If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what the best budget saltwater spinning reel is, then we recommend the Piscifun Carbon X Spinning Reel as the best one.
It’s safe to say that there are lots of excellent spinning reels on the market nowadays. Manufacturers are currently using the latest technologies to offer more durable, more powerful, and more sensitive reels that can make your fishing experience more enjoyable.
Whether you’re shopping for your first spinning reel or looking for a high-quality model at a good price, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve searched the market and reviewed 5 of the best spinning reels for saltwater fishing. And best of all…none of these reels will break the bank!
By the way, as an Amazon Associate, I earn when buying qualified products through links on my site.
We’ll also highlight the features that every angler should think about before buying the most adequate product.
In a Hurry? Here’s Our Top 3 Picks…
Difference Between Freshwater and Saltwater Spinning Reels
You’ve probably wondered if you can use your freshwater spinning reel for saltwater fishing. You might, but only if it’s made of high-quality and corrosion-resistant materials.
Saltwater spinning reels are generally larger and sturdier than the ones designed for freshwater. They also have high drag strength and spool depth so they can work for inshore and offshore saltwater fishing.
Abrasion due to the sand and corrosion because of the salt put a lot of strain on the spinning reel. This is why you need to make sure that all the internal and external parts are designed to withstand these harsh conditions.
Although you can use your freshwater spinning reel while fishing in the sea or ocean, you’ll be shortening its lifespan. You should also clean it thoroughly to maintain its condition.
On the other hand, your saltwater spinning reel will perform well if you decide to take it for freshwater fishing. These models can tackle big and small fish with no issues.
How to Choose the Best Saltwater Spinning Reel for The Money
When you’re saltwater fishing, you want to make sure that your spinning reel is built to last. Here are a few factors to take into consideration before making a purchase.
These will affect the spinning of the reel while you’re casting and retrieving the line. The more bearings you have, the smoother and better the performance will be.
Corrosion-resistant and shielded stainless steel bearings are the best because they can last long while saltwater fishing. Otherwise, the reel will become difficult to use which affects the overall quality of your fishing experience.
This determines the speed at which the reel picks up your line. With a 5.8:1 gear ratio, the spool rotates 5.8 times for every turn of the handle.
Most beginners and less experienced anglers should stick to a medium gear ratio. The medium-speed is suitable for both slow and fast-moving baits.
A lower gear ratio is ideal for big baits and deep water spinnerbaits. It allows the angler to put less effort into retrieving the bait as it gives you a superior feel. However, very slow rates might be difficult to handle for less experienced users. It’s easier to slow down a fast reel than extend the speed of a slow one.
A fast gear ratio increases your speed when you’re fighting a big fish. It prevents slack in your line when you’re working with shaky heads and big worms.
Maximum Drag Force
This determines the resistance the fish will feel. The higher the drag force, the less your rod will be prone to breaking if the fish puts up a fight.
The drag force shouldn’t be extremely high if you’re only planning to catch small fish. Fast swimming game fish like Tuna put a lot of strain on the gear. If these catches are what you target as an angler, then you need to invest in a reel with a high drag force.
Fast and smooth retrieval is definitely appreciated whether you’re freshwater or saltwater fishing. The rate of retrieval is directly related to the gear ratio.
A high gear ratio guarantees fast retrieval which is what you need for quick-moving baits. A lower gear ratio provides a slow retrieval speed which helps you have more control when you’re targeting big fish.
The number and quality of the bearings will also affect the retrieval rate. If you’re planning to target big fish, then you need to invest in a reel with a high number of bearings to guarantee smooth retrieval without straining your hand.
Because saltwater has a lower density than freshwater, spinning reels should be lighter. These spinning reels are more accurate while casting and will allow for smooth recall.
Lightweight reels are more comfortable to use. They will reduce fatigue and strain that you’re likely to feel at the end of the day. After casting and retrieving for hours, your arms and shoulders will get sore if you’re working with a heavyweight spinning reel.
However, while going for a lightweight model, you should always think about durability. Aluminum construction is heavier than carbon fiber or graphite, but it’s more durable. If you’re not planning on targeting large fish, then you can stick to carbon fiber or graphite.
This feature isn’t found on all models but it’s extremely useful as it prevents the line from going back and eliminates slack. If your fish started to fight, the anti-reverse feature will prevent the line from going back into the water.
Reviews: Best Budget Saltwater Spinning Reel
Piscifun Carbon X Spinning Reel
You can find the Piscifun Carbon X Spinning Reel here on Amazon.
This is an excellent spinning reel at a very good price. It’s the lightest in its category, which means no wrist pain after chasing fish for a whole day. Due to the Carbon X body, this spinning reel is a good choice for beginners because it will eliminate fatigue. (If you’re interested in the best options for best beginner baitcasters, check out my post, here)
Thanks to the Carbon X body of the Piscifun, you’ll enjoy 80% more durability than other models on the market. It’s available in 4 different models; the 1000 reel weighs 5.7 ounces while the 4000 reel weighs 9.6 ounces. You should pick the right one depending on the maximum weight limit that you’re likely to chase.
With a gear ratio of 5.2:1 on the 1000 model, it can handle pretty much any fish. The high ratio of 6.2:1 on all the other models is fast enough to help you capture those stubborn big fish even on the heavy cover. The multiple retrieves guarantee that every angler will find what they’re looking for to guarantee the success of their fishing adventure.
It comes with 10 anti-corrosion stainless steel ball bearings that make it smoother and easier to handle than other spinning reels on the market. Consistent and powerful drag is guaranteed thanks to the triple oversized carbon washers while the anti-reverse bearing will make your life easier.
The sealed rubber ring reduces the rate of breaking the line. The maximum drag is 8.8 pounds on the 1000 model, 22 pounds on the 2000 and 3000 models, and 33 pounds on the 4000 pounds.
Although this can be used in freshwater, it’s an excellent choice for saltwater because of the anti-corrosion main shaft. It features a zinc alloy drive gear with a direct screw-in aluminum handle for easy assembly. The EVA foam knob is easy to handle and won’t strain your hands at the end of the day.
No line backing is needed as it comes with a braid ready spool. The CNC hollowed technology keeps the spool lightweight and sturdy. You can retrieve 22.4 inches per turn on the 1000 model, 30.7 inches on the 2000 model, 33.5 inches on the 3000 model, and 35.8 inches on the 4000 model.
It’s not as robust as other options on the market, so if you’re after a big game fish, this might not be the right one for you. It also doesn’t hold a huge amount of line so you should take this into consideration.
What We Like
- Affordable model with high-quality features.
- Lightweight and durable model made of Carbon X.
- Smooth operation with 11 stainless steel ball bearings.
- EVA foam knob and Carbon X construction won’t strain the hand.
What We Don’t Like
- Maximum weight limit doesn’t suit big trophy fish.
Penn Fierce III
You can get the Penn Fierce III here on Amazon.
This spinning reel from Penn is another budget-model that costs less than $100. It’s available in different sizes so you can pick the right one for your needs. It’s what you need for heavy loads thanks to its full metal body and side-plate that keep the alignment precise in the most challenging conditions.
With 4 shielded stainless steel ball bearings, you’ll enjoy smooth and effortless retrieval when you’re handling medium weight catches. It features a techno-balanced rotor that keeps the retrieval hassle-free.
In addition to the original bearings, there’s an instant anti-reverse bearing that makes your life easier as it prevents slack. The gear ratio is 5.2:1; an excellent choice for a beginner or someone who doesn’t look for the big catches.
The maximum drag on the 1000 model is 7 pounds which is a cool choice for inshore fishing, while the 8000 model is more suitable for open water jigging in the ocean. Unlike other models, the bail wire is lightweight but thick to provide anglers with the best experience. There’s little or no flex which is an improvement that appeals to both beginners and experienced anglers.
Adjusting the ultra-strong drag on the higher models is easy so you can have full control all the time. While it’s not the lightest model on the market, it’s definitely an upgrade from several beginners’ reels at an affordable price.
There’s no guard that would keep the water out of the mechanism. You might experience some noises with heavier lures that add some resistance. Nevertheless, you’ll spend several years before you even consider having this reel replaced.
What We Like
- Affordable model with an anti-reverse feature.
- Full metal body to resist corrosion.
- Good drag capacity for the money.
- Suitable for beginners.
What We Don’t Like
- Not as lightweight as other models.
KastKing Speed Demon
You can find the KastKing Speed Demon here on Amazon.
With a gear ratio of 7.2:1, this reel provides one of the fastest retrieval rates on the market. You’ll be able to catch up with the stubborn catches and it eliminates slack in the line. The high speed means that you can save time between casts up to 16% which means more opportunities to catch fish.
The frame is made of lightweight yet robust aluminum which eliminates twisting and guarantees that the spinning reel will last for long. Moreover, it features a carbon fiber rotor and handle which when combined with the aluminum frame guarantee that you’ll have a lightweight spinning reel that won’t strain your hand.
There are 4 models available, and all of them feature the powerful carbon drag which goes up to 25 pounds on the 4000 model. We recommend this spinning reel for anglers who need the maximum drag without jeopardizing the smooth and effortless operation. The 10 + 1 stainless steel ball bearings won’t stop your spinning reel from working smoothly when you’re saltwater fishing, kayak fishing or ice fishing.
To eliminate the need to add mono backing before filling your reel with a matching braided line, the CNC aluminum spool will prevent the braided line from slipping which can affect the effectiveness of the spinning reel. The line sits smoothly with no lumps, unlike other models that take a long time to be spooled up properly. The handle is interchangeable from left to right with no issues, which is great news for left-handed anglers.
Compared to other gear at the same price range, the casting distance isn’t impressive, especially when you’re using heavier baits. However, it can handle lightweight lures without much effort. It doesn’t require major adjustments as the tension knob is quite easy to use.
If you’re looking for a super lightweight spinning reel, then this might not be the right one for you. The frame is a little stockier than other models, which might be a problem if you have smaller hands.
What We Like
- Fast retrieval rate.
- Reduces time between casts to increase your chances.
- Smooth operation in all conditions.
- Line sits smoothly with no lumps.
What We Don’t Like
- Feels a bit heavy and bulky.
Shimano Sedona FI
You can get the Shimano Sedona FI here on Amazon.
Shimano is a big name in the world of anglers, and this affordable spinning reel is an excellent choice for both freshwater and inshore saltwater fishing. It provides flawless performance that suits all angling needs without breaking your wallet. It combines top-of-the-line performance with a budget-friendly price that every angler would definitely appreciate.
The G-Free body style is ultra-compact, bringing the center of the reel closer to the rod. The all-metal forged gear allows anglers to throw larger baits and chase larger fish with no issues. This spinning reel features the latest technology with Hegane Gearing to increase power and smoothness. Moreover, the improvement line management system has a line roller and a spool lip to improve the casting distance in all conditions.
If you’ve ever struggled with wind knots, you’ll definitely appreciate the Varispeed Oscillation feature. With an oval oscillation gear, the speed is altered to produce a consistent pace which improves your experience as a whole. This feature prevents your line from stacking on one end. Such performance features are available on other models but come with a hefty price tag that most budget anglers can’t afford.
The cut spool allows for more line capacity. When paired with the oval oscillation gear, it provides anglers with a flawless experience. The anti-corrosion spool is double anodized for long-lasting performance, especially in saltwater applications.
This spool is available in sizes that range from 500 to 8000. The number of the model represents the diameter of the spool and how much line it can hold. The more line you can hold, the bigger the fish you can handle.
On the 4000 model, the gear ratio is 4.7:1 which is not as fast as other spinning reels on the list. Nevertheless, it’s provides excellent. The maximum drag force is 24 pounds, which covers the needs of most intermediate-level anglers. You can retrieve 29.5 inches per turn; a bit slower than other models at the same price range.
You can use this spinning reel for hours without worrying about strain or fatigue because it weighs 10 ounces. It lacks the mechanism that would prevent it from getting wet, and it becomes difficult to use when it does. There’s no anti-reverse function.
What We Like
- Affordable spinning reel with a compact and lightweight body.
- Hegane Gearing and G-free body for more power and smoother operation.
- Anti-corrosion spool.
- Oval oscillation gear for a consistent pace to prevent knots.
What We Don’t Like
- No anti-reverse feature.
You can get the Okuma Helios reel here on Amazon.
This spinning reel from Okuma features a carbon fiber construction for a lightweight yet sturdy body. It’s designed to deliver exceptional performance in freshwater and inshore saltwater fisheries.
The secret behind this outstanding design is the C-40X carbon fiber in which the fibers are injected with resin to make the spinning reel 25% lighter and 50% more durable than graphite reels that come at the same price range.
Although this spinning reel costs less than $100, it’s designed to last for a long time since it’s corrosion-resistant.
At the back end of the reel, there’s the Okuma Torsion Control Armor. It keeps the internal gears firmly connected and prevents the flex and twisting by stabilizing the body from the exterior.
Unlike other reels that feature a mechanism to prevent the entrance of water, this one comes with the Cyclonic Flow Rotor. This feature expels water after it enters and dries the reel out for the best performance. The more you use the reel, the more water is expelled out. We recommend it to anglers who like to go fishing on rainy days because it dries out faster than most models on the market.
It comes in three different models; 2000, 3000, and 4000. The weight is 6.2 ounces on the 2000 model and 9.1 ounces on the 4000 model, which is lower than most saltwater spinning reels on the market. Moreover, there’s a high-speed model available from the 4000 series. It increases the gear ratio from 5.0:1 to 5.8:1 which improves the retrieval rate by 21%.
Precision AlumiLite alloy is used to manufacture the main gear and oscillating gears for outstanding strength. The cut brass pinion gear guarantees the smoothest performance in all conditions. The RES II System stabilizes the weight and prevents wobble for perfect alignments.
Compared to other spinning reels, the line retrieval rate is high which reduces the time between casts. It’s 24.7 inches per turn on the HSX-20 model and 35.9 inches on the HSX-40S. This spinning reel features 8 corrosion-resistant bearings, in addition to an extra roller bearing for anti-reverse.
It’s not completely sealed. Although it will dry up fast, you’ll have to deal with the moisture for a while. It’s well-made but the finish tends to wear way too fast.
What We Like
- Lightweight and durable with anti-corrosion body.
- Quick anti-reverse.
- Cyclonic Flow Rotor for fast drying.
- RES II System for more stabilized performance.
What We Don’t Like
- Not completely sealed.
With lots of models and features, every angler can find the spinning reels that suit their needs. We chose the Piscifun Carbon X Spinning Reel as the best budget-friendly saltwater spinning reel due to its durable yet lightweight construction. It comes in several models, so beginners and more experienced anglers can choose the one that suits them best.
All the names on our list are very well known and keep on providing anglers with the latest technologies that will help improve their overall experience and skills. All you have to do is to think about your individual needs and pick one name from our list for your upcoming fishing adventure.