The best baitcaster reels under $100 have at least 5 ball bearings, a gear ratio of 7.0:1, a max drag of more than 15 lb, and weight of less than 8 ounces.
The KastKing Royale Legend II is my top choice because of its amazingly low price tag. It is made from corrosion resistance materials with a stainless steel body and graphite side plates. It is ideally suited for anglers who don't want to spend a fortune, but still want a durable and high performance baitcaster.
I have personally tested every reel in this list for performance and durability. I share below all of my insights from decades of fishing with baitcaster reels.
Table of Contents
1. KastKing Royale Legend II Casting Reel
- Shielded 5+1 Ball Bearings
- Two Gear Ratio Options
- Ideal for Fast Moving Lures
- Lightweight Design
First on my list of best baitcasting reels under $100, I have the amazing KastKing Royale Legend II Baitcasting Reel. This is another highly popular option amongst customers, with great ratings and reviews to back it up.
Made out of graphite and stainless steel, it is durable and reliable. Plus, it is available for both right-handed and left-handed anglers.
This baitcasting reel has a compact design, making it highly convenient for anglers, without sacrificing comfort or performance. The low-profile design is combined with a concealed side cover release, making it incredibly comfortable even with regular usage.
It also implements double-bearing pinion gear technology, which is something usually only found in more expensive product options, making it very high value, at a very affordable price.
This baitcaster reel is also fast, and light, great for pitching jigs or burning baits at a higher speed than average.
The KastKing baitcaster reel also features extra-hard stainless steel on the main shaft, to make it stronger and far more durable. It also has Hamai precision-machines brass gears, and a quadruple disc carbon drag, along with many other high-level design choices that make this one of the best on the market.
To top it off, it comes with a cross-fire magnetic braking system, to avoid overruns and backlashes.
I have become a big fan of Kastking because they can fit so much technology within an affordable price tag. If you are a budget-conscious angler who doesn’t want to sacrifice performance, pick a Royale Legend II.
- Incredible high value at an affordable price
- Compact design, lightweight and convenient
- Double-bearing pinion gear technology
- Cross-fire magnetic braking system – avoids overruns and backlashes
- No significant downsides
2. Piscifun Torrent 18LB Baitcasting Reel
- Magnetic Dial has Eliminated Backlash
- Japanese Hami Brass Gears
- Versatile Design
- Unique Side-Plate Oil Port
Second, I have the Piscifun Torrent Baitcasting Reel 18LB, which is an incredibly popular product option, highly favored by customers.
It has amazing ratings, and plenty of positive reviews to back it up, and it is one of the most high-quality yet affordable baitcasting reels you will find on the market.
Made out of aluminum, the reel weighs 8 ounces. It is also available for both right-handed people and left-handed people!
This baitcaster reel is powerful, with an advanced design that allows the low profile and carbon fiber reel the force necessary to catch some big and chunky fish. It is also guaranteed to be durable, with industrial-strength, climate-resistance Japanese Hami brass gears, and long-lasting quality.
It is designed to be versatile, so anglers may get the fish out of cover, implementing fast fishing tactics.
This baitcaster reel also has a unique side-plate oil port, allowing for prolonged maintenance and an even longer lifespan. Plus, it features strong double-wind shafts and a backlash-eliminating magnetic dial in the settings.
All in all, this is a baitcaster with which you will be getting a lot of specifications, for very little money, making it absolutely worth your interest.
- Backlash-eliminating magnetic dial included
- Industrial-strength and climate-resistance Japanese Hami brass gears
- Versatile design, for quick fishing techniques
- A unique side-plate oil port, for maximum durability and lifespan
- No significant downsides
3. Abu Garcia Pro Max Low Profile Baitcaster
- Exceptionally smooth drag
- Fast 7.1:1 gear ratio
- Good spool capacity
- Easy to cast and retrieve
- Affordable price
Suppose you are looking for a baitcasting reel that can easily adapt to different fishing level skills, environments, and conditions. In that case, I highly recommend that you take a look at the Abu Garcia Pro Max Low Profile Baitcasting Reel.
It is another highly popular product option amongst customers, and for very good reason.
This baitcasting reel is made out of graphite and aluminum and weighs 7.4 ounces. It comes in black and gold and is available for both right-handed and left-handed anglers.
This Abu Garcia baitcasting reel has a one-piece graphite frame, with graphite side plates, with high durability and a decent lifespan that should withstand heavy-duty usage.
It also features seven stainless steel ball bearings, plus one roller bearing. The high-density EVA foam handles are designed for comfort, especially for those planning to use them regularly.
This baitcaster reel also comes with a clear tip design, which adds both responsiveness and strength to your fishing, for more successful results. It also has a MagTrax brake system, avoiding backlash, and features a machined double-anodized aluminum spool.
Abu Garcia is renowned for producing some of the best baitcasting reels, so getting one for under $100 is exceptional. This is the best-performing budget casting reel.
- High durability with a good lifespan – great quality and value
- Ergonomically designed EVA handles for comfort
- Clear tip design that adds responsiveness and strength
- MagTrax brake system
- Doesn’t have as many features as other similar products (but what it does have, is reliable)
4. Cadence CB8 Baitcasting Reel
- Extremely Lightweight
- Sweat-Absorbant Ergonomic EVA Handles
- Powerful Drag System with Precise Braking
- Premium Quality Bearings
Cadence is a great store and brand to turn to when it comes to reliable and affordable reels, and the CB8 Baitcasting Reel is no exception to this, which explains why it is such a popular option amongst customers.
Made out of graphite and aluminum, it weighs around 6.7 ounces, making it by far one of the lightest options in the market. It is also designed to be ambidextrous, which is super convenient and adds versatility to the usage.
Comfortable and incredibly lightweight, this baitcasting reel has a compact design, featuring ergonomic EVA handle knobs that are comfortable and sweat-absorbant.
It also comes with premium quality bearings, including 9 double-shielded and 1 anti-reverse. The super low torque BB system has also reduced the casting effort so that your fishing is smooth, quiet, and easier.
The Cadence CB8 also features a powerful drag system, and a precise braking system, perfect for stopping big fish from getting away into cover. Plus, the externally adjustable magnetic brakes are easy to control and avoid backlashes.
This baitcasting reel also provides you with a faster retrieve, and versatility, available in 3 different gear ratios (5.6:1, 6.6:1, 7.3:1).
Oh, if all that wasn’t enough, this product also comes with a 90-day risk-free trial to ensure you are satisfied before you commit.
It is incredibly good value, and the excellent customer service will make the purchase an absolute gift.
- Incredibly lightweight, ambidextrous, versatile, and high-value
- Sweat-absorbant ergonomic EVA handles for extra comfort
- Premium quality bearings – faster and smoother fishing
- Powerful drag system with precise braking
- No significant downsides
5. Lew’s Classic Pro Speed Spool Baitcasting Reel
- Solid Brass Speed Gears
- Premium 4+1 Ball Bearing System
- Adjustable Magnetic Control System
- Anodized Aluminum Spool Tension Cap
Another amazing product option on my list of best baitcasting reels is the Lew’s Classic Pro Speed Spool Baitcasting Reel. it is becoming an increasingly popular option amongst customers, and is full of good features and value, for a great affordable price.
Made out of aluminum and stainless steel, it weighs around 10.5 ounces. It is also available in both right-handed and left-handed versions, depending on your preference.
The one-piece lightweight frame has durable side plates, with 3 drain ports. It also features solid brass speed gears cut on Hamai high-precision gear hobbing machines, providing strength and high durability.
There is also a premium 4+1 bearing system, with stainless steel double-shielded bearings, and a zero reverse one-way clutch.
In order to reduce backlash, this baitcasting reel is designed with an externally adjustable magnetic control system. Plus, it provides up to 15lbs of drag power, which is great for dealing with bigger fish.
It has comfortable handles, an anodized aluminum spool tension cap, and all in all, it’s a great baitcasting reel for under $100.
- Solid brass speed gears – strength and durability
- Premium 4+1 bearing system
- Externally adjustable magnetic control system
- Comfortable and powerful
- Doesn’t seem as advanced as other similar products in the same price range
6. Cadence CB6 Baitcasting Reel
- Ultralight Design
- Powerful 20 lb Max Drag System
- 8+1 Double Shielded Stainless Steel Ball Bearings
- Cadence Offer 90 Day Free Trial
Another great product option, yet again by the amazing Cadence brand, is the CB6 baitcasting reel, designed to be ultralight, and super smooth.
Made out of graphite, stainless steel, and aluminum, it weighs only around 6.9 ounces, making it one of the lightest options in the market. It is also designed to be ambidextrous, a signature choice that Cadence consciously makes, for convenience and versatility.
This baitcasting reel is 80% lighter and 20% stronger than most options in the same price range, and it is made out of a premium aviation class aluminum drive gear and crankshaft, allowing for that ultralight design without sacrificing power, strength, or durability.
It also features ultra-smooth premium bearings, with 8 double-shielded stainless steel ball bearings and 1 instant anti-reverse bearing. This is designed to make fishing much smoother, with much less effort required.
This baitcasting reel also has a powerful drag system with precise braking, with the max drag being 20lbs, which is great for anglers after bigger fish. And of course, there is an externally adjustable magnetic control system.
With a fast retrieve and high performance, this reliable product option is bound to satisfy you. Not to mention that it also comes with the Cadence 90-day free trial, to ensure you are fully satisfied, without having to worry.
- Ultralight design, strong and powerful
- Ultra-smooth fishing thanks to the premium bearings
- Powerful drag system of up to 20lbs
- Fast retrieve and high performance – great value for the money
- A good line is required to get full performance
7. Haibo Powerful and Compact Baitcasting Reel
- 12+1 Stainless Steel Ball Bearings
- Innovative Waterproof Technology
- Durable Zinc Alloy Drive Gear
- Hardened Aluminum Main Gears
Last, but most definitely not least, on my list of top favorite baitcasting reels that are under $100, we have the Haibo Powerful and Compact Baitcasting Reel.
This product option is one of the most affordable on this list and is relatively new on the market.
It is made out of stainless steel and aluminum and weighs just under 0.5lbs. It is also available for both right-handed and left-handed anglers.
This baitcasting reel has been designed to be as cost-effective as possible, hence the affordability. It is of great value, and suitable for anglers of all skills and levels, and apt for all sorts of fishing types.
It provides maximum performance and strength, with durable zinc alloy drive gear, and machined pinion gear. It features 12+1 stainless steel ball bearings, with an instant anti-reverse, and hardened aluminum main gears.
All in all, it is durable and reliable and will get the job done, allowing for the improvement of skill over time.
Also featured in this baitcasting reel, is an innovative waterproof technology that helps increase the lifespan of the product. On top of all this, the customer service is great, with quality assurance and after-sales service.
- Cost-effective and high-value product
- Excellent performance and durability, suitable for all levels of skill
- Innovative waterproof technology
- Excellent customer service and quality assurance
- Not as high quality as other similar products
|Baitcasting Reel||Score||Ball Bearings||Retrieve Rate||Gear Ratio||Max Drag||Weight|
|Piscifun Torrent||4/5||5+1||30 inches/crank||7.1:1||18 lb||8.0 oz|
|KastKing Royale Legend II||4/5||5+1||29 inches/crank||7.2:1||17 lb||7.2 oz|
|Abu Garcia Pro Max Low Profile||3/5||7+1||28 inches/crank||7.1:1||15 lb||7.4 oz|
|Cadence CB8||3/5||9+1||28 inches/crank||7.3:1||20 lb||6.7 oz|
|Lew’s Classic Pro Speed Spool||3/5||4+1||30 inches/crank||7.5:1||15 lb||7.0 oz|
|Cadence CB6||3/5||7+1||28 inches/crank||7.3:1||20 lb||6.9 oz|
|Haibo Powerful and Compact||2/5||12+1||28 inches/crank||7.1:1||22 lb||7.0 oz|
How We Rate Products
Russ Egan and Donny Karr have over 40 years of combined fishing experience. We know the difference between a high-quality reel and a poor alternative.
I thoroughly review all products to measure their performance, durability, and value for money. I conduct bench and field testing to check how the product performs. Each reel is tested for at least 8 hours, with a full test taking 2 weeks. This testing results in an overall score that I give to all products. All metrics are scored out of 5.
The performance score is how well this product fulfills its primary purpose. Does it have all the features and optional extras you need to catch the target species? I also interview expert anglers on their experience to build a more comprehensive view of the performance under multiple conditions.
I take all reels down to my local freshwater lake for bass, or inshore fishing off the beach for redfish.
- Test 1: I confirm that the max drag meets the manufacturer’s specifications using a calibrated scale.
- Test 2: I test the maximum casting distance using a 1.0-ounce lure.
- Test 3: I test the accuracy by casting 10 times into a 3 ft diameter circle at 30 yards.
- Test 4: I check the versatility and the ability to handle multiple uses by field testing with 3 different lures and baits, by actually going fishing.
Durability refers to how long the product will continue functioning. I twist, bend, and break all the products to check their longevity. This score is for the construction materials, the workmanship quality, and the servicing requirements. There are also bonus points for manufacturers’ warranty.
For products I can’t test for long enough, I also consult experts who have been using them for decades to judge their longevity.
- Test 5: I pull it apart to check the grease and oil levels, how difficult it is to maintain, and whether sand or salt has deposited after use in saltwater.
Value for Money
The final aspect of the scoring system is the price or, more specifically, the value for money. Value for money is a comparison against the closest alternative products, both by the same manufacturer and other brands.
Finally, I average the three scores of performance, durability, and value for money to give the overall score of each product reviewed.