5 Best Ultralight Spinning Reels For Anglers (Comprehensive Review)

Ultralight Spinning Reels

For amateur anglers, nothing beats the ease and comfort of using a spinning reel. Not only are these tools flexible and lightweight, but they are also beginner-friendly and do not require lots of skills to master. As a result, many fishers turn to spinning reels whenever they want to get the most out of their fishing trip.

If you are interested in these items, why not have a look at the best ultralight spinning reels below? Let’s dive into the pros and cons of the 5 most popular choices and see how such reels win the hearts and minds of fishing enthusiasts!

In-Depth Reviews Of The 5 Best Ultralight Spinning Reels

Product imageProduct nameEditor' reviewEditor' ratingPrice
KastKing Zephyr Spinning ReelBest For Light Fishing4.9See last price
Piscifun Viper X Spinning ReelBest For Unique Look4.5See last price
Cadence CS5 Spinning ReelBest For Power4.6See last price
Piscifun Carbon X Spinning ReelBest Reviews4.6See last price
Abu Garcia Revo X Spinning ReelBest Value For Money4.8See last price

1. KastKing Zephyr Spinning Reel – Best For Light Fishing

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Let’s kickstart my list today with the Zephyr model from KastKing. This spinning reel is available in size 1000 only, the smallest size in the spinning reel size chart.  Hence, it is highly compact and does not take up much space on your fishing rod. No more worries about feeling sore in your arms and shoulders even after holding the pole for long hours.  While the main shafts of Zephyr are made from aluminum alloy for extra durability, other details such as the body cover and the rotor rely on carbon fiber for being lightweight.

The combination of these two materials ensures that KastKing Zephyr remains as robust as possible, but not at the expense of its weight.  Furthermore, you also get to enjoy the 7 stainless steel ball bearings and an anti-reverse handle. They help minimize the friction while casting and retrieving. Thus, landing a fish will not be too much of a problem. 

And, of course, it would be a mistake not to mention the triple-disc carbon fiber drag that brings about absolute smoothness each time the fishing line leaves the spool. As wonderful as this model is, you should know that KastKing Zephyr is not designed to handle heavy loads. The drag power of merely 10lbs limits its application to crappie, trout, or pan fishing only. Do not expect the reel to venture into deep fishing or saltwater fishing.

Pros:

  • Compact and lightweight.
  • Durable.
  • 7 ball bearings and an anti-reverse handle.
  • Triple-disc carbon fiber drag.

Cons:

  • Limited drag power.
  • Only suitable for small freshwater species.

2. Piscifun Viper X Spinning Reel – Best For Unique Look

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The next product that I want to introduce is the Piscifun Viper X. At first glance, this spinning reel caught my attention with its intriguing design.  Instead of being in black, white, red, or gold like most other reels, Viper X prides itself on the black & green coating. The peculiar choice of color leaves the reel with a unique vibe that appears to be alluring for most anglers.

Looks aside, this offer from Piscifun is indeed a beast when it comes to fishing. With a gear ratio of 6.2:1, Viper X provides enough torque to handle large fish, but it remains fast enough to retrieve smaller catches.  Coupled with the 10+1 double-shielded stainless steel bearings, rest assured that each cast will be as silky smooth. Backlash or fishing line overrunning would soon be a thing of the past. Furthermore, Piscifun Viper X includes innovative waterproof technology, consisting of a one-way clutch bushing, a one-way clutch plate, and a washer.

Dirt and moisture are prevented from penetrating the internal components, leaving the entire reel strong and resilient against all external factors.  And have I mentioned how cheap this product is? You can get all these wonderful features for no more than $60! That being said, the reel does have its flaws. Some customers have reported about the slightly stiff bail, which requires manual closing instead of using the handle. 

Pros:

  • Highly affordable.
  • Black & green coating.
  • Gear ratio of 6.2:1.
  • 10+1 stainless steel bearing system.
  • Waterproof.

Cons:

  • Stiff bail.

3. Cadence CS5 Spinning Reel – Best For Power

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When examining Cadence CS5, the first detail that springs to my mind is its construction. IThe manufacturers turned to meta carbon instead of using aluminum or graphite-like most spinning reels. This substance is proven to be 53% lighter and 20% more stable compared to aluminum, so it is a great choice for both beginners and professionals. 

The durability supported by the mainframe is probably the reason why Cadence CS5 feels extremely smooth and easy-to-cast. With the 8+1 corrosion-resistant ball bearings, you can adjust the spool speed freely without worrying about the reel’s performance. But these are not the best parts about the spinning reel. This model is best known for its superior carbon drag system, which results in an impressive drag power of up to 20lbs. For a reel as lightweight as CS5, this stopping power is no joke. 

The zinc alloy main pinion gear and precision-machined pinion gear also play their parts in making sure the reel can hold up against aggressive fish. If you want a versatile reel that can be used for different fishing purposes, I am confident that Cadence CS5 will not let you down.  Nevertheless, this spinning reel comes with a hard-to-flip bail. If you use the item frequently enough, the bail may start loosening eventually. But within the first few times of usage, you have to endure this slight error.

Pros:

  • Meta carbon frame.
  • 8+1 corrosion-resistant ball bearings.
  • Carbon drag system of up to 20lbs stopping power.
  • Sturdy gear.

Cons:

  • Hard-to-flip bail.

4. Piscifun Carbon X Spinning Reel – Best Reviews

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Now, it is time to learn more about the Carbon X spinning reel from Piscifun. With more than 1100 ratings on Amazon, this product seems to be widely loved by fishermen. So, what is it that makes Carbon X such a popular choice? First off, this spinning reel is crafted entirely from carbon fiber.

The material reduces any unnecessary weight, leaving the reel feather-light and convenient to use for a long time.  Furthermore, the spool comes with a positive click drag and high-density EVA knob for a more secure grip. Together, they create the highest level of user experience that satisfies even the most difficult anglers. Secondly, Carbon X offers utter smoothness when casting and retrieving. Thanks to its 10+1 double-shielded stainless steel ball bearings, friction and wobbling are no longer a concern. Feel free to throw your fishing line far away and reel it in within the shortest time possible.

Last but not least, this spinning reel is built to last. The manufacturers include oversized carbon washers and sealed rubber rings that protect metal components from getting eaten by rust. The reinforced corrosion-resistant shaft and gear are also helpful when it comes to preserving the conditions of this reel.  However, Piscifun Carbon X is not without flaws. Line management can be a bit tricky, especially if you are fishing in windy conditions. In the worst case, you may end up having a loosening drag and fishing lines wrapping over the spool cover.

Pros:

  • Lightweight material.
  • Comfortable to use.
  • 10+1 bearing system.
  • Protected against external factors.

Cons:

  • Line management is faulty.
  • Fail to adapt to windy conditions.

5. Abu Gardia Revo X Spinning Reel – Best Value For Money

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The final item on my list of the best ultralight spinning reels is the Revo X model from Abu Garcia. This spinning reel is not as visually pleasing as other colorful reels, since it only has a black coating.  But do not be fooled by the dull appearance. A closer look into Revo X reveals why this item is a reliable investment for anglers.

To be more specific, Abu Garcia uses compact Insert Molded C6 carbon to design the mainframe of the reel, minimizing its heaviness. The X-craftic gearbox is also made from a C6 carbon body, effectively reducing the pressure on your upper body when having to fish for a long time. 

Another noticeable feature is its Rocket Line management system, which is compatible with mono, fluorocarbon, and braided fishing lines. Feel free to choose the type that works best for your fishing purposes.  Every time you release it from the spool, rest assured that the Rocket spool lip design will control the speed and smoothness of your cast. How wonderful, right? And, of course, I have to bring up the stainless steel main shafts, main gear, and the everlast bail system.

All of these details contribute to Revo X’s stability, making it a long-lasting item for fishing enthusiasts.  Still, this model is only available in two sizes, namely 20 and 30. If you want a bigger reel to catch heavier fish, Revo X will not live up to your expectations.

Pros:

  • Compact and lightweight design.
  • X-craftic gearbox.
  • Rocket Line management system.
  • Stable.

Cons:

  • Limited variations.

What To Look For When Buying The Best Ultralight Spinning Reel

What is ultralight fishing?

Ultralight fishing refers to the act of catching fish using a small-sized spinning reel. If you are familiar with these items, then you know how they are classified.  Spinning reels are divided into three groups: small-sized for reels from 1000 to 3500, medium-sized for reels from 4000 to 5500, large-sized for reels from 6000 to 30000. When talking about ultralight fishing, what people mean is to use the smallest size available.

ultralight fishing meaning

While it sounds mundane, ultralight fishing is actually preferred by both amateur and professional anglers alike.  This is because tiny spinning reels are best for targeting small fish species such as panfish, crappie, or bluegill. They also work wonders when paired with light lures and baits, unlike some heavy-duty baitcasters. 

Last but not least, ultralight fishing does not require much physical exertion. Most of the reels are compact and feel easy on the arms and shoulders. Even if your fishing trip lasts for hours, you are not about to get constant aches from having to hold the rod. 

What reel sizes are used for ultralight fishing 

In most cases, ultralight fishing calls for reels sizes of 1000, 1500, 2000, and 2500 maximum. You are not likely to find a spinning reel size 3000 and beyond if the end goal is to catch tiny fish.  Generally speaking, people would go for sizes 2000 and 2500, as they offer steady performance and a decent level of stability. Smaller sizes like 1000 or 1500 might be a bit too flimsy and more difficult to control.

If not skillful enough, these tiny reels may snap.

What is the top ultralight spinning reel under $50

For anglers with a limited budget of $50, the Piscifun Viper X offers decent performance while remaining within the affordable range. Not only is this spinning reel effective for ultralight fishing, but it is also aesthetically pleasing.  The sparkling green coating will definitely be a plus if you are into unique-looking reels. But rest assured that other practical attributes of Viper X are as impressive as its appearance. 

This model utilizes a gear ratio of 6.2:1, which is fast enough if you go for crappie and panfish. However, the braking system means enough torque will be provided should you decide to reel in medium-sized bass.  The 10+1 double-shielded stainless steel bearing system is another feature that marks Viper X’s reputation. Each line cast and retrieval is uninterrupted and effortless since friction is already under control.  

And the best part? The manufacturers decided to give this spinning reel a final layer of protection by incorporating its waterproof technology, guarding the internal components against water and dirt. Quite a deal for a reel under $50, right? 

What is the best ultralight spinning reel under $100

If you are allowed to spend $100 on your ultralight fishing reel, the best choice is probably the Revo X model from Abu Garcia. Despite its monotonous appearance, the product is highly effective regarding its performance.  The mainframe is made from a C5 carbon body, which is best known for being lightweight yet still sturdy enough to support heavy loads.

The attached X-craftic gearbox reduces the unnecessary heaviness, lifting pressure from your wrists, arms, and shoulders when holding the rod for hours. Furthermore, Revo X comes with a Rocket Line management system, ensuring the smoothness and finesse of each cast.

Since the reel is compatible with all types of fishing lines, you can easily pick out the one that works best for each fishing trip.  Finally, do not forget to check out the everlast bail system and stainless steel shafts and gear, as these details are what give Revo X its unbeatable robustness.  You will not regret spending your money on this beast. 

How To Choose An Ultralight Spinning Reel

With unlimited options available on the market, it gets confusing trying to determine which spinning reel is worth purchasing. The best trick here is to learn as much as possible about the ins and outs of spinning reels.  When you understand what makes or breaks a reel, deciding on a particular product will no longer be a challenge.

Model/class size

Model class size Reel

The size of spinning reels is categorized using numbers from 1000 up to 30000, or their equivalent of 10 up to 300. The smaller the numbers are, the smaller the reel gets.  As far as ultralight fishing is concerned, most spinning reels do not exceed the threshold of size 2500.

This is because larger-sized reels work better with braided fishing lines and a higher range drag.  Meanwhile, catching bluegill, trout, crappie, or panfish does not require as much power. Spinning reels from 1000 to 2500 are enough to do the job, as they are perfect to go with lighter fishing lines. 

But be careful if you want to use spinning reels size 1000. These babies are tiny and extremely limited in their applications. Most anglers only use the smallest spinning reels for fly fishing or sunnies and bream fishing. 

Line capacity

line capacity1

Line capacity refers to how many yards of fishing line you can manage to swirl on the spool. Despite popular beliefs, smaller reels do not always have a lower line capacity. Instead of the reel size, you have to examine the spool’s diameter.

Spools with a larger core are less likely to support as many fishing lines as those with tighter ones. Another factor affecting the line capacity of spinning reels is the line type. Thicker fishing lines such as braided ones take up more space, thus compromising the length. 

See also: How much line to put on a reel?

Vice versa, using thinner monofilament lines means the spool can handle more yards, increasing the line capacity substantially. Depending on where you intend on fishing, what species your targets are, and which techniques you want to employ, you can adjust the line capacity accordingly.

Weight

Most ultralight spinning reels are not hefty. Even the biggest one weighs no more than 10 ounces. Hence, you do not have to worry much about how heavy they are when going shopping.  But still, some spinning reels are slightly more cumbersome than others, while some are too tiny to mount on longer, bigger rods. Make sure to check with your fishing pole and other accessories so that your reel can coordinate with the rest of the tackle box.

Gear ratio

Gear ratio means the number of times the spool rotates when you turn the handle in a cycle. The gear ratio is illustrated as a series of numbers, such as 6.2:1. Here, the spool will revolve 6.2 times for each complete revolution of the reel’s handle.  The higher this gear ratio is, the fast your line retrieval gets. If you aim at small-sized fish that do not put up a fight, using a high gear ratio is more likely to bring success.

On the other hand, lower gear ratios are designed with more torque and power to reel in larger catches.  Unfortunately, most ultralight spinning reels have a gear ratio of 6.2:1 and lower, which means your options are curbed. But as long as the sole purpose is to go for light fishing, anything under 6.2:1 will suffice.

Drag range

The drag range refers to how much stopping power your reel can employ. For example, a reel with a drag power of 8lbs means it exerts a pressure equivalent to 8lbs. As a rule of thumb, experienced fishermen believe that the drag range should be at least 25% of the lines tested. Are you using a 10lbs mono line? In this case, the ideal drag range is no less than 2.5lbs.

Regarding ultralight fishing reels, the drag range and your lines test percentage can go up to 50%. You need to keep the power at roughly 3.5 to 4lbs for maximal impact, whatever the ratio is.  If the drag is any lower, chances are you have to struggle reeling in even medium-sized fish. 

What type of fishing line is the best for ultralight spinning reels?

strong-line

Many people recommend using braided lines together with ultralight spinning reels. Braided lines are stronger, more durable compared to monofilament or fluorocarbon lines, and they have little line memory. As a result, using 4lbs 110 yards of braided lines is guaranteed to work wonders for your next ultralight fishing trip.

However, it does not mean that you cannot pair monofilament and fluorocarbon lines with a spinning reel. The former offers tighter knots and is less expensive when the latter is less inclined to break down or get abrasive.  Feel free to adjust the fishing lines based on your fishing styles and preferences.

See also: Why You Should Switch To Braided Line ?

Conclusion

Ultralight fishing is not as complicated as other techniques. However, having the right tools is essential should you want to make the most out of each fishing trip.  This is why investing in the best ultralight spinning reels remains your top priority. Now that you have already known how to pick one from the buying guide above, let’s place an order and see how it makes a difference!

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