GUIDE – How to Choose the Right Size Spinning Reel

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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.

How to choose the right size spinning reel

Defining the numbers

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.


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.

Starting from the very smallest of spinning reels up to the largest. This list also includes recommended line strength for each size:

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

Biggest 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 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.

For example, if you want to fish with really light tackle for fish up to around 5lb (just over 2kg), then you will not want a larger reel such as an 8,000 or 10,000, but rather something much smaller in the 1000 to 2500 range.

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 estuary’s, 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 to small – how to get it right

I have seen many people fishing with way 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 ball park.

Fishingmyway Admin

  • Michelle says:

    Thank you for explaining this perfectly. Easy to understand

  • Jay says:

    How about the rod sir? I used medium light and what reel size should i use?

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