We Reveal The 7 Best Freshwater Fishing Reel Brands

There are a bunch of fishing reel companies out there and most of them make a pretty solid product. Some people just want something inexpensive they can toss around but others want the highest quality gear out there. In this post, I’m going to be talking about my 7 favorite fishing reel brands for freshwater fishing.

Here are the best freshwater fishing reel brands:

  1. Shimano.
  2. Penn.
  3. Okuma.
  4. Daiwa.
  5. Cadence.
  6. Redington.
  7. Favorite Fishing.

I tried the best I could to pick companies that are making reels at different price points. I didn’t want to just list high-end reel brands because not everyone wants to spend that much cash. Some of these brands make higher-end reels but they also make some high-quality reels that are inexpensive. This is just my personal opinion and I’m sure I’ve left out some solid fishing companies. Picks 3-7 are in no particular order.

Favorite Fishing

Favorite USA

This is another brand that’s becoming really popular and I like them because they have a good range of different reels. They pretty much cover all price points and they sell spinning and baitcasting rods and reels.

Whether your budget is 50 bucks for a reel or you want to spend over $500 on a full setup, they’ll have you covered. They work with a lot of pro fishermen and I’m going to assume that’s because they make a pretty decent product.

I haven’t tried every single one of their reels but I have tried the Favorite Soleus (baitcasting reel), which is a little over $100. I really don’t have many bad things to say about it and I’m assuming their other products are just as good.

Learn more about Favorite USA here.


redington fishing

If you’re looking for a solid fly fishing reel then this is the brand for you. There are a lot of really good fly fishing companies out there but Redington would have to be my favorite.

I haven’t tried all of their rods and reels but I do really like Redington Behemoth (on Amazon). They pretty much just make fly fishing gear such as rods, reels, waders, and a few pieces of clothing.

Whether you’re a complete beginner and want to spend under 200 bucks on a combo or you’ve been fly fishing for a while and want the highest quality product, they’ll be for you.

Learn more about Redington here.


cadence fishing

Cadence isn’t as well known as some of the other companies but they do make some really solid fishing rods and reels. All of their products are super affordable and are a lot better than other products at the same price point.

They only make spinning and baitcasting reels and the one I’ve tried was the Cadence CS10 spinning reel (on Amazon). It was perfect for what I needed it for and they also have the CS10 casting rod and reel.

Pretty much all of their rods and reels have 4.5 stars on Amazon and it looks like people are really happy with their gear.

Learn more about Cadence here.



Daiwa makes rods and reels that I’ve been using for a number of years now and they build everything from freshwater reels to travel combos and also fly rods and reels. They have some really good inexpensive reels but they do make some higher quality stuff as well.

One of the first rods I got was a lower-end Daiwa spinning combo for like 40 bucks. I don’t remember how long ago that was but I actually still have it and it works great to this day.

Daiwa is a Japanese brand but they make the majority of its products in North America. There is a bunch of pro fishermen who use their products so they must be pretty solid.

Learn more about Daiwa rods here.


okuma fishing

Okuma is another great company that makes some pretty inexpensive rods and reels. They make some really good ultralight trout rods and they also make some solid spinning and trolling reels.

They make other reels too for surf fishing, travel, fly, and baitcasters. I’ve only ever tried the Okuma Ceymar spinning reel (on Amazon) and a few of their trolling reels. The Ceymar is probably my favorite spinning reel unto $50.

I’ve used these reels for smaller fish such as rainbow, kokanee, and crappie and I’ve also used them for bigger fish such as bass and steelhead. They’ve always done the job for me.

Learn more about Okuma here.


penn fishing

If you’re looking for one of the best spinning reels then you might want to consider Penn. They’ve been around for quite a while now and are well known for making some of the best saltwater fishing reels.

That being said, there’s no reason why you can’t use them for freshwater too. Whether you want to spend 50 bucks on a basic reel or you want to spend $700 on something super-advanced, they have the reel for you.

I’ve used a few of their reels over the years but the one I’ve used most often is the Penn Battle 2 spinning reel (on Amazon). It’s reasonably priced and it comes in any size you’d need (1000-8000 series).

Learn more about Penn here.

Shimano (Favorite Overall)

shimano fishing

If I could only pick one fishing reel brand to use for the rest of my life it would have to be Shimano. They make all types of rods and reels (except fly) and they do build rods and lures as well.

Pretty much all of their reels have solid reviews and their customer support and warranty are top-notch. If you ever have an issue with one of their reels they’ll take it back and fix or replace it.

The first-ever baitcaster I got was a Shimano SLX and I still think it’s the best option under $100. The best spinning reel I’ve ever used is the Shimano Stradic Ci4 (on Amazon). It’s tough, smooth as hell, and casts like a dream.

They have options for every type of person as well. If you’re tight on a budget, they have reels under $50. If you want to spend more, they have reels over $500.

Learn more about Shimano here.

Jon Webber

I'm by no means an outdoors or fishing expert, but it's something I've been interested in for over 20 years. I created this site to test out different gear and techniques to see what actually works.

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