Best Shimano Spinning Reels
Shimano is one of the most popular brands for spinning reels, and for good reason. Shimano has been around for a long time designing and creating a variety of fishing gear. Throughout this time, they have been able to refine and improve their technology in order to consistently provide quality reels.
One of the great things about Shimano spinning reels is that there are so many you can choose from, so there's something for everyone. Whether you're a beginner who just wants a cheap spinning reel to get started, or a pro angler who is looking for the latest and greatest, or anyone in between, there is certainly a lot you can choose from.
However, as awesome as it is to have a large selection to choose from, it can also make things a little confusing and difficult to come to a decision. Therefore, we decided to review the best Shimano spinning reels at various price points, which we hope can help narrow your selection and save you a bit of time.
Shimano Spinning Reel Reviews
- Overall great value
- Many different models/sizes available
- Lightweight graphite frame, side plate, and rotor.
- Fast action with mechanisms to reduce backplay and wobble
- Not overly durable
- Still slightly more prone to tangling
- May need more maintenance, e.g. re-greasing, than other Shimano spinning reels.
The Shimano Sienna front drag spinning reel is your basic lower-end spinning reel. To be clear, that doesn't mean it's bad, rather, there just isn't any fancy bells and whistles, which isn't always necessary anyway.
This reel comes in many different sizes to help accommodate your line capacity. For example, the base model has a line capacity ranging from 2/210 - 6/110, while the Shimano Sienna 4000FD boasts a line capacity ranging from 8/240 - 12/160.
The components are mainly graphite, which is standard for this price point. The graphite will offer a lightweight feel and good performance, but may not be as durable. Moving components may need to be greased sooner than some other reels.
Overall, this is a nice Shimano spinning reel, especially for the price, and is more well-suited to smaller fish, likely those found in fresh water (e.g. bass, perch, catfish, salmon). While it may not last as long and isn't anything special, it will be tough to find something cheaper and of the same quality.
Therefore, we recommend the Shimano Sienna spinning reel for beginners, those you want a spare reel, those on a very strict budget, or anyone fishing relatively small fresh water fish that simply want good value.
- Propulsion line management system
- Varispeed oscillation
- 6 shielded stainless steel ball bearings
- Lightweight graphite frame, sideplate, and rotor.
- A little more expensive, but overall, still on the cheaper side for spinning reels.
- 6.2:1 gear ratio
- A little more difficult to maintain rear drag system, especially after use in salt water.
- Retrieval speed can sometimes be compromised in rainy/wet conditions.
The Shimano Spirex RG spinning reel is a step up from some of their base-level spinning reels. In this case, the main improvement is the retrieval speed, which is mostly due to the relatively high gear ratio and smooth action provided by the shielded stainless steel ball bearings.
In our opinion, we like the rear drag system as we find it much easier to use than a front drag system after setting the hook. However, there is a front drag version available at a slightly lower cost as well, so no matter what your preference, there is something out there for everyone. Admittedly, the rear drag systems are usually a bit more touchy to maintain, and if you're fishing in salt water the salt tends to accumulate more in the rear drag than in a front drag system.
The other nice thing about the Shimano Spirex RG spinning reel is the variety in models/sizes. The sizes will all have slightly different line capacities, allowing you to choose something based on your typical fishing ventures.
Overall, this can be considered a base level Shimano spinning reel with a couple improvements that start to separate it from that pack. Other than the above-mentioned improvements, it's a fairly standard reel, but is still one of the better spinning reels you can find at this price range.
- Baitrunner System
- Fluidrive II gearing
- Super Stopper instant anti-reverse
- Improved Dartanium dual drag
- Shielded A-RB ball bearings
- Some changes in design from previous model can make it difficult to get used to for some.
The Shimano Baitrunner D-series spinning reel offers the legendary drivetrain and auto-return baitrunner feature that many anglers have come to love. In addition to the reliable drivetrain and baitrunner feature, the D-series provides improved casting, line lay, drag, and tangle prevention compared to its predecessors.
The overall performance and durability of this reel are excellent. The waterproof drag will certainly enhance the lifespan on your reel, and when combined with the Dartanium II drag washers (cross carbon) you end up with a great balance between performance and durability.
The shielded A-RB ball bearings, Fluidrive II gearing, varispeed oscillation, and Dyna-balance all provide for an extremely smooth cast and retrieve, all facilitating excellent performance. Furthermore, when your inner components are running smoothly with minimal friction, you can also have more confidence in the reel's ability to stand up tot he test of time.
The main drawback about this reel is the cost, as it's nearly impossible to find for under $100. That being said, it's still not as expensive as a lot of the really high-end models, and for what you pay, you're actually getting decent value due to the high quality.
Overall, we would recommend the Shimano Baitrunner D-series spinning reel for those who can afford to invest a little more into a quality reel that will last for a while, and of course, those looking for nice baitrunner features. For more information about other models of Shimano Baitrunner spinning reels, please check out another one of our reviews here.
- Excellent-quality components
- 6+1 ball bearings
- More than double the strength and 20% lighter than their XT-7 model.
- Reinforced carbon fiber is strong and light, while also decreasing concerns about corrosion.
- Extremely smooth and quick.
- Long casting distance
- Bail may stick sometimes when open, but not a big deal.
This is an amazing spinning reel constructed by a very popular fishing gear brand. Simply put, all of the components are high quality and offer excellent performance and durability. Shimano has incorporated lots of reinforced carbon fiber into the design, providing a reel that is stronger and lighter than most, and as a bonus, there is a way smaller risk of corrosion since the vast majority of the components are not metal.
Simply put, the Shimano Stradic CI4+ boasts all the best features of a spinning reel and is extremely well-liked by customers. At this price point, not only are you paying more for higher quality materials and performance, as well as increased durability, but you are also rewarded with a lower occurrence of annoying issues. The only issue we have heard of is the bail sometimes sticking when it's open, but this is rare and isn't a big deal (actually sort of common with some Shimano spinning reels). Otherwise, the feel is great and the lighter weight actually makes a big difference after stringing together a few full days of casting!
Overall, this is a top-of-the-line spinning reel that has enough different sizes/models available to tend to many different fishermens' needs. The main drawback is the expense, but if you know you need a higher-end reel, you definitely get what you pay for with the Shimano Stradic CI4+.
- Unreal design quality, performance, and durability.
- 55lb max drag
- Mono: 20/260
- Braid: 65/315
- 53" line retrieve per crank
- Excellent in saltwater
- Power SW aluminum body
- X-Ship feature
- Extremely expensive!
- Not meant for smaller fish
This Shimano spinning reel is phenomenal. It packs everything you need for catching big fish into one design that allows for extremely high performance and durability. Meant primarily for saltwater (you can still use it in freshwater), Shimano's Stella line of spinning reels are some of the best spinning reels out there due to their ability to haul in massive trophies while standing up to the test of time.
One of the most unique features of this Shimano spinning reel is the X-ship feature, which is designed to enhance power transmission through the gear, resulting in increased cranking power as well as a smoother feel upon retrieval. Additionally, the power aluminum body, X-rigid rotor, X-rigid bail, and X-rigid handle all combine to form a system that prevents reel flex, allowing you to get the most power out of the reel as possible.
The X-tough drag system is awesome and fully capable of working larger fish like the bluefin tuna. The X-shield and X-protect features help protect this great drag system by providing next-level protection against water intrusion even in really harsh saltwater fishing conditions.
Overall, this Stella line of reels are arguably the best ultralight Shimano spinning reels available, but like anything else, it all depends on your preferences and what sort of fishing you typically do. The Shimano Stella spinning reel is best suited for pro anglers (or those who are really serious about their hobby) who are mainly in saltwater environments and need something that can fight some of the biggest fish you can cast for. If you're not that serious about fishing, chances are you won't buy this anyway due to the crazy expensive cost, but if you need the strongest and best Shimano ultralight spinning reel, this is the one.
In our opinion, you can't really go wrong with Shimano, especially if you are already used tot heir equipment and have experienced success with this brand before. The Shimano spinning reels that we reviewed above are not the only spinning reels that Shimano puts out there, but they're our top picks across the price ranges. That being said, depending on your preferences, budget, and typical fishing conditions, you may require something a little different. If this is the case, we still recommend checking out other Shimano spinning reels as well, and if you can't find anything, other brands like Penn, Daiwa, and Okuma have some great spinning reels as well. Good luck!