Shimano Vanford vs Shimano Saragosa SW Reel Comparison

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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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In the world of fishing equipment, Shimano stands out. Two of their popular spinning reels, the Shimano Vanford and the Shimano Saragosa SW, offer unique features and capabilities. This comparison will delve into their strengths and weaknesses, helping you decide which reel is best for your fishing needs.

The Shimano Vanford is a state of the art, high performance, lightweight spinning reel, while the Shimano Saragosa SW is a big game fishing reel in extreme conditions.

Shimano Vanford Spinning Reel
  • Lower Weight than its Predecessor
  • Extremely Durable
  • Long Casting Distance
  • Full of Shimano's Latest Technology
Shimano Saragosa Spinning Reel
  • IPX8 Waterproof Body
  • Available Up to 18000 Size
  • High Retrieve Rate for Fast Pelagic Species Like Tuna
  • Upgraded Winding Torque

Specification Comparison

To try and get an accurate comparison, I’ve picked the Shimano Vanford 3000 sized-model, and the Shimano Saragosa SW 5000.

Reel Comparison
Shimano Vanford
Shimano Saragosa SW
Ball Bearings
Gear Ratio
6.3 oz
15.9 oz
Max Drag
20 lb
22 lb
Mono Line Capacity
140 yards of 10 lb
240 yards of 10 lb
Braid Line Capacity
200 yards of 10 lb
245 yards of 20 lb

Gearing Comparison

The Shimano Vanford features Cold Forged Hagane Gearing. This makes it robust, durable and highly efficient for smooth reeling.

The Shimano Saragosa SW is also equipped with Hagane Gears. This system, while still strong and long-lasting, does not undergo the cold forging process. Thus, it may not deliver the same level of smooth performance as the Vanford. Yet, it still provides excellent functionality for different fishing scenarios.

Overall, the Vanford’s gear system is more advanced and refined compared to that of the Saragosa SW.

shimano vanford spinning reel being held up when unboxing

Drag System Comparison

The Shimano Vanford uses Cross Carbon Drag technology, offering smooth, consistent performance. This system provides enhanced durability and reduces heat build-up during long fights.

On the other hand, the Shimano Saragosa SW also incorporates Cross Carbon Drag. However, it’s specifically designed for heavy-duty saltwater fishing, ensuring high resistance to the harsh marine environment.

Both systems offer excellent drag power and smoothness, but the Saragosa SW’s drag is more optimized for saltwater applications. The Vanford’s drag is versatile and can handle a wide range of fishing conditions.

Shimano saragosa spinning reel in a rack

Body Construction and Materials

The Shimano Vanford features a G Free Body, designed to shift the reel’s centre of gravity closer to the rod, enhancing comfort and reducing fatigue. On the other hand, the Shimano Saragosa SW boasts a Hagane Body, a high rigidity metal construction that eliminates body flexing and transforms the angler’s actions directly into cranking power.

The Vanford’s body is lightweight, contributing to a smooth and balanced operation, ideal for long hours of fishing. Conversely, the Saragosa SW’s body is known for its strength and durability, capable of withstanding harsh saltwater conditions.

In terms of materials, the Vanford utilises CI4+ material, which is 2.5 times stiffer than its predecessor, CI4. This makes it less prone to distortion and provides greater efficiency for the angler. The Saragosa SW, however, employs a combination of X-Ship and HGN Gearing, offering enhanced cranking power and smoother, more consistent performance.

Overall, the Vanford’s G Free Body and CI4+ material make it a great option for lightweight, comfortable fishing, while the Saragosa SW’s Hagane Body and X-Ship/HGN Gearing offer strength and power for challenging saltwater environments.

Value for Money

The Shimano Vanford offers excellent value considering its high-end features and performance. It’s a worthwhile investment for any angler.

Meanwhile, the Shimano Saragosa SW, with a slightly higher cost, provides outstanding durability and power, justifying the small difference in price.

Both are great investments, depending on individual angling needs and preferences. The decision between the two lies in the specific requirements of the angler, with both providing good value for their respective price points.

Best Suited For

Use the Shimano Vanford for high performance, lightweight spinning fishing. Ideal for precision and control.

Opt for the Shimano Saragosa SW when game fishing in extreme conditions. It’s perfect for heavy-duty, challenging environments.

Choose the Vanford for high-speed retrieval.

Use the Saragosa SW for handling big, strong fish. Vanford is suitable for fresh and saltwater.


The Shimano Vanford scores 9, offering high-end features and performance. It is a valuable investment for any angler.

The Shimano Saragosa SW scores 8 and is a bit more expensive. This reel boasts outstanding durability and power, justifying its price.

Each reel is a great purchase, depending on angler’s needs and preferences. The choice between the two depends on the angler’s specific needs. Both spinning reels provide good value for their cost.

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