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Best Spinning Rods

Updated August 2018
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 48 Models Considered
  • 7 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 193 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best spinning rods

    Last Updated August 2018

    If you want versatility while fishing, consider a spinning rod. It’s easy to cast whether you’re fishing from shore or a boat, and both left-handed and right-handed anglers can use it with ease. Spinning rods are also quite affordable; they’re a great option for beginners.

    There are some subtle differences between the various spinning rods on today’s market. If you’re thinking about buying one, BestReviews can help you understand these differences.

    The shopping guide below discusses different spinning rods and how to select the right one for your needs.

    What is a spinning rod?

    A spinning rod is a flexible fishing rod that operates with a spinning reel. You can use it to target many types of fish in many different locations. The fact that a spinning rod casts easily is one of its greatest benefits.

    It’s easy to mount a new reel to a spinning rod, but it’s important that you use the proper type: one with an open-face bail (the reel is not enclosed; you can see the fishing line). The reel on a spinning rod mounts beneath the rod, allowing you to hold it securely.

    You can use a spinning rod with live bait and small lures. You can allow the line to play out for fish that spook easily, or you can leave the bail locked so you feel the tension on the line when a fish strikes.

    Pros

    • Easy to learn: Beginning anglers have immediate casting success with a spinning rod. This is one of its biggest advantages.

    • Few tangles: Tangled line rarely occurs with a spinning rod.

    • Reels quickly: You can usually reel in a fish more quickly with a spinning rod.
       

    Cons

    • Less control: A spinning rod may not appeal to someone looking for ultimate rod control. Precise casting is difficult with a spinning rod.

    • Hard to master: This type of rod is easier to use, and most beginners will enjoy a moderate level of success. However, it’s harder to become great at using a spinning rod compared to other types of rods.
    DID YOU KNOW?

    Both left-handed and right-handed people can easily use a spinning reel.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    Most spinning rods have a handle made of cork or EVA foam. Both materials enable you to keep a firm grip on the rod. An EVA foam handle may last longer than a cork handle if the rod consistently sits in a socket.

    Spinning rod guides

    Round guides, spaced every several inches along the length of a spinning rod, keep the fishing line in place. Because the guides are positioned on the underside, the rod flexes naturally when a fish is on the line. The more guides a rod has, the more flexible the rod will be.

    The rings and brackets of a spinning rod guide could be made of stainless steel, ceramic, silicon carbide, or titanium.

    • Stainless steel: Stainless steel and other metals were common ring materials many years ago, but they’re rare now. The metal can abrade the fishing line, potentially leading to a weak spot or limiting your casting distance. You can still find brackets made of stainless steel even if the rings are made of another material.

    • Ceramic: Ceramic rings allow the fishing line to glide more easily than metal rings do, but the ceramic can break under pressure.

    • Silicon carbide: Silicon carbide (SiC) is the best material for a spinning rod guide. It creates minimal friction and heat when the fishing line rubs against it, allowing you to cast farther.

    • Titanium: You’ll occasionally find titanium guides on a spinning rod. Should you inadvertently bend a titanium guide, you can bend it back to its original shape.

    The reel seat is the area where the fishing reel connects to the spinning rod. If the reel seat is poorly made, the reel could pull loose under stress. A high-quality reel seat can accommodate nearly any brand of reel.

    Staff
    BestReviews

    Spinning rod action

    Experienced anglers can tell the difference in action among rods fairly quickly. You want to suit the action of the rod to the conditions in which you’re fishing.

    Fast action

    A fast spinning rod has a lot of flexibility in the last couple feet of the rod. Fast action comes in handy when you’re using a jigging technique. (A jigging technique entails a fast jerking motion that makes the lure move vertically.)

    Medium action

    A spinning rod with medium (or moderate) action is flexible midway down its length. These rods are versatile enough for all types of fishing.

    Slow action

    A slow rod has flexibility throughout its length. If you want to fish with live bait or make a smooth, long cast, a spinning rod with slow action works well.

    EXPERT TIP

    Several years ago, graphite spinning rods were susceptible to breakage. Today’s graphite rods are much more durable.


    Staff  | BestReviews
    EXPERT TIP

    When casting with a lightweight lure or bait, a spinning rod creates little to no friction. This enables you to cast farther than you might with a different type of reel.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Spinning rod prices

    Depending on quality and features, you can expect to pay between $15 and $200 for a spinning rod. Many spinning rods are sold without a reel.

    Short: Shorter spinning rods can be found for as little as $15 to $20.

    Average: Average spinning rods cost between $35 and $60.

    Long: Longer spinning rods that can handle more weight cost more than $60. Some run as high as $200.

    Rod with reel: You can sometimes find a spinning rod with a reel attached. This typically adds $35 to $75 to the overall cost, although we’ve seen some that sell for as little as $25 for a short rod and a low-quality reel.

    When fishing for walleye, bass, pike, or other sport fish, many anglers choose a rod with fast action because it performs better with the jigging technique.

    FAQ

    Q. What is the best material for a spinning rod?

    A. Spinning rods typically consist of graphite, fiberglass, or a combination of the two. Older graphite spinning rods were brittle, sometimes breaking under stress. Newly engineered graphite rods perform much better than they did several years ago. Graphite delivers flexibility and power when reeling in large fish. Fiberglass rods won’t enable you to feel gentle bites as easily as graphite, but fiberglass still lasts longer than graphite.

    Q. What is a modulus measurement?

    A. This tells you how stiff the spinning rod is. For example, an IM8 rod is very stiff. An IM7 rod has average flexibility, and an IM6 rod has the most flexibility. The stiffer the rod, the more accurate your casts will be and the less effort they will require.

    Q. What length should my spinning rod be?

    A. Most spinning rods are between 5 and 7.5 feet long, but you can find some that are slightly longer or shorter. Longer spinning rods give you more leverage. They may have two handles for precise casting; this comes in handy when fishing for salmon. Shorter spinning rods tend to separate into two pieces. They don’t usually cost as much as longer rods.

    The team that worked on this review
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