Last Updated: July 29, 2020
If you’re tired of the constant hand skimming and vacuuming required to keep your pool clean during summer, an automatic pool skimmer is a perfect solution. An automatic pool skimmer can be a great way to cut down the amount of time you spend maintaining your pool while allowing you to enjoy it more. Finding the best brand for your pool can be a challenge, though, because there are a few types available.
We’ve used dozens of these skimmers and we’ve chosen eight of the most popular automatic pool skimmers to review for you here. We’ve also included a buyer’s guide where we go over the different types so you can see how they work and which is right for you.
Join us while we take a closer look at automatic pool skimmers and discuss power, durability, installation, and more to help you make an educated purchase.
Here is a list of the eight automatic pool skimmers we’ve chosen to review for you.
|Best Overall||Solar Breeze NX2 Pool Skimmer||
|Best Value||PoolSkim Pool Skimmer and Pool Cleaner||
|Premium Choice||SkimmerMotion Automatic Pool Skimmer & Clarifier||
|SkimDoctor 2.0 Pool-Skimmer (Automatic)||
|Dunnrite Hydro-Net Pool-Skimmer (Automatic)||
The Solar Breeze NX2 is our choice for the best overall automatic pool skimmer. One of the most significant advantages of this automatic pool skimmer is that it’s solar-powered and doesn’t require any batteries or charging. It also includes a chemical dispenser suitable for three-inch chlorine tabs, so you can chlorinate your water while skimming, and this device works in any type of pool.
We loved the large collection basket that won’t get clogged, and the solar charge allowed the skimmer to run well into the night on most summer days, and it doesn’t interfere with the pool’s filter system. The only downside we experienced while reviewing this Solar Breeze automatic pool skimmer is that it would tend to get stuck in the skimmer at times, especially at night when it was running low on power.
The PoolSkim Pool Skimmer and Pool Cleaner is our pick for the best value because we believe this is the best automatic pool skimmer for the money. This device connects to the return jet on your pool and creates a whirlpool suction that traps leaves, bugs, and other debris in a net. Because the skimmer works with the return jet, it takes a lot of the strain off your pool filter. The PoolSkim skimmer will work for above ground and in-ground pools but will require additional adapters for Intex and Coleman type pools.
We appreciated the extremely simplistic design and the only problems we had with it what some of the smaller particles could get through the net.
The SkimmerMotion is our premium choice automatic pool skimmer. This device works in conjunction with the vacuum to double up on cleaning. It requires the purchase of a pool vacuum, so it can be a little more expensive than the others by the time you have all the parts, but it is extremely efficient. You can plug it directly into the output line of your pool, but it will reduce its effectiveness considerably.
The SkimmerMotion spins, creating a whirlpool action that pulls in nearby debris as it’s dragged around the pool by the vacuum. It’s fun to watch, and it can help reduce the frequency at which you need to add chemicals in your pool.
The SkimDoctor 2.0 is another type of above ground pool skimmer that uses a whirlpool to draw debris into the skimmer. It installs in a few minutes with no tools, and you can clean the filter without putting your hands in any water. A skimmer sock placed over the basket can reduce the debris in your pool even further, and the unit can be hosed clean. The collection basket is large and can filter for several days without affecting the operation of the pump.
We found that it works well, but you can only use it with inground pools. It also takes a little longer than many other brands to get the debris out of the pool, and we found ourselves hosing it down quite a lot, which requires getting out and putting away the hose. We have to water the garden every day anyway, but for some people, this might be an extra step they could avoid with a different brand.
The Dunnrite Hydro-Net Automatic pool skimmer is the only brand on this list operated by remote control. You can operate it from up to 100 feet away, and it will work well in any type of pool or even a small pond. All debris is captured in a net as the device moves over the surface of the water. It’s a battery-powered skimmer, and each charge will last up to five hours.
We enjoyed using this machine and driving it around our pool, many people like to use it to collect floating golf balls, so we tried it out in a small pond by our house. We found that it will collect golf balls, but it often moves out of range, so you need to be careful or find a way to tether it so you can pull it back. We noticed a few other problems, too, like the battery charge doesn’t last that long, and it takes much longer to charge. Running too low on charge can also cause the device to become stuck.
Unfortunately, it’s also very cheaply made, and the plastic feels very flimsy. The remote feels like a toy, and one of the propellers stopped working on our model in just a few days, causing it to spin in circles. Water can also get into the battery compartment and cause it to rust and corrode.
The Intex Deluxe Wall Mount Surface Skimmer Is a Whirlpool type automatic pool skimmer that works on most above ground pools, including Intex and Coleman style pools. It’s especially useful for pools that don’t have a built-in skimmer. It’s easy to install and only takes about 20 minutes. It connects to the output port of your pool, and so debris runs directly into your filter. The good thing about direct to filter type skimmers is that they get rid of a lot of the oils from lotion and other tiny particles that might get through a net. When set-up correctly, and the water is calm, this can be a competent device for cleaning your pool.
The downside is it’s only for above ground pools, and there are some styles it’s not suitable for like Summer Waves pools. If there is a lot of larger debris like leaves in your pool, it could clog the skimmer and add stress to your filter pump. It’s not hard to install, but it is very challenging to follow the instructions.
The OAI Gator AutoSkim with Basket is another type of skimmer that works with your pool vacuum to clean the top and the bottom at the same time. This auto skimmer creates a whirlpool action to capture and draw in debris as the vacuum pulls it around the pool. It also includes a basket to catch larger debris before they get into your filter system.
We found the auto skimmer to work great, but you need to use a separately purchased vacuum, and you need a pool pump strong enough to run both devices at the same time. We recommend at least two horsepower or more. One complaint we had about this particular model was that the basket uses foam support pieces that wear away quickly and render the basket useless.
The Pooldevil Automatic Swimming Pool Skimmer uses the return jet on your pool and cyclonic action to pull debris into a net and trap it there. Since it uses the water coming back into the pool, it won’t put added pressure on to your pump or clog your sand filter. Installation takes less than a minute and doesn’t require any tools.
We like the way this device works, and it does a good job even when people are swimming. You can also vacuum while using these skimmers. The downside to this type of automatic skimmer is that it won’t pick up the oils that are left behind from suntan lotion, and other body lotions and makeup. The hosing also tends to wear out quickly from hanging and being tugged on by the debris-filled net, and the plastic parts become brittle after a few years.
Let’s take a look at the different types of vacuums and see how they work.
There are three types of vacuums, self-propelled, connected to the output jet, and connected to the return jet.
Self-propelled automatic pool skimmers are floating devices that use batteries or solar power to move across the surface, and collect debris in a net or canister. These devices don’t require any hoses and could move around freely in your pool. You can use a self-propelled automatic pool skimmer in any type of pool, and they don’t put any strain on your pool filter system or pump.
The downside to self-propelled skimmers is that they usually can’t get rid of the oil film that can sometimes get in the water from suntan lotion and make up. Battery-powered devices need to keep the water out of the compartment, or it quickly corrodes and damages the unit irreparably. We found battery compartment corrosion to be the number one cause of failure in these skimmers.
These devices also tend to have flimsy paddles that become stiff and brittle in chlorinated water in a short time.
Suction type automatic pool skimmers connect to your pool’s output jet or skimmer. This device can work alone, or along with a self-propelled pool vacuum. When working with a self-propelled pool vacuum, these devices are dragged around the pool and clean a much larger area faster than a stationary skimmer. These devices usually create a whirlpool that draws-in and captures debris off the surface and sends it directly to the filter. Because the contaminants go directly to your filter, this type of skimmer works much better to remove oils from the water than the other kinds.
The downside to these filters is that, unlike self-propelled models, you have to check that the model you have in mind is compatible with your pool. Most are, but there are cases where they will not be compatible. Another downside is that it puts a strain on the pump if the skimmer gets too clogged with debris.
The return jet style of automatic pool skimmer looks very similar to the suction style, but it works a little bit differently. This skimmer works with the water returning to your pool from the filter, so the pump does not need to work harder no matter how full the skimmer gets. These devices spin the water as it returns to the pool so that it creates a whirlpool that attracts debris that gets trapped in a net.
The downside to this type of skimmer is that like the self-propelled units that can allow oils to remain on the surface, and like suction style skimmers, some brands will not work with your style of pool.
For most people, we recommend a solar-powered self-propelled style skimmer, much like our choice for best overall. The Solar Breeze NX2 moves around the pool without batteries and requires very little maintenance outside emptying this tray every day or two. The chemical dispenser allows you to keep your chlorine level balanced, without adding an additional floatation device to the pool.
If you just want a device that sits off to the side and collects contaminants, then we recommend our best value. The PoolSkim Pool Skimmer and Pool Cleaner Is a return jet style skimmer that will not add stress to your pump.
We hope that you have enjoyed reading and learned a little bit more about pool skimming. If our reviews and short buyers guide have helped you with your purchase, please share these automatic pool skimmers on Facebook and Twitter.
More articles on this topic:
Saltwater vs Freshwater Pools: Pros & Cons
How To Winterize Your Above-Ground Pool
How to Heat Your Pool Without a Heater
What Size Pool Heater Do I Need? An Easy Guide to Sizing
How To Quickly Get Rid of Water Bugs In Your Pool
What’s The Ideal Temperature For a Swimming Pool?
Coleman vs Intex Above-Ground Pools: Which Brand is Better?
Sand vs Cartridge Pool Filters: What’s the Difference?