Don't know about th ZA,but th biggest difference between th XA an XT is spool shape an size.Th XT is smaller in diameter and longer,making it a better distance casting reel than th XA that I have. IMO.
OK, the XT is the "saltwater" version. It is the cheapest in cost. I noticed it has less ball bearings than the other two.
Which brings up the question--what role do the ball bearings play and how many is a sufficient number?
Ball bearings help make the action of the reel smoother by reducing friction. The more ball bearings the better, but there is a trade-off between additional smoothness and cost. A 3 bearing reel may feel significantly smoother than a 2 bearing reel for $15 extra, while a 6 bearing reel might be indistinguishable from a 5 bearing reel and still cost $15 more. Try before you buy.
I own and fish with all three models. They are all saltwater surf fishing reels. The minimum number of ball bearings you want with a surf spinning reel is about 3. Yes it is true that the bearings make for a smoother action but I would not want a surf reel with less than 3 bearings. For a beginner, I would start with the XT because of its lower cost, durability, and light weight. They all have excellent drags compare to other reels in this category. The main difference between the XA and the ZA is the ZA is lighter, has an extra bearing, and comes with a spare metal spool. The XA has a gear ratio of 5.1 vs. 4.1 for the ZA. These difference are reflected in the cost. It just depends on the performance and features you are looking for.If you want the most bang for the buck go for the XT. Hope this helps.
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