Boat Anchor Winch Guide – Find The Best Winch for Your Boat


boat anchor winch

Are you tired of manually lifting your pontoon boat anchor out of the water and storing it under pontoon seats? 

If you are, this post will explain what you can do today to change that and make your life easier.

This guide will teach you the following:

  • The difference between anchor winch and anchor windlass
  • The benefit of buying pontoon anchor winch
  • Best location to install an anchor on a pontoon boat
  • Which is the best electric anchor winch or windlass
  • Which is the best manual anchor winch
  • How to pick the best anchor winch for your boat 

So if you want to learn MORE and save your lower back in the process, you will like this guide.

Let’s dive right in.

Anchor Winch vs. Anchor Windlass

People sometimes confuse anchor winch and anchor windlass because they can be used to do the same thing, pull the anchor up from the bottom of the lake or ocean. 

However, there are some significant differences between the two.

A boat winch is a machine powered by hydraulic/electric power used to handle mooring ropes. It is a mechanical instrument that winds out or winds up a dock line and can either haul or lift heavy loads.

On the other hand, an anchor windlass is a hydraulically/motor-driven machine used to lift heavy loads, must heavier than a winch. It manipulates and restrains the anchor chain on a ship, allowing the anchor to be lowered or raised using chain cable.

Now that you know the difference between anchor winch and anchor windlass, it’s time to ask your self the following question:

Anchor Winch – Do You Need It

best anchor winches

The main benefit of owning a pontoon anchor winch is the convenience and ease of use.

Lifting the anchor from the bottom of the lake can be a significant workout. If you are an older person, it might be almost impossible, depending on the boat anchor type.

With pontoon anchor winch, lifting the heavy metal object from the bottom of the ocean is only a click of a button away.

Another benefit is that anchor has its own permanent place on the boat; you don’t have to move it, clean it and store it under the seat. 

Best Location to Install an Anchor Winch on a Pontoon Boat

As with everything in life, there are different opinions on what is the best place to install an anchor on your pontoon boat. 

Some would say that it’s best to install it close to the battery. That way, you don’t have to run the wire across the entire boat.

Others argue that the fore or aft is the best location.

I would suggest that you don’t listen to others and install the anchor where you think is best. It’s your boat; who cares what “experts” are saying. Picking the right anchor winch or anchor windlass is much more significant.

Top Boat Anchor Winch

Quick PTR 350 Pontoon Windlass with Bow-Roller

Quick PTR 350 Pontoon Windlass w/Bow-Roller
  • Quick Ptr 350 Pontoon Windlass Aluminum Bow Roller 20Lb

Quick PTR 350 is the absolute behemoth among anchor winches. This high-priced electric anchor is equipped with a bow-roller for functionality and practicality on boats where windlass cannot be installed. The specific design of the bow-roller provides exceptional safety to the user.

The maximum anchor capacity pull of Quick PTR 350 Pontoon Windlass is astonishing 573 lbs, making the PTR the most robust boat winch on the list.

Additional features of Quick PTR 350 Pontoon Windlass with Bow-Roller:

  • PTR 350 is an on-deck or under-deck pontoon windlass that is perfect for every situation.
  • The Quick PTR 350 is best used for pontoon boats between 26-39 ft.
  • It has a powerful motor. You get a max power of 150 W.
  • It is sharp looking anchor winch with its AISI 316 Stainless Steel and anodized aluminum coating.
  • The Quick PTR 350 has IP67 watertight motor.
  • The Quick PTR 350 comes with a high yield rope (Dyneema) and a 20lb rubber-coated anchor.

If you have additional money to spend on pontoon boat accessories, this is the right choice. But if you don’t have that big of a budget, the following anchors might be your best bets.

MinnKota Deckhand Winch

Sale
Minn Kota 1810140 DH 40 DeckHand Electric Anchor Winch, 40 lb anchor capacity
  • Electric anchor winch makes fishing boat navigation and placement convenient and effortless
  • Davit can be mounted horizontally to stop anchor swing
  • Handles anchors up to 40 pounds; pre-spooled with 100 feet of 800-pound Test nylon rope

You know that Minn Kota is a famous brand for experts in the boating and marine industry. This company is well known for producing some of the best products, and their boat winches are top of the line.

On top of being one of the best boat winches on the market, this product is reasonably priced, especially when you consider some of the great features and its easy installation process.

Some of the notable features of the Minn Kota Deckhand Anchor Winch are:

  • The MinnKota Deckhand 40  is an extremely reliable and smooth anchor winch.
  • This boat winch can be mounted at the base or a remote position on the boat deck – thanks to its universal davit.
  • A stow and deploy switch is integrated into the base of the unit.
  • Its anchor shackle allows for quick changes between anchors.
  • This boat winch senses the bottom to allow for controlled drifting.
  • It comes with a system that stops the unit when the anchor touches the bottom.
  • You can get the boat winch with an optional remote accessory that allows for a 25′ corded remote operation. The remote is sold separately.
  • You enjoy two years of limited manufacturer warranty.

If you are new in the pontoon boat world, you may want to consider the Minn Kota Deckhand.

TRAC-Outdoor Pontoon 35 Winch

Pontoon 35 Electric Anchor Winch
  • Easy to Operate: Allows you to automatically raise and lower your anchor with easy-to-use buttons; Provides simple, smooth operation with excellent holding power
  • High-Efficiency Motor: The high-efficiency, 12-volt DC, all-steel gear motor uses less battery power than other brands
  • Maximum Anchor Capacity: 35 lb.

When I first got my pontoon boat, the TRAC-Outdoor Pontoon 35 Winch was one of the first anchor winches I looked at. The reason being is that this is a basic electric anchor winch that is easy to install and could lift 35 lbs. At the time, that’s all I wanted!

For novices in the pontoon boat world, this product is fantastic. It is easy to use, easy to install, and performs great in various environments, particularly when used with river or mushroom anchor. And it has a wireless remote.

The TRAC-Outdoor Pontoon 35 Winch features include:

  • This boat winch has a maximum anchor capacity of 30-35 lbs.
  • It comes with 100′ of 0.20″ pre-wound braided anchor rope.
  • It boasts of a sealed membrane up/down switch.
  • Features an anti-reverse system with an internal clutch to prevent free spooling.
  • The TRAC-Outdoor Pontoon 35 winch comes with an automatic resetting circuit breaker.
  • You enjoy a high-efficiency 12V gear motor that uses less battery power.
  • It comes with an anchor safety chain.
  • You can opt for the TRAC Anchor Winch Wireless Remote Kit sold separately.
  • Enjoy a limited manufacturer warranty of 2 years.

I’ve heard of some people complaining about this product, saying it rusts reasonably quickly.

I see it this way: If you take care of your equipment, it will last you a long time. If you don’t, the material’s quality does not matter; It will get ruined regardless.

Powerwinch

Powerwinch P77724 24' Class Pontoon Anchor Winch
  • Automatically retrieves and spools the 100 feet by 3/16 inches diameter anchor line (included)
  • Lifts river and lake anchors up to 32 pounds at a retrieval speed 80 feet per minute
  • Installation kit includes 30 feet of red 10-gauge wire and 30 feet of black 10-gauge wire and free integrated anchor davit with compact design for easy installation

The PowerWinch Boat Anchor Winch is another great electric winch that can help a pontoon boater lift its anchor from the bottom of a lake or river.

When you look at this for the first time, you might not think it can handle up to 32 pounds at over 100 feet. It is, however, a very powerful boat winch.

The Powerwinch Pontoon Anchor Winch has several amazing features:

  • It is small and easy to install.
  • The Powerwinch Pontoon Anchor Winch automatically retrieves and spools its 100 feet by 3/16 inches diameter anchor line (included).
  • The boat winch quickly lifts 32 pounds at a retrieval speed of 80 feet per minute.
  • It comes with a 12 Volt operating power with a 15-ampere circuit breaker.
  • You also get a free integrated anchor davit with a compact design for easy installation.
  • The case is constructed from ABS with UV inhibitors.
  • The frame is powder-coated steel.
  • You can enjoy this with a manufacturer’s two years limited warranty.

In my opinion, this is an excellent anchor winch for the beginning to intermediate pontoon boater who is not looking for all the bells and whistles.

AnchorMate Worth Anchor Winch Reel

The last anchor winch I would like to cover in my pontoon boat anchor winch review is the AnchorMate Worth Anchor Reel. What is different about this product is that it is a manual device.

While this may be the most primitive model and version of anchor winches, it works, and it is effortless to use.

The only downside to this boat winch is that it does not have any hardware for installation purposes. So, unless you are handy and know how to install items like this, you may need to purchase a different boat winch.

Features of the AnchorMate Worth Anchor Reel include:

  • You get to “experience” a manual spooling reel. (Make sure you have put in enough gym time for it.)
  • This boat winch can hold up to a 12lb anchor.
  • When reeling in, if the hand slips, the anchor does not move; it stays in place.
  • One Negative: the anchor, rope, and mounting hardware not included.

Anchor Winch Details to Look For

In picking out a winch for your boat, you need to look out for a few different specs and features. So, to better help you out, I will share with you exactly what I looked at when buying my pontoon anchor winch.

Anchor Winch Weight Capacity

When picking out an anchor winch for your pontoon boat, you need to look at something known as weight capacity. What you are looking for is whether the winch can handle your boat’s anchor.

I suggest that you look for an anchor winch that can handle at least the base weight of your anchor. To be safe, you should try to find a winch that can handle a much higher weight capacity than your anchor. You might even want to consider Quick PTR 350 anchor windlass.

Also, make sure you know what the weight of your pontoon boat is.

Anchor Winch Durability

One feature that I was keen on when researching was learning about the durability of each electric winch. You have to be incredibly careful – as I mentioned above, your winch can easily break.

You want to look out for a water-resistant anchor winch built from either high-quality or military-grade materials and metals. While these may be costlier, they are worth every penny in the end.

Anchor Winch Installation

It is vital to find an anchor winch that’s easy to use, install and won’t require much effort or boating skill savviness on your end.

It is especially true for pontoon boat owners who are new to this passion or hobby. Trust me, the easier the installation process – the better experience you’ll have!

Manual Or Electric Anchor Winch

The last feature or spec to look at is whether the anchor winch is manual or electric. Each option will be a driving factor towards the price level and how much effort you need to put into the process of lifting an anchor.

Unless someone influences you towards purchasing a manual anchor winch, I highly recommend an electric boat winch. Electric winch makes the entire process much more manageable, and it might come with wireless remote control.

Conclusion

I know how it feels to own a boat for the first time and not know what to do. I also know that anchoring is a skill, and having the right anchor winch can help a reasonable amount.

So if you need additional help with picking the right electric anchor winch for your boat, do not hesitate to leave a question below or message me directly. I will do my best to help you out.

2 thoughts on “Boat Anchor Winch Guide – Find The Best Winch for Your Boat

  1. I was looking for the review of the winch you had in the picture – the PTG 350. What type of anchors are compatible & how did it function? I have a Fortress anchor & want to know if undermounted it will function ok. Any info on that one?

    1. Hi Bob,

      to be honest I have not looked at that anchor for one reason, the price. I think you can find winches that work just as well for much less. That being said I think it should work just fine with fortress anchor, I don’t see why it would not as most of these winches are pretty much universal. For me, the placement of the winch is more important as I like to see the anchor so I prefer to have the winch installed in the front or the back of the boat, just be careful not to hit yourself on it when you want to get on the boat.

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