Having one of the best crankbait reels in your arsenal makes a huge difference. Whether you're deep-cranking, casting square bills, or ripping lipless crankbaits, using the wrong equipment will put you at a disadvantage.
Crankbaits are the most popular and successful bass lures ever made. They're exciting to use and have a great imitation of a wounded baitfish. If you have one of the best crankbait rods and a technique-specific reel, you'll be unstoppable.
Anglers invest in crankbait equipment for multiple reasons. Most fishermen will use their crankbait setup more than anything else and want something comfortable and enjoyable.
Crankbaits are best fished at high speeds, so with the wrong gear ratio and equipment, you'll be in for a long and tiring day on the water. Check out our guide to the best bass fishing reels of 2021.
Best Crankbait Reels
1. KastKing Bassinator Elite Baitcaster
4.6 Stars | 118 Angler Reviews
The KastKing Bassinator Elite Baitcaster is a phenomenal reel for lipless crankbaits, square bills, and shallow-diving crankbaits. We highly recommend an 8.1:1 gear ratio, especially if you frequently cast square bill crankbaits.
When you're fishing crankbaits, you want a faster presentation. Anything too slow, and you'll quickly wear yourself out. The higher gear ratio also helps you quickly bring fish back to the boat and ensure they don't get off.
This reel is designed for competition, which means it won't let you down. No matter the weather, you'll be able to focus on the task at hand instead of worrying about your reel. We love the sleek aluminum frame that fits perfectly in your hand.
Our team recommends using 20lb fluorocarbon. We've also found that the Bassinator pairs perfectly with the KastKing Speed Demon Pro Lipless Crankbait Rod. Look for the 7'0" Medium Action model for one of the best crankbait setups on the market.
2. Lew's Speed Spool LFS Baitcast Reel
4.7 Stars | 403 Angler Reviews
The best mid-range crankbait reel is Lew's Speed Spool LFS Baitcaster. With durable, high-strength solid brass gears and 10 ball-bearings, it's one of our favorite reels for square bill crankbaits.
We recommend the 6.8:1 gear ratio, especially for anglers who have trouble slowing down their retrieve. This lower gear ratio is super smooth in the LFS and is fast enough to effectively fish crankbaits. You'll also get more torque for setting the hook and fighting big fish back to the boat.
Lew's magnetic control system is the best in the industry. Their technology prevents backlash better than most other reels on the market. It's such a relief that someone's found a solution to this annoying hassle.
Paired with Lew's Custom Lite Speed Stick HM85 Crankbait Rod, you'll be virtually unstoppable. This setup excels with square bills, but in reality, it has few limitations. These two Lew's products will keep you covered through most crankbait situations.
3. Lew's Custom Pro Baitcast Reel
4.6 Stars | 76 Angler Reviews
Our favorite reel for fishing deep-diving crankbaits is Lew's Custom Pro Baitcast Reel. This brand produces equipment that's of exceptional quality. The Custom Pro is built tough and will withstand years of abuse and hardcore fishing. However, this build-quality comes with a slightly higher price tag.
We like this reel in the 6.8:1 gear ratio. It's ideal for fishing deep-diving crankbaits as you'll get 27" of line recovery per crank. This reel has more power and torque than other models, which helps you quickly bring fish up from the depths of a lake.
For more details on diving crankbait gear, see our guide to the best rods for deep diving crankbaits.
If you're building a crankbait setup you know you'll frequently be using, make the investment and upgrade to a high-end reel. It's 100% worth upgrading because it makes the sport far more enjoyable. You can't go wrong with the Custom Pro and Lew's David Fritts Perfect Crankbait Rod combo.
Some anglers prefer the 8.3:1 gear ratio, especially if you frequently fish lipless crankbaits or shallow-diving lures. We've tried these models and have had great experiences fishing the faster speeds. Regardless of your speed decision, this is a phenomenal product that never lets you down.
4. Lew's Tournament Pro LFS
4.4 Stars | 110 Angler Reviews
Depending on you're reeling habits, choose a gear ratio between 7.5:1 and 8.3:1. If you tend to fish baits too quickly, stay around the 6:8:1 reel speed. On the other hand, if you have good control, the 8.3:1 will keep you from wearing yourself out too quickly.
As we mentioned, this reel has improved over other models. This means you won't have to worry about losing power, even with higher gear ratios. The LFT handles everything from giant largemouth to big striped bass.
Lew's utilizes "Pinion" gear technology and brass materials. The design has better integration between all the components and creates an incredibly smooth reeling effect for the price. Not to mention, we've heard dozens of positive comments about the elegant styling.
KastKing Royale Legend Elite Series
4.7 Stars | 925 Angler Reviews
The most versatile and best value crankbait reel on the market is the KastKing Royale Legend Elite Series. For under $100, this reel has a shockingly professional performance. When paired with the KastKing Royale Select Rod, this $150 combo acts like a $300 tournament setup.
We use this reel for both crankbaits and chatterbait fishing, acting as two specialized setups in one. Our favorite gear ratio is 7:3:1 because it's a great middle-ground that covers every crankbait fishing situation.
This KastKing reel model is far more durable than one would expect. Smooth reeling, ample torque, and clean looks are why it's categorized as a "professional-grade" product.
One minor drawback is that it's slightly heavier than other models. It achieves a perfect balance with the Royale Select, but it could be too heavy for lightweight rods, such as anything from St Croix's product line.
Abu Garcia Revo IKE Low Profile Reel
4.8 Stars | 117 Angler Reviews
The highest-rated crankbait reel on Amazon is the Abu Garcia Revo IKE Low Profile Reel. Boasting 4.8 stars, nearly every customer has flooded their statements with positive comments. While it's always important to seek professional advice, it's good to see hundreds of satisfied customers rave about a product.
Currently, the Revo IKE is on sale through the button above. The reel has a heavier, sturdy feel in your hand. It features Abu Garcia's highest-quality alloy frame and Carbon Palm side-plate materials. Inside the housing, ten ball-bearings and one roller-bearing make for a smooth and satisfying experience.
We recommend the 8.1:1 hear ratio for anglers with good speed control. The Revo IKE casts insanely far, and you can't help but acknowledge how cool it looks. When paired with the Abu Garcia IKE Signature Power Casting Rod (7'4" Medium-Heavy), you'll be amazed by the casting distance.
Pflueger President XT Low Profile Reel
4.7 Stars | 496 Angler Reviews
A few years ago, anglers on a budget didn't have many good options. Now, the times have changed, and you can find good-quality equipment that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. The best example of a great budget crankbait reel is the Pflueger President XT Low Profile Reel. It's an incredible value for the price, and the sturdy design will last for years of intensive use.
Pflueger's 9-bearing system makes the President XT far smoother than any other reel in this price range. A Soft-Tough knob gives you sufficient grip, and the gear design gives this real a surprising amount of torque.
While the President XT is a phenomenal product, it's certainly not a "professional-grade" crankbait reel. However, it's by far the best option for under $75.
We recommend this rod to anglers who are just getting into technique-specific equipment. The best crankbait gear ratio is 7.3:1, as you'll get increased torque and a line-retrieval speed that won't tire you out.
If you're looking for an inexpensive rod for pairing, the Berkeley Cherrywood HD Casting Rod 7' Medium is ideal. Both items together cost less than $100 and replicate the quality of far more expensive setups.