Open vs. Closed Face Fishing Reels

Open vs. Closed Face Fishing Reels

Are you looking for a new fishing reel and can’t decide which one you need? Perhaps you are torn between an open and closed face fishing reel and don’t know which one is right for you?

Maybe you are curious and want to know more. Whatever your reason might be, we have the answer for you! 

It can be hard to know which reel is best for you, especially if you are new to the fishing world. Before you know it, you are caught in an endless cycle, comparing the two models, unsure which is best or what to get. 

Well, no more! Today we are here with a detailed comparison of both reels to help you find out which is the best line for you. Keep reading to find your new line today! 

What is an open-face fishing reel?

Open face spinning reel

Let’s have a quick recap for those in the room that need it! An open-face fishing reel, or spinning reel, is one of the most popular fishing rods.

With these reels, the spool and most of its moving parts are open rather than placed behind a spool cover. 

The line is stored on the spool, and once the line is cast and the bail arm closed, it stops uncoiling. You can identify open-face fishing reels easily as there are a few distinctive features.

The first is the reel mouthed below the rod and the addition of a wire bail that helps with distance when casting. The handle also locks, preventing the line from spinning backward or coming off the spool. 

So who can use an open-face fishing reel? Well, anyone! There is nothing stopping beginners from using these reels, although they might struggle.

Generally, these reels are recommended for intermediate or experienced anglers. That said, beginners can use them; they will just take some time to get used to.

You need to use your finger to guide the line as you cast, and this can take some time to master! 

What is a closed-face fishing reel?

Closed face spinning reel

And what about a closed-face fishing reel? Well, these reels are different from the open-facing reels/ the spool can’t be seen, and the fishing line is enclosed in the nose cone of the reel.

There’s a hole in the reel that allows the line to pass through. 

Closed face reels, or spincast reels, feature a reel mounted above the handle. These reels are far simpler to cast than open-face reels and are often given to children or first-time fishers!

To release the fishing line, all you need to do is press a button! It’s as simple as that. These reels are far simpler than spincast reels.

You can focus on timing the release of the line and snapping the rod rather than fiddling with guiding the line! 

Open vs. closed face fishing reels

Now that we have covered both types of these fishing reels let’s get into why we are here today!

Keep reading to compare the two reels and find out which one is the better choice! Each category has a winner, so scroll down to find your winning reel today!


Differences in casting

Up first is the casting, which is different in both types of reels! Closed face versions are far more accessible than open-faced reels.

You can pick one up and cast it with ease, as the reel does all the work! Simply press the button, and you are ready to go! It’s this easy casting that makes the reel a popular choice for children and beginners

Open face fishing reels are a little more challenging to use and can take longer to master. However, once you have mastered them, they are easy to use, with many experienced anglers preferring them! 

So who takes the point? We give it to the close face reels, as they are easier to use for everyone! 

Casting distance

Casting distance is another factor that helps you choose which reel you should choose. So which reel has a longer casting distance? It’s the open-face fishing reel! Their open design allows you to store more lines on the spool, allowing you to cast for further distances! 

The open-face reel takes the point for this round, offering far more distance than a closed reel! 


Backlash difference

While open face reels are harder to operate, they are far more accurate! It can take a while to get to grips with them if you are a beginner, but you will benefit from a far more accurate reel than closed face reels. 

For intermediate and advanced fishers, you can enjoy this accuracy almost immediately and achieve high levels of accuracy. It’s why the open-face reel wins the point this round! 


Backlash is a common issue and one that frustrates most anglers. Also known as bird’s nest, backlash happens when the lure slows after you cast the line and your spool keeps moving.

This usually happens on a baitcasting reel but can happen on a spinning reel too. You end up with a tangled line that takes time and effort to rectify, not what you want when you are about to fish! 

Usually, backlash happens in two scenarios: casting into the wind or using a lure that isn’t heavy enough. The line can tangle around the tip of the rod or the spool directly.

This is more common with open face reels compared to closed face reels

To avoid backlash, you will need to practice your technique and avoid putting too much line on the spool

Closed face models hardly ever suffer from backlash, but they aren’t perfect. You can still expect to deal with knots and tangles inside the spool housing that takes time to unwind. 

So who wins this round? Well, it’s a bit of a tie! Open face reels suffer from backlash easier, but the problem can be fixed easily. Closed faces are less likely to backlash, but when they do, fixing it is a nightmare! 


Versatility difference

If you are a serious fisher, then you are going to want a versatile rod. Especially if you are on a budget, you don’t want to purchase different reels for all the fishing you want to do. So which is the most versatile?  

An open-face reel is far more versatile! It’s made with durable materials that will allow you to fish in various environments and with different species without encountering any issues! They are a popular choice with many anglers, thanks to their versatility

It’s worth noting that they don’t have fantastic hauling power. You probably want to be able to catch any fish over fifty pounds. For those that want to catch super heavy fish, you will be better suited to baitcasting reels instead. You should also avoid using spinning reels in saltwater as it can damage the reels. 

Despite these drawbacks, you get far more casting distance with an open face reel and can easily catch small and medium-sized fish! 

So what’s so bad about closed face reels that means they aren’t versatile? Well, they have small spools which will mean you have a low line capacity.

There is also little flexibility with these lines, which can make it difficult to catch some fish. You will be limited to catching small fish only and won’t cast your line very far. 

As we touched on earlier, closed face reels have low hailing power, and they aren’t able to pull a big fish out of the water, especially if there is vegetation in the area or something covering the water. If you want to increase your chances of catching fish in various circumstances, you will want an open-face fishing reel, which is why it takes the point today! 


We all want to make sure we are purchasing good quality items, don’t we? And fishing reels are no exception!

There is a quality difference between these two reels, with open face fishing reels tending to be better quality, and these reels tend to be more durable and robust than spincast reels. 

One of the spincast reel’s downfalls is that they are made from inferior materials and less durable than open-close fishing reels.

Their cheaper price reflects their poorer quality, and you can expect to replace these reels regularly. 

There are higher quality ones out there, too, with a higher cost, but generally, if you want good quality and long-lasting reel, go with an open face. It’s why the open-face fishing reel wins this round!

How much?

Price difference

When it comes to reels, we want to know how much they will cost. None of us want to spend our life savings on a fishing reel, do we?

Before deciding which type of reel you want, we recommend setting a budget. Try and stick to this budget where possible, and remember to shop around to find the best deals. 

The price for open and closed face fishing reels varies depending on the reel’s brand and quality, so keep that in mind when searching.

The price points we give you today are averages; you can expect them to fluctuate from brand to brand. 

That said, closed face reels tend to be much cheaper than open face reels. Why? These reels are made with fewer components and are smaller, meaning they are cheaper and easier to produce.

They are usually made with less expensive materials, which helps keep their price tag low. It’s worth noting that the materials used often mean that closed face reels aren’t as durable as open face reels. 

The lower price point makes closed-face reels a popular choice for children. It means parents don’t need to spend a fortune on a hobby their child might not even enjoy! It allows you to let your child experience a new hobby or try fishing without the burden of an expensive reel that might end up forgotten in the garage soon! 

You can find more expensive spincast reels, but open face reels usually will cost more. If you do have the budget, it’s worth spending some more on a closed face reel.

The more expensive reels tend to use higher quality materials that can extend the lifespan of the reel. 

So who wins this round? The closed face reel takes the point, thanks to their lower price point! 

Open face fishing reel

Advantages of open face spinning reels

Before we go today, let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of these reels. If you are still on the fence about which reel is the best choice for you, then keep reading and let the pros and cons help you make your final decision today! First up, we have the open-face fishing reels. 


  • Plenty of options – there are a range of sizes for you to choose from 
  • Increased line capacity – allows you to long-distance cast with ease 
  • Popular reel – you can always find one of these reels or assistance with them if needed 
  • Versatile reel – can be used for most types of fishing 
  • Ideal for game fish – wonderful for people looking to catch game 


  • It can be more expensive than other reels 
  • Challenging to use for beginners and children 
  • Need both hands to operate the reel 

Closed face fishing reel

Advantages of closed face spinning reel

And now, let’s look at the closed-face fishing reel and see what the pros and cons are! If this is the reel for you, then the pros will certainly outweigh the cons! 


  • Easy to use – suitable for beginners and children 
  • Simple design – can be used with just one hand! 
  • Affordable – suitable for most budgets 
  • Consistent performance – does the job and keeps you fishing!


  • They can break easily, meaning you might have to replace the reel frequently. 
  • Lines can get twisted or jammed easily, meaning you have to take time away from fishing to fix them. 
  • Not ideal for heavy use, the materials aren’t the most durable 
  • Not suited to long-distance casting 

Final thoughts

So which reel is best? Well, it depends on what you want! For beginners and children, closed face reels are easier and more popular as they are easier to use.

But once you master an open face reel, you can enjoy further casting distances and increased accuracy.

Consider what appeals to you more and use this, along with your budget, to make your decision. Whatever you choose, you are sure to be happy!


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