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Top 10 Inexpensive Fly Reels in 2020

If you're a fly fisherman, you already know that fly reels can be expensive. If you want to pick up a top-of-the-line, name-brand fly fishing reel, you can easily shell out over a thousand dollars.

However, fly fishing reels don't have to be expensive. Oftentimes, fishermen get caught up wanting to buy name-brand reels with the most innovative technology - all the bells and whistles, so to speak. A good fly fishing reel doesn't have to have all that, though. There are some great, relatively inexpensive fly reels on Amazon that work just as well as those expensive fly reels costing thousands of dollars on the market today.

First, though, let's look at what makes a good fly reel.

1. Innovative Design

Over the past two decades, the designs of fly fishing reels have really become amazing, with some excellent innovations having been made to the original design. In particular, enhancements have been made to the drag features of most reels that make them able to stand up to larger fish.

The reels are also being made from more durable materials. The construction of these reels has become much stronger and more heavy-duty over the years to accommodate the changing needs and fishing styles of anglers who have moved from smaller fish to larger ones.

2. Materials

Because of the need for stronger, more durable reels, the materials used to construct these reels have also changed and evolved over the years. Today, good reels are made from high-quality materials. Cheap fly reels, though, often contain plastic bits in the reels' construction. This is not something you'll find in a good fly fishing reel.

High-quality reels are now created from stainless steel and aluminum and are incredibly strong. Not only are fly reels today stronger, they also last longer due to this strong construction. They're usually made from CNC machines, which allows them to be cut exactly into the shapes needed for the best fit.

These machines with their precise cuts allow all parts of the reel to fit together as snugly as possible, resulting in the reel working better and more efficiently.

3. Drag

Whether or not a fly reel has a good drag is one of the first things people look for in a reel. The drag is what keeps you from losing your fish or allowing a giant fish to swim off with your line. There are two different types of drag. The first is known as click and pawl, and the other is known as disc drag.

Most fishermen prefer a reel with disc drag because it allows for the smoothest, most efficient retrieval experience. However, click and pawl drag is sometimes a bit cheaper in price.

4. Weight

Fly reels are like most reels when it comes to one respect: You'll want the weight of your reel to balance nicely with your rod. Balancing your reel weight with your rod weight will afford you the smoothest, most balanced experience.

It's also important to choose the right line weight to pair with your reel.

5. Arbor Size

When it comes to arbor size, most anglers abide by the following guidelines:
  • Large arbors are used for saltwater fishing.
  • Smaller, more traditional arbors are used for smaller, freshwater fishing, such as fishing for trout.

Overall, larger arbors allow you to retrieve larger fish without much pull-back or slow-down. Furthermore, larger arbors also retrieve faster. Smaller arbors, while not as fast or strong, are more lightweight and take less muscle to retrieve fish. They also have a better balance than larger arbors.

Now that you know what to look for in a good fly fishing reel, let's take a look at some cheap fly fishing reels that are low on price but not on quality.

List of top cheap fly fishing reels

#1 M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch ECO Fly Reel

Pros of M Maximumcatch Fly Reel:
  • Low Price
  • One-Year Warranty
  • Multiple Weights and Colors
  • Equipped with Teflon Drag

With an overall rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars on Amazon, this is a great budget fly reel. It comes in three different weights: 3/4, 5/6 and 7/8. There are also a variety of colors and styles from which to choose, though those may vary slightly in price.

Each reel is made with a large arbor design, which makes it perfect for retrieving your line quickly and smoothly. It also comes equipped with a feature known as rugged disc drag, which adds a lot of pressure on the fish you've caught, making it difficult for it to get off the hook while you're retrieving it.

It's design is very easy to use, as well, making it perfect for beginner anglers. However, even advanced fly fishermen are fond of using it because of its advanced features.

The reel itself is die-cast of super strong aluminum and comes equipped with Teflon drag that allows it to hold up under even the strongest of fish. The one-way bearing of the reel also allows for quick and smooth hand switching between left and right hands.

In addition to the great price, the company also provides you with a one-year, no hassle warranty. This warranty allows you to return the reel at any point in that year's time if you don't like it for any reason. This makes purchasing one of the best cheap fly reels even more risk-free.

#2 Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel with CNC-machined Aluminum Alloy Body

Pros of Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Reel
  • Interchangeable Left- to Right-Hand Retrieval
  • Three-Year Warranty
  • Four Different Weights and Colors

Of all the fly reels being sold today, Piscifun fly reels have the best balance between price and reel quality. This particular reel comes in four different weights - 3/4, 5/6, 7/8 and 9/10 - and four different colors - space grey, gunmetal, black and pink. Each reel is made from a CNC-machined 6061 T6 aluminum alloy, which is first cold forged and then tempered in order to ensure maximum strength and durability.

Other features include a smooth transition between right- and left-hand retrieval, surface protection from a hard anodizing process, weather-, corrosion- and abrasion-resistance and something the company refers to as a "butter smooth" drag system that makes retrieval a breeze.

The arbor size on this particular reel is mid-sized, meaning it provides the perfect balance of both speed and lightweight ease. Although it's a tiny bit more expensive than a few of the reels on our list, it makes up for the extra expense with an extended, three-year warranty. Between the low price, the long warranty and the reel's high-quality construction, this could potentially be the best fly reel for the money.

#3 Okuma SLV Die-Cast Aluminum Fly Reel

Pros of Okuma SLV Die-Cast:
  • Extra Large Arbor Spool for Catching Large Fish
  • Extra Fast Retrieval Speeds
  • Available in Various Weights
  • Great for Left-Hand Anglers

If you're looking for the best fly reel under 50 dollars, the Okuma could be exactly what you need. The SLV line of Okuma reels has many options from which to choose, but no matter which you pick, you're sure to get the same high-quality reel for a fraction of the price.

These reels come with large arbor spools, allowing for some of the quickest possible retrieval times of any reel on the list. The large arbor also lets you tackle much larger fish than simple freshwater trout. The one-way roller bearings also allow for single direction drag.

The reels all have high-grade aluminum frames, multi-disc cork, one-way roller bearings and stainless steel spool shafts and drag systems. All this combines to make the reels extremely durable while also maintaining their speed and power.

Like most other reels on the list, this one is constructed from precision machines. The weights range from 2/3 to 10/11, and there is a wide variety of spare spools with which to customize your experience and line types. Each reel also comes equipped with non-slip grips on the handle knobs.

#4 Sougayilang Fly Fishing Reel

Pros of Sougayilang Fly Fishing Reel:
  • Five-Year Warranty
  • Left- to Right-Hand Retrieval
  • Strong, Yet Very Lightweight

As far as we're concerned, the Sougayilang is the best 5wt fly reel for the money, and it isn't just because of it's awesome gold finish. In addition to the 5/6 weight option, there is also a 7/8 weight, as well. With either reel, you get the same great features.

The reels are made of a CNC-machined 6061 T6 aluminum alloy, which is incredibly durable. It's also coated so as to help minimize the chances of corrosion. Although it's made of durable aluminum, the design of the reel is hollow, which makes it incredibly lightweight.

There is a one-way roller for a one direction drag, two-in-one ball bearings and a one-to-one gear ratio. The arbor is large; therefore, the retrieval speed is excellent, not to mention silent and smooth. The reel also comes equipped with metal screw caps used for loosening the spool, and changing from left- to right-hand retrieval is a snap.

In addition to being resistant to corrosion, the reels are also weather-resistant, abrasion-resistant and have maximum rigidity and strength. They're perfect for use in both saltwater and freshwater fishing and can be used to catch a wide variety of fish, including salmon, trout, grayling and other predatory species.

Best of all, the reels come equipped with a five-year warranty!

#5 Redington Zero Fly Fishing Reel

Pros of Redington Zero Fly Fishing Reel
  • Extremely Lightweight - Only 0.16 Ounces
  • Retrieval Process is Super Quick

Although the Redington is a little more expensive than some of the other reels on the list, it's still relatively inexpensive and is the best fly reel under 100 dollars you can buy. The reels come in two weights - 2/3 and 4/5. There are also four different colors from which to choose, including avocado, teal, black and sand, which is actually a grey-like color.

This particular reel is one of the few on the list that is not made with CNC-machining. However, the company claims that this allows its reels to be the lightest reels in their class. They weigh in at only 0.16 ounces, so these claims are definitely true. They also utilize a relatively new and innovative clicker drag system, which allows for a smooth and quick retrieval.

The only downside is, because of it's extremely light weight, it isn't as strong as some of the other reels.

#6 Piscifun Crest Fully Sealed Drag Large Arbor Fly Fishing Reel

Pros of Piscifun Crest:
  • Hard Anodizing Treatment to Guard Against Elements
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Can Be Adjusted Even With a Fish on the Line

Available in either black or green and in three different weights ranging from 5/6 to 9/10, the reels in Piscifun's Crest series are some of the best budget fly reels available anywhere. In fact, according to the manufacturer's own claims, these reels redefine what 100 dollar fly reels can be.

The reels are made with CNC-machined 6061 T6 aluminum. They're finished with a weather- and corrosion-resistant finish and have a large arbor design perfect for saltwater fishing. The click and drag system is powerful and quiet, and the reel itself is incredibly durable.

Each reel has undergone a hard anodizing treatment, which is the same treatment given to most automobiles to ensure the paint job isn't damaged by the elements. The drag knob on the reel is over-sized and has a knurled surface, meaning it can be easily adjusted at any time, including when there's a fish on your line.

The reel is also backed up with a lifetime guarantee by the manufacturer, making it the best cheap fly reel with the best possible warranty.

#7 Redington BEHEMOTH Fly Reel

Pros of Redington BEHEMOTH Fly Reel:
  • Over-Sized Drag Knobs
  • Twin Molded Handles for Increased Feedback and Sensitivity
  • Unique Die-Cast Construction
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Carbon Fiber Drag

With weights ranging from 4/5 to 11/12 and five different colors from which to choose, the Redington Behemoth is an inexpensive fly reel with many different options to suit every style. No matter which reel you choose, each comes with a carbon fiber drag and easy conversion from right- to left-hand retrieval.

The reels aren't created from precision machining; instead, each one is made from a unique die-cast that cannot be replicated. The arbor size is large, which allows for quick, easy retrieval and a reduction in line memory. The drag knobs, too, are large and over-sized, allowing them to be easily adjusted no matter the situation.

The name "Behemoth" stems from the company's claim that these reels have the best drag in their reel class; the drag is simply unmatched by any other reel. Another feature is a carbon fiber torque system, which combines both carbon fiber plates and stainless steel friction plates. Together, these plates provide a huge amount of torque, no matter the size of your catch.

In addition to the over-sized drag knobs, the reel also boasts twin molded handles with a super soft, comfortable ergonomic grip. This provides greater sensitivity to the reel and allows for maximum feedback when retrieving larger catches. Additionally, the reel also comes with a convenient nylon reel case for protection when the reel is not in use.

Each and every Behemoth reel is also covered by a lifetime warranty.

#8 Piscifun Platte Fully Sealed Drag Large Arbor Fly Fishing Reel

Pros of Piscifun Platte:
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Lick Retrieve and Click Drag Knobs

If you are looking for a great rim fly reel, this second Piscifun option on the list might just be the thing for you. These reels come in 5/6, 7/8 and 9/10 weight options, and you can choose from black, gunmetal or ice blue for the colors. Each reel comes equipped with fully sealed carbon to stainless drag, making it absolutely water-, sand- and grit-proof, which incidentally also makes it the perfect reel for saltwater fishing.

The reels are cut from anodized 6061 T6 aluminum via the precision machining process. This makes them the perfect balance of both strong and also lightweight. The arbor is large, which allows for fast retrieval of both smaller freshwater and heavier saltwater prey, but the spool is heavily ventilated, which keeps the overall weight of the reel down to a manageable level.

The reels also feature both lick retrieve and positive click drag knobs. These features allow the reel to provide the most accurate and easily repeated drag settings. The drag knob is also equipped with diamond knurling, making it easier to hold and adjust, even while retrieving a catch.

Every reel is also backed up by a lifetime guarantee.

#9 Croch Fly Fishing Reel with Aluminum Alloy Body

Pros of Croch Fly Fishing Reel:
  • Incredibly Low Price
  • Lightweight
  • Comes with Lots of Extras

While we can't definitively claim that the Croch fly reel is the best inexpensive fly reel on the market, it's definitely somewhere near the top of the list. Although there are numerous price options from which to choose, not a single one of them is greater than 40 dollars. There are also several different sizes and colors to suit any angler's tastes and needs.

This is a great mid-sized arbor reel. It provides both quick and easy retrieval and simple left- to right-hand conversion. Like many reels on the list, these have been made using precision CNC-machining and are made from a lightweight, durable aluminum alloy coated with a substance that makes them resistant to all forms of corrosion and weather damage.

Despite the reels' light weights, they are also incredibly durable and provide a strong retrieval process, allowing fishermen to catch several varieties and sizes of fish. The reel's design also allows for less line stacking and higher line retrieval rates, according to the company's product description.

Each reel includes a stainless steel drag system and one-way clutch bearing, which provides you with immediate drag when you want it. The reels are also cold-forged and tempered for maximum durability, and the arbors are ported concavely, adding more strength to the already strong reel.

#10 Goture Fly Reel

Pros of Goture Fly Reel:
  • Incredibly Low Price
  • Lightweight Design
  • Resistant to Corrosion

If you are looking to buy fly reels cheap, the Goture brand is exactly what you need. With prices starting at a mere 20 dollars, this is the best budget fly reel on the list. There is a 5/6 weight option and a 7/8 weight option, but there isn't a lot to choose from in the way of various colors.

Regardless of the limited color options, the low price, improved design and high quality of this reel makes it the best value fly reel to be found on Amazon. The new design features a precision CNC-machined aluminum frame, a stainless steel main shaft and a coating that leaves the reel resistant to corrosion and made for long-term use.

The performance of the reel is also quite smooth, thanks in large part to the 2+1 ball bearing system. This system allows the angler to put greater amounts of pressure on a catch. The strong drag system and innovative spool release feature also make bringing the fish in even easier than before.

The handle of the reel is also made of pure aluminum, which means it does not just look sleek and high-quality, but it is also more comfortable to hold and use. The aluminum used in the reel's creation is light and durable, meaning overall, the reel weighs very little but is very strong and built to last.



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