A pond will increase your home’s value like nothing else, but keeping a pond fresh and clean is taxing. If you try to do it manually, you’ll often find yourself exhausted and frustrated. But with a pond skimmer, your struggles are minimized.
But finding the right skimmer for your pond is tricky.
So today we will take a look at some of the best pond skimmers currently available in order to help determine which one would be best suited for your individual needs. Don’t go anywhere…
What is a Pond Skimmer?
A pond skimmer is a device that you use to remove all kinds of impurities [like leaves, debris, dirt, etc.] from your pond. Yes, they are natural materials but for a pond, they can turn out to be toxic. So, you use a pond skimmer to get rid of them.
A skimmer draws the water of the pond and traps the impurities accompanying it. Once these get caught inside the skimmer, they are stored in a chamber or basket that you can clean any time you want.
Do I Really Need to Use a Pond Skimmer?
Large amounts of organic matter [mainly, leaves and debris] can decay and deteriorate the water quality of the pond. During that decomposition, ammonia and nitrites are released. These chemicals are harmful to the fish too. It also makes the pond infested with harmful bacteria and pathogens.
A pond skimmer doesn’t let that happen, as its job is to remove huge chunks of debris in the shortest time possible, keeping your pond clean.
Moreover, there are some pond skimmers that also include filter pads with beneficial bacteria that help purify a pond and establish nitrogen cycle. So, it cleans as well as purifies. It also plays a part in oxygenating a pond.
So, yeah, you definitely need a pond skimmer.
Different Types of Pond Skimmers
There are a LOT of pond skimmers on the market but you can categorize them into 3 different classes: pond skimmer boxes, floating skimmers, and submerged skimmers.
All 3 of them have their own unique perks and drawbacks. I’ve described them in detail for you to help you identify what you need the most:
Floating Pond Skimmers
These guys float over the pond surface, just as the name implies. It moves with the flow of water and keeps collecting debris non-stop, you just drop them in the water and let them do their job.
They’re ideal for a small pond since you don’t need extra plumbing nor need to cut the liner. But since they’re small, they aren’t able to contain much debris. You have to clean them regularly.
Pond Skimmer Box
Pond skimmer boxes are comparatively bigger, have a high skimming capacity. Most box-skimmers have a chamber to insert the pump inside it for better protection. Due to their huge basket, they can contain a large amount of debris, so you don’t have to clean up frequently.
Typically, they also have some form of protection to prevent fish from getting sucked in. Such properties make it a hit with large and fish-stocked ponds.
Although to get the most out of these skimmers, you need to work a bit for the initial setup.
Submerged Surface Skimmer
Don’t you love it when the name itself tells you everything you need to know? This kind of skimmer sits at the bottom of the pond with only an entrance touching the surface. With the help of a pond, it’ll draw all the water at the center of the pond.
They’re more discreet than the other two options and compatible with almost all pond sizes. In terms of skimming capacity, they’re at the middle of the 3.
But setting it up needs an expert’s touch, you need to know the perfect depth to place it. Also, small fish might end up getting sucked in.
These 3 are the main types of pond skimmers. Depending on what pond you have, your ideal pond skimmer could be any one of these types, all of them are good at what they do.
10 best pond skimmers reviews
As I’ve said before there are too many pond skimmers available and if you don’t do your research beforehand you’ll get confused as hell.
It’s normal if you’re feeling overwhelmed due to this. But, don’t worry. I got your back. I’ve picked 10 amazing pond skimmers for you. Have a look at them below:
1. Aquascape Signature Series – Best Large Pond Skimmer
I wanna kick things off with an exceptional pond skimmer that features a non-traditional appearance. This unique look will help you to provide a natural vibe to your adorable pond while making the water crystal clear.
Talking about crystal clear water, this Aquascape guy can manage up to 1000 square feet of pond. It means this pond skimmer will be a perfect choice for small to medium-sized ponds. Moreover, this highly efficient skimmer can handle 10,000 GPH (gallons per hour) pump flow rates.
In addition to that, it has an 8-inch weir door that also consists of a removable leaf catching net to make the pond-cleaning simpler and more trouble-free. Also, the lid of the skimmer is sealed properly to keep the filter component protected.
You will surely appreciate the big and sturdy debris basket attached to the skimmer. It will enable a quick and easy maintenance process too. Plus, it is equipped with a top-notch, medium-density rigid filter mat to eliminate smaller sediment and debris from the pond’s bottom.
Don’t worry; this skimmer comes with one of the easiest installation procedures to let you install it without any hassle. Also, this UV-protected and super strong Aquascape machine will provide long-lasting performance.
2. OASE Swimskim – Best Floating Pond Skimmer
This fancy little skimmer lives up to its name truly. It skims as it swims! Relax and let it do the heavy-duty cleaning tasks for you as it’s ready for action almost immediately after unboxing. You just plug it in and let it roam around the pond.
It’ll float on the water collecting all the heavy debris it finds. Plus, its native suction is strong enough to cover 270 sq ft with a strong pump that has 580 gallons per hour capacity. The fact that it doesn’t need any extra suction is impressive.
I bet you’ll be surprised when you see it adapt to almost any water depth [the pond has to be at least 16″ deep].
Another cool feature of it is that it can provide oxygenation to the pond with its integrated aerator. If you have a small or somewhat medium-sized pond, you might not even need a separate aerator, it’s like 2-in-1! This air injection keeps the pond clean as well.
The fact that you can retrofit it into any setup with minimum modification is something that I really like. Previous OASE products didn’t have this perk, so it’s a glorious addition.
It’s awesome for a personal pond but if you want it for commercial/recreational purposes then be careful, because the electric cable goes through the water, who knows what accident may happen.
Overall, it’s worth serious consideration.
3. Atlantic Water Gardens PS3900 – Best Koi Pond Skimmer
If you’re looking for a highly efficient pond skimmer that is crafted to enhance your water feature’s structural integrity while cleaning the water, the PS3900 of Atlantic water gardens is going to quench your thirst.
The first thing that will catch your attention is its reinforced structures. This sturdy structure removes callbacks, warping, and deformation issues. So, you don’t need to go through the extra hassles of the maintenance process.
Additionally, this thing does its intended job pretty neat. As a result, your water feature remains clean and keeps your plumbing and pump out of harm. For maximum longevity and concealment, its faceplate is designed with black and anodized stainless steel.
Also, the PS3900 pond skimmer accepts two pumps with a range of spillway options for new and established ponds. This two-pump design of the pond skimmer increases flow rate, minimizes operating costs too.
To allow you to customize the skimmer according to your needs, it comes with multiple filtration options like mats, net, and brushes. You will also get 2-inch and 1.5-inch pipes on both cut-off step outlets of the skimmer. Also, the 6” wide weir door multiplies the efficiency of the skimmer by many times. It also has a support bar for supporting strength.
4. OASE Aquaskim 40″ – Best Small Pond Skimmer
Let’s look at another OASE product. You can call this a budget-friendly pond skimmer. You don’t need any grandiose preparations to use it, just unbox this drop-in skimmer and it’s ready for work, simple isn’t it?
Since it’s a drop-in skimmer, it can adjust to different depths. But my research indicates the best depth to use it is between 8″ to 22″.
Just because it’s affordable doesn’t mean you should underestimate it. Surprisingly, this skimmer has a flow rate of 4200 GPH, which is strong for this price range. It allows the skimmer to efficiently remove debris and algae on a 270 sq ft pond surface. Although, I’ll recommend keeping it at 1600 to 3200 GPH for seamless action.
You’ll need to add some tubing to this skimmer, the best ones would be between 1″ to 1.5″.
Just like the swimskim model, it is a no-nonsense skimmer that can adjust very well with different pond setups, and that simplicity will make it popular with a large number of pond owners. Cleaning the skimmer itself is no hard task, it’s fairly straightforward, I can say the same for maintenance.
Its dual inlet will definitely come in handy. But be wary if you have fish in your ponds, they’re likely to get sucked in.
All in all, it’s a simple budget skimmer made for medium-sized ponds.
5. Tetra Pond In-Pond Skimmer
It’s time to take your pond hobby up a notch with Tetra. With the help of their innovative and high-quality in-pond skimmer, you will be able to keep your water feature clean and healthy.
The Tetra Pond Skimmer is a must-have for any water feature. It will keep your pond clean by skimming off debris before it sinks to the bottom, making maintaining ponds simpler and easier than ever!
With its compatibility with Tetra Pond Water Garden Pumps ranging from 550 GPH up to 1900 GPH, this skimmer works in both small fountains or large outdoor water features. Also, this guy works superbly to make sure your water garden never becomes stagnant again!
A common problem related to a pond is that its pump got clogged and if you couldn’t notice this quickly, it can harm your pond environment. Here, Tetra pre-filter innovative design can play a vital role in protecting your pond’s pump from this irritating clogging problem.
To give you further comfort, it is equipped with a large derbies collection basket and a replaceable filter pad. An exceptional advantage of this skimmer is that it easily sets inside your water feature without cutting and seaming the pond liner. Therefore, you can install this Tetra Pond skimmer in a breeze.
6. Laguna PT495 Skimmer Filter
For new pond owners, this one is a blessing. This skimmer comes in the form of a solid box that is not only durable, but flexible as well. You can put your pump inside that box so you won’t have to worry about its safety. Not every skimmer has this benefit.
It can handle a pond under 3000 gallons pretty well. The 4200 GPH flow rate is also decent for a beginner-friendly pond skimmer, courtesy of its 9″ wide weir.
The best thing about this skimmer is its design itself, it is incredibly simple. It has 4 replaceable filter brushes that do the lion’s share of work by the mechanical filtering process. A metal net works in conjunction with it and catches the larger debris [like leaves], making the brushes’ job easier.
This way, the skimmer can handle a lot of water quickly without getting clogged easily, making it a useful tool for medium or semi-large ponds. There is a removable lid that you can open anytime to clean up the insides. So, maintenance is straightforward too!
It has a dedicated debris basket where it can store large chunks of debris that you can get rid of all at once. If you’re new to the pond ownership game, this will be an appropriate one to start off with.
7. Aquascape 43020 Signature Series 200 Pond Skimmer
Here is our another Aquascape pond skimmer on the list and this guy is ideal for small ponds which can hold 200 square feet of water. This signature series (43020) machine works smoothly to clean all the derbies of your pond and improve the water quality.
Like other Aquascape skimmers, this thing is also made of top-grade material that doesn’t tear or break easily. So, it lasts for a long time without decreasing its cleaning efficiency. Moreover, its patented design ensures minimum maintenance-hassle while keeping the water condition optimal.
Aquascape provides a leaf net, debris net, filter brush cartridge, and all necessary installation and fitting components so that you can easily install and use this skimmer with ease. Moreover, it can accommodate a pump having a 3000 GPH flow rate. The good news is that this top-notch skimmer protected the pump by housing it in a secure place inside the pond skimmer.
The pull-out filter basket of the skimmer will help to keep larger debris from getting into your pump. The smaller filter above the pump helps to make sure that it’s not clogging up with too much dust.
8. Helix Pond Skimmer Package – Best Fish Safe Pond Skimmer
Pond expansion is a common thing, there are lots of owners who start things small and then make a bigger pond once they get the basics nailed down right. Such situations demand a versatile pond skimmer. Well, here you got one.
The pond skimmer from Helix Life Support can efficiently work in a pond that has 1500 to 8000 GPH, covering most pond sizes. This versatility is what made it win the Pond Trade Magazine in 2012.
In terms of design, it’s compact and can fit almost anywhere. Since the 2″ bulkhead is pre-drilled, it doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb. You can easily conceal it with rocks or aquatic plants.
It’s made out of HDPE that lets it tough it out even in the harshest weather conditions. Perfect for areas where the soil is compact or has frequent freeze-thaw cycles.
This pond skimmer creates a spiral flow that pulls in all, compresses, and stores the debris in an 8″x8″ strainer basket. They modeled it after swimming pool skimmers.
Instead of a weir door, there is a 15″ floating weir inside the skimmer, but the fish can’t access that so they’ll be safe.
Getting a skimmer with so many features doesn’t come cheap. But if you’re going for a large pond anyway, I’m sure you factored in that cost already.
9. OASE Po Living Water Filtoskim 3000 Pond Skimmer
The Po Living Water Filtoskim 3000 Pond Skimmer is a pond filter that makes sure you have the best water clarity possible. If your pond measures 550 square feet, this product can be used to clean it out. It adds excellent value to your pond with its outstanding performance! Plus, the design of this skimmer will blend well with any pond’s environment because its lovely design looks great in whatever setting it’s placed in.
To improve the aquatic life of the pond, this skimmer can work efficiently with a minimum of 1250 GPH to 5100 GPH pump capacity. Moreover, its large derbies basket can hold 3.5 gallons of derbies. This basket is easily accessible for hassle-free maintenance.
In addition to that, this skimmer is equipped with a self-adjusting and fish-friendly 10x 4.5 in door opening. Don’t worry; this innovative door design won’t let any aquatic animal to go inside the skimmer. It also offers a sturdy basin to hold pumps and safeguard the plumbing.
Your new pond skimmer will be up and running in no time as it comes with all the necessary fittings, making installation easy for those without expertise or a handyman’s knowledge.
10. Waterscapes International PS4500 Pond Skimmer
If structural integrity is what you fancy the most in a pond skimmer then this one from waterscapes international is for you. Its high-density polyethylene makes this skimmer last for ages. You’re not gonna get rid of it anytime soon.
Functionality is one of its strong suits. You can install it perfectly on any pond up to 600 sq ft. And it has a flow rate of 2000 to 4200 GPH. With the 9″ weir door, it can flawlessly draw in large amounts of debris, as well as leaves.
These are stored in a well-designed basket ready for picking whenever you want. That basket is quite rigid, it won’t budge at all. Plus, it’s relatively easier to use than other similar models.
You can house the pump inside the skimmer, so the water it pulls has to go through a biological filter grate and filter pads. There are beneficial bacteria stored in that purify the water. So not only you’re getting rid of the annoying debris, but you’re also keeping your pond clean and purified. I’d love to have such a skimmer that gives me such extra benefits.
Also, you can easily camouflage it. I didn’t believe it myself until I saw how well it blends in with the rocks and stones. It’ll totally uphold the aesthetic appearance of your pond.
My only complaint would be that the lid could have been made with better materials.
How to Choose a Pond Skimmer
Adding a pond skimmer to your backyard can be the best solution for keeping your water clean. They are designed to work with pumps and filters that keep down algae, debris, pests such as mosquito larva in stagnant or slow-moving waters of larger ponds while also removing surface scum from overgrowth on top.
Purchasing a good skimmer for your lovely pond might be a confusing task for you. Don’t worry, the following buying guide will help you find the most suitable one.
No one wants to use a cannon to kill a mosquito! Yes, you guessed it right. You will find skimmer of different sizes in the market. There are skimmers for big ponds as well as for a small backyard pond. You should pick a skimmer that is suitable for your pond.
If your small pond holds around 200 square feet of water, then you have to buy a skimmer that is built to work smoothly with that much water. After all, the size of your pond determines the type and amount of filtration you need. Large ponds often require a skimmer calibrated to their flow rate, while smaller ones might not.
Easy to Clean
A pond skimmer will play an active role in keeping your pond clean, but you have to clean the skimmer regularly to help it do its task efficiently. Yes, pond skimmers can be a pain to clean, but with the right model, you’ll save yourself time and won’t be frustrated. Models that have an easy-to-remove flip-top cover will make it much easier for you to empty all of your debris from inside.
You need to attach a pond skimmer that should last for years without any issue. To attain a durable pond skimmer, you have to buy one that is made of top-notch materials. Your pond skimmer’s sturdiness also depends on weather conditions.
For instance, if you live in an area where the weather is constantly bad, and especially if it’s cold out, then a pond skimmer that works during such conditions would be your best bet.
There are some low-quality skimmers out there, and you must be aware of them because these skimmers may harm the livestock of your water features. Also, make sure that your chosen skimmer is made of BPA-free and non-toxic materials.
Moreover, if you have koi in your pond, understanding their inquisitive nature is important. They may be tempted to explore the skimmer then become stuck and trapped inside it. Pond skimmers that are designed with a special net or door will keep them safe from this risk of injury!
Combining the skimmer with the pump
This is a very important criterion. You should consider the flow rate of your pond’s pump and get a skimmer that matches the pump’s flow rate. You can easily check the skimmer-supported flow rate by asking the seller or reading the description of the product. It should be clearly written. Also, the skimmer should work flawlessly with different types of pumps.
You will find pond skimmers that come in all shapes and sizes, but what’s most important is that you find one within your budget. Yes, you won’t need to empty your wallet, and it imperative to be thrifty when purchasing a pond skimmer as you can have one at a reasonable price. But there are also some incredibly versatile skimmers with many unique features available for purchase. So, depending on your needs, spend your money wisely.
Placing and Installing a Pond Skimmer
You can’t place a pond skimmer anywhere in your pond. You have to attach it to a suitable place from where it can clean your pond efficiently. Proper placement and installation will allow you to make the most out of any skimmer.
The Best places to install a pond skimmer
To get the optimal output from your skimmer, you have to consider the following things while positioning the device.
Near waterfall or water entering source
When it comes to choosing a location for the skimmer, consider where debris is likely coming from. If you’re near a waterfall or other water source that can produce leaves and other floating particles naturally then opposite this area would be your best bet.
Keeping the wind in mind
A windy day means that debris, such as leaves and pine needles are most likely to enter the water. But if you have a pond skimmer at hand, it will be easy for this leaf litter to find its way into the device! So, place the pond skimmer downwind of where the wind blows on an average breezy day. It will skim the pond efficiently with little effort from your side.
The simple installation process of a pond skimmer
After choosing a perfect place to set your skimmer, you have to install it securely so that it can give long-lasting performance. So, without further delay, let’s have a look at the 5-step installation process.
Dig a hole
At first, you have to measure the height of the pond skimmer and make a hole which’s depth should be at least half of the skimmer’s height. Also, keep the width of the hole according to the pond skimmer’s width. While digging the hole, you should also keep the water level in your mind. The water level should be around the middle part of the weir door.
Place the skimmer and backfill the hole
Now, grab the skimmer and position the skimmer inside the hole. Make sure the skimmer’s weir door is facing towards the water. Now attach the plumbing properly and start backfilling the hole. You can stand inside the skimmer while your partner can pour soil surrounding the skimmer. Standing inside the skimmer may seem awkward but it will help the skimmer to stay in its position firmly.
Work with pond liner
Now, it’s time to adjust the skimmer with the pond liner. So, grab the liner and hold it to the front part of the skimmer weir door. At that point, you are going to puncturing some hole in the liner to add some screws. Also, make sure that there are no wrinkles in the liner. It should be flat and tight.
While holding the liner firmly on the front part of the skimmer, put the face-plate on and attach all screws by making small screw-holes. Don’t tighten these screws now because you have to put the silicone glue.
Provide watertight seal
Now you have to add silicone glue on the surface of the skimmer where the faceplate and liner will be placed. Before adding the bead, you need the rub that place with a piece of cloth. It will help the glue to adhere firmly and you will have a perfect watertight seal.
After wiping the dirt and powder from the surface of the skimmer and pond liner, put the quarter-inch bead of silicone right over the screw-holes of the skimmer. Please don’t put any glue on the faceplate.
Attach the faceplate and insert the weir door
Now, slowly and carefully place the faceplate in its position and tighten all screws securely. After that, insert the weir door and cut the excess pond liner that is inside the opening of the faceplate. You can use a sharp knife to do that. Finally, insert the pump, mash filter, and skimmer basket in the skimmer, and you are done.
Differences Between Pond Skimmers and Filters
Although people often mix these two up, there are some differences between a pond skimmer and a filter.
The key differences lie in what they achieve. I’ll explain in detail
A pond skimmer is exceptionally well at removing large chunks of debris in a short period of time. If your pond is surrounded by lots of vegetation then it’s a must-have, as it’ll round up all of the impurities, prepare it for you to pick up and throw away.
- Traps large amounts of debris
- Thorough cleaning
- Can be hid easily
- Can’t treat the water
- Doesn’t get rid of bacteria
- Can suck in fish
Pond filter catches the smaller particles and can even treat them if necessary. Filters commonly have filter media that can trap harmful particles. It also houses beneficial bacteria that prevent algal bloom.
If you have fish in your pond then you can’t choose many chemical additives. A filter is a great way to make up for that.
- Gets rid of harmful bacteria
- Can chemically treat the water
- Eliminates the need for chemical additives
- Prevents algal bloom
- Can’t remove large debris
- Inefficient in large ponds
From the above discussion, you can see that a pond filter and skimmer are good at different stuff. Indeed a bit of their function overlaps as the end goal is to have a clean pond. But, for the best outcome, you need both of them to work together, especially if you own a large pond.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do pond skimmers hurt fishes?
If you don’t pay attention, your fish can end up suffering. Various pond skimmers are prone to pulling in fish, which is why it’s up to the pond owner to avoid such scenarios.
Does a Pond Skimmer have a Pump?
A pond skimmer doesn’t have a pump, but can house one. You have to get a pump separately.
Does a Pond Skimmer ever clog?
If you don’t clean up the skimmer regularly, especially if it’s a small-sized one, then it can get clogged easily.
When should I clean the pond skimmer?
You should clean the pond skimmer every other day if it’s small, for the big ones, once a week is fine.
When should I replace the Filters on my pond skimmer?
Replace the filter pads once a season. If there are any biological filters, only remove them once they’re broken down as they contain beneficial bacteria.
A pond can turn a mundane backyard into a magical one, but only if it’s clean. And to keep it that way, you need the best pond skimmer for your pond.
I’m confident you’ll find the skimmer you’re looking for from the 10 I’ve personally picked. Not to mention the buying guide will help you on every step of the way.
Your pond deserves to be clean all the time!