Welcome to Stella FK Vs 22 Exist. I’m fascinated by the timing and marketing strategies of the 2 premier flagship spin reels on the fishing market the Shimano Stella FK and the Daiwa Exist 22. In March 2022 within 24 hours of each other both fishing powerhouses released the specs and marketing of these iconic reel series.

It’s not just the marketing that was similar, these reels have a similar price point, and similar appearance, but have 12+1 bearings and both are buttery smooth. Shimano went with a strong marketing hype based on the term “infinity” and Daiwa went with a strong marketing hype all based on the term “Air’ which has similarities in technological advancements. Let’s be honest here these reels are not worlds apart from each other in terms of performance, technology, components, ascetics, and cost. If you’re a fishing enthusiast who doesn’t mind splashing some cash to have the best then you won’t be disappointed with either option which is buttery smooth, durable, and stunning.

Stella Vs Exist


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Let’s run through the specs and marketing that have been shared with us.


Shimano Stella FK 2022

Watch the Stella FK in action as we punish it with a giant school of angry Aussie Salmon

The Stella is a long-time iconic reel and is often referred to as the Royles Royce of fishing reels. Unparalleled performance and technology in both the Finesse F series and the saltwater SW series. The absolute finest for those who don’t mind spending to have the best. However, Daiwa in recent years has been very worth competing products in the Saltiga and Exist.

The new Stella FK released in 2022 builds on the appearance of the Stella FJ which was released back in 2018. Shimano has added years’ worth of technology advancements and taken no shortcuts with the new offering. 5 different models are available from 1000 through to 5000 and will set you back almost $1,300 each for reel perfection but these reels have and will continue to sell well despite that steep price point. The new Stella features include Infinity Cross achieves overwhelming gear durability through a revised drive and pinion gear design with improved surface area contact and meshing. Infinity Loop creates a precise winding pattern that drastically reduces friction as the line leaves the spool, resulting in improved casting performance. Infinity Drive decreases frictional resistance, increasing power transmission and torque when winding under heavy loads. An Anti-Twist Fin has been installed near the line roller to maintain line tension and prevent the line from wrapping around the spool in an uneven manner. While Dura Cross drag washer design provides an increase in durability while providing smooth consistent drag performance.

The Stella still continues to feature durable cold-forged Hagane Gear, Micromodule II gearing, Silent Drive and X-Ship for smooth transmission and light winding. To ensure on-water performance X Protect water-resistant technology, and Long Stroke Spool design provides maximum casting performance.


Advancements in manufacturing technology and gear tooth design improve the surface contact and meshing between the drive gear and pinion gear. This revolutionary design efficiently distributes the load placed on the gear tooth surface across a wider area to prevent damage from stress points while significantly improving overall gear durability.


Advancements in the internal structure and design extend the spool’s oscillation to enable the spool to move up and down at an extremely low speed. This technology creates a precise winding pattern with less overlap that significantly reduces friction as the line leaves the spool during a cast. The result is smooth and exceptional casting performance, especially of light lures.


The Infinity Drive structure is a more advanced version of the conventional X-SHIP structure that created exceptionally light winding. The main shaft, which had previously been supported by the pinion gear, is now supported by a new and unique low-friction bushing that significantly decreases frictional resistance. In addition, the main shaft has undergone a proprietary surface treatment and special processing to drastically reduce rotational torque, constructing a reel that can actively wind even under heavy loads.


The flexible polymer fin is installed near the line roller. This maintains line tension to reduce sagging and prevents the line from falling off the bottom of the spool or wrapping around the spool in an uneven manner.


Constructed to enhance overall durability, this revolutionary drag washer incorporates cutting-edge materials woven in a unique pattern compared to conventional drag washers. Without sacrificing a smooth drag feel, this new material is greater than 10x more durable for improved drag performance.


The most obvious component of the Propulsion Line Management System is the new Propulsion Spool Lip design. Through tens of thousands of casting tests and computer simulations, Shimano’s new spool lip design provides longer casting distances than a standard spool lip design while also preventing backlashes and wind knots from forming.

Shimano Stella FK specs ( Stella FK on Shimanos website )

(lb test/yds)
PowerPro Line Cap
(lb test/yds)
STL1000FK 25 5.1:1 2/270, 4/160, 6/110 10/95, 15/75, 20/65 3 12+1 165
STL2500HGFK 34 5.8:1 8/140, 10/120 10/150, 15/145, 30/100 9 12+1 210
STLC3000XGFK 37 6.4:1 6/230, 8/170, 10/140 10/200, 20/140, 40/105 9 12+1 210
STL4000XGFK 40 6.2:1 10/200, 12/160 15/230, 30/180, 50/120 11 12+1 260
STLC5000XGFK 40 6.2:1 12/195, 14/165 20/260, 30/235, 40/185 11 12+1 260

Daiwa Exist 22

Video marketing for the 22 Daiwa Exist

Daiwa’s surge in popularity gets stronger in the Australian market. The popularity of reel series such as the Certate, Luvias and Saltist is undeniable. Their flagships reel the Exist and Saltiga continue to get better and better making many question Exist vs Stella or Saltiga vs Stella.

The new 22 exist builds upon the success of the 2018 LT Exist. A simple yet stylish and sophisticated design that grows on you with every use. Smooth paired with great performance. This time around we are welcoming air technology with much hype around a new concept of Air design which makes the reel lighter and smoother rotations. By reducing the weight of rotor, spool & bail assembly, a lighter rotation is achieved. An effortless rotation allows the angler to feel the true joy of trouble free function.

We also welcome simple and subtle improvements such as the improved drag clicker.

When compared against the Stella FK the exist is equally as smooth, stunning in looks and yet slightly lighter and cheaper.


DAIWA’s latest technology MONOCOQUE BODY is made by an integral molding system to create a rigid one piece body. By removing the traditional screws used to attach the sideplate, internal space is maximised within the gear housing. The MQ BODY uses a large diameter engine plate to screw on to the body to seal the internals. The extra space created in the MONOCOQUE BODY allows DAIWA to install a larger diameter drive gear into a smaller size reel. This system instantly creates the more durable reel inside and out.

Touch Digigear:

The drive gear within any reel is made from 3 key elements which cannot be missed. (Design Creativity, Processing Technology and Premium Quality Material)

22 EXIST consists of all 3 key elements.

The latest digital analysis and machine cut technology is used to create a perfect surface on each tooth of the drive gear. By using the latest premium Duralumin material, precision designs deliver an incredibly smooth rotation quality.


During the design process of 22 EXIST key areas for water ingress were analyzed. The introduction of MQ body prevents water intrusion within the body, whilst areas of rotation or areas frequently exposed to water have been equipped with MAGSEALED/MAGSEALED BALL BEARING technology. Sections of the reel which are not key rotational areas are equipped with strong rubber seals. Anglers will come to understand this level of quality from 22 EXIST.


New ATD TYPE-L drag technology improves the initial drag system response. Lowering the peak drag max upon hook setting. Light tackle fishing especially requires a responsive and sensitive adjustment of the drag pressure.

ATD TYPE-L allows anglers to have more control of the drag without stress during the fight. By not overloading the line and also causing less stress to the fish, powerful fish can be tamed easily with 22 EXIST.

22 Exist specs – ( 22 Exist on Daiwa’s website )

22 Exist LT2000S-P 12/1 5kg 4.9 PE 0.4-200m 155g 20570 $1149.00
22 Exist LT2500S 12/1 5kg 5.1 PE 0.6-200m 160g 20571 $1149.00
22 Exist LT2500S-DH 12/1 5kg 5.1 PE 0.6-200m 170g 20572 $1189.00
22 Exist LT2000D-P (G) 12/1 5kg 4.9 PE 0.8-300m 155g 20573 $1049.00
22 Exist LT2500 (G) 12/1 5kg 5.1 PE 0.8-200m 165g 20574 $1049.00
22 Exist LT2500-XH (G) 12/1 5kg 6.2 PE 0.8-200m 165g 20575 $1049.00
22 Exist PC LT2500D (G) 12/1 10kg 5.2 PE 1.2-300m 175g 20576 $1049.00
22 Exist LT3000D (G) 12/1 10kg 5.2 PE 1.5-300m 180g 20577 $1099.00
22 Exist LT4000D (G) 12/1 10kg 5.2 PE 2.0-300m 205g 20578 $1099.00
22 Exist LT4000-XH (G) 12/1 10kg 6.2 PE 1.5-200m 205g 20579 $1099.00
22 Exist LT5000D-C (G) 12/1 10kg 5.2 PE 2.5-300m 210g 20580 $1129.00
22 Exist LT5000D-CXH (G) 12/1 10kg 6.2 PE 2.5-300m 210g 20581 $1129.00


Stella FK and Exist 22 Looks

Both brands continue to go with a simple yet stylish design. In fact, we are seeing this trend with all other flagship models like Airity, Twin power, Certate, and more. It’s almost surprising that less is more but the Aussie market is loving the designs, even though the gap between models and revisions seems to become very minor.

The exist has a full-piece spool with no cutouts. Using an ergonomic shape to increase performance and casting. Whilst the Shimano Stella appearance builds upon the simplicity of the Stella FJ with simple straight lines. For both vendors it’s a simple and clean design yet it works so well. When you compare them side by side you can see it’s not a dramatic difference.

Stella Vs Exist

Stella FK Vs Exist 22 Size and models

The Stella FK comes in 5 different models 1000 through to 5000. But must point out that Shimano continues to have no 2000 size reels in the Australian market which is a missed opportunity, especially for finesse fishing applications. The 22 Exist comes in 12 different models 2000 through to 5000. But has no 1000 size in the Aussie market.


Stella FK Vs Exist 22 Cost

The Stella RRP as it enters the market is $1,299 whilst the Exist RRP on entry is $1,049 to $1,149. So that’s a small advantage for the exist. That saving may be enough to sway some who can’t decide between the 2 flagship reels.


Stella FK Vs 22 Exist Conculsion

Quite simply there is no right or wrong answer here. If you splash some cash on either one of these reels you’re going to be a happy customer. Each reel is beautiful, performs exceptionally well, is smooth, and durable, and has the best spin reel technology that Shimano and Daiwa has to offer in 2002. For many, the right choice may be as simple as which brand you generally favor. If you are a Daiwa fanboy then there we are little convincing you otherwise and vice versa. As these reels as so new to the market, we haven’t had enough time to really measure their long-term durability, maintenance requirements. But history would tell us with previous generations of Stellas and exists that both the reels will perform well now and well into the future.


Additions or Corrections for Stella FK Vs 22 Exist

Thank you for reading our Stella FK Vs 22 Exist. If you feel this  guide is missing key information or needs any corrections. Feel free to read more FishingMad products and reel reviews.  Then please let us know by emailing our team at enquiries@fishingmad.com.au with specific details in the email. Thank you