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Whether you’re planning an offshore voyage in a superyacht or a half-day fishing trip to your nearest lake, an anchor is an essential safety item for every vessel. There are many different types to choose from, ranging from traditional shapes like the Danforth or Delta; to new generation anchors designed to provide increased holding power per pound. The design is often more important than size, and the best style for you depends on your particular needs. Below are the best anchors to buy for small and large boats, pontoon boats, as well as kayaks and canoes.
Best for Larger Boats: Lewmar Galvanized Delta Anchor
Equipped with a single, sharply pointed wedge fluke, Delta anchors are the most popular choice for larger boats measuring over 21 feet in length. They offer good holding power per pound and perform well on most bottom types (except rock). The Lewmar Delta Anchor is crafted from high-grade manganese steel and galvanized with a protective layer of zinc to prevent rust. It is available in three sizes: 14 pounds, 22 pounds and 35 pounds. You’ll need to decide which weight best suits the size and windage of your vessel.
Reviewers love that the anchor sets reliably on the first try, and holds well even in stormy weather. Its streamlined shank and ballasted tip make launching easy; while the low center of gravity and self-righting design means that it sets the first time, every time. The anchor is approved by Lloyd’s Register as a High Power Holding Anchor and is used by several National Lifeboat associations as their primary anchor. Lewmar anchors are guaranteed for life against breakage - making the high price tag well worth the investment.
Best for Smaller Boats: Danforth S-600 Standard Anchor
Danforth or fluke anchors are the obvious choice for smaller boats or as a secondary anchor for larger boats. They are lighter than most other designs and can stow flat - useful when you have limited storage space on board. They offer a good holding power to weight ratio and hold fast in mud or sand substrates. Danforth anchors are not recommended for gravel, rock or coral substrates, however, because the flukes cannot dig deep enough for a solid hold.
The Danforth S-600 Standard Anchor is made from high-strength steel and withstands the elements well, thanks to its hot-dipped galvanized coating. It weighs nine pounds and is recommended for boats measuring up to 27 feet in length. The classic Danforth design includes a long shank for deep penetration into mud or sand, and two sharply pointed flukes. Satisfied customers report that the flukes provide a reliable hold even when the water conditions are rough.
Best for Different Substrates: Lewmar Claw Anchor
Claw anchors have a three-pronged design that allows them to set easily in a variety of different substrates, including mud, sand, grass, rock and coral. As such, they’re a great all-in-one choice for those that travel often with their boat and are likely to encounter different bottom conditions. The downside is a lower holding power per pound, which means you may need to purchase a larger anchor to achieve the same results as other, smaller styles.
The Lewmar Claw Anchor is available in a range of sizes, from 4.4 pounds to 44 pounds. Made from high-grade galvanized steel, the anchor is designed to stow easily on the bow roller of most boats, and (according to reviewers) provides a solid hold whether you’re boating on rivers, lakes or the sea. As proof of its reliability, it borrows inspiration from anchors used to secure oil rigs in the North Sea.
Best for Changing Weather Conditions: Norestar Galvanized Steel CQR/ Plow Anchor
CQR or plow anchors are similar in style to the Delta anchor, except that the shank and pointed wedge are connected by a hinge. On the Norestar Galvanized Steel CQR/ Plow Anchor, this hinge allows the shank to rotate over 70 degrees in any direction, making it less likely to come loose when the wind or current changes. It’s also easy to recover, making it a popular choice for bluewater sailors.
The downside of all CQR anchors is that you’ll need a larger size to provide the same holding power as smaller anchors of a different style. Therefore, they are usually bulkier and more cumbersome to stow. The Norestar anchor is available in four sizes, ranging from 26 pounds to 59 pounds. It is compatible with the bow roller of most boats, which helps to save space below deck.
Best for Strength: Rocna Galvanized Anchor
Developed by veteran New Zealand sailor Peter Smith, the Rocna Galvanized Anchor offers a new generation version of the classic plow anchor and is known for its exceptional holding power. It features a roll bar, which helps it to orientate in the upright position when setting. The extra sharp chisel tip cuts deeply into a variety of substrates, allowing the anchor to set solidly.
The concave fluke has the largest possible surface area, giving it exceptional resistance. Rocna anchors have been tried and tested in extreme locations, including Patagonia and Antarctica, giving a good idea of their impressive strength. They are suitable for all vessels from tenders to superyachts, with sizes ranging from nine pounds to 606 pounds. Because it is still under patent, this anchor is a pricier option than other styles.
Best Lightweight: Fortress FX-7 4 lb Anchor
The Fortress FX-7 Anchor echoes the traditional Danforth design, with a long shank and two sharp flukes. It differs from most other anchors in that it is crafted from a high-strength aluminum alloy instead of heavy steel. It is incredibly lightweight, offering the same holding power as a steel anchor weighing up to twice as much. It can be stowed flat and requires minimal storage space.
These two attributes make it the ideal choice for competition sailors who need to keep onboard weight to a minimum. It’s also a handy option for a lightweight secondary anchor. This specific model weighs four pounds and is suitable for boats measuring 16 to 27 feet in length. If you need a larger size, there are other Fortress anchors available for purchase on Amazon.
Best for Kayaks & Canoes: BEST Kayak Anchor
The BEST Kayak Anchor is a grapnel-style anchor with four hinged flukes. These can be locked open when deployed or held closed by a circular collar fitted to the shank. This style offers great holding power on rocky, weedy or sandy substrates, and is the most compact option on the market. Weighing 3.5 pounds and measuring 12 x 3 inches when folded, this particular anchor takes up very little space - an essential benefit for smaller crafts including kayaks, canoes, inflatables and stand-up paddle boards. Your purchase includes a nylon storage bag and a 40-foot anchor rope complete with a stainless steel hook and floating buoy ball.
Best for Pontoon Boats: Hurricane Boat Anchors 14-Pound Galvanized Steel Anchor
Hurricane Boat Anchors’ 14-pound Galvanized Steel Anchor is a new generation option that relies on design rather than weight to provide increased holding power in proportion to its size. As a result, it’s a great choice for pontoon boat owners who need to secure heavy vessels without taking up a lot of deck space. It also works especially well on mud or sand substrates, which are the most likely bottom conditions for pontoon boat-friendly rivers and lakes. A roll bar helps the anchor to position itself correctly for first-time setting; while the solid hold provided by the chisel-tipped flukes means you need less anchor line and chain than you would for traditional anchor styles.