide range of applications.

2. What should I be careful of when buying inexpensive spinning reels?

The first concern is quality. Some reels are less inexpensive due to being produced more efficiently or in large numbers by a major manufacturer. Others can be sold cheaper due to being made overseas in factories with less quality control, using cheaper materials by less reputable companies. A quality reel with be lighter, more comfortable to use and will last longer.

Next, you want to look for a reel that fits your style of fishing. It is not worth the few bucks you might save if you buy a less expensive reel that can not withstand the conditions it will face day to day.

Finally, it is recommended you purchase from a reputable, established manufacturer. Not only does this increase the likelihood of receiving a quality reel, but it also increases the chances of obtaining a solid warranty with good customer service.

3. What are the best spinning rod and reel combo under $50?

There are plenty of quality rod & reel combinations for under $50. Unfortunately, you usually end up sacrificing quality for quantity when trying to find a combo in this price range. This is what makes the Pflueger Trion Rod & Reel Combo our top pick. Not only do you get a top-quality reel, which you can read more about above, but it is also matched with a lightweight, durable rod. The I-M6 blank, stainless steel guides and cork handle provide the perfect complement to the Trion reel. When paired you get a well-balanced, lightweight workhorse well suited for a wide range of applications and considered one of the best spinning reel under $50.

best saltwater spinning reel under $50


As always, we create our content with you, fellow adventurers, in mind. So, how’d we do? Did you find this informative? Did it help you make a decision? Did we miss anything? We’d love to hear from you below. Thanks for reading and we hope your next adventure is a great one!

David Stefanoski

David Stefanoski is an avid outdoorsman who loves to explore the deepest, most exciting crevices of nature and then write about them. From the maximum depth that a scuba suit can go, to the maximum heights that his legs will take him, David enjoys the outdoors in its warmest, sunniest days on the prairie, to the iciest, dampest little spots in Eastern Europe. After 15 years of trudging, his favorite outdoorsman activity is still chopping wood due to his large body size. He says it's like splitting toothpicks!

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