Best Anchors For Pontoon Boats

Best Anchors For Pontoon Boats | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Jacob Collier

January 17, 2023

Key Takeaways

  • There are many pontoon anchors to choose from, depending on the application.
  • The most popular anchor is a box anchor or a Danforth fluke.
  • The weight and ease of retrieval are factors to consider when choosing an anchor.

You’ve been cruising your pontoon for years, but on a recent voyage, you weren’t happy with how the anchor held. What are the best anchors for pontoon boats?

The best anchors for pontoon boats are listed below:

  • Best Box Anchor - Slide Anchor
  • Best Aluminum Fluke Anchor - Fortress Marine Guardian Anchor
  • Best Fluke Anchor  - Tie Down 95045 Super Hooker Anchor
  • Best Combination Anchor - SEACHOICE River Anchor
  • Best Claw Anchor - ISURE MARINE 316 Delta/Wing Style Boat Anchor
  • Best Mushroom Anchor - Shoreline Marine Mushroom Anchor
  • Best Spike Anchor - SandShark New Sport Boat Anchor

With the popularity of pontoon boats across America, it is no wonder that more and more families are learning the value of these flat-decked watercraft. Whether fishing with the grandkids or cruising with relatives, pontoon boats are more active than ever. But sometimes, you find the perfect spot to drop anchor and catch rays. Without an anchor, your boat is at the mercy of the wind or the tide (or the current of a river), and failing to secure your boat correctly can lead to all kinds of trouble you don’t want.


Table of contents

Why Does a Pontoon Need an Anchor?

The flat configuration of a pontoon boat makes them more stable in calm water by spreading the deck's surface over a wider area, but the same principle can lead to problems in rougher waters. The buoyancy of the tubes and the flat surface makes the pontoon more susceptible to wind gusts or currents, creating a more significant strain on the anchor. (Double-decker pontoons are notoriously top-heavy). A good anchor can hold your boat in place, so you never have to worry about your prized possession drifting off into no man’s land or, worse, being blown over and capsizing.

What are the Different Types of Anchors?

There are a variety of different types of anchors that most boats use, and it is helpful to know the differences between them. There are four different kinds of anchors that are in use for pontoon boats today.

Box Anchors

Box anchors are the most popular anchor used on pontoon boats today. It works well in locations where pontoon boats flourish and in places with sandy, muddy or grassy bottoms. A box anchor tends to get immersed in sediment on the bottoms. Most pontoon owners use a 25 lb box anchor, depending on the size and weight of the boat.

The box anchor gets its name from its shape. It is generally a metal bar in the shape of a square rectangle. Attached to the metal edges are pointed flukes that dig into river or lake beds and tend to provide the “bite” that holds the boat in place.

As popular as they are, box anchors also have some drawbacks. Generally, The box anchor is the most expensive of all anchors. Many pontoon boat owners pay extra for the folding type of box anchor so that it uses less space in their boat.

Fluke Anchors

Fluke anchors are named for their primary characteristic, large pointed flukes that dig into the muddy or rocky surface of the bottoms. The flukes provide a strong staying power, and because the points are more prominent, they tend to “bite” better than others.

The downside of a fluke anchor is that it can more easily damage your pontoon if not stored properly. The best practice is to designate one under-seat compartment for the anchor to be stored in so the anchor can be kept out of the way.  A 15 lb fluke anchor is usually enough to hold an average pontoon boat in place, but check with your manufacturer for exact specifications.

Grapnel Anchors

A grapnel anchor is shaped like a grappling hook with four pointed arms extending from a center shaft. This kind of anchor does well in river beds with rocky bottoms. The arms of the anchor can get snagged on a rock and might require the boat to drift or move until the anchor finds a rock to snag.

The advantage of a grapnel anchor is the smaller size (they fit easily under a seat or in a storage compartment. The downside is that they are very effective, and sometimes the grappling arms get wedged under a rock or stump and can be difficult to free.

Many pontoon owners use grapnel anchors as secondary anchors to park in high winds. The anchor is relatively inexpensive and makes for a good backup if needed.

Plow Anchors

A plow anchor (also known as a digger anchor) gets its name from its shape. It looks like an old-time plow with a single giant spike or fluke. The pointed area of the fluke digs into the muddy or sandy bottoms well and provides good support for parking a pontoon boat.

The plow anchor works well on rocky or grassy, weedy bottoms but could be better for soft beds. The anchor can be an effective deterrent in windy conditions due to the ability of the plow to plant itself on the bottom surface. They are suitable for open-water anchoring.

Claw Anchor

This anchor is like a modified plow anchor but with added claws. Designed after anchors that were used on oil rigs in what can sometimes be windy seas, the claw anchors perform well in a variety of conditions. They are ideal for open water applications.

Mushroom Anchor

A mushroom anchor looks like an inverted mushroom and does very well in shallow or muddy waters. The large cap sits on the bottom surface, and rather than hooking onto something, it just sits, providing the necessary weight to anchor the boat.

A mushroom anchor is the least expensive option for pontoon boat owners and can be made from various materials. These anchors are often used for buoys and hold well in most applications.

Spike Anchor

This spike is an anchor for tying your boat to the beach. It looks like a long spike with a handle that you tie a line to your boat. The spike is jammed into the beach twenty to thirty feet away and keeps your pontoon beached or floating in the shallows next to the sand. Many pontoon owners use one or two spike anchors with a standard anchor.  

What are the Best Anchors for Pontoon Boats?

Here are our votes for the best anchors for pontoon boats. Choose an anchor based on where you are using the boat. Don’t choose an anchor designed to hold on a soft bottom (mushroom) if you are in open water. Check with your manufacturer or marine dealer for specific recommendations.

Best Box Anchor - Slide Anchor The Original Box

Slide Anchor The Original Box
Slide Anchor The Original Box

This anchor works very well on sandy or muddy bottom surfaces. While the anchor might weigh more than others, it is relatively easy to use. Just kill the engine, toss the anchor overboard and allow the anchor to hit bottom. The flukes on the box will dig in and hold the boat in place. The advantage is its ability to set quickly without powering the boat to help the anchor hook onto a rock or tree stump.

The Slide Anchor is made of galvanized steel, foldable (great for storage), and easily retrievable. The only caveat is that the line needs to be at a forty-five-degree angle for the flukes to hold correctly. Another advantage is that the box can move if the wind shifts. Rather than retrieving the anchor, if the boat drifts over the anchor, it releases from the bottom and rolls over to snag the bottom again.

Slide Anchor has been building anchors for recreational watercraft for over twenty years and is a leader in boating accessories. The company is based out of Arizona, has good customer service, and offers a one-year warranty.


  • Galvanized steel resists corrosion
  • Foldable
  • Flukes are large enough to wedge into the bottom.
  • Most popular amount pontoon boat owners


  • Company based in Arizona
  • Easy to retrieve
  • Repositions in changes to current or wind
  • Best for sandy and muddy conditions.


  • Only one-year warranty


Please see the manufacturer’s website for more information.

Check out TODAY’S PRICE on Amazon.

Best Aluminum Fluke Anchor - Fortress Marine Guardian Anchor

Fortress Marine Guardian Anchor
Fortress Marine Guardian Anchor

Fortress Marine has an excellent reputation for building anchors for various boats. Made from an aluminum alloy so it will resist corrosion, this anchor is just as strong as steel but only half the weight. (Pontoon owners love that it is easy to retrieve due to its weight).

One of the other advantages is that the anchor can be disassembled, which helps with storage. The anchor is a Danforth-style anchor with two specific flukes that fold out to bury into the sand, mud, or grass. The pointed flukes are large enough to provide the good stopping power and are an excellent choice for mooring in open water. Tests have shown that a Fortress anchor has more holding power than many other fluke-style anchors on the market. (If it helps, the Coast Guard uses Fortress anchors as their go-to for their craft).

The folks at Fortress Marine operate out of their factory in St. Lauderdale, Florida.


  • Aluminum Alloy
  • Foldable and able to be disassembled
  • Flukes are large enough to wedge into the bottom.
  • It makes many sizes for different types of boats


  • Company based in Florida
  • Easy to retrieve - lightweight
  • Used by Coast Guard
  • Lifetime limited warranty


  • Need to be careful when assembling so doesn't break apart


For more information, please see the manufacturer’s website

Check out TODAY’S PRICE on Wholesale Marine.

Best Fluke Anchor  - Tie Down 95045 Super Hooker Anchor

Tie Down 95045 Super Hooker Anchor
Tie Down 95045 Super Hooker Anchor

This anchor has a holding power of 740 lbs which is more than enough for most pontoons less than 30 feet. The 14.5-inch fluke is large enough to dig into the surface and hold against even the strongest wind. The anchor weighs about 14 lbs which is great for retrieval (mainly when you are the one lifting it out of the water). Made of galvanized steel, the anchor will hold up even after years of use.

The one drawback of this anchor is that it is about 28 inches tall and 21.5 inches wide, which makes storing it challenging. But overall, this is an excellent anchor for the pontoon owner and is designed for open-air environments.

TieDown Engineering has been a construction and marine equipment leader for several years. Their products are used in various applications, from general contracting to marine. The anchors are built in their facilities in Atlanta, GA., and they have been in business for 50 years.


  • Polished steel is attractive
  • Foldable
  • Flukes are large enough to dig into the bottom terrain
  • Excellent holding power
  • Lightweight compared to other anchors
  • Less expensive than box anchors


  • Company based in Atlanta
  • Easy to pull up.
  • Holds in windy conditions


  • Warranty info not readily available
  • Size makes storage a challenge.


For more information, please see the manufacturer’s website.

Check out TODAY’S PRICE on Amazon.

Best Combination Anchor - SEACHOICE River Anchor

SEACHOICE River Anchor
SEACHOICE River Anchor

This cast iron anchor combines the qualities of a mushroom and grapnel anchor. Sprayed with a durable vinyl coating and made from cast iron, it is an excellent anchor for river bottoms which can, at times, be filled with debris. The anchor’s grappling hook feature tends to snag submerged items and hold very effectively, while the mushroom shape plants easily on the bed’s surface. The fact that it is only 12 lbs to 20 lbs means retrieval is more manageable than other anchors on the market.

The primary usage of the anchor is for river bottoms or lake beds that are not sandy. The anchor is not designed to be used in open waters but in more shallow applications.

SEACHOICE has been making quality boat accessories (they make about everything) for several years and is headquartered in Florida. They have an extensive network of dealers up and down the East coast. SEACHOICE is a favorite company with several JD Powers “best of” lists and reviews.


  • Cast Iron with vinyl coating construction
  • A mushroom anchor with flukes
  • Excellent use in river beds or lake bottoms
  • Only 20 lbs
  • Less expensive


  • Company based in Florida
  • Easy to retrieve quickly.
  • One-year warranty


  • Might not hold larger pontoons
  • Not good in sand


For more information, please see the manufacturer’s website.

Check out TODAY’S PRICE on Amazon.

Best Claw Anchor - ISURE MARINE 316 Delta/Wing Style Boat Anchor

ISURE MARINE 316 Delta/Wing Style Boat Anchor
ISURE MARINE 316 Delta/Wing Style Boat Anchor

This claw anchor has an excellent delta wing design, making it perfect for snagging and settling into the bottoms. The ISURE anchor is designed for boats less than 30 feet. It weighs around 13 pounds and is made of highly polished stainless steel (which makes it look great, by the way). Its solid one-piece nature allows the delta wing claw to dig into the sand or rocks and hold in various wind or tide conditions.

The anchor rights itself and is easy to redeploy should that become necessary. (Claw anchors have been used and tested in high sea and wave conditions, so drifting and dragging will probably not be an issue).

The downside of the anchor is that to release it; one might have to power the boat to free it.

ISURE Marine has been a leading manufacturer of marine accessories since 2002. They have a substantial online presence with over 30,000 OEM parts that they sell. They operate out of China and export their products all around the world.


  • Polished stainless steel construction
  • Delta wing is attractive looking - very sporty.
  • One unit construction - no folding parts
  • Small enough to be stored easily.


  • Amazon’s Top Claw Anchor (4.8 rating)
  • Holds well on a variety of beds
  • Sharp Looking with Stainless steel polish


  • Not made in the USA
  • Warranty and Customer Care may be more difficult


For more information, please see the manufacturer’s website.

Check out TODAY’S PRICE on Amazon.

Best Mushroom Anchor - Shoreline Marine Mushroom Anchor

Shoreline Marine Mushroom Anchor
Shoreline Marine Mushroom Anchor

If you own a smaller pontoon, like the Bass Buggy, or a Sea Doo Switch, this mushroom anchor would be perfect. Designed to be used with smaller craft, the mushroom anchor sits on the mud or weeds and rests upright. There are 10 and 15-lb versions (we recommend the bigger one), and the anchor is coated in vinyl to prevent corrosion.

There are a couple of setbacks with mushroom anchors. Since they just rest on the bottom without snagging anything, they are prone to drift now and then if the wind picks up or there is a strong current. Be sure you have enough weight to keep the pontoon from going anywhere. (Some pontoon owners use mushroom anchors as a secondary unit in case their other anchor comes loose.


  • Vinyl-covered steel
  • Mushroom head keeps the anchor centered.
  • Small enough to be stored easily.


  • Holds well on various beds
  • Easy to deploy and retrieve.


  • May not work well in strong currents or windy conditions.


For more information, see the manufacturer’s website.

Check out TODAY’S PRICE on Amazon.

Best Spike Anchor - SandShark New Sport Boat Anchor

SandShark New Sport Boat Anchor
SandShark New Sport Boat Anchor

This sandbar or beach anchor is for use in shallow water or when you beach your pontoon (under 23 ft) and need it to stay put. The SandShark is a plastic polymer anchor that acts as a T-shaped auger (4 ft in length) that you screw into the sand. There are suction cups on the side that use the water and sand to form a seal that tightens the anchor's hold.

SandShark has designed this anchor to be disassembled when not in use for easy storage. It is made of lightweight plastic with a handle on one end and a corkscrew auger on the tip.

Many owners use spikes along with standard anchors as an added precaution to prevent their pontoons from floating away or crashing on the beach.

ShadShark has been in business since 2009 and has a patent pending on the spike anchor. The company is based out of Indiana and offers a variety of spike anchors for pontoons, jet skis, and lightweight craft.


  • Plastic construction
  • Very lightweight.
  • Suctions to hold in shallow water and sand bars
  • Easy to assemble and use
  • Made in USA


  • For use on beaches and sandbars or shallow waters
  • Holds well despite plastic construction.


  • Not made for open water or lake


For more information, see the manufacturer’s website.

Check out TODAY’S PRICE on Amazon.

What are Some Factors that Influence the Choice of Anchor?

There are several factors to consider when choosing a suitable pontoon anchor.

Weight and Size of the Boat

Obviously, the bigger the boat, the larger the anchor needed. Most manufacturers have recommendations on the anchor's type and weight. Bear in mind that double-decker pontoons have significant wind resistance, which means that there is more strain on the anchor when it is in use. While most pontoons are lighter than standard v-shaped boats, that doesn't mean that a suitable current or gust of wind won’t set them afloat and have you chasing them down the riverbank.

Where the Boat Will be Anchored

There are so many kinds of anchors because there are so many different terrains under the water. From sand to mud to rocks or grass, pontoons travel over them. Some anchors work better on sandy or muddy bottoms. Others work by snagging a reef or submerged log. Do some homework on the kind of lake or river bed you are likely to encounter and make your decision armed with that information.

Ease of Retrieval

Nobody likes to break out a sweat when pulling up an anchor, but if you buy too heavy an anchor, that is precisely what you will be doing. If your boat doesn’t need a 50 b anchor, don’t buy one. Most pontoons can stay put with a 14 lb - 20 lb anchor.

If you are nervous about the anchor you are considering, move up a size or purchase a second anchor that can help stabilize the boat. Many pontoon boat owners have installed a winch to lower and raise the anchor, although that will take up valuable deck space and can be an excellent addition. The downside is that many electric winches have smaller motors that easily burn out.

Best Anchors For Pontoon Boats
Jacob Collier

Jacob Collier

Born into a family of sailing enthusiasts, words like “ballast” and “jibing” were often a part of dinner conversations. These days Jacob sails a Hallberg-Rassy 44, having covered almost 6000 NM. While he’s made several voyages, his favorite one is the trip from California to Hawaii as it was his first fully independent voyage.

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