Zebco 202 vs 33: Spincast Reel Showdown

Selecting the right reel for your next fishing trip can be time-consuming and daunting, especially if you are a beginner that is unfamiliar with the different terms and features of …

Selecting the right reel for your next fishing trip can be time-consuming and daunting, especially if you are a beginner that is unfamiliar with the different terms and features of a reel. 

Also, not every angler wants to invest a large amount of money into a fancy and high-end fishing reel, at least not until after they know if fishing is the right hobby for them. 

Luckily, Zebco has you covered with their 202 and 33 series reels. Both of these reels are simple in their construction, lightweight, and highly affordable making them an excellent choice for beginners, casual weekend fishermen, or someone just wanting a new reel in their collection.

Zebco 202 vs 33: Spincast Reels Compared

ReelZebco 33Zebco 202
Gear Ratio4.1:12.8:1
Weight9.3oz6.2oz
# of ball bearings10
RetrieveLeft or rightRight
Line capacity (10lb mono)120 yards11 yards
DragDial adjustable dragDial adjustable drag
Anti ReverseYesYes

Key Differences Between the Zebco 33 and 202

Zebco 33 reels spincast
The Zebco 33 has better components such as a ball bearing and ceramic pick-up pins, as well as more handle side options, but it is also more expensive than the Zebco 202 which is a good option for beginners due to its lower price point.

Ball Bearings

Ball bearings are sometimes used in fishing reels to reduce friction and increase the smoothness and accuracy of the reel’s operation. They allow the line to be released and retrieved faster, with less resistance, and with more precision and accuracy. 

The biggest benefit to a ball bearing is to help to reduce internal component wear and tear, reduce noise and vibration during casting and retrieving, and improve the overall performance of the reel.

The Zebco 33 has one ball bearing the shaft, whereas the 202 has a simple bush instead of a ball bearing. A reel with a ball bearing is always going to be smoother and more durable.

Weight

The weight of a fishing reel is important because it affects the overall balance of the fishing rod and reel combo as well as the casting distance, accuracy, and comfort of the angler. 

A heavier reel will be better able to handle heavier lures and fish, while a lighter reel may be easier to cast and more comfortable to use. 

The weight of the reel also affects the overall weight of the fishing rod and reel combo, which is important for comfort and portability.

Components

One important difference between the Zebco 33 and 202 is that the Zebco 33 has ceramic pick-up pins and the 202 has stainless steel pick-up pins.

These little pins engage when you turn the reel handle and effectively grab the line to wind it onto the spool of the reel.

Ceramic pickup pins are more durable and are a better option.

Gear Ratio/Retrieve Speed

The gear ratio of a fishing reel affects the speed of the reel’s line retrieval as well as how much torque the reel can generate. 

A higher gear ratio reel will allow you to retrieve more line in a given amount of time, which can be beneficial when fishing with baits that need to be rapidly moved through the water for the best results. 

A lower gear ratio reel will generate more torque and be better for fighting larger fish with heavy lures, but may not be able to provide as much movement for lures nor can it reel in lures or fish as quickly.

Handle side

Most anglers prefer either left-hand wind or right-hand wind with their reels. For spinning reels, it is easy enough to change the handle from one side to the other. But with spincast reels that option is not always available. With the Zebco 33, you can change the side the handle is on, but not with the Zebco 202. It’s only available in right-hand retrieve.

Price

The price of a Zebco 33 depends on the model and condition, since different colors and finishes may carry different pricing. Generally, you can expect to pay $30 to $40 for this fishing reel.

The price of a Zebco 202 will depend on the location it was purchased since some retailers will mark up the price. However, a typical price range for a new Zebco 202 is around $15 making it an excellent choice for beginners to get started with.

Zebco 33 reel spincast
Zebco 33 Spincast Reel
Zebco 33 Spincast Reel
Zebco 33 Spincast Reel
Zebco 33 Spincast Reel
Our Score

The Zebco 33 Spincast Reel is a great entry-level reel with simple mechanics and a lightweight design. The spincast mechanism allows for easy and accurate casting, while the single-bearing system helps provide a smooth retrieval.

The reel is also well-constructed, with an all-metal body, and is perfect for beginners or casual weekend anglers. Overall, the Zebco 33 is an excellent option for any angler looking for a reliable and affordable spinning reel.

  • QuickSet anti-reverse system for a smooth and reliable hook set every time
  • Triple-cam dial-adjustable drag system to provide consistent and smooth drag performance
  • The ambidextrous design allows you to customize the reel to your dominant hand
Zebco 202 reel spincast
Zebco 202 Spincast Reel
Zebco 202 Spincast Reel
Zebco 202 Spincast Reel
Zebco 202 Spincast Reel
Our Score

The Zebco 202 spincast reel is an excellent choice for anglers looking for an easy-to-use and reliable reel. The lightweight design makes it great for a full day of fishing and the simple push-button casting system makes it easy to use, even for brand-new anglers.

The adjustable drag and anti-reverse system make it suitable for a variety of fishing styles and work together to ensure you aren’t losing progress in hauling in that massive lunker. All in all, this is a great and very affordable reel that will get the job done.

  • Dial-adjustable drag to give you more control over the tension on the line
  • QuickSet anti-reverse system to prevent the handle from spinning backward
  • Perfect fit for anglers that are right-hand dominant

Conclusion

Whether you are just starting out or a seasoned angler, taking the time to select the right reel will help make your fishing experience more enjoyable and successful. With so many factors to consider, it can be a daunting task. 

But, by understanding the type of fishing you plan to do and the types of reels available on the market today, you can narrow down your options and find the right fishing reel for your needs. 

Our recommendation in terms of the best Zebco spincast reel between these two choices is the Zebco 33 as it comes with one ball bearing and stainless steel pick-up pins and is a better reel overall (although it is slightly more expensive).

Whether you are new or experienced, either of these Zebco reels can be the right reel for you. Both have the Zebco patented no-tangle design and are simple to use.,

For some anglers, simple spincast reels like these will be a stepping stone to fishing with spinning reels and baitcasting reels. But for those who just want something simple in a fishing reel, a Zebco spincast reel is ideal.

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AUTHOR
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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