Reels

Penn Battle II and Battle III Spinning Reel Review

The Penn Battle spinning reel series are a great choice if you’re looking for a dependable and affordable generalized fishing reel. They have the features you need at a good price point. While we didn’t love everything about the Battle series, with the feature to price ratio, we feel they are excellent mid-range spinning reels.

Penn Battle Series Fishing Reels

We all agree that angling requires the best equipment. While any reel can usually get the job done, the Penn Battle series will blow your mind with its remarkable features. It brings both fun and stability to the activity.

The Battle boasts a combination of traditional elegance and a more modern finish to maximize your success. From large fish that put up the fiercest fight to small fish, the reel will never disappoint.

The durability of the reel eliminates expensive maintenance costs; it guarantees that every year you will have a story to tell about angling.

Penn Battle II and Penn Battle III Specs:

Reel Sizes: 1000, 2000, 2500, 3000, 4000, 5000, 6000, 8000, & (10,000 Battle III only)
Ball Bearings: 6 (5 stainless steel ball bearings + 1 instant anti reverse bearing)
Anti-Reverse: Yes
Gear Ratios: 4.2:1, 4.7:1, 5.2:1, 5.3:1, 5.6:1, 6.2:1, 7.0:1
Gear Technology: CNC Gear Technology (Battle III only)
Braking System: None;
Drag Type: Front Drag
Drag System: HT-100
Handle: Right or Left Hand Retrieve
Weight: 8.1-30.2 oz
Line Capacity (yds/lb): Mono: 275/2, 240/4, 255/6, 335/15;
Braid: 160/6, 210/8, 250/10, 490/30

Jimmy's Impression:

The Penn Battle 3 is a solid, affordable reel that will last you a long time as long as you take care of it. There are a lot of reels in this range and some are very similar, so this product review is intended to help you understand the differences.

This model is a great generalized fishing reel. Depending on the size you get, you can use it for inshore fishing, surf fishing, and freshwater fishing. For our purposes, I solely tested the Battle 3 for fresh water fishing, specifically for bass.

The 5 sealed ball bearings, CNC gears, and drag system all functioned well during my tests. I was impressed by the strength of the drag system in which it maintained the line under a good load and the smoothness of the adjustment. While fishing, I had a few good hits that tested this drag, and it held up nicely.

I really like the line capacity rings as they help me keep track of my line. I wish they were a little bigger, but they work well.

The instant anti-reverse bearing was also a plus as it helps to keep the line tighter.

Overall, the Penn Battle 3 reel is a great choice and a solid reel for the money. It has all the features you need and a good price point. It lacks some bells and whistles of a more expensive reel, which is what keeps the price affordable.

The Battle 3 is a great reel for the angler who just wants a dependable reel that will last a long time.

Jimmy T.
Man fishing with the Battle 3 spinning reel

Penn Battle II & Battle III Overview:

Reinforced with corrosion-proof material that can handle salt water, the Penn Battle spinning fishing reel should be up for the task for both freshwater and saltwater fishing.

The Battle’s stainless steel body gives it an additional shine that makes it admirable, making sure you look both stylish and well equipped to draw as much fish as possible.

The reel handles the most punishing situations, whether in lakes, streams, or the ocean.

The manufacturers have improved features such as the HT-100 versa drag system that maximizes drag up to 20% more than the predecessor, ensuring that your line can handle battles with large fish.

The handles also boast cushioning material that is not only kind on your hands but helps in keeping you and the system stable. Your overall stability counts when you draw a line into the water; you will catch more fish if you have the right posture.

Battle boasts an improved anti-reverse system that keeps you steady by canceling unnecessary pullbacks whenever you have a catch, and it makes the system stable amid a fight with a fish.

Penn Battle 3 spool

Features:

The Battle comes with many features compared to its predecessor. The manufactures have mixed their engineering knowledge and years of experience to design the Battle series.

Over the years, customer reviews have also played a part in the product’s development, eliminating traditional problems faced while angling.

Today you get a well-engineered, efficient tool that handles almost any kind of challenge. Some of Battle’s impressive features include:

Sealed Ball Bearing

If you detest frequent repairs on your reel, then you will love this feature. It helps prevent saltwater from corroding the drag features in your reel. Dirt and salty water are enemies to the stability of your reel when used repeatedly for years.

Severely corroded reels have less stability and are susceptible to breakage because of weakened metal. The manufactures have added the bearings to give you years of stability and fewer visits to repair shops, which compromise the quality of the Battle.

Rubber Inlay

The rubber inlay steadies the spool. While angling, braided fishing line can slip on the spool, which is a problem if you have too much line out in the water. Without a good backing, you could lose your entire line.

The Battle series solves this problem with a rubber inlay. The rubber backing allows your braided line to have a grip to hold onto, which helps prevent line slippage.

Improved Washers

Years of improvements have seen the drag of Battle 2 and Battle 3 improve by up to 20%. The enhanced drag washer system helps the max drag to reach these impressive levels.

Line Capacity Rings

Having the right line length is an advantage; you never want to have too much or too little while out in the water. Line capacity rings help show the capacity of the line already on the reel.

The goal of this feature is to prevent the braided fishing lines from slipping on the spool. The ring capacity helps you decide exactly the right amount of braided line needed. This function complements the rubber inlay, useful in deep water fishing or trolling.

Weight

Fatigue is one of those issues you want to avoid as much as possible. While you cannot do away with it completely, the weight of the reel can help delay fatigue. Heavier reels will probably tire you much faster.

Battle 2 weighs 8.1 ounces for the smallest class, which can go up to 30 ounces for the largest classes.

Penn was able to reduce the weight slightly in the Battle 3 iteration, with the lightest model weighing in at 7.8 ounces with the largest model going up to 38.8 ounces.

The reduced weight of the Battle 3 was a welcomed improvement in the Battle series. It is still a heavier model than other competition out there, but it is a definite improvement.

Gear Ratio

Gear ratios help provide flexibility. The Battle series comes in many different gear ratios broken up between the different Battle series models:

  • The Battle 2 is available in ratios: 5.2:1, 5.3:1, 5.6:1, 6.2:1
  • The Battle 3 is available in ratios: 4.2:1, 4.7:1, 5.2:1, 5.6:1, 6.2:1
  • The Battle 3 High Speed is available in ratios: 5.3:1, 6.2:1, 7.0:1

Maintenance

Improved features such as the highly resistant paint in the Battle series means less maintenance. The quality paint will put up with salty water for a long time. Rinsing the reel off with clean freshwater and keeping it dry will also improve its life, more particularly after a session in saltwater.

Due to the anti-reverse gear, you have to be extra careful when performing maintenance that requires you to open the reel up. There shouldn’t be a problem with simple maintenance jobs, but some more advanced repairs may be too technically difficult to perform at home and may require a professional service repair.

Line Capacity

The Battle 2 and Battle 3 are on the higher end of the amount of fishing line they can hold. The spool can hold a large capacity of line.

Typically, the more line the reel holds, the better. This is especially helpful when using searching techniques that require you to cast out large amounts of your line.

Thankfully the Battle series is equipped with line capacity guides, so you can easily see how much line you have out in the water.

Holding a largemouth bass above the water after catching with the Penn Battle 2.

Wendell's Review:

Most fishermen are looking for the best bang for their buck; we all want something that's high quality and built to last at a price that won't hurt the bank.

For years, PENN has been doing just that with their great quality fishing tackle. I started using a PENN reel when I was a kid and my grandfather used them. I remember the older PENN reels were a big deal to fish with and the boat would be lined with them. I loved those old PENN reels!

The Battle II is no different, it's well built with the same great quality we have come to expect from PENN; at a price that won't break the bank. The Battle II line of spinning reels is a "reel" winner in my book.

From the brass pinion gears to the HT-100 powerful drag system, it's a reel you won't be disappointed in! Personally I'd recommend the Battle 2 to anyone looking for a good spinner. It's one you won't be sorry you bought!

Wendell M.

Pros and Cons:

Pros:

  • Battle series has a line capacity ring, and it gives a visual of the capacity of the line
  • Reinforced with stainless steel to withstand rusting in saltwater
  • Solid feel to help with stability
  • Anti-reverse system to help battle big fish
  • Up to 20% more drag than the predecessor

Cons:

  • Heavier than other reels in its class
  • Repairs can be difficult to perform at home
  • Parts of reel loosen after prolonged usage

Burt's Thoughts:

The Penn Battle II is an affordable, durable and high-quality reel. It has most of the features you'd want and need out of a spinning reel: a strong, well-made metal body, line capacity rings on the spool, and an anti-reverse bearing. I like the inclusion of the rubber inlay on the spool, which helps ensure you don't lose braid while winding up.

If there's one thing I would change about the reel, it would be the weight. The reel is heavier than I'd prefer. I like light reels. I like a lighter reel that is easier to cast.

With a price that typically comes in a little over $100, the Penn Battle II Spinning Reel is excellent value for the money. While some of the other reels I tested are better suited for specific applications, I feel the Battle 2 is a good all around reel.

Burt K.

FAQs

The Penn Battle 3 is the upgraded version of the Battle 2. They are actually very similar overall, with only a few differences.

One of the main differences is an improvement in the gearing technology. While the Battle 2 uses traditionally milled gears. Penn used a computer controlled technology called CNC to machine much more precise gears for the Penn Battle 2. The CNC gears provide a much smoother operation.

Another improvement is in an overall lighter build. For instance, the Battle 2 2000 model weighs 9.8 ounces, while the Battle 3 2000 model weighs 9.4 ounces. While this is only .4 oz difference, it does make a slight difference after a full day of use.

The Battle 3 also introduces a High Speed version of the reel. Unfortunately, the higher speed is only available in the 4000, 6000, and 8000 models. Which are a bit too large for comfortable freshwater fishing.

Lastly, since Penn is no longer manufacturing the Battle 2, their price is going up. So to get the standard Battle series price, you’ll want to get the Battle 3.

We would recommend going with the 2000 size model of the Battle series.

This model will provide you with the power you need to pull in larger fish and bass, while keeping the size of the reel small enough so that you don’t get tired out after only a couple of hours fishing.

Yes. Both the Battle 2 and Battle 3 are designed for saltwater use.

They have stainless steel bodies that are resistant to corrosion. Through the use of a rubber gasket, they have internally sealed bearings that keep saltwater out of the most critical internal components.

You will need to wash your reel off with freshwater after using it in saltwater, then dry the reel before storage. This helps to prolong its life.

Yes, you can, but due to the internal layout, it may be difficult to accomplish this at home unless you have a good amount of experience servicing fishing reels.

For this series, it may be best to take this one to a professional service center.

Penn manufactures and sells many reels each year. Their success comes from quality products made to last. Penn’s reels compare favorably to others in their class in terms of quality.

Besides that, Penn combines innovation and good engineering to create products that customers appreciate.

The best fishing rod to go with the Battle series depends on what type of fishing you’re wanting to do and whether you’re going to be targeting bigger fish or not.

A couple of our favorite spinning rods are the Abu Garcia Veritas, as well as the Ugly Stike Elite. To see more options you should check out our list of the top spinning rods for bass fishing.

Reel Score:

We’ve given the Penn Battle Series ratings in four categories. They are as follows:

Price: A
Build: B
Feature Set: A
Design: B

The Penn Battle Series earns an overall score of: A-

Man holding up the Penn Battle 2 reel.

Conclusion:

The Battle series is an impressive reel. It combines a polished steel touch and a friendly design that is soft on the eyes. It makes angling stylish while still providing a full set of powerful features.

New sealants and protective features make the reel affordable to maintain for a long time. It has a sealed steel bearing system, which keeps out water and dirt known to weaken reels.

The Battle also comes with a coating of paint that protects it from corrosion; it maintains its solid structure for a long time.

The Battle series is not too heavy, meaning you can steady your arms for a long time while angling. When it comes to flexibility, you get many choices in terms of size.

The bottom line is that Battle 2 and Battle 3 are an ultimate companion while angling.

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