Best Ultralight Spinning Reel In 2020: Reviews & Buyers Guide

best ultralight spinning reel

If you’re a fishing enthusiast or just a beginner who is looking to purchase a new ultralight spinning reel, then you have landed on the right place. Today, fishing  is growing rapidly in popularity that is why the fishing manufacturers have realized that the necessity for the right fishing gear is essential so anglers can perform at their peak in a variety of conditions. 

Choosing the best ultralight fishing reel isn't a straight forward task, there is hundreds of options out there, and plenty of reels claiming to be lightweight, when in reality, they aren't. That is why we have created a list of the best ultralight spinning reels that offer the best possible combination of weight reduction and premium quality and features to give you the best possible fishing experience. 

Best Ultralight Spinning Reels: Product Reviews

Our Top Pick
1. Pflueger Supreme Ultralight Spinning Reel 1. Pflueger Supreme Ultralight Spinning Reel
$99.95

The Pflueger Supreme Spinning Fishing Reel offers remarkable performance being one of the lightest reels due to being equipped with an ultra-light magnesium body and rotor.

It comes with a 9 stainless steel ball-bearing system that gives smooth operation.

It has an extremely durable aircraft-grade aluminum handle. It also includes an aluminum bail wire which gives resistance against corrosion with a soft touch handle knob providing a strong grip and comfort to the angler's hands. Its carbon in-lay oil-felt/stainless steel drag design comes with a multidisc system for consistent drag power.

The Pflueger Supreme Spinning Fishing Reel weighs in the range of 6.6 oz – 8.8 oz depending on the size of the reel which is quite light when compared to most spinning reels which weigh an average of 11-12 oz.

Key Features:

• 9 stainless steel ball bearings

• Lightweight spinning reel of 6.6 oz – 8.8 oz

• Braid ready aluminum spool

• Corrosion-resistant

• Oil-felt drag offering excellent drag pressure

• Saltwater approved

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10/22/2020 05:00 pm UTC
Next Best Pick
2. Pflueger President Ultralight Spinning Reel 2. Pflueger President Ultralight Spinning Reel
$59.99

The Pflueger President Spinning Fishing Reel is equipped with a 10 bearing system including corrosion-resistant stainless steel bearings that provide super smooth operation.

It has a lightweight graphite body and rotor including a braid ready spool that lets you tie the braid directly to the spool. The reel’s handle is soft touch that gives a steady grip of the knob. The handle is made of aircraft-grade aluminum for added durability. The Pflueger President Spinning Fishing Reel weighs in the range if 5.9 oz – 10.7 oz, making it one of the lightest ultralight fishing reels. This product is a perfect choice for seasoned anglers and even beginners.

Key Features:

• Ultralight graphite body and rotor

• Weighs in the range of 5.9 oz – 10.7 oz depending on the reel size

• Corrosion-resistant stainless steel bearings

• Air-craft grade aluminum handle

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10/22/2020 06:52 pm UTC
3. Shimano Sahara C3000 Compact Spinning Reel 3. Shimano Sahara C3000 Compact Spinning Reel
$85.51

The Shimano Sahara Front Drag Spinning Fishing Reel is a reel that is lightweight, durable and gives excellent performance. It includes X-Ship technology that improves the reels casting performance by increasing the gear durability and eliminating friction between the reel shaft and gear.

It is equipped with HGN gearing system offering an effortless rotation of the handles under load which is appealing for the beginners and experienced anglers.

The Shimano Sahara Front Drag Spinning fishing reel is an affordable and efficient reel available in different sizes with max drag ranging from 5.5 lbs – 20 lbs.

Key Features:

  • It has a graphic frame, rotor, and side plate
  • 5 bearing drag system
  • Available in different sizes weighing 6.2 oz – 8.8 oz
  • HGN gear system offers smoothness
  • X-Ship technology improves casting performance
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10/22/2020 10:45 pm UTC
4. Okuma Helios SX HSX-20 Lightweight Spinning Reel 4. Okuma Helios SX HSX-20 Lightweight Spinning Reel
$103.39

The Okuma Helios Lightweight Spinning Reel is a very durable and extremely light reel. It is available in three standard models ranging from 20 to 40 (2000 – 4000) series with a super lightweight range of 7.1 oz – 9.2 oz.

It is equipped with a carbon frame and side plates which makes the reel 25% lighter than its graphite equivalent providing a strong design. The reel has a carbon fiber drag system with a drag knob on the spool that reduces the weight of the reel which gives a smooth performance.

It also includes a heavy-duty aluminum bail wire that creates a balanced bail operation. It is one of the best ultralight spinning reels that comes at an economical price with great durability. We totally recommend this product if you’re looking for a light, responsive and strong reel.

Key Features:

  • High-quality lightweight reel
  • Good quality carbon fiber drag system
  • Corrosion-resistant carbon fiber body
  • Computer Balanced Rotor Equalizing System
  • Weighs between 7.1 oz – 9.2 oz
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10/22/2020 06:52 pm UTC
Lightest Reel
5. Piscifun Carbon X Lightweight Spinning Reel 5. Piscifun Carbon X Lightweight Spinning Reel
$68.99

The Piscifun Carbon X Spinning Reels are crafted with an all carbon fiber body, rotor, and side plates. It has a feather lightweight of 5.7 oz in its class.

The Carbon X features a high-speed retrieve of 6.2:1 gear ratio, It is also freshwater and saltwater approved. The carbon washer includes a powerful drag system of up to 33 lbs with a sealed rubber ring that protects the drag from dust and water. It features amazing specs like anti-corrosion and stainless steel shaft, an aluminum handle, hollow nest shaped spool, zinc and alloy drive gear, and a smooth click-drag. These features are usually only available at a high price point which makes this reel really affordable for everyone.

Key Features:

• Weighs in the range of 5.7 oz – 9.6 oz

• Powerful and consistent drag power of 33 lbs

• High-Speed Retrieve of 6.2:1

• Smooth operation by 10+1 shielded stainless steel ball bearings

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10/22/2020 08:47 pm UTC
6. Tempo Sphera Ultralight Spinning Reel 6. Tempo Sphera Ultralight Spinning Reel
$59.99

The Tempo Sphera Spinning Reel is a high-tech and innovative spinning reel featuring a strong yet light weighted carbon body and GV rotor which is corrosion-proof.

Weighing at a range of 6.7 oz – 9.5 oz it is classed as ultralight. It is equipped with a stainless steel shaft and an aluminum pinion that gives excellent performance offering extreme durability also including a carbon fiber drag system that has a max drag of 36 lbs.

The drag is sealed to protect from water and dirt. The Sphera Spinning Reel delivers maximum smoothness because it has a high quality 9+1 Japanese bearing system. It comes with a braid ready spool that prevents the aluminum spool from line slip, twists, and knots.

Key Features:

  • Weighs in the range of 6.7 oz – 9.5 oz
  • 9+1 Japanese Bearing System which is of high quality
  • Carbon fiber drag power of 36 lbs
  • Weight reduced by ergonomic EVA handles
  • Incredibly smooth, powerful, and sturdy product
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10/22/2020 08:47 pm UTC

Best Ultralight Spinning Reel: Buyers Guide

best ultralight spinning reel

Before we get into the talk of a choosing a specific spinning reel, let us answer the obvious question first:

What is a spinning reel and why choose it?

A spinning reel (also called an open face reel) is a type of reel that has become more popular in recent years due to its natural flow and lack of resistance that more anglers like. The lack of resistance comes from how the fishing line is wrapped and the mechanics for doing so. If we look at a bait caster reel, it has added drag that will cause slight jerks in the line as it is cast but with jigs and lures it can provide pinpoint accuracy in the hands of an experienced angler.

The spinning reel, on the other hand, provides a smoother cast which is great to have when dealing with a light line or live bait, allowing the cast to go further without risking your bite from flying off of your hook.

An ultralight spinning reel is essentially just a regular spinning reel, however it is reduced in weight, largely due to the choice of materials used to build the reel.  

The mechanism of the spinning reel made one change that made a huge difference. The spool and the line guide switched places. A bait caster holds a spool inside of a line guide that as the reel is turned, the spool spins and the line guide holds the line in one place to wrap it around the spool.

Opposite of this, the spinning reel actually spins the line guide and the spool is stationary. When it is time to cast, the spinning reel actually removes the line guide from the equation completely and feeds directly up the rod from the spool, allowing a free flowing line (ridding of the drag resistance on bait casters).

Since most casual fishermen (and fisherwomen) do not need the casting accuracy of Bill Dance, a cast that is easier on the wrist and will not wear them out is usually and appealing choice, this is one of the reasons spinning reels have risen in popularity.

Spinning reels also are not limited to good functionality with live bait, jigs and lures can be used on spinning reels just as on bait casters, you just trade in accuracy for casting ease.

It should also be common knowledge that price is a very large factor in what is bought.

If you are one of the lucky souls that does not have to worry about the size of the hole created in your wallet for buying a reel, then we can save you some time and tell you the absolute top of the line in reel creation history: the Shimano Stella.

For the rest of us financially ordinary folks, a five hundred dollar ($500) reel is not the most feasible choice. Luckily for us, the price in reels have dropped as quality has become more common, letting us still have some decent options for ourselves, and those are the ones that we have mentioned in this guide.

Now that we have looked at what an ultralight spinning reel is and why it is good to choose in the first place, let us look at what you need to consider when buying one.

The main factors to be considered can be broken down into two categories: environment (includes water type and targeted species) and construction (includes individual parts of the reel and what they can provide).

While looking at these topics, we will try to provide some reels according to the different needs in each category with an attempt at three pricing ranges, so we try not to leave anyone out.

Environment

Water Type

As with other reels, rods, and most pieces of equipment, people tend to think the first thing to consider is what species of fish you are going for. While this is very important, the spinning reel offers some versatility as it has a very wide range of what it can go for. Because of its flexibility with species, the first thing to consider with an ultralight spinning reel is the type of water you will be fishing in (which is typically determined by the species anyway).

If you are a saltwater angler and plan spending time either in the sea or in brackish sounds, then you want a reel that reflects that. It is very possible that you will need a strong reel as some of the fish can get much larger than in freshwater, but you also want to consider a reel that can handle the harsh environment well.

The salt can splash up and embed itself in parts of the reel that you will never know about. Much like salt on a car, it will settle in and grind in the moving parts and cause rust in others. You can drop all kinds of money on a reel strong enough to pull in a record breaking tuna, but it will not be worth the buy if it wears down after just a few trips from all of the salt in the air.

If you are a freshwater angler, then you do not need to stop here for a special reel. Freshwater does not have the same harsh environment and place the same hardships on your reel as saltwater does. This means you have more flexibility in your selection and can focus on other qualities (and possibly get them at a lower price too) so keep reading!

Species Target & Bearings

The target species of the fish actually determines a lot of the steps that are needed in the construction. The most direct factor in the reel according to the species, however, is the kind of weight and tension the reel will be able to pull against. For larger or more aggressive fish, one is going to need a strong reel with easy construction. You are already fighting the fish so there is no point in adding a hard reel, so you must fight against it too.

For those going for hard, very aggressive bass or even the monster longnose gar, you are going to need some very sturdily constructed reels.

If you are not looking for the harder fish to catch, a lighter constructed reel is probably what you are looking for as other qualities will also present themselves as important. If this is your case, you can keep reading for those additional qualities.

No matter what the species, all reels need some good qualities about them to even be considered. Probably the most important quality among these is the bearings within the reel.

Different reels provide different feels when casting and reeling in. A smooth (and preferably quiet) reel is ideal for a good experience.

This is a sign of a good quality reel and it makes it easy on a long day of casting to not listen to the sounds of a coffee grinder and feel the vibrations from a loose steering wheel every time you believe you have something on the line.

The common belief of bearing application is that the more bearings there are, the smoother it will run because there is less pressure on each, which seems sensible. However, this is not the case. Four bearings of high quality will outperform ten bearings of low quality any day. Bearings make the cast easier and reel easier on both your wrist and ears.

For saltwater fishing it is even more important to have the high-quality bearings as that is the main component that moves and can easily become corroded or damaged by stray salt particles.

If you are doing the search on your own, you may be asking what classifies a bearing as low or high quality. Typically, the type of metal the bearing is made from is the largest player in the bearing’s quality. Some metals are smoother, and others are built to last longer, while others are a combination of the two, giving the best of both worlds.

The most common mixture is adding chromium to stainless steel to make a very corrosion resistant bearing that is great for saltwater.

Daiwa makes a type of bearing on the high-end side to entertain more serious saltwater anglers called CRBB (Corrosion Resistant Ball Bearings).

Shimano makes their own version of these quality bearings called A-RBs (Anti Rust Bearings).

The top-quality reels also have an added lubricant content with higher grades, so the bearings are smooth during the retrieve and extends the life of the bearings.

Construction

best ultralight spinning reel

Frames

A good frame is one of the more complex pieces in the design as fishing rod engineers try to get their ideal balance between a sturdy frame for strong fish and a light frame to not wear down the caster.

The toughest reels use all metal components so hardly any fish stands a chance at outdoing it, and the more high-end reels use special alloys to strengthen light weight metals. Lower-end manufacturers use the airframe technique which consists of hollowing out the components of the frame to keep the structure but still allowing them to take some weight out of the picture - this is how a lot of ultralight spinning reels are produced.

Frames come in three basic types categorized by the material, which dictates their sturdiness and weight.

Graphite & co-polymer

The lowest level frame (which is still good and functional, just low level in comparison to the other types) is a frame constructed of graphite or copolymer. These frames were built with weight, cost, and comfort in mind.

Not having nearly the weight effects on one’s wrist as a heavier frame would, they are great for long days of casting. As you can see from our list of the best ultralight spinning reels, many are produced with a graphite or co-polymer frame.

Hybrid Frame

The middle range of frame quality is a mix between either graphite or copolymer and a metal faceplate, making a hybrid frame.

This frame quality provides a sturdier frame for those who might go fishing just a bit more than the seasonal angler but still keeps some of the weight off for non-conditioned wrists (or just those who wish to keep healthy joints).

Full Metal Frame

The highest quality range of frames is a full metal frame. For day in and day out fishing with the serious anglers (whether it be for a profession or to get away from the spouse in the evenings), this option will most likely satisfy you so you get your money’s worth in its durability.

Some of the best ultralight spinning reels will utilize a full metal frame, they can do this by using lightweight metals such as magnesium, aluminium and titanium.

Typically, a full steel frame will be the heaviest choice. Whilst it is durable, it's not great when it comes to choosing the best ultralight spinning reel.

Machining 

Quality machining is a differentiating factor for any type of gear or equipment. The better the manufacturer does with the job and the better machines they use to make it can determine quality, durability, and just overall functionality.

A lousily machined reel can be easily identified just by picking it up. When the reel wiggles and just a little pressure makes one part feel different than the rest, it can easily be said that not too much care was put into developing and piecing together the reel.

While for the average, casual fisherman (and fisherwoman) this may be fine as it will not pose serious issues when used a dozen times a year, the more serious anglers need to pay attention to the smaller details.

Bails 

One of the last things to truly consider if you are serious about the quality of the rod you are getting is the type of bail. Most fall under the same, simple category of a normal bail that must be released with the hand while the line is held with the forefinger until cast ready.

Reel bails are typically all metal in construction. If you are using the reel predominantly in salt water than make sure to choose a corrosion resistant material like aluminium or stainless steel. 

Best Ultralight Spinning Reel: FAQs

Why choose a spinning reel?

A spinning reel is said to be much easier to learn and use for all skill levels than a bait caster and has more controllable features than the alternative spin cast model reels.

Techniques have been developed that make it possible to rival bait caster users in their coveted distance and accuracy. Lighter lures also become an option as the stationary spool creates less drag and a better chance of getting the light lures out. Moreover, spinning reels also tend to come with an option to switch between a right or left-handed reel.

Is there an anti-reverse feature on spinning reels?

All good spinning reels will have an anti-reverse feature. Setting this will keep the line from spinning and un-spooling off the reel. This feature should always be set after a cast so that the first bite will not be missed and can immediately be reeled in.

How does a spinning reel work?

The spinning reel works by reversing the typical mechanism in a bait caster reel. Instead of the line being reeled in and out by a spinning spool, the spool becomes stationary on a spinning reel and a bail feeds the line around the spool. The weight of the lure propels the line forward as the spinning reel hangs below the rod and the line flows freely without the bail in the way.

Conclusion: Best Ultralight Spinning Reel

The Best Ultralight Spinning Reel is an essential piece of fishing equipment and you need to consider all these factors when it comes to choosing the best reel.

Whatever reel you choose we hope will be a great fit for you and you are satisfied with your choices and that we were able to shed some light on the topic for you.

The ones mentioned in this article are regarded as some of the best ultralight spinning reels on the market, and they should do the job that is requested of them, while the rest is up to you (remember it is fishing, not catching after all). No matter the reel, it is all in sport and for good fun. Be safe, enjoy the waters, and happy fishing!

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