For a silky smooth reel that will give you years of flawless performance, you can count on Shimano. Shimano spinning reels are packed with innovative technologies that translate to super smooth reeling experiences on the water. Their build quality is superb and they can last for decades. They are also stunning reels and a joy to fish with, as they feel solid yet lightweight in the hand. It is no wonder that they are the go-to for many anglers all over the world!

Whether you’re a freshwater angler or love the challenge of going after saltwater game fish, you can’t go wrong with Shimano reels. With decades in the fishing industry, they offer hundreds of options and deciding which reel to get can be hard. To narrow down your options, we have reviewed the very best Shimano spinning reels that offer fantastic experiences on the water and unmatched durability. We have also outlined the factors to have in mind as you make a choice. Let’s get started with the top models.

How To Choose A Shimano Spinning Reel – Buying Guide


Not sure which of the top models or sizes to pick? The best Shimano spinning reel for you will depend on how and where you fish and your personal preference. Below are the considerations to make in order to choose a reel that will suit you best: 


All Shimano reel models are available in different sizes for everything from ultralight freshwater fishing to larger offshore gamefish. Whether to go for a Shimano 3000 spinning reel, a 4000 or any other size will depend on where you fish, the species you target and what tackle you use. Shimano spinning reel saltwater sizes are the larger ones. The smaller sizes are suitable for ultralight setups when you’re going for small to medium freshwater fish such as crappie, trout, and bream. 

Max Drag

The maximum drag rating tells you the fish stopping power a reel offers. Shimano spinning reels have maximum drags ranging from 7 to 25 pounds. If you are a saltwater angler, you will need the higher max drags. If you will be going for small to medium fish, a small to medium max drag will be sufficient.

Drag System

If you hook into a hard fighting and fast swimming fish, you better have a reel that is equipped with a smooth and steady drag system that is easy to finetune. Shimano’s multi-disc drag systems are very smooth and dependable. Front drag systems are more durable and perform better than rear setups but they are more difficult to operate on the fly. With rear drag systems, the controls are much easier to access and use.

Gear Ratio

For reaction strikes and lures that require fast retrieves, opt for a high-speed gear ratio of 6:1 and higher. Low gear ratios such as 4.1:1 give you the torque to present heavy bait such as deep crankbaits and spinnerbaits and haul heavy catches. For versatility, go for a medium speed gear ratio of 5:1 for shallow spinnerbaits and multiple fishing techniques. 

Ball Bearings

The more the ball bearings and the higher their quality, the more smooth and durable the reel will be. Shimano A-RB bearings are top notch quality and deliver smooth as silk performance making Shimano fishing reels some of the smoothest reels. Super Stopper II roller bearing ensures smooth hook sets.

Line Capacity

Be sure to check that the reel model and size will be able to accommodate the type and size of fishing line<span style=”font-weight: 400;”> you fish with. Check the spool or specifications for the pounds test and yards rating to ensure you it matches the line you plan to use.

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Quality Construction

Shimano is synonymous with quality. Their reels feature innovative technologies with proprietary names. Cold forged Hagane gears and body are the ultimate in power, smooth operation, sturdiness, and durability. X-Ship gear technology eliminates friction between the spool shaft and gear enhancing smoothness and gear durability. Propulsion Line Management System ensures line flows smoothly for longer accurate casting without tangles anf other line issues. Dyna-Balance technology prevents wobbling in the rotor system during retrieves. 


Weight is an important consideration as it makes a big difference on long fishing excursions. The good news is that Shimano spinning reels are lightweight (under 15 ounces and some of them under 10 ounces) and comfortable to use.


The material is important as it determines the quality and durability of the reel and its weight. Aluminum, graphite and carbon fiber are strong, corrosion resistant and lightweight. Stainless steel bearings are good as they resist corrosion.


Shimano offers a two-year warranty covering defects in materials and workmanship defects. It is important to read the fine print for clarity on what is covered and what conditions can void the warranty.



Q: What Is A Spinning Reel?


A spinning reel is a type of fishing reel that has a fixed spool and works best for finesse techniques using light tackle.

Q: Should I Have A Special Rod For this Reel Or Can I Use A Regular One?


You don’t need a special rod but you do need a well-matched spinning rod in order to create a rod and reel setup that will use the same line and lures and suit the targeted fish species and fishing technique. For example, an ultralight spinning reel balances with an ultralight rod.

Q: How Should I Clean My Spinning Reel?


Keeping your reel clean is essential if you want to get the best performance and durability out of it. After every saltwater fishing session, rinse your reel thoroughly in freshwater. For thorough cleaning, clean the reel using cotton swabs and isopropyl rubbing alcohol. This will remove oil, grease, salt deposits, and other debris.

Q: Should I Have A Special Line For Spinning Reel?


Shimano spinning reels are compatible with monofilament fishing lines and PowerPro braided fishing lines. Make sure you use a line that matches your reel’s line capacity.

Globo Surf Overview

In 1921, Shozaburo Shimano set a specific but lofty mission: “I aim to make Shimano’s products the best in Kansai, then the best in Japan, and finally the best in the world.” This dream is a reality today as Shimano makes reel masterpieces that are globally recognized for their precision and smoothness, innovativeness, and strong and durable yet lightweight construction.

With the right Shimano reel for your style of fishing, you’re set up for success and enjoyment of the sport. They don’t come cheap but they are flawless in operation, versatile and can last for decades with proper care. If you’re on a tight budget, there are also affordable options among the best Shimano spinning reels.

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