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Best Pond Skimmer | Reviews & Buyer’s Guide For A Healthy Environment

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Building an outdoor pond, water garden, feature, or aquascape can be an incredibly exciting adventure. However, most people do not consider the maintenance required while they are building their new aquascape.

One of the best ways to keep you from continually working on your pond or water garden is by installing a pond skimmer. Whether you are building new or are looking to reduce the maintenance on your existing pond, we can help.

What Are The Best Pond Skimmers?

We have done the hard work for you. We have searched through hundreds of different pond skimmers and countless customer reviews to build a list of the best pond skimmers available.

Below are 10 of the top-rated pond skimmers you can use in your outdoor pond, water garden, or water feature.
easy to install - provides efficient mechanical filtration
  • A High Quality Unit With Some Excellent Features
  • The Smaller Filter Above The Pump Will Help Reduce The Amount Of Material Getting Into Your Filter System
  • Easy To Install And Maintain
very sturdy - high quality
  • Easy To Install
  • Very Powerful Filter
  • Compact Skimmer, Durable And Well Designed
easy to install and maintain - designed for use with 2000 - 4200 U.S. GPH Pums
  • Great Product And Sturdy
  • Great Instructions And Easy To Install
  • A Heavy-Duty Surface Skimmer And Filter That Provides Essential Filtration To Ponds
excellent design - strong and extremely durable construction
  • very high quality
  • compact and efficient design
  • made in the USA
assembly not required - has a uniqued design that keeps your fish safe
  • made in United States
  • Removes Debris And Other Objects Efficiently
  • Easy To Clean And Maintain
provides mechanical filtration for outstanding water quality
  • Great Skimmer For The Price
  • easy to install and easy to clean
  • has an outstanding costumer service
provides efficient biological filtration - extremely durable
  • Very Easy To Install And Maintain
  • The Box Design Helps Protect Your Internal Filtration Equipment
simple and effective - great product
  • easy to install and maintain
  • Removes Surface Debris With A Quickness
  • Perfect For Calm Water Skimming
great design - highly recommended
  • perfect fit and easy to install
  • easy to set-up and clean
  • keeps water clean
easy to remove and clean leaf basket - great value
  • Super Easy To Set Up And Sucks In A Lot Of Debris.
  • Keeps Your Pond Surface Clean Without Special Hookup
  • Easy To Maintain Skimmer

Highlights

  • a high quality unit with some excellent features
  • The smaller filter above the pump will help reduce the amount of material getting into your filter system
  • easy to install and maintain

The Aquascape Signature Series Pond Skimmer is one of the best skimmers we’ve found. The skimmer is built with commercial-grade materials and a lid that resembles rocks, so it is easy to blend into your existing aquascape.

The design of the skimmer makes it easy to clean and maintain. It resists corrosion so you can use it in both saltwater and freshwater ponds. The materials also hold up well in the elements, so you do not have to worry about the plastic becoming brittle and cracking.

Pros & Cons


Pros

  • The design helps it blend into your aquascape.
  • Moves up to 10,000 gallons-per-hour.
  • Locking door helps keep fish out.
  • Easy to install and maintain.

Cons

  • Somewhat expensive but has a great warranty.

Did You Know?

Avoid stacking massive rocks on your skimmer because the lid may buckle under the pressure.

Highlights

  • easy to install
  • very powerful filter
  • compact skimmer, durable and well designed

The Atlantic Water Gardens PS3900 features a durable design with a door that helps optimize the amount of water flowing through it. The internal support bar helps prevent damage to the lid, so this skimmer can be stacked underneath rocks and plants.

As a surface skimmer, the heavy-duty design is built to withstand freezing temperatures. Hiding the box out of sight (and out of mind) is easy to do. The box is also simple to maintain and easy to install, making it a great choice.

Pros & Cons


Pros

  • Heavy-duty design is built to last.
  • Perfect for any sized pond.
  • Friendly to planted ponds with fish.
  • The strong lid won’t cave in under pressure.

Cons

  • The skimmer can be difficult to attach to your liner.

Did You Know?

A good skimmer works in conjunction with your filtration system to keep your water clean.

3. Laguna Pond Skimmer Filter - easy to install and maintain

Highlights

  • great product and sturdy
  • great instructions and easy to install
  • a heavy-duty surface skimmer and filter that provides essential filtration to ponds

The Laguna Pond Skimmer Filter is explicitly catered to beginners with smaller ponds. The design and materials used make it flexible and very durable. It’s recommended to use a pump in the range of 2,000 gallons-per-hour to 4,000 gallons-per-hour with the box.

The Laguna pond skimmer features an internal basin that lets you install the pump inside of the skimmer box. This means it’s easier to clean than many other models and can hold a significantly more significant amount of floating debris.

Pros & Cons


Pros

  • Simple to install and easy to maintain.
  • Built-in compartment to house your pump.
  • It is priced lower than many other skimmers.

Cons

  • The large design can be hard to disguise.

Did You Know?

Submerged skimmer boxes work excellent in larger ponds with external filtration systems.

4. Helix Drilled Skimmer Package - excellent design

Highlights

  • very high quality
  • compact and efficient design
  • made in the uSA

If you’re living in an area that has extreme weather patterns, such as storms and below-zero temperatures, the Helix Drilled Skimmer Package is a great option. It is built using materials that have proven to withstand some of the most extreme weather.

One of the most significant selling points of the Helix Drilled Skimmer Package is that it is safe for use in fish ponds. Larger species, such as Koi and Oscars, will not be able to get into the skimmer box, so you do not have to worry about them harming themselves.

Pros & Cons


Pros

  • This skimmer works great in freezing climates.
  • Built for use with fish and plants.
  • The design keeps debris from backing out of the skimmer.

Cons

  • Some customers complained the basket isn’t big enough.

Did You Know?

Fish are naturally curious and will want to inspect your skimmer box.

5. OASE Po Living Water Filtoskim 3000 - assembly not required

Highlights

  • Made in United States
  • removes debris and other objects efficiently
  • easy to clean and maintain

The OASE Filtoskim 3000 is another skimmer box that efficiently removes debris, leaves, twigs and other objects from the surface of your pond. The door on this box is crafted to make cleaning it easier to do and keep your fish out of the basket.

The internal basket can be accessed by removing the top of the skimmer and is designed to be easy to access. Inside of the skimmer is a basin for your pond pump so you can keep it out of the way and avoid having it take away from your pond’s visual appeal.

Pros & Cons


Pros

  • The OASE is designed to house your pump.
  • The unique design keeps your fish safe.
  • The skimmer is easy to clean and maintain.

Cons

  • The flexible hoses are inherently weak.

Did You Know?

Submersible skimmer boxes help remove decaying debris that sinks to the bottom of your pond.

6. Waterscapes International PS4500 Pond Skimmer - provides mechanical filtration for outstanding water quality

Highlights

  • great skimmer for the price
  • easy to install and easy to clean
  • has an outstanding costumer service

Atlantic Water Gardens (or Waterscapes International) is another company known for building high-quality skimmer boxes. This box measures 9-inches in size, making it one of the larger skimmer boxes we have featured.

It is designed to be used in ponds up to 600 square feet in surface area and with pumps in the 2,000 gallon-per-hour to 4,000 gallon-per-hour range. The skimmer box helps manage your mechanical filtration and can be used in stocked fish ponds.

Pros & Cons


Pros

  • The box skimmer measures 9 inches wide.
  • The filtration system is easy to remove.
  • Perfect for fish ponds and planted aquascapes.

Cons

  • The lid has been known to crumble under rocks.

Did You Know?

Floating pond skimmers work best at removing floating leaves, twigs, and other debris.

7. Aquascape 43020 Signature Series 200 Pond Skimmer - provides efficient biological filtration

Highlights

  • very easy to install and maintain
  • the box design helps protect your internal filtration equipment

The Aquascape 43020 Signature Series Pond Skimmer (Model 200) works great in ponds with less than 200 square feet of surface area. The smaller model features a 6-inch wide door that keeps your fish safe and large debris out.

The design of the box helps protect your internal filtration equipment. The plastics are also durable and will not become brittle or crack as time goes on. The price point of this skimmer makes it incredibly attractive.

Pros & Cons


Pros

  • This is an extremely durable skimmer.
  • The design makes it easy to install and maintain.
  • The debris basket is simple to remove.

Cons

  • It can be difficult to install into your liner.

Did You Know?

If you have freezing temperatures, you will want a skimmer that is rated “heavy-duty.”

8. OASE 57395 Aquaskim 40” Pond Skimmer - simple and effective

Highlights

  • easy to install and maintain
  • removes surface debris with a quickness
  • perfect for calm water skimming

For larger and medium-sized ponds, the OASE 40” Aquaskim Pond Skimmer works with both dual inlet pond pumps and pumps in the 1,600 gallon-per-hour to 3,500 gallon-per-hour range. It works great for keeping algae to a minimum.

The skimmer is designed to work in ponds that are, as you guessed it, 40 inches deep. The top of the skimmer sits near the surface of the water, so you do not have to worry about fish getting into it and harming themselves.

Pros & Cons


Pros

  • The Aquaskim is simple to maintain.
  • Works with a large variety of pump models.
  • Quickly cleans murky water.
  • It is priced at the lower end of the spectrum.

Cons

  • You will need to anchor the skimmer in place.
  • Not for use in fish ponds or planted ponds.

Did You Know?

For your skimmer to do its job, it needs to be matched to the size of your pond.

9. Tetrapond In-Pond Skimmer -great design

Highlights

  • perfect fit and easy to install
  • easy to set-up and clean
  • keeps water clean

The In-Pond Skimmer Box by TetraPond is one of the more budget-friendly skimmer boxes that we’ve featured on our list. It works excellent for ponds smaller than 1,000 gallons in size and can be used with pumps ranging from 500 gallons-per-hour to 1,900 gallons-per-hour.

Because TetraPond manufactures the skimmer box, you know that it has years of research and development backing it. Don’t let the lower price tag push you away from purchasing it because it is incredibly efficient.

Pros & Cons


Pros

  • One of the best budget skimmers we’ve found.
  • Perfect for ponds up to 1,000 gallons in size.
  • The kit includes your hose and adapters.

Cons

  • It could be dangerous for smaller fish species.

Did You Know?

If you have fish or loose plants in your pond, make sure your skimmer has a door to keep them out and safe.

10. OASE Swimskim Floating Pond Skimmer - easy to remove and clean leaf basket

Highlights

  • super easy to set up and sucks in a lot of debris.
  • keeps your pond surface clean without special hookup
  • easy to maintain skimmer

The last (but not least) skimmer box on our list is the OASE Swimskim Floating Pond Skimmer. It is designed to be used in ponds up to 300 square feet in surface area and can adapt to ponds of any depth.

The internal aerator helps oxygenate your water while working to skim debris from the surface. It is a unique design that holds the door over the basket and keeps it in place until you are ready to perform maintenance.

Pros & Cons


Pros

  • Great for budget-conscious pond owners.
  • The design features an aerator.
  • The skimmer is easy to maintain.

Cons

  • This skimmer requires more maintenance than others.

Did You Know?

If you want to keep your pond clean, you need to keep your skimmer clean, too.

Best Pond Skimmers Buyer’s Guide

Putting the amount of work (and money) into your outdoor pond means you need to make sure you are doing what you can to keep it in optimal condition.

Installing a pond skimmer can help reduce the amount of work you have to do and the amount of stress you’ll face. However, finding the perfect pond skimmer for your specific situation can sometimes be challenging to do.

Right now, there are currently hundreds of different skimmers available, each with their features and benefits, as well as their downsides. Understanding how skimmers function and what you should be looking for can be incredibly helpful.

This buyer’s guide will help you understand what you’re getting, so you know you will only need to purchase your skimmer once.

What Are Pond Skimmers?

Pond skimmers operate inside of your broader ecosystem. They help your filtration system function by keeping the top of your pond clean and free of debris. If this debris makes its way into your filtration system, it could create clogs and overheat your pump.

A good skimmer will help maintain mechanical filtration and biological filtration so that your pump and filter aren’t working nearly as hard. Since your pond is continuously exposed to debris, using a skimmer will help get more life out of your pump.

Your pond is also subject to biological contamination, in the form of plant and fish waste or biodegradable contents from the environment surrounding your pond.

A functioning skimmer will collect the debris as it moves around on the surface of your pond. It works by pulling debris into the skimmer and collecting it inside of a net or basket. The debris can then be removed from the basket to return proper flow to your pump.

Is A Pond Skimmer Needed?

Unlike a river or stream that is always moving water, your pond is a closed system that does not have the same circulation. This means that debris collecting inside of your pond is going to sit and stagnate instead of being moved away in the current.

Debris that floats on top of your water or sinks to the bottom will begin to decay and create harmful bacteria, promote algae growth, and cause other issues. These issues are problematic and increase the amount (and cost) of maintaining your pond.

Decaying debris can be toxic to your fish, harmful to your plants, and be potentially dangerous to outside wildlife that may drink from your pond. The bacteria deteriorates into nitrites and nitrates that produce ammonia during the decaying process.

This ammonia, algae, and other harmful bacteria not only create dangerous water but also create a situation where your water will develop a strong odor. This odor is unpleasant and keeps you from wanting to enjoy your aquascape.

On the same note, the buildup of debris and decay in your pond creates an unsightly visual appeal that takes away from your landscape, rather than adding to it. If you want to enjoy your pond with minimal upkeep, a pond skimmer is necessary.

Difference Between Skimmers And Pond Filters

Pond skimmers are designed to be used at the surface of your pond to help aid your filtration system in removing harmful contaminants and debris. Pond filters are typically installed as submersible systems that rest on the bottom of your pond.

Pond filters will help remove smaller contaminants by drawing water into the inlet of the pump, filtering out the smaller debris, and then recirculating the water through the pump’s outlet. This helps filter the impurities out of your ecosystem and keeps the water clean.

Skimmers, on the other hand, will pivot at the water’s surface to collect debris that stays on the surface and doesn’t make its way into your filtration system. Skimmers ensure that floating debris is unable to contaminate your system.

If you are anything like us, having a fresh pond free of debris and harmful bacteria is your top priority. A high-quality skimmer working in combination with a submersible filtration system will guarantee that your pond stays clean and clear.

How To Choose The Best Pond Skimmer

Before you purchase a new pond skimmer, there are a few considerations that you’ll need to make. Understanding each of these considerations will help you ensure that you are getting the perfect skimmer for your pond or water feature.
  1. skimmer size

  2. The size of your skimmer makes a massive difference in the price you can expect to pay. Depending on the size of your pond, you may be able to use a smaller skimmer while saving more money.

    With ponds at the smaller end of the spectrum, you can use a compact skimmer that is designed to save space and still function well. To give you an example, if your pond is smaller than 1,000 gallons, you need a skimmer that is rated for 1,000 gallons.

    If you have plans to increase the size of your pond down the road, you can purchase a skimmer that provides more flow and better filtration capabilities. However, it’s worth noting that these skimmers will cost more upfront.

    Matching the skimmer’s rating to your pond size is relatively easy to do. Understand the flow rate on your pump and ensure it can move the same amount of water that’s in your pond. If you have 1,000 gallons of water, you should be able to move 1,000 gallons-per-hour.

  3. required maintenance

  4. At some point, you need to think about the amount of work that will go into making sure your skimmer and filtration system operates at peak efficiency.

    Even though keeping your skimmer clean isn’t necessarily what most would consider an “amazing day outdoors,” it needs to be done. That means you want to ensure that your skimmer is known for being easy to maintain.

    Purchasing a model that is known for being easy to clean and maintain will save you a significant amount of time and frustration. That time can be spent enjoying your pond rather than being bent over cleaning it every week.

  5. expected lifespan

  6. For larger ponds, especially those filled with fish and plants, you’re going to need a heavy-duty skimmer that is capable of keeping up with the extra load.

    A skimmer that’s rated “heavy-duty” is recommended for areas that face extremely low temperatures during the colder months. Heavy-duty skimmers will require less maintenance because of their design. This means you can stay indoors during the winter.

    If you face cold or freezing temperatures, you want to ensure that the skimmer you are thinking about purchasing is designed to operate in those temperature ranges. If it isn’t, you could find yourself replacing it during your first cold spell.

  7. Fish-Friendly Design

  8. If you have stocked fish in your ponds, such as Koi or goldfish, you are going to want to realize that they are curious about their environment. This means they could potentially become stuck in your skimmer.

    There are certain skimmers that are explicitly designed with fish in mind. These skimmers feature a door that helps keep your fish out. Others will use a net in front of the opening to ensure that your fish cannot enter into the pump portion.

Different Styles Of Pond Skimmers

On top of different features, there are also quite a few different styles of pond skimmers.

Knowing what you need from the skimmer will help you choose the right style for your specific pond or aquascape.
  1. floating pond skimmer

  2. A floating pond skimmer rests on the water’s surface, just as the name implies. The skimmer works to collect any debris that is floating at the top of the water. These skimmers will typically move around the water as the water circulates.

    For smaller ponds, floating skimmers are usually the best choice you can make. Floating skimmers do not require nearly the same plumbing as other types of skimmers, which means they are cheaper to buy and easier to install.

    A floating skimmer usually has an internal pump so you can drop the skimmer down into your pond and start watching it go to work.

    However, on the flip side of that, the internal pump on a floating skimmer means you end up doing more maintenance to keep it functioning correctly.

  3. skimmer box

  4. A skimmer box for ponds is built into the pond with the opening of the skimmer placed at the water’s surface. This allows plants and leaves that are floating on the surface of the water to make their way through the door of the skimmer.

    A large basket is located inside of the skimmer that allows it to collect the floating debris so you can remove it at a later date. Because of their design, you will need to attach the skimmer to the pond’s liner and ensure it doesn’t leak.

    Skimmer boxes work great if your pond is stocked with fish. These also work amazingly well for large ponds that are heavily decorated. You can easily hide the skimmer box out of sight (and out of mind) so that it doesn’t detract from your pond’s visual appeal.

    Skimmer boxes tend to require less maintenance than other types, but they do need a stronger pump to function correctly.

  5. submerged skimmer

  6. The next type of skimmer is a submerged skimmer. These are, as the name implies, submerged and secured to the bottom of your pond. These are directly connected to your pond’s pump so that it can draw water in from the depths of your pond.

    Submerged skimmers work great for ponds of every size and are designed to be discrete to avoid creating eyesores. These are typically able to handle larger debris loads than other types of skimmers, such as floating skimmers.

    On the other hand, though, they are more challenging to clean and are not usually recommended for ponds that are stocked with fish or plants that are not secured in some way.

What Is The Best Pond Skimmer In 2019?

Regardless of the style of pond skimmer you choose, the equipment can help take your pond from looking like a disaster to being visually appealing.

They’re designed to reduce your maintenance schedule by keeping the debris that would typically decay out of your water. By reducing the amount of decay, the harmful toxins (like nitrites and nitrates) do not have space to grow and potentially hurt your fish and plants.

As long as you are keeping the size of your pond and any special features in mind while you are shopping, finding the perfect skimmer becomes easier to do.

After extensive research, we have found the best pond skimmer in 2019 is the Aquascape Signature Series Pond Skimmer.

Affiliate links & Images from Amazon Product Advertising API. Last update on 2019-11-15.

Top Editor's Choice on Pond Skimmer

SaleBestseller No. 1
SaleBestseller No. 2
Aquascape 43020 Signature Series 200 Pond Skimmer, Black
Provides efficient biological filtration for ponds up to 200 Square feet
Bestseller No. 4
U.S. Pool Supply Professional Spa, Hot Tub, Pool Hand Leaf Skimmer Net with...
ENJOY A CLEAN POOL: Ideal daily use hand-held 2 foot long leaf skimmer that provides fast, easy and efficient cleanup of leaves, bugs, bees and debris in spas, hot tubs, ponds, small swimming pools or a inflatable kid, kiddie pools.
Bestseller No. 5
OASE 706759500401 Swimskim Floating Pond Skimmer
The easy-to-use SwimSkim is a powerful surface skimmer that floats along the surface of ponds up to 270 ft2 removing debris.
Bestseller No. 7
Aquascape Signature Series Pond Skimmer Filter, 400, Black | 43021
Provides efficient biological filtration for ponds up to 400 Square feet
Bestseller No. 8
Atlantic Water Gardens PS3900 Pond Skimmer, 6" Weir Width
Skimmers house and protect your pump and plumbing while clearing surface debris from the pond
Bestseller No. 9

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