spinning reel sizes

GUIDE – How to Choose the Right Size Spinning Reel

DISCLOSURE: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning when you click the links and make a purchase, I may receive a commission.

We’ve all been there at some stage in our fishing lives. We decide we want to buy a lovely new spinning reel, only to get to the store and become overwhelmed with the multitude of size variations on offer!

Deciding what size spinning reel you need can be a bit of a challenge for some, especially when new to fishing.

These reels come in a lot of different sizes, and choosing the right size for your needs should definitely be one of the main factors when you are looking at buying a new reel.

Choosing the right size spinning reel – Explained

When you start looking at the vast range of spinning reels available, you will see all of the different models will have a number associated with them. This number indicates the size.

The main concept is that the smaller the number, the smaller the reel is. Easy, right?

Now you know this, I will go through the size range so you can better understand what you have to choose from.

Here is a spinning reel size chart

Spinning Reel SizesRecommended Line (Mono)Recommended Line (Braid)
Small Size Spinning Reels:
1000 2-4lb (1-2kg) 4-8lb (2-4kg)
2000 4-6lb (2-3kg) 5-10lb (2-5kg)
2500 5-8lb (2-4kg) 5-12lb (2-6kg)
3000 6-10lb (2.5-5kg) 6-15lb (2.5-7kg)
3500 6-10lb (2.5-5kg) 6-15lb (2.5-7kg)
Medium Size Spinning Reels:
4000 8-12lb (4-6kg) 8-20lb (3.5-9kg)
500010-15lb (4.5-7kg) 10-25lb (4.5-11kg)
600012-18lb (5.5-8kg) 12-30lb (5.5-13.5kg)
Large Size Spinning Reels:
700014-20lb (6.5-9kg) 15-40lb (7-18kg)
800015-25lb (7-11.5kg) 20-50lb (9-22.5kg)
900020-25lb (9-11.5kg) 20lb-60lb (9-27kg)
Largest Size Spinning Reels:
10,00020-30lb (9-13.5kg) 25-70lb (11.5-32kg)
14,00040lb+ (18kg+) 30-80lb (13.5-36kg)
20,00050lb+ (22.5kg+) 60lb+ (27kg+)
30,00060lb+ (27kg+) 80lb+ (36kg)


One thing that should be explained is that most brands use either a two or a four-digit number to reference the size, but reels starting with the same number will be of the same size.

Brand A – spinning reel size 10
Brand B – spinning reel size 1000

Both 10 and 1000 equate to the same size reel. This is relevant throughout the entire size range of spinning reels.

Below is a bit more detail on the range of spinning reel sizes.

Starting from the very smallest of spinning reels up to the largest. This list also includes recommended line strength for each size and more detail on what each size is best suited for:

Small Size Spinning Reels:

1000 (or 10)

2000 (or 20)

2500 (or 25)

3000 (or 30)

3500 (or 35)

Medium Size Spinning Reels:

4000 (or 40)

5000 (or 50)

6000 (or 60)

Large Size Spinning Reels:

7000 (or 70)

8000 (or 80)

9000 (or 90)

Largest Size Spinning Reels:

10,000 (or 100)

14,000 (or 140)

20,000 (or 200)

30,000 (or 300)

**Please note, you may find some brands that will offer sizes not shown here, that sit in the middle of what is listed above.

An example would be the Penn Slammer 3 7500. But the above will give you a good understanding of the range of sizes available, from smallest to largest.

What type of fishing will you be doing?

An important question to ask yourself before you buy a new spinning reel is what type of fishing you intend to use it for?

The size of reel you choose should suit the type of fishing you intend to do with it.

Likewise, if you are going for bigger fish you will need a reel that has the strength to deal with the hard battles they provide, so an 8,000, 10,000, or even bigger could be ideal.

What size fishing reel should you get if you’re just starting out?

If you are just starting fishing, you probably won’t know exactly what type of fishing you will be doing, or you may want to try a few different styles to see which one you enjoy the most.

You don’t want to be spending a lot of money on several different fishing reels, at least not initially.

So the best option is to buy a mid-size reel that will allow you to fish lighter tackle in freshwater or estuaries or heavier tackle in the ocean.

Look at either a 3000 to a 4000 size reel and use line with a breaking strain of around 10 to 15lb’s.

This is a great place to start and will give you the ability to catch a wide range of fish and use a number of different fishing techniques.

To big or too small – how to get it right

I have seen many people fishing with much to heavy gear for the fish they are targeting.

For me, this dilutes the fun you have when you catch a fish, as it largely negates the fight of the fish, as you are able to haul it in without any use of the drag.

If you are new to fishing then I would advise that you air on the side of caution and go slightly bigger rather than smaller.

But as you get more skilled with your fishing, if you want to have more fun with the fish then going with smaller lighter reels and line can give you a lot of satisfaction and entertainment when you hook into that bigger fish.

The thing to remember when choosing your next spinning reel is that there is no exact science to it, but if you use the size guide I posted above you are going to be in the right ballpark.

Q & A’s

How do I know what size reel to buy?

What does a reel size 30 mean?

What is a 1000 size reel used for?

What is the best size reel for bass?

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