Here’s How To Choose The Best Pool Skimmer (Guide & Reviews)


In today's post I'm going to show you the trick to getting rid of all that junk and debris BEFORE it floats to the bottom of your pool.

And all it takes is a nifty, inexpensive little type of pool cleaner to get the job done.

Yes, I'm talking about a pool skimmer ... any pool owner's best friend for pool cleaning.

In this guide, we'll go over what a pool skimmer is, the different types available, WHY you definitely need one for your pool, how to go about buying one, and my picks for the very best pool skimmers out there today for pool maintenance.

Let's dive right in!

What is a pool skimmer?


A swimming pool skimmer is simply a device made to remove debris, junk, and algae from your pool BEFORE it floats to the bottom—making it easier to clean your pool!

That's all there really is to it.

But, there are several different types and you need to know the difference before you go out buying one.


Here are the different types of skimmers available for both inground pools and above ground pools.


A built-in skimmer is in the small gutter-like opening you often see around the top of the pool water line.

Most swimming pools, depending on the size, will have more than one built-in skimmer.

They are connected to the pool’s plumbing, causing a suction and creating water circulation, and often found in large pools.

These devices are also where you can attach your hoses to your pool vacuum cleaner in order to vacuum your pool’s surface. They come in different sizes, but they all basically are made up of the mouth, weir, lid and basket. 

The weir is the flap that keeps the debris that it has sucked in from escaping, while the lid is the cover that keeps large objects from falling directly into the pump and the basket is sort of a strainer that keeps debris like leaves from clogging the filter.


Manual skimmers, notably, do not require a power source, and the baskets are just a net on a pole that a user maneuvers manually to gather debris. 

Some of them do connect to the swimming pool’s filtration system but they are still moved around manually.

These are fine for basic debris removal but do nothing for circulation and cannot be run constantly because of the requirement of a person to power it.


Automatic skimmers also connect to the filtration system.

They usually have small propeller-like paddles that move the skimmer along the surface of the pool, sucking water and debris through its hose.


Self-contained or robotic skimmers are either solar-powered or battery-powered to motor along the pool’s surface, skimming off debris.

These are extremely energy-efficient but can cost quite a bit more than other types.

Why you need a pool skimmer

As I mentioned earlier, the skimmer is probably the most important feature you can install in your pool because of the fact that it keeps debris under control and out of your pool’s plumbing system.

But why is this important?

  • Clean plumbing keeps your pool’s water circulating, preventing algae and stagnation.
  • Clean plumbing means your pool’s filtration system will last much longer.
  • Clean plumbing means less cost in parts replacement.
  • Clean plumbing keeps your filtration system running efficiently, keeping your electricity bill from skyrocketing.

Important features to consider

Now that you know you need one, you probably want to know how to choose one, right?

There are several features you will want to look for:

  • Price. Obviously, for most of us, price is a factor. Nobody wants to spend more on a product than they have to. So, when quality is not compromised, price is usually the factor I recommend looking at.
  • Durability. All skimmers are not created equal, so make sure you look at the materials and the reviews. If you see that a lot of customers are complaining about an item breaking quickly, you might need to look at another product.
  • Ease of installation. For automatic skimmers, I always recommend thoroughly investigating how a product is installed before you buy it. If you have the ability or desire to make a complicated installation, then by all means...go for it! And shoot a YouTube video in the process! But in case you’re like the rest of us and prefer simplicity, this is definitely something to consider.

7 best pool skimmers

On that note, let’s look at our seven picks for the best pool skimmers you can buy:

SkimDoctor 2.0 Pool Skimmer Basket Turbocharger With Non-corrosive Fittings | Includes Skimmer Sock For Easy Debris Removal | Fits Most Commercial Inground Pool Baskets | Decreases Pool Cleaning Times

This automatic skimmer from PoolSkim (click here to check the price on Amazon) is made to create suction by using the return water from the pool pump, making pump damage less likely, and making it a great skimmer for pools with weak pumps. 

Its suction sucks all that nasty debris, like leaves, twigs, bugs and hair right into its own basket, keeping your pool clean and clear.

It’s also designed to work with any type and size of pool so you don’t have to worry about troublesome installation, such as cutting new openings in an above-ground pool. It also has its own filter that is easy to clean just by rinsing it off.

After a storm or wind episode, you can turn this pump on to clean your pool in just a couple of hours.

  • Pros: Less manual skimming, powerful suction, easy installation, won't damage the pump, easy to clean, rests on water level
  • Cons: Net is not as fine as some others (making it possible for small debris to escape), can cause a reduction in water circulation

ProTuff Products - Pool Net has Lifetime Replacement, Heavy Duty - Up to 45 lb Capacity - Pool Nets for Cleaning: Pools/Hot Tubs/Ponds, Pool Skimmer Net fits All Standard Poles - Pole NOT Included

If you’re going with a manual skimmer, I can’t say enough about the ProTuff (click here to check the price on Amazon). 

It comes with a 100% lifetime guarantee for any problem, no questions asked.

Its pole is constructed of reinforced aluminum alloy, guaranteed not to twist, break or bend, and its bag is durable professional grade medium fine double-stitched stiff nylon that holds its shape and skims off the toughest debris.

It’s also mold and mildew-resistant, keeping toxins and bacteria out of your pool.

It’s wide-mouthed curved shape makes it easy to conform to corners and angles for thorough cleaning in every part of the pool. 

  • Pros: Super tough, wide mouth and deep net, hugs side of the pool, no drag
  • Cons: Pricer than plastic versions

SWIMLINE HYDROTOOLS Pool Pole Accessories Hand Leaf Skimmer Net For Pools & Spas | Integrated Pool Pole & Pool Net | Wide Pool Skimmer Net | 1FT Integrated Aluminum Handle | Easy Pool Cleaning
  • {EASY POOL CLEANING} Our integrated pool pole & pool net skimmers are designed for effortless removal of surface clutter such as leaves, insects, and floating dirt. This makes them an essential tool for maintaining a clean and inviting pool surface.
  • {INTEGRATED TELEPOLE} Our hand skimmers come with integrated pool poles, providing a ready-to-use pool skimmer net solution right out of the box. This eliminates the need for consumers to find a compatible pole, ensuring a convenient cleaning experience

The HydroTools manual skimmer (click here to check the price on Amazon) is great for small pools and is nice and lightweight. 

What we like is that it’s still heavy duty enough to take on most debris with minimum effort, and it can also be handled by the kids, making it a great tool for those who like to get the whole family involved in pool clean-up.

It’s great for daily maintenance of pools, hot tubs, and even kiddie pools. It is made a little shorter than some of the others, making it ideal for small pools and/or short people: both situations where a super long pole can become cumbersome.

  • Pros: Lightweight, affordable, low risk of tearing, kid-friendly
  • Cons: Plastic end-cap comes off easily, not ideal for heavy duty jobs, flimsy handle

HYDROTOOLS By SWIMLINE 8040 Leaf Net For Inground Above Ground Pool Pond | Extra Large Skimmer Net Cleaning Tool & Ultra Fine Deep Mesh Bag | Durable Reinforced Plastic Frame | For Debris Bugs Pickup
  • {STRONG & DURABLE} This Hydrotools leaf net features a double reinforced structural molded design & thickened handle to minimize bending & twisting. It is built to withstand day-to-day wear & tear to be your go to long lasting cleaning accessory.
  • {ULTRA FINE MESH} The net’s extra deep, chemical resistant, fine mesh serves as the ultimate tool to catch small debris such as dirt, bugs, and everything in between. The bag is also larger than industry standard, for large cleaning jobs.

This super durable, leaf rake skimmer from Swimline (click here to check the price on Amaon) is perfect for any pool, but especially for fiberglass or vinyl pools because of its curved edges. 

This rake won’t damage any surface because it has no sharp corners or edges to tear or scrape material. It also comes with a deep bag, making big jobs a breeze.

It does a great job picking junk up off the bottom of the pool because of the shape of the rim, while it’s high-quality flexible netting make it easy to dump and clean.

Its super-fine netting also ensures that small debris doesn’t escape.

This one is a good option for those who wish to have a deep net, but with a lighter-weight construction than the ProTuff Pool Net.

  • Pros: Lightweight, deep and fine-mesh design, scoped edge
  • Cons: Not ideal for rough surfaces, lightweight construction leads to tears

Swimline Leaf Skimmer with 48" Adjustable Aluminum Telescopic Pole
  • EFFECTIVE POOL MAINTENANCE: Featuring a super- fine, heavy-duty mesh, this skimmer is perfect for quick, routine, pool maintenance.
  • SUPER MANEUVERABLE: Constructed with lightweight aluminum, this skimmer weights less than a pound, making it incredibly easy to maneuver around the water.

This model from Swimline (click here to check the price on Amazon) weighs less than a pound and is a shorter length for small everyday surface clean-ups. 

It’s ideal for smaller people and/or pools since it won’t be cumbersome to handle or to hang up and store.

Its net is surprisingly strong, but shallow so that it’s super easy to clean. Just dump out and rinse.

The shorter length also means it’s more stable and less likely to wobble even when telescoped out to its longest length.

The price is right on this one as well and people like that it has a fine mesh net but is remarkably durable.

  • Pros: Lightweight, fine net for small debris, priced right
  • Cons: Short length makes it difficult to use in deeper pools, shallow net makes it inefficient for big jobs

Intex Deluxe Wall Mount Surface Skimmer
  • Intex Deluxe Wall Mount Surface Skimmer
  • Help catch leaves and debris before they sink to the bottom of the pool with the Intex Deluxe Wall Mount Surface Skimmer.

The Intex wall mount model (click here to check the price on Amazon) is excellent for catching debris before it lands on the bottom of the pool, which makes maintenance so much less time-consuming. 

YouTube video

It installs with an Intex filter pump and easily mounts to the wall of your pool, and its quality material withstands your pool chemicals and its pull-out strainer basket makes it a snap to clean.

To install it, you simply attach it to the suction line of your pump and let the skimming begin!

The price on this one makes it a no-brainer for someone who wants a simple system on a budget. It has excellent reviews and takes about 15 minutes to install.

  • Pros: Skims debris before it sinks to the bottom, simple design & setup, scoped edge, one-year warranty
  • Cons: Strains the pump, can only be used with specific pumps

Swimline 8039 Premium Extra Strong Leaf Skimmer Net Head Cleaner for Swimming Pool Spa Fountain Pond Hot Tub Leaves Bugs Debris Fine Cleaning Maintenance, Heavy Duty Large, Blue
  • {DEEP CLEANING} Hydrotools industry leading ultra-fine mesh easily captures leaves, bugs, and other tiny debris from your pool bottom and surface; features an extra-large scoop edge making debris retrieval as quick and easy as possible.
  • {HEAVY DUTY MATERIAL} Constructed with high quality double reinforced molded resin plastic material built to minimize flex under pressure - durable to last many seasons to come; Hydrotools skimmer heads are non-corrosive and UV resistant.

This heavy duty leaf skimmer from Swimline (click here to check the price on Amazon) is a professional quality device that fits almost any pole you already have or need to buy. 

It has a scooped front edge made specifically for shoveling debris off the bottom of the pool and won’t miss a leaf.

In addition, its nylon mesh net is sturdy and fine, making it ideal for small and large debris alike. 

It’s kind of an in-between net on depth. So, for people who need a little depth for more debris but not so deep that it makes it heavy, this is a great option.

Its lightweight, solid construction and great price make it a good value for any pool-owner.

  • Pros: Scoped edge, fits on any pole, fine net for small debris
  • Cons: Somewhat bulky, shallow net means you have to empty it often

Bottom line

Long story short—you must have a pool skimmer, there’s no getting around it. 

Whether you use it regularly to catch debris before it sinks to the bottom or whether you use it after the debris has taken over your pool, it’s just one of those tools you can’t be without as a pool owner.

The question is: what factors do you need to consider when purchasing one?

Will you go manual or automatic?

You can’t go wrong with either one as long as you’re willing to use it!

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