Penn Battle Fishing Reel

Penn Battle 3: The Best Budget Workhorse Reel?

The Penn Battle. One of the most popular workhorse reels got a fresh update. What’s new? What’s not? Let’s take a closer look.

After enjoying the attractive and new spool design, take a closer look at the body, rotor, and bail. Look familiar?

Just like all major tackle manufacturers, the mid-range tiers of reels from Penn also receive trickle-down technology from the heavy hitters. The Penn Battle 3  now benefits from the body, rotor, and bail design of the Slammer 3.

Wait, then is the Battle 3 just a watered-down Slammer 3? That was definitely what came into mind upon first look. But a closer inspection proved otherwise.

Let’s dive deeper, shall we?

First Impressions

The new reel keeps to its charm by sticking with its original color scheme. Black and gold with gunmetal accents. A classic look that Penn aficionados will appreciate.

If you haven’t handled a Penn spinning reel before, but are used to Shimano and Daiwa reels, your first handle turn will be very different. You’ll feel more weight or resistance when spinning the handle compared to your standard Shimano or Daiwa offerings.

A more detailed explanation will follow later on, but the thick Penn reel grease, fully metal rotor plus heavy-duty bail wire are the main reasons why there is more resistance when spinning the handle.

A heavier rotor with a super thick bail wire results in more rotation resistance, resulting in a heavier spinning experience.

The new half-sphere rubber power knobs are a great update and help improve the overall spinning ergonomics of the reel. These power knobs are available up to size 8000. The 10000 size Battle gets the standard rubber egg handle knob.

The gears are CNC machined aluminum from the smallest to size 5000. While the 6000 sizes up to the biggest 10000 size Battle 3 gets machined brass gears.

I can’t tell the difference in smoothness without having any load on the other end but based on experience, the softer brass gears allow a bit more give, providing a softer ride. Possibly why the big guns had brass gears instead of machined aluminum.

Durability will also be tested in the long run. Brass, as mentioned above has some give, allowing it to take on more stress and load from high torque sessions. We can only wait and see.

Weight-wise, the big boys can fracture your toes if dropped. Full metal construction gives you great durability, stiffness, and toughness, but it won’t be winning any swimsuit competitions anytime soon.

That’s it for our first impressions, so let’s take a closer look at the features of the reel so we can further explore its updates and if it is a worthy successor to the older Battle 2.

The Body

Features breakdown for Penn Battle 3

The main body is fully metal. Cast aluminum to be more accurate. If you aren’t familiar with the term cast aluminum, it means pouring molten aluminum into molds.

Casting is a simpler and comparably inexpensive but versatile way of forming aluminum into a wide array of products and reel parts. That’s why we can purchase affordable but durable full metal bodied reels like Penns.

We do not know the exact aluminum alloy used in making the reel’s parts, but the thick paint and finish used to allow the body to be fully corrosion-resistant, but not corrosion-proof. Deep dings and scratches that expose the bare aluminum will be where the corrosion will likely start.

Despite having a full metal construction, please care for your reels as you would any piece of valuable mechanical equipment.

The Rotor

The heavier spinning experience is partly due to the full metal rotor used on the reel.

Durability won’t be an issue though. No rotor arm breakages, bending, nor flexing.

Flexing during long drawn out battles will be virtually non-existent. You will get your money’s worth of power and torque from this reel.

Had bail arms bend until they are unrecognizable? No worries. The bail arms for the Battle 3s are heavy-duty aluminum wire and are extremely robust.

The Spool

Penn’s spinning reel spools are famous for being braid ready. They have these rubber bands built into the spool allowing users to load their braid direct, without any need for backing or spooling tape.

This feature prevents the line from slipping around the spool, rendering your reel useless unless re-spooled properly.

They also have very deep spools, giving the best in class in terms of line capacity.

For comparison’s sake, the Shimano Vanford  2500 takes 160M of 0.25MM braid. The Penn Battle 3 2500 takes 200M of 0.25MM braid! 40 meters more line is plenty for those long and fast runs.

The porting on the spool is minimal but very stylish. Scalene triangles all around make for a classy yet modern look. The size of the ports are on the small side, so it doesn’t help with weight overall.

The Drag

Standard but trustworthy HT-100 drag washers are installed and based on experience, work extremely well.

The Battle 3 didn’t get the Slammer 3’s Dura-Drag and drag assembly technology as part of its trickle-down package, but the Battle 3 doesn’t miss anything.

It’s size 8000 reel provides users with 13kg of drag power, plenty for even the hardcore anglers out there. Check out Penn’s website  for a full table showing all the reel’s drag ratings.


From the smallest 2500 size for your light tackle sessions to the biggest 8000 and 10000 sizes for popping and jigging, Penn has got you covered.

2500, 3000, 4000, 5000, 6000, 8000 and 10000 sizes are available.

The 4000, 6000, and 8000 are available in High-Speed versions too.


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Having them constantly exposed to the elements will eventually result in corrosion and damage.

A thorough freshwater wash down after each use will prolong the life of your reel and will make periodic maintenance easier and less costly.

That said, the Battle 3 lacks a waterproofing system present in the Spinfisher and Slammer.

Keep this in mind when you are out fishing on the rocks, at the beach or when wading the surf. Try to avoid submerging your reels in the saltwater. Thoroughly rinse your reels with fresh water after each use to help prolong its service life.

Periodic maintenance, checking the internals for signs of corrosion is key for long service life. These guys are very easy to disassemble and reassemble. Check TACKLE ADVISOR’s video out. He breaks down the reel in under 3 minutes!

If saltwater eventually finds its way into the reel, your 6 sealed stainless-steel bearings won’t corrode easily but are still worth inspecting and cleaning if needed.


If you are looking for a durable reel that can last your season after season of use and abuse, while not paying a premium price, the Penn Battle 3 is a very worthy option.

It can be called a workhorse reel for a budget-minded angler. Starting from AU$179.99 for the 2500 to 4000 sizes. AU$ 199.99 for the 5000 to 6000 sizes. AU$ 209.99 for the 8000 sizes and finally AU$ 259.99 for the biggest 10000 size reel.

With trickle-down features from the Slammer and Spinfisher series, along with ease of maintenance and extreme durability, you get an affordable, durable, and reliable workhorse.

Keen to get a Penn Battle 3?

Photo Credits to Penn Fishing Australia

If you are looking for a true sport fishing company that offers you more than just a Vanuatu fishing adventure, look no further than Ocean Blue Fishing.

Call us now at (AU) 1300 564 616 or at (INTL) +61 436 020322 or you may also contact us through our website at

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Penn Battle 3: The Best Budget Workhorse Reel?

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