7 Best Above Ground Pool Skimmer 2021: Skim Your Way to a Cleaner, Healthier Pool

Maintaining your above-ground pool and keeping its water clean is a tiresome task. But it’s a must-needed cleaning workflow to keep your pool water healthy for swimming.

So, you install the best above ground pool pump to filter your water optimally to make the water crystal clear. But over time, you noticed there is still floating debris in your pool, and the water seems cloudy. Even your pool pump gets clogged often. As a result, the cleaning efficiency of the pump started decreasing.

Do you know why your poop pump gets clogged frequently? This occurs because the floating debris and leaves go into the pump’s filter.

So, is there any way to stop the filter from occurring clogged?

Yes, by installing a skimmer with your existing pool pump set up, you can easily avoid this problem. The large basket of the skimmer prevents leaves and debris from reaching your pump filter. So, no clogging will occur.

Best Above Ground Pool Skimmer

What is the Best Above Ground Pool Skimmer for You?

Contents

The best above ground pool skimmer is the one that suits your needs. There are many different types of skimmers, each with their own pros and cons. The type you choose will depend on whether or not you want a permanent fixture in your yard, how deep your pool is, and what kind of things you plan to skim out of it. In this article we will be going over some factors to consider when buying an above ground pool skimmer for your backyard oasis. We will also be reviewing seven different models available on the market today so that you can make an informed decision about which one might suit your needs best!

Our Top Picks

  • Best Overall: Hayward Dyna-Skim Above-Ground Pool Skimmer
    “If you want an efficient skimmer that is durable, easy to set up & clean, has large debris capacity, then Hayward Dyna-Skim will wonder you.”
  • Best Skimmer and Cleaner: PoolSkim Pool Skimmer and Pool Cleaner
    “It will be your best bait if you look for a skimmer that offers ultimate suction power. Therefore, the easy to clean debris bag allows you to remove debris effortlessly.”
  • Best Wide Mouth Skimmer: HydroTools by Swimline Wide Mouth Pool Skimmer
    “If you are on a budget but want to get the best bait for the money, HydroTools Wide-Mouth Skimmer is what you get. It’s affordable but made of durable UV-resistant materials. Therefore, it’s extra wide-mouth design ensures superior cleaning performance.”
  • Best Skimmer For Intex Pool: INTEX Deluxe Wall Mount Pool Surface Skimmer
    “If you have an Intex Pool Pump with a minimum of 800 gph, then this Intex skimmer will be your go-to option. It is durable, easy to install, and sucks away almost every dust & dirt from your pool.”
  • Best Floating Skimmer: SkimmerMotion Automatic Pool Cleaner, Skimmer & Clarifier
    “If you have an automatic vacuum and want a device for combined use to clean the water optimally, then this SkimmerMotion Skimmer will be your best bait. You can set it up with your suction cleaner with ease.”
  • Best Telescopic Pool Skimmer: Swimline Leaf Skimmer with 48″ Adjustable Telescopic Pole
    “If you feel comfortable to fish out leaves & debris with a manual skimmer, Swimlie Leaf Skimmer will surprise you. On top of that, it doesn’t require any additional cost to use, which will be a money-saver.”
  • Best Pool Leaf Cleaner: Stargoods Heavy Duty Leaf Rake Cleaning Tool
    “If you want to spend no additional cost to run an automatic pool skimmer but expect the ultimate pool cleaning result, then try out this Stargoods Pool Skimmer. It comes with a durable yet stretchable telescoping pole with a mesh net to fish out fine dust & debris.”

Top 7 Best Above Ground Pool Skimmer in 2021

As many brands and options are available online and offline, our editorial team reviewed the best above ground pool skimmer.

1. Best Overall: Hayward Dyna-Skim Above-Ground Pool Skimmer

Our Rating:

  • Sturdiness: A+
  • Suction power: A+
  • Easy to install: A+
  • Sheerness: A

Hayward Dyna-Skim Above-Ground Pool Skimmer Specs:

  • Manufacture: Hayward
  • Product Dimension: 12.75 x 10.25 x 8.25 inches
  • Model: SP1091LX
  • Item Weight: 4.9 Pounds
  • Customer Reviews: 3429 (4.8 out of 5)

The Hayward Dyna-Skim is the best skimmers for above ground pools for its longevity. It uses heavy-duty UV resistant materials as its construction elements that further enhances the durability of this skimmer. As a result, you can use it for years-long.

Therefore, the superior airflow rate ensures to pick up leaves & dirt from your pool thoroughly. However, the suction power of this Hayward skimmer depends on the pipe size. If you use a 1″ pipe, you will get 20-GPM. On the other hand, the airflow rate will be 80-GPM for a 2″ pipe.  So, your pool water will be crystal clear as it evenly sucks away fine to large debris & dust.

Afterward, it has a large debris basket to collect a lot of dust from reaching the pump filter. So, no clogging will occur that ensures the ultimate pool cleaning solution. Another benefit of the large capacity basket is- you don’t need to clean it frequently, which will be a time-saver. On top of that, the front and top access to the basket allows you to empty it quickly.

It is made of UV protection materials that increase its durability. The best part is- you will get immersive suction to suck away every dust & pollen to clean the water thoroughly.

 

2. Best Skimmer and Cleaner: PoolSkim Pool Skimmer and Pool Cleaner

Our Rating:

  • Suction power: A+
  • Easy to install: A
  • Sheerness: A+
  • Value for money: A
  • Easy to Remove: A

PoolSkim Pool Skimmer and Pool Cleaner:

  • Manufacture: PoolSkim
  • Product Dimension: 9 x 9 x 9 inches
  • ASIN: B002WKOEGM
  • Item Weight: 4 Pounds
  • Customer Reviews: 516 ratings (4.4 out of 5)

The PoolSkim Pool Skimmer is excellent for cleaning your pool water, removing out dust and debris. You can put together it to the return line that creates venturi effects. In return, it draws all the floating debris, pollen, and dust like a magnet and stores them to the mesh net.

The best feature of this PoolKim skimmer is- you can put it together with your suction cleaner. As a result, it reduces the pressure of your pool pump and filtration system. So, the workload of your pool filtration system will decrease and ensure its longevity.

The only con of this PoolSkim skimmer is you can’t set it up with the Intex pool brands.

Pros

  • Easy to clean
  • No effort requires as it cleans your pool water automatically
  • Prevent clogging 
  • Increase the longevity of your pool pump by reducing its workload

Cons

  • A bit challenging to set it up

 

3. Best Wide Mouth Skimmer: HydroTools by Swimline Wide Mouth Pool Skimmer

Our Rating:

  • Value for money: A+
  • Suction power: A
  • Easy to install: A+
  • Sheerness: A

HydroTools Wide-Mouth ABS Thru-Wall Pool Skimmer Specs:

  • Manufacture: Hayward
  • Product Dimension: 14.17 x 8.27 x 13.78 inches
  • Model: SPAG8939
  • Item Weight: 6.05 pounds
  • Customer Reviews: 258 ratings (4.6 out of 5)

We bring HydroTools Wide-Mouth Skimmer by Swimline for its affordable price and easy installation.

The HydroTools Skimmer comes with every piece of equipment, including screws, return fittings, a basket, and others for convenient setup.

Though the price of this skimmer is low, it doesn’t sacrifice its durability and cleaning efficiency. The Hydro Tool 8939 is made of UV-resistant ABS construction. As a result, you will use it for longer performance & usage. Therefore, its wide-mouth design ensures the ultimate water cleaning of your pool than ever before.

For hassle-free cleaning, the basket of this skimmer has both front and top access basket. In return, you can effortlessly empty the basket.

Pros

  • Budget-friendly
  • Easy to install
  • Durable
  • Convenient to empty & clean

Cons

  • The gasket comes with the basket is a bit smaller

 

4. Best Skimmer For Intex Pool: INTEX Deluxe Wall Mount Pool Surface Skimmer

Our Rating:

  • Sturdiness: A
  • Suction power: A
  • Easy to install: A+
  • Sheerness: A

INTEX Deluxe Wall Mount Swimming Pool Surface Skimmer Specs:

  • Manufacture: INTEX
  • Product Dimension: 13 x 8.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Model: 0078257589463
  • Item Weight: 3.99 pounds
  • Customer Reviews: 3,484 ratings (4.3 out of 5)

For the Intex pool, this Intex Deluxe Wall-Mount Skimmer is the best skimmer for your above-ground pools. You can set it up with the metal frame pool side-walls effortlessly with the adjustable brackets.

To get the best water cleaning efficiency, you need to set it up with the Intex Pool Pump, which has at least a minimum airflow rate of 800 per hour. By installing the skimmer with such a kind of pump, it can pick up leaves and debris optimally.

Afterward, the easy-to-remove basket lets you empty it and removes the debris, dust, and dirt out of the best quickly. For ensuring durability, this skimmer is made of polypropylene plastic and it isn’t affected by chemicals.

Pros

  • Convenient Installation
  • Prevent algae & harmful bacteria from growing up, enabling water circulation
  • Easy to empty & clean

Cons

  • Doesn’t compatible with other Pool brands

 

5. Best Floating Skimmer: SkimmerMotion Automatic Pool Cleaner, Skimmer & Clarifier

Our Rating:

  • Sturdiness: A
  • Suction power: A
  • Easy to install: A
  • Sheerness: A
  • Value for money: A
  • Stretch: A

SkimmerMotion – The Automatic Pool Skimmer & Clarifier Specs:

  • Manufacture: Only About Innovation LLC
  • Product Dimension:  9 x 4.5 x 9 inches
  • Model:  SKM-10
  • Item Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Customer Reviews: 416 ratings (3.7 out of 5)

At number 5, we bring SkimmerMoton Automatic Skimmer to remove debris & dirt from your pool.

The compact design of this skimmer is energy sufficient. It needs no power supply to suck away pollen, leaves, and dirt from your pool. You can increase the suction power of it by increasing the suction valve of your automatic vacuum.

The only con of this skimmer is it only works with an automatic vacuum or pool suction cleaner. So, if you have a pressure or electric pool cleaner, you can’t install it with your existing pool filtration system.

Pros

  • Easy to use 
  • Adjustable suction lets you suck away dirt & debris optimally
  • Convenient to install

Cons

  • The hose attached to the skimmer tangle with the vacuum cleaner hose periodically 

 

6. Best Telescopic Pool Skimmer: Swimline Leaf Skimmer with 48″ Adjustable Telescopic Pole

Our Rating:

  • Sturdiness: A
  • Value for money: A+
  • Durability: A
  • Easy to install: A
  • Sheerness: A

Swimline Leaf Skimmer Specs:

  • Manufacture: Swimline
  • Product Dimension: 35 x 12 x 1 inches
  • Model: 8051
  • Item Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Customer Reviews:  4,277 ratings (4.0 out of 5)

We bring Swimline Leaf Skimmer at number 6 for its affordable price & ability to pick up large leaves & dirt.

This manual skimmer comes with a 4-foot pole that lets you fish out leaves & debris from your pool efficiently. The best part is- you don’t need to spend extra bucks for using it to clean your pool water.

The con of using a traditional manual skimmer is- it takes a lot of time & effort to catch the leaves & debris. Therefore, you can’t pick up fine dust with this Swimline Leaf Skimmer.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to use
  • Require no maintenance cost
  • Affordable

Cons

  • A little bit flimsy & less durable

 

7. Best Pool Leaf Cleaner: Stargoods Heavy Duty Leaf Rake Cleaning Tool

Our Rating:

  • Sturdiness: A+
  • Maneuverability: A+
  • Durability: A 
  • Value for money: A
  • Lightweight: A+
  • Easy to install: A
  • Sheerness: A

Stargoods Heavy Duty Leaf Rake Cleaning Tool Specs:

  • Manufacture: Stargoods
  • Product Dimension: 17.72 x 0.79 x 9.84 inches
  • ASIN: B01BZ8BI7E
  • Item Weight: 10.6 ounces
  • Customer Reviews: 2,229 ratings (4.6 out of 5)

For those who think manual skimmer fails to catch fine dust, then this Startgoods Pool Skimmer will prove them wrong. Its fine mesh net bag offers you to capture large to subtle debris, leaves, and dirt optimally.

Therefore, the sturdy and extendable telescoping pole reaches every corner of your pool. So, you can catch dust & dirt from the entire pool evenly by standing your pool-side.

Pros

  • Easy to install & use
  • Durable
  • Offer optimum cleaning solution

Cons

  • A bit bulky & heavier

How To Choose The Best Above Ground Pool Skimmer

Choosing the right skimmer for your existing pool pump set up is challenging. Besides, every skimmer will not be compatible with every pool pump. Also, you need to consider the skimmer cleaning efficiency, debris capacity, and others. The following considerations will help you to pick the best skimmer for your above ground pool.

Compatibility

The first thing you must take into account is- whether the skimmer you are going to pick is compatible with your current pool pump setup or not.

There are various types of skimmers, including, thru-wall, solar, automatic, and manual. Not every skimmer will work with your pool pump setup. Some skimmers require a specific brand or pool pump system to put together.

Therefore, the type of pool you have in your backyard also matters a lot. For example, a skimmer is specially designed for an inground pool will not be compatible with your above-ground pool.

However, some skimmers work with both in-ground and above-ground pools.

So, before choosing a skimmer, take your time to read the manufacturer’s guidelines to check whether it is compatible with your pool or pool pump setup.

Cleaning Efficiency

Here cleaning efficiency means how the skimmer effectively catches the leaves or debris and prevents them from reaching the filter. After all, this is why you are going to purchase a skimmer.

Some skimmers can trap large leaves and dust efficiently. On the other hand, some of them are designed to catch small debris and pollen.

So, considering where your pool is located and what size of dust and leaves fall in it, pick a kind of skimmer that meets your requirements.

Capacity

The next thing you need to consider is the debris capacity of the skimmer. Every skimmer comes with a basket to store all the stuff and dust from your pool. The larger size of a basket will be, the more debris it can collect. The benefits of a large capacity basket is- you don’t require to detach it frequently to empty it, which will save your time.

In this case, you can choose the Hayward Dyna-Skim Above-Ground Pool Skimmer for its large debris capacity.

Easy emptying system

An efficient skimmer stores a lot of dust and leaves fast. As a result, you need to dump it several times in a day. So, we recommend you to choose a skimmer that is easy to detach from the pump setup. Also, pick a skinner that has quick top & front access to its basket so that you can remove the debris from it effortlessly. Indeed, the easier your skimmer to clean, the smoother your life will be.

Easy Installation

You should also consider the installation method of the skimmer. Every skimmer brand provides detailed instructions to install the skimmer with your pool pump set up. So, read the manufacturer instruction PDF file to learn how to set it up with your pool system. However, the automatic pool skimmer is easy to install with your pool pump setup and filter.

In case of easy installation, you can consider SkimmerMotion – The Automatic Pool Skimmer & Clarifier.

Durability

Finally, you need to consider the durability of the skimmer you are going to pick.

We recommend you choose a skimmer that is made of UV protection materials. As a result, your device doesn’t start degrading when you begin to use it.

In this case, you can go for Hayward Dyna-Skim Above-Ground Pool Skimmer as it uses UV protection materials as its construction element.

Types of pool skimmers

There are three major types of pool skimmers for inground and above ground pool, including: 

  • Manual Skimmer
  • Automatic Skimmer
  • Self-contained skimmer

Now, let’s know about each of them with details.

Manual Skimmer

A manual skimmer is not more than a mesh net attached with a pole. It is one of the most inexpensive skimmers options out there as you don’t need any extra equipment to run it. With it, you can only capture the large leaves & debris and remove them out from your pool. However, the manual skimmer fails to trap fine dust & debris. So, it will not be a good option if you want to keep your water crystal clear.

Automatic Skimmer

If you don’t want to spend a fair amount of time to clean your pool by using a manual skimmer, then it’s time to replace it with an automatic one.

An automatic skimmer is a type of device that floats around your pool and sucks up every dust, debris, and leaves automatically.

You need to attach the skimmer to the pump inlet drain. When the water of your pool goes through the hose, its small paddles carry the skimmer around the pool. And it captures the leaves and dirt as the time it goes around your pool.

Self-contained skimmer

A self-contained skimmer is operated by solar energy as its power source. It doesn’t connect with your pool pump setup. So, you don’t need to hassle to install it. However, the problem associated with it is it is more expensive compared to manual & automatic skimmers.

How to adjust pool skimmer suction

The primary use of a skimmer is to clean up the water of your pool by sucking away dirt, debris, and leaves.

But if your skimmer gets clogged by dirt or other nasty, the water can’t pass through the filter to clean the water.

In this case, you need to adjust your pool skimmer suction by unclogging it. 

To do it, first, open your skimmer by using the hatch, which can be found above your skimmer.

A few skimmers have a plate that is located under the filter to adjust airflow. By moving it, you can easily fix the issue and increase suction to increase its cleaning efficiency.

If this is not the problem, then it may form  a clog by the nasty debris. 

You can break the clogged effortlessly by exerting air pressure from the reverse direction to your suction.

To do this, connect the hose or air compressor to the skimmer to provide enough pressure to remove the clog.

In this way, you can easily adjust your pool skimmer suction by unclogging it with water or air pressure.

What is an above ground pool skimmer?

Skimmers are a kind of device specially designed to suck up floating debris from your pool water to keep the water clean. There are three primary skimmers available out there including, manual, automatic, and self-contained. 

Apart from these, some skimmers are specifically designed for specific pool types (inground and above-ground).

So, what is an above-ground pool skimmer?

An above-ground pool skimmer is a kind of skimmer specially designed to suck away floating debris, leaves, and dirt from your above-ground pool.

Fortunately, all the skimmers we enlisted above are compatible with the above-ground pool. So, you don’t need to hassle to find an ideal skimmer for your existing pool and pump setup.

How does an automatic pool skimmer work?

An automatic pool skimmer can’t alone clean the water of your pool. You can use it with your existing pool filtration system to draw floating leaves & debris into its basket and remove them away.

Let’s see how an automatic pool skimmer works.

First off, you need to put together the skimmer with your pool pump and filtration system. If you find it difficult to install it with your pool filtration system, check out the manufacturer installation PDF file.

Secondly, after setting it up with your pool cleaner system, turn on your pool pump.

Then, it starts creating movement of the water with the help of suction your pump provided. Afterward, you can see the water draw and collect floating debris, leaves, and dirt to the device to filter the water.

In this way, a skimmer helps to clean your pool water by sucking away debris.

In the market, you can also find a self-contained skimmer. This kind of skimmer is operated by solar power. And the best part is- the skimmer itself swims around your pool and collects dirt to remove out from your pool.

Automatic vs Manual Pool Skimmers

All the skimmers you find in the market broadly fall into two categories. They are: 

  • Automatic
  • Manual

As the name suggests, an automatic skimmer removes out debris & leaves automatically from your pool water. In contrast, a manual skimmer requires your hand to use to collect dirt & dust manually.

Now, let’s see what the difference lies between Automatic and Manual skimmer.

Cleaning Efficiency

A skimmer cleaning efficiency depends on the size and volume of dirt floating around your pool water.

The manual skimmer will be best if there falls less volume of dirt in your pool. It would be best to suck up large debris and leaves to fish out. However, for catching fine dust & pollen, a manual skimmer will not be perfect.

On the other hand, an automatic skimmer can capture subtle debris and remove them out efficiently.

Time & Effort

Of course, sucking away debris & dust from a pool with a manual skimmer takes a lot of time and effort. Because you need to stand pool-side and use the extendable pole with your hand to fish out messes like leaves.

In contrast, an automatic skimmer sucks up every leaf & dirt from your pool automatically by creating water movement. You just dump its basket timely when it gets filled.

Cost

In terms of maintenance cost, a manual skimmer will be your go-to option. It doesn’t eat your single buck as you need only your hand to grip the pole to remove the mess.

But using an automatic skimmer costs you more as it is operated by electricity. Besides, over time, you also need to replace its parts, which eat a lot of bucks.

We recommend you to have an automatic skimmer in your lineup as it offers the ultimate pool cleaning solution.

Wide mouth skimmer vs regular skimmer

Which is the best: wide-mouth skimmer vs. regular skimmer?

There is a myth that a wide-mouth skimmer is more efficient compared to a regular skimmer in terms of pool water cleaning.

And this myth is spread by the advertiser or manufacturer who sell wide-mouth design skimmer.

The main difference between the wide-mouth skimmer and the regular skimmer is the size of the skimmer mouth.

The size of the mouth of the wide-mouth skimmer is wider compared to the conventional skimmer. So, more water will pass through into it that can draw a large amount of debris & dust into its basket. As a result, it can clean the pool water quickly.

On the other hand, due to the small-size mouth, the regular skimmer allows a little amount of water into it. In return, a little amount of debris it draws and stores it in its basket.

To sum up, a wide-mouth skimmer can clean up pool water a bit quicker than the traditional skimmer.

But the cleaning efficiency of both types of skimmer depends on the suction power.

How to install Hayward Wide Mouth Skimmer

Follow the below step by step guide to install the Hayward Skimmer.

First off, put together the face-plate double gasket at the skimmer cutout in your pool wall.

Then, reach over the pool top rail and press both the face-plate & liner against the gasket and the skimmer cutout.

Afterward, using a blunt object, hit the top corner holes. With the skimmer, Hayward provides you two self-threading flat head screws. Now, insert those two screws into the top corner holes of the face-plate.

Secondly, push the screws through the holes that will penetrate in the liner and the double gasket. Now, from the outside of your pool, align the skimmer body with these two screws. Afterward, tighten them a bit.

Thirdly, lightly tighten the screws and insert the remaining screws through the face-plate, gasket, liner, and the two holes.

Finally, use a knife to cut the liner carefully to prevent yourself from cutting the gasket. 

Q&A

Why is my skimmer not skimming?

Your skimmer will not be skimming for the following reasons:

  • If the dirt and debris stuck in your basket 
  • Low or too high water level
  • When the filter gets too dirty

Clean your basket regularly and backwash your filter once a month to avoid this problem.

How many skimmers does a pool need?

Generally, it depends on the size of your pool. However, the rule of thumb is there should have a skimmer per 400 sq feet.

Can you run the pool pump if the water is below the skimmer?

No, you can’t as it will draw air instead of water to run the pump that heats up the pump.

How high should pool water be on the skimmer?

The water level of your pool should be 1/3 or 1/2 of the way of your skimmer’s opening.

What happens if pool water is above the skimmer?

If the water level of your pool above the skimmer, it fails to suck away debris, leaves, and dirt efficiently. So, your pool water will remain unclean and unhealthy for swimming.

Why are there 2 holes in the bottom of a pool skimmer?

The first hole of your skimmer allows water to pass through to the pump. On the other hand, the second hole helps to prevent the pump from running dry.

Can you put a skimmer on an Intex pool?

Yes, you can. But you need to face the hassle to cut the gasket into two pieces. Then, set up the skimmer on the liner. Afterward, you should cut the liner out at the opening of your skimmer. We recommend you to get a skimmer that is compatible with your Intex pool.

Conclusion

Finding the best above ground pool skimmer that offers the ultimate pool cleaning solution is a challenging task. Therefore, it also tiresome work to get the right skimmer that is compatible with your existing pool filtration system.

To help you out from this hassle, we reviewed those top 7 skimmers for your above ground pools. Now, what you need to do is- depending on your pool pump setup, choose one that will work for you.

However, we recommend you the Hayward Dyna-Skim most. It comes with a longer lifespan, great suction power, and compatible with every pool brand.

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