Best Baitcasting Reel of 2020 – Complete Reviews with Comparison

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A baitcasting reel is one with a revolving spool that sits on a casting rod and has a trigger handle. It is different from a spinning reel, which sits under the spinning rod, with its line guides facing down.

Baitcasting reels have both left and right-handed variations because the handles cannot be swapped, like with spinning reels. Once you make the cast, you swap the reel to your left hand and crank the handle with your right hand. The left-handed reel works oppositely.

Baitcasting reels are popular with anglers because they are better for casting than regular reels. For example, they include a braking system to reduce backlash, and most have level-wind mechanisms to move the line on the spool as it is reeled in. Therefore, the angler need not worry about guiding the line with their thumb.

Comparison Chart

KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel

Daiwa Tatula Baitcasting Reel

Piscifun Perseus Baitcasting Reel

SHIMANO Tekota Baitcasting Reel

Daiwa LEXA-HD300XS-P Baitcasting Reel

Best Baitcasting Reel Reviews

There are several things to consider when buying baitcasting reels, and they are discussed in the section below.

However, if you’re looking for a reliable reel, checking independent online reviews can help you find the best one. Reviews are often unbiased accounts by people who have used the reels before. They highlight the best and worst aspects of your potential purchase so that you can make informed decisions.

In this article, we highlight five popular baitcasting reels and everything you should know about them before buying. Keep reading for more details.

KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel

KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel is a highly-rated conventional baitcasting reel, best for catching giant catfish, carp, walleye, striper bass, and steelhead/salmon, as well as other inshore saltwater fishes. Its all-metal reinforced body makes it highly durable, and it includes all necessary tools for trophy hunters who want to go after bigger catches.

Product Highlights

This reel includes catchy and thick anodized red side-plates and spool made of high-quality aluminum. The worm shaft is made from precision-machined brass, and other components are made of stainless steel for corrosion protection in saltwater. It includes CNC-machined spool and all-alloy seamless level-wind. All parts are made for high durability and excellent performance.

The carbon fiber drag system is robust and more powerful, thanks to the Cymbal Washer system that can support up to 30 pounds with a smooth drag. Premium, double-shielded MaxiDur ball bearings (6+1 BBs of 40-60 and 4+1 BBs of 70-90) ensure smooth operation.

This conventional bait-caster reel is ideal for bottom fishing, trolling, and other techniques of saltwater and freshwater fishing. This round reel also includes nonslip, oversized EVA grips, easy-access thumb bar spool release, and a line-out clicker alarm to make your fishing expedition smooth and hassle-free.

What to Like About KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel

The audible line-out alarm lets you know when your line is perfect. There’s a sturdy centrifugal braking system that gives constant and equal pressure for each cast.

The thumb-bar release is ergonomically designed for comfort, and the entire reel is made with classic aesthetics and rock-solid construction.

The Rover large line capacity can handle more extended lengths of the monofilament or braided lines required for species targeting or specialized applications. It is affordable, conventional, and ideal for many applications, including inshore and offshore fishing, in both freshwater and saltwater.

What Not to Like About KastKing Rover Round Baitcasting Reel

It may have some loose gears which would make the spool fail to lock down except when the handle has been held correctly. There are occasions when it releases the spool lock on its own, particularly during a hard cast.


  • Fairly reliable under the pressure of larger catches
  • The alarm bait-clicker is loud enough to notify of impending catches
  • Highly-durable all-metal components made from corrosion-free aluminum and stainless steel
  • The oversized T-handle and nonslip EVA grip allows for maximum control


  • May spontaneously release the spool lock during a hard cast
  • The drag may not handle well after several uses

Daiwa Tatula Baitcasting Reel

The Daiwa Tatula Baitcasting Reel is designed to address the performance and durability requirements of the professional angler. It has a rugged gear-train, which is fully supported by a sturdy aluminum frame.

Product Highlights

The level-wind features a hybrid design that combines the durability of a conventional level-wind and the casting performance typical of the Daiwa T-Wing aperture. The frame and gear side plate are made from rugged aluminum, which is sturdy while remaining lightweight.

Ultimate Tournament technology, UTD, supports the carbon fiber drag, and it includes air rotation. The clutch mechanism is corrosion-resistant to make it suitable for inshore and offshore fishing.

The handle is a large, 90-mm swept power-handle that includes cutouts for reduced weight and maximum comfort without compromising on control. The control aspect is also supported by proprietary Magforce Z cast control technology.

The gear ratio is 5.4:1, and the baitcasting reel includes seven ball bearings and roller bearings for ease of handling. Both right-handed and left-handed versions are available and made for more power and high-performance handling.

What to Like About Daiwa Tatula Baitcasting Reel

You’ll enjoy the super smooth feel of quality and precision in this baitcasting reel. The 132 drag max makes it suitable for trophy fishing and catching larger fish.

The smaller frame and lighter weight reels give improved performance compared with other reels. You get a solid-quality reel at a mid-tier price point, which is excellent value for money.

What Not to Like About Daiwa Tatula Baitcasting Reel

While it’s an excellent lightweight reel, some depressed performance is reported a few months after use. Most notably, some noticeable screeching may come when casting shorter casts. Saltwater and corrosion buildup is thought to cause a reduction in efficiency. Be fastidious in your maintenance routine, including lubrication.

There’s a tendency to accidentally click the magnetic brake knob, which might spell disaster if it is accidentally clicked too low. Be careful when using it.


  • The reel casts further and reels smoother than comparable brands
  • Easy to learn and use for amateur anglers
  • Light and comfortable reel with adequate power and strength
  • Smooth drag when reeling a catch, even a big catch


  • The retrieve on a catch may sometimes feel clunky
  • Thumb bar can get stuck when you try to cast

Piscifun Perseus Low-Profile Baitcasting Reel

Piscifun Perseus Low-Profile Baitcasting Reel is an incredibly smooth baitcasting reel, with dial brakes and 18.5-pound carbon fiber drag. The dial brake system includes an external click-dial magnetic braking system and a set of six internal centrifugal brakes that can be disengaged individually as needed. They work together to make casting and reeling effortless and smooth.

Product Highlights

The Perseus has a precision-cut brass gear system and three premium carbon-fiber drag washers to give a powerful 18.5-pound drag system; this is enough to handle reasonably large catches. A dynamic 6-pin centrifugal brake and magnetic braking system offer tournament-ready, on-the-fly adjustments. The 4.33” extended aluminum crank handle allows you the leverage to pull large fish from thick cover when needed.

Gears are made from high-quality and corrosion-resistant materials. They include 5+1 shield stainless ball bearings for extra smoothness in casting. The baitcaster performs well in both freshwater and saltwater.

The gear ratio of 6.3:1 is assembled with reinforced, CNC-machined brass to ensure that the reel is durable with powerful drag capability. You’ll get smooth and powerful retrieve when reeling, whether you’re doing spinnerbaits, swim-jigs, or Texas/Carolina rigging.

The unmatched screwed oil hole within the side plate enables quick and efficient lubrication to ensure maximum performance and an extended lifespan of the reel. Both novice and professional anglers will benefit from this powerful yet easy-to-use baitcasting reel.

What to Like About Piscifun Perseus Low-Profile Baitcasting Reel

The double braking system with six pins that can be engaged or disengaged as needed allows for smoother casting and reeling. A maximum drag of 18.5 pounds makes it ideal for catching relatively large trophy fish.

The reel is made from corrosion-resistant parts, which makes it suitable for use when angling in saltwater. It can handle braided or monofilament lines up to 30 pounds or 120 yards. At only 8 ounces, the reel itself is lightweight without sacrificing performance. It is sturdy, durable, and high-performing, ideal for both pro and novice anglers.

What Not to Like About Piscifun Perseus Low-Profile Baitcasting Reel

The reel can have a little backlash when pulling out larger catches, closer to its 18.5-pound limit. Setting the drag closer to its limit can prevent some backlash on larger catches. The drag may also not tighten as expected on the lower settings; you may need to set it closer to its limit.


  • Has a super-sized drive gear that is larger than comparable reels to give a broader and more stable connection
  • Compact and durable thumb bar with ergonomic design for ease of use
  • Smooth, consistent, and noiseless performance with a double-line winding for more stability and durability
  • Double-braking systems give ultimate control when casting
  • Value for money with great and smooth performance


  • There is some backlash, especially when the drag limit is low
  • The spool tensioner adjustment is difficult

SHIMANO Tekota Line Counter Baitcasting Reel – TEK-300LC

The SHIMANO Tekota Baitcasting Reel – TEK-300LC comes in a range of sizes and line capacities, and it includes some advanced features to make both pro and novice angling easy. The reel is suitable for use in both fresh and salty waters, with rock-solid construction using corrosion-resistant materials. It is known for its strength and durability.

Product Highlights

A stamped aluminum right side-plate and aluminum-braced graphite non-handle side plate protect the reel from corrosion. The spool and rod clamp are also made from aluminum, with sturdy construction. It has a line retrieve of 25 inches per crank, for ease of reeling and casting.

This reel also has a line capacity of 275 yards of a 12-pound test, 220 yards of a 14-pound test, and 185 yards of 16-pound test. Its maximum drag is 12 pounds with 3BB/1RB ball bearings. Its gear ratio is 4.2:1, and it weighs 14.3 ounces, making it easy to carry and handle for more extended fishing expeditions.

The larger-size baitcasting reel has 440 yards of a 12-pound test, 340 yards of a 14-pound test, and 285 yards of 16-pound test. Its maximum drag is 18 pounds with 3BB/1RB ball bearings

What to Like About SHIMANO Tekota Line Counter Baitcasting Reel

This Tekota reel was carefully designed following research, feedback, and actual fishing time on the water. It is engineered for durability, with die-cast aluminum frames, steady power handles, strong, smooth drag, and comfortable Septon grip handles.

The clickers are oversized, and the crossbar is designed to make spool access easier. It is useful with trolling techniques, such as planer boards, wirelines, lead core, divers, and downriggers.

The line counter is specially made for easy usage, with the left-side plate design made to be palmable so that the counter goes between the thumb and forefinger for control and balance. The reset button is easy to reach without being in the way, preventing accidental resetting.

What Not to Like About SHIMANO Tekota Line Counter Baitcasting Reel

The rod clamp assembly doesn’t fit well to the threaded holes found on the lower side of the reel. If this happens to you, you may contact the manufacturers to send a replacement rod clamp assembly.


  • Approved for use in both freshwater and saltwater
  • Made from sturdy and corrosion-resistant precision-machined and anodized aluminum
  • Oversized cast-control knob and Septon handle grips for comfortable handling
    •Ideal for use with braided, monofilament and fluorocarbon lines
  • Stainless steel treated ball bearings to prevent corrosion in high-salinity waters


  • Level-wind may get damaged when bringing in big skirts
  • Clicker may stop working

Daiwa LEXA-HD300XS-P Lexa Type-HD Baitcasting Reel

The Daiwa LEXA-HD300XS-P Baitcasting Reel is built for high performance, with a 300 hyper-speed and 8.1:1 gear ratio, and 6 CRBB/1 RB ball bearings. The maximum drag is 22 pounds, and the line per handle-turn is an incredible 37 inches.

Product Highlights

At just 10.8 ounces, this baitcasting reel is lightweight for secure handling, with extremely high-performance numbers. The line capacity is 240 yards of a 12-pound test, 190 yards of a 14-pound test, and 120 yards of a 20-pound test, and the maximum drag is 22 pounds.

The popular low-profile Lexa 300/400 size reels can now be found in Type-HD, which are ideal for heavy-duty inshore action. They include pinion gears and drives of stainless steel, and six corrosion-resistant ball bearings and 1 RB bearing. Comfortably crank in your tougher adversaries thanks to the customized EVA power handle knobs.

Extra line capacity is provided to help you reel in bigger fish with stronger lines, and it includes a swept handle with weight-reducing cutouts for more comfortable reeling. The handle is 120mm and 100mm long for the 400 and 300 sizes, respectively. Ultimate Tournament carbon drag (UTD) of 13.2 pounds and Magforce Cat Control are included.

What to Like About Daiwa LEXA-HD300XS-P Lexa Type-HD Baitcasting Reel

The long swept handle with weight-reducing cutouts makes for comfortable handling when reeling tougher catches. The side plate on the gear side and frame are made from sturdy, corrosion-resisting aluminum. A dual stopper with infinite anti-reverse makes casting easier.

Daiwa is a trendsetter where baitcasting reels are concerned, having made its first spinning reel in 1955. Since then, innovation, research, and development have made them highly-knowledgeable in this field, and this Daiwa reel is a testament to that.

What Not to Like About Daiwa LEXA-HD300XS-P Lexa Type-HD Baitcasting Reel

Pressing the thumb bar may sometimes not work when trying to engage the clutch; the thumb bar pops back up, and you have to do it again. This is a common problem when the reel is under-lubricated, so be sure to maintain and lubricate as required.


  • A high-performance reel that can cast extremely long lines
  • It can handle larger catches smoothly, no problem at all
  • Quickly casts and reels with no backlash or jumpiness
  • High gear ratio makes it ideal for tougher catches


  • It can be pretty noisy
  • Running in tidewater can be a little messy because of seaweed clutter


If you’re on the market for a baitcasting reel, below are five essential factors to consider when doing your research:

Drag Range

The drag is the adjustment point of a reel, plus the metal drag washers, which are usually separated by felt washers or carbon fiber to ease friction. It is the drag that moderates the force to be put on the line before the spool slips and releases more line.

In general, the drag should be set at 20-30% of the line’s breaking strength. For example, if you’re testing with 20 pounds, the drag should be set at 4-6 pounds. Most reels use star drags, which are awkward to adjust when playing a catch, so ensure your drag is set before casting.

Material Quality

Good baitcasting reels should be made from durable, corrosion-resistant, but lightweight materials. Aluminum, magnesium, carbon composite, and stainless steel are popular options. Be more careful about your choice for a saltwater baitcasting reel. Bearings should also be made from high-grade ceramic or stainless steel.

Gear Ratio

The gear ratio describes the speed of the reel. For example, if a reel has a gear ratio of 5.4:1, it means the spool revolves 5.4 times for one turn of the handle. The higher the gear ratio, the more line you can retrieve with the same effort.

6.4:1 is the most common gear ratio, but anything a little lower or higher will be okay. Specific applications may demand faster or slower gear ratios.

Line Capacity

This is the maximum length of line the spool should have without overloading your reel. The strength of a fishing line is listed in pounds (called the test), and its diameter increases with its strength, i.e., a higher-strength line takes more space on the spool. For example, a reel which supports 160 yards of the 20-pound test will probably hold 80 yards of the 40-pound test, and so on.

Braided line capacity will be higher than monofilament lines, as the former achieves higher tests at smaller diameters. Consider the size of your catches and match the line capacity consequently.


Design affects things like the gear ratio, braking system, and other smaller factors that determine ease of use and quality of the reel. The braking system is especially essential in preventing backlash, and the best reels will have dual braking – centrifugal and magnetic brakes. This allows optimal control of the line throughout the cast.

Value for Money

The price of various models should only come after considering the reel with the best specifications for your brand of fishing. Once done, set your budget and then look for the reel that gives the best specifications at your ideal price point. Don’t be afraid to pay a little more to get durable reels with high-quality features.


How Does a Baitcasting Reel Work?

A baitcasting reel is useful for providing anglers with the most direct connection to the fish. The line comes directly from the spool of the reel and enters the guides of the fishing rod without being twisted as with spinning reels.

It uses a series of gears to multiply the effect of each handle-turn. It includes other features to make the casting and reeling process smoother.

What Are the Best Baitcasting Reel Brands?

Many companies make high-quality, trusted baitcasting reels with excellent reviews. Still, to know which reel is best for you, you must consider the type of fish you’re eyeing, the salinity of water, and the kind of fishing technique. Daiwa, Piscifun, KastKing, and Abu Garcia are known brands that make high-quality baitcasting reels.

Why Are There Different Baitcasting Reel Sizes?

This is because when fishing, you need different-sized reels depending on the fish you will catch. There isn’t a standard sizing formula for all reels within companies; you’ll have to compare specs to understand how the sizes of different brands measure against one another. It’s easier to compare within a single brand than multiple brands.

What Is the Difference Between a Baitcasting Reel and a Spinning Reel?

A spinning reel is perfect for a novice angler and is useful for casting lighter baits. Spinning reels have no drag restrictions, so you can launch far to catch lighter fish. You never have to worry about backlash with spinning reels.

Baitcasting reels enable casting for bigger catches with pinpoint accuracy, but they require a higher level of skill to be able to handle. If your thumb pressure is wrong, you’ll experience a lot of backlash and get your line tangled. Baitcasters can also launch further because the line flows right from the spool instead of twisting in a circular motion like the spinning reel.

What Kind of Line to Use On a Baitcasting Reel?

Braided lines have more test (capacity) on thinner lines than monofilament lines, but monofilament lines are better for beginners as they are easier to cast than braided or fluorocarbon lines. They give more cast control, are cheaper, and are easier to detangle in the event of backlash.

Braided lines are more durable and abrasion-resistant, and are ideal for fishing around heavy covers like trees or rocks. However, they are stiffer and should only be used by experienced anglers.

Fluorocarbon lines are more sensitive and nearly invisible in the water, which is why they are ideal for experienced anglers. They are the most expensive and more challenging to control on a casting reel.


Regardless of the fishing reel that you choose, ensure that you pick the right size for your purposes. To ensure your reel stays usable for long, clean if properly after saltwater fishing by rinsing gently with fresh water.

From time to time, remove the spool and handle for proper cleaning, then lubricate any moving parts. Avoid opening the reel casings and be sure to contact a registered technician for any repairs you need.

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