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The 12 Best Pool Skimmers for Debris-Free Water


If you wait until the inevitable dirt and debris in your pool falls down to the bottom, you’re creating extra work for yourself, and for your pool filter.

By adding a pool skimmer to your arsenal, you’ll ensure the clarity of your water is tempting rather than off-putting.

After today’s guide, you should be perfectly placed to pick the right skimmer for your needs even if you’ve never used one before and you’re brand new to home swimming pools.

We understand that newcomers may have no idea what to consider when looking for the best pool skimmers, but all you need to do is focus on the following pointers.

  • Type of skimmer: A built-in pool skimmer is located in the gutter around the top of your pool water line. Depending on the size of the pool, more than one skimmer is often required. These skimmers are hooked up to the plumbing in your pool. This causes suction and helps the water to circulate. They are most effective in larger pools. A manual pool skimmer needs no electricity, buy you will need to put in some physical effort with this type of pool skimmer. Essentially, you’re getting a net on a pole here, so it’s a low-tech yet efficient and cost-effective approach to pool skimming. These skimmers work well for debris-removal, but they do nothing at all for the circulation in your pool. An automatic pool skimmer allows you to keep your pool spotless without lifting a finger. You connect this type of skimmer to the filtration system in your swimming pool. These skimmers slither along the surface of your pool, sucking up the water and debris through the hose as it makes its way along. A robotic pool skimmer is the most expensive option, and also arguably the most effective
  • Durability: You should look for the materials a pool skimmer is made from to assess how long it’s likely to last. Watch out for corrosion-resistant and UV materials. User reviews are always a great source of information concerning the likely lifespan of a product. We also draw your attention to the durability or otherwise of all the skimmers on our shortlist to allow you to choose the smoothest fit with ease
  • Ease of installation: If you’re opting for a manual skimmer, you’ll have no concerns here. If, however, you’re thinking of treating yourself to an automatic skimmer, you should make certain in advance that it’s easy to install, and that it comes with all necessary tools and hardware for installation
  • Compatibility: Depending on the type of pool skimmers on your shortlist, you may encounter compatibility issues. You should always check this closely before whipping out your credit card

Right, with those basics sketched in, you should now have a reasonably clear idea of what to look out for when you’re comparing the best pool skimmers.

Without further ado, we’ll press ahead with our reviews of all the best skimmers in a crowded segment of the market. Once you’ve browsed our top 12 skimmers, you should find choosing one is a cinch.

The 12 Best Pool Skimmers

1. Our #1 Pick: Hayward Dyna-Skim Above-Ground Skimmer



  • Automatic skimmer
  • 9 pounds
  • 75 x 10.25 x 8.25 inches

Hayward has been the industry standard automatic pool skimmer for decades, and it’s easy to see why when you drop this gem into your pool at home.

Designed to fully meet all the demands of an above-ground pool, the basket of this unit is molded from a single piece of UV-resistant plastic.

The debris basket in place is generously sized so you won’t be continually emptying it out. Like all the best pool equipment, this skimmer is set-and-forget by nature. This allows you to spend more time enjoying your swimming pool and less on pool maintenance.

Now, if you’re not especially technically inclined, you may find the instructions leave something to be desired. While you can unearth plenty of instructional videos on YouTube, that’s hardly the point. You shouldn’t need to do this, and we hope Hayward rectifies this blot on an otherwise immaculate copy book.

You get a butterfly basket included, and this provides the gasket for inside and outside your pool. The skimmer accepts 1.25-inch and 1.5-inch intake hoses.

For a highly effective method of keeping your pool water spotless and debris-free without lifting a finger, this is one of the best automatic pool skimmers out there, and it’s made by a brand you can rely on.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Oversized debris basket
  • Access basket from front or top
  • Single-piece body
  • Instructions are poor

2. Pool Skim Pool Cleaner and Skimmer



  • Automatic skimmer
  • 4 pounds
  • 9 x 9 x 9 inches

Next up is another effective automatic pool skimmer and cleaner combined. If you’re looking for the ultimate ease in pool cleaning, this model is well worth popping on your shortlist.

This skimmer makes use of what’s known as the venturi suction effect. Utilizing the power of the water returning to the pool to suck in all dirt and debris like a magnet. This is then trapped in the clip-on mesh bag.

Rather than attaching to your pool filter, this unit instead fixes to one of the return jets at the side of your pool. This is how it develops the suction outlined above. You’ll get standard male and female connectors bundled to save you an immediate trip to the hardware store.

Setting this skimmer up is straightforward even if you’ve never used one of these things before.

If you have an Intex pool, this skimmer is not compatible, so you should consider one of their proprietary skimmers that makes a better fit.

One of the key selling points of this skimmer is the way you’ll reduce the burden on your pool filter. Lightweight, compact, and unobtrusive, this space-saving skimmer won’t eat up too much room in your pool, and it will streamline cleaning so you can spend more time on the pool lounger and less time fussing over the quality of the pool water.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Self-adjusting
  • Removes stress from filter
  • Easy installation
  • Not compatible with Intex pools

3. Pro Tuff Pool Net



  • Manual skimmer
  • 25 pounds
  • 2 x 17.9 x 1.9 inches

Next up comes another slick and efficient pool skimmer from the Pro Tuff Products Store. How does this unit stand and fall, then?

This is a manual rake measuring 19.5 inches making it a neat fit for skimming both large and small pieces of debris.

The frame is made from lightweight yet durable aluminum alloy. It won’t bend, it won’t twist, and it won’t break under sustained use. The frame is tightly secured by the winged handle giving you even greater lifespan.

At the business end of this skimmer, you get a double-stitched nylon bag that’s built to withstand plenty of harsh treatment, pool chemicals, and UV rays.

The plastic rim is expressly designed so it doesn’t scratch up the surface of your pool as you’re skimming.

Not all pool owners like the idea of needing to manually skim a pool, but if you don’t mind getting hands-on with pool maintenance, this is one of the most intelligently designed manual skimmers out there, so what are you waiting for?

If you’re still in any doubt, this skimmer is covered by a no-quibbles lifetime guarantee. If anything goes amiss at any stage, the manufacturer has your back with no questions asked.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Remarkably rugged
  • No drag
  • Hugs side of the pool
  • Pretty pricey

4. Intex Wall-Mount Surface Skimmer



  • Automatic skimmer
  • 9 pounds
  • 75 x 10.25 x 8.25 inches

If you have an Intex filter in your pool from this specialist manufacturer, you should strongly consider pairing it with this automatic skimmer. You’ll prevent much of the debris in your pool from hitting the filter, therefore prolonging its lifespan.

For compatibility, you’ll need an Intex filter pump rated at a minimum of 800 GPH. If this sounds like the right fit for your home swimming pool set up, read on.

By trapping debris before it has chance to sink down to the bottom of your pool, you’ll be taking preemptive action rather than waiting for a mess to clear up.

The strainer basket of this unit is fashioned from hardwearing polypropylene plastic. This won’t degrade when it’s exposed to pool chemicals or harsh sunlight, and this skimmer should return years of faithful service if properly maintained.

The majority of user reviews of this skimmer are positive, although we found a common thread of complaint centering on the burden this unit places on your pool pump. Overall, this automatic skimmer gets the job done quickly and easily, and serves to remove pretty much all the debris from your pool before it makes its way into your filtration system. What’s not to love?

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Skims before sinking
  • Easy to set up
  • Works with Intex filters
  • Strains the pump

5. Swimline Heavy-Duty Leaf Skimmer



  • Manual skimmer
  • Weight: 0.78 pounds
  • Dimensions: 21 x 16 x 1.5 inches

Swimline has been producing first-class swimming pool accessories since the 1970s, so you’re buying into unbeatable brand heritage here.

This is a simple and no-nonsense manual pool skimmer, so avoid this model if you are looking for hands-free maintenance.

If, on the other hand, you don’t mind rolling up your sleeves to keep your swimming pool looking spotless, you get a rugged plastic handle and a fine mesh net, ideal for scooping up any debris that’s tumbled into the pool before it sinks to the bottom and becomes a trip hazard.

The mesh of the basket is fine enough to trap a wide variety of flotsam and jetsam, so you will pick up any floating insects and finer debris as well as the bigger stuff that falls from trees and shrubs in your yard.

You will need to make provision for a pole, but you can use anything with a 1.125-inch diameter

This skimmer feels quite heavy in use, so make sure you are prepared to put in a little effort. If you struggle with this kind of activity, we would strongly suggest you explore some of the automatic pool skimmers we review today.

The only real blowback we found among mainly positive user reviews concerns the amount of net provided, with some consumers reporting the net feels too small and too tight.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Decades of industry experience
  • Fine mesh in basket
  • Tapered edge
  • Not enough net provided

6. Intex Deluxe Pool Skimmer



  • Automatic skimmer
  • Weight: 3.5 pounds
  • Dimensions: 8.25 x 9.5 x 13 inches

This Intex Deluxe pool skimmer is well worth a place on your shortlist if you’re looking to keep your swimming pool water free of leaves and other large debris that tumbles in overnight.

The first thing to clear up is that you will also need an Intex filter pump rated at a minimum flow rate of 800 gallons per hour. Assuming you have this and an above-ground pool, what do you get for your money here?

Well, the automatic nature of this skimmer means you won’t need to lift a finger to keep as much debris out of your pool as possible. This model excels at ensuring leaves and bigger chunks of garden debris don’t end up in your swimming pool water, catching them before they sink to the bottom of the pool.

You get a pair of easily adjustable mounting brackets thrown in. This allows you to attach the skimmer to any Intex metal frame or Easy Set above-ground pools.

Construction is solid and hardwearing. The skimmer won’t end up corroding or degrading over time, even if you use harsh pool chemicals.

As long as you have a compatible pool and pump, this skimmer is a must and will help you enjoy a debris-free pool effortlessly.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Mounts easily to pool walls
  • Won’t degrade with pool chemicals
  • Ideal for leaves and large debris
  • You will need an Intex pump

7. SkimmerMotion Pool Skimmer



  • Automatic skimmer
  • 5 pounds
  • 9 x 4.5 x 9 inches

The SkimmerMotion Store is packed with alluring pool equipment that’s designed to make your life easier without bankrupting you. How does this skimmer stand up, then?

Now, this is an add-on device that’s intended to work in tandem with your pool vacuum. You should find the skimmer is compatible with the bulk of pool vacs, but you should check with the manufacturer’s list before committing to purchase.

You’ll also need a pool pump rated at 1 HP or above for best results.

As your pool vacuum moves throughout the pool doing its work, the skimmer will run in parallel, sucking up the debris and accessing the places that your vac can’t reach.

The core aim of this skimmer is to clarify your pool by removing all the tiny particles of debris from it. You can eliminate particles smaller than 1 inch, but this skimmer is not meant for removing larger pieces of debris.

You can also use this skimmer to remove rogue surface particles from your pool water without being forced to rely on chemicals.

Connect this directly to your pool’s suction pump and consider bundling the optional suction-side cleaner to get an immaculate pool without needing to get up off your pool lounger.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Clarifies your pool
  • For pumps of 1 HP and above
  • Works with pool vac
  • Not for larger leaves

8. Swimline Thu-Wall Skimmer



  • Thru-wall skimmer
  • 6 pounds
  • 17 x 8.27 x 13.78 inches

Pool specialist Swimline delivers a powerful and efficient pool skimmer that’s priced roughly in mid-range territory, so what do you get for your money?

This is a thru-wall skimmer that’s available with a standard mouth or, like this iteration, with a wide mouth to suck up even more pool debris.

The ABS skimmer won’t fade in the sunlight, and it won’t be impacted by pool chemicals either. As long as you keep it well-maintained, you can expect years of seamless pool skimming.

Although the overall build is impressive here, the lack of stainless steel hardware raises questions about how long this skimmer will last.

The skimmer is very easy to install on pools with external support. You’ll get everything you need to get up and running, including the inside opening plate and gaskets.

For anyone disinclined to pick up a rake and net for some manual pool skimming, this nifty automatic model is a must.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Durable ABS build
  • UV-protected
  • No stainless steel hardware

9. Stargoods Pool Skimmer



  • Manual skimmer
  • 625 pounds
  • 72 x 0.79 x 9.84 inches

Stargoods serves up a simple but surprisingly effective manual pool skimmer that picks up large and small debris before it goes barreling into your pool filter. How does this model fare in a crowded field?

Well, this skimmer might not be the cheapest option at your disposal, but ask yourself how your experience has been with the cheapest pool gear. If you dig slightly deeper for this model, you’ll be rewarded by a rock-solid build that means you won’t be looking for a new pool skimmer each season. There’s little more tiresome than continually replacing defective gear.

The rounded edges of this skimmer won’t scratch and scuff the surfaces of your pool. What could be worse than damaging your precious investment when all you’re trying to do is keep the water clean?

The large mesh of the bag allows you to comprehensively clean your pool in a single pass rather than scurrying back and forth emptying it.

Despite the images in the product listing featuring a telescopic pole, this doesn’t come included. The skimmer is a universal fit for all such poles, so make provision separately and you won’t strain your back while you’re skimming leaves.

Strangely for a company that prides itself on producing quality products, the customer service arm of this firm leaves something to be desired. As consolation, this skimmer is so good that nothing should go wrong in the first place.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Picks up large and small debris
  • Doesn’t damage pool finish
  • User-friendly
  • Weak customer care

10. Triluca Pool Skimmer



  • Manual skimmer
  • 01 pounds
  • 25 x 12 x 1 inches

Next up is another efficient manual skimmer for all those who don’t object to putting in a little elbow grease when cleaning the pool.

Like all manual skimmers, you are getting a glorified pole on a net. While it sounds simple, this is all you need to keep debris from sullying the water in your new pool.

The net is made from triple-stitched nylon. The stitching and seams on nets are always the weak point, but you have reinforcement here where it counts.

Unlike many larger skimmers, this small handheld net also works well in spas, ponds, and hot tubs, giving you an extremely versatile addition to your toolshed at a very competitive price. Despite the compact and lightweight nature of this skimmer, the 14-inch opening gives you plenty of scope for capturing debris.

Made on home turf in the USA, you can buy with complete confidence knowing you’ll enjoy crystal clear water in your pool year-round.

While this is a relatively limited solution and it’s no use at all for the bottom of the pool, for skimming the surface without the expense of an automatic pool skimmer, you should give this net some serious thought.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Fine mesh net
  • Triple-stitched nylon
  • Made in the USA
  • No good for bottom of pool

11. HydroTools Pool Skimmer



  • Manual skimmer
  • 25 pounds
  • 21 x 9 x 1 inches

As we edge to the end of our pool skimmer reviews, we have another manual model for you, this time from the inimitable HydroTools.

The first thing to get straight is that this is a useful tool for small pools or ponds. If you have a larger swimming pool, you’ll need a much more substantial skimmer.

With this dinky skimmer, you can easily give the surface of your pool water a once-over, removing any fallen leaves, twigs, or debris before it goes plummeting down to the bottom.

The lightweight aluminum handle is also durable enough to give you seasons of skimming.

Coming from the mighty Swimline stable, this is a brand that’s been in business for half a century providing pool owners with all the equipment they need to protect their investment.

Even though you can find plenty of tech-driven automatic skimmers, if you have a small pond and an equally small budget for accessories, you can’t go wrong with this inexpensive manual skimmer.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Unbeatable brand image
  • Skims pool surface efficiently
  • Long-lasting skimmer
  • Handle very short

12. Swimline Professional Pool Rake



  • Manual skimmer
  • 47 pounds
  • 25 x 20 x 2 inches

Last up in our search for the best pool skimmers comes a back-to-basics pool rake from Swimline, but is it any good?

Depending on the type of pool you have and your fitness level, you may actively enjoy light maintenance like skimming. If so, taking the hands-on approach with this rake might not give you the same speed of results and effortlessness of an automatic skimmer, but you’ll save a great deal of money and you won’t need to worry about running costs or maintenance.

The frame of the skimmer is made from a rugged molded plastic and should return plenty of faithful service. The net, on the other hand, doesn’t feel as robustly made. Several users complain about this weak spot on an otherwise solid skimmer.

The spacious bag means you can scoop up larger debris without needing to constantly empty out the skimmer. From leaves to twigs to insects, you’ll keep your swimming pool mercifully free of all flotsam and jetsam without straining yourself. Even though you’ll need to put in more physical effort than you would with an automatic skimmer, this rake is great value, and it’s also light enough to use for extended periods without fatiguing yourself.

Manufactured by a family-owned company that’s been in business since the 1970s helping pool owners just like you, buy this manual pool skimmer with complete confidence.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Durable molded frame
  • Deep bag for large debris
  • Skims leaves and insects
  • Net seems flimsy


Maybe you arrived here today with no real clue about comparing and choosing the best pool skimmers. That should no longer be the case.

While picking up a pool skimmer is certainly unlikely to be the most taxing buying decision you face as a pool owner, getting it right means the difference between a seamless experience and a debris-free pool, or a bad fit that fails to deliver.

The most important element you’ll need to consider is the first decision you’ll face, and that’s whether to get a manual or automatic skimmer. There’s no right or wrong here, all that counts is buying something that meshes with your requirements and fitness level.

Stick with any of the pool skimmers we review today and you’ll have a thorough overview of precisely where they stand and fall. If you happen to encounter a skimmer we didn’t highlight here, use the simple buying guidance above to help you make the right decision.

In closing, bookmark Wild River Country. We bring you fresh content daily focused on helping you choose the best pool equipment the easy way. Pop back soon!

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