The best cheap carp reels

If you're looking for the best carp fishing reel, these are perfect for small-to-medium-range tactics, stalking or floater fishing.

Man with carp

by Stephen Stones |

Reel choice has exploded in the last 15 years or so, creating niches and innovative products, but also giving buyers better value for money.

When once your choice was limited to just Shimano, Daiwa or a handful of smaller brands beneath those big two, nowadays most tackle companies have a range of reels.

While this competition has helped drive down prices, the quality and accessibility of Far-East manufacturing has also been a key factor. Now a budget reel needn’t be seen as a risky purchase. Buy wisely and you can expect it to perform and last.

Read next: The best coarse fishing reels

Perfect for use on smaller waters, for fishing at short-to-medium range, or for adorning a stalking or floater rod, each of this selection offers an awful lot of reel for the modest price tag. So join us as we look at the best carp reels in the ‘budget’ freespool sector.

The best budget carp reels

Sonik Vader X 5000FS & 6000FS Free-Spool Reels

Editor's choice
Sonik Vader X 5000FS & 6000FS Free-Spool Reels
Amazon

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Sonik's reels have impressed all who've fished with them in recent years, with the VaderX range signifying incredible value for money. Like its big pit sibling, this reel packs a lot of features for this price bracket. Complete with two machined aluminium spools, this lightweight reel has five internal ball bearings and one in the line roller. Its stainless steel main shaft offers rigidity and longevity, while the oversized free spool lever and sleek aluminium handle give it a visual personality. It's possibly the best looker on the test and the 6000 model weighs 455g.

Specifications
Material Aluminium
Weight 500 g
Fishing line type Wire

Mitchell Avocet Black Edition

Recommended
Mitchell Avocet Black Edition
Amazon

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Amazingly, our cheapest reel on test and it is a perfectly capable performer. It comes pre-loaded with a 12lb line, making it the ideal introduction to the free spool world. With Mitchell's name on it, you know it's got pedigree and, for the price bracket, it's a remarkable little bit of kit. The spool is aluminium, it has a multi-disc drag system, a retrieve rate of 87cm per handle turn and two internal bearings. At 486g it's neither worryingly light and flimsy nor cumbersome and unrefined. You won't be casting to the moon with the Avocet, but it'll certainly keep pace with your progression through the carp world.

Specifications
Material Aluminium
Weight 460 g
Fishing line type Wire

Shimano Baitrunner ST RB 6000 Reel

Recommended
Shimano Baitrunner ST RB 6000 Reel

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A freespool shootout isn't complete without a genuine Baitrunner. Like Hoover and Tannoy, Shimano's Baitrunner brand has become a byword for this whole sector of the market. The ST 6000 RB is classic Baitrunner fare, with a distinctive double-handle grip and sleek body. In all honesty, its looks are fairly bland, but the reel is beautifully balanced and the drag clicks with precision. It's a safe pair of hands that'll last you for years, rather than a showstopper crammed with features. It has a single internal bearing, holds 250m of 0.40mm line and weighs 555g.

Specifications
Material Aluminium
Weight 550 g
Fishing line type Wire

Daiwa Black Widow Br Lt 2500 19

Recommended
Daiwa Black Widow Br Lt 2500 19

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This is one of the cheapest reels in the whole Daiwa carp range, but it's still a quality offering, available for well below its official asking price. It shares a silhouette with the more expensive Emcast BR u2013 though the Black Widow has a shinier finish u2013 and still has recognisable high-quality Daiwa features such as AirBail, Twistbuster and the BR freespool mechanism. A top performer and well built, we love this reel at this price. The 5000 model weighs 473g, has three internal ball-bearings and a stated line capacity of 310m of 14lb line. There is nothing not to like about this reel.

Specifications
Material Aluminium
Weight 473 g
Fishing line type Wire

Leeda Rogue 6500FS Reel 65

Recommended
Leeda Rogue 6500FS Reel 65
Amazon

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Representing incredible value for money, the Rogue FS reels, which are available in both 6500 and 7500 sizes, are perhaps best classed as hybrid big pit/free spool monsters. With looks dominated by a big, wide spool, these reels have modern styling and appear more expensive than they are. The body is made from a graphite compound and the handle is die-cast aluminium. The oversized plastic knob won't be to everybody's liking, but it's easy to grab on to and begin winding, even in gloves. The freespool lever on the rear is similarly easy to use. The Rogue FS has five internal bearings and can take 290m of 0.40mm line. It weighs 654g.

Specifications
Material Aluminium
Weight 654 g
Fishing line type Wire

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