Best Baitcasting Reels under $100 (2024 Buyers Guide)

Kenneth Reaves

Kenneth Reeves

Executive Director

Daniel ONeil

Daniel O'Neill

Head of Product Testing


Last updated:

Embarking on the journey through the expansive realm of baitcasting reels under $100 can be as intricate as enticing a crafty trout to bite. Fear not, fellow anglers, for I have delved into this vast sea, conducting an exhaustive exploration of the market coupled with hands-on trials, to bring forth the crème de la crème. Among the battle-tested contenders, the Abu Garcia Pro Max stands out as a victorious warrior, showcasing its resilience in the pursuit of affordability without compromising on performance.

Join me in this unveiling of champions, where I dissect their strengths and scrutinize potential drawbacks, all with the aim of guiding you toward the perfect, budget-friendly baitcasting reel. In this odyssey through the affordable yet high-performing options, let’s navigate together and ensure you make an informed choice for your angling pursuits.

Best Baitcasting Reel Under 100 – Our Top Picks

What We Look For: Essential Factors To Consider

  • Performance and Smooth Casting: Evaluate the reel’s performance, considering factors like smoothness in casting, drag system efficiency, and overall responsiveness.
  • Durability and Build Quality: Assess the materials used in construction, focusing on features such as corrosion-resistant components and sturdy frame design for long-lasting durability.
  • Braking System Technology: Examine the braking system, such as the MagTrax system in the Abu Garcia, to ensure it provides effective control over the casting process and minimizes backlash.
  • Gear Ratio: Consider the gear ratio, like the 7.1:1 in the Abu Garcia, to match your fishing style and target species, ensuring it aligns with your preferred retrieval speed.
  • Handle Design and Comfort: Look into the handle design and material, prioritizing features like high-density EVA handles, which contribute to comfort during extended fishing sessions.
  • Brand Reputation: Consider the reputation of the manufacturer, such as Abu Garcia, known for producing quality fishing gear, to ensure reliability and trustworthiness in your purchase.

Our Recommendations In 2024


Editor’s Choice: Abu Garcia Max X

Abu Garcia Max X Low Profile Baitcast Fishing Reel

The Abu Garcia Max X Low Profile Baitcast Fishing Reel stands out as the best overall pick under $100, combining smooth operation, precise casting with the MagTrax brake system, and a durable one-piece graphite frame. Its stellar performance, budget-friendly price, and positive user reviews make it an exceptional choice for anglers seeking top-notch quality without breaking the bank.

“The Abu Garcia Max X Baitcast Reel proved to be the epitome of affordable excellence. Its smooth operation, precise control with the MagTrax brake system, and durable construction make it an unbeatable choice under $100, earning its well-deserved place as our top pick for anglers seeking both value and performance.”

– Kenneth Reaves, Editor-in-Chief & Executive Director

The Abu Garcia Max X Baitcast Reel, produced by Pure Fishing, stands out as the Best Overall Pick for a baitcasting reel under $100. Its exceptional combination of features, performance, and affordability make it a top choice for anglers seeking reliable equipment without breaking the bank.

The Max X is a testament to Abu Garcia’s commitment to providing top-notch gear at an accessible price point. It’s an excellent entry point for anglers looking to venture into the world of baitcasting without a substantial financial commitment.

Featuring 4 stainless steel ball bearings, the reel ensures a consistently smooth operation. This contributes to a seamless casting and retrieving experience, vital for anglers who value precision in their fishing endeavors.

One of the standout features is the MagTrax brake system, offering anglers precise control over their casts. This technology is especially beneficial when dealing with different lure weights and fishing conditions, allowing for versatile and accurate performance.

Built with a one-piece graphite frame and side plates, the Max X is both lightweight and durable. This robust construction ensures the reel can handle the challenges of various fishing environments while maintaining its performance over time.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced angler, the Max X caters to a wide range of users. Its ergonomic design, including a compact bent handle and a clear tip for added strength and sensitivity, ensures a comfortable and versatile fishing experience.

Having personally tested and used the Abu Garcia Max X, I find it to be an exceptional reel that exceeds expectations in its price range. Its smooth performance, coupled with the MagTrax brake system, makes it a standout choice for both beginners and seasoned anglers.

In conclusion, the Abu Garcia Max X Baitcast Reel earns its position as the Best Overall Pick for a baitcasting reel under $100. It strikes a perfect balance between affordability and performance, providing anglers with a reliable tool for their fishing adventures. Whether you’re casting for bass, targeting trout, or exploring various freshwater scenarios, the Max X is a trustworthy companion that delivers exceptional value. Choose the Abu Garcia Max X for a fishing experience that combines affordability with uncompromising performance on the water.


Shimano SLX 150


The SHIMANO SLX 150 stands out as an outstanding baitcasting reel, offering a winning combination of sleek design, robust construction, and versatile gear ratios. Its precision engineering and compact profile make it a top-tier choice for anglers craving a reel that effortlessly blends finesse and strength.

“The SHIMANO SLX 150 secured its place in our recommendations with an exceptional fusion of speed and durability. As an angler who values precision and power, I can confidently affirm that this baitcaster’s turbocharged performance is a game-changer for those seeking an edge in their casting experience.”

– Kenneth Reaves, Editor-in-Chief & Executive Director

The SHIMANO SLX 150 is not your average baitcaster; it’s a high-speed powerhouse engineered for performance. During our hands-on testing, the reel lived up to its reputation, delivering remarkable speed and precision.

The reel’s compact design, 22% smaller than its counterparts, defies its robust power. The matte black finish with striking blue accents adds a touch of elegance to its sleek appearance.

This reel is a game-changer for those seeking speed without compromising on durability. As an avid angler, I appreciate the smoothness of each cast and the HAGANE body’s resilience. It’s a top-tier choice for anglers who demand speed, power, and precision.

The SHIMANO SLX 150 stands as the epitome of high-speed baitcasting excellence. While it may require a brief adjustment period, the turbocharged performance and sturdy build make it a stellar choice for anglers looking to elevate their casting game. If you’re ready to embrace the thrill of speed, this powerhouse won’t disappoint.

The Pflueger President XT stands out as a top-tier choice for anglers seeking a high-performance yet budget-friendly option. Boasting a smooth 9-ball bearing system, a robust 17lb drag, and a modern design, it offers a compelling blend of functionality and affordability.

“The Pflueger President XT earned its spot in our recommendations for its exceptional blend of affordability and performance. Through rigorous testing, our team found it to be a reliable and versatile choice, delivering smooth operation, impressive drag strength, and a sleek design that surpasses expectations in its price range.”

– Kenneth Reaves, Editor-in-Chief & Executive Director

The Pflueger President XT Low Profile Baitcast Reel stands out as a stellar option for those seeking a reliable and durable spinning reel without breaking the bank. Boasting a 7.3:1 gear ratio and a recover rate of 31″ per crank, this reel combines power and speed for an efficient fishing experience. The aluminum spool, stainless steel handle, and soft-touch rubber cork knobs enhance both functionality and comfort.

The Pflueger President XT offers a blend of affordability and performance rarely found in its price range. I personally tested this reel in various conditions, from bass fishing in heavy cover to trolling for walleye, and it consistently exceeded expectations. The sleek design, smooth operation, and impressive drag make it a solid choice for anglers seeking reliable performance without a hefty price tag.

In the realm of spinning reels under $100, the Pflueger President XT proves to be a hidden gem. Its robust build, smooth functionality, and thoughtful design features make it a valuable addition to any angler’s arsenal. Whether you’re a seasoned enthusiast or a beginner looking for quality at an affordable price, the President XT is a reel worth considering for its all-around stellar performance.

The Lew’s Speed Spool LFS Baitcast Reel stands out as an affordable yet high-performing choice for anglers, featuring a durable design with solid brass Speed Gears and a P2 Super Pinion gear for enhanced functionality. With a 7.5:1 Gear Ratio, Speed Lube, and a 10 Bearing System, this reel offers smooth operation and reliability, making it a standout option in the under $100 category.

“The Lew’s Speed Spool LFS earns its place in our recommendations through rigorous testing and a resounding verdict from our angler-focused team. Its exceptional durability, smooth performance, and affordability make it a top-tier choice for any angler seeking a reliable baitcasting reel without breaking the bank.”

– Kenneth Reaves, Editor-in-Chief & Executive Director

With a 7.5:1 Gear Ratio, the Lew’s Speed Spool LFS offers an ideal balance between speed and power. The Speed Lube ensures consistent smoothness, making it suitable for various weather conditions. Whether you’re flipping, pitching, or making long casts, this reel handles the job with finesse.

Positive user reviews consistently highlight the reel’s durability and smooth performance. Anglers appreciate its versatility, making it suitable for different fishing techniques. Some mentioned its effectiveness in heavy fishing, proving its mettle against hard-pulling species.

Having tested the Lew’s Speed Spool LFS extensively, I can confidently recommend it as the most durable pick for a baitcasting reel under $100. The construction, gear quality, and overall performance align with the needs of anglers who demand resilience from their gear.

For anglers seeking a durable, high-performance baitcasting reel without breaking the bank, the Lew’s Speed Spool LFS is a standout choice. While improvements in packaging and user guidance could elevate the overall experience, the reel’s durability and functionality make it a reliable companion for both novice and seasoned anglers alike. Cast after cast, the Lew’s Speed Spool LFS proves that affordability doesn’t have to compromise durability.

The AbuGarcia Max4Pro stands out as an exceptional baitcasting option under $100, delivering a lightweight design, smooth casting, and efficient braking system. Its durability and performance, backed by positive user reviews, make it a top pick for anglers seeking reliable gear on a budget.

“The Abu Garcia Max4Pro earned its spot due to its impressive performance during rigorous testing. Its lightweight design, smooth operation, and reliable braking system make it a standout choice for anglers seeking a quality baitcasting reel without breaking the bank.”

– Kenneth Reaves, Editor-in-Chief & Executive Director

The Abu Garcia Max4Pro impresses with its machined double-anodized aluminum spool, high-density EVA handles, and a MagTrax brake system. The Clear Tip design enhances responsiveness and strength, while the reel’s one-piece graphite frame ensures durability.

For anglers seeking an entry-level baitcasting reel that won’t break the bank, the Abu Garcia Max4Pro is a solid choice. It strikes a balance between performance and affordability, making it ideal for those looking to step into the world of baitcasting without a hefty investment.

Having tested the Abu Garcia Max4Pro extensively, it stands out as a reliable companion for both beginners and budget-conscious anglers. While lacking some advanced features of premium reels, its smooth drag, effective braking, and sturdy build make it a commendable choice in the under $100 category. Whether you’re targeting bass or exploring new techniques, the Pro Max delivers a satisfying angling experience without burning a hole in your pocket.

Questions & Answers

  1. What features make a good affordable baitcasting reel?

    Prioritize a smooth drag and quality ball bearings for smooth casting. Magnetic or centrifugal brakes help control backlash. Gear ratio impacts retrieve speed. And good gears and frame construction add durability without adding cost.

  2. Should I start with a mono, braided, or fluorocarbon line?

    Monofilament is the easiest line for beginning baitcaster users. It’s lower cost, has some stretch to forgive mistakes, and is easy to untangle. Braid and fluoro work for more advanced anglers.

  3. What rod should I pair with an affordable baitcasting reel?

    Match the rod power and action to your target species and techniques. But make sure to balance the weight and line capacity of the reel to the rod. Similar quality rods and reels perform optimally together.

  4. How do I set up and tune a bait caster?

    Check the manual for specifics. In general, set the spool tension tight enough to hold a lure when free-falling while keeping it easy to cast. Then adjust the brakes to control backlash during casting without limiting distance.

  5. What bearing count should I look for in an affordable reel?

    More ball bearings add smoothness but aren’t everything. Even 4-5 quality stainless steel bearings produce smooth cranking. Focus on shielded or double-shielded rather than just high numbers.


In the pursuit of the ultimate baitcasting reel under $100, the Abu Garcia Max X has unequivocally risen as the undisputed champion. Through meticulous reviews and hands-on assessments, its performance, characterized by a flawless drag system, lightweight design, and commendable durability, distinguishes it from its competitors. Whether you consider yourself a seasoned angler or a weekend warrior, the Max X consistently delivers excellence without putting a strain on your budget.

In the realm where affordability intersects with top-tier functionality, Abu Garcia’s Max X reigns supreme, serving as the epitome of value in the baitcasting reel arena. It stands as a testament to the brand’s commitment to providing anglers with a reliable and high-performing option, demonstrating that excellence need not come with a hefty price tag.