Welcomes to our Best Baitcasting Reel Under $200 reviews!
There is nothing better than a good baitcasting reel for getting the fish out of water. It is even better when you get it at an affordable price. So, in this article, we’ll provide you with top baitcaster reviews as well as a buying guide to help you choose one.
We’ve field-tested more than 20 baitcasting reels in different conditions – and we are sure Abu Garcia Revo SX is the Best Baitcaster Under $200 as it offers the perfect balance of drag, smoothness, casting distance, accuracy, and affordability.
- 9 stainless steel ball bearings plus 1 roller bearing...
- X2-Craftic alloy frame for increased corrosion resistance....
- C6 carbon side plates provide significant weight reduction...
Last update on 2023-03-29 / Paid links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Here is our pick of the top 9 baitcasting reels under $200 that made the cut.
Our Top 9 Picks
- Abu Garcia Revo SX Baitcasting Reel – Best Under $200
- Shimano SLX Low Profile Baitcaster – Best Under $150
- Lew’s Speed Spool Baitcast Reel – Best Under $100
- Shimano Curado K Baitcasting Reel – Best for Saltwater
- Abu Garcia Ambassadeur C4 – Best Round Baitcast Reel
- KastKing Speed Demon Elite – Fastest Gear Ratio
- Daiwa Lexa Baitcasting Reel – Best with Line Counter
- Okuma Citrix 350 Baitcaster – Best with Power Handle
- KastKing Royale Legend Baitcasting Reel – Best Budget Option
Best Baitcasting Reel Under $200 Reviews
Now, let us move to our in-depth reviews.
1. Abu Garcia Revo SX Baitcasting Reel
Abu Garcia has long been a respected brand in the world of fishing, and the Revo SX is one of their best-selling reels. This lightweight and affordable reel boasts many features. It comes with a 7.1:1 gear ratio providing 29 inches per turn. You will find it extremely easy and effortless to reel in even a big catch.
The Revo SX has a mono capacity of 145/12 (yds/lb.) and a braid capacity of 140/30 (yds/lb.), making it versatile for various fishing conditions.
The Carbon Matrix system offers a smooth drag with low friction, reducing backlashes. Thanks to the D2 Gear system, the Revo SX offers a strong and durable performance that can withstand even the toughest fishing conditions.
The MagTrax braking system provides reliable brake pressure that you modify from the outside of the reel. It will save you a ton of time, as there is no need to take apart the side plates for adjusting breaks.
We tested the Revo SX while fishing for trout in a nearby river, and it performed exceptionally well. The nine stainless steel ball bearings and one roller bearing ensure a smooth operation with little effort.
The compact bent handle of 80 millimeters and rubberized knobs offer a comfortable grip. Furthermore, the C6 carbon handle side plate provides excellent strength. The X2 alloy frame resists corrosion even in saltwater.
Overall, the Abu Garcia Revo SX is the Best Baitcaster Under $200 on the market. Despite being lightweight, the Revo SX is extremely durable and strong. The sleek combination of black, charcoal grey, and red gives the reel a subtle yet edgy appearance.
2. Shimano SLX Low Profile Baitcaster
You’ll realize that Shimano SLX may be the cheapest good quality baitcaster on the market. The features and construction of this reel compare well to rather highly-priced reels.
The most attractive feature of this reel is the Hagane metal body. It is so well-balanced and rigid that there is no vibration or flex during the reel’s operation.
We tested the reel that comes with a 7.2:1 gear ratio and a max drag of 12 lbs. It is in the middle range but it works excellently for targeting small to mid-sized bass. You can use it for flipping, frogging, deep cranking, drop shotting, punching, or top water. Basically, it works well with most techniques.
We spooled it with a 15 lb braid and paired it with a 7′ medium-heavy rod. We primarily used it for throwing 1/4 oz lures. But we also tested it for jerkbaits and crankbaits – and it worked well. Using this setup, we were able to catch bass, pike, and bowfin.
The magnetic Variable Brake Adjustment (VBS) system is very efficient in controlling backlash. The 4 ball bearings and 1 reverse bearing have been tactfully placed for smoothness.
We are happy to recommend Shimano SLX to anyone looking for the Best Baitcasting Reel Under $150.
3. Lew’s Speed Spool Baitcast Reel
This reel is widely admired for its ease of use and ability to throw the most glorious casts. High-quality materials have been used in the construction of this baitcaster. So, the structure of this reel is very strong and durable yet it is very lightweight.
You can rely on the strength of each part of this reel to help you perform at your best. The U-shaped spool is specially anodized and machine forged for toughness and resilience. The graphite plates further enhance the build quality and durability of this reel.
We tested the 5.6:1 reel during our trip to the Wisconsin River and lake. As our fishing area had a thick cover and structures, we loaded the reel with a 30 lb braid and paired it with a 6’ HMG rod.
It makes a great all-purpose fishing set up but we used it almost exclusively for crankbaits. We caught over 20 largemouth bass on the first day of our trip! The drag system worked very well, and the magnetic brakes were exceptional.
The magnetic control system lets you make easy and quick adjustments according to the changing conditions. So you get excellent control over your casts. We were able to land all the fish with no issues.
Overall, we are happy to recommend Lew’s Speed Spool LFS as the Best Baitcasting Reel Under $100. It is durable, effective, and easy to use. Yet, it comes at a very affordable price for its quality.
4. Shimano Curado K Baitcasting Reel
Shimano is a reputable brand with a legacy of producing excellent baitcasting reels. Curado K is a strong and durable baitcaster that you can use for both freshwater and saltwater fishing.
Along with a solid build, Curado K comes with five SARB bearings. These bearings are super resistant to corrosion and can withstand even rough saltwater.
We took this reel to test it out during our lake trout fishing trip to Canada. As we planned to use barbless hooks, it was important to choose a reel with a smooth drag – and this reel was flawless. We couple it with a 20 lb braid to catch ten trout over 15 lbs.
The 7.2:1 gear ratio is excellent for a high speed of retrieval. It is perfect for reeling in even swift fish. The corrosion-resistant ball bearings ensure the reel stays smooth. The superior gears and drag systems work well together to reduce the backlash.
Weighing only 7.4 oz, this reel is lightweight and relatively easy to handle. So, you can throw casts all day long without worrying about your arms getting tired. It is one of the best saltwater baitcasting reels under $200.
5. Abu Garcia Ambassadeur C4
We have spent countless hours on the water, testing the Abu Garcia Ambassadeur C4 baitcasting reel. It offers exceptional performance in terms of casting distance and accuracy.
We paired the C4-6600 model with a 7′ medium-heavy rod for freshwater and saltwater fishing. We used it to throw different baits including soft plastics, crankbaits, and jerk baits. Using this setup, we caught panfish, trout, bass, catfish, sea bass, salmon, stripers, and even a 35lb musky.
The 6.3:1 gear ratio offers a smooth retrieve while providing enough power to reel in larger catches. The Duragear 2-gear system ensures the retrieve doesn’t wobble even under heavy loads.
Its 15lb max drag can handle most freshwater and saltwater fish. The carbon matrix drag system provides consistent performance. So you don’t need to worry about the fish escaping due to the drag struggle.
The compact bent handle and star grip provide a comfortable hold and reduce hand fatigue. It makes fishing in various conditions a breeze. So you just need to focus on your technique as opposed to worrying about your gear.
Overall, the Abu Garcia Ambassadeur C4 baitcasting reel exceeded our expectations. It is an excellent choice if you’re looking for one of the best baitcasting reels under 200.
6. KastKing Speed Demon Elite
We are always looking to get our hands on better gear to test for our readers. So we decided to give the KastKing Speed Demon a try. Our collection of KastKing baitcasters already includes the Spartacus and Royale Legend II. But wanted to test if the difference in price reflects in the performance.
The difference in quality between the Speed Demon and lower-tier models is evident once you spin the reel. The smoothness is unparalleled compared to Spartacus and Royale Legend II. There is absolutely no vibration, noise, or tolerance.
The reel comes with an adjustable brake system that makes it easier to control your casts and prevent tangle-ups. The casts are so quick and smooth, we were able to throw long casts every 5 minutes. The brake system really helps with accuracy and distance, even in windy conditions. Combined with its 18lb Max Drag, it is suitable for capturing many fish types, including bass, pike, musky, and catfish.
We tested KastKing Speed Demon with different types of baits, such as crankbaits, jigs, and spinnerbaits. Catching bass, musky, and catfish is now a more enjoyable experience. On our last trip, we filled a 100-quart cooler in under half a day. We had an exceptional experience in both freshwater and saltwater conditions.
We recommend KastKing Speed Demon to any angler looking for a reliable baitcaster. It is the fastest baitcasting reel with its impressive 10.5:1 gear ratio. The quality is evident from the first impression.
7. Daiwa Lexa Baitcasting Reel
Fellow anglers, Daiwa Lexa is an absolute workhorse that delivers unparalleled performance. We took the Lexa 100 size out for a test during a recent fishing trip, and it was love at first cast.
The reel’s compact size might make it easy to underestimate, but let us tell you, it can hold a lot of line! We spooled 340 feet of 50 lb. braided line on it with ease. The counters are spot on, and everything is exceptionally smooth and precise.
One of the most impressive features of this reel is the Ultimate Tournament Carbon Drag, which delivers a max drag of 11 lbs. You can easily adjust the drag when fighting fish in different conditions.
Additionally, its infinite dual anti-reverse is simply amazing. It ensures that you never lose a catch due to my reel’s mechanics.
We’ve used this reel in tough fishing situations where we were reeling in big fish, and it never left us hanging.
The cut-away swept paddle handle is both functional and comfortable. While it is a seemingly small detail, the handles can make a big difference in your fishing experience.
We highly recommend Daiwa Lexa to any serious angler. We’ve used it to catch various fish including trout, walleye, and sockeye. It is a reliable, sturdy, and versatile reel that can handle anything you throw at it. Whether you’re going after Kokanee or chasing Coho salmon, this reel has got your back.
8. Okuma Citrix 350 Baitcaster
We recently had the opportunity to test out the Okuma Citrix baitcasting reel. Let us tell you, this reel is an exceptional piece of equipment for the price.
The first thing that struck us was its solid construction. The rigid diecast aluminum frame and side plates make it strong, while the corrosion-resistant coating makes it durable.
On our recent trip, we spooled it with a 30 lb braid for targeting largemouth bass and redfish in a local lake. Thanks to its 25 lbs max drag, we were able to land serious fish ranging from 5-10 lbs. Even when we hooked a 15-pounder, the drag held up beautifully.
We caught some big bass and reds, and the reel performed flawlessly. We really loved the micro-click drag star, which lets you fine-tune drag settings. The large spool capacity also comes in handy when you hook into a feisty fish.
The 7+1 stainless steel ball bearings provide smooth casting and reeling. The 7-position Velocity Control System is easy to adjust and lets you cast with precision. The zirconium line guide inserts prevent the braid from slipping or tangling.
Overall, we are very impressed with the Okuma Citrix 350 baitcasting reel. It is a reliable reel that you can use for catching a variety of fish species. Whether you’re targeting bass or chasing redfish, this reel will help you land them with ease.
9. KastKing Royale Legend Baitcasting Reel
As experienced anglers, we’ve used the KastKing Royale Legend GT baitcasting reel on several fishing trips.
Let’s first start with the design. The low-profile design carries over beautifully to the GT model. The matte red finish on the trim, along with the glossy black side covers, make this reel stand out. The Grand Touch synthetic soft grip handles allow you to fish without any discomfort.
When it comes to performance, the KastKing Royale Legend GT does not disappoint. The 8 cross-fire magnets improve braking efficiency. You can easily adjust the magnetic brake system from levels 0 to 9.
We’ve used this reel to catch a variety of fish, including largemouth bass and catfish. We even landed some saltwater species like calico bass, halibuts, rays, and striped bass. The quadruple disc carbon drag delivers 17.6 lbs of drag, allowing us to reel in big fish with ease. The 7.2:1 gear ratio with 29.8 IPT allows speedier line pick-up for fast fish that need quick reaction times.
We tested a variety of baits with this reel, from crankbaits to topwater lures to soft plastics. The KastKing Royale Legend GT performed flawlessly with all of them. We even used it to throw heavier baits like swimbaits and jigs with no issues. The 5+1 stainless steel bearings allow you to cast and retrieve smoothly even in windy conditions.
Overall, the KastKing Royale Legend GT is a top-rated baitcasting reel. We are happy to recommend it to any angler, whether experienced or just getting started.
How to Choose the Best Baitcasting Reel Under $200?
It is not easy to choose a reel from amongst so many attractive options. Every baitcasting reel claims to be the best one. So you must consider some key factors while choosing a reel so that you pick the right one for your needs.
A good baitcasting reel would ensure that you never experience backlash while casting. A good and efficient braking system is truly the magician here. So you need to look at the quality of the braking system and its construction.
Great material and construction would ensure durability. A powerful drag system and quality bearings will define your reel’s performance. Furthermore, the line capacity of your reel will determine how far you can cast.
Go for a Good Quality Braking System
The top feature of a baitcasting reel is always an excellent braking system. Advanced baitcasting reels come with either magnetic or centrifugal braking systems. Both of them are very effective and efficient.
Magnetic braking systems are an important development in modern reels over earlier models. Now, it takes just the push of a button to ensure that your brakes are properly applied. The magnetic braking systems also tend to avoid backlashes better.
Check the Material and Construction
It is important to get a reel that keeps working for years to come and saves you regular trips to the equipment shop. You don’t want a reel that works well for one season and breaks down the next.
So you need a baitcasting reel that can endure rough handling. Check your reel is made of quality materials like graphite or aluminum so that it is strong yet lightweight. Also, check the construction quality so that you get performance with durability.
Select a Power-Laden Drag System
Pay attention to the drag system and the power it is capable of executing. We suggest you pick a carbon fiber drag system as it can withstand brute force while delivering power for years.
Most top baitcasting reels come with a tripe-disc drag system for more power and durability.
Go for Sufficient Ball Bearings
You must go for reels with enough number and quality of ball bearings. The ball bearings determine the smoothness of your casts and ensure your reel remains functional.
It is important to know that ball bearings need not be high in number for them to function properly. But it must have quality ball bearings that are corrosion-resistant. Such bearings can sustain even saltwater and keep your reel evergreen. It is always great to pick a reel with an extra roller bearing.
Get a Baitcasting Reel With Enough Line Capacity
The line capacity of your reel will dictate the length of your casts. For very long-distance casts, you need a reel with a large line capacity.
But one must practice short casts before attempting to throw long casts. So if you are just starting out, and are only going to throw shorter casts, a reel with low line capacity will also work fine.
Even top baitcasting reels need you to act on time to avoid backlash. You just need to press the button when you feel the spool is running faster than the fishing line.
1. Why do Fishermen Prefer Baitcasting Reels?
Baitcasters allow you to have more control over casting than a spinning reel. It is possible to target and define exactly where you want to throw the cast.
This enhanced accuracy has made baitcasting reels extremely popular amongst anglers. So much so that most beginners and experienced fishermen prefer baitcasters over other reels.
2. Is it Hard to Fish with a Baitcaster?
Baitcasting reels appear to be hard, but they are as easy to use as any other reel once you learn how to use them. In fact, baitcasting reels offer you so much better control over your line that over time you will have more success with them.
Baitcasters offer more power and you can load more fishing line than other reels. They also have far better drag systems that help you land more fish. Also, unlike other reels, you can use a baitcaster in even tough conditions to catch big fish.
3. How Much Should I Spend on a Baitcaster?
This is a question we get asked quite often, and personally, we believe it depends on what you’re looking for. Baitcasters range in price from budget options under $50 to high-end models over $200.
We believe, investing in a quality reel is worth it in the long run. Premium models also tend to have more features and better performance. But, it doesn’t mean that you have to break the bank to get a quality reel.
We suggest you check out these reels under $200 and pick one with features you must have. Think about the type of fish you will be targeting and the conditions you will be fishing in.
4. What is the Best Budget Baitcaster?
In our opinion, KastKing Royale is the Best Budget Baitcaster if matched with the right rod and lures. This reel is versatile, solid, and durable. Moreover, the line capacity and drag power are suitable for targeting big fish. You can go for KastKing Royale Baitcasting Rel for a great time on the water.
If you are looking for more budget options, you can check our review of the Best Baitcasting Reels Under $50.
5. Is Braid or Mono Better for Baitcasters?
Again, we get this question many times during our fishing trips. While you can use both monofilament and braided lines, each has its own advantages.
When fishing in clear waters, monofilament lines tend to work well as they are less visible to the fish. On the other hand, braided lines are a better option for fishing in deep water with large fish species.
6. What is the Fastest Baitcaster?
When it comes to baitcasters, a fast gear ratio means that the reel can retrieve line quickly. Fast baitcasting reels generally have a ratio of 8.0:1 or higher.
KastKing Speed Demon Elite is the fastest baitcaster as per our reviews. It comes with a 10.5:1 gear ratio that allowed us to retrieve the line faster than any other baitcaster that we tested.
Any experienced angler will advise you to avoid weak, or flawed reels. Revo SX is a sturdy and durable baitcasting reel. You wonder how can it be so lightweight yet so strong!
After adjusting it to your liking, you will realize that nothing can beat this baitcaster. There are not many reels out there that can compete with Revo SX on performance. So, the fact that it is priced lower than many reels out there makes it a great pick for any angler.
The Hagane construction of Shimano is promising and durable. But nothing compares to the supreme ease of use and comfort offered by Lew’s Speed Spool Reel. It is built with strong and light aluminum while Shimano has a full metal body.
Lew’s is a bit more affordable, but Shimano has a reputation for never disappointing its customers. Both the reels are lightweight and strong. They come with high-quality bearings and unmatchable smoothness.
We hope you like our pick of the Best Baitcasting Reel Under $200. If you have any suggestions, please let us know via the comments section. We will try to include them in our next update.
Last Updated on March 15, 2023 by Victor Mays