Tossing that heavy old anchor overboard can get tedious over time. And the process of coiling up the rode over and over again after each use makes it even more tiring. Now, if you’ve got a bad back or a stiff set of knees, then you might find the whole anchor situation to be a big pain. Heck, even younger, able-bodied pontooners don’t always enjoy having to use one.
Fortunately, there are pontoon anchor winches to make the process easier. These nifty gadgets are a sort of high-tech spool that either manually or automatically deploy and retrieve your anchor. They’re way easier to use, and they may even add an extra layer of safety to your boating operations.
The Top 4 Electric Anchor Winches for Pontoons
Built for premier performance, the MinnKota Deckhand 40 Electric Anchor Winch boasts a sleek, polished, black exterior that’s streamlined to take up as little space as possible. The small footprint comes equipped with 100 feet of Test nylon rope with 800 lbs of break strength, while the entire device itself can accommodate up to 40 lbs of anchor weight.
Giving you the option for horizontal davit mounting to reduce the impact of anchor swing, this choice offers versatile positioning alternatives to match your specific boat situation. Complete with mounting hardware, this anchor winch provides smooth, silent operation that significantly reduces the effort you have to put in to beach your boat.
Perfect for pontoon boat owners who are looking for a more simplified winch, this choice streamlines the experience for easier operation. The compact design features just two controls - power up and power down - to help pontoon boat owners efficiently and effortlessly control their anchor with speed. The winch also comes ready with 100 feet of rode with a 700 lb break strength.
Able to support anchors up to 30 lbs in weight, the winch uses a 14-gauge marine grade battery wire and a powerful 12v gear motor for less energy consumption to ease the load on your pontoon battery. Constructed from sturdy marine grade materials, this pick makes the ideal choice for freshwater anglers who rarely ever find themselves in the sea.
If you’re tired of waiting for a winch to lower your anchor into the water, this choice features an AutoDeploy feature that quickly releases the anchor without the rope backlash. The intuitive design comes with straightforward controls that let you pull and release your anchor at your desired speed. This makes it especially helpful for emergency situations when you might need to quickly retrieve or deploy your anchor.
Coming bundled with 100 feet of rope and 12v gear motor, this choice touts an impressive retrieval speed of 70 feet per minute, letting you quickly collect your anchor and rope out of the water. It also comes with a wireless remove control switch panel for easy operation anywhere from your boat.
Perfect for smaller pontoon boats, the Minnkota Deckhand 25 features a compact design that takes up as little space as possible. It’s small design is comparable to the Trac anchor winch which also has a total load capacity of 25 lbs - more than enough for the average anchor used on a pontoon. It comes with 60 feet of pre-spooled marine grade rope, and an adjustable davit that you can mount to suit your floor plan.
Despite its size, the Deckhand 25 touts impressive speed and efficiency with its stow and deploy switch. It also boasts an auto-drift feature that automatically stops the motor when the anchor hits the bottom of the water, or when it encounters any sort of obstruction along the way.
Manual Pontoon Anchor Winch Alternatives
If an electric pontoon anchor winch isn’t your thing, and you like getting a little upper body exercise while you’re out boating, then a manual alternative might be for you. There are a bunch of options available these days, but some of them definitely come out on top as more formidable contenders.
This sturdy choice uses heavy gauge steel that’s powder coated for extra protection and durability. Its nylon wheels are designed to be self lubricating, keeping all of the winch’s moving parts smooth and functional even after exposure to sun and moisture. This also helps ensure an easy drop and retrieval, easing much of the effort you’d have to put in to operate the winch.
With a capacity of up to 100 feet of line, this marine-grade option makes the ideal choice for boat owners who want something that moves seamlessly with each turn. It also comes with an easy push button to instantly deploy your anchor without any fuss.
Designed for boats up to 30 feet in length, this rubber anchor roller can sustain anchor weights up to 35lbs. The durable structure provides excellent performance with its marine grade stainless steel construction, polished to perfection for a mirror finish. With that in mind though, it helps to know that this anchor winch isn’t designed for use in saltwater due to its steel construction.
Nonetheless, for freshwater anglers, its smooth operation can be a dream to work with. And because its roller comes covered in a thick rubber material, boat owners have the option to use chain instead of rope for a more durable, more reliable hold to your anchor.
The Benefits of An Electric Pontoon Anchor Winch
The electric pontoon anchor winch provides a range of benefits for those who want something that just streamlines the process of beaching your boat. And because they’re not what you might call expensive, they deliver excellent convenience at a cost that almost everyone can afford.
Ease of Use
What’s nice about electric pontoon anchor winches is that they make it easier for all boat owners to deploy and retrieve an anchor. Let’s face it - many of us don’t have the same strength we used to, and aching backs and stiff knees can make it tough to comfortably and safely operate an anchor the old school way.
Electric pontoon anchor winches require nothing more than the push of a button, so anyone and everyone can operate the device without having to worry about exacerbating a bad back.
Another benefit of the pontoon boat anchor winch is that you won’t need a buddy to help you safely deploy and retrieve your anchor. Because many of these designs come with remote controls, you can operate the machine safely from your console, eliminating the need for a spotter.
If you prefer boating or fishing alone, an electric anchor winch helps ensure safe anchor operation despite there being only a pair of hands on deck.
If you’ve been anchoring your boat the old fashioned way, then you probably already know the kind of mess that comes along with a retrieved anchor. All the muck and weeds that cling and hang to your anchor after being drawn out of the water can drip all over the interior of your boat, adding to the whole clean up process.
With an electric winch however, that ceases to be a problem. The winch itself works to hold your anchor after it’s drawn out of the water. And if you’ve got a ledge for it, then that means you won’t have to worry about having the muck and sludge trickle all over your deck.
Freed Up Storage
Traditional anchor operation means that you’ll have to toss the anchor and rode on board for safe storage. But because no one wants to risk tripping over hundreds of feet of rope, then you’d have to throw the anchor and rope into storage to keep it out of the way of foot traffic.
With a winch however, you can free up underseat storage space and use it for other essentials and gear you might need for your boat since it gives your anchor its own designated area away from the main space on your deck.
How to Choose a Pontoon Anchor Winch
If your anchor is too heavy for the winch itself, then the motor might struggle to retrieve the anchor from the water. That said, it’s important to consider the winch’s weight capacity before you decide which one you need.
Remember that a 20 foot pontoon will often require an anchor that’s at least 14 lbs. That changes depending on the size of your boat. If you’ve got a bigger boat, you’re going to need a heavier anchor and in turn, a stronger pontoon anchor winch.
Construction and Material
Of course, every anchor winch is advertised as rugged, durable, and lasting. But what you really want to look into is what it’s made of. Different materials will tell you how well a specific winch will hold up to certain environmental conditions.
For instance, some winches use stainless steel which might not be ideal for saltwater conditions. Others use white marine-grade plastic casing which comes at a cheap cost. These might prevent cosmetic issues associated with saltwater, but might also become brittle over time.
Ease of Operation
The whole reason for getting an electric anchor winch is because it’s convenient. So if a design proves to be tedious to operate, then it might defeat the whole purpose of buying one in the first place.
Make sure you look into user instructions to find out how well a winch will streamline the deployment and retrieval process. Some winches feature a freefall feature that lets you release the anchor as quickly as possible. Others can detect if the anchor has stopped falling, automatically shutting off the motor to prevent more rode from being released.
Fortunately, most pontoon anchor winches are pretty easy to install. Requiring nothing more than a screw here and there, these devices are designed to be installed without any fancy tools or special knowledge. Of course, it does help however if you have an anchor ledge.
Designed to provide your winch a designated area outside of the deck, the anchor mount or ledge offers just enough room for mounting. Most designs also use aluminum material to improve its resistance to corrosion from saltwater exposure.
How to Install an Anchor Winch
The ideal location for an anchor winch would be either the bow or the aft. And while it might be easier to install at the bow because it’s closer to the battery, many pontoon owners choose the aft to guarantee equal weight distribution and easier access.
If you don’t have a pontoon anchor ledge, then you might be able to get away with mounting your winch on the outskirts of your deck. Some pontoon owners also mount their winch underneath the deck, just at the edge of the platform. The downside with this is that it tends to create a noticeable anchor swing.
The best way to install an anchor winch would be to secure it to a ledge. There aren’t a lot of options on the market. But the ones that are available prove to be a good choice for all boat sizes and designs since they’re adjustable.
Make Anchoring a Cinch with an Electric Winch
There’s a lot to love about the electric winch - from the convenience, to the effortless deployment and retrieval, to the space saving operation and design. So if you were hoping to experience stress free beaching, then an electric anchor winch for pontoon boats should be a must-have accessory.
There are lots of different kinds of electric anchor winches, and each one of them offers impressive benefits. But if you’re not sure which one would be best for you, go ahead and explore our vetted choices to find out just why they’ve consistently ranked as the best pontoon anchor winches on the market.