When you get some free time to get out on your boat, the last thing you want is to waste time on boring jobs. So any gadgets you can find that will speed up all the necessary but mundane tasks are invaluable – meaning you have more time to have fun on the water!
One fantastic tool you can treat yourself to is an electric anchor winch. Taking the time, labour and sweat out of heaving up your anchor, you will wonder how you ever managed without one!
Most models work off a standard 12-volt battery. Instead of turning a crank or hauling a rope you simply press a button.
Obviously there is a large variety of electric boat anchor winches available. The choice of different features and accessories can be bewildering. So to help you make an informed choice we have rounded up the top three models. We have reviewed them and given you as much detail as we can about their features and, most importantly, value for money.
Our number one choice is the MinnKota Deckhand 40. It has an excellent range of features, performs well and is a reasonable price.
However the other two electric boat anchors are also worth considering. Read below to find our detailed reviews.
Electric Boat Anchor Winch Comparison Guide
MinnKota Deckhand 40 is one of the best boat anchor winches available on the market. It is number one on our list because of its high-end features and reliability. MinnKota is a popular division of Johnson Outdoors and is well-known for designing top-notch trolling and fishing motors. The company also designs quality anchor winches for pontoon boats and for fishing purposes.
The Deckhand 40 is designed to lower and raise an anchor that has a weight capacity up to 40 lbs. It is overall very easy to use. You just have to use a single button, and it will raise or lower the anchor. The unit is equipped with a powerful 12-volt battery and 800-pound, 100’ test nylon rope. It also features an anti-drag system which allows you to have controlled drifting by sensing the bottom.
This winch has the option to stow the anchor horizontally, which reduces the chance of the anchor swinging that would otherwise cause disturbance while raising or lowering. It also comes with a universal davit that can be placed anywhere on the boat’s deck or on the base of the deckhand. Other accessories include a corded remote control and an anchor shackle that allows you to make quick anchor changes according to your requirement.
The Deckhand 40 is extremely easy to use, as you can see
The MinnKota Deckhand 40 scores very highly on Amazon with 85% of buyers rating it 4 / 5 stars in their reviews and leaving numerous comments like:
These are the best anchor winches out there – Eric
Best thing to have for river fishing – Tim
More DetailsObviously, a lot of love for this product.
Given the excellent features, solid construction, user reviews and superb price, you are going to be pushed to find a better electric boat anchor winch than the MinnKota Deckhand 40.
- 40lb weight lifting capacity
- Extremely reliable
- Great features like the anti-drag system
- 100ft rope depth
- Stow anchor vertical as well as horizontal
- Corded remote control
The Deckboat 35 holds the second position on our list as it comes from another reliable and well-known brand, TRAC Outdoor Products. The company is run by a family in Tennessee and designs quality and reliable products. The Deckboat 35 is very easy to use, and has an automatic bottom sensing system that drops the anchor when it senses the river, lake or sea bed. It has a 3-button control with an auto-deploy system, which allows you to anchor the boat without stopping.
It is equipped with a 12-volt motor which is made up of steel and offers high efficiency. This motor is very efficient as it requires less electricity than others and, thus, is very economical. Though the Deckboat 35 can handle a 35 lbs. anchor, the company recommends using a 30 lbs. anchor to get the best performance. It also has mounting hardware and a built-in davit that you can place anywhere on the boat.
More DetailsThe electric anchor winch comes with a wireless remote control which is very useful. This feature gives the anchor winch an edge over the MinnKota winch because it makes the operation easier than ever. You can fish from wherever you are sitting on your boat and operate the winch with freedom. Thus, the wireless remote control feature is loved by many customers.
- Easy to use with auto-deploy system
- Wireless remote
- 100ft rope depth
- Automatic bottom sensing system
- Recommended 30lb anchor capacity only
How to Install the Trac Deckboat 35 Anchor Winch
Installing Trac’s electric anchor winches is easy as you can see in this step by step video guide.
The TRAC Deckboat 35 is an affordable winch, and the features mentioned above make it a desirable option. However, MinnKota is the number one on our list because it can handle heavier anchors as compared to this one.
The third electric anchor winch on our list is the T10108 Fisherman 25, which is also designed by the company TRAC Outdoor Products. This anchor winch is more affordable than the Deckboat 35 and has many similar features. The T10108 is designed for a 25-lb. anchor weight and can keep your boat in place easily.
This winch is quite a bit smaller than our second choice, but it can easily handle a 20-foot long boat. Though the max anchor load that it can handle is 25 pounds, it’s enough for a small or even a medium-sized fishing boat. The electric anchor winch is very easy to install and can you save you a lot of time during your fishing trip, which is otherwise spent on setting the anchor winch.
The unit is equipped with a 100’ braided anchor rope which is pre-spooled on to the winch, making it easier to mount and install. All you have to do is mount the winch and then connect the wiring and attach the anchor. There is a built-in anchor davit that allows the anchor line to be extended over the side of the boat.
More DetailsOne significant difference between the TRAC T10108 Fisherman 25 anchor winch and the Deckboat 35 is that this one isn’t equipped with a remote control. However, it is very simple to operate, which eliminates the need for a remote control. The Fisherman 25 costs a lot less than other expensive anchor winches available on the market and thus, it is ideal for those who are on a budget. It is $100 less than most of the other options on the market and delivers excellent value.
- Small and easy to install
- 100ft rope depth
- Easy to use
- Great price
- 25lb anchor capacity only
- No remote control included but you can buy one and add it later
Trac also offer a wireless remote for their anchor winches, fitting it is extremely simple as you can see in the step by step video guide below, and you can keep the remote in your pocket or fixed to your boat for easy use. You will wonder how you got by with this once you have used it for a couple of days!
Electric Boat Anchor Buyers Guide
Choosing the best winch for your boat is very much dependant on the below questions.
- Are you planning to use your boat onshore in rivers and lakes or offshore in the ocean?
- What is the total length of your boat?
- What is the total boat weight? Remember you need to factor in passengers, gear, fish etc and not just the weight of the actual boat.
- Depth, what is the average depth you plan to anchor in?
- What is the size of the mounting area for your anchor winch?
Size Really Does Matter
Sometimes a large boat only requires a small winch but a smaller boat may require a larger winch. What? That doesn’t make any sense. Basically, it is all about depth. If you are planning on using your boat in only shallow rivers, you might not need a large winch, even for something the size of a pontoon. However, our advice is to get larger if a) you can afford it, and b) if you have the room to fit it.
When using a standard electric winch keep in mind that they are only designed to pull the chain and the anchor out of the water and not to carry the drag load and hold the boat in place when anchored. As a rule of thumb, once anchored, the rope should be tied off to a bollard or cleat. Or if you are using a chain-setup anchor, a chain stopper should be installed between the bow roller and winch to avoid damaging it.
To avoid hurting yourself while operating an electric winch, it is recommended to make a thorough inspection before and after usage.
- Check the cables for visible sign of damage or stress and replace it immediately if you see one.
- Consult the user manual provided by the manufacturer and make sure that the winch is not under rated for the particular job to avoid accident.
- For added convenience while working, you can also purchase accessories like foot switch and hand held switch for hands-free operation.
- A manual hand crank is also available for backup operation or emergency situation just in case the winch stop working or if the battery is dead.
Replacing your Electric Boat Anchor Winch
If you are looking for a replacement winch, be sure to get the exact mounting dimensions of the original winch before ordering, to make sure it will fit the original mounting brackets. Check the label or nameplate and look for the load capacity, loading speed and the actual dimensions. If it needs a major modification on the mountings, better find another one. Or look for the exact same model for an easy and direct replacement.
This type of electric winch is specifically designed for anchor retrieval. Retrieving an anchor is a daunting task, pulling a long rope manually even if the anchor is lightweight is very time consuming. Good thing there’s an anchor winch or anchor windlass to the rescue.
Now you can retrieve the anchor just by pressing a button while doing other important task. Unlike their stronger cousins like the electric boat trailer winch they only have a small capacity electric motor, just good enough to pull the weight of the anchor and the rope.
Since they are only designed to pull and lower the rope of the anchor and not to resist the drag of the boat created by the waves it is important to have it secured when anchored to avoid damaging it. Also a circuit breaker should be installed to avoid overloading it just in case.
Free-fall Anchor Windlass
The amount of time it takes to deploy your anchor is very important factor in getting you anchored in your desired location. Deploying it too long will put you in the new spot especially when your boat is drifting. Free-fall anchor windlass drop faster compared to powered down anchor windlass, it can reach speed for about 150 feet per minute. Since the anchor is deployed by gravity it doesn’t use any electric power thus saving you battery life for the much needed anchor retrieval. Most of the windlass available today uses a corrosion resistance materials which prolong its life and prevents its parts from rusting.
Windlass Vs Drum
Just because windlass winches are so popular does not mean they are the best choice for every boat or situation. Windlass winches have been known to jam, can be unreliable and have a relatively short life span, depending on use or over use, i.e. using too heavy a load for the actual winch installed.
Drum winches are different in that they can be installed anywhere on your boat making them a good choice regardless of if you have a speed boat, pontoon boat, or bass boat. They spool evenly over the drum and use gravity as the vertical force to give you free fall deployment or a controlled drop.