Reels are expensive for several reasons: Brand Name recognition and reputation, R & D costs (the latest and greatest), materials, complicated machining, Looks (Abel Fish Finishes), and more. You often get what you pay for but not always hence the pro shop or a shop staffed with folks who fly fish and do so a lot. They've made the mistakes so you don't have to. If you've figured it out, inexpensive is fine for a pan fish outfit be it trout or bluegills. Move up a step to fish of a more robust ilk and you may wish for a better drag, a smoother drag, fail safe parts and more.
Budget and need drive our choices and a Martin, click pawl reel from Walmart will be up to the task for most pan fishing and slightly beyond, plus at a very nice price to boot.