Best Penn Spinning Reels 2022

  • Date: August 28, 2022

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

Penn spinning reels have a reputation for being robust workhorses, and many think of them as being the ideal spinning reel for saltwater fishing.

They offer a blend of traditional design concepts while incorporating modern technology. But does this make them a good option for you?

Here we take a look at the best Penn spinning reels, to give you an idea of what models they currently have available, and what exactly you get for your money.


Top 3 Penn Spinning Reels for 2022

Penn Authority
Penn Authority
9.7/10
  • Brand New for 2022
  • IPX8 Sealed Body and Spool Design
  • 12+1 Stainless steel bearing system
  • CNC Gear Technology with Stainless Steel Main and Pinion
  • Sealed Slammer drag system with Dura-Drag
  • Leveline Slow Oscillation System
Penn Slammer 4
Penn Slammer 4
9.5/10
  • Full Metal Body and side plate
  • CNC Gear Technology with brass main gear
  • IPX6 Sealed body and spool design
  • Sealed Slammer drag system with Dura-Drag
  • 8+1 stainless steel bearing system
  • Hydrophobic Line Roller Bearing
Penn Spinfisher 6
Penn Spinfisher 6
9.4/10
  • Full metal body and side plates
  • CNC Gear technology
  • IPX5 Sealed body and spool design
  • Sealed drag system
  • HT-100 carbon fiber drag washers
  • Oversized bail wire
  • Line capacity rings

Here is the full list of the best Penn spinning reels:

Reel Model:Comments:
Penn AuthorityNewly released in 2022
Penn Slammer IVExcellent upgrade to this popular reel
Penn Slammer IV DXSlammer 4 with some additional features
Penn Spinfisher 6This range also includes the live liner, bail less, and long cast versions
Penn Clash 21000 size reel available
Penn Battle 3ICast 2020 Best saltwater reel winner
Penn Pursuit IVUpdated for 2022
Penn Fierce IVUpdated for 2022
Penn WrathNew budget Penn spinning reel option

A closer look at these Penn Spinning reels

Penn Authority

The Penn Authority is the latest edition to the Penn fishing reel stable, a brand new reel that incorporates all of Penn’s premium technology. It was also awarded Best of Category (best Saltwater reel) in the 2022 iCast product showcase.

Penn Authority

So, with the new Penn Authority reel being pushed into flagship territory in Penn’s saltwater reel range, and with a price to match this lofty status, what exactly are you getting with this reel?

To start with, Penn is keeping up their tradition of making robust and durable reels by giving the Authority spinning reel a sealed body and spool with an IPX8 rating. It has been designed for longevity and to be able to combat the extreme elements it will undoubtedly be exposed to.

Penn has loaded this reel with 13 (12+1) premium stainless steel bearings, so you are getting a very smooth performance out of this reel.

As expected in a reel of this quality, there is an excellent drag system in place. It uses their patented Dura-Drag™ technology, which is not only super-strong but also very responsive and it will give you confidence when going up against the harder-fighting fish.

All reels up to the 4500HS size have Instant Anti-Reverse built into them, while the 5500 and above models have Instant Anti-Reverse with backup, to give the reels added protection against the bigger pelagic fish.

Here are some of the main features of the Penn Authority spinning reel:

  • IPX8 sealed body and spool design
  • Full metal body, sideplate, and rotor
  • CNC gear technology with stainless steel main and pinion
  • Sealed slammer drag system with Dura-Drag™
  • 12+1 stainless steel bearing system
  • Leveline slow oscillation system
best Penn spinning reels
Best Penn Spinning Reel – Penn Authority

The Penn Authority has a good range of sizes available, starting from as small as a 2500 reel, all the way up to a 10,500 size. There are also 4 HS (High Speed) models available in their range.

Here is a full breakdown of the reel sizes available in the Authority range:

  • 2500
  • 2500HS
  • 3500
  • 4500
  • 4500HS
  • 5500
  • 6500
  • 6500HS
  • 7500
  • 8500
  • 8500HS
  • 10,500

The Penn Authority is one of the most diverse spinning reels on the market and can be used for a wide range of fishing applications.

Boat fishing, fishing from the rocks, a great surf fishing reel, and even freshwater fishing with the smaller size Authority models.


Penn Slammer 4

As much loved as the old Penn Slammer iii reel was, it had served its time and was due an upgrade. So in 2021, Penn released the highly anticipated Penn Slammer IV. It has not disappointed!

Penn Slammer 4

There are some legacy features carried over to the Slammer 4 from the old Slammer 3 range, such as the popular IPX6-rated sealed body and spool, which makes it such a durable reel that will maintain its high-performance levels for a very long time.

Penn has redesigned the Dura Drag system for the Slammer IV reel, and is now offered from the 3500 size reels and up. The 2500 and 2500HS reels use Penn’s HT-100 drag, which is also a very good and proven system that is used on many of Penn’s other spinning reels.

The 8+1 stainless steel bearing system in the Penn Slammer 4 provides the smooth operation this reel has, and the Hydrophobic Line Roller Bearing ensures the Slammer IV is optimized in favor of the angler.

Here are the main features of the Penn Slammer 4:

  • Full Metal Body and sideplate
  • CNC Gear Technology with brass main gear
  • IPX6 Sealed body and spool design
  • Sealed Slammer drag system with Dura-Drag (Sizes 3500-10500)
  • HT-100 carbon fiber drag washers (Size 2500 only)
  • 8+1 stainless steel bearing system
  • Hydrophobic Line Roller Bearing
  • Spare EVA handle knob
  • Sizes 2500-5500 have automatic bail trip
  • Sizes 6500-10500 have manual bail trip

As Penn often does with their various ranges of spinning reels, they offer a wide range of sizes in the Slammer IV range.

The range also includes some of its High Speed (HS). Here is the full range of sizes available in the Penn Slammer 4 range:

  • 2500
  • 2500HS
  • 3500
  • 4500
  • 4500HS
  • 5500
  • 6500
  • 6500HS
  • 7500
  • 8500
  • 8500HS
  • 10500

To check out the full specs of the Penn Slammer 4 reel click here


Penn Slammer 4 DX

A variant of the Slammer 4 is the new Slammer 4DX version. It offers a change in cosmetics and also provides some additional technology to improve performance further still.

Penn Slammer 4 DX

The main differences from the DX to the regular Slammer 4 are as follows:

  • Changed cosmetics from the regular Penn Slammer IV reel. Silver and Black color scheme
  • 9+1 stainless steel ball bearings. 1 additional bearing added to the spool to give the Slammer IV DX Dura Drag dual support
  • Comes with a spare Hypalon handle knob for added comfort

The size range of the Slammer 4 DX runs from 2500 up to 8500, with the HT-100 drag being used in the 2500 size and the Dura Drag system (dual bearing supported) available in the 3500 sizes up to the 8500.

The Slammer 4 DX also has CNC Gear Technology with ultra-durable stainless steel used for both main gear and pinion gear.

Another feature that I know a lot of anglers love is the line capacity rings that have been stamped onto the spool, so you always know roughly how much line you have left on your spool when a fish goes on a big run.

The spool is also braid-ready, so you can tie your braid directly to the spool if you don’t like to use backing line.


Penn Spinfisher 6

One of the most popular reels from the Penn spinning reel range is the Spinfisher VI. When the 6th generation of this excellent reel was launched it came with several improvements from previous versions.

Penn spinfisher 6
Penn Spinfisher VI

In the Spinfisher VI range, not only do you have the regular spinning reel option, but you also have three other variations:

  • Live Liner
  • Long Cast
  • Bail-less

Core design features:

  • IPX5 Sealed body and spool design
  • CNC Gear™ technology
  • HT-100™ carbon fiber drag washers
  • 5+1 sealed stainless steel ball-bearing system
  • Full Metal Body
  • Superline Spool
  • Line Capacity Rings
  • Sizes 2500-4500 have automatic bail trip
  • Sizes 6500-8500 have manual bail trip

As you can see, the Spinfisher 6 uses a lot of Penn’s premium technologies and this is clearly evident when you use the reel.

It is exceptionally smooth to use, the retrieve is powerful and the HT-100 drag system does its job so well, those carbon fiber drag washers allow you to put the anchors on those big runs and you feel you have control over the big harder fighting fish.

To see the full range of specs for the Spinfisher VI click here

There is also a big range of sizes available for the Spinfisher VI:

  • 2500
  • 3500
  • 4500
  • 5500
  • 6500
  • 7500
  • 8500
  • 9500
  • 10500

Spinfisher VI Live Liner

As mentioned, there are three other variations of the Spinfisher VI reel and one of them is the Live Liner.

Penn Spinfisher VI Live Liner

What I really like about the Live Liner feature on the Spinfisher VI is that it has four different drag settings. This is so you can cater to different current strengths, especially if you’re trolling your baits.

Also, the reel still carries the IPX5 rating, even with the Live Liner feature included.

The Penn Spinfisher VI Live Liner reels are available in the following sizes:

  • 2500
  • 4500
  • 6500
  • 7500

Penn Spinfisher VI Long Cast

The next variation of the Spinfisher VI reel is the Long Cast model. This reel is designed for surf fishing and enables you to launch your casts out further beyond the breakers.

Penn Spinfisher VI Long Cast

The Long Cast reel uses Penn’s longer, shallower spool and the rotor implies a slower oscillation so it lays the line on the spool in a much more consistent way.

Sizes available for the Spinfisher VI Long Cast:

  • 5500
  • 6500
  • 7500

Spinfisher VI Bail-less

Bail-less reel concepts were sought-after mainly by surf anglers, as they didn’t want that possibility of the bail arm flicking over once they had just launched a huge cast.

So Penn added a bail-less option to the Spinfisher VI range, and it has been a very popular inclusion.

Penn Spinfisher VI Bail Less

Here are the sizes available in the Spinfisher VI bail-less reel:

  • 4500
  • 6500

Best of the Rest – Penn Spinning Reels

Penn Clash 2

Another reel that Penn has to make the list of Penn’s best spinning reels is the Penn Clash 2.

The new Penn Clash 2 is an inshore spinning reel, which is light and offers really smooth performance, while also keeping Penn’s traditional robust and durable design.

Penn Clash 2

The Hydrophobic Line Roller Bearing system that Penn has used in the Clash 2 ensures that the reel keeps operating at its optimal levels at all time, and the HT-100 carbon fiber drag system will withstand brutal runs from fish and allow you to put the brakes on when you need to.

What I love about the Penn Clash II spinning reel is just how responsive it is. It is designed for lighter lure fishing, and if you want finesse in your reel then the Clash 2 has it in abundance.

Sizes available:

  • 1000
  • 2000
  • 2500
  • 3000
  • 3000HS (High Speed)
  • 4000
  • 4000HS (High Speed)
  • 5000

To read the full specs of the Penn Clash 2 spinning reel click here

The updated Clash 2 from Penn is an extremely good inshore reel, and if you were looking for a quality inshore spinning reel that performs well and will last you a very long time, all without having to pay a premium price, then the Penn Clash II is a great option.


Penn Battle 3

The Penn Battle 3 is another very popular spinning reel from the Penn range and a lot of improvements have been made to this reel to incorporate a lot of Penn’s premium technology.

Penn Battle 3

Here are the main features of the Penn Battle 3:

  • Full Metal Body, sideplate, and rotor
  • HT-100™ carbon fiber drag washers
  • 5+1 sealed stainless steel ball bearings
  • Instant Anti-Reverse bearing
  • Heavy-duty aluminum bail wire
  • Superline Spool
  • Line Capacity Rings

The Penn ‘Battle’ reel is aptly named. It is designed to withstand the harsh saltwater fishing requirements, and it has the power and performance capabilities to allow you to do hard battle with big fish.

The Penn Battle 3 comes in a good range of sizes, starting at the smaller 2500 model for lighter fishing, all the way up to the largest 10,000 model for heavier offshore requirements.

The Penn Battle III also has three ‘HS’ (High Speed) versions available in 4000, 6000, and 8000 sizes.

To read the full specs for the Penn Battle 3 reels click here

Little touches and attention to detail such as the line capacity rings in the spool just show that Penn really understands all of the little nuances involved in spinning reel requirements, as well as the core fundamentals that make a spinning reel ‘good’.


Penn Fierce 4

The 4th version of the Penn Fierce range was updated and launched in 2022. It is a good option for those looking for a good quality spinning reel that isn’t going to cost you more than $100.

Penn Fierce IV

Penn has included their excellent HT-100 carbon fiber drag washers in this reel, which considering the price, is a great inclusion that really adds to the performance of this reel.

It is also hard to find a reel at the price that runs as smoothly as the Penn Fierce IV does. From the bail arm to the retrieve, every movement on this reel just seems to happen with complete fluidity.

Size range

The Penn Fierce 4 comes with a wide range of size options, so whatever your requirements are you should be able to find the right size Fierce 4 reel for your needs. Here are the sizes available:

  • 2500
  • 3000
  • 4000
  • 5000
  • 6000
  • 8000

To see the full specs for the Penn Fierce 4 range click here


Penn Fierce 4 Live Liner

Penn Fierce 4 Live Liner

The Fierce 4 range also has the Live Liner variation available in the following sizes:

  • 2500
  • 4000
  • 6000
  • 8000

The ‘Live Liner’ functionality is not used for spinning, but rather if you’re fishing with a live or dead bait.

The way it works is that you release the Live Liner lever and when a fish picks up the bait it will be able to run with it without feeling any resistance (think of it as a very light drag).

Then when you start to reel it will flick the Live Liner lever off and this will engage the proper drag system and will allow you to set the hook.

This has become increasingly popular with anglers that want to use live liner fishing live or dead bait and is a great option to have in the Fierce 4 range of reels.

*Note* The Live Liner versions of the Fierce 4 reels are slightly more expensive than the regular Fierce 4 models


Penn Pursuit 4

Newly introduced into the Penn saltwater spinning reel range in 2022 is the 4th generation of the excellent Pursuit reel.

The Pursuit 4 is one of the lowest priced of all of Penn’s spinning reel range, so if you were looking for a good quality budget-friendly spinning reel, then the Penn Pursuit 4 could be the ideal option for you.

best Penn fishing reels
Penn Pursuit IV

The first thing to mention about the Pursuit 4 range is that it includes Penn’s excellent HT-100 drag washers, so you are getting their premium drag system, even at this low price.

The reel runs really smoothly, as we have come to expect with all Penn reels now.

Here are some of the key features of the Penn Pursuit 4 spinning reel:

  • HT-100 carbon fiber drag system
  • Lightweight and corrosion-resistant graphite body
  • 4+1 shielded stainless steel ball bearings
  • Superline Spool
  • CNC folding aluminum handle
  • Infinite Anti-Reverse

For this 4th generation of the Pursuit spinning reel, Penn has continued with the 2500 size reel, which it introduced in the previous 3rd generation for the Pursuit range. Here is the full range of sizes for the Pursuit 4:

  • 2500
  • 3000
  • 4000
  • 5000
  • 6000
  • 8000

This size range is ideal for everything from freshwater fishing, to inshore saltwater fishing, and even offshore fishing with the larger size Pursuit 4 reel options.


Penn Wrath

If you are looking for a good quality budget spinning reel to add to your fishing equipment, then the Penn Wrath is an excellent option.

Penn Wrath

Priced at around $45-$65 depending on the size you want, the Wrath is ideal if you’re just getting into fishing as it offers great value for money, or for anyone that just needs a spare spinning reel in their fishing gear that they know is going to do the job well called upon.

Here are the main features of the Wrath spinning reel:

  • Lightweight and corrosion-resistant graphite body
  • 2 shielded stainless steel ball bearings
  • Instant anti-reverse bearing
  • Machined and anodized aluminum spool
  • Line capacity rings

There are also several sizes available for you too, so you will find an option to meet your fishing needs.

Sizes available:

  • 2500
  • 3000
  • 4000
  • 5000
  • 6000
  • 8000

What you are getting with this Wrath spinning reel is the quality and durability that Penn is renowned for.

It runs really smoothly and it feels really solid and durable. Ultimately you are getting a very strong reel at a very affordable price.


What Penn spinning reels bring to the table

What you will notice from the range of spinning reels from Penn is the vast range of sizes they have throughout their different models.

Right from the smallest 1000 size reels, which are ideal for the lightest of spinning in rivers and streams, all the way up to the hefty 10,500 size reels, designed for big pelagic species out in the ocean.

Penn reels are renowned for their durability, and also for providing quality fishing reels at affordable prices.

Watertight sealing

Penn has worked very hard to produce an effective system to keep its reels as watertight as possible. The Penn range of spinning reels has varied rated levels of waterproofing, all the way up to an IPX8-rated sealed body and spool design to ensure you have a watertight reel.

The seals used on their reels not only keep the internal components and bearings dry but also allow the reel to operate smoothly on a consistent basis.

This is not always the case when the watertight sealing is not designed correctly, but Penn has nailed it with their waterproof designs.

Drag system

When you are fishing with big powerful reels and going after large fish species, then it goes without saying that you need a drag system that will cope with this demand.

That is why Penn developed their HT-100 drag system in 1986, and this has provided anglers with the smooth and powerful ability to play those hard-fighting fish once they are hooked up ever since then.

The HT-100 drag uses carbon fiber washers that are used in this drag system to provide a smooth operation, and they have eliminated any erratic movement that some other drag systems have.

This gives you a much better chance of staying hooked up on any hard-fighting fish and allows you to take control over the fight.

To break down what “HT-100” actually stands for: The HT stands for “High Tech”, and the 100 symbolizes the testing parameter, where 100 miles of fishing line was pulled against the drag of the reel, and the washers barely had any wear to them. Pretty stringent testing and results!

More recently Penn has introduced a new drag system called Dura-Drag to some of their reels.

Penn engineers collaborated with a leading auto manufacturer in the USA to develop this system, and they used the same material as used in some transmissions of high-performance racing cars.

The testing environment for the Dura-Drag system included 30 hours of continual drag pressure on these washers, with again barely any design change noted at the end of the testing.

So whichever drag system you have on your Penn spinning reel, whether it be the HT-100 or the newer Dura-Drag system, you have got something that is going to give you optimal performance.

Variations of the reel models – glossary

Bail-Less (BLS)

As the name suggests, the bail-less Penn spinning reels come with….you guessed it, no bail!

These reels have become very popular for surf fishing, as there is no risk of the bail arm flicking over when you have just launched a big cast out over the surf, and snapping your line.

The action of the reel still works in exactly the same way that a reel with a bail arm would, in that the line feeds around the stem, and to cast you simply remove the line from the stem.

It is very easy to use, extremely efficient in fact. And when you are able to remove a delicate part of a reel, in this case, the bail arm, then you have a much more durable reel to use.

High-Speed (HS)

The high-speed reels are ideal for both shore and boat fishing, where you are casting out big lures and you want that fast retrieval.

These reels have been designed to increase line pick-up when you are cranking in your lures, so you can get that fast action that you need for some species.

You will find the HS reels in Penn’s Slammer 3 and Battle 3 ranges. They are distinguished from the regular Slammer models by their red coloring on the black background.

Long Cast (LC)

The long cast reels from Penn are designed for surf fishing, and the main difference in these reels is the spool design.

The spool is much deeper than on regular spinning reels, and this allows for more line to be added to the reel in a way that allows it to peel off with the minimum of resistance, thus increasing your casting ability.

The Long cast feature is perfect for anyone that needs to throw their lures or bait out beyond the surf line, where a regular spinning reel may limit your casting distance.

A very simple, yet extremely effective design that does what it has been designed to do very well.

Live Liner (LL)

The live liner system that Penn uses in some of their spinning reels is designed for when you are bait fishing (either live or dead bait).

It is essentially another drag system, and it is controlled by a lever at the back of the reel, which when engaged will allow the line to move off the spool with barely any resistance when a fish picks up your bait.

Once the fish has grabbed the bait and swam off taking line from the reel, you can then disengage the live liner drag simply by flicking the lever back up (this can also be done just by regular cranking on the reel).

This will then switch the reel back into normal mode, and the regular drag will now engage.

It is an incredibly effective feature that will improve your hook-up rate, as it gives the fish plenty of time to eat the bait before you set the hook.

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