The Best Anchors

An anchor is used to temporarily connect a boat to the bed of a body of water like a lake, river, or ocean. It is usually made of metal and prevents the boat from being blown or drifting in the wind or currents. While most states and the federal law don’t require all boats to carry an anchor, it is considered a valuable piece of safety gear.

We reviewed dozens of boat anchors to find the best of the best. We considered different anchor designs, weights, and effectiveness for a variety of boats, kayaks, and other watercraft.

Top Pick
Slide Anchor Box Anchor
Regardless of water conditions, toss this compact anchor overboard and relax. It’s easy to retrieve, too!

Designed to hold boats up to 70 feet long, the Slide Bar Box Anchor sets quickly into the bottom without your boat’s mechanical power, eliminating the need to “power down” to ensure stability. It sets quickly into any bottom condition and will reset itself to adjust for changes in wind, water currents, or weather. This is truly a versatile, durable anchor for anything from a small fishing boat to a large yacht! There are so many reasons the Slide Anchor box anchor stands out as our top pick.

The 5 Top-Rated Boat Anchors

Editor's PicksBrandRating
Best OverallSlide Anchor Box Anchor4.7
Runner UpLewmar Claw Anchor4.7
Best Budget BuySEACHOICE Utility Anchor3.9
Best Danforth AnchorFive Oceans Traditional Danforth Anchor4.4
Best Grapnel AnchorAirhead Complete Grapnel Anchor4.4

*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change

Our Top Pick: Slide Anchor Box Anchor

The Slide Bar Box Anchor is an effective, state of the art offshore anchor. It comes in three sizes and is suitable for everything from small personal watercraft to a 70-foot boat. Its design allows the anchor to set quickly into the bottom without any power, eliminating the need to “power down” to ensure stability. And, no need to worry if the current or winds change directions. The box anchor will reset itself!

Not only does this anchor hold well, but it also stores easily! It folds flat with a quick release of the stainless steel stabilizing arm. Customers love that the Slide Anchor box anchor sets quickly and holds fast, even in strong winds and currents. The only “disadvantage” is that you might need a slightly thicker line to ensure you can retrieve this effective little anchor! When it’s time to retrieve the anchor, simply bring the boat over top of the anchor, allowing the box anchor to easily release.

Slide Anchor Box Anchor Key Features:

  • Folds flat for easy storage
  • Sets quickly without the need for mechanical power
  • Eliminates the need to “power down”
  • Includes ventilated storage bag
  • Multiple sizes available

Our Runner Up Pick: Lewmar Claw Anchor

Runner Up
Lewmar Claw Anchor
Made from high grade steel and suitable for a variety of sea beds.

Lewmar designed their claw anchor after the types of anchors used to secure oil rigs in the North Sea. “The Claw” is made from high-grade steel and sets easily in a variety of bottom types. It stores conveniently on the bow roller of most boats.

Boaters who use the Lewmar Claw Anchor appreciate that this anchor works well even with a short scope. It is durable and smaller than expected for its weight and holding capacity. To release the claw anchor, simply move your boat over the top of the anchor and it will release easily.

Lewmar Claw Anchor Key Features:

  • Made from high-grade steel
  • Bow roller storable
  • Suitable for a variety of bottoms and sea beds
  • Sets quickly and releases easily
  • Available in a variety of weights and sizes

Best Budget Pick: SEACHOICE Utility Anchor

Best for Budget
SeaChoice Utility Anchor
Galvanized coating to prevent corrosion and easy retrieval with the slip-ring shank.

The SEACHOICE Utility Anchoris the perfect blend of affordability and function. Each anchor has a hot-dipped galvanized coating for superior corrosion prevention. The fluke design ensures a firm set and strong holding power in a variety of floor compositions.

Easy retrieval with the slip-ring shank is popular among customers. The anchor is available in several sizes and weights to accommodate a variety of boats.

SEACHOICE Utility Anchor Key Features:

  • Galvanized coating to prevent corrosion
  • Slip-ring shank for easy retrieval
  • Effective on a variety of water beds
  • Variety of sizes and weights available

Best Danforth Anchor: Five Oceans Danforth Style Fluke Anchor

Best Danforth Anchor
Five Oceans Traditional Danforth Style Fluke Anchor
The pivoting Danforth style fluke is built with hot dipped galvanized steel for durability and easy setting.

The Five Oceans Traditional Danforth Style Fluke Anchor is made to handle the dynamic shock loads from boat motion. It is made from hot-dipped galvanized steel for maximum durability. The controlled shank and fluke make setting this anchor easy.

People recommend this anchor for sand and mud bottoms. It is not as effective in grassy, rocky, or clay bottoms. It is available in four weights for different sizes of boats.

Five Oceans Traditional Danforth Style Fluke Anchor Key Features:

  • Made from hot-dipped galvanized steel
  • Controlled shank and fluke for easy setting
  • Available in four weights
  • Most recommended for sandy and muddy bottoms

Best Grapnel Anchor: Airhead Complete Grapnel Anchor

Best Grapnel Anchor
Airhead Complete Grapnel Anchor
The 4-fluke folding anchors hold fast in mud, sand, gravel, and rock.

The Airhead Complete Grapnel Anchor is designed for small sailboats, canoes, SUPs, and other small watercraft. It is made with durable, lightweight materials and includes a padded nylon storage case for additional protection. It has 4 folding flukes and collapses neatly to fits in storage compartments or under most boat seats. The Airhead Grapnel anchor includes a 25 or 50-foot marine-grade rope (depending on the anchor weight), an in-line buoy, and stainless steel snap hook.

Customers love how easily this grapnel anchor is to stow and use. It is most effective in mud, sand, gravel, and rock bottoms. If you have a small personal watercraft, this little anchor packs a big punch.

Airhead Complete Grapnel Anchor Key Features:

  • 4-fluke folding anchor
  • Includes marine-grade rope, in-line buoy, and stainless steel snap hook
  • Padded nylon storage case
  • Best used in mud, sand, gravel, and rock bottoms
  • Most effective for small personal watercraft

Who Should Buy a Boat Anchor

An anchor is used to temporarily connect a boat to the earth at the bottom of the river, lake, or other body of water. This prevents the boat from drifting in the wind or currents. An anchor is also an important emergency tool to have during engine failure or bad weather.

While federal law does not require it, wise boaters carry an appropriately sized anchor at all times. The anchor should be large enough to hold your boat for an extended period of time in a variety of weather and water conditions.

Many boaters choose to carry two different types of anchors, a small anchor for calm waters and a larger anchor for stormy conditions. Having two anchors aboard also improves the likelihood that you will be able to anchor effectively since each anchor is designed to hold better on some bottoms than others.

If you’re in the market to upgrade or improve your boat, then you may want to consider The Best Boat Seats or The Best Marine Speakers.

Top Pick
Slide Anchor Box Anchor
Regardless of water conditions, toss this compact anchor overboard and relax. It’s easy to retrieve, too!

Important Features to Consider

Just like boats, anchors come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and other distinguishing features. Choosing the right anchor depends on a number of factors, including the type and size of your boat, common weather and tide conditions, and anchoring conditions.

  • Where you will be anchoring. Where you plan to anchor will impact what type of anchor you choose. Anchoring in rocky river bottoms requires a different type of anchor than sandy ocean bottoms. Consult the local charts or ask local boaters to learn more about the types of bottoms in the area you plan to frequent. You should also factor in high winds, strong currents, and other common weather and water conditions to make sure you purchase a large enough anchor.
  • Holding power. Anchors are rated by “holding power”, the ability of the anchor to hold a given weight. The amount of holding power needed changes based on the conditions—you might only need an anchor with a holding power of a few hundred pounds on a calm day but on a windy or stormy day, you might need 1,000 pounds of holding power. When choosing an anchor, it is a good idea to overestimate the amount of holding power you will need.
  • Anchor types. Like boats, anchors come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and weights. You should choose the type of anchor based on the characteristics of the place you will anchor most frequently, then choose the size and weight of the anchor based on the size of your boat. Each anchor manufacturer has guidelines for choosing the right size and type of anchor. While there are many types of anchors on the market, the most common types are Danforth anchors, grapnels, claw or “BRUCE” anchors, and mushroom anchors.
  • Materials. Anchors are usually made from galvanized steel, grade 316 stainless steel, or lightweight aluminum-magnesium. Most boaters prefer galvanized steel anchors because they have the highest tensile strength and usually the best price point. Boaters who are concerned about weight in the bow prefer aluminum-magnesium anchors.
  • Line and gear. Depending on where you frequently anchor and the size and type of your boat you will need some combination of line (rope) or chain to attach the anchor to your boat. If you frequently anchor in rocky or coral areas you should add a length of chain between the anchor and line to prevent the sharp edges of rock from cutting or fraying the line. Adding a short length of chain will also add weight to the anchor without making it too heavy to lift. Most chain is made with galvanized steel. Some chain is stainless steel and vinyl coated to prevent it from marking up your boat deck. While “Proof Coil” is the most common chain for marine uses, “BBB” chain has thicker, smaller links and is slightly stronger. “Hi-Test” chain is stronger and lighter than “Proof Coil” chain. People who want to minimize weight on their boats prefer “Hi-Test” chain. Many boaters use a three-strand twist nylon line for their anchors. Tightly wrapped or woven lines are stronger than softer, more loosely woven lines. Lines with wax-like coating do not absorb as much water or salt and are easier to keep clean by soaking them occasionally in soapy water.
  • Scope. The scope is the method of determining how much anchor line, or “rode” you will need to anchor your boat. The recommended scope is 7:1, meaning for every foot of water you should use 7 feet of rope. So, if you are anchoring in 8 feet of water you will need 56 feet of line. In good weather conditions, a small boat with a lightweight anchor can use a shorter scope (usually 5:1). If the weather or conditions are bad you should let out more line and consider using a second anchor. It is always wise to make sure you have more line and chain than you will need.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of an anchor?

Whether you want to prevent your boat from drifting as you enjoy a beautiful day or you need to keep your boat from being driven into hazards or off-course in strong winds or storms, an anchor is an important safety feature.

An anchor is used to connect a boat to the bed of a body of water. This prevents the boat from drifting in the wind or current. Anchors hold the boat by either “hooking” into the bottom, or significant weight, or a combination of hook and weight. Anchors for smaller boats are lighter and work by hooking or burying into the bottom. The boat is attached to the anchor by the “rode” made of rope, chain, or a combination of the two.

While the law does not require it, boats should carry one or more anchors of different designs and weight for safety and make sure they can anchor in a variety of conditions. Each anchor style is effective in different types of bottoms.

What anchor size do I need?

When selecting the size of anchor you should consider the whole system—boat, anchor, and anchor rode as well as the conditions you intend to boat in. Planning for a multi-day adventure where you might experience storms or rough seas requires a more substantial anchor than if you are enjoying a sunny day on the lake or taking a short day trip.

Boats with heavy displacements or superstructures that catch a lot of wind will need heavier anchors. Similarly, boats with bottoms that are affected more by the current will require bigger anchors than boats with relatively flat bottoms. Consult your boat owners manual and the anchor manufacturer’s suggested sizes as a starting place to determine the recommended size and weight of the anchor.

Which anchor is a good choice for most recreational boats?

Most experienced boaters recommend carrying more than one anchor of different types on your boat. The type of bottom will determine what kind of anchor to choose so, having two different kinds of anchors is a safe choice. You might also need to be able to set two anchors in a crowded area, one at the bow and one at the stern to prevent your boat from “swinging” into another boat or dragging an anchor. The two most popular anchor styles are the fluke and the plow.

The fluke or Danforth anchor is very common on smaller boats. It is lightweight, easy to store, and holds well in mud or sand. It has good holding power so you can use a lighter anchor. This style of anchor does not hold well in grassy or rocky bottoms.

The “plow and scoop” anchors have the best all-around holding power in a variety of bottom conditions. They can reset themselves easily when the wind or current shifts directions. These anchors are effective in grassy, muddy, and sandy bottoms. Many people choose this style of anchor for heavier powerboats and cruising sailboats.

How do you release an anchor?

Retrieve your anchor by powering up to it slowly, taking in the rode (line) as you go. Pulling the anchor straight up should break it free easily. If the anchor is stuck, move your boat in a circle around the anchor, keeping the rode pulled tight. As soon as the anchor breaks loose, stop your boat and pull the anchor in. Never drag the anchor behind your boat.

As you retrieve your anchor be aware that your boat will swing downwind or down-current. Be sure your boat will not hit any obstacles or drift ashore as you pull in and store your anchor.

Other Boat Anchors We Reviewed

Top Pick
Slide Anchor Box Anchor
Regardless of water conditions, toss this compact anchor overboard and relax. It’s easy to retrieve, too!

We looked at 20 other anchors. Even though they didn’t make our 5 best anchors list, they’re the best of the rest. Each is still a great anchor choice. The information you will need to compare each one is included in the listing.

Mushroom Anchors

Attwood Solid Cast Iron 10-Pound Mushroom Anchor

Attwood Cast Iron Mushroom Anchor

This mushroom anchor is perfect for smaller boats anchoring in mud or weedy bottoms. Holes in the base make retrieving this anchor easier and the black PVC coating helps protect your boat from scuffs.

Key Features:

  • Made with cast iron
  • Coated with black PVC
  • Weighs 2.86 lbs
  • Holes in the base make it easier to pull through the water
  • Large eye for tying off rope or connecting a chain
  • Effective in weed or mud bottoms
  • Best for smaller boats

Cost:$24.99

Danielson Mushroom Boat Anchor

Danielson Mushroom Anchor

This vinyl-coated mushroom anchor is suitable for lightweight boats. The wide mushroom cup holds well in mud, silt, and weed bottoms and the vinyl coating prevents rust and abrasion.

Key Features:

  • Wide mushroom cup for mud, silt, and weed bottoms
  • Vinyl coating prevents rust and abrasion
  • 20 lb weight suitable for smaller boats

Cost:$42.66

Extreme Max BoatTector Mushroom Anchor

Extreme Max BoatTector Mushroom Anchor

This mushroom anchor is available in several weights to accommodate different size boats. It is most effective in calm, protected inland waters with mud, weed, or silt bottoms. The vinyl coating protects your boat from scratches.

Key Features:

  • Vinyl coating to protect your boat
  • Available in several weights for different size boats
  • Best for mud, silt, or weed bottoms
  • Holes in bottom make retrieval easier

Cost:$25.95

SeaSense River Anchor

Seasense river anchor

This 20 lb anchor combines the best of a traditional mushroom anchor with flukes for improved bottom penetration. It is best suited for rivers and mud bottoms and is an ideal anchor choice for pontoons and bass boats.

Key Features:

  • Vinyl coated to protect the boat and anchor
  • 20 lb weight
  • Combines a mushroom and fluke design
  • Best suited for mud and silt bottoms

Cost:$35.05

Delta Anchors

Dark Horse Delta Style Anchor

Dark Horse Delta Anchor

This delta style anchor has winglets to add downforce to wedge the anchor into the bottom. Its self-ballasted weighted tip causes it to “auger” in for a quick set as soon as it hits the bottom and the tapered profile helps center the anchor on the bow roller during retrieval.

Key Features:

  • Weighs 26 lbs
  • Most effective in sand, coral, gravel, and rocks
  • Winglets add downforce
  • Stores and launches easily from most bow rollers
  • Tapered profile helps center the anchor during retrieval
  • Available in several sizes and weights

Cost:$103.90

Extreme Max BoatTector Galvanized Delta Anchor

Extreme Max BoatTector Galvanized Delta Anchor

This delta-style plow anchor has a pivoting head and an unhinged shank. The unique angled fluke helps it set fast and improves the hold. This anchor is best suited for sand, rock, gravel, or coral bottoms. It stows easily on most bow rollers.

Key Features:

  • Weighs 22 lbs
  • The pivoting head and unhinged shank
  • Sets fast with good resistance to winds and tide
  • Effective in sand, coral, gravel, pebbles, even kelp
  • Stows easily in most bow rollers

Cost:$67.15

Lewmar Galvanised Delta Anchor

Lewmar Galvanized Delta Anchor

Made from high-grade galvanized manganese steel, this anchor has a low center of gravity and self-righting geometry. Its unique shank and ballasted tip allow this anchor to self-launch. All Lewmar delta anchors are guaranteed for life against breakage.

Key Features:

  • Made from galvanized manganese steel
  • Available in a variety of weights and sizes
  • Self-righting geometry
  • Self-launching design
  • Stores in most bow rollers
  • Guaranteed for life

Cost:$173.83

MarineNow Galvanized Delta Style Anchor

MarineNow Galvanized Delta

This anchor has a lead ballasted tip with a low center of gravity. It is self-righting, ensuring a quick set and it resets after veering. It is suitable for most bottom types and holds strong even in strong wind and tide conditions.

Key Features:

  • Made with galvanized steel
  • Lead ballasted tip and low center of gravity makes it self-righting
  • Resets quickly after veering
  • Effective in most bottom types

Cost:$89.99

Norestar Stainless Steel Delta / Wing anchor

Norestar Stainless Steel Delta Wing anchor

This wing anchor, modeled after the delta anchor, is one of the most popular styles among boaters. It has excellent holding power to weight ratio, meaning you can choose a lighter anchor than other styles. The Norestar anchor is effective in a variety of bottoms from mud and sand to rock and choral. It sets quickly and fits into a variety of bow rollers and has a lifetime warranty. The self-launching features make it ideal for use with windlasses.

Key Features:

  • High polished 316 stainless steel finish
  • Excellent holding power to weight ratio
  • Suitable in nearly all bottoms, including mud, rock, sand, and coral.
  • One-piece design
  • Self-launching and fits a wide variety of bow rollers
  • Available in a variety of sizes and weights
  • Lifetime warranty

Cost:$299.99

Danforth Anchors

Camco Fluke Style Ring Penetrating Anchor

Camco Fluke Style Anchor

This anchor easily penetrates mud, sand, and gravel bottoms and features a convenient slip ring for easy retrieval. It is made from hot-dipped galvanized steel for added strength and corrosion resistance.

Key Features:

  • Made from hot-dip galvanized steel
  • Rust and corrosion resistant
  • Effective in sand, mud, and gravel
  • Slip ring makes retrieval easy

Cost: $20.62

Fortress FX-11 Anchor

Fortress FX-11 Anchor

This anchor is sharp, improving penetration. It sets faster and penetrates deeper into bottoms for superior holding power. It is made from corrosion resistant materials and is easy to store.

Key Features:

  • Sharp edges for deep and easy setting
  • Quick setting
  • Made from corrosion-resistant materials
  • Easy to store

Cost:$165.71

MarineNow Delux Portable Fluke Style Anchor Kit

MarineNow Delux Portable Anchor

This fluke anchor is made from hot dipped galvanized steel and includes 3-strand anchor line and galvanized chain.

Key Features:

  • Made with hot dipped galvanized steel
  • Includes three-strand anchor line and galvanized steel
  • Weighs 8.5 lbs
  • Effective in sand, mud, and gravel

Cost:$69.99

Norestar Stainless Steel Fluke / Danforth Style Anchor

Norestar Stainless Steel Fluke Danforth Anchor

The Danforth-style anchor is one of the most popular anchors. This beautifully polished stainless steel anchor will look beautiful on your bow rollers. It has excellent weight to holding power ratio and is most effective in mud, sand, and gravel. It has a tapered shank and chamfered edges that allows for deep penetration. It is easy to store and fits in most bow rollers.

Key Features:

  • Made from polished 316 stainless steel
  • Excellent weight to holding power ratio
  • Effective in mud, sand, and gravel
  • Fits most bow rollers
  • Tapered shank and chamfered edges for deeper penetration
  • Available in a variety of weights

Cost:$99.99

SEACHOICE Hot Dipped Galvanized Deluxe Anchor

SEACHOICE Hot-dipped galvanized Delux Anchor

This anchor has wide flukes, making it effective in a variety of bottoms. It is made from durable, hot-dipped galvanized steel and has excellent weight to holding power ratio.

Key Features:

  • Made with hot-dipped galvanized steel
  • Excellent weight to holding power
  • Wide flukes
  • Most effective in mud, gravel, and sand
  • Available in a variety of sizes

Cost:$33.93

Grapnel Anchors

Amarine-Made Folding Grapnel Anchor

Amarine-Made folding grapnel anchor

Made from 316-grade stainless steel, this little anchor is perfect for small boats, dinghies, and other personal watercraft. It folds up small for easy storage. It is most effective in sand, mud, and gravel bottoms.

Key Features:

  • Made with 316 stainless steel
  • Weighs 3.3 lbs.
  • Folds small for easy storage
  • Locks in both open and closed positions
  • Perfect for small boats, dinghies, and personal watercraft
  • Effective in mud, sand, and rocky bottoms

Cost:$36.80

BEST Kayak Anchor Folding Grapnel Anchor

Best Kayak Anchor

This galvanized anchor resists rust and folds down small to store easily. It is perfect for small boats and kayaks. The 4-fluke grapple design is effective in sandy, rocky, or weedy bottoms. The anchor comes with 40 feet of anchor line, a nylon storage bag, a buoy ball, and stainless steel carabiner.

Key Features:

  • Made with galvanized steel
  • Weighs 3.5 pounds
  • Folds small for easy storage in small watercraft
  • 4-fluke grapple design
  • Effective in sandy, rocky, or weedy bottoms
  • Includes storage bag, anchor line, buoy ball, and stainless steel carabiner

Cost:$28.99

Compass Kayak Anchor Kit

Compass Kayak Anchor Kit

The Compass folding anchor is effective in rock, mud, silt, and sand bottoms. The 4-fluke design grabs and releases easily and folds for easy storage. It is made of steel and includes marine-grade rope, buoy, and stainless steel snap hook. The powder red paint coating prevents rust.

Key Features:

  • Made with stainless steel
  • Weighs 3.5 lbs
  • Anti-rust powder coating
  • Effective in mud, rock, silt, and sand bottoms
  • Folds down for easy storage
  • Includes 40-foot marine-grade rope, buoy, stainless steel snap hook, and padded nylon storage dry bag
  • Money back guarantee

Cost:$35.99

Crown Sporting Goods Galvanized Folding Grapnel Anchor

Crown Sports Galvanized Folding Grapnel Anchor

This anchor is made from corrosion-resistant galvanized steel. It easily locks into place for a good hold and folds easily for compact storage. It holds well in coral, stone, heavy weeds, gravel, and other bottom surfaces. This anchor is most effective for small boats like kayaks, canoes, or dinghies.

Key Features:

  • Made with galvanized steel
  • Folds down for easy storage
  • Best for small boats
  • Most effective in coral, rock, weeds, or gravel
  • Available in a variety of weights and sizes

Cost:$59.99

Gradient Fitness Grapnel Marine Anchor Kit

Gradient Fitness Marine Anchor Kit

This folding anchor is 3.5 lbs. and has four folding flukes. It is rust resistant and includes 25 feet of marine grade rope, a PVC flotation buoy, and a stainless steel snap hook. This anchor will hold well in weeds, mud, and rock bottoms.

Key Features:

  • Rust resistant and green color for easy visibility
  • Weighs 3.5 lbs.
  • 4-fluke design folds for compact storage
  • Includes marine grade rope, padded storage bag, PVC flotation buoy, and stainless steel snap hook
  • Effective in sand, rock, or weedy bottoms
  • Money back guarantee

Cost:$27.99

Norestar Folding Grapnel Anchor System

Norestar Folding Grapnel Anchor System

This handy little anchor is perfect for small boats, kayaks, canoes, and other personal watercraft. It is also a handy secondary anchor. It folds small for easy storage and includes a rope and storage bag. It works best in rock bottoms.

Key Features:

  • Folds easily for storage
  • Includes three-strand nylon rope and storage bag
  • Effective in rocky bottoms
  • Available in a variety of sizes

Cost:$94.99

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