Skimming a pool and keeping it clean is probably the worst part of owning a pool. Thankfully, with a solar pool skimmer, you can save time and effort, and save yourself money, by using the energy from the sun to help you instead.
What Are Solar Pool Skimmers?
Do you know the long pool nets that you use to pick up floating leaves and bugs from the pool before you get in? Those are pool skimmers. They are manual, but there are automatic options as well.
Solar pool skimmers are pool skimmers that get power from the sun. They can run on their own to keep your pool clean and free of debris. Instead of having to manually skim the pool frequently or whenever you are going to jump in for a swim, you can make your time more enjoyable and keep your pool healthier for longer without chemicals.
Most of them can handle a mix of large and small debris without clogging, and pick up common items like dust, dirt, pollen, and leaves.
There are other automatic ones out there, but they often require cords or hoses which look unsightly, can be dangerous, and get in the way. Solar pool skimmers use energy from the sun and don’t need any extra cords or cables around.
Solar pool skimmers tend to be free-roaming robotic pool skimmers. When thinking about pool skimmers, there are three main kinds, which are specific ones built into inground pools, robotic skimmers, like solar pool skimmers, and hand skimmers, which are the nets.
How Do Solar Pool Skimmers Work in a Pool?
Every solar pool skimmer works a little differently. The basics are that they have a solar panel on the top that collects energy from the sun. The energy then allows the system to run on its own, skimming over the surface and collecting debris.
They do this by sucking in debris like a vacuum. Their design allows water to flow back out while trapping anything that was on the surface of the water.
They have a storage container inside of them where all the debris is kept. Occasionally, someone will have to go out there and dump the container, but otherwise, they are fairly self-sufficient.
They can also be turned on and off if you don’t want them running all of the time. Most of them get enough energy from the sun that they can run for 15 hours or more. Most of them are designed to be able to go 10 hours or so without any sunlight.
What Are The Pros and Cons of Solar Pool Skimmers?
- Keep the pool clean longer: less skimming, fewer chemicals, less vacuuming of the bottom
- Doesn’t need any cords or hoses
- Can run on its own
- It saves money because they don’t need electricity
- Keep your swimming pool cleaner and reduce the products that have to be used
- Needs little upkeep, only cleaning the trap occasionally
- Can serve multiple purposes; adding products to your water and removing debris
- Easy to control
- Some can be run remotely, allowing you to clean even when you are gone
- Better for the environment
- Can remove up to 95% debris (1)
- Can get stuck on some objects
- They don’t work for every pool
- May not be able to get very small or very large objects
- May have a shorter lifespan than other options
Who Benefits Most From a Solar Pool Skimmer?
Pretty much anyone with a pool benefits from a solar pool skimmer. They run automatically, extend the length your pool can go without having to be deep cleaned or refilled with chemicals, and make it a lot easier for you to just get in and swim.
Every pool needs a skimmer, it is just what kind of skimmer. There are automatic ones that use electricity, and then there are nets for those that want manual work.
Many people find that they don’t swim in their pool as often as they would want. Despite the water being refreshing and cool in the summer heat and providing a way to have a fun oasis in your own backyard, the thought of having to use pool cleaners before getting into swimming pools can stop people from enjoying their pool life.
A solar skimmer gives you freedom and peace of mind. You don’t have to worry about electricity and water mixing as much, though it is still a possibility. You also don’t have to worry about tripping or the cords making your yard look messy. You can even save a lot on electricity costs.
With a pool skimmer, pool owners never have to worry about the pool water being covered in gross debris. The water will always be sparkling blue and crystal clear. It also doesn’t need as much chlorine or cleaning solution when being skimmed, which makes many customers happy. Some have even said that they increase the operation life of each filter for your pool.
The best part is that these solar panels don’t need full sun. If you are only getting partial sun because things like trees or your house are blocking the sun, these little solar skimmers will still work.
These little skimmers can run quite a while on their batteries alone. Usually, the devices are said to work about 10 hours without sun. While they do better in full sun, they can still get plenty of solar energy from the shade to keep them going most of the day.
The only time that a solar skimmer product wouldn’t work would be for places that don’t get a lot of sun, or that are indoors or covered, blocking most of the light.
Some models don’t work as well for all pools either. Depending on the size, shape, and design, your pool may struggle to get as clean as it would otherwise.
Even if you don’t have a pool, you may benefit from a solar pool skimmer. If you have a spa or hot tub in your backyard for relaxation, then they can use pool skimmers as well to keep them clean. (2) This is especially the case if you don’t have covers for your spas or hot tubs.
What to Consider When Buying a Solar Pool Skimmer
Length They Run
While most solar pool skimmers can run about 10 hours or so without having to be recharged, that isn’t the case for all of them. If you want your solar pool skimmer to run all night, or at least have the option of running all night to keep the pool surface clean, then you want to find one on the market that can last a long time with a minimal charge.
Get a model that has decent battery sizes so it can run on cloudy days and overnight without a problem. You may also want to look at a device that has features allowing them to be charged with AC or DC power, or batteries as well, just to ensure that it can run no matter what.
How Easy They Are to Install
Most of the time, the technology for these pool skimmers is pretty easy. You drop them in the water, and the paddles get to work moving the device around. It will pump water through it to pick up all the debris and just make its way across the pool in a fairly steady method.
You can think of them a bit like pool Roombas. They have a set task in mind and have an idea of where the edge of the pool is so they don’t run into any issues like slamming into the same wall over and over.
However, some solar pool skimmers can be installed on the side of your pool. These are much harder to use and require more maintenance. They may also not get the pool as clean as you may want, or work for specific pool types.
The free-range skimmers are the best option, but there are positives that come with the more complicated ones.
How Long They Last
Unfortunately, one large downside of solar pool skimmers is how long they last. You want one that will let you get more than one year out of it and can handle the heavy pool season in the summer.
Some of them only last a few years. This is often because of the materials. To save on weight and money, some companies will use materials that can’t handle UV light or chlorine from the pools as well, and the materials break down. Even if the solar panels are able to withstand it, the other parts around them may not do as well.
Of course, you always want to check the warranty as well. The warranty should easily be found on the app or online site and provide you with more info.
You want a company that stands behind its product with a strong warranty.
Debris Storage and Cleaning
If you are someone that is busy most of the day, or even away from home for days at a time, you aren’t going to be able to clean your pool skimmer very often.
This means that you need a pool skimmer that has a hefty capacity. Something with just a thin tray isn’t going to be enough. It needs to be something that can hold a large amount of material in it.
One nice thing about solar skimmers is that they usually have sensors that can tell you when the container is full. While they aren’t perfect, you should be able to tell at a glance whether the solar skimmer garbage needs to be dumped yet or not.
You also want a solar pool skimmer that is easy to clean. Removable parts and trays are ideal because you can easily take them out and dump them straight into the garbage.
This also means you can take out the filters and deep clean them occasionally to prevent any mold or algae growth within the plastic or mesh.
Speaking of mesh, it is also a good idea to look at how small it is. If you get a lot of pollen in your pool, you want a mesh that can hold even the smallest of particles. Finding a balance between a pool skimmer that can handle a big foreign body or two and a lot of small ones can be a bit tricky, but can improve the quality of your experience with the skimmer.
5 Best Solar Pool Cleaners For Your Pool
- SolaSkimmer is a solar-powered robotic pool skimmer that keeps your pool sparkling clean
- Two powerful motors and infrared sensors allow it to skim your pool and catch debris before it falls to the bottom
- Runs all day in sunny pools and includes an optional 110-Volt charger for shaded pools or overcast days
- Removable debris tray with micro-filter catches large and small particles
- Four infrared sensors detect sides of pool, rock features, and obstacles, and activate two water jets to continue cleaning.
The SolaSkimmer is a great option for any pool. (3) It can run up to 8 hours a day and can be charged by being plugged in or from the sun. It only needs 4 hours of sun a day to run as well, which makes it perfect for shady areas or places where it isn’t so sunny.
It has sensors and water jets on it for navigation, so it can maneuver around the pool on its own without you having to watch over it. It is also designed to work with certain ionizers without a problem, like the Sun Shock pool ionizer.
The warranty lasts up to a year.
- Ideal for daily use
- Operates on both solar power and battery charge
- Offers exceptional customer service
- Features automated, user-independent operation
- Often fails to clean the edges of the pool
- Challenging to open and clean
2. Aquamoto Skimbot
- Lightweight and easy to use with a sliding collection tray
- Bluetooth enabled with a proprietary iOS and Android app
- Constructed of durable, UV enhanced plastics
- Efficient solar panels for energy operation and an intelligent on-board navigation system to map the water surface and target dirty areas
- Turbo side wall washing
- Four forward-facing sensor eyes
- Works well in tandem with in-floor vacuum systems and bottom vacuums
- Comes with anti-theft mode, eco-operation, and silent mode
If you are gone from your house for long periods at a time and want to check on your pool occasionally to make sure your skimmer is still running, consider the Aquamoto Skimbot. (4)
You can control the device remotely with Bluetooth, starting and stopping the machine whenever you want. It also has sensors to prevent collisions while allowing it to navigate around corners or tight spaces.
It is designed to be used all day and can run for 24 hours as long as it gets a few hours of sun a day. It has a one-year limited warranty.
- Can effectively remove various types of debris from the pool
- Provides the convenience of scheduling cleaning times in advance through the Skimbot app
- Equipped with four forward-facing sensors and anti-collision sensors for intelligent navigation
- Cordless, making it easier to use without the hassle of cords and cables
- Can access tight spaces and clean along edges, efficiently removing small particles from the pool
- Produces a loud noise while running, which may be disruptive or bothersome
- The battery is not very strong, meaning the device may not last as long between charges and may require more frequent charging
3. Solar Breeze – Automatic Solar Powered Pool Cleaner NX Cleaning Robot
- Automatic pool cleaner reduces dust, leaves, pollen and bacteria while removing 90-95% of surface debris
- Solar-Breeze NX navigates your pool, eats up debris, filters water, and distributes chlorine evenly, efficiently sanitizing your water
- High-efficiency brushless motors last over 30,000 hours and operate for several hours after sundown using stored energy
- Chemical dispenser tray holds two 3-inch trichlor tablets, with collection area twice that of your in-wall skimmer basket
- Robotic pool cleaner uses solar energy, with maximum running time per day mid-summer in sunbelt states of 23.5 hours
If you want a skimmer that releases ions to stop algae growth and cleans your pool at the same time, this might be a great one for you. This pool cleaner, affectionately known as Ariel, is easy to put in and take out of the pool, has a deep tray, and comes with a fine mesh. (5) It has proven results of picking up large items like twigs and smaller waste items as well.
It can also release ions into the pool, though occasionally this has been known to leave copper stains around the pool lining because of this.
Ariel is specifically designed to work with bigger pools, usually around 35,000 gallons of water, though it can work with smaller pools as well. It can run for upwards of 12 hours and has a one-year warranty.
- Compared to other solar pool cleaners, it has a longer battery life
- Its durability is enhanced by the use of water-resistant and UV-resistant parts, as well as brushless motors
- It can reduce pump time by up to 1/3, providing energy and cost savings
- It provides the option for both automatic and manual control
- Its top handle basket design allows for easy debris tray emptying without removing the entire solar pool skimmer from the water
- Limted warranty within United States only
- It is not recommended for use with salt water pools that have concentrations exceeding 4000 ppm
4. PoolSkim Pool Skimmer and Pool Cleaner
- This award-winning pool skimmer automatically removes debris from your pool, making cleaning a breeze
- Easily connect it to the 1&1/2 inch threaded outflow return jet where water flows back into the pool
- The skimmer self-adjusts to the water level and reduces the workload on your pool's filtration system
- With this skimmer, you can enjoy a cleaner pool without any extra effort
If you want something that doesn’t need any effort or charging, check out the PoolSkim pool skimmer and cleaner. (6) Like solar skimmers, it doesn’t need any wires or cords. It simply sinks a little into the water, and debris floats into it and gets trapped.
Since it can’t move around, it isn’t as effective as other products on this list, but it is a cheaper option that gets most of the debris out of your pool with little effort or time on your part. The functionality is simple, but it has a larger debris tray than most, and you don’t have to worry about needing a backup battery or breaking motors with this one.
This one also tends to have more durability than a robot pool cleaner as it doesn’t move around as much, and the motors won’t break. It works for inground and above-ground pools.
- Easy to clean
- Sturdy build quality
- Can work effectively in any pool, regardless of its dimensions or design
- The net may not withstand heavy use
5. XtremepowerUS Solar Pool Ionizer Floating Water Cleaner and Purifier
- XtremepowerUS solar ionizer is a simple solution to clear your pool with a complete set to remove materials for quick cleaning
- Sun energy activates the ionization of the anode to limit growth and remove unwanted minerals such as calcium from pool water
- Follow instructions to introduce ionizer and test water after 24 hours. Regularly check water for changes and follow manual for pool care
- Effective for up to 35,000 gallons, works well for shaded & screened pools, and small pools by reducing chlorine levels faster
- Compatible with salt or chlorine, above-ground or in-ground pools, and saves money on chemical and electric costs for combined yearly savings
The XtremepowerUS Solar Pool Cleaner does both cleaning and ionizing with its skimmer. It runs on solar power. The ionizing can help kill thousands of kinds of bacteria and reduces the times that your pool cleaning pump has to run. (7)
Of course, because it uses propellers that depend on the sun to power, it can save you a lot on your electricity bills as well. With this one, the navigation sometimes gets wonky after a long time of using it according to the reviews, but it has a warranty as well.
- It delivers rapid and effective outcomes
- You can see results within a day of use
- Using it is a simple and uncomplicated process
- Not recommended for small pools
- Eco Mastery Project N.d) ecomasteryproject.com
- Debs. (2022). What is a Hot Tub Skimmer? Hydro Finesse. https://hydrofinesse.com/hot-tub-skimmer/
- Remington Solar. (2019, March 15). SolaSkimmer | Remington Solar. Remington Solar | Solar Attic Fans, Greenhouses, Pool Ionizers. https://remingtonsolar.com/solaskimmer/
- Skimbot – Skimbot. (2023, April 6). Skimbot. https://skimbot.com/product/skimbot/
- Solar. (2023, March 13). Solar Breeze Ariel, Solar Pool Skimmers, Robotic Pool Cleaners. Pivot-Solar Breeze. https://solar-breeze.com/
- mazon.com : PoolSkim Pool Skimmer and Pool Cleaner : Swimming Pool Maintenance Kits : Patio, Lawn & Garden. (n.d.). https://www.amazon.com/PoolSkim-Pool-Skimmer-Cleaner/dp/B002WKOEGM
- Amazon.com : XtremepowerUS Solar Pool Ionizer Floating Water Cleaner and Purifier Keeps Water Clear, Chlorine Free and Eco-Friendly, Compatible with Fresh and Salt Water Pools & Spas : Patio, Lawn & Garden. (n.d.). https://www.amazon.com/XtremepowerUS-Floating-Purifier-Eco-Friendly-Compatible/dp/B098R6TCDF