The Penn Battle III Spinning Reel Review 2021

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The CMC gear upgrade to The Penn Battle III now makes it a spinning reel worthy of the more serious fishing angler. 

Importantly, it remains affordable. And, thanks to this gear upgrade, it stands out against competitors.

It is by no means an entry-level price point. And your average angler will likely suggest the new Penn Battle is relatively pricey.

I would argue that while the price is up there, you’re getting plenty of reel for your dollar.

Generally speaking, I would recommend the new Battle to any budget-conscious, yet serious, dedicated fishing angler who spends a lot of time on the water.

The Battle III is now a true stayer. Robust, in the Penn tradition. 

You get plenty of smooth power, capacity, and strength, in a product that will see you through many seasons of heavy workloads.

The new Penn Battle now falls into a category I’d call an entry-level pro. I believe Penn has achieved value for money and that the upgrade was worthy of a series re-birth. 

Let’s have a closer review of the Penn Battle III.

Penn Battle III Saltwater Spinning Reel Review

Such is the competition at this price point it’s difficult to suggest anything is particularly unique about the Penn Battle III. 

That’s apart from the fact there is no other reel that is in every way identical.

Immediately I can rattle off several great reels that offer the same sort of performance, durability, and fishing experience.

Daiwa has the BG, the Eliminator, and the Exceler reels. Shimano has the Nasci and the Sedona. And that’s just getting started with two manufacturers. There’s plenty more.

As I said, it’s a hotly contested price point.

The reason I believe it’s so hot is because of the demand for professional-style reel performance and features while maintaining an accessible price tag.

Instead of saying “unique”, I’d rephrase it. I’d ask; what makes the Penn Battle III stand out in a crowd and bring in into selection contention?

Interestingly, this is easily answered. With the machined gears, 5 sealed bearings, all-metal body, rotor, and spool; the Penn Battle 3 is genuinely built to last and to perform.

Making the series stand out further is its massive size range. 

It starts at 2500, moving through to 10000. There are also 3 high-speed models in 4000, 6000, and 8000. This range pretty well covers the lion’s share of fishing applications.

This is old school build quality. 

The Penn trademark. These days, no matter the product, anything that is built to last while retaining its out-of-the-box performance for many years, falls into the ‘unique’ category. 

That might sound a little cynical, but the reality, nonetheless.


  • Outstanding size range
  • Brilliant build. Robust. It will last many seasons of hard use
  • Smooth crank and powerful drag
  • Excellent spool capacities


  • Would benefit a lot from sealing
  • Little to separate it from other models

>>Check Price on Amazon<<

Battle III Specifications

  • 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
  • Check full specs here

Top Features of the Penn Battle III

The Penn Battle III series has very generous drag and spool capacities. 

In all likelihood, few anglers will ever max out the spool or drag beyond limits, regardless of spinning reel size. 

I’m a big fan of these fantastic fish fighting features. But the Battle delivers more. Let’s have a concise look at the best Penn Battle III features.

CMC Gears

For my money, the CMC gears is a big feature. Cast metal gears are fine. Indeed, they’re very common in spinning reels. 

However, machined gears are next level, and crafted to exacting standards. This benefits both performance and endurance.

Machining to the finest of tolerances affords gear teeth the tightest of play-free mesh. 

You get a far smoother, more powerful crank for one. Secondly, the absence of movement between teeth mitigates wear. Your spinning reel will perform at peak performance for far longer.

Full Metal Body

Sure, graphite cuts the weight down and offers corrosion resistance. But it’s no substitute for the strength and rigidity of a full metal body. 

The side plate is metal, so too is the rotor. The spool is a lightweight, yet strong alloy.

The Penn Battle III might be a little heavier than its rivals. However, the rigidity of full metal keeps those CMC gears in perfect mesh. 

The absence of twist delivers all the power to the fight and limits wear on critical components.

While it might be a personal thing, I also think a full metal body and rotor looks a lot better than graphite.

Sealed Bearings

Bearings are good. Shielded bearings are better. Sealed bearings are the best by far, and there’s 5 of them in the Penn Battle III.

Main gears and pinions love the support of multiple bearings. Your reel works easier with a bigger bearing count, and so does the angler.

The beauty of sealed bearings is that they keep the garbage out. 

Just about everything on the ocean wants to get inside your spinning reel and kill it. Sealed bearings go a long way to prevent this.

The bottom line is that sealed bearings will perform at peak for far longer before requiring a repack or change.

Outstanding Size Range

The size range completes the Penn Battle III package and is a standout feature. There’s something for the finesse fishing angler through to those hunting GT’s in the blue saltwater.

From babbling mountain brooks to distant offshore reefs, the Battle range has it covered. 

The high speed options are well placed, delivering stickbait, popper, and metal slug fishing anglers a little more scope for cranking fast.

The smaller spinning reels are already pretty quick, making them ideal for those who like flipping and pitching with spin.

The Penn Battle is Not Sealed

I’m not sure of the added cost of IPX5/6 sealing, but I feel the addition of this sealing feature would have put the Battle III well and truly above its competitors.

Penn 1338215 Battle II 1000 Spinning Fishing Reel
  • Durable, high range spinning reel ideal for conquering big saltwater game fish
  • Full metal body, sideplate, and rotor and heavy duty aluminum bail wire offer exceptional durability
  • HT 100 carbon fiber drag system provides a powerful drag without sacrificing smoothness
  • Fluid cranking with 5 sealed stainless steel ball bearings and instant anti reverse bearing

Last update on 2021-02-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What Are Some Penn Battle II Saltwater Alternatives?

There are plenty of saltwater alternatives should you choose not to go down the Penn Battle III path. The reels I like of similar performance and features are the Quantum Cabo and the new Daiwa BG.

The new Daiwa BG has an all-new look with its monocoque body. It may cost a little more depending on where you purchase it, but it’s a brilliant reel.

The Cabo is an awesome reel also. The Cabo, like the Battle, has a strong focus on strength, corrosion resistance, and a smooth powerful crank.

I’ll be honest with you. Given the choice, I’d find the selection very difficult. The Cabo edges out in front with features, but there’s only a limited size range.

The Daiwa BG MQ ticks all of the boxes and then some, but it’s also more expensive than the Penn battle. Very tough choice! But in a good way.

However. The closest match to the Battle is the Penn Spinfisher VI. It’s also cheaper than the battle. 

The Spinfisher has a great range and a few more features including sealing. It’s honestly difficult to see why one might choose one over the other.

Battle III 2500 Vs the 3000 – Which is Best?

For versatility, your first choice should be the 3000. The 3000 can do everything the 2500 can, albeit a touch heavier.

The 2500, however, can’t really do all that the 3000 can. I’d use the 3000 for light surf work as often as I could., I’d also use it in the kayak.

The 2500 is really special for those doing light sports work and finesse fishing. 

It’s limited to inshore work, but is so strong it will cover quite a number of applications from trout to bass to estuary panfish.

Penn Battle III vs Spin Fisher – Which is Best?

This is one of the strangest things about Penn. On paper, the Spinfisher VI is a better reel because of the IPX 5 sealing. The reels feel very similar from crank to cast to fight. They also look pretty similar.

I can’t quite work out why manufacturers do this. My hunch is that it just evolves this way and is unintentional. The added option with the Spinfisher is that it has Live Liner options in several sizes.

Is There A Penn Battle 3 Combo Option?

Something you’re likely to come across with the Battle III is great value, big performance combos. 

You’ll find your local tackle shops big and small, have a few combos featuring the Battle III.

>>Check Combo Price on Amazon<<

Verdict – Penn Battle III

The Penn Battle III is a fine spinning reel in its own right. However, it falls down in that there is little to separate it from competing models, including those from its own stable.

While it’s wonderful to be spoiled for choice as we are, it’s also cool to see highly distinctive features that make a spinning reel stand out.

The Penn Battle III is definitely one for the Penn fan. Moreover, the Penn Battle fan. It’s difficult to know where to put your money. However, should you choose the Battle III, it’s a choice you’ll be more than pleased with.

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