3 Best Baitcasting Reels: The Ultimate Buying Guide In 2021

The fisherman caught a fish

Undoubtedly, it is a tricky challenge to find the best fishing gear, especially when it comes to baitcasting reels. You are probably familiar with spinning reels, but baitcasters are completely different and they provide better control and accuracy. Hence, you will definitely need a reliable source to find the best baitcasting reels.

Our experts reviewed numerous options, read countless reviews, and managed to create the ultimate baitcasting guide and picked the 3 best products that will definitely fulfill your needs.

First of all, we would like to start with some basic things you should know about baitcasting reels. You should learn how to setup your reel, so you can make efficient and smooth casts without worrying about backlashes. It goes without saying that backlashes can be reduced with practice and experience, but this depends on the baitcaster quality as well.

What to Look for in a good Baitcasting Reel

If you are an avid angler, you probably know that a baitcasting reel offers outstanding performance and great accuracy. You can just throw the lure exactly where you want and you have better control over the line or braided line. Unlike the typical spinning reel, the baitcaster features a different brake system, spool, ball bearings, drags, and line guides. Let’s dive into the details!

fishing man

Baitcasting Reel Ball Bearings

Many anglers believe that the number of ball bearings plays a significant role when it comes to smooth casts. Indeed, ball bearings are important parts of a reel and they allow a smooth operation. However, the number of ball bearings does not always indicate the quality of the reel.

Many baitcasting reel manufacturers try to mislead people so that they think that more bearings are better. As a matter of fact, smoothness depends on the ball bearing quality and sealing system. You should look for stainless-steel ball bearings or ceramic that are fully sealed and protected.

These materials indicate the smoothness and durability of the reel and you will not have to worry about saltwater corrosion or dust.

Braking System

Just to start out with, baitcasting reels have three different braking systems. Please look at the picture below, where you can see the braking adjustment position of your reel.

  • Magnetic
  • Manual
  • Centrifugal

In a few words, the braking system adjusts the reel’s rotation while you perform casts. If you tighten the brakes, you will get more resistance when you cast out your lure. If you set up the brakes properly, you will not get any backlashes or bird nests.

Baitcasting reels basic parts

Magnetic Braking System

The magnetic system uses magnets to provide “resistance” to your line and it is the most common braking system on the market. You should know that tight brakes will slow down your cast and you can adjust them by turning the brake system dial on the side plate of your baitcaster. If you remove this side plate, you will see the small magnets.

In most models, the dial ranges between 1 and 10. We would recommend setting up the brakes to 5-6 for medium weight lures.

Manual Braking System: Not recommended for beginners

Secondly, the next braking system is the manual system, which is none other than your thumb! It is used for a specific technique called “feathering”. You control the line by placing your thumb on the spool during the cast. This technique is probably the best way to avoid bird nests, but you will need some practice before using it.

Centrifugal Braking System

The last brake system is the centrifugal system. These brakes use pads to slow down the rotation. When you perform a rotation, these pads create apply pressure on a ring and create abrasion. You will find the centrifugal brake adjustment dial on the side plate.

Best Baitcasting Reels in 2021: In-depth Reviews and Comparison

Key Features

  • Comes in Left- and Right Handed Editions
  • Sturdy and Ergonomic Cork Handles
  • 11 plus 1 shielded ball bearings
  • Gear Ratio: 6.3:1
  • Braking System: Centrifugal and Magnetic
  • Weight: 8.1 oz
  •  Monofilament Line Capacity (Lbs/Yds): 10/125 12/100 15/85
  • Braid Line Capacity (Lbs/Yds): 40/125 50/100 65/85


The KastKing Spartacus is the baitcasting reel with a trusted performance that will let you cast further than normal baitcasters. It’s advanced design features fully-protected ball bearings, so you can use the reel in any fishing environment without worrying about any damage.

Whether you are going to cast top-water poppers for bass or extremely lightweight lures-flies for trout, you will not get any backlashes. Another big plus is the ultralight CNC aluminum spool, which allows further and smoother casts.

KastKing always produces high-end products. If you are looking for a VFM baitcasting reel, you should take a closer look at this baitcaster.


  • Smooth Performance with both mono and braided line
  • Sealed Ball Bearings
  • Suitable for both saltwater, and freshwater fishing
  • Comfortable Handles
  • Durable Line Guide


  • Saltwater Could Corrode the Cork Handles
  • Not recommended for beginners

Key Features

  • 4 Stainless Steel Ball Bearings
  • Unique MagTrax system developed by Abu Garcia
  • Sturdy Graphite Frame
  • Weight: 7.3 oz
  • Gear Ratio:6.4:1


If you are looking for a versatile baitcasting reel, we would definitely recommend the Abu Garcia Low Profile. The durable graphite frame protects the reel from heavy weather conditions, and the ball bearings are made of stainless steel. As we mentioned in our buying guide, a good reel should definitely have stainless steel ball bearings and 4 of them are more than enough for a smooth casting performance.

Furthermore, the Abu Garcia sports a unique magnetic braking system that is extremely effective and it will last for many years without any problems. If you would like to learn more about the MaxTrax braking system, click here


  • Unique Design and Performance
  • Excellent Construction Materials
  • Affordable model
  • Suitable for beginners


  • Some people may find the handle too small

Key Features

  • MONO LINE CAPACITY (#TEST/YD): 10/120. 12/110,14/90
  • Weight: 7.6 oz
  • 4 Ball Bearings
  • Gear Ratio: 6.3:1
  • Retrieve per crank: 26 inches
  • Max Drag: 12


Our last pick is the well-known Shimano SLX DC 150 for those who are looking to invest in a durable baitcasting reel. If you need maximum cranking power, the reel should feature a sturdy body. As a result, the Shimano baitcaster utilizes a metal body to maximize the cranking power, and protection as well.

Another thing we like is the extraordinary SVS braking system developed by Shimano that allows using different kinds of lures. You can adjust the brakes both for heavy and lightweight lures.

Unlike common baitcasting reels, the Shimano SLX spool features a unique design that eliminates friction and the spool rotates more freely. It is considered to be one of the best baitcasting reels amongst the fishing community.


  • Suitable for beginners and experts
  • Sturdy Hagane Body
  • Eliminates Spool Vibration
  • VFM baitcasting Reel


  • Slightly Expensive

Final Verdict

Finally, when it comes to the best baitcasting reels, we would recommend a reel that combines both quality and good construction. No matter, what technique or what lure you are going to use, a good baitcaster should have stainless steel ball bearings, a good sealed frame, and a lightweight spool.

We tested multiple baitcasting reels and these three are the best choices on the market right now. Pair it with a good rod and you are ready to go! Good Luck and stay tuned for more fishing gear updates!

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