Keeping your swimming pool clean is nothing to take lightly. After all, swimming with algae, debris, and who knows what else can cause significant health problems. Plus, it’s gross – which is why every pool owner needs a skimmer. Here, we’ll share our research on pool skimmers plus the criteria we used to determine the top options.
Best Pool Skimmers for Residential Pools
Here are the best pool skimmers, no matter the size or type of pool you have.
Hayward SP1091LX Dyna-Skim Above-Ground Pool Skimmer
⭐ Best Above Ground Skimmer
Skimming an above-ground pool doesn’t have to be an everyday, manual task. Instead, you can cut a hole in the side of the pool and install Hayward’s Dyna-Skim skimmer. It seems nerve-wracking, but with the right preparation and materials, you’ll be enjoying a cleaner pool in no time.
The kit comes with everything you need, from the gasket to the screws and faceplate. Overall, the challenge lies in cutting carefully and fitting the skimmer to your pool properly. At the same time, we love this skimmer because it works with such a wide range of pool types.
- Large debris collection basket
- Heavy duty UV resident ABS construction
- Top and front basket access
- Snap-in and removable weir
- Compatible with wide top seat pools
- For above-ground pools
- Heavy-duty UV resistant ABS construction
- Large debris basket
- Installs in the pool wall
- Installs on any above-ground pool (and some inground ones)
- All installation equipment included
- Extra-large debris basket makes cleanup easy
- The installation isn’t universal; techniques vary based on pool size, configuration, and materials
- May not be compatible with all hose types; check measurements carefully
PoolSkim Pool Skimmer and Pool Cleaner
⭐ Best Skimmer and Cleaner
Whether you’re hoping to reduce the stress on your filtration system or need to suck up leaves and other debris, PoolSkim has the solution. Their skimmer and cleaner uses a clip-on mesh bag to pull debris from the pool (and away from your filter and pump).
From small bugs to pollen and pet hair, the PoolSkim sucks everything in and keeps it contained until you can empty it out. Plus, it’s easy to install and operate.
We do have a couple of complaints about the system, however. For one, it’s incompatible with Intex pools. And secondly, it does intrude into your swimming space. With smaller pools, this is a problem – for pools with more square footage, it’s likely not an issue.
- Award-Winning Automatic Pool Skimmer
- Connects to 1&1/2 Inch Threaded Outflow Return Jet-where water flows back into pool
- Self-Adjusting to Water Level
- Reduces Workload on Filtration System
- Cleaning Made Easy
- Self-adjusts to the water level
- Nylon mesh clip-on bag filter
- Multiple cleaning settings
- Attaches to intake/outlet connectors
- Installs quickly and easily
- No cutting/drilling into the pool walls
- Blocks large debris from your filtration system
- Variable speed settings to enhance cleaning power
- Depending on your inlet/outlet configuration, you might require an adapter
- Not compatible with Intex pools
- Sticks out from the side into the pool
SkimmerMotion Suction Floating Skimmer
⭐ Best Floating Skimmer
Some surface skimmers literally get carried away with whatever’s moving in the pool. But SkimmerMotion connects to your existing pool vacuum cleaner and sticks with it as it cleans.
Energy efficiency plus a thorough cleaning pattern means your pool will be crystal-clear in no time.
While the vacuum-connected skimmer is a smart use of energy, sometimes the connectors become tangled. In most cases, attaching a clamp can help keep the hoses separate and ensure your cleaning duo keeps cleaning.
- NOT FOR BIG LEAVES - removes all particles and debris, BEFORE they mix or reach the bottom of the pool
- Clarifies your pool removing all SMALL particles and debris smaller than 1 inches from pool surface without the use of chemicals
- Automatically moves in parallel with your bottom vacuum cleaner reaching where no other device can, covering your entire pool surface
- Compatible add on device for most vacuums cleaners (Check list please).
- For +1HP Pumps - Patented, designed and made in USA to be effective, energy efficient, compact, sleek and aesthetically pleasing
- Suitable for pools up to eight feet deep
- Compatible with pool vacuums
- Energy-efficient as it uses vacuum power
- Uses vacuum ‘power’ to clean
- Adapter included for the Zodiac Barracuda
- Ensures full pool coverage since it follows the vacuum
- Requires a pool pump of 1 HP or greater
- Not compatible with “non-standard hose connectors” and vacuums
⭐ Best Robotic Skimmer
For many pool owners, a robotic skimmer provides an excellent alternative to managing the work of traditional or hose-connected skimmers. But with the Aquamoto Skimbot pool cleaner, you turn it on, let it loose in the pool, and it keeps working nearly the entire day (it continues working after sundown).
The skimmer has a rear motor to propel it, and the front paddle picks up debris. It will automatically redirect when it bumps a wall or another obstacle, and the tray can hold a lot of material before it requires emptying.
One thing we don’t like is that sometimes when the skimmer bumps against the pool wall, that can dislodge some of the debris from the tray. Of course, it depends on what’s in there, but it’s not fun to clean up after your pool cleaner when it happens.
- Lightweight, easy to use Skimbot robot with sliding collection tray that prevents dirt and leaves from backwashing into your pool.
- Bluetooth enabled robot with Proprietary iOS app and Android app for remote operation and automation schedules, plus anti-theft mode, eco-operation,...
- Constructed of DURABLE, UV enhanced plastics to withstand harsh pool environments, hot and cold temperatures, as well as overly sunny days.
- Newly Improved (2021), More Efficient solar panels for energy operation and intelligent on-boarded navigation system to map water surface and target...
- An offensive measure to overall pool maintenance and cleaning, Skimbot works well in tandem with in floor vacuum systems and bottom vacuums while...
- Anti-collision sensors
- Bluetooth enabled
- iOS and Android apps for automation and remote operation
- No connections (power or suction) required
- Low energy usage/carbon footprint
- Automatically re-orients when it encounters obstacles
- Can accidentally dump some debris when it bumps into pool walls
- Some larger debris can get stuck (i.e. leaves)
HydroTools by Swimline Wide Mouth ABS Thru-Wall Pool Skimmer
⭐ Best Wide Mouth Skimmer
For above-ground pools, a thru-wall wide-mouth skimmer can help remove a ton of debris. HydroTools’ skimmer is durable ABS plastic and comes with everything you need for a watertight installation.
If you’re replacing an existing model, however, note that you may need to modify the hole in the pool wall for a secure fit. This is a “standard” size thru-wall option, but there is variation even among standard sizes.
There are no frills here, but you can expect a cleaner pool in no time with this solidly performing skimmer.
- Keeps your pool clean and free of leaves, debris and other organic materials
- ABS skimmer is corrosion resistant
- Easy to use, clean and maintain
- UV protected that ensures long-lasting performance
- Durable and long lasting
- Thru-wall skimmer
- Includes return fitting and vacuum plate
- For above-ground pools
- Measures 13 inches wide by 14 inches long and 8 inches high
- Complete kit with fittings and hardware
- OEM replacement
- Super wide mouth
- Installation varies based on pool type and material
- May not exactly fit the installation of similar models
Recap: Best Pool Skimmers
- Hayward SP1091LX Dyna-Skim Above-Ground Pool Skimmer: Best above ground skimmer
- PoolSkim Pool Skimmer and Pool Cleaner: Best skimmer and cleaner
- SkimmerMotion Suction Floating Skimmer: Best floating skimmer
- Aquamoto Skimbot: Best robotic skimmer
- HydroTools by Swimline Wide Mouth ABS Thru-Wall Pool Skimmer: Best wide mouth skimmer
Our Research Criteria
Here are the specific criteria we used to determine which pool skimmers are the best for each scenario. Keep these items in mind when shopping for a skimmer for your pool.
Compatibility with Pool Type
If you’re a new pool owner, you might wonder what all the fuss is over skimmers. But the type of pool you have is significant when it comes to fitting a skimmer properly (and without leaks). The most common types of skimmers are:
Read carefully to see which skimmer is likely to work with your pool. Some have specific requirements – such as compatibility with a certain brand of vacuum – while others are versatile for a range of installations.
For example, some skimmers are incompatible with inground pools, since they attach through the pool wall (thru-wall skimmers). Other skimmers connect via pool hoses, which can work for either an in- or above-ground setup.
Are you hoping to catch tiny bugs in your skimmer? Do you have piles of leaves decaying in your pool every season? Or perhaps you need to filter out soil or pollen before you take a dip.
We took these needs into consideration when sourcing the best pool skimmers, so our list features a range of functions that can help with multiple aspects of pool cleaning. For example, some skimmers focus on suction force to pull in small bugs and pollen. Others feature large baskets or trays to contain leaves and larger debris (related: my top picks for the best pool skimmer baskets).
Think about the most common ‘stuff’ that winds up in your pool and choose the skimmer that is large enough to remove that debris.
Some skimmers rely on the movement of the water alone to attract bugs, dirt, and other debris, such as thru-wall options. But there are powered options available.
Solar-powered skimmers move independently to chase after leaves, bugs, hair, and more. Vacuum-powered skimmers follow along with your pool vacuum as it completes its cleaning cycle.
Other skimmer types include those that work through your pool’s pump via the input and output connections. These utilize suction to attract the debris and trap it in filters or bags until you can empty them and start again.
While investing a lot of cash in your pool can ensure that it operates flawlessly year after year, many shoppers have different priorities.
If you have an above-ground pool, for example, spending a lot on a solar-powered skimmer might not make much sense. However, if you have an inground pool that continually has leaves dropping into it, a solar skimmer could be the time-saving solution you need.
Think about how much time you currently spend manually skimming your pool. If it amounts to a few hours per week or even per day, you may save time and money by investing in a high-quality skimming product.
Even replacing a damaged or outdated skimmer basket or replacing a weir door can help make your swimming and recreational experience better. After all, no one wants to swim in a pool with bugs, grass, hair, and other bits of stuff in it.
Consider the value that a skimmer can provide, and balance that with the up-front cost of the device. You will likely find that it’s worth buying a skimmer to preserve your enjoyment of your pool for years to come.
It’s understandable that many consumers want dual-function products. After all, why purchase two or more devices when one can successfully do the job? Therefore, one of our research criteria was extra features that make cleaning your pool simpler.
A skimmer plus cleaner can provide advantages over a skimmer-only style product. Skimmers with add-ons like chemical trays can help you balance your pool’s chemical makeup and pH without fussing with another device, for example.
And, a skimmer that connects to your pool’s vacuum doesn’t need any extra power source or supervision, making it easier to use and therefore more effective.
Have more maintenance questions? Read my full guide on swimming pool maintenance 101.
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