what is a pool skimmer?

What is a Pool Skimmer?

No matter what kind of pool you may have or consider purchasing, it's very important to have a good pool skimmer, otherwise, you could wind up with an over-worked pump that needs to be replaced too often.

If you're new to pool care, then you may be wondering what a pool skimmer is and why you should be concerned about having one. This article is here to help answer those questions by providing information on how pool skimmers work and how they are likely to benefit you.

What is a Pool Skimmer? 

A pool skimmer is a tool used to clean debris out of your pool. They are used in all kinds of pools, though the kind of pool you have or are considering getting may rule out some skimmer options available to you. Overall, there are three types of skimmers.

The first is an inbuilt skimmer, which is a skimmer that is built into the wall of a pool. This is the most common kind of skimmer and is found in every type of swimming pool with hard walls. 

The second type of pool skimmer is an automatic skimmer. This is a skimmer that is connected to the inlet drain by a hose.

Furthermore, this kind of skimmer uses water pressure to move itself along the surface of the pool, picking up any large debris it can find in the process.

The third type of skimmer is a robotic skimmer, which you may essentially think of as a Roomba for your pool (however, you should know that robotic skimmer is different to a robotic pool cleaner). This kind of skimmer electronically attaches to an inlet somewhere outside the pool and the skimmer drives itself along the bottom as it cleans up debris.

There is of course a fourth type of skimmer - your good old handheld pool skimmer net! You shouldn't need to spend your time using this if you have an automatic skimmer, however they are useful to have around to quickly remove any debris that may blow into your pool. 

The purpose of an automatic pool skimmer is to filter out larger bits of debris before sending the water through the pool's plumbing system to clean it out. In order to do this, it's important that the water in the pool be levelled to at least halfway up the mouth of the skimmer.

More often than not, the pool skimmer works in combination with a drain somewhere at the bottom of the pool that suctions in debris that has sunk below the surface. With both drains functioning at their best, the skimmer and filtration system will be able to clean out the water thoroughly and return it to the pool.

Pool Skimmer parts

Depending on the kind of skimmer you buy, there may be different parts to keep track of. However, the vast majority of automatic skimmers have four main parts that allow it to do its job. Those parts include: 

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    The Skimmer Lid
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    The Mouth
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    Skimmer Weir Door
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    The Skimmer Basket

The lid of the skimmer prevents any larger debris from dropping into the pool's main circulation system, thereby helping to guide it into the basket instead. The mouth works to suction in water and debris that is close to the surface of the pool.

The weir is a little flap that sits inside the mouth of the skimmer and moves with the water. The basket is the object that holds the larger debris removed from the water until it can be cleaned out.

All of these parts work in unison to make sure your filtration system is working as efficiently as possible. It's important to check from time to time to make sure these parts are in working order, so that you won't have to worry about large debris causing problems in you plumbing system and wearing down the pump.

What is a Pool Skimmer Basket?

A pool skimmer basket is a device that sits inside the mouth of the skimmer and collects all of the larger debris such as leaves, bugs, and other objects that may end up making its way to the skimmer. The purpose of this is to keep those bits of debris from making their way into the pipes and clogging up the filtration system more quickly. Without a skimmer and basket, you may end up having to clean your filter more regularly. It may also cause you to have to replace your pool pump more often, which can be an expensive price to pay.

How Does a Pool Skimmer Work?

A pool skimmer works by drawing in the surrounding water and running it through a series of pipes where it will eventually make it to the filter. The filter is responsible for catching any smaller debris like pollen.

Essentially anything that was small enough to get through the skimmer basket is likely to be caught here. The cleaned water is then returned back to the pool, safely mixed with chemicals that help to keep your pool clean and clear. This is all run by the plumbing system you have installed in the pool, which will allow the water to be sucked into the skimmer and run through the pipes, powering the entire process.

Benefits of a Pool Skimmer

There are several benefits to having a quality skimmer. The first is that without one, large debris will be able to get into your pipes and could potentially clog them up. Issues like these require your pump to work harder. If your pump has to put in extra effort, it can cause the pump to wear out a lot quicker.

Overall, this causes you to have to replace pumps more often and that in itself can be a costly venture. A pump that is forced to work harder can also have an unpleasant effect on your electric bill.


While a pool skimmer might sometimes seem like just one more thing you have to take care of, it's important to keep in mind that pool care would be more difficult and a lot more expensive without one. Skimmers are wonderful tools designed to make your pool filtration system more efficient and your life easier.

By catching the larger chunks of debris, a skimmer helps to extend the life of your pump as well as keep your swimming pool in the kind of shape that allows people to enjoy it. 

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