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Best Dive Reels – Top Picks & Complete Guide (2021)

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Dive reels aren’t talked about much when discussing dive equipment. Yet, diving reels have so many applications that you can’t just ignore them.

For one, dive reels can help you return to your starting point, connect you with surface support, or notify surface vessels or your own dive boat of your presence underwater. Reels can also be used to mark areas already covered during search and recovery operations.

The thing about dive reels is they come in different types with each type designed for a particular use. There’s no jack of all trades where dive reels are concerned and it’s important you choose one that can serve your intended purpose.

I’ve carried out extensive research and testing to bring you a list of the best dive reels available on the market. You’ll also find a buying guide that will educate you about the different types of dive reels and how to choose one that’s right for you. So, keep reading.

The 7 Best Dive Reels for 2021

ScubaMax Finger Spool Reel

Cave & Wreck Scuba Diving Finger Spool Reel (100') with Double Ended Brass Bolt Snap

$15.50  in stock
3 new from $15.50
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of October 17, 2021 4:28 am

I start this list with the ScubaMax Finger Spool with brass clip holder, an affordable and durable dive reel. If you don’t want to invest a lot in a dive reel, the ScubaMax is worth taking a look at.

This dive reel is also very compact, making it easy to carry in pockets while significantly minimizing the risk of entanglement or loss. Also, it’s almost impossible to jam this spool, something that may happen with other reels.

The ScubaMax finger spool shines when it comes to cave or wreck diving as it will help you easily find your way back to your starting point. I also like that the line is very tough and both the brass clip and line holder are made from corrosion-resistant materials.

Despite the fact that dive reels aren’t usually jack of all trades, this reel is versatile and can be used to connect to a surface buoy or for search and retrieve operations.

Thanks to the brass clip, you can easily and securely attach this dive reel to your BCD. And the high-quality materials confer durability and longevity.

 Specifications

  • Size: 3.5 x 1.2 in / 8.9 x 3 cm
  • Line length: 75 ft / 22.86 m
  • Line color: white

Pros

  • Available in different rope lengths.
  • Very tough.
  • Great for cave or wreck diving.
  • Simplistic use.
  • Versatile.
  • Durable.

Cons

  • No major shortcomings.

Trident Line Dive ReelOur Top Pick

Trident Finger Reel with Brass Clip Wreck Scuba Diving Tech Spool Reel, Large 160 FT - 160' Reef Finger Reel - Yellow

$24.99
$16.15
 in stock
8 new from $14.95
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of October 17, 2021 4:28 am

The Trident Line dive reel is another quality inexpensive dive reel you should take a look at. At 160ft, you have more than enough rope to use this reel for surface operations like connecting to a surface buoy or for cave and wreck diving.

I like that this reel is designed to work with cold-water gloves, which are very thick, and bare hands. And the spool is made of a robust ABS construction that is corrosion-resistant so you can use this dive reel in both saltwater and freshwater conditions.

The included clip is lightweight, durable, and reliable. It’s easy to pack for travel and can be connected to your BCD without any hassle. What’s there not to like about the Trident Line dive reel?

 Specifications

  • Size: 3 x 1.25 in / 7.62 x 3 cm
  • Line length: 100 ft / 30.4 m
  • Line color: Yellow or orange

Pros

  • Can be used with cold water gloves and bare hands.
  • Spool is made of corrosion-resistant materials.
  • Perfect for surface operations and cave or wreck diving.
  • Very durable.

Cons

  • No major shortcomings.

ScubaMax Dive Reel

ScubaMax 270 Foot Dive Reel Blue with Thumb Stopper

$23.95  in stock
7 new from $23.95
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of October 17, 2021 4:28 am

Another quality dive reel from Scuba Max, this dive shines when it comes to cave or wreck diving. Despite being most suitable for wreck or cave diving, you can also use it for some surface operations.

I really like the thumb stopper of this dive reel as it offers the diver more control over the line, a feature not found in most dive reels. And this eliminates the problem most new divers face when it comes to controlling their reels to avoid entanglements. There is also the super-strong line made of high-quality nylon that’s rugged and long-lasting.

The stainless steel clips are resistant to corrosion and suitable for use in any water condition. Overall, this is a quality dive reel.

 Specifications

  • Size: 6.5 x 3.5 in / 16 x 9 cm
  • Line length: 270 ft / 82 m
  • Line color: white

Pros

  • Lightweight design.
  • Increased line control.
  • Simplistic design.
  • Very durable.

Cons

  • Not to be used with heavy loads.

DiveSmart Scuba Diving Reel

DiveSmart Scuba Diving Reel with Thumb Stopper and High Visibility White Line (150ft', 270ft') - for Cave and Wreck Exploration, Recreational Diving and Spear Fishing (150ft)

 out of stock
Amazon.com
as of October 17, 2021 4:28 am

You are diving smart if you go underwater with the DiveSmart Scuba Diving Reel with a thumb stopper. Like the ScubaMax reel above, this dive reel is suitable for cave and wreck diving, allowing you to find your way back to the starting point with ease.

The DiveSmart scuba reel can also be used for surface operations like attaching it to a dive reel. The thumb stopper is a feature that must be talked about since it gives the diver more control over the line. With this feature, controlling your line will be easier which may mean more enjoyable diving sessions.

The materials used to manufacture this dive reel are of very high quality as they are durable, rugged, and resistant to corrosion. You get the DiveSmart scuba reel, you get a dive reel you’ll be using for a very long time.

 Specifications

  • Line length: 150, 270 ft / 45, 82 m
  • Line color: white

Pros

  • Lightweight and compact.
  • Thumb stopper.
  • Versatile.
  • Corrosion-resistant materials.

Cons

  • No major shortcomings.

Dive Rite Finger Reel

Dive Rite Finger Reel with Brass Clip Wreck Scuba Diving Tech Spool 120' - Orange (RE4)

$24.95  in stock
6 new from $24.95
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of October 17, 2021 4:28 am

I hate to burst your bubble but you are not diving right if you don’t have the Dive Rite Finger Reel on your diving trips. One of the standout features of this dive reel is its simplicity making it easy to use. This dive reel is also affordable, durable, and versatile.

Attaching this reel to your BCD’s D-rings or pockets is a walk in the park and there are two different rope lengths of 20 and 40 meters for you to choose from.

I must also talk about the line of this reel, braided dupont fiber, which is incredibly strong and capable of supporting loads of up to 220 lbs. Now, that’s a lot of load.

 Specifications

  • Size: 47 x 2in / 8.8 x 5 cm
  • Line length: 60, 180 ft / 18, 36 m
  • Line color: Orange or white

Pros

  • Simple design.
  • High load capacity.
  • Compact and lightweight.
  • Incredibly durable.

Cons

  • Maximum length of 40 m.

Scuba Choice Dive Reel

Scuba Choice Scuba Diving Multi Purpose Dive Reel, 290', Yellow

$32.99
$25.75
 in stock
2 new from $25.75
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of October 17, 2021 4:28 am

‘Multipurpose dive reel’ is boldly written on the plastic spool of the Scuba Choice dive reel. And on investigation, it’s safe to say Scuba Choice aren’t making false claims as this dive reel is indeed multipurpose. You can use this dive reel for cave and wreck diving as well as for surface operations.

The plastic handle of this dive reel makes it convenient and easy to use. Pulling on the string is easy on the hands thanks to the plastic handle. And the single 2-inch steel clips make it easy to attach this dive reel to a pocket or ring on your BCD.

When it comes to durability, you can trust that this dive reel is long-lasting thanks to the high-quality materials used.

 Specifications

  • Size: 5 x 2in / 12 x 5 cm
  • Line length: 290 ft / 88 m
  • Line color: white

Pros

  • Multipurpose.
  • Convenient handle.
  • Durable.

Cons

  • No major shortcomings.

Baosity Dive Reel

Baosity Lightweight Dive Wreck Cave Reel Scuba Diving Finger Spool 30m/100ft Line, Dual Ended Bolt Snap Clip - Blue

$25.98  in stock
15 new from $25.93
Amazon.com
as of October 17, 2021 4:28 am

I end this list with the Baosity dive reel, a compact and functional dive reel that will get the job done. The design of this reel is simple making it easy to use.

The line is very visible and super tough. It’s not going to break easily. However, the Baosity dive reel is only available at a length of 30 m which could be a bummer if you need more rope length.

I like the incorporation of a stainless steel swivel connector which prevents the line from twisting or tangling. It’s a very thoughtful feature. And it’s easy to use this reel even when wearing thick cold water gloves.

When it comes to durability, you can trust that this dive reel is long-lasting thanks to the high-quality materials used.

 Specifications

  • Size: 3.5 x 1.2 in / 8.9 x 3 cm
  • Line length: 100 ft / 30 m
  • Line color: Green

Pros

  • Simple design.
  • Very tough rope.
  • Versatile.
  • Compact and lightweight.
  • Incredibly durable.

Cons

  • Maximum rope length of 30 m.

Best Dive Reels – The Guide 

Do You Need A Dive Reel?

Boats and currents are two things you can expect at dive sites. Currents can carry you further than you want and boaters won’t know you are underwater. It’s for this reason many divers can’t think of diving without deploying a surface marker buoy. And this requires the use of a dive reel.

So whether you are using a dive reel for a surface marker buoy or when cave/wreck diving, you’ll always need a dive reel when diving. And this is why you should learn about the different types of dive reels and how to use them correctly.

Different Types And Uses Of Dive Reels

Jump and Finger Spools

Jump and finger spools are simply a spool of guide line you’ll be using underwater and they are best suited for deployment of surface marker buoy at shallow depths for your surface support team and as jump spools. You can also use jump stools to connect scuba divers from an already laid line within a cave system and this ensures the diver is in constant contact with the originally laid line that will guide him/her back to the surface.

Cave Diving Reels

As the name implies, this type of reel is best used for cave diving. To use cave diving reels, you must ensure the start of the lone is securely fixed at the point of entry or exit. Looping the line around prominent features in the cave is also a good idea to ensure the line is taut.

Cave dive reels are usually very long and have a light color for easy visibility underwater.

Wreck Diving Reels

This type of reel is used for wreck diving and the line is usually about 50 – 100 m long. It’s important that reels to be used for wreck diving be strong and robust. And this is why many wreck diving reels are made from metal or toughened resin.

Marker Buoy Diving Reels

This is the most common use of dive reels. Reels are usually used to deploy a surface buoy marker which signifies the location of the diver to dive boats or other vessels at dive sites and comes in really handy during emergency situations.

Reels to be used for surface marker buoy must be easy to detach from your BCD in case anything goes wrong with the reel or surface buoy.

Things To Consider When Choosing Your Dive Reel

Below are factors to consider when choosing a dive reel:

Material & Corrosion Resistance

Since you’ll be using your reel in both freshwater and saltwater alike, you need to go for a dive reel that’s resistant to corrosion. And this includes the casing of the reel. And this is why many manufacturers use corrosion-resistant metals like stainless steel and the lines are made of very tough materials like braided dupont fiber, high-quality nylon, and so on.

Line Length And Visibility

The length of line you need will depend on the purpose of the reel. Dive reels for cave and wreck diving need to have lines that are 100 – 200 m long. As for surface marker buoy, the length of line you’ll need depends on how deep you intend to go.

It’s important that the line is visible and it’s for this reason many dive reels have light-colored lines with white being the most popular.

Types Of Dive

While there are dive reels for cave diving, wreck diving, or connecting to a surface buoy, there may be overlapping at times with a dive reel capable of being used for two or three dive types.

The most important thing here is to choose a dive reel that’s strong and has enough line length for your dive type.

Final Thoughts

Diving reels might feel like a top priority when you are first getting your scuba diving gear, but these small and inexpensive pieces of equipment are actually pretty useful for safety and comfort. If you are into cave diving or wreck diving, they are a necessity. Hopefully after reading this article, you now have a good idea of what to look for in a dive reel and how to use it!

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