This article is going to discuss some of the top spinning reels made in the USA.
There are still plenty of patriots who look to purchase goods manufactured in their own country.
And why wouldn’t we, it makes a heck of a lot of economic sense, as a homegrown purchase bolsters the economy in which we have a significant vested interest.
In the US, there are still large numbers of the fishing fraternity who seek out American-made fishing products, from rods to terminal tackle and fishing reels of all styles.
While the US remains an angling powerhouse, the manufacture of fishing products, sadly, is a mere shadow of its former glory, particularly when it comes to spinning reels.
While specialty anglers such as fly enthusiasts are quite well served by homegrown products, regular spin reel weekend warriors have far fewer locally made products from which to choose.
In this article, we’re going to identify a few good reel options for those patriot anglers looking to stock their spin arsenals with American-made.
Let’s now look at the top American-made spinning reels for you to consider. I will also highlight the benefits of buying American made later in the article.
Top American Made Spinning Reels In 2021
It’s important to reiterate that we are discussing the top American made spinning reels only.
There are many conventional, game, fly, and other specialty reels that are manufactured in the USA.
The list of US-manufactured spin reels is not a big one. In fact, it’s incredibly small.
However, spinning reels made in the USA are a mix of innovative design, superior quality, and outstanding craftsmanship.
Except for one of the PENN models, you will not find a US-made spin reel that’s wallet-friendly.
However, you can definitely argue they are worth the money because they are built to last – LIKE REALLY!
Most of the US spinning reel models listed below are out of reach for anglers on a tight budget.
Nevertheless, you can be assured that when you buy American spinning reels, you are investing in quality that will last a lifetime.
What Spinning Reels Are Made in the USA?
Here are the top brands of spinning reels that are American-made.
- IRT Reels
- Accurate Reels
- PENN (Only a couple of spin reel models are still manufactured in the USA)
1. ZeeBaas Spinning Reels
From the first glance of a ZeeBaas spin reel, you will recognize an aesthetic you may have seen before.
In fact, you’ll notice all but one of the reels mentioned in this article share a similar aesthetic. The ZeeBaas has a strong resemblance to the groundbreaking Van Staal.
A few things you will notice are the body shape, aggressive porting, and the all-metal, military-style design.
The ZeeBaas looks like the sort of reel the military would issue seal teams and commandos.
Importantly, the ZeeBaas has the performance to back such a rigorous role.
Although the Van Staal was originally designed on similar principles; it now serves the corporate needs of Pure Fishing.
However, ZeeBaas remains an independent brand, committed to bespoke craftsmanship, premium performance, and lifetime durability.
The focus is genuinely on the customer.
A service inquiry, or inquiry of any type, is simply a matter of an old-school phone call or a convenient text.
You’ll speak directly to a person who can answer your question.
It’s a small, tight team that doesn’t hide behind a fence of endless call centers and other such service obstructions. ZeeBaas service is personal.
In fact, it’s so personal you can even customize your reel to suit your fishing application.
You won’t find a ZeeBaas on the shelf, they don’t mix it up with competing brands vying for shelf space and Amazon prominence.
As they say at ZeeBaas, “If you are looking for just another reel, you came to the wrong place.”
The ZeeBaas is not constructed on an assembly line with a faceless machine focussed on one component only and scheduled by a strict clock.
Of course, this sort of precision engineering, innovative and custom design, and customer backup don’t come cheap. There’s a price for high performance destined to last a lifetime.
You will spend well in excess of $900 to own a ZeeBaas.
For most weekend warriors, this high-end style spinning reel will never hit the purchase radar, the outlay is simply too much.
Nonetheless, ZeeBaas will argue they are value for money, and therefore affordable.
There is a great deal of value for money here.
However, affordability is relative, and I would argue there are relatively few anglers who’ll stretch their fishing budgets to such a price point.
The Key features of a ZeeBaas are strength, build quality, durability, drag power, retrieve efficiency, and full sealing ensuring every ZeeBaas is totally waterproof.
This makes the ZeeBaas a great saltwater spinning reel that is built to last.
- ZX20: Ideal for kayak work
- ZX-22: Ideal allrounder including kayak, boat, and bank work
- ZX-25: Surf and Ocean Rock master with near and offshore applications
- ZX-27: The biggest ZeeBaas for monster surf, rock, and offshore targets
- Here are the full specs.
2. lRT Fishing Reels
As mentioned earlier, aggressive porting, heavy-looking machined alloys, and oversized handles and knobs are a feature of the current US made spinning reels.
In many respects, there seems to be a deliberate resistance to the common Asian trend of making reels feather-light and finesse-driven.
This seems to be a return to the American past, to the roots of why American manufactured goods were so much bigger, heavier, stronger, and more capable than others.
Importantly, it also wore its heart on its sleeve by looking exactly like it performed and was meant to be used.
The IRT series starts at 200 (2000) size, and it’s anything but lightweight.
The 200 weighs in at 12.7 ounces, holds 250 yards of 20-pound braid, and packs a whopping 30 pounds of drag.
There’s no reason this reel couldn’t be deployed in the surf, near or offshore for that matter. With specs like this, it’s equipped to fight some hefty fish targets.
The crazy thing is, the 200 is the smallest on offer. It doesn’t have any other variants, it’s just the 200. But the 300, 400, 500, 6, 7 & 800 each have a variant.
The 300 has the UL variant, which couples the 200 body with 300 capacities to deliver a surf weapon that’s compact and more lightweight than your average surf spinning reel.
All the other sizes offer the DD variant which stands for dual drag. The dual drag is a IRT drag system that increases drag power due to the addition of 2 extra Kevlar washers on the top of the spool.
The 800 is the largest IRT on offer and is brilliant for chasing GT’s offshore, surf monsters, or Tuna from the ocean rocks.
The IRT series covers the lion’s share of spin reel fishing applications. There isn’t a puddle you can’t poke with an IRT. But this is not about finesse. This is pure American muscle.
The IRT is available from select distributors, and like the ZeeBaas, it’s not the sort of reel you’re going to chase on Amazon or your local tackle store.
The IRT has some elements of customization available but not to the extent of the ZeeBaas. Of particular interest are the paint and color options available.
American-made is one of the core values of the IRT team. IRT reels are made by fishermen for fishermen.
Continuous innovation ensures they stay ahead of the development curve, and focused field testing delivers quality assurance.
In many ways, the IRT story is the classic American dream, nestled in core American values.
Their vision is, “To lead the industry in producing the longest-lasting, most advanced, highest-performing fishing reels possible.”
While the smaller IRT reels are a little more accessible than the ZeeBaas reels, they’re still very expensive in anybody’s language.
The smallest IRT is a touch short of $550, without any extras or customization. The big-hitting 800 DD is just short of $990.
In essence, the IRT is designed to cater to the average angler, although it may not be accessible to everyone.
The IRT is a precision instrument, designed for the discerning angling enthusiasts for whom only the best will do.
The IRT isn’t about price, it’s about fishing passion of the highest order.
The IRT 500 will get you an IRT that will do just about everything. With a 500, you have great versatility to tackle everything inshore and a huge array of fish targets near and offshore.
With an IRT 500, you don’t have to worry about what you’re getting from a thousand dollars.
On the contrary, with that budget, you’ll have plenty left over to pair it with a rod of equal stature.
3. Accurate Reels
Accurate has become famous for its range of conventional saltwater spinning reels.
For the blue water angler, the Accurate conventional reel range commands respect due to its American-made high performance, with accessibly priced models accompanying their high-end range.
Accurate has the one spin reel series, the SR spin reel series, and the prices are not for the faint-hearted.
Clearly, when you’re asking over the $1000 mark, you’re targeting those anglers for whom Stella and Saltiga are a must-have in the arsenal.
The SR50 is a beast of a reel, designed for offshore wars against the ocean’s most devastating fish species.
At 47 ounces, it’s unashamedly heavy duty. It will hold 450 yards of 130-pound braid and it packs a monstrous 40 pounds max drag.
We’re chasing Tuna, GT’s, and billfish with this particular SR, and the specs certainly support the big fish aspirations.
Again, we see the spirit of American muscle. There’s no finesse nonsense here, this is traditional America – big, powerful, bold, high performance, and built to last.
There are 6 models with 5 sizes available. The SR 30 has the SR30L variant with a slower ratio for heavier cranking.
The smallest of the range, the SR6, still packs a whopping 15 pounds of max drag, which covers a huge variety of inshore applications both fresh and saltwater.
Considering the SR^ will hold 200 yards of 20-pound braid, there is very little you can’t do with the 10-ounce powerhouse.
With the SR12, 20, and 30, you have outstanding versatility with excellent crossover between applications.
Like the ZeeBaas and the IRT, the Accurate is not sold everywhere. However, you can find the Accurate with the big distributors such as Tackle Direct.
Accurate Fishing Products is a division of Accurate Grinding and Manufacturing Corporation.
The family-owned business commenced in 1950 manufacturing jet turbine engine components.
Moving into CNC machining in the ’70s, Accurate Fishing Products was launched in 1990.
In many respects, there are quite a few similarities between the start-up of Accurate and many other famous fishing brands.
There is plenty of synergy between the brand name and its history. CNC is about the most incredible machining accuracy available today.
This principle is manifest in all Accurate reels.
The biggest driving factor was the Accurate twin drag concept, which would eventually become the defining feature of all Accurate fishing reel series.
Again, the big difference between the reels listed here and the factory brands is the product back-up and support.
Like the other reels mentioned above, Accurate prides themselves on being totally accessible to their customer base.
Queries and advice are fielded by knowledgeable customer service reps and reel technicians. Again, simply call.
You don’t have to face off with a call center, or send an email on a wing and a prayer that someone will actually respond in a timely manner.
Accurate is all about American-made and prides itself on delivering innovation and precision built to last.
The only question I have about the Accurate is the 1-year warranty. I would expect more from a manufacturer who makes such claims about longevity.
Check out the Specs for the SR50.
- Patented TwinDrag system
- 14 Class-5 ABEC stainless steel bearings sealed with Teflon impregnation
- Unique drag Pre-Set knob on the end of the spool
- Titanium drag plates
- Stainless steel gears
- Stainless steel springs and clips
- TwinSpin reel bag
- AccuCare reel service
- One-year warranty
- Great saltwater spinning reel
- More options here
4. Penn Spin Reels
PENN is a classic example of a household all-American brand that has been vacuumed up by corporate interest.
As a result, the famous reel icon now only manufactures two of its spinning reels in the USA. The two spinning reels are the Tourque II and the Z Series.
The Torque II and the Z series are a reminder of what PENN stood for. It’s anybody’s guess as to how long these spin reels will remain manufactured in the US.
Penn Tourque II
The Torque II is a little more in keeping with the other reels presented on this list.
It’s expensive, incredibly strong, and powerful and built to last a lifetime of fishing under the toughest of saltwater conditions.
The Torque II is available in three sizes, the 5500, 7500, and 9500. All models are traditional PENN heavy, so you can forget about the lightweight cast.
- 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 2021-10-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
The Torque focus is clearly on large aggressive species. The 9500 has 60 pounds of max drag, which is astonishing for a spin reel. It will hold 490 yards of 80-pound braid.
This is a reel for ocean monsters such as punishing GT’s and bullet train billfish. All models are ideal for hunting the surf, ocean rocks, nearshore, and offshore applications.
In many ways, this reel speaks to the game fishing roots of PENN. It’s big, robust, heavy, and built to outlast the angler after decades on the water.
The Torque II is by no means cheap, and you’ll pay well in excess of $700 for a 7500. Ultimately, this reel, like the others above, is an enthusiast’s reel only.
Torque II Specs.
- Full Metal Body, sideplate, and rotor
- CNC Gear™ technology
- IPX6 Sealed body and spool design
- Sealed Slammer® drag system with Dura-Drag™
- 9+1 stainless steel bearing system
- Instant Anti-Reverse bearing with silent backup ratchet
- Superline Spool
- Line Capacity Rings
- Great saltwater spinning reel made in the USA
The Penn Z Series
The Z series is easily the most famous due to its astonishing 50-year history, its bailess casting, and surf designation.
The Z series is the only reel listed here that might be able to slip its bail arm into the affordable price point.
In many ways, the Z series IS PENN. Robust simplicity that will handle the tough conditions of surf fishing.
- Product Type:FISHING_REEL
- Package Dimension:15.24 centimeters LX 15.24 centimeters WX11.43 centimeters HX
- Package weight:1.85 pounds
- Color:Black Gold
Last update on 2021-10-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
There are two models from which to choose with each model epitomizing the convenience of simplicity of design.
With 15 pounds of drag, there’s enough power to handle drum and stripers from any beach-side gutter or hole.
The modest max drag is well supported by huge spool capacities, giving the average angler enough backup to handle a modest shark, should it take a liking to your live bait.
A machined brass main gear with stainless pinion head the internals, but with one and 3 bearings respectively, it’s clear PENN had no desire to spend another cent on the trusty old faithful.
While slow and rudimentary, the Z series will still catch you a heap of fish, and do it reliably.
Z Series Specs.
- Made in the USA of domestic and imported components
- Full Metal Body with Graphite sideplate
- Aluminum rotor
- Machined and anodized aluminum spool
- Machined brass main gear with stainless pinion
- HT-100 drag system
- Great saltwater protection
Why Buy American Made Spinning Reels? What are The Benefits?
Unfortunately, this is not an easy question to answer. We can no longer say that buying American-made is a guarantee of superior quality, craftsmanship, and good, old-fashioned value for your money.
Importantly, there’s a huge selection of spin reel imports that offer performance, durability, and value for money, and the US market loves them.
American made spinning reels, as in designed, constructed, and built using American made components and raw materials are more or less niche these days.
Ultimately, this situation comes down to globalization and the corporatization of fishing products manufacturing.
Many American-made fishing brands have been acquired by the fishing corporate juggernaut Pure Fishing, such as PENN, Shakespeare, Mitchell, Pflueger, even Van Staal.
Their corporate charter varies profoundly from that of the all-American reel manufactures born of the American dream in the height of American manufacturing supremacy.
When Mitchel created the first spin reel back in 1948, the USA was a very different countryin terms of manufacturing.
While Pure Fishing is an employer of Americans, it’s not about manufacturing.
Pure Fishing needs its subsidiaries, the brands you grew up with, to serve the best interest of shareholders.
These days, the most effective way to turn enhanced profits is to outsource manufacturing to countries with ultra-low labor costs.
Hence, and sadly for many of us, these all American brands are now manufactured in China.
Some reel manufacturers retain the manufacturing of some of their reel lines. PENN is a good example of this.
The bulk of their products have manufacturing outsourced to China, however.
Even for those reel brands that state their products are designed and assembled here in the US, one has to question where reel components are sourced.
Are the components American-made? Where do the bearings, bushes, and springs come from? Where was the steel cast, and the aluminum machined?
For many American anglers, this is a lamentable story of great loss.
For others, particularly younger anglers, what’s important is a quality reel they can afford. For others, there is simply indifference.
Despite the radical changes in spin reel manufacturing, the benefit of purchasing American-made spin reels remains the same.
You’re investing in US innovation, and encouraging the growth and sustainability of homegrown manufacturing that has all but left our shores for cheaper pastures.
On the bright side, all is not lost.
The dedicated patriot angler, determined to fish spinning reels made in the USA, can find a quality spin reel to cover the bulk of their fishing applications.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Penn Spinning Reels are Made in the USA?
The Penn Torque II and the Penn Z series are made in the USA.
Are Shimano Reels Made in the USA?
No, Shimano reel are not made in the USA. Shimano reels are made in Japan.
Are Pflueger reels made in the USA?
No. Pflueger reels are not made in the USA. Pflueger Reels are manufactured in China.
Are Lews Reels Made in the USA?
Lew’s reels are manufactured in Korea.
The USA Made Spin Reel Wrap
Some call it progress, some call it a tragedy. Whatever you call it, it is what it is – US manufacturing across most industries is in major decline.
There is a bright side for the true angler, however.
The list above, while not coming close to presenting any sort of variety, still provides access to American-made, and American innovation and ingenuity.
Perhaps with the exception of the Z series, all the reels above are precision tools, built to handle the toughest saltwater treatment and built to do it for a lifetime.
In that regard, my list of spinning reels made in the USA represent true and traditional American manufacturing values despite the fact they may have some components sourced from abroad.