Pond Surface Skimmers: Reduce Debris with our 4 Top Picks

What is a pond skimmer?

If you’ve ever been to a swimming pool you’ve probably seen a surface skimmer. Water is drawn into the filter system through one or more of these filter devices. Surface skimmers pull water into the filter system from the water surface.

My favorite pond skimmers are the Aquaskim and the Laguna, keep reading for more!

Surface skimming removes bugs, oils, foam and other floating objects from the pool water, keeping it crystal clear. Pond surface skimmers work much the same way but are designed for use in fish ponds and water gardens.

Chances are your pond does not have a surface slick of sun tan lotion, hair care products and corn chips. But our ponds do collect floating leaves, natural oils from algae and surface foam.

Why do I need a pond skimmer?

How does a pond skimmer work?

How to select a pond skimmer

Best Rated Pond Skimmers List

1. Oase AquaSkim 40" Pond Skimmer

The AquaSkim is a drop-in, internal pond skimmer. No cutting of the pond liner is required.

The skimmer is rated for pumps with a flow rate up to 4200 gallons per hour. The recommended actual flow rate is 1,600 to 3,500 gph.

The floating skimmer can be adjusted to depths between 8-22 inches.

The skimmer’s hose barb accepts tubing from 1-1.5 inches.

The AquaSkim automatically adjusts to a drop in the water level (up to 6 in) due to evaporation and water movement. Floating debris is captured inside the 85-cubic inch strainer basket.


  • Economical way to get a pond skimmer.
  • Easy to clean.
  • No cutting on the liner required.
  • Easy to install.


  • Not tall enough for deeper ponds.

2. TetraPond Skimmer

This in-pond skimmer requires no cutting of the pond liner.

The skimmer must be positioned inside the pond of a plant shelf or other support, at the proper water level.

Water is pumped out the skimmer through a hose by your existing pump.

The TetraPond skimmer has a floating weir door, removable debris basket and mechanical filter pad. This design effectively skims off the surface and traps floating pond debris in the filter pad, making the unit a pond filter and skimmer. A flip-top cover allows easy access for convenient basket removal and maintenance.

Recommended for pumps from 500 GPH to 1,900 gallons per hour. The skimmer uses 1-1/4" tubing.


  • Rated for ponds up to 1,000 gallons.
  • Well-constructed with thick, quality plastic.
  • Easy installation.
  • 12" x 11" x 9-3/4" high.


  • Input hose is on the back of the skimmer.
  • Requires weighing down with gravel or a rock on the lid.

3. Laguna Pond Skimmer

The Laguna pond skimmer is both a skimmer and pond filter. It is designed to be installed outside of the pond, in an excavated hole.

Water enters the skimmer through an opening that you cut in the liner.

The liner material acts as a gasket when attached to the skimmer’s mounting plate.

The Laguna skimmer comes with two pre-drilled 2 ½ - inch pump outlet holes, one on either side of the skimmer box. Inside the skimmer are four large pond filter brushes that capture fine debris and polish the water to crystal clarity.

A water pump with a flow rating of 2,000 and 4,200 gallons per hour is suggested. This skimmer works on koi ponds and water gardens between 1,000 and 4,000 gallons.


  • Heavy-duty pond skimmer.
  • 17.5 x 24 x 22 inches.
  • Uses filter brushes to clear the water.
  • Built for larger ponds.


  • None.

4. Aquascape Signature Series 200 Pond Skimmer

The Aquascape Signature Series 200 Skimmer is an external skimmer that requires a hole to be cut into the side of the pond liner.

The skimmer box is placed at the water level and usually requires placing the skimmer box in a hole, next to the pond.

The Aquascape skimmer works as a surface skimmer and a pond filter.

It is designed for use with water pumps rated up to 3,000 gallons per hour. The skimmer is suitable for koi ponds and water gardens between 3,000 and 6,000 gallons. The removable leaf and debris net makes removal of debris quick and easy.

The rounded shape maximizes the structural design while the durable lid provides protection of the filter components.

The skimmer measures 20" L x 17.5" W x 17.5" H. The Aquascape Signature Series 200 Pond Skimmer is also backed by a limited Lifetime Warranty.


  • Lifetime warranty.
  • Sturdy construction.
  • Comes pre-drilled.


  • Leaf net not as sturdy as ridged filter baskets.
  • Does not come with filter brushes or filter pads.

My Pick

All of the pond skimmers in our review work as advertised provided they are installed correctly and use the proper flow-rated water pump. Much of your decision will be matching a skimmer system to your pond’s size.

For simple drop-in installation that requires no cutting, the Oase AquaSkim can’t be beat. The TetraPond skimmer requires some in-pond placement work but it offers skimming and pond filtration in one unit.

If you have a larger pond, you’ll have to cut the liner and install a large-capacity skimmer box. The Laguna Pond Skimmer skims and filters and includes filter brushes, making it a good value.