Best Shimano Spinning Reel & Its complete Reviewed for 2023





  • I use fresh and saltwater
  • The best Shimano spinning reel is smooth and lightweight
  • well worth and best price for Shimano
  • This really is a great reel, This is the 2nd one I have now

Shimano Vanford



  • Very small compared to my expectations, but very gentle, I like it
  • Salt and Fresh – Versatility – Power – Light “Awesome Reel”
  • I have only used it once but so far it seems to be good
  • Works great for my Jetty fishing

Shimano Sustain FJ



  • Works really very well
  • Great reel for the money, freshwater or inshore/near-shore saltwater
  • One of my favorite reels and my go-to
  •  Stars Shimano still has good quality.

Best Shimano Spinning Reels | Reviewed For 2023

The name Shimano is a legendary one in the world of the reel. Period.

And while reel baitcasters frequently get the admiration, spinning reels have their praise. Nothing could outshine an excellent best Shimano Spinning Reel out fighting the waves, and from bass lakes to deep blue seas, there’s a fantastic Shimano spinning rods & reel that is made for you.

We’ve got you covered if you’re seeking comprehensive information on the best spinning reels Shimano produces! I want to provide you with a comprehensive list of what I think are the best Shimano spinning rods and reels, anything from an overview to a higher-quality selection that offers all levels. You can expect to find a Shimano reel appropriate for nearly anyone, whether you don’t have any prior experience or are an experienced fight veteran.

Below, we’ve compiled reviews of the best Shimano spinning reels, covering the entire line up and price range.

List of Best Shimano Spinning Reels

Best Shimano Reel for Freshwater Fishing | Shimano Vanford

Shimano Vanford
9.4/10 Our Score
  • Light reel and a smooth retrieve
  •  Shimano Vanford F Spinning Reel
  • I have only used it once but so far it seems to be good
  •  Lightness and how smooth
  • Great reel, strong drag, very smooth action. A redfish’s worse nightmare!
  • The reel arrived in a smashed box and the reel was completely destroyed
  •  500 size reel—Manufacturer’s Defect Right Out of the Box
  •  Got my reel and it was smashed
  • None of my other reels have this problem
SIZES: 500, 1000, 2500, 3000, 4000, and 5000MATERIAL: carbon-fiber reinforced proprietary
GEAR RATIO: 5.6:1 (500), 5.1:1 (1000), 6.0:1 (2500), 6.4:1 (3000), 6.2:1 (4000 and 5000)MAXIMUM DRAG: 6 lbs. (500), 7 lbs. (1000), 20 lbs. (2500 and 3000), 24 lbs. (4000 and 5000)
RETRIEVE: 27” (500), 25” (1000) 35” (2500), 37” (3000), 40” (4000 and 5000)WEIGHT: 4.9 oz. (500), 5.5 oz. (1000), 6.3 oz. (2500 and 3000), 7.6 oz. (4000), and 7.8 oz. (5000)
CAPACITY: 4/100 (500), 6/110 (1000), 8/140 (2500), 10/140 (3000), 12/160 (4000), and 14/165 (5000)BEARINGS: 6 + 1 (500),7 + 1 on all other models

The Vanford series of best Shimano Spinning Reel spinning reels are designed for inshore anglers who chase specks and reds, blues, and other fish species. It also caters to freshwater fishermen who require a reel that can handle everything, from largemouth finesse applications to panfish to nasty pike.

The Vanford comes in various sizes, from a small 500 to a large 5000. This ensures that you have the most up-to-date Shimano technology. The 500 is missing some more sophisticated features that its larger siblings have, such as the MGL Rotor and MicroModule Gear II.

It’s not an issue since cutting vibration, decreasing rotational inertia, and increasing casting distance isn’t necessary when using a 500-sized reel for panfish or trout. All Vanford models are equipped with Shimano’s cross-carbon drag system.

Like the Sustain FJ, you can expect exceptional performance from its high-quality washers. They are reliable and highly smooth in all settings, making them perfect for light lines and brutal fights. These larger models can hold 24-pound maximums.

This allows you to use heavy lines if necessary. These models can handle giant muskies or bull reds, as well as massive taming stripers and bull reds. The 500 and 1000 are smaller, so they can beach fish with settings as light as one pound. The 1000 and 2500 are the best for finesse applications in freshwater. The super-light bodies and low initial spool resistance make them ideal for drop shots, Ned rigs, and other rod uses.

This drag will do whatever you ask it to. Hagane precision-cut teeth provide excellent torque and smooth performance for gearing. You’ll notice Shimano’s efforts to reduce vibration and smoothen things in larger sizes

There are many gear ratios, and the 500, 3000, or 4000 sizes offer high-speed retrieval rates. The 500 is very well-suited for ice fishing. Your time spent retrieving your jigs will be significantly reduced. The 3000, 4000, and 5000 are fast enough to catch big, fast fish with your lines. Every size reel has an excellent spool.

However, they are not able to carry a lot of braids. I believe Shimano was more concerned about weight and balance than the total amount of line they could fit onto each reel. You won’t be impressed if you compare Penn’s Pursuit IV size to size.

Best Shimano Reel for Offshore Fishing | Shimano Stella SW

9.4/10 Our Score
  • Excellent product
  • Looks really neat, feels strong, good handling/shipping
  • It’s silky smooth and powerful
  • The best spinning reel in the market
  • High-end reel made for the big ones smooth as butter stunning body highly recommended
  • As good as it gets
  • I now have a useless 900 piece of junk
  • Don’t buy from this 3rd party seller
  • There are issues with the bail tripping as you’re casting
  • Cheaply made, Mostly plastic
SIZES: 4000, 5000, 6000, 8000, 10000, and 14000MATERIAL: all-metal Hagane body
GEAR RATIO: 6.2:1 (4000), 5.7:1 (5000 and 6000), 5.6;1 (8000), 4.9:1 (10000), and 6.2:1 (14000)WEIGHT: 12.5 oz. (4000), 14.8 oz. (5000), 15 oz. (6000), 22 oz. (8000), 23.6 oz. (10000), and 23.8 oz. (14000)
RETRIEVE: 40” (4000), 38” (5000), 41” (6000), 42” (8000), 40” (10000), and 53” (14000)MAXIMUM DRAG: 24 lbs. (4000), 29 lbs. (5000 and 6000), 55 lbs. (8000, 10000, and 14000)
CAPACITY: 30/180 (4000), 30/225 (5000), 50/195 (6000), 40/340 (8000), 40/340 (10000), and 50/400 (14000)BEARINGS: 13 + 1Sizes: 4000, 5000, 6000, 8000, 10000, and 14000

Although Shimano reels are legendary in performance, you won’t be able to enjoy their full potential unless you have the guts to dig deep into your pockets. “Unbeatable.” “Unbelievable.” “Amazing.” You’ll hear these words when they describe their Stella SW lineup. Every word is accurate. Simply put, it is the best spinning reel for saltwater.

This is the best spinning reel for saltwater. These reels come in sizes from 2000 to 14000 and are available in various sizes. Let’s begin with the body. All-metal Hagane bodies are used in the Stella SW series. This alloy is a proprietary one. This reduces weight and provides exceptional rigidity. This is the best spinning reel ever. Shimano is well aware that it’s possible to get spooled.

Long runs against large fish can melt or freeze drags, leading to lost fish and damaged tackle. The Heat Sink drag system is a series of carbon fiber drag washers in direct contact with a heat source. This prevents this from happening. This design bleeds heat to the exterior, protecting the spool from excessive temperatures and preventing drag overheating.

This combination protects drag washers from heat buildup – eliminating any decrease in drag performance. It also keeps the spool cool, protecting your fishing line. The maximum drag settings can vary depending on size. They can range from 24 to 55 pounds for larger models. Their performance is not described as “smooth”, and “fight-winning” is a bit of an understatement.

This reel is for you if you don’t want to use a traditional reel for tuna or shark, grouper sailfish, tarpon, and the like. These reels are powered by Shimano’s Infinity Drive, which simplifies the drive train and increases winding torque by 26% to give them unparalleled smoothness. This tech is paired with Silent Drive to eliminate gear play in these reels.

The Stella SW series delivers an exceptional performance with every crank. The watchwords are from the knob to your handle, strength, and torque. These reels have Hagane gearing and the best Shimano machining. The gear ratios of the various models vary, but they all offer plenty of speed to handle any task you may have. The 5000, 6000, and 8000 are optimized for poppers.

The 4000 and 14000 maximize retrieval speeds, and the 10000 is ideal for jigging. The 4000, 5500, and 6000 can take any line, while the 8000 and 10000 can only be used with braid. We have reported the spool capacities of braided lines across the range to allow apples-to-apples comparisons. These are extraordinary numbers, as you can see.

These reels are better protected against saltwater intrusion than any submarine, thanks to Shimano. These reels are IPX8 rated, so there is no risk of salt or grime getting into the rotors or guts. You’ve found the ultimate saltwater and offshore spinning reel. There is nothing else that comes even close.

Best Shimano Reel for Inshore Fishing | Shimano Sustain FJ

Shimano Sustain FJ
9.4/10 Our Score
  •  Works really well
  •  I have found it to be better than my Stellas
  •  Casts far and it is easy to handle
  • Great service and great product
  •  I use this reel at least once a week in saltwater
  • The quality shows – well worth it
  • Beautiful real that could not hold a hard pull
  • The drag didn’t work properly right out of the box 
  • Plastic body, flimsy feeling reel
  • When you spin it, you see it’s wrong.
SIZES: 2500, 3000, 4000, and 5000MATERIAL: Hagane aluminum
GEAR RATIO: 6.0:1. (2500 and 3000), 6.2:1 (4000 and 5000)WEIGHT: 7.4 oz. (2500 and 3000), 9.3 oz. (4000), and 9.5 oz. (5000)
RETRIEVE: 35” (2500 and 3000), 40” (4000 and 5000)MAXIMUM DRAG: 20 lbs. (2500 and 3000), 24 lbs. (4000 and 5000)
CAPACITY: 6/200, 8/140, 10/120 (2500), 6/230, 8/170, 10/140 (3000), 8/240, 10/200, 12/160 (4000), and 10/240, 12/195, 14/165 (5000)BEARING: 8 + 1

Shimano’s SustainFJ reel might be right for you if you are looking for a great reel that can fish inshore for trophy cats, pike, muskies, and other species. This reel has been completely redesigned. It is amazing. Let’s begin with the body. The Sustain FJ is equipped with a Shimano Hagane aluminum frame.

This won’t be an issue if you are fighting specks and walleye. But this new body will show strength if you fight a bull red of 33 inches or a pike of 60 pounds. It’s solid, unyielding, and confidence-inspiring, punching above its price point.

Shimano’s cross-carbon drag is outstanding and offers the performance it is rightly known for. Expect a maximum weight of 20 pounds in the 2500/3000 models. The drag maximum is 24 pounds in the 4000 or 5000. Whichever option you choose, both drag options are available for heavy braid if you so desire.

Both also offer extremely smooth performance in all settings. Anglers who use these reels for specks or croaker, flounder, spot, bass, perch, and walleye fishing should not be alarmed by the light lines and intuitive drag settings. Cross carbon drag can be used to tame a large, mean pike or striper quickly. This drag won’t let you down.

Shimano has improved the Sustain FJ’s gearing, decreasing noise, improving smoothness, and eliminating vibration. It also cuts precision teeth that are envy-worthy. This series offers two gear ratios: 6.0:1 or 6.2:1. Both provide fast retrieves and fight-winning torque for their small size.

As you would expect, the spool capacity is tremendous, and Shimano offshore and inshore used have spent a lot of money on casting distance. Last, saltwater intrusion can be minimized using gaskets or seals. While it isn’t as effective as the Stella SW, I don’t think you should worry about gunk and salt getting in the Sustain FLJ. These reels are great for the price and outperform their competition.

Best Budget Shimano Reel | Shimano Sedona FI

Shimano Sedona FI
9.4/10 Our Score
  • Great reel, love Shimano
  • Good reel for light salt or freshwater fishing
  • It’s very smooth and lightweight
  • I purchased the lightest reel available. 2-6 lb line
  • Very smooth retrieve
  •  Good value for a mid-priced reel
  • The box did not have a factory seal which was my first clue that something was wrong.
  • This reel is not what it used to be the line wraps under the spool frequently and winds stiff personally I would look for another brand for the money
  • The second time I used it broke down. It doesn’t reel into
Key Features
SIZES: 500, 1000, 2500, 3000, 4000, 5000, 6000, and 8000MATERIAL: Aluminum
GEAR RATIO: 5.6:1. (500), 5.0:1 (1000), 6.2:1 (2500, 3000, 4000, and 5000), 4.6:1 (6000), and 4.9:1 (8000)WEIGHT: 6.5 oz. (500), 7.6 oz. (1000), 8.6 oz. (2500), 8.8 oz. (3000), 10.4 oz. (4000), 10.6 oz. (5000), 15 oz. (6000), and 21.7 oz. (8000)
RETRIEVE: ? (500), 26” (1000), 36” (2500 and 3000), 39” (4000), 41” (5000), 33” (6000), and 37” (8000)MAXIMUM DRAG: 6 lbs. (500), 7 lbs. (1000), 9 lbs. (2500), 20 lbs. (3000), 24 lbs. (4000 and 5000), 22 lbs. (6000), and 24 lbs. (8000)
CAPACITY: 4/100 (500), 6/110 (1000), 8/140 (2500), 8/170 (3000), 10/200 (4000), 12/195 (5000), 16/170 (6000), and 20/185 (8000)BEARING: 3 + 1

Shimano knows that some anglers won’t be able to pay for a reel like the Stella SW, Sustain FJ, or Vanford. These reels, however, are unsurpassed in Shimano’s lineup for their primary focus. In contrast, the Sedona FL will suit an angling budget that is a fraction of that of these other reels. Whether you’re looking for perch on ice or offshore for tarpon, Sedona, FL, has the right equipment! You can’t expect the same tech at this price as the Stella SW. This is neither possible nor realistic.

The Sedona FL provides excellent drag and smooth cranking. These reels come in sizes ranging from a small 500 to a large 8000. Shimano is sure to please all panfish lovers, inshore and offshore anglers. I would generally be cautious about buying a reel set at this price. But Shimano has equipped them all with their cross-carbon drag system.

This drag system is less impressive than the Sustain FJ and will make your reels more effective in protecting light lines or fighting a tuna. Penn’s HT100 is the only competitor in this price range. That’s quite an accomplishment.

Maximum settings on larger reels are great for running braided lines and provide plenty of fighting for common sportfish like tuna. The 3000 is an excellent option for inshore anglers. Its maximum weight of 20 pounds provides enough drag to catch reds, stripers, and snook. The 2500 and 1000 are excellent for finesse largemouth techniques.

The 500 and 1000 can be used to fish panfish and protect delicate lines easily. The Sedona FL series features solid-metal Hagane Gearing that provides smooth, powerful performance with each crank.

This budget series lacks the refinements evident on larger reels with vibration. There has to be something that gives, and this is speed and ability. Expect to see smaller-than-average spools with correspondingly lower speeds.

Comparing the Sedona FL to other reels of the same size will not be an advantage. Reels that cost half as much, such as Penn’s Pursuit IV, offer better capacity and speed for a fraction of the weight. Is Sedona, FL, a poor choice? There is no way around it! The Sedona FL, a budget-friendly reel with more rigidity, torque, and drag than any other, is the best choice.

BUYING GUIDE: What You Should Look For in a Spinning Reels 2023

You won’t notice rigidity on smaller reels because the forces involved aren’t strong enough to test common materials. These forces increase as you move to offshore and inshore fishing. The reel body does more than just house the components. It also holds the gears in their place. This can cause enormous stress when fighting big fish such as bull reds, snook, and stripers. To prevent failures in deep blue waters where you may hook sailfish, tuna, or grouper, you need a stiff reel body.

Stella SW by Shimano stradic is uncompromising in rigidity thanks to an all-metal Hagane structure that minimizes flex. It is easy to feel the difference in size between it and Vanford fighting in an identical fight. Stella SW’s rigidity comes at a cost.

It’s heavy for its size and must be given the tasks it was designed to perform. The Sedona FL, however, doesn’t have that feeling. There’s no doubt which reel is better for big fish. The Stella SW will last you a lifetime, and it’s not going to be stressed by any tarpon, grouper shark, or tuna.

This is where rigidity and weight are naturally at odds. Lighter bodies simply can't deliver.

Vanford uses carbon fiber-reinforced materials, which are very stiff but light, to break this iron-clad rule. This lightness is the reason we chose it over the Stradic. The Sanford is a superior freshwater reel, while the Sustain FJ is better inshore used in time.

1. Drag

The reel’s drag system is probably it’s most important. It can be used to time large fish or protect your line from excessive stress. It would be best to have additional protection against heat on reels designed for offshore and ice fishing use, such as the Stella SW. The friction generated by long runs can melt rag washers and result in total failure.

The good news? Shimano’s drag system is truly legendary. From the Heat Sink tech on Stella SW to cross carbon drag on other models, you can be sure that you have the drag that many consider the best in the world.

2. Gears and Torque

Shimano’s Hagane Gears are among the most prestigious in the industry. Their precision-cut teeth bite perfectly and mesh flawlessly, which results in smooth performance. The larger models are designed for offshore and inshore fishing reels.

They produce plenty of torque, allowing you to take on fish that will not move in your favor. The Stella SW is the best model, offering unparalleled smoothness, vibration dampening, and silky smooth cranking. Shimano reels & fishing technique has excellent gear tech across the board. You can count on Hagane to set the standard at any price point.

3. Speed and Gear Ratios

The gear ratio is the number of turns a crank makes on the spool. A 6.0:1 ratio indicates that one turn of a crank spins the spool six-time. Higher gear ratios mean faster retrieval rates if all other things are equal (which they aren’t). This is important when you want to keep your line tight. You can also use higher speeds for jigging deep and reducing the time it takes for your terminal tackle and dress for kayaking to reach the surface.

The best Shimano spinning reels don’t set any speed records except for a few notable exceptions. The models for offshore and inshore fishing use are both fast enough. And the large Stella SWs can handle anything that comes up on the leader line fishing.

Final Thoughts

Shimano reels are perfect for any game or fishery. From the legendary Stella SW to affordable Sedona FL, there is a Shimano spinning wheel that suits your budget and needs. While we cannot tell you which reel it is, we can assure you that all of our reels are winners.

The Shimano Stella SW is a great choice for offshore anglers looking for a spinning reel. It features the best Shimano tech and comes with a dependable reel. The reel’s super-rigid body and incredible drag allow it to fight sharks, marlins, and sailfish without a hitch.

It can also be maintained regularly and will last a lifetime. The Sustain FJ is excellent for inshore fishermen chasing reds, snook, and stripers. Freshwater anglers who love the thrill of pike or muskie will also find it a good choice. The Sustain FJ is a great spinning reel for this type of fishing. It has a rigid body, is lightweight, and has excellent drag.

The Vanford is the best choice for freshwater anglers. These reels are incredibly light for their size and offer significant drag, great casting, and lots of fight-winning torque. They’re also among the most affordable, especially regarding finesse techniques such as drop shots and Ned rigs.

The Sedona FI is a great reel that won’t break the bank. The Sedona FL is more than just competitive in its price; it also delivers the same unique cross-carbon drag at the heart of the Vanford FJ and Sustains FJ. It also has smooth Shimano gearing that can take on anything you throw.

We are always available to answer your questions, so leave a comment.

Related FAQs

Shimano spinning reels are known for their high-quality materials, durable construction, and advanced technologies. They offer smooth and powerful performance, precise and reliable drag systems, and a range of features designed for specific fishing applications. Shimano spinning reels also tend to be easy to use and maintain, and they have a reputation for lasting a long time with proper care.

Shimano spinning reels range in price from around $50 to over $500, depending on the model and features. The price typically reflects the quality of the materials and components used, as well as the specific fishing application the reel is designed for.

The Shimano Saragosa SW spinning reel is a high-end saltwater spinning reel designed for big game fishing. It features Shimano’s X-Ship technology for improved gear durability and efficiency, as well as a rigid and strong Hagane body and gears. The Saragosa SW also has a waterproof drag system, a cold-forged spool and handle, and Shimano’s Paladin Gearing for smooth and powerful performance.

The Shimano Ultegra spinning reel is a mid-range spinning reel designed for a variety of saltwater and freshwater fishing applications. It features Shimano’s X-Ship technology for improved gear durability and efficiency, as well as a lightweight Ci4+ rotor and G-Free Body design for improved balance and reduced fatigue. The Ultegra also has a waterproof drag system and a long-lasting cold-forged Hagane drive gear.

The Shimano Stradic Ci4+ spinning reel is a high-end spinning reel designed for freshwater and light saltwater fishing. It features Shimano’s Ci4+ carbon fiber material, which is lightweight, strong, and resistant to corrosion. The Stradic Ci4+ also has a durable Hagane body and gears, a smooth and powerful drag system, and Shimano’s X-Ship technology for improved gear durability and efficiency.

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