Penn Battle III vs Daiwa BG: What Are The Differences, And Which Is Best To Buy?

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Modern Spinning reel anglers are spoiled for choice. The spinning reel market is a hotbed of fierce manufacturer competition, and we are definitely the winners.

Shimano, Daiwa, and Penn are household brands that have been vying for spin supremacy over the last couple of decades. Over this period, the competition has been tight.

However, it’s my opinion that Daiwa has now come out in front of their peers, setting the benchmark in performance, variety, innovation, consistency, and build quality.

Value for money is much harder to assess as it is subjective and relative to individual budget constraints.

However, I’m not the only industry commentator to recognize that Daiwa is (if arguably) doing it better.

The Daiwa BG spin and the Penn Battle III spinning reels are top-rated models from their respective stables. 

But is the BG series better than the Battle III?

Let’s have a closer look and compare the Penn Battle III vs Daiwa BG, and you can be the judge.

Just to show I’m not biased in any way, I have Penn, Daiwa, Shimano, and Okuma in my go-to spinning reel arsenal. I love them all.

Penn Battle III vs Daiwa BG – What Are The Main Differences In Features?

Explaining the differences between both reel series is a little trickier than you might expect. For example, we can compare the value of 6 bearings in the BG vs 5 bearings in the Battle.

We can compare the cast alloy body of the Battle versus the machined alloy body of the BG. What about the subtle variations in gear ratios, spool capacities, and drag capacities?

No doubt the technical spec boffins will analyze these variations to the nth degree, agonizing over half an ounce of weight, or 5 more pounds of max drag. 

Each to their own, but in my opinion, contemplating such minor specification differences achieves very little.

Last update on 2024-04-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

For example. The BG 8000 has a max drag of 33 pounds. The Battle III 8000 has 30. 

The BG 8000 will hold 440 yards of 80-pound braid. The Battle will hold 345 yards of 80-pound braid.

Respective gear ratios are 5.3 versus 4.7. Line recovery favors the BG over the Penn with 53 inches over 38 inches. 

However, the high-speed Penn 8000 recovers 44 inches which are well over a metric meter, so quite substantial anyway.

We can obsess over these specs, but for the average angler, we will rarely ever test our reels to a point where these slight differences are ever relevant to a fish fight.

However, having just said all that, and at the risk of contradicting myself, let’s add a qualification. 

Note, I said the average angler – which is most of us. For the more sports-focused angler, refining performance to application matters.

A sports angler with a fishing budget that allows them to be selective will choose a reel with specs more suited to a specific application. 

When deliberating over a reel choice, specs better suited to an application win selection.

Essentially, the chosen reel might not be ‘better’ per se, but simply more suitable for the application, even if only slightly. Let’s unpack this a little with an example.

More Suitable. Not Better?

Let’s take a few reel features and explore the notion of “more suitable, not better.” 

Let’s say we’re after an 8000 size spinning reel for casting metal slices, stickbaits, and poppers at GT’s and tuna.

Both are ferocious fish, belligerent fighters, and determined to ruin your day. Do you take the Battle or the BG? Keeping in mind, both reels are suitable.

Considering that casting metal slices is on the menu, speed is a factor. In this case, the extra speed and pick-up of the BG are better suited.

The BG also has an extra 100 yards braid capacity. If any fish will quickly deplete your spool of expensive braid down to the mono backing, it’s these guys. 

In this case, the extra 100 yards of back-up provided by the BG just makes sense.

Comparison of Features – Plus X Factor

A fishing reel is more than just the sum of its parts. All the specs, features, ergonomics, and aesthetics combine to create something more. Essentially, it comes down to feel. Will the reel cover my applications? Tick…yes.

From this point, it comes down to feel and durability. And both are subjective and angler specific. In other words, opinion and user behavior over scientific analysis.

Reel durability often comes down to care and maintenance routines, which are angler-specific. And feel is often very personal.

So, when comparing the BG vs the Battle, two very similar reels, how are we to select? 

Let’s look at some core feature differences and similarities.


The BG has one extra bearing. I defy anybody to feel the difference of one less. However, the Battle bearings are sealed, whereas the BG bearings are specially treated corrosion-resistant stainless.

Model Options

The BG offers 10 size options, starting at 1500 through to 8000. There is no 7000. 

All sizes except for the 5000 have half size increments in between. E.g., 3000 to 3500.

The Battle starts at 1000, then stops at 10,000 with the exception of the 9000 and 7000. There are 12 models altogether, including high-speed options in sizes 4, 6, and 8000.


Both bodies and sideplates are alloy. The BG, however, is machined alloy. A more precision-based construction process than metal casting.


Both manufacturers promote their gears as significant features. The BG has their machined alloy Digigear II system, surfaces treated for increased strength. 

The pinion is machined brass.

The Battle uses the CNC brass and alloy gears, depending on the model. Pinions are machined brass.


The Daiwa uses their synthetic Air Rotor system to take out the weight, delivering a more balanced, lighter crank.


Both drag systems are very well known across the industry. The Daiwa’s ATD focuses on initial start-up inertia, reducing strike loss, and increasing hook-ups.

The Battle uses Penn’s famous HT100 drag, renowned for being very smooth and highly durable.


Both reels look great. The BG has more contemporary high-tech lines, looking a little more futuristic and stealthy.

The Battle has Penn’s classic spin reel lines. The traditional look is classy, as is the traditional color combination of Penn gold and black.

Feel and Crank

For me, this is the obvious difference. The Penn, in keeping with tradition, is a heavier crank. The Daiwa, on the other hand, has a very light crank.

While this is a personal preference, the feel of the Daiwa is compelling. It’s incredibly light yet strong and precise. 

It’s not so much the extra bearing. It’s more because of the more advanced rotor design and superior grease.

I would also argue that the Digigear system delivers a better mesh – not that you’d be able to tell straight out of the box.

    Review of the Penn Battle III Spinning Reel

    The Penn battle III is a great spin reel with broad appeal, covering a litany of fishing applications. 

    Robust construction, powerful drags and cranks, and precision machined gears deliver a fantastic fishing experience.

    Models cover the finest of finesse applications to tackling brutes from the blue water. 

    There are excellent surf and rock models, with the estuaries, piers, and jetties fully covered. Kayak anglers and boaties can take their pick.

    The robust construction ensures longevity if cared for well. The bearings are sealed, adding another level of protection for extended peak performance in tough conditions. 

    Always do your level best to keep the water out, however. For those new to Penn, you may find the crank a little heavier than you’re used to. 

    Particularly if you are used to modern Japanese manufactured spinning reels. 

    Nonetheless, the crank is smooth, as is the HT100 drag, which is also very smooth, predictable, and trustworthy.

    Starting at sizes 1000 through to 10000, with 3 high-speed models, the Battle III is built for all anglers, experienced, pro, and noob. 

    At the lower end of the mid-price point, the Penn Battle III offers excellent value for money.

    Awarded the 2020 ICAST Best of Category Winner – Saltwater Spinning Reel, the Penn Battle III is a sure bet in a cluttered, highly competitive mid-price spin reel market.


    • Excellent model selection
    • Powerful crank and drag
    • The smoothness of the crank and drag
    • Sealed bearings
    • Bearing count for the price
    • Spool capacities


    • The crank is a little heavy
    • Some may find the reel weights a little heavy relative to competitors
    • Only the bearings are sealed
    • High-Speed models should be faster considering their “high Speed” designation 

    >>Check Latest Price on Amazon<<

    Review of the Daiwa BG Spinning Reel

    The BG is a fantastic reel and enjoys pride of place in the go-to spin arsenals of countless anglers. 

    It’s a classy reel with strong bloodlines, wearing its obvious pedigree in its stylish, stealthy aesthetics.

    This reel is one of the best saltwater fishing reels on the market.

    With 6 corrosion-resistant bearings and the Daiwa Digigear II machined alloy main gear, the crank is super-synced, powerful, and strong yet remarkably light.

    Daiwas famous ATD (drag) system delivers intuitive resistance at the key moment, hook-up. So many fish are lost on strike; the ATD system is Daiwa’s answer to this age-old issue.

    While it’s certainly not foolproof, it still provides plenty of assistance. The ATD is a smooth and predictable drag system throughout all stages of a long fight.

    Daiwa’s Air Rotor system features on the BG. Anglers will notice how very light and balanced the crank feels. Coupled with silent oscillation, the crank is especially smooth.

    The range starts at size 1500, progressing through to the mighty 8000.

    This covers the lion’s share of fishing applications, from babbling brooks in the mountains to GT’s from your favorite reef outside the heads.

    The machined alloy body demonstrates Daiwa’s focus on the finer details. A strong housing remains light while allowing Digigear to do its thing free from torsion and twist.

    While not sealed, corrosion-resistant internals delivers better than average longevity credentials. Well cared for, the BG is a reel that will last countless fishing adventures.

    The BG will appeal to all anglers looking for a heavy-duty saltwater fishing reel with refined precision and brute strength. 

    The lower mid-price point BG represents outstanding value for money for beginner anglers through to seasoned pros.


    • Power to weight ratio
    • Value for money
    • Outstanding drag system
    • Machined gears and pinion
    • Corrosion resistant (treated) bearings
    • Stylish aesthetics
    • The lightness of the crank


    • Sealed bearings would offer next-level protection
    • No fast ratio; however, pick-up is still superb
    • Lower drag maximums on the small models require an experienced hand

    >>Check Latest Price on Amazon<<


    Is the Daiwa BG sealed?

    The Battle does not have any of Penn’s IPX sealing system. However, the Battle is extremely corrosion resistant thanks to its alloy construction and alloy and brass internals.

    The bearings aren’t sealed; however, they are treated for corrosion resistance.

    Is Penn Battle III sealed?

    The Battle does not have any of Penn’s IPX sealing system. However, the Battle is extremely corrosion resistant thanks to its alloy construction and alloy and brass internals.

    The bearings are sealed, adding next-level protection, keeping water, dirt, and sand out of these critical moving parts.

    What is the best Penn spinning reel?

    Penn doesn’t really make a dud spin reel. So, while it might sound obvious to say, the best Penn spin reel is the Penn that suits your budget and application.

    I’ve been a fan of the Slammer and the Spinfisher for a very long time. In my opinion, the Slammer is Penns best spin reel by far.

    It should be noted that the Penn has a top-of-the-top shelf model, the Torque II. 

    It’s a sensational spin reel that looks suspiciously like a Van Staal. It also has a price tag to take your breath away.

    It’s an astonishing spin reel, replete with 10 bearings. The 9500 has 60 pounds of Dura-Drag and holds a whopping 425 yards of 100-pound braid. 

    While I’ve not seen or tested the Torque, it’s certainly their most premium spinning reel model.

    Check out this link for a list of Penns best spin reels.

    Are Daiwa reels any good?

    In my opinion, Daiwa is now the leading spin reel manufacturer. For performance, variety, innovation, consistency, and build quality, they currently remain unchallenged.

    The Daiwa BG vs Penn Battle III. Which is Better?

    The answer to the question you’ve all been waiting for. In my opinion, the BG is a superior reel to the Battle III.

    It’s not one feature that creates the difference; it’s the combination of all parts that add up to a much classier feel and fishing experience.

    While the Penn Battle is a great reel and one I’d certainly recommend to anybody, the Daiwa delivers precision and strength you can actually feel.

    A clumsy analogy might be: The Battle is more like a solid, reliable family SUV, where the BG is more sports utility with a high-tech focus and modern, sleek styling.

    If you want to take a look at Penns most premium spinning reel model (the torque II) mentioned above, then see below

    Fair Warning: The price might make your eyes water 😥

    PENN Torque II Spinning, 290yd/15lbs, TRQII5500S
    • Full Metal Body, side plate, and rotor
    • CNC Gear technology
    • IPX6 Sealed body and spool design
    • Sealed Slammer drag system with Dura-Drag

    Last update on 2024-04-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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