Best Shimano Spinning Reels -2021 Top Picks Reviewed

| Last Updated June 9, 2021

Shimano is well-known for providing anglers with silky smooth reels that will give you flawless performance for many years. These reels are designed with innovative technologies that ensure a smooth reeling experience on the water. Their superb construction makes them last for decades.

The Shimano reels are lightweight yet solid, and they make fishing fun and adventurous. These reels, because of their many properties, are a go-to for many anglers all around the world.

Here we will talk about some of the best reels produced by Shimano and how they can help you catch the fish of your choice.    

Comparison of the Best Shimano Spinning Reels

  • Higher cranking performance with easier casting
  • One-handed casting is quicker and easier
  • Made from graphite which is lighweight
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  • Improved spinning reel for better angler experience
  • Frictionless and highly durable design
  • Smooth and well-balanced rotor for improved casting
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  • Best for the Money
  • Designed for both beginners and experienced anglers
  • Longer casting with line management
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  • Best Shimano Saltwater Spinning Reel
  • Stable spool speeds with varispeed technology
  • Enhanced sensitivity and rotor counter-balancing technology
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  • Best Shimano Ultralight Spinning Reel
  • Efficient for both inshore and offshore fishing
  • Spools are machine-cut and double anodized
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What Size of Spinning Reel Do I Need?

The right spinning reel size is vital to enjoying a successful fishing trip. It can be used to catch small fish such as bluegill to giant tuna weighing more than 100 pounds. However, the size of your spinning reel greatly depends on the type of fish you love to target.

A 500 to 1000 size reel would be perfect for targeting smaller fish as a bigger line size will give you more line than you need, thus impairing your casting distance. A 1000 size reel when paired with a 4-8 pound line works ideally when fishing walleye, bass, and medium-size trout.  

The bigger reel size of 8000 to 10000 is designed for bigger fish and is commonly used for rock or beach fishing, and boat fishing. These reels are popular among anglers for catching big fish like Kingfish, Aust Salmon, Snapper, Grouper, Samson fish, and Mulloway.   

It is also essential to make sure that the reel that you select matches your rod. A longer rod designed with a lighter tip provides better casting while a stiff backbone and light tip makes an efficient rod for bigger fish as well.               

How Does Shimano Compare to the Competition?

A good quality fishing reel is an important investment. The right kind will enhance the pleasure that you get from fishing. With a Shimano reel, you can be certain that you will get a product that is superior to other reels in the following aspects:   


Shimano reels are available in a multitude of sizes, thus making them ideal for everything from ultra-light freshwater fishing to larger gamefish offshore. You can choose any size of Shimano spinning reel depending on the kind of tackle that you use and the fish that you target. Large spinning reels from Shimano are suitable for saltwater fishing while the smaller ones are ideal for small to medium freshwater fish, including trout, bream, and crappie.  

Drag System

When you hook into a fast swimming and hard fighting fish, you need a reel equipped with a steady and smooth drag system that can be easily fine-tuned. Shimano’s multi-disc drag systems are highly dependable and smooth. Rear drag systems make it much easier for anglers to use and access control, while the front drag systems are more durable and help enhance performance.  

Ball Bearings

The number of bearings in a reel determines how smoothly it will function. They also help to increase the lifespan of the spinning reel. Bearings are crucial for a reel as they absorb most of the wear and tear of the moving parts of the reel. Reels designed with more bearings are not only more durable but are more efficient and effective as well. Shimano uses top quality bearings, A-RB bearings, in the construction of its reels, thus ensuring a smooth performance. Moreover, the Super Stopper II roller provides smooth hook sets.

Review of the Best Shimano Spinning Reels

Whether you want to go after saltwater game fish or are a freshwater angler, you cannot go wrong with these reels. After decades of working in the fishing industry, Shimano has provided anglers with hundreds of reel options, thus making it harder to pick just one. Following are the reviews of some of the best Shimano reels that offer unmatched durability and fantastic experiences on water:                                                                                                                   

Best Overall:
Shimano IX Rear Drag

Shimano IX Rear Drag Freshwater Spinning Reel


  • Easy to use and adjust the rear drag system
  • Economical product but solidly made to last
  • QuickFire II system enables one-handed casting
  • Suitable for both saltwater and freshwater fishing
  • Corrosion-resistant and lightweight graphite construction


  • Retrieve could be a bit faster

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers were pleasantly surprised by the efficiency of this amazing reel. It is solidly built and ensures smooth performance from drag to reeling without any vibration or problems. They are also very happy with its plastic construction, which does not rust even when used in saltwater fishing. They have experienced no problems with drag or other parts. Buyers are also very happy with their price and advise anglers to get this reel as they won’t be disappointed.   

Why it Stands Out to Us

We find this reel flawless in function and very easy to maintain. Its trigger design and rear drag set this reel apart from other reels available. These reels are great for moving water, such as rivers and streams. Its 4:1 gear ratio is particularly beneficial for spinner and spoon retrieval in moving water. The drag control on the bottom of these reels further adds to its size, thus ensuring a good balance.   

Who Will Use This Most

This Shimano reel is a comfortable product that features the Quick-Fire II bail system, which makes it easy to cast with only one hand. It is a lightweight reel that is very easy to handle. It is a versatile product that can be used in both freshwater and saltwater. The rear drag system can be fine-tuned easily and ensures a good balance for accurate and long casts. With this reel, you will be able to catch all kinds of fish, including walleye, sand bass, and many more.

Bottom Line

The Shimano IX is a rear-drag spinning reel which aids fishing enthusiasts to cast with ease and to retrieve with conviction. It is a lightweight, durable, reliable, and highly affordable reel that is suitable for both saltwater and freshwater use. Its graphite construction not only makes it lightweight but also resists corrosion so that you will be able to catch thousands of fish for many years. 

Shimano Stradic HG

SHIMANO STRADIC HG, Freshwater Spinning Fishing Reel


  • Powerful drag that is able to handle even big saltwater fish 
  • Improved gear durability and exceptional casting capabilities
  • Durable and strong construction without any line management issues
  • Absence of friction between the gear and spool shaft allows longer casts
  • Latest technologies combined with past innovations to provide an unforgettable experience


  • Does not have an anti-reverse switch

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers proclaim this reel to be the best that they have owned. They are extremely impressed with its flawless performance and the smoothness of its cranks. The handle is also fantastic and feels very natural and comfortable in hand. After using the Shimano Stradic for a day’s fishing, anglers are tempted to buy another one as their backup.  

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Stradic reel from Shimano is a popular reel among anglers for a long time. It is an ultimate spinning reel that is constructed by combining the latest technologies with many celebrated features. It is buttery smooth and exceptionally strong on the water. Its Propulsion Line Management, together with Dyna-Balance rotor, eliminates any line issues such as tangles and loops and enables it to cast like a rocket. 

Who Will Use This Most

This is a versatile reel that can handle anything from bottom fishing, freshwater fishing, trolling, to inshore and offshore fishing. With this reel, you will be able to haul in trophy catches such as steelhead, striped bass, and bluefish. Moreover, it can be adjusted to suit the fish you are targeting. This strong and lightweight reel will surely make fishing a pleasure. Whether you love fishing in the winter or in the open sea, this reel is perfect for all types of fishing.

Bottom Line

The Shimano Stradic HG is a smooth and long-lasting reel that will easily serve you for many years. This strong and durable reel will help you catch more fish, and you will be able to enjoy a comfortable and amazing fishing experience. It is absolutely beautiful in design and weighs almost nothing. With this reel, you will surely be able to catch your biggest fish without any difficulty.

Best for the Money:
Shimano Syncopate

SHIMANO SYNCOPATE Front Drag, Freshwater Spinning Fishing Reel


  • Fast and easy one-handed casting
  • Perfect for beginners and experienced anglers
  • Efficient performance at an unbelievably low price
  • Vari-speed technology offers consistent spool speeds
  • Dyna-Balance eliminates wobble and enhances smoothness and sensitivity


  • Casting trigger wears out fast

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers are very happy with its trigger and smooth action that makes it very easy to cast one-handed. They love the drag on this reel as it has allowed them to catch carp, crappie, bream, and other fish quite easily. It is an economical reel that buyers have found to be smooth, trouble-free, and very easy to use.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Syncopate from Shimano is designed with Quick Fire II and various high-end features that make one-handed casting very easy. These reels also feature the Propulsion Line Management System, which offers reduced wing knots and increased casting distance. Moreover, this versatile reel is perfect for both inshore saltwater and freshwater applications. In addition, the Dyna-Balance feature eliminates wobble, thus ensuring a smooth retrieve.

Who Will Use This Most

This is an efficient, smooth, and high-quality spinning reel that is perfect for all fishermen and anglers. It is also ideal for kayak fishermen who want an effective one-handed casting system as their other hand is busy with paddle management. It is a durable and sturdy product that does not let anglers feel any stress or fatigue while catching fish. It is also a fantastic braid to use on these reels as they deliver ultra-smooth retrieve and great casting.   

Bottom Line

The Syncopate by Shimano is a lightweight spinning reel that allows users to perform incredibly and get the most out of a day’s fishing without feeling any stress or fatigue. Its graphite construction ensures its durability while its economical price ensures that it fits every angler’s budget. The inner parts of this reel are constructed with aluminum, thus ensuring improved weight and increased endurance.

Best Shimano Saltwater Spinning Reel:
Shimano Thunnus CI4

SHIMANO THUNNUS CI4, Offshore Saltwater Spinning Fishing Reel


  • Extremely efficient live bait spinning reel
  • Carbon fiber construction makes it stronger than graphite
  • Dyna-Balance ensures a smooth retrieve without any wobble
  • Propulsion Line Management System allows for longer casting distances
  • Ergonomic S-Concept design ensures a smooth and strong performance


  • Crank handle is not of good quality

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers call these reels ‘bulletproof’. With this reel, they have caught bull reds that are almost 48 inches in length and sharks of almost 5 feet. They also like its drag system, which is very smooth and helps them put their bait over 100 yards. They have used this on their kayak as well and attest to the fact that it takes quite a beating out in the open ocean and still performs splendidly.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Thunnus C14 is one of the best Shimano saltwater spinning reels as it is incredibly strong and impervious to corrosion and rust. Its carbon fiber construction can take serious beatings from offshore fishing and still remain functional for many years. It is equipped with a smooth and powerful main and baitrunner drag that will help you catch big fish, including bull reds, striped bass, and even sharks.

Who Will Use This Most

Anglers love to fish with this reel because of its lightweight construction and unique S-concept design. It is silent and smooth in operation and able to stop large fish. The Thunnus C14 is engineered for anglers who want an easy-to-use fishing reel with enhanced functionality and revolutionary features. It provides high amounts of power during high impact situations and is able to handle any live-bait application.  

Bottom Line

The Varispeed technology and Propulsion Line Management System make it possible for the Thunnus to cast bait over long distances, whether you are fishing from the shore or on the open ocean. This efficient and reliable spinning reel is a real joy to fish with. It feels balanced and solid in hand, thus providing the anglers with an advantage when fighting aggressive fish.

Best Shimano Ultralight Spinning Reel:
Shimano Sedona FI

SHIMANO Sedona Fi Spinning Reel


  • High-end features and amazing performance
  • Suitable for inshore, offshore, and freshwater fishing
  • Double ionized spool ensures increased line capacity
  • Cold forged Hagane design provides long-lasting and durable action
  • Propulsion Line Management system prevents wing knots and backlashes from forming


  • Reel may jam when wet

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers are very happy that they have found the perfect reel that combines top-of-the-line features at an attractive price. They find this reel lighter, stronger, and faster than other reels. The Hagane gears allows them to chase bigger fish and throw larger baits. Moreover, the G-Free body allows them to fish for longer periods of time comfortably without feeling any fatigue.  

Why it Stands Out to Us

The advanced technology used in the construction of this reel offers anglers pleasure and smoothness while using the reel. By upgrading this reel with cold-forged Hegane gear, the company has provided the anglers with a tool that performs superbly. It is a robust and sustainable reel that is smooth enough for both offshore and inshore usage. Even after continuous heavy use for several years, this reel is able to maintain its performance.

Who Will Use This Most

The improved drag of this reel allows anglers to throw bigger bait to catch bigger fish. It is one of the best reels by Shimano that offers excellent performance at an unbelievably low price. Its higher gear and upgraded drag ensures a silky smooth and quiet operation. It is lighter in weight, which makes it ideal for both beginners and experienced anglers.

Bottom Line

The Sedona FI from Shimano is a well-designed reel that offers anglers a remarkable experience at a price that will fit everyone’s budget. Even if you have a limited budget, this product will easily fit your pocket. It is able to make long and accurate casts without facing any line issues such as wind knots and backlashes.   

Benefits of Investing in a Quality Spinning Reel

By investing in a good quality Shimano reel, you will be able to enhance your fishing experience due to the following reasons:

Quality Construction

The Shimano name is synonymous with quality. These reels are designed with various innovative technologies that offer the anglers ultimate power, sturdiness, durability, and smooth operation. With X-Ship technology, anglers can enjoy enhanced gear smoothness and durability while the Propulsion Line Management System ensures longer accurate casting without encountering any line issues.  


The material used in the construction of a reel is very important as it determines the durability and quality of the product. Shimano reels are constructed with graphite, aluminum, and carbon, which make them lightweight, corrosion-resistant, and strong. These reels can take a lot of wear and tear and serve you for a long time.


Spinning reels are highly versatile as they can handle different lure weights. Whether you like bass fishing or enjoy fishing for trout, spinning reels are your go-to reels for all kinds of fishing. They are easy to cast and do not have any backlash problems.

Shimano spinning reels are perfect for both experienced and beginner anglers because of their smooth operation. They are cost-effective and can be used for both seawater and freshwater fishing.   


With the right model of Shimano reel suited to your preferred style of fishing, you can be sure of enjoyment and success. These reels are flawless in operation and can last for years with proper care. Even if you are on a tight budget, you will be able to find an affordable option from the reviews of the best Shimano spinning reels in this article. Make sure that you weigh the various features of these reels before making a choice so that you can have a fun and exciting fishing expedition.    

People Also Ask

Shimano is dedicated to providing its customers with the best high-quality spinning reels. With these user-friendly products, anglers can have a wonderful fishing experience whether they are out fishing in their kayak or are out on their boats for seawater fishing. However, when choosing the right reel, some people get easily confused with the letters at the end of their names. They frequently ask:   

What Does FB Stand for on Shimano Reels?

The letter F used in the name of a reel denotes Front drag, while the letter B represents that it is a newer model that has replaced FA.

Shimano Reel Reviews

Below are all our Shimano reel buyer guides. To make your experience a bit smoother, we have organized them in one place. Feel free to browse through a few and find exactly what you're looking for.
Thanks for reading. 

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.