Daiwa BG vs Penn Battle 3: Spinning Reel Showdown

Two of the biggest names in spinning reels go head to head in this reel comparison. Daiwa and Penn are both big names in the spinning reel and overall fishing …

Two of the biggest names in spinning reels go head to head in this reel comparison. Daiwa and Penn are both big names in the spinning reel and overall fishing world and are respected the world over for their high-quality gear and innovative improvements year after year.

But in a direct comparison, which reel is best for you, and can it meet your needs when it comes to high-speed spinning applications? Are there even any vast differences that need to be addressed? Which fishing reel offers a bigger line capacity for casting fat from the boat? Let’s take a closer look at these two spinning reels so you can determine which spinning reel might be best for your fishing needs.

Penn Battle 3 vs Daiwa BG – What are the Differences?

  • Bearings: Battle 3 has 5 sealed bearings – BG has 6 specially treated bearings
  • Gearing: Battle 3 is 4.7 and 38 inches – BG is 5.3 and 53 inches
  • Drag: Battle 3 reaches 30 pounds – BG reaches 33 pounds

Comparison of Features

Daiwa BG Reel close up spinning reel
The Daiwa BG has more ball bearings (6) than the Penn Battle 3 (5), and the Penn Battle 3 has rubber-sealed bearings, while the Daiwa BG has stainless steel that is highly corrosion resistant. Both reels use a machined brass gearing pinion and have an anti-reverse switch.


Having a good number of ball bearings will directly relate to the smoothness you feel from the reel. In this regard, the Daiwa BG pulls ahead with a total of six ball bearings, while the Penn Battle 3 has only five.

However, the Penn Battle 3 offers rubber-sealed bearings, while the Daiwa BG instead uses stainless steel that has been specifically treated to be highly corrosion resistant. 

Model Options

When it comes to model size options, the Penn Battle 3 pulls slightly ahead by offering a total of 12 different options, with three of those being high-speed. These sizes will start at 1,000 and run all the way to 1,0000, but it lacks 7,000 and 9,000 sizes. Additionally, you’ll find high-speed options in the 4,000, 6,000, and 8,000 sizes.

The Daiwa BG offers a total of 10 size options which start at 1,500 and run to 8,000. While it lacks 7,000 and some high-speed options, it does include half-size increments so you can pinpoint the precise option you prefer working with.


Both of the reels are extremely durable and are made to perform great in the elements with their full metal body features and expertly designed spool. They are both made from alloy, though the Daiwa BG makes use of high-precision machined alloy features, while the Penn Battle 3 is a slightly less precise solid cast alloy.


Both Penn and Daiwa share many similarities when it comes to the internal gears and the gear ratio. You’ll notice the line recovery will favor the Daiwa BG at 53 inches compared to the Penn Battle 3’s 38 inches. Additionally, gear ratios will run a 5.3 gear ratio for the Daiwa BG and a 4.7 gear ratio for the Penn Battle 3 of the same size.

The Daiwa BG promotes its surface-treated Digigear II gearing system to provide exceptional strength when it’s needed most. The machined brass gearing pinion rounds it out.

The Penn Battle 3 also uses a machined brass gearing pinion, but for a difference and extra durability uses CNC brass and alloy for its internal components. You’ll find an anti-reverse switch on both spinning reels.

Penn Battle III Close Up Shot
The Daiwa BG’s design is more contemporary and futuristic, while the Penn Battle III has a more traditional and “clunky” look. The Daiwa BG offers a lighter and more precise crank, while the Penn Battle III has a heavier, more traditional crank.


The Daiwa BG fishing reel series pulls well ahead here as you will find their patented Air Rotor spool system to give you an incredibly balanced weight ratio when you have a fish on the line. You’ll get smooth retrieval and a lighter feel on the spool crank regardless of your line capacity and retrieve rate during fishing trips.


Both Daiwa and Penn have extremely well-known drag systems, and every angler knows a good drag system makes a great reel. The Daiwa BG will offer a max drag weight of 33 pounds, while the Penn Battle 3 pulls up a bit short at 30 pounds.

With the Daiwa BG series, you will get their ATD or Automatic Tournament Drag which helps increase hookups by keeping the initial starting inertia balanced. This helps reduce losses on each strike and ensures you get fish in the boat.

Penn Battle 3 uses the carbon fiber HT100 system. This well-sealed drag system is smooth and extremely durable but still produces that tell-tale drag-scream anglers love when they have a massive fish on the line.


Daiwa BG focuses on a more contemporary style with high-tech accents along the exterior and line spool. It looks much more streamlined and futuristic, which some anglers love, and others may hate. 

The Penn Battle III has a much more traditional look to its shape and line spool, which can also be defined as “clunky” when compared to the BG. The Battle III also offers its classic color combination of black and gold. If you have experience using the Penn Battle II, you will be familiar with this.

Feel and Crank

Daiwa BG offers anglers an extremely light crank with more precise movements and a much faster retrieve rate due to the advanced rotor design and sealant. The Penn Battle III, on the other hand, offers a much more traditional and heavier crank with an anti-reverse switch that has a distinctly durable feel in your hand, though it can still provide a high retrieve rate when you’re working with a bigger spool.

Which Reel is Best for Me?

If you’re an angler that is on a budget yet still wants freshwater or saltwater fishing reels that can provide versatility and reliability throughout all of your fishing trips, the Daiwa BG can definitely meet your expectations in reels. If you opt for the 3,500 sizes, you will find it’s a perfect size for landing mid to large-sized striped bass, bluefish, redfish, mahi mahi, snook, false albacore, bass, trout, and just about any other fish you might be searching for. It offers a great retrieve rate, anti-reverse options, and can spool a fair bit of line so you can cast and retrieve at good distances.

For many anglers who aren’t too concerned about sticking to a budget and want the durability, reliability, and quality to match up to the extra cost, the Penn Battle 3 spinning reel can be exactly what you are searching for. It’s more than able to tackle both casual fishings as well as weekend tournaments for the professional and will offer the traditional workhorse image Penn is known for. While the price point is a bit higher than some other similar spinning reels, it is still considered a great value to most as it more than makes up for the price in versatility and reliability. Penn’s well-known history speaks for itself when it comes to the quality of its reels and the difference in their features.

Penn Battle 3 Spinning Reel Review
Penn Battle 3 Spinning Reel Review
Penn Battle 3 Spinning Reel Review
Our Score

The Penn Battle 3 is a great all-around fishing reel for both freshwater and saltwater fishing. It is made in a durable and robust fashion, offers precision machined gears for longevity and reliability, provides you with powerful and smooth cranks and solid drags on the line when it counts. Each of its five bearings is sealed for extended performance and protection throughout all weather conditions. Whether you are a professional angler looking for a reliable workhorse of a reel or a beginner just starting to get your feet wet with brand-name reels, the Penn Battle 3 is a great example of a quality spinning reel.

  • Model sizes from 1,000 to 10,000, with 3 being high-speeds with anti-reverse
  • Mid ranged price point makes this a suitable option for serious anglers
  • Sealed ball bearings and precision gears give smooth and reliable motion


Daiwa BG Spinning Reel Review
Daiwa BG Spinning Reel Review
Daiwa BG Spinning Reel Review
Our Score

If you’re targeting big saltwater fish, you can’t go wrong with the Daiwa BG. You’ll find high-quality machined alloy internal gearing with 6 specially treated corrosion-resistant bearings that help create a smooth and reliable drag system. The exterior housing is extremely durable machined alloy, yet remains very lightweight, making this reel comfortable in your hand, even after long hours of constant fishing. If you’re serious about focusing on saltwater fishing or just want a well-known and highly reliable all-around reel to start learning with or adding to your kit of fishing gear, you can’t go wrong with the Daiwa BG.

  • Model sizes from 1,500 to 8,000 with smooth anti-reverse gear
  • Lower ranged price point makes this a beginner-friendly option
  • Highly corrosion-resistant ball bearings are great for saltwater


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Jeff Knapp is an expert fisherman, guide and outdoor writer whose work is widely published across a range of sites including Tackle Village. Jeff is based in Pennsylvania and loves exploring the waterways of that state in pursuit of smallmouth bass, largemouth, panfish and trout.
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