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


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”…


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

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

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

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

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3. The Boat Anchor Test Results

salt strong boat anchoring contest

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

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

➡ Click here to download the Google sheet with all of the individual anchor scores

4. Conclusion – The Best Boat Anchors (RANKED)

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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?

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!

➡ Click here to download the Google sheet with all of the individual anchor scores

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Bill M
2 years ago

Ok, all the tests without chain are really useless! ANY anchor, should have proper amount of chain. That is just how anchors work. Period! And per Chapmans just sayin. That being said, most anchors hold better in certain bottoms then others. I have used a Fortress for years on a 22 Chawk Pilothouse (LOTS of windage!) w great success. But takes some skill to set properly. Also have have many other kinds and types. All have their place, and most vessels, even small, should carry 2 types, for different bottoms. But thanks for the great vids. Hope people can see, not having chain (really need 10ft of proper size for boat) greatly affects anchor set.

2 years ago

I have the grappling small anchor for my kayak. PLease let me know what you would recommend instead. Great stuff!!

2 years ago

Worst anchor – cement shoes
Best anchor – 55 gal drum filled with cement, unknown, and whatever dumped in the tin can grounds off statin island.

Glenn Acomb
2 years ago

Well I, too, had the winning worst anchor which seemed to be a reasonable one when I bought it. I rarely use an anchor since I am in shallow flats most of the time. That anchor didn’t last too long – it rusted worse than most so I pitched it. I use my old galvanized Danforth and it is holding up. Perhaps I will get a Plow or Bruce when the old one gives up. Shorter rode would be a selling point.

Stephen Darbonne
2 years ago

Get a Mantus anchor, similar to a plow but self righting. Best anchor ever.

2 years ago

No box anchor included in the test? I use a box on my pontoon and a fluke on my bass boat.

Malcolm Hayward
2 years ago

Please remember:
You won’t use your best bower for holding fishing marks. For permanent parking.
The chain does most of the work. Lots of heavy chain + cable up to seven times the depth of the water at high tide.

For fishing, you will use a very much lighter kedge. Possibly, even without chain.
You will probably tow it from mark to mark.
Very physical, even with a winch.
If it slips now and again so what. Just curse and reset it. You will be on the boat after all.

Best Bower is your insurance for your pride and joy. Best you can accomodate / afford.

Kedge will be your bain. Usually lives like Odo in a bucket.
Filthy, heavy, awkward and bloody hard work.
Consider if you can set and reset it 10 times on a tide. Can I tow it?
Make sure you can afford it when you loose it.
Must trip easily so you can get it back off a dodgy bottom.

Choice! The excellent research has been done for you.
Many thanks all round.

A rider.
As a massive chain swings with the tide, it sterilizes the sea bed.
Tremendous destruction.
Use fore and aft permanent moorings in the absense of “Eco Moorings”.
We are installing the latter, especially to conserve sea grass.


Chris Nielsen
2 years ago

Did you test a Navy Anchor?

2 years ago

I think any “absolute” advice has to be given and/or taken with a grain of salt. I say this because everyone’s frequency of use, depth of water, and type of bottom they anchor in is different. For example, I rarely use an anchor (thanks to Minn Kota and Power Pole) but my anchor resides in the anchor locker of my 22 foot bay boat 24/.7. The anchor in my boat is an FX7 Fortress without any chain. If and when I do anchor (maybe 6 or 8 times a year), it is either mud or sand……and the Fortress locks up tight…..even to the point that, oftentimes, I have to use the boat to pull it up. I personally have no need for a 10 to 15 lb anchor in the bow! Obviously, that would change if I were trying to anchor in 10 feet of water with 20 feet of rope, or anchoring in grass, or ……….

Paul Schroder
2 years ago

I do indeed have bruce anchors on my boat. I learned of them long ago as a member of the sailing community as they are very popular with cruisers who live on their sailboats. I carry a 10kg Bruce on my 24’ bay boat and a second smaller one.
I learned to carry what is called a kedge anchor which really is just a small anchor that you can either throw or manually place to help pull you off a lee shore, when you run aground or are in danger of doing so. I use a 7# bruce anchor with 5’ of stainless chain and 75’ of 5/16” nylon for my line. I can throw this anchor about 50’. Let it settle to the bottom and then set it and pull yourself either off a sandbar or back out to deeper water. It has saved the day more than once and it is also a nice anchor for a dingy or kayak.


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