The Best Ultralight Spinning Reel : 16 Top Picks


BY David Frisby, March 05, 2021 10:00 AM

The best ultralight spinning reel is the best bet for kids and adults who are just starting in the world of angling. It is also the best option for those who want to carry less weight while on a backpacking tour.

Whatever your reason is, shopping for the right ultralight spinning reel is not an easy task. There are many options out there.

But we have made it easy for you by creating a buyer’s guide and a list of the best ultralight spinning reels on the market today. We have chosen 2 of the best reels from 8 notable brands, a premium model and an inexpensive option.

And so, you don’t have to look elsewhere to know everything about ultralight spinning reels.

Our Top Picks

In a hurry? Here are our top picks according to their price range.

Comparison Table of Best Ultralight Spinning Reel

Video of Best Ultralight Spinning Reel

16 Best Ultralight Spinning Reel : Product Review

1. Penn Battle II & III Spinning Fishing Reel (All Models & Sizes)

Key Features:

  • Line Capacity Rings
  • Superline Spool
  • Heavy-duty aluminum bail wire
  • Instant Anti-Reverse bearing
  • Sealed stainless steel ball bearings
  • HT-100 carbon fiber drag washers
  • Full Metal Body, side plate, and rotor

Penn Battle II & III Spinning Fishing Reels are constructed with full metal bodies, aluminum bail wires, and metal rotors. The reels have smooth and carbon fiber drag washers that do not wear out against running 100 miles of line.

All models and sizes of the Penn Battle II & III have 5 sealed stainless steel ball bearings (BB). Each reel also has 1 anti-reverse roller bearing (RB) that can be turned on or off with a lever.

If you’re shopping for a crankbait fishing reel, the Penn Battle II 1000 is your best option. It comes with the perfect balance of torque and speed. We believe it is one of the best ultralight spinning reel under $100 for saltwater fishing.


  • Allows you to cast long distances
  • Built like a tank
  • High line retrieval per crank
  • Solid drag system
  • Great for inshore fishing
  • Smooth, compact, and lightweight


  • Not fully sealed
  • Requires regular maintenance
  • Weak internal parts
  • Bail closes while casting
  • A lot of wind knots - occurs when the spool is overfilled with line
  • Plastic reel switch

2. PENN Pursuit III 2500 Spinning Fishing Reel

Key Features:

  • Line Capacity Rings
  • Superline Spool
  • Machined and anodized aluminum spool
  • 4+1 stainless steel bearing system
  • Lightweight and corrosion-resistant graphite body
  • HT-100 carbon fiber drag washers

Are you looking for smoothness and durability in an ultralight spinning reel? The Penn Pursuit III might be the one for you. This is the spinning reel that offers the best value for saltwater anglers.

The HT 100 carbon fiber drag washers and the graphite construction of the Penn Pursuit III make it ultra-lightweight and highly resistant to corrosion. The anodized aluminum spool and stainless steel bearing system also enhance its use-life.

The gear system of the Pursuit III is exceptionally smooth. It has an anti-reverse mechanism that prevents any rotor back play. Also, retrieves are always smooth thanks to its shielded stainless steel ball bearings.


  • Automatic anti-reverse feature eliminates backlash
  • Ideal for salt water and fresh water use
  • Sufficient spool capacity
  • Smooth drag


  • Reel is not sealed
  • A bit bulkier than expected
  • Occasional occurrence of wind knots
  • Doesn’t have the best lay line

3. Daiwa BG Saltwater Spinning Reel

Key Features:

  • Black Anodized Machined Aluminum Housing
  • Machined Aluminum Screw In Handle
  • Dynamic Cut Aluminum ABS Spool
  • Braided Line Ready Spool
  • Over-sized Digigear
  • Waterproof Drag System
  • Air Rotor
  • Carbon ATD
  • Solid Screw-In Handle
  • Infinite Anti-Reverse System

The Daiwa BG is housed in hard black anodized aluminum material, which makes it a smooth and powerful ultralight spinning reel.

The reel body and side cover are constructed with a waterproof drag system. The anodized material makes the reel not only waterproof but corrosion and scratch-resistant as well.

The huge spool diameter on the Daiwa BG ultralight spinning reel eliminates line memory and allows free line flow. The line won’t tangle even if it's spooled to the edge of the lip.

Its drag system runs smooth and generates decent fighting power to land big saltwater species. Furthermore, it has a sealing that prevents saltwater and sand from entering and thus breaking up the reel function.


  • Handle cold conditions well
  • Hard anodized body
  • Easy to use
  • Powerful and steady


  • Paint finish on the spool - it’s not anodized
  • Bail needs to be closed manually
  • Heavier than most competing brands
  • Lacks drag

4. Daiwa Strikeforce-B

Key Features:

  • Folding handle
  • ABS Aluminum spool
  • Smooth, ball bearing drive
  • Twist Buster line twist reduction
  • Digigear digital gear design

You might want to consider using Daiwa Strikeforce-B spinning reels if you’re just getting into the world of anglers. These reels have a ball bearing drive that is smooth to operate.

The Strikeforce-B ultralight spinning reels might be an inexpensive lineup from Daiwa but it doesn’t mean these products lack premium features. They come with the DigiGear system that enhances power and speed.

Made with a tough yet lightweight ABS aluminum, the spool allows you to cast longer distances with ease. Combined with the line twist reduction system, these reels offer a smooth casting performance at an affordable price.


  • Excellent starter reel
  • Smooth, ball bearing drive
  • Easy to load and use


  • Looks and feels cheap
  • Fragile and very small
  • Gears can slip when the anti-reverse system tries to engage
  • Questionable durability

5. Pflueger Supreme XT Spinning Fishing Reel

Key Features:

  • Sealed Carbon Drag
  • Braid-Ready Spool
  • Carbon Handle
  • Magnesium Body and Rotor
  • EVA Knob
  • Slow Oscillation Gearing
  • Instant Anti-Reverse feature

The body, rotor, and side plate of the Pflueger Supreme XT ultralight spinning reel are made of magnesium. Known for its strength and durability, magnesium is also less dense than aluminum. The Supreme XT is durable and strong, yet lighter than most models that the company has produced.

One of the features we like about the Supreme XT is the sealed carbon fiber system that comes with it. You can rest assured your reel is protected from dirt. It also comes with the Slow Oscillation feature for better line management.

Retrieves are fast and smooth thanks to its 10 Bearing System. What’s more, the Pflueger Supreme XT features a lightweight carbon handle and an EVA handle knob to ensure easy operation.


  • Smooth working mechanism
  • Lightweight magnesium frame housing and rotor
  • Durable
  • Smooth retrieve
  • Great for drop shotting


  • Bail occasionally closes in the middle of the cast
  • Braid can get caught in the guide
  • Occasional line jamming
  • Bail arm gets worn out quickly

6. Pflueger PRES10SCB President Spincast Fishing Reel

Key Features:

  • Aluminum cone, frame, and handle
  • Dual titanium pins
  • Spool applied drag
  • Soft-touch knob
  • Instant anti-reverse
  • MC and MS single pick-up pins

The performance of the Pflueger PRES10SCB President Spincast Fishing Reel is astonishingly solid. The reel itself is crafted from aluminum and the take-up pins are made of corrosion-proof titanium.

This lightweight spinning reel has a push-button for effortless casting. The line capacity is sufficient enough, we sincerely doubt that you’ll ever deplete it.

The Pflueger spincast reel is amazingly smooth. It makes use of an anti-reverse and multi-stop system for easy retrieving.

Keep in mind that the cover is oversized, which can be a hassle when you pair it with a rod. And so, try to leave a small clearance between the reel and seat.


  • Great casting
  • Ample drag
  • Extremely smooth
  • Outstanding build


  • Often hangs up
  • Doesn’t fit well with some rods
  • Reel is not durable
  • Only retrieves when there is pressure on the line
  • Line will slip after months of use

7. Zebco Omega Pro Spincast Fishing Reel

Key Features:

  • Aircraft-grade aluminum housing
  • Ceramic line guide
  • Oscillating spool
  • Multi-disk drag system
  • 3X positive pickup
  • All-metal gears
  • Autobait alert
  • Triple-cam multi-disc drag system
  • Automatic anti-reverse system
  • Interchangeable handle

The premium build of the Zebco Omega ZO3PRO overshadows almost all the other spinning fishing reel models from the company. Its all-metal gears, ceramic line guide, and oscillating spool are all covered with heavy-duty aluminum. Likewise, the aircraft-grade aluminum housing of the ZO3PRO makes it a strong and durable ultralight spinning reel.

The bearing system of the Zebco Omega Pro prevents tangles and snags. Additionally, there’s a multi-disk drag system for securing the hook and keeping the line tight when battling against a fish.


  • Ergonomic handle knob
  • Easy to use
  • Rugged build
  • Smooth operation
  • Suitable for saltwater
  • Ambidextrous operation
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Comes with an extra spool and handle


  • Pricey
  • Delicate ceramic pins
  • Adjustment problem in the drag system
  • Thin handle cover that wears out over time

8. Zebco 33 Micro Spincast Fishing Reel

Key Features:

  • All metal gears
  • Ball-bearing drive
  • Built-in Bite Alert
  • QuickSet anti-reverse
  • Lightweight graphite frame with stainless steel cover
  • Dual ceramic pick-up pins
  • MicroFine dial-adjustable drag
  • Pre-spooled with 4-lb. Zebco Cajun Line

The Zebco 33 Micro Spincast reel is the smaller version of the full-sized model. The gears are all metal and it’s also housed with a lightweight graphite frame.

Retrieves are 16 inches for every turn of the handle and it has a gear ratio of 4.3:1. This micro spincast reel also comes with a dial adjust drag system and 2 ceramic pick-up pins.

The Zebco 33 Micro Spincast is suitable for light applications such as catching Panfishes and Trouts. The size and weight of this fishing reel make it ideal for kids to learn spincasting.


  • Easy to use
  • Go to reel for the average fisherman
  • Nice and compact
  • Decent drag


  • Not durable
  • Size is too small for most adults
  • Back cover comes off most of the time
  • No sealing for the bearing

9. SHIMANO Ultegra Spinning Fishing Reel

Key Features:

  • Aero Wrap Oscillation
  • Flagship Hagane Gearing Technology
  • Coreprotect technology
  • X-Ship double-bearing pinion support system
  • Ultra-durable, cold-forged Hagane Gear
  • G-Free Body technology

The front drag system of the Shimano Ultegra ultralight spinning reel contributes to its outstanding performance. Also, the Aero Wrap Oscillation feature provides extended casting ability and better line twisting.

The Ultegra spinning reel is powered by the company’s one of a kind Hagane Gear technology. This makes the reel able to withstand continued usage under any condition and in all circumstances.

The X-ship technology eliminates resistance caused by the interaction of the spool shaft and gear. And the Coreprotect technology allows you to use the reel on any fishing conditions without affecting performance.

Furthermore, the Shimano Ultegra is equipped with a G Free Body feature. This provides greater comfort to the user by shifting the internal parts closer to the rod.


  • Lightweight and nice-looking
  • Super-efficient functionality
  • An inexpensive option for a Stradic


  • No reverse feature
  • Not a pure saltwater fishing reel
  • Insufficient line capacity

10. SHIMANO SYNCOPATE Front Drag, Freshwater Spinning Fishing Reel

Key Features:

  • Quick Fire II technology
  • Propulsion Line Management System
  • Varispeed technology
  • Dyna-Balance technology

The Shimano Syncopate 1000FG is one of the best ultralight spinning reels under $50. It’s one of the finest lightweight freshwater fishing reels that are ideal for beginners. This front drag spinning reel offers exceptional performance for the price.

The QuickFire II feature allows you to cast with one hand. Despite the absence of the instant anti-reverse feature, the Propulsion Line Management System helps maintain speed and lets you perform longer casts.

The Dyna-Balance feature offers improved sensitivity by eliminating vibration. The ease of use and smooth casting that the Syncopate provides makes it an ideal beginner reel.


  • Smooth, easy, and affordable
  • Allows one-hand operation
  • Lightweight
  • Doesn't get twisted behind the bell
  • Decent retrieve


  • No instant anti-reverse feature
  • Quick Fire Trigger release requires larger hands
  • Casting trigger requires an occasional manual reset
  • Weak bearings

11. Okuma Helios Lightweight Spinning Reel

Key Features:

  • Lightweight C-40X carbon frame and side plates
  • Torsion Control Armor
  • C-40X Cyclonic Flow Rotor
  • Rigid, machined aluminum, anodized handle
  • Precision Elliptical Gearing System
  • Quick-Set anti-reverse roller bearing
  • Machined aluminum, 2-tone anodized spool
  • Heavy-duty, solid aluminum bail wire
  • Machine-cut brass pinion gear
  • Computer-balanced Rotor Equalizing System
  • Lightweight, EVA handle knobs
  • LCS line control spool

The carbon frame and side plates of the Helios SX HSX-20 lightweight spinning reel make it 25% lighter than its graphite counterparts. Likewise, the reel’s drag system is made of carbon fiber. As a result, you get an ultralight spinning reel that offers smooth performance and durability.

The bail is made from heavy-duty aluminum wire, which produces a well-balanced operation. Also, this reel has a machine-made aluminum main gear that will not break easily under pressure.

The Helios HSX-20 has 8 stainless steel ball bearings and 1 roller bearing that provide a smooth casting experience. However, these corrosion-resistant bearings are not shielded, which is unfortunate since it is necessary for saltwater fishing.


  • Reliable brand
  • Smooth casting
  • 1-year warranty
  • Decent drag


  • High maintenance
  • Bearings are not shielded
  • Poor servicing may shorten the lifespan
  • Not suitable for saltwater fishing
  • Flipping the bail after casting can be hard

12. Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel

Key Features:

  • Corrosion-resistant graphite body
  • Precision Elliptical Gearing system
  • Machined aluminum, 2-tone anodized spool
  • Machine-cut brass pinion gear
  • Quick-Set anti-reverse roller bearing
  • Computer-balanced Rotor Equalizing System
  • Heavy-duty, solid aluminum bail wire
  • Spool line control system for better line-lay
  • Narrow Blade Body Design
  • Lightweight, EVA handle knobs
  • Multi-disc oiled felt drag system

If you’re looking for a quality but affordable ultralight spinning reel, then you should consider the Okuma Ceymar C-10. It may be a budget-friendly lightweight fishing reel, but it also has the features of the more expensive options.

Aside from the Precision Elliptical Gearing system, it has a rotor design that prevents water from entering to prevent corrosion.

The other feature that the Ceymar C-10 shares with the more expensive models is the technology that helps reduce line twists. And also the technology that helps prevent the spool from wobbling.

Further, the C-10 also has a heavy-duty aluminum bail wire. And it is also equipped with a machine-cut brass pinion gear. Consequently, this reel is just as good as the best ultralight spinning reels on the market.


  • Great line-lay
  • Better hook-sets
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Smooth, controllable drag
  • Smooth retrieve


  • Neck flexibility can be too much
  • Line kept getting caught behind the spool
  • Line can wrap around the spindle
  • Handle often gets in the way when jigging

13. KastKing Sharky III Fishing Reel

Key Features:

  • KastKing Intrusion Shield System
  • Shark Fin Braid Ready aluminum spool
  • Double shielded stainless steel ball bearings
  • Aluminum handle
  • Carbon-fiber reinforced graphite body and rotor
  • Triple-disc carbon fiber drag
  • Oversized stainless-steel main shaft
  • Manganese brass pinion gears

The KastKing Sharky III is the best ultralight spinning reel designed to catch trophy fish. Its graphite body and rotor are reinforced with carbon fiber, which makes the reel super lightweight and extraordinarily durable.

The amazing smoothness of the Sharky III relies on its triple-disc carbon fiber drag system that generates a maximum drag of up to 33lbs. Likewise, the mesh manganese brass pinion gears along with its large stainless steel shaft provide all the fishing muscle you’ll ever need.

Also, the Shark Fin Braid-ready aluminum spool offers a powerful yet quiet retrieve. To top it all off, the powerful internal parts of the Sharky III is protected by its Intrusion Shield System that keeps off dirt and water.


  • Great value out of the box
  • Accurately machined brass pinion gear
  • Stainless steel aluminum handle and hardware/ball bearings
  • Excellent anti-reverse
  • Sturdy construction
  • Silky smooth rotation
  • Decent drag


  • Line capacity could be improved
  • Line keep getting caught up around the spool
  • Uneven line retrieval
  • After the 4th use, the retrieval handle stripped and fell off
  • When you start to reel it in, the bail won't snap shut

14. KastKing Summer and Centron Spinning Reel

Key Features:

  • Corrosion-resistant, high-tensile strength graphite frame
  • Two-color anodized aluminum spool
  • Precision pinion gear system
  • Superior drag system
  • Right / Left interchangeable handle
  • Lightweight compact design

The KastKing Summer and Centron 2000 spinning reels address the issue many anglers face when purchasing a reel, which is choosing between quality and value. While we can only choose a single feature, the Summer and Centron ultralight spinning reels offer both quality and affordability.

This lightweight spinning reel may look small and delicate but its graphite frame is strong enough to withstand stress. Likewise, its superior drag system prevents the line from snapping while holding the load.

The high-strength anodized spools of the Summer and Centron 2000 come with a power launch lip for casting long distances.


  • Durable, Lightweight, Quality Spinning Reel
  • Consistent drag
  • High speed retrieve
  • Good line capacity
  • Incredibly responsive anti-reverse


  • Takes a lot of effort to snap the bail
  • Sharp, uneven edges on the handle
  • Not recommended for heavy use
  • Bail has to be closed by hand

15. Sougayilang Fishing Reel 13+1BB Freshwater Spinning Reel

Key Features:

  • Lightweight, hollow frame design
  • EVA handle knob
  • Zinc alloy main drive gear
  • Solid brass machined pinion gear
  • Anodized aluminum alloy spool
  • Instant lock anti-reverse system

The Sougayilang Fishing Reel ELK 1 is lightweight, durable, and affordable. It is the first generation of the company’s ELK line up. Not only does it looks nice but it also produces a smooth and silent reeling action.

The ELK 1 is ultralight considering that it has 13+1 bearings that provide you a smoother experience by reducing friction. It also has a superior carbon fiber drag system that generates 23 lbs of power to slow down fish.

Among its key features, the hollow graphite frame preserves strength and durability without the addition of unnecessary weight. This reel also comes with a slip-resistant EVA handle knob for a more comfortable casting.


  • Ultra-thin, lightweight body
  • The reel seat can match all types of rods
  • Powerful gear ratio
  • Large line capacity


  • Can’t set the drag well
  • Not too durable

16. Sougayilang Fishing Reel Spinning 11+1bb Left/Right Interchangeable Spinner Gear

Key Features:

  • Stainless steel main shaft
  • Anodized precision forged aluminum spool
  • Interchangeable handle
  • Instant anti-reverse
  • Aluminum die-cast folding handle
  • Computer-balanced rotor

This Sougayilang lightweight spinning reel generates a drag close to the premium options but it is surprisingly affordable. Also, the reel is made up of a highly durable aviation composite material.

You’ll begin to see the advantage of having a computer-balanced rotor as soon as you start to fish bigger species. With the 11+1 bearing setup, you won’t notice any friction between the internal parts.

Also, this Sougayilang spinning fishing reel has an improved fish fighting ability. It has a gear ratio that delivers adequate torque. Furthermore, the reel is highly portable and is ideal for both fresh and saltwater fishing.


  • Works great in saltwater
  • Smooth and accurate
  • Drag is easy to adjust
  • Well designed


  • Reel is noisy
  • Reel can snap apart under heavy use
  • The handle feels cheap and sticks out too much
  • Not a sealed reel

Best Ultralight Spinning Reel : Buyer’s Guide

So what are the criteria when you’re shopping for the best ultralight spinning reel?

Here are things to consider:

The size of the fish you’re targeting

Let’s be realistic here. Ultralight spinning reels are not designed for catching trophy fish. Ultra-lightweight fishing reels are ideal for:

  • Carppie
  • Trout and
  • Bass, etc.

Species of fish that are above 6 lbs will push your ultralight spinner reel to its limits.

Gear ratio

Gear ratio is all about the speed of the reel’s retrieve. It’s how much line is retrieved for every crank rotation. It’s that simple.

  • Go for a gear ratio of at least 5:1
  • High-speed reels have a 6:1 ratio

Retrieve Speed

The level of retrieve speed you’ll need will depend on what type of fishing you’re into. The safe level for ultralight reels is medium, which is the 5:1 gear ratio.

Drag System

Ultralight spinning reels come with either a rear or front drag system.

  • A front drag system uses washers for better durability and performance.
  • Rear drag spinner models provide easy access especially if there’s a fish on your line. While a spinner reel with a rear drag system may offer convenience, they don’t work well with bigger fish.

Bearing Count

A spinning reel’s performance will depend on the number of bearings it possesses. The more bearings, the smoother the performance.

Try to have a spinning reel that has at least 4 ball bearings. Anything less than that will hamper performance.

Spool Material

Spools also have an impact on the reel’s performance. They determine how far and how smooth is the cast.

Most spools are made of either graphite or anodized aluminum. Graphite spools make the reels much lighter. Aluminum spools are heavier but they are stronger and more durable.

Reel Housing

The housing protects the reel’s internal parts and so it’s crucial to select the one that’s tough and corrosion-resistant.

Graphite is ideal for saltwater fishing. For freshwater fishing, aluminum or carbon fiber will work just fine.

Winning Product Recommendation

I have successfully found a lightweight spinning reel that would give the most regarding quality, cost efficiency, and performance. As I was looking for the best Ultralight Spinning Reels on the market, I have come upon a lot of options.  And in comparison to all the lightweight fishing reels I have used, I found the KastKing Summer and Centron Spinning Reels the best choice for anglers like you.

The KastKing Summer and Centron are excellent quality budget spinning reels that are durable and lightweight. Each costs only at $26.99, a piece well within your budget range. I strongly recommend these ultralight spinning reels as they offer both quality and value.



KastKing Summer & Centron Spinning Reel

Winning Product Recommendation

Final Thoughts

We hope we have shed some light on ultralight spinning reels for you. All of the reels on our list are excellent for ultralight fishing. These reels are some of the best on the market today. Use our guide to ensure you get the best ultralight spinning reel for your next weekend expedition. You can read more best spinning reel under 100 and basic understanding of spinning reel

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