Shimano Vanford Review

The Vanford is one of the newer spinning reels from Shimano and builds from the success of the Stradic series of reels. The Vanford shares many similarities to its predecessor, the Stradic CI4 in terms of body and core design. With a commonly found price point in stores and online of just under $229 the Vanford is a premium reel for sure and one that offers great performance and flexibility for different types of fishing.

Baitstick Pros:

While Vanford operates smoothly and appears to be well built, dependable, and durable as expected

The most noticeable factor and perhaps the most impressive feature is the weight of this reel (or lack thereof). It’s extremely light and Shimano has done something impressive with this reel. In our tests the Vanford weighed in at 8.02oz WITH line added.

Unlike other reels on the market featuring graphite construction that feel and look cheap, the Vanford has clean lines but feels sturdy and is tough.

With a higher end price tag of $229 it’s an product that is clearly targeted at the more advanced angler and one with deeper pockets. It may, or may not, be the best buy for the average angler and in this case may need to be considered more closely for exactly what the average angler is really getting for the price.

Baitstick Cons:

For the price being charged and the versatility being claimed by Shimano it was a surprise to see no extra spool in the product packaging purchased by Baitstick at full retail price

It’s notable that the Vanford also comes with no anti-reverse capability

The Vanford has a completely removable handle and without ability to partially collapse the handle for storage.


Baitstick gives the Vandford a thumbs up. That being said, the high price point makes the reel a product that may not make the most sense for anglers looking for more affordability or a different mix of price and value. For sure, there are lots of reels on the market that deliver considerable quality and performance for less money. But for those anglers looking to step up to the Shimano Vanford there should be little disappointment in the great quality and performance an angler would be paying for the reel.