Fishing Reel Brands: The Top 14 Players

Best fishing reel brands feature image

Whether you are a casual weekend fisherman learning with spinning reels or a professional angler using high-quality fly fishing reels, there is no shortage of manufacturers to choose from when searching for your next best fishing reel. You’ll find fishing reel brands that have been around for generations, as well as others that have cropped up recently. 

However, one thing is common between each fishing reel brand; they share the same passion and love for fishing as you do and this passion is often reflected in the craftsmanship of their fishing tackle, fishing reels, and other fishing gear. The best fishing reel brands didn’t get to that spot by being a fly-by-night name or producer of poor products. They have put many years into designing and manufacturing the best fishing reels in the world and have been backed by millions of anglers worldwide.

This list covers 14 extremely well-known and highly popular fishing reel brands when it comes to some of the best fishing gear in the world. Some you may have heard of, while others may be brand new to you depending on how often you frequent the fishing circles. Some good fishing reel brands may focus on manufacturing high-quality reels, while others focus on maintaining a low price range. No matter where that particular brand falls, they can all create a reliable reel and range of fishing products to suit the needs of anglers of every experience level.

Regardless of what you may be looking for, you’ll find a range of reel combos and fishing rods to meet the needs of fishing enthusiasts everywhere. From freshwater reels for night fishing to fishing combos that are specifically made for large fish, let’s take a closer look at each of those fourteen fishing reel brands now and see what they have to offer as one of the best fishing reel brands.

Best Fishing Reel Brands Listed

1. Daiwa

History

Founded in the mid-1950s, Daiwa originates in Japan and has been the world leader in many innovative technologies in the fishing tackle industry. They were the first to introduce the “open-faced fishing reel” design in 1965 which quickly became the most popular fishing reel design in the world. Since the beginning, Daiwa has focused on carbon fiber construction, and was the first manufacturer to use graphite in their fishing reel rotor and casing. 

By 2010, Daiwa again revolutionized the fishing world by using a low-resin and high-density carbon fiber sheet to make their spinning reels some of the lightest on the market. In the same year, their Magsealed ball bearing construction made fishing reels spin much faster and with more reliability as they were now highly resistant to friction from both water and dirt.

Best known for

  • Revolutionary advancements in casting reels technology
  • Corrosion resistant ball bearing system known as Magsealed
  • Extremely durable and long-lasting components and construction

Best selling model: Daiwa Saltist

Daiwa Saltist
Daiwa Saltist
Daiwa Saltist
Our Score

Daiwa specifically made this saltwater spinning reel ready to face any of the elements you may be fishing in. It’s made from extremely durable full-aluminum reel body construction, includes the Daiwa Magsealed stainless steel ball bearings system on the line rollers, and allows easy adjustments with their magnetic oil technology. Whether you are reef fishing or long casting in the open ocean, the Daiwa Saltist is one of their most popular choices.

  • Magsealed corrosion-resistant stainless steel ball bearings
  • Extremely rugged and durable design for many years of use
  • Lightweight design of less than 10 ounces for comfortable handling

2.Shimano

History

Founded in February 1921, Shimano originated from Osaka, Japan. Their original focus was on manufacturing various parts and components for bicycles, however they quickly moved into the world of fishing reels. Their diverse line of fishing reels are suitable for both saltwater and freshwater fishing, and can meet the needs of both amateur and professional anglers around the world.

Shimano’s net sales rose by 9.8% over 2021 putting them as one of the top names in fishing gear. The 2020 and 2021 releases of several new fishing reels also put the Shimano name front and center in many angling circles around the world giving them a leg up on the competition for the time being.

Best known for

  • Extremely low profile and lightweight baitcasting fishing reels
  • Shimano-specific water repellant fishing reel coatings for corrosion resistance
  • Magnesium Hagane gears and body for rugged construction 

Best selling model: Shimano Stella FJ

Shimano Stella FJ
Shimano Stella FJ
Shimano Stella FJ
Our Score

One of Shimano’s most popular investment fishing reels, the Stella FJ is an outstanding choice for anglers that want serious performance and extreme durability from their fishing reels. This fishing reel raises the bar when it comes to spinning reels in general, and while it carries a hefty price tag it has the features to back it up.

For saltwater enthusiasts, you’ll find an extremely high level of corrosion resistance with Shimano’s X-Protect contact free system.

  • Extra-strong magnesium Hagane gearing for many years of use
  • 12+1 gear ratio with S-ARB ball bearings and smooth movement
  • Extremely silent performance when casting and reeling for landing timid fish

3.Abu Garcia

History

Taking the first step into manufacturing and distributing fishing reels in the 1950s, Abu Garcia quickly became a noticeable name in spinning reels and overall fishing reel advancements. Their fishing reel construction featured many innovations such as oscillating spools, improved drag systems, and patented spinning reel designs.

Many vintage Abu Garcia fishing reels are considered collector’s items in today’s market and these items can be as much fun to collect as they are to fish with. Abu Garcia continues to release a new and improved fishing reel on a regular basis, many with their tried and true components from the early days of the Abu Garcia manufacturing process.

Best known for

  • Oscillating spool systems in their spinning reel fishing line
  • Improved drag systems for aggressive gamefish and large fish species
  • Long-lasting and durable construction inside and out for reliability

Best selling model: Abu Garcia Revo SX

Abu Garcia Revo SX
Abu Garcia Revo SX
Abu Garcia Revo SX
Our Score

Having been revised multiple times, Revo SX by Abu Garcia gets better and better with each revision. It offers unparalleled performance for novice and professional anglers alike. The Revo has been precision engineered with an upgraded braking system that offers incredible casting performance no matter the distance you are aiming for.

  • Extremely smooth and consistent drag system
  • Durable and long-lasting carbon sideplates and structure
  • Infini brake system and instant anti-reverse

4.Penn

History

Founded in 1932, Penn originated in Philadelphia and started with the goal of making fishing reels that could set world records. By 1955, IGFA records in five categories were made using Penn reels. Before celebrating their 75th anniversary, various styles of Penn reels held more than 1400 IGFA world records and the company is continuing to break records today.

Well over 200 unique models of reels are currently being manufactured today, and the company currently holds one of the top spots worldwide when it comes to the best and most versatile saltwater fishing gear.

Best known for

  • CNC machined all metal construction exteriors
  • IPX6 watertight sealant for internal gears
  • Exceptionally smooth movement when casting or reeling

Best selling model: Penn Spinfisher VI

Penn Spinfisher VI
Penn Spinfisher VI
Penn Spinfisher VI
Our Score

For saltwater anglers, the Spinfisher line is one of the best reels a fisherman can choose. The VI model is made to provide smooth performance when casting at distance and reeling. The sealed drag system uses HT-100 carbon fiber drag washers to help reduce the chance of stripping gears. Regardless of where you like to fish in the saltwater environment, the Spinfisher VI is the top choice for anglers of all experience levels.

  • IPX5 sealed ball bearings for water and corrosion resistance
  • HT-100 carbon fiber drag washers to ensure low heat performance
  • Full metal exterior and side plates for incredible durability

5.Pflueger

History

The Pfleuger name has been known throughout the fishing industry since the late 1880’s when they started making fishing hooks, but it wasn’t until 1916 that they released their first fishing reel. By 1954, they expanded into spinning reels and today Pflueger is one of the best known fishing reel and fishing rod manufacturers in the world with a complete line including fly reels, trolling reels, surf spinning reels, and basic casting reels. 

Their products are known around the world to offer high levels of dependability and incredible innovation when it comes to fishing reels. Whether you are looking for baitcast, spinning, ultralight, fly or bigwater trolling reels Pflueger has been an industry leader for more than 120 years with fishing reels to fit every price range.

Best known for

  • Extreme attention to detail in construction
  • Corrosion resistant internal construction on saltwater reels
  • Ergonomic reel designs for long fishing sessions

Best selling model: Pfleuger President

Pfleuger President
Pfleuger President
Pfleuger President
Our Score

This durable spinning reel is an excellent choice for novice anglers as well as more experienced fishermen looking for a small fish reel. The President is made from high grade aluminum and graphite construction with a stainless steel drag system. You’ll find the President is an excellent and very durable choice for a wide range of freshwater trophy fish.

  • Corrosion-resistant 7-ball bearing system
  • Lightweight graphite exterior construction
  • Oscillated gearing with lubricated sealed drag washers

6.Lew’s

History

In the early 1970’s, Lew’s introduced their first baitcasting fishing reel to the American public and revolutionized the way anglers saw reel design. While the company made their name with bamboo fishing rods, over time they soon became known for high quality fiberglass fishing rods and baitcasting reels. 

In 1977, the original founder Lew Childre was killed in a plane crash. Since that time, his wife and sons continued to carry on Lew’s name by sticking to the same manufacturing ideals the founder had when it came to the best reel brands, fly rods, and the fishing tackle market. 

Best known for

  • Focusing on extremely quiet gears and spooling
  • Low profile and lightweight reels for comfortable handling
  • Creating the iconic Speed Spool baitcasting reel

Best selling model: Lew’s Mach 2 Metal Spin 300

Lew's Mach 2 Metal Spin 300
Lew's Mach 2 Metal Spin 300
Lew's Mach 2 Metal Spin 300
Our Score

If you’re searching for an all-purpose reel, the Mach 2 is a great choice. Its rugged aluminum body and heavy-duty carbon rotor are lightweight yet durable. The interior pinion gear is precision-cut from solid brass to give you years of reliability.

  • S-Curve rapid and smooth oscillation system
  • Very strong Duramax drag system
  • Lightweight C40 carbon rotor and aluminum exterior

7.Shakespeare

History

Founded in 1897 in Kalamazoo, Michigan by William Shakespeare, Jr., the company has created a wide range of fishing gear for adults and children. They have been a company focused on charitable contributions in a variety of ways, and put a focus on introducing people of all ages to the joys of fishing. Their massive line of full fishing gear includes not only reels, but rods, lines, and apparel too.

Best known for

  • Large line of kid-sized fishing gear to help children enjoy fishing
  • Focusing on affordable introductory fishing gear for anglers of all ages
  • Innovative Trout fishing reels that break world records

Best selling model: Shakespeare Contender

Shakespeare Contender
Shakespeare Contender
Shakespeare Contender
Our Score

For anglers that are searching for a viable freshwater use reel at a very affordable price, the Contender takes the cake. Used by both professional and novice anglers alike, this reel can give you many years of solid use. It’s built to be durable yet lightweight and is versatile enough to be used by left or right-handed individuals.

  • Convertible handle for left or right-hand usage
  • Anti-reverse option has an easy on/offsetting
  • Lightweight reel with a ported spool and ergonomic knob

8.KastKing

History

As the brainchild of a pair of college students in 2011, KastKing quickly became some of the best budget-friendly reels on the market. While this name is somewhat new in the fishing reel world as they are an enterprise manufacturing company, their affordable and innovative designs have become favored pieces of gear for both new and experienced anglers.

KastKing focuses on not only making durable and long-lasting reels for a variety of fishing styles, but also strives to be environmentally friendly through sustainability of natural resources. Their goal is to ensure prime fishing environments are healthy and well for many generations to come.

Best known for

  • Using the highest quality materials throughout manufacturing
  • Focusing on environmental sustainability and health
  • Unique and innovative design ideas for internal and external components

Best selling model: KastKing Sharky III

KastKing Sharky III
KastKing Sharky III
KastKing Sharky III
Our Score

KastKing focused on creating a unique and new design with Sharky III and many anglers loved it. This spinning fishing reel is extremely durable and very lightweight. The Sharky III spinning reel is made from graphite with carbon fiber reinforcement to ensure the exterior body and internal rotor system last for years.

  • 10+1 gear ratio with sealed and corrosion-resistant ball bearings
  • Triple-disk carbon fiber drag system for reliability
  • Interior made with high-quality aluminum and stainless steel

9.Piscifun

History

The combination of business plans between two friends, Piscifun was created in 2013 with a focus on making a high-quality reel at affordable pricing. The company is focused on a unique combination of their own reel designs, with elements from tried and true features some of the more popular reel brands use. As their manufacturing process became more streamlined, Piscifun was able to lower their costs immensely and started offering their products directly to the customer at budget-friendly prices.

Best known for

  • High quality internal gears at very affordable prices
  • Sealed and water resistant ball bearing systems
  • Extremely fast gear ratio for the price point of the reels

Best selling model: Piscifun Phantom X

Piscifun Phantom X
Piscifun Phantom X
Piscifun Phantom X
Our Score

For baitcasting reels, the Phantom X is one of Piscifun’s most popular models. It’s made for use in shallow and heavily dense areas and performs well in both. Anglers both new and experienced will notice the extremely smooth drag from the reel’s carbon and aluminum construction.

  • Includes 7 stainless steel ball-bearing system
  • Comes in multiple gear ratios including 5.3:1 and 7.6:1
  • Extremely lightweight yet highly durable and rugged

10.13 Fishing

History

With an initial focus on the ice fishing market, 13 Fishing is currently known as one of the fastest growing recreational fishing reel brands in the United States. Since 2011, 13 Fishing has been a major product developer in open fishing gear, rods and reels for both freshwater and saltwater fishing. 

This company has been a proud sponsor of various professional Bass anglers, as well as youth fishing programs for high school and college age students. Their company workforce is not just made up of people who enjoy fishing, but those who are passionate about it as well.

Best known for

  • Rods and reels targeted at Bass, Musky and Panfish anglers
  • Extensive line of Concept series baitcasting reels
  • Innovative internal gear designs and systems

Best selling model: 13 Fishing Origin TX 7.3

13 Fishing Origin TX 7.3
13 Fishing Origin TX 7.3
13 Fishing Origin TX 7.3
Our Score

The Origin TX is an extremely low-profile baitcasting reel that makes landing both freshwater and saltwater fish a breeze. It includes a wide range of excellent features such as corrosion resistance, multi-material drag system and Arrowhead line guide system. Whether you are a novice or a professional looking for something new, the Origin TX is an outstanding choice for coastal fishing.

  • Corrosion free low-torque composite side plates
  • 6-way centrifugal braking system that is durable and reliable
  • Compatible with the 13 TrickShop for customization

11.Zebco

History

As a major manufacturer of assorted fishing equipment, Zebco was founded in Oklahoma in. 1949. Their origins started as a bomb-making company for the oil industry, but after their line of unique spinning reels took off in 1953 and the need for bombs in the oil industry was reduced in 1956, the entire focus of the company went on producing a more innovative fishing reel.

While Zebco is still one of the most popular names in push button reels, today they have an extensive line of versatile spinning reels, heavy-duty baitcasting reels, fly fishing reels, and more. They continue to adjust designs and internal workings to deliver the best spinning fishing reels for anglers of all experience levels.

Best known for

  • Push-button spincast reels
  • Durable line of affordable fishing gear that fits every budget
  • Versatile reel selection that can suit beginners and professionals

Best selling model: Zebco 33 Spincast

Zebco 33 Spincast
Zebco 33 Spincast
Zebco 33 Spincast
Our Score

While this model may not be the first choice for professional anglers, it can potentially be the perfect choice for children and novice adults. The reel is simple in construction but offers many of the same features you would expect from a high-end reel including durable frame, lightweight construction, and anti-reverse feature.

  • 3.6:1 gear ratio with anti-reverse quickest
  • Graphite frame is durable and long-lasting
  • Can be adjusted for left or right-hand usage

12.Okuma

History

Since 1986, Okuma has been manufacturing high quality and affordable rods and reels for anglers of all experience levels including the newest beginners to professional tournament anglers. Originating in Taiwan, Okuma fishing tackle and fishing products span the globe with a focus on meeting the high demands from anglers worldwide in creating the best fishing reel. 

The company ensures their fishing reel brand covers both left and right handed designs to ensure comfort and ergonomic freedom for anglers of both hand preferences. Their line of fishing reels are constructed with a range of forward-thinking materials including their C40-X long carbon fiber framing.

Best known for

  • Extremely high performance spinning reel design
  • Okuma freshwater fishing reels have been used in 86 countries
  • Their fishing line is made with incredibly high quality materials

Best selling model: Okuma Helios SX

Okuma Helios SX
Okuma Helios SX
Okuma Helios SX
Our Score

As one of Okuma’s best fishing reel designs, the Helios SX is an excellent option for professional anglers around the world, or novices looking to dive right into the higher levels of fishing reel design. This spinning reel is made to provide exceptional strength from the long-strand carbon fiber construction whether you are enjoying freshwater or saltwater fishing. You’ll find a smooth and reliable cast from the corrosion-resistant stainless steel ball-bearing system no matter what style of fishing reel performance you prefer when out on the water.

  • Brass pinion gear is a precision machine cut
  • Eight corrosion-resistant stainless steel bearings
  • Reel is lightweight due to long fiber carbon construction

13.Quantum

History

Originating in Oklahoma in 1984, Quantum has focused on making extremely sturdy and durable fishing rods and reels for anglers everywhere. They strive to manufacture the best range of baitcasting reels with some excellent engineering features when it comes to internal components.

Whether you are a new arrival to the world of fishing or have been an angler for most of your life, Quantum reels can carry you through the occasional weekend fishing trip or support you in a professional tournament. As a manufacturer looking to create the best fishing reel, they strive to provide reels made from high-quality materials and proudly offer each with a five-year warranty to back it up.

Best known for

  • Wide range of baitcasting, spinning and conventional fishing reels
  • Focused on high quality external and internal materials
  • Five year extended warranty on most reels

Best selling model: Quantum Optix

Quantum Optix
Quantum Optix
Quantum Optix
Our Score

The Optix offers an extremely smooth reeling option due to its 37-inch retrieval rate. You’ll also be able to enjoy this reel regardless of which hand you prefer to use as it offers a changeable right or left-hand construction. While Optix doesn’t offer the highest quality features around, it is an extremely solid option for most anglers to consider.

  • Can be found in 7 different reel sizes to suit any fishing preference
  • Extremely lightweight composite construction for years of use
  • Offers highly smooth retrieval capabilities to haul in even the largest fish

14.Cadence

History

Cadence has been putting high quality fishing gear in the hands of anglers of all ages throughout their lifetime, and there is no sign of it stopping anytime soon. They put an emphasis on helping children learn to appreciate fishing by donating a fishing rod and reel set to one of various charities with every sale they make. Their goal is to help our next generation learn to love fishing as a hobby and sport while also focusing on keeping water systems clean for the fish that live there.

The products Cadence offers are not just made for anglers, they are made by anglers. As a result of this, each product has been put through real-world fishing tests to ensure it can perform in the field under all weather conditions and in both freshwater fishing and saltwater fishing environments.

Best known for

  • Focusing on helping children learn to love fishing
  • Products that are made by anglers to meet unique needs
  • Wide range of freshwater and saltwater reels

Best selling model: Cadence CS7

Cadence CS7
Cadence CS7
Cadence CS7
Our Score

The CS7 was made with a range of high-quality materials to ensure you can land that next trophy fish without worrying about reel failure. It includes a highly durable 9-ball bearing system and a durable instant anti-reverse system. You’ll love how lightweight the reel is while still offering an oversized ergonomic handle for quick control over your catch.

  • Nine stainless steel ball bearings for smooth gear movement
  • Highly durable carbon composite side plate to ensure durability
  • Excellent choice for freshwater trout and bass fishing

Final Thoughts on the Top Fishing Reel Brands

With thousands of different models of fishing reel brands to consider, it may be difficult to choose any single one, especially if you are new to the world of fishing in general. Most anglers have tried many different brands and several models of each before they were able to choose their favorite one. Whether you are looking for baitcasting reels or spinning reels, each manufacturing name has something to offer that may suit your preferences.

In today’s market, it is not uncommon for most reels to be manufactured in Asian countries rather than in the Americas. This keeps costs low for consumers which can be an excellent feature to consider. However, this does not mean the quality of the fishing products is suffering. In fact, even though many prices are kept extremely low the construction of the spinning rods and reels is top-notch. Whether you are leaning more towards Okuma reels, Abu Garcia reels, or feel like you can find a better selection of popular fishing reels with Shimano reels, there is a long-lasting fishing reel for everyone.

Fishing reels like most other fishing tackle, are made for specific purposes, so knowing your main interest ahead of time can help pinpoint the brand of reel you may want to consider purchasing. Deep-sea fishing reels are different from conventional reels, and a conventional reel can be vastly different from an ice fishing rod and reel for example.

Additionally, if you are focusing on large fish or simply want something in the lowest price range, you can easily find a fishing rod and reel manufacturer to suit your needs. Take a bit of time to think about your goals. Once you determine that, you should be able to narrow down which brands can meet your needs.

Author

  • Jeff Knapp is an expert fisherman, guide and outdoor writer whose work is widely published across a range of sites including Tackle Village.

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