Penn Slammer 3 Review | Performance Against Rough Use?

We all want a velvety smooth, featherweight spinning reel ​but there are so many reels we come across that don’t even function well but still cost a fortune. Penn’s Slammer 3 is a slap on the face of all such reels.

The constant casts and retrieves, the weight of big fishes and saltwater corrosion can take a toll on any reel and Penn seems to understand that.

The Penn Slammer 3 won the award for ‘Best New Product’ at iCast 2016 a short while after its release. Any guesses in which category it bagged the honor? The ‘Best Saltwater Reel‘.

​Our Verdict On The Penn Slammer III Fishing Reel

​Designed to withstand even the roughest use and abuse while saltwater fishing, surf casting, wading, this reel will cast heavy lures and cut baits repetitively​ even if you drop it in the beach sand or dunk it in sea water.​​

This fishing tackle can take over a wide range of applications effectively and has been made to cover almost all possible scenarios from a light tackle in the bays to heavy-duty offshore work that an angler may encounter.​

​The Penn Slammer III with its various innovative features and never before performance outright surprises even those anglers who have seen their fair share of fishing days.​ ​It does what is expected from it and delivers perfectly in the key areas of gear durability, drag quality, and corrosion resistance.

​Therefore, despite providing you with some alternative options, we still believe that the Slammer III is the one you should go with.

Competitors Of The Penn Slammer III

Penn Slammer III
90A powerful reel with diversity in models for both inshore and offshore fishing.Check On Amazon
Penn Spinfisher V
n/aA must have for all those who are in love with surf fishing.Check On Amazon
Shimano Stradic Ci4+
n/aGreat reel, super smooth, plenty of power and potential to be one of your best buys.Check On Amazon
Penn Clash
n/aOne of the best inshore reels you could trust with your eyes closed.Check On Amazon
Shimano Saragosa SW
n/aBuy this for an extra song and a buttery-smooth performance.Check On Amazon

​Before We Begin

​So after all these years where does the Slammer 3 stand now?​ Well, it has shown exceptional performances to anglers during all these years as was expected from it. ​Now, is this reel worth adding to your arsenal of reels? Hell, yes! The reason is its unmatched durability.​

​​Since you are reading this article it is safe to assume that you are interested in buying this reel. ​This Penn Slammer 3 Review has been written to help you make an informed decision according to your needs rather than buying it just out of impulse or because of hear say.

​Detailed Analysis Of The Penn Slammer 3 Reel

​The Penn Slammer III is a solid reel that is reasonably priced and can handle big fishes with ease. There are several models to choose from but before that, it is important to know what are some of the key features of this reel that make it somewhat distinct and coveted in the market.

​As always, we have not only laid down the key features for you by breaking them into easily understandable subsections but also given it a star rating to help you understand how well we have perceived the reel and on what parameters.

​1. Penn Slammer 3 Key Features


​Reel Knob & Interchangeable Handles

​​The Slammer 3 has beautiful machined-aluminum knob installed on it for cranking those big fishes. And for those anglers who want a soft grip, there is a spare EVA knob ​for them. By the way, the EVA knob is pretty useful if you are fishing in cold climates.

​The Slammer 3 also consists of machined aluminum, interchangeable handle, which can serve both left and right-handed anglers.​

​Reel Weight

Due to its all-metal build, it is no surprise that the reel feels very heavy. In fact, the weight range is significant as it goes from 14oz for the smallest model but rapidly increases to a whopping 43oz for the offshore one. Yes, we do get a solid sturdy built, but the price we have to pay for it is in the form of reel weight.

There are some premium reels out there which function at a similar level as the Penn Slammer III but still weigh less. Some of those alternatives have been suggested in the table above. But then there is a difference in prices too.


​High-Quality Construction

​As soon as you take the reel in your hands you would immediately feel the use of high-quality components. An all metal-frame with high-grade aluminum in the reel body​ with aluminum side plates and an aluminum rotor make way for an impressive performance from the reel even in saltwater while keeping its life-span long.

Giving solid performance and having impressive specs are at the heart and soul of this reel.

​Brass Gearing System

​The Slammer III features a full brass gearing system. It has been specifically manufactured by utilizing advanced CNC technology. The use of CNC brass gearing is enough to indicate you about the overall quality of this reel. ​We all know that brass has long been a go-to material for manufacturers when it comes to making fishing gears.

Brass is known for its strength, high-level tolerance to friction and its supreme ability to resist corrosion.

​Sealed Bearings

​With protection through the IPX6 rubber seals, the bearings oversee an increased resistance to corrosion resistance and longevity. Though the IPX6 system is not waterproof, it can surely protect your reel against most situations encountered while saltwater fishing.

If you drop it in the sand, just rinse the reel and you would be good to go. No need to take the reel apart. ​Now, don’t dunk it intentionally in water and test if it still works like a charm.​ Of course, you can test it but we do recommend against it. It won’t be able to handle such a sadistic side of you. 



​The Penn Slammer 3 comes in 8 sizes, from the small and sweet 3500 model to the beast like 10500. And as if this much variety was not enough, Penn also came up with 2high-speed models, the 6500hs and 8500hs (distinguished by their black and red color scheme).

Since you have so many options in size, you are directly looking at a wide variety of applications that include surf, kayak, inshore and offshore fishing. And these are just a few that we are able to write at this time. We know you will find that there are many more uses.

​Rock-Solid Performance

 Along with 7 stainless steel ball bearings for smooth performance, all the models have a single anti-reverse bearing that engages the drag system and prevents the fish from swimming away. ​Since it features a ​CNC Gear™ technology, we get an accurate and smoother main drive, along with the pinion and oscillating gear assembly. 

Since it is an all-metal build, it’s no surprise that ​both its rotor and spool feature an aluminum construction too. ​Whether it is minimal flexing or maximum cranking power, this reel becomes the prime example of a rock-solid performance when battling those big bruisers.

​Braided Lines & Line Capacity

​Just like the other spinning reels from Penn, the Slammer III is braid-ready too. Further, it has the trademark line capacity rings from Penn, ​which help us to maintain proper spooling and also keep an eye on the remaining line while we are fighting those big fishes.

This reel has impressive line capacity specs across all the models that the Slammer range offers. For example, when we see the Slammer III 4500, it can accept up to  320 yds of 10 lb mono and 320 yds of 20 lb braided line. Similarly, the gigantic Slammer III 10500 pulls in a remarkable 435 yds of 30 lb mono and 780 yds of 65 lb braided line!

​Drag Capacity & Drag System

​All the reels of the Penn Slammer 3 series provide a lot of drag power to stop our target from swimming away. Even the smallest reel i.e. the Slammer III 3500, has a drag capacity of 30 lbs (13.6kg) whereas the large Slammer 9500 and the Slammer 10500, with a 60 lbs drag capacity can lock-down and tame even the biggest fishes that we might encounter.

The star behind such an impressive drag power of the Slammer III series is the powerful ​Sealed Slammer® Drag System with Dura-Drag™ which had been originally introduced for the high-end International series from Penn. ​This drag system makes the reel a noteworthy contender in the medium-priced or mid-range spinning reels.

​Phenol Coated Carbon Washers

​The drag system consists of 2 massive phenol coated carbon washers which have been specially treated. These washers are heat resistant and can withstand deterioration from saltwater. These washers have been known to have a material that we find in high-performing race cars.

Thus they are still able to perform even after absorbing a high-friction heat while battling fast and powerful game fish. Hence we have a drag system that is even better than the coveted HT-100 Carbon Fiber drag found in many top-notch reels by Penn. ​And we are not the ones who are saying it. This claim comes from Penn themselves.

Maintenance & Repair Cost

​IPX6 Sealed System

​As we had mentioned earlier, ​major components of the reel like the gearbox, bearings, main shaft, drag, and its body have been securely sealed by Penn’s IPX6 Sealed System to keep water at bay (see what we did there). And we will not fail to mention again that this doesn’t mean submersion in water for a long duration.

​The IPX6 keeps the gearbox components dry as we are bound to encounter routine splashes while fishing, especially in the sea or you may even end up dropping your reel in water.

​Heat & Corrosion Resistance

​The secure design of the reel provides ample protection against water sprays, splashes, and the occasional submersion of the reel in water. It will still protect the reel’s internal components without dealing damage to its operational capability.

​The phenol coated carbon washers protect against damage from heat and friction.


PENN Fishing offers a 1-year warranty on all its products from the date of purchase.​ However, the cost of sending it to them will be borne by you which seems kind of a bummer.

Once repaired or replaced within the warranty period, they would send it back to you without you bearing any cost.


​Worth The Money

​​The Penn Slammer 3 might seem expensive at first but it is just an illusion. When we compared it to some other reels out there, we found that the value it offers is comparable to some of the more expensive reels that are a part of the premium range of renowned manufacturers.

A prime example of this can easily be seen in the comparison table. So coming back to the point that given the value it offers to us in the form of its specs, construction, etc. it deserves a good score in the price section due to providing value for your money.

​2. PENN Slammer 3 Spinning Reel

PENN Slammer 3 Spinning Reel Rating - Review

Overall Score: 90

+ Durable design

+ Unbelievable drag

+ Extreme resistance to water

+ Impressive performance

– Might feel a bit heavy

– No automatic bail trip on models 6500-10500

  • Full Metal Body, sideplate, and rotor
  • CNC Gear™ technology
  • IPX6 Sealed body and spool design
  • Sealed Slammer® drag system with Dura-Drag™
  • 7+1 stainless steel bearing system
  • Sizes 3500-5500 have automatic bail trip
  • Sizes 6500-10500 have manual bail trip

The PENN Slammer III is a durable reel that has been specifically engineered for heavy-duty fishing from either boat or shore. Not only it is trusted by pro anglers around the world, but it is extremely popular among new anglers too.

One of our readers said and we would like to quote, “It is impossible to go back to some other reel once you start using the Slammer III. It is like using the iPhone. Once you become used to its features, no other phone or brand will appease you. It (the reel) is dangerously addictive”.


For inshore fishing, ​you might find smaller reels to be better and feel that this reel carries some extra weight. Well, this is true but given its strong metal build, wasn’t this sort of expected? ​And mind you, it’s still not the heaviest out there. Nevertheless, it is a reel designed for durability and to serve you for many years to come.

​It may give you a setback of a couple of hundred bucks but this is nothing in comparison to those reels who are somewhat similar in features and functions but demand premium prices. In short, it justifies the price it demands. And since it is extremely durable, it won’t cost you a fortune in maintenance and repair. So it saves you a lot of money there.

​Choose the model according to your need and you will have no complaints. We have critically analyzed the Slammer III and praised it where it deserved. And more often than not, we have nothing but great reviews for this reel from our readers and testers both.

It is a value for money fishing gear and the bottom line is that you cannot go wrong with the Slammer III Spinning Reel. ​Till then, behina huni!

Shailen Vandeyar

A proud Indian origin Kiwi who loves to plant trees and play with my pet bunny when not freshwater fishing in the nearest creek or enjoying saltwater fishing by taking boats far in the ocean.

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