My Picks: $100 Casting and Spinning Reels

My Picks: $100 Casting and Spinning Reels

You’ve got about $100 for a new casting or spinning reel but which one should you buy? Lots of companies are vying for your business but which ones are a good investment? Which ones can I narrow it down to?

I’ve tested a lot of reels, both casting reels and spinning reels. Some I really like. Some I don’t. If you want a fishing reel you can count I’d recommend starting with this list. I’d carry any of these on my boat and feel completely at ease. Nobody wants a $100 paperweight in the shape of a reel. Maybe for $20 but not $100.  Also, all of these reels list at $99-$100. Are there cheaper ones, sure. More expensive ones too but the $100 reel is a sweet spot almost every manufacturer focuses on.

Helpful tip: A LOT of these casting reels will perform like a reel twice as expensive with a bearing upgrade that runs about $20. Keep it in mind if you are on a $100 budget but really want a $200 reel. 

My Picks for $100 Casting Reels

Shimano Casitas 150 Casting Reel

Shimano Casitas best reel under $100 payne outdoors

The Shimano Casitas 150 Casting Reel delivers versatile performance ready for action on your favorite bass lake or inshore saltwater destination. Available at a very reasonable price, its five bearing system (4+1) ensures super smooth casts and retrieves, and its SVS Infinity cast control system also allows you to adjust to a wide range of applications and conditions.

Shimano’s S3D Stable Spool design delivers improved spool balance as well for reduced vibration and improved casting. Whether you like to drag a worm, throw swimbaits or chuck and wind crankbaits and spinnerbaits, the Casistas 150 has you covered. Available in both a 6.3:1 and 7.2:1 gear ratio, the Shimano Casistas 150 Casting Reel delivers performance and value anglers have come to expect from Shimano.


-SVS Infinity
-S3D Stable Spool design

ONE3 By 13 Fishing Origin C Casting Reel

Best Reel for $100 Payne Outdoors Origin CBlending performance and value, the ONE3 By 13 Fishing Origin C Casting Reel offers advanced technologies and value all-in-one premium package. Encapsulated in a heavy-duty aluminum frame, the ONE3 By 13 Fishing Origin C Casting Reel is fueled by a combination of Japanese high-spin bearings and stainless steel bearings, which provide unparalleled smoothness.

Utilizing an aluminum spool and ONE3’s Arrowhead line guide system, the ONE3 By 13 Fishing Origin C Casting Reel provides increased casting efficiency throughout a long day of fishing. In addition, an 18lb multi-material drag system gives anglers the power they need to handle big, check-cashing bass. Providing access to top-of-the-line features, like Japanese high-spin bearings and 6-way centrifugal braking systm, the ONE3 by 13 Fishing Origin C Casting Reel delivers price-conscious performance that all anglers can appreciate.

Best Reel for $100 Payne Outdoors revo xDelivering the reliability and performance that anglers have come to expect from the REVO name, the Abu Garcia REVO X Gen 4 Casting Reel combines forward-thinking design with tournament-grade dependability. Encased in a lightweight X2 Craftic alloy frame, the Abu Garcia REVO X Gen 4 Casting Reel is built with six stainless steel HPCR (High Performance Corrosion Resistant) bearings plus one roller bearing for long-lasting, smooth rotation.

Consistent brake pressure is delivered by the MagTrax brake system, while the Carbon Matrix hybrid drag system gives the Abu Garcia REVO X Gen 4 Casting Reel the power to handle big fish. Furthering the unmatched legacy of REVO, the Abu Garcia REVO X Gen 4 Casting Reel provides everything that angler’s need for competitive angling.

Best Reel for $100 Payne Outdoors fuego ctSmall on size, but big on performance, the Daiwa Fuego CT Casting Reel packs advanced technology and unbeatable quality into a budget-conscious, compact construction. Built using the same, palm-sized aluminum frame as the Tatula CT, the Daiwa Fuego CT Casting Reel employs Magforce-Z, which combines the best attributes of old-fashioned mechanical braking with today’s magnetic braking technology, resulting in adjustable cast control and outstanding backlash management.

Also equipped with Daiwa’s U.T.D. (Ultimate Tournament Drag) system, the Daiwa Fuego CT Casting Reel delivers super-smooth performance and increased cranking power. Complete with a contoured, swept handle for all-day comfort, the Daiwa Fuego CT Casting Reel combines cutting-edge technology and tournament-caliber quality into a smaller, more controllable package.

Lew’s Speed Spool LFS Series Casting Reels

Best Reel for $100 Payne Outdoors speed spool lfsLighter, Faster, Stronger – the new Lew’s Speed Spool LFS Series Casting Reels feature new tooling and materials that takes Lew’s legendary Speed Spool performance up a notch. The one-piece die-cast aluminum frame is incredibly rigid to keep all parts in perfect alignment, while also remaining incredibly lightweight. Available in 5.6:1, 6.8:1, and 7.5:1 gear ratios, high strength solid brass gearing dishes out serious power and optimal speeds for a wide range of applications.

Delivering complete, easy-to-use cast control as well, the externally-adjustable Magnetic Control System (MCS) allows you to make quick adjustments on the fly for changing weather conditions and different lures. Loaded with the features and performance that are quickly making Lew’s reels a favorite again, the Lew’s Speed Spool LFS Series Casting Reels come in at just below $100 to top it off.

-One-piece die-cast aluminum frame
-Sturdy graphite sideplates
-Easily removable palming graphite sideplate
-Drilled, machine forged and anodized aluminum U spool
-High-strength solid brass gearing
-Premium 10 double shielded stainless steel bearing system
-Zero-reverse one-way stainless steel clutch bearing
-Externally adjustable Magnetic Control System (MCS)
-Anodized aluminum spool tension adjust
-Durable Rulon drag system – 10lb max drag
-Anodized bowed aluminum reel handle with Lew’s cusom SoftTouch paddle handle knobs
-Audible click, bowed, graphite smooth star drag brake system
-Zirconia line guide
-External lube port
-SSG1S features high capacity spool and longer 95MM power crank handle


My Picks for $100 Spinning Reels

Shimano NASCI Spinning Reel

Best Reel for $100 Payne Outdoors speed spool lfsThe Shimano NASCI Spinning Reel is an exciting, new, powerful spinning reel with unparalleled gear durability at its price point. Featuring Shimano’s HGN gearing and X-Ship technology for improved power, functioning and durability, the NASCI also comes equipped with an upgraded drag system. Shimano’s new Coreprotect technology greatly improves water-resistance and corrosion protection as well, while the NASCI’s G Free Body design positions the oscillation gear and the reel’s center of gravity closer to rod, greatly reducing fatigue while fishing. A great choice for everything from light freshwater to medium saltwater applications, the Shimano NASCI Spinning Reel is loaded with features and performance.

-Hagane gearing
-G Free Body
-X Ship
-Thick Bail Wire

Daiwa BG Spinning Reels

Best Reel for $100 Payne Outdoors speed spool lfsThe new Daiwa BG Spinning Reel is loaded with advanced Daiwa features well above its price point. Its lightweight Hard Bodyz frame and side cover form a solid base that keeps all of its inner workings in perfect alignment, and its seven bearing (6+1) system delivers super smooth functioning.  The dynamic cut aluminum ABS spool offers improved casting performance and is also braid-ready. The Digigear gearing provides a smooth transition of power and the water proof drag system offers increased durability and plenty of fish stopping strength. Offering smooth reliable pefromance like only Daiwa can, the Daiwa BG Spinning Reel is available at a very reasonable price.

-Hard Bodyz Body & Side Cover
-Dynamic Cut Aluminum ABS Spool Braided Line Ready Spool
-Digigear System
-Waterproof Drag System
-Carbon ATD
-Machined Aluminum Screw In Handle
-Infinite Anti-Reverse System

Lew’s Mach Crush Speed Spin Spinning Reels

Best Reel for $100 Payne Outdoors Combining next-level design with eye-catching orange accents, the Lew’s Mach Crush Speed Spin Spinning Reels delivers the type of uncompromised performance that anglers need to “crush” the competition. Encased in a lightweight aluminum body and side plates, the Lew’s Mach Crush Speed Spin Spinning Reels are powered by an advanced 11-bearing system with 10-ball bearings and one Zero-Reverse clutch bearing for smooth performance cast-after-cast.

High in-strength, light on weight, the Lew’s Mach Crush Speed Spin Spinning Reel features a C40 Carbon skeletal speed rotor with stainless steel bail wire and a performance-enhancing s-curve oscillation system. A cut-above other reels, the Lew’s Mach Crush Speed Spin Spinning Reels feature an ergonomic aluminum handle with Dri-Tac handle knobs for increased grip.Performance tuned with Lew’s exclusive Speed Lube, the Lew’s Mach Crush Speed Spin Spinning Reels deliver everything anglers need to enhance their favorite finesse techniques.

Okuma RTX Spinning Reels

Best Reel for $100 Payne Outdoors The Okuma RTX Spinning Reel features Okuma’s extremely lightweight C-40X carbon fiber frame, side plate and rotor. The unique long strand carbon fiber composition of Okuma’s C-40X carbon fiber helps reduce the reel’s weight by 25% and still allows it to maintain incredible power and corrosion resistance. Perfect for drop shot and finesse presentations, the RTX dishes out high level tournament caliber performance that anglers like 2011 Forrest Wood Cup winner, Scott Martin, rely on to fish at the highest levels of competition. ALG: Precision AlumiLite alloy gearing and an eight stainless steel bearing system (7+1) also ensure consistently fluid functioning, while the RESII: computer balanced Rotor Equalizing System eliminates all spool wobble. Aggressively priced and aggressively styled, the Okuma RTX Spinning Reel delivers a one-two combo of performance and pricepoint that knocks out the competition.


-Extremely light weight C-40X carbon frame, sideplate and rotor
-Multi-disc, Japanese oiled felt drag system
-Quick-Set anti-reverse roller bearing
-ALG: Precision AlumiLite alloy main gear and oscillating gears
-Machined aluminum, 2-tone anodized spool
-Precision Elliptical Gearing system
-Rigid, forged aluminum handle design with EVA handle knob
-Hydro Block watertight drag seal
-Durable 1-pcs solid aluminum, gun smoke anodized bail wire
-RESII: Computer balanced Rotor Equalizing System
-Backed by a 1-year limited warranty


Pflueger Supreme Spinning Reel

Best Reel for $100 Payne Outdoors The next generation ininnovative design for Pflueger spinning reels, the Pflueger Supreme Spinning Reel delivers features and performance typically found in reels twice the price. One of the lightest reels in its class as well thanks to its advanced Magnesium body and rotor, its nine bearing system delivers consistently fluid casts and retrieves. Its sealed oil felt drag also keeps the elements out for a longer life span and smooth functioning. Its lightweight spool is braid ready to top it off, and despite its Magnesium frame it’s approved for saltwater fishing. An excellent reel for a value conscious price, the Pflueger Supreme Spinning Reel carries on Pflueger’s tradition of durability, reliability and performance.-Magnesium body and rotor
-Carbon inlay drag knob design
-Braid ready spool
-Sealed oil felt drag
-Aluminum handle
-Soft touch handle knobs
-Saltwater ready

*The descriptions of each reel are from the links at Tackle Warehouse which are provided if you click on the name of the reel. 

2 thoughts on “My Picks: $100 Casting and Spinning Reels

  1. Hey Chris,
    If you were picking between the Diawa and the Shimano, any preferences? I can get either for about $70-$75. Have handled the Shimano at Academy, but have not handled the Daiwa. I read a lot of your reviews and trust your opinion so curious what you think. Thanks!

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