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Which anchor buoys are best?

The buoy is a simple yet highly valuable tool for anyone navigating waterways, acting as an important marker to alert those nearby. The anchor buoy in particular lets boaters know where they can moor. They come in various sizes, shapes and colors, and while the fundamental principles for buoys remain the same, they are not all created equally.

Our top pick is the durable and extra-thick TaylorMade Buoy.

What to know before you buy an anchor buoy


The size of an anchor buoy is measured by diameter in inches. The buoy size should scale with the size of your boat. Here are some general guidelines, but it’s always worth double-checking the buoy to see the manufacturer’s recommendation.

Small boats — those up to 20 feet long — should be well served by a buoy up to 8 inches. Medium size boats between 35 and 50 feet should use a buoy between 12 and 18 inches. Large crafts 60 feet and longer should opt for a 26-inch buoy or larger.


There are two main options for buoy shape: sphere or teardrop. While other shapes may be available, you’ll be hard-pressed to find them. Shape does not affect the overall quality.

Inflation and deflation

Consider the time and effort it takes to inflate your buoy. Smaller ones may be inflatable with an air pump, although large buoys will likely require an electric air pump or compressor. Look for those that deflate easily as well so that they can be stored efficiently when not in use.

What to look for in a quality anchor buoy


Buoys are made of highly durable plastic or marine-grade vinyl and are designed to withstand regular punishment from waves, boats and even marine life. Some anchor buoys, however, are more durable than others. If used in a generally calm lake, you may not need the most durable option, but those used on the ocean will need to withstand withering conditions.


The point at which the buoy connects to a rope or line is called the eyelet, and this connection must be secure at all times. Note not just the material used to construct the eyelet to confirm its durability, but the size of the eyelet as well. The diameter of the hole will inform the size of the rope or chain you connect to the buoy.


Buoys may possess a handful of valves, which allow for quicker and easier inflation and deflation. A removable valve allows for air to rapidly escape making for fast deflating.

Rope or shackles

Some anchor buoys may include a rope and a shackle as part of a bundle. These will offer some convenience in allowing you to set up your connection to the anchor; just double-check the quality of the rope.


Most buoys are red, orange or yellow. Anchor buoys don’t have to be a specific color, but they do need to be bright enough for boaters to see. Some buoys may come with a form of UV protection to keep their color from fading over time, which could render them useless.

How much you can expect to spend on an anchor buoy

You can typically find a medium-size, durable buoy for between $20-$35 to serve most boats. Smaller options usually are cheaper, while large buoys cost more.

Anchor buoy FAQ

What line should you attach to the anchor buoy?

A. It’s recommended to use a polypropylene cord if you’re using the buoy in busy ocean locations. The cord also floats, so if you opt for a bright color, it’s much easier to spot. Be wary of the quality of ropes or lines that come with the buoy, unless you’re using it in a lake or river where conditions are placid.

How do you make inflation easier?

A. Inflating the buoy can prove tedious. Lubricating the needle on a hand pump can help aid insertion if you’re having difficulty. You may want to consider an electric pump for medium and large buoys, especially if you’re often inflating and deflating.

What’s the best anchor to buy?

Top anchor buoy

TaylorMade Boat Buoy

TaylorMade Boat Buoy

What you need to know: This larger-size buoy is made of high-quality, durable material ideal for marine use.

What you’ll love: The tri-valve system allows for easy inflation. It has  a large, secure eyelet. The extra-thick design prevents leaks and punctures.

What you should consider: It is best to inflate with an electric pump.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top anchor buoy for money

Polyform A-Series Buoy

Polyform A-Series Buoy

What you need to know: This budget buoy can withstand chaotic seas while offering easy inflation.

What you’ll love: The smaller size provides quality, value and easy use. It works effectively as a boat fender and is available in a variety of bright colors.

What you should consider: Colors will fade over time.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Attwood Anchor Buoy

Attwood  Anchor Buoy

What you need to know: Small and brightly colored, this affordable buoy is best for calmer conditions.

What you’ll love: It’s heavy-duty construction is soft and pliable.

What you should consider: It is a bit smaller than expected.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Anthony Marcusa writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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