Best Spinning Reel Under $50: Top 5 Buying Guide

July 29, 2020

Our editors at Finn’s Fishing Tips independently research, test, and recommend the best products to help you make purchase decisions. You can learn more about our review process here. We sometimes get a commission through purchases made via our links.

Spin casting requires tactics, skill, and patience. However, if you have all three yet you lack a functional spinning reel, you won’t land a bite. That’s why we’re here to draw attention to some awesome budget-friendly spinning reels.

If you want to get the best spinning reel under $50 without getting your hands dirty in the process, take a look at the following reviews and buyer’s guide. These reels are perfect for fishermen targeting smaller species like rainbow trout, snakehead, and much more. 

Here are the 5 best affordable spinning reels on the market. The list includes a wide array of features in addition to a variety of designs that should fit the majority of your needs. Skim through them and pick your favorite.

In a Hurry? Here’s Our Top Picks…

Most Convenient Spinning Reel Under $50: KastKing Centron

The KastKing is one of the most convenient spinning reels under $50 you can get your hands on. It has a lightweight graphite frame that won’t be a burden on your muscles. Plus, it features a computer-balanced rotor system that prevents the spool from wobbling while you’re retrieving or casting the reel.

Despite its relatively low price, the Kastking is loaded with useful perks. You get a mesh driver gear, a sturdy metal shaft, and a precision pinion gear. These add-ons all contribute to improving the unit’s performance when trying to catch feisty fish.

Furthermore, the KastKing is topped off by a power launch lip that allows for a longer casting distance. In addition, the instant anti-reverse bearings account for effortless spinning. The unit provides a highly smooth fishing experience despite having a robust build. This is part of the reason why users love it so much.


  • Compact size
  • High-quality aluminum spool
  • Drag capacity of 17.5 pounds
  • Lightweight


  • Extra spool sold separately

Best Design: Piscifun Flame Ultra Smooth Spinning Reel

The attractive red design of the Piscifun isn’t the only reason for which users love it. The unit also has a load of innovative features. For starters, it has triple drag washers that’ll scare the life out of fish. Not only that, but it also features a brass pinion gear that adds to the drag power. These features put it close to the top for the best spinning reel under $50.

The striking red spool is made of top-tier aluminum, and the matte black frame is hollow graphite. You won’t have to worry about the water’s effect on the unit. The precision gear is made of zinc that’s resistant to corrosion and rust. So, it’s safe to use in saltwater, as well as freshwater.

The Piscifun comes fully-equipped with 9 ball bearings, as well as a roller bearing. These alongside the precision gears give spinning that’s as smooth as butter. Plus, the Flame can drag weights up to 19.8 pounds, which tells a lot about the strength offered. Not to mention the sturdiness provided by the metal shaft and the interchangeable drive gear.


  • Satisfying click sound upon casting
  • The spool doesn’t tangle
  • Rust-resistant zinc precision gear
  • Fashionable design


  • The bail is too large for some people
  • The casting distance could’ve been longer

Best Lightweight Spinning Reel Under $50: Sougayilang Ultra Smooth

In terms of craftsmanship, durability, and convenience, the Sougayilang reel is a great value for money. It features 13 ball bearings, in addition to a rolling bearing. Besides, it has a metal main shaft that complements the powerful drag system.

This unit has a CNC aluminum handle that’s durable and resistant to corrosion. Additionally, the hollow graphite frame of the Sougayilang is crowned by precise pinion gears and a mesh drive gear.

If you’re left-handed, you’d also be happy to know that this unit offers versions for both hands. This feature, in particular, is rare in spinning reels under $50.

Upon buying this unit, you get interchangeable driver gear, triple carbon drag washers, precise machines-brass gears, and a high-quality metal shaft. The unit’s user-friendly features are perfect for beginners and professionals alike. A great option if you’re fishing for smaller fish like bass and white perch.


  • Suitable for left-handed anglers
  • Compact size and lightweight
  • Comes with a free extra spool


  • The unit isn’t stable on the ground

Best Spinning Reel Under $50 for Comfort: Shimano Sienna FE

For starters, it’s compact and lightweight for effortless maneuverability. Not only that, but it also features a line management system for propulsion that prevents backlashes on long casting distances. Besides, it has an anti-reverse stopper technology that limits the handle’s movements to the forward direction.

For extra comfort, the oscillation gear is positioned close to the rod. That way, you won’t get a sore arm after fishing. The Shimano reel also comes bearing Dyna-Balance technology. It’ll help make your mission smoother with little to no rocking or wobbling.

The Shimano spinning reel is a pleasure to own. It works for both saltwater and freshwater. On top of that, the manufacturers made sure it’s highly comfortable and user-friendly for both beginners and professionals.


  • Suitable for long casting distances
  • Equipped with Dyna-Balance technology
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Highly comfortable


  • It only comes with 2 ball bearings, which means you’ll need more muscle power to retrieve and cast
  • Limited drag power

Best Spinning Reel Under $50 for Versatility: Cadence CS4

The Cadence CS4 is ideal for all waters and all fishing techniques. You can even fish inshore species like Spanish mackerel and striped bass with this unit. That’s mainly because it comes fully-equipped with 8 ball bearings that offer long casting distances. It’s also made out of top-notch materials that are quite rare in this price range.

The CS4 has an ergonomic design that’ll keep you comfortable while fishing. It features an EVA foam handle for a comfy grip, as well as a carbon lightweight frame. You can use this unit for long hours without significant fatigue.

The spool of the CS4 is ridged to avoid tangling your line. The handle rolls smoothly without the need for excessive effort. All the materials are resistant to corrosion, so the unit is safe to use in all waters. For under $50, the Cadence CS$ is hard to beat.


  • Smooth retrieving and casting
  • Highly comfortable
  • Available in different sizes
  • Great value for money


  • It spools towards the rear
  • It makes a loud sound when running

5 Essential Features to Consider Before Buying a Spinning Reel

Spinning reels have a lot of features that you should give thought to. We made sure to check all of these features when picking out the best spinning reel under $50. Here are the most essential ones you should check before buying.

Gear Ratio

The gear ratio of a spinning reel dictates the retrieval speed. In other words, the ratio equals the number of spool’s rotations for every time you spin the handle. Larger ratios mean that the spinning reel retrieves the cord faster, which translates to better efficiency. Here’s a summary of common gear ratios and the retrieving speed they determine:

  • Slow: 5.1:1 – 5.4:1
  • Medium: 6.1:1 – 6.4:1
  • Fast: 7.1:1 – 8.1:1

Ball Bearings

The ball bearings are the most essential component of spinning reels. They determine the smoothness of the reel, which defines the reel’s overall efficiency. The more ball bearings, the smoother the reel.

They’re mostly made of stainless steel to benefit from its superior durability. Alternatively, they can be made of ceramic to make use of its sturdiness. Those usually cost more than stainless steel, though.

Anti-Reverse Stopper

The anti-reverse stopper aims at preventing back-spinning. That way, the fish you caught won’t stand a chance, no matter how big and heavy it is. This feature prevents the handle from coiling back as well, which could tangle the cord. We always recommend getting a reel that comes with this feature; it’ll make your fishing experience much easier.

Frame Material

Most spinning reels are made of graphite to maintain a lightweight build. On the other hand, some reels are made of aluminum. These have higher durability but they cost a lot more. They’ll likely sit on the heavy extreme. Aluminum is also not preferred in saltwater because it may corrode.

There are also some plastic spinning reels, but they only work for small fish and smooth waters. They won’t be the best option if you’re a professional.


A light spinning reel will make your life much easier. At least you won’t go home with a sore arm. Additionally, it’ll be easy to transport and move around if you’re a frequent traveler. That being said, make sure there’s enough stability, especially for retrieving heavy fish.

Best Spinning Reel Brands

These are the most trustworthy brands that produce spinning reels. You can rest assured that you’ll get a reliable unit if you decide to buy from them.


Shimano has been known for manufacturing high-quality fishing gear for saltwater. It’s one of the oldest companies in the industry, seeing as it’s been making fish gear since 1921. It’s now a global franchise with factories located all over the world.


KastKing is a fish gear manufacturer that aims at making innovative products. Its parent company is Eposeidon, and it’s known for making affordable fishing units. It’s now considered the world’s fastest-growing fishing tackle company.


Cadence’s motto is ‘performance for less’. They believe that the gear’s value lies in its efficiency, not its price. That’s why they’re devoted to producing affordable fishing gear for future generations.


Piscifun has only been in the market for 7 years, but it’s already globally recognized for its high-quality, affordable fishing gear. It was found by two close friends, Ben and Peter, who have a passion for fishing. The company’s slogan is “Fish with Family”.


Sougayilang specializes in all fishing equipment, including reels, rods, lures, and tackles. The company produces fishing gear in a wide array of prices to fit all budgets. They’re mostly known for their affordable products.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re still confused about spinning reels, here are some answers that may help you.

Which reel size suits beginners?

Reel sizes begin at 1000. The larger the number, the larger the reel will be. 2000 reels are perfect for beginners who want to catch moderately-sized fish like mackerel or trout. If you’re aiming big, you should go for a larger one; a 3000 reel would be ideal for that.

What’s so special about spinning reels?

The most prominent feature in spinning reels is the ease of use. Anyone can use a spinning reel, regardless of previous experience. It also doesn’t require much effort from the angler, unlike other types of tools.

With baitcasting reels, for example, the reel is more likely to get tangled. And it takes a lot of time to get used to it.

What’s the difference between expensive and affordable spinning reels?

Both expensive and cheap reels will spin well. However, you’ll notice the difference in the subtle details. For example, you may notice that the dragging response of expensive reels is better. These will also have anti-reverse stoppers which prevent back-reeling.

The smoothness can also vary. With budget-friendly options, the spool may get stuck every once in a while. This’ll likely be because they come with fewer ball bearings, which will require more power from the angler to retrieve the reel.

What’s the most important feature on a spinning reel?

It depends on your purpose. However, the gear ratio and the ball bearings are generally the most essential components of spinning reels. That’s because they’re responsible for the spinning smoothness and speed, which is the whole point of these reels.

If you intend to catch large fish, we recommend that you get a reel that has a large gear ratio. That way, it’ll have a fast drag response. As for the ball bearings, the more you have, the smoother the reel will be.

The Verdict

Our favorite spinning reel under $50 on our list is the Cadence CS4 Spinning Reel. You can use it anywhere with any type of fish, and it has an ergonomic, user-friendly design that’ll make fishing seem easier. Not only that, but it’s also lightweight and easy to maneuver.

The runner-up is the KastKing Centron Spinning Reel. It’s a highly convenient unit that comes loaded with lots of useful features. It also comes fully-equipped with a power launch lip that’s rarely found in this price range. Not to mention that it looks trendy; it’ll let you fish in style!

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