Spincast reels have been unfairly looked down upon in recent times. They have been called shoddy, unreliable, cheaply built, only suitable for beginners, and many other things, so a lot of fishermen shun them in favor of other reels. While they are not without their issues, I think spincast reels are great for a variety of reasons, and I still use them regularly, preferring them over some other types. On the other hand, finding the best spincast reel can be difficult. Why is that? Well, here’s why.
**Below, you'll find more detailed reviews, but you can also click links above to check current prices and read customer's reviews on Amazon.
What is a Spincast Reel?
There are more than just a few different types of fishing reels, but spincast reels are among the most widespread. They were invented 1949, as an attempt to solve some of the problems the other reel types had.
Due to how they work, they have also been called "push buttons" sometimes as a derogatory term. This is because the spincast reel is mostly operated by pressing or releasing a button on the back of it. Pressing it disengages the line pickup allowing you to cast the reel and then release the button to let the line fly. The button can then be used again in order to stop the lure where you want it to stay.
There are also types that are mounted on the bottom, rather than the top of the rod, and use a slightly different system, where you hold the button until after you finish casting, but these are less common and are more akin to spinning reels.
Different kinds of drags are also used in spincast reels. Some have an obvious, star-shaped external drag mounted to the side, while some use internal drags which are operated with a small wheel on the outside of the reel.
Spincast vs. Baitcast vs. Spinning Reels
The other two types of reels most commonly used by anglers around the world are baitcast and spinning reels. Some prefer one of these to spincast reels for various reasons, and even consider them to be superior in every way – but this is hardly true.
The truth is that there are benefits to using baitcast or spinning reels over spincasts, but spincast reels also have their upsides that shouldn’t be ignored. I’ll address all of them here.
Spincast vs. Baitcast Reels
The first noticeable difference when looking at the two reels is how the line is stored. While it's open on a baitcast reel, on a spincast reel, it is located inside a protective housing. The upside of this is that the line is protected and you can't do harm to it, or yourself, by accident.
The downside is that it’s hard to untangle the line if wraps in it develop inside the housing. Yes, tangling can happen in a baitcaster as well, but it’s far easier to fix and easier to notice – in a spincaster, it can get tangled badly before you even get a feeling that something is wrong.
The other noticeable difference is in how the line comes off the spool. In a baitcaster, the spool moves while the line unreels in the direction of the rod. On spincasters, the spool does not move, while the line comes off at a 90-degree angle from it.
What this difference really means is easy to spot when casting the line. With baitcast reels, you need to have excellent control of the speed at which you let the line off the spool, or you will get a lot of backlashes. This is a problem that is not present in spincast reels, which are thus far easier to use.
Baitcast reels are also more durable and can hold heavier lines though, which means they are more suited for bigger catch – while spincast reels are far better suited for lighter bait and lighter catch.
The design of spincast reels also results in them being able to hold less line than baitcasters and being slower at pulling the line back in.
Spincast vs. Spinning Reels
Some of the comparisons here are similar – spinning reels also have an open line as opposed to an enclosed one on spincasters, for example. They are also similar in some ways, as they are both easy to use for beginners, have little problem with backlash, aren’t good with heavy lines and lures, and use a spool that doesn’t spin when casting.
The main difference here, however, is in the tangling of the line. Namely, spinning reels are very prone to wind knots, which form when the line overruns, and the slack line creates a loop in the spinning reel. This is something that does not happen with spincasters – yes, tangles do happen, but not tangles this bad. Wind knots usually can’t even be untangled – the line just has to be cut and thrown out.
However, the advantage of spinning reels is that they can offer more control once you are used to them, and they can hold much more line than spincast reels can.
What to Look For in a Good Spincast Reel
As in any good reel, you should look for a few key things when buying a spincast reel.
- The materials it's constructed from are the first thing you should check. Plastic reels are prone to breaking rather quickly, so you should at least look for ones that incorporate aluminum or other more durable substance. I prefer to use reels with an entirely metal construction.
- The gear ratio is also useful to consider. Usually expressed in numbers – for example, 4.5:1 – it indicates how many rotations the spool makes per one turn of the handle. The larger the first number, the more line you can retrieve with one turn. In practice, this means that you can catch faster fish with reels that have a higher gear ratio. However, if you aspire to catch larger fish, a lower gear ratio is preferable.
- The drag system is next. External and internal ones exist, as I described previously. The external ones help you have more control, but require more effort to use, while internal ones might be more difficult to adjust but can be operated with just one finger. Choose what is more convenient for you.
There are other features that people consider, like ball bearings, but these are the most important factors.
Spincast Reel Reviews: Top 5 Best Spincast Reel For The Money
Here’s a selection of good spincast reels that I personally had the pleasure to use during fishing, what they offer and how they performed. Hopefully, it will help you make your choice when purchasing one for yourself.
This spincast reel boasts to be one of Zebco’s best, as well as the first ever seven-bearing spincast reel. The design is such that it can be modified to accommodate both left-handed and right-handed people. It also features such benefits as a 3x positive pickup system, triple-cam multi-disk drag system, auto bait alert and an oscillating spool – whatever that’s worth.
It seems to be made from rather sturdy materials though, using things like ceramic line guides and gears made entirely from metal and aircraft-grade aluminum covers.
Despite that, it still seems prone to failing at unexpected places. It's not completely made of metal and some connectors can and will break after repeated use, even if you're light on it and use only light bait and catch small fish. The button it uses is also not metal – it’s made of rubber, and quite slippery when wet, which is not what you want.
The oscillating spool also doesn't seem to work very well, and the line digs into it when reeling the fish in, meaning that it doesn't stay on the spool correctly during the next few casts, leading to bad casts. It also seems to hold a minimal amount of line.
- Most of it is made from durable materials
- Good for left-handed people
- Not completely made of metal
- Fails in a few different places
- The oscillating spool doesn’t work very well
- It holds very little line
This spincaster is a different version of the previous one, which is supposed to be an upgrade on it. It possesses most of the same features as the Z03 PRO, but lacks some of the "improvements." The double-handed crank is the largest difference – the PRO version has a single-hand crank that is supposed to be better and stronger than this one, but both seem fine enough.
The design is also slightly different, but that seems to be only esthetic. This one is cheaper, though, but not by much.
It has practically all the problems the PRO version of this reel has, with the addition of fraying the line from time to time.
It’s fine as a cheaper option at the very least.
- Cheaper than the Z03 PRO
- Has all the good features the PRO version has
- Pretty much the same as the PRO version
- Also frays the line from time to time
This is a reel with medium to light action, for sweet water use, and a gear ratio of 4.3:1, which is reasonably fast and good for smaller and agiler fish.
This worked well for most sweet water fish, to be honest, and it took all sorts of lines, even some heavier ones. Still, I wouldn't recommend using heavier lines with it, as I needed a few attempts to cast when using a 100 line.
However, if you cast a lot you might not want to use this reel, as it can either not release the line from time to time, or fail to stop it when you want – meaning you lose the hook, the bait, and the line, all at once. Not pleasant. This only happened after a lot of repeated casts though.
As with heavier lines, this is not really suited for heavier bait, and the drag is also a bit weak even when going for smaller catch. So it’s not recommended for use with bigger game.
The biggest problem for me was the durability and materials its built out of. It didn't last very long, and things started breaking after a few fishing trips – the handle is the first thing that went, and after I had replaced that, it was the rest. Not good for the asking price.
- Good gear ratio for catching fast fish
- Works well when sweetwater fishing
- Takes most lines
- Not recommended for use with heavier lines
- Not good for heavier bait and catching bigger fish
- During casting, the line might come off completely
- Not durable at all and starts breaking fast
This is another reel from Daiwa, featuring, first and foremost, an all-metal contraction as they claim – the housing, the gears, the nose, everything is metal. It also has an oscillating spool that is supposed to make dragging smoother and easier, as well as the ability to switch the handle from right-handed to left-handed. The gear ratio is 4.1 to 1, which is rather fast, and it also has medium to heavy action. The weight is 12 ounces though, which is a bit too bulky for my liking.
The upside to this one is that it is really durable and nothing seems to break at all, even when you’re a bit rougher with it. It comes at the cost of it being heavy, but that might be acceptable to you. Still, it means it can be easily used to catch some heavier fish, even though the gear ratio is not really suited for that, it still has enough strength.
Not that this doesn’t have its flaws – it sure does. For starters, the drag control just… doesn’t seem to work at all. The dial does not stay where I set it to, and it just leads to a lot of problems and missed fish.
The other problem is that, of course, it’s too heavy to use with sticks that you would usually use when catching smaller fish, which I really don’t like.
- Very durable and takes a lot of punishment
- Can be used for catching smaller or even some heavier fish
- Good gear ratio
- The handle can be switched for left-handed use
- Too heavy to use with smaller sticks
- The drag control doesn’t work at all
- Can be a bit expensive for some
This reel from Zebco features a 4.1:1 gear ratio, which is rather fast and touts an all-metal body as well as five bearings and a changeable handle. Another feature that I haven't seen all that much but strangely like is a built-in hook holder.
However, the drag can be a problem. While it is mostly smooth and easy just as advertised, it can lock up at times despite what the drag control is set to. I still have no idea what causes this, and it happens randomly.
Other than that though, I have been mostly satisfied with this reel - it doesn't break at all even with repeated use; it doesn't fray the line, rarely tangles it, and in general is just smooth and efficient. For sweet water fishing and smaller fish that is. It’s not suited for catching larger game at all, and you should not try – I did, and it ended up badly.
Overall it’s pretty great and I’m happy with it so far. Even the price point is rather fair, especially when compared to similar spincast reels on the market right now.
- Very durable and doesn’t break
- Effective for hunting smaller and medium fish
- The drag is rather smooth and easy
- Doesn’t fray the line and rarely tangles it
- Affordable priceBuilt-in hook holder
- The drag randomly locks up for some reason
- Not suited for catching larger fish
There are many products that are good for fishing but the best ones as the history suggest, Zebco is the leading company that still sells the best spincast reels in the fishing market these days. The Omega ZO3PRO Spincast by Zebco is one of the leaders in the markets today which is very popular and more and more people are opting for it time and again.
For years Zebco has been selling the best quality products and there are thousands of happy customers they have all across the world. Another Daiwa is another leading brand that competes with Zebco these days in terms of selling