The 5 Best Electric Anchor Winches | 2022 Review

By July 23, 2022

You know you need an anchor to keep your boat in place. But how do you raise and lower the anchor? For that, you are going to need an electric anchor winch. In this electric anchor winch buying guide, we will introduce you to the top products to consider. But first, let’s explain why boat anchor winches are important.

What are Electric Anchor Winches, and Why Do You Need One?

An anchor winch is a device you can use to raise and lower your anchor. How does a boat anchor winch work? Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution explains (1), “A winch has a large drum or cylinder with thousands of meters of wire wrapped on it. A strong motor turns the drum one way to wind wire on to it, pulling the heavy object closer to the ship, and the other to unwind the wire, letting the object sink farther down in the ocean. A skilled operator controls the winch.”

Without an electric anchor winch, you would have to do all the work of raising and lowering the anchor manually.

Electric Anchor Winches

Top Anchor Winches in 2022

Below are the top electric boat anchor winches we recommend. If you still have questions about choosing an anchor winch, scroll past the product overviews below for our buying guide.

Best Electric Anchor Winch for Up to 20 Pounds

1. Trac Outdoors AnchorZone 20 Electric Anchor Winch

1. Trac Outdoors AnchorZone 20 Electric Anchor Winch

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What we like

  • Easy installation.
  • Compact and sturdy design.
  • 1-year warranty.

What we don’t like

  • Some issues were reported with their quality.
  • Only useful for freshwater.

If you have an anchor of up to 20 pounds, you can support it with the Trac Outdoors AnchorZone 20 Electric Anchor Winch. Keep in mind that some customers say this product works better if your anchor is actually a bit under 20 pounds. It may struggle close to its weight limit, but it is a solid product overall.

Key Specifications

  • 20-pound maximum anchor capacity
  • 100 feet of 5/32-inch braided anchor rope

What We Like

  • This product offers fast and easy installation. Even if this is your first time installing an electric anchor winch, it will be a breeze.
  • The buttons are intuitive and easy to use. They are literally labelled “UP” and “DOWN.”
  • The gear motor is made of steel, making it rugged for use on the water.
  • The design is compact, requiring only 7.5x 7.5 inches of deck space. So, you can use it even on a small boat.
  • Your purchase is backed by a 1-year limited warranty.

What We Don’t Like

  • Sometimes users report that the gears strip rapidly on this product, so there may be some issues with their quality.
  • This unit is only useful for freshwater. You can actually modify it to use in saltwater with the help of some anti-corrosion spray, but you will void your warranty the moment it touches saltwater.

Best Electric Anchor Winch for Up to 40 Pounds

2. Trac Outdoors Deckboat 40 AutoDeploy-G3 Electric Anchor Winch

2. Trac Outdoors Deckboat 40 AutoDeploy-G3 Electric Anchor Winch

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What we like

  • Excellent weight capacity.
  • Marine-grade battery wire.
  • Easy to install.

What we don’t like

  • The wiring may not be long enough.

It is hard to go wrong with a Trac boat anchor winch. The Trac Outdoors Deckboat 40 AutoDeploy-G3 Electric Anchor Winch is similar to the product above, but it has a 40-pound capacity rather than a 20-pound capacity, making it suitable for larger boats and anchors.

Key Specifications

  • 40-pound maximum anchor capacity
  • 100 feet of 3/16-inch braided rope

What We Like

  • This product offers an excellent weight capacity at a reasonable price, representing a solid value.
  • As with the product above, you can operate this one using intuitive “UP” and “DOWN” controls.
  • The winch features durable manufacturing including marine-grade battery wire and a steel gear motor.
  • As with the previous product we shared, this one is easy to install with clear instructions in the manual.

What We Don’t Like

  • For some customers, the wiring may not be long enough. It depends on your setup, so you should take some measurements before you order to make sure you will not need to buy more wiring.

Best Saltwater Electric Anchor Winch

3. Generic Electric Anchor Winch

3. Generic Electric Anchor Winch

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What we like

  • Safe to use.
  • Rust-resistant.
  • The automatic resetting circuit breaker.
  • Includes a wireless remote control.

What we don’t like

  • Cannot handle more than 40-45 pounds.

If you are looking for an electric boat anchor winch specifically for the ocean, you should consider this Generic Electric Anchor Winch.

Key Specifications

  • Maximum weight capacity: 45 pounds
  • 100 feet of braided anchor rope
  • Available in black or white

What We Like

  • This product is safe to use at sea since it is protected against corrosion and features rust-resistant stainless steel hardware. There are also UV inhibitors to protect it from the sun.
  • Not only is this a good product to choose for ocean use, but it is also suitable if you are looking for something that you can operate rapidly. When you press the “DOWN” button, you can drop the anchor in freefall.
  • To prevent electrical problems, there is an automatic resetting circuit breaker built into the device.
  • What makes this product especially flexible is the option to add a second switch at a location that suits your needs. You also can operate it using the included remote control. The remote is wireless, so you can carry it around and operate it from anywhere.

What We Don’t Like

  • We have found sporadic reports of glitching during use where the winch will work on its own without pushing the button, but this seems very rare.
  • This product is sold as a “windlass,” but it cannot handle more than 40-45 pounds. This is in line with typical high-capacity anchor winches, but may not be sufficient for larger boats/anchors.

Best Premium Anchor Electric Anchor Winch

4. Five Oceans Anchor Windlass AISI316 Stainless Steel Anchor Winch

4. Five Oceans Anchor Windlass AISI316 Stainless Steel Anchor Winch

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What we like

  • Stainless steel construction.
  • Easy to install.
  • Fast performance.

What we don’t like

  • Pricey.

If you are able to afford some extra expenses and you are looking for a strong, high-capacity product, you might consider the Five Oceans Anchor Windlass AISI316 Stainless Steel Anchor Winch.

Key Specifications

  • 600-1500 watts (depending on the option you choose)
  • Max pulls up to 2,645 pounds (again depending on the option you choose)
  • Max working load up to 1,070 pounds (depending)
  • Drop speed: 131 feet per minute
  • Retrieval speed: 52 feet per minute

What We Like

  • With its AISI316 stainless steel construction and impact-resistant cover for the motor, this is a robust product that can stand up to wear and tear and retain its beautiful shine. Indeed, its aesthetics are such that it can actually enhance the look of your vessel.
  • Installing this product on your boat is easy thanks to the inclusion of a heavy-duty lever.
  • This product delivers fast performance, even with a heavy anchor. That being said, it might be a little too fast for some people. Be sure you position it in such a way that the anchor will not strike your boat.
  • Everything you need is included in the kit, including the windlass itself, a circuit breaker, two different switches, a mounting template, a manual, and a dual-directional solenoid.

What We Don’t Like

  • With its high pricing, this product is not suitable for every boater. Also, given the cost, the accessories should be sturdier than they are. The switches in particular seem like they may give out fast.

Best Quiet Electric Anchor Winch

5. Minn Kota 1810140 DH 40 DeckHand Electric Anchor Winch

5. Minn Kota 1810140 DH 40 DeckHand Electric Anchor Winch

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What we like

  • Multiple mounting options.
  • Noiseless engine.

What we don’t like

  • Sometimes the anchor may not drop as far down as you need.

Tired of how loud other electric anchor winches can be? If what you need is an electric boat winch that operates smoothly and quietly, one of your best options is the Minn Kota 1810140 DH 40 DeckHand Electric Anchor Winch.

Key Specifications

  • Maximum capacity is 40 pounds
  • 100-feet of nylon rope

What We Like

  • There are multiple mounting options. Installation is not too challenging after you watch videos demonstrating how to do it. If you want to avoid issues with anchor swing, you will be pleased to learn you can stow it horizontally.
  • This product includes a special feature that lets you engage in controlled drifting by sensing where the bottom is.
  • The motor is larger than it is in a lot of Trac anchor winch products.

What We Don’t Like

  • Sometimes the anchor may not drop as far down as you need, especially if it is significantly under the maximum capacity. If you run into that issue, you can just attach more weight.
  • Depending on the configuration of your vessel, installation of this anchor winch may be tricky. Also, you have to buy the remote control as an add-on. It is not wireless, either.

What to Look for in an Anchor Winch

Having had a chance to check out some of the top electric boat anchor winches in our anchor winch reviews, you may now want to learn a little bit more about some of the features we talked about for those winches.

Types of Electric Boat Anchor Winches

Boat Anchor Winches

Generally speaking, an electric anchor winch is an electric anchor winch. While these products may have different features, it is difficult to sort them into separate categories.

That said, some people like to separate them into the categories of freshwater versus saltwater. Freshwater-only winches may degrade if exposed to salty conditions like those found at sea. So, if you are looking for a winch specifically to use at sea, you definitely need to invest in a saltwater electric boat anchor winch that is resistant to corrosion.

Another possible way to breakdown winches into categories is to consider their configurations, which may be either vertical or horizontal.

You can conserve space with a horizontal orientation. But a vertical orientation may help with slippage.

Anchor Winch Features

Along with what we just discussed above, here are some additional features to look for as you select an electric boat anchor.

  • Safety and reliability. These are among the top considerations for many customers looking for an anchor handling system (2). Not only should the winch be safe, but it should also be able to operate without the rope getting stuck or other hiccups.
  • Capacity. Be sure to purchase a product that can support the weight of your anchor. The lower end of the range you will find is usually about 20 pounds, while the upper end is usually around 40 pounds. But you can sometimes find higher capacities, especially if you are shopping specifically for a windlass. Be aware that sometimes winches have a difficult time if you are operating at or near capacity. So, you should try to purchase a few more pounds of capacity than you think you will need.
  • Rope. Find out how much rope is included with the product, if it is pre-spooled, and what type of rope it is, and how thick it is. 100 feet is typical. High-quality material not only means a more durable, long-lasting rope, but better functionality for the entire system.
  • Materials and construction. Choose a product that is made out of robust materials like stainless steel, and which includes an impact-resistant cover, a sealed membrane, and corrosion-resistant elements when possible. This is a product you can trust to deliver years of use without being compromised by conditions on the water. Of course, if you want your winch to last as long as possible, you need to do proper maintenance on a continuous basis (see the next section).
  • Ease-of-installation. While your boat itself may sometimes impose challenges with installing an anchor winch, in general, it should not be a difficult process. That said, some products are easier and faster to install than others, and come with better instructions. They may also provide you with multiple mounting options.
  • Dimensions. Be sure to check the dimensions of the boat anchor winch you are considering, especially if you are looking for small boat anchor winches specifically.
  • Ease-of-use. One of the reasons to purchase an electric anchor winch in the first place is to make it as fast and easy as possible to raise and lower the anchor. Intuitive controls that function reliably can help with this, as can multiple controls, including a remote. Remotes can be wired or wireless.
  • Motor. The key to fast and smooth operation is a powerful motor. At the same time, you want it to work efficiently. The standard 12 volts is ideal for most situations.
  • Volume. Anchor winches can operate pretty loudly sometimes, especially if they are poorly lubricated (thankfully, you can do something about that). But some models are also louder than others. If you find loud anchor winches obnoxious, you should check reviews for feedback on noise levels, and choose a product that has a reputation for being quiet.
  • Speed. Boat anchor winches vary in how rapidly they can drop anchor or raise it. If you want a product that can do both quickly, be sure to look up speed data as you conduct your research.
  • Cost. Finally, the cost is always a factor when selecting products for your boat. Typically, you will pay somewhere between $150 and $300 for an electric anchor winch. But you can find some premium products at a higher price point if you are looking for extra quality in materials or a higher weight capacity.
  • Warranty. When you are investing money in a device like an anchor winch, it is always wise to check the warranty. Around one to two years seems to be a standard for these products. Make sure to check the coverage and not just the length.

Anchor Winch Care & Maintenance

If you want your anchor winch to continue to perform reliably over the years ahead, then you need to take proper care of it with regular maintenance.

A quick wipe-down with soapy water on a routine basis will go a long way toward preventing build-up that would otherwise be difficult to scrub away. Now and again, you might spot some corrosion, even with a rust-resistant model. You should apply rust remover spray when you spot these issues as soon as you are able so that they do not get worse. You also should routinely apply lubricant to the winch so that it can continue to operate smoothly and quietly.

There may be times when you will not be using your boat for a while. In those cases, it is wise to apply some silicone spray to protect the metal. Just make sure that you keep it away from the switch.

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