Finding the best ultralight spinning reel can help you save some carrying weight. They also make it much easier to use if you don’t want to have a heavy build. While the vast majority of ul spinning reels aren’t built to pull in big fish, this list has a wide range of options for everyone.
Whether you’re going to the local lake and doing catch and release or you’re fishing for dinner, you’ll find everything you need below.
Our Top Pick:
Rather than settle for any random ultralight spinning reel that you find, it’s important to do some research. The good news for you is that all of the research has already been done! Sift through your favorite brands, models, features, weights, and more.
When you’re done searching through the best ultralight spinning reels, check out the buyer’s guide at the bottom of the page for more helpful info.
Choosing the Best Ultralight Spinning Reels
1. Okuma Helios Lightweight Spinning Reel
The Okuma Helios Lightweight Spinning Reel is a top-notch option for someone trying to combine durable materials with complete comfort. The handling of this reel is one of the main reasons that it’s on the list. With a padded foam grip on the handle, you can hold it securely without experience aches or slipping.
Okuma makes quite a few fishing reels, but this one is definitely one of their finest products available. Stainless steel makes up the vast majority of the unit, giving it an appealing finish. Steel is incredibly strong, which is exactly what you need when you’re trying to catch fish that are putting up a fight.
The anti-reverse feature on this reel is a solid addition to an already fantastic model. People who are new to fishing or who don’t have good grip strength will love this feature because it prevents the fish from getting away. Many of the gears are made out of aluminum as well, making it even lighter than others.
- Made from aluminum and stainless steel
- Includes an anti-reverse feature
- Comes with a foam padded grip
- Slightly overkill for small fish
2. SHIMANO Sedona Fishing Reel
SHIMANO makes reel systems for all sorts of activities. They even produce cycling gears, which use a similar construction to fishing reels. The very same high-quality technology is used in their SHIMANO Sedona Fishing Reel. This product is definitely one of the best ultralight spinning reels for the money.
With more than enough sizes to choose from, you’ll have no problem finding one that fits you perfectly. It also uses a similar anti-skip smooth reeling system of the previous entry on the list. This saves you tons of money and a headache from unwinding the line every time it tangles or snaps from heavy usage.
Speaking of the line, this reel has a massive spool to help you store much more in it. This allows you to cast a line further away from the boat, increasing your chances of catching fish along the way. Grab the padded handle and reel it in when you get a bite without worrying about skipping or reversing.
- Made by a top-notch brand
- Comes in all sorts of sizes for everyone
- Extra-wide spool to hold more line
- A bit bulkier than most other lightweight reels
- Pricing varies based on the chosen size
3. Pflueger President Spinning Fishing Reel
Much like the previous reel on the list, the Pflueger President Spinning Fishing Reel comes in a wide variety of sizes. If you want to find a matching set for the whole family or your fishing crew, this one is worth looking into. They’re also quite budget-friendly, which could be a bonus if you’re trying to cut costs.
Despite the low price, this spinning fishing reel is rather impressive. It comes we pre-lubricated bearings to keep them from wearing out over time. For people who intend to go fishing often, having lubricated gears and bearings is absolutely essential. It’s also completely sealed to prevent any rust from building up.
Graphite makes up the majority of this reel, giving it a visually appealing finish. Not only does it look good, but graphite also stays cooler than steel, aluminum, and other metals. This means you don’t need to wear gloves on sunny days anymore! It also helps prevent the gears inside from overheating.
- Budget-friendly pricing
- Several sizes for everyone
- Multiple features focused on longevity
- Not a very big spool
- Rather bulky compared to others
4. Shimano Stella FI Spinning Reel – Best for the Budget
For those of you who don’t have a budget, it doesn’t get much better than the SHIMANO Stella FI Spinning Reel. At only 6.3 ounces, you’ll barely notice that any weight is added to the pole at all. It might come with a steep price tag, but Shimano put everything they had into this high-quality, long-lasting spinning reel.
Check this if you searching for the budget-friendly spinning rod!
Starting with the handle, this ergonomic design is second to none. It fits right in the palm of your hand with a rubber grip to prevent it from slipping around. You can choose to have it on the right or the left side with adjustable settings once you receive it. Either way, the fine metal polish looks fantastic!
The gears of this spinning reel are pre-lubricated to keep them from slipping or rusting, and they’re also heat-treated. Sealed off in a metal casing, nothing is going to get to the internals of this unit. It holds more line than you could imagine, so load it up and have a blast using this reel for years to come.
- Weighs in at only 6.3 ounces
- Ergonomic grip and handle
- Smoothest design available
- High price point
5. KastKing Sharky III Fishing Reel
Going back to budget-friendly options, the KastKing Sharky III Fishing Reel is a great family option. If you’re trying to learn how to fish or you want something that’s good for a few trips a year, then this is going to be a solid choice for you. It’s lightweight and it comes in several sizes to accommodate your needs.
The black and red color scheme of this reel is the first thing you’ll notice, but the impressive design doesn’t stop there. It also holds quite a bit of line on the spool, which is good for people who break the line or get tangled up often. The handle is also perfect for holding with your thumb and index finger.
Stainless steel and zinc alloy combine to make a rather durable construction for such a good price. It’s sealed to prevent water from entering the gears, which helps prevent rust and all sorts of other issues. There’s even a brass pinion gear to reduce weight and increase the longevity of the reel.
- Budget-friendly pricing
- Perfect for beginners
- Visually appealing color scheme
- Weighs a couple of ounces higher than others
- Not as durable as top-notch choices
6. Okuma RTX Light Weight Spinning Reel
Another great Okuma reel to compete with the initial addition to the list is the Okuma RTX Light Weight Spinning Reel. This product comes with numerous sizes to choose from, all of which can hold more or less line and deal with more or less force. Make your choice depending on what type of fish you’ll be catching.
Many customers love this product because of how simple the design is. You don’t have to get used to any special features or new additions. It’s a plug-and-play setup, which is ideal for kids, teens, and adults who are learning how to fish. The handle is padded as well to add a great comfort value.
Made out of mostly aluminum, you’ll find this reel to be rather lightweight. In fact, it’s only 8.6 ounces. The smallest option weighs as low as 6.6 ounces, which is almost about as light as you can get in the fishing industry. The narrow design is also a nice touch because it’s easier for people with smaller hands.
- Four sizes to choose from
- Weighs as little as 6.6 ounces
- Narrow design for people with small hands
- Not very many unique features
- Might be too small for people with large hands
7. Daiwa D-Spin Ultralight Spinning Fishing Reel – Best for Beginners
Are you the type of person who only fishes a few times a season? If you don’t take fishing too seriously and you just want something lightweight to make it a bit easier, then you’re in luck. The Daiwa D-Spin Ultralight Spinning Fishing Reel is a comfortable setup that only weighs in at a low 5.9 ounces!
The composite housing of this spinning reel is where you’ll get most of the weight drop-off. It’s made to replace stainless steel and aluminum, saving you from having to lug around something a bit heavier. It’s also fairly compact compared to other ultralight spinning fishing reels. Choose from one of two sizes to narrow down your fit.
The interior design of this reel is crafted to increase smoothness and reduce line tripping. You don’t want to have to cut off a tangled line, which is why this set of internals is so important for beginners. Fishing is far from easy, but this beginner reel makes it much more enjoyable and easier to learn for newbies.
- Weighs an incredibly low 5.9 ounces
- Two different sizes to choose from
- Smooth internals
- Composite body won’t handle drops and damage very well
- Much smaller than the average reel
8. SHIMANO Sahara FI Spinning Reel
Yet another great SHIMANO product to add to the list. The SHIMANO Sahara FI Spinning Reel is the middle-ground for Shimano fishing gear. You won’t have to spend an arm and a leg to get it, and it’ll last you for many years to come. Each and every inch of this reel is crafted for comfort.
Choose from one of three sizes to fit your needs perfectly. Weighing in just under 8 ounces makes this reel one of the lightest choices with a tough output designed to handle up to 7 pounds of drag. Grip the ergonomic padded handle and don’t worry about it skipping thanks to the smooth gears.
Most of Shimano’s gear for fishing is made out of cold-forged processes. These steps are followed to increase the connection between joints and gears, but it also helps to increase the lifespan of the reel. You’ll be able to rely on this product for plenty of years to come under proper care and technique.
- Cold-forged gears for longevity and smoothness
- Few sizes to choose from
- Ergonomic handle that lasts for years
- Uses a few plastic parts
- Intended for small fish
9. Shimano Stradic Spinning Fishing Reel
Last but certainly not least on the list is the Shimano Stradic Spinning Fishing Reel. Shimano has plenty of entries on the list, all of which have their own unique properties that make them serious contenders. If you want one of the best ultralight spinning fishing reels on the market, this choice might be your best bet.
With a staggeringly low weigh up 5.6 ounces, you won’t notice a difference when you attach it to the pole. The lack of weight is thanks to the mixed metal alloys that combine durability with a thin shell for protective purposes. This shell keeps water out of the cracks and away from the internal gears.
The maximum drag of this reel is 20 pounds, much higher than the average ul spinning reel. You can choose other sizes with smaller dragging forces depending on the type of fish you intend to catch. Either way, you’ll get the same industry-leading visual appearance and longevity from Shimano fishing reels.
- Weighs only 5.6 ounces
- Max drag force ranges from 7 pounds to 20 pounds
- Several sizes to choose from
- A bit on the pricier side
- Incredibly fast reeling system might be too much for beginners
How to Choose the Best Ultralight Spinning Reels
Now that you’ve looked through all of the ultralight spinning reels on the list, you’re one step closer to the perfect match. Paired with an ultralight spinning rod, the combination is something that can’t be passed up. However, you need to make sure that you’re getting the right reel for the job. For example, freshwater and saltwater have different necessities, as do different types of fish. If you’re stuck between a few choices or you need further guidance, consult the FAQ section below.
What size fish will you be catching with your ul spinning reel?
Depending on what size fish you’ll be catching, you can help figure out which type of reel you’ll need. For example, small fish can use a reel with a low drag force. This is a great tip to know if you want to save money on the best reel. However, don’t try to cut corners. If you think you might ever fish for bigger catches, you could end up breaking a small reel. Always opt for the biggest lightweight reel with the highest drag force to accommodate for potential trips.
The Shimano reel at number 9 on the list is a solid choice for small fish. It’s well-built to last for years, and you won’t have to worry about tangling the line. On the other hand, the Shimano Sedona at number 3 on the list is perfect for large fish that you could catch. Both options are lightweight with a slight variation in price.
Consider the materials
There are all sorts of materials used in ultralight spinning reels that separate them from the competition. You couldn’t use 100% steel throughout the reel, or it would weigh far too much. On the other hand, using weaker materials like plastic would make it fragile at the cost of losing weight.
The three best materials for lightweight fishing reels are aluminum, stainless steel, and brass internals. Aluminum is known for being durable and super lightweight.
Stainless steel is incredibly durable, but it can add a little bit of extra weight. However, using steel alloys or aluminum internals with a stainless steel shell can reduce the weight dramatically.
Brass is great for the pinion since it lasts for years and brass doesn’t rust very easily. Proper care will help you maintain any reel, regardless of the materials used. Dry off any metal components to ensure overall longevity.
Fishing in Freshwater vs Saltwater
Saltwater is notorious for causing corrosion. Salt naturally removes moisture from surfaces, especially the metal used in all fishing reels. If you plan to go fishing in a saltwater lake or the ocean, you should opt for coated or treated materials. Cold-forged materials like the once used in Shimano products or metals with a unique coating can help prevent corrosion. You should always wipe down your gear after using it in saltwater.
Related: Best Ultralight Spinning Rod Combos
Freshwater doesn’t have any corrosive properties, making any and all materials perfect for the job. That being said, it doesn’t hurt to dry off your gear to prevent rust. Rust leads to corrosion, and it comes from any water! Always keep your gear clean and dry.
Cost and Quality
You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on a new fishing reel if you only fish once or twice a year in a relaxed environment. However, professional fishermen or people who go often might want something of higher quality. Consider the price point and quality when you’re about to go on the next fishing trip.
Shimano always provides consistent quality, so they’re a safe bet if you want a good price-to-quality ratio. That being said, people who don’t need as much could opt for something like the KastKing Sharky III or the Daiwa D-Spin reel. Both of these choices are great for buying in bulk for a family or a set of friends. They don’t cost too much and they’re perfectly fine for multiple trips throughout the fishing season.
All in all, combining each question and answer in this section will lead you to the best ultralight spinning reel for you. While others might need a top-notch elite reel, you might be okay with a budget-friendly choice. On the other hand, people who love the sport should get something that’ll last for years to come, even if it comes at a steep price point.
Still searching a perfect reel? Check below: