Tackle Critic

Zebco Roam Review

zebco roam review

The Zebco brand is known worldwide for making the best spincast reels. While the manufacturer makes high-end reels designed for avid anglers, many of Zebco’s spincast reels are budget-friendly. Unlike other brands, Zebco uses durable and performance-oriented components in all their reel models, even those for beginners.

This Zebco Roam Fishing Reel review breaks down one of the best affordable and beginner-friendly reels. It features an easy-to-use push-button design that anyone from children to adults will enjoy. The Roam reel also casts surprisingly far for the money.

Features Overview

SpecificationsZebco Roam
Mono Capacity (yd/lbs)110/10
Gear Ratio3.6:1
Max Drag12 lbs
IPT (inches per turn)19″
Weight8.7 oz
Pre-Spooled Line10 lbs
Retrieve HandLeft/Right

While these specifications may not be necessary to your buying decision, most beginner anglers are more concerned about performance, durability, and smooth retrieves.

Components & Capabilities

The Zebco Roam’s best qualities are casting distance, smooth retrieves, durability, and value. You can’t beat Zebco’s attention to detail and build quality for the price. The Roam spincast reel will withstand any abuse you throw at it and is enjoyable to fish with. I’ve found the Roam reel is just as durable as Zebco’s high-end reels for a fraction of the cost.

This spincast reel comes pre-spooled with line. However, the line is cheap and tangles frequently. Remove the line and use your own 8lb to 15lb monofilament for the best performance.

After changing the line, the reel is incredibly smooth and has enough power to catch most freshwater fish species. I’ve had no problem catching trout, panfish, crappie, and average-sized bass and catfish.

Build Quality

The Zebco Roam spincast reel features a stainless steel front cover, all-metal gears, and dual ceramic pick-up pins. Combined with Zebco’s emphasis on quality, these components make the Roam reel strong and dependable. I also found the QuckSet Anti-Reverse system much better than the anti-reverse systems on cheaper models.

Drag Power

As mentioned earlier, the Zebco Roam has enough drag power to fight some strong fish. It features a dial-adjustable drag that gives you plenty of drag strength options. Simply turn the dial on the back of the real, and it will change the force required to pull the line out of the spool.

Casting Distance

The Zebco Roam casts farther than any other spincast reel in the same price range. This makes the reel even better for beginners who like to fish from the shore. It’s also useful for targeting catfish and casting into deeper channels.

This reel has a patented no-tangle design that keeps the line from forming a loop when casting. It has a comfortable soft-touch thumb button design that prevents your hand from becoming fatigued. Even after long days out on the water, you won’t feel discomfort from pushing the casting button.

Smooth Reeling

Zebco’s Roam spincast reel features a three-ball-bearing system. Spincast reels don’t use as many ball bearings, so this number seems low compared to spinning reels. However, you can’t tell the reel has fewer bearings when in use. The Roam doesn’t have the silky smooth cranking of Zebco’s more expensive Bullet and Omega Pro spincast reels, but this is expected for the price.

The Roam has a line retrieval rate of 19” inches-per-turn (IPT), meaning every time you give the handle a full rotation, the spool retrieves 19” of fishing line. Other spincast reels, such as the Zebco Bullet, are designed for faster retrieval speed, but the Roam is quick enough to fish nearly all types of bass lures.

Price & Value

The best part of the Zebco Roam is the price. This is the perfect entry-level reel for children and great for anglers that don’t fish as frequently. Anyone who doesn’t want to break the bank on fishing equipment and enjoys the “push-button” spincast reel style will love the Zebco Roam.

If you fish frequently and want the best performing spincast reel Zebco offers, there are better alternatives. Next, I’ll compare the Roam reel to my other favorite spincast reels.

Zebco Roam Compared

If you’re a spincast reel fan, don’t look any further than Zebco’s product line. There isn’t another brand on the market that could be called a close competitor. Zebco’s brand name is synonymous with high-quality beginner fishing equipment that gets you fishing without a significant investment.

zebco roam vs bullet vs 33 vs omega pro

Zebco Roam vs. Bullet

The image above compares the Zebro Roam to Zebco’s Bullet spincast reel (left). While the Zebco Bullet has a much higher price tag than the Roam reel, it’s a worthwhile investment for passionate anglers. The Bullet reel is my favorite spincast reel for catfish, bigger bass, and overall performance. It has more ball bearings for smoother retrieves, tougher components, and casts farther than the Roam model.

Zebco Roam vs. 33

If you’re looking for a more affordable reel than the Zebco Roam, the Zebco 33 reel is a popular option. This is one of Zebco’s original reel models and has more sales than any other beginner spincast reel. For the money, it’s far superior to other push-button reels from stores such as Walmart and Target. The Zebco Roam reel casts farther and is more durable than the Zebco 33, making it worth the upgrade.

Zebco Roam vs. Omega Pro

Zebco’s Omega Pro spincast reel is the most versatile high-end spincast reel. It’s not quite as expensive as the Bullet model and has many similar features. The main difference between the Zebco Roam and Omega Pro is their performance. This high-end reel has much smoother reeling, and the drag system has more consistency. If you’re planning to target larger bass and catfish, you’ll have more success landing big fish with the Omega Pro.

Best Rod for Zebco Roam

It can be challenging to find a rod that’ll pair well with your spincast reel. Nearly every rod manufacturer only makes fishing rods for spinning and baitcaster style reels. However, this doesn’t mean you’re out of luck.

Zebco Roam Combo Review

zebco roam combo review

If you don’t already own the reel by itself, the Zebco Roam Rod and Reel Combo offers the best performance and value for the money. This package features a unique spincast rod specially designed to pair well with the Roam reel. This combo gives you better casting distance, strength, sensitivity, and balance than any other Zebco roam combo.

As a general rule, a rod and reel combo from the manufacturer is the best rod pairing option.

Zebco Rhino Tough Rod

zebco rhino tough rod

Some anglers have the Zebco Roam and are looking for a stand-alone rod to use it with. If this is you, you’re not out of luck. Zebco makes a fishing rod uniquely designed for its spincast reels called the Zebco Rhino Tough Rod. While it’s not specifically tailored to the Roam model, it pairs well with the reel.

This rod will give you the same casting distance, strength, and sensitivity as the Zebco Roam combo. I found the combo has a bit better weight balance, but most anglers wouldn’t notice the difference. Lastly, the Rhino Tough Rod is an exceptional value for the money, costing less than $35.

Cadence Spinning Rod

cadence spinning spincast rod

To complete this review, I tested other rods that aren’t made by Zebco. The Cadence Spinning Rod performed best with Zebco’s spincast reels out of all the spinning rods I tried.

While it’s not explicitly designed for “push-button” fishing reels, the sensitivity, strength, weight, and reduced tangling make it a suitable option.

Cadence’s rod qualities are perfect for almost every Zebco spincast reel. It also has more size options to choose from and premium components that are found on other performance-oriented rods.


Overall, the Zebco Roam Spincast Reel is made by the best “push-button” reel manufacturer and is an excellent deal for the money. However, Zebco makes multiple great spincast reels that suit different needs. The Roam reel is ideal for anglers who want to spend less than $50 and don’t need top-tier performance.

It’s a much better fishing reel than Zebco’s low-end models. However, anglers that fish more frequently and target larger fish should consider upgrading to a high-end model.

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