Best Budget Carp Rods

Last Updated on 28 January 2024 by James Bevan

Best Budget Carp Rods

Having used many a carp rod over the years, I understand that if you want the very best, they can cost an arm and a leg!

I have also come to learn that you don’t always need the very best to succeed and more importantly enjoy the wonders of carp fishing.

That’s why I’ve put together this guide on the best budget carp rods. From my own personal experiences and with the help of some experts, I have identified the top budget carp rods on the market today.

Quick Summary:

If you are in a hurry and just want to see the recommended budget carp rods in this article then here they are with a quick link to a retailer that offers a great price…

Best Overall – Daiwa Black Widow Carp Rod
Sonik’s Best Option – Sonik Vader X
Best Telescopic Option – Sonik Xtractor
Best Budget Rod By Fox – Fox EOS Pro Carp Rod
Wychwood’s Affordable Option – Wychwood Riot Carp Rod

If you would like more detail on what these rods scored and why they are considered the best you can skip straight to the reviews below:

What I Class As A Budget Carp Fishing Rod

Before I jump into the list of the top rods, I just wanted to advise on what I class as a budget carp rod.

I have tested many rods in my 30 years of fishing. So before I started reviewing them I needed to class them into 4 separate pricing brackets to keep the comparison fair.

These are as follows:

Classification Price Range
Budget Carp Rod Under £60
Affordable Carp Rod Between £60 and £100
Mid-Ranage Carp Rod Between £100 and £200
Premium Carp Rod Over £200

For this article, I am focusing on the budget rod category with rods Under £60 being reviewed.

I have also added some suggestions from the affordable rod category as this, for some, may still be classed within a suitable budget.

For those looking at the opposite end of the spectrum, you may want to check out my full guide on the best premium rods on the market today.

The Best Budget Carp Rods (Under £60)

#1. Daiwa Black Widow Carp Rod

Daiwa Black Widow Carp Rod Review

How It Scores

7.6

OVERALL RATING
Reviewed By 3 Experts

Features7.5
Appearance7
Casting & Feel7
Playing Fish7
Value For Money9.5

Check Prices from 5 Shops

How this compares against the averages of all other carp rods:

Black Widow Carp Rod7.6
All Carp Rods8.3
All Budget Carp Rods7.3

Why Is It One Of The Best Budget Carp Rods

In summary, the Black Widow is easily one of the most reliable and versatile budget-friendly carp rods out there scoring an overall rating of 7.6 which is better than the average entry-level carp rod.

Despite Daiwa being best known for making elite angling rods, the Black Widow features good build quality and decent performance across the board. 

Available in a variety of test curves and lengths, this is a very dependable carping rod that is suited to fishing an array of venues.

In fact, the 10ft version of the rod is included in my guide to the top 10ft carp fishing rods.

Personally, I prefered the 3.25lb test curve version as a general all-round rod as it offered me the perfect balance of subtlety and power to cope with everything I needed it to on a medium sized water.
 
While the Black Widow doesn’t exactly excel in terms of how it feels in the hand, looks, or performs compared to Daiwa’s more advanced models, it’s nearly impossible to beat in terms of sheer value for money.

How The Experts Rate It

"This rod is a great bit of kit if you are looking at starting up carp fishing and don't want to spend a fortune"
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"The Black Widow name has been around for a few years now producing really really good budget carp rods of all lengths and sizes"
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Advantages & Disadvantages

Pros

  • Versatile thanks to different test curves available
  • Reliable budget-friendly carp rod, represents great value for money
  • The carbon blank is nice and lightweight
  • Reasonably powerful, especially in 3.5lb test curve version
  • Still made with quality materials despite its low price-point
  • Absorbs fish lunges really well under the rod-tip

Cons

  • Lacks a degree of subtleness you get with more premium models
  • While respectable, this rod’s performance overall is decent at best, but it’s hard to complain given its price


Features & Specifications

The Different Variations

Check Prices from 5 Shops

#2. Sonik Vader X Carp Rod

Sonik Vader X carp rod review

How It Scores

7.6

OVERALL RATING

Features7.2
Appearance7.2
Casting & Feel7.3
Playing Fish7.2
Value For Money9

Check Prices from 3 Shops

How this compares against the averages of all other carp rods:

Vader X Carp Rod7.6
All Carp Rods8.3
All Budget Carp Rods7.3

Why Is This A Top Budget Carp Rod

Sonik Vader X Carp Rods are the perfect choice for anglers who want a lightweight, good value and slim rod that is easy to handle.

I was really impressed with the build quality of this rod, especially considering its low price point.

The sleek, anti-scratch finish ensures that your gear stays in top condition for longer, and the anti-frap ceramic tip ring helps to prevent tangles. The M-series DL guides ensure a smooth and accurate cast, and the large DPS reel seat is perfect for holding a big pit reel.

With test curves available up to 3.5lb, these rods are perfect for landing even the largest of carp.

How The Experts Rate It

"So they’re finished in black and look pretty mean, but there’s so much more to the new rods from Sonik than meets the eye!"
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"Sonik's Vader X rods prove to be incredibly popular rods they're a fantastic blank with a really affordable price point"
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"Sonik Vader X carp rods are very decent medium to long-range big-fish tools. Ideal for the novice carp angler, they are well built and nicely furnished, with an action perfect for pits and lakes where distance casting is paramount"
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Advantages & Disadvantages

Pros

  • Available in various test curves (2.75, 3, 3.25, and 3.5 lbs) and lengths (10, 12, and 13 feet) – Vader X range also features a 4.5 lb spod rod
  • The blank features progressive action to keep it feeling balanced when playing fish
  • It marries great value for money with good overall performance
  • The 17mm DPS reel seat can accommodate a big pit reel with ease
  • The blank’s anti-scratch finish helps preserve its appearance
  • The ’fold-friendly’ ringing pattern makes transporting the Vader X straightforward

Cons

  • Does feel a bit ‘bullish’ when playing fish under the rod tip.
  • The blank is a tad chunkier than its competitors


Features & Specifications

The Different Variations

Check Prices from 3 Shops

#3. Sonik Xtractor Carp Rod

Sonik Xtractor Review

How It Scores

7.3

OVERALL RATING
2 Expert Reviews

Features7.3
Appearance7.3
Casting & Feel7.0
Playing Fish7.0
Value For Money8.5

Check Prices from 4 Shops

How this compares against the averages of all other carp rods:

Sonik Xtractor7.3
All Carp Rods8.3
All Budget Carp Rods7.3

Why Is It One Of The Better Budget Carp Rods

Carp fishing often throws up certain scenarios that require a bit of speciality that the bog standard 12ft rod isn’t suited for. Tight swims and smaller venues are examples of this.

The Sonik Xtractor is a prime example of a rod that can satisfy these unique needs. 

I, and many carp fishermen I know, choose this rod for its shorter lengths, progressive action and solid build. I find it is a great option for smaller venues or for roaming and stalking purposes.

They also choose this rod for its exceptional value for money. You get a lot of rod for your buck with the Xtractor. This makes it a very popular option for those on a budget, those looking for an affordable specialist rod or even for children that need a decent rod that is shorter than the norm.

How The Experts Rate It

"Cheap is a relative term, but these rods really do seem to punch above their weight"
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Advantages & Disadvantages

Pros

  • Great for stalking carp, can be used retracted in extra-tight spaces. I caught an upper double with the 9-foot version in a really tight swim
  • Incredibly lightweight thanks to its slimline carbon blank, making it more forgiving when holding in the hand whilst stalking for long periods
  • Boasts some great hardware, like its M-series DL guides and Japanese shrink rubber handle
  • Can be purchased in an array of test curves (2.75, 3, 3.25, and 3.5lb) and lengths (6, 9, and 10 feet)
  • It has a good build quality at a very reasonable price, representing great value for money

Cons

  • Arguably something of a specialist rod; anglers on the market for something that can be used on any carp water will want to look elsewhere. The 10-foot version was okay on a medium-sized water but my personal preference would be a 12-foot rod when fishing over 70 yards.
  • Performance could be better in some areas, more so around its balance and feel when casting and playing fish


Features & Specifications

The Different Variations

Check Prices from 4 Shops

#4. Fox EOS Pro Carp Rod

Fox EOS Pro Carp Rod Review

How It Scores

7.2

OVERALL RATING

Features7.0
Appearance7.0
Casting & Feel7.0
Playing Fish7.0
Value For Money8.0

Check Prices from 4 Shops

How this compares against the averages of all other carp rods:

Fox EOS Pro7.2
All Carp Rods8.3
All Budget Carp Rods7.3

Why Anglers Choose The Fox EOS Pro Carp Rod

The EOS Pro Carp Rod from the reputable Fox International has a perfect combination of quality, performance and style at an affordable price point.

The rod is designed and manufactured using low-resin carbon which helps make the rod lightweight in nature. It comes in three sizes – 10ft, 12ft and 13ft – with test curves of 3lb and 3.5lb. This makes the range versatile in catering for the majority of fishing situations a carp angler may face.

The high-quality 18mm reel seat provides a solid and comfortable base, while the anti-frap tip guide ensures smooth casting.

I really like the full shrink-wrap handle and matt black finish as it looks stylish and is also very comfortable to grip.

The most popular feature of the EOS Pro is its value for money. It’s rare to see any decent carp rod fall under the £60 mark these days, yet this rod does just that.

Anglers looking for a steady all-rounder or those that are new to the sport and cutting their teeth can’t go far wrong with this brilliant offering from Fox.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • The rod packs good features and build quality at a very accessible price
  • It’s very versatile thanks to the variety of test curves/lengths it comes in
  • It serves the purpose as a good all-round carp rod
  • The Fox EOS boasts subtle good looks with its unique details and tasteful finishings
  • The low-resin carbon blank is lightweight without compromising on durability
  • The anti-frap tip guide and SLIK air guides make the Fox EOS a reliable caster. I personally was able to hit 130 yards with a 4oz lead with the 3.5lb test curve version

Cons

  • Aside from the value for money it brings to the table, the Fox EOS doesn’t excel in any one particular area
  • I felt it lacked a degree of responsiveness when playing fish




Features & Specifications

The Different Variations

Check Prices from 4 Shops

#5. Wychwood Riot Carp Rod

Wychwood Riot Carp Rod Review

How It Scores

7.0

OVERALL RATING
2 Expert Reviews

Features7.3
Appearance6.5
Casting & Feel6.8
Playing Fish6.5
Value For Money8.0

Check Prices from 4 Shops

How this compares against the averages of all other carp rods:

Wychwood Riot7.0
All Carp Rods8.3
All Budget Carp Rods7.3

Why Is This Such A Good Budget-Friendly Carp Rod

The Wychwood Riot is a highly affordable, versatile carp rod that comes in test curves of 2.75, 3, and 3.25 lbs, and lengths of 9, 10, and 12 feet. While some of the rod’s features, like its cork details and progressive casting action, set the rod apart from its contemporaries, its greatest strength is arguably the value for money that it represents.
 
While the rod’s performance is more or less decent at best, it’s almost impossible to find quality rods worth investing in at the price that the Riot is sold at. For this reason alone, I think any beginner angler or carper looking for an affordable carp rod should consider the Wychwood Riot.
 
In testing it scored an overall rating of 7.0 which is slightly below the average of 7.3 for all other budget carp rods tested but is still a worthy contender and offers fantastic value for money.

How The Experts Rate It

"Whether you’re looking for a second set of rods for less secure venues, intrigued by the 9ft revolution, or looking for your first set of proper carp rods, the Riots are well worth investigating"
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Benefits & Drawbacks

Pros

  • The cork handle and detailing lend a nice, distinctive touch to the rod’s overall look. It also comes in a full shrink handle if you’re not a fan of cork
  • With lengths of 9, 10, and 12 feet and multiple test curves available, most anglers will be able to find what they need with the Wychwood Riot
  • The lightweight, carbon fibre matte black blank looks great
  • The Riot’s progressive casting action enhances the rod’s casting performance, as does its Double-leg black SIC guides and anti-frap tip guide
  • The 12-foot Riot comes with a 50mm butt guide
  • Easy to pack away thanks to its fold-friendly rings

Cons

  • Lacks the responsiveness of some of its competitors
  • Lacks power and so is not really suitable for large waters
  • The full shrink handle version looks very plain and uninspiring




Features & Specifications

The Different Variations

Check Prices from 4 Shops

Some Slightly More Expensive Alternatives That Are Still Affordable And Under £100

ImageNameOverall RatingPriceTest CurvesLengthsFeaturesAppearanceCasting & FeelPlaying FishValue For Money
Daiwa Crosscast XT Carp RodDaiwa Crosscast XT Carp Rod7.5from £69.993.5lb, 3lb10ft, 12ft, 13ft77.57.57.28.5
Shimano TX2 Carp RodShimano TX2 Carp Rod8.6from £79.992.75lb, 3.25lb, 3.5lb, 3lb10ft, 11ft, 12ft, 13ft898.38.39.3
Avid Traction Pro Carp RodAvid Traction Pro Carp Rod7.4from £79.993.25lb, 3.5lb, 3lb12ft7.577.57.57.5
Daiwa Emcast Carp RodDaiwa Emcast Carp Rod7.9from £99.992.75lb, 3.25lb, 3.5lb, 3lb10ft, 12ft7.77.57.87.88.5
Nash X Series Carp RodNash X Series Carp Rod7.8from £69.993.25lb, 3.5lb, 3lb10ft, 12ft, 13ft8.37.57.87.58.3
Daiwa Crosscast EXTDaiwa Crosscast EXT7.6from £67.992.75lb, 3.5lb, 3lb10ft, 9ft77.57.57.38.5
Sonik InsurgentSonik Insurgent7.8from £79.992.75lb, 3.25lb, 3lb10ft, 9ft88.577.58
ESP Onyx Quickdraw Carp RodESP Onyx Quickdraw Carp Rod7.7from £84.953.25lb, 3.5lb, 3lb10ft, 9ft88.5778
Fox Horizon X3 Carp RodFox Horizon X3 Carp Rod8.5from £99.992.75lb, 3.5lb, 3lb10ft, 12ft, 13ft8.28.78.38.38.8

Key Features to Look for in a Budget Carp Rod

The key features to look for in a good budget carp rod are generally the same as any carp rod.

You can check out my in-depth guide on how to choose a carp fishing rod which talks through the detail of all the features to look out for.

However, here is a top-line summary on summary of the features to consider.

Length:- Most carp fishing rods range from 10 to 13 feet in length, with 12 feet being the most common. 10-foot rods, however, are growing in popularity and are better suited to close range, stalking situations as well as fishing in very tight swims.

Action:- The action of a rod determines what part of it bends when pressure is applied.

There are 3 main types:

  • Tip action
  • Tip to middle action
  • Through action

The most common type is a tip-to-middle action which is a good choice as a general all-round carp rod.

You can read all about the differences between the different actions of carp rods in my dedicated article on the subject.

Test Curve:- Test curves on carp rods vary between 2.5 and 3.75lb. My recommended test curve for a general, all-round rod is either 3 or 3.25lb.

Blank Material:- The most common blank material on carp fishing rods is carbon fibre. Some budget rods are built with fibre-glass as this is a cheaper material but you can still purchase budget carp rods made out of the more superior carbon fibre such as those on my recommended list.

Guides:- The guides on a carp rod are an important feature as they dictate how freely your line can be let out and reeled in. When choosing a carp rod, even if it’s a budget version, I would recommend you pick one with a 40mm or 50mm butt ring with an anti-frap tip ring of 16mm.

Handle:- The material of the rod handle is largely down to personal preference. Cork, EVA, cord and plain abbreviated are some examples of handles. My go-to favourite is the full-shrink EVA handle as, for me, it offers the greatest comfort when held.

Reel Seat:- Similar to the rod handle, the choice of reel seat is largely down to personal choice. The most common types are a DPS style and a Fuji style reel seat.

Both types do a good job of holding your reel solid which is the main attribute of a good reel seat and are found on most good-quality budget carp rods.

Other Factors to Consider When Choosing a Budget Carp Rod

There are other factors to consider when choosing a budget carp rod that isn’t to do with the build of the rod itself. These include the following:

Your Skill Level:- If you are new to the sport then I recommend you choose a rod that is good for overall, general use in a 12-foot length with a test curve of 3 or 3.25lb. You can check out my dedicated guide on carp rods for beginners to find out more.

If you are more experienced then you may need a rod that is more specific to your needs such as a distance casting 3.5 or 3.75lb test curve or a 10 ft rod that is suitable for stalking.

Fishing Location:- This will dictate what length and test curve you choose. Larger venues where you need to fish at range and may be littered with snags will require higher test curves and longer rods and vice versa for small lakes or ponds.

The Size Of The Fish You Are Targeting:- To land larger fish, you generally need a more powerful rod. A test curve of 3.25lb upwards is best suited for large fish whereas to enjoy the fight of a small fish, a 2.5 or 2.75lb test curve would be better suited.

Frequency Of Use:- If you are using a budget carp rod, week in and week out then you may need to consider the materials that the rod is made of more than if using it less. A rod with an anti-scratch coating can aid in the longevity of the rod for frequent users.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the answers to some of the common questions I get asked about purchasing a carp rod on a budget

Can a budget carp rod perform as well as a more expensive one?

The price of a rod isn’t always the be-all and end-all when it comes to performance.

However, the expensive, premium rods on the market are usually made with premium and superior materials compared to those on budget rods.

As such, they would naturally perform better when casting and playing fish.

Do budget carp rods last?

If well looked after, budget carp rods should last just as long as superior carp rods. Consider features such as an anti-scratch coating on the rod as this tends to prolong the life-span of the rod.

Are budget carp rods any good?

Budget carp rods can be equally as effective at catching fish than more premium models. However, the superior rods tend to make the task involved in catching fish easier and more enjoyable.

Final Thoughts

Selecting the best budget carp fishing rod doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Understanding the factors that contribute to a rod’s performance is key to choosing the right rod for your specific circumstances.

All of the rods I have featured in this guide tick all the boxes required in a decent, budget-friendly carp rod that will both serve you well and not break the bank.

Thanks for reading.