Best Shimano Spinning Reels 2020 – Buyer’s Guide

To get the most out of your fishing experience using one of the world’s top-notch reels, you’ll need the best Shimano spinning reel.

Generally, there are plenty of options that suit all anglers, whether beginners or more well-versed.

Throughout this article, I’ll talk about what constitutes a good Shimano reel, compare between them, and list their pros and cons.

The 5 Best Shimano Spinning Reels

1. Shimano Stradic Ci4+

Shimano Stradic Ci4+

It is quite obvious that Shimano has designed the Stradic CI4+ thoughtfully and added new features to it.

It has a G-free body and a Magnumlite rotor, where the oscillating system and worm drive are positioned closer to the stem of the reel in order to enhance the feather touch rotation and stability.

Additionally, it comes with an advanced core-protect, water-resistant feature. It is a protective water-repellent coating placed in the roller clutch and line roller to prevent water from entering these key areas. This qualifies it to be a saltwater spinning reel.

Lastly, it has a strong and smooth Hagane cold-forged gearing.

With multiple models to choose from, you can get a reel with a 6.0:1 gear ratio, 7-pound maximum drag, and weighs 5.6 pounds.

If you’re looking for a larger one, you can go for the biggest one with a 6.2:1 gear ratio, weighs 8.1 ounces, and can reel in 24-pound fish.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Almost waterproof
  • Rapid-fire drag
  • Very smooth

Cons

  • Pricey
  • The anti-reverse switch is pretty small

Bottom Line

The Shimano Stradic Ci4+ is a great choice for a spinning reel that you can take out for open sea and ocean fishing. It’s lightweight, durable, and very smooth.

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2. Shimano Sedona FI

Shimano Sedona FI

The G-Free body on the Sedona FI helps to shift the center of gravity towards the rod, which improves comfort for the angler and allows them to fish for extended periods of time.

When it comes to the Hagane Gearing, it is cold-forged. It allows anglers more flexibility with the type of fish they want to catch.

You can use this rod in both small freshwater applications and saltwater fishing.

There is a new feature that has been added, which is the Propulsion Line Management System that improves casting distance and helps prevent backlash and wind knots. This enhances the reel’s performance.

Moreover, there is a Double Anodized Machine Cut Spool. It allows for more line capacity and works well with the oval oscillation gear system to protect the spool from corrosion.

The Varispeed Oscillation System helps you to have even line lay for the perfect casting and line management.

As far as the single paddle handle is concerned, it helps lower the weight of the reel while still maintaining high performance and durability.

In addition to the enlarged power handle that provides comfort to allow the angler to handle larger fish on the larger reel models.

The Sedona FI comes in various models, with the smallest having a gear ratio of 4.9:1, a maximum drag of 7 pounds, and weighing 6.3 ounces.

On the other hand, the largest has a 5.6:1 gear ratio, a maximum drag of 24 pounds, and weighs 21.7 ounces.

Pros:

  • The Hagane gearing provides flexibility
  • Smooth performance, especially retrieval
  • Long-lasting, durable G-free body
  • Superb line management

Cons:

  • Doesn’t have a reverse direction switch

Bottom Line:

The Shimano Sedona FI is an ideal reel for those looking for a lightweight, fresh or saltwater reel. Whether you’ll be doing inshore fishing or small pond fishing for panfish, it’ll suit you just fine.

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3. Shimano Sahara FI

Shimano Sahara FI

The reel has a G-Free body and a Hagane Gearing to provide you with comfort, strength, flexibility, and smoothness.

Additionally, the Sahara has X-Ship technology that makes you experience with less friction, helps in long casting distance, and enhances smoothness on the reel.

With the graphite frame, rotor, and side plate, you are guaranteed strength and durability.

All its models have a great weight to the maximum drag ratio. The smallest is 6.9 ounces and able to reel in 6-pound fish and the largest being 10.6 ounces and able to reel in 24-pound fish.

Their gear ratio ranges from 4.7:1 to 6.2:1.

Pros

  • Packed with useful Shimano features
  • Smooth casting with minimum friction
  • Affordable price

Cons

  • Lacks an anti-reverse switch

Bottom Line

The Shimano Sahara FI is very durable, smooth, and performs perfectly with high speed. If you don’t mind the lack of back reeling due to the absence of the anti-reverse switch, this reel could be a great choice for you.

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4. Shimano Syncopate

Shimano Syncopate

The Shimano Syncopate comes with a Quick Fire II system that provides quick one-handed castings.

The Syncopate’s front drag uses the Varispeed technology, which controls spool speeds and makes them more consistent. On the other hand, the Dyna-Balance removes unsteady movements, which enhances sensitivity.

In addition to being equipped with the Propulsion Line Management System, which allows longer casting and less backlash.

The Syncopate Front Drag is balanced despite it having Quick Fire II, it is still smooth and balances well without wobbly movements.

It feels good, it is of high quality compared to its lower price, and it has a good drag system.

Also, the Syncopate Front Drag is easy to cast, making it a great choice for beginners or occasional fishing.

However, its anti-reverse is not instant. This can be taken as both a good and a bad thing, it depends on your own personal preference.

The Syncopate Front Drag comes in three sizes ranging from 1000 to 4000. Their gear ratio ranges from 5.2:1 to 5.1:1, and its maximum drag reaches 13 pounds with a 7-pound minimum.

It’s also pretty lightweight, with the models ranging from 7.6 ounces to 12.7 ounces.

This makes it a great choice for medium-speed fishing after smaller-sized fish.

Pros

  • Budget-friendly
  • High-quality
  • Allows one-handed casting

Cons

  • Anti-reverse is not instant

Bottom Line

The Syncopate Front Drag is popular for its QuickFire II system. It allows one-handed casting, and at the same time, it is not wobbly. It is balanced, smooth, and it’s of high quality.

In addition, its spool speeds are controlled, and it is equipped with a Propulsion Line Management System. You just need to be aware that the anti-reverse is not instant.

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5. Shimano Sienna FE

Shimano Sienna FE

Mostly known for its M-Compact Body, the Shimano Sienna FE reel is designed so that the oscillation gear is closer to the rod, causing the reel to feel more balanced.

The Sienna FE uses Super Stopper II for anti-reserve, which is a feature that prevents the reel from spinning backward. Anti-reverse is a great feature for smaller fish, which in the case of the Sienna FE, designed for freshwater fish, fits perfectly.

In addition, the Sienna FE is equipped with the Propulsion Line Management System, which allows longer casting and less backlash.

The Sienna FE is popular for its low price relative to its high quality. It feels as smooth as high-end reels do, and it is just as quiet.

It requires little maintenance of just a rinse-off every few uses to remove any dirt that may have gotten stuck, and you’re good to go.

Moreover, it’s durable, smooth, and lightweight. Despite that it is made for freshwater, it works just as well in saltwater if you rinse it well after.

However, the bail sometimes malfunctions and refuses to close properly.

The Sienna FE comes in four sizes ranging from 1000 to 4000. The smallest size having a 5.0:1 gear ratio, 8.8-pounds maximum drag, and weighs 7.4 ounces.

On the other hand, the biggest comes with a 5.2:1 gear ratio, a maximum drag of 19.8 pounds, and weighs 11.8 ounces.

Pros

  • Budget-friendly
  • High-quality
  • Long cast

Cons

  • Weak bail

Bottom Line

The Sienna FE is one of the best fishing reels in its price range. It feels good, allows long casting, and is easy to maintain.

In addition, the Sienna FE uses Super Stopper II for its anti-reverse feature and Propulsion Line Management System. However, be careful when handling the bail as it may malfunction.

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How to Choose a Shimano Spinning Reel

With so many Shimano reels on the market, it could be a bit hard to decide on which one you should buy. That’s why I’ll make it a little easier for you by breaking down the features you’ll find on each reel.

Size

Each Shimano reel comes in different sizes to fit different needs. The larger a reel is, the larger its line capacity will be.

If you want something that’s not too big, a 1000 to 3500 reel will do the trick.

But if you want to go big, go for a 4000 to a 5500 reel.

Spool

The spool on your reel will determine how smooth its action is. Consequently, it’ll determine your casting ability.

The best kind you’ll find is the machined aluminum spool, which Shimano integrates into the Sedona FI.

General Handling

Reel are best when they’re compact in design and easy to operate.

That depends a lot on how strong and reliable the handle of your reel is.

Gear Ratio

The gear ratio indicates how fast your reel will be. Under 5.0:1 would be a slow-action one, and around 6.0:1 or above would be fast.

Between 5.0:1 and 7.0:1 is the ideal range because it enables you to do both slow-paced reeling and quick action catches.

Final Thoughts

The Shimano spinning reels are some of the best on the market. They’re well- known for their quality and performance.

But if you’re looking for the best Shimano spinning reel for the durability and strength, you should go for the Shimano Sedona FI.

For versatility and smooth performance, go for the Stradic Ci4+. However, it may be a little pricey.

If that’s the case, then you can go for the reliable yet affordable Sahara FI.


(* Photos courtesy of Shimano)