The Best Anchor Windlasses for 2021

Nicholas Swartz
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When picking the best anchor, it’s important to consider a variety of factors, including the type of boat you’re boating with, the desired size of the anchor, and how deep the waters are.

This article will outline what to consider when picking out a windlass, what each kind of anchor windlass is used for, and our top five picks for the best anchor windlasses available in 2019.

You’ll also find an overview of the best anchor windlasses we’ve found and what they’re designed for.

NameCategoryProduct
Lewmar V700 G 12V 6/7 mm 1/4" Vertical WindlassesBest OverallLewmar V700 G 12V 6/7 mm 1/4" Vertical Windlasses
Lewmar CRW 400 Captive Reel WindlassBudget PickLewmar CRW 400 Captive Reel Windlass
Maxwell RC8 12V WindlassUpgrade PickMaxwell RC8 12V Windlass

1. Lewmar V700 G 12V 6/7 mm 1/4" Vertical Windlasses

Our rating: 9 / 10

Lewmar V700 G 12V 6/7 mm 1/4" Vertical Windlasses

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Pros:

  • Can handle loads from 2,500 lbs.
  • Simple operation
  • Suitable for boats up to 50'
  • Extremely safe when locked
  • Plastic-body with aluminum-eye
  • Flat-bottom steering plate for maximum grip on an uneven deck
  • Safety lock stays locked until you unlock it.
  • All screws and fittings are galvanized metal
  • No water-line flushing kit necessary
  • Compact for easy stowage on your yacht

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Can be tricky to install without previous experience

The Lewmar V700 12v Vertical Windlass is an electric, vertically rotating winch that can handle loads of up to 2,500lbs. It is ideal for boats up to 50' in length and can be used for a variety of uses such as anchoring, docking, mooring and more.

This winch is built for heavy duty, continuous duty use and can be used anywhere on your boat if you have a flat area to install it. The winch works even without a steering plate, which is great for shallow draft boats.

2. Windlass-Anchr ProSport 550

Our rating: 9 / 10

Windlass-Anchr ProSport 550

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Pros:

  • Creates a secure, safe, and reliable anchoring in a snap
  • Extremely easy to maneuver; no tools required!
  • Provides up to 8 times the holding power
  • Attaches in seconds and is ready for a life of use without the need of complicated setup
  • Simple to set up

Cons:

  • Limited use- on steep ground it is difficult to use.
  • Can be tricky to get used to

The ProSport 550 by Windlass Anchor is a high-performance, high-quality, custom made windlass. It is designed for the higher-end market. This windlass has been designed to provide a secure anchorage, no matter the weather or the depths.

The ProSport 550 windlass comes in two different sizes: light and heavyweight. The light windlass weighs 33.5 kg (74.8 lb) and it is made for lower windlasses. The heavyweight windlass weighs 61 kg (135 lb) and is made for larger windlasses or for a low-rating windlass to be used in deep water. The maximum diameter for the rope on both the light and the heavyweight is 30 mm and the maximum thickness is 10 mm.

3. Maxwell HRC8 12V Horizontal Freefall Rope/Chain Series

Our rating: 8 / 10

Maxwell HRC8 12V Horizontal Freefall Rope/Chain Series

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Pros:

  • Comes ready to install after the purchase
  • High strength and corrosion resistance
  • Works with 1/2 ton anchorages or more
  • Perfect for permanent moorings
  • Can be used to tow a barge

Cons:

  • Swaying can be a problem with the lower tension
  • The rope can be hard to get off after use

Maxwell HRC8 12V Horizontal Freefall Rope/Chain Series Rope Winches are perfect for tempory or permanent moorings. They have a pulley system with multifunction that can be used to winch the chain or rope of the windlass up or down.

It runs at a max of 8 feet per minute, and you can control the speed using a tension gauge. It includes a locker with a lock, and an instruction manual, and all necessary hardware for installation. It’s made with a stainless steel material and has a cable distance of 31 feet. It comes with three grooves and a belt capacity of 2 tons. Plus carrying plate.

Depending on the weight of the anchor you’re attaching, the amount of pull on the chain or rope will change, causing it to sway. However, this can be solved by changing the direction of the windlass.

4. Lewmar PRO-Fish 700 6 mm-7 mm-1/4 Pro-Fish Windlass

Our rating: 8 / 10

Lewmar PRO-Fish 700 6 mm-7 mm-1/4 Pro-Fish Windlass

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Pros:

  • High quality, multi-purpose boat anchor winch
  • Manual or electric power options
  • Large, ergonomic rubberized handle
  • Upgraded design with improved efficiency and power
  • High-strength polyester line

The Lewmar Pro-Fish 700 Windlass is a high-speed, heavy-duty, and fully automated windlass. It’s specially designed to make it easier to raise or lower your anchor, even in severe weather conditions.

It’s constructed with high-quality, UV-resistant, and abrasion resistant plastic. This Lewmar windlass comes with a 12V cable with an in-line fuse, a galvanized steel mounting bracket, and a fabricated stainless steel anchor roller.

Other features include its 19-foot, 16-strand polyester anchor line, its 30 feet of galvanized chain, and its color-coded rope guide.

5. Maxwell RC8 12V Windlass

Our rating: 8 / 10

Maxwell RC8 12V Windlass

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Pros:

  • Available in three different sizes
  • Top-notch construction and materials
  • A very easy to use compact windlass solution
  • Load is quickly and easily adjusted
  • Easy to use and maintain

The Maxwell RC8 12v Windlass is a top quality windlass that is durable and made to last. This rugged model is made with top-of-the-line aluminum material that ensures that you can depend on your windlass for years down the road.

This windlass comes with a 12Vdc 1.5A battery. It can be used with factory-installed or aftermarket-installed 12V battery systems. The cord that comes with the windlass is 6 ft long and is abrasion resistant.

The Maxwell RC8 12v comes with a locking brake, cast aluminum hand wheel, zinc coated steel hardware, and a rubber coated chain with silver zinc finish. This windlass is very easy to use and comes with a mounting plate that is 12mm.

6. Lewmar PRO-Series 700 6 mm-7 mm-1/4 Pro-Series Windlass

Our rating: 8 / 10

Lewmar PRO-Series 700 6 mm-7 mm-1/4 Pro-Series Windlass

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Pros:

  • You can choose between two different wiring motors
  • Solid construction
  • Three different sizes available
  • Strong safety clutch

This Lewmar Pro-Series 600 Windlass is a heavy duty anchor windlass that comes in a choice of two wiring motors and three different sizes.

This marine windlass is ergonomically designed and made from cast iron and stainless steel. It has a durable solid construction that can bear a load of up to 350 lbs. This windlass is great for mooring, bilge, dinghy, spearfishing, sailing, and small commercial rowing boats. With a powerful motor, it can easily be fitted to your boat.

This boat anchor windlass is powered by just two D-size batteries. With this boat anchor windlass, you have the flexibility of changing the power to the type you need. It can either have a low voltage of 24 V or a high voltage of 36 V.

7. Lewmar PRO-Fish 1000G 12V G4-102 Pro-Fish Windlass

Our rating: 6 / 10

Lewmar PRO-Fish 1000G 12V G4-102 Pro-Fish Windlass

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This is a complete Pro-Fish control system and it’s ideal for use in trawlers, tugs and offshore vessels. The kit consists of the Pro-Fish 1000 and a Remote Control system. The kit comes with a seafish digital display, and the control, power, and pilot wires can be stored in the lower deck.

8. Powerwinch Freefall Anchor Windlass 41' Class

Our rating: 5 / 10

Powerwinch Freefall Anchor Windlass 41' Class

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Pros:

  • Great build quality
  • Very durable and can handle harsh conditions
  • Manual backup is included
  • Not much maintenance required

(FW300-4-S)

Powerwinch is a renowned brand when it comes to marine winch. First known for their Winches, winch accessories, and parts, Powerwinch now also produces games and jigs, anchors, and hitches.

True to its brand recognition and reputation for quality and innovation, the Powerwinch Freefall Anchor Windlass 41' Class (FW300-4-S) is a top choice for small boats. It has 2 manually override modes built in, a manual backup mode, it is made to be easy to use and it’s compatible with larger boats for deep-water fishing.

9. Lewmar CRW 400 Captive Reel Windlass

Our rating: 5 / 10

Lewmar CRW 400 Captive Reel Windlass

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Pros:

  • Universal applications
  • Simple design
  • Easy to install
  • Perfect for small boats
  • UV Resistant
  • Weather Resistant
  • Sturdy construction
  • Great value for your money
  • Powerful; will pull up a 3.5 meter (12”) boat

The Lewmar CRW400 is suitable for all kinds of boats. Whether it is a small inflatable boat or a whale-watching-tour-vessel, this windlass can handle it. An important thing to note is that this windlass can be installed either inside the boat or on deck.

The reason why the Lewmar CRW400 is so versatile is that it comes with a captain’s crank handle. This is what we call a captive handle. Once it is installed, you don’t need to worry about bringing extra tools along every time you go out; you can just crank the line up and down with the designated handle.

The CRW400 has a powerful 12-volt motor that will pull up a 3.5 ton boat with ease. The whole thing is made of stainless steel and that’s what allows it to be UV resistant and weather resistant.

10. Five Oceans Atlantic 600 Horizontal Anchor Windlass 600W-1200 lbs

Our rating: 1 / 10

Five Oceans Atlantic 600 Horizontal Anchor Windlass 600W-1200 lbs

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Pros:

  • Automatically adjusts for linear pull based on load
  • Handles rope up to 7/8 Inch diameter
  • Easy to install
  • Automatic load adjustment
  • Large handle for easy use
  • Easy to read gauge
  • Features a safety shutoff
  • Consists of an upper and lower winch

The Five Oceans horizontal windlass is the most popular and reliable horizontal anchor windlass in the market. It’s a versatile, self-righting anchor winch that will provide you with everything that you need to mount your by-the-wind-sleeper (OTW) anchor vertically or horizontally.

The automatic load adjustment feature of this windlass allows it to pull without having to manually adjust load settings. The windlass’s automatic load adjustment feature tailors the load size by detecting the pull size of the users and adjusts itself.

The windlass features a very ergonomic design and it’s comfortable to use and handle. The windlass head can rotate 360 degrees and it can be controlled wirelessly. You can choose from the two settings: “slow winch” and “fast winch” to pull your anchor.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best anchor line?

While the purpose of an anchor line is merely to hold an anchor, nothing can be more important for your boat and the safety of everyone on board. A poorly made or low quality windlass line can fail in a critical moment when you need it the most.

Not to mention, if you happen to be in an area where a short length of anchor line is needed, attaching a new anchor line to a windlass could be a lengthy task.

Some of the most important requirements for a good anchor line are strength, abrasion resistance, and low stretch. This makes a nylon boat line a great choice for an anchor line. A bowline or three-wrap anchor line is a great all-around choice that wonʼt fall apart if nearby items or people inadvertently snag it.

Where are the anchors and windlasses placed?

Generally speaking, the anchor windlasses are placed on the bow of yachts whereas the stern windlass is placed at the stern.

The anchor winches are placed on the bow because it is easier to keep them secured to the forward most part of the ship.

Having the forward anchor winches placed on the bow has another important implication. It basically means that they are placed in one of the corners of the boat. This is why the bow is referred to as the ʪforward most part of the boat.ʹ

Anchor windlasses are not necessarily mounted on the centerline of the boat. In large vessels, the winches are mounted at different positions, and they are often counterbalanced with the weight of the boat to make them turn easier, faster, and more efficiently.

What size anchor rope should I use?

Most boats use a 6- to 8-mm diameter rope for their anchors.

Anchor ropes may be made from nylon, polyester, or a proprietary blend of the two. The larger diameter rope is useful for boats on the move, as it has more tensile strength. This is why itʼs standard to use a big rope on ocean going vessels. Nowadays, most boat owners no longer need to worry about this concern, but if you are anchoring near a glacier, a high-tensile rope is probably a good idea.

Most small to mid-size sailing or power boats will use a little rope about 3mm in diameter for their anchors.

Where should you anchor a boat from?

Always anchor your boat in shallow water far away from coral reefs and rocks. If you anchor your boat in deep water, it will be difficult to bring it in close to shore for swimming. The fact that you might find coral out in the middle of the ocean and that you are more likely to run aground in deep water is an added plus.

Conclusion

For decades, windlasses have been a steadfast companion on the deck of every traditional, wooden sailboat. Now, a modern windlass can be an equally valuable crew member aboard your modern boat. Without significantly compromising the sleekness and sophistication of your modern boat, a windlass provides the benefit of quickly deploying and retrieving anchor and rode.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Lewmar V700 G 12V 6/7 mm 1/4" Vertical WindlassesBest OverallLewmar V700 G 12V 6/7 mm 1/4" Vertical Windlasses
Lewmar CRW 400 Captive Reel WindlassBudget PickLewmar CRW 400 Captive Reel Windlass
Maxwell RC8 12V WindlassUpgrade PickMaxwell RC8 12V Windlass