We know how difficult it can be to choose one, so we rounded up the top baitcasters available:
The Abu Garcia Black Max Reel is ideal if you’re looking for a lightweight reel that produces a smooth drag and reliable performance.
The Abu Garcia Revo SX is suited for anglers who need more torque to pull in aggressive fish.
If you want a baitcaster with a low profile design and reduced vibration, check out the Shimano Curado 200.
The Daiwa Tatula is for anglers who want a more rigid but comfortable reel.
The Abu Garcia Revo STX could be what you’re looking for if lightweight and comfort are your main concerns.
If you’re having trouble with small adjusting knobs, you may want to check the Abu Garcia REVO Rocket as it has extra large knobs.
If you prefer a baitcaster that’s suited for saltwater and freshwater, the KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel may be to your liking.
Lastly, Lew’s Fishing Tournament MB Baitcast Reel is for those who use crankbaits and prefer slower retrievals.
Table of Contents
- 8 Best Baitcasting Reel For The Money in 2018
- 1. Abu Garcia Black Max Reel – Low-Profile Baitcast Reel (Our Best Choice)
- 2. Abu Garcia Revo SX – Best Right Hand Fishing Reel
- 3. Shimano Curado 200 – Super Free Spool technologies Used
- 4. Daiwa Tatula – Baitcast Fishing Reels
- 5. Abu Garcia Revo STX – 10 Stainless Steel Ball Bearings Reel
- 6. Abu Garcia REVO Rocket – Another Low Profile Reel
- 7. KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel – No. 1 Rated Conventional Reel
- 8. Lew’s Fishing Tournament MB Baitcast Reel – Best Light Weight Reel
- Features to Look for in a Baitcasting Reel
8 Best Baitcasting Reel For The Money in 2018
1. Abu Garcia Black Max Reel – Low-Profile Baitcast Reel (Our Best Choice)
Baitcasting reel reviews have given the Black Max or BMax good feedback and that is understandable given its features. Its side plates and frame are graphite for durability, and its stainless ball bearings simplify retrieval and operation.
The BMax has a Power Disk System which smoothens the drag action across the entire drag range. The reel also has the MagTrax brake system which allows it to work with different lures.
The BMax has high levels of castability and the recessed foot gives you an ergonomic grip. The handle is bent and compact so it is more convenient to hold. The Bmax also has an aluminum spool so you remain comfortable even when fishing the whole day.
Brake pressure is on a consistent level so there are superior cast accuracy and range. The Black Max also has Duragear brass gear so the casting reel is going to last longer than most.
Anglers who have used the Bmax say it is one of the best baitcasting reel under 50 dollars. They say the Bmax makes it easy to pull lures and offers great value. Set up is also quick and convenient.
2. Abu Garcia Revo SX – Best Right Hand Fishing Reel
The Revo SX is a lightweight reel which provides optimum drag performance. The low profile design also makes this ideal for retrieving aggressive fish. The reel has X2-Craftic alloy which makes it more resistant to corrosion compared to other fishing reels.
The side plate is made from C6 carbon and the frame is extra durable. Aside from withstanding aggressive fish, the reel is extra sensitive to fish bites so you will know if a fish has bitten the lure.
The gear system is Duragear, making it ideal for heavy duty use, and its MagTrax brake system is more than adequate. The reel is easy to set up and you can make adjustments on the fly.
The Revo SX makes good use of its Infini II design, providing you with durability and greater castability.
Many of those who have the Revo SX are happy with its performance. Some say it is the best baitcasting reel due to its smooth retrieve. Others like its smooth cast and there are little to no backlash.
3. Shimano Curado 200 – Super Free Spool technologies Used
The Curado uses SVS Infinity technology to give you consistent control over the spool. What it does is use the brake weights to produce friction while you’re casting. This leads to more efficient angling.
The Curado also has a knob so you can make changes quickly. The reel’s body is metal hagane, which makes it more resistant to impacts and now has greater rigidity. Spool friction is eliminated by its Super Free Spool, and the reel also has its bearing for pinion gear support.
The pinion gears and the sideplate are designed to reduce the flex in the drivetrain and provide more leverage and power.
Customers who bought the Shimano Curado claim this is one of the best baitcasting reel under 200 based on its smooth drag and lightweight. A lot of anglers also find it useful for bass fishing. They also say it is comfortable to use.
4. Daiwa Tatula – Baitcast Fishing Reels
The Tatula fishing reels are built for high performance and durability, and it is versatile enough to meet the needs of professional anglers. As one of the best baitcasting reel for bass, the Tatula sports a durable frame that can withstand heavy duty use under varying conditions.
It has a rugged gear train and there is full support for its aluminum housing. Its level wind design provides the Tatula with extra strength, and this is complemented by the Tatula T-Wing aperture.
The reel has a smooth feel to it, and the light weight makes it ideal for even beginners to use. The frame is corrosion resistant as well so you can just concentrate on fishing.
One of the things we noticed on the Tatula are the cutouts on the power handle. This is a deliberate design choice to cut down weight.
Many anglers who bought the Tatula say its drag is comparable to the best baitcasting reel for saltwater. Others who have purchased the Tatula say it is just the right size for casting and doesn’t tire you out.
5. Abu Garcia Revo STX – 10 Stainless Steel Ball Bearings Reel
The Revo STX is equipped with 10 stainless steel ball bearings and a roller, and this leads to smoother casts. The alloy frame uses the X2-Craftic design so it can handle corrosion much better than other fishing reels.
As you might expect from one of the best bass baitcasting reel, the STX has quality C6 carbon sideplates, providing weight reduction. The weight loss doesn’t compromise its performance however as it remains durable.
The STX has D2 Gear Design for more efficient performance and at the same time increases versatility. The reel is also equipped with the Infini brake system, giving you the means to make quick adjustments on the fly.
The STX is light and casting is easy even for beginners. It doesn’t make any screeching sound the way other reels do, and casting is smooth. Lastly, the instructions are clear and easy to follow.
Anglers who use the STX say it is quiet and casts smoothly. Many also say this is one of the best cheap baitcasting reel because it is easy to set up and feels light. Anglers also like the fact the STX needs very little maintenance.
6. Abu Garcia REVO Rocket – Another Low Profile Reel
If you are looking for the best baitcasting reel for the money, the Rocket is a good choice. It comes with ten HPCR bearings and a roller bearing for reliable performance. The reel body has also been fortified for protection against corrosion.
There is very little backlash and you can make quick adjustments if there are problems with the cast. The large EVA knobs also make it easy to make adjustments on the fly. The frame is built out of X-Craft alloy for durability, and the reinforced side plates add to corrosion resistance.
At 37 inches line retrieval for each turn, the Rocket is one of the fastest baitcasting reels today. The speed is also consistent and works with crankbaits, buzzbaits, spinners and other lures. Lastly, the Carbon Matrix keeps the drag pressure consistent when you use it.
Some of those who use the Rocket say it’s comparable to the best round baitcasting reel online. Most like the way it casts and the speed is greater than other reels. Retrieval is smooth and the weight isn’t going to tire your arms, according to those that have used it.
7. KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel – No. 1 Rated Conventional Reel
The T handle is designed to reduce fatigue and the 3:6:1 gear ratio gives you optimum control. With its Star Drag System, you get stopping power of up to 20lb/9kg, and its centrifugal braking system provides steady pressure. The side plates are made of fortified aluminum.
The KastKing is approved for saltwater use so the parts won’t corrode. The spool is constructed from quality aluminum and the rest of the components have been precision machined for superior performance.
The KastKing is comparable to the best shimano baitcasting reel in terms of performance as per the comments of users. Most of them like the solid spool, and it’s also got good feedback for the all metal level wind assembly.
Anglers also like its steel ball bearings and say it’s good at reeling in catfish and other fish. Some have even switched from other brands to this one due to its performance.
8. Lew’s Fishing Tournament MB Baitcast Reel – Best Light Weight Reel
Lew’s is comparable to the best inshore baitcasting reel with its Multi-Setting Brake (MSB). This is a dual braking system which includes a centrifugal braking and magnetic cast control mechanism for smooth casting.
Lew’s has a 12/120 bearing capacity, and combined with its 9BB+1RB gear ratio and you’ve got the ideal setup for most angling. The reel is easy to configure and the consistent drag makes casting pleasant.
There is hardly any backlash, and if you do get one you can quickly adjust the brakes to remove it.
Many of those who were looking for a quality reel were satisfied with Lew’s. One customer said it’s easy to tune and the light weight makes it manageable in different conditions.
Others like that it’s able to handle different lures well and that reeling is very fast. Changing settings and casting is easy also.
Features to Look for in a Baitcasting Reel
Whether you’re looking for the best baitcasting reel under 150 or the best that money can buy, there are factors which you should always look into.
Gear ratio determines the speed of your retrievals, and it tells you how many times the spool is going to turn over once you rotate the handle. The ratio is listed on the reel or you can check it on the product description.
A 5:1 ratio means the spool makes five turns in a single handle rotation, so the higher the number the quicker the retrieval. The 5:1 ratio is considered the norm while 4:1 is slow. 6:1 and above is fast.
Faster isn’t always better as the kind of lures you use have a direct effect.
- For spinnerbaits and diving crankbaits, a low retrieve is ideal, i.e. 4:1 or 3:1
- For soft plastic, jigs and Texas rigs, 5:1 will do
- For buzzbaits and fast action lures, you’ll want 6:1 or 7:1
What is the Right Spool Size?
The best baitcasting rod and reel combo is only going to work with the right spool, but “right” depends on what fish you’re going after.
- The stronger and larger the fish, the heavier the line must be, and that’s going to use a lot of spool space. In these instances you should go with a deep spool that has a large line capacity.
- An extra line comes in handy when you’re dealing with large fish.
- A 12 pound test or lighter line should suffice for bass and similar fish.
- If you’re going to use a small spool, it shouldn’t sacrifice versatility or accuracy for size.
Line capacity isn’t that important with freshwater fish, except for muskie, salmon, steelhead and the big northerns.
Line capacity is connected to the reel spool, with high profile reels having greater capacity. Low profile reels have smaller line capacities because of their smaller spools. For most occasions however, low profile line capacity is not really going to be an issue when fishing for panfish, walleye or bass.
Comfort and Ease of Use
A well-made baitcaster reel is well-balanced and comfortable to hold. The grip should be ergonomic so you don’t tire out even if you cast dozens or hundreds of times.
Everyone has their own level of comfort, so only you can determine what is comfortable for you. The important thing is to keep testing until you find one that is right.
Make sure also to read the instructions, as the discomfort could be due to improper use.
Other Buying Tips
Any manufacturer can claim they have the best low profile baitcasting reel but you don’t have to take their word for it. Test the reel to determine if you’re comfortable with it.
Take advantage of the return policy to test the reel. Try different lures, fish in different locations and change the settings. If you’re not happy with it, simply return the product.
Buy from a quality brand. It is better to spend money on a baitcaster from a known brand than gamble on an unknown without any guarantee of quality or customer support.
Each of these reels has its own unique features, but when it comes to performance, we have to say the Abu Garcia Black Max Reel is the best. We like its ease of setup and the ergonomic grip. The lightweight construction and its compatibility with various lines makes this the best value baitcasting reel.