Top Ultralight Spinning Reels for Fishing in 2023 – Reviewed

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When you are shopping for your fishing gear, weight matters, especially for the fishing rods and spinning reels. It becomes even more important when you’re into ultralight angling and fishing. So, you might look for the best ultralight spinning reels out there to enhance your fishing experience.

Best Ultralight Spinning Reels

When it comes to that, the range of options is just phenomenal. You can find many best ultralight fishing reels for the money. However, let us narrow down your choices to only the top eight best budget ultralight spinning reels so that you can have the perfect ultralight setup for your next fishing trip!


Top #8 Best Ultralight Spinning Reels of 2023

Ultralight fishing has a different kind of charm to it. The rods and reels are smaller and lighter and thus more accessible. Also, since the gear is lightweight, it will not cause any arm fatigue or soreness even after a day-long fishing expedition.

Besides that, the ultralight gear setup is made to offer you better fishing experiences, especially in freshwater fishing. Since they’re lightweight, the fishing lines are almost invisible, and that makes it easier for you to catch more fish even in clear water. As such, these are great for catching smaller fish like crappie or trout.

Given all these benefits, it’s only fair that you find the best budget ultralight spinning reel for your ultralight fishing gear, and this article is going to help you in the best manner.

Hereinbelow, we have compiled a list of the top 8 best ultralight spinning reels that you can check out. In addition to the best reels, we have added a buying guide to help further in making a decision. So, make sure that you read till the end to know everything about ultralight fishing and the best reels for it.

Cadence CS5 Ultralight Spinning Reel
  • Brand: Cadence
  • Material: Carbon
  • Color: Silver, Black
  • Item Weight: 0.11 Pounds

With a weightless than even 1 pound, this is one of the best ultralight spinning reels in the market. It has a meta carbon body that is not only lighter than the usual aluminum material used for the spinning reels but stronger too. Additionally, the spool is made using machined aluminum which again keeps the reel lightweight.

The drag system, strength, and gear ratio of the reel are ideal and great for preventing unnecessary torque and providing smooth and fast performance. It has a super-strong carbon drag system with eight-plus one stainless steel ball bearings. This helps catch the fish easily without any resistance or torque, and the anglers get better control over the fish they’re catching.

Moreover, since the ball bearings are corrosion-resistant, you can be assured that the water will not corrode or rust your reel, and they will remain more long-lasting and durable.

Additionally, it has a strong pinion gear, due to which helps catch even bigger fish of weight up to 20 pounds easily despite being so lightweight and small.

Given all these features, it’s an excellent reel, perfect for having the most amazing and fruitful ultralight fishing experiences.

  • Extremely lightweight with a meta carbon main body and machined aluminum spool.
  • Strong and efficient drag system.
  • Corrosion-resistant and thus durable.
  • You cannot use it for saltwater fishing.
Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel
  • Brand: OKUMA
  • Material: Graphite
  • Color: Multi-coloured
  • Item Weight: 0.54 Pounds

With a weight of only 0.5 pounds, this is another ultralight spinning reel that will give you the most amazing fishing experiences in ultralight angling.

It is made with synthetic, machined aluminum material and an anodized spool that make the reel extremely lightweight, strong, and durable. The multi-disc drag system provides for super-smooth drag performance and helps you fight against even the strongest of the fish.

Additionally, the reel has multiple aluminum ball bearings that further enhance the smoothness in operating the reel and fishing. The anti-reverse roller bearing also helps keep the fishing performance smooth.

Besides that, the line capacity and gear ratio are also great to help you follow through with your catch and make sure you bucket it.

In addition to all these features, the reel becomes more comfortable with its ambidextrous design, thereby offering the flexibility to change hands in between. This way, neither of your hand will tire even the least bit, and you can have better experiences in fishing and catching up the fish for the drag too.

The reel is great for its look and attractiveness too. It has a beautiful multicolor design that makes the reel look classy and stylish.

The best part yet is that you get all of this at a price that is under $50. Given that, it’s the best ultralight spinning reel for the money that you can find.

  • Multi-disc drag system and anti-reverse bearing support.
  • Beautiful and stylish look.
  • Value for the money.
  • It’s not a very durable reel.
Piscifun Carbon X Spinning Reel
  • Brand: Piscifun
  • Material: Stainless Steel, Aluminum, Carbon
  • Color: Black
  • Item Weight: 0.35 Pounds

With just 5.1 ounces weight, this Piscifun spinning reel is a featherlight reel designed to provide you with the most amazing ultralight fishing experiences. It’s made using lightweight, strong, durable carbon X material and a carbon-fiber body along with a hollow spool that makes it perfect for supporting you even on long fishing trips without causing any strain or soreness to your hands.

The smoothness of the reels is also phenomenal with its strong drag system and ten plus-one stainless steel ball bearings. With this strong drag system, you can have an interruption-free fishing experience with high retrieving strength and very smooth functioning.

Additionally, the carbon X washers and stainless steel ball bearings provide strong corrosion resistance, ensuring that the reel and its part do not corrode or rust upon exposure to water, dust, sand, and salt. With all that, you can even try out this ultralight spinning reel for saltwater spinning.

In addition to all these features, the color, look, and design of this reel is great. The reel has an ambidextrous hand orientation, meaning you can operate it with either hand. This offers more flexibility and further enhances your fishing experiences. Additionally, the dark and glossy black color of the reel makes it look very beautiful, classic, and stylish.

All these features are generally hard to find in a reel at the price at which the Piscifun Carbon X Spinning Reel comes. Given that, it’s the best budget ultralight spinning reel out there, especially when you are looking out for something that offers more for less.

  • Budget-friendly and affordable
  • Ambidextrous hand orientation
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • There are issues with customer service, and the reels might turn out to be defective or faulty.
SHIMANO Stradic FL Spinning Reel
  • Brand: SHIMANO
  • Material: Blend
  • Color: Multi
  • Item Weight: 0.77 Pounds

Shimano is known for its excellent spinning reels for all kinds of fishing. Shimano Stradic is one of the most amazing spinning reels that you can use for ultralight fishing.

It has a strong and rigid hagane body design that helps the angler remain stable and provides more power for dragging and retrieving the catch. The cross-carbon build enhances the drag system performance by providing multiple drag settings and ensuring the best and smoothest drag performance while fishing.

The smoothness in performance is further enhanced and improved with the excellent ball bearing system and ideal gear ratio. The ball bearings are shielded on both sides, which also prevents water and salt from getting inside them.

Additionally, the gear ratio and pinion gears are adjusted well in the reel, making sure that there is no friction or resistance between the gears and spool, and the entire catching experience is smooth, swift, and fantastic.

Moreover, all this material build and design makes sure that the reel is lightweight and helps with light, smooth, swift, and longer casting.

So, the reel is excellent with its features and functionalities. However, with good features, you need to be ready to pay a higher price, too, especially in this case, given that it’s an extremely pricey reel that costs over $100.

  • Hagane body construction for more rigidity.
  • Lightweight design for longer and smoother casts.
  • Excellent drag performance with ideal gear ratio.
  • It’s a costly spinning reel.
PENN Battle II & III Spinning Fishing Reel
  • Brand: PENN
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Color: Black/Gold/Smoke
  • Item Weight: 1 Pound

Penn has a known name for manufacturing the best fishing gear, and it’s very popular among anglers. It has multiple options for the best ultralight spinning reels. Whether you are looking for a high-end spinning reel or a budget-friendly one, Penn has options available.

The Penn Battle II and III Spinning Fishing Reels are one of a kind from the brand. With a full stainless steel metal body and aluminum bail wire, these reels are strong and durable. Moreover, even though it’s made entirely with metal, it weighs only 1 pound, which makes it great for any ultralight fishing game.

The drag system is great and helps you catch and retrieve even the fierce saltwater species. So, not only can you use this reel for ultralight fishing, but it’s great to battle against saltwater species too.

Moreover, the ball-bearing system in the reel is great. It has a stainless steel ball-bearing system with an anti-reverse gear stop that helps the reel deliver exceptionally smooth performance and makes your fishing experiences more exciting and fulfilling.

Besides providing smooth performance, this reel also provides amazing flexibility with its ambidextrous hand orientation that prevents strain and soreness on either of your hand.

In addition to all these features and functionalities, the look and appeal of the reel are amazing with black and gold color and a smoked look.

Also, while it’s a little costly, it’s not very overpriced. So, if you’re ready to go a little overboard with the pricing, this reel is a great option to purchase for adding up to your ultralight fishing setup and gear.

  • Ambidextrous hand orientation for more flexibility.
  • Excellent look and design with black, gold, and smoked colors.
  • Good for saltwater fishing as well.
  • It’s a pretty costly reel when compared to other options.
KastKing Summer and Centron Spinning Reel
  • Brand: KastKing
  • Material: Aluminum, Graphite
  • Color: Black with blue
  • Item Weight: 0.56 Pounds

With their lightweight and small size, KastKing Summer and Centron Spinning Reels are some of the best ultralight spinning reels on the market.

The reel has a narrow and compact graphite body design that makes it extremely lightweight and handy. The reel is also ambidextrous for hand orientation which also makes it flexible. Given the lightweight and ambidextrous design, these reels are perfect for a long fishing trip that even lasts for an entire day as you can use them without feeling any strain or pain in your arms.

The performance is also excellent with a strong drag system, multiple ball bearings, and multi-stop anti-reverse functionality. The drag system has a hardened metal main shaft and a machined pinion gear with the perfect gear ratio and line capacity that provides super strength and flexibility in battling with the fish and bucketing it.

Additionally, the nine ball bearings and an additional anti-reverse ball bearing ensure a smooth performance by reducing any kind of torque or friction.

Besides all these features, the look and appeal of this reel are excellent. The reel has a beautiful design and finishes, along with a colored anodized spool that makes it look extremely beautiful, attractive, cool, classy, and stylish. Additionally, the power launch lip in the reel gives a better and smoother casting performance.

The most attractive part about this reel is its pricing, though. It costs even less than $30. At that price, it’s the best budget ultralight spinning reel, and you cannot get a reel with so many features at this cost. So, it has great value for money, making it a great reel to add to your collection.

  • Very affordable and budget-friendly for excellent value for money.
  • It looks extremely beautiful and stylish.
  • It has multiple functionalities for smooth performance.
  • It might not work very well in saltwater.
PENN Fierce II & Fierce III Spinning Reel
  • Brand: PENN
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Color: Red, Black
  • Item Weight: 0.30 Pounds

You can definitely not ignore Penn when it comes to fishing gear. This is another fishing reel from Penn on our list that’s a great choice for an ultralight spinning fishing reel.

It has a full metal body along with carbon-fiber drag washers that make it strong, durable, and lightweight. Additionally, the reel has a four plus one ball bearing system along with a techno-balanced rotor that provides extremely smooth fishing performance with quick and easy retrieves. Additionally, the anti-reverse gear in the bearing system further adds to the smoothness of the reel.

With all of this, Penn Fierce is another amazing reel in the Penn collection. The best part is that you can use the reel even in salt water, and the durability and strength of the ball-bearing system will ensure that you are able to battle fiercely against the big saltwater species.

In addition to the amazing features and functionalities, the reel looks great too. It has a beautiful black and red color with an attractive design that makes the reel look extremely stylish and classy.

Moreover, unlike the other Penn models, this one is not very costly, which makes it a good option for even budget anglers.

  • Good for saltwater fishing too.
  • Multiple ball bearings for smooth performance.
  • Quite a budget-friendly option.
  • The high-end Penn quality feels a bit missing in this one.
Pflueger President Spinning Reel
  • Brand: Pflueger
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Color: Gold, Gray, Multicolor
  • Item Weight: 0.46 Pounds

Pflueger is another excellent brand to get the best fishing gear, and with even less than half a pound weight and a compact design, this will be one of the best ultralight spinning reels in the market that you can get for a good value.

It has a lightweight graphite construction with a braided spool which makes it extremely convenient to use. Additionally, the drag system is great with sealed washers that minimize the oscillation and provide excellent and smooth drag performance. The smoothness is further enhanced with the seven stainless steel corrosion-resistant ball bearing systems.

Given all the corrosion-resistant material and shielded system for the internal parts of the reel, this reel can also be used for saltwater fishing.

In addition to all the excellent features and functionalities that make up for a phenomenal fishing experience, the reel also has a fantastic look with a black and gold color that makes the reel a lot more stylish and classy in its appearance. Additionally, the reel offers a great level of flexibility with its ambidextrous hand orientation.

With all of this, it’s a great lightweight, compact, and flexible reel that will provide phenomenal fishing experiences without causing any pain or soreness in your arms.

  • Extremely lightweight, which makes it perfect for ultralight angling.
  • Ambidextrous and thus flexible.
  • Corrosion-resistant and shielded design, which makes it good for saltwater fishing as well.
  • There are issues with the quality and customer service.

Buying Guide

So, these were some of the best ultralight spinning reels that you can choose from. They will be great for a freshwater game where you are mainly focusing on smaller fish like trout or crappies. Moreover, some of the options are great for even saltwater fishing.

However, while you know the best option, you need to know the things that you must consider for getting the perfect reel for your requirements. So, this buying guide will help you understand everything that requires due consideration when you are looking for the best budget ultralight spinning reel.


The first thing that you want to look at in an ultralight spinning reel is its weight. These reels are made to be lightweight. Generally, ultralight spinning reels are defined as reels that weigh eight ounces or less. Sometimes, some reels slightly above that weight are also considered ultralight reels. However, if you want the best experience, it’s best that you stay within the 6 pounds limit.

The reels on our list are less than even eight ounces, so you can choose any of them, and they will work great for ultralight fishing, especially from the weight perspective.


The material of the reel not only determines its weight but the quality as well. The best material for an ultralight reel would be carbon fiber, aluminum, and stainless steel material. These are lightweight, strong, and durable and also prevent corrosion to some extent.

Line Capacity

Generally, the anglers looking for a large line capacity in the reels. However, by definition, ultralight reels are small and compact in size. So, you cannot expect a large line capacity in them. Moreover, since you’re mainly targeting smaller fish during ultralight angling, smaller line capacity works just fine with these reels.

So, you need not get confused or dicey seeing the smaller line capacity in ultralight reels as compared to other reels. These reels are designed to be like that only.

Gear Ratio

The ideal gear ratio is important for smooth and effortless performance in a reel. So, check the gear ratio in the reel you’re buying. The higher the ratio, the better since a higher ratio will help with higher retrieving strength and make it easier to catch your prey.

Number and Quality of Ball Bearings in the Reel

The more the number of ball bearings in a reel, the smoother its performance. So, always look for reels that have a higher number of ball bearings. Additionally, the material and quality of the ball bearings matter. It’s best that you look for reels with stainless steel ball bearings.

Additionally, looking for an anti-reverse mechanism for the ball bearing and gear system will also be a good idea. That makes the reel much better, especially for the stopping performance.

Drag System

The stronger the drag system of a reel, the better you will be able to fight the fish when it struggles and makes you run for it. Cross Carbon or Shielded Drag Systems are the best. They provide amazing drag strength and drag range and ensure that you are able to fight fiercely against the fish and finally retrieve and put it in your bucket.

Cost of the Reel

Generally, ultralight spinning reels are affordable and budget-friendly. However, some reels can cost a lot too, but then they have better features. So, you need to give due consideration to the cost of the reels too. Of course, it’s no harm in getting the higher-cost ultralight spinning reels. They are generally good for saltwater fishing too. However, if you’re one of those budget anglers, you will definitely want to look out for the cost along with the quality and features.

Now, while it can be difficult, there are good options for budget-friendly reels that offer good value for money.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is an ultralight spinning reel?

An ultralight spinning reel is a small, compact, and lightweight reel that weighs eight ounces or less and is designed mainly for freshwater game where you want to tackle and catch small freshwater species like trout or crappie.

What is the best ultralight spinning reel under $100?

You can find many best ultralight spinning reels for under $100. A good option to go for would be the Penn Spinning Fishing Reels for that range.

What is the best ultralight spinning reel under $50?

There are many best-budget ultralight spinning reels under $50. Some of the best options are Okuma and Piscifun Spinning reels.

What is the best ultralight spinning reel under $30?

The most budget-friendly option for the best budget ultralight spinning reel under $30 would be KastKing. It’s a great reel, low-priced, and offers great value for the money.

Who makes the best ultralight spinning reel?

You can find many brands that make the best ultralight spinning reels. Penn, Cadence, Daiwa, KastKing, Shimano, and Pflueger of them are great, and you can choose all your fishing gear from any of these brands. We are sure that you will not regret the choice you make when you go for these brands. Also, you can check some USA-made spinning reels for the best performance, these are the special fishing reels not made in china.

Which is the best ultralight spinning reel for trout?

This highly depends on where you go fishing for trout. The thing with trout is that they escape and move away from heavy fishing lines. So, you want to choose a reel that has an extremely light fishing line. Daiwa reels can be best for this purpose. Alternatively, you can choose Cadence, Penn, Pfluger, Shimao, and KastKing reels too.

What is the best ultralight spinning reel for crappie?

Although crappies are not very concerned or affected by the line weight, it’s better to use lightweight reels for them. A good option would be Shimano Stradic, that is if you’re willing to bear its high cost. If not, any of the reels on this list can work well as the best ultralight spinning reel for crappie.

Final Words

So, this was all about the best ultralight spinning reels. Ultralight fishing is a different experience altogether. You are in the smaller battle, yet you enjoy it a lot. Moreover, it’s suited for all age groups, so you can enjoy a trip with your family, friends, and even kids.

With that said, we hope that this list of the top eight best ultralight spinning reels and the buying guide were helpful in making you reach the right decision and that you have already placed an order for the reel that you liked most.

Happy Fishing!

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