The Best Shimano Spinning Reels

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If you have somewhere to go, our favorite Shimano spinning reel is the Shimano Stradic Spinning Fishing Reel with Front Drag

Whether you’ve been going for years or you’ve just begun fishing, the type of fishing reel that you use has a large effect on your overall fishing performance. Not only does your fishing reel affect the type of casting and reeling that you can engage in, but it can also affect the types of fish that you catch as well as what fishing conditions you can use the reel in.

The fishing industry in itself is extremely diverse, let alone the vast array of different fishing reels on the market. There are so many different types of reels and brands that can each offer various features. That’s why it’s important that you carefully review the market before choosing one for your personal uses. But what features should you consider before purchasing and what types of reels should you look at?

For your convenience, here is a complete guide that contains all of the information you need to consider before purchasing any fishing reels. Not only that, but this guide contains vital information specifically about the Shimano spinning reels, and you can even find the best Shimano spinning reel included within this guide. These reels pair easily with a lot of the top rated spinning rods.

The Best Shimano Spinning Reels go as Follows:

  1. Shimano Stradic Spinning Fishing Reel with Front Drag  (Best Front Drag Option)
  2. Shimano Socorro Offshore Spinning Fishing Reel  (Top Offshore Spinning Reel)
  3. Shimano NASCI Inshore Spinning Reels  (Best Inshore Pick)
  4. Shimano Sedona Freshwater Spinning Fishing Reel  (Budget Freshwater Pick)
  5. Shimano Stradic Spinning Fishing Reel  (Quality Pick)
  6. Shimano Ultegra Freshwater Spinning Fishing Reel  (Quality Freshwater Pick)
  7. Shimano Syncopate Front Drag Freshwater Spinning Reel  (Best Starter)

Man fishing with a shimano reel

Why Do So Many Fisherman Choose Shimano?

Shimano is one of the most popular brands among the fishing industry, known for their performance, quality, and precision. More specifically, many fishermen choose Shimano for their fishing gear because of the HAGANE gearing and body setup that’s present in every reel. This HAGANE construction promises long-lasting, strong and durable performances.

Not only that, but Shimano spinning reels are especially beneficial because they’re versatile. They can be used for bass fishing purposes or general angling fishing excursions. Given their features that accommodate for both heavy and light fishing, the overall construction suits the reels for multiple different purposes.

Furthermore, Shimano poles are highly beneficial for their many applications and their easy usability. For instance, Shimano spinning reels can be used for easily catching any type of fish, from small to large ones. They offer a range of different spinning reels that come with different features specifically designed for catching fish of certain sizes and in certain waters.

Overall, Shimano reels are so much easier to use than other ones on the market, since they focus on speed and accuracy within their mechanical construction. Unlike other reels that often require time and patience to learn their mechanics, Shimano reels are easy to pick up and maintain.

Types of Environments You Can Use Shimano

Given the wide variety of different reel construction and features offered by each reel within the Shimano brand, you can use their reels in practically any type of water conditions. There is such a diverse range of different gear ratios, weights, drag options and many other features that can help to accommodate for certain fishing environments. That being said, you can find a Shimano reel that’s capable of suiting you the best within the particular type of environment that you want to go fishing in.

The Top Shimano Fishing Reel Reviews

Below are the best Shimano fishing reels as reviewed by us and satisified customers.

1. Shimano Stradic Spinning Fishing Reel with Front Drag (Best Front Drag Option)

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  • Weighs 6.7 oz
  • Gear ratio of 6.0:1
  • Max drag is 20 lbs
  • Fluidrive II System
  • 35” line retrieve

Made with Shimano’s famous X-Ship technology, the Stradic Ci4+4000 XG FB spinning reel is suitable for all fishing situations and for individuals with any type of experience. The Shimano Stradic Spinning Fishing Reel with Front Drag is responsible for using the brand’s latest technology along with its previously constructed features to create a reel to improve the fishing performance of practically any angler.

In addition to the X-Ship technology, the Stradic features a HAGANE gearing and body that’s more durable than most of the bodies on the other Shimano reels. Even more, this reel uses a combination of different factors in order to contribute to the exceptional smoothness of the reel.

More specifically, this reel features a combination of the built-in Dynamic-Balance rotor, the Fluidrive II System as well as the Propulsion Line Management System. All of these features work together in order to improve your casting capabilities as well as reducing the risk of line malfunctions.

>>What Customers Think<<

Previous customers love the overall construction of this reel compared to the other Shimano reels because it’s the most technologically advanced reel. Not only that, but they also love this reel specifically as a front drag option because it features a maximum drag of 20 pounds, which is far stronger than other reels on the market. Even though it’s more durable and features a long 35-inch retrieve crank, customers find the reel to be extremely lightweight and easy to work with.


  • Comes with a Fluidrive II System to improve casting performance
  • Features a built-in Dyna-Balance rotor for smooth operation
  • Lightweight, since it only weighs 6.7 oz


  • More expensive than most of the other reels on the market


2. Shimano Socorro Offshore Spinning Fishing Reel (Top Offshore Spinning Reel)

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  • Weighs 15.5 oz
  • Gear ratio of 4.6:1
  • Max drag is 22 lbs
  • Cross Carbon Drag for smoothness
  • 31” line retrieve

Classified as the top offshore spinning reel, the Shimano Socorro Offshore Spinning Fishing Reel comes with the best features for your offshore fishing excursions. More specifically, this fishing reel from Shimano features a maximum drag of 22 pounds, which is the highest out of all the reels on this list. That being said, it has the ability to withstand the power of catching practically any type of fish while offshore.

Additionally, it comes with a Cross Carbon Drag system that’s not present in any other Shimano construction. This system is res-in bel for elongating the smoothness of the reel performance. Even more, it’s specifically beneficial for offshore purposes because it’s capable of withstanding the fast and powerful runs of some of the largest fish in the water. From there, you don’t have to worry about the reel breaking or malfunctioning if a large fish happens to latch on.

Similar to some other Shimano reels, this Socorro one features X-Ship technology that’s responsible for improving the durability of the gears. More specifically, it can enhance the overall performance of the cast coming from the reel, making them longer and more consistent casting techniques. It’s capable of doing so because the X-Ship technology is responsible for eliminating any friction that commonly occurs between the spool shaft and gears.

>>What Customers Think<<

Lastly, this Shimano Socorro fishing reel is especially great for offshore purposes because it features the lowest gear ratio out of all the reels on this list. That being said, it’s capable of withstanding the high power and strength of any larger fish species in offshore waters. Overall, customers love the true durability and overall stiff construction of this reel that can resist large fish species and withstand the wind and water power in offshore regions.


  • Has the lowest gear ratio out of all the Shimano spinning reels
  • Features the largest max drag out of any spinning reels on this list
  • Cross Carbon Drag isn’t present in any other Shimano spinning reels aside from this offshore reel


  • Weighs more than most of the other spinning reels on the market


3. Shimano NASCI Inshore Spinning Reels (Best Inshore Pick)

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  • Gear ratio of 6.2:1
  • Max drag ranges between 7-24 lbs
  • Core Protect Technology for water resistance
  • HAGANE Gear and Body
  • Saltwater compatible

If you’re looking for a reel that’s not as heavy and is suitable for more light inshore purposes, then the Shimano NASCI may be for you. Constructed with lightweight but durable materials, this fishing reel is specifically designed for lighter fishing excursions. For instance, it feature four ball bearings that all work together in order to provide a smooth line retrieve.

In addition to that, it features a front drag construction that makes it extremely easy to use. And the front drag design even helps to give you more control over the fishing reel in general. Just like the other Shimano fishing reels, it’s made with a HAGANE gear and body that make the reel riding and stiff. This feature is especially great for fighting against more aggressive fish throughout inshore waters.

>>What Customers Think<<

Furthermore, customers claim that the Core Protect Technology present in the reel helps to efficiently keep any debris out of the reel itself. They claim that other reels advertise the production from the debris, but the Core Protect Technology put in place by Shimano reels itself keeps sand, water, and salt out of the body’s construction. This technology also helps to provide maximum water resistance with seamless gyration.


  • One of the most affordable Shimano spinning reels on the market
  • Features a low gear ratio for larger fish located within inshore waters
  • Front drag design gives you more control when casting and maintaining the line


  • Previous customers claim that the reel has friction and resistance, which prevented from a smooth casting


4. Shimano Sedona Freshwater Spinning Fishing Reel (Budget Freshwater Pick)

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  • Weighs 7.6 oz
  • Gear ratio of 5.0:1
  • Max drag is 7 lbs
  • Propulsion Line Management System
  • 26” line retrieve

For those of you that are looking for a more affordable spinning reel capable of offering the best benefits for freshwater purposes, the Shimano Sedona Freshwater Spinning Fishing Reel is the most recommended for you. Even though the Sedona is available for an affordable price, the overall durability and quality of the reel’s construction is higher than expected.

For instance, many customers of the Sedona reel mention how beneficial the features are in working together to improve the overall performance of the spinning reel. It’s made with the famous HAGANE gear and body design that help to ensure a long-lasting, strong and durable construction. The HAGANE body, in particular, gives anglers the strength that they need for inshore and freshwater purposes specifically.

>>What Customers Think<<

Even more than that, this reel features double anodized machine-cut spools that contribute to keeping the body compact when needed, and it even improves the line’s capacity. Regarding this reel’s overall performance capabilities, customers react positively to the upgraded drag power, since the reel performs great in light freshwater and a variety of other fishing conditions.


  • Available for a much affordable price than other reels
  • Comes with double anodized spools for extra support in keeping the body compact
  • Features an upgraded drag power than previous models


  • Previous customers complain that the line frequently wraps under the spool, creating knots and tangles that you’ll have to unwind


5. Shimano Stradic Spinning Fishing Reel (Quality Pick)

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  • Weighs 6.5 oz
  • Gear ratio of 6.0:1
  • Max drag is 7 lbs
  • HaganeBody for high rigidity and stiffness
  • G-FreeBody Technology for improved comfort
  • 30” line retrieve

Presenting the best quality features and most convenient construction, the Shimano Stradic Spinning Fishing Reel is suitable for anyone that needs a versatile reel capable of withstand a variety of fishing conditions. Not only does it feature the same long-lasting and durable HAGANE gear and body construction as the other Shimano spinning reels, but it features a pinion gear that helps to increase the overall precision that you have while casting long distances.

In addition to the increased precision, the pinion gears also improve the alignment with the drive gear. This helps to keep the same position while you’re casting, and it reduces the amount of friction between the spool shaft and the gears.

Moreover, this reel comes with SA-RB bearings that feature shields located on both sides. This is to reduce the amount of corrosion that the reel would experience over time, making it suitable for saltwater fishing excursions.

>>What Customers Think<<

Lastly, the Shimano Stradic spinning reel is the top quality pick because of the felt drag material, contributing to an overall smooth performance. There’s even G-FreeBody technology incorporated into this reel’s design to alter the reel’s center of gravity in the rod. This is to help reduce your fatigue, improve comfort and to increase the overall amount of time that you can comfortably use the reel without experiencing discomfort.


  • Comes with SA-RB bearings for corrosion-resistant qualities
  • Pinion gears increase precision, alignment and reduce friction
  • One of the most lightweight Shimano reels on the market


  • More expensive than some other spinning reels on this list


6. Shimano Ultegra Freshwater Spinning Fishing Reel (Quality Freshwater Pick)

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  • Weighs 7.1 oz
  • Gear ratio of 5.0:1
  • Max drag is 7 lbs
  • X-Ship Double-bearing pinion support system
  • 26” line retrieve


The Shimano Ultegra Freshwater Spinning Fishing Reel is especially beneficial for freshwater fishing excursions because of its high-quality construction and convenient features. This reel comes with five ball bearings that help to ensure that the spool keeps the line from developing any tangles or knots. It also features a G-FreeBody to keep the reel balanced and easier to use.

As for the smoothness that’s popularly tied to Shimano’s reputation, this Ultegra reel comes with X-Ship Double-bearing pinion support system that contributes to the efficient and smooth operation. Customers love this specific reel compared to other ones because it tangles less than other reels sometimes do. More specifically, it’s constructed with Aero Wrap Oscillation that keeps the line perfecting winded within the spool.

>>What Customers Think<<

Overall, previous customers that have bought, reviewed and used this reel praise the fact that the features all work together in order to allow for a quick response in their fishing techniques. It’s also suitable for a variety of fishing situations, but customers found it particularly beneficial for freshwater conditions.


  • Comes with Aero Wrap Oscillation for perfect line lay
  • Features cold-forged HAGANE gear and body for all water conditions
  • Contains 5 ball bearings for optimal spool performance


  • Some customers claim that the reel doesn’t have a long lifespan


7. Shimano Syncopate Front Drag Freshwater Spinning Reel (Best Starter)

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  • Weighs 7.6 oz
  • Gear ratio of 5.2:1
  • Max drag is 7 lbs
  • Dyna-Balance
  • Quick Fire II technology
  • 25” line retrieve

The Shimano brand is known for delivering the most high quality and durable fishing reels on the market. But their collection wouldn’t be complete without a reel that’s compatible for anglers just beginning their fishing journey. And that’s what their Syncopate Front Drag Freshwater Spinning Reel is specifically made for. Designed with a low gear ratio at an affordable price, the Syncopate reel is suitable for practically anyone needing a high quality and easy-to-use spinning reel.

Regarding the overall construction, the Shimano Syncopate comes with Quick Fire II Technology that gives beginners the ability to use the reel in any water conditions. And customers even say that advanced anglers with more experience benefit from the easy-to-use design because they can easily do one-hand casting with this reel.

>>What Customers Think<<

It’s also great for beginners because it comes with built-in Varispeed technology that keeps the reel casting at consistent spool speeds. And similarly to the other Shimano reels, this Syncopate reel feature Dynamic-Balance and Propulsion Line Management Systems that keep the reel casting long distances without wobbling. The Dynamic-Balance feature in itself is capable of eliminating wobbling because it counter-balances the rotor to increase sensitivity.


  • Offering the lowest price out of any Shimano spinning reels
  • Uses Quick Fire II Technology to provide easy and efficient casting
  • Has a lower gear ratio than most other reels


  • Retrieve crank is only 25 inches, which is far less than many other reels


How to Choose the Right Shimano Spinning Reel


Price is one of the first things that you should consider before you purchase your reel since you want to save the most amount of money that you can while also receiving the highest quality product. Shimano reels range in their listed prices since each of them comes with different specifications. But you should be prepared to pay $100 at the least.


Luckily for you, Shimano is known for its easy-to-use products, making them suitable for individuals with any type of experience. In general, spinning reels are easier to use than other types of reels because of their open-face construction. This open design makes them easier to use because it reduces the risk of the line tangling, and they’re easier to fix if the line does get tangled. Given that, Shimano reels are suitable for fishermen with any type of experience, making them great for beginners or more advanced anglers.


When you’re thinking about purchasing any type of fishing gear on the market, the overall quality should be the number one consideration. You want the highest quality products at the lowest price. Regarding Shimano spinning reels, in particular, you’ll want to consider the weight, materials and overall durability of the reel.

One of the most mentioned complaints with any spinning reel in the fishing industry is the flimsy or poor quality design. So you’ll want to find a Shimano spinning reel that offers a steady and smooth drag system and overall stiff design. And as for the weight, usually, the heavier reels have higher durability, but you don’t want one that’s too heavy because it will increase fatigue while you’re casting and retrieving. Especially if you are fishing for smaller species of fish.


Perhaps one of the most important things to consider before you purchase a spinning reel is the materials that the reel is made out of. Most spinning reels will be made out of graphite or aluminum, and some are even made out of a combination of both materials in one reel. Both materials seem to have their own benefits and disadvantages, but it ultimately depends on personal preference.

For instance, graphite spinning reels are usually more lightweight and they’re better for saltwater fishing conditions. This is because of their corrosion-resistant features. On the other hand, aluminum material is more beneficial for catching larger fish and in more rough water conditions, since they’re stronger, less flexible and they’re usually more high quality.

Solid constructions help to reduce the risk of flimsy parts or malfunctions. Additionally, you’ll want a reel that comes with a lesser number of parts in the overall construction, since this ultimately reduces the chances for mechanical breakage.

Spinning Fishing Rod WIth Reel

What You’re Trying to Catch

It’s also helpful if you think about the type of fish that you’re going to catch before you choose a certain reel. Different reels are designed for catching different fish in different water conditions, so you’ll want a reel that can withstand and best suit the waters and fish that you’re aiming for. Larger fish will require a lower gear ratio and higher drag power since it will tire the fish out and require less effort from you. And the opposite is needed for catching smaller fish.


You should consider the quality of the spool that’s incorporated within the spinning reel’s design because this ultimately determines the amount of line that can fit within the reel, and it also affects the overall performance of the reel’s casting. You’ll want a spool that’s high quality, made from a stiff construction and doesn’t contribute to any malfunctions or tangles in the spinning reel fishing line.

Gear Ratio

Lastly, you should also consider the gear ratio that the spinning reel has because this determines the overall amount of power that the reel has. By definition, the reel’s gear ratio is the ratio that’s between the gears of the reel as they rotate, and it ultimately determines the number of times that the spool rotates every time that you turn the handle.

The lower the gear ratio is, the bigger the fish that you can catch with that reel. This is because the lower gear ratio increases the amount of torque that’s in the reel, which requires less effort from you for retrieving the fish. On the other hand, a higher gear ratio is recommended for quicker fish and in more shallow fishing conditions.


What’s the difference between a front and a rear drag ratio?

The only difference between these two designs is the location of the drag function. Obviously the drag power is located in the rear portion of the reel with rear drag, and it’s in the front of the reel with front drag options. It ultimately comes down to personal preference, since it’s simply the type of fishing that you’re most comfortable with, but many people claim front drag reels to be easier to use.

What does drag power mean?

Drag power refers to how much resistance the fish feels when it latches onto the hook. That being said, the higher the drag power, the more resistance the fish feels. From here, you’ll want a high drag power when dealing with larger fish especially, since it can lessen the amount of time that you have to fight with the fish.

Final Thoughts

Overall, finding the right kind of spinning reel can be a difficult and time-consuming process. But Shimano makes it easier to find the best reel specifically made for your purposes since they offer a wide range of reels that are each suitable for different uses. And after reviewing this list, you may be able to more easily find the best reel for your specific situation.

But if you’re still having trouble, then the best overall and highly recommended spinning reel from Shimano is product #1: Shimano Stradic Spinning Fishing Reel with Front Drag. Made with a built-in Dyna-Balance Rotor, a Fluidrive II System as well as the Propulsion Line Management System, this reel promises exceptional smoothness and improved casting capabilities. Even more, customers claim that they rarely have any line issues with this reel, given the overall high-quality construction.

These features in addition to the high max drag, lightweight design and low gear ratio make this specific Shimano spinning reel the most high quality. That being said, you should purchase the Shimano Stradic Spinning Fishing Reel with Front Drag.

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