Best Baitcasting Reel 2020 – Top 7 Reels for all fishermen

Best Baitcasting Reels

It’s late morning and the weather for fishing couldn’t be any better. You and your son start packing the gear, along with some food and drinks for the day.

Then you remember.

The reel broke last week and you have no extra!

Okay, this exact situation might have not happened to you. But if you have been fishing since a kid, then surely you have experienced something similar. You don’t want that to happen again.

For whatever reason you are here, we’ve got you covered, as always.

We have gone out to our favorite fishing spot to test out the most popular reels. We have reviewed them in such a way, that you can pin-point the best baitcasting reel for you and your needs. No matter if you are an expert, beginner, kid, adult, left-handed or right-handed.

We’ll help you find the one that suits you.

Best overall: Abu Garcia Revo SX Baitcast Reel
“Definitely one of the best baitcasting reels – for both experts and beginners”

Most popular: Lew’s Fishing Tournament MB Baitcast Reel
“They cast like a dream and will last for many years of hard fishing before you need to buy a new one.”

Best premium choice: Lew’s Fishing Team HyperMag
“It’s one of the smoothest ones and because of that, one of our absolute favorites. Quality all the way!”

Best budget choice: Daiwa Tatula CT Baitcast
“Perfect for people who want a cheap reel, without having to compensate with quality”

Best for saltwater: 13 FISHING Concept Z Low Profile
“ideal reel for those who love to do fishing in saltwater as it has saltwater protection”

Great value: SHIMANO Curado K Baitcast Reel
“It’s smooth, fast, compact and reliable”

Great for beginners: Ardent Apex Elite Fishing Reel
“Ideal for beginners and people who don’t fish so often. The price is low, but the performance is really great”

Best overall: Abu Garcia Revo SX Baitcast Reel

Reasons to buy:

  • Super lightweight
  • Very smooth cast
  • Right and left-handed models
  • Advanced braking system
  • Easy to use for rookies
Reasons not to buy:

  • On the higher end of the price scale

Good For:

People who want high quality and reliability. The amount of positive reviews is a receipt of how good this reel is. It costs a little more than some others, but it’s worth every penny. Definitely one of the best baitcasting reels – for both experts and beginners.

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Revo SX reel by Abu Garcia delivers powerful high-performance yet durable and efficient casts and retrieves. It weighs around 6.6 ounces and makes you feel comfortable to carry around.

Ultimate efficiency and durability are due to the innovative gear design called D2 and altogether it results in more power and less effort. The reel offers 6.6:1 gear ratio which is sufficient for most of the fishing applications.

The Revo SX also features the X2-craft alloy frame which provides a strong, rigid yet lightweight frame and base for high drag pressure and increased corrosion resistance.

The reel is incorporated with a power stack C drag system that delivers consistent and smooth pressure. The maximum drag you can experience is 24 lbs. A thick carbon washer adds up to deliver enhanced drag performance and durability.

The reel features the Infini II spool design that allows it to handle extreme loads and delivers improved castability. The extended 90mm handle with PVC knobs makes sure you experience more leverage and cast much more comfortably.

The Infini braking system incorporated in the reel is a combination of a magnetic brake, controlling the lower end of the reel and a centrifugal brake, controlling the other end of the reel. Extensive range of adjustment is made possible due to the dual braking system so that it can suit different bait styles.

The Revo SX is equipped with DuraClutch mechanism that reduces thumb bar resistance, increases the reel’s durability and delivers enhanced casting performance. It features total 10 bearings including 1 roller and 9 stainless steel bearings that allow smooth cast and retrieve.

Most popular: Lew’s Fishing Tournament MB Baitcast Reel

Reasons to buy:

  • Double-shielded bearing system
  • Lightweight and compact design
  • Multi-setting brake system
  • One-piece die-cast aluminium frame
Reasons not to buy:

  • Line capacity is not that good as compared to other reels.

Good For:

People who don’t want to “baseball bat throw”, but instead use a smooth toss. It’s very easy, precise and gentle to throw. However, it doesn’t throw as long as some other reels. It’s a little bit noisy, but nothing too bad. The retriever is nice and fast. All-in-all it’s a superb reel with a great value for the money.

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While talking about best baitcasting reels, we can’t neglect this excellent reel by Lew’s Fishing Tournament. It is an excellent choice for both beginners and those who have been fishing for years.

Only 6.7 ounces of weight makes it super light.

The MB offers excellent high strength solid brass gears and premium 10 double-shielded stainless steel bearing system having a 6.8:1 gear ratio, creating a smooth yet powerful retrieve.

It also contains an advanced dual-braking multi-setting brake (MSB) system, featuring both a centrifugal braking system and magnetic cast system. The reel’s compact design is made possible by the drilled and forged, double anodized aluminum U style spool.

Along with that, the real has a one-piece die-cast aluminum frame with an easily removable palming graphite side plate.

This baitcasting reel is incorporated with a zero-reverse one-way clutch bearing ensuring you do not lose your grip on the reel.

9+1 bearing system creates ultra-smooth retrieval. Whereas a rugged carbon composite metal star drag system helps to maintain the stability while you lookout for the bait. The Lew’s custom paddle handle knob provides for quick, precise adjustments when you switch baits. They cast like a dream and will last for many years of hard fishing before you need to buy a new one.

Best premium choice: Lew’s Fishing Team HyperMag

Reasons to buy:

  • Compact and lightweight
  • Highly adjustable internal braking system
  • Magnesium frame
  • Anodized aluminium gears
Reasons not to buy:

  • A bit expensive

Good For:

People who want a super smooth retrieve and a fast casting lightweight reel. It’s a bit pricey, but on the other hand it’s one of the best and most effective baitcasting reels on the market today. It’s one of the smoothest ones and because of that, one of our absolute favorites. Quality all the way!

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Thanks to super low-profile (SLP) platform, The HyperMag is Lew’s lightest baitcasting reel. The low weight (5.4 ounces) makes this reel portable and easy to carry around without compromising on fishing trips.

The HyperMag reel is made of a single Magnesium frame with lightweight carbon side plates. Due to this construction, it offers enhanced durability and reliability. The reel features speed gears made of hard-anodized aluminum alloy, cut with precision to ensure longer gear life and has a 7.5:1 gear ratio offering smooth retrieve.

Externally adjustable 4-pin, 27 position, SpeedCast adjustable centrifugal braking system (ABS) makes your fishing much more fun by creating enhanced casting.

It is incorporated with the finest 11-bearing system, providing a high degree of control over your reel. Along with that, these bearings offer zero-reverse and anti-reverse clutching so that you do not lose your grip on the reel. Exclusive patented speed dial line indicator, patented speed keeper and hook keeper are a plus.

U-shape spool is 32 mm in size, and this is the reason why the reel is compact in size. The product handles light lures better than other reels of the same size without compromising performance and power.

Best budget choice: Daiwa Tatula CT Baitcast

Reasons to buy:

  • T-wing casting
  • Advanced MagForce-Z cast control system
  • Corrosion-resistant clutch mechanism
  • Excellent carbon drag
Reasons not to buy:

  • Non-significant gear ratio

Good For:

Perfect for people who want a cheap reel, without having to compensate with quality. The performance is great and the noise level is low. Even though it’s one of the cheapest reels! Perfect for you if you are on a budget, but still want quality stuff.

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Daiwa Tatula CT Baitcasting reel is designed to meet the performance and durability requirements of the pro anglers. The CT offers a rugged gear system that is fully supported within a rigid, lightweight aluminum housing and side plates.

T-wing casting makes it the most innovative reel we have seen in a long time. This concept reduces obstruction and friction on the cast while maintaining even line winding onto the spool retrieve. The phenomenon is simple, flips up into a casting position, revealing the inclusive slot for the line to flow through on the cast.

The CT baitcasting reel contains an advanced MagForce-Z cast control system that produces an ultra-smooth retrieve. It also has a unique corrosion-resistant clutch mechanism that ensures enhanced durability even in tough situations.

Overall the 8 bearing systems produce extremely smooth retrieval and long casting distance. The reel offers excellent carbon drag that delivers a smooth yet strong cast. CT is the perfect choice for those who are in the need of a reel without compromising on the performance.

Best for saltwater: 13 FISHING Concept Z Low Profile

Reasons to buy:

  • Zero ball bearings
  • CZB polymer technology
  • Excellent drag
  • Lightweight
  • Saltwater protection processed
Reasons not to buy:

  • Not the best gear ratio

Good For:

Concept Z low profile baitcasting reel is an ideal reel for those who love to do fishing in saltwater as it has saltwater protection.

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13 Fishing company has been manufacturing pretty durable and powerful products and one of them is the Concept Z low profile baitcasting reel.

This reel is the first-ever casting reel that is made without ball bearings.

It is manufactured with American-made Concept Zero Bearing (CZB) polymer technology bearings and is built tough to ensure long-lasting performance, efficiency and durability.

The Concept Z baitcasting reel utilizes CZB technology to bring appalling results. In comparison with reels made of traditional bearings, Concept Z makes sure it cast lures substantially father. This technology makes this reel quite effortless and controllable.

They have manufactured this reel with an advanced braking system so that its users do not face any difficulty regarding the stability and grip. After hooking up, you don’t have to do much except turning the table, the rest will be done by Japanese Hamai cut gearing and 22 lbs drag.

The 6.4 ounces weight makes Concept Z one of the lightest reels of its size on the market. The reel boasts an incredible 30 lbs+ of drag to handle fish way out of its league. It is built tough for big fish and big bait situations. One great thing about this reel is that it possesses ocean armour 2 saltwater protection to ensure enhanced durability.

Great value: SHIMANO Curado K Baitcast Reel

Reasons to buy:

  • A micro module gear system
  • SVS Infinity braking for precise, smooth casting
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Stout retrieve
Reasons not to buy:

  • Quite expensive

Good For:

People who want precise and smooth casting and are prepared to pay for it. It’s not super expensive, but it’s in the higher price range. You get what you pay for – this reel is a great value for the money, in every kind of way. It’s enough to read the reviews, to see that it’s one of the most popular baitcasting reels. It’s smooth, fast, compact and reliable.

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Curado’s K Baitcast reel tops our list of best products. This low-profile baitcasting reel is an epitome of durability and reliability. Generations of anglers have looked to Curado as their trusted companion. 11 lbs of weight make it easy to carry around.

It features a micro module gear system with a 7.4:1 gear ratio creating effortless retrieve. The gear set is made of small teeth, delivering efficient gear performance. Along with that, X-Ship technology provides upgraded gear strength, enhancing the casting performance of the reel with lighter lures, and allows for longer casts.

The Curado K Baitcast reel is made of metal that offers enhanced rigidity. The impact resistance and body stiffness virtually eliminate body flexing. Incorporated SVS infinity technology makes sure that the reel delivers easy-to-manage, improved brake force and steady spool control.

Along with SVS technology, the light-weight brakes control spool speed so that when baitcaster go for lighter lures, they experience precise casting. Thanks to the external knob, quick, easy yet precise adjustment is possible.

Super stopper featuring anti-reverse mechanism with the help of unilateral stainless roller bearing eliminates back-play. This reel is a great option if you are looking for versatility, performance, and reliability in a single product.

Great for beginners: Ardent Apex Elite Fishing Reel

Reasons to buy:

  • Lightweight and compact design
  • 270 Mag braking system
  • T6 machined spool
  • Significant gear ratio
  • Pocket friendly
Reasons not to buy:

  • The reel lacks efficiency in longer terms

Good For:

Ideal for beginners and people who don’t fish so often. The price is low, but the performance is really great. It has a good drag system and is very smooth. Perfect for beginners, kids or as a reserve in case your main reel breaks.

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The Apex Elite proves to be a reliable companion in the water performance. With Ardent’s lightweight aluminium frame with innovative side plates, this reel weighs only 5.9 ounces. 12+1 ball bearings produce top-level casting distance and smooth retrieval of 32.2 inches per turn.

The reel includes an extremely adjustable 270° magnetic brake and swept-back forged aluminum star grad that ensures high-level performance.

Ardent’s extremely lightweight aluminum frame with side plates provides you comfort, and strength needs for Elite level fishing. Featuring a deep V6061 T6 machined aluminum spool, a carbon fibre swept back handle with EVA grips, the reel is extremely great at providing significant control and grip. product is available with 6.5:1 gear ratio and accommodates right-handed anglers.

If we talk about the pricing, then you would be surprised to hear that Apex Elite baitcasting reel is on the lower end of the price scale. This reel is a great option if you are looking for versatility and performance in a single product.

How to find the best baitcasting reel

Since anglers exhibit varying preferences regarding geography, techniques and specs, the best baitcasting reel for one person may not be good for another. So, it is important to make sure you purchase the best baitcasting reel for your needs and circumstances.

Finding the best baitcasting reel can be a  challenge but it is not complicated once you get to know the features to consider.

Gear ratio

The gear ratio determines the speed and tells you how many turns the spool makes in one revolution of the handle. They are stated as figures such as 1.2:1. Do not worry we will explain what this constant means. Let’s say a baitcasting reel has a gear ratio 6.4:1, here the first two digits i.e. 6.4 refer to the spool revolution whereas the last digit refers to the number of turns of the handle. The higher the ratio, the more line is retrieved/turn of the handle.

Common gear ratios are 7.1:1, 6.4:1 and 5.3:1. There are different gear ratios used for different techniques. Low gear ratios like 5.3:1 helps you reel the bait slower while keeping it in the strike zone. They also offer higher torque outputs, making them a good choice for spinning and moving fish out of cover. High gear ratios like 7.1:1 are ideal to be used when taking up the slack and taking a bait to the boat are critical. They also excel at plastics and pitching jigs, so you can move bait quickly.

The ideal gear ratio is considered to be around 6. You can use any kind of fishing technique and bait like jigs, worms, shallow cranking, topwater, and have excellent performance.

Spool Size

The suitability of a baitcasting reel is determined by the spool size. Smaller shallow spools are perfect for best short line activities such as pitching and flipping whereas, the larger spool creates smaller lines that are easier to maintain. In other words, the bigger the spool, the better it is to stiff heavy lines. Other than this, big spools are easier to control.

Handle Size

Different baitcasting reels come with different handle sizes. A longer, larger handle creates more torque, making it easier to crank fish out of heavy water. Most compact reels contain shorter handles.

Baitcasting reels with short handle sizes are suitable for smaller catches and are perfect for most applications such as fishing a jig or a worm whereas baitcasting reels with long handle sizes are adapted for making larger catches and are fine for handling big swimbaits or crankbaits.

Brakes & Tension System

The brake system controls the end of the cast, and the tension knob controls the beginning of the cast. If you are casting into areas where you observe high-speed wind, then there is a great chance of your spool spinning fast. In such situations, brakes perform their function and help you keep your spool spin stable. A good braking & tension system is essential to make long casts.


Drag is the amount of pressure needed to pull a line from the spool. There are two drag systems: knob drag, and star drag. They are given these names based on the hardware used to adjust the drag. Knob drags feature a small, circular knob, while star drags rely on a star-shaped drag dial. Generally, low profile reels feature knob drags, while traditional baitcasting reels contain star drags.

Usually, star drags are easier to manipulate while batting a fish and are also easier to manipulate with gloved hands or wet fingers. Both drag systems are good. You can choose any as most of the choices come down to personal preferences.

Bearing & Materials

Generally, the more bearings a reel contains, the smoother it will cast and retrieve. We suggest you look for quality stainless-steel or ceramic ball bearings in your baitcasting reels. Other than that, look for reels that are lightweight and are made of a strong material such as aluminium, carbon composite and magnesium. These durable and strong materials will give you durability as well as the best performance.


Whether you are a beginner or a pro, you will always need a suitable baitcasting reel that will not disappoint you in any circumstances. We have provided you with 7 best baitcasting reels that have excellent features making any fishing trip even more interesting. They can be hard on your pocket but if you want perfection then they are worth the investment.