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Anchors are often overlooked or taken for granted, yet they're in a central piece of equipment aboard any motorized houseboat.
The best houseboat anchors are the West Marine Performance2, the Rocna Shank Scoop, the Rocna stainless Vulcan fixed-shank, the Lewmar stainless claw, the Lewmar galvanized Delta plow, the Lewmar CQR hinged plow, and the West Marine Economy river anchor.
In this article, we'll go over seven of the best houseboat anchors on the market today. We'll also provide an anchor size chart for standard boats to help you conceptualize anchor weights and classifications. Additionally, we'll go over what makes the ideal houseboat anchor.
We sourced the information in this article from anchor size guides and the houseboat community. We also procured specifications from anchor manufacturers and distributors to ensure accuracy.
Are Houseboat Anchors Different?
Fundamentally, houseboat anchors are the same kinds of anchors used by other boats of similar size. Due to the added beam and weight of houseboats, it may be necessary to use a heavier anchor than what would normally be acceptable for a similarly-sized boat.
That said, most houseboats just come with standard anchors. Above, you can see a chart that indicates what anchor size is ideal for vessels of various dimensions. You can always opt for an anchor in the next weight class if you're concerned about the size or weight of your houseboat.
What Makes a Good Houseboat Anchor?
Houseboat anchors serve one primary purpose. They keep the boat from moving. And by moving, we mean that they keep the houseboat from drifting the significant distance from where the anchor is dropped. The best houseboat anchors dig into the bottom and firmly fasten themselves in the silt.
It should also be designed to lock into other substances found on the bottom, such as rocks or thick clay. Great houseboat anchors also don't drag a significant distance, so they must be sharp and heavy enough to sink and stay. In essence, a good houseboat anchor is a strong anchor that resists corrosion and weighs enough.
7 Best Anchors for Houseboats
We researched the qualities that make the best houseboat anchors and found ten some of the best and most popular for review. Here are the anchors that will serve your houseboat best.
1. West Marine Performance2 Anchor
Here's a solid and affordable anchor that'll keep your houseboat moored confidently. The West Marine Performance2 is the classic small boat anchor, and it's proven reliable on all kinds of vessels for decades. These simple anchors feature two sharp blades mounted to a moving frame. When you throw it into the water, the blades dig into the floor of the lake and drive in deep.
The anchor is constructed with durable galvanized steel. It's strong but light enough to handle, and its galvanized treatment prevents corrosion. Simple anchors like the West Marine Performance2 are robust and have an extremely long service life.
Just be careful moving it around as the blades swivel back and forth. It's not pleasant to bump your shin on one of these anchors.
An anchor like this is what you're most likely to find on the majority of houseboats. It works well, and it's relatively easy to cast off and retrieve. The West Marine Performance2 anchor is best suited for smaller houseboats, as it's only available in 5-pound, 12-pound, and 22-pound varieties.
- 5 lb
- 12 lb
- 26 lb
2. Rocna Shank Scoop Anchor
The Rocna shank scoop anchor has a unique design that's proven to be highly effective in recent years. This anchor is a rather unconventional combination between a traditional plow anchor and a scoop anchor. It's designed to float to the bottom in a 'plow-down' orientation, which is the correct way for it to descend. Once it reaches the bottom, it can be pulled towards the boat to form a very tight bond with the seabed.
The flat-bladed plow digs in deep and makes a firm bond with the bottom, regardless of the terrain type. The strong steel chisel tip cuts through marine plants and digs in confidently on rockier terrain. The anchor is made of corrosion-resistant steel, which is essential for long service life.
And with six available sizes (ranging from 9 pounds to 154 pounds), there's a Rocna shank scoop anchor for virtually every houseboat size in existence. This robust and effective anchor is a bit costlier than simpler competitors, but you can rely on it to anchor your houseboat tightly in a variety of conditions.
3. Rocna Stainless Steel Vulcan Fixed Shank Anchor
Here's a dependable and high-quality plow anchor that's designed for longevity, ease of maintenance, and reliable anchoring. The Rocna Vulcan fixed-shank anchor is available in two sizes (20-lb and 73-lb) which are ideal for small and medium-sized houseboats. Plus, it's constructed of high-quality stainless steel Ford easy cleaning and corrosion resistance.
Fixed shank plow anchors are particularly nice to have aboard houseboats, as they aren't as temperamental as pivoting anchors. The bottom-heavy design of a fixed shank plow anchor makes it sink in an upright configuration, which means it's more likely to dig in on the first try. It's pricier than other anchors, but its quality sets the Rocna stainless Vulcan apart.
It also digs in deep and at a downward angle, which anchors the vessel more securely. It works just like a traditional dirt plow. It's designed specifically for use on bow-deployment boats, though it works just as well on any other kind of vessel. The design is also bend-resistant and highly robust.
4. Lewmar Stainless Steel Claw Anchor
Are you looking for a high-quality stainless steel anchor that's designed to hold your boat confidently? If so, then there's a good chance that the Lewmar stainless steel claw anchor fits the bill. It works a lot like a plow anchor, but it comes with vertical bent fins to ensure a more secure bond to the seabed.
So, just how strong is this anchor? As it turns out, the Lewmar claw anchor is based on the anchor design used by oil rigs in the treacherous North Sea. In other words, it'll do the job in a variety of conditions. This anchor is ideal for houseboats that need to anchor in choppy waters or storm-prone areas. It's available in nine sizes ranging from a tiny 2.2-pound canoe anchor to a massive 110-pound yacht anchor.
The Lewmar claw anchor sets quickly and is self-righting, meaning it sinks blade-down and digs in fast. It'll work in a variety of seabeds, including rocky riverbeds, silty lake floors, and seabeds rife with marine vegetation. Stainless steel anchors are also easy to maintain, as it resists corrosion and sea gunk washes right off with minimal effort.
5. Lewmar Galvanized Delta Fast-Set Plow Anchor
Lewmar also offers an affordable and robust galvanized plow anchor. The Lewmar fast-set plow anchor is a classic design that's trusted by countless boat owners. People generally agree that plow anchors set faster and hold stronger than traditional blade-type anchors, and Lewmar produces some of the highest-quality examples on the market.
The Lewmar Delta anchor has a very aggressive plow shape. This contributes to its 'fast-set' qualities, as the sharp tip digs into the seabed deeply and rapidly. These anchors are well-known for their versatility, as they work in grass, rock, weeds, sand, and numerous other terrain types. A plow anchor like this is ideal for houseboats in an environment with varied seabed conditions.
This is the anchor you want for areas with frequent boat traffic. It'll keep your houseboat secure when a Sport Fisher flies by at 40 knots, and it'll give you peace of mind on stormy days. It's a bit pricier than basic anchors but not as expensive as stainless steel models. It's also available in multiple sizes (9 to 88 pounds), so there's sure to be a model that works for your houseboat.
6. Lewmar CQR Hinged Plow Anchor
Do you want the best security that an anchor has to offer? If so, consider the Lewmar CQR hinged plow anchor. This anchor provides all the benefits of a classic hinged anchor and a plow anchor. The plow pivots on an axis to find the most secure set angle that it can. The Lewmar CQR hinged plow anchor is used commonly by bluewater cruising vessels due to its security and reliability.
The Lewmar CQR anchor is constructed from hot-dipped galvanized steel. As mentioned previously, galvanized steel is ideal for anchors as it resists rust, and the finish is virtually impossible to scrape off. A robust anchor like this is likely to last years, if not generations. It won't bend easily, or chip and the blade will remain sharp through hard use.
Hinged plow anchors are great for multiple seabed types. It cuts right through weeds and marine vegetation, and it sets securely into sand, mud, and silt. The design of the anchor also allows it to hook deep under rocks, which many anchors simply bounce across. Overall, the Lewmar CQR is likely the best value for serious houseboat owners.
7. West Marine Economy River Anchor
Not all houseboat owners need a serious 'dig-in' anchor. And in some cases, a completely different type of anchor actually works best. The West Marine Economy river anchor is ideal for keeping your houseboat secure and rivers and other environments with shallow flowing water.
Mushroom-shaped river anchors are designed primarily for pontoon boats and bass boats. As a result, they work particularly well with houseboats due to their similar configuration. River anchors work best in shallow and protected waters with mild currents. They are heavy and secure themselves firmly in mud and loose riverbeds.
The West Marine Economy river anchor is highly affordable. It's made of steel and covered with a thick PVC coating, which protects the anchor and the hull of your boat from scuffing. You can leave it on the deck or in a locker without worrying about your paint or shiny fiberglass gel coat.
In many situations, it could be advantageous to carry a river anchor and a more secure anchor, such as a plow or a claw. This means that on days with light wind, you can secure your houseboat easily with a river anchor and have a backup for days with inclement weather or excessive boat traffic.