Penn Fierce Vs Battle Reels – What Are The Differences, And Which One Should You Buy?
UPDATED 27 MAY 2021
by Robert Ceran
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Penn reels are famous for their durability and robust build, which is why many anglers choose them for saltwater applications.
If you’re currently looking for a new Penn reel, then you’re probably considering the Fierce and Battle series, which are among the most popular Penn series. And in order to decide between the two, you need to know their most important distinguishing characteristics.
Here we compare the most recent versions of both series: the Fierce III, and the Battle II. While you may still be able to get some of the earlier models in your local tackle shop, they have been discontinued by Penn, which is why we’re only comparing the most recent models here.
Penn Fierce III vs Battle II – what are the most important differences?
The table above compares the main features and specs of both lineups 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, they have some clear differences when you look at the details, and due to these differences they are best used for different scenarios (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 III has 4 stainless steel bearings, plus 1 rotor bearing, while the Battle II 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: 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. 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 III spinning reel
This model provides a lot of value at an affordable price. It’s a classic ‘workhorse’ reel that can be used for many different applications, from ultra light spinning to heavy boat rods. They are 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 II 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, 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 big 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 series are very high quality, which is why we included both of them in our selection of the best Penn spinning reels, the best spinning reel under 100, as well as our review of the best rod and reel combo for catfish.
And while they are both excellent fishing reels that will serve you well, 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.
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