Best Crappie Spinning Reels – 2021 Top Picks Reviewed

| Last Updated June 12, 2021

Along with being one of the most flavorful freshwater panfish, crappie fish are super popular catches among many anglers because of their diverse diets, which make them a simple catch.

If crappie is your desired catch, it’s a good idea to go for gear that will give you the best chance at success. This article will seek to inform you on the best crappie spinning reels currently on the market.

Comparison Chart of the Best Crappie Spinning Reels

  • Best overall pick
  • Super lightweight
  • Comes in several different sizes
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  • Durable
  • Great gear ratio
  • Versatile, saltwater ready
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  • Super stylish
  • High-tech drag system
  • Best pick for the money
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  • Very smooth casting
  • Graphite construction
  • Powerful drag system
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  • Easy to use
  • Simple and Strong
  • Specified to crappies
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Are Spinning Reels Good for Crappies?

Spinning reels are a great choice for crappies for several different reasons:

Simple to Use 

Crappie fish are not a particularly hard catch, so there’s no need to master a complicated baitcaster.

Spinning reels require only a few simple motions to achieve fishing success.


Many spinning reels tend to be much lighter than other standard reels because of their open design.

Crappie does not require a lot of power, as they’re smaller fish, so it’s beneficial to have a lightweight piece of equipment that is easy on the hands and wrists


Spinning reels are one of the most popular reel designs on the market for a reason: they work really well. If you want a good chance at catching crappie, look no further than the spinning reel.

What Makes a Great Buy? 

There are several qualities that can make or break a fishing reel. When you're searching for a spinning reel specifically for crappie, search for a product with some of the following characteristics:

Great Drag System

Like any other reel, it’s fairly important to have a quality drag system. If you opt for a cheaper reel, you may be left with a drag system that is sticky and jerky, which can be detrimental to your fishing experience. Try to find a reel with a water-sealed, front drag system for the best chance at success.

Line Capacity

Because crappie is a smaller species of fish, there’s not a huge need for a large line capacity, but it’s very important to know the line capacity of your reel before purchasing line. In general, seek out a reel that can handle a monofilament line between two and eight pounds. If you are a fan of using a braided line, you may want something with a slightly higher line capacity.

Smooth as Silk

A perfect spinning reel would have super smooth casting ability. Having silky casts and retrieval can make all the difference in a day of fishing.

Review of the Best Crappie Spinning Reels

If you don’t have time to research the best crappie spinning reels on the market, don’t worry, we do! Here’s a list of our favorites.

Best Overall:
KastKing Summer and Centron Spinning Reel

KastKing Summer Spinning Reel,Size 2000 Fishing Reel


  • Quiet
  • Stylish design
  • Smooth spinning action
  • Lightweight graphite frame
  • 17.5 pounds of drag pressure


  • Plastic-y feel
  • Handles are too small
  • Fills up quickly with braided line

What Recent Buyers Report

People who purchased this KastKing spinning reel were mostly satisfied with its abilities as a lightweight spinning reel. Among praises were comments about super smooth casting, easy use for beginners and a stable drag system. Most of the complaints had to do with the reel having a “cheaply-made” feel, but it didn’t seem to affect the results.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This pick from KastKing earned the top spot on our list for a couple of reasons. First, we love the company’s dedication to affordable products. Second, this is a great all-around tool that is comparable to many luxury brand reels. This is a well-constructed reel that won’t break the bank.

Who Will Use This Most

The KastKing reel would be most suited for a crappie angler who needs a high-performing spinning reel for a budget price. This is a good pick for beginners as well, as they’re not too expensive to try out and they are very easy to master.

What Could Be Improved and Why

Some users complained that aspects of the reel seemed cheaply made. This reel does have some plastic components that would be better suited for a higher-quality material to increase the durability and longevity of the product. The handles could also use a size upgrade to make the fishing experience more comfortable.

Bottom Line

KastKing is a reliable company that takes pride in the products it creates, and this spinning reel is a perfect example. This is a great overall reel for fishing for crappie thanks to its lightweight frame, sturdy drag system, and smooth operation.

Shimano Stradic Ci4+ 4000 XG FB

SHIMANO Stradic CI4 1000FB HG Freshwater Spinning Reel


  • Quick retrieval
  • Small but mighty
  • Casts long distances
  • Super lightweight
  • Great balance for a light or ultralight rod


  • Prone to line tangles
  • No anti-reverse switch
  • Seat arm is made with plastic

What Recent Buyers Report

The response from recent buyers of the Shimano Stradic was overwhelmingly positive. Besides some complaints about the lack of an anti-reverse switch and some minor design issues, users were very happy with the reel’s smooth casting and speedy retrieval.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This reel makes a name for itself in its super smooth operation. It’s a breeze to use and utilizes some of Shimano’s highest-quality technologies for a better fishing experience. It’s also made with great materials like cold-forged aluminum and super strong carbon, which will last through trip after trip.

Who Will Use This Most

This is a great all-around pick for beginners and expert anglers alike. This would be a good option for anglers who need a little more versatility in their equipment, as this Shimano reel is also suited for use in saltwater.

What Could Be Improved and Why

The major complaint with this reel model that shows up, again and again, is the lack of an anti-reverse switch. This means that the anti-reverse is constantly active, which may not be a huge inconvenience to some anglers, but it is pretty annoying to others. An easy fix from Shimano would be to add one.

Bottom Line

Aside from some minor issues, this reel holds up to Shimano’s high standards. If you’re an angler looking for a super lightweight, easy to handle reel with an awesome, heavy-duty construction, look no further. This is an easy recommendation in our book.

Best for the Money:
Sougayilang Reel -12+1BB Ultralight

Sougayilang Fishing Reel Spinning -12+1BB Ultralight Smooth Powerful Spinning Reels for Freshwater Saltwater Bass Fishing(13bbdk-5000)


  • Easy to use
  • Attractive design
  • Lightweight and transportable
  • Shielded stainless steel ball bearings
  • Made with 100 percent corrosion-resistant alloy


  • A little clunky
  • Handle design is hard to use
  • Requires more maintenance than some

What Recent Buyers Report

Most users of this reel from Sougayliang were very excited by the value of this reel. At a super reasonable price, buyers were surprised by its smooth casting and retrieval and were satisfied by the weight of the reel. Some buyers complained that the handle design was the major downfall of the product, as it is a little awkward to maneuver.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This reel made it to our list as the budget pick thanks to its incredible value. For being at the lower end of the price scale, the reel is still made with high-quality materials, including a CNC aluminum spool, a copper tooth spindle, and a triple disc carbon fiber drag system.

Who Will Use This Most

This is a great choice for anglers on a budget who are looking for the perfect lightweight reel that doesn’t compromise quality. It’s obviously a good pick for crappie fishermen, but it’s also suitable for use in saltwater, so it’s quite versatile.

What Could Be Improved and Why

We agree with the users that complain about the handle design—it’s full metal, so it’s quite awkward to operate and not very comfortable to use all day during a longer fishing trip. If the company was to add cork or foam handles, it would greatly increase the comfort for long-term use.

Bottom Line

Although the design of this reel is a little clunky here and there, overall this is still an incredible reel for a great value. Not only does it look stylish, but it also performs well where it counts, and it’s made with high-quality materials that will last for years to come.

4. Piscifun Honor Spinning Reel

Piscifun Honor Spinning Reel Sealed Carbon Fiber Drag Light Weight Ultra Smooth 13.2LB Drag Fishing Spinning Reels (2000 Series)


  • Sleek design
  • Handles braided line well
  • 10 +1 sealed ball bearings
  • 22.1 pounds of drag power
  • Anti-twist line roller included


  • A little large
  • Bail tends to stick
  • The line doesn’t always lay evenly on the spool

What Recent Buyers Report

Pisicfun is a popular company among anglers, and buyers were pretty big fans of this reel. Users not only like the sleek look of the design, but were also satisfied by its casting abilities and the ease of use. Some users complained the line didn’t lay evenly while others had the opposite comment. One major complaint was that the bail tends to stick, so the user may have to move it back and forth manually.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We like this Pisicfun reel for several different reasons. Mainly, we’re impressed with its high-quality construction. It features 10 ball bearings for silky smooth operation, aluminum machined gears and a competitive carbon fiber drag system. Not to mention, it looks pretty good too.

Who Will Use This Most

This reel isn’t as lightweight as some of the other choices on our list, so although it would work just fine for crappie fishing, it’s also well-suited for slightly bigger species like trout, bass, and saltwater fish. This would be a good option for those in need of a little versatility.

What Could Be Improved and Why

The main complaint that could use a simple fix is the bail operation. Several users complained that the bail would stick or get stuck, inhibiting it from flipping automatically. This requires a little more manual operation than some anglers might appreciate, but it’s a minor annoyance for most.

Bottom Line

The Piscifun Honor reel is one with many advantages and limited issues, so we’re big fans. This is a great pick for anglers who need a reel that can perform in a variety of fishing settings thanks to its reliable casting, retrieval, and drag system.

5. Lew's Fishing Mr. Crappie Slab Shaker

Lew's Fishing Mr. Crappie Slab Shaker Reel, 3.0 oz.


  • Super durable
  • Nice drag system
  • Easy to spool line
  • Reliable performance
  • Lightweight and portable


  • Very basic
  • Not a traditional spinning reel
  • No instructions in switching from right to left handed

What Recent Buyers Report

Users of the Mr. Crappie Slab Shaker were impressed by the reel’s “simple but effective” design. Several buyers praised the product’s jigging ability, one of the calling cards of this style of reel. There was little complaint among users; some said the style of the reel was tough to figure out at first.

Why it Stands Out to Us

While this is not a flashy product, the Slab Shaker is the perfect example of a simple reel doing its job very well. This reel made it to our list for its great acting abilities, specifically how it handles jigging, a popular technique for targeting crappie.

Who Will Use This Most

This product is definitely targeted at anglers who appreciate simplicity. This is not a traditional spinning reel, so it’s a better choice for anglers who have experience with this particular style. We’d recommend this reel to anglers who spend time fishing off docks or boat fishermen.

What Could Be Improved and Why

Because this isn’t a traditional spinning reel, some users have a difficult time figuring out just how to use it correctly. If Lew’s included some basic instructions, specifically with switching left/right-hand function, it would be a huge help to beginners.

Bottom Line

No matter how simple it may be, we’re still excited about Lew’s Slab Shaker. This is a great reel for targeting crappie thanks to the action you can achieve with it and its modest drag system.

Benefits of Investing in a New Reel 

Although it can be very tempting to opt for the cheapest reel that you see, sometimes a bit of a splurge can make all the difference. A new reel is an investment, treat it as such! You will reap the benefits.

Quality = Longevity

No matter how hard we hope, the truth of the matter is, cheaply made spinning reels just don’t last very long. When reels aren’t created with quality-made materials, they are more likely to break after a couple of uses, and when that happens, it’s not likely you’ll be able to find replacement parts.

Retain Value 

A great spinning reel should perform the same on day one and day 300. While some minor repairs may be needed over time, it’s much easier to find replacement parts and make corrections with a reel that was well-crafted originally. If you splurge a little now, you’ll be able to enjoy your reel for years to come.


Investing in a great spinning reel can not only help you catch crappie for dinner but can also be used to help you catch a variety of fish in different settings. It’s hard to go wrong with a spinning reel, but hopefully, this article gave you some ideas of where to start before your next shopping splurge.

Looking for more crappie gear? Check out our Crappie Rod article.

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 Read more about Big Game Logic.