Boat with Fenders

Best Anchor Windlass 2021 Electric Windlass

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The windlass makes operating a boat so much easier. This age-old invention has helped bring up anchors for centuries.

Today’s anchor windlasses are electrically operated and designed to quickly drop and lift your boat’s anchor into the ocean. Depending on the size of your boat and the quantity and types of anchors you have, you may need one or more windlass.

Anchoring your boat is often one of the most dangerous parts of boating. If you ask any experienced sailor, almost all of them will have at least one story of the time they sliced their hand open tossing the anchor, or got off-balance and busted their behind on the deck.

A mechanical windlass allows the anchor to be instantly dropped or withdrawn from the boat just like a winch. No more sketchy balancing acts on the tip of your boat!
In today’s article, we’re going to take a look at some of the top windlasses on the market. We’ll start with the best anchor windlass, the Lewmar V700.


Best Anchor Windlass

Name
Top Choice!
Lewmar V700
Runner-Up
Lewmar ProSport 550
Budget Pick
MinnKota Deckhand 40
Best for Large Boats
Lewmar Pro 700
Best Sport Fisher
PowerWinch Sport Fisher 450
Preview
Lewmar V700 G 12V 6/7 mm 1/4" Vertical Windlasses
Pro Sport 550 12V, 1/4" Gypsy
Minn Kota 1810140 DH 40 DeckHand Electric Anchor Winch, 40 lb anchor capacity
Lewmar PRO-Series 700 6 mm-7 mm-1/4 Pro-Series Windlass (6656011967-310)
Powerwinch Sport Fishing 450 Freefall Anchor Windlass
Price on Amazon
$961.71
$736.99
$293.76
$1,092.49
$722.32
Top Choice!
Name
Lewmar V700
Preview
Lewmar V700 G 12V 6/7 mm 1/4" Vertical Windlasses
Price on Amazon
$961.71
View on Amazon
Runner-Up
Name
Lewmar ProSport 550
Preview
Pro Sport 550 12V, 1/4" Gypsy
Price on Amazon
$736.99
View on Amazon
Budget Pick
Name
MinnKota Deckhand 40
Preview
Minn Kota 1810140 DH 40 DeckHand Electric Anchor Winch, 40 lb anchor capacity
Price on Amazon
$293.76
View on Amazon
Best for Large Boats
Name
Lewmar Pro 700
Preview
Lewmar PRO-Series 700 6 mm-7 mm-1/4 Pro-Series Windlass (6656011967-310)
Price on Amazon
$1,092.49
View on Amazon
Best Sport Fisher
Name
PowerWinch Sport Fisher 450
Preview
Powerwinch Sport Fishing 450 Freefall Anchor Windlass
Price on Amazon
$722.32
View on Amazon

Our Top Pick: Lewmar V700 G 12V 6/7 mm 1/4″ Vertical Windlass

Lewmar V700 G 12V 6/7 mm 1/4

Key Points at a Glance

  • 100% heavy-duty stainless steel housing.
  • Designed for boats up to 35-feet long.
  • Motor Power: 320 Watts
  • Come with an industry-leading 5-year limited warranty.
  • Features a flush-mount design, hiding the motor below the deck for an attractive profile.

The Details

If you’re looking for the best anchor windlass on the market, then you can’t go wrong with the Lewmar V700 G. In terms of quality, price, and versatility, you’ll have a hard time beating it.

This powerful windlass features 700 pounds of pulling power packed into a 320-watt motor and is rated for use in boats up to 35-feet long. If you own a 35-footer, then you know just how heavy these anchors can be! With the Lewmar V700, you’ll be able to drop your anchor straight to the ocean floor with the touch of a button.

This heavy-duty windlass is built for thick half-inch thick ropes that come standard on larger boats and is designed to be as beautiful as it is functional. With a 316 stainless steel housing, you’ll never have to worry about rust, salt damage, or pain chipping- just give it a quick polish with some WD-40 once in a while to keep it shining.

Lewmar V700 G 12V 6/7 mm 1/4" Vertical Windlasses
  • 100% 316 stainless steel deck unit
  • IP Rated Housing
  • For boats up to 10. 5m (35 ft. )
  • 5-year

Our Runner Up: Lewmar ProSport 550

Lewmar ProSport 550

Key Points at a Glance

  • Max pulling power: 550 pounds.
  • Low power draw.
  • Designed for boats up to 38-feet long.
  • Composite polymer exterior and aluminum interior.
  • Motor-above deck.

The Details

Lewmar ProSport 550

Also designed by Lewmar, the ProSport 550 is an excellent option if you’re looking for a similar quality and rating with a more affordable price tag! While this anchor windlass is designed to be installed on boats up to 38-feet long (3-feet longer than the V700), it doesn’t quite have the same pulling power.

With a 550-pound maximum pulling power, it’s able to handle most anchors, but it will take a little bit more time to drop and raise the anchor. However, it will use less power which makes it a good option for boats that can’t spare extra power (such as smaller sport fishing boats).

The other main difference is the material and housing design. Whereas the V700 features a fully stainless steel design, the ProSport 550 features a composite housing and an aluminum mechanical interior. This isn’t to say that composite and aluminum aren’t durable, but they aren’t able to stand up to the same everyday heavy-duty use. The motor on the 550 is also above-deck whereas the V700 motor is designed to be installed below-deck with the pulley above-deck.

Pro Sport 550 12V, 1/4" Gypsy
  • SIMPLIFY ANCHORING— Our windlass moves...
  • EASY TO INSTALL — The Lewmar anchor windlass is...
  • EVERYTHING YOU NEED — The Lewmar windlass has...
  • COMPACT & DURABLE —The Lewmar horizontal...
  • TRUSTED BRAND — Our windlass kit is from Lewmar,...

Best Budget: MinnKota Deckhand 40 Electric Anchor Winch

MinnKota Deckhand 40 Electric Anchor Winch

Key Points at a Glance

  • Can be used with anchors up to 40-pounds.
  • Comes with a 2-year limited warranty.
  • Includes 100-feet of pre-spooled nylon rope within the housing.
  • Only needs a 12-volt battery to operate.
  • Features an anti-drag system to prevent the anchor from dragging along the ground.

The Details

If you have a smaller boat such as a skiff, small sailboat, or lightweight sport fishing boat, then the MinnKota Deckhand 40 is probably the best choice you can make! This sturdy, compact anchor windlass can be powered with a standard 12-volt marine battery (the same one that powers your bilge pump) so you won’t have to worry about buying expensive new batteries.

Just because it’s small doesn’t mean that it doesn’t pack some power, though. It’s designed to be used with any anchor between 20 and 40-pounds and features a unique anti-drift designed that keeps the anchor from scraping along the river/seafloor and your boat from drifting around too much. This is great for fishing where your success often relies on maintaining that perfect spot your fishfinder identified.

If you want to add a bit of extra luxury, you can even purchase the additional MinnKota handheld remote switch that allows you to drop and lower the anchor from the other end of your boat so you won’t even have to leave your chaise lounge! Sweet!

Minn Kota 1810140 DH 40 DeckHand Electric Anchor Winch, 40 lb anchor capacity
  • Electric anchor winch makes fishing boat...
  • Davit can be mounted horizontally to stop anchor...
  • Handles anchors up to 40 pounds; pre-spooled with...
  • Comes with mounting hardware and installation...
  • Two-year warranty included

Best for Large Boats: Lewmar Pro 700

Lewmar Pro 700

Key Points at a Glance

  • Made of 100% 316 stainless steel for durability.
  • Designed for boats between 20 and 38-feet long.
  • Features an above-deck motor design for easy installation.
  • 700 pounds of pulling power.
  • Can be converted to a free-fall anchor system.
  • Comes with Lewmar’s excellent 5-year warranty.

The Details

At first glance, the Lewmar Pro 700 is very similar to the first Lewmar V700 that we reviewed as our top-pick. However, once you look a bit closer, you’ll be able to see the key differences between these two powerful machines.

They are both made of 100% 316 stainless steel for maximum durability and they both feature 700 pounds of pulling power. This means that the Pro 700 is designed for large boats that are being used on an everyday basis. Lewmar designed their pro series specifically for everyday commercial use, so if you make your living on the water- this is an excellent option.

One of the biggest differences between the Pro 700 and the V700 is the location of the motor. As we mentioned, the V700’s design features the motor housing under the deck which allows for a sleeker above-deck profile. However, this does make the windlass more difficult to install. The Pro 700, on the other hand, features an above-deck motor which makes it far easier to install, replace, or swap.

The Pro 700 can also be upgraded to work with a free-fall anchor system that allows your anchors to be dropped far quicker than the V700 would allow. This feature is especially useful if you frequently take your boat out into the deep sea and don’t want a long wait while your anchor drops 100-feet to the ocean floor.

Lewmar PRO-Series 700 6 mm-7 mm-1/4 Pro-Series Windlass (6656011967-310)
  • Powerful motor providing fast line speed
  • Manual emergency recovery equipped all you need is...
  • Maximum pulling power: 320kg (700 lb. )
  • For boats up to 12m (38ft)
  • 5-year

Best for Sport Fishers: Powerwinch Sport Fishing 450 Freefall Anchor Windlass

Powerwinch Sport Fishing 450 Freefall Anchor Windlass

Key Points at a Glance

  • Features a free-fall anchor system for maximum speed.
  • Comes with a stainless steel rope for maximum efficiency and anchoring accuracy.
  • Anchor windlass features watertight seals to prevent saltwater from corroding the interior.
  • 450 pounds of pulling power.
  • Can drop the anchor at 150-feet-per-minute and retrieve the anchor at 70-feet-per-minute.

The Details

If you’re a sport fisher, then the Powerwinch 450 is one of the best options on the market. One of the defining features of this anchor windlass is that it features a free-fall anchor system that allows the anchor to drop far quicker than most mechanical-drop windlasses (up to 150-feet-per-minute).

The Powerwinch 450 also comes with a pre-spooled stainless steel line which means that your anchor will drop almost straight down without drifting around with the current like your standard nylon ropes. It also means that your anchor line has a lower profile that’s harder for fish to see (very important when fishing for sport as the biggest fish often tend to be the smartest).

With one of the fastest anchor drop and retrieval times on the market, you’ll be able to make the most out of your time without wasting valuable time that could otherwise be spent searching for the perfect catch with your portable fishfinder!

Powerwinch Sport Fishing 450 Freefall Anchor Windlass
  • Free-fall anchor system designed for sport fishing...
  • Stainless-steel rope and fasteners and watertight...
  • Drops up to 4 times faster (150 fpm) than...
  • Makes it easy to anchor boat in precise location...
  • 70 fpm retrieval speed; weighs 21 pounds; 2-year...

Best Anchor Windlass Buyer’s Guide

Who Should Buy an Anchor Windlass

Windlasses are an excellent choice for those who are looking for a quicker, safer, quieter, and more precise method of anchoring their boat. These devices are able to mechanically drop the best boat anchor for your boat straight down into the water with pinpoint accuracy.

Whether you’re a sport fisher who wants to maintain their quiet profile (nearly impossible if you have to rock the whole boat and make a giant splash in the water by throwing your anchor), or just a recreational boater who doesn’t want to slip and fall or strain their back tossing an anchor off the bow, an anchor windlass is a great investment!

Important Features to Consider

When purchasing an anchor windlass, it’s important to consider the following main features:

  • Drop Speed
  • Power
  • Maximum Weight
  • Chain/Rope Compatibility and Size

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Do Anchor Windlasses Last?

Depending on the quality of the design and how often you’re using your windlass, most of them are able to keep working for at least 3 to 5 years and sometimes even longer!

How Do I Know Which Ropes and Anchors To Use With My Windlass?

If you look at the manufacturer’s site or read the technical specs of the windlass, you’ll find a chart listing the minimum and maximum rope sizes and anchor weights.

Do I Need To Buy More Batteries To Power My Anchor Windlass?

This depends on the size of your anchor windlass. Smaller windlasses can usually operate off of the same 12-volt battery you use for your bilge pump and hydraulics. However, heavy-duty windlasses designed for commercial use may require you to buy an extra deep-cycle marine battery to power them.


Other Products We Looked At:

Five Oceans Atlantic 600 Horizontal Anchor Windlass

Five Oceans Atlantic 600 Horizontal Anchor Windlass
On the surface, the Five Oceans Atlantic 600 anchor windlass looks very similar to the Lewmar Pro 700. They both share the same high-quality 316 stainless steel housing and offer similar functionality, but there are some differences.

The Atlantic 600 features a 600-watt motor and 1,200 pounds of maximum pulling strength. It also features a drop speed of 115-feet-per-minute and a retrieval speed of 70-feet-per-minute which makes it a heavy-duty commercial windlass.

While the overall specs on this anchor windlass are excellent, it didn’t make our cut for the top-rated options due to some complaints that we’ve seen about poor customer service.

When it comes to an expensive investment like an anchor windlass, it’s essential that the manufacturer have flawless service. Unfortunately, 500 Oceans doesn’t have the best reputation in this regard.

Key Points at a Glance

  • 600-watt motor.
  • Designed for boats up to 35-feet long.
  • Features an above-deck motor position for ease of installation.

Maxwell RC612V 12V RC Series Windlass

Maxwell RC612V 12V RC Series Windlass

The Maxwell RC612V Windlass is similar in design to the Lewmar V700. It features a polished stainless steel housing with a sleek, modern appearance. The motor is positioned below-deck which gives the anchor windlass a low-profile design. It runs off of a simple 12-volt battery which means you shouldn’t have to add extra batteries.
It features maximum pulling power of 660 pounds and a manual free-fall lever for emergency use.

Price-wise, Maxwell’s windlasses are similar to Lewmar, as are the overall specifications. They have a beautiful design and there are some good reviews of the RC612V. However, the company doesn’t quite have the long-standing reputation that Lewmar has which is why it didn’t make it into our top cut.

Key Points at a Glance

  • Features a low-profile below-deck motor.
  • Has 660-pounds of maximum pulling power.
  • Designed for quarter-inch chain or half-inch rope.
Maxwell RC612V 12V RC Series Windlass
Maxwell RC612V 12V RC Series Windlass
RC Ser. 660#, 1/4" chain, 12V
$847.46

Powerwinch Freefall Anchor Windlass 41′ Class

Powerwinch Freefall Anchor Windlass 41' Class

Just like the company’s sport fishing anchor, this larger anchor windlass is designed to provide maximum speed and efficiency. It features a free-fall system that allows the anchor to be dropped at speeds up to 300-feet-per-second and a powerful motor which allows even heavy anchors to be retrieved at 75-feet-per-second.

It comes with a built-in stainless steel rope to allow for maximum anchor length and also to increase the accuracy of the anchor drop. The stainless steel cord also gives the anchor a lower-profile design that doesn’t create as much drag as it’s dropping.

The only reason that the Powerwinch 41’ Class windlass didn’t make our top cut is that not many boaters have 41-foot boats. These are usually heavy-duty commercial boats, naval boats, or coast guard boats. While this is a truly awesome product, it’s a little bit more than the average boater will usually need.

Key Points at a Glance

  • Features a free-fall anchor system.
  • Designed for 41-foot class boats (commercial/coast guard).
  • Built-in stainless steel rope.
Powerwinch Freefall Anchor Windlass 41' Class
Powerwinch Freefall Anchor Windlass 41' Class
Free-fall anchor system designed for 41-foot class boats; Stainless-steel rope and fasteners and watertight seals
$1,027.00

Conclusion

If you’ve been looking for the next investment into your boat, you can’t go wrong with an anchor windlass! This is especially true if you have a mid-sized or larger boat with a heavier anchor.

With the best anchor windlass for your needs, you’ll never have to worry about your ropes getting tangled up, throwing your back out, or struggling to pull a stuck anchor out of the mud.

Just press a button and let your new mechanical windlass do all of the work!

Lewmar V700 G 12V 6/7 mm 1/4' Vertical Windlasses
Lewmar V700 G 12V 6/7 mm 1/4" Vertical Windlasses
100% 316 stainless steel deck unit; IP Rated Housing; For boats up to 10. 5m (35 ft. ); 5-year
$961.71