When shopping for the best pond skimmer, the most important factors to consider are its durability, maintenance requirements, and size. Below, I have handpicked my favorite products based on these features.
I love it when homes, farms, and gardens have ponds, and it can add value and appeal to many properties. However, maintaining ponds is not as simple as you might think. You have to invest in a quality pump and a skimmer to keep the water in your pond clean.
With this in mind, I researched a ton of articles and user reviews to find the seven best pond skimmers. Each product will include a detailed review as well as a list of the pros and cons, so you can compare them side-by-side and save some research work since I’ve already done it.
I will also explain the essential factors to consider before buying a pond skimmer, and answer some FAQs about pond maintenance in general.
What Is A Pond Skimmer?
It is a part of the filtration system for your pond. A pond skimmer works as the first line of defense by trapping the dirt and debris in the water. It usually features a removable debris basket, net, or screen where the litter is deposited. This waste is then transported into a filter, which is removable for easy cleaning.
Overall, it is essential to have a skimmer. Without it, your pond or any closed water systems are continuously exposed to outdoor elements, such as dried leaves and twigs. They can also collect biological waste that comes from fish, plants, and flowers within the surrounding ecosystem.
Do I Really Need to Use a Pond Skimmer?
Unlike rivers and streams, a pond is a closed water system. That simply means that any pond debris can end up floating on top of the water instead of being swept away due to the moving currents. This floating debris can include fallen leaves, twigs, plastic, and other materials. These can eventually sink down into the bottom of the pond and decay.
Unfortunately, this decaying debris can harm fish, plants, and other wildlife within the pond ecosystem. It can also result in a foul odor that can prevent you and your fish from enjoying the garden pond.
Luckily, a skimmer can prevent these issues by trapping dirt and other debris before they reach the watery depths. This way, you can achieve cleaner and healthier pond water.
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Top 7 Best Pond Skimmers
Below are my top picks for the best pond skimmers on the market. Each one can effectively prevent dirt and debris from sinking down to the bottom of the pond. Thus, it can ensure crystal-clear and healthy water.
1. Aquascape Series 200 Pond Skimmer – Editor’s Pick
The first product on our list of the best skimmer boxes is the Aquascape Series 200 Pond Skimmer.
It offers effective and quick mechanical filtration for fish ponds up to 200 square feet, owing to the leaf and debris net. This net can trap dirt, fallen leaves, and other surface debris on the water. Thus, it can reduce the need for maintenance and ultimately improve water quality.
Additionally, this debris net is removable and features a six-inch floating door opening. These make cleaning and disposing of waste easier and more convenient.
Meanwhile, this customer favorite Aquascape pond skimmer enclosure box features a durable and UV-protected polyethylene construction. It can withstand harsh weather conditions, including both scalding and freezing temperatures. Therefore, you can maximize the pond filter and pump if you already have both pond installations.
Moreover, the rounded shape of this best pond skimmer provides maximum strength. There is even a durable lid to protect the filter components.
And if ever the filter basket is not enough, this skimmer includes an optional filter brush cartridge. It can ensure cleaner and healthier pond water.
Aquascape even offers a lifetime limited warranty. So if ever the product does not meet your requirements, this guarantee allows you to ask for a refund or return. It also ensures that you are not getting low-quality pond skimmers.
Most importantly, pond skimmer reviews for this particular model were positive. If there is any critique, it would be due to the lack of hose fitting; you have to buy it separately. Plus, the open design of the skimmer can lead to minimal leaks.
The pros far outweigh the cons, though.
For this reason, I deemed the Aquascape Signature Series 200 as the best pond skimmer on the market today. I highly suggest it to those who have smaller ponds or atlantic water gardens and want to reduce maintenance.
- Mechanical filtration for ponds up to 200 square feet for collecting debris
- Durable and UV-protected polyethylene construction ensures durability
- The rounded shape of the pond pump skimmer provides maximum strength
- Optional filter brush cartridge to further keep pond clean
- Lifetime limited warranty
- No hose fitting is included in the package means that you have to buy it separately
- The open design of the skimmer box can lead to leaks
2. Aquascape Series 400 Pond Skimmer – Runner-Up
If you liked the previous product but need something with a larger capacity, the Aquascape Series 400 Pond Skimmer might be the right pond skimmer for your needs.
It can provide efficient biological filtration for ponds with up to 400 square feet of water volume. The included removable leaf and debris makes this possible by trapping dirt and other waste floating in the water.
Additionally, the six-inch opening allows you to remove the debris quickly and easily. Meanwhile, the durable lid offers protection of the filter components against leaks and harsh outdoor conditions. Besides durability, this lid also has an attractive design that blends seamlessly into the pond design.
Furthermore, the rounded shape of the skimmer provides maximum strength to ensure structural integrity. Plus, the pond skimmer itself uses an extremely durable and UV-protected polyethylene construction.
There is even a filter mat included in the package. This item effectively pulls smaller debris and sediment out of the water. Thus, it can reduce maintenance and potential issues with water quality.
Finally, as part of the Aquascape Series Skimmers, this pond skimmer box is also backed by a lifetime limited warranty. The manufacturer can allow you to return or refund the product if it does not meet your requirements.
But before buying this floating skimmer, it is essential to know its downsides. First, some customers were disappointed that the package did not come with manual instructions. Second, a few users said that the bolts come out easily.
Overall, though, the Aquascape Series 400 is still among the best box skimmers available today. I highly recommend it to those with medium-sized ponds or atlantic water gardens.
- Efficient biological filtration removes unwanted dirt and debris
- 400 square feet coverage area is ideal for small to medium-sized ponds
- Large weir door opening with durable lid makes removal of debris easy and convenient
- Durable and UV-protected material
- Lifetime limited warranty
- The lack of manual instruction might make it difficult to install the pond skimmer
- A few users said that the bolts come out easily
3. Aquascape Series 1000 Pond Skimmer
Those with larger ponds can consider investing in the Aquascape Series 1000 Pond Skimmer.
This pond skimmer provides effective biological filtration for ponds with up to 1000 square feet of water volume. So if you want to keep the water in your pond clean and minimize maintenance, it is worth considering this item.
Additionally, this heavy-duty pond skimmer box has a large basket that can catch debris and filter dirty water. Meanwhile, a removable net makes it easy to remove or dispose of dirt and debris from the basket.
What’s more, it is housed in a high-density polyethylene basket, which offers protection against harmful UV rays. Plus, it can withstand freezing temperatures and other harsh conditions due to the overall durable construction.
The rounded shape of the basket even adds to the structural integrity of the pond skimmer. There is also a lid with a flip top cover that can protect the biological filtration system.
Finally, this Laguna pond skimmer offers a lifetime limited warranty. Thus, if you are disappointed with the product, you can ask for a refund or return.
Despite these advantages, there are still several downsides to consider before buying this item. First, the package does not include hose fittings. Second, a few users reported that they did not receive any manual instructions.
Nevertheless, I still think the Aquascape Series 1000 is among the best floating pond skimmers, especially for its price and other benefits. I highly recommend it to those who need a skimmer for handling 10,000 GPH or 1,000 square feet fish ponds.
- Efficient biological filtration that fits larger ponds up to 1,000 square feet
- Included removable leaf and debris net to ensure clean water quality
- A six-inch weir door opening makes it easy to collect debris and dirt
- A high-density polyethylene basket provides durability and protection against harsh weather conditions
- Lifetime limited warranty guarantees the Laguna skimmer can last you a long time
- No hose fittings included in the package
- A few users said that it did not come with manual instructions
4. Waterscapes International Pond Skimmer
The Waterscapes International Pond Skimmer is another excellent product to consider for reliable pond maintenance.
It features a Female Iron Pipe Thread (FIPT) bulkhead fitting. This FIPT allows you to attach a Male Pipe Threaded End, which is common in piping systems. Thus, this pond skimmer is compatible with a wide range of pond pumps.
Additionally, it includes a mechanical filter pad and media bag. Both items can effectively trap both small and large debris. So there is no need to worry about waste contaminating the water and harming your pet fish. This pond skimmer ensures cleaner and healthier water for your fish pond, koi pond, and other atlantic water gardens.
There is even a removable bottom grate. This item makes it easier and more convenient to clean the skimmer and remove surface debris.
Furthermore, this Waterscapes Pond Skimmer has a large 17-inch spillway. It can efficiently diffuse the water to create smooth and powerful water passes or flow. Plus, it is compatible with small ponds or water gardens with up to 3,000 gallons per hour (GPH) pond pump flow.
Finally, the rugged and high-density polyethylene shell can last you for years to come. But if you notice any cracks, fret not! Waterscapes also offers a lifetime warranty on the enclosure.
However, there are still a few cons to think about before buying this pond skimmer. First, the item does not come with screws, which requires you to buy separate ones from the hardware store. Second, a few users said that it could sometimes leak due to the floating weir door lid design.
Overall, though, the Waterscapes International FilterFalls Spillway is among the best floating skimmers on the market today.
- A common bulkhead fitting is compatible with standard pond pumps
- A large 17-inch spillway can produce a smooth and powerful water flow
- Both filter pad and media bag can effectively clean pond water
- This floating pond skimmer is available in three sizes to meet your unique needs
- High-density polyethylene shell ensures durability that can last for years
- It lacks screws and other hardware for convenient installation
- Some users were disappointed with the poor floating weir door lid design as it can cause leaks when not properly sealed
5. OASE Aquaskim Pond Skimmer
If you need a compact but effective pond skimmer, consider investing in the OASE Aquaskim Pond Skimmer.
It features a unique in-pond design that sits below the surface of your pond, unlike other types of pond skimmers that float. This submerged pond skimmer does not require you to cut a pond liner. Instead, it instantly fits an existing pond, ideal for those who want to enjoy the benefits of a skimmer.
Additionally, this internal pond skimmer can effectively trap dirt, leaves, and other debris floating on the pond surface. So whether you want to reduce maintenance or ensure cleanliness, the Aquaskim might be the best pond skimmer for your needs.
Furthermore, it automatically adjusts to sudden drops in water level. It can handle variations up to six inches. Thus, it is also handy for homeowners who tend to exchange water regularly or those living in rainy areas.
This submerged surface skimmer can even handle ponds with at least 270 square feet of volume. Meanwhile, the recommended pump capacity for this skimmer is rated at 1600 to 3500 GPH.
Finally, it already includes tubing connectors in three different sizes. So feel free to choose one that fits your submersible pump.
Despite these advantages, there are still a few downsides to consider before finalizing your purchasing decision. First, some users noticed that it tends to float in the water. Thus, you may need to use a rock to weigh it down. Second, a few customers said that it clogged their pump due to the lack of filter mesh or media.
Nevertheless, I still think the OASE Aquaskim is one of the best submerged surface skimmers on the market today.
- A unique in-pond or submerged surface skimmer design does not require a pond liner and is ideal for a small pond
- It automatically adjusts to water level variations up to six inches
- It is compatible with 270 square feet ponds with a recommended capacity of 1600 to 3500 GPH
- The package includes tubing connectors in three different sizes
- It floats up the water, which requires you to weigh it down using a rock
- Some users said that it clogged their pump due to the lack of filter mesh
6. TetraPond In-Pond Skimmer
The TetraPond In-Pond Skimmer is another worthy product to consider for your pond or water fountain.
It features a large basket and replaceable filter media, which act as a pre-filter for your water pump. Both items can also collect dirt, fallen leaves, and other debris that might be floating in the water. Thus, the TetraPond In-Pond Skimmer can keep the water clean and safe for pet fish and plants.
Additionally, the filter medium helps protect your pump from clogging. Plus, it is removable and replaceable if ever it does not do its job anymore.
Furthermore, this in-pond skimmer is easy to install. It is compatible with both flexible and preformed ponds, and is one of the best koi pond skimmers we’ve seen. It can even handle water volume between 500 and 1,000 gallons.
Lastly, Tetra Pond offers a two-year limited warranty for their products. So if you are ever disappointed with the product, or it stops working within the specified period, you can ask for a refund or return from the manufacturer.
There are still a few cons to consider, though, before buying this in-pond skimmer. First, some users said that the basket does not stay in place and tends to float. Second, a few customers experienced the debris falling out due to the poor basket design.
But after considering its value for the money and overall benefits, I still recommend the TetraPond In-Pond Surface Skimmer. It is one of the best box pond skimmers available today.
- An in-pond skimmer design is ideal for submersible pumps
- Replaceable filter basket collects dirt and debris floating in the water
- It is compatible with large ponds up to 1,000 gallons in volume
- Easy to install and clean
- A limited two-year warranty allows you to return or refund the product if it does not meet your expectations
- Some users said the basket tends to float, so you might need to weigh it down using rocks
- The poor basket design may result in debris falling out
7. Oase Swimskim Floating Pond Skimmer
The last product on this list of the best pond skimmer is the Oase Swimskim Floating Pond Skimmer.
It features a unique design that floats on the water or fountain. This model acts as both a biological pond filter and a pond aerator, which is compatible with submersible pumps.
As a pond filter, the Swimskim Floating Pond Skimmer can effectively trap dirt, debris, fallen leaves, and other kinds of wastes. Thus, it can keep your pond water clean and healthy, making it an ideal habitat for fish and plants.
Meanwhile, this high-quality pond skimmer can also effectively increase the oxygen level within the water fountain. Hence, it can prevent fish kills and prolong the lifespan of your ponds or atlantic water gardens.
Furthermore, the Oase Swimskim Floating Pond Skimmer is easy to install on any water surface. Just make sure that the pond pump has a maximum water flow of 580 GPH.
Plus, it is easy to use, owing to the plug-and-play operation. There is even an air injector to further improve the water quality of the fish pond.
Finally, the manufacturer provides a two-year warranty. So whether you want to refund or replace the item, this guarantee allows you to do so.
However, before buying this floating pond skimmer, it is essential to know its downsides. First, it occasionally floats towards the wall and away from the water flow. That simply means that it cannot properly clean the whole pond. Second, some users said that this floating skimmer is difficult to keep submerged in the water.
Nevertheless, I still think the Oase Swimskim is among the best floating pond skimmers on the market today.
- A two-in-one and budget pond skimmer work as a filter and integrated aerator
- It can trap dirt and debris floating on the water
- It increases oxygen level within the pond or fountain
- An air injector further improves the water quality
- Plug-and-play operation, unlike most pond skimmers
- It occasionally floats towards the wall, which can increase the risk of killing small fishes and reduce the cleaning effectivity
- Some users said they have to use rocks to keep the skimmer submerged in the water
How to Choose the Best Pond Skimmer for Your Needs
By now, you probably have an idea of the best skimmer boxes on the market. But if you are still confused about which one to buy, fret not!
Below, I will talk about the features and factors to consider before buying a pond skimmer best for your needs. Hopefully, by the end of this section, you can finalize your purchasing decision with confidence.
This is perhaps the first thing to consider before purchasing a pond skimmer best for your needs. It is essential to buy a product that can handle the size of your pond.
Small ponds have at least 1,000 gallons of water. Meanwhile, medium ponds contain between 2,000 and 5,000 gallons. Finally, large ponds can handle more than 5,000 gallons of water.
Fortunately, all the products listed on this list can handle all types of ponds. It is up to you to find one that best suits your personal preferences.
Besides the pond volume, you might also want to consider the maximum water flow or GPH of your submersible or external pumps. It determines how much water the pump can handle and provide. So always check the specs of this equipment before choosing the right skimmer.
After ensuring that the skimmer can handle your pond, it is time to consider how easy it is to maintain the product.
Due to their function, the basket inside the skimmer can get full quickly, especially during the fall and winter seasons.
That is why I recommend choosing a pond skimmer that is easy to clean out and empty. Look for a flip-top cover that enables you to remove debris quickly. It would save you a lot of time and effort compared to other skimmers with a complicated design.
You might also want to think about how durable the pond skimmer is. It is best to buy a heavy-duty skimmer, especially if you have lots of vegetation and fish. A robust model is also ideal if you live in areas with harsh and constantly changing weather conditions.
Having a rugged and high-quality skimmer ensures that it can last you for a long time. It would not crack or deteriorate under pressure.
Safe to Use
Fish are curious aquatic creatures, so they could go inside the skimmer to explore. Unfortunately, they might end up getting caught inside. That is why it is essential to get a skimmer box with a detachable lid, a floating door, or even a net to prevent any fish from getting stuck inside the unit.
Finally, it is best to buy a pond skimmer with warranty coverage. The longer the coverage period, the better.
It allows you to refund or return the product if it does not meet your expectations. It is also a tell-tale sign that the manufacturer trusts their items, which can last you for a long time.
However, I recommend checking the warranty specifications. Most companies can only cover damaged or defective parts. They cannot refund the product if the components stop working due to the usual wear and tear.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best pond skimmer?
There is no one best pond skimmer on the market. The right product for you will depend on your specific needs, personal preferences, and budget, among many other factors.
But if I can choose a specific model in this list, it would be the Aquascape Series 200 Pond Skimmer. It uses mechanical filtration to clean small ponds or fountains up to 200 square feet.
It provides efficient mechanical filtration that can clean small ponds up to 200 square feet. Additionally, it includes a net that can trap dirt and other floating debris. This net is removable and has a six-inch opening for easy disposal of waste. Finally, it uses a durable and UV-protected polyethylene construction that can withstand harsh outdoor conditions.
What is the difference between a filter and a skimmer?
Most people often confuse filters with pond skimmers because they essentially have the same purpose—clean your pond. However, they are different from one another.
Pond filters can be submersible and be placed anywhere within the pond, whether at the edge or hidden amongst a rock display. They also use either a biological or mechanical filtration system. These work by drawing in water and filtering it through a pad or bio-balls. Afterwards, the filter feeds the water back into the pond.
On the other hand, pond skimmers act as a debris-collecting tool. Pond skimmers usually float in the water to catch any debris on the surface of the pond. Then, the water can flow towards the filter to clean it further from any impurities.
If you want to guarantee clean and crystal-clear water, it is best to use pond skimmers in conjunction with filters. Both products can effectively trap dirt, debris, and other wastes on the water to give you a beautiful pond.
Where to install a skimmer in my pond?
The best place to install a skimmer is the area opposite the waterfall or where the water enters the pond. It is also recommended to place it near the surface to trap leaves and other floating debris. This way, it can effectively clean the pond since the water will eventually flow naturally towards this area.
How to clean a pond skimmer?
Cleaning a pond skimmer is a relatively simple process.
First, open the lid to pull out the basket. This item usually holds all the gunk that comes from the pond surface. You can easily clean it by wiping it with a damp cloth or splashing it with tap water.
Second, you may also find a pre-filter inside the skimmer. This product is designed to trap larger debris before it reaches the inner components of the skimmer. You can clean this pre-filter with your hands or a small hose.
I do not recommend using any chemicals or cleaning detergents when maintaining the pond skimmer. That is because these solutions can leak back into the pond, which eventually contaminates the water. Stick with a damp cloth or tap water to clean your pond skimmer.
Can you have a pond without a skimmer?
Yes, you can own a pond without a skimmer, especially if it has a substrate bottom and you mostly take care of submerged plants. Instead, you can invest in an aerator to clean the pond.
With that said, a skimmer for your pond is still worth considering. It minimizes the dirt and debris in your water garden, ultimately keeping it clean and healthy for weeks without maintenance.
There you have it—my top picks for the best pond skimmers on the market! I highly suggest each product as it can help trap debris and ultimately clean your pond.
But for me, the best pond skimmer is the Aquascape Series 200 Pond Skimmer. It provides efficient mechanical filtration that can clean small ponds up to 200 square feet. Additionally, it includes a net that can trap dirt and other floating debris. This net is removable and has a six-inch opening for easy disposal of waste. Finally, it uses a durable and UV-protected polyethylene construction that can withstand harsh outdoor conditions.