Best Spinning Reel Under 50 – Why Cheap Doesn’t Always Mean Poor Quality

I would choose spinning reels over bait casters any time. I am quite confident that there are a considerable amount of anglers out there who agree with me.

And, just like most anglers, I was partial to high end and pricier spinning reels. Now I know that the best spinning reel under $50 can have the same amazing qualities as their more expensive counterparts.

It is important to note, however, that there certain qualities to look for in cheaper spinning reels. Then again, the moral lesson here is to not judge a reel by its price. I prepared this guide based on lessons learned. Here’s to hoping you find this useful and helpful.

Highly Recommended Spinning Reels Under 50

Product Name

Weight (oz)

Max Drag (Lb)

Rating

Latest Price

Okuma Ceymar Lightweight Spinning Reel

8 oz

5 Lb

KastKing Summer and Centron Spinning Reel - Model 2000/3000/4000/5000 

8.9 - 13.6

11-17.5

Sougayilang Spinning Reel - DK 1000 - 6000

9.1-10.3 

14 Lb

10.4 oz

6 Lb

10.4 oz

12 Lb

**Below, you will find more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices and read customer reviews on Amazon.

#1 - Okuma Ceymar Lightweight Spinning Reel

Via Amazon.com

Features:

  • Multi-disk Drag System
  • Quick Set Roller Bearing with Anti-Reverse
  • C-65 Size with Ergo Grip Handle
  • Corrosion Resistant
  • 7BB + 1RB which makes it Ultimately Smooth

This is the first cheap spinning reel that has helped me put my faith in cost-friendly gears. It has 8-bearing drive system with spool made of machined aluminum. This construction makes it great for braided and monofilament fishing lines.

I also highly appreciate how heavy duty the aluminum bail wire is. It has an oversized line roller as well, which is great for long-term use. It simply is a well compact design that both minimizes the size and reduces the bulk of the reel.

This is very useful since I personally like it when you barely feel the weight and dimensions of the reel without affecting its actual performance. I have seen this with more expensive products before, but never with cheap ones such as this.

Anglers will love the smooth design and sleek performance that this reel offers. With a fluid 8-bearing drive and Okuma’s elliptical gearing, this reel delivers quite well. The spool is made of rigid machined aluminum, which is great for strengthening braided and monofilament fishing lines.

What We Like:

  • 2-tone anodized spool
  • 5 lbs. maximum drag pressure
  • Powerful drag system

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Line sometimes can get caught on the line hitch


#2 - KastKing Summer and Centron Spinning Reel

Via Amazon.com

Features:

  • Gear Ratio: 5.2:1
  • Ball Bearings: 9+1
  • Right/Left Interchangeable
  • Superior Drag System
  • Weight: 8.9 g

Smooth, lightweight, and high-powered, this reel is a really good value for its price. I personally don’t like the finish, but it is attractive and unique-looking, which makes it stand out from other reels.

It is corrosion resistant with a button foldable handle and is right/left interchangeable. One of the strengths that this KastKing model has is its compact design, which makes it so much easier to cast.

It also has nine ball bearings, which when combined with its one instant stop anti-reverse bearing provide extra smooth performance.

The frame is also made of high tensile strength graphite so that it resists corrosion. This also means it is very lightweight with great balance. It also features a superior drag system that gives intensive drag power.

What We Like:

  • Unique button foldable handle
  • Drag power is intensive
  • Frame is made of high tensile strength graphite

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Reel is susceptible to freezing
  • Needs constant rinsing after every use


#3 - Sougayilang Spinning Reel

Via Amazon.com

Features

  • Gear Ratio: 5.2:1/5.1:1
  • Ball Bearings: 12+1
  • Anti-reverse feature
  • Machine Cut Metal Collapsible Handle
  • Left/Right Interchangeable
  • Great Power Sensitivity
  • Lightweight and Portable

I have to say this product is high value for its price. I especially like how the handle is collapsible and is left/right interchangeable as it is useful for casting from different sides of the boat. At the same time, it helps one of your hands rest while the other does the work.

It is lightweight and portable, which is great considering you can easily fit it in a fishing box. I also appreciate how well balanced it is, so it helps manage fatigue when casting and retrieving.

It is highly sensitive with great power. The reel comes in various sizes for different type of fishing preference. Sizes available are perfect for inshore fishing, saltwater surf fishing, and freshwater bass trout fishing.

I don’t mind the look as well. According to its description, the look is inspired by the transformers, which explains its mechanical look.

What We Like:

  • Fully adjustable cast control
  • S-Curve oscillation system
  • Interchangeable and collapsible handle
  • Anti-reverse feature

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Handle may be too small for some people


#4 - Shimano IX 1000R Spin Reel

Via Amazon.com

Features:

  • Gear Ratio: 4:1
  • Line Capacity: 2/270, 4/140, 6/110
  • Graphite side plate, rotor, and spool
  • Rear Drag with graphite frame
  • Corrosion Resistant

​This lightweight reel features Shimano’s Quick Fire II, which helps with easier and faster single-hand casting. For its price, it’s impressive how durable this reel is. It is corrosion resistant and the side plate, spool, frame, and rotor are all made of graphite.

Shimano IX is great for freshwater or saltwater fishing, and its practical features help you get maximum number of catch. It is also lightweight and features a rear drag so it helps minimize fatigue when casting.

This rear drag is quite useful in saltwater and approved for use with PowerPro, Mono, and Fluorocarbon lines. The 4:1 gear ratio is useful for spinner and spoon retrieval especially for moving water.

Since the drag is at the bottom, expect more length and size from this reel. However, this also means it has a good balance.

What We Like:

  • Approved use for saltwater fishing
  • Mono, PowerPro, and fluorocarbon lines compatible
  • Graphite construction

What We Didn’t Like:

  • May need constant lubrication


#5 - Mitchell 300 Spinning Reel

Via Amazon.com

Features:

  • Ball Bearings: 8 with anti-reverse
  • Weight: 12.8 ounce
  • Size Fits Any Rod
  • Capable of handling heavy line and big fish
  • Multi Disk System
  • Superior Strength with bail halo

This lightweight but durable reel is quite a good deal. I especially like how the bail halo is innovatively designed to increase the strength of the rotor. The drag system is multi-disked so it works smoothly weather it’s for light or heavy load.

Both spool and handle are made of aluminum with advanced polymeric rotor and body, which make it very tough and durable. In terms of size, this reel is the perfect size as it can be mounted to any fishing rod.

Its polymeric body is durable enough to handle heavy line as well as big fish species. It also features a multi-disk system, which allows it to give consistent pressure. Indeed, this reel has innovative design and incredibly light with double anodized spool to keep it from rusting.

However, this reel is smaller compared to other reels available in the market today. Because of this size, it also tends to hold less amount of line.

What We Like:

  • Multi-drag system makes it smooth and consistent
  • 8 ball bearings with anti-reverse
  • Lightweight but durable

What We Didn’t Like:

  • May not work as well for big fish
  • May not work well with braid
  • Fits lesser amount of line

Qualities to Look for in the Best Spinning Reel Under 50

I suspect a lot of anglers can relate when I say my biggest concern about buying cheaper fishing gears is the high possibility of being ripped off.

Imagine my disbelief when I came across the Okuma Ceymar Lightweight that costs $42 and had awesome reviews.

In my head I was thinking I really have nothing to lose if it breaks after a couple of casts, but I have everything to gain if it turns out to be really awesome.

To cut the story short, I ended up thanking the fishing gods for that purchase. Since then, I have researched and read about the latest cost-effective spinning reels that are out in the market.

On a side note, however, I am not promoting all inexpensive products and claiming they are better off than the pricier ones, or vice versa. All I’m saying is there are reliable cheap reels that are being sold today.

Of course you have to investigate and do further researches before you trust a product. Here are some pointers as well as items that I highly recommend.

Factors to Consider in Choosing Spinning Reels

Via soutdoors.com

Even if they are cheaper, spinning reels under $50 should still perform the same tasks that more expensive reels do.

It should be well balanced, capable of handling good amount of weight, and reliable when it comes to casting and retrieving.

Different models and brands have different strengths and specialization. It is best for you to consider your requirements before looking at the reels available in the market.

Since these reels are cheaper, it is best to expect that they are made to serve certain requirements. The more expensive ones, in most cases, have more features than these cheaper reels.

Having said that, however, this does not mean cheap is absolutely useless.

It only means they function best for specific purposes, and if that purpose is all you require, these reels are definitely worth a try for their price.

When I am choosing a cheap spinning reel, there are four questions I ask myself that serve as my checklist. These questions are:

  • Will it not cause me problems?
  • What are the materials used?
  • What is its line capacity?
  • What type of fish species can I catch with it?

These four questions are very reliable. It has worked well for me, and so far, the cheapo reels that I bought using this checklist have served me well.

To help you navigate through these questions, let me discuss them to you clearly.

1. Will It not Cause Me Problems?

Usually I would phrase my question as, will it cause me problems?

However, I have reviewed and purchased enough number of fishing gears to know better than zone in on the issues of the gear since you will find one if you look hard enough.

That is all the more true with these cheaper reels. Thus, my line of thinking is as long as it does not give me the obvious problems, it is good enough to pass for the next line of enquiries.

Trust me; there are reels that don’t pass this level. Products that are not lightweight and do not have comfortable grip automatically fail at this point.

There are a lot of cheaper reels that are just too heavy and too difficult that, in my book, they are not worth even a single dollar.


2. What are the Materials Used?

The weight of the reel is heavily associated to this factor. At the same time, the durability and the strength of the frame depends on what it is made of.

Some anglers like composite, while some think it is just cheap plastic. If you ask me, I have seen very sturdy reels made of composite in the last couple of years.

Technology using this material has immensely improved. Also, I like composite because they are lightweight.

On the other hand, you can virtually not go wrong with aluminum. Light and resistant to corrosion, aluminum is the popular choice of material for reels.

There are models made of stainless steel as well. Although this material does not rust easily, I personally do not like reels made of stainless steel because they tend to be heavy.


3. What is its line capacity?

Via Fishingnoob.com​

Line capacity and reel have to match. Bigger fish and certain species regardless of size can put up a good fight that will put strain on both the reel and the line.

The idea is to go for reels that have more line capacity since it is best to expect a good fight.

When it comes to the actual fishing, keeping your expectations to a minimum helps you through the long wait.

However, when it comes to purchasing gears, you want to think of the best possible scenario. Go for cheap spinning reels with the highest line capacity possible.


4. What Type of Fish Species can I Catch with It?

This is number four, but it is potentially one of the most important factors for you to consider. Knowing the target fish species affects your choice not only with reels but with line, rod, and bait.

Of course it also dictates other fishing factors like location and tide among others.

There are spinning reel designed for bass fishing, but can handle huge and aggressive fish.

However, if you are more modest in your intentions like targeting smaller species, you may think twice about surplus capacity since you don’t need it.

It is not worth paying the extra cash if you are after smaller fish.

Additional Features

I don’t consider the extra features that much because I know my requirements and anything extra is a bonus, but not a necessity for me.

However, there are additional features that are pretty handy if you come across them.

Gear Ratio

Via scalzfishing.com

Don’t get me wrong, gear ratio is highly important. However, I don’t put too much emphasis to it because a 5:1 ratio is good enough for me.

Some cheap reels have 6:1 ratio and it is a bonus if it also suits my other needs. For newbies, 4:1 is considered slow. 5:1 is standard usage, but does not support large baits as good as 6:1 does.

Ball Bearings

Via ko.aliexpress.com

Again, this is another important factor to consider, but I am not particularly fussy about this feature. The best spinning reels in the market today have at least 5 ball bearings.

While in theory, the reel runs smoother with more ball bearings, I don’t necessarily find there is a great difference if there are 5 ball bearings in it already.

Although I have to note having more than 5 won’t hurt.

Anti-Reverse Handle

This feature is yet another essential that I look into, but not necessarily get obsessed about.

In my thinking, a couple of years back, there are rods that do not have this feature but are still as capable in catching fish.

However, this addition is pretty useful given that it stops the reel from turning back allowing enough tension on the line so you do not lose the fish.

The Best Spinning Reel Under 50

All the spinning reels I mentioned in this article are outstanding for their price. However, I will say the Okuma Ceymar Lightweight Spinning Reel is the best out of the five.

I have used it myself and still can’t believe how a product this cheap can perform as well as it did. Goes to show how far technology has come when it comes to sport fishing gears.

Via budgetfriendlydeal.com

Again, you may also want to give the others a try. It always boils down to what your requirements are.

As I mentioned earlier, there are certain features that I am not necessarily particular with that you may find important for your own purpose.

The bottom line is to know what you need for your fishing gears and don’t be afraid to try some of these cheap reels.

Like I said, you don’t really have anything to lose by paying for these cheap gears, but you have everything to gain if they turn out great.

I hope you found this article helpful. Help your friends choose the right baitcasting reel for them by sharing this post. I would also love to hear words from you! Drop by the comments section below.

John Morris
 

Hi, I’m John Morris. I’m an avid outdoorsman and fisherman, blessed with an awesome wife and 2 kids. Fishing is not my passion, it is my lifestyle. I fished before I knew how to walk! I’m obsessed with all things related to fishing, even the fishy smell. I’m always willing to extend a hand to novice anglers looking for fishing tips and tricks thus I created this blog. This blog is a collection of my experiences, knowledge, and also research from other blogs.

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