Best Reel Cleaning Kits Reviewed
You’ve bought all of your materials you need for fishing, and are ready to go out and catch some fish while relaxing out on the water. You get up early, make the trek to where you put the boat into the water, and go out onto the water. You have a decent day of catching some fish, but it really wasn’t about that today. You bring the boat back in with the few fish you caught, and you put all our gear back in the vehicle. You get home, take the fish in to make dinner later tonight, and then you go get your equipment. You pull everything out, and you see that your reel needs to be cleaned.
When you bought all of your fishing items, though, you never accounted for having to clean the reel on your fishing pole. You might think it just takes a towel to clean some of the line, or some WD-40 and a toothbrush, but there is all kinds of gunk which gets in where the reel is, which means you actually need to take the reel off of the pole and clean not only that but the area in and around the reel. You need to purchase an actual reel cleaning kit, and not just use anything that is available that looks like it might work.
Don’t know where to start? Let us help you with this buying guide.
Within this buying guide, we’ll go over what a good reel cleaning kit is, and what components you should look for within each cleaning kit. We’ll then offer you reviews of the top ten reel kits within the marketplace. We’ll then offer you some answers to some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to reel cleaning kits.
With all of this in mind, let’s get started!
Our Top 3 Picks
Are you looking for the best reel cleaning kits you can use? Look no more, our guide has a top 10 list of them and all the features and specifications are included in it.
1. Ardent Fishing
- Butter Oil and Grease will work for both fresh water and salt water environments
- Multi-Tool Screwdriver ensures it will work on your reel and gives you the flexibility to use it for other applications
- Comes with an Allen wrench, in case your reel needs that instead for easy loosening and tightening
- Kit comes with all of the items needed to complete your cleaning process
- Cloth is silicone coated, meaning it will not last long and will need to replaced soon
- No corrosion inhibitor is included
2. Hoope’s No. 9
- High-Viscosity level ensures it is durable and long-lasting
- Great for not only fishing reels, but other items which need occasional oil or grease
- Because of the refining process, is great for either fresh water or salt water
- Comes in a 15 milliliter bottle
- No other items available besides the oil
- There are no corrosion preventing attributes with this oil
3. Ardent Reel
- Three step process ensures you will know exactly when to use each solution
- The kit comes with two cotton swabs to help you reach into the smaller areas
- Degreaser and Line butter comes in 2 ounce bottles
- Butter Oil ensures you can use this for both fresh water and salt water environments
- Does not come with a screwdriver, cleaning cloth or case
- Does not include any corrosion properties
4. Penn Reel Oil
- This combo pack has an oil and grease component which work well together
- The Oil is synthetic, meaning it is durable and long-lasting
- The grease helps strengthen your line and will not dissipate when under water
- Helps protect your equipment from any type of rust or corrosion
- With this kit, you will not receive any screwdrivers, application agents or case
5. Bottle of Ardent
- 16 ounce bottle ensures you will have a lot for a long-time, and it will not lose potency over time
- Comes with a spray bottle head, so you can either use that or pour into a bottle of your choice
- Has rust and corrosion preventative properties to ensure your reel is durable and long-lasting
- Self-drying means you don’t have to use a cloth or swabs to fully clean area
- Although it can dissolve elements, it can only do so if it touches it, which means you may still need to take apart reel for full effectiveness
6. Berkley BAOGK
- Bottle of oil has a precision tip allowing you to use as much or as little as you need
- Grease bottle has a screw on top, allowing you to keep it airtight when not in use
- Properties of both the oil and grease have corrosion inhibiting properties
- Can be used to clean reels which are used within fresh water environments
- Does not come with a case, cleaning cloth or swabs or a screwdriver
- Bottles are relatively small in comparison to others in the marketplace
7. Ardent Reel Kleen
- Comes with 4 different bottles for your cleaning needs
- Includes solutions which help prevent rust and corrosion
- Kit comes with a multi-purpose screwdriver and cleaning applications
- Works great for those who fish within a salt water environment
- No cleaning cloth, which is important since solutions are not self-drying
- Might be overkill for those who fish in fresh water environments
8. Clenzoil Marine
- Can be used within both fresh and salt water environments to fully protect your reel from any weather elements
- Has a precision head on the bottle so you can use only the amount you need
- Two-in-One solution allows you to save time and energy, as well as having to buy less products to help keep your reel clean and protected
- Veteran owned company, and part of the proceeds go to helping Paralyzed Veterans of America
- Does not include a carrying case, screwdriver, cleaning cloths or swabs
- 1 ounce bottle will be used very quickly
9. 4 Reel Cleaner
- Despite the heavy-duty properties, the scent of the solution is one that is non-toxic
- 8 ounce bottle will ensure you have enough solution for a long time period
- Will help eliminate a lot of foreign elements, including lime, salt, mold, algae and dirt
- Push down spray tip will make sure the spray goes exactly where you intend, and will allow the solution to seep into areas where it needs to go in order to work properly
- Does not come with accessories to help take apart the reel in case you need to in order to reach the fully covered up areas
- You will still need to take apart the reel occasionally to help ensure it is fully clean
10. South Bend
- Comes with all the necessary cleaning agents to ensure your reel is fully protected
- Both the oil and grease solutions come with rust and corrosion preventing elements, so it will ensure your reel is durable and long-lasting
- Tough carrying case which will not break or crack under tough conditions
- The kit can be used by those who fish in fresh water and salt water weather environments
- Does not come with a screwdriver
- Oil and Grease come in packets, rather than a bottle – you have to use all of it or lose it
What makes a great reel cleaning kit?
When it comes to choosing between varieties of different kits in the marketplace, each of them offers you something different to choose from. There is a need to help narrow down your choices, so you are not overwhelmed by the choices which are available to you. It is important for you to make a checklist of what is important to you so you can figure out which kits fit you from a need and budget standpoint.
When it comes to your checklist, the first item you need to determine is what kind of water you typically fish within. There are different reel cleaning kits for those who fish within fresh water compared to those who fish within saltwater. There are different properties that each kind of water has, and those properties do different kinds of damage to your reel. If you use the wrong type of cleaning agents to clean your reel, you may not protect your equipment like you thought you were. Make sure you pick the right kit based upon the body of water you typically fish within.
The next item you should look at is the type of screwdriver that will come with the kit. Most kits come with either a philips or a flat head, and some come with a head that can be swapped. Most screwdrivers are the same, but the grip is very important to think about there, as the screw will not be easy to get out or to tighten. If you want to go with a hand screwdriver, make sure it looks like it’ll be one that will be comfortable. There has been some movement towards using a powered screwdriver, which will make it much easier to tighten and loosen the screws. You need to make sure that the powered screwdriver has a long enough tip to reach the screws; otherwise, it won’t do you any good. No matter how you go about it, make sure you have the right screwdriver head for the reel you have on your fishing pole.
The next items to think about are the type of cleaners you will need or want for your fishing line and reel cleaner. There are a wide variety of them out in the marketplace, and they each perform something a little different.
Butter Oil – This is an oil that is comprised of dairy product, one that is produced from cows which primarily graze on primarily on groves which have fast growing grasses. Although butter oil is mostly known for its dietary properties, the fats within the oil actually allow you to use it to efficiently clean the reel, while also allowing you to use it as a grease to help reel continue to run turn and operate smoothly.
Butter Grease – Compared to the oil, butter grease is made from the same type of material, but has more fats in it compared to the oil, making it less soluble and will last a little bit longer than the oil will. If you fish often, going with grease compared to oil is a better choice from the standpoint of not having to clean it as often.
Corrosion Inhibitor – This will be a necessity, especially if you fish along saltwater venues. This inhibitor will make sure that as water contacts your reel, that it won’t do any damage to the reel. Your reel more than likely already has some water proof capabilities on it, but as with everything, over time it will wear down and out. By providing an extra inhibitor you can be assured that you will protect your reel for an even longer use and life.
Synthetic Oil – Having oil that is refined in a way where it helps prevent items from corroding and gumming up. Synthetic oil is produced in a manner which helps prolong the life of the items it touches, and a reel is no different. By having this kind of oil, it will mean you will have to grease it less often, allowing the oil to last longer and ensuring your reel will always function as needed.
Lastly, after you have chosen the different oils, greases and inhibitors you want for your reel kit, you then have to think if there are any other accessories you would like. One of the most common items which comes with any kit is a carrying case. This will help ensure you have all of your items needed for your cleaning in one convenient spot. Although it is not necessary, it can be very helpful from an efficiency point of view.
Some kits will come with a cleaning cloth. Normally, it is some sort of microfiber or cotton cloth. These are known for their effectiveness, their flexibility and how easy they are to wash (you should always check the cloth that comes with the kit and see if it can be washed before putting it in the washing machine). You don’t have to use the cloth which comes with the kit, but if you do not currently have a cloth you use, then it’s not a bad idea to take the one they give you so you have an idea of what kind of cloth is used. Eventually, you will need to buy more cloths, as they will be one of the first things that get used entirely. Cloths are one of the easiest things to find at any store, just make sure you purchase one that will be effective for your cleaning project.
Another item which might be included is some sort of cotton swab. These are very helpful to clean the areas in and around the reel which are not easily accessible using your fingers or cloth. These do not have a very long life, so even if your kit comes with the cotton swabs, you will need to purchase more of these and have them ready for when you clean. There may not be a more frustrating aspect than when you need to clean you reel, and realize you don’t have all of the necessary parts to do so.
Overall, when it comes to reel cleaning kits, they may look like they all come with the same things, but in reality there are some very significant differences in the types of oils and greases available, as well as the other accessories available to you. Make sure you have a checklist of these different items, and look for the kits which will best meet your wants and desires.
When it comes to choosing which reel cleaning kit is best for you, there are some questions which get asked the most often. Here are some of those questions, along with the answers to them.
Q. Doesn’t one oil or grease work just the same as another?
No, not all oils and greases are the same. There are different types of oils and greases available to you depending upon where you fish, how often you fish and the type of fishing you do. For those who do primarily saltwater fishing, their needs will be different compared to those who do Ice Fishing and compared to those who do Fly Fishing. In addition to this, you might fish in some very clean water or you might fish in some water which is full of seaweed or other algae; make sure you know your conditions, and find the oils and greases which best meet those conditions.
Q. How big of a bottle do I need to start with of each solution?
Most cleaning kits come with bottles that range in size from 1 ounce to 2 ounces. The idea behind the kits is to give you the right amount you need of each solution so they all end up being used in about the same amount of time. You then will have a choice to make – do you buy another kit, or do you buy the bottles separately. You won’t really know the answer to this until you start using the solutions and see which ones you really like the most, and continue to purchase those. Most oils and greases do not expire or go bad, so you can’t really buy too big of a bottle of any one if you purchase them separately. Just remember, the idea behind a kit is to give you the items you need in the right proportion that you need them – it makes it very easy to know how much you need of each solution.
Q. Won’t any type of screwdriver work for taking apart and putting the reel back together?
The short answer to this question is yes, any type of screwdriver will work, as long as you have the right end on the screwdriver (flathead, philips or star). However, there are certain kinds of screwdrivers that will make it easier compared to others. Having a bit that has a magnetic head on it, for example, will make sure that you won’t lose the screw as you take it out, and will make it easier for when you are putting the screw back in. Another item which could help is having a battery powered screwdriver. This will ensure you have the proper amount of torque needed to secure the reel to the fishing pole. If the reel is loose when you reattach it, it could screw up the alignment of the line and cause you more issues than you intended to take care of with your fishing pole.
Although a fishing reel cleaning kit is not one of the first things on your list when you are buying all of your supplies, it is one of the most important accessories you can purchase for your fishing trips. This is because there is no better way to ensure your fishing pole and reel last for a long time than to ensure the reel is fully clean after each and every use. There is always a possibility of some dirt, grime or algae to get stuck between the reel and the fishing pole, which can cause some severe damage if that is not cleaned out. So, make sure you find the right kit which will take care of all of your needs, so you can feel confident each time you go out fishing that your reel will function properly as you need it to.