Penn Warfare Reel Review 2019 [Full Guide + Comparison]

Last Updated on December 14, 2018

If you’re looking for backup reels that won’t break your bank account. Or looking for entry-level reels, and don’t intend to use reel heavily.

Then, Penn Warfare series is a quality reel for you at a very affordable price. Penn reels are engineered with high-quality and high-performance materials.

This conventional reel has two versions: the level wind reel, and the star drag reel. The level wind has 12 models and the star drag only 2.

Penn Warfare Review

penn warfare 20n reviewWith 15 pounds of drag, This reel will manhandle just about any fish you come against inshore. Powerful 5.1:1 gear ratio lets you muscle up just about anything up on the end of your line with ease.

The real kicker with this reel is that it is light and compact only weighs like 17-23 ounces. Reel also has auto engage which is a great feature. Penn Warfare models use 3 bearings for rotation.

Penn Warfare Reels bring the cost down by using a graphite frame. The immediate concern is frame twist on more powerful fish. However, Penn reinforces each side of the Warfare frame with rigid aluminum rings like Daiwa Seagate model reels.

It has double dogs, an anti-reverse bearing and scalloped Ht-100’s same like the Penn Squall and Fathom.

Common specifications and features of all sizes reels of Penn Warfare are given in this table.

Reel Handle PositionRight/Left
Drag TypeStar Drag
Drag MaterialHT-100
Max Drag15lb | 6.8kg
Retrieve Rate27 - 29 in
Ball Bearings Count3
Warranty1 year from date of purchase
FeaturesInstant Anti-Reverse

1. Penn Warfare Star Drag

Penn Warfare Level Wind comes in two sizes. These are right hand retrieve reels. The N at the end of the model number tells that the 20 size is a narrow spool reel.

ModelMono Cap. (yds/lb)Braid Cap. (yds/lb)Gear RatioWeight (oz)Price
5.1:118.3 Check Price
5.1:119.6 Check Price

Both sizes share the same maximum drag resistance with a decent 15 pounds. Unfortunately, Warfare Star Drag models don’t have a left-hand option like Warfare level wind reels.

If you have yet to master open face conventional reels, there is good news for you. The level wind feature directs the line upon retrieve so that it lays evenly back onto the spool.

2. Penn Warfare Level Wind

penn warfare 20lw reviewPenn Warfare Level Wind comes in three sizes.

The level wind feature guides the line back and forth as you bring it back in. This prevents the line from building up in one spot of the spool, laying it out evenly instead. The level wind feature along with left-hand models and the addition of a line counter gives you a lot of flexibility in features.

There is an option for you to choose left and right handled reel for each size. The models with LH at the end are Left handed and others are right hand retrieve reels.

You also have the option of an extra feature of line counter. If a model name has “LC”, it features line counter in reel. The 30 size model has a lower gear ratio of 3.9:1 as compared to 5.1:1 of other sizes.

ModelGear RatioMono Cap. (yds/lb)Braid Cap. (yds/lb)Weight (oz)FeaturesPrice
17.8Right Hand Check Price
WAR15LWLHLeft handed Check Price
WAR15LWLC18.5Line Counter  Check Price
WAR15LWLCLHLine Counter, Left handed Check Price
18.6Right Hand Check Price
WAR20LWLHLeft handed Check Price
WAR20LWLC19.3Line Counter  Check Price
WAR20LWLCLHLine Counter, Left handed Check Price
22.6Right Hand Check Price
WAR30LWLHLeft handed Check Price
WAR30LWLC23.1Line Counter  Check Price
WAR30LWLCLHLine Counter, Left handed Check Price

LH: Left-handed, LW: Level Wind, LC: Line Counter

A downfall of the level wind model is that you can accidentally release the drags and eventually lose your fish.

Line Counter feature is especially helpful when trolling, or any other time you want to know how much line you have out. These line counters work real easy with nothing more than a red clear button to bring the count back to zero. The line counter sits at the top of the frame above the reel handle. The line counter works together with the spool and counts your line in yards as it flies out.

Penn Warfare VS Squall

The Penn squall has a stronger drag and better line recovery. Squall has stainless pinion as compared to bronze in the warfare. The Squall is a smoother caster then the Warfare without a doubt. Overall, Penn Warfare is an entry level reel. However, if budget is a concern at all and you are not going to be using the reels very heavily, you are fine going with the warfares.


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