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Over the years, I’ve documented my journey and experience with various garden swimming pools. This has included how to choose the best filter pump and my personal favourite, how I heat my pool, including the different pool heaters I’ve used, including the Intex solar pool heat mats and the Intex 2.2 KW Electric Above Ground Pool Heater.
I’ve also touched on the essential use of chlorine tablets in a dispenser. However, investing in the best pool skimmer is one of the most significant improvements to water quality, especially for larger pools. This is especially true if your swimming pool is near trees or shrubs where the leaves get blown into the pool. It’s amazing how much debris and bugs find their way into my pool’s crystal clear blue water.
My review looks at several ways of skimming your pool’s water to remove the debris you always find there, both on the surface of the water and the bottom of the pool. Pool skimmers and skimmer nets deal with the leaves and other organic fragments you find on the top of the water.
In smaller pools (6ft – 8ft), a simple skimmer net like the Epesl Telescopic Pool Skimmer Net I review further down is more suitable as pool skimmers are pretty large at around 7-8″ wide and a skimmer net still does an amazing job.
For pools over 8-10ft, I highly recommend investing in a canister-type pool skimmer that fastens to the side of your pool and connects to your pump. There are a few out there, but I prefer this Intex Deluxe Wall Mount Surface Skimmer pictured above as it fits on the steel framed pools of any brand and on the side of the Intex easy set pools (the pools with the single inflatable top ring).
It’s self-levelling, which means it adjusts with the water level as it draws water over the edge into the strainer into the basket. A couple of essential recommendations. The first and most important one, make sure you have a decent pump which has a flow rate of over 3000 L/H. I recommend this Bestway Flowclear Sand Filter System I have previously reviewed here. If you have two outlets on your pools, it might help to block one of them off to improve suction. Finally, consider getting some cheap sock filters. They catch and collect fine particles and save on replacement cartridge filters in your pump.
Finally, I wanted to mention Pool vacuums which you attach to a hose pipe as shown above (the cheaper hand vacuums on a pole, not the fancy remote ones). These don’t look like much. In fact, they’re rough and ready with lots of cheap plastic etc. However, they do an excellent job of sweeping up the debris on the bottom of the pool, including sand found at the bottom of the pool. I recommend this Happy Hot Tubs Swimming Pool Jet Vacuum. It’s cheap and cheerful but does an excellent job. However, it only works with reasonable hose pressure. I recommend putting a stocking over the net bag if you have sand in your pool, as it filters through the included net bag on the vacuum. A great cheap piece of equipment which is a good companion accessory to the pool skimmers.
Best pool skimmers, pool vacuum and skimmer nets reviews
1. Intex Deluxe Wall Mount Surface Skimmer
This Intex Surface Skimmer is probably the best wall-mounted surface skimmer as it hangs over the side of the pool and rests against an inner wall. What I really like is that it included the two different adjustable brackets so it can be used on both the frame pools of any brand not just Intex and also the Easy set pools with the single large floating ring like the one below.
It consists of a canister and a hose that you attach to your pool filter pump. And that’s the first thing you need to check about your pool – that its filter pump has a minimum flow rate of 3000 L/hr. In general, I have found that the filter pumps that come with the pools don’t have a good enough flow rate as there usually have about 1000-2000 L/hr. For a lot of people who have larger pools, you may have already upgraded your pumps especially if you have a pool heater.
I have reviewed a few pool filters which I recommend here. The sand filters are probably the best and there are a few to choose from depending on the size of your pool.
But any above ground pool with a similar structure will do. The trick is to have a top sturdy frame that you can hook the bracket over that supports the canister.
The bracket is also adjustable as shown above. This allows you to move the canister up and down to the water level whenever the water level drops through evaporation or splashing outside the pool. Or to raise the canister if you add more water to the pool. I have found that you need the white canister under the water by an inch or two so that the blue parts move up and down easily.
The skimmer itself is constructed of polypropylene plastic. This is a durable material that’s rust- and weather-proof which means no maintenance. It’s also not affected by pool chemicals, so don’t worry about harming the skimmer with whatever additives you introduce to the pool water. All it needs is a quick clean now and again with soapy water to keep it clean.
The filter inside the canister is made of plastic mesh and catches leaves and other debris that float on the surface of the pool before they sink to the ground. This strainer basket inside the canister is removable, and you can easily clean it by spraying it with your garden hose. Finally, I do recommend using a sock filter over the plastic filter as this catches smaller particles and helps keep the pool filter pump cartridges cleaner for longer so they need cleaning or replacing less often.
- Wall-mounted (over the side of your pool) surface skimmer for your pool.
- Constructed of polypropylene plastic.
- Needs an external filter pump with a minimum flow rate 3,028L/hr.
- Catches leaves and other debris.
- Automatically drains when connected to your pool filter pump.
- Attaches to Intex Easy Set pools or pools with a metal frame.
- Strainer basket removable for cleaning.
- Dimensions: 19cm (outer diameter), 12cm (inner diameter), and 4cm (tube).
This Intex Surface Skimmer is very similar to the second pool skimmer by Bestway in my review but I prefer this, if you have an easy set Intex pool, definitely go for this one. This skimmer sits at the waterline in your pool and, after you hook it up to your pool filter pump (not included), strains the water through a plastic mesh, taking out the larger debris. Aside from cleaning the strainer regularly, this is a no-effort way to keep the surface of your pool clean.
Although this model can be used with a variety of brands of pools, it is designed for Intex pools. So, if you have one of those, this is the best model to get but even if you have a Bestway pool, I’d be tempted to still get this model Intex skimmer.
2. Bestway Pool Surface Skimmer
This Bestway Pool Surface Skimmer is very similar to the Intex skimmer I’ve just talked about. I think it’s a good option if the Intex skimmer isn’t available. It’s also a wall surface skimmer in that it hooks over the top of one wall on one side of the pool and rests at the water level. The bracket to do this is adjustable for when the water line goes up or down. You don’t have to worry about how much water to have in your pool.
Like the Intex version, you connect the hose of the skimmer to the inlet of the swimming pool, where water is drawn out by the pool’s filter pump. You need to have your filter pump for this. The pump doesn’t come with the purchase as filter pumps need to be suited to the size of pool you have as previously mentioned. With this skimmer, you need a filter pump that has a flow rate of at least 3,028L/hr. Again, you need to check your pumps flow rate!
As water is sucked towards the surface skimmer, its straining basket traps dead insects, leaves and other garden debris that floats on the surface of the water. Bear in mind that the size of the grid of the straining basket determines how small the debris bits that are trapped can be. You remove the strainer and hose it down to clean it; it’s easy.
This Bestway Pool Surface Skimmer is also compatible with Fast Set Oval pools with a 4.5m diameter or Bestway framed rectangular pools with a 4.5m length. You can also use this skimmer with other brands of pools of similar styles and sizes.
- Pool surface skimmer that fits over the side of your pool.
- Needs an external filter pump with a minimum flow rate 3,028L/hr.
- The hose attachment fits to pool filter pump (not included).
- Made of plastic (durable and corrosion-proof).
- Collects organic debris, leaves, bugs and more.
- Adjustable bracket for hanging over the side of the pool.
- Strainer is easily removed and cleaned.
- Use with Fast Set pools of 4.5m diameter or steel frame pools of 4.5m length.
If you have a Bestway pool and are looking for a surface skimmer, this is the model for you unless you want to go for the Intex version. It’s built to suit that brand of pools; however, it also works with other brands. You hook it up to your filter pump, place it at water level in your pool and run it to remove the surface debris from your pool. This is an easy to use pool skimmer and your only task is to clean it by hosing down the strainer basket regularly.
3. Epesl Telescopic Pool Skimmer Net
For a low-technology solution to removing the surface debris from your pool, use the Epesl Telescopic Pool Skimmer Net. This is simply a net on a pole that you drag through the top layer of the water, collecting all the debris. The mesh is quite fine so you collect small particles of debris, even small insects and bugs.
This Epesl skimmer net is attached to a strong aluminium alloy pole. Aluminium is a lightweight material that’s corrosion and rust proof. It’s also strong and withstands the resistance of being pulled through the water at an angle. The pole is in three sections that clip together. You can go from a length of 73cm for smaller pools or even hot tubs to a max length of 1.52cm for larger pools. This is handy depending on your height and how far your pool water is down. You won’t have to strain your back bending over to use this manual pool skimmer.
The net doesn’t tear easily. And the design of the whole skimmer net is such that is can safely bend to the side, which prevents it from breaking if you don’t pull it in a straight line. All in all, this is a sturdy pool skimmer net.
The net has an ergonomic clip on the pole. This lets you easily take of the net and put on any other pool skimmer accessory that you want to use.
As for storing this manual pool skimmer, both the net and the pole have hangers by which you can place it on hooks or nails in your storage shed or garage. This keeps it out of your way and stops you from accidentally damaging the net.
- Manual skimmer net with a strong aluminium alloy pole.
- Scoops out leaves, bugs and other debris.
- Three spiral detachable extensions to form the pole.
- Minimum length of pole is 73cm and maximum length is 1.52cm.
- Plastic and fine mesh net is 43cm by 28cm.
- Ergonomic clip on net allows for quick removal and attachment.
- Hangers on net and pole for easy storage.
If you have a small pool or don’t want to invest in a more technological pool skimmer (see reviews above), this Epesl Pool Skimmer Net is a useful alternative. This is a net on a telescopic pole that you pull through the water to collect the debris. You direct the clean-up operation to the parts of the water where the debris is. Clean the net by shaking out the debris or hosing it down with your garden hose. This method of pool surface skimming takes some of your time but is easy enough. I personally think it’s handy to have ones of these even if you have a pool skimmer fixed to the side of your pool and there cheap enough.
4. Happy Hot Tubs Swimming Pool Jet Vacuum
The Happy Hot Tubs Swimming Pool Jet Vacuum is actually a vacuum for the bottom of your pool. This underwater vacuum has a telescopic pool that extends to 1.21m in five sections. It suits a great range of pool depths, reaching the base of most above ground pools. What I like about this is that it actually does an amazing job of cleaning the bottom of the pool and is fairly affordable. It collects everything up that the skimmer can’t which sinks to the bottom of the pool.
Using a process called the Venturi effect (see the Buyer’s Guide for details), you just need your garden hose to use this vacuum. That’s good news, as many pool skimmers require you to hook up your filter pump (see the first two models in this review).
So, hook the vacuum attachment up to the telescope pole set at the right length for you and connect your garden hose. Turn on the water flow. And use the pole to manoeuvre the unit around the bottom of your pool. You choose from where the vacuum sucks up the debris.
All the stuff at the bottom is sucked into a bag attached to the vacuum. What I will say is that the mesh of the bag isn’t fine enough to keep in the smaller bits of debris. However, there is an easy fix by placing a sock over the bag to trap the finer fragments. Empty the bag (and sock) when it’s full and continue vacuuming.
- Underwater vacuum with the telescopic pole for cleaning the bottom of the pool.
- Pole is in five sections and extends to 3m.
- Attaches to your garden hose with good pressure.
- Uses an effect called Venturi power to draw water from the pool into the vacuum.
- Filters and collects debris in a mesh bag.
- Don’t need to use filter pump.
This Happy Hot Tubs Swimming Pool Jet Vacuum sucks up debris from the bottom of your swimming pool and collects it in a mesh bag. I think it’s a worthwhile investment to use alongside a pool skimmer. It’s a little cheap with lots of plastic parts but for the price, it does an amazing job!
5. Auniq Pool Vacuum Cleaner 2 in 1 Pool Cleaning Kit with Telescopic Pole
This Auniq Pool Vacuum Cleaner Set is a pool cleaning kit that answers the question, “What do I do about the debris on the bottom of the pool?” This is a two-in-one kit with a pool surface skimmer net and a vacuum cleaner that deals with the stuff on the pool bottom. The price, its an amazing piece of kit with everything you need, perfect for smaller pool where you might not have a pool skimmer. You can use both of the attachments with the same pole which is great. This is a telescopic pole in three sections that’s easy to assemble, ranging from a length of 60cm (2ft) minimum to a maximum of 120cm (4ft).
The pool skimmer net is a simple manual tool. Just fit the net onto one end of the pole and drag the net across the surface of the water and a little below. All the debris the net encounters flows into it. When the net’s quite full, pull it up and clean it by hosing it down with your garden hose. Repeat until all the surface debris is gone.
The pool vacuum attachment, vacuums across the pool bottom. You need to connect it to your garden hose and turn the water flow on to start the process. But first hook the vacuum unit to the telescopic pole in place of the net. The vacuum works on a process called the Venturi process which I touched on earlier. See my Buyer’s Guide for an explanation – it’s really cool. For this to worth well, you do need good water pressure!
You just move the vacuum cleaner across the bottom of the pool, manoeuvring it with the pole. It’s best to be quite organised and methodical in your approach to ensure that you cover all the pool base and get all the debris. The debris is drawn upwards into a mesh bag attached to the vacuum cleaner. When the bag’s full, stop the process, bring up the vacuum cleaner and empty the bag.
The vacuum cleaner is basically filtering the water in the pool, but you’re directing where it goes. Clean water returns to the pool.
Please note that you don’t hook anything up to your filter pump with this Auniq Pool Vacuum Cleaner. You just need your garden hose.
- Two-in-one kit with vacuum cleaner and skimmer net.
- Venturi power vacuum cleaner draws in pool water and filters it back to the pool.
- Skimmer net pole (in three sections) has a telescopic design and is easy to assemble.
- The pole length is 60cm minimum and 120cm maximum and is used by both the vacuum and the skimmer net.
- Entire kit is made of plastic and aluminium.
- Use the vacuum attachment under the water or on the ground, and skimmer net on the surface.
- Don’t need to use your filter pump with this vacuum cleaner.
The Auniq Pool Vacuum Cleaner 2 in 1 Pool Cleaning Kit with Telescopic Pole is a way to clean both the surface and the depths of your pool. OK it’s manual labour. But if you clean your pool on a regular basis, it doesn’t take too long. The same pole attaches to both the skimmer net and the vacuum attachment. Just clean the surface of the water, replace the net with the vacuum and continue on to the bottom of the pool.
This is a good kit to purchase if your pool isn’t too large and isn’t situated under a canopy of shedding trees. For the price, its well worth considering!
My Buyer’s Guide details the three types of pool skimmer reviewed in my guide. It describes briefly how they work and what to look out for in each one. Personally, if you have a smaller pool, a pool skimmer and vacuum with do a good job at keeping the pool clean, especially when combined with a simple filter pump as well.
For large pools, I think a pool skimmer is one of the best investments you can make. However, I still recommend getting a decent skimmer net and vacuum to help maintain the pool floor occasionally and it’s always handy to have a skimmer net around.
Pool skimmer net
This is the most low-tech of the options in my review but handy to have around. You simply drag the net through the top few centimetres of the pool, and the debris there is caught up in the net, even the kids can have a go.
Here are the questions I found myself asking:
Is the pole telescopic?
A telescopic pole lets you adjust the length of the pole to suit your height and the water level. If the water level goes down, perhaps by evaporation or the kids splashing too much (if there us such a thing), then you need a longer pole to reach the water’s surface. If you’ve just added water to the pool, then a shorter pole is more comfortable to use. Pole size does vary from 4ft to over 9ft depending on the model.
Check out the range of lengths the pole can expand between and the number of sections it comes in. Figure out if it’s a good fit for you.
How fine is the mesh of the net?
A net with large mesh holes will let debris just float out of it. You may collect the leaves but let the bugs just float back into the pool. The finer the mesh, the more smaller debris is collected. The bugs as well as some silt are collected. The nets I recommend have a finer net!
What is the pole made of?
Look for poles made of aluminium alloy. This is a lightweight metal that’s rust and corrosion-proof. It’s durable as well so will last longer.
Pool skimmer canister you attach to the side of the pool
These are canisters that are usually held against the pool wall by brackets, this is what most people think about when they think ‘pool skimmer’. You hook them up to your pool filter pump (one with a good flow rate) and leave them to filter out the surface debris. Pool skimmers draw water from the surface of your pool. They suck it through the pool filter and remove the debris, pulling it into the strainer or strainer basket.
Here’s what to find out:
What style and size of pools are supported by this pool skimmer?
The manufacturers of this kind of pool skimmer (e.g. Bestway and Intex) usually state the models of their pools that are best suited to a particular skimmer. However, what you really need here is a pool with a rigid top ring so that the bracket that holds the skimmer against the wall of the pool is stable. You find this with metal frame pools and those that inflate via a top ring.
They may also state the size of the pool that’s best supported by a particular skimmer. I didn’t always find that in my research. It makes sense that it takes longer to skim the water of larger pools than smaller pools. But some manufacturers don’t give an upper limit. Personally I always recommend getting a pool skimmer if you have a pool over 12ft, maybe even 10ft.
What size filter pump do you need?
However, the minimum size of filter pump is always given. You must adhere to this flow rate (L/hr) number for the best possible use of the pool skimmer canister. Most pool skimmers need a flow rate of over 3000 L/H or 800G/H. Most basic pool filter pumps that come with pools are only around 2000L/H so most people will need to upgrade the filter. Its important to remember that it will also clean the pool faster and be more efficient and will even hook up to a pool heater as well.
Are the brackets adjustable?
All the brackets of the pool skimmer canisters I recommend are adjustable. This lets them function whatever the pool water level is in the pool as well as be compatible with most pools. However, it’s always best to not assume that this is the case and to check.
The pool vacuum is designed for use at the bottom of the pool. Not all debris floats, and much (especially the inorganic fragments) sinks to the bottom of the pool. You manually move the vacuum around the bottom of the pool using a pole after you hook the vacuum to your garden hose. I think they are well worth investing in as you can normally pick one up for a little over £20.
How a pool vacuum works
The pool vacuum cleaner attachment rolls over the bottom of the pool guided by you. Connect this attachment to your garden hose (with good pressure) and turn it on. This draws in water, sludge and sediment from the pool base into the vacuum and then filters them through a mesh bag attached to the top of the vacuum. Clean water flows back out of the bag into the pool. They are simple but worth amazingly well.
You may wonder how water flows from the pool into the vacuum without the use of a pump. I did. It’s by something called the Venturi process. The water coming into the vacuum from the garden hose comes out in a series of small jets around the rim. This creates a pressure difference that draws in the water from the pool and forces it up the vacuum and out through the bag. No filter pump needed!
Is the pole telescopic?
This time, you just need to worry about your height and the depth to the bottom of the pool. There’s no change in these measurements over time.
How fine is the mesh of the collection bag?
You have the same problem here as with the pool skimmer net. Large gaps in the mesh of the collection bag let the small pieces of debris escape back into the pool. But there’s a hack for this. Place a stock or a piece of tights over the bag. These have a finer mesh and will trap the small fragments.
Keeping your pool water clean is an essential part of your pool care routine. Most of the organic debris floats on the surface of the water while much inorganic debris sinks to the bottom of the pool. Both places should be skimmed and vacuumed to preserve the health of your pool and the people who love to use it.
Pool skimmer nets, pool skimmer canisters and pool vacuums all have their place in your pool cleaning routine and processes. Decide which is best for you according to the size of your pool, how often you use it, what other cleaning routines you have, such as chlorine tablets, and how much manual labour you want to invest.
Last update on 2023-11-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API