9 Best Penn Spinning Reels [2022 Update]


Updated on November 15, 2022 by
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Penn is one of the world’s top fishing reel manufacturers, and its range of spinning reels is no exception. The hardest part is deciding which Penn spinning reel to choose.

For anyone who has never tried a Penn reel, I would highly recommend it – they have a unique feeling that showcases why they are famous for durability.

I have put together a quick review of the best spinning reels that Penn has to offer and their critical specifications to understand the difference. If you click on the link in each summary, you can see full-length reviews of the individual reel.

Penn is also one of the few popular reel manufacturers who make their reels in the USA.

1. Penn Spinfisher – Best Saltwater Reel

9 Best Penn Spinning Reels [2022 Update] 1
Penn Spinfisher before dry testing

Penn Spinfisher VI reel is a spinning reel with a highly well-built full metal body. It is ready to give you the durability that you need to use a spinning reel in saltwater – Be it the harshest saltwater or if you mistakenly drop the rod in the sand, nothing will happen to the Penn Spinfisher VI spinning reel due to its enclosed body.

It has IPX5 sealing for waterproofing so you don’t have to worry about saltwater getting into the drag system or gearbox. It also has Penn’s HT-100 drag washers in a fully sealed spool – making it ideal for saltwater angling.

The extremely lightweight frame of the reel seals the gearbox and the drag system within it. It also comes in Standard, Live Liner, Log Cast, and Bail-less models.

Pros

  • Available in multiple speeds and gear ratios.
  • Versatile with several different designs.
  • Wide range of sizes from 2500 to 10500.

Cons

  • There are some more lightweight options available, especially in the smaller sizes.
  • Lower max drag, especially in the 2500 and 3500 sizes.

Penn Spinfisher Spinning Reel

  • Overall – 4/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Performance – 3/5 ⭐⭐⭐
  • Durability – 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Value for Money – 4/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Penn Spinfisher Spinning Reel
  • IPX5 Waterproof Seal
  • HT-100 Drag Washers
  • Stainless Steel Ball Bearings
  • Full Metal Body
REEL SIZE2500350045005500650075008500950010500
BEARING COUNT666666666
BRAID CAPACITY YD/LB240/10 220/15 160/20310/10 270/15 220/20390/15 320/20 250/30500/20 380/30 335/40485/30 410/40 335/50530/40 440/50 400/65730/40 600/50 555/65730/50 670/65 435/80845/50 780/65 540/80
GEAR RATIO6.2:16.2:16.2:15.6:15.6:14.7:14.7:14.2:14.2:1
MAX DRAG LB15lb15lb20lb25lb30lb35lb40lb45lb50lb
MONO CAPACITY YD/LB255/6 175/8 140/10360/6 285/8 220/10425/8 320/10 235/12430/10 330/12 230/15390/12 345/15 205/20490/15 330/20 220/30455/20 310/30 260/40350/30 300/40 240/50435/30 360/40 255/50
RECOVERY RATE33″37″40″39″42″38″42″40″43″
WEIGHT10.7 oz12.1 oz12.5 oz18.5 oz22.3 oz26.5 oz28.3 oz37.1 oz38.6 oz
10 Best Spinning Reels + Buying Gui...
10 Best Spinning Reels + Buying Guide (Tried & Tested) [2022 Update]

2. Penn Passion

Russ picking up his penn passion from the tackle store

The Penn Passion spinning reel features a full metal body which gives it a lot of strength and durability. Combining this with Penn’s RR30 rotor for low weight, it has the best of both worlds.

Like most modern Penn spinning reels, it has a HT-100 drag system for smooth casting and retrieval even when fighting large fish.

This reel is Penn’s visible support of the American Breast Cancer Foundation and provides financial support.

Pros

  • The full metal body makes it extremely durable.
  • Full of Penn’s latest technologies – HT-100 carbon fiber drag system and dura guides.

Cons

  • The gear ratio is on the lower side as is the retrieve rate.
REEL SIZE2500300040005000
BEARING COUNT6666
BRAID CAPACITY YD/LB240/10
220/15
160/20
250/15
180/20
130/30
360/15
260/20
185/30
420/20
300/30
240/40
GEAR RATIO5.2:15.2:15.2:14.6:1
MAX DRAG LB12lb15lb15lb25lb
MONO CAPACITY YD/LB255/6
175/8
140/10
200/8
165/10
120/12
270/8
220/10
165/12
225/12
200/15
135/20
RECOVERY RATE27″29″31″29″
WEIGHT10.1 oz11.7 oz12 oz19.5 oz

3. Penn Slammer – Best Charter Reel

Penn Slammer 3 I tested on a fishing charter
Penn Slammer 3 I tested on a fishing charter

The Penn Slammer III is a workhorse reel – its metal construction makes it almost bulletproof. It is a favorite of charter fishermen as it will keep working, no matter what you through at it. This also prevents it from warping or getting damaged by a big fish or getting dropped.

It also has an IP67 sealed gearing system to ensure your reel internals stay dry and last for a lifetime. Just give it a quick rinse in fresh water at the end of the day, and it will be clean and ready for tomorrow.

Depending on which model is selected, it has a very heavy-duty drag from 30 pounds to 60 pounds.

Update – Penn recently released the Slammer IV, which has an improved drag system.

Pros

  • The extremely durable design means it will last a lifetime.
  • Very high max drag, even in the smallest sized model.
  • Very high retrieve rates across the board.

Cons

  • This is a heavier reel than some alternatives – none of the models are under 10 oz.

Penn Slammer IV Spinning Reel

Penn Slammer IV Spinning Reel
  • Improved Dura-Drag System
  • Heavy-Duty, Durable Workhorse
  • High Speed Options Available
  • 8+1 Stainless Ball Bearings
REEL SIZE350045005500650075008500950010500
BEARING COUNT88888888
BRAID CAPACITY YD/LB310/10  270/15  220/20390/15  320/20  250/30500/20  380/30  335/40485/30  410/40  355/50530/40  440/50  400/65730/40  600/50  555/65730/50  670/65  435/80845/50  780/65  540/80
GEAR RATIO6.2:16.2:15.6:15.6:14.7:14.7:14.2:14.2:1
MAX DRAG LB30lb30lb40lb40lb50lb50lb60lb60lb
MONO CAPACITY YD/LB480/4  360/6  285/8425/8  320/10  235/12430/10  330/12  230/15390/12  345/15  205/20490/15  330/20  220/30455/20  310/30  260/40350/30  300/40  240/50435/30  360/40  255/50
RECOVERY RATE37″40″39″42″38″42″40″43″
WEIGHT13.9 oz14.7 oz22.4 oz24.3 oz29.2 oz30.8 oz40.9 oz43.1 oz

4. Penn Torque – Best Game Fish Reel

Penn Torque spinning reel is a premium heavy-duty boat fishing rod for big gamefish. With a maximum drag of up to 60 lbs, this power reel can handle powerful fish.

If we look at the largest reel size of 9500, this can handle over 400 yards of 100 lb braid fishing line. This reel is built for tuna and other saltwater fish that are both fast and powerful.

It has a IPX6 sealed bearing system (as opposed to shielded bearings), making it waterproof and corrosion-resistant – this is exactly what you want from a saltwater reel.

Pros

  • A sealed bearing system is a big advantage and is highly recommended for saltwater reels.
  • High max drag of at least 40 lb.

Cons

  • This is a heavy-duty, offshore trolling reel. You will not want to use this reel for casting due to its weight.
REEL SIZE550075009500
BEARING COUNT101010
BRAID CAPACITY YD/LB540/20
400/30
280/50
470/50
390/65
340/80
575/65
490/80
425/100
GEAR RATIO5.5:16.0:15.1:1
MAX DRAG LB40lb50lb60lb
MONO CAPACITY YD/LB330/12 
290/15 
200/20
490/15
340/20
300/25
490/20
440/25
330/30
RECOVERY RATE38″50″50″
WEIGHT19.5 oz26.7 oz27.8 oz

5. Penn Pursuit – Best for Beginners

Russ picking up his Penn Pursuit from the tackle store

The Penn Pursuit is one of Penn’s most affordable spinning reels and is ideally suited for inshore fishing, lakes, streams, and rivers for both freshwater and saltwater.

Its lightweight makes it easy to carry and easy to use in water. It has a corrosion-free material, making it the best to use in all types of fishing waters. Also, it is a shielded stainless ball bearing to make the user have a very smooth operation.

Penn has also released the Pursuit III, which has some advantages over the Pursuit II – The Pursuit III comes with upgraded HT-100 drag washers, making it more durable and reliable. It also has a 6.2:0 gear ratio compared to a 5.2:0 gear ratio.

Pros

  • One of the lightest Penn spinning reels available.
  • Upgraded HT-100 drag washers eliminate one of the few weaknesses of the previous model.

Cons

  • The max drag of 10 lb is on the low side in the 2500-sized model.
  • While it is suited for saltwater, I would generally recommend its best for inshore or freshwater species.
REEL SIZE250030004000500060008000
BEARING COUNT555555
BRAID CAPACITY YD/LB240/10 220/15 160/20250/15 180/20 130/30360/15 260/20 185/30420/20 300/30 240/40490/30 390/40 335/50475/50 390/65 345/80
GEAR RATIO6.2:16.2:16.2:15.6:15.6:15.3:1
MAX DRAG LB10lb12lb15lb20lb20lb25lb
MONO CAPACITY YD/LB255/6
175/8
140/10
200/8
165/10 120/12
270/8
220/10 165/12
225/12 200/15 135/20335/15 230/20 210/25340/20 310/25 230/30
RECOVERY RATE33″35″37″36″41″43″
WEIGHT9.8 oz11.8 oz12.4 oz19.7 oz21.4 oz29.1 oz

6. Penn Clash – Best Value for Money

Penn Clash Spinning Reel
Penn Clash Spinning Reel

The Clash’s gear system is its real talking point. Featuring Dura-Gear Computer Numerical Control machined gears, it performs at a level you would expect from a more expensive reel.

The smaller models, 2000 through 5000, use brass pinion gears and an aluminum drive gear, compared while the larger 6000 and 8000 models use a brass pinion and brass drive gear. These gears and stainless steel ball bearings provide excellent slip prevention.

Pros

  • Full of Penn’s latest technology – clutch armor system, leveling slow oscillation system, hydrophobic line roller bearing, CNC Gear technology, and HT-100 drag washers.
  • Penn’s ultralight spinning reel – you will notice the reduction in muscle fatigue.

Cons

  • It’s not available in larger than a 5000-sized model means that it isn’t suited for larger saltwater angling.
  • The models under 3000 sizes have a lower than recommended max drag.

Penn Clash Spinning Reel

  • Overall – 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Performance – 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Durability – 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Value for Money – 4/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Penn Clash Spinning Reel
  • HT-100 Drag Washers
  • 6.2:1 Gear Ratio
  • Extremely Lightweight
  • Accurate Casting
REEL SIZE10002000250030003000HS40004000HS5000
BEARING COUNT99999999
BRAID CAPACITY YD/LB160/6 130/8 110/10210/8 180/10 165/15240/10 220/15 160/20250/15 180/20 130/30270/15 195/20 140/30360/15 260/20 185/30410/15 295/20 210/30420/20 300/30 240/40
GEAR RATIO5.2:16.2:16.2:16.2:17.0:16.2:17.0:15.6:1
MAX DRAG LB9lb10lb12lb15lb15lb15lb15lb20lb
MONO CAPACITY YD/LB275/2 135/4 105/6240/4 180/6 125/8255/6 175/8 140/10200/8 165/10 120/12215/8 175/10 130/12270/8 220/10 165/12305/8 250/10 185/12225/12 200/15 135/20
RECOVERY RATE22″31″33″35″41″35″44″38″
WEIGHT7 oz 8.3 oz8.8 oz10.1 oz10.8 oz10.6 oz11.4 oz16 oz

7. Penn Battle – Most Durable Reel

Penn Battle II Before Spooling
Penn Battle II Before Spooling

The Battle 2 is the definition of durability. It is made from high-quality materials and designed to handle bumps, scratches, and big fish. This reel is built for severe abuse.

People who have never used a Penn reel before will notice the resistance when turning the handle is higher than that of a Shimano or Daiwa reel. This is due to the thick reel grease and fully metal rotor.

The Penn Battle is one of our most highly recommended spinning reels.

Pros

  • Extremely wide range of sizes available from 1000 to 10000.
  • Extremely durable design with a full metal body and corrosion-resistant features including HT-100 drag washers and stainless steel ball bearings.
  • Available in high-speed options.

Cons

  • The max drag is low with only 9 lb in the 1000-sized model.
  • Lower retrieve rate in the smaller-sized reels.

Penn Battle Spinning Reel

  • Overall Score – 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Performance – 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Durability – 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Value for Money – 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Penn batlle spinning reel
  • Wide Range of Sizes Available
  • High Speed Options Available
  • HT-100 Drag Washers
  • Extremely Durable Materials
REEL SIZE100020002500300040004000HS500060006000HS80008000HS10000
BEARING COUNT666666666666
BRAID CAPACITY YD/LB160/6 130/8 110/10210/8 180/10 165/15240/10 220/15 160/20250/15 180/20 130/30360/15 260/20 185/30410/15 295/20 210/30420/20 300/30 240/40490/30 390/40 335/50535/30 425/40 365/50475/50 390/65 345/80515/50 420/65 375/80770/50 710/65 490/80
GEAR RATIO5.2:16.2:16.2:16.2:16.2:17.0:15.6:15.6:16.2:14.7:15.3:14.2:1
MAX DRAG LB9lb10lb12lb15lb15lb15lb25lb25lb25lb30lb30lb40lb
MONO CAPACITY YD/LB275/2 135/4 105/6240/4 180/6 125/8255/6 175/8 140/10200/8 165/10 120/12270/8 220/10 165/12305/8 250/10 185/12225/12 200/15 135/20335/15 230/20 210/25365/15 250/20 230/25340/20 310/25 230/30370/20 335/25 250/30395/30 330/40 230/50
RECOVERY RATE22″30″33″35″37″43″36″41″47″38″44″43″
WEIGHT7.8 oz9.4 oz9.7 oz11.6 oz12.2 oz12.8 oz18.8 oz20.8 oz20.8 oz27.7 oz27.7 oz38.8 oz

8. Penn Wrath – Best Budget Option

Russ selecting his Penn Wrath from the tackle store

The Penn Wrath reel is one of Penn’s entry-level options at exceptional prices. It is lightweight and corrosion-resistant with a graphite body and aluminum spool. The bearings are stainless steel and shielded (as opposed to sealed) and are available in various sizes.

Considering its price, you will be surprised at how good this reel is.

Pros

  • This entry-level option is less than $50 and is ideally suited for beginner anglers or kids.
  • Stainless steel ball bearings give it good durability.

Cons

  • Doesn’t have Penn’s new and improved HT-100 drag washers.
  • Only 3 ball bearings.
  • Bearings are shielded, not sealed.

Penn Wrath Spinning Reel

  • Overall Score – 4/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Performance – 3/5 ⭐⭐⭐
  • Durability – 3/5 ⭐⭐⭐
  • Value for Money – 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Penn Wrath Spinning Reel
  • Anodized Aluminum Spool
  • Instant Anti-Reverse Bearing
  • High Retrieve Rate
  • Oil Felt Drag Washers
REEL SIZE250030004000500060008000
BEARING COUNT333333
BRAID CAPACITY YD/LB240/10
220/15 160/20
250/15
180/20 130/30
360/15
260/20 185/30
420/20
300/30 240/40
490/30
390/40 335/50
475/50
390/65 345/80
GEAR RATIO6.2:16.2:16.2:15.6:15.6:15.3:1
MAX DRAG LB10lb12lb15lb20lb20lb25lb
MONO CAPACITY YD/LB255/6
175/8
140/10
200/8
165/10
120/12
270/8
220/10
165/12
225/12
200/15
135/20
335/15
230/20
210/25
340/20
310/25
230/30
RECOVERY RATE33″35″37″36″41″44″
WEIGHT10.5 oz12.2 oz12.7 oz21 oz22.8 oz30.5 oz

9. Penn Fierce – Best Under $100

Durability is what will bring you back to the Penn Fierce II over and over. The reel is ideal for dragging and casting with a balanced rotor and excellent side plating.

The Fierce II can suit different anglers with very different needs, coming in various sizes and with a wide range of supporting features. Penn has also released the Fierce III with upgraded technology and features.

The reel is well-balanced and ruggedly built. The Fierce II is designed to minimize, or even eliminate, slippage when the lines are under heavy drag. The reel features a carbon dragging regulator attached to its head to increase durability further.

Pros

  • Available in 1000 to 8000 sized options.
  • The Fierce III comes with Penn’s updated HT-100 drag washers.
  • Shielded stainless steel ball bearings are corrosion resistant.
  • Techno-balanced rotor.

Cons

  • The 1000-sized model has a low max drag and low retrieve rate.

Penn Fierce Spinning Reel

  • Overall Score – 3/5 ⭐⭐⭐
  • Performance – 3/5 ⭐⭐⭐
  • Durability – 4/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Value for Money – 4/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Penn Fierce Spinning Reel
  • 4 Stainless Steel Ball Bearings
  • Versatile Sized Model Range
  • Line Capacity Rings
  • Premium Performance and Durability
REEL SIZE10002000250030004000500060008000
BEARING COUNT55555555
BRAID CAPACITY YD/LB160/6 130/8 110/10210/8 180/10 165/15240/10 220/15 160/20250/15 180/20 130/30360/15 260/20 185/30420/20 300/30 240/40490/30 390/40 335/50475/50 390/65 345/80
GEAR RATIO5.2:16.2:16.2:16.2:16.2:15.6:15.6:15.3:1
MAX DRAG LB9lb10lb12lb15lb15lb25lb25lb30lb
MONO CAPACITY YD/LB275/2 135/4 105/6240/4 180/6 125/8255/6 175/8 140/10200/8 165/10 120/12270/8 220/10 165/12225/12 200/15 135/20335/15 230/20 210/25340/20 310/25 230/30
RECOVERY RATE22″30″33″35″37″36″41″44″
WEIGHT7.8 oz9.5 oz9.9 oz11.8 oz12.5 oz19.6 oz21.4 oz28.7 oz

How We Rate Products

I thoroughly review all products to measure their performance, durability, and value for money. This testing flows into an overall score that I give to all products. All metrics are scored out of 5.

Performance: The performance score is how well does this product fulfill its primary purpose on the water. Does it have all the features and optional extras you need to catch the target species?

Durability: Durability refers to how long the product will continue functioning. This is both the materials of construction, the quality of the workmanship, and the servicing requirements. There are also bonus points for manufacturers’ warranty.

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.

Overall Score: Finally, the average of the three scores in performance, durability, and value for money is used to give the overall score of each product reviewed.

To see more details, please read the complete guide on how we test and evaluate fishing products.

Conclusion

Penn is one of my favorite reel manufacturers. If you have never tried one before, you will be shocked the first time you do – they have a famously unique retrieve feeling. You can feel the durability through the mechanical action while cranking the handle.

Their range of spinning reels suits almost every situation, and you will find one that suits your requirements. If you know the type of fish species you are targeting, the depth, the size, and your budget, you can quickly narrow down your options within Penn’s range.

Happy fishing!

Last update on 2022-11-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Photo of author

Russ Egan

Russ is an avid fisherman. He has fished all over the world for more than two decades, primarily for saltwater game fish but also for local trophy fish. Russ writes reviews for all of his fishing gear to help others achieve their own fishing goals. His favorite reel is a Shimano Curado Baitcaster. His dream is to catch a Black Marlin.