Penn HD Line Winder Review: SIY – Spool It Yourself In Minutes!

Penn HD Line Winder Review: SIY – Spool It Yourself In Minutes!

When you’re headed to the tackle shop, it’s also a good time to bring your reels in to refresh your line. But for as many times as you plan ahead with fresh line, there are those times that aren’t possible to prepare for. To assist in such moments, no contraption facilitates the ease of spooling your own reel better than the Penn HD Line Winder. An initial look might bring up some questions as to the device’s effectiveness. The following review accompanied by Penn’s instructional video will dispel any doubts you have.

Penn HD Line Winder

Penn HD Line Winder
The HD Line Winder By Penn Reels

Product: The Penn HD Line Winder.

Overall Ranking: 93 out of 100.

Price: Higher range.

Company/Owner: Jarden.


Intro To The Penn HD Line Winder

Most of the line winders you come across are perfect for smaller to mid-size spinning reels. While there are several different designs fit to hold lighter line filler spools, they aren’t meant to wrap line on larger conventional reels. The washers on the Penn HD Line Winder act as a drag system and place up to 10 lbs of resistance as you fill up.

If you’re spooling lighter test, Penn recommends 3 to 5 lbs of resistance. The weight of the heavy steel unit is enough to keep it grounded between that range. Spooling heavier line asks for the contraption’s full 10 lbs of drag, and using clamps to hold it down is your best bet. Penn also advises the use of a small hand scale to set the drag resistance. Brand Manager Ben does an excellent job explaining how it works in the following video.

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Penn HD Line Winder Model, Specs, & Features



Penn HD Line Winder
The Penn HD Line Winder


Penn makes the HD Line Winder in one size and it adjusts to hold small filler spools or larger bulk spools. The total weight of the unit is around 7 pounds (shipping weight) with dimensions of 14 X 4 X 4.5 inches when fully assembled. Both legs of the unit fold in making it compact for easy storage.

When attaching your spool of line, one arm stays fixed while the other comes apart allowing access. This is also the side that enables you to adjust the tension. Once again, the Penn HD Line Winder works fine on the ground with lighter drag. For spooling heavier line, you’ll want to use a table and clamps to secure the unit. Clamps and hand scale are sold separately.

Main Features Of The Penn HD Line Winder

Heavy Duty Steel Material

The majority of line winders on today’s market are made for a lighter line. They come in small fishing rod form or have a built-in clamp to attach to a workbench. But they don’t use a heavy steel frame like the Penn HD Line Winder. For offshore and inshore saltwater anglers using larger equipment, the heavy steel construction makes spooling a lot more efficient.

Fits Filler & Bulk Spools

When the legs of the HD Line Winder are in a fully open position, it leaves plenty of room to put on a larger bulk spool of fishing line. Because one side is fixed and the other snaps in, it’s easy to adjust the line winder to fit smaller filler size spools. There’s no difference in the effectiveness of the unit for using one size spool or the other.

Adjustable Tension 

HD Line Winder
The Tension Knob Screws Down To Fit Bulk Or Filler Spools

Penn designs their HD Line Winder with a drag system and for good reason. You never want to spool line on your reel too loosely or it will cause it to dig into itself. Smaller baitcasters, convention reels, and spinning reels only require 4 or 5 pounds of tension for proper spooling. With larger game conventional reels, you’ll need to use the full 10 lbs to ensure your line lays on tight enough.

The function of the HD Line Winder is simple and is much like the drag system of an inline reel. One of the arms is fixed and contains a spring for tension. A metal key washer follows the spring and a carbon washer follows that. Touching the spool on the very inside is what Penn calls the drag-forcing cone.

The reverse side also uses the drag-forcing cone and washers but doesn’t have the spring. It’s the side the spool goes on and clips into the arm of the HD Line Winder. The drag cone goes in first followed by the metal and then carbon washer. This functioning side adds a plastic washer and finally, a tightening knob which allows you to set the tension.

Easy Fold Up Stow Away Storage

Compact HD Line Winder With Spool
The HD Line Winder Breaks Down With Spool & Tension On

Whether you keep the HD Line Winder aboard or at home, it doesn’t have to sit in the way. Nor do you have to break it down completely when you’re not using it. The legs of the HD Line Winder fold in making the unit very compact. You can even leave the spool on for future use without losing your tension. When it comes the time that you need it again, the HD Line Winder opens up and is ready to go in seconds.

Black Plated Corrosion Resistant Finish

Penn designs the HD Line Winder with heavy steel and saltwater use in mind. Aware of the ruining effects of corrosion, Penn finishes the unit with a metallic black/grey corrosion resistant coating. You can keep the Line Winder aboard your fishing craft, though you probably want to keep it from prolonged contact with saltwater.

Enough Tension For Big Game Reels

It might not seem like 10 lbs is very much tension, but get a scale on the line and you’ll be surprised. Spooling 500 or more yards on a big game reel at 10 lbs of drag can give a bit of a workout, but it is necessary. The Penn HD Line Winder may be the only non-electric contraption on the market that is capable of spooling big game reels.

View The HD Line Winder On Amazon

Pros & Cons


What are the options when you don’t have time to stop by the tackle store or own an electric line winder? It takes a friend who’s willing to hold the spool at the proper tension while you wind on your line. If you keep the line winder aboard your vessel, you can easily do it yourself and allow other anglers to do the same. You can also ask a friend to keep their foot on the Penn HD Line Winder instead of using clamps. It makes the job much easier for your fellow angler.

Whether you keep the HD Line Winder on board or have it on a workbench at home, spooling your own line saves money. It’s easier to have it done in the tackle shop, especially when you need to stop in for other gear anyway. But tackle stores typically charge an extra amount for their services. Buying your monofilament or braided fishing line online and spooling it yourself can lead to really good savings.

Cons Of The Penn HD Line Winder

The Penn HD Line Winder does an effective job but it isn’t perfect. Making a heavier unit doesn’t seem to be a good answer but Penn could consider a built-in clamp system. They could also design a small scale into the unit so the angler doesn’t have to keep one with it. Such additions would surely cost more so perhaps a higher end line winder would be the best answer.

Best Use

At home, in the shop, or on board almost any size vessel, the Penn HD Line Winder will do effective work. You will need those clamps for anything other than light line applications or a friend to keep weight on the unit.

Note that the HD Line Winder holds filler or bulk spools but not the skinny leader-size spools. Remember to keep your hand scale with the unit for drag adjustment. You can keep the same drag setting and spool on the unit while folded in and easily store it away.

Penn Customer Support

Penn Let The Battle Begin LogoSupport for Penn products is typically reserved for rods and reels, but they would still love to hear any feedback or concerns. Anglers can get in touch with Penn via their website’s Contact Us Page by filling out their online form. You’ll also find the addresses for Penn Customer Service along with a phone number.

The Final Tally

93 out of 100 anglers approve of the Penn HD Line Winder

The Penn HD Line Winder offers great value for the rate and for doing an effective job spooling on fishing line. It easily ranks above the 90th percentile with added points for storage and durability. The lack of a clamp system or scale are improvements that could make the unit even better. But clamps and hand scales are relatively inexpensive and good to have around anyway. What are thoughts on the HD Line Winder? Please share using the comment form below. Salty smiles and tight lines until next time.



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