Van Staal Reel Review: Comparing The VR, X, And VSX2 Spinning Series

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Certain saltwater anglers (and you know who you are!) can be pretty demanding on their gear, especially their reels. You take them to places few people have fished and put them through the wringer every time you’re out on the water. You submerge your reels in saltwater, bang them on the rocks and crank on them hard when fighting a fish.

If this is you, then Van Staal has reels specifically designed for you. They pride themselves in creating fishing reels that are tougher and higher quality than any other reel on the market. 

This article will review and compare the Van Staal VR Series, X-Series, and VSX2 series reels. We’ll look at the features, different sizes offered, and their positives and negatives! 

Van Staal VR Series 

The Van Staal VR Series has a wide variety of options available for anglers. The VR series sets itself apart from other Van Staal offerings in various ways mentioned below. Thankfully, they have reels available in all different types that should fit anyone’s fishing style. 

Key Features

The VR Series is seriously built to last! The Generation 2 models are fully sealed and allow you to submerge them as deep as you would like in all types of water! 

You’ll find that these reels earn their reputation due to the strong materials used in their construction. The 6061-T6 aluminum is one of the most robust materials used for making superior-quality reels. Van Staal then took these reels and cut out sections to reduce the weight and make it an incredibly lightweight option. 

The drag system is adjusted by the MicroClick system. The knob on the side of the reel is easily adjusted, and you can be as particular as you would like with how loose or tight you want the drag. The knob allows you to set it to the exact pound you want. 

As most anglers know, Van Staal reels offer a bail-less kit. This means the bail arm you traditionally find on reels doesn’t have to be there. With the purchase of these reels, you’ll receive the kit to convert them. Instead of the bail arm, you convert it to a manual pickup. It’s a unique feature you won’t find on many other reels on the market. It’s another detail the company chose to include to set itself apart. 


There are far more positives about the Van Staal VR Series reel than negatives. The fast retrieve, strong drag system, and tremendous line capacity make these ideal for anglers of all skill levels and interests.

They added a central shaft to the VR series that’s quite a bit stronger than the previous models. As anglers know, a big fish can cause reels to bend under pressure. Now it’s beefier, and it’s almost impossible for this to happen, and an impressive change from the original VR. 

Also, all VS reels offer true right and left-handed reels. You don’t have to go through the headache of switching the handle retrieve over as soon as you buy it. Choose the proper retrieve for yourself, and you’ll be able to use it as soon as it comes in the mail. 

This reel is excellent for saltwater anglers who want to fish in almost every situation. Boats, beaches, flats, jetties, and everything else you throw its way is no big deal. It can handle it. 


In terms of negatives, you really won’t find any! The biggest issue most anglers have is that you’re going to spend around $550 to purchase one of these. It’s an expensive reel but well worth the price. 

Also, the only two colors offered are silver and black. If you want a bold color choice, these reels aren’t for you. 

Van Staal X-Series 

The X-Series reel takes the original design and upgrades it. They keep some unique features on the classic version and upgrade them to make the reel an even better option. 

​​Key Features

You’ll find a few features on the X-Series that are consistent with the other Van Staal reels. The first thing you’ll notice about the reel body is the fully machined 6061 aluminum core. Saltwater anglers and freshwater anglers know how tough reels need to be. This aluminum body can withstand everything you put in its path. You can drop this reel in saltwater and bump it on sharp rocks and not notice a difference in performance. 

If you had the original X-Series, you’d remember the complaints and issues with the drag system. It wasn’t overly easy to adjust, so Van Staal gave the updated version of the MicroClick drag system like the other reels in their lineup. This system allows you to set your drag to nearly the exact pound you would like. It’s one of the most complex drag systems available. Plus, it’s fully sealed! 

You’ll also find that it has an extremely strong titanium shaft and can withstand severe pressure from those big pelagics. 

To add to the reel’s strength, they designed them with a stainless steel spiral-bevel gear system. This spiral-bevel system is beyond smooth. 

Finally, Van Staal also gave the X-Series the bail-less design. It doesn’t have a bail arm, so you can manually control the pickup. 


The X-Series has a great lineup of reels for a variety of situations. The VSX 150 and 200 options are perfect for anglers planning to fish from a boat and along the surf. You get around 30 inches per turn, so it’s not overly fast, but it’s enough to get things moving. 

The VSX 250 and VXS 275 are suitable for anglers who need a lot of line and massive line retrieval. You can quickly put between 50 and 80-pound braid on these reels and fight some serious fish. 

Also, they have finally fixed the issue where the line was laying on the bail in an hourglass shape, so now everything lays far flatter than it previously did. It’s truly the ideal line for anglers who love to use braid. It casts forever and feels terrific on the retrieve. 

Like all other VS series, you can put the X-Series to any test you would like! 


One of the most significant negatives is that Van Staal only offers five different-size reels. You have between 100 and 275 sizes that can handle good size fish, but anglers often ask for more size options to fit their needs. 

These reels are $780 a piece, so keep that in mind. 

Also, similar to the other models, you only have two color options available! 

Van Staal VSX2 Series

The VSX2 series is the newest model of the range and was released at the end of 2022. Van Staal claims it will be their best reel yet! 

Key Features

They didn’t try to reinvent the wheel with this design. They wanted to take everything customers have enjoyed about their products thus far and offer a few more features and sizes. 

These reels are still manufactured from the machined 6061 aluminum body that the other models are made of. Also, they have the same titanium main shaft as the other series of reels. This means they didn’t try to change their previous designs’ already impressive strengths. 

The design of the reel, however, is a bit different. A new unibody design has been introduced on the VSX2 models. Essentially, the reel is all one piece, so less can go wrong! This new design has incorporated with an extended handle and a more substantial power knob. This way, you won’t ever lose the grip on this reel, regardless of the conditions. 

The drag system is still the MicroClick model used on the other models. It’s very sensitive and allows you to set it to the exact point you want. 

Since the reels have only just been released, reviews on performance aren’t available, but the new design looks extremely promising. 


Van Staal listened and gave anglers way more sizes. You have reels ranging from size 50 to 300! You can target some massive fish with the new VSX2. Each of the sizes has more drag as well as line capacity. 

Also, you still have a changeable handle option, and secondly, you can choose whether you want your reel as a bailed or bail-less option. 


There are no negatives yet to be reported on the newly released VSX2 reels! 

These reels are going to cost you around $800 a piece! 

Final Thoughts

With fishing gear, trust and confidence are the most we can ask for. We want to be able to believe that our equipment is going to perform every single time we hit the water. The Van Staal spinning reels give you confidence whenever you fish that they’re up to the challenge. Regardless of your chosen model, you know you’re getting the best bang for your buck…….these are seriously excellent reels!

I hope this helped you understand the options available, you can learn more about saltwater reels by checking out my reviews on the Abel SDS ported, and the Orvis Mirage, which are both solid fly reel alternatives to the VS range.

Steve Fitzjohn