Best Ultralight Spinning Reels in 2021 – Buyer’s Guide

Reels can be a pretty heavy burden to carry, and spinning reels are no exception. All anglers have that nightmare of catching a big fish and not being able to pull it due to all the accumulated fatigue in their wrists and elbows.

That’s why today, we’ve gone ahead, put in the effort, and gathered some of the lightest spinning reels on the market. These reels are featherweight while still maintaining amazing durability and comfort.

So without further ado, let’s get down to the 8 best ultralight spinning reels currently on the market.

At a Glance:

  1. KastKing Sharky III – Best Overall
  2. Shimano 16 Stradic CI4+ – All-Rounder
  3. Pflueger President – Best Value
  4. Okuma RTX – Best for Catching Small Fish
  5. Shimano Sedona FI – Best for Larger Prey
  6. Abu Garcia Revo SX 30 – Most Durable
  7. Okuma Ceymar C10 – Best High-End
  8. Abu Garcia Revo Premier – Best for Bass Fishing

The 8 Best Ultralight Spinning Reels in 2021

1. KastKing Sharky III – Best Overall

We begin with the KastKing Sharky III. Made by KastKing who is one of the top companies in the fishing world, the Sharky III weighs only 7.4 ounces, making it one of the lightest spinning reels on the market today.

It can house both monofilament and braided line with a capacity of 6/200 and 8/170 for the monoline and 20/200 and 30/170 for the braided line. Not only that, but it also comes with a gear ratio of 5.2:1 and 10+1 ball bearings, which provide it with enough power and strength to reel in even the mightiest of fish.

Moving on, this spinning reel implores a K.I.S.S system which seals the spool with a water-resistant material that makes it ideal for saltwater fishing. Moreover, the handle is ergonomically designed and made of aluminum which makes it pretty comfortable and durable at the same time.

The line retrieval is super smooth with this spinning reel as it uses a special Shark Fin Braid Ready aluminum spool. No longer will you need a backing line when spooling as the Shark Fin Braid line will do the job for you.

Furthermore, this reel is built for power; it has a 33.0 lbs maximum drag that is made out of triple disk carbon. This means that no matter how strong or heavy the fish that you’re hunting is, this reel will always get you covered.

The rotor and body are fully constructed out of fiber reinforced graphite that ensures a long shelf life and maximum efficiency. Also, there are five different variations of this spinning reel that range all the way from 1,000 to 5,000, every reel gaining more and more upgrades and better specifications along the way.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Monofilament and Braided line capacity
  • Durable
  • Lightweight
  • K.I.S.S system
  • One-year warranty

Cons:

  • None

Final Thoughts:

The KastKing Sharky III is a spinning reel like no other. It combines all the best traits that any angler could ever wish for, from lightness and durability to the ergonomically designed handles and one-year warranty. What more could you ask for!?

2. Shimano 16 Stradic CI4+ – All-Rounder

The Shimano 16 Stradic CI4+ is a spinning reel that’s made for everyone, no matter their fishing experience level. Whether you’re a beginner, an intermediate, or an advanced angler, the Stradic CI4+ will make your day.

We begin with the Magnumlite rotor, or MGL for short. Not only is this rotor 25% lighter than other designs, but it also provides you with enough power to enact smother line retrievals while exerting less energy and inertia. 

It also pairs nicely with the carbon body that’s not only excessively strong but also very lightweight and very durable. In addition, it’s water, sand, and dust-resistant, which makes it a perfect fit for saltwater fishing.

The reel’s body has a G-Free design where the center of gravity is moved closer to the rod. This improves the reel’s balance and makes you feel more relaxed when holding it. It also obliterates any forearm fatigue.

Not only that, but also this reel comes with an advanced water protection system called ‘CoreProtect’. This system provides the reel with 360-degree, all-weather resistance to water, which increases the reel’s durability and shelf life.

Additionally, the spools are made of cold-forged aluminum, which, unlike graphite, has increased strength and durability. The Hagane cold forged drive gears are extremely precise and accurate and will provide you with a retrieval process that is as smooth as silk.

Not to mention that the 6 shielded bearings make the reel very smooth when handling it.  Also, the one-way roller bearing will instantly hook your catch without any need for back olay.

Moreover, this reel uses an X-ship pinion gear support system, a combined feature that makes the reel much more efficient. It works by making the pinion gear closer to the centerline of the large diameter drive gear, which transfers more power from the handle to the rotor.

Unfortunately, this reel is a bit expensive and falls on the high end of the spectrum. Plus, the anti-reverse switch is small and hard to use.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Magnumlite rotor
  • G-Free body design
  • X-Ship pinion gear
  • CoreProtect
  • Ultra-hard Hagane cold drive gear
  • Cold-forged aluminum spool

Cons:

  • Small anti-reverse switch
  • Expensive

Final Thoughts

If you don’t mind splashing a few extra bucks to buy an amazing ultralight spinning reel, then definitely go for the Shimano 16 Stradic CI4+. With its strong body that has a G-free design to the protected bearings and the magnumlite rotor, you can’t go wrong with this reel.

3. Pflueger President – Best Value

Standing at 8.3 ounces, the Pflueger President is a true jack of all trades. It’s an ultralight spinning reel that’s suitable for all ages and levels of experience. It comes with a SureClick bail that’s made from heavy-duty aluminum.

Moreover, the knob is a soft-touch one that’s ergonomically designed, making it comfortable to hold and has a solid grip. Additionally, the handle is made from aircraft-grade aluminum, which prevents wear and tear while making the handle much more comfortable to use and hold.

This reel is chock-full of unique features that’ll pull in any angler. The spool is made from high-quality aluminum, which ensures it’s high-quality and efficient. In addition, the spool is ported and braid-ready, meaning that you no longer have to back it with a monofilament line to use braid; you can use it directly!

Moving on from the braid-ready spool, we come to the gear ratio and ball bearings. The President sports 9 + 1 ball bearings, where the 9 bearings are ball ones while the remaining bearing is a roller one. These 10 bearings are all made of stainless steel, rendering them resistant to corrosion while still providing you with a smooth experience.

The line retrievals with this reel are simply exquisite due to the 5.2:1 gear ratio, along with the ability to retrieve 25.2 inches of line per single crank of the handle. Even if your catch weighs 9 pounds or more, the President will be able to reel it in even if the fish puts up a mean fight.

The body and rotor of this reel are fully made of graphite, making it look and feel sturdy, durable, and compact. Unfortunately, though, the reel isn’t sealed in any manner, meaning it is sustainable to damage from saltwater.

Pros:

  • SureClick bail
  • Soft-touch knob
  • Air-craft aluminum handle
  • Aluminum spool
  • 9+1 ball bearings
  • 5.2:1 gear ratio

Cons:

  • Not resistant to salt water as it’s not sealed

Final Thoughts

If it’s value for money you’re looking for, look no further than the Pflueger President. With its graphite body and rotor, ergonomically designed knob, 5.2:1 gear ratio, and 9+1 ball bearings, this reel really packs a punch; however, it’s not suitable for saltwater usage as it’s not sealed.

4. Okuma RTX – Best for Catching Small Fish

Let’s face it, not all of us like to go after large fish; some of us just want to lay back and enjoy a nice day of light, breezy fishing. Well, that’s where the Okula RTX comes into play. It weighs only 6.7 ounces, making it one of the lightest spinning reels ever to be made. Plus, it has many features that make it ideal for a relaxing fishing day.

This reel is made of a particular type of Carbon called C-40X that, in addition to making it remarkably light, massively contributes to its overall durability. Not only is the RTX’s body made of C-40X, but also its frame, rotor, and side plate. 

The handle knob is a lightweight, barrel-shaped EVA one. This means that not only is it comfortable to use, but it also countervails any stress that might affect your wrist or forearm during elongated periods of fishing. Additionally, the handle’s knob is an Ergo-grip one that’s pretty durable and comfortable to hold and use.

This reel comes with 7 ball bearings and 1 roller bearing alongside a Japanese oiled multi-disc drag system. When combining these two features with the anti-reverse roller bearing, you get a super-smooth line retrieval.

Furthermore, you have the main gear that is made from an AlumiLite alloy alongside oscillating secondary gears. Plus, a two-tone anodized spool that’s made of machined aluminum. This makes it much more durable.

Finally, as we previously mentioned, if it’s the power that you’re looking for, then this isn’t the reel for you. The RTX is ideal for lightweight fishing only as it won’t perform well against larger prey.

Pros:

  • 6.7 ounces
  • Made from C-40X carbon
  • EVA handle
  • Ergonomically designed grip
  • 7+1 bearings
  • Japanese oiled multi-disc drag system
  • Anti-reverse roller bearing
  • Oscillating secondary gears

Cons:

  • Not made for catching large fish
  • Not sealed, so not suitable for saltwater fishing

Final Thoughts

Made for lightweight fishing, the Okuma RTX really shines as an ultralight spinning reel. It weighs only 6.7 ounces and has an ergonomically designed grip alongside a VA handle, plus a body made from C-40X carbon. Its downsides are its inability to hunt larger fish and its incompatibility with saltwater.

5. Shimano Sedona FI – Best for Larger Prey

Unlike the previous fishing reel, this one is built for harsh and strong fish. In addition, it comes in multiple models, with the specifications increasing with each one. 

What really makes this reel shine is its Hagane Gear technology. This technology prevents flexes and distortions from happening when reeling in your prize while protecting the reel’s interiors from damage. So not only does it provide you with silky retrievals, but it also protects your reel while doing so.

A small number of reels come close to this one in terms of comfort, and that’s all due to the G-Free body design. It works to increase your comfort when using the reel by bringing the reel’s center of gravity closer to the rod. This makes it easier for you to hold the reel and control the rod, which takes a huge load off your arms.

It comes with both a monofilament line capacity of 100/6 and a braided line capacity of 85/15, plus a maximum drag that begins with 7 pounds for the first variation and 20 pounds for the final one – 20 pounds is a lot of drag for an ultralight spinning reel. Additionally, it comes with 4 ball bearings and a gear ratio of 5.0:1.

On the downside, this reel doesn’t come with any form of an anti-reverse switch or an added spool.

Pros:

  • Multiple models
  • Hagane Gear technology
  • G-Free body design
  • Can house both mono and braided lines
  • 5.0:1 gear ratio

Cons:

  • No anti-reverse switch
  • No added spool

Final Thoughts

If big fish are what you’re after, then the Shimano Sedona FI is the spinning reel for you. It’s built with Hagane Gear technology and G-Free body design, which increase the reel’s comfort and durability. Plus, it comes in multiple variations, with their specs rising as you go up.

6. Abu Garcia Revo SX 30 – Most Durable

Durability is crucial when it comes to anything, let alone a spinning reel that will face saltwater and will fight against strong fish. The Revo SX 30 is one of the most durable ultra-lightweight spinning reels on the market. Weighing a mere 7.9 ounces, you won’t find better than it.

This reel comes with a graphite rotor and an IM-C6 body design. These two features provide the reel with durability and resistance to wear and tear. Not only that, but they also extend the reel’s shelf life. Moreover, the handle knob is an EVA one that’s ergonomically designed to provide you with a comfortable and solid grip.

Furthermore, it sports 8+1 bearings, where 8 are ball bearings, and the other one is a roller bearing. They make the whole thing run very smoothly. Plus, it has a Rocket line management system and braid-ready Rocket spool.

The 6.2:1 gear ratio and 35 inches of line retrieve per crank will provide you with super-smooth line retrievals. An excellent feature that this reel packs is a magnetic brake system, which eliminates the chances of any backlash happening.

Unfortunately, this reel falls on the expensive end of the spectrum. You’ll have to break the bank to purchase it.

Pros:

  • Durable
  • Magnetic brake system
  • 6.2:1 gear ratio
  • 35 inches of line retrieval
  • 8 + 1 ball bearings
  • Graphite rotor
  • IM-C6 body design

Cons:

  • Expensive

Final Thoughts

If you’re willing to pay a bit extra, then why not go for the Abu Garcia Revo SX 30. It’s one of the most durable ultralight spinning reels currently on the market due to the graphite rotor and the IM-C6 body design; you can use it in any water terrain. The magnetic brake system is one of the best features you can find in a spinning reel as it eliminates the chance of backlash.

7. Okuma Ceymar C10 – Best High-End

If you’re for the Porsche or Ferrari of ultralight spinning reels, then opt for the Okuma Ceymar C10. It has multiple fantastic features that’ll make any angler go heads over toes for it. It’s also one of the lightest spinning reels, weighing only 6 ounces.

We begin with the heavy-duty bail wire; it’s made from high-quality aluminum and comes with a pinion gear that’s made from machine-cut brass. Plus, it’s pretty comfortable to use for elongated periods due to the die-cast ergonomically designed handle.

Furthermore, this reel sports a body that’s made from graphite. It’s corrosion-resistant and protects the reel from saltwater, dust, and sand, making it ideal for saltwater fishing.

Not only that, but it also comes with an anti-reverse feature that’ll definitely come in handy when reeling in those big fish. Plus, the blade is very narrow, providing you with sleekness and flawless aerodynamics.

Another amazing feature that comes with this reel is precision. It’s extremely accurate due to the even-flow roller system, which eliminates friction and reduces line twists. It also comes with 10 stainless steel ball bearings that provide you with smooth line retrievals.

However, the line can sometimes wrap around the spindle, so always exercise caution.

Pros:

  • Weighs 6 ounces
  • High-quality, heavy-duty aluminum bail wire
  • Machine-cut brass pinion gear
  • Die-cast handle
  • Graphite body
  • Anti-reverse feature
  • Narrow blade
  • Even-flow roller system
  • 10 stainless steel ball bearings

Cons:

  • The line may wrap around the spine

Final Thoughts

If high-end is what you’re after, then go for the Okuma Ceymar C10. It has a heavy-duty aluminum bail wire and machine-cut brass pinion gear. Plus, its body is water and dust-resistant as it’s made of graphite, and it sports a fantastic anti-reverse feature.

8. Abu Garcia Revo Premier – Best for Bass Fishing

If you’re a deep water angler looking for an ultralight spinning reel, then look no further than the Abu Garcia Revo Premier. Made by Abu Garcia who are known for their amazing reels all over the world, this reel comes with 12 ball bearings, which is one of the highest number of bearings you can find in any spinning reel. This makes the line retrievals super smooth.

It comes with 150 yards of braided line capacity. This makes the retrievals not only smooth but also super quick. In addition, the gears are machine optimized and operate smoothly and with great speed and accuracy.

Moving on, this reel comes with a C6 carbon body that’s very durable and compact. Also, it’s corrosion and water-resistant. Furthermore, the handle and rotor are made from Carbon, while the shaft is made from aluminum, further elongating the reel’s shelf life.

It comes with a Rocket Line Management System, which allows the line to flow smoothly and freely, eliminating any kinks or hurdles that might happen. The reel has a maximum drag of 10 pounds.

The monofilament line capacity is 100/6, while the braided line capacity is 150/6. The gear ratio is 6.2:1, while the line retrieve per crank is 30 inches. When all these specifications combine, you get one fantastic reel with silky smooth line retrievals without any hurdles.

Unfortunately, this reel is a noisy one when put under heavy loads, and it’s pretty expensive as well.

Pros:

  • 12 ball bearings
  • 150 yards of braided line capacity
  • C6 Carbon body
  • Carbon handle and rotor
  • Aluminum shaft
  • Rocket Line Management System
  • 10-pound maximum drag
  • 6.2:1 gear ratio

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Noisy

Final Thoughts

If you’re a bass enthusiast, then the Abu Garcia Revo Premier is the reel for you. With 150 yards of braided line, 12 ball bearings, and the Rocket Line Management System, it’ll make all your bass adventures pretty easy. Also, the carbon-made handle and rotor, when combined with the aluminum shaft, make this reel a beast of durability.

How to Pick an Ultralight Spinning Reel

Now that we’re done with our reviews of the best ultralight spinning reels, it’s time to show you the factors that we considered while picking each and every one of these reels. These factors range from drag to weight, bearings, and many more.

Weight

After all, we’re discussing ultralight spinning reels; therefore, it goes without saying that the first thing you need to consider is the reel’s weight. The norm is that when holding a reel, you should compare it to holding a plate.

You shouldn’t be feeling any tension on your forearm or your wrist. However, you shouldn’t also neglect any of the other factors like the drag, bearing, or line capacity.

Comfortability

Since most fishing trips tend to last for hours, comfort becomes a key element to consider when picking your reel. You should always go for reels that have ergonomically designed handles. Also, always pay attention to the reel’s handle if it’s made for left-handed or right-handed anglers.

Bearings

Ball bearings are what fights against the fish. Therefore, the norm with bearings is “the more, the better”. However, with ultralight spinning reels, you need to go for way more than the norm. Always look for a reel with no less than 7 ball bearings so that you can have a fighting chance. 

Also, if the bearings happen to be sealed, that would be a fantastic addition, primarily if you fish in saltwater.

Drag

Your reel’s drag is what prevents the line from going back when the fish catches the bait. That’s why you need a high-quality drag system with a large maximum drag.

Carbon Steel shaft drag systems with multiple washers are the best. Also, you need your drag system to be adjustable, well greased, and able to engage quickly because if any of the features is absent, you might lose your catch or even damage your reel.

Gear Ratio

A reel’s gear ratio indicates the number of full spins that the spool makes for every crank of the handle. Each different type of fish has a compatible gear ratio. Therefore, it’s best if you decide what fish you’ll be going after before picking your reel.

Picking a high gear ratio while going for larger fish might lead to you breaking your rod or your reel, while going for a slower gear ratio might cost you your fish.

Material

Your reel’s material can make or break your fishing experience. So it’s a factor that’s always worth investing in, even if it’ll cost you more money.

Ultralight spinning reels are either made from aluminum or graphite. Aluminum reels are more robust, more durable, and perfect for strong fish. On the other hand, graphite reels are flexible but a bit weaker. Some companies have started to create magnesium reels; magnesium combines durability with strength and flexibility. 

However, these reels aren’t as popular as other reels. But if you happen to land one, then you’ll be a lucky angler.

Reel Housing

The reel’s housing is its first line of defense against water, corrosion, and rust. Therefore, you need to go for reel housing that’s of high quality. Housing can be either graphite or aluminum. However, we suggest you opt for aluminum reel housing as it has stronger resistance capabilities.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is a Good Rod for an Ultralight Spinning Reel?

The most important thing to consider when picking a rod for an ultralight spinning reel is the rod’s length as it’ll greatly impact your fishing experience. Although most anglers use rods that range between 4-7 feet in length, we advise you to use a 6-foot rod as it’ll greatly complement your ultralight reel, providing you with an unparalleled fishing experience.

What Type of Line Is Best When Using an Ultralight Spinning Reel?

Simply put, you should use either monofilament or braided line under a 6-pound test. You can fill the entire spool with a monofilament line as it’s the hardest for the fish to see and will help you catch much more fish.

How to Prevent Your Reel From Rusting?

The focal point here is to dry everything. Yet, fishing in saltwater is different from freshwater. When fishing in saltwater be sure to rinse everything, including your reel, with clean water because salt can corrode your reel. Then, leave everything to dry.

However, when fishing in freshwater, be sure to remove anything that might get stuck to your reel – to remove any contaminants. It would also be a good idea to fully rinse your reel and rod before leaving them to dry.

Final Thoughts

Now that all is said and done, we hope you’ve come to a decision regarding the best ultralight spinning reel. But if you’re still hesitant, these recommendations will definitely help you come to a conclusion.

If you’re looking for the best in every aspect, then go for the KastKing Sharky III. It’s pretty affordable and comes with the K.I.S.S system as well as a one-year warranty.

If you’re seeking value for your money, then the Pflueger President is the reel for you. It has 9+1 ball bearings, a SureClick bail, an air-craft aluminum handle, and a 5.2:1 gear ratio. Unfortunately, it’s not suitable for saltwater fishing as it’s not sealed.

If you want to catch a large fish using an ultralight spinning reel, you can’t go wrong with the Shimano Sedona FI. It comes in multiple models, has Hagane Gear technology, a G-Free body design, and a 5.0:1 body design. However, it lacks an anti-reverse switch and it doesn’t come with an added spool.

Our final recommendation would be the Okuma Ceymar C10 for all high-end fishing enthusiasts. It weighs only 6 ounces, has a heavy-duty aluminum bail, a machine-cut brass pinion gear, and a die-cast body. Not only that, but it also has a graphite body, anti-reverse system, a narrow blade, and 10 stainless steel bearings. The only downside is that the line may wrap around the spine.

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