Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products and services; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.
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.
Our Top Picks
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: Manson Galvanized Supreme Anchor
One of the most highly rated anchors on the market after multiple independent tests, the Manson Supreme anchor hails from New Zealand, bringing with it strength and anchoring capabilities built right into its clever design. In rough weather, it holds fast to all types of seabeds and has been recommended for use in extreme wind conditions. A roll bar also makes sure that the boat sets at the right angle and distributes weight appropriately, while different slots are incorporated into the design for use in different seabeds. It also has a nice sharp tip to get right into the seabed, while the forward section of the anchor has been reinforced for better wear. The anchor has also received Super High Holding Power Status from Lloyds Register of Shipping — the only production boat anchor to do so. And with sizes ranging from 10 to 80 pounds, there’s a size out there appropriate for most casual boats.
Best for Strength: Rocna Vulcan Galvanized Anchor
WIth anchor models ranging from 20 to 121 pounds, the legendary New Zealand-designed Rocna is one of the strongest anchors out there. Its strength is driven by its I+V design rather than dead weight, and its abilities to set instantly, self-launch, and hold fast to the seabed — even in the worst of weather — are seriously impressive.
This model is the next step in Rocna’s original and highly successful eponymous anchor and is built to offer all the holding power of the original Rocna but with a roll bar that fits easily on more bows. The combo shank-and-fluke profile means it will fit well on a variety of boats, and the galvanized high tensile steel gives it extra strength, even at its light weight. If you’re not convinced, the company is willing to bet on you loving it: Rocna offers not just a manufacturing-defects warranty, but one that covers both breakage and bending.
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: Fortress FX-37 21-lb Anchor
Widely (and rightly) regarded as one of the best anchors out there, the Fortress is widely praised by boating magazines and aficionados. It’s hugely popular in America, where pontoon boaters love it for how it holds in mud, thanks to the Danforth-style engineering. Overall, it does the best with soft-to-medium bottoms — what most pontoons will come across — thanks to its large surface-area-to-weight ratio and sharp tips that penetrate the seafloor well. It’s strong, too, as a result of its aluminum alloy construction which offers just as much as steel would but at half the rate. We like that you can adjust the fluke angle from 32 degrees to 45 degrees for greater holding power in soft mud — and, not to be overlooked, the lifetime parts replacement warranty that guarantees free replacement parts for life (owners just have to pay shipping and handling). This anchor can also be disassembled for storage if you don’t boat during the fall and winter.