Shimano Vanford Spinning Reel Review [2022 Update]


Updated on October 27, 2022 by
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This new Shimano Vanford spinning reel review has been written to give you all the information you need to make a buying decision about whether this reel is suitable for your needs.

The Vanford is the official replacement of the Stradic Ci4+, which was a favorite of many experienced anglers, myself included. I was skeptical at first, but after experiencing the Vanford on the water, I am converted – If you have a Stradic and love it, then you will love the Vanford as well.

A new release in 2020, the Shimano Vanford is a great upgrade and worth having a look at to add to your tackle bag. In my opinion, Shimano are one of the top manufacturers and they have put all of their latest technologies into the Vanford.

Like all of Shimano’s new reels this comes with X-Protect and X-Ship which is a waterproof coating on their gears that gives both improved water resistance and less friction leading to a new level of smooth casting and retrieval motion.

Let’s dive into my full review, so I can explain all of the insights I have learned from testing out this reel.

The below comparison looks at the 1000 size model.

Preview
Shimano Fishing Vanford C3000Xg F Spinning Reel [VFC3000XGF]
STRADIC 1000FL HG STRADIC-US
Bearings
7+1
6+1
Gear Ratio
5.5:1
5.0:1
Max Drag
6.6
6.6
Weight
6.3 oz
6.7 oz
Features
Upgraded Carbon Drag Washers, SilentDrive, Hagane Gear, Long Stroke Spool
Hagane Gear, G-Free Body, One Piece Bail
Featured
Product
Preview
Shimano Fishing Vanford C3000Xg F Spinning Reel [VFC3000XGF]
Bearings
7+1
Gear Ratio
5.5:1
Max Drag
6.6
Weight
6.3 oz
Features
Upgraded Carbon Drag Washers, SilentDrive, Hagane Gear, Long Stroke Spool
More Info
Preview
STRADIC 1000FL HG STRADIC-US
Bearings
6+1
Gear Ratio
5.0:1
Max Drag
6.6
Weight
6.7 oz
Features
Hagane Gear, G-Free Body, One Piece Bail
More Info

Quantitative Score

Performance – 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Durability – 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Value for Money – 4/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Overall – 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Explaining Shimano Fishing Reel Tec...
Explaining Shimano Fishing Reel Technologies [2022 Update]

Shimano Vanford Spinning Reel Review

Let’s get straight into the features and specifications so that you can compare them with your other favorite reels, and then we will go into my own thoughts and insights.

Shimano Vanford Spinning Reel

  • Overall Score – 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Performance – 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Durability – 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Value for Money – 4/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Shimano Vanford Spinning Reel
  • Lower weight than its predecessor
  • Full of Shimano’s latest technology
  • Extremely Durable
  • Increased Casting Distance

Shimano Vanford Features

  • Extreme Durability due to the Cold Forged Hagane Gears
  • The Material is CI4+ – CI4+ is 2.5 times stiffer than Ci4 which is used to reduce the weight of the reel
  • Fast Rotation from the MGL Rotor – This is designed to reduce the weight by 25% and requires 22% less inertia
  • Light and Smooth Reeling
  • Water Resistant Line Roller and Roller Clutch
  • Improved Casting Performance due to a Long Stroke Spool
  • X-Protect and X-Ship for waterproof coated gear materials
  • Propulsion Line Management System leading to a smoother line lay on the spool
  • G Free Body which moves the centre of gravity and makes the reel more comfortable during casting
  • Cross carbon drag
  • One piece bail arm

If this is confusing then please read our explanation of Shimano’s technologies.

Shimano Vanford Spinning Reel unboxing

Pros

  • I have found this reel to be extremely durable due to corrosion resistance in X-Protect – this will increase the value for money as the reel will last a lot longer
  • The combination of long stroke spool and propulsion line management allows you to cast light lures further
  • The retrieve on the Stradic was good, but the Vanford is even better due to the upgraded Hagane gearing

Cons

  • I don’t like the fact that the 500 to 3000 sized reels don’t have carbon drag washers, as at some point you will want to replace the felt washers
  • The price is higher than the standard Stradic, but this is understandable considering what you are getting for your money

Shimano Vanford Specifications

DESCRIPTIONBEARINGSMAX DRAG (LB)GEAR RATIORETRIEVE PER CRANK (IN)BRAID CAPACITY (LB/YDS)
VANFORD 10007+16.65.5:12510/95
VANFORD 2500 HG7+1206.0:1405/140
VANFORD COMPACT 3000 HG7+1206.4:13510/200
VANFORD 40007+1246.2:13915/230
VANFORD COMPACT 5000 XG7+1246.2:14020/260

Shimano Vanford vs Stradic Ci4+ Comparison

Let’s begin with a discussion on the aesthetic design of the Vanford – I absolutely love it. The red and black styling is very similar to the popular Stradic.

There are a lot of similarities between the Vanford and the Stradic. They have taken the best parts of the Stradic that everyone loves and applied some subtle improvements.

The max drag, gear ratio and weights are very similar between these two models. However, the Vanford is consistently lighter and comes with an additional ball bearing.

They also have very similar fishing line capacity.

Let’s use the 1000 size as an example:

FeatureStradicVanford
Bearings6+17+1
Max Drag (LB)6.66.6
Gear Ratio5.0:15.5:1
Weight (oz)6.76.3
X Aero Wrap II YesYes
G Free BodyYesYes
X ShipYesYes
X ProtectNoYes
Silent DriveNoYes
Cross Carbon DragNoYes
Hagane GearYesYes
Propulsion Line Management SystemYesYes
One Piece BailYesYes
S A-RB BearingsNoYes
Long Stroke SpoolNoYes

The Vanford also comes with a 5000 size which was not available on the Stradic.

One of the main disadvantages of the Stradic was the drag washers were not as durable, so the Vanford has added carbon drag washers, so hopefully, we will see an improvement in the durability going forwards.

Shimano Technologies

Shimano loves applying complicated terms to their fundamental principles of design and construction. But don’t let these bamboozle you – just know that Shimano spends a lot of time caring about the design and construction of every individual part which leads to improved performance and higher durability.

But let’s explore what some of these terms mean.

Hagane Gear

The cold-forged Hagane Gear is Shimano’s main drive gear technology – the materials used, the way it is designed, and the way it is constructed. The Hagane Gear is found in most of Shimano’s new reels and is one of their key advantages. If you notice a difference between Shimano reels and their competitors

SilentDrive

SilentDrive is the marketing term that Shimano applies to their high-quality machining of individual parts. This applies to the drive gear, wormshaft, wormshaft pin, and wormshaft gear to give the smallest clearance possible, by constructing the parts to the highest tolerance.

This eliminates wobbles and unnecessary movement and friction – which gives this reel an extremely smooth and silent performance.

The idea is that if the individual parts are designed and constructed to the highest level then the overall body design will benefit, and it is proven in practice.

With this reel only released in 2020 we obviously haven’t been able to use this reel for long but time will tell and I am very confident that it will continue to impress.

MicroModule Gear II

The MicroModule Gear II is the gear tooth surface design. This allows for the gears to link together without loss of power or any movement that would cause noise or vibrations. It is one of the additions to this reel that give it just a smooth and silent retrieve.

Long Stroke Spool Technology

The long stroke spool technology is simply the way that the line is laid back onto the spool so that it optimizes the re-spooling movement. The long stroke spool and propulsion line management system gives a smoother line lay on the spool.

The spool doesn’t have aero wrap technology but this is made up for with the line laying pattern.

Just one thing to note – the long stroke spool technology does not apply to the 500-sized reel as it is too small to accommodate it.

Official Shimano Vanford Video

The video below is the official Shimano Vanford marketing video, so it will show all of the advantages of the reel (but not the disadvantages). So have a watch to see the reel in action:

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Shimano Vanford better than the Shimano Stradic Ci4+

The Vanford is the official replacement of the Stradic CI4+, which was a favorite of many experienced anglers. If you have a Stradic and love it, then you will love the Vanford as well.

There are a lot of similarities between the Vanford and the Stradic. They have taken the best parts of the Stradic that everyone loves and applied some subtle improvements.

The max drag, gear ratio, and weights are very similar between these two models. However, the Vanford is consistently lighter and comes with an additional ball bearing.

What types of fishing is the Shimano Vanford suitable for?

From ice fishing and drop-shot fishing for smallies in the sweetwater to stalking tailing fish in the flats, the Vanford is certainly one of the best new spinning reels Shimano has released recently.

Is the Shimano Vanford suitable for saltwater?

Yes, the Shimano Vanford is a perfect saltwater spinning reel. It is made from Ci4+, which is Shimano’s patented corrosion resistance material. It comes with a Water-Resistant Line Roller and Roller Clutch.
It is made from Shimano’s X-Protect and X-Ship for waterproof coated gear materials.

One of the main disadvantages of the Stradic was the drag washers were not as durable, so the Vanford has added carbon drag washers, so hopefully, we will see an improvement in the durability going forwards.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I am a big fan of Shimano and their constant technological improvement. Their reels from a decade ago still perform well and their new gear continues to impress. They have spent a decade of engineering creating new state-of-the-art technologies.

The Shimano Vanford is no exception. The Stradic Ci4+ is a brilliant reel, and its replacement does not disappoint. I have no doubt that you will be seeing plenty of Vanfords appear over the next summer bass fishing season.

Hopefully, this Shimano Vanford spinning reel review has given you some ideas and insights to help make your decision.

If you are looking for more information then check out Shimano’s official page.

If you have any questions then please leave a comment below and we will get back to you as soon as we can. I would also be keen to hear from anyone who has already bought a Vanford and has your own experiences to share with our readers.

Happy fishing!

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


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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.