11 Best Affordable Fly Fishing Reels: Your Buyer’s Guide

fly fishing reel

123RF (goodluz)

An affordable fly fishing reel that is actually worth buying is no doubt a challenge to find. Fortunately, there are some pretty rockin’ reels available at very reasonable costs if you do a little digging. We’ve tracked down a list of fly reels that are both very favorably reviewed by fishermen and that also won’t break the bank.

Whether you’re looking for a quality, not too expensive spare reel or you’re new to fly fishing and want to purchase something entry-level, there are some solid options here to fit any budget.

What Are The Best Affordable Fly Fishing Reels?

waterworks-lamson liquid Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Conical drag system is sealed and built with the same components as Lamson's high-end reel models
  • Pressure Cast Aluminum frame and spool
  • Can purchase aftermarket sleeves and customize the color of the internal drag housing
Price: $99.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Waterworks-Lamson Remix Fly Reel Amazon Customer Reviews
  • CNC-machined case and pressure-cast spool with a precision fit and finish combines the best of both worlds!
  • Excellent quality sealed conical drag system is saltwater approved
  • Large arbor for rapid line pick-up
Price: $189.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
redington zero reel Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Very affordable
  • Durable clicker drag system is an excellent choice for trout fishing
  • Super lightweight die cast construction pairs nicely with dainty rods
Price: $81.22 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
redington behemoth fly reel Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Exceptionally powerful drag system can handle hard fighting game fish (30 pounds of torque)
  • Oversized drag knob for easy, rapid adjustments
  • Deep V-Spool for increased backing capacity
Price: $109.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Sealed carbon fiber drag system
  • Large arbor design
  • Lifetime warranty
Price: $199.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
orvis clearwater reel Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Lightweight, die-cast reel
  • Unique construction is built to take a beating - this is a good knock around reel
  • Orvis guarantee and customer service is some of the best in the industry
Price: $89.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
piscifun sword fly reel Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Multi-disc cork and stainless steel drag system with one-way clutch bearing for smooth, immediate drag engagement
  • Cold forged and tempered for serious durability
  • Includes a 3 year warranty
Price: $49.85 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
piscifun reel Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Multi-disc cork and stainless steel drag system with one-way clutch bearing
  • Comes in a wide array of sizes (3wt to 10wt)
  • Hard anodized for surface protection
Price: $44.89 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
maxcatch toro fly reel Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Machined aluminum alloy body is very durable, this is one you can beat up on
  • Drag adjustment clicks audibly
  • Highly affordable
Price: $61.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
maxcatch avid Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Built with CNC-machined 6061-T7 aluminum alloy for high-impact durability
  • Easy adjustment drag knob
  • Three year warranty
Price: $58.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
okuma cheap fly reel Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Alumilite diecast aluminum frame is lightweight and impressively durable
  • Precision machined Brass bushing drive system is simple but robust
  • Quick exchange spool allows you to quickly and easily switch out fly lines
Price: $69.79 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. Editor’s Choice: Waterworks-Lamson Liquid Fly Reel (2wt – 10wt)

    Pros:
    • Conical drag system is sealed, this unit is built to last
    • Pressure Cast Aluminum frame and spool
    • Drag system is built with the same components as Lamson’s high end reels
    • Can purchase aftermarket sleeves and customize the color of the internal drag housing
    Cons:
    • Higher price point than most "budget" reels, but well worth the cost
    • Limited color selection
    • Some might prefer a bit more weight - this thing is featherlight

    The Lamson Liquid Fly Reel is an outstanding choice of reel for virtually any style fly fisherman due to its sealed drag, robust construction and gorgeous aesthetic. New and experienced anglers alike will love the performance of this bad boy – if you’re a novice angler you’ll continue to fish with this one long after you start to upgrade your gear.

    This one’s a bit pricier than the other options on this list, but it’s a high-quality reel at a mid-quality price so we wanted to turn you onto it. The Lamson Liquid is a rugged, pressure-cast aluminum reel that is built with CNC-machined drag system components. It’s the best of both worlds!

    The fully sealed conical drag system is built with the same parts as Lamson’s top-shelf reels. It’s a fairly budget reel with the same drag system as their top-notch, $400+ models!

    This is a high-performance reel disguised as a lower-end option due to the price point that’s super versatile and worth owning for a wide array of fishing scenarios. If you’ve got the fishing funds to spring for this one than you’re looking at a killer piece of hardware that you’ll own for years!

    For those seeking the best bang for their buck – this is our top pick of the litter. 

  2. 2. Waterworks-Lamson Remix Fly Reel (3wt – 10wt)

    Pros:
    • CNC-machined case and pressure-cast spool with a precision fit and finish combines the best of both worlds!
    • Excellent quality sealed conical drag system is saltwater approved
    • Large arbor for rapid line pick-up
    • Spools are interchangeable with the Lamson Liquid Fly Reel
    • Rock solid build with super tight tolerances
    • Attractive modern aesthetic
    Cons:
    • Fairly expensive option for a "budget" fly reel, but an excellent overall value
    • Limited color selection
    • Come anglers might prefer to have an fully die-cast, or fully machined reel, but it's really a matter of preference

    The Waterworks-Lamson Remix Fly Reel is an absolute stellar value reel coming in at a mid-range price point, yet offering top-quality performance. If you’re willing to spend just a bit more than the price point of most “affordable” reels, then you’re bound to fall in love with this workhorse.

    Like the Lamson Liquid, the Remix is built with a top-notch, sealed conical drag system. The reel is worth more than the price tag suggests based on this feature alone – so saltwater anglers and big game fish enthusiasts take note. While it is available in smaller reel sizes, you’ll really get your money’s worth out of this option if you fish to bigger species with it. 

    This option is furthermore a large arbor design which allows it to rapidly pick up line, making it all the more suitable for keeping up with fast-running, explosive game fish.

    The Remix is a particularly interesting reel design due to its half die-cast, half machined construction. The reel case is machined 6061 Aluminum, while the spool is pressure-cast, providing the best of both worlds when it comes to integrity and overall feel.

    The Lamson Liquid (listed above) and the Remix are furthermore built to have interchangeable spools, so if you end up owning both reels you can conveniently switch fly lines between them in a jiff. It’s an innovative and honestly brilliant concept from the brand that allows you to get even more bang for your buck.

    All things considered, if you’re willing to up your price range just tad, you’ll be the owner of a top-performing, long-lived fly reel with impressive versatility!

  3. 3. Redington Zero Reel (2wt – 5wt)

    Pros:
    • Excellent price point, minimalist reel option
    • Durable clicker drag system is an excellent choice for trout fishing - just be mindful that it will not stop larger, more powerful fish
    • Super lightweight die cast construction pairs nicely with dainty rods
    • Easily converted between left and right hand retrieve
    • Multiple color options available
    Cons:
    • Does not have an adjustable drag
    • Some anglers might not like the noise output of the clicker
    • Limited sizing available

    Here’s a reliable option from Redington that comes at a great price point. The Zero is a pretty dainty model and one of the most lightweight reels in its class – so if you’re seeking something for stream fishing and general small water applications, this is a great go-to.

    The ultralight die-cast construction of the Zero makes it an excellent option of smaller sized reel in the 2wt to 5wt range. It’s fairly comparable to the Redington Rise listed above but does not have an adjustable drag. Instead, the Zero employs a spring-loaded, clicker drag system. It’s totally adequate for fighting freshwater species but larger saltwater species and monster salmonids will no doubt outcompete the drag system on this reel.

    Despite its lightweight and less aggressive drag system this is still a tough little reel that’s perfect for chasing trout and pond fishing for species like bass. The large arbor design helps to keep up with fast-running fish and furthermore reduces line memory. The quick-change spool on this reel also makes it easy to switch out fly lines when you need to.

    For what it is, the price point of the Zero really can’t be beat. For fighting fish that don’t call for a particularly powerful drag system the Zero is absolutely one of the best affordable reel options.

    VideoVideo related to redington zero reel (2wt – 5wt)2018-12-07T08:08:24-05:00

  4. 4. Redington Behemoth (5wt – 12wt)

    Pros:
    • Exceptionally powerful drag system for fighting fish that just run and run (30 pounds of torque)
    • Deep V-Spool for increased backing capacity
    • Oversized drag knob for making easy adjustments
    • Excellent choice for targeting trout to tarpon depending on the size you choose - truly a versatile reel
    • This reel should hold up to corrosion quite nicely based on the diecast construction employed in its construction
    • Lifetime warranty!
    Cons:
    • Some complaints about the dimensions of extra spools being slightly off - fortunately Redington has great customer service
    • Reel tolerance is not super tight - there are issues with thin-diameter running line sneaking out so consider using dacron backing versus gel spun
    • Limited color selection

    The Behemoth by Redington is an excellent and surprisingly affordable option for a reel that can handle powerful, line-peeling fish in both fresh and saltwater.

    As the name implies, Redington has employed a seriously powerful carbon fiber drag system that’s up for the task of fighting exceptionally powerful fish – this bad boy could stop an 8-year-old on a bicycle (30 pounds of torque).

    I’ve battled a 9 foot Blue Shark on a 12wt with this reel, and the drag held up through the duration of the fight, applying ample resistance to the fish. Now we don’t necessarily recommend this reel for chasing truly big game species like sharks, tuna, and billfish (check out the Hatch Finatic 12 Plus, or Sage Spectrum Max), but the fact of the matter is that it’s up for the task if the opportunity arises.

    The Behemoth is built with a die-cast construction and a large arbor design. It’s built for speedy retrieves and also to reduce line memory, so keeping up with sizzling-hot tarpon, salmon, bonefish, and redfish to name a few particularly frisky species, is no problem. The carbon fiber drag is up for the biggest challenges and is conveniently built with an oversized adjustment dial for easy handling when things get wild

    It’s furthermore got a tough-looking, yet neutral aesthetic that should pair nicely with virtually any rod.

    The deep V-spool has been crafted with increased backing capacity in mind for handling those tremendous runs when fighting big fish. If you need something for either fresh or saltwater that has a particularly high line capacity, then definitely check this option out.

    If you need to make the switch, this reel will convert over to a right-handed retrieve easily.

    Redington offers a lifetime warranty on this model – testament to the manufacturer’s confidence in the construction of this reel. All in all, this is a mean reel for fighting mean fish that is built mindfully for ease of use and years of fishing.

    VideoVideo related to redington behemoth (5wt – 12wt)2018-12-07T08:32:04-05:00

  5. 5. Redington RISE (3wt – 10wt)

    Pros:
    • Compact and smooth sealed carbon fiber drag system
    • Large arbor design for rapid line retrieval
    • Easily converts to right or left hand retrieve
    • Twin molded, soft-touch ergonomic handles and an oversized drag knob for quick and easy adjustments
    • Multiple color options available
    • Lifetime warranty!
    Cons:
    • Higher price point for a "budget reel", but an excellent value none the less
    • Drag knob might be a bit clunky for some, it's a matter of preference
    • Some anglers find the drag to be a bit undergunned for some more powerful game fish

    The Redington Rise may be a bit pricier than most of the other affordable options listed here, but we still find it to be an excellent value based on its lifetime warranty and sealed carbon fiber drag system.

    I really enjoy fishing with this option. I know a lot of experienced fly fishermen who own this reel and swear by it. It’s a great reel at a great price that pairs well with a wide array of rods. The Rise furthermore has a sleek and modern looking aesthetics, making for a pretty sharp looking reel – there are even a few different color options for customizing your look.

    This is an aluminum reel with a tough carbon fiber drag system. This reel comes as a 3/4 wt up to a 9/10 wt. It’s really geared towards trout and salmonid fishing but the 5/6 wt makes for a great bass reel. I would also absolutely consider the 9/10 wt for chasing some saltwater species due to the drag system on this reel – just make sure to always rinse your reel with fresh water after fishing in the ocean.

    The 3/4 wt has a backing capacity of 75 yards while the 9/10 wt can hold 250 yards – average stats.

    This is a great performing reel that you’ll likely want to own several of for different fishing scenarios. The lightweight build coupled with the powerful drag system makes for a high performing and versatile option that you’ll fish with for years with the proper care and maintenance.

  6. 6. Orvis Clearwater Large Arbor (4wt – 9wt)

    Pros:
    • Lightweight die-cast reel great for pairing with dainty rods
    • Unique construction is built to take a beating - this is a good knock around reel
    • Powerful inline, Rulon-to-stainless, stacked disc drag
    • Cassette spool system is designed to be quickly switched out for versatile fishing contexts where you want to have multiple fly lines on hand
    • Orvis guarantee and customer service is some of the best in the industry
    Cons:
    • Some might not like the cassette spool system - it takes some getting used to
    • Limited sizing
    • No color options

    The Orvis Clearwater Reel is the brand’s entry-level option of fly reel that’s built with easy operation and versatility in mind. There’s no such thing as a cheapo Orvis product, so rest assured this is a reliable piece of hardware despite the low cost.

    The Clearwater is a cast aluminum large arbor reel built with fast line pick-up in mind. It employs a Rulon-to-stainless steel, stacked disc drag that has some pretty serious strength. Rulon plastics are renowned for their low friction and abrasion resistance so the materials employed in the design have no doubt been mindfully chosen for optimum performance.

    There’s a positive click drag knob for maintaining consistent settings so your reel never strays from where you want it to be. I personally think the clicker on this reel has an awesome, classic sound that I could listen to all day.

    This is a lightweight reel, so if you’re looking for something that provides some powerhouse strength that can also be paired with a lighter rod, definitely consider the Clearwater. Switching from left to right-hand retrieve is easily completed, making this a great extra reel for friends or clients.

    For a reel in this price range, the Clearwater is an impressively smooth and affordable option backed by one of the most reliable brands in the industry.

  7. 7. Piscifun Sword (3wt – 10wt)

    Pros:
    • Multi-disc cork and stainless steel drag system with one-way clutch bearing for smooth, immediate drag engagement
    • Hard anodized for surface protection increases abrasion and weather resistance
    • Cold forged and tempered for enhanced durability
    • Large, non-slip drag knob is easy to make rapid adjustments with
    • Attractive, machined look with an array of color options to choose from
    • Includes a 3 year warranty
    Cons:
    • The drag is not sealed - make sure to midfully maintenance this reel after saltwater use
    • Lightweight, but a bit clunky
    • Tolerances could be tighter

    The Piscifun Sword is a wonderful budget option for fly fishermen seeking a simple and straightforward workhorse of a reel, with a warranty to back it.

    This is the fan-favorite model reel offered by this popular budget fishing brand. I own a fair amount of Piscifun gear, and have always been delightfully surprised by the quality vs. cost of their products. 

    The Sword employs a multi-disc cork and stainless steel drag system that uses a one-way clutch bearing. It’s a precise drag system that boasts impressively smooth and immediate engagement for such a budget reel.

    The Sword has a click-drag and a silent retrieve. It’s a mid arbor design that’s meant to reduce line memory and provide quick line pick up. It’s built from machined aluminum alloy knowing it’s going to take a beating. The design and materials used add up to a lightweight reel that’s built exceptionally strong for its price tag.

    The appearance of this reel option is honestly quite attractive despite it’s cheaper build, and there are even several color options to choose from.

    Piscifun includes a three-year warranty on this reel so you can purchase in confidence without concern of receiving a faulty product. When buying an economic fly reel it’s absolutely a wise move to buy with a warranty – reels like the Sword perform wonderfully but definitely have potential to be faulty. Shop smart and ensure you’re taken care of if an issue arises.

    New fly fishermen looking to get their feet wet and veteran anglers seeking a reliable back-up reel alike will love the dependability and power of this mid-arbor option.

  8. 8. Piscifun Blaze (3wt – 10wt)

    Pros:
    • Multi-disc cork and stainless steel drag system with one-way clutch bearing allows for smooth immediate drag engagement
    • Cold forged and tempered for enhanced strength and rigidity
    • Hard anodized for surface protection and abrasion resistance
    • Very little side ply or wobble with this unit despite its low price
    • Oversized drag knob is a breeze to make rapid adjustments with
    • Comes in a wide array of sizes (3 wt to 10 wt)
    • 3 year warranty
    Cons:
    • There’s a spring clip that’s easily misplaced when switching the reel over to the other side so be mindful of that
    • Drag is suitable for saltwater but not fully sealed, so be sure to thoroughly rinse it after fishing the salt
    • Loud color scheme is not for everyone

    The Piscifun Blaze is another highly affordable and reliable reel from the brand that comes in an array of sizes from 3wt all the way up to 10wt making it suitable for a wide spectrum of angling contexts.

    This reel’s multi-disc cork and stainless steel drag system employs a click-drag and a silent retrieve. The drag has positive reviews for accurate adjustment and fortunately has o-ring seals to protect from corrosion. While it’s not fully sealed, you can get away with fishing this one in the salt.

    Piscifun went with a mid arbor design on this one so it has both decent backing capacity and line pick-up. This reel has been cold forged and tempered for superior strength – it’s a pretty darn tough model that’s been designed anticipating anglers that are hard on their gear. There’s easy left to right hand conversion, so it’s a great back-up option for both friends and clients.

    Fishermen reviews insist this reel is rock solid and Piscifun furthermore offers a 3-year warranty allowing for a confident purchase! For a reel at this price point, the Blaze no doubt has it going on!

  9. 9. Maxcatch Toro (3wt – 8wt)

    Pros:
    • Machined aluminum alloy body is very durable, this is one you can beat up on
    • Drag adjustment clicks audibly and is easy to locate when fighting fish
    • Silky smooth retrieve is a pleasure to fish
    • Large arbor spool for rapid line pick-up
    • Easy to transfer from right to left handed retrieve
    • Two year warranty
    Cons:
    • Metallic finish has kind of a cheap looking appearance
    • The drag is not sealed, rinse this reel well after saltwater use
    • Modern, loud color schemes are not for everyone

    The Maxcatch Toro is a silky smooth, versatile budget reel best utilized for freshwater applications. 

    Maxcatch recently sent me this model reel to fish with a few years back, and I gotta say I’m impressed. For the cost, this unit would make an excellent spare reel, but you may end up using this piece of hardware more than you expect. After many days on the water, the drag system sometimes disengages with my now battle-worn Toro, but I still recommend it for the price point.

    I tried pairing the 5/6wt with one of my higher end fly rods and really enjoy fishing with the combo. The weight, balance and overall feel this model provides absolutely surpasses what you would expect in a reel at this price point.

    The corrosion-resistant CNC machined aluminum alloy is tough as nails, and the finish on the reel furthermore holds up quite nicely. There’s no wiggle in the tolerances of this option after a good bit of fishing which is always a great sign of integrity and sound craftsmanship. Other fishermen reviews agree this is a reel that can take a beating.

    The drag system is nothing particularly special – but it works well and it works reliably for most freshwater applications. It’s a Teflon disc and stainless steel drag system with a one-way clutch bearing, so if you use this reel in the saltwater make sure to rinse it out very thoroughly.

    Although a sealed drag is always preferred, Maxcatch has built this reel with a more than adequate drag system that certainly won’t let you down. Furthermore, Maxcatch has added a clicker to the drag adjustment rather than leaving it silent – it’s a simple feature, but I for one really appreciate both feeling and hearing where my drag is set. The adjustment knob itself is also nice and large for easy handling while fighting line-peeling fish.

    This is a large arbor design, and I can attest that this reel picks up line rapidly. It’s got a smooth retrieve that feels much more like a superior quality product than like a cheapo fly fishing reel. This unit will also switch over from right to left-handed retrieve quite easily – the machined, knurled metal screw caps cooperate easy enough.

    Overall, this is no doubt one of the better buys on this list. Maxcatch is absolutely onto something with this one.

  10. 10. Maxcatch Avid (5wt – 10wt)

    Pros:
    • Built with CNC-machined 6061-T7 aluminum alloy for high-impact durability and hard anodized surface finish for added corrosion resistance
    • Lightweight option that pairs nicely with dainty rods
    • Hybrid cork and teflon disc and stainless steel disc drag system with one-way clutch bearing operates smoothly, although is not very high-powered
    • Easy switch from left to right hand retrieve
    • Sharp color selection
    • Three year warranty
    Cons:
    • Drag is not sealed, nor does it provide much stopping power
    • Issues with the drag disengaging
    • knurled metal screw cap is easily misplaced when opening up the reel internals so be mindful not to misplace it!

    The Avid is another great budget buy from Maxcatch quite comparable to the Toro previously listed that’s a solid choice for lighter freshwater applications.

    This reel is rated very well by anglers for having a smooth retrieve. Its made of NCN-machined 6061-T6 aluminum alloy, so it’s designed for high impact durability. The machined aluminum furthermore holds up to corrosion nicely long term.

    The Avid is a mid-arbor design featuring a good balance between backing capacity and rapid line pickup, making it a versatile option overall.

    The Teflon disc and stainless steel drag system employs a one-way clutch bearing for immediate drag engagement while a large drag adjustment is easy to locate during the heat of a battle. These style Teflon/stainless steel drag systems are definitely not my favorite, but you get what you pay for. 

    All five color options have an awesome aesthetic, and the design of the frame itself is both sleek and tough. Another solid back up reel or novice option at a great price point.

  11. 11. Okuma SLV Diecast Aluminum Fly Reel (4wt – 11wt)

    Pros:
    • Alumilite diecast aluminum frame is lightweight and impressively durable
    • Precision machined Brass bushing drive system is simple but robust
    • Multi-disc cork, and stainless steel drag system
    • Large arbor design for rapid line pick-up
    • Non-slip positive grip rubberized handle knobs
    • Easy to switch from left to right hand retrieve
    • Quick exchange spool allows you to quickly and easily switch out fly lines
    Cons:
    • Drag system although quite effective, will likely not last for years and years of fishing if you're hard on your gear
    • Wise fishermen will lubricate the internal of this reel and gently sand the fairlead in order to have it fish smoother
    • Some complaints that the finish wears off after heavy use

    The Okuma SLV Diecast Aluminum Fly Reel is a remarkably low weight and durable budget option of fly reel that’s available in a wide array of sizing for virtually any freshwater target species.

    This diecast aluminum reel is designed with a large arbor and a roller bearing that engages the drag in one direction. The drag system is a washer pinch bearing system – it’s essentially adjusted by a screw that applies pressure onto a washer tightening or loosening the drag.

    This type of drag system is not sealed and definitely bound to wear out sooner than higher-end reels – but if you’re not too hard on it then it should hold up to some pretty heavy fishing.

    For the price point, you’re still getting much more than you’re paying for with this one. On the brighter side, fishermen reviews insist the drag system does not wander from where you set it and that it has some solid stopping power. The drag coupled with the large arbor design allows this reel to keep up with some serious fish.

    This is a silent reel, so if you prefer the sound of a clicker then you’ll have to look elsewhere. Spare spools are cheap and available for this model, so having a few different line types ready to go is easy and affordable. 

    All things considered, this is a great entry-level option or spare reel that will fish just fine for you when you need to put it in the game.

Considerations When Buying a Budget Fly Fishing Reel

Whether you're new to the world of fly fishing and are seeking an affordable, entry-level option or are a veteran angler, there are a couple details to consider before buying a budget reel.

Sealed vs. Unsealed Drag: Probably the single most important factor when making any new reel purchase is whether or not the drag is sealed. 

While sealed drags are superior, an unsealed drag system can operate wonderfully as long as you occasionally take the reel apart to clean/maintenance it, so don't necessarily be afraid to purchase something unsealed. That is of course if you're exclusively a freshwater angler. 

If you plan on fishing for saltwater species, then a sealed drag is a must. Don't bother purchasing a budget reel for the salt if it's not sealed, it just won't have a lifespan that's worth spending any amount of money, no matter how attractively inexpensive and otherwise suitable it might seem.

Overall Integrity: Many budget fly fishing reels are built with cheaper metals, so although you may not like the aesthetic as much, it may be wise to purchase a die-cast, polymer bodied reel if you're buying something cheaper and are known to be hard on your gear.

If you drop, bang or neglect to maintenance a die-cast reel, it's typically more forgiving than a cheaply made, machined aluminum reel. I've seen poor quality aluminum spools warp just the tiniest bit after being dropped (let's be honest - we've all dropped our gear while rigging up or actively fishing) and then the rotation is never the same. 

All of the cheaper aluminum options here are absolutely worth investing in, but be aware of their fragility if you're tough on your gear.

Brand Guarantee/Warranty: Lots of these reel options have mixed reviews - it's the nature of cheap fishing gear in general. A budget reel might flawlessly perform for one angler for 5 years, and quit-out on another after 5 days.

Quality control of budget reel options is seemingly lower than higher-end options within virtually every brand, so it's always a bit of a gamble when you buy cheap.

That being said, take a look at each brand's warranty policy (and customer service reputation) if you're nervous about quality-control and at least short-term performance - that way you can ensure you're covered if there's an issue.

Editor's Top Picks

Editor's Top Cost For Quality Choice - Lamson: The Liquid and Remix by Lamson are also awesome options that honestly perform more like a top-shelf reel than a budget unit. They are built with the same components as Lamson's highest quality, $400+ reels. Definitely give these options a look if you're interested in a value reel that borders on a top-notch quality.

Redington: I personally am a big fan of some of the more budget reels by Redington. I have had the pleasure of fishing the Rise, the Zero and the Behemoth and have been quite impressed with all three models. As far as quality goes, there's really nothing lacking from all three of these options so definitely don't overlook them as your main piece of hardware due to their low price tag - they perform!

Piscifun and Maxcatch: These brands have got some pretty decent model reels available for next to nothing! It feels odd buying a reel around the $50 price range - but these options really do perform, especially in less demanding, freshwater contexts. The quality of these options is definitely inferior to the Redington models and Lamson reels listed here but when you get down to it, these options will fish just fine.

There are a plethora of fishermen reviews praising the quality of some of these dirt cheap models so if you're in the market for a back-up unit or want an economic introduction to fly fishing then start here.

See Also:

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