A good baitcasting reel should have a smooth drag, a long cast, and be able to handle different baits. We researched the market and reviewed top-rated baitcaster reels to find you the Best Baitcasting Reels Under $100.
If you are in a hurry:
Here is our pick of the Best Baitcasting Reels for the Money:
Now, let us move on to our in-depth reviews.
Best Baitcasting Reel Under $100 Reviews
The best baitcasting reel is the one that gives you the most for your money. Check out our list of top 14 baitcasting reels to find the right fit for your budget.
1. Shimano SLX Baitcasting Reel
The SLX is a nice addition to the Shimano brand. The low price of this Shimano is one of the great things about it. The reel is compact but it’s strong as it has an all Hagane metal body.
Shimano SLX has a six-pin variable braking system. The reel has an incredible amount of torque. It casts strong and smooth.
When I was buying, I had a choice of three gears: The regular 6.3:1, high gear 7.2:1, and the extra high 8.2:1. Any gear model would be fine and do well in different conditions.
But I chose the extra high 8.2:1 gear so I can use it in waters covered in heavy reeds and jigs. The 8.2:1 that I got has a strong cast and an incredible amount of torque. I paired it with the Shimano SLX 70MH casting rod.
The reel is nice and balanced. It has 32 inches of return per retrieve. The maximum drag is 12 lbs. It has 3 stainless steel ball bearings and one reverse bearing. It comes with a variable brake adjustment. I use a 40 lb. braided line. That gives me around 105 yards of line capacity.
2. KastKing Crixus ArmorX
KastKing always delivers quality products! The Crixus AmrmorX is the next level. I can do a one-handed cast with no backlash. If you set it right, there’s nothing you need to do after that.
It’s only 6.8 ounces but it is strong and sturdy. It has durable brass main and pinion gears that cast and retrieve fast with minimal noise.
The “U” shape aluminum spool has a high line capacity. The gear ratio is 7.2:1. It has a smooth carbon disc drag system. It has 17.6 lbs. of powerful drag that is adjustable.
KastKing Crixus has 9 shielded ball bearings and one instant anti-reverse bearing. The magnetic braking system comes with eight magnets.
The appearance of this baitcasting reel is amazing. There are three different color choices that are nice to have. I chose the dark star version. It is black with highlights of blue.
The other choices are nice too. There are a white body and black highlights and a sea spray with black. Like I said, all are sharp. I decided to go with the more traditional color of all black with a little blue.
3. Piscifun Phantom
The Piscifun Phantom is a lightweight, low profile baitcasting reel that fits in the palm of my hand.
It only weighs 5.7 ounces. It is one of the lightest baitcasting reels I’ve ever owned. It’s light yet powerful! The reel has a very smooth spin.
It has (6+ 1) six stainless steel ball bearings and one roller bearing. It has a 7.0:1 gear ratio and the retrieval rate is good. The handles have a rubber knob that is nice.
I use Piscifun Phantom for jig fishing. I’ve cast my line up to 110 feet. It has an adjustable 6 pin magnetic brake system that gives a good cast. There’s an inner centrifugal brake that is also adjustable.
If you change up the settings on both brakes, you’ll get a farther cast if you want. I usually set it around the same because it always works well for me with those settings.
I use a 40 lb. braided line and I don’t get any backlash. The carbon fiber drag system can pull in up to 17 lbs. It is both powerful and smooth. Reels the fish in with ease. I am very happy with this baitcasting reel and highly recommend it! It is one of the Best Baitcasting Reels Under 100 on the market.
4. Pflueger President XT
I just received my new Pflueger President XT casting reel for saltwater fishing. This reel looks and feels very good.
The reason I chose this baitcasting reel is for the magnetic braking system. I haven’t tried it out yet, but I have a feeling that it is going to be pretty great.
It has a 7.3:1 gear ratio with 31 inches of return per retrieve. This means it will be pretty good at eating up the slack quickly and bringing in the catch fast.
The handle is nice and looks very durable. It’s made of aluminum. The knobs are soft rubber cork, so the reel seems to be easy to hold on to. The spool tension knob and star drag system are by the handle.
The maximum drag power is 12 lbs. It has nine stainless steel ball bearings. The box says that it can hold 185 yards of 20 lb. braid, 140 yards of 30 lb. braid, and 100 yards of 50 lb. braid. It can hold 120 yards of 14 lbs. mono and 100 yards of 17 lbs. mono.
5. Cadence CB8 Baitcasting Reels
Cadence always makes very good baitcasting reels and rods. My wife bought me the Cadence CB8 Baitcaster for my birthday. Out of the box, it seems very smooth. It is only 6.7 ounces and feels very light.
The main gear and crankshaft are aluminum instead of brass. So, that is a reason that it is lightweight than most fishing reels.
I like that it has an oversized knob and it doesn’t feel like it will be slippery when holding it. Make sure to order the hand retrieve according to if you are right or left-handed. Cadence makes both for this reel.
For anyone starting out, baitcasting reels aren’t reversible like spinning reels. Meanwhile, not all companies offer both left-handed and right-handed retrieve. So that is something to watch out for if you’re shopping around. But like I said, this Cadence offers both choices.
I haven’t used this baitcasting reel very much yet, but it’s doing very well so far. I’m looking forward to the fact that it has an external magnetic brake system that I’ll be able to adjust. That will likely reduce backlash.
I’ll come back and write an updated review after I’ve taken it out a few more times.
6. Lew’s Fishing American Hero
I wanted to write a review about the Lew’s American Hero 120/12 – 31”. I want to pass along the news that this is a baitcasting reel with outstanding features.
I am shocked as I never used this brand before. I’ve seen a lot of them around recently so I looked up the brand and researched the styles.
The price was reasonable, so it wasn’t going to be a big loss if I wasn’t completely satisfied. But, I’m here to report that this is an awesome baitcasting reel.
It has a strong one-piece graphite frame and side plates. It is lightweight at 9.9 ounces but feels very sturdy. There are five stainless steel ball bearings and a zero reverse one-way clutch bearing.
A note on the physical appearance, the spool and tension knob are both blue. It looks very patriotic and all baitcasting reels from the American Hero line have the same blue. It looks nice
7. KastKing Assassin
When you think of a reel brand you think of KastKing. Assassin is their brand new carbon baitcasting reel. This reel is only 5.7 OZ or 16.5LB with a carbon fiber drag system.
It has 11+1 ball bearings and dual brakes. It is a lightweight baitcaster fishing reel at a very affordable price. It also has a striking 4 disc carbon fiber drag system that stops them dead.
Another feature that makes it stand out from the other fishing reels is the Dual Brakes System. It comes with dynamic 6-pin centrifugal and magnetic brakes for casting accuracy.
Even with high wind drifts, you can hit the target almost every time. The Dual Brakes System system allows super fine-tuning of the spool speed and casts. The KastKing Assassin uses a dial instead of pins that make it better than the other models.
Adjusting this dual brake system means you have to take the side plate off and turn the dial. It sounds like a tedious job. But the side plate comes off with ease. You don’t need to struggle to take it off when needed.
The Dual Brakes System is very impressive yet it is rarely ever found in baitcasting reels in this price range! It is the best baitcaster for the money. To spend such a reasonable amount and end up with more than you paid for is the KastKing Assassin for you.
8. Abu Garcia BMAX3 Low Profile
Abu Garcia BMAX3 low profile baitcaster reel comes with five bearings (4+1). Four stainless steel ball bearings and one roller bearing. The small “precision bearings” of this kind reduce the rotational friction and axial loads for greater ease.
The ball bearings resist moisture so that they do not “stick” when in use. Since these are the stainless-steel, they resist corrosion and offer more durability.
At 7.3 ounces, this baitcaster reel can withstand the hardest tugs all at the same time. You would not expect that with such a lightweight reel, but that is true here.
Many anglers have caught fish up to five lbs. with no torquing at all. Due to the excellent build quality, you feel in full control of every fish you catch.
The grip of the reel is no less durable and can even accommodate the slimmest of hands. You will not even feel or hear that annoying grinding you may have become so used to. You get a solid feel with no flex or “wiggle room” either.
Abu Garcia BMAX3 Low Profile appeals to your every sense. Thanks to the graphite frame and side plates working together in beautiful unison.
9. KastKing Royale Legend GT
When looking for a reel another main feature to look for is the speed and gear ratio. KastKing Royale Legend reels come with 5+1 ball bearings.
It comes with 6.3:1 ratio precision-cut brass gears. It also has an instant stop anti-reverse for devastating hook sets. The line guide inserts are ready for the braid line.
The anodized aluminum allows for a strong and almost unbreakable spool when dragging up to 17.6 lbs.
Royale Legend is safe against corrosion thanks to the Double Shielded Stainless Steel Bearings. For this price and weight, it is very astonishing and hard to believe.
Another great feature is the non–slip EVA padded foam grips. These grips make sure you have the greatest amount of control when casting the line. Not only that but also that you are comfortable while fishing.
The EVA foam also happens to be waterproof. You will be able to keep a right grip on you or reel and not have to worry about it slipping away and out of your hands.
Royale Legend is my go-to fishing reel. It is quick and easy to set up and start using compared to other baitcasting reels that are a hassle to figure out.
10. Abu Garcia Pro Max
Abu Garcia Pro Max has a graphite body for protection from harsh conditions. It comes with a double anodized aluminum spool and Duragear brass gears for durability.
The 7+1 ball bearings and MagTrax brake system provide ultimate smoothness.
Pro Max weighs almost nothing which leads to a peaceful, relaxing day without fatigue. This baitcaster reel matches great with any baitcasting rod, not only in weight but looks too.
There are many baitcasting reels out there with good stats and features, but it means almost nothing if it doesn’t look good.
The dazzling optics of a black finish with white accents stand out. This black finish not only looks sleek, but it also looks classy on any rods you use it with.
One look at this fishing reel and you’ll believe how classy it looks it must cost a fortune. But this reel is affordable for everyone.
It is not complicated to use at all. The lightweight makes it super easy to pack up or set up and take anywhere.
Pro Max features custom-designed handle knobs for comfort. It lets you go fishing all day and come back without using much energy and power.
11. Abu Garcia Revo X
The reason I bought this reel is I love Abu Garcia products for one and second, the price is amazing. There’s definitely no cut to the quality of this fishing reel.
I’m so happy that I had to write something right away to talk about it. Right out of the box, the reel handle spins with ease and it is very smooth.
The stopping power of Abu Garcia Revo X gives you a smooth finish. It handles large bass and trout with ease. Not only will you be able to reel a heavy catch-in, but you will be able to reel in easily!
It is so comfortable that I can stay out on the water all day.
The physical appearance even looks good. It is a matte black finish with bright blue accents. It looks very sharp. The setting of the reel and cast control is great.
I am happy with Abu Garcia Revo X and I’m especially pleased with the reasonable price. I may buy another one to have for when friends and family come fishing with me.
12. Piscifun Torrent Baitcast Reel
Piscifun Torrent is a great baitcaster for saltwater fishing enthusiasts. It is no less poised for the outgoing adventurer and the new angler. If you are looking to get your “shot” out on the beaches, coasts, or even oceans then read on.
When you buy this reel, you will find a one-piece Piscifun Torrent covered by soft bubble wrap in a cardboard box.
You will get a saltwater baitcasting reel that comes in stainless steel material. It is both light and durable at the same time.
The graphite composite body and reinforced CNC brass gears add to durability.
The high-quality build enhances durability compared to many other competing baitcaster reels. It is corrosion resistant even in the worst of saltwater conditions.
There are five magnets in the reel to optimize the magnetic effect on the ported aluminum spool. A 0-10 magnetic brake system makes this baitcaster a match made in heaven.
The backlash-control and precision gauge, improve the usability of this saltwater baitcaster. The carbon fiber drag washers and double-line winding shafts are great for saltwater.
Piscifun Torrent features 6 shielded stainless steel bearings. The shielding makes the reel corrosion resistant to saltwater damage.
13. Goture Baitcasting Fishing Reel
There are two choices of color with Goture saltwater fishing reels if you want the high-speed gear ratio of 7.1:1. One option is a bright blue and the other option is a shiny deep red. My favorite color is blue, but I had a hard time choosing.
Meanwhile, there is another choice that threw me off too which is a lower speed gear ratio of 6.3:1. I wanted a higher speed but the other one looks so cool. Definitely check out the style of that one. It has a cork handle and it looks like the reel is glowing with the pop of color.
Anyway, I know I focus too much on the appearance of the reel sometimes. Don’t worry, about performance too when choosing. I’m very picky about what the reel looks like.
The specs on this baitcasting reel are good. As I said, it is high-powered to get through the toughest saltwater conditions. I’ll note that it is suitable for both freshwater and saltwater. I’ve only used it in salt water though.
It has a ten-disc adjustable magnetic braking system that gives a lot of control during the cast. I am able to hit my target area every time. It doesn’t give any backlash either. Trust me, this is high quality for a great price. I highly recommend this reel!
14. Abu Garcia Ambassadeur S
I chose the Ambassadeur S for two reasons. First of all, the 4-pin centrifugal brake system. I like how it will break with pressure during the cast. It allows strong and controlled casts even in different types of weather conditions.
The second reason is that it has 2 stainless steel ball bearings and a multi-disc drag system. This makes the drag very smooth and gives me high control during the retrieve. The retrieve speed is not very high, but it is a standard rate, and that works for me.
After I ordered it, I realized how easy it is to maintain. The round design is not complex so it’s easy to clean and store.
I also ended up liking the reel handle. The bent handle is curved and convenient to use. I’ve never used anything like this before. It turns out that it is very comfortable. It’s ergonomically designed to provide comfort.
The spool capacity for the braided line that I use is 30lbs/330 yards. You can also use the monoline with this baitcasting reel. The box shows 14lbs/245 yards. The maximum drag is 15lbs. It weighs a little over 11lbs. It’s not heavy at all.
How to Choose a Baitcasting Reel?
There are many different features to consider before buying the Best Baitcasting Reels Under 100. By looking into these features, you will be able to buy a high-quality reel that will last for many years and help you catch lots of fish.
There are different features of a reel that you need to consider like Reel profile, Construction, Spool size, line capacity, Gear ratio, Braking system, Drag system, Weight, and Price. Now we will look at each of these features in detail.
First, you should consider how much money you want to spend on one. The more expensive the fishing reel, the better it will be.
Cheap baitcasting reels are often good for beginners, but they often don’t last long.
A high-end reel is quite expensive, but you will get what you pay for. The price can be worth it if it lasts years without any issues.
Baitcasting reels under 100 are perfect for beginners. They usually offer enough features to make them worth the buy.
A more expensive reel means better performance and durability over time. So, if you want to go cheap, make sure that the reel is not too cheap. It may break after a few casts or even break during your first use – especially if it is made of plastic materials.
You should also think about what type of fish you will be catching. If you are going to be catching smaller fish, a cheaper reel will work just fine.
But if you are going to be catching larger fish, then you should buy a better quality reel. It can stand up to the heavier fishing and the larger fish that you will catch.
A reel’s profile is one of its most important features. The profile of the reel refers to the design of the reel. Most baitcasting reels have a low profile, which has lower wind resistance.
The low profile design is new to the market, but it is gaining popularity because of its low wind resistance.
A high-profile reel has higher wind resistance but also has a higher chance of catching more fish. High-profile reels are useful for catching fish on the shoreline or on piers.
Reel Size and Line Capacity
You should also think about the size and line capacity of the reel. Make sure that you are getting a baitcaster reel that is big enough for your type of fishing.
If you are going to be fishing for smaller fish, then a smaller reel will work just fine. But if you are going to be fishing for larger fish, then you need a bigger reel.
The line capacity of a baitcasting reel is the amount of line the reel can hold. This is an important factor to consider when buying a reel. You don’t want to run out of line during a fishing trip.
You should also consider how much line you will need for the type of fishing you will be doing.
For example, if you are going to be fishing from the shoreline, then you won’t need as much line as if you were going to be fishing from a boat.
You should also think about how many pounds of drag you want. The more pounds of drag, the more powerful your reel and the more control you will have over your fishing line.
When using a baitcasting reel, make sure you have a strong drag system and a high gear ratio.
If your drag system is not strong, it will make it harder to reel the fish in.
If you don’t have a high gear ratio, you will not be able to reel in the fish as easily.
You can figure out the gear ratio of a reel by dividing the number of teeth on the gear by the number of teeth on the spool.
The low gear ratio for baitcaster reels tends to start at 5.1:1, going through 5.4:1. A reel with a low gear ratio is ideal for deep crankbaits, big swimbaits, or deep-water spinnerbaits.
Then, the gear ratios progress upwards, from 6.1:1 to 6.4:1. These are what many consider the medium gear ratio reels. They are great for medium-depth crankbaits, shallow spinnerbaits, or umbrella rigs.
Last, we have the high gear ratio reels from 7.1:1 to 8.1:1. These are ideal for shaky heads, big worms, topwater jigs, jerk baits, lipless crankbaits, Carolina and Texas rigs.
The higher the gear ratio, the more turns of the reel and the more turns of the spool, and the more line it will be able to retrieve.
The braking system is an important factor to take into consideration when buying a fishing reel.
If the baitcaster reel does not have a strong braking system, the fish you catch will not stay on the line. You will have a difficult time controlling the line. The more powerful the reel’s braking system, the better the reel will be.
The dual braking system consists of two metal plates. The plates move towards each other to slow down or in opposite directions to speed up the spinning of the spool.
The magnetic braking system uses magnetic force on both sides of the line to slow down the spool. It is designed to reduce backlash and provide more constant braking.
Many popular baitcasting reels come with a magnetic braking system. This design reduces out-of-gear backlash. It also provides consistent braking as the reel is constantly rotating at a slower speed
Material: Graphite vs. Aluminum
A baitcasting reel can be made from a variety of materials. But generally, it will be either aluminum or graphite. The type of material will depend on the manufacturer and the quality of the reel they are trying to buy.
Aluminum is lightweight, corrosion-resistant, and strong enough to support most fish. It also helps keep the weight down so you can enjoy an all-day fishing trip without getting exhausted by your gear.
Aircraft-grade aluminum frame is great for durability.
Graphite frames are not as common. But they are popular with anglers who need to cast lighter baits or fish with ultra-sensitive bites.
A good baitcasting reel is a very important tool for the avid fisherman. And it can be, one of the most expensive fishing gear pieces that you need to buy to get started.
Construction is one of the most important factors in picking a baitcasting reel. It refers to how well it is put together. The construction will determine how well it can hold up to the heavier and the larger fish that you will catch.
The reel should be sturdy and durable. Durability is a key feature to consider when purchasing a baitcasting reel. They often get submerged in saltwater, which can corrode weaker metals.
The reel contains many components – frame, spool, side plates, ball bearings. Each one of these components has a role to play in the performance of the reel.
One of the most important parts of it is the frame. The frame will determine how well the reel can resist forces exerted on it, such as those generated by fighting large fish or by pulling in heavy lines and lures.
Aircraft-grade aluminum frames make sure that no vibrations get transferred from your rod.
The next key components are side plates and spool. Side plates provide protection to the gears and spool. It also provides some degree of braking capacity to keep the line from running out.
The drag lets off pressure on your line which prevents breaking or damaging your line. The bearing system inside make sure that all these parts are turning without friction which could cause damage over time.
You should also think about how much weight you want on your baitcasting reel. The heavier the reel, the more power it will have and the more control you will have over your fishing line.
If you are going to be fishing from a boat, then you should buy a heavier reel. It will help to keep your line from getting tangled up in other lines or in other things.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Cheap Baitcasting Reels Any Good?
Baitcasting reels are costly, but what if you have a tight budget? In this situation, cheap baitcasting reels might be your best bet.
If you’re looking for a quality reel at an affordable price, then a baitcasting reel under 100 is a perfect choice!
With the proliferation of cheaper fishing reels, the price point has come down. There are many brands that now offer baitcasting reels for under 100 dollars. While they have their high-end counterparts, they are still as good in quality and performance.
Cheap baitcasting reels are often made from the same materials as high-end reels. The difference is that cheap reels don’t have all the bells and whistles that the expensive ones have.
When looking for a reel for the money, it is best to do research on what you want in your reel. See if each feature is something you can live with or not.
Buying a value for money baitcasting reel does not always mean that it will have low quality or performance. The best budget baitcasting reel is different for everyone so read up before you buy!
What is the Best Baitcasting Reel for Beginners?
Baitcasting reels are an important part of fishing gear. It is important for beginners to get one that is right for their style of fishing.
Pflueger President XT is the best baitcasting reel for beginners. It is a great reel with excellent reviews. It is versatile in the way that it is easy to use for beginners or expert fishermen.
It’s light on the hand, easy to use, and very durable, making it perfect for anglers of all levels.
Pflueger President XT is capable of reeling in extremely heavy weighted fish. It has an excellent anti-reverse bearing, which allows you to cast baits with accuracy.
The reel has a large line capacity, which means that you can spend more time fishing and less time casting. It’s also quite easy to use for beginners!
What is the Best Saltwater Baitcaster?
A saltwater baitcasting reel needs to withstand harsh conditions and tough situations. So, it should be built from quality materials that will not break from a single drop.
The first aspect of a good saltwater baitcaster is durability. It should have a strong build quality to last many years without breaking or wearing down too much. It should also have corrosion resistance to help the reel last even longer outdoors.
Next, good saltwater baitcasting reels must have a high-quality build. It must be able to handle tough conditions without breaking or giving up on you.
The Kast King Royal Legend might be the best saltwater baitcasting reel out there right now. It is a great reel for both fresh and saltwater environments.
It has an aluminum frame, stainless steel gears, and an anti-reverse roller bearing. It includes 6 ball bearings and a powerful drag system which makes it suitable for big fish like tuna or marlin.
Not only can it handle any type of fish, but also because it has all these features in one compact package.
What is the Best Baitcasting Reel for the Money?
Most baitcasting reels are very expensive, but there are a few that are affordable. Shimano SLX is the best baitcasting reel for the money. Do not let the low price fool you.
Shimano did not cut corners on this model. It is durable, has a high line capacity, and has a powerful drag system.
Even the number of ball bearings could be deceiving, but don’t detour away due to that. The placement is precise to provide power and torque.
Shimano SLX is one of the most popular reels in this price range because of its reliability. It also comes in different sizes so you can get one to fit your needs.
KastKing Assassin is another great option that is good for anglers on a budget. Its price point is lower than others on this list but its quality doesn’t suffer because of it.
Why Choose a Baitcaster over a Spinning Reel?
If you are new to fishing, you may not know the difference between a spinning reel and a baitcasting reel. They are both used in fishing, but they are very different.
A spinning reel is great for lighter fishing, typically for smaller fish. A baitcasting reel is suitable for heavier fishing, typically for larger fish.
When you are fishing for larger fish, you need a baitcasting reel. They are more expensive, but they are great for catching larger fish.
Without a doubt, Shimano SLX 150XG is Best Baitcaster Under 100 as per our reviews. There are three stainless steel ball bearings with one reverse bearing. It has a maximum drag power of 12 lbs.
The clicking of casting and retrieve is very silent. The six-pin variable braking system (VBS) stops the line from slipping and there’s no backlash. I have never had any issues adjusting the braking system while I’m out in the water.
We hope you liked our pick of the Best Baitcasting Reels Under 100. If you would like to suggest any other baitcasting reel for review, then please let us know via the comments section. We will try to include it in our next update.