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Last updated: September 14, 2022
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A pond or swimming pool can immensely add value to your home and improve its aesthetic appeal. One of the ways to maintain the pond is by keeping it looking fresh and clean. Doing this manually is nearly impossible and exhausting. Enter the pond skimmer. If you have ever been to a swimming pool, you would have likely caught a glimpse of a pond skimmer. The best pond skimmer works by drawing water into the filter system from the water surface.
To help you in choosing the right pond skimmer, we have provided you with this review. To compile this pond skimmer review, we tested around 50 different pond skimmers on the market. After thoroughly testing and considering these pond skimmers, we have unanimously opted for the Tetra Pond In-Pond Skimmer as our top choice. This skimmer is an excellent option for beginners. It is a powerful option that operates with a power of 2000 GPH to 4300 GPH. We were astounded by the ease of set up and use. These and other features make it the best on the market right now. Aside from the Tetra Pond, we also have four different options that also deliver excellent performance. These five pond skimmers have been discussed in more detail in this review.
In making our choice, there are several factors that we considered. Some of the factors include type, collection, outlet, pump, and size. We provided a buying guide that can help you in selecting the best pond skimmer for your pond or pool. Aside from the detailed reviews, buying guide and the FAQ section, we also provide a quick comparison table that can help make a quick choice without reading the entire post.
The Tetra Pond box surface in-pond skimmer is an impressive device and well-deserving of the first spot on the list. Its installation is easy since you don’t have to modify or cut your liner. Typically users place it on the plant shelf inside their ponds, although there are other ways to install it as well.
Also, there’s often no need for a permanent attachment to the pond. You fill up the corners with gravel, and that helps keep the device submerged. Consequently, installation doesn’t require the services of a professional.
It can handle a 1900 GPH on the higher end, although you can also choose to use a less powerful garden pump, including 1000 and 550 GPH options. As such, it works best for ponds on the smaller side of the size spectrum.
It does feature one major difference compared to other skimmers. This is where the pump will have to sit in the pond rather than in the skimmer. Nevertheless, this doesn’t seem to affect installation, use, or the device’s effectiveness negatively.
The skimmer design allows the pump to work by pulling the water through the skimmer and out the discharge. This allows it to skim debris, including leaves, out of the water before it has time to sink.
Notably, one of the essential elements of this Tetra pond skimmer is the pre-filter. It keeps the device from clogging so it can keep cleaning your pond. That said, you should replace it with a new filter pad every so often to keep skimmer performance optimal.
Given the price, the ease of installation, and features, there’s no arguing with the value for money in this purchase. Lastly, it’s compatible with Tetra pond water filters which should be ideal if you already have one in your waterfall.
More features: the surface of ponds up to 270 sq. ft., integrated aerator, unique skimmer flap, directed to the inside
The OASE Swimskim Floating Pond Skimmer offers excellent value and performance. It fits excellently into the pond as far as it isn’t less than 270 square feet. It comes in a somewhat lovely design and will blend quite well with the pond.
OASE Swimskim Floating Pond Skimmer comes with a decent capacity and excellent flow rate. One common issue that we came across during our testing, especially with floating pond skimmers is that they usually lack the power to draw enough water. They also lack a large debris capacity and need to be cleaned out more often than others.
However, the OASE Swimskim Floating Pond Skimmer doesn’t have these problems, which was a pleasant surprise. Although it comes in a somewhat compact design, don’t be fooled, it has a relatively large debris storage space. It also delivers relatively powerful performance. On unboxing the skimmer, we observed that it features a 580 gallons per hour pump included.
Installation is one of the easiest that we have seen on a pond skimmer. You do not require hiring the services of a plumber before you can enjoy using this pond skimmer. Once you start the skimmer, it carries out its operations without any hassles. It glides below the waters rather smoothly and noiselessly, moving around and removing the debris.
While the basket is admittedly large for such a small device, it is still smaller than those of box skimmers. It will require frequent cleaning, especially if your pond is dirty.
One excellent feature we found is the internal aerator that adds oxygen to the water as it works.
What makes it stand out?
Great for small ponds
Nice price point
Internal aerator adds oxygen while it works
Easy to use
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
Small debris storage space need to be cleaned frequently
More features: effective pond surface: 270 sq. ft, installation depth: 8 – 22 in, max. water level variation: up to 6 in
We have reviewed the floating pond skimmer from OASE, now, let’s examine one of the other best products from the manufacturer. The Oase Aquaskim is an excellent pond skimmer that delivers fantastic performance, keeping your pool fresh and cool, all at a low price.
It is a drop-in, internal pond skimmer that doesn’t require any complicated procedures before it can be used. For example, with this pond skimmer, you do not need to cut the pond liner.
Rated for pumps with a flow rate of up to 4200 GPH, it is a small but powerful skimmer. While it can work and pump ponds up to 4200 GPH, we recommend a flow rate of 1600 to 3500 GPH.
As it is a drop-in skimmer, it can be adjusted to a variety of depths. During our testing, we discovered that it could be adjusted to depths of between 8 to up to 22 inches.
As you will be adding some tubing to the skimmer, it is vital to buy tubes from 1 to 1.5 inches.
The OASE Aquasskim is an excellent skimmer that is great for medium to large-sized ponds. We like that it is entirely usable with a dual inlet.
During our extensive testing, one of the outstanding features it has is an excellent ability to remove debris and algae. It can be used in a wide variety of pools, working very quickly, and cleaning up filthy pools in unbeatable time.
Aside from its excellent performance, cleaning and maintenance are straightforward and easy to do.
What do we love it for?
Can be set up very easily
Cleans up the pond quickly
Works well with different pumps
What were we disappointed with?
It sucks fish, hence it shouldn’t be used in ponds with fish
More features: faceplate hardware is black anodized stainless steel, multiple plumbing, check valve and ionizer options
The Atlantic Water Gardens PS4600 Pond Skimmer is another excellent option that will make your pool clean and fresh for a long time. As the description implies, it comes with a weir door that measures around 6 inches.
Hence, it can be used on different sizes of ponds, whether smaller than usual or larger.
The benefit of the weir doo on the Atlantic Water Gardens PS4600 Pond Skimmer is that it optimizes the water flow. With an optimized water flow, we observed that the pond skimmer is more efficient.
The design is not only made to look appealing but is also highly practical. For example, it is made with a support bar as well as a rolled upper rim. This relatively unusual design adds strength and durability to the Atlantic Water Gardens PS4600 Pond Skimmer
From our testing over 40 pond skimmers, including several box pond skimmers, this model from Atlantic Water Gardens is arguably the best you can buy right now. It comes with a heavy-duty design and construction. Despite that, it isn’t very bulky. It also doesn’t stick out in the pond, ruining the aesthetic, natural look you might be going for. Instead, the design allows you to hide it with plants and rocks easily.
The main draw of the Atlantic Water Gardens PS4600 Pond Skimmer is the powerful performance and durability. It deservedly lies among the best pond skimmers on the market today.
More features: two stages of filtration, may be installed in an existing water garden, lockable skimmer door
Little Giant SK10 is a very highly rated pond skimmer. It has a flow rate up to 10000 GPH. Hence, it is clear that it is one of the most powerful skimmers that you can find. It also features an excellent, durable build that will stand the test of time.
If your pond has compacted soil and lies in areas that experience lots of snow and other similar types of rough conditions, the build will come in very handy.
One worry with pond skimmers is that they might suck in fish in the pond. Fortunately, the Little Giant SK10 features an inlet screen that prevents fish from getting inside.
Aside from the impressive versatility, it works excellently with an effective, double-stage filtration system.
Why did it make our list?
Safe for fish
Two stages of filtration
What is not ideal about it?
Things to Consider
Building a pond in your home can be an expensive investment. Hence, you will need to do everything to keep it in a clean, fresh condition at all times. A pond skimmer can help you immensely in this regard. In this buying guide, we provide you with a discussion of some of the essential features to consider when buying a pond skimmer.
What is a pond skimmer, how does it work and why a pond needs to have one?
In simple terms, a pond skimmer is a type of mechanical filter. Hence, it comes with mesh, screen, or net that captures debris of varying sizes while water passes through it. They are installed in different ways but are mostly installed on the surface of the water.
Why are these devices useful for the pool?
Well, remember that since ponds are not usually indoors but outdoors, the water in them can easily get contaminated. Hence, you need a tool to keep these contaminants out of the water.
With pond skimmers leaves, sticks, garbage, yard waste, flowers, and other debris will be removed from the water. And you don’t even have to raise a finger!
It is essential to clean this debris because, unlike running water in a river, this debris might settle at the bottom and remain there. Thus, it can affect the water balance and the overall cleanness of the pond.
Difference between a pond skimmer and pond filter
The pond skimmer is installed on the surface of the pond and acts as the primary filtration system of the pond. On the other hand, the pond filter usually lies beneath the surface and is fitted with a filtration system. It draws in dirty water, cleans it, and sends it back into the pond.
Unlike the pond filter, the pond skimmer skims the surface of the pond, collecting any debris that lies on it. Before impurities sink to the bottom of the pond, you’ll find the pond skimmer already working to remove the contamination.
Things to consider before buying the best pond skimmer
There are several factors that you must strongly consider before purchasing a pond skimmer. Before selecting the pond skimmers above, we considered these essential factors.
If you have a small pond, it doesn’t make sense choosing a large skimmer. All you need for such small ponds is a skimmer with a streamlined and compact design.
Additionally, you should ensure that the skimmer’s power matches the volume of water in the pond. If you have a small pond that holds 1,500 gallons of water or less, you should select a pond skimmer that can work efficiently with that size, like OASE 706759500401 Swimskim Floating Pond Skimmer.
For larger ponds, you will require a more powerful skimmer.
While you could ignore this and buy a skimmer that doesn’t match your pond size, you will have to replace it sooner rather than later, thus stressing yourself and spending money that should have been used for something else.
Ease of maintenance
One reason why you are using a pond skimmer is to eliminate the stress of cleaning the pond yourself. However, as the skimmer cleans the pool and accumulates debris, you will have to remove the debris to ensure continued performance.
Thus, choose a model that allows you to reach the debris and clean out the skimmer easily. Some of the models that we tested come with a flip-top, which we found super-convenient during cleaning, like for example Atlantic Water Gardens PS4600 Pond Skimmer.
If your pond is frequently assaulted by bad weather, especially cold weather, you should opt for a pond skimmer that will works during such weather efficiently. It should be built to last for a long time as well. One of the most durable skimmers on the market today is the Atlantic Water Gardens PS4600 Pond Skimmer we reviewed above.
As with all devices on the market, pond skimmers come in a wide range of prices. Hence, before buying, have a budget, and keep to it. Even if you do not have plenty of money to spend, you will still find a budget pond skimmer that will work efficiently. For example, the OASE 57395 Aquaskim 40” Pond Skimmer is our budget option.
How is the pond skimmer installed?
For the installation advices, please watch the video below:
As fish are naturally curious animals, it is easy for them to get trapped in skimmers. With that in mind, it is prudent to buy skimmers that come with features that protect pond fish. Hence, if your pond is full of fish like goldfish and koi, buy a skimmer that has a detachable door or a weir door that lies above the water, like Helix Skimmer Package.
Pond skimmers are generally very durable devices; however, not all skimmers are built equally. Check out the build, the design, and the physical features of the skimmer to get an idea of how durable it is.
Choosing a pond skimmer for your large or small pool is no easy feat. There are several options on the market, which can make it tough to choose the right one. Thankfully, reviews such as these contain important information about the best pond skimmers on the market. The Tetra Pond Skimmer being our first pick, is an excellent choice both budget and functionality-wise, especially if you have a small pond. The ease of installation is evident, and the functionality is so simple that maintenance should be a cakewalk. The OASE Swimskim pond skimmeris another excellent option that we like for the internal aerator that oxygenates the water even as it cleans away the debris on the pond surface. The OASE Aquaskimis our budget pick, as it comes with excellent features at a fraction of the price of more expensive models. Use this best pond skimmer review and guide in selecting the right pond skimmer for you!