10 Best Shimano Spinning Reels [2022 Update]


Updated on October 4, 2022 by

Shimano spinning reels are some of the best fishing reels in existence. Shimano put in a huge amount of effort and precision in their designs, materials, and manufacturing techniques. This all translates into high quality, high performance, and durable fishing equipment.

Shimano is one of my personal favorite manufacturers and I use their reels whenever I go fishing.

It can be hard to determine the difference between all of Shimano’s fishing reels so I have put together this guide to help you differentiate between Shimano’s best spinning reels to help you make a buying decision.

I have also written individual reviews on most of these products, so you can click on the title to see more detailed information.

This comparison table is based on 3000 sized models:

Preview
Shimano Fishing Stella C3000Xg Fj Spinning Reel [STLC3000XGFJ]
Shimano Fishing Vanford C3000Xg F Spinning Reel [VFC3000XGF]
Shimano Fishing Sustain C5000Xg Fi Spinning Reel [SAC5000XGFI]
6.4:1
6.4:1
6.0:1
Max Drag
20 lb
20 lb
20 lb
Ball Bearings
12+1
7+1
8+1
Product
Preview
Shimano Fishing Stella C3000Xg Fj Spinning Reel [STLC3000XGFJ]
Gear Ratio
6.4:1
Max Drag
20 lb
Ball Bearings
12+1
More Info
Product
Preview
Shimano Fishing Vanford C3000Xg F Spinning Reel [VFC3000XGF]
Gear Ratio
6.4:1
Max Drag
20 lb
Ball Bearings
7+1
More Info
Product
Preview
Shimano Fishing Sustain C5000Xg Fi Spinning Reel [SAC5000XGFI]
Gear Ratio
6.0:1
Max Drag
20 lb
Ball Bearings
8+1
More Info

Let’s have a look at Shimano’s best spinning reels.

1. Shimano Stella Spinning Reel – Best Overall

The Stella is Shimano’s premium spinning reel. With 12+1 ball bearings, this is the self-proclaimed ‘smoothest and most efficient drivetrain.’ As part of the MicroModule II it comes with the most advanced gear design and gear teeth surface.

Shimano also claims that the addition of X-Protect makes the Stella five times more corrosion resistant than their last model.

This reel is full of Shimano’s latest and greatest technology – give this reel a spin and you will notice the difference.

Pros

  • This is Shimano’s premier spinning reel that can handle the largest saltwater fish species on the planet.
  • Extremely corrosion-resistant materials and design.
  • Full of Shimano’s latest technology – you will notice the smoothness in retrieve and the extra casting distance.

Cons

  • Try not to faint when you see the price tag.
  • There aren’t any high-speed gear ratio models available, however, the retrieve rate is still very high.

Shimano Stella Spinning Reel

Shimano Stella Spinning Reel
  • Shimano’s Premier Saltwater Spinning Reel
  • IPX8 Rated Waterproof Body
  • 14+1 Ball Bearings
  • X-Tough Drag System
MODELMONO LINE CAPACITY (#TEST/YD)WEIGHT (OZ)BEARINGSGEAR RATIORETRIEVE PER CRANK (IN)POWERPRO BRAID (LB/YDS)MAX DRAG (LB)
STL1000FJ2/270, 4/140, 6/110612+15.1:12510/95, 15/85, 20/657
STL2500HGFJ6/200, 8/140, 10/1207.212+16.0:13510/150, 15/145, 30/10020
STLC3000XGFJ6/230, 8/170, 10/1407.412+16.4:13710/200, 20/140, 40/10520
STL4000XGFJ8/240, 10/200, 12/160912+16.2:14015/230, 30/180, 50/12024
STLC5000XGFJ10/240, 12/195, 14/1659.212+16.2:14020/260, 30/235, 40/18524

2. Shimano Vanford Spinning Reel – Best Value for Money
10 Best Spinning Reels + Buying Gui...
10 Best Spinning Reels + Buying Guide (Tried & Tested) [2022 Update]

Vanford is the recently released replacement for the people’s favorite Stradic CI4+. This takes all the benefits from the Stradic and eliminates its few weaknesses.

This reel is extremely versatile and is suitable for ice fishing, saltwater game fishing, bottom fishing, or inshore fishing.

It comes with Shimano’s Long Stroke Spool technology which increases the casting distance and lays the line back onto the spool more evenly during retrieves.

The MagnumLite Rotor has up to 48% less rotational inertia giving it a quicker response.

Pros

  • The Vanford is one of my favorite reels. It has been upgraded from the Stradic Ci4+ and has eliminated all of its weaknesses.
  • Extremely versatile as it can be used in everything from freshwater to saltwater angling.
  • This is a very lightweight reel at around 6 ounces for the most popular sizes.

Cons

  • It does come with a high price tag than its predecessor the Stradic Ci4+.

Shimano Vanford Spinning Reel

Overall Score – 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Shimano Vanford Spinning Reel
  • Lower weight than its predecessor
  • Full of Shimano’s latest technology
  • Extremely Durable
  • Increased Casting Distance
MODELMONO LINE CAPACITY (#TEST/YD)WEIGHT (OZ)BEARINGSGEAR RATIORETRIEVE PER CRANK (IN)POWERPRO BRAID (LB/YDS)MAX DRAG (LB)
VF500F2/190, 4/100, 6/604.96+15.6:1275/135, 8/105, 10/656
VF1000F2/270, 4/160, 6/1105.37+15.1:12510/95, 15/75, 20/657
VFC2000HGF6/165, 8/105, 10/955.37+16.1:13210/140, 15/115, 20/957
VF2500HGF6/200, 8/140, 10/1206.37+16.0:13510/150, 15/145, 30/10020
VFC3000XGF6/230, 8/170, 10/1406.37+16.4:13710/200, 20/140, 40/10520
VF4000XGF8/240, 10/200, 12/1607.67+16.2:14015/230, 30/180, 50/12024
VFC5000XGF10/240, 12/195, 14/1657.87+16.2:14020/260, 30/235, 40/18524

3. Shimano Sustain Spinning Reel

Suitable for bass to small billfish, the Shimano Sustain is packed with high-end features.

It obtains its high performance from 8+1 ball bearings and a 6.0:1 to 6.2:1 gear ratio. The reel is also very lightweight with its largest model weighing 10.1 ounces. It has a reduced weight when compared with its predecessor.

It comes with a combination of X-Protect and X-Ship gives it excellent corrosion resistance.

The duo of CI4+ material and MGL Rotor gives the Sustain a lightweight design without giving up on performance.

Pros

  • Suitable for saltwater angling.
  • Upgraded technology has reduced the weight.

Cons

  • Not available in high-speed gear ratio models.
  • Doesn’t come in the larger sizes for saltwater gamefish.
MODELMONO LINE CAPACITY (#TEST/YD)WEIGHT (OZ)BEARINGSGEAR RATIORETRIEVE PER CRANK (IN)POWERPRO BRAID (LB/YDS)MAX DRAG (LB)
SA2500HGFI6/200, 8/140, 10/1208.38+16.0:13510/150, 15/145, 30/10020
SAC3000HGFI6/230, 8/170, 10/1407.98+16.0:13510/200, 20/140, 40/10520
SA4000XGFI8/240, 10/200, 12/16010.18+16.2:13915/280, 30/170, 50/15024
SAC5000XGFI10/240, 12/195, 14/16510.18+16.2:14120/220, 30/200, 40/16024

4. Shimano Stradic Spinning Reel – Best for Beginners

For many years the Shimano Stradic was one of the most popular reels on the market. It gives so many features and high-level performance at a brilliant price. It is versatile, durable, and won’t let you down when that trophy fish strikes.

It comes with Shimano’s latest technology features like X-Ship, CoreProtect, Hagane Gears, and G-Free Body.

The Magnumlite Rotor also gives it a very lightweight reel while remaining durable in its construction.

For anyone looking for their first spinning reel then I always recommend a Shimano Stradic. It will not let you down.

Pros

  • Extremely lightweight design at under 7 ounces in the most popular sizes.
  • Affordable price tag with all the features you need to start catching fish.

Cons

  • The max drag in the 1000-sized model is only 7 lbs which is a little light for anything larger than a panfish.
  • It lacks the latest technologies that have been added to the Shimano Vanford.

Shimano Stradic Spinning Reel

Shimano Stradic Spinning Reel
  • Great Saltwater Spinning Reel
  • One of the Most Popular Reels
  • Extremely Low Weight
  • High-Quality Workmanship
MODELMONO LINE CAPACITY (#TEST/YD)WEIGHT (OZ)BEARINGSGEAR RATIORETRIEVE PER CRANK (IN)POWERPRO BRAID (LB/YDS)MAX DRAG (LB)
STCI41000HGFB2/270, 4/140, 6/1105.66+16.0:13110/95, 15/85, 20/657
STCI42500HGFB6/200, 8/140, 10/1206.76+16.0:13510/150, 15/145, 30/10020
STCI4C3000HGFB6/230, 8/170, 10/1406.76+16.0:13510/200, 20/140, 40/10520
STCI44000XGFB8/240, 10/200, 12/1608.16+16.2:13915/280, 30/170, 50/15024

5. Shimano Sedona Spinning Reel – Best Under $100

The Sedona allows you to chase any sized fish – with its model range from 500 to 8000 sizes you can certainly pick a model that will suit your needs.

The G-Free body moves the center of gravity closer to the rod which makes it more comfortable and actually feels lighter. This will result in less fatigue on your forearms and hands after a long day of fishing.

The Hagane cold-forged technology gives it exceptional durability and performance compared to some of the other options.

Pros

  • There is a wide range of sizes available – pick one that suits your fish species and environment.
  • The propulsion line management system helps to prevent wind knots and backlashes.

Cons

  • With only 3+1 ball bearings, you will notice less smoothness in retrieve than the other options.
  • The 2500-sized model only has 9 lb of max drag which is less than I would like for bass fishing. You would be better selecting the 3000-sized model which comes with 20 lb of drag.

Shimano Sedona Spinning Reel

Shimano Sedona Spinning Reel
  • High-Speed Option Available
  • Hagane Gearing
  • Redesigned Rotor and Drag
  • 10 Year Warranty
MODELMONO LINE CAPACITY (#TEST/YD)WEIGHT (OZ)BEARINGSGEAR RATIORETRIEVE PER CRANK (IN)POWERPRO BRAID (LB/YDS)MAX DRAG (LB)
SE500FI2/190, 4/100, 6/606.33+15.6:12715/135, 8/105, 10/657
SE1000FI2/270, 4/140, 6/1107.63+15.0:12610/95, 15/85, 20/657
SE2500HGFI6/200, 8/140, 10/1208.63+16.2:13615/145, 30/1009
SEC3000HGFI6/230, 8/170, 10/1408.83+16.2:13620/140, 40/10520
SE4000XGFI8/240, 10/200, 12/16010.43+16.2:13930/170, 50/15024
SEC5000XGFI10/240, 12/195, 14/16510.63+16.2:14130/200, 40/16024
SE6000FI12/265, 16/170, 20/120153+14.6:13330/290, 50/195, 65/14022
SE8000FI12/345, 16/250, 20/18521.73+14.9:13740/340, 50/265, 65/21524

6. Shimano Sienna Spinning Reel – Best Under $50

The Sienna is a well-balanced and high-performing reel at a great price.

It comes with Shimano’s Propulsion Line Management System which allows longer casts and reduced wind knots. It also comes with a Super Stopper II anti-reverse feature.

Available in sizes from 500 to 4000, this is more suited for inshore fishing than deep-sea species.

Pros

  • This is one of the best entry-level spinning reels on the market. It comes with plenty of Shimano’s latest technologies and is ideal for kids or beginners – although I would suggest you may need to upgrade relatively quickly if you really get into the sport.

Cons

  • With only 3+1 ball bearings, there is a significant difference in the smoothness of retrieve than the more expensive options.
  • The gear ratio is on the low side at 5.0:1 in a lot of models. This is best suited for slow-moving lures like a deep-diving crankbait.

Shimano Sienna Spinning Reel

Overall Score – 3/5 ⭐⭐⭐

Shimano Sienna Spinning Reel
  • Graphite Reel, Frame, and Side Plate
  • Propulsion Line Management System
  • Ant-Reverse System
  • Front Drag
MODELMONO LINE CAPACITY (#TEST/YD)WEIGHT (OZ)BEARINGSGEAR RATIORETRIEVE PER CRANK (IN)POWERPRO BRAID (LB/YDS)MAX DRAG (LB)
SN500FG2/190, 4/100, 6/606.33+15.6:1275/135, 8/105, 10/654
SN1000FG2/270, 4/140, 6/1107.23+15.0:12410/95, 15/85, 20/657
SN2000FG6/165, 8/105, 10/958.83+15.0:12810/140, 15/115, 20/959
SN2500FG6/200, 8/140, 10/1208.83+15.0:12810/150, 15/145, 30/1009
SN2500HGFG6/200, 8/140, 10/1208.83+16.2:13510/150, 15/145, 30/1009
SNC3000FG6/230, 8/170, 10/1408.83+15.0:12810/200, 20/140, 40/10519
SNc3000FG6/230, 8/170, 10/1408.83+15.0:12810/200, 20/140, 40/10519
SN4000FG8/240, 10/200, 12/16011.33+15.2:13215/230, 30/180, 50/12019

7. Shimano IX Spinning Reel – Best Rear Drag Reel

The Shimano IX is the only rear drag model that has made this list. This allows the angler to make drag adjustments during a fight without needing to reach over the top of the spool.

It comes with Shimano’s QuickFire II system which is a more traditional design that allows for one handed casting by putting everything without reach of the casting hand.

This reel also has a lower gear-ratio of 4.1:1 which is better suited for slower retrieving lures like a deep diving crankbait or a spinnerbait with very large blades.

Pros

  • The low gear ratio is ideally suited for slow lures.
  • It is designed for one-handed casting which is great when you have a drink in the other hand.

Cons

  • I personally don’t like the rear drag design, simply because I haven’t grown up using one. There are plenty of anglers that prefer it because they don’t need to get their hands in the way of the line during a fight to adjust the drag.
  • The low gear ratio means that this reel isn’t particularly versatile in the types of lures it can use. With a retrieve rate of 20 inches per crank or lower, you will be tired by the end of the day.

Shimano IX Spinning Reel

Overall Score – 3/5 ⭐⭐⭐

Shimano IX Spinning Reel
  • Solid Aluminum Frame and Handle
  • Propulsion Line Management System
  • Shielded Ball Bearings
  • Rear Drag
MODELMONO LINE CAPACITY (#TEST/YD)WEIGHT (OZ)BEARINGSGEAR RATIORETRIEVE PER CRANK (IN)POWERPRO BRAID (LB/YDS)MAX DRAG (LB)
IX1000R2/270, 4/140, 6/1108.404.1:11910/95, 15/85, 20/657
IX2000R6/170, 8/120, 10/1008.604.1:12110/130, 15/100, 20/857
IX4000R8/240, 10/200, 12/16011.404.1:12415/265, 30/175, 50/14515

8. Shimano Ultegra Spinning Reel – Best Surf Reel

The Ultegra is one of Shimano’s premium, high-end spinning reels. It is ruggedly designed but still looks great. It is lightweight but also boasts high performance. It also has high maximum drag options given its small stature.

Some of the many technologies included within this reel include:

  • Aero Wrap II
  • Cross Carbon Drag
  • G Free Body
  • KGN Gear
  • Long Stroke Spool
  • Micro Module II
  • One-Piece Bail
  • Propulsion Line Management System
  • Silent Drive
  • X-Protect
  • X-Ship

The Ultegra is a powerhouse reel available in 1000 to 5000 sizes. It has improved corrosion resistance compared with most alternate reels.

The smooth retrieve of this system is second to none and will last for years without a decline in performance.

Pros

  • This is one of the best surfcasting reels on the market. Make sure you match it with a similarly suited surf rod.
  • This is a very lightweight design where even the 4000-sized model is under 10 ounces in weight.
  • Well suited for saltwater angling.

Cons

  • This reel comes with a premium price tag.
MODELMONO LINE CAPACITY (#TEST/YD)WEIGHT (OZ)BEARINGSGEAR RATIORETRIEVE PER CRANK (IN)POWERPRO BRAID (LB/YDS)MAX DRAG (LB)
ULT1000FC2/270, 4/160, 6/1106.35+15.1:12510/95, 15/75, 20/657
ULT2500HGFC6/200, 8/140, 10/1207.95+16.0:13510/150, 15/145, 30/10020
ULTC3000HGFC6/230, 8/170, 10/1407.95+16.0:13510/200, 20/140, 40/10520
ULT4000XGFC10/200, 12/1609.55+16.2:14015/230, 30/180, 50/12024
ULTC5000XGFC12/195, 14/16510.15+16.2:14020/260, 30/235, 40/18524

9. Shimano Saragosa Spinning Reel – Best Offshore Reel

The Shimano Saragosa has been released with new features in 2020 including enhanced capabilities and features focusing on improved saltwater performance.

It comes with higher winding torque under load compared to its predecessor. This in combination with its Hagane Gear and Body gives it more strength.

The Saragosa is very versatile and is suitable from freshwater to inshore and deep sea species.

The IPX8 Waterproof body means that saltwater will never enter the gears so you don’t need to worry about corrosion in the long term.

Available in sizes up to 18000 models, this reel is a monster hunter and is perfect for Tuna or larger fish species. It also has a very high retrieval rate which helps when fighting some of the fastest species in the ocean.

Pros

  • Upgraded power from its older iteration. The largest models have over 40 lb of max drag.
  • This reel is purpose-designed for large big game saltwater fish species.
  • There is a wide range of gear ratios from 4.4:1 to 6.2:1 so make sure you pick one that matches the type of angling you will be doing.

Cons

  • This is not a lightweight reel. The lightest model is over 15 ounces in weight up to 33 ounces for the largest.
  • Although the gear ratio looks on the low side, it still comes with a high retrieve rate because of the large spool diameter.
MODELMONO LINE CAPACITY (#TEST/YD)WEIGHT (OZ)BEARINGSGEAR RATIORETRIEVE PER CRANK (IN)POWERPRO BRAID (LB/YDS)MAX DRAG (LB)
SRG5000SWAXG10/240, 12/195, 14/16515.95+16.2:14120/245, 30/225, 40/17522
SRG6000SWAHG12/265, 16/170, 20/120165+15.7:14130/295, 50/195, 65/14022
SRG10000SWAPG16/320, 20/220, 25/17524.35+14.9:14050/360, 65/290, 80/21533
SRG14000SWAXG16/360, 20/260, 25/19024.75+16.2:15350/400, 65/315, 80/24033
SRG8000SWAHG14/300, 16/250, 20/18523.85+15.6:14240/340, 50/265, 65/21535
SRG18000SWAHG20/415, 25/340, 30/28032.36+15.7:15150/600, 65/440, 80/36044
SRG20000SWAPG20/460, 25/380, 30/320336+14.4:14165/90, 80/400, 100/34044
SRG25000SWA20/570, 25/490, 30/36033.96+14.4:14565/630, 80/520, 100/44044

10. Shimano Sahara Spinning Reel – Most Durable

The Shimano Sahara is a balance between performance and price. It comes with a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty and Shimano claims it is “unparalleled in its durability.”

This reel comes with Shimano’s G Free Body, KGN Gear, Propulsion Line Management System, and X-Ship.

This reel is suitable for novices and experienced anglers.

The Sahara is also available in the rear drag option.

Pros

  • Extremely durable design with unrivaled workmanship.
  • Lightweight design with the 3000-sized model under 9 ounces in weight.
  • This is a very affordable product with a good combination of value for money, durability, and performance.

Cons

  • It doesn’t come with all the performance from Shimano’s latest technology in its more premium spinning reels.
MODELMONO LINE CAPACITY (#TEST/YD)WEIGHT (OZ)BEARINGSGEAR RATIORETRIEVE PER CRANK (IN)POWERPRO BRAID (LB/YDS)MAX DRAG (LB)
SH500FI2/190, 4/100, 6/606.23+15.6:1275/135, 8/105, 10/657
SH1000FI2/270, 4/140, 6/1107.64+15.0:12610/95, 15/85, 20/657
SH2500FI6/200, 8/140, 10/1208.84+15.0:12910/150, 15/145, 30/10020
SHC3000HGFI6/230, 8/170, 10/1408.84+16.2:13610/200, 20/140, 40/10520
SH4000XGFI8/240, 10/200, 12/16010.44+16.2:13915/280, 30/170, 50/15024
SHC5000XGFI10/240, 12/195, 14/16510.64+16.2:14120/220, 30/200, 40/16024

Conclusion

Shimano is one of the world’s premier manufacturers – I would be happy to recommend or use any of their designs. I am a big fan of most people’s favorite reel the Shimano Stradic and its descendent the Shimano Vanford.

If you are looking for more information have a read through Shimano’s official website.

If you have used any of these reels yourself then please leave a comment below so that we can all learn from your wisdom and experience. I love to interact with our readers. I hope you have enjoyed this list of the best Shimano spinning reels.

Happy fishing!

Last update on 2022-10-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


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Captain Russ Egan

Captain 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.