Top 8 Best Crappie Reels Reviewed

Best Crappie Reels

Greetings, fellow angler! Welcome to my review of the top crappie reels.

When it comes to crappie fishing, these fish are relatively small and don’t offer much resistance. Since you’ll be freshwater fishing for crappie, you won’t need a reel designed for saltwater use. Additionally, you can have less drag on your reel since crappies are small in size. However, it’s still important to have a smooth and lightweight reel that can withstand the test of time, even if they may be slightly less corrosion-resistant than saltwater reels. With these considerations in mind, my team and I spent 27 hours researching and testing various reels on the market. As a result, we have compiled a list of the eight best reels for crappie available today.

Among those eight reels, one stood out as the clear winner. The Daiwa Regal LT offers exceptional features such as its extremely lightweight design, smooth operation, durability, and impressive power. What’s even better is that it comes at a reasonable price, just under 65 bucks.

However, if the Daiwa Regal LT doesn’t meet your specific preferences, don’t worry. In our comprehensive list of the best crappie reels, you’ll find a range of options to suit different needs, whether you’re seeking something even lighter, tougher, or more affordable.

Without further ado, let’s dive into the detailed reviews of these exceptional crappie reels.


Before we begin, just a heads up. You’ll see some really large reel sizes for the reels. Those aren’t meant for crappie fishing, but we included them for crappie anglers who want to use their reel for other purposes besides crappie fishing, like surf fishing.


Top 8 Best Crappie Reels

  • Ball Bearings: 9+1
  • Reel Size: 1000-3000
  • Gear Ratio: 5.2:1
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❤️ Most Reviewed
  • Ball Bearings: 11+1
  • Reel Size: 2000-4000
  • Gear Ratio: 6.2:1
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  • Ball Bearings: 6/9+1
  • Reel Size: 2000-4000
  • Gear Ratio: 5.2:1
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  • Ball Bearings: 3+1
  • Reel Size: 1000-4000
  • Gear Ratio: 5.0-6.2:1
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  • Ball Bearings: 6/7+1
  • Reel Size: 1000-6500
  • Gear Ratio: 4.5-5.0:1
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  • Ball Bearings: 6+1
  • Reel Size: 500-4000
  • Gear Ratio: 5.2-5.8:1
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  • Ball Bearings: 9+1
  • Reel Size: 500-5000
  • Gear Ratio: 4.5-5.2:1
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  • Elite performance
  • Weight: 1.98 Pounds
  • 280 FPS
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Daiwa Regal LT Crappie Spinning Reel

Best Crappie Reels


Daiwa Regal LT Crappie Spinning Reel
  • Durable Aluminum Body
  • Versatile Sling Mounts
  • Inline Bolt System

1. Daiwa Regal LT Crappie Spinning Reel

Daiwa Regal LT Crappie Spinning Reel
  • Ball Bearings: 9+1
  • Reel Size: 1000-3000
  • Gear Ratio: 5.2:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 11-22 pounds
  • Weight: 6.7-7.8 ounces

Our top pick for the best crappie reel is the outstanding Daiwa Regal LT. This spinning reel is truly exceptional, offering a remarkable combination of lightness, smoothness, toughness, and strength.

One of the key features of the Daiwa Regal LT is its Air Rotor System (ARS) and carbon fiber spool. The ARS makes the rotor 15% lighter than standard rotors and enhances rotational balance with its near-symmetrical shape, providing a reel that feels even lighter than its actual weight. The carbon fiber spool adds to the reel’s lightness, as carbon fiber is the lightest material used for spools. With the combination of the ARS and carbon fiber spool, this reel can be used for all-day crappie fishing without causing fatigue.

The Daiwa Regal LT is equipped with 9+1 bearings, ensuring buttery-smooth operation. For context, reels with 5+1 bearings are considered smooth, so you can imagine how exceptionally smooth a reel with 9+1 top-notch bearings will be.

In addition to its lightness and smoothness, this reel is built to withstand harsh conditions. The carbon fiber used in the spool is a composite material that is not only lighter but also tougher than ordinary graphite. Moreover, it is completely corrosion-proof, making the Daiwa Regal LT one of the toughest crappie fishing reels available.

If you’re concerned about handling larger crappie or other fish species, rest assured that the Daiwa Regal LT can handle the challenge. With a maximum drag of 11 pounds, it can easily handle even record-breaking crappie. Additionally, the larger size options, such as the 2500 and above, offer an impressive 22 pounds of drag, making them suitable for larger fish like bass.

In summary, the Daiwa Regal LT is an exceptional reel that excels in all areas. Its durability even allows it to be used for saltwater fishing, while its strong drag makes it capable of taking on larger saltwater species.



2. Team Lew’s Custom Pro Speed Spin

Team Lew’s Custom Pro Speed Spin
  • Ball Bearings: 11+1
  • Reel Size: 2000-4000
  • Gear Ratio: 6.2:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 20-24 pounds
  • Weight: 8.8-10.1 ounces

The next reel on our list surpasses even the smoothness and durability of the Daiwa Regal LT. The Team Lew’s Custom Pro Speed Spin is an exceptional reel that offers an unbelievably smooth performance, outstanding durability, and a powerful drag system.

Let’s start with its impressive smoothness. With 11+1 stainless steel bearings, this reel guarantees an incredibly smooth operation. While the Daiwa Regal LT already had a commendable 9+1 bearing configuration, the Custom Pro Speed Spin takes it to a whole new level.

Moving on to durability, every single part of this reel is made of aluminum, setting it apart from the Daiwa Regal LT. While most reels only utilize metal for crucial components like the frame and sideplate, the Custom Pro Speed Spin goes above and beyond. It features a braid-ready aluminum spool, frame, sideplate, pinion gear, and even the handle. To ensure the longevity of the stainless steel ball bearings, they are double-shielded. Unlike the Daiwa Regal LT, which focuses on corrosion-proofing the body, the Custom Pro Speed Spin provides superior durability by protecting its bearings as well.

Additionally, this spinning reel boasts an impressive 24 pounds of stopping power in its drag system, surpassing the Daiwa Regal LT by 2 pounds.

The only downside to this reel is its weight. At 8.8 ounces, it is still relatively lightweight, although slightly heavier than the Daiwa Regal LT.

Overall, the Team Lew’s Custom Pro Speed Spin is an outstanding reel that offers exceptional smoothness and durability. Its strength makes it suitable for handling large saltwater fish, not to mention crappie. While it may come with a higher price tag, it is undoubtedly worth every penny.

Please note: Instead of displaying reel sizes, the options are presented based on line capacity. To clarify, line capacities 160/8, 160/10, and 190/12 correspond to reel sizes 2000, 3000, and 4000, respectively.



3. Pflueger President Crappie Spinning Reel

Pflueger President Crappie Spinning Reel
  • Ball Bearings: 6/9+1
  • Reel Size: 2000-4000
  • Gear Ratio: 5.2:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 6-14 pounds
  • Weight: 6.2-11.5 ounces

When it comes to being light, the Pflueger President takes the crown. It is one of the lightest spinning reels available and the lightest one on our list. However, its appeal goes beyond its weight. This reel is exceptionally smooth and robust.

Weighing only 6.2 ounces, the Pflueger President is incredibly lightweight. In fact, I found myself forgetting it was even attached to my rod while fishing.

The reel’s smoothness is also worth mentioning. With 9+1 stainless steel ball bearings, its smooth operation is comparable to that of the Daiwa Certate LT.

In terms of durability, the Pflueger President impresses with its sealed drag system, stainless steel main shaft, and aluminum handle. The sealed drag system effectively keeps debris and water out, protecting the drag system from corrosion. The stainless steel and aluminum materials used in its construction are long-lasting. Additionally, the stainless steel ball bearings are corrosion-resistant. These features combine to create a sturdy reel that will withstand the test of time.

With a drag capacity of 6 pounds, this reel is perfectly suited for crappie fishing. However, unlike the previous reels mentioned, the Pflueger President may not be suitable for targeting larger fish. Nevertheless, its 6-pound drag is more than sufficient for crappie.

One minor drawback is that the size 2000 option has only 6+1 bearings, whereas all the other sizes boast 9+1 bearings. This discrepancy is a bit puzzling, and I would advise avoiding the size 2000 option.

Despite this, the Pflueger President remains a fantastic all-around reel that excels in its lightness. It is competitively priced compared to the Daiwa Regal LT and features a braid-ready spool. If you prioritize lightweight performance above all else, the Pflueger President may be the perfect reel for you.



4. Shimano Sedona Crappie Spinning Reel

Shimano Sedona Crappie Spinning Reel
  • Ball Bearings: 3+1
  • Reel Size: 1000-4000
  • Gear Ratio: 5.0-6.2:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 7-24 pounds
  • Weight: 7.6-10.4 ounces

Now let’s talk about the Shimano Sedona, one of the most heavy-duty reels available for crappie fishing. This reel offers both strength and lightness, making it suitable for the entire range of crappie fishing needs.

To start, the Shimano Sedona impresses with its exceptional durability, thanks to features such as aluminum bearings, an aluminum handle, and the innovative Hagane Gear. Shimano used a 3D design and cold forging technology to create the Hagane Gear, which ensures the drive gear is incredibly robust. By avoiding the traditional method of cutting out the gear from a piece of metal, Shimano achieved a stronger drive gear. The combination of the aluminum handle, bearings, and the Hagane Gear sets this reel apart as one of the toughest options for crappie fishing.

Another notable feature of the Shimano Sedona is the incorporation of the G Free Body technology. This technology raises the reel’s center of gravity, reducing fatigue during long fishing sessions. Similar to the Daiwa Regal LT’s ARS, the G Free Body makes the reel feel lighter than its actual weight. Combined with a weight of only 7.6 ounces, this reel is a great choice for all-day fishing comfort.

When it comes to drag power, the maximum drag capacity of 7 pounds may not be suitable for larger fish. However, for crappie fishing, this drag capacity is more than sufficient.

The real drawback of the Shimano Sedona lies in its bearing count. With only 3+1 bearings, the reel’s smoothness may be compromised, resulting in slightly less smooth operation. However, Shimano’s high-quality aluminum bearings compensate for this limitation, providing decent smoothness that can be likened to reels with 4+1 bearings.

Despite its limited bearing count, the Shimano Sedona remains the most durable reel we could find for crappie fishing. If you’re in search of the hardiest reel available, look no further than the Shimano Sedona.



5. Okuma Ceymar Crappie Spinning Reel

Okuma Ceymar Crappie Spinning Reel
  • Ball Bearings: 6/7+1
  • Reel Size: 1000-6500
  • Gear Ratio: 4.5-5.0:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 6.6-35.3 pounds
  • Weight: 6.0-20.7 ounces

Now, let’s discuss the Okuma Ceymar Spinning Reel, which we believe is the best crappie reel for beginners. This reel may not excel in any specific area but delivers a solid performance across the board at a very affordable price.

In terms of weight, the Okuma Ceymar is impressively light, weighing just 6 ounces in its size 1000 option. It’s worth noting that the size 2000 option of the Pflueger President, at 6.2 ounces, is still the lightest reel on our list. However, the Okuma Ceymar’s size 2000 weighs 6.7 ounces, making it slightly heavier.

When it comes to smoothness, the Okuma Ceymar offers satisfactory performance with 6+1 bearings for the size 2000 and below options. For the size 3000 and above options, there are 7+1 bearings, providing even smoother operation.

In terms of durability, the Okuma Ceymar features a corrosion-resistant lightweight graphite body and a machined aluminum spool. While it may not be as robust as the higher-end reels we’ve mentioned previously, it still offers decent durability.

In terms of strength, the Okuma Ceymar boasts a drag capacity of 6.6 pounds, which is more than sufficient for handling even the largest crappie.

Overall, the Okuma Ceymar performs well in every aspect. It is a high-quality reel that offers good value for beginners who want a reliable option for crappie fishing without breaking the bank.



6. Abu Garcia Pro Max Crappie Spinning Reel

Abu Garcia Pro Max Crappie Spinning Reel
  • Ball Bearings: 6+1
  • Reel Size: 500-4000
  • Gear Ratio: 5.2-5.8:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 6.4-14 pounds
  • Weight: 6.2-9.8 ounces

If you’re in search of a crappie reel that can also be used for surf fishing, look no further. This reel features Abu Garcia’s Rocket Line Management system, which greatly reduces the occurrence of wind knots and bird’s nests. This system makes casting and reeling in fish much easier and enhances casting distance, making it the top choice for surf fishing among crappie reels.

In terms of other aspects, this reel performs adequately. It is lightweight, weighing 6.2 ounces in its size 500 option. With 6+1 bearings, it offers a smooth operation, and its drag capacity of 6.4 pounds is sufficient for crappie fishing.

However, it’s important to note that this reel has one drawback—the quality of its inner parts. For regular use, it is recommended to perform reel maintenance every 6 months. Additionally, if the reel is exposed to sand or dirt, it should be cleaned immediately. Failing to do so may lead to damage to the gears.

Despite this drawback, this reel remains a suitable choice for surf fishing and performs well in its other aspects. Just be sure to take proper care of the inner parts to ensure its longevity.



7. KastKing Centron Crappie Spinning Reel

KastKing Centron Crappie Spinning Reel
  • Ball Bearings: 9+1
  • Reel Size: 500-5000
  • Gear Ratio: 4.5-5.2:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 11-17.5 pounds
  • Weight: 6.9-13.5 ounces

If you’re still searching for a reel and price is a major factor, we’ve included a budget option for you. The KastKing Centron is a reel that meets the basic requirements to be considered a good crappie reel.

By now, you should be familiar with assessing reel features, so I won’t repeat them here. However, it’s worth noting that although the KastKing Centron has 9+1 bearings, their quality is not particularly high. As a result, the reel may feel more like it has 5+1 bearings when in use.

Essentially, the specifications of the KastKing Centron appear decent, but the parts are made with average materials. For example, the graphite frame is lightweight like carbon fiber, but not as durable.

Taking everything into consideration, I would give this crappie spinning reel a borderline pass. Our goal was to find the most affordable reel that can still catch crappie, and the KastKing Centron fits that criteria.



8. Shimano Sienna Crappie Spinning Reel

Shimano Sienna Crappie Spinning Reel
  • Ball Bearings: 3+1
  • Reel Size: 500-4000
  • Gear Ratio: 5.0-6.2:1
  • Max Drag Weight: 4-19 pounds
  • Weight: 6.3-11.3 ounces

Concluding our list is the Shimano Sienna, another reel known for its ability to cast long distances. Similar to the Abu Garcia Pro Max, the Shimano Sienna features a line management system. In this case, it is the Propulsion Line Management system, which also helps prevent wind knots, backlash, and improves casting distance.

The key difference between the Shimano Sienna and the Abu Garcia Pro Max is the price, as the Sienna is $15 cheaper. This cost difference is primarily due to the Sienna having fewer bearings and less stopping power.

In terms of casting distance and lightness, both reels perform similarly. Therefore, the decision ultimately comes down to the balance between price and quality. If you prioritize higher quality and are willing to pay more, the Abu Garcia Pro Max is the recommended choice. However, for those on a tighter budget, the Shimano Sienna provides a suitable option.

Consider your preferences and budget when making your decision between these two reels.



What To Consider When Buying A Reel For Crappie

Wanna know exactly how we chose each of these reels? I know you do. That’s why I’ll be breaking down in detail all the factors that we looked at.

Reel Size

The size of your reel is an important consideration because it determines how much line you can hold. However, it’s essential to strike a balance between line capacity and weight, especially when targeting crappie.

Since crappie fishing doesn’t require a large amount of line, there’s no need to opt for a significantly bigger reel unless you plan to target larger fish species as well.

For crappie fishing, a size 3000 reel will provide more than enough line capacity. Personally, I typically use reel sizes 1000-2000 for crappie fishing, but even a size 500 reel can suffice if you’re primarily targeting smaller crappie.

Consider the size of the reel based on your specific needs and the size of crappie you expect to encounter.

Line Capacity

Line capacity refers to the amount of fishing line that a spool can hold without exceeding its limit. The specific line capacity of a reel is determined by its size.

Line capacity is often indicated in the format “8/160”, which means that the spool can hold 160 yards of 8-pound test line.

To ensure you have the appropriate line capacity for your fishing needs, simply follow the reel sizes we have recommended in our previous discussions. This will help you select a reel that provides adequate line capacity for your intended fishing purposes.


The drag system plays a crucial role in tiring out fish and preventing line breakage. However, since crappie are relatively small and not particularly strong, a moderate drag system will suffice.

For crappie fishing, a reel that can produce a minimum of 7 pounds of drag will meet your needs. This level of drag strength will handle the largest crappies you may encounter. In most cases, you’ll find that 5-6 pounds of drag is sufficient for typical crappie fishing situations.

To set your drag correctly, it is recommended to adjust it to approximately 1/3 or 1/4 of your fishing line’s pound test. For example, if you are using a 12-pound test line, your drag should be set to around 3 or 4 pounds.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your drag is appropriately set for crappie fishing and strike a balance between allowing fish to fight and preventing line breakage.

Ball Bearings

Ball bearings are crucial for maintaining the smooth operation of your fishing reel. The quantity of bearings in a reel contributes to its overall smoothness, but it’s important to prioritize the quality of the bearings over the quantity.

Having 5 high-quality bearings can provide better performance than having 10 lower-quality bearings. When assessing a fishing reel, it’s essential to consider the quality of the bearings rather than focusing solely on the number.

High-quality bearings are typically made of durable metals like stainless steel and may also be shielded to protect them from debris and corrosion.

A recommended number of ball bearings to look for is 5+1. As long as these bearings are of good quality, having 5+1 bearings will deliver excellent smoothness in the operation of your reel.

Gear Ratio

The gear ratio of a fishing reel refers to the number of times the spool rotates for each turn of the handle. A higher gear ratio results in a faster line retrieval rate, allowing you to bring in your catch more quickly and with less effort.

However, it’s important to consider the type of lures you’ll be using when selecting a reel based on gear ratio. Lures that require slower retrieves are better suited to reels with lower gear ratios, while lures that need faster retrieves are more compatible with higher gear ratios.

In general, a gear ratio of 6:1 is considered fast, while 4:1 is considered slow. For versatility, a gear ratio of 5:1 is recommended. This allows you to comfortably fish with both fast and slow lures, accommodating a wider range of fishing techniques and preferences.

These are the best ultralight rods to pair with your crappie reel (which will likely be an ultralight reel).

Final Verdict

Crappie fishing is suitable for anglers of all skill levels, as it is relatively easy to catch these fish with the right gear. To simplify your decision-making process, we have carefully researched and selected the best crappie fishing reels available.

These 8 crappie spinning reels are highly recommended for their performance and reliability, ensuring a successful fishing experience. If you’re finding it difficult to choose among them, rest assured that the Daiwa Regal LT is an exceptional crappie reel that excels in all aspects. Opting for the Daiwa Regal LT would be a safe and excellent choice.

Enjoy your time on the water with your new crappie reel, and may you have great success in catching plenty of crappie!