The Best Boat Anchors Of All Time (Ranked Best Overall To Worst…)

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It’s boat anchoring time!

Being able to quickly anchor your boat in any situation is one of the most important things for a boater (especially if you’re trying to catch fish and want to make sure you stay on your fishing honey hole).

It’s also a massive safety hazard if you have a small, weak anchor that won’t hold you during a storm, ripping current, etc.

But have you ever been confused (or uncertain) about which anchor is best for your boat?

Well, you’re not alone…

Turns out the majority of boaters we interviewed said they just bought an anchor “because their buddy had a similar anchor on his/her boat” or “because it was on sale and fit in the front hatch of their boat”…

NOT GOOD!!!

That’s why we had Salt Strong Fishing Coach Capt. Peter Deeks embark on a multi-month underwater investigation to find out exactly which anchors are best, and just as important, which anchors to avoid.

Let me tell you, the results were a bit shocking!

Let’s just say that the most popular anchors you see on boats are NOT the best!

Here are the main types of boat anchors that we tested:

  • Danforth Fortress Fluke Anchor
  • Common Danforth Fluke Anchor
  • Small Fluke Anchor (West Marine)
  • Danforth Steel Fluke (West Marine)
  • Bruce Anchor
  • Mushroom Anchor
  • Grapple Reef Anchor
  • Folding Grapnel Anchor
  • Plow Anchor

Next, we tested each of these anchors out in every one of these situations (with and without chain – and with different rope length scopes):

  • Soft sand
  • Mud
  • Hard compact sand
  • Loose rocks/shelly gravel bottom
  • Rocky/reef/wreck environment
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So below you’ll see the following regarding this “best to worst” anchor test:

  1. An intro video where Capt. Deeks shares a few anchoring tips along with how we set up the test (definitely worth the watch)
  2. Links to all of the individual anchor tests (for you engineer types who like to see the actual underwater footage and testing of every anchor)
  3. Actual rankings for each anchor
  4. Conclusion video where we discuss the pros and cons of each anchor and declare a WINNER of best overall boat anchor

Enjoy this course and please leave us a comment below with any questions you have about anchors, how to anchor, or specific types of anchors you like.

1. Introduction To The Anchoring Test

2. Links To All Anchor Tests (Actual Underwater Footage)

Click any link below to see the full underwater footage for each anchor type

  • Danforth Fortress Fluke Anchor
  • Common Danforth Fluke Anchor
  • Small Fluke Anchor (West Marine)
  • Danforth Steel Fluke (West Marine)
  • Bruce Anchor
  • Mushroom Anchor
  • Grapple Reef Anchor
  • Folding Grapnel Anchor
  • Plow Anchor

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3. The Boat Anchor Test Results

The point scoring system is based on speed and strength of hold with the following criteria:

1 = one point is awarded for an anchor fail with endless slipping before finally setting

2 = two points are awarded for an anchor that has slight slipping (or slight issues) but does set

3 = three points are awarded for an anchor that works perfectly and sets exactly how and when you want it to

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The best anchors (ranked from best anchor to worst anchor):

  1. Bruce Anchor (47 Points)
    • Best in Mud
    • Best in Sand
    • Best in Hard Sand
    • Best for using shortest Rode
    • Quietest Anchor
    • 2nd in ease of use and storage
    • Tied for Best Structure or Wreck
  2. Plow Anchor (44 Points)
  3. Large West Marine Brand Fluke Anchor (37 Points)
  4. Small West Marine Brand Fluke Anchor (37 Points)
  5. Danforth Fortress Fluke (28 Points)
  6. Folding Grappling Anchor (26 Points)
  7. The Most Common Cheap Fluke Anchor (25 Points)
  8. Welded Grapnel Wreck Anchor (36 Points)
    • Specialty Anchor – Best for Structure and Ledges
  9. Mushroom Anchor (24 Points)
    • Specialty Anchor – Best for slowing a drift or light force use

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4. Conclusion – The Best Boat Anchors (RANKED)

In conclusion, the BRUCE ANCHOR was the best overall anchor for fishing boats.

The Bruce, The Bruce, The Bruce is on Fire!

What’s crazy is that no one on our immediate Salt Strong team had one in their boat (we all had Danforth flukes and even a new Danforth Fortress – which was one of the WORST anchors).

But you can believe we’re all headed out to get a big Bruce anchor after seeing all of this.

The next time you’re at a sandbar, check out what anchors are being used.

I bet you’ll see more cheap fluke anchors and Danforth fortress anchors than anything else (which this study proved to be not very effective at holding boats).

Did you have any “aha’ moments from this anchor course?

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Do you currently own a Bruce anchor?

Any anchors that we missed?

Anything else you’d like to see when it comes to boat anchors or anchoring tips?

Let us know by leaving a comment.

Tight lines and tight anchors!

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>