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The 8 best Shimano Spinning reels

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Although it was tough to shortlist a few reels from the Shimano brand. Shimano is a well-known fishing gear serving its high-quality products since 1921. Their tough bodies and smooth drag system are the marking features.  To end your day with some proud catches make sure to add one of the best Shimano spinning reels in your tackle box.

If you ask any local or other professional anglers about recommended spinning reels there must be Shimano on that list. Especially when it comes to spinning reels, Shimano is a reliable option. There is a vast range of updated and advanced reels by this brand so it is tricky to pick the suitable one. To make your search easier we have listed some of the best Shimano spinning reels based on their performance.   

The reason why we lised Shimano’s “Spinning Reels”, spinning reels are the best option to make your fishing lines less prone to tackles and make you better tackle wind fishing conditions. So let’s get started with some of my favorite products.

List of the best Shimano Spinning Reels

best Shimano spinning reel overall
Shimano Vanford F Spinning Reel
  • Features: Upgraded version of CI4, Magnumlite Rotor, Micro Module Gear II, Hagane Gear
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Best Saltwater Spinning reel
Shimano Stella Sw C Spinning Reels
  • Features: Hagane Body, Hagane Gear, 13+1 ball bearings, IPX8 Waterproof Body
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best Shimano reel for surf fishing
  • Features: Hagane Body and gears , Long stroke spool management , Silent Drive, 6+1 Bearings
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best Shimano reel for off-shore
Shimano Saragosa SW A Spinning Reel
  • Features: Hagane Body and Gears, 5+1 ball bearings, Titanium Spool Lip, IPX8 Water resistant
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best Shimano Reel for inshore
Shimano Sedona Spinning Reel
  • Features: 3+1 ball bearings , 6.2:1 MX gear ratio, Cold-forged Hagane Gears, G-free body structure
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best long cast spinning reels
  • Features: 6 ball bearings + 1 Roller Bearing, Front Drag, X-Ship Technology, 6.0:1 and 6.2:1 Gear ratios
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best Shimano reel for budget
Shimano Sustain Spinning Reel
  • Features: Hagane Body and gear, 8+1 Shielded Ball Bearings, MagnumLite Rotor, Silent Gear Technology
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best Shimano spinning reel for the money
Shimano NASCI FC
  • Features: 4+1 Ball bearings, G-free body, X-ship technology, 10 years warranty
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The best Shimano Spinning Reels for Various Fishing Types

1- Shimano Vanford F Spinning Reel

best Shimano spinning reel overall

Shimano Vanford F Spinning Reel
  • Upgraded and Advanced version of CI4
  • Magnumlite Rotor
  • Micro Module Gear II
  • Hagane Gear
  • Silent Drive
  • Long Stroke Spool Technology
  • Available in 7 different Sizes
  • Available in 6 different gear ratios

Shimano Vanford is a predecessor of Shimano Stradic CI4+. Each new predecessor and each upgraded version of the Shimano reel always contain more advanced and incredible features than the successor. The same is the case with Vanford.

It is lighter in weight and more durable than Stradic. The best part about Shimano reels is they do upgrade the rigidity but make sure not to increase the weight.

The reason why I am a big fan of Shimano Vanford is its high-end tech features which are the same as in Stella SW. So you can better guess performance and rigidity level.

Its MGL rotor leads to reduced weight and inertia, its Hagane gears raise the level of precision with the power to withstand fishing bruises, abuse, and repeated use.

This reel is popular among its users mainly because of its silky smooth performance, once you are addicted to this level of smoothness of the reel I bet there is no way back for you to jump to another reel.

The Micro Module II also plays its part in running this reel this way incredible. It is the best Shimano spinning reel for inshore and freshwater fishing.

Shimano Vanford has many special features that make it to be loved. Its long-stroke spool technology not only increases the casting distance but also leads to smooth line retrievals.

It’s a perfect pick with a drop-shot fishing rod when rigging drop-shot, or casting flatheads, and will not disappoints you in ice fishing and other finesse techniques. So what do you think? The reel that covers 3 different fishing patterns, isn’t it worth buying?

These premium features indeed lead to lofty price tags, but it is well said that “You get what you paid for”. Otherwise, if you are in search of something bang for the buck, you better jump to Shimano Sedona.

The Vanford is available in 7 different sizes and is good with speed. 6.4:1 is the maximum gear ratio you can get with the size 3000. From big bullies to small fish Vanford is 100% recommended from our side.

If you have an ultra-light spinning rod then go with Shimano Vanford size 500 or 1000. This size is perfect for light rods and lures.

For a more enhanced experience and to keep in view the angler’s comfort, the reel feature a rubber grip on the crank handle.

Overall it is a great reel, it is super light and super smooth with attractive cosmetics, and significant upgrades are done, o is a replacement to Stradic CI4, so it must be perfect in performance and aesthetics.

  • The perfect reel for finesse techniques
  • Lightweight than Shimano Stradic CI4
  • Good for casting long distances
  • Its durability level met the tough fishing conditions
  • Drag word great with large lures
  • You need to expand your budget for this reel
  • No performance issue found with this reel

2- Shimano Stella Sw C Spinning Reels

 best Shimano spinning reel for saltwater

Shimano Stella Sw C Spinning Reels
  • All metal body (Hagane Body)
  • Hagane Gear
  • 13+1 ball bearings
  • IPX8 Waterproof Body
  • Available in 9 different reel sizes
  • 4 gear ratios are available
  • Shimano Heat Sink System
  • Infinity Drive Technology
  • Silent Drive

Stella family reels are one of the proud releases of the Shimano brand. They fully deserve the tag of best spinning reels due to their premium quality components and remarkably smooth casts.

If you are searching for the best saltwater spinning reel, then you should be glad that I am saving you from an endless search and naming Shimano Stella SW C as the perfect giant against saltwater bruises with its X-protect and X- Shield features.

To prove it is the optimal saltwater reel, it has a highly rigid metal construction body, and to save the rotor or other internal operational parts from salt or other particles, the reel comprises IPX8-rated sealing.

It’s a clear indication that you will experience that same smooth drag each time to use it. The reel also has a rubber knob on the handles for a strong grip.

Saltwater reels are normally big bulky giants with the weighted body. Here the Shimano Stella SW C comes to the rescue to save saltwater anglers from fatigue.

The reel has a Hagane body i.e. metal body which not only adds strength but plays its part in reducing the reel’s overall weight as aluminum and magnesium are the main metals used here.

It is available in 9 different sizes to maximize performance with 4 options in gear ratio i.e. 4.4:1, 4.9:1, 5.7:1, and the fastest 6.2:1. Casting with Stella spinning reel, you can confidently fight a big giant Tuna or marlin, this reel just has your back.

Shimano Stella SW C is incredible with its smooth drag power. The major damage to saltwater reels is the melting of drag washers due to friction, as larger fish reel out more line, in the long run, the more stress on the line the more heat is produced, and the results are total reel failure.

To cover this severe failure, Shimano Heat Sink Drag expels the heat out of the spool and protects the drag washers from melting, and also maintains the inner spool temperature. A heat sink Drag system is much required for deep sea fishing to ensure smoothness.

Stella SW C is a true offshore fishing reel and marks its superiority with strength, stability, rigidity, and sealed protection. It has a list of high-tech features x-rigid gear, x-rigid handle, x-protect, x-shield, and x-ship, these too many X-plus infinity drive with silent Drive are all something you rarely find in one spinning reel.

To not leave any room for improvement, Shimano has taken into consideration each nitty gritty detail in Stella’s family. The reel has 13+1 ball bearings to give a winning performance against each fish.

All these best Shimano machining features add a sparkling price tag to this reel but with every turn of the handle, you can visibly feel the difference between this and any other ordinary reel.

  • The best spinning against for saltwater bruises
  • The reel with Shimano’s high-tech features
  • Water Resistant reel body
  • Silky smooth and powerful
  • Drag washers are heat protected
  • Smoothest drag among saltwater spinning reels
  • Perfect spinning reel for serious saltwater anglers
  • Expensive spinning reel


best Shimano reel for surf fishing

Shimano STRADIC FL ,good spinning reel for Surf fishing
  • G free body
  • Hagane Body and gears
  • Long stroke spool management
  • Silent Drive
  • X- Ship Technology
  • Available in 5 different sizes
  • 6.0:1 and 6.2:1 gear ratios available
  • 6+1 Bearings
  • Front Drag

One of my proudly listed products is STRADIC FL among the best Shimano spinning reels. Shimano knows how to make its users happy. That’s why they launched a more enhanced and upgraded version of the famous Shimano Stradic FK.

I am a big fan of Stradic FL. It is available in five different sizes i.e. 1000, 2500, 3000, 4000, and 5000. I have the 4000 size reel and use it for surf fishing with an 8-10 ft. long rod.

If you are wondering what is special about the updated Stradic then it is smoother, lighter in weight, and a lot more sensitive to detect fish strikes. For me, it is the best Shimano spinning reel for surf anglers.

In addition to this, I do recommend this reel to novice anglers if they can extend their budget, then Stradic FL 1000 size is perfect for them.

Stradic FL has all the famous high-technology Shimano features. Starting from Hagane gear and body for strength, rigidity, and frictionless rotations, X-ship technology work best under heavy loads. The irritating sound of reel gears is also removed with Micro Module II gear.

In addition to this, the heightened spools for fishing lines to properly lay onto the spool and prevent tangles and casts longer with plastic worms and spinner baits. If I do a quick comparison then it is better than Shimano Nasci but still can’t compete with Vanford and Stella in durability.

One thing important to mention is that Stradic isn’t fully waterproof, it requires maintenance and regular greasing after every saltwater shift. You may miss the oil service port screw so you have to de-assemble the reel for oiling its gears.

The presence of Anti- Rust bearings manages this water-resistance issue and saves reel gears and internal bearings from rust. Moreover, I also like its flat handle style they offer a strong grip and are easy to hold.

Although Stradic FL doesn’t offer the Vanford or Stella level casting distance and accuracy but it is the same in the drag power. With larger-sized Stradic FL, you can confidently target multiple species, the reel wouldn’t let you down.

  • Versatile Spinning reel suitable for both freshwater and saltwater fishing just pick the size accordingly and adopt different fishing techniques
  • Sensitive Shimano spinning reel
  • Easy to handle
  • Perfectly balanced reel
  • Not fully waterproof
  • It is heavier than Shimano Vanford
  • The anti-reverse switch is removed from the Stradic

4- Shimano Saragosa SW A Spinning Reel

best Shimano reel for off-shore

Shimano Saragosa SW A Saltwater Spinning Reel
  • Hagane Body  
  • Hagane Gears
  • 5+1 ball bearings
  • 6000 to 25000 sizes available
  • Titanium Spool Lip
  • IPX8 Water resistant
  • Cross Carbon Drag
  • X-protect Design

The difference between the classic Saragosa and the upgraded version is Infinity Drive Technology, this makes it a better reel under heavy loads so you can fight the hardest saltwater specie like Sailfish or Tuna.

This Shimano reel also has a Hagane body and gears that give it more power, make it rigid, and will place you in a fair battle against larger-size fish in both land-based and boat fishing.

The reel is both water-repellant and water-resistant. It is safe from saltwater rust, and its IPX8 water resistance repels salt and dust particles entering the internal shaft and rotor to maintain smooth retrievals against the fastest target fish.

This sealing makes this reel long-lasting and durable. Shimano Saragosa is ideal for both freshwater and inshore fishing as its drag capacity, waterproofing, strength, and power are all perfect without any additional weight and performance sacrifice.

Fortunately, Saragosa is great with fast retrievals, so fish in clear water with spinner baits, you can cast in your lure speedily to alert your lure. The reel offers full control over the lure whenever or wherever you cast.

It is impressive to see that the Shimano uses high-end technology gear in each of its reel models. This makes it a strong contestant in line with Stella and Stradic FL. It is available in giant sizes up to 25000 and the fastest speed you can achieve is with a 6.2:1 gear ratio.

The reel also features shielded 5+1 ball bearings. One additional ball bearing is present in the larger size reels like 20000 and 25000. These Saragosa family reels are the best large-size saltwater Shimano spinning reels.

Shimano’s excellent cross-carbon drag system is used throughout the Saragosa lineup, and its high-quality washers deliver remarkable performance, just like the other high-end Shimano reels, especially Stella. They deliver consistent, ultra-smooth performance across their entire range, making them ideal for both light lines and aggressive fights.

The best part about this reel is it is very easy to maintain you can easily unscrew its parts, thoroughly clean them and pack all of them again. Trigger warning to beginners, if you aren’t introduced to the internal exposure of reels then it is recommended to leave it to the practiced one.

  • Well-engineered reel structure
  • Heavy reel and rigid body ideal for serious saltwater anglers
  • Large-sized reel with larger spools
  • The anglers used to ultra-light structure fishing gear might find this reel is heavier other Shimano reels
  • Not fully water proof

5- Shimano Sedona Spinning Reel 

best Shimano Reel for inshore

Shimano Sedona Spinning Reel
  • 3+1 ball bearings  
  • 6.2:1 MX gear ratio
  • Cold-forged Hagane Gears
  • G-free body structure
  • Plastic T-knob and drag knob
  • Front Drag Adjustment
  • Lip spool design
  • Available in 8 different sizes

Shimano makes sure to provide something for everyone. Shimano Sedona is the perfect combination of budget and performance. The brand keeps upgrading its products to cover the features that the previous ones lack.

The upgraded version of Sedona spinning reels is lighter yet durable. It features cold-forged Hagane gears, that are all metal and symbolizes the rigidity and eternally smooth reeling.

Next, it features lighter-weight G-free body construction.  This technology moves the center of gravity closer to the angler’s hand to reduce fatigue and increase casting comfort.

Each of the Sedona components marks its importance in reducing the overall weight of this spinning reel. Its Magnumlite rotor not only offers more control over the reel’s retrievals but also reduces the overall weight by moving the bail return mechanism from the line roller side to the mounting cam side.

The reel is perfect for novice anglers and also for budget-conscious users. Although we don’t claim that it’s the same as the other high-end expensive Shimano reels, but its non-bulky body structure and weight make it the best Shimano spinning reel for both fresh and saltwater fishing.

It is available in 500 to 8000 reel sizes and the maximum gear ratio you can get with this reel is 6.2:1 in 2500, 3000, 4000, and 5000 sizes.  

The Sedona features a front drag adjustment plastic knob and 3+1 ball bearings. The T-knob at the handle end is also plastic material.

In addition to this, it has a smooth cross-carbon drag system. Its spool lip design helps in casting distances and also prevents backslashes and line tangles. Due to this, Sedona performs perfectly with both light and heavy lines to land aggressive fish catch like bass or tuna.

Just shuffle the reel sizes and the reel is all in your favor. The only thing you have to sacrifice is the larger spools with much longer line capacities. But Sedona is a warrior with its rigid body, smooth drag, fine drag adjustments, and smooth running handles, and worth every penny spent on it.

So, is Shimano Sedona a good spinning reel? Yes, of course, the reel with a great drag system, perfect line management, and fatigue-less casts.

  • Budget-friendly Spinning reel
  • Available in a wide range of sizes
  • Offer smooth drag
  • Perfect reel for fluorocarbon fishing lines
  • NO anti-reverse handle
  • 6.2:1 gear ratio is only available in 4 sizes
  • Low spool capacity
  • Its plastic components aren’t reliable

6- Shimano STRADIC FK

best long cast spinning reels

Shimano STRADIC FK best long cast spinning reel
  • 6 ball bearings + 1 Roller Bearing
  • Front Drag
  • X-Ship Technology
  • Propulsion Line Management System
  • 1000, 4000, and 5000 reel size available
  • 6.0:1 and 6.2:1 Gear ratios
  • G-free body
  • Aero Wrap II
  • Built-in Dyna Balance rotor

It’s an upgradation to the classic Stradric. I like that the Shimano keeps on upgrading its product, its products cops with the latest trends and modern fishing styles.

Either its improvement in speed or upgraded rotors Shimano reels mark their position with powerful performance. Stradic FK improved in protection against corrosion. To make the reel last longer, Shimano upgraded its gear sealing.

To make sure the reel’s smoothest operation and prevent line tangles and twisting in windy casts,  its propulsion line management loads and unloads the line with remarkably less friction and tangles. One more advantage of this feature is the achievement of longer casts.

To maintain the out-of-the-box performance associated with Shimano reels, the brand is sure to upgrade the reel’s internal and external features. Stradic FK is not only the best with strength, smoothness, and quietness with Hagane’s body and gears but also beats its successors with its shiny cover body.

Alignment of pinion gear not only transfers more power to the rotor but as the ARB (Anti Rust bearings) are also added to the Stradic FK’s pinion gear, these features make the reel ideal for both freshwater and saltwater fishing, as they are more resistant to corrosion than standard bearings so offer long-lasting smoothness with stability under heavy loads.

This all credit goes to the X-ship technology. Although this model does not comes out in a wide range of sizes, it is only available in three different options i.e. 1000, 4000, and 5000. But it is great with a quick hookset.

You can set the hook whenever you want. Stradic Fk is perfect with speed with gear ratios of 6.0:1 and 6.2:1. The reel weight is maintained by its G-free body features. So no doubt this Shimano reel is the perfect balance of performance and comfort.

The well-engineered fishing reel with a very thought full design not too bulky but still has the potential to land medium to larger-sized fish species. The reel is ideal for anglers who fish all day long in saltwater.

With its Aero Wrap II technology, minimal effort is required for a longer cast. So you better understand that no room for improvement is left in this reel. You can blindly trust the Stradic Family to land your ideal fish on deck.

  • Lightweight saltwater Shimano spinning reel
  • Line clip to attach line easily
  • Easy drag adjustment with large diameter drag
  • Fast retrievals
  • Anti-reverse bearing is removed from the updated version of Stradic Fk
  • Expensive Reel

7- Shimano Sustain FI

best Shimano reel for budget

Shimano Sustain FI spinning reel
  • Hagane Body and gear
  • 8+1 Shielded Ball Bearings
  • MagnumLite Rotor
  • Micro Module II
  • Silent Gear Technology
  • Cross Carbon Drag
  • Available in 4 different sizes
  • 2 gear ratio options available (6.0:1 and 6.2:1)

My favorite thing about the Shimano spinning reels is the versatility in each of its model. Each reel listed here comes in a vast range of sizes and they support both land base or on deck fishing, either its fresh or cruel saltwater, the reels’ bodies are rigid enough to tackle hard fishing conditions.

Shimano Sustain FI is a strong spinning reel added to the list of best Shimano reels. My favorite part about these reels is their speed. With 6.0:1 and 6.2:1 gear ratio, in addition to this 8+1 ball bearings all set to delivers the smoothest casts.

The reel is all aluminum structure, from it’s handle material to it’s bearings, this ideally reduces its weight than its successor. The key features are majorly same as Stella and Vanford. The difference might be the range of sizes as Sustain starts from size 2500 up to 5000 so kind of limited to specific catch sizes.

The same Hagane gears and body for smooth operation, G-free body for detecting more strikes and increases angler’s comfort, fish all day long without any burden to the arms.

The best part about this reel is that it isn’t bulky at all. The reel size is so manageable and doesn’t seem like a giant attached to the rod. Moreover, very little force is required for one crank, just with a regular hand, the reel rotates smoothly.

If you are searching for a durable spinning reel for inshore and freshwater fishing, and on top of all that you have a budget, because premium quality components always come at a price.

Its Magnumlite rotor makes sure that the reel doesn’t lose its strength and durability when reducing the reel’s overall weight it’s all reduce weight, increased sensitivity, and reduced rotational inertia with this reel.

Set quick hook sets right on the time with super stopper II. Corrosion affects your reel performance and mainly targets internal gears and bearings. Micro Module II, Silent drive technologies, and top of all that Shimano’s Hagane gears all deliver, smoother casts, stronger strikes, tough fights, and friction-resistant gear, with visibly reduced annoying rotating sound.

Long stroke spool technology makes sure the line lays properly on the spool and offers longer casts with reduced line tangles. Its 4000-5000 size is ideal for surf anglers. Fish from rocks, inshore, or offshore these two sizes can land big fish fellas.

I really recommend this rod mainly due to its speed and sensitivity for detecting strikes. The price tag is pretty much higher but it’s one time investment for a long period of time.

  • Silent gears with reduced noise
  • Friction resistant gears
  • Smooth casts
  • Fast Hooksets
  • Perfect with the speed of the spool
  • Light in weight
  • Excellent drag power and capacity
  • An expensive reel to add in your freshwater gear collection

8- Shimano NASCI FC Spinning reel

best Shimano spinning reel for the money

Shimano NASCI FC spinning reel
  • 4+1 Ball bearings
  • G-free body
  • X-ship technology
  • Hagane Cold forged gearing
  • Core protect water resistant spool
  • 10 years warranty  
  • Available in 6 different sizes
  • 5.0:1, 5.6:1, and 6.2:1 gear ratio
  • 7, 20, and 24 lbs. Max drag Power (vary with sizes)

As we stated earlier that Shimano produces something for everyone. If you are an entry-level angler and really want to start with-quality reel, then Shimano Nasci FC is the perfect pick for you.

This reel is the perfect balance of performance and budget. We wouldn’t recommend big-budget and bulky reels to novice anglers. Moreover, it’s not always that you need a big bulky reel for saltwater fishing.

To target small to medium-sized saltwater fish plus fishing with lightweight spinning rods for fresh water, we recommend having Shimano Nasci in your arsenal.

The best part about these reels is the presence of many of the same premium quality features as in Saragosa, Vanford, and Stella.

First of all, its G-free body makes it easier for novice anglers to cast with its lightweight structure, no arm fatigue, and plus you can better detect strikes as the center of reel mass is placed closer to the rod.

Mostly low-budget rods aren’t resistant to saltwater corrosion but to our amazement, Nasci is. Its core protectant water resistant feature protects the reel from internal or external damage from saltwater however, it is recommended to apply fishing reel grease on gears and bearings.

Fulfilling all the features of a high-performance fishing reel with smooth and fast retrievals which are visibly noticed under heavy loads as its X-ship technology creates stability and efficiency in extremely tough conditions.

Featuring 4+1 ball bearings and three gear ratio categories i.e. 5.0:1, 5.6:1, 6.2:1. Moreover, at this price range having multiple options in reel sizes is just bang for the buck.

From 500-3000 size for your ultra-light spinning rods and 4000-5000 for your inshore spinning rods setup, Nasci is no doubt the best Shimano spinning reel under $150.  

There is no anti-reverse switch with this reel and its spool isn’t braid-ready. Anyhow, these two features doesn’t affect its performance.

The reel has plenty of drag power with multiple drag settings. Each size varies in max drag power. The highest is 24 lbs. with 4000 and 5000-size spinning reels.

Overall if you are in search of a really reliable spinning reel that performs flawlessly with great drag and smooth retrievals and is dominantly all within budget then Shimano Nasci is an optimal pick for you.

  • Highly affordable Shimano reel
  • Lightweight body structure
  • Smooth drag
  • Besides being low in price, the reel has Shimano’s high technology features
  • No braid-ready spool
  • The Anti-reverse clutch isn’t present in this reel
  • The reel has shielded components rather than sealed so salt particles might found their way to enter rotor, so it is highly recommended to give a freshwater wash

A brief Guide to Shimano Spinning reels

Buying reels of this brand, Shimano uses some special specific words for the product descriptions. For better understanding, you must be familiar with these terms.

Shimano Reel Family

Shimano declares each reel series as a family. They allow a family name to similar group reels. For example, Stradic, Stella, and Twin power are all family names.

Gear Ratio

Shimano has divided its gear ratios into three different levels or categories. It starts from the lowest gear i.e. Power Gear (PG), then the middle option i.e. High gear (HG), and finally the fastest one is XG the extra High Gear. With Shimano reels, the maximum gear ratio you can get is 6.2:1.

Spool Depth

For defining the reel’s spool depth Shimano products’ titles and descriptions might have the letters/codes M, MS, S, or SS. They define these terms as Shallow, Medium Shallow, and Super Shallow.


You may have noticed that after every Shimano reel family name there are some random Alphabets mentioned. E.g. SL, FK, FL, etc. They represent that they belong to the same family but are the predecessors of the previous one. The second-mentioned alphabet represents that it is the upgraded version.

For a good understanding, Stradic has a long tail of model variants in its family i.e. Stradic FA, FB, FC, FD, FE, FF, FG, FJ, FK, FL, and CI4.

Hagane Body

Almost every Shimano spinning reel has this feature. What does actually it do? The main function of the Hagane body feature is to offer strength and rigidity to the reel, especially under heavy loads and stress.

The Hagane body reels are mainly aluminum material which also leads to the reel’s overall weight reduction. These features make reel bodies stronger and long-lasting.

Hagane Gears

In order not to lose the smoothness under heavy loads and fight against aggressive fish these Hagane gears provide unparalleled durability owing to its hardness and ability to resist wear. With a specially developed 3D design, gives you smoothness and performance time and time again.

The teeth of the drive gear are created with no cutting work applied. This guarantees that even after long-term use your reel will run smoothly and powerfully.

Propulsion Line Management

The main hero behind the longer cast with Shimano spinning reels without lines twists and tangles is this line management. This arrangement loads and unloads the line off the spool with less friction and twist. This well-designed spool also features smooth lip-design.

Cross Carbon Drag

The Cross Carbon Drag in Shimano reels allows a wide range if drag settings even with smaller Shimano reels you have enough drag.

G-free body

This feature increases the angler’s comfort as well as the reel’s sensitivity. In this, the center of gravity of the reel is placed closer to the angler’s hand in this way more power is transferred from the crank to the main shaft. This all reduces arm fatigue and helps angler fish all day long.

MGL Rotor

MGL stands for MagnumLite Rotor, this rotor is 25% lighter than standard rotors and required very less force for your reel operations. You have better control over your reel and smoothly start and stop your retrievals.

This all is done by moving the bail return mechanism from the line roller side to the mounting cam side.


There is a certain degree of pride that comes from owning the best gear possible. And with X-ship reel design, you won’t have to worry about taking good care of your reel. Professionally lubricated gears are supported by bearings on both ends, this way gears will not dislocate from their position under loads. X-ship reduces friction and makes it possible to cast longer distances.

ARB bearings

A-RB bearings stand for Anti Rust Bearings. In the reels which aren’t fully waterproof, the salt particles and debris make their way to the rotor and bearings and increase rust exposure.

In order to increase, the level of corrosion resistance ARB bearings is placed in Shimano spinning reels than the stainless steel ones. This makes the majority of Shimano reels perfect for both freshwater and saltwater.

Those who use their reels on regular basis should really look into these features.

Shimano heat Sink Drag

When the line casts out of the spool, the heat and tension are produced with drag force. In order to save drag washers from melting under heat and to maintain their smooth function, the Shimano Heat Sink dissipates the heat out of the reel. This also saves drag washers from freezing when ice fishing. In short, the main function of heat sinkers is to maintain the inner spool temperature for smooth performance.

How we picked the best Shimano Spinning reels

Although we already have listed the recommended Shimano reels along with their features, their good sides, and the room for improvement required. But we think you can better pick a product whether it is of any brand if you are well introduced to its components and you should know what you should consider before buying.

The following are features of good spinning reels:

Gear Ratio

The gear ratio indicates the retrieving speeds of the reels. The clear definition of gear ratio is the number of spool rotations on one crank turn. This value is mentioned with every reel model and is written as 5.7:1, which means that 5.7 times the rotor will rotate around the spool when you turn the handle.

The higher the gear ratio, the faster the reel. If you want to retrieve your lure quickly, use gear ratios of 5:1 or higher. All reels with gear ratios greater than this are classified as fast-spinning.

If you’re not sure about gear ratios, you can easily follow the general rule that higher gear ratios are best for throwing artificial lures and slow-spinning reels are best for live baits when you need more power.

Fast reels with a high gear ratio are better suited for inshore, offshore, and bass fishing. Stella and Vanford Spinning reels are perfect pick for speed along with smoothness.

Drag System

To know which reel wins the race in the of drag, you first should know what the reel’s drag is and what it does. The drag system of spinning reels features center-holed fabric washers which are stacked inside the spool’s center. The drag system is adjusted by tightening and loosening the pressure on these washers. An adjustable clutch is mainly placed on most reels’ front.

It’s a simple rule if you tighten the drag the line is hard to be released while the drag set as loose makes it easier for fish to pull the line. For a perfect setup pick braided fishing lines when you want to fish with loose drag while the monofilament being more stretchy than braided is perfect with a tight drag system.

The drag system of the line must be smooth and consistent to save your line from breakage. The good news is Shimano has one the best drag systems in their reels they are reliable and release the line before its breaking strength. They are also heat protectants as friction produced by drag washers can cause permanent damage to your reel.

The Stella, Vanford and Saragosa family reels are my personal favorite when it comes to drag smoothness.

Line Capacity

The line capacity or spool capacity tells the length of line your reel’s spool can pick. Lines capacities are also mentioned with each reel model, so you can better know the reel.

When targeting bigger-sized fish as these run out more line, so going with a larger spool is recommended. A larger spool means more lines on the spool and vice versa. Using a braided fishing line may allow more line on the spool but smaller-sized reels might not be rigid and tough with the aggressive catch.

For inshore and offshore saltwater fishing, spinning reels larger than 6000 are recommended. As spool size is directly proportional to casting distance.

Reel Weight

No doubt lighter lures are easy to carry and not bulky at all. They are the perfect pick for fresh water and other smaller fish catches but for deep sea fishing, fishing inshore saltwater, and targeting larger-sized you should pick heavy rigid lures.

The weight of the reel is a clear indication of its strength, durability, and its potential to land a fish on the deck. Although lighter reels are good with casting accuracy but aren’t a recommended pick for aggressive big fish.

I must appreciate Shimano at this point, that they offer the perfect balance of weight and rigidity. Shimano reels are relatively lighter than other brand reels.

Our pick for Vanford as the best freshwater spinning reel is mainly due to its lightweight body and components, however, for heavy cover, we do recommend Shimano Stella SW.

Size of the Reel

Shimano produces the most versatile spinning reels as they are present from size 500 up to 25000 sizes. The size of the reel is dependent on the size of your fish, the weight of your line, and your fishing type. Targeting smaller fish the spinning reel of 500-1000 size is perfect. Shimano Stradic FL and Nasci are suitable here.

Targeting smaller to medium-sized fish, 2000-3000 size is perfect for regular fishing without any arm fatigue, Stradic and Sedona performs well here, at last targeting larger fish with heavy lines and lures, you need a heavy reel with rigid body.

Larger fish are mainly saltwater species, so picking 4000 and all the above size is for this fishing type. Stella and Vanford are the showstoppers in this category.

Number and Quality of ball bearings

Ball bearings have a powerful influence on your cast and smooth retrieves as they reduce friction between moving parts of the reel. The greater the number of ball bearings, the smoother the cast is. The best spinning reels have ball bearings greater than 5 in number.

The latest spinning reels comprise mainly two types of ball bearings.

Shielded bearings

As the name suggests these ball bearings are shielded with metal or plastic material. The main purpose of shielding them is to save them from salt and dirt. You have to properly and regularly oil the bearings to save them from corrosion. As saltwater may affect these parts.

Sealed Bearings

Rather than the shield, these bearings are sealed with material like rubber. These sealing not only save bearings from dirt particles but are also waterproof so more protection from salt particles and corrosion. They are the top recommendations for saltwater fishing. All their positive ratings also raise the price tag.

The greater number of ball bearings is a good sign for reel performance. The more ball bearings smoother your reel retrieves. Professional anglers advise that there should be at least 5 ball bearings in a fishing reel and more than this are always top recommended.

Reel Body Material

Shimano makes sure to make rigid reel bodies to prevent failures. Many of its reels feature an Al metal Hagane body and offer incredible performance. Going into the detail of the reel’s body material, Aluminum and graphite are two main materials for body construction.

Aluminum reel bodies are more durable than graphite but heavier in weight. They are available at relatively cheaper rates than graphite ones. Whereas the graphite spinning reels are lighter in weight and more corrosion resistant.

The reel’s durability and weight are also dependent on this factor.

Anti-reverse Switch

The most recent spinning and baitcasting fishing reels have an “anti-reverse switch” that can be turned on and off based on personal preference.

This feature prevents the reel from turning backward; the bail cannot make even the slightest backward movement, which aids in setting strong hook sets and prevents line tangles because the reel is locked to spin in the wrong direction.

In addition to all these points, the type of fishing and your target catch does matter when selecting the best spinning reels.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Final Thoughts

The main reason for listing the best Shimano spinning reels is their advanced tech and well-constructed products. Shimano products feature the perfect balance of legacy and advanced culture.

From saltwater to freshwater fishing, there are all possible options for everyone both performance vise and budget-wise. We have tried to cover the best options from the different Shimano reel families.

Either you pick the 3000-size spinning reel for freshwater or a 6000-size saltwater spinning reel, the listed reels wouldn’t let you down.