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Reel Review

Rev up your fishing with Abu Garcia's Revo SX20 Spinning Reel (continued)

Drag: The standard Carbon-Matrix Hybrid drag stack provides strong performance and is relatively smooth. It's not jerky at normal settings, but the drag pressure is not perfectly consistent. There's a noticeable “bump” as line is pulled off the rod tip, even at very light settings. Although a maximum drag rating was not available from our lab, a couple of pulls on a hand scale (with the drag absolutely locked down as tight as I could muster) yielded about 17 pounds of pressure—far more than anyone should require!

A close look at the drag stack of the SX20....

Performance Ratings for Abu Garcia Revo SX20 Spinning Reel

Retrieve (1-5)



Bail Operation(1-5)

Line Twist



Rating(= Tot/Pos* 10)









Ergonomics: Tipping the scales at 8.2 ounces, the SX20 is of modest weight. Compared to the ever-popular Shimano 2500 series reels, it weighs less than several of those models.  It felt just fine while testing on my lightweight Steez SVF spinning rod.

This reel has a nice slim waistline.

 The form of the reel is quite good, with a narrow and compact body structure. If it's one thing I hate it's a bulky reel, and the SX20 is far from it. I also really like EVA foam handle knob which is a great size and easy to hold onto. One other ergonomic gripe, though, is the drag knob. It could be larger and easier to grab.  

Features Ratings for Abu Garcia Revo SX20 Spinning Reel

Spool Bearing(1-2)

Roller Bearing (1-2)

Water- Resistant Drag


Spare Spool

Reel  Cover



Rating (=Tot/Pos* 10)










Durability: The Revo SX20 utilizes eight HPCR (High Performance Corrosion Resistant) bearings plus one roller bearing to help retain smoothness and combat the harshness of saltwater. I didn't personally experience any durability issues nor would I expect to. I don't see any obvious reasons to doubt the durability of the reel in either fresh or saltwater.

The EVA knob is sized perfectly and feels great.

Price and Applications: All Revo SX models from size 10 to 40 carry an MSRP of $159.95. This puts these reels slightly above other noteworthy offerings like the Shimano Saros, Daiwa Lexa, and Pflueger Supreme XT. Since I find the reel good but not overly impressive, I feel the price could be lessened by about 30 dollars to make it more competitive.

There's a simple and slightly-deeper spare spool and additional washers (to help with line lay issues) that are included.

The SX20 is suitable for both fresh and saltwater, but the line capacity can be a drawback for certain applications. Of course, braided line can be a way to overcome this issue. Bass, Snook, and Redfish are just a few possible targets for this reel. As a bass reel, it works very well for any light finesse application you choose. I personally used the reel with 20 pound braid so I could use the standard spool in both fresh and saltwater, but I wouldn't want to use heavier line than that with such a shallow spool.

Ratings: (We've re-calibrated our ratings standard for 2008 and have included a key at the bottom of the following matrix as a guide):

Abu Garcia Revo SX20 Spinning Reel Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Good overall but a few little areas could be cleaned up. 7.5
Performance The reel casts very well, but could be slightly more refined in the drag department. 8.8
Price After testing the reel I think the price would be more attractive around $130. 6.5
Features There's a nice set of features in place. I was particularly fond of the saltwater-friendly parts. 7.14
Design (Ergonomics) The body is compact and the handle is comfy. 7
Application A worthy finesse reel that also doubles for inshore saltwater fishing. 7

Total Score

Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
For More Details of the updated rating system visit our explanation here


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

+ Attractive looks - Lacks a bit of refinement
+ Feels solid - Drag is not completely smooth
+ Compact body  
+ Spare spool  
+ Powerful drag  

Drop shotting in Florida does work in certain places!


Conclusion: The reels of today make use of a host of different materials and technologies which (for the most part) work pretty darn good. The Revo SX20 is no exception. As a whole, it's a solid little reel that gets the job done well. At a middle-of-the-road price, it's a fine performer but still has a few minor kinks it needs worked out before it becomes one of my favorites for the money.


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