Best Baitcasting Reels Under $100 in 2024

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Video best saltwater baitcaster under $100

Fishing is a passion for some people including me but, as an amateur, I cannot spend hundreds of bucks on a baitcaster. During one of my visits to the market recently, I came across some of the best baitcasting reels under $100. Since I plan to learn on a baitcaster and polish my skills, buying the best baitcaster under 100 wouldn’t hurt.

You can find some even inexpensive choices but, make sure they have the right specs. A baitcaster wouldn’t work up to its maximum potential unless it has all the important factors. Finding the appropriate piece could be a hassle therefore, our team has shortlisted some of the top choices. All of the baitcasters reviewed below come with everything a beginner, as well as an expert, looks for in it.

I along with my fellow anglers tested out more than 15 baitcasters priced less than $100. From our intensive field experience SHIMANO SLX Baitcasting Reel is on top of the list of best baitcasting reels under 100. Followed by Lew’s Speed Spool LFS, and Abu Garcia Pro Max & Max Pro. Detailed review of each option is given below.

best baitcasting reels under 100

First a quick product review of baitcasters under 100:

Quick Overview – Best Baitcasting Reels Under $100

  1. SHIMANO SLX Baitcasting Reel – Overall Best Baitcaster under $100
  2. Lew’s Speed Spool LFS – Best For Casting Distance
  3. Abu Garcia Pro Max & Max Pro Baitcast – Best Low-profile
  4. KastKing Rover Round – Best For Conventional Fishing
  5. Piscifun Spark Pro – Best Lightweight
  6. Abu Garcia Revo X Low Profile – Best For Inshore Fishing
  7. JOHNCOO Titan Baitcasting Reel – Best Entry-level
  8. Piscifun Salis X Trolling Reel – Best Round Profile
  9. Abu Garcia Ambassadeur S Baitcast – Best Saltwater
  10. KastKing Spartacus II Baitcasting Reel – Best under $50

10 Best Baitcaster Under $100 in 2024

Now the detailed review of each baitcaster.

1. SHIMANO SLX Baitcasting Reel – Overall Best Baitcaster Under $100

Specifications

  • Gear ratio: 6.3:1, 7.2:1, 8.2:1
  • Max drag: 12 lbs.
  • Hand Orientation: Ambidextrous
  • Weight: 0.44 lbs.

I have seen my expert brother use numerous baitcasting reels including the high-end ones and Shimano was prominent in them. When I saw this reel, it made me stunned. It not only looks premium but feels too. All I wanted to know eagerly was about its performance. This model from Shimano can cast a mile effortlessly. Its capability of performing various techniques such as flipping and frogging for bass fishing makes it the best flipping reel under 100.

Because of the magnetic braking system, the reel is highly adjustable. I tried it with a 7 ft. medium-medium heavy rod for regular bass fishing. Whereas, the light rod was efficient enough for some trout and micro fishing. During my experience of using this reel for saltwater fishing, I didn’t encounter any trouble. Probably because I rinsed off the reel thoroughly with fresh water and lubed it after every use.

Pros

  • Efficient braking system
  • Casts amazingly
  • Amazing high-end choice under a budget

Cons

  • Some more pounds for drag could’ve been better

Verdict

Overall, the Shimano SLX is a workhorse for fishermen who rely on quality even if they are on a budget. Offering powerful and smooth performance, this product is indeed the best Shimano baitcasting reel under 100.

2. Lew’s Speed Spool LFS – Best For Long Distance Casting

Specifications

  • Gear ratio: 5.6:1, 6.8:1, 7.5:1
  • Max drag: 15 lbs.
  • Hand Orientation: Ambidextrous
  • Weight: 0.44 lbs.

Lew’s had made its name in the fishing industry for decades now and it was hard to resist testing this reel out. I used this reel for a good couple of months in freshwater and saltwater numerous times. Fortunately, I had no complaints about this best $99 baitcaster. It comes in three different gear ratios as mentioned earlier which allows a variety of fishing.

My field test was on the one with a 6.8:1 ratio and it was silky smooth right out of the box. Since it incorporates a magnetic braking system, having control over braking power was made effortless. I used the reel in the Wisconsin River with high success. The drag power was pretty amazing too whereas, the casting distance of reel was outstanding and no less than a dream. Its incredibly smooth cranking makes it the best cranking reel under 100.

Pros

  • Casts a country mile
  • High-quality
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Could be a bit noisy

Verdict

This model from Lew’s is indeed a deluxe choice for all the anglers out there, making it one of the best baitcasting reels under $100. Considering its out-class specs and performance, I was able to compare it with my brother’s top-end Mach Crush reel.

3. Abu Garcia Pro Max & Max Pro Baitcast – Best Low Profile Reel Under $100

Specifications

  • Gear ratio: 7.1:1
  • Max drag: 15 lbs.
  • Hand Orientation: Ambidextrous
  • Weight: 0.46 lbs.

Abu Garcia produces some magnificent quality reels and rightly so, has a huge customer base. I would recommend Abu Garcia Pro Max & Max Pro Baitcast as one of the best baitcasting reels under $100 for all the right reasons. First off, its low-profile design not only adds to its physical beauty but offers optimum comfort to the users. With my small hands, I have always struggled with finding the best matches for me. But, this reel fits my palm easily, offering easy operation.

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Speaking of the spool, it was super easy and I had no issues with that. Moreover, with the ultra-fast and smooth retrieve, I was able to catch species like Spanish Mackerel. I used an 8 lbs. braided line with this reel and it worked exceptionally. The gear ratio was super efficient for picking up the topwater slacks.

Pros

  • High quality real
  • Comfortable low profile design
  • Great drag

Cons

  • The casting distance could’ve been better

Verdict

Abu Garcia Pro Max & Max Pro Baitcast is one of the best Abu Garcia Baitcaster reel that has secured a sweet spot for most of the novice anglers mostly because of its low profile design and affordable price.

4. KastKing Rover Round – Best for Conventional Fishing

Specifications

  • Gear ratio: 5.3:1
  • Max drag: 30 lbs.
  • Hand Orientation: Ambidextrous
  • Weight: 0.88 lbs.

As I held the reel, it felt sturdy but chunky however, I still went on with testing it out. Catfishing is something that I have enjoyed maniacally so, with this reel, I planned on going for catfishing. After using the 12 lbs. mono line with the size 40 reel, I did not only succeed with catfish but a couple of others too including, walleyes, salmon, and northern musky.

One of my friends paired this reel with a 50 lbs. mono line and it cast like a dream hence, is an incredibly best casting reel under 100. Its centrifugal brakes work quite well and avoid backlashes. My field test lasted for nearly 5 to 6 months where I used the reel mostly for freshwater fishing. I tried it in saltwater very few times and there was no issue. The double-shielded stainless steel ball bearings protect from corrosion.

Pros

  • Incredible drag power
  • Suitable for large fishes
  • Buttery smooth operation

Cons

  • Heavier

Verdict

All in all, this reel could be a great choice for people who like to catch a variety of fish. It comes in different sizes which one can choose as per their preference.

5. Piscifun Spark Pro – Best Lightweight

Specifications

  • Gear ratio: 6.6:1, 8.1:1
  • Max drag: 16.5 lbs.
  • Hand orientation: Ambidextrous
  • Weight: 0.43 lbs.

This baitcaster is designed to provide the users with a redefined performance with smoothness. Rightfully so, when I used this reel, there was minimal to no backlash, thanks to the magnetic braking system. Moreover, the double-shaft supported line wind ensured better stability of the baitcaster.

During the field test, I paired this reel with multiple lines such as a 40 lbs. braided line as well as a 4 lbs. mono line. Fortunately, it performed outstandingly with both. With these lines, I was able to lure some amazing catches including walleyes, trout, and peacock bass.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Great value for money baitcaster
  • No backlashes

Cons

  • Average frame quality

Verdict

It would be totally safe to call the Piscifun Spark Pro the best baitcaster under $50. Despite being a pocket-friendly reel, it is not short on comfort and performance, thanks to its lightweight and impeccable specs.

6. Abu Garcia Revo X Low Profile – Best For Inshore Fishing

Specifications

  • Gear ratio: 6.6:1
  • Max drag: 18 lbs.
  • Hand Orientation: Ambidextrous
  • Weight: 0.49 lbs.

Another top-class baitcaster from Abu Garcia that I came across was the Revo X. It is also a low-profile reel, offering high comfort to the users. This reel accompanied me during my fishing adventure for 3 to 4 months and I loved every bit of it. From smooth operation to amazing cast and an efficient braking system, this baitcaster has so much more.

The Revo X never let me down regardless of the type of fishing I did. With this reel, I caught catfish, largemouth bass, steelhead, salmon, and trout. During my experience, I encountered a few backlashes which were easily eliminated by adjusting the brake and drag power. One of the best things about this reel is its ability to perform up to the mark for inshore fishing.

Pros

  • Corrosion-resistant frame
  • Ideal for inshore fishing
  • Easy to prevent backlash

Cons

  • Sideplate is prone to accidental removal

Verdict

Considering its marvelous features and high-end construction, this model from Abu Garcia is one of the finest and best baitcasting reels under $100.

7. JOHNCOO Titan Baitcasting Reel – Best Entry-level

Specifications

  • Gear ratio: 7.1:1
  • Max drag: 13 lbs.
  • Hand Orientation: Ambidextrous
  • Weight: 0.6 lbs.

This one was among the top heavy-duty low-profile baitcasters that know well how to perform in freshwater as well as in saltwater. Due to its corrosion-resistant mechanical parts, I was able to thrust it inshore for saltwater fishing. My experience of using this reel with a musky fishing rod was beyond my expectations. Considering its price point, I wasn’t hoping for such a brilliant performance.

The 13 lbs. drag power might be insufficient for some professional anglers but, I was pretty happy with it. This reel helped me catch some interesting species such as calico bass and rockfish. After pairing it with a 20 lbs. mono line, I was stunned to see how the reel holds an adequate amount of line.

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Pros

  • Superb performance
  • Casts far
  • Heavy duty reel

Cons

  • The inefficient braking system might cause backlash issues

Verdict

If you are new to fishing adventure and want the best baitcaster under $75, this one could be it. Though it has some cons but, considering the price point and other features, one can’t ask for more than what this reel already offers.

8. Piscifun Salis X Trolling Reel – Best Round Profile

Specifications

  • Gear ratio: 6.2:1
  • Max drag: 37 lbs.
  • Hand Orientation: Ambidextrous
  • Weight: 2.2 lbs.

Are you in search of the best round baitcaster under 100 that works well for large fishes? This model from Piscifun could be your ideal match. Made out of truly premium materials, this reel is indeed a beast. It operates like a charm and is super comfy in the hands despite its heavy weight.

Its line capacity is tremendous which I figured out after using it with the 80 lbs. black lunker braided line and the entire 547 yds. of the spool was held by the reel effortlessly. I took this buddy to various fishing sessions where I was able to catch huge species such as 20 lbs. black drum, 5 lbs. flounder, and more.

Pros

  • Drag power helps fight the largest of fish
  • Massive line capacity
  • Powerful performance

Cons

  • Very bulky

Verdict

Piscifun never fails to amaze its users and this model is a true example of it. Our entire team absolutely loved how this reel performed. We all would happily refer to it as one of the best baitcasting reels under $100.

9. Abu Garcia Ambassadeur S Baitcast – Best Saltwater

Specifications

  • Gear ratio: 5.1:1
  • Max drag: 11 lbs.
  • Hand Orientation: Ambidextrous
  • Weight: 0.65 lbs.

If you still haven’t found your perfect reel, don’t stress out. This Abu Garcia baitcaster is the best saltwater baitcaster and offers the best bang for the buck. While this wasn’t as high in quality as the expensive Abu Garcia models but still did a wonderful job for its price. Since it is a larger round profile reel, I tried deep jigging and trolling with this one and it worked marvelously.

The adjustable brakes make avoiding backlashes super convenient. I used this saltwater baitcaster with a 30 lbs. fishing line and it helped me succeed in catching salmon, steelheads, and sturgeons. Moreover, after using the Suffix 932 braided line, the reel casted a country mile like a dream.

Pros

  • Comes with a bait clicker
  • Smooth retrieve
  • Adjustable brakes

Cons

  • The spool release button keeps sticking down

Verdict

What else could be better than investing in a reel that works well for numerous fish in fresh and saltwater both, is comfortable to use and above all, is priced right.

10. KastKing Spartacus II Baitcasting Reel – best Cheap Baitcasting Reel

Specifications

  • Gear ratio: 7.2:1
  • Max drag: 17.6 lbs.
  • Hand Orientation: Ambidextrous
  • Weight: 0.3 lbs.

KastKing lives up to its name because of the top-notch reel it manufactures. Despite being priced as low as under $50, this reel performed way beyond my thoughts. The moment I read about its specs, I was eager to try it out on my own. My testing lasted for approximately 6 months and I enjoyed using this reel a lot.

The reel came well lubricated and its mechanical parts operated as smoothly as butter. I used it for saltwater fishing but rinsed and oiled after every use. I was surprised to see that this reel casts farther than the traditional pricey baitcasters. During my test, this reel held 125 yds. of a 20 lbs. mono line which was simply incredible.

Pros

  • Featherweight
  • Great drag power
  • Corrosion-resistant mechanical parts

Cons

  • Smoothness could deteriorate if not taken care of properly

Verdict

This model from KastKing is considered one of the best baitcasting reels under $100 for the right reasons. I was able to catch fish like rainbow trout, crappie, muskie, and more with this baitcaster.

Buying Guide

You can’t purchase the best baitcaster reels under 100 unless you know the important considerations. Since these reels are relatively less pricey, you must ensure that they don’t lack the key features and are compatible with best baitcasting rods under 100. To make the search less hassle for you, we have explained the vital specifications in detail below.

Materials

While searching for baitcasters, you will come across two major materials used for its crafting i.e., aluminum and graphite. High-end manufacturers generally opt for aluminum to create exceptional quality reels. However, graphite is less durable than aluminum and therefore comes at a cheaper price point.

You can still find some great reels made out of aluminum by companies that never compromise on quality regardless of the price.

Gear Ratio

Baitcaster gear ratio plays a crucial role in the overall performance of a baitcasting reel so, don’t overlook this factor. A higher gear ratio accounts for more line on the reel. The typical gear ratios available in baicasters include 7.1:1, 6.4:1, and 5.3:1. Choosing the gear ratio depends on the type of fishing you wish to perform.

7.1:1 is considered a higher gear ratio and best suited for professional anglers. It is also a good choice for people who burn the bait back to the boat no matter what. These are best used to catch species like toads and topwater frogs.

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The 6.4:1 gear ratio is a medium gear ratio that the majority of the fishermen opt for because of its all-around performance. The best thing about this ratio is its ability to be used for every kind of fishing and baits. For example, topwater, jigs, worms, shallow cranking, and more.

Lastly, the 5.3:1 is a relatively low gear ratio and is best recommended for slow rolling massive spinnerbaits, deep diving crankbaits, bigger swimbaits, and more.

Max Drag

I personally love an adjustable drag since it helps to catch a variety of fish. The drag of a baitcaster refers to the tension exerted on the spool while using. Reels with greater max drag are suggested if you intend to catch larger species such as bigmouth bass, etc. The top recommended max drag for various conditions are:

  • Freshwater fishing: 20-65 pounds (depending on what you’re fishing)
  • Saltwater fishing: 20-65 pounds (same as freshwater fishing)
  • Inshore fishing: minimum of 15 lbs.
  • Offshore fishing: minimum of 30 lbs.

Always get a reel with drag power that will help you to maneuver your desired fish without adding too much tension on the spool. The max drag varies with the size of reels so, make sure to check with due care.

Braking System

Reels with an efficient braking system enhanced my fishing experience impeccably. Since these prevent issues like backlash and bird’s nests, you enjoy every bit of your adventure. There are following two common types of braking systems in baitcasting reels i.e., magnetic and centrifugal.

The magnetic braking system relies on magnets to slow down the spool speed. It also allows you to control the braking of your reel. Generally, nvoice anglers love investing in best baitcasting reels for beginners with a magnetic braking system.

Contrarily, the centrifugal braking system also serves the same purpose of slowing down the spool. However, it does so by using the pins. Users also have access to every pin which allows them to adjust the braking power.

Hand Orientation

A lot of people overlook this factor while purchasing a baitcaster for under $100. Most of the top-notch reels come with an ambidextrous hand orientation which can be used by right-handed and left-handed. However, some pocket-friendly choices under $100 might lack this feature.

So, assure that the reel you are getting comes in your desired hand orientation, or else it would be useless. Also, it must have a soft grip that is comfortable to use so that your hands aren’t sore after hours of fishing.

Also Read our Related Guides On Baitcasters

  • Best Baitcasting Rods Under 100 in 2024
  • Best Baitcaster For Light Lures
  • Best Baitcaster Combo Under $100
  • Best Baitcaster Under 200
  • 10 Best Spincast Reels 2024 – Spincasting Reel Reviews

FAQs

What is the best baitcasting reel for beginners?

Novice anglers are advised to purchase a baitcasting reel that isn’t too expensive and offers better control. While the market is loaded with such reels, the best option according to my research is SHIMANO SLX Baitcasting Reel. It weighs super-light hence, is comfortable to use, it can be used for a variety of fish and in freshwater as well as saltwater. Moreover, its low price makes it one of the best baitcasting reels under $100 for beginners.

Which one is better for a baitcaster: mono or braided line?

A mono line costs less and holds knots better as compared to the braided line. It is an ideal choice for small-sized baitcasters. The mono line also sorts out bird’s nest issues brilliantly. Whereas, the braided line offers more amount of fishing line on the spool and is pricier. The choice solely depends on one’s personal preference and type of use.

How can I avoid backlash?

When a spool has a faster spinning speed than the fishing line, the backlash is initiated. The best way to avoid backlash is by investing in best anti backlash reel with an efficient braking system since it decelerates the spool speed. You can also adjust the tension on your reel’s spindle for better performance.

Conclusion

For me, picking the best baitcasting reel under $100 was extremely daunting, especially with the extensive choices around. But, as I narrowed my search down to the products with the best specs, I was able to shortlist the right baitcasters.

Out of all the reels I have reviewed, the best baitcasting reel under $100 is none other than the SHIMANO SLX Baitcasting Reel. It boasts all the crucial specifications that one looks for in a high-end baitcaster. From robust durability to splendid performance, this $100 reel has a lot more to offer than one expects.

After testing numerous reels, I would sincerely suggest all the anglers to carefully consider the important factors of the reel you are interested in. This is the only key to finding your best match.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>