Penn Fierce Vs Battle Reels – What Are The Differences, And Which One Should You Buy?


by Robert Ceran

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If you’re currently looking for a new Penn spinning reel, then you’re probably considering the Fierce and Battle series, which are among the most popular Penn series.

For this article we tested the most important features of the Penn Fierce vs Battle reels side by side, and will cover their main differences, to help you choose the best one for your purpose.

Penn Fierce IV vs Battle III – what are the most important differences?

Fierce IV seriesBattle III series
Size range1000 to 80001000 to 8000
Number of ball bearings4 + 15 + 1
Material of rotorGraphiteMetal
Material of body and sideplateMetalMetal
Bail armAluminumHeavy-duty aluminum
Drag systemHT 100 carbon fiber dragHT 100 carbon fiber drag
Braid ready spoolYesYes
Maximum drag pressure9 to 30 lb9 to 30 lb
Gear ratio5.2:1 to 6.2:15.2:1 to 6.2:1
Anti reverse gearYesYes
Weight7.80 to 28.70 oz.8.10 to 30.20 oz.

The table above compares the main features and specs of both lineups that we tested side by side.

As you can see, they both come in the same size range, which means you could in principle use them for similar purposes.

However, our testing revealed that they have some clear differences when you examine the details, and due to these differences they are best used for different applications (more on that below).

Most important differences between both reel series

Ball bearings: This is the first main area with differences between the two lineups. The Fierce IV has 4 stainless steel bearings, plus 1 rotor bearing, while the Battle III has 5 sealed stainless steel bearings, plus 1 rotor bearing. 

There are two differences to note here: the Battle not only has one bearing more than the Fierce, it also has more durable bearings.

While the ball bearings of the Fierce are open, those of the Battle are sealed with a rubber seal, protecting them much better against corrosion.

Bottom line: When we put them to the test, we found that the additional ball bearing of the Battle lineup results in smoother retrieval action, and the sealed bearing design makes them more resistant to corrosion.

Rotor: The Battle has a metal rotor, while the Fierce rotor is made of graphite. During our testing we found that the metal rotor is more corrosion resistant and less likely to warp under high pressure.

Body and sideplate: Both lineups are identical in this respect, with full metal body and sideplate.

Bail arm: While both lineups have a bail arm made of aluminum, that of the Battle is thicker and heavier, making it more resistant to corrosion or damage.

Size: Both series are identical in this category, ranging from 1000 to 8000 sizes (for more information on which size to choose for which application, check out our spinning reel size chart).

Drag system: This used to be an area with a big difference between the two lineups, but in their latest iteration, both series are now identical in this respect.

They both have a powerful HT 100 carbon fiber drag system, which applies pressure on the spool from both sides, resulting in extremely smooth drag action, and low drag inertia.

Spool: Both series are identical in this respect. They have a machined aluminum spool that has line capacity rings and is braid ready.

Maximum drag pressure: Both series are identical in this respect (9 to 30 lb max. pressure).

These max pressure ranges are ideal for fighting medium to large fish, and combined with the high quality HT 100 system, this is one of the features that makes both these Penn reels a pleasure to use for targeting trophy fish.

Gear ratio: Both series are identical in this respect (5.2:1 to 6.2:1 ratio). This medium to fast reel speed range is great for almost all spinning applications.

Anti reverse gear: Both series are identical in this regard. They have an anti reverse gear, but no anti reverse switch, so you can’t turn it on and off.

Weight: While both series are broadly similar in weight, the Battle is a little heavier than the Fierce, due to the fact that it has an additional ball bearing, a rotor made of metal instead of graphite, and a heavier bail arm.

However, the weight difference amounts to less than 10%, and so it doesn’t really feel heavier.

Now let’s look at each of the lineups in more detail.

Penn Fierce IV spinning reel

This model provides a lot of value at an affordable price.

When we put it to the test we found that it is a classic ‘workhorse’ reel that can be used for many different applications, from ultra light spinning to heavy boat rods.

The Fierce is ideal for most freshwater applications and can handle the full range of species all the way from panfish to trophy sized catfish.


  • HT 100 carbon fiber drag system
  • Braid ready spool
  • Line capacity rings
  • 4 + 1 stainless steel bearings

Penn Battle III spinning reel

There’s no doubt that this is one of the flagship lineups from Penn fishing, and many anglers keep a whole collection of different sizes of this model, to have the right size for every application. 

Compared to the other lineup, our testing revealed that this reel has smoother retrieval action due to the extra ball bearing, and it is also much more durable in the face of punishing conditions.

The extra durability is due to the sealed ball bearings, metal rotor, and heavier bail arm. 

Overall, its enhanced durability make this modean an ideal choice for all types of saltwater fishing, ranging from inshore spinning to surf casting and boat fishing for schools of tarpon, sailfish, or tuna.


  • 5 + 1 sealed stainless steel bearings
  • Metal rotor
  • Heavy duty aluminum bail arm
  • Braid ready spool
  • Line capacity rings


In summary: both reel series are very high quality, which is why we included both of them in our selections of the best Penn spinning reels, as well as the best spinning reel under 100.

And while they are both excellent fishing reels that will serve you well, our test results revealed that the Battle lineup is clearly more durable and corrosion resistant than the Fierce series.

Because of this difference, the Fierce is best suited for freshwater applications, while the Battle is perfect for saltwater applications.

Methods and gear used for testing

For consistent testing results, we tested each of these spinning reels under the same conditions on Lake Tarpon. We paired each spinning reel with a 7’ Medium Light Fast action Penn Carnage III spinning rod. The reels were spooled with 16 lb test Power Pro Braided Line, and we tested them with 1/2 to 3/4 oz swimbaits in 7 to 23 feet of water.