Shimano SLX Vs SLX XT Reel – Which One Is Champion?

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Shimano is a well-known brand that has been manufacturing fishing reels since 1978. Since the beginning, they have provided the finest fishing reels you can buy from the market. Shimano reels are quite good with performance, quality build material, and durable enough to last longer than some competitors.

If you were to ask anglers about the best reel brand, most of them would say that it’s Shimano. Shimano is a well-praised reel maker name among the angler’s community. 

To keep their quality work, Shimano does not offer a wide range of reels that you can buy. They mainly provide a few spinning and baitcasting reels.

Also, they offer very few reels in the 100-200 dollars segment. The Shimano SLX series is one of the reels that has a 100–200-dollar price tag and offers great value for money. 

The SLX series provides three reels but the SLX and SLX XT are the two most famous among them and put-up competition. They both have less than 150 dollars price tag and provide excellent performance and durability. 

If your budget is under 200 and looking for a Shimano reel then you should get one of these two. It will be the best value for money. But the question is which one is perfect for you? Shimano SLX Vs SLX XT Reel.

To help you with the answer, I will give a side-by-side comparison of these two reels, a detailed review, and a final verdict. So, tag along with me and finish the article to find the best value provided budget Shimano reel. 

Shimano SLX Vs SLX XT Reel – Side by Side Comparison

To find out which one will be the best for you, first see a side-by-side comparison of these two products. The comparison will contain its features and other characteristics to give you an overview of the best one. 

Comparison Table
Build MaterialThe SLX uses a hagane body. The body of the reel is durable, powerful, and has zero flex.The SLX XT also uses the same hagane body. Shimano uses this type of high-quality body only in its high-end reels. 
PerformanceThe performance rating is 8/10 for the SLX model. The SLX XT’s performance rating is 8.5/10.
FeaturesThe aluminum body and VBS braking system are the top features of the SLX model.The SLX XT includes more features in its package. Aluminum body, super free spool, stable spool design, SVS infinity braking system. 
DesignThe SLX comes with a compact form factor that is lightweight and easy to handle. The SLX XT model’s design and form factor are the same as the SLX model.
Fishing TypeYou can do all kinds of fishing with the SLX model but it’s only recommended for freshwater.The SLX XT model is also recommended for freshwater fishing as they both have the same build material. 
Weight The SLX only weighs 6.9 oz. The SLX XT weighs slightly heavier with 7.2 oz. 
PriceThe price is $99. The price for SLX XT is $129. 

Shimano SLX Reel Review 

Shimano SLX is one of the finest $100 reels you can purchase. From the build quality to performance and durability it beats any other reels that have a below $100 price. Shimano uses a hagane body for the SLX model, which is aluminum based. It’s tough and durable.

The reel has zero flex to it and gives a premium feel because of the precision-engineered body. The build quality is like Shimano’s premium segment reels. 

One of the great features of the SLX model is its VBS braking system. The variable braking system uses a centrifugal force to control the casting distance. It reduces the speed of the spool and allows the spool to spin continuously. And the result is a consistent speed and more control over casting.

This model has a lightweight design and is very comfortable to use, thanks to the grippy rubber handle. Also, the line capacity, max drag capacity, and gear ratio are good enough for the casting reel. They all perform well and pull off anything you throw at them. 

Things that I like Most: 
  • Excellent price for the quality and performance
  • VBS braking system
  • Lightweight
  • Hagane body that provides durability like premium reels
Things I don’t like: 
  • Beginners can struggle with the braking system. 

Other than that, you can’t complain about anything else this reel offers with the lower price tag. In the $100 segments, this is the finest baitcasting reel you will get. It does everything a baitcasting reel should do without charging you a heavy price.

Shimano SLX XT Reel Review 

Shimano SLX Vs SLX XT Reel

As you know these two reels are from the same series of Shimano. So, they have some common features which also make the SLX XT a durable, well-performed, and reliable reel.

Keeping that in mind, Shimano made some improvements with the SLX XT model which make the SLX XT more reliable and well-performed than the original SLX model. But they charged some extra bucks for it. Let’s see if the extra buck is worth the upgrade. 

The SLX XT has three major upgrades from the base model. Super free spool, stable spool design, and SVS infinity braking system. Super-free spool eliminates the total friction on the spool shaft and delivers a more accurate cast because of the smoothness the spool provides.

The stable spool design has a thin aluminum wall around the spool to prevent vibration. This helps with better casting and retrieval. And the major difference between these two reels is the infinity braking system.

This technology uses an external adjustment knob for casting distance. With this braking system, you will be able to cast precisely according to the conditions or bait you have. This way, you will have more control in your hand than the base model. 

Things that I like Most: 
  • SVS Infinity braking system
  • Stable and smooth spool
  • External adjustment knob
  • Fair price

I don’t have any complaints against this reel. Considering the features, it is packed with I would pay $200 easily. And it does a better job than its siblings model SLX in the upgraded category.

Shimano SLX Vs SLX XT Reel – Which One Is Winner?

In my opinion, Shimano SLX XT is the winner here. 

Some might say that the XT model is extra priced but I would say it’s worth it. $129 is not some bank rubbering price. The average price for a good baitcasting reel is $150-200. So, I don’t see any problem with the price given the features and improved performance it’s delivering than the base model. 

The base model also is a well-performed reel given its price point. But The XT model has a more improved spool and a more advanced braking system. With the improved spool design and braking system, XT maintains more precision in casting and retrieving. Even you can adjust the casting distance according to your need without costing any time. The SVS braking system is easier to use than the VBS braking. The overall performance is improved with the stable spool design and the SVS infinity braking system. 

So, don’t let the extra $30 bucks hold you to get a better reel. You might get a suggestion like, get the base model first and then after a little bit of experience upgrade to the XT model. My point is why spend the double money when you can get the better one the first time?


Shimano is a name of trust and reliability. They always deliver the highest quality product and provide great value for money. Shimano SLX Vs SLX XT Reel are two of their entry-level products that keep all of their promises.

Both the Shimano SLX and SLX XT are great value-provided reels. Both reels have great design, comfortability, smooth and reliable performance, great durability, and a great price tag. The price difference between the two models is not that much but the XT has more improved performance than the base model. 

So, if you are looking for a Shimano reel with a low budget then go for the SLX XT. It will be worth it.  

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  • Ayaan

    Hi, this is Ayaan. I have been fishing since I was a young boy. I love the outdoors and the peace that comes with being by the water. Fishing is more than a hobby to me, it is a passion. I have learned much about fishing over the years, and I enjoy sharing my knowledge with others. I am happy to teach anyone who is interested in learning how to fish. I love everything about fishing – the peace and tranquility of being out on the water, the challenge of trying to catch a big one, and the sense of accomplishment when I finally land a fish. I love fishing because it is a way to connect with nature and escape everyday life’s hustle and bustle.

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