The best fishing reels under £50

The best fishing reels under £50

by Aidan Bordiuk |
Updated on

There was a time when a quality fishing reel would set you back at least £100, however, some of the best fishing reels under £50 are truly astonishing. Thanks to improvements in technology and manufacturing processes, you can now pick up something that will offer smooth performance, durability and often a spare spool!

Whether you’re a match or pleasure angler who enjoys float and feeder fishing, a big-fish specialist in search of a freespool model for carp or barbel, or even a lure fanatic, there are some fantastic fishing reels under £50 to choose from.

The best fishing reels under £50 at a glance:

• Best Match Fishing Reel Under £50 - Daiwa 23 Matchman Reel - View offer on Total Fishing Tackle

• Best Baitrunner Reel Under £50 - Sonik Vader X 6000 FS - View offer on Go Outdoors

• Best Budget Fishing Reel Under £50 - Shimano FX - View offer on eBay

• Best Value Fishing Reel Under £50 - Nytro NTR Reel - View Offer on Total Fishing Tackle

Gone are the days you could tell a reel was a budget model. The big manufacturers especially, have realised the demand for a good quality reel with a cheaper price tag and it's safe to say, they have delivered. Here is a guide to some of the best fishing reels under £50...

Best match fishing reel under £50

The Daiwa 23 Matchman Reel is a very impressive item of tackle, it's really hard to believe you will get the reel and change from £50. The range covers three sizes, including a 2500 model, which is compact and great for lure fishing or light float work, it is also great for kids or beginners.

The 3000 size is the most versatile in the range, it is the perfect size to allow you to fish normal wagglers and balance a light rod when fishing for silvers or trotting a float. It also still has the cranking power for pellet waggler fishing or chucking a Method Feeder out catching big carp.

If you were just looking for a feeder reel to target the rivers after barbel and chub, or take it to chuck a long way on your local commercial, the 4000 is definitely the size to go for, as it just has that extra power you'll need. It also has a retrieval rate of 95cm per turn, so you'll have those feeders back in and back out in no time.


  • Great range of reels for all styles of angling.
  • 4000 model ideal for any feeder fishing.


  • No spare spool.

Best spinning reel under £50

The front drag on the Shimano Sedona FI 3000 is very light, making it ideal for all float fishing scenarios. But don’t be fooled – this model has plenty of winding power thanks to its tried and tested Varispeed oscillation system, which produces an excellent line-lay – just what you need for trotting. It's also great for using for larger lure fishing, whether you are targeting pike or bass, this reel is so easy to wind it won't cause you any fatigue on a long day casting lures around.

The reel's internal engineering features quality smooth-running bearings you’d associate with far more highly priced reels. This is the first budget reel Shimano have included their Cold Forged Hagane gears, this drastically increases the cranking power and the durability of the reel.

Other features include Dyna-Balance, which minimises wobble, and Shimano’s Super Stopper II system, which reduces play in the handle when fishing with the anti-reverse switch activated. The Power Roller on the bail-arm is profiled to reduce line twist.


  • Super smooth performance.
  • Effortless winding.


  • Prone to scratching.

Best reel for lure fishing under £50

The Abu Garcia Carindal X is a fantastic little reel. Incorporating a graphite body and anodised aluminium spool, the reel is both lightweight and strong. Featuring 3+1 stainless ball bearings, the reel has a very smooth rotation, allowing the handle to be turned effortlessly, perfectly for reeling in lures.

High performance washers are included in the drag to make it perfectly smooth and reliable, so when you get the bite, you can be confident of landing the fish.

Available in 1000, 3000, 4000 and 5000 there is sure to be a reel that is ideal for every scenario, all at a very competitive price point too.


  • The smaller sizes are perfect for lure fishing.
  • Smooth drag system.


  • The bail arm is a bit clunky.

Best value reel under £50

The Nytro NTR Fishing Reel is a relative newcomer to the coarse fishing scene but its price and quality ensure it will be a very popular reel, especially for those on a budget. It comes in two sizes, a 3000 and 4000 size, and to prevent any confusion about which one to buy, the 4000 is primarily designed for Method feeder fishing on commercial fisheries, the 3000 for float work.

It's graphite body makes it very lightweight and durable, with the 4+1 bearing system providing a surprising amount of cranking power, so no matter the size of the fish or the situation, the reel will be able to cope. The NTR features a super smooth, consistent drag, that performs as well as many of the more expensive reels in its class and the line-friendly line clip makes sure your line will never be damaged, no matter how many times it hits it.


  • Super smooth drag.
  • Very powerful reel.


  • The handle knob might be a bit oversized for some depending on preference.

Best budget reel under £50

This Shimano FX reel is a great addition to any lure fishing setup, lightweight and compact whilst still having all the necessary attributes to land big fish on light tackle. 

Available in different sizes, the 3000 and 4000 sizes are generally best for larger fish as they hold more line and have a bit more cranking power. They are a front drag reel and as it is a Shimano, it’s a lovely smooth drag that will give you full control over anything you hook. 

The body is made from a strong XT-7 Aluminium, so it will take the punishment of being laid on the ground and dropped as often happens when lure fishing. The reel is so compact and light, it will balance with any rod perfectly, making it easy to hold for prolonged periods of time.


  • Very lightweight.
  • Super smooth drag system.


  • Does lack some power for landing really large fish.

Best beginner reel

You can instantly recognise Maver tackle and their Reality 3000 reel is no different with its eye-catching green graphics, it's certainly a bold look!

The Reality is an excellent choice for the novice angler, it’s easy to use, with a faultless self-trip bail-arm, and its oversized line roller prevents reel line spin. This will drastically reduce the chance of wrap-arounds or tangles, allowing you to get used to using a reel without the headache of untangling it all day.

The 3000 size is perfect for any style of angling. You can use it for any commercial angling and it will excel, the line lay is superb on these little reels, so it will make casting effortless.


  • Superb line lay.
  • Line roller prevents any line spin.


  • The colour might not be for everyone.

Best reel range under £50

The Okuma Ceymar XT is an ultra-reliable reel that steps up to the plate when needed. Available in sizes from a tiny 1000 light-lure fishing tool, through to a big feeder 6000 model, although the larger models do push over the £50 barrier.

It’s a reel that can do it all and then some. It has a high-speed 6.2:1 gear ratio, solid aluminium bail-arm, corrosion-resistant graphite body and rigid metal handle with EVA knob. It even comes with a spare spool and rear drag options in the 3000 and 4000 sizes.


  • Lovely all-round reel.
  • High speed retrieve.


  • High speed retrieve my be too quick for some.

Best mini-baitrunner reel for under £50

The two Korum Shadow Reels pack a serious amount of winding power into their compact 2500 and 3500 body sizes. Precision gearing provides a rapid-response freespool movement that kicks in cleanly when it’s engaged as you get a bite. Back-up fish playing facilities are provided by powerful but precise front and rear drag systems. 

Other key features on these specialist reels, which can turn their handles to most big-fish tactics, include a super-fast 5.1:1 gear retrieve and silky-smooth winding, courtesy of five high-quality carbon steel bearings.


  • The transmission between freespool and engaged is seamlessly smooth.
  • Lots of cranking power.


  • Would be nice to see in bigger spool sizes.

Best floater reel under £50

If you want a reel for small water carp fishing the Fox EOS 10000 FD reel could well be the one for you. The compact size and high power make it a great reel for targeting carp. These reels are perfect to balance a short rod under 10ft and double up as fantastic floater fishing reels, with the perfect line lay allowing you to cast freelined baits out much further than with other reels.

The EOS 10000 are also great barbel fishing reels, their high cranking power make easy work of winding large feeders and leads in as well as efficiently pulling barbel upstream to your landing net. The reel is packed with features internally, with 5 ball bearings it is very durable and will take some severe punishment, with the drag system so smooth, it's a joy to use. For small water carp fishing or barbel angling there aren't many better options, especially for the price!


  • Power in abundance.
  • Great for floater fishing.


  • No spare spool.

Best spod reel under £50

If you're looking for a budget spod reel, you would be hard pushed to find a better example than the Wychwood Dispatch 7500 Spod Reel. Not only do you get a great reel for under £50 but the reel also comes fully loaded with 200m of 30lb braid, so you can take the reel fishing straight away.

The reel will wind 100cm of line with each turn of the handle, to make winding in the spod so much more efficient when fishing at range, which really helps when putting a lot of bait out. A really superb reel for those who want a durable product to get bait out into the lake without breaking the bank.


  • 100cm line retrieval per handle turn.
  • Fully loaded with 30lb braid.


  • Line clip could be better.

Best baitrunner reel for under £50

The compact Sonik Vader X 6000 FS freespool reel is perfect for targeting small to medium-sized rivers. It has a micro-adjustable front drag and an independent freespool rear drag adjustment.

Build quality is impressive, and the reel is made from a light but hardwearing graphite material (with a stainless steel main shaft), and comes with solid aluminium handles, oversized line-friendly line clips and two anodised aluminium spools. With a gear ratio of 5.5:1, there’s no lack of cranking power either, which is handy when retrieving heavy leads and swimfeeders at long ranges, and the wide spool can easily hold heavier lines.

The clutch adjustment on the front of the spool, and the tension settings for the freespool facility, are functional rather than precise, but they won’t let you down. All-black aesthetics and understated graphics give these Soniks a classy look, and for the asking price, you’ll struggle to find better.


  • Great cranking power.
  • Baitrunner option.


  • Not the most precise clutch system.

What to look for in a fishing reel under £50

Just because you don't want to spend hundreds of pounds on a reel doesn't mean you have to compromise on everything. Some of the best fishing reels under £50 are truly amazing in what they offer both aesthetically and performance wise. When choosing a reel there are a few features to look for that will determine which is the best choice for you.

The size of the reel will impact how well it performs certain tasks, if you only fish the float, then look for a reel around 3000 in size. Generally, these reels are smaller and lighter, and balance a waggler rod perfectly. In fact, a 3000 is a great all-round size reel. If you like to use a Method feeder or fish for larger fish on commercials or rivers, it's best to opt for a 4000 or larger. These reels have a bit more cranking power to help you tame those larger fish and control the larger end tackle required more efficiently.

If carp or specimen fishing is your chosen discipline, look for a reel that can hold plenty of line, this will aid you when casting longer distances and give you the reserve line when big fish go on powerful runs. A baitrunner is always helpful when fishing for larger fish, it prevents the rod being dragged in when you get a take, something no angler wants to happen.


Drag/clutch: An adjustable tensioning system that allows a hard-fighting fish to pull an additional line from the reel instead of breaking the line.

Freespool: Similar to a clutch but working at far lower tensions. The Freespool will allow a running fish to take line, preventing a rod on a rest from being pulled in. Once the rod is picked up and the reel handle turned, it will disengage, putting the reel back into 'fish playing' mode with the drag working as normal.

Spool: The cylinder at the front of a reel which holds the line.

Big pit: A reel with a long spool designed for extreme long-range casting by reducing the resistance of the line.

Line clip: A small clip on the spool that line can be placed under, stopping it from leaving the reel. Originally designed to stop lines from falling off in transit, they are now commonly used to repeatedly cast a set distance.

Line twist: Casting, retrieving and using the freespool and clutch adds twist to your line, which can weaken it and reduces casting distance. In extreme cases, the line will bounce off the spool and ball up as it untwists. More expensive reels incorporate various technologies to minimise line twists.

Cranking power: This is the reel's ability to wind under pressure, the better the cranking power the more powerful the reel is.

Frequently asked questions on fishing reels under £50

Can I use one reel for multiple tactics?

Yes, as long as the size is suitable, as too big a reel for waggler fishing, for example, makes a lightweight rod feel clumsy, whilst too small a reel for feeder fishing will restrict casting distance and reduce the winding power needed to retrieve heavy feeders. This is where spare spools become useful. On a 4000-sized reel, one could be loaded with 3lb line for waggler fishing, whilst a second could be loaded with 6lb for the feeder work.

Should I use a Baitrunner reel for barbel fishing?

If you are going to be watching the rod and roving the river, perhaps rolling baits, then a Baitrunner is not essential. However, if you are an angler who likes to sit back and relax, or kip in the bivvy, a Baitrunner reel is essential to stop your rod being dragged in on the take. A barbel bite is typically far more savage than anything any other fish will give.

How can I clean my reel?

A damp cloth and warm water should be enough. Although reels are designed to be as watertight as possible, keep their exposure minimal, as any that gets inside will rinse lubricants from the reel. An old toothbrush can be useful too.

Author Aidan Bordiuk is an enthusiastic angler who enjoys all fishing disciplines from match fishing to beach casting. He is currently occupying the position of Commercial Content Writer at Angling Times.

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