5 Best Daiwa Spinning Reels in 2024 – Tested and Reviewed

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What are the best Daiwa reels? The truth is, there is a big list. You spend a small fortune stocking your spin reel arsenal with all of the worthy Daiwa spin reels.

I’ll save you the trouble of a rash purchase, hopefully protecting your hard-earned money, and recommend five – Best overall, best on budget, high-end, saltwater, and best offshore.

I’ve never really been a brand-loyal angler. Whatever works, and covers my budget and applications heads purchasing key criteria.

However, in the last 5 or so years, I’ve become partial to Daiwa reels.

I feel Daiwa has unseated Shimano as the top dog. Yes, that’s a big call.

Let’s have a closer look at five of Daiwa’s best spin reels. I’ll cover key features, pros and cons, and suggest likely applications.

Five of the Best Daiwa Spinning Reels

I’ll cut to the chase and name the categories and reels straight up with links to prices. I’ll then give you an insight into my selection criteria.

This will be followed by a brief review of each reel, with my opinion on angler suitability and best applications.

My only disappointment with the list below is that I don’t think anybody will be surprised by my selections.

Let’s get into it.

  1. Best Overall Daiwa Spin Reel: Daiwa BG (Check Price on Amazon)
  2. Best High-End Daiwa Spin Reel: Daiwa Exist (Check Price on Amazon)
  3. Best Budget Daiwa Spin Reel: Daiwa Legalis LT (Check Price on Tackle Direct)
  4. Best Saltwater Daiwa Spin Reel: Daiwa Saltist (Check Price on Tackle Direct)
  5. Bet Offshore Daiwa Spin Reel: Daiwa Saltiga (Check Price on Amazon)

Selection Criteria

More broadly speaking, my selection criteria are pretty simple – performance, durability (construction quality), and suitability for advertised purposes relative to price point.

That’s not rocket science and the likely starting point for most anglers. But there are a few particular things I’ve considered in the list below.

In this case, I have put them in a loose priority, with the more important considerations featured first.


Smoothness is an excellent indicator of many things. Well-built, modern reels should be smooth, even the cheaper models.

Smooth crank, smooth operation (ergonomics), and smooth drag under variable loads. I also like a smooth bail arm action.

A person is walking on a sandy beach while enjoying the soothing sound of the waves and feeling the soft grains beneath their feet.

Smoothness can be a great indicator of build quality and attention to detail. It gives you insight into bearing quality, gear quality, and the practical realization of the design.

Smoothness increases durability and reel working life. It also reduces angler fatigue. Importantly, it plays a significant role in catching fish.

Every reel listed above passed easily for this criteria. The bottom line is that there’s no excuse for reels to hit the shelves without a modicum of smooth feel, irrespective of price.


I’m still stunned at the drag capacity of modern spin reels. With drag capacities punching well through 30 pounds, there are few limits to modern spin reels – you can tackle monsters.

However, brawn without brains gives full advantage back to the fish. Drag should be consistent, predictable, smooth – particularly at startup, and disperse heat efficiently, especially the big ones.

Most drag systems on performance reels use carbon washers. This is great for durability, endurance, and smoothness.

All the reels above are fitted with carbon washers; the systems are tough, smooth, and durable.

I have been well served by oiled felt washers for decades, particularly the Japanese ones. However, this is outdated tech and should be relegated, even in the cheapest reels.

For many anglers, the drag system must be fully sealed. I also feel better with a sealed system – sand, salt, and drag washers don’t mix well.

These days, drag systems are sealed in the better entry-level and reel upwards. The quality of the seal, however, can vary.

Traditionally, I have mistreated my reel arsenal. Sealing has been good for me. But I’ve changed, and I’m now more careful of where I place my reel to avoid sand and water ingress.

Sealing, or lack thereof, isn’t a deal breaker for me. But I like the reassurance of the protection it provides when fishing in the rain.

Spool Capacity

Spool capacity goes hand in glove with drag capacity – It’s about the fight. The bigger the spool, the heavier the line class you have to play a belligerent fish.

Or, if a colossal fish takes the sand flea you were fishing, a large spool capacity, coupled with a healthy drag capacity, gives you a chance.

A man is fishing on a dock at sunset using a Daiwa spinning reel.

I like a large spool capacity – It’s like insurance for me. If I’m underpowered, I can let a fish run with some level of confidence.

I can count on one hand the number of times in my fishing life I’ve been spooled or come remotely close to being spooled.

I don’t think I’ve ever used a spool’s full capacity in a fish fight. I’ve been nervous any number of times, but I was always safe – it turns out.

These days, braid has made the spool capacity irrelevant. You can jam oceans of braid on nearly any reel.

The mono angler, on the other hand, is more inclined to go for reels with generous line capacities.

I feel there’s inconsistency in the market. Some spool capacities blow my mind, whereas others make me feel as though capacity was sacrificed for weight and aesthetics.

Bottom line. If the reel you like doesn’t have the spool capacity you’re comfortable with, consider going to the next reel size.

Each of the reels above delivers on spool capacity. Coupled with superior drag systems, there’s more than enough fight capacity should a trophy fish take your bait.

The only downside to a larger spool capacity is the cost to fill it. Big spools with premium line can hurt the credit card.


As a surf and rock specialist, speed is essential to me. I want to be able to crank metal slices at a break-neck pace without destroying my wrist, arm, and shoulder.

Spin reels between 5.7 and 6.5 deliver on this front. I often find, however, that if I get the speed I want, I’m compromising on another feature. Have you found this?

If casting lures (especially fast lures) over shallow structures isn’t important to you, speed becomes less critical.

It’s a good idea to look at retrieve rates over gear ratio. Gear ratio can be a little misleading at times.

Retrieve rates can be a more accurate indication of just how much line you can get back on your spool in a hurry. Just remember it has been measured assuming a full spool.


With fishing manufacturing’s uptake of high-tech construction materials and techniques, spin reels became much lighter by default.

These days, light gear is highly sought-after. Manufacturers are doing all they can to reduce weight, and therefore angler fatigue, by shaving grams wherever they can.

I’m blown away by just how light yet strong, powerful, and rigid some of these reels can be. The Daiwa Exist is a good example.

The Daiwa BG, on the other hand, has an all-metal body and construction that, while compact, is considered heavy these days.

The BG is the only reel above where weight reduction hasn’t been an obvious focal point for Daiwa designers.

It’s great to feel the weightlessness of a high-end spin reel. Remember, the lighter it is, the more likely high-end materials have been used. You’ll pay more.

I often use big reels on the rocks and in the surf. They also take a beating. I don’t mind a little extra weight – I’m used to it.

Even the biggest modern reels weigh far less than the smaller and mid-sized reels of my youth.

Weight isn’t a huge factor for me. If it is for you, the only downside is the additional numbers on the price tag.

MQ Body

I like the Daiwa MQ body. I like the look; I like the strength and rigidity afforded by the one-piece construction and the reduction in useless space.

MQ will add 100 bucks to your reel price. You’ll have to add up the benefits yourself – it’s not so cut and dry.

For my money, the useless space being replaced with a bigger main gear is as compelling as the rigidity.

There’s a problem, however. I have 3 BG’s. I was determined to get the MQ models.

But the additional money detracted from the appeal of the BG, which was all about the perfect balance of performance, durability, and value.

With an extra 100 dollars, the equation became different.

It’s a great design, but you’ll pay for it. I had the same dilemma with the Saltist. If cash isn’t a problem, however, go the MQ, if only for the added rigidity and main gear size.

5 Best Daiwa Spinning Reels

1. Daiwa BG – Best Overall Daiwa Spin Reel

I love this reel. In my opinion, it’s the reel that challenged Shimano’s dominance. I recommend this reel for just about any spin reel application.

It’s excellent for surf fishing, ocean rocks, and blue water game fishing. The BG is the definition of quality, a go-to fishing reel with fantastic performance at the bottom of a mid-range price point.

Daiwa BG Spinning Reel, Black/gold, 3000

I have a 3000, 5000, and 8000. I use it regularly, and it’s brilliant. I use the 3000 in the surf all of the time.

I recommended it for budget-driven anglers through to seasoned professionals. I don’t think there’s a better value reel on the market.


  • Outstanding value
  • Durability
  • Performance
  • Versatility


  • Heavy by modern standards.

Features at a Glance

  • 9 sizes, 1500 through to 8000
  • Drage ranges from 2kg (2000) to 6kg (4000) 17kg (8000)
  • Ball Bearings 6+1
  • Aluminum Body
  • Digigear II
  • Air Rotor
  • ABS II + More.
  • ATD
  • Super strong gear system

>>Check Latest Price on Amazon<<

2. Daiwa Exist – Best High-End Daiwa Spin Reel

One of the most beautiful spin reels on the market. This is a masterpiece. Beautiful in every way and a joy to fish, it’s a popular choice among seasoned finesse anglers.

However, with sizes going to 5000, with high and low gear models, the Exist is awesome on the ocean rocks, surf, and light sports workout on your favorite reef.

Daiwa LT2000S-H 22 Igujisto Spinning Reel (2022 Model)

The 2500 G is my pick of the bunch. It holds 300 meters of PE2.5, has a whopping 10 kg of Type L ATD, and weighs in at just 180 grams.

The feature list is a powerhouse of Daiwa’s best tech. The best part is that it all comes together to create a perfect, seamless fishing experience you have to feel to believe.

Yes, it’s very expensive. But you only live once.

There’s nothing better, only different. This is the pinnacle of Daiwa’s design. innovation and versatility.


  • Refined, unmatched performance
  • Flawless construction
  • Incredible power-to-weight ratio
  • Best of the best
  • Versatility


  • Priced to break your heart – and mortgage repayments.

Features at a Glance

  • 12+1 Ball bearing system
  • Tough Digigear
  • Monocoque Body
  • Mag Seal
  • Mag Sealed Line Roller
  • Magseal Bearings
  • Airdrive Design
  • ATD – Automatic Tournament Drag (Type-L)

>>Check Latest Price on Amazon<<

3. Daiwa Legalis LT – Best Budget Daiwa Spin Reel

The Daiwa Legalis LT offers excellent value for its price point. It’s a popular choice for dedicated weekenders seeking top-brand performance without breaking the bank.

The range starts at a finesse 1000 to a versatile 6000, so the average angler can cover many applications.

A blue and silver handle on a Daiwa spinning reel.

It’s a great-looking reel and very light for this price point. Air Rotor and Air Bail help keep the weight down, reducing fatigue.

The carbon composite keeps the price down while delivering durability and excellent corrosion resistance.

The 3000 is a great allrounder and durable go-to. With 5 bearings, it’s a very smooth crank., smoother than its price point suggests.

It holds 250 yards of 15-pound braid and packs 22 pounds of bullet-stopping drag. It weighs in at only 7.6 ounces – particularly light for this price point.

This is a great feeling reel with plenty of performance, suitable for a broad range of anglers and angling styles.

Best of all, it’s great value with much of the range under $100.


  • Fished occasionally, the Legalis will have a very long working life.
  • Highly affordable, brand-name quality
  • Good model range for the average angler
  • Lightweight for this price point


  • No big reel option.

Features at a Glance

  • Carbon Light Material Housing – LT Concept
  • ABS Spool
  • Machined Aluminum Handle
  • Air Rotor
  • Air Bail
  • 6 Bearing System

>>Click For Best Price<<

4. Daiwa Saltist – Best Saltwater Daiwa Spinning Reel

The Daiwa Saltist fishing reel is a top-tier option for saltwater anglers seeking durability, strength, and performance to tackle the challenges of offshore fishing.

Often referred to as the poor man’s Saltiga, the Saltist is also available with the Monocoque body and performs exceptionally well in surf, rock, and nearshore environments.

A black spinning reel with a Daiwa handle.

Crafted with a sturdy aluminum body and side plate, the Saltist reel offers exceptional strength and rigidity while remaining relatively lightweight.

Its Magsealed construction protects against saltwater ingress, enhancing its longevity in harsh salt environments.

With Mag Sealed Ball Bearings, the reel maintains smooth operation and corrosion resistance, even after prolonged exposure to saltwater.

The waterproof Carbon ATD drag system delivers consistent and powerful drag performance, remaining predictable session after session.

The Saltist is a high-end reel, yet more affordable than you imagine.

Its performance and relatively accessible price point make it a popular choice for performance-driven, dedicated anglers seeking excellence without the Saltiga price tag.

The 6500 has 8+1 bearings, 330 yards of 80-pound braid, and 33 pounds of LTD drag.

I like the 6500 for its versatility. You can target massive fish onshore and offshore, and while a little heavy, you can pay for the weight reduction and select the MQ.

This is a serious spin reel for serious saltwater anglers chasing big fish. Treat it well, and you’ll hand it to your kids.


  • Standard and MQ options
  • Exceptional salt environment credentials
  • Perfect big fish reel onshore and off
  • Outstanding spool and drag capacities
  • Saltiga-like performance at half the price.


  • Some will find the standard Saltiga a little heavy by modern standards.

Features at a Glance

  • Magsealed line roller and main shaft
  • “HardBodyz” body and side cover
  • Lightweight Air Rotor design
  • Air Bail–tubular stainless for lightweight strength
  • Digigear™ digital gear design
  • Dynamic Cut Aluminum ABS spool
  • Waterproof Carbon ATD Drag System

>>Click For Best Price<<

5. Daiwa Saltiga – Best Offshore Daiwa Spinning Reel

The Saltiga is Daiwa’s flagship and needs no introduction. It’s Daiwa’s answer to the Shimano Stella, and the battle for supremacy has been long and remains without conclusion.

The 2023 saltiga is out and is running off the shelves as quickly as they’re stocked. But at over 1000 dollars, you will need a lot of cash.

A Daiwa spinning reel with a black and gold design on a white background.

There are 6 models, 8000 to 20000. Whichever size you choose, expect incredible features and astonishing capacities.

The Saltiga is an offshore game spinning reel designed for tackling the ocean’s biggest. It’s also popular for land-based game anglers and ocean rock anglers.

The 13-bearing system delivers the smoothest crank while under extraordinary loads. The biggest in the stable, the 20K, holds 330 yards of 100-pound braid with 66 pounds of drag.

It’s designed to pull up freight trains, yet weighs only 31.4 ounces, even at this size. Casting is a breeze. Excellent for hurling huge poppers at massive tuna.

The 5.8 ratio is very fast for a reel of this power. Again, lure versatility is excellent. Long casts are assured, but it’s also a very popular choice for jigging enthusiasts.

You’ll be surprised at the size; the 20k is not as big as you would imagine, probably thanks to the MQ body.

A well-maintained Saltiga lasts a lifetime and is an investment instead of a simple reel purchase.

If you tackle the ocean’s biggest fish in the toughest environments, the Saltiga will earn every bit of its hefty price tag.

There’s an alloy round knob upgrade that’s also worth every penny.


  • The ultimate in big-game offshore spin technology
  • Phenomenal power and capacities
  • Everything is magsealed.
  • Incredible blue water versatility
  • 5 sizes with 9 models all up


  • Aspirational price point. Too expensive for most.

Features at a Glance

  • Bearings: 12 (6xCRBB & 2x MSBB)
  • ABS Long Cast Spool
  • Aluminum Air Rotor
  • Air Bale
  • Monocoque (MQ) Body
  • G1 Duralumin Drive Gear
  • Automatic Tournament Drag (ATD)
  • Mag-sealed bearings, Line Roller, and Body
  • Twist Buster II
  • Silent Oscillation
  • Metal Ball Knob
  • Infinite Anti-Reverse

>>Click For Best Price<<

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Daiwa Reels Any Good?

Daiwa manufactures a vast range of fine to exceptional spinning reels. While there are fewer choices in the entry-level category, mid to premium options are brilliant.

How Long Do Daiwa Reels Last On Average?

This question is asked frequently yet is impossible to answer. By and large, Daiwa reels are well-built, with better-than-average quality controls.

However, the user will determine the working life of a Daiwa reel. A well-maintained Exist, BG, Saltist, or Saltiga could last a lifetime.

What Is One Of The Best Daiwa Ultralight Reels?

While “best” depends on application suitability and the angler’s concept of value, the QR750 is my pick.

With 3+1 bearings and 7 pounds of drag, it’s perfectly suited to a 4 or 6-pound line that sits perfectly on the alloy spool.

Popular with ice anglers, I like it for trout and panfish.

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