Best Kayak Boat Anchors

Updated November 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

40 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
390 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best kayak boat anchors

Last Updated November 2019

Kayaks are a great way to exercise and enjoy the outdoors while doing so. They also offer opportunities for accessing stellar fishing spots, and any good fisherman knows that when she finds a good spot, it’s best to put down anchor. If you’re not into fishing, but you love reading a good book in the depths of nature, kayaking out to a secluded spot to crack open your book can be extremely enjoyable – as long as your kayak isn’t bobbing and floating along.

Kayak boat anchors allow you to remain in one spot on the water, whether it’s to tangle with the monsters of the deep or to fall into the tantalizing plot of a novel. Because a kayak is so lightweight and also shaped differently than a traditional boat or canoe, it requires a specialized anchor.

You’ll need to consider details like the anchor’s material, how heavy it is, and other features before you take the leap and make a purchase. Our buying guide has everything you need to know to make the best decision for your kayaking excursions. For our five favorite kayak boat anchors on the market, see the matrix above.

Your kayak boat anchor can also be tossed ashore to hold your vessel while you visit a sandbar or explore an island.

Using kayak boat anchors

Anchors are shaped with protruding arms for a reason. Those arms are designed to dig into the bottom of the riverbed, whether it’s clay, sand, or mud. The arms are often curved or angled so they can grab onto any debris that may be lying on the river’s floor to aid in keeping the kayak in one spot. The main shaft of the anchor is usually denser to provide stability for the arms.

When you toss an anchor overboard, there are techniques to follow to ensure it grabs the bottom and holds you in the spot you desire. First, you need to know the depth of the water you are in. You will need rope that’s about seven times as long as the water is deep. For example, if the water is 10 feet deep, you’ll need about 70 feet of rope. When dropping an anchor overboard, you should be downwind of your desired location. Allow several yards of space for the anchor to grip the bottom, and your kayak will drift to the right spot.

EXPERT TIP

If you’re unsure of the type of bottom you will be anchoring in, choose an all-purpose kayak boat anchor or bring multiple styles of anchors with you.


Staff  | BestReviews

Key considerations

Kayak boat anchors come in several different styles.

Wing anchors

A wing anchor is a common choice. It’s shaped like the digging apparatus of a bulldozer. A wing curves underneath the main shaft of the anchor, and that’s what digs into the bottom. It holds well in most bottoms, but it doesn’t perform well with rock bottoms.

Fluke anchors

The fluke anchor is a movable anchor, meaning it’s made from several parts that swing on a hinge. The fluke is what weighs the anchor down. The shaft of the anchor is then hinged in the middle of the fluke. This style of anchor only works for sand or mud bottoms.

Claw anchors

Also called a Bruce anchor, a claw anchor works well in most lake bottoms. Use it in mud, sand, grass, rock, or even coral. It features a three-claw design with a long shaft that extends over the claws. It sets in the bottom easily, but it has low holding power per pound, which means you will need a larger anchor if you choose this style.

Plow anchors

The plow anchor is a close relative of the wing anchor. The difference is that plow anchors have sharper edges to better puncture the bottom. The shaft is called the “roll bar,” and it helps pull the anchor into an upright position on the bottom. Plow anchors have more holding power than most others.

Mushroom anchors

This type of anchor is used mostly for anchoring for long periods of time. The mushroom shape, which gives the anchor a bowl-like bottom that faces upward to catch debris, accumulates silt and dirt from the bottom. As the debris accumulates, the anchor’s holding power increases. Because of this feature, a mushroom anchor is great for holding boats over time but not ideal for temporary anchoring.

Grapnel anchors

Grapnel anchors are the most conventional-looking anchors. They have three or four arms that jut out from the base shaft in order to grip the bottom. This style can easily fold up for compact storage, which makes it an excellent choice on small vessels. The one downfall with a grapnel anchor is that it only has holding power when it can latch onto something with one of its arms.

EXPERT TIP

Avoid simply using any heavy object, like a large rock or a cement block, as an anchor. It may not grab the bottom as well to hold you in place, and it could potentially tear up the habitat that’s underneath your kayak.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Weight

The required weight for an anchor depends on the vessel’s weight, shape, and size. The larger and heavier the boat, the larger and heavier an anchor needs to be. Because kayaks are lightweight vessels that can’t carry much gear, a one- to four-pound anchor will be heavy enough.

Another factor to consider when choosing a weight is where you will be using the anchor. In calm inland waters you won’t need as heavy an anchor as you would out in choppy water with a current.

Material

Galvanized steel and stainless steel are similar. The only difference is that the galvanization process is not permanent, while the stainless steel process is. Both are corrosion-resistant, but as galvanization wears off, that feature is lost. Both are stronger options than an aluminum anchor as well as less expensive.

Aluminum is the most lightweight material available for anchors. It works great when you don’t need a lot of holding power and you don’t have a lot of weight capacity in your vessel. However, aluminum anchors can be expensive, and they aren’t as strong as steel.

Buoy

Some kayak boat anchors feature a small buoy attached to the top of the rope. This is so you can easily spot your anchor rope and grab it when it’s time to haul the anchor up.

Carrying case

While most anchors can’t fold up, a grapnel anchor can. This type of anchor often comes with a carrying case. This makes it easy to transport and store the anchor.

Kayak boat anchor prices

The most affordable kayak boat anchors cost between $20 and $25. These anchors are usually aluminum and weigh two to three pounds. The rope may eventually need to be replaced, and the anchor itself will last for a few years of regular use.

Mid-range kayak boat anchors cost $30 to $35. You’ll mostly find sturdier aluminum anchors, though you’ll also find a few made from more durable galvanized steel. These anchors weigh between three and four pounds.

For a high-end kayak boat anchor, expect to spend more than $40. You’ll receive a quality stainless steel anchor. The rope will be durable and able to hold up in choppy waters and adverse weather. These anchors will last for as long as the kayak does.

EXPERT TIP

If the galvanization starts to wear down on your kayak boat anchor, you can regalvanize the anchor to extend its life.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Be aware of how close you are to other anchored vessels. You don’t want to accidentally swing into each other if the wind picks up or changes direction.
  • If you’re unsure of the depth of the water you’re floating in, try dropping your anchor straight down and tying a slipknot where it hits bottom. For example, if your rope is 20 feet long, and the anchor hits bottom halfway through the rope’s length, you’ll know it’s about 10 feet deep where you are.
  • Know the waters where you are kayaking. Often your state’s environmental department will provide information on local waters. Know if there’s a strong current, any channels, or high boat traffic.

Other products we considered

Because there are so many different styles of anchors, we naturally have a few honorable mentions. We like the Camco 12 lb. River Anchor for a number of reasons. It anchors easily to sandy or muddy lake bottoms, and the PVC coating makes it rust-resistant. While it is a heavy anchor, it’s worth its weight in gold when you want to anchor in windy, choppy waters. The SEACHOICE Utility Anchor is also a great option. It’s a fluke-style anchor, which works well with sandy and muddy bottoms. It’s a good performer for longer kayaks or two-person kayaks. It comes at an affordable price, too, and weighs four pounds.

The anchor, chain, line, and connecting elements are all referred to as the “ground tackle.” The anchor line, which includes the chain, is called the “rode.”

FAQ

Q. If I have a two-person kayak, do I need two anchors?
A.
Not necessarily. Two anchors are only required when you know you will be in fast-moving waters or if the weather is extremely windy. Using an anchor at each end of the kayak ensures the kayak won’t swing around in the wind.
 

Q. Is there a difference between an anchor for a boat and an anchor specifically for a kayak?
A.
The difference is the anchor weight that’s required. The same style of anchor can be used for each, but the weight of the anchor must increase as the size of the vessel increases. While it may be tempting, it’s not recommended to use a kayak anchor on a boat as it won’t weigh enough to securely anchor the boat.
 

Q. By law, do I have to have an anchor aboard my vessel?
A.
While it’s recommended to always have some sort of anchor on your vessel, in most places it’s not required by law. If you are unsure, contact your local environmental department.

The team that worked on this review
  • Katherine
    Katherine
    Editor
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Rich
    Rich
    Writer

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