Best Spinning Rods Under $100
A spinning rod is arguably the most common type of fishing rod currently available. These fishing rods have a reel seat located on the under side of the rod, and the eyes also follow along the bottom of the rod, which are two main differences from a baitcasting rod.
While we have already written an article reviewing the best spinning rods overall, these rods cover a wide price range, and the higher end of the range may be unreasonable for many recreational anglers. Therefore, we would like to cater this article to the budget angler who wants to upgrade his or her rod without breaking the bank.
Keep in mind that while these rods can all be generally found for under $100, this doesn't mean that they're crappy rods. It's entirely possible to find a great spinning rod that offers excellent value without having to spend too much. For example, the increase in quality from a $25 rod to a $75 rod is way more pronounced than an increase in quality from a $225 rod to a $275 rod.
In any case, we hope the following reviews will give you a sense of what is available and what to look for in a cheaper spinning rod. If this will be your first personal rod and you are setting up your gear and tackle from scratch, it could also be worth checking out our article reviewing spinning reels under $100, as these will pair nicely with your new rod.
- Very low cost
- 2-piece design for storage and transportation
- Aeroglass construction rod blank
- Aluminum-oxide guides
- Fast action and medium power
- Available in a variety of lengths
- Durability can be compromised if 2-piece interface becomes damaged
- Lower sensitivity with 2-piece design.
- A little heavy
The Shimano Solora 2-piece spinning rod is a great budget rod. We don't say this only because it's one of the cheapest spinning rods you can get, but that the low cost doesn't come at the cost of quality, at least to the amount that one would typically expect. Of course, there are better spinning rods available that are way more expensive, but if you're tight for cash, the Solora provides good bang-for-your-buck, as it can usually be found for well under $50.
The materials used in this rod aren't anything fancy, but are still solid. The aeroglass rod blank will hold up well, but it's definitely not as light as carbon fiber, so it's a little heavier overall. They use graphite components for the reel seat, which is nice, and the aluminum oxide guides are fairly standard for spinning rods in this price range.
The 2-piece design can be pretty convenient, as it allows for easy storage and transportation, and you will have a hard time finding something of the same quality at a lower price. Where this rod may really entice some anglers is with its versatility, primarily due to the available lengths, flex, and power. This rod comes in many different sizes, but in this case, 7 feet will be ideal if you are prioritizing versatility. The medium power and fast action maximize the versatility, which makes it a great universal rod to own.
Overall, this is one of the best spinning rods you can find at such a low cost. Additionally, you can feel a little more confident in this rod, as it is manufactured by Shimano, which is one of the most reliable fishing rod brands. If you have any problems, their customer service is solid, and they have a wide range of similar products to choose from. If your feeling tight for cash, this particular rod is a great option.
- Good price
- Extremely well-liked brand of rods
- Premium cork grip
- Ugly Tuff guides
- Added graphite for lighter weight and increased sensitivity
- Lighter weight and increased sensitivity comes at a cost of slightly reduced durability
- Some find the tip a little too flexible for the respective class
The Ugly Stick line of spinning rods has been consistently well reviewed by numerous anglers with varying levels of experience. They take care to provide strength right where you need it, and they incorporate 35% more graphite than the Ugly Stik GX2 (another popular model), which acts to reduce the weight substantially and allows the rod to be more sensitive. If there is any trade-off to this, it's in the durability, but the vast majority of anglers who use this rod don't find that to be an issue.
The cork handle is a nice feature, which are actually becoming increasingly less common on cheap spinning rods now. and their proprietary Ugly Tuff guides help maximize the durability of the guides, so as long as you clean any debris from them the odd time, you should have a well-performing and durable set of guides that won't chip away at your line.
Conveniently, the Ugly Stik Elite spinning rod comes in a huge range of sizes, and most sizes are also available in either a 1-piece or 2-piece design. While some find the two piece to be a little more convenient, we would still opt for the 1-piece design in order to preserve all of the sensitivity that is offered in the blank. The prices for 1-pice and 2-piece don't differ that much from each other, so really it will just come down to your personal preference.
Overall, this rod comes in at a Goldilocks price point - not too cheap, not too expensive. It offers great value and the ability to choose from a multitude of sizes and designs is a bonus. The brand is certainly reliable, and if anything does go wrong, the company usually offers excellent customer service. Just be careful, some of their products that used to come with lifetime warranties may not have that any more, as we noticed some are now 7 year warranties. Just double check that if it's important to you.
- Excellent performance
- Custom grooved TAC handle
- Deep pressed titanium guides
- Carbon bound blanks are spiraled with carbon thread
- Fuji reel seat
- Lots of sizes available
- At the very top end of this price range
- Stiffness of the tip can sometimes be a little different than expected
Have you ever seen one of those shows where people are looking for a house, they have a budget, they are given three option, and then one of the options is just out of the budget? Well, this is basically what we're doing here, and I don't really know how to feel about that. In any case, the Fenwick HMG spinning rod can often be found for under $100, but depending on where you get it, what size and design it is, and if you are counting taxes in the 'under $100' requirement, it may be a little over that benchmark.
In any case, we thought it was worth showing a good rod at this upper price point so you can have an idea of what the best spinning rod you can get is. Of course, a lot of anglers base their evaluations on personal preferences, so some may disagree with us, but we would be surprised if we found someone who really didn't agree this is a really nice rod.
The thing we like most about this rod are the highly durable guides. They are made of a hard pressed titanium, so you don't have to worry about any inserts popping out, and it takes a lot to bend them out of shape or to chip them, especially on the inside. Many anglers overlook the importance of the guides, but a smooth retrieval that doesn't chip away at your line can pay off big time in the long run.
The TAC handle is also really nice, as it is good in any condition and provides a similar grip to cork, but with greater durability, and is definitely better than EVA (in our opinion). The blank is extremely strong, as it is made from a lightweight, yet highly durable, carbon fiber. You can find the rod in different sizes and actions, so it's almost customizable in that sense.
Overall, this is an excellent spinning rod in general, but does often fall into the 'under $100' category, which is a bonus. You can get it in a 1-piece or 2-piece design in many different sizes and actions, and the company is known to provide great customer service as well. The only drawback is sometimes the stiffness of the rod is a little different than expected, but generally speaking, all of the features of this rod are great. We especially like the guides, which can hold up really well even to the most abrasive braid.
What to Look for in Cheaper Spinning Rods
Many people think that a cheap spinning rod means you simply get what's available. This is an understandable train of thought; however, it is entirely possible to find rods with higher quality features than counterparts at a similar price, it just takes a little research.
While we can't tell you exactly what you preferences should be, as this will depend on what you're fishing for and where you're fishing, as well as your level of experience, we can tell you what we personally look for in cheaper spinning rods.
Size and Action
This may seem obvious, but if you're enticed by a particular rod, but come to learn that it isn't available in your desired length or action, we would suggest moving on. It can be tempting to get a different size and/or action that is kind of close to what you originally wanted, but at the end of the day, you're looking for a certain type of rod for a reason.
Some anglers place a big emphasis on grip, with many preferring a cork grip over a standard foam or EVA. If you haven't had an issue with the grip on your current rod, this may not be so important to you, but we would still suggest trying out the feel of a rod with a different grip, just in case you notice a huge difference.
This is one of the first things we look at. In our opinion, a good set of guides can go a really long way both in terms of performance and preserving the line currently on your reel. Even a little wear on your line caused by an abrasive guide can lead to the difference between landing and losing a trophy. Guides can vary greatly on spinning rods under $100, so there is certainly a variety to choose from.
Blank Material and Design
There usually isn't too much variability here. We often see stronger and more lightweight materials being used as the price increases, but the variability in the exact material isn't too big. In this case, we would look out for other customer reviews that speak to the performance and durability. It's really easy for a company to market their rod as lightweight, sensitive, AND durable, but realistically, one of these characteristics is usually far more present than the others, so you will have to match that with your personal preferences.
Video Tutorial on Choosing a Spinning Rod
If you want some more detailed and visual information on the features of a spinning rod and pairing it with an appropriate reel, please check out this great video below.
Generally speaking, if you're putting in the time to research different spinning rods, you're probably not going to be disappointed with your final decision. If you're on a budget, this can often motivate you to find the best bang-for-your-buck, so try not to stress out too much. The options we covered above are all good choices, so hopefully this article can serve as both a starting point, as well as a fall-back option if you can't find anything that is more suitable to your individual needs. Good luck!