Best Fly Reels Under $100 – 2021 Buyer’s Guide

| Last Updated February 11, 2022

When looking for fishing equipment, many tend to give less importance to the reel, as compared to the fishing rod.

However, the reel is just as important as the rod and, in fact, should complement it. Otherwise, you will end up running into more problems. So how does one choose the best reel?

Well, if that is what you are worried about, you have come to the right place! This buyer’s guide will tell you all you need to know about the best fly reels under $100. 

Comparison of the Best Fly Reels Under $100

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Smooth drag system with multidisk
  • Material: 6061-T6 Aluminum alloy
  • Weight: 0.29 lbs
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  • Ergonomic design for improved comfort
  • Material: Die-cast
  • Weight: 0.3 lbs
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  • Best for the Money
  • Material: 6061 Aluminum
  • Weight: 0.35 lbs
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  • Composite spool design that's easy to use
  • Material: Composite polymer
  • Weight: 0.4 lbs
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  • Gear ratio of 1:1
  • Material: 6061-T6 Aluminum alloy
  • Weight: 0.33 lbs
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Can You Find a Quality Fly Reel For Less Than $100?  

It is possible to find a quality fly reel for less than $100. However, one should not just look at the price when investing in fishing equipment. What really matters are the features and the quality of the reel at a certain price point. If a reel is offering a great set of features and good quality at a lower price point, then yes, it can be counted as cheap or affordable. On the contrary, if a reel has nothing to offer but a low price point, then you are better off not investing in it. Remember to always consider the price vs. quality trade-off when you are out to buy a reel. 

What to Look For When Buying a Fly Reel

It is much easier to find what you are looking for when you already know its specifications. That is why we have included this section into the buyer’s guide. This will help you identify some characteristics to look for when shopping for a fly reel

Arbor

The arbor is the cylinder at the center of the reel. It is the part that the fly reel is wound around. Arbors can come in different sizes, and choosing the perfect size will depend on what and where you are fishing. For beginners and those who enjoy fishing for trout, a smaller arbor is recommended. However, if one is fishing in saltwater or warm water, then a larger arbor would be better suited. 

Weight and Size

This is yet another important characteristic to look out for. Make sure that the reel you are choosing is not unnecessarily bulky or heavy or vice versa. The best way to check is to compare it with your fishing rod. Match the reel size with your rod, and you will be good to go. 

Drag

We cannot forget the drag, especially when talking about fly fishing. What the drag does is that it provides braking power to prevent your catch from running away. It ensures that the entire line is not used up. 

Key Terms to Know

To help compare products in this review, we have included a few key specifications for each. Here is a quick summary of what they mean.

  • Materials: The materials the reel is made of.

  • Weight: The actual weight of the reel.

  • Hand Orientation: Which dominant hand the reel is made for.

  • Bearing Type and Material: The number or type of bearings inside the reel and also the bearing material.
     
  • Gear Ratio: This tells you the number of times the reel spool turns with each crank of the handle.

Review of the Best Fly Reels Under $100

In this section, we will review our top picks for the best fly reel under $100. Each reel will be reviewed in detail so that nothing is left out, and you can get a complete picture of what the reel has to offer. Let’s get right to it! 

Best Overall:
Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel

Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel with CNC-machined Aluminum Alloy Body and Spool, Light Weight and Corrosion Resistance Design 3/4 Gunmetal

PROS

  • Drag system is protected from corrosion and is smooth
  • Reel is cold-forged, therefore, it is very tough and sturdy
  • Made from the highest quality materials to ensure longevity
  • Anodized surface ensures protection of the unit from harsh weather conditions
  • Generally it is easier to handle and lightweight when compared to other models

CONS

  • The adjustment dial for the drag can take a little getting used to before you can set it to the perfect setting

What Recent Buyers Report

The buyers can confirm that this reel wins at the price vs. quality trade-off. Not only does it look like a high-end fly fishing reel, but it performs very well too. Most buyers can agree that this reel offers great value.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Piscifun has made this reel in such a way that it is just impossible to ignore. At its price point, it is a great reel in terms of the build, as well as, the features. The reel is cold-forged, which ensures that it is strong. Moreover, it uses 6061-T6 aluminum, so it is lightweight as well.

Who Will Use This Most

Considering the specifications for this reel, it will be great to use for beginners and more experienced anglers alike. It has a good drag system that can help beginners get used to fly fishing. Apart from that, it is very well made in general, so it is a good reel to use for all anglers.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this unit by Piscifun is a great option to consider for anyone looking for a fly reel under $100. It has all the features that really matter, and it is nice to look at too!

Product Specs

Material:

6061-T6 Aluminum alloy

Weight:

0.29 lbs

Hand Orientation:

Ambidextrous

Bearing Type and Material:

One-way clutch stainless steel

Runner-up:
Redington ZERO Fly Reel

Redington Zero Fly Fishing Reel, Lightweight Design for Trout, Clicker Drag System, Black, 4/5

PROS

  • Comes in different colors and has an aesthetically pleasing look
  • Design of the reel is simple, without any unnecessary complications
  • Despite the light weight, it is durable and can withstand wear and tear
  • Unit is extremely lightweight, almost feels like there is nothing attached
  • Rubber grip on the handle makes it easier to hold on to, especially when the catch is big

CONS

  • The drag settings are fixed and cannot be adjusted, therefore it may take some time to get used to them

What Recent Buyers Report

According to the reviews for this product, buyers find this reel to be very useful. It is lightweight, which is one of the features that is repeatedly praised by the buyers. In addition to that, the overall performance of the reel has also been positively reviewed.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Even though this reel has a minimalistic design, it works very well. The simple design is one of our favorite elements of this model. It is quite efficient and looks great when attached to the fishing rod. Apart from that, the materials used for construction are high-quality and sturdy, as well as, durable.

Who Will Use This Most

Anglers looking for an easy to use reel will definitely like this reel as it is very straightforward. In comparison to absolute beginners, those with a bit more experience would be able to use this better. That is because the drag system is not adjustable, and beginners may struggle with that.

Bottom Line

Though it may not look like it can do a lot at first glance, this reel is actually very capable. It can be used in different circumstances and is built to last with its tough construction.

Product Specs

Material:

Die-cast

Weight:

0.3 lbs

Hand Orientation:

Ambidextrous

Best for the Money:
Orvis Clearwater Large Arbor II

Orvis Clearwater Large Arbor, II

PROS

  • Does not weigh a lot and is easy to handle
  • Not a lot of maintenance is needed for this unit
  • Made with 6061 aluminum, therefore, the reel is sturdy
  • Can be used for both right hand and left-hand operation
  • Has the looks of a high-end reel even though it is not as expensive

CONS

  • Although it is categorized as lightweight, it is a bit heavier than the competition

What Recent Buyers Report

This reel has accumulated a lot of positive reviews. In fact, it is really difficult to find any reviews that criticize this model. The performance and the general build of this reel are the elements that have been praised a lot in the reviews.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This unit is made from high-quality 6061 aluminum, which is strong yet lightweight. Not only is it sturdy, it is durable as well. In addition to that, the design of the reel is also very top-notch. It is free from all needless extravagancies. Lastly, it is easy to handle as well.

Who Will Use This Most

Those on a budget will definitely find this reel very useful. It incorporates a lot of different features that are useful for fly fishing at an affordable price. Moreover, it is easy to use, so it can also be used by people who do not have a lot of experience.

Bottom Line

This reel will be especially useful for those who enjoy saltwater or warm water fishing. It has a great build and is made from high-quality material.

Product Specs

Material:

6061 Aluminum

Weight:

0.35 lbs

Hand Orientation:

Ambidextrous

4. REDINGTON Crosswater Fly Reel

Redington Crosswater Reel, Durable Fly Fishing Reel, Left and Right Hand Retrieve, 4/5/6, Black

PROS

  • Comes along with a one-year warranty
  • Durable and can withstand wear and tear
  • Large arbor which provides a quick and efficient retrieve
  • Can be used by both left-handed and right-handed people
  • Design of the reel is quite simple and changing the spool is easy as well

CONS

  • The gap between the spool and the frame can be a bit of a problem for some users

What Recent Buyers Report

A majority of the reviews for this reel are positive. It checks out in a lot of areas, for example, durability and toughness. Apart from that, it has also been praised for its affordability as it offers multiple features at a feasible price.

Why it Stands Out to Us

All things considered, this is a very useful reel to invest in. It has a very simple and minimalistic design. There are no complications related to the design, and even the spool changing process is really easy. Besides that, it is lightweight and durable too.

Who Will Use This Most

This reel can be used by anyone as it is easy to control. The light weight of this unit means that it can be used on a number of rods without any problem. Hobbyists and beginners will also benefit from this reel as it is easy to control.

Bottom Line

All in all, the REDINGTON Crosswater Fly Reel is a good investment for those looking for a fly reel under $100. It is well built and has a nice design. It does well in terms of performance and is lightweight too.

Product Specs

Material:

Composite polymer

Weight:

0.4 lbs

Hand Orientation:

Ambidextrous

5. Sougayilang Fly Fishing Reel

Fly Fishing Reel Large Arbor 2+1 BB with CNC-machined Aluminum Alloy Body and Spool in Fly Reel Sizes 5/6

PROS

  • Arbor of the reel is large for a quick retrieve
  • Constructed with CNC machined 6061-T6 aluminum alloy
  • Multi-species reel that is suited for many freshwater fish
  • Alloy material makes it durable, as well as, corrosion resistant
  • Anodized surface keeps the surface from getting damaged due to weather conditions or other factors

CONS

  • There have been reports regarding the quality control for this reel

What Recent Buyers Report

The reviews for this reel are mainly positive. Everything from the price point to the other specifications has been mentioned in various reviews. Apart from that, the customer service of the company has also been praised as they are helpful and very responsive.

Why it Stands Out to Us

In terms of affordability, this is one of the best reels out there. It is cold forged which guarantees its sturdiness. In addition to that, it has an anodized finish, which protects it from corrosion and damage caused by weather conditions. All of this contributes to its durability and longevity.

Who Will Use This Most

This is a reel that can be used by any angler, be it a beginner or one with more experience. It is generally easy to use, and the settings for drag are adjustable as well. In terms of arbor size, it is a bit large, and that helps to get a faster retrieve.

Bottom Line

There is no doubt that this is a great unit to invest in. It is inexpensive, and the quality of the materials used is very high, despite its price point. Apart from that, the overall look of the reel is great as well.

Product Specs

Material:

6061-T6 Aluminum alloy

Weight:

0.33 lbs

Hand Orientation:

Ambidextrous

Bearing Type and Material:

One-way roller aluminum

Types of Fly Reels

To finish things up, let’s take a look at the different types of fly reels. This section will talk about the three main types of fly reels. We will also find out what each type of reel is best suited for. So, let’s get right to it!

Single Action Reel

This is the traditional type of fly reel. It can be easily distinguished by the reel spool. If the spool only makes one revolution for each turn of the reel handle, then it is a single-action reel. These are lighter than the other types, and most have interchangeable spools.

Automatic Reel

As the name suggests, this reel does not need a lot of effort to operate. It works with a spring tension device that retrieves the line automatically. The function can be activated with the help of a lever. It is perhaps the quickest type of fly reel.

Multiplying Reel

The spool of this type of reel will turn multiple times for one complete revolution of the reel handle. The turns will depend on the gear ratio of the reel. These reels are very sturdy, heavy-duty models and are quicker than the single-action reels.

Conclusion

This is all we have for this buyer’s guide for the best fly reels under $100. Although fly reels may not be regarded as important, they can really help you in the moment of truth. There are different types of reels, and each reel has different specifications as well. If you want to make a favorable investment, just make sure to focus on the qualities instead of only focusing on the price point!

People Also Ask

This is a section we have included especially for our readers. The questions have been carefully picked from many others as they are the most frequently asked and are relevant to the topic at hand. Let’s take a look at what people ask:

Can Fly Reels Get Wet?

Yes, it can get wet. However, to maintain the optimum condition of your reel, make sure that your reel is anodized or at least corrosion-resistant. 

Why Do Fly Reels Click?

The click lets you know that the fish has taken line. The sound is produced by the ratchet and pawl type mechanism that reels use as drag. 

What Side Should a Fly Reel Be On?

Typically, they are placed on the left, however, some reels are made in such a way that they can be utilized on both sides. The placement can be changed easily. 

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My name is Jeff and I have been hunting and fishing for over 40 years. I am an avid archery lover, bass fisherman, and all-around outdoorsman. Currently, I'm obsessed with elk hunting but I'm sure I'll move onto a different favorite soon. You gotta love hunting for that reason :) If you have any questions, or just want chat about your latest hunting score or big catch, you can reach me at admin@biggamelogic.com. Read more about Big Game Logic.