15 Best Fishing Reel Brands [Ranked]

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Written By Russ Egan

Russ is a professional fisherman with over 20 years of experience. He has fished all over the world for more than two decades, primarily for saltwater game fish but also for local trophy fish. Russ comprehensively tests and reviews all his fishing gear to help others achieve their own fishing goals. There is nothing he prefers than heading down to his local tackle store, buying the latest fishing reel, and taking it to the water to test.

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The top fishing reel brands, known for their quality, reliability, and performance, include Shimano, Penn, Daiwa, Abu Garcia, and Lew’s. Each brand offers a range of popular reels to suit various fishing styles and budgets.

ManufacturerStar Rating
Shimano⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Penn⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Daiwa⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Abu Garcia⭐⭐⭐⭐
Okuma⭐⭐⭐⭐
Pflueger⭐⭐⭐⭐
KastKing⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ugly Stik⭐⭐⭐⭐
Mitchell⭐⭐⭐
Lew’s⭐⭐⭐
Quantum⭐⭐⭐
13 Fishing⭐⭐⭐
Cadence⭐⭐
Van Staal⭐⭐
Ardent

Shimano

Founded in 1921 in Japan, Shimano has a long-standing reputation for producing high-quality fishing reels and other outdoor equipment. Known for their innovation and technology-driven designs, Shimano’s most popular fishing reels include the Stella and Stradic series.

The company’s manufacturing facilities are primarily in Japan, Malaysia, and Singapore.

  • Performance: 10/10
  • Durability: 8/10
  • Value-For-Money: 7/10
Shimano logo
ImageFeaturesScorePrice
Best Shimano Reel
Shimano Stella Spinning Reel

Shimano Stella Spinning Reel

  • Shimano's Premier Spinning Reel
  • Extremely Corrosion Resistant Materials
  • All of Shimano's Latest Technologies
  • Can Handle the Largest Saltwater Species
9.5
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People's Favorite
Shimano Vanford Spinning Reel

Shimano Vanford Spinning Reel

  • Lower Weight than its Predecessor
  • Extremely Durable
  • Long Casting Distance
  • Full of Shimano's Latest Technology
9
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High Performance
Shimano Sustain Spinning Reel

Shimano Sustain Spinning Reel

  • Saltwater Ready
  • Ci4+ and MGL Rotor Reduced the Weight
  • 8+1 Ball Bearings for a Smooth Retrieve
  • Suitable for Bass to Billfish
8.4
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Penn

Penn is an American company established in 1932, specializing in saltwater fishing reels. With a strong focus on durability and performance, Penn reels are favored by many professional and recreational anglers. Some of their most popular models include the Battle and Spinfisher series.

Penn reels are primarily manufactured in the United States.

  • Performance: 9/10
  • Durability: 10/10
  • Value-For-Money: 8/10
penn logo
ImageFeaturesScorePrice
Best Penn Reel
Penn Spinfisher VI Spinning Reel

Penn Spinfisher VI Spinning Reel

  • Saltwater Ready
  • IPX5 Waterproof Seal
  • HT-100 Drag Washers
  • Stainless Steel Ball Bearings
  • Full Metal Body
8.5
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Most Durable
Penn Slammer IV Spinning Reel

Penn Slammer IV Spinning Reel

  • Extremely Durable Design
  • Very High Max Drag
  • Very High Retrieve Rate
  • 8+1 Stainless Steel Ball Bearings 
8.5
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Rod and Reel Combo
Penn Passion Spinning Reel

Penn Passion Spinning Reel

  • Full Metal Body
  • HT-100 Carbon Fiber Drag System
  • Dura Guides
8.1
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Daiwa

Founded in 1958 in Japan, Daiwa is known for producing high-quality and innovative fishing reels that cater to a wide range of fishing styles. Their most popular reels include the Saltiga and Tatula series, which have gained recognition for their performance and reliability. Daiwa’s manufacturing facilities are located in Japan, Thailand, and China.

  • Performance: 9/10
  • Durability: 9/10
  • Value-For-Money: 9/10
daiwa logo

Abu Garcia

Abu Garcia, a Swedish company, was founded in 1921 and originally specialized in producing watches and taxi meters. They later transitioned to fishing equipment and gained popularity for their Ambassadeur baitcasting reels. Today, they are known for manufacturing various reel types, with the Revo series being among their most popular. Abu Garcia’s manufacturing facilities are located in Sweden and Asia.

  • Performance: 9/10
  • Durability: 7/10
  • Value-For-Money: 8/10
15 Best Fishing Reel Brands [Ranked] 10
ImageFeaturesScorePrice
Best Overall
Abu Garcia Revo SX Baitcaster

Abu Garcia Revo SX Baitcaster

  • Smooth 9+1 Bearing System
  • Available in 6.6:1 or 7.3:1 Gear Ratio
  • Star Drag System
  • More Durable than Previous Model
8.5
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Best High Speed
Abu Garcia Revo Rocket Baitcaster

Abu Garcia Revo Rocket Baitcaster

  • 10+1 Stainless Steel HPCR Bearing System
  • High Speed 10.1:1 Gear Ratio
  • Power Stack Carbon Matrix Drag System
  • Infinite Brake System
8.4
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Best Value for Money
Abu Garcia Black Max Baitcaster

Abu Garcia Black Max Baitcaster

  • One-Piece Graphite Material
  • 4+1 Stainless Steel Ball Bearings
  • MagTrax Braking System
  • Solid 18 lb Max Drag
6.5
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Lew’s

Lew’s is an American company founded in the 1940s by Lew Childre. Known for their lightweight and high-performance fishing reels, Lew’s has a strong following among bass anglers. Their most popular reels include the Speed Spool and Team Lew’s series. Lew’s reels are manufactured primarily in Asia.

  • Performance: 7/10
  • Durability: 7/10
  • Value-For-Money: 8/10

Okuma

Established in 1986 in Taiwan, Okuma has become a global leader in fishing reel manufacturing. They are known for their affordable yet reliable reels catering to various fishing styles. Okuma’s most popular reels include the Cedros and Helios series. The company’s manufacturing facilities are located in Taiwan and China.

  • Performance: 6/10
  • Durability: 7/10
  • Value-For-Money: 7/10

Pflueger

Pflueger is an American company founded in 1881, known for its high-quality and reliable fishing reels. The company focuses on producing spinning and baitcasting reels, with the President and Supreme series among their most popular models. Pflueger reels are primarily manufactured in Asia.

  • Performance: 7/10
  • Durability: 6/10
  • Value-For-Money: 7/10
Pflueger Logo

13 Fishing

Founded in 2011 in the United States, 13 Fishing is a relatively new player in the fishing reel industry. They are known for their innovative designs and unique branding, with the Concept series gaining popularity among anglers. 13 Fishing reels are primarily manufactured in Asia.

  • Performance: 7/10
  • Durability: 7/10
  • Value-For-Money: 8/10

Quantum

Established in 1984, Quantum is an American company known for producing a wide range of fishing reels that cater to various budgets and fishing styles. Their most popular reels include the Smoke and Accurist series. Quantum reels are primarily manufactured in Asia.

  • Performance: 6/10
  • Durability: 6/10
  • Value-For-Money: 6/10

Mitchell

Founded in 1948 in France, Mitchell is a well-established company in the fishing reel industry. They are known for their reliable spinning reels, with the 300 and 498 series being among the most popular. Mitchell’s manufacturing facilities are located in Asia.

  • Performance: 5/10
  • Durability: 6/10
  • Value-For-Money: 6/10

Ugly Stik

Ugly Stik, a subsidiary of Shakespeare, is an American company founded in 1976. Known for their durable and affordable fishing rods, Ugly Stik also produces fishing reels, with the GX2 series being a popular choice among anglers. Their manufacturing facilities are located in Asia.

  • Performance: 7/10
  • Durability: 9/10
  • Value-For-Money: 7/10
ugly stik logo
ImageFeaturesScorePrice
Best Overall
Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Rod

Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Rod

  • Strong, yet balanced graphite and fiberglass construction
  • Durable one-piece stainless steel guides
  • 7-year warranty
  • Comfortable EVA handle
9.4
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Best Casting Rod
Ugly Stik Tiger Casting Rod

Ugly Stik Tiger Casting Rod

  • 7 year warranty
  • Lightweight, Comfortable EVA grips
  • 1-piece stainless steel guides
  • Stainless steel cushioned hoods
9.2
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Best Value for Money
Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod

Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod

  • Comfortable Cork Handle
  • Saltwater and Freshwater Ready
  • Stainless Steel Guides
  • Flexible with greater fiberglass content
9.1
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KastKing

KastKing, established in 2011, is an American company known for producing affordable fishing reels that cater to various fishing styles and preferences. Their most popular reels include the Royale Legend and Sharky series. KastKing’s manufacturing facilities are primarily located in Asia.

  • Performance: 8/10
  • Durability: 7/10
  • Value-For-Money: 10/10
kastking logo

Cadence

Cadence is a relatively new player in the fishing reel industry, founded in 2016 in the United States. They focus on providing quality fishing reels at an affordable price point, with the CS series being among their most popular models. Cadence reels are primarily manufactured in Asia.

  • Performance: 6/10
  • Durability: 7/10
  • Value-For-Money: 7/10

Van Staal

Van Staal, an American company founded in the 1990s and is known for producing high-end, heavy-duty saltwater reels. Their reels are popular among surfcasters and big game anglers for durability and performance. The most popular Van Staal reels include the VS and VSB series. Van Staal reels are primarily manufactured in the United States.

  • Performance: 5/10
  • Durability: 7/10
  • Value-For-Money: 5/10

Ardent

Established in 2004 in the United States, Ardent is a fishing reel manufacturer known for producing baitcasting reels. They focus on providing quality reels at competitive prices, with the Apex series being among their most popular models. Ardent reels are primarily manufactured in the United States.

  • Performance: 4/10
  • Durability: 4/10
  • Value-For-Money: 6/10