Installing an anchor windlass is not an uncomplicated and less expensive thing to do. However, the good news is that, if the job was accomplished accordingly, this would definitely add more value to your vessel and would significantly help you get rid of lower back pains.
As a boat owner, you are well-aware that dealing with your anchor and rode could cause lots of pains and pressure on your back. And, in order to avoid lower back pains from emerging every now and then, you have to start thinking about investing in the best anchor windlass to your vessel.
Setting up a windlass could ease the struggle of lifting an anchor on your own. This device would execute most of the work for you so all you need to do is to exert little effort when accomplishing the job. Sure thing, you’re wondering how to get started? Luckily, this post is meant to help you clear your worries away when it comes to picking the right option for your needs.
Lastly, if you are uncertain where to begin searching for one, then you may continue reading the rest of this post to obtain more ideas on what valuable features to consider prior to coming up with the final purchasing decision.
Table of Contents
Best Anchor Windlass Reviews of 2023
1. Lewmar V700 Vertical Windlasses
If you are searching to invest in a windless anchor winch or windlass that is priced under $800, then you can give this product a try. This brand is known for its durability and good performance yet it is not that expensive as other competitors.
The installation would be a little tricky when getting the power to the motor. It works exceptionally if installed accordingly. Be reminded that the hole alignment is distinct from the previous version, which means that you need to drill new holes to ensure an accurate fit.
When using this windlass, it is fundamental that you consider getting the bow up or down remote buttons for lifting or lowering the anchor from the bow. Take note that this especially requires proper cabling if you wish to have it installed without any trouble. So, see to it to devote some time when working on the cables.
2. Lewmar PRO-Series 700 Windlass
Are you in the hunt for topnotch quality anchor windlass for sale? To guarantee a worthwhile investment, you can check out this superb quality device that won’t disappoint you in the long run.
This model is designed with surefire anchor lock and IP67 rated housing. Aside from these, it comes with a maximum pulling capacity of 700 pounds for the 700; on the other hand, it can pull a total of a thousand pounds for the 1,000. Many automatic boat anchor owners prefer this option due to its compact size.
For this windlass, you would only require a standard ½ socket wrench. It works well in keeping the anchor from binding and gliding on a chain rode or rope. Its being compact in size helps in conserving precious bow space. This comes with a stripper and control arm once bought.
3. Maxwell RC8 12V Windlass
A lot of boat owners who have tried and tested this model prefer its low profile and smooth MAX grip capstan drum style which makes it capable of fitting the picky taste of every user. This is a fully-automatic chain windlass or rope that is specifically intended to make anchoring jobs become less exhausting and time-consuming. With it, you can be guaranteed of smooth deploying and retrieving process.
Moreover, this Maxwell windlass is built with distinctive spacer tube design that enables effortless set up by means of any deck thickness and a number of self-aligning gearbox and mounting positions to guarantee the maximum location of motor and gearbox in any setup conditions.
4. Lewmar Windlass-Anchor ProSport 550
This unit could be installed as a replacement for a similar model that malfunctioned due to a number of reasons like saltwater submersion. It can be installed in no time and it is equipped with control relay function and up and down switch. You would adore this model’s smooth operation, exceptionally built and it is actually less expensive than other competitors.
This good windlass may require lots of wiring but the good thing about it is that it is not that intricate to install. Always refer to the manual instructions to ensure proper setup for this device. It is worth noting that this does not need high power consumption which makes it a more economical option worth buying.
5. Lewmar PRO-Fish Windlass
If you own a large-sized vessel, this could accommodate your requirements. It is built with a corrosion blocker feature and crafted with auto free-fall function that helps anchoring drop a more effortless and faster job to accomplish. What makes this a prominent device to try is its strong motor that is capable enough to provide fast line speed.
This is built with solid stainless steel built that makes it superior at fighting off corrosion so it becomes possible for you to spend a longer period of time in salty water using a rod in your hand. When you’re finished, all you need to do is to press a button to restore the anchor. This unit is straightforward to install and is also convenient to use for any fisherman’s vessel.
6. Five Oceans Atlantic Horizontal Anchor Windlass
When you read Five Oceans windlass reviews, you will discover that their package already consists of the rocker switch, deck footswitch, solenoid, windlass, and circuit breaker to guarantee comprehensive installation onboard. The unit is built with sturdy stainless steel material and is a good catch for those who own vessels that are 35 feet in length. Its type of rode would work fine with three strands, double braided and 8-plait rope.
In like manner, the maximum line speed of this unit is a total of 115 feet per minute and is equipped with a 600W motor that operates powerfully. Meanwhile, its maximum pull capacity amounts to a total of 1,200 pounds.
Without question, this windlass is powerful and stable enough for people who currently own larger vessels. As you can see, even if it is slightly overpriced, it features impressive features that you won’t find in other similar products.
7. Powerwinch Freefall Anchor Windlass 41′ Class
Windless anchor systems are definitely priced higher at present. This is one of the reasons why it is advantageous to get the ones that could offer you the warranty that you need in case you encounter some product defects or malfunction problems in the future. Fortunately, this model can offer you that plus a number of amazing features that you would certainly adore.
Not to mention, this anchor windlass comes with casings that come with corrosion-inhibitor features, it is crafted with marine-grade aluminum built and a very impressive coating with triple finish nylon. This free-fall anchor system is also designed with a rubberized deck gasket that safeguards your deck.
This comes with a unique stainless steel chain and rope guidance style, watertight seals and with super sturdy stainless steel fasteners that could repel any harsh conditions making the unit capable of guaranteeing longer-lasting service.
8. Lewmar CRW 400 Captive Reel Windlass
This small boat windlass is absolutely very affordable. Thus, this would certainly fit any budget especially those who do not wish to spend more on such a unit. The operating voltage for this is 12-V DC, draw amounts to 15 maps and 400W for power usage.
It is worth mentioning that this device is manufactured with polymer bearings and all-stainless steel hardware. In the same way, it features an automatic stop function that considerably aids in keeping a secure number of wraps on the drum at maximum deployment. This is also equipped with an integrated circuit or switch breaker.
9. Maxwell HRC8 12V Horizontal Freefall Rope/Chain Series
If you are all set to lift the anchor, all you need to do is to activate the up control and this unit would enable you to power up your anchor in an automatic approach. This features space-saving design underneath the deck and helps users deal with uncomplicated routine maintenance.
Sure thing, everyone wants to end a very laborious and vexing anchoring job, so if you wish to get the job done in a fast and easy mode, then start by investing in premium quality windlass anchor parts. This way, you can get rid of the struggles that may come along the process. This device free-fall technology feature is evidently quite distinguished among other competitors.
10. Lewmar PRO-Fish 700 6 mm-7 mm-1/4 Windlass
It looks like it would be impossible to end up buying low-priced hydraulic anchor windlass at present since these are all priced so expensively to date. So, instead of wasting your time waiting for them to be sold at less cheap selling costs; it is better to just focus on searching for options that are packed with amazing features and functions that could meet your requirements.
The free-fall feature of this device enables users to haul right up over a ledge or a wreck. And, it is also easier to drop anchor with more accuracy and speed. There is no need to operate the engine or use up fuel while you float over fish.
What to Look for When Buying Anchor Windlass
One of the most indispensable considerations in selecting the most suitable windlass for you is to ensure that it is sized appropriately for your vessel. What is more, there are plenty of factors to mull over when determining size. Windlasses are generally sold as being appropriate for a wide array of vessel lengths, with the inference that watercraft in that range would come with an adequately sized anchor and a specific amount of rode or chain to support it.
Still and all, hinging on the kind of boating you do, it is probable to see yourself in conditions where “common” does not cut it and even while utilizing the so-called most outstanding practices for reducing loads, you might still be requesting your windlass to execute beyond its typical functions.
And, in order for you to cover as many conditions as feasible, the following factors must be checked out to help you come up with well-informed shopping decision:
The amount of chain or rode is linked to your anchor and also the amount it weighs. For this one, the higher the answer, the more power you would require to recover it.
- The Size of the Anchor
It is critical to consider the amount of weight your anchor has. Sure thing, it consumes more power to haul up a 75-pound anchor than hauling an anchor that weighs 30 pounds.
- Vessel Windage
A vessel that comes with a large dodger, high cabin or a tuna tower would possess more windage as compared to a vessel that comes with a flush deck. In situations like windy day and you need to retrieve the anchor, high windage would remarkably maximize the load on the gear, which means it is needed to look through the possible perks of upgrading if you have a vessel that has more windage.
- Vessel Displacement
It is also substantial to think about the kind of materials your boat is built of. Is it made of steel, fiberglass or Ferro cement? The reason behind this is because the weight of your vessel could instantly be a determinant of the amount of power required when retrieving or deploying your boat anchor.
Generally speaking, the most outstanding approach to determine the amount of pulling power you require is to consider adding up the weight of your ground tackle when not under load and from there you could select a type of windlass evaluated with a pulling power of a minimum of three times that weight.
Other Important Factors to Consider
What is anchor windlass and how does it work?
Lifting an anchor by merely using your hands could be a real pain and struggle. Basically, an anchor windlass is a must-have for those who own a sailboat, power cruiser or fishing vessel since this considerably makes boating a lot more effortless on your back.
Anchor windlass is practical to use for rough seas and large-sized vessels. The capacity of the windlass must be 3 times the weight of the anchor and the rode. The primary functions of a windlass are to restrain and maneuver the anchor chain on a vessel, enabling the anchor to be lifted and lowered through the aid of a chain cable. It is the notched wheel that interconnects the anchor rope or the links of the chain.
This device is the main part of a full-function anchoring system that also comes with the vessel’s main rode, anchor roller, chain locker, anchor, deck hardware and the like. This can be installed by yourself provided you possess some intermediate electrical or mechanical skills.
An anchor windlass works by allowing boat owners to retrieve the anchor in less time without the need to exert greater effort or feeling physically drained while accomplishing the job. It does not matter if you pick a motor-driven or a manual option, such a device makes anchor retrieval a less exhausting task to deal with.
The size of the vessel you currently have and how the boat is used are a few of the key considerations in figuring out which kind of windlass you will require. Be that as it may, there is a perfect windlass for every rode type and anchor.
What are the different types of anchor windlass?
When getting an anchor windlass, make sure to conduct research whether you will need a vertical or a horizontal type. Take note that the type of windlass you utilize would largely rely on the ground tackle, anchor locker, and foredeck layout.
Fundamentally, horizontal windlasses merely allow users to haul the line from the rear section of the windlass while vertical windlasses allow users to haul the anchor line from the edge of the windlass.
- Electric. Such type of windlass is known for its capability to retrieve the anchor with a flip of a switch or with the help of a single push button. This is a piece of cake to install even for beginners too.
However, this works as battery-operated so it is crucial to ensure to have an adequate amount of power to accomplish the task. This calls for installing the high-quality battery for the windlass because the distance between the battery bank and the bow could be quite long for a wire run to satisfy the power demands of the device.
- Manual. This does not need electrical power; even so, it is capable of providing a more exceptional mechanical advantage as compared to retrieving the anchor using your hand. If you especially require some assistance in lifting the anchor up, then this could be the perfect pick for you.
This comes in two distinct forms: the first one utilizes a rear and forth motion just like a lever or pump and the other one utilizes a circular motion that is identical to a winch.
The latter features a second speed option that is quite useful for those who require a bit more power.
- Hydraulic. This is reliable in offering consistent power but among the types of windlasses, this is the most intricate to set up. With it, there is no need to worry about running down batteries even if you need to use it for a longer period of time.
Please be guided that it is fundamental to run the main engine to power the windlass. Thus, if you are planning to get this on your vessel, it is highly advised to discuss this matter with a professional first.
Why do you need anchor windlass? (Benefits)
If you own a sailboat, large-sized boats, fishing vessels, or need to tour rough waters, then an anchor windlass could work like a charm in making your boating experience a hassle-free one. The reason why a windlass is a must-have is that it could remarkably help users save more energy and time in setting and retrieving an anchor.
Undoubtedly, pulling in an anchor could be a bit of work if executed in a manual approach. Back pains and rope burns are just a few of the possible problems unless you invest in a premium quality anchor windlass. Besides, if you drag anchor in strong weather, it is not uncommon to have to make a number of attempts to reset it.
This simply implies that you need to restore it after every failed attempt. And, while the anchor is hauling along the bottom, your vessel is virtually uncontrollable, potentially hovering down onto another vessel, the reef or the beach.
The best thing about having an anchor windlass is that it enables users to retrieve the anchor in less time and it does not severely tire you out, and it won’t in any way make you feel ill while at it. Indeed, whether you decide to use a motor-operated or manual option, this could execute a superb job of retrieving the vessel with much ease and convenience.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the most trusted anchor windlass brands?
If you are wondering what reliable and trustworthy anchor windlass brands to consider, then the following brands are quite renowned and highly trusted when it comes to manufacturing incredibly durable, functional and reputable products that are designed to guarantee longer-lasting service and superb performance.
- Five Oceans
Evidently, products manufactured by these brands are known to be beyond the affordable price range but if you’re going to meticulously inspect the quality of craftsmanship, durability, performance, and longevity of their anchor windlass, you will witness for yourself that these are great investments that surely offer fair justice to what you’ll use it for. In other words, it’s not a waste of time and money to purchase any of these options.
How to install?
As for anchor windlass installation, there are many different ways on how to properly set up one. And, this highly relies on the vessel’s configuration. It is imperative to consider the guidelines that point out what components you would need to accomplish the setup process, and from there it is practical to consult a marine electrician or an anchor windlass manufacturer to figure out the specifics of installing an anchor windlass.
Apart from this, it makes sense to always refer to the product’s manual when getting started.
How do you use a manual anchor in windlass?
When utilizing a manual windlass model, you can start by rocking the handle in a forward and backward movement, turning the anchor chain in an upward motion. This works by restraining and moving the anchor chain on a watercraft, it lets the anchor to be lowered and lifted through the use of a chain cable. Then, the notched wheel locks the rope or the chain.
A manual version allows users to stand and pump the handle. This helps in saving more energy. It does not come with wiring or motors. This offers a more excellent mechanical advantage than solely restoring the anchor with the aid of your hands. So, this helps ward off back pains and severe exhaustion.
Manual versions are useful for smaller vessels as they do not necessitate more battery power. And, if you just need some assistance in windy situations, this would make a great option. As you can see, this is quite easy to maneuver and use and is less likely to cause some problems.
How to operate anchor windlass?
The proper ways to operate an anchor windlass consist of the following:
Deploying the Anchor
This pertains to setting the anchor on the bottom section of the water in order to ensure that the vessel remains static. There are two means to do this and these are power down and free-fall options. In general, a windlass comes with both or either of these operations.
Under free-fall operation, windlasses are operated through simply unbinding the clutch in a manual mode that enables the gypsy to spin without restriction. This is best executed in shallow waters. The chain stopper is utilized to separate the load from the windlass during the period of anchor deployment.
Take in mind that this is done to put less pressure on the motor of the windlass when the physical force is at its peak. An anchor Kellett or chain snubber is frequently utilized to act against the pressures brought about by wave loads and wind. Essentially, the impact of their use is to notably optimize the anchor’s holding power.
On the other hand, power-down options are designed with a switch situated at the helm station. It enables users to drop the anchor single-handed in your preferred spot.
Retrieving the Anchor
When restoring the anchor, power the vessel forward till it is above the anchor and the anchor rode is vertical to vessel. At the period the vessel maneuver past the vertical, fasten the line that relieves the load from the chain in order to make it less complex to haul the slack.
The next stage is to motor up the anchor.
Lastly, the motor of the vessel must be in neutral at the period the vessel is above the anchor. From there, the anchor is hauled in a vertical mode to flip it over and free it.
What is the warranty?
When shopping, opting for a product that comes with a warranty is a foolproof decision. As you know, anchor windlasses are very costly investments so getting one that is not supported by a warranty is quite risky and is more likely to disappoint you when some problems occur with regards to the product you bought.
Hence, to protect your investment and to guarantee that you are getting what you deserve, stay away from products that are not backed up by warranties for this mean they could not give you the customer protection you need in case some issues take place in the future.
Being protected by the warranty can protect your hard-earned money and at the same time, you can have the assurance that you will obtain the assistance you most need in times of experiencing some defects with the product purchased.
The good news is that nearly all the anchor windlass products reviewed in this article offer warranties that protect your investment.
Where to buy?
Searching for anchor windlasses are not that difficult these days. You can find a lot of different options in many boating and marine supply stores in local areas. But, of course, you need to buy from local stores that come with huge stocks so you could check out many options and instantly see what’s suitable for your anchoring needs.
On the other hand, if you want a more convenient shopping experience, highly trusted online shopping sites like WestMarine, Amazon, and Walmart can give you plenty of product options to select from. These are a few of the credible sites where the world’s most top-rated brands and manufacturers are found.
There are even times when you can enjoy some special freebies, discounts, and promos that make your shopping experience even more worthwhile. With lots of options to choose from, picking the right anchor windlass for you is no longer a hassle.
How to care and maintain?
Your anchor windlass calls for regular maintenance as well so it could guarantee long-standing use and performance. And, some of the proper ways to look after and maintain it comprise of:
- After every long journey, cleanse the entire windlass, rope, chain, and rode with a generous amount of fresh water. You may also spray any reachable electrics using a corrosion inhibitor agent. Use the one that won’t cause any damage to plastic, paint and rubber materials.
- Inspect if the rope is not wearing away yet. And, if so, replace it.
- Separate the gearbox from the enclosure of the motor in order for you to inspect the level of oil in the gearbox. This must be done every 3 months. See to it that the oil level is beyond half but not more than 3 quarters full.
- The electric motor must be inspected or serviced (if required) by a licensed technician in an annual basis. Treat the components that begin to rust with rust blocker products or marine–grade paint.
- The gearbox and other valuable parts of the device must be thoroughly inspected by an authorized professional every three years.
- After cleansing with fresh water, the next stage would be to wipe it down using chamois. Be sure to splash the windlass’ metal parts using a marine protectant and carefully touch it up using a soft fabric.
- While the motor enclosure and gearbox are separated, also tidy and lubricate the mating surfaces; and prior to putting all things together, lift the strip and chain wheel and lubricate the clutch. It is highly recommended to opt for lithium-based grease when lubricating as these products works outstandingly.
With any of the different anchor windlasses reviewed in this article, you would not need to strain to fetch up your anchor repeatedly. The best anchor windlass products are meant to guarantee stability and reliability. In the same way, with their unbeatable automatic control as well as superior power ratings, it is a lot easier to lift your anchor up without any difficulty in less time.
As discussed here, there are a number of considerations to look into when deciding which option to invest in and your vessel’s configuration might end up being the most vital consideration in pointing out what you purchase.
Ultimately, what matters the most is to ensure that you have an adequate amount of pulling power for the ground tackle you are eyeing to utilize. Take in mind that picking the larger size would greatly help in easing the task and this would guarantee less strain to exert on your windlass- as a result, the device would be capable of providing a superior performance for a longer period of time.
It is imperative to ponder on the shopping guides tackled in this post and the other practical features that a top-quality anchor windlass must possess, in so doing; you can protect your investment and be satisfied even if it means spending lavishly.
I am Dave, Marine Talk’s content creator. Boating experiences matter when planning a boat trip for your family or going by yourself. Therefore, I am here to tackle all things relevant to boating so even the inexperienced ones can start their boating safely.