Top 10 Best Baitcast Reels Under $100

Let’s face it, even though we hate to admit it, everyone can’t fish like KVD or Bill Dance.

These guys get every single thing they use in fishing for FREE so they get the top of the line in reels and whatever else they want.

But do you really need a $300 baitcaster?

Now if I could afford it I probably would spend a little extra for lighter weight, more power or features but for me and most anglers we just can’t swing it right now.

Fortunately for us, technology has advanced so far that there are reels on the market with great features and are still really affordable.

Top 10 Best Baitcaster Reels Under $100 in 2017

Baitcast Reel NameWeightGear RatioBall Bearings 
KastKing Royale Legend7.5 oz
7.0:1
12
Abu Garcia Black Max7.3 oz
6.4:1
5
Shimano Caenan7.2 oz
6.3:1 or 7.2:1
5
Daiwa Laguna7.7 oz
6.3:1 or 7.1:1
6
Lew’s Speed Spool SSG1SH7 oz
7.5:1
10
Abu Garcia Ambassadeur S650011.1 oz
5.1:1
2
Piscifun Kylin8.03 oz
6.3:1
10
KastKing Stealth5.98 oz
7.0:1
12
Abu Garcia Pro Max7.3 oz
7.1:1
8
Piscifun Saex Premier6.3 oz
6.5:1 or 7.3:1
7

We’ve put together a list of the best baitcast reels under $100 to save you some time making your choice of a new reel.

1. KastKing Royale Legend – Top Baitcaster for the Money

 

Remember when you checked out “cheap” baitcasters in the past that made you think “yeah, you get what you pay for”? Well, this ain’t that reel!

It’s amazing the features this baitcaster packs at such a low price point.

Kastking has really come on the scene as makers of high-end reels with entry-level prices. These reels have features found in $200 plus baitcasters but are still affordable for the everyday fisherman.

It has dual braking with both centrifugal and magnetic braking which gives you limitless cast control whether you’re a seasoned caster or just starting out. It also has 17.5 pounds of drag made of carbon fiber, brass gearing, a stainless steel main shaft and non-slip eva grips.

This reel is feature packed and casts like a dream although it is a little noisy on the initial start of a cast. For the price, I can deal with that! See Amazon Customer reviews here >>> 

With a hi-speed 7.0:1 retrieve, the Kastking Royale is great for speedy lures and flipping and pitching to get your lure back quickly.

With an aluminum wiffle spool, this baitcast reel only weighs in at 7.5 ounces.

What we like most-  It’s hard to imagine that you could find a baitcasting reel packed with the features and price point as the Kastking Royale Legend. Truly an amazing reel.

Pros
  • Dual braking system
  • 12 ball bearings
  • 17.5 lbs of drag
  • Brass gearing
Cons
  • A little noisy on cast

2. Abu Garcia Black Max

 

From the legendary reel maker Abu Garcia comes this tough little gem!

Delivering superior performance and superior value, the Abu Garcia Black Max has what it takes to handle a wide range of bass fishing techniques.

If you’re in the market for a new baitcaster then surely you know the legendary name of Abu Garcia. They have been making some of the industries best reels for decades.

It has a lightweight one-piece graphite frame, easy to palm frame that is easy to fish all day, and its five stainless steel bearing system provides super smooth performance.

Being easy to cast and lightweight make this baitcaster a great reel for beginners. See Amazon customer reviews here>>>

What we like most- The Black Max fits so well in your hand it almost disappears and if you fish for a few hours you’ll appreciate that it doesn’t tire you out, meaning more fishing time!

Pros
  • Machined aluminum spool
  • MagTrax brake system
  • One piece graphite frame
  • Power Disk drag system
  • Compact bent handle
Cons
  • Basic beginner baitcaster

3. Shimano Caenan

 

The Shimano Caenan baitcaster just looks mean! Mean like bass should just jump in the boat when they see you coming kinda mean.

All kidding aside, this is the reel I thought I’d never see from such a high-end reel maker like Shimano. It sports the same High Efficiency Gearing and Variable Braking System that its higher priced Shimano brethren have.

Shimano is known as the “Cadillac” of baitcasters. The quality of their reels is easy to see once you hold one in your hand.

It also has the new Stable Spool Design to increase casting distance of lightweight lures dramatically and comes in two gear ratios, 6.3:1 and 7.2:1. Weighing in at only 7.2 ounces, it won’t wear you out either.

This is a smooth casting reel and would be a great all-around reel for multiple applications. See Amazon customer reviews here>>>

What we like most – The Caenan looks like and sports some of the same features as the higher priced Shimano reels at a much lower price.

Pros
  • HEG: High Efficiency Gears
  • VBS: Variable Brake System
  • S3D: Stable Spool Design
  • Effortless casting
Cons
  • None yet

4. Daiwa Laguna

 

Now you can get legendary Daiwa performance at an affordable price with the Daiwa Laguna.

It has a lightweight composite frame and side plates and an aircraft grade aluminum deep spool. It also has the always dependable Magforce cast control system to cast all sizes and weights of lures easily.

Daiwa has always been the ultimate reel for tournament fisherman since its Team Daiwa days and this reel gets you in on that performance at a great price!

Swept handles are all the rage because of their power and looks so of course the Laguna has a 90 mm swept handle with oversized padded soft tough knobs.

Daiwa has long been a leader in reels at all price points and the Laguna does not disappoint! See Amazon customer reviews here>>>

What we like most – The Daiwa name means smooth, long-lasting performance and as an owner of a few I can testify that they are some of the very best reels made.

Pros
  • A7075 Aircraft grade aluminum deep spool
  • Magforce Cast Control
  • 90mm Swept Handle
  • Daiwa performance and reliability
Cons
  • retrieve may be a little noisy

5. Lew’s Speed Spool SSG1SH

 

With a graphite frame and sideplate, machine forged aluminum spool and a high-strength brass gearing system the Lew’s Speed Spool is easily one of the best baitcasters at any price.

Lews has always been sort of a cult favorite among hardcore bass fisherman but over the last several years the secret is out, these reels rock!

It has a large 95mm swept (or bowed) oversized power crank handle and 10 pounds of drag to power fish out of cover and a smooth star drag control to keep him on. And the 7.5:1 retrieve speed will get him to the boat quickly, too.

Available with 10 ball bearings and weighing only 7 ounces this reels performance exceeds its price.

It’s hard to find a better reel at this price point! See Amazon customer reviews here>>>

What we like most- Starting out, my buddies and I bought many lower priced reels and the worm gear or line guide would fail quickly. We started buying Lews reels for their zirconia line guide and worm gear and never had that problem again. This reel still has it!

Pros
  • Zirconia line guide
  • Premium 10 double shielded stainless steel bearings
  • Externally adjustable Magnetic Control System
  • Anodized bowed aluminum reel handle
Cons
  • Light baits are harder to cast

6. Abu Garcia Ambassadeur S AMBS-6500

 

We all know someone who is a diehard “round” Abu Garcia fan, kinda like Harley owners. Well this throwback reel has the look and feel of those earlier baitcasters. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?

The Ambassadeur S 6500 is the perfect reel for anglers on a budget needing a baitcaster to cover all fishing situations.

Abu Garcia Ambassadeur brings back memories of the round reel craze of years past, seems like everybody had one and for good reason, they work!

It is built for power with a low 5.3:1 gear ratio, 2 stainless steel ball bearings and a powerful synchronized levelwind system. The 4-pin centrifugal brake allows you to cast lightweight or large lures with ease.

The Ambassadeur 6500 is a great reel that never fails. Less moving parts = less parts failing. See Amazon customer reviews here>>>

What we like most- Adding a power, bent handle for a modern look to a classic reel is a nice touch and shows that Abu Garcia is even looking out for the classic reel lover.

Pros
  • Multi Disc Drag System
  • Synchronized Levelwind System
  • 4-pin Centrifugal Brake
  • Compact Bent Handle and Drag Star
Cons
  • Needs regular greasing

7. Piscifun Kylin Baitcasting Reel

 

With 10 stainless steel ball bearings, a 6.3:1 gear ratio and 13.2 pounds of drag, the Piscifun Kylin is a newcomer worth looking into.

A sturdy aluminum alloy frame, carbon fiber drag system and double-anodized V-grooved spool is not only strong but cuts weight to a minimum.

Like KastKing, Piscifun has really made a splash onto the baitcast scene with its premium feature reels at prices anyone can afford.

It has great casting distance with a magnetic cast control and a Titanium coated ceramic line guide for friction-free performance.

The Kylin outperforms some baitcasters that cost twice as much. See Amazon customer reviews here>>>

What we like most- For a newcomer to the industry, the Piscifun Kylin is an impressive performer.

Pros
  • 10 stainless steel ball bearings
  • Fully adjustable magnetic brake system
  • Anodized aluminum spool
  • Titanium coated ceramic line guide
Cons
  • May need to tighten reel handle

8. KastKing Stealth Baitcasting Reel

 

Need a lightweight reel? How about 5.9 ounces? Thats right, the Kastking Stealth baitcaster is only 5.9 ounces!

By using a carbon fiber drag system, aircraft-grade hardened aluminum gearing and a cnc/anodized aluminum drilled spool, virtually all weight has been eliminated.

Kastking is catering to the budget angler market and has introduced some very nice reels recently, some rival high-end baitcasters.

It also has a dual braking system for effortless casting, a 7.0:1 gear ratio and a swept handle with eva padded foam grips.

The Kastking Stealth is a premium reel with features that are unheard of in a budget reel. See Amazon customer reviews here>>>

What we like most- Lightweight, lightweight, lightweight! Never thought we would see a reel at this price have so many features and be so light.

Pros
  • Weighs only 5.98oz
  • 16.5 lbs of drag
  • 11 Stainless Steel bearings
  • Carbon fiber drag system
Cons
  • Takes a bit of fine tuning

9. Abu Garcia Pro Max

 

With a machined aluminum spool and Duragear brass gearing, the Abu Garcia Pro Max is just a step under the Revo and Orra lineups.

To say Abu Garcia is hitting the entry level market hard is an understatement. These reels make it hard to find a difference between higher priced models.

It has 8 stainless steel ball bearings and MagTrax braking for great casting distance and control.  The Pro Max also has a bent handle with star drag, a 7.1:1 gear ratio and weighs in at 7.3 ounces.

The Abu Pro Max is a beefy reel that will battle the biggest fish with power to spare. See Amazon customer reviews here>>>

What we like most- With 3 reels in our top 10, its easy to see that Abu Garcia takes customers in this price range seriously and have made them a priority.

Pros
  • Machined double anodized aluminum spool
  • Duragear brass gear
  • Recessed reel foot
  • MagTrax brake system
Cons
  • although 7.3 oz feels heavier

10. Piscifun Saex Premier

 

The new version of the Piscifun Saex Premier has cut 2 ounces off the already lightweight frame!

It still has the 270 degree magnetic braking system, 11.4 pounds of drag and 7 stainless steel ball bearings but now weighs only 6.3 ounces.

Piscifun has made a reel here that looks like a $300 baitcaster, but will not break the bank!

Available in both 6.5:1 and 7.3:1 gear ratios, this low-profile beast has you covered no matter what lure you’re throwing.

These new players in the baitcast market are super impressive, its hard to believe the features for this price! See Amazon customer reviews here>>>

What we liked most- To be a relative newcomer, Piscifun has shown with this reel that they are constantly improving their product and not content to stand pat even with reels at this low price.

Pros
  • Only 6.3 oz
  • Double-anodized aluminum spool
  • 270-degree magnetic brake system
  • premium Japanese stainless steel ball bearings
Cons
  • May be a little noisy for some (more greasing?)

How We Chose Our List Of Best Baitcast Reels Under $100

We took several things into consideration when forming our list and although price was the main priority, it was not the only one.

The reel had to be able to cover a wide range of fishing situations, lure retrieves and speeds and pack a nice set of features with it too.

We also used customer reviews from different sites including Tackle Warehouse and Amazon to form our final picks when all else was equal.

We think you’ll be hard pressed to find 10 reels more worthy to be on this list and we hope this list helped make your decision easier.

Are you an angler looking for a tool that gives you the ability to utilize some presentations and techniques? Well, the baitcasting reel is the best tool especially if fishing using a heavy line.

Although most anglers shy away from this tool due to some misconceptions such as: being supposedly hard to learn or just the mention of the word ‘bad nesting’ they are actually easy to use and can replace the spinning reel for those who stay long in water.

The following are the Things to consider when buying a baitcast reel.

1. The Gear ratio

It is present in all reels. It is basically the speed of the reel-the total number of times the spoon turns when the handle is turned once. The fact that the ratio is written on the body of the reel makes it easy for you to tell the gear ratios.

 

Ratios Range from slow 4:1 and 5:1, 6:1 and 4:1, medium 5:1 and 6:1 is considered the fastest.

 

How the ratios work

As a beginner, the ratios might sound a bit complicated for you, but here’s what exactly they mean:

 

A 6:1 for example means that on a single rotation of the handle, the spoon turns 5 times. It is therefore correct to conclude that you need a higher rotation ratio in order to achieve a faster retrieve at less effort. A higher ratio ratio is also ideal for a novice trying to learn the fishing trade.

 

The type of lures to be used is a major factor to be considered when choosing the correct gear ratio.

· A slow gear ratio is preferable for bigger spinnerbaits and if using diving cranebaits.

· A higher gear ratio is the best for a unit that will use Texas rigs, jigs, soft plastics or other units

Spinner baits, buzz baits and lures that require faster action will need higher gear ratio.

 

2. The braking system

The baitcast reels come already fitted with the brakes. Their function is to slow down and adjust the spool rotation during casting.

 

When your lure stops making forward moves and the spool continues revolving, you are left with a mess of a knotted line. This is referred to as the backlash. The brakes help prevent this.

 

When adjusting the speed of the spool, use the spool tension knob. By tightening this knob wellenough, your lure falls to the ground slowly when the reel is disengaged.

 

Type of brakes

· Magnetic brakes: they rely on magnets and spools to reduce the revolution rate of the spool. Although they operate on a principle that is much complicated, the angler can easily adjust them.

· Centrifugal brakes: they use pins placed at the inside plate side of the reel and friction for adjustments.

 

The pins are pushed outward to engage. While both pins are off for a 6 pin, adjust pins that are directly opposite each other.

 

You can go for any breaking system in a reel as long as you learn the correct way to thumb the spool.

 

3. The frame of the reel

It is considered to be the baitcasting reel’s foundation. If you buy a low-quality frame, your device will soon break and need to be replaced or repaired within a short period of time.

 

The safest and most durable frame is an aluminum one that is of high-quality.

 

Avoid most graphite reels available currently in the market as they do not give you value for money.

 

Ranging from graphite, reinforced graphite ones, composite graphites or any that have materials related to graphite, they all have hooking problems when it comes to large long running fish and also easily break.

 

Most top quality frames are made of a single piece of aluminum; it is known to be not only durable but also resilient.

 

4. The spool size

The size of the fish you are targeting is the main determinant of the size required for the spool.

· A heavier line: this is ideal if your interest is on large fish. This is because more space on the spool is needed.

A reel bearing a nice deep spool capable of holding all the line you are in need of is what you carry.

· A lighter line: a smaller spool is needed in this case because a smaller fish is being pursued.

 

5. Ball bearings

Fewer bearings are needed for the top quality reels. Any less expensive reels especially when they are packed with ten bearings might turn out to be of low quality.

The bearings to look for are:

· Sealed bearings

· Double shielded

· Shielded

 

6. Line guides

They are either made of ceramic or titanium. Ceramic made ones are cheaper but can easily crack or break.

 

If you are looking for the best line guides, consider the ones that are made of titanium. Although they are more expensive, they will last you longer. They are used to manufacture top line reels.

 

Fishing lines are made of nylon monofilaments, fluorocarbon and multifilament. A heavier line is ideal for novices, casting is made much easier and the reaction merely selected.

Ensure the line does not overfill your reel.

 

7. Handles

The best knobs are those made of soft rubber. Consider also the ones that are oversize in design as they will work better.

 

8. Types of reels

There are two types of bait casting reels,

· Low-profile: also referred to as tear drop reels.

They are most preferable for by bass fisherman. They have a design that makes it possible for the fisherman to palm the reel when retrieving.

· Round reels: due to the fact that they have bigger spools, they are able to hold more line. They are the best for long-running fish.

 

The above aspects are of great importance when it comes to buying a baitcasting reel, the gadget should be comfortable to handle, convenient and easy to operate.

 

The correct frame, the type of brakes that suit your target, the right gear ratios and ball bearings are some of the guidelines to help you make an informed decision when buying a baitcasting reel. Baitcasting reels can either be made by different manufacturers or can be custom made to suit the fisherman’s specific taste and preference.


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