Pool skimmer types – which to choose
With so many types, models and makes of pool skimmer on the market, how to do you choose the right skimmer for your pool?
The first thing to do is to consider the type of pool you have. Is it built into the ground (an ‘in-ground’ pool)? Or is it an above-ground pool?
Certain pool skimmers are designed specifically for one or the other types of swimming pools. Other pool skimmers are suitable for both types of pool. Some of are designed to work on their own; others to skim independently, under their own power.
A pool skimmer can be chosen to work as a sole skimmer; others can add supplemental skimming capacity when one pool skimmer is simply not up to the job.
Keeping the latter in mind, other important factors to guide your decision would be:
- The size of your swimming pool: In general, one pool skimmer is needed per 800 cubic feet of water for a residential pool, and 400 cubic feet for a commercial pool.
- How often your pool is used? If you are using it every day, you’ll need to ensure your skimmer or skimmers work to help keep the pool clean daily. The more the pool is used, the more the ‘swimmer debris’ that must be skimmed along with fallen leaves and other organic matter. This includes hair, skin, and sunscreen residues. This is a very important consideration for any high-use pool – especially if being used by children. If you rely on extra chlorine to keep the pool clean daily, swimmers might experience adverse effects from the chemical load in the water. Maximize skimming power with the right pool skimmers (or combination thereof) to minimize unnecessary use of pool chemicals.
- How much garden debris lands in the pool daily? If you have a lot of foliage around your pool, and a lot of flowering plants, you will need high skimming capacity. (If you don’t have a deep skimmer net for manual skimming – start there.)
- Climate and weather: How often and to what extent your pool needs to be cleaned of large amounts of debris after storms, wind, and rain? If your pool skimmer works fine for most of the year, but you find you need to skim the pool manually after heavy weather, you may need a bigger, more powerful skimmer, a robotic skimmer, or floating skimmer you can attach to the pool vacuum. This brings us to another very important consideration:
- How much time do you have to manually clean your pool? You may wish to minimize any manual skimming (e.g., with a skimmer net or with a vacuum with a skimmer). In this case, you’d need a very efficient skimmer with heavy duty skimming capabilities, or a supplemental skimmer. Floating and Robotic skimmers are ideal for ‘round-the-clock’ full pool skimming that will reduce the need for manual skimming.
Further crucial considerations before choosing a pool skimmer include:
- Do you need to choose a skimmer for a new installation in a new pool?
- Or do you need to decide on a replacement skimmer?
- Or perhaps simply a new skimmer basket?
Choosing a pool skimmer for In-Ground Pool
If you have an in-ground pool, your pool skimmer housing (with or without a weir door) will be built into the side of the pool. In most cases, deciding on what pool skimmer is right for your pool would then be what kind of replacement skimmer basket to choose.
Choosing a pool skimmer for Above-Ground Pools and for Supplementary Skimming of In-Ground Pools
If you have an above-ground pool, you will need to add the pool skimmer unit. Above-ground pool skimmers work in the same way as in-ground skimmers. However, they are clipped on or mounted instead of built in. This widens the options for an automatic pool skimmer for an above-ground pool.
- Should you wish to replace your above-ground pool skimmer, you can choose the same model, or replace it with a bigger one. The latter may require widening of the hole made in the side to accommodate the skimmer face and weir. In this case, the best choice for a replacement skimmer for an above-ground pool would be a ‘wide-mouth skimmer’. This has a skimmer plate can be cut to fit.
- Floating skimmers range from cheap and simple skimmer baskets can chug around behind the pool cleaner, to skimmers with extra water circulating motion that can clean many leaves and other large debris.
- There are many models of robotic pool skimmer to choose from. Although more expensive than other types of skimmers, a good quality, solar-powered robot skimmer will pay for itself in no time.
Whatever kind of pool skimmer you choose – go for quality and durability. Keep in mind that when to comes to pool skimmers, cheap is not cost-effective. A good skimmer that lasts and continues to skim effectively for years has the potential to save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars in pool maintenance costs over the long-term.
There are good ‘cheap’ skimmers, but to make the most of what your automatic or robotic pool skimmer can save you, consider making a wise investment. There’s a reason why most of the top selling pool skimmers have extra cleaning, functioning, operational and ease-of-installation features.
But before you break the bank for the latest robot skimmer with remote control, docking station and water clarifying capacity…
Manual Skimmer Nets are still the best skimmers. If you have the time for manual skimming: you can remove more debris with a good skimmer net than even the best pool skimmer. Sand the only way to skim your pool like a professional, is to do it manually with a skimmer net on a telescopic pole.
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