Finding the best saltwater spinning reels under $200 is not a piece of cake. As most reels appear to be the same, shopping on a budget makes the process even harder. That is why I rounded up the top 16 options for you to choose from.
Suppose you do not have the time to read through the review, save yourself the hassle and just go with the Shimano Baitrunner D Spinning Reels. It checks all the boxes of a solid spinning reel and is also perfect for saltwater, thanks to its corrosion resistance.
If you want more details about the other reels available or the Baitrunner D itself, keep on reading. By the end, you will learn more about spinning reels than you did at the start of this review.
Best Saltwater Spinning Reels Under $200 Review
When shopping on a budget, you want to make every dollar count. $200 is an excellent place to start from. But a lot of saltwater spinning reels seemingly look the same. That is unless you have a trained eye.
So, let’s check out all the ones that are worth spending your hard-earned money on. There will be something for all kinds of anglers out there.
Let’s get started with the review. So I’ve decided to divide the review into two sections. A couple of these will be under $200, and others will be under $100 for those on a tight budget. Which one works for you?
1. Shimano Baitrunner D Spinning Reels
Shimano is one of those brands you just can’t go wrong with. They make some of the best reels on the market, which is no different. An impressive thing about the Shimano Baitrunner D Spinning Reels is the varying line capacity. It goes from 8 lbs to 15 lbs, which is pretty remarkable.
Since you will be using it in saltwater, rust and water damage are one less thing you need to worry about. Shimano calls this feature Metal Shield, which is essentially marketing speak for anti-corrosion.
On top of that, the Propulsion Line Management will help you get longer casts. Lastly, there is the incredible anti-reverse mechanism branded as Super Stopper II. That will put you in a favorable position to reach those prime spots, increasing your chance of catching a monster.
Fancy marketing names aside, this feature helps you with spooling or nasty bird nesting. These are the things that you need to avoid.
- Long casts
- Affordable price
- Durable anti-corrosion build
- Comfortable grips
- No spooling or bird nesting
- Other models can give it a run for its money.
2. Daiwa Saltist Back Bay LT Spinning Reels
Taking the number 2 spot in this review is a fantastic spinning reel from the guys over at Daiwa. Their Saltis Back Bay LT spinning reel features a superb drag weight limit, durable construction, and a lightweight air rotor.
It has a max drag weight of up to 15.4 lbs. That will give you some peace of mind when handling those larger species. The standout thing about this one is the build quality. It features Daiwa’s innovative HARDBODYZ design.
Now, the name might be a tad bit cheeky, but it gets the job done. The aluminum metal alloy gives it tremendous strength and durability. And it keeps the weight to a minimum as well. This will translate to less fatigue during longer fishing sessions.
There is the cool DigiGear, which will also give you a smooth, rugged performance. No one wants to buy a reel that is not smooth. This one will maximize gear and tooth interaction. You can use it in saltwater without any worries too. The magnetic oil will repel intrusions from saltwater.
- Stellar build quality
- Repels saltwater intrusion
- Smooth tooth and gear interaction
- High weight capacity
- Lightweight and comfortable
- More line capacity would have made it better.
3. Daiwa PROCYON AL Spinning Reels
Daiwa seems to be on a roll here. Do not be too quick to call me a fanboy for including the same brand back-to-back. They just happen to make good reels. This one is made for high-performance and comes in many different size options.
Daiwa’s PROCYON AL spinning reel will do the job if you are after fish like bass, walleye, and trout, especially speckled trout, snook, or redfish. You can count on that. The aluminum body it uses does two things.
First, it helps with durability and gives it the right amount of flex. What does that do, you ask? Well, you get better support for the bearings and gears, which will give you more power and strength to fight the fish and reel it in. You do not need to worry about losing a fish for not having enough torque.
The air rotor will also give you rigid and high drag pressure. And since the cutout is quite generous, the weight is also not that much. All this contributes to the rigidity of the wire compared to inferior reels.
- Durable build
- Long casts
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Rigid wire
- Has some wind knots issue
4. Shimano Socorro SW Spinning Reels
Shimano’s Socorro SW Spinning Reels is the one to get if you are after some phenomenal durability that can handle all kinds of saltwater conditions. Everything is perfect here except for one thing. The drag seems to lessen after prolonged use.
With the innovative X-ship technology, this reel helps eliminate any kind of friction. That will help you get longer casts and reach your desired fishing spots. Long casting ability is particularly important, especially if you want to catch those big fish.
You can’t complain about a drag capacity of 22 lbs. The bearings are also very smooth. Speaking of smooth, let’s talk about the HAGANE gearing system.
You will love the smoothness here. It gives anglers the durability and smoothness they need to put on their best performance. You can use this both inshore and offshore, making it quite a versatile reel.
- Durable build quality
- Long casting ability
- Smooth action
- High drag weight limit
- The drag does seem to lesson after prolonged usage.
5. Shimano Speedmaster XTC Surf Spinning Reels
This reel is great for long casts and high drag. You get a respectable 20 kg of max drag, which will help you deal with any sea monster you manage to catch. If a well-balanced reel is what you are after, you cannot go wrong with this one.
The X-Ship is one of the standout features of this. It helps the pinion gears stay solidly in place even under the heaviest loads. Shimano managed to do this by supporting the gear on both sides with bearings. Quite a clever design.
Remember how I was raving about the long casts? Well, let’s dive into that in a bit more detail. Enter the world of slow oscillating casts. The Speedmaster XTC spinning reel reduces the line’s speed when it travels up and down the pool.
This reduced speed helps you get those super long casts to reach the prime fishing hot spots where all the prized monster-size fish are. It reduces friction, which means no energy is wasted. That is what essentially gives you the long casts.
Lastly, there is what the brand calls G-Free Body Tech. This essentially means that the center of gravity is brought closer to the center of the reel. You get more control because of this, and fatigue is minimal.
- Comfortable low center of gravity
- Very long casts
- Stellar long-lasting build quality
- X-Ship keeps the pinion gear locked in place
- The handle is a bit small.
6. Penn Spinfisher V Spinning Reels
The Penn Spinfisher V Spinning Reels truly shines in durability and the built department. Ask any angler who knows their gear, and they will tell you that the smoothness of Penn reels has always been top-notch. The same is the case with this one.
Let’s get some technical details out of the way first. First up is versatility. The max drag here is up to 40 lbs. It has a gear ratio of 6:2:1 with a 6-ball bearing configuration. Now, what is this reel good for?
You can use this reel both in saltwater and freshwater. You do not need to choose a completely different reel. It does not allow any water in, even if it gets completely soaked during those intense fishing sessions.
Penn used their HT-100 carbon fiber drag washers. This gives this reel a very smooth drag system. This will help you catch large fish without any hesitation. Combined with the stellar 6-ball bearing, you get the ultimate performance.
The precise configuration is 5+1, with 5 ball bearings and 1 roller bearing. But how they work together is what counts. And it works great.
- Smooth action
- Durable build quality
- IPX5 water resistance
- It can be used in both saltwater and freshwater
- Reel size 4500 and up are the only ones worth it.
7. Penn Battle III Spinning Reels
If you are looking for great value, you need to give this one a closer look. The Penn Battle III Spinning Reels are from Penn again. But this time, they give you better value than the Spinfisher VI. Do not think that I am saying that these are not as good. These are still very impressive reels in their own right.
It has the same impressive IPX5 rating when it comes to water resistance. That means you do not have to worry about damaging it when it gets a little wet. And let’s be honest. Water damage on your reels would have been ridiculous if you were going fishing.
The bearing system is also pretty good, with the same 5+1 bearing configuration and the high-quality HT-100 drag system. You get all-around smooth performance and high line capacity.
All in all, the overall performance of this reel is pretty impressive. And considering the price of this, the durability is not bad. The construction is very solid and should last you for a long time, given you take the proper maintenance measures.
The verdict for this one, in my personal opinion, will be more of a value-oriented replacement for the Spinfisher VI. It does almost everything on par with it but does cost a bit less.
- Durable build
- Good water resistance
- Innovative 5+1 ball bearing configuration
- Good value
- A little heavy
8. Penn Battle III DX Spinning Reels
Another Penn Battle series but this time, it is the Battle III DX spinning reel. This series is known for its great saltwater performance and is dependable. The DX version brings on some cool innovations. The inshore reel is more powerful, which will give you more reliable performance.
They also use the HT-100 Carbon Fiber drag system with an additional bearing underneath the spool. You also get a higher level of precision. Thanks to the CNC machine cut drive that keeps the pinion gears straight.
Adding to the comfort factor of this reel is the EVA foam knob. It is soft to touch and will be comfortable to use when you take it out on those long fishing sessions. Then there is the fantastic build quality.
This reel uses a full metal body with a robust side plate. This ensures you get a robust and reliable experience no matter what. When shelling out your hard-earned cash, durability and longevity are important. Speaking of important things, I included an in-depth buying guide. Keep on reading for that.
All these cool features, coupled with the comfortable foam knob and instant anti-reverse features, make this reel one of the top choices out there right now. You should not be disappointed with this one.
- Comfortable EVA foam knob
- Durable build quality
- Smooth reeling action
- Solid pinion gear
- Spare spool availability is not that great.
9. Daiwa BG Saltwater Spinning Reels
Let me be frank with you here. The Daiwa BG Saltwater Spinning Reels is hands-down one of the highest-performing spinning reels you can buy for under $200. What makes it so good? Well, I’m glad you asked.
The first standout is the sheer number of size choices. There are 10 sizes to choose from. That means there should be a model for every angler out there.
Then come the impressive carbon washers. The washers are ATG (drag) carbon ones and give you a smooth overall performance. It is predictable, with ample control, and, more importantly, durable and robust.
And yes, there are also six bearings supporting the whole show. These ball bearings keep the mesh and gearing system in complete sync. What else could you want? There is more to love about this reel.
It is waterproof and also comes with a durable aluminum build. The choice of build materials and the tight water seal means you do not have to worry about this reel kicking the bucket soon after buying it.
The only minor gripe I have with this one is that there is no option for big offshore fish. This should not be a major problem, though, and the crank is light and smooth.
- Smooth crank operation
- Durable build quality
- Waterproof for extra longevity
- It comes in 10 different sizes
9. Shimano Spheros Saltwater Spinning Reels
You may have noticed something by now. Most of the reels in this review are more or less from the same handful of manufacturers. Well, that is because these are the top names in the industry. And Shimano is one of them.
The Shimano Spheros Saltwater Spinning Reels features the famous HAGANE gear system, which gives you impressive strength and durability. This is achieved by cold forging instead of the more conventional cutting method. You get an exceptionally satisfying and smooth experience when using the reels.
It also features anti-corrosion bearings. That is going to come in handy when you are saltwater fishing. Since saltwater can do a nasty number on reels susceptible to corrosion. The bearings are S A-RB and handle more than just corrosion.
Now, let’s move on to the HAGANE body. At this point, when the word “Hagane” is mentioned anywhere, just assume it means quality. It will also keep any kind of unwanted debris, like dirt, away from you.
The body is rigid and durable. I would even describe it as feeling premium. That is not something I can say for every reel out there. There is almost no flex on the body, and it is also impact resistant. If a reel will last you a long time, this one is surely one of them. And the pinion gears use X-Ship tech, which keeps them right in place.
- No flex
- Superb water resistance
- Durable build quality
- Great HAGANE gearing system
- No anti-reverse switch
10. DAIWA FUEGO LT Spinning Reel
The FUEGO LT Spinning Reels is another certified winner from the guys over at DAIWA. What you get is a top-notch reel with balanced features and build. And the best part? It is one of the more affordable reels you can buy, which makes it a great reel for beginners or those on a very tight budget.
The DigiGear gear design is one of the highlights here. You will love that this design allows more teeth to be in contact with the reel. This essentially means you get a smoother retrieve. And not to mention, it also means your reels will last longer.
The carbon housing is robust and lightweight at the same time. Carbon is a great material to go with anyway. And it is admirable to see that DAIWA did not skimp on any build quality aspect. Its weight is fairly low while keeping durability and longevity in check. You cannot argue with something like that.
The weight of the load is balanced very evenly. There will not be any particular hot spots for the load weight. This is courtesy of the advanced air rotor that features an air bail. And the bail itself is durable and lightweight since it is made from stainless steel.
There’s no need to worry about rust either. You can use this one in saltwater without any hesitation, and that is exactly the kind of peace of mind you want when buying a spinning reel for yourself.
- 7 ball-bearing system
- Very smooth drag system
- Comfortable ergonomic handle
- Durable and lightweight build
- In the light settings, some users faced sticky drag.
11. DAIWA EMCAST BR LT Spinning Reels
If you thought that was the last you saw of Daiwa, you were mistaken. DAIWA and Penn dominate the price range under the $200 to $100 range category with their high-quality yet value-for-money reel options. The Daiwa EMCAST BR LT spinning reel is another top performer.
DAIWA designed a line pay-off feature for the reel. What it does is it will refine the auto clutch when a fish takes the bait. That will cause the reel to be in gear and allow a hook set. You get a more controlled operation with this. Pretty high-tech and advanced stuff. Even at these relatively low-price points, the innovations do not stop coming.
As expected, the body is made from carbon. Carbon light, to be more precise. What you need to know, though, is that it gives you a stellar build while not being that chunky or bulky. All in all, you should be able to use this reel for quite a while.
The drag system is another strong point. The brand calls a tournament-grade drag system or ATD – Advanced Tournament Drag. You will have the utmost smooth performance no matter how long your run.
- Different models available
- Fantastic drag system
- Durable build quality
- Affordable price point
- The color finish is a bit bland.
12. Penn Fierce III Live Liner Spinning Reels
This one cuts it close by coming in just a tad over the $100 mark. But you still get impressive features and performance here. And I think it is worth the extra few bucks. The first standout features the stellar build quality.
Tell me if this story is familiar; you buy a brand-new reel that comes at a low price point but claims to be durable. Unfortunately, after just a couple of weeks of use, it starts to break and causes a host of other problems.
Thankfully, you will not need to deal with any kind of annoyance like that with the Fierce III Live Liner. The metal body and equally robust side plate ensure it continues without any hiccups.
You will love the silky-smooth retrieves of this one as well. Due to the 4+1 shield shielded stainless steel ball bearings, the operation is as smooth as it can get. And the drag washers are just as good. Stop me if you have heard this before – HT-100 Carbon Fiber.
Yes, you will find the same washers on the higher-end models. Now, that is what I call bang for the buck.
- High-end washer
- Smooth line retrieve
- Awesome drag performance
- Solid build quality and durability
- Not exactly under $100
13. Daiwa Eliminator Spinning Reels
We circle back to Daiwa with their Eliminator Spinning reels. And it has some excellent features to go along with that attractive price point. What it does not eliminate, though, is your bank balance since it does come under $100.
You can call these less expensive and slightly budget-friendly alternatives to the Daiwa BG spinning reels. While they may not perform the same, they still get the job done! The air rotors reduce the weight of the reels, which means you are comfortable when fishing.
And then there is the solid build quality. It is nothing to be super excited about, but it is not any flimsy build. It should hold up fairly well and is much better than any other no-name brand out there.
The handle is machined aluminum which feels very premium to the touch and comes with the DiGiGear main gear system. You just cannot go wrong with this one, and we love it for that fact.
It is a very well-rounded and well-built reel if you are shopping at this range. Daiwa makes reliable reels, and it shows what they managed to pull off here.
- Awesome build quality
- Lots of value for the money
- Solid handles
- Superior gearing system
- Smooth operation
- Not fully sealed.
14. Penn Fierce III Spinning Reels
The last two spinning reels in this review are from Penn. Let’s start with the Penn Fierce III Spinning Reels. You will love this one for its simple reliability and long-lasting performance. And since it will not cost you an arm and a leg, the value for money is pretty great with this one.
One thing you will love is the full metal body. It does not flex or bend in a way that you do not want it to. I felt like this is a very durable spinning reel even for saltwater use and should last you for quite a while.
Another cool thing about this one is the drag system. The HT-100 Carbon fiber drag system it uses performs as smooth as butter, which everyone should have a great experience with.
Those who use live bait and are looking for an affordable yet quality reel should look into this one. Overall, I can’t think of anything negative to say about this. One minor gripe of mine would be the weight. While it is not that heavy, compared to some other models in this list, it does come at the higher end of the weight scale.
- Durable full metal body
- HT-100 smooth drag system
- Long-lasting and affordable performance
- Great for saltwater usage
- A bit heavy
15. Penn Pursuit III Spinning Reels
The good thing about this spinning reel is that it comes in different sizes. That will give you many options to find the one that suits you perfectly. Picking out a reel that works for you is important since you understand your needs and preferences best.
Another thing you will love about the Penn Pursuit III is the fantastic graphite body. The materials used make it super durable and also corrosion-resistant. That means you do not need to worry about how it will hold up in saltwater.
Conventional, low-quality reels will rust when they come into contact with saltwater. Thankfully, you do not need to worry about anything like that here. The instant anti-reverse system allows you to get hooked up instantly every time.
Then there are the steel ball bearings. There are four steel ball bearings, to be precise. Which means you get a super smooth retrieve. All these combined make for a very reliable and smooth experience.
It is not that expensive and has a lot of cool features. And since it is also a pretty light reel, you do not get fatigued either. All in all, it is a pretty solid choice if you are shopping for saltwater spinning reels on a budget.
- Affordable price point
- Durable build quality
- Smooth retrieve
- It comes in different sizes
- A bit loud during operation
Buying Guide: What You Need to Consider Before Shelling Out Your Cash
It is always a good idea to understand what specific features you need to look for whenever you buy something. That way, you mitigate any chances of ending up with something you do not like.
Understanding what to look for will help you make a more informed decision. One that is more geared and suited to your needs.
Durability and Materials
Checking out the durability of anything you buy is a must. And the same is the case when you are shopping for spinning reels. You need to look out for durable materials like solid metal or graphite build.
These strong and premium materials will help you reel last longer. In some cases, a well-built reel may cost a bit more. But it is very much worth it in the long run.
That is because if you skimp on the quality now, the chances are that it will break pretty soon. And you will have to replace it earlier than you expected to (or wanted to).
This is very closely related to durability. Since you are looking for a reel to use in saltwater, corrosion resistance is an absolute must. Otherwise, your reels will not last long at all! You cannot overlook this feature.
Look for corrosion-resistant reels that can handle harsh saltwater conditions, and you will thank yourself later for the decision. Corrosion-resistant will most likely be listed in the product specifications. So, keep an eye out for that. Many of the reels I reviewed here come with corrosion resistance.
Your Fishing Needs
When buying reels, it is easy to forget the main objective. You are not buying a spinning reel for the sake of just buying one. The ultimate goal is to get on to help you fish with ease and more reliability.
That is why you need to keep your fishing needs in mind. A particular model might check all the boxes, but it is useless if you have a specific use case or need and do not fulfill that criterion.
Do you want to catch any fish in the ocean, or just smaller inshore fish will do? If you want to reel in a monster, you will need something sturdier.
Then there is the line capacity. This is also pretty important. Line capacity is also tied to what kind of fish you want to catch. Some fish take large runs. In that case, you will need a reel with a lot of line capacity.
Most spinning reels’ capacities range somewhere around the 4000 mark. This is plenty for inshore fishing. But if you need something more than that, it is important to pick one that suits your needs. The last thing you want is to run out of line when you hook up a prized monster.
The bearing count in a spinning reel is one of those things that are easiest to overlook. The count can vary widely depending on which model you get. The more bearings you have, the better it is.
But for saltwater fishing, anything between 4 and 5 is a good place to start. I would recommend going with at least five ball-bearing counts. If you can find one that has more, then that is better. It will give you a smoother and more reliable experience.
A drag strength of anywhere between 15 and 20 lbs is pretty solid. The fish’s size also determines this. Saltwater fish tend to be generally larger. Which means higher drag strength is always better.
It will allow you to use more strength when the fish is trying to swim away. And you can bet all your money that it will try to swim away.
There you have it. This review of the best saltwater spinning reels under $200 should help you pick the perfect one that fits your needs and budget. My favorite is still the Baitrunner D Spinning Reels from the guys over at Shimano.
It just ticks all the boxes. The line capacity is respectable, and it is also durably made. The standout thing is that it features anti-corrosion, perfect for saltwater use. The grips are comfortable too. So, you will not fatigue yourself out during those long fishing sessions.
All in all, it is a solid choice for those who are looking for something high-quality, but that is still reasonably priced. You will not be disappointed. But there are a ton of other options to choose from as well. The main goal is to pick one that suits your needs (and budget) the best.