Pool skimmer in action

Pool Skimmers: Keeping Your Pool Water Clean [Buyers Guide]

Welcome to your one-stop shop for everything pool skimmers! If you’re looking to install one or two skimmers in your swimming pool, wondering how to clean them, or even how to choose between different products, stay with us to get the lowdown.

This guide will help you understand the role of a pool skimmer, the technical parts, problems you’ll avoid by having one, and also a view of pool skimmer nets.

Sounds cool, right? Let’s dive in. 

In this pool skimmers guide you'll read about:

What is a pool skimmer?

A pool skimmer is an undercover cleaner. It slowly and silently sips water from the top layer of the pool, gradually gulping up the debris and keeping your pool noticeably clearer and cleaner. It’s an important part of your pool maintenance routines.

Swimmers won’t notice the skimmer, and the sunblock and hair they’re unknowingly depositing will leave the pool via the skimmer before it can sink to the bottom.

You’ll also need to help your skimmer by using your pool scoop net to clear the larger bits of debris floating on the surface of your pool. If you do this regularly, it makes vacuuming easier and places less strain on the circulation system, because you’ll stop bigger bits of debris in their tracks.

Pool skimmer parts

There are three main parts to the skimmer: the weir, the basket, and the skimmer plate.

The weir

A skimmer is rectangular-shaped, usually made of plastic, and has a door called a weir. The weir is like a one-way flap that allows debris to flow in but not back out. 

The weir is a hugely important component of the skimmer: without it, the system won’t work properly.

Skimmer's basket

The basket sits inside the skimmer, and this is where most of the debris ends up. You need to empty this regularly, preferably daily if you’ve got a lot of trees around the pool, in the high swimming season or in autumn.  

You might be surprised what ends up in your skimmer basket! But hey, this means that it’s working properly. 

If you notice a crack or any damage to your basket, you should replace it straight away.

The plate

The skimmer plate is used when manually vacuuming your pool. It’s also called a vacuum plate. You can read detailed instructions for this in our vacuuming guide.


Note: The equaliser port is not widely used. If you do use one – this is what it would look like.

Does every pool need a skimmer?

Every pool should have a skimmer! As a matter of fact, it’s not an optional device if you want a well-maintained, clean pool. Having a skimmer is the first line of defence to just about every other aspect of your pool maintenance. 

Getting debris out means your filters should work better for longer, allow the pumps to operate efficiently, and help keep water chemistry balanced. 

As soon as that first domino goes down, you might be in for a few unpleasant knock-on effects.

Where should you place your pool skimmers?

The best location for your skimmer (or skimmers) will depend on a few factors, like prevailing wind and the pool’s location relative to your home.

Normally the skimmer is placed facing the prevailing wind so floating debris is pushed towards it. Also, it is usually placed on the house side of the pool: this way, when you’re looking at your pool from the house, you don’t notice them.

Installation will of course depend on whether you have an in-ground or above-ground pool.

Install one or more at the top of your swimming pool wall, on the waterline.

When you install a skimmer in your pool, take care. You don’t want air getting sucked into the pump, so you must concentrate on the water level line. An excellent idea is installing the skimmer with an equaliser line that runs through the skimmer basket into the water or to a main drain in the bottom of the pool.

If the water level starts to drop below the weir line (either from evaporation or filtering your water to ‘waste’), the equaliser prevents air being sucked into the pool pump.

Pool skimmers scheme

What happens if your pool water is above the skimmer?

If there’s lack of water and debris are entering your skimmer, the skimmer won’t work properly. 

On the other hand, if your water line rises above your skimmer and submerges it completely, the weir door will also stop working properly. In this case water will still be sucked through the skimmer. However, the weir door won’t function properly and the leaves or debris floating on the top of the water won’t be sucked into the basket.

Extra water may come from heavy rainfall or excess re-filling of the pool after vacuuming. Make sure that the waterline is halfway up your skimmer to ensure it’s able to do its job.

Pool skimmer net: a strong ally on your side

To get your pool properly cleaned, you might also consider using a pool net skimmer. These are a first line of defence you can pick up and use regularly. It also helps you catch any unwanted swimmers without getting wet yourself.

Essentially, a pool skimmer net purpose is to scoop up leaves and other debris like twigs, bugs, and hair ties from the surface of your pool. Your pool filter is not supposed to pick these up, since they might damage your filter.

In that sense, debris will float to the bottom where you’ll need to work harder to get it out by vacuuming. Or it may even get sucked into your filters, eventually clogging them.

Simply put, not skimming your pool will mean wasting the rest of your cleaning efforts. Not only will this lead to more cleaning and possibly replacement, but you’ll constantly be battling with your water chemistry. Ouch.

These are the best pool skimmer nets out there

The net itself is something that you can almost tailor to your pool, thanks to there being a lot of choice out there. But every pool skimmer net is going to be made up of telescopic pole and a skimmer net or leaf scoop.

These are our recommendations for the best results in your swimming pool:

Noria Ace Leaf Shovel Heavy Duty
  • ACE:R
  • Heavy duty one-piece frame
  • Tapered blade for easy use
  • Replaceable net
  • For surface and floor use
  • Easy to shake out and empty
Noria Leaf Scoop (Flat Mesh _ Skimmer)
  • ACE:S
  • Heavy duty one-piece frame
  • For surface use
  • Replaceable net
  • This shape can collect a lot of debris, making it heavy to handle and more effort to shake out, but effective.

Keep your pool fresh with your pool skimmer

Put your mind and pool filters at ease by ensuring you have at least one skimmer in your pool. It’ll make your pool maintenance easier, and you’ll be amazed at how much it’s removed from your pool the first time you empty the basket. As we have seen, picking the right pool skimmer net is also a game changer to ease your pool maintenance.

We’re here to help you choose the right equipment for your pool so that you can have the best swimming pool owner experience possible. If you need help about your pool specifications, contact us to find out what more we can do for you.

About the author
Adrian Hill
Adrian Hill

Hey! I'm Adrian, founder and pool expert here at Dolphin Pacific. I love spending time with family, fishing, and have been known to brew my own beer.

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