I’m shopping for a new fishing reel for this spring. I noticed that all of the spinning reels tell how many bearings they have. Is it better to have less or more bearings, and what purpose do they serve, what advantage do they give you?


9 Responses to “How Many Bearings Should A Good Spinning Reel Have?”

  • exert-7 says:

    I find that with any fishing reel, “more is better” when it comes to ball bearings. The purpose they serve is primarily the reduction of friction on moving parts. With quality tackle becoming more expensive it makes sense to buy reels that will last and provide good service with a minimum of maintenance. Of course good cleaning and oiling is about the extent of keeping a good reel working smoothly and lasting for years.
    The spinning reels with at least 4 ball bearings are a good choice.
    This one is very good for the money.…

  • billy b says:

    If you can afford to pay for a good spinning reel then shell out a few more dollars and get one with as many bearings as there are available. Bearings that are sealed and corrosion resistant will last longer. The frame material should be considered as well in your planning. I have had graphite framed reels break just 1″ below where they attached to rod. Get an aluminum framed reel. The difference in strength far surpasses any weight savings from graphite.

  • Peter_AZ says:

    Ball bearings help a piece of machinery move more smoothly. In a reel there are generally several little balls captured between two concentric circular parts, one circle connected to the body of the reel and the other to the part which turns (the handle, for example). As the handle turns, the little balls roll and let the handle turn more easily. Old or cheap reels which don’t have bearings rely on grease to keep turning smoothly, and they can stick or jam, especailly with heavy use or when pulling on a big fish.
    More bearings help these parts move more smoothly, especially under the pressure of winding against a heavy fish. However, as long as the ball bearings are there, a difference of one or two probably won’t make much of a difference.

  • john K says:

    dont be fooled by quantity here.quality is the key and if u need a good reel you will have to pay more for it.ive been fishing for 35 plus yrs in all environments and have had 20 dollar reels and 100 dollar reels dont last if you fish all depends on your needs.if you go fishing 5 times a season/dont spend over 35 dollars on a reel.i have had good luck with abu garcia spinning reels.even the cheaper ones have served me well.dont buy off brand stuff/no matter how many bearings it has.

  • chris d says:

    PETER is right,to an extint………..
    the more ball bearing,they are actually roller bearings,the better.also the more the reel will cost.
    reels with more bearings will be alot smoother than lets say a reel with just 1 or 2.
    i do not buy a reel unless it has atleast 5 bearings,and i fish alot.

  • Truong N says:

    the more bearing the reels have the better they are. more bearing mean it reels smoother and it feels better in the hand. the less bearing it has it feel harder to crank and it is not as smoother. have you knowthis that the more bearing a reel has the more it cost? so it the stories go YOU PAY FOR WHAT YOU GET.

  • pheasant tail says:

    There will be as many opinions on this as there are fish in the sea……and everyone will swear they are correct, and to an extent they will be………. here’s my $.02
    Bearings will determine how smooth a reel will be.
    You need to try different reels in the store and see for yourself.
    If you pick up a reel w/ 4 or 5 ball bearings and it feels as smooth as one with 8 and costs $50 less, you have to determine if the cost is worth it. I would reccomend 4 ball bearing minimum.
    You also need to choose a reel for the type of fishing you are doing. What I mean by this is gear ratio. The higher the ratio
    the faster the reel will bring in line. Downside: the higher the number the less torque the reel will have. For most light
    freshwater applications (say a 7′ medium fast spinning rod
    with 6-10 lb test line) a gear ratio of between 4:1 and 6:1 will be fine.
    Next up: drag. Even if a reel has 8 or 9 ball bearings if the drag sytem is poor, the reel isn’t worth a wooden nickel. You’ll have a choice of front or rear drag. While rear drag reels are easier to adjust, they don’t have the “guts” of a front drag reel.
    Front drag reels usually have larger multiple washers (usually teflon) than rear drag reels.
    Now we come to brands…. Diawa, Shimano, Okuma, Penn….
    forgive me if I don’t mention them all. Each will have it’s own feel.
    (I’m partial to Shimano) but you should compare brands and see what feels best to you.
    When all is said and done you should find a very good reel with
    at least 4 ball bearings, a 4:1 to 6:1 gear ratio and preferably front
    drag for under $100.
    I use Shimano Stradic (about $120) reels on my spinning rods

  • stik says:

    In reference to bearings, most of the time more is better, like exert above said. Bearings make the reel smoother but you also need to still buy a quality reel because no amount of bearings will accommodate a reel if they are of poor quality. Check on the reel’s specs and see if they claim to be sealed or water-proof bearings. I have some low-end reels that have 6 and 8 bearings but the first time I used them in a hard rain they became hard to operate. And when I tried to clean them after wards they were just never the same. A good rule of thumb in reference to buying fishing equipment is to buy the best you can afford. Spend the money on a good reel, a quality rod, name brand line, and a few lures to start with. Then you can start to purchase more terminal tackle (lures,hooks,weights,etc.) when you are able. Anyone at a reputable tackle store will be glad to help you and if they won’t , then email me back and I certainly will.

  • Ryan says:

    More ball bearings are good and all but quality is much more important. I would rather buy a 5 ball bearing shimano than a 8 ball bearing off brand reel.