Having an in-ground or above-ground pool is a great way to exercise, spend time outdoors in hot weather and socialize with friends and family. But pools are also a major investment that take up time, money and space. Maintaining a pool, including replacing filters, liners and plumbing, comes with a big price tag. Thankfully, the item pool owners use the most often is also the least expensive. When it comes to removing large and small objects from your pool water, a pool skimmer is an easy-to-use and cost-effective method.
Pool skimmers come in a variety of sizes and models but they all share a common goal — helping pool owners remove unwanted items from their pools. Leaves, bugs, stones and other items that should not be doing laps in your pool are easy to remove with an affordable skimmer that is either handheld or connects to the side of your pool. Pool skimmers also provide a convenient way to retrieve toys and other items from the bottom of your pool. Keeping your pool free from debris means your filters can function better and last longer. Plus, there’s less chance of debris scraping and puncturing your pool’s liner, which can come with a major repair bill.
What To Look for in a Pool Skimmer
It’s important to note that there are two kinds of products that are commonly called skimmers, and while they both serve the same purpose, they function in different ways. The first kind of product installs in your pool, and there are options for both in-ground and above-ground pools. These stationary devices sit in the corner of your pool and collect loose leaves and debris that float on the surface of the water. When shopping for these, you’ll need to factor in the kind of pool you have and where you can install the skimmer.
The other device commonly referred to as a skimmer is what’s also known as a leaf rake or leaf skimmer. These are handheld tools with long poles that reach into the water to manually scoop up leaves, bugs and other debris. These are generally pretty economical, and they work with any kind of pool. However, since they’re manual, there’s more work involved in cleaning your swimming pool.
When shopping for a pool skimmer, you might not necessarily decide to choose between these two types of products. Instead, you might opt for both; the built-in skimmer will do most of the heavy lifting for you, while the handheld skimmer will allow you to pick up anything it misses.
Here are a few additional considerations when shopping for a pool skimmer:
What are you cleaning? The pool is the obvious answer, but do you have an in-ground pool that requires an extended telescopic pole or an above-ground pool or hot tub that could be cleaned with a handheld skimmer?
How often are you cleaning your pool? If your pool requires daily maintenance, a skimmer with an oversized net that is durable means fewer passes through the pool and less time stopping to empty the net.
What’s your budget? Pool skimmers are typically inexpensive, but there are some automated options that take out the leg work — for a cost.
How We Chose the Best Pool Skimmers
For a product that is going to take a lot of abuse from the sun and chlorine, it needs to be durable. We also included an option that comes with a pole, as well as those that don’t, which allows users to buy the exact length of a skimmer pole necessary for their pool needs.
In addition to the handheld options, we also looked for pool skimmers that can be installed in your swimming pool. These include skimmers for above-ground pools, which can simply be clipped onto the pool, as well as more expensive options for in-ground pools, which are likely to be more involved and have an installation process.
If you’ve got a pool, you need the best pool skimmers on hand. Check out our favorite options below.
1. Swimline Professional Heavy Duty Deep-Bag Pool Rake
Collect a large amount of debris in one swoop with the Swimline Professional Heavy Duty Deep-Bag Pool Rake. The large bag makes it easy for users to quickly clean their pool without having to continually empty their skimmer bag. A durable molded frame can handle years of use and the flat bottom of the rake makes it ideal for skimming the bottom of the pool. The universal design of the Swimline makes it a great fit for most poles. We also like that the skimmer is designed with curved edges to ensure that it won’t snag, scrape or damage the lining of a pool, allowing users to graze the walls without having to worry about a puncture.
Pros: Extra large bag for less frequent empty, durable plastic frame, flat bottom for easy skimming.
Cons: The Swimline rake does not come with a pole and users will have to purchase one separately.
2. Hayward SP1091WM Dyna-Skim Above-Ground Pool Skimmer
If you’re looking to install an option on your pool, a good brand to look at is Hayward, one of the leading brands for pool accessories and equipment. This simple option is designed for above-ground pools, and it can be installed on a range of different above-ground pools. It has a larger basket to lengthen the time between cleanings, and it’s a relatively economical option.
Pros: Large basket to catch more debris. Good for above-ground pools. Basket access at different points for easy cleaning.
Cons: Some options are more economical.
3. Sunnyglade Swimming Pool Cleaner
For a reliable pool skimmer that will last for several pool seasons and make easy work out of cleaning debris, there’s the Sunnyglade Swimming Pool Cleaner. The Sunnyglade is made with a high-quality, thick plastic frame that won’t bend or warp from chlorine or warm weather. The strong netting makes it easy for users to glide through the water while still collecting debris that has fallen into their pool. Collect large items like leaves and rocks or small insects with the skimmer, which provides an oversized 17.5 by 11.8-inch collection space. The skimmer comes with a large handle that allows users ample room to grip and has a connector for poles. Its size makes it great for above-ground and in-ground pools as well as smaller spaces, like hot tubs, ponds and inflatable pools.
Pros: Heavyweight design, glides through the water, affordable.
Cons: Customers will have to purchase a pole for the Sunnyglade separately.
4. Intex Deluxe Wall Mount Surface Skimmer
This skimmer from Intex offers one of the simplest installations. It has a large clip that attaches to the side of an above-ground pool, making it easy to quickly set up. It then attaches to a filter pump to efficiently clear out debris. The internal basket is removable for quick cleaning. Because the bracket is adjustable, this Intex filter can fit different sized pools.
Pros: Highly economical option. Simple set up that clips onto different pool types.
Cons: May not work for every kind of pool.
5. Intex Basic Pool Maintenance Kit
Keep your above-ground pool clean with the Intex Basic Pool Maintenance Kit. The kit includes a 94-inch telescoping aluminum pole, the longest on our list, which can be used with the skimmer rake or vacuum head included in the kit. The skimmer rake has flat sides for gliding along the side and bottom of the pool and helps remove medium to large pieces of debris without puncturing the lining of the pool. The vacuum head attaches to the pole and comes with a connector for a garden hose, making it easy to give your pool a deep clean and get rid of any built-up grime and creating a power washer for the bottom of the pool and helps to remove ground-in dirt.
Pros: Convenient telescoping pole, flat-sided skimmer rake, vacuum head for a deep clean.
Cons: The skimmer isn’t designed to pick up fine debris like sand.
6. Rongbo Deep-Bag Pool Rake
If you’ve got two pools to keep clean or like to have a variety when it comes to skimmers, we recommend the Rongbo Deep-Bag Pool Rake set. The set includes one deep pool bag rake that is ideal for full-sized above or inground pools. The set also includes a smaller shallow pool rake that can also be used for swimming pools or for removing debris from hot tubs. Both skimmers are made using high-quality durable plastic and strong netting that will capture even small pieces of debris. Both skimmers have straight sides that are designed to easily scrape the sides of pools to ensure you capture any and all debris and dirt.
Pros: Two size options, strong netting for large and small debris, straight sides for scraping edges.
Cons: You have to purchase a pole to use with the larger net in the set.
7. POOLWHALE Pool Leaf Rake
Make fewer passes in your pool and pick up pieces of large and small debris at the same time with the POOLWHALE Pool Leaf Rake. The professional-quality pool skimmer is perfectly weighted to provide the balance needed to effortlessly glide through the water and turn with ease. The large, 18-inch opening on the net means users can easily pick up even big pieces of debris. With an impressive extended 17-inches of space and two layers of coverage, the durable net can handle up to 50 pounds at once, making it easy to clean the entire pool without having to stop and empty the skimmer. The aluminum frame of the net is designed to retain its shape even after several seasons and the structural molded leaf rake is perfect for both above-ground and in-ground pools. We also like that the Poolwhale is designed with an EZ clip handle to help attach to just about any pool pole.
Pros: Double layered, large net can handle 50 pounds, aluminum frame retains shape, works with most poles.
Cons: Customers must purchase a pole separately.