Your mind may be set on getting a lightweight automatic pool skimmer with a durable body and highly efficient solar cells. But in the end, a high battery capacity matters the most when choosing a solar-powered pool skimmer.
Best Solar Pool Skimmers at a Glance
- Instapark Betta Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner Solar Powered Pool Skimmer – Overall Best Solar Pool Cleaner
- Aquamoto Skimbot 2021 Robotic Solar Powered Pool Cleaner
Pool skimmers/pool cleaners can either be automatic or manually operated. While the automatic pool skimmers affect most of their functions once programmed, the manual ones need your routine input to clean your pool surface.
The weight of solar pool cleaners is essential to their accessibility. Alone, a solar-powered pool cleaner might be lightweight. But after collecting leaves and debris from the swimming pool, the skimmer may become too heavy to remove and empty.
A solar pool cleaner works on the surface of a swimming pool. Therefore, manufacturers must craft them to be resistant to water. Besides water exposure, solar pool cleaners are exposed to UV rays from the sun over long periods. Therefore, they are at risk of getting damaged. So, durability is vital to one’s choice of the solar-powered pool skimmer.
While some regions get a lot of sunlight, others get shorter periods of sunlight. Knowing that solar pool cleaners work with solar energy, short durations of sunlight might stall their function. But with efficient solar panels, this might become less of an issue.
The best solar pool cleaners do not rely only on solar energy for their functions. Instead, they feature batteries to keep them running when the sun is unavailable.
The capacity of the battery of solar pool skimmers varies across brands and models. But generally, those with higher battery capacities keep working for longer periods when the sun is unavailable. Of course, if your solar pool cleaner can only run for short periods without the sun, then its usefulness to your swimming pool would be limited.
Top 2 Solar Pool Skimmers Reviewed
1. Instapark Betta Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner Solar Powered Pool Skimmer
About the Product
The Instapark Betta tops our review of solar-powered pool cleaners because it offers an impressive solar cell efficiency, decent battery capacity, and noteworthy durability. While it might not be the lightest of the solar-powered pool skimmers in our review, it offers automatic and manual control to the users.
Battery Capacity/Battery Life
The Instapark Betta comes with lithium batteries, and when fully charged, these batteries can last for as long as 4-5 hours. The operation time indicates a large battery capacity, and it is more than what the Aquamoto Skimbot offers.
The impressive battery capacity of the Instapark Betta offers some sense of reliability. You get the feeling that there is enough juice to keep this solar pool skimmer running even during the extended absence of intense sunlight.
You may consider getting a solar pool cover to conserve the battery of your pool skimmer. The pool surface will be shielded from the leaves and debris, keeping the pool clean with the pool covered.
Solar Cell Efficiency
When it comes to solar cell efficiency, the Instapark Betta impresses even more than the industry average. The cells of this solar pool cleaner have a rated efficiency of 21.5%. In other words, they maximize relatively more of the solar energy that gets to them.
The high solar cell efficiency of the Instapark Betta makes it a good choice in regions that do not get so much sunlight. With the solar panel of this product, the batteries should be able to get much more solar power than average solar panels will offer in similar conditions.
The Instapark Betta is highly waterproof. Besides that, part of its body stays in water just fine. You can let it stay out under the rain without any issue.
Beyond being waterproof, the manufacturer of the Instapark Betta crafted the body of this solar pool skimmer with UV-resistant material.
The combination of UV and water resistance says the Instapark Betta should be in top shape for a long time.
The use of brushless underwater motors makes the Instapark Betta even more durable. Brushless motors generally make less noise and last longer than brushed motors.
The manufacturer’s warranty covers the Instapark Betta Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner within the first year of purchase. The company says you may contact them for any issues that occur within the said period. Of course, you must have proof of purchase.
One limiting clause attached to this warranty is that the warranty becomes void when the product is taken out of the USA.
On the weight front, the Instapark Betta falls behind the Aquamoto Skimbot. The Instapark Betta weighs around 14.02 pounds – almost twice as heavy as the Aquamoto Skimbot. But while you may expect this weight to be a limiting factor in emptying the skimmer, it is not quite so.
The Instapark Betta has a top handle basket design. This makes it possible for you to open the skimmer and remove the debris within it without lifting the Instapark Betta out of the swimming pool water.
The Instapark Betta comes with a wireless remote that allows you to toggle between automatic and manual operation.
With the remote control, you can set the Instapark Betta Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner to do a fast cleaning at a fixed spot. Besides that, you can also steer this pool skimmer with the remote control.
One of the features we fancied the most about the Instapark Betta is the reduction in pool pump time it offers. With this skimmer, you can reduce the time your pool pump has to work for by up to 33%. Consequently, you might be able to reduce your solar pool heating cost.
Debris can impede water flow through the pump. And when this happens, filtering pool water through the pump will take more time than necessary.
If you have a saltwater pool with a salt concentration over 4000 ppm, then you may want to avoid using the Instapark Betta Automatic Robotic Pool Cleaner. The Instapark Betta solar cleaner is only suitable for freshwater swimming pools and saltwater swimming pools with a concentration of less than 4000 ppm.
- Longest battery life amongst the solar-powered pool skimmers.
- Highly durable as it is crafted with water-resistant and UV-resistant parts. Then again, it runs on brushless motors.
- Reduces pump time by up to ⅓.
- Allows both automatic and manual control.
- Features a top handle basket style that allows easy emptying the debris tray without getting the whole skimmer out of the water.
- The warranty on the product is limited to the United States.
- It cannot be used with saltwater pools with concentrations above 4000 ppm.
2. Aquamoto Skimbot 2021 Robotic Solar Powered Pool Cleaner
About the Product
The Aquamoto Skimbot offers the lower battery life of the two solar pool skimmers we reviewed. It also has the relatively lower solar cell efficiency of the two solar-powered pool skimmers. These are the reasons it falls short of the Instapark Betta.
While its battery life and solar panel efficiency may not be the highest, the Aquamoto Skimbot offers better pump time reduction. It is also lighter and remarkably durable.
Battery Capacity/Battery Life
Like the Instapark Beta, the Aquamoto Skimbot runs on lithium batteries. But when fully charged, the batteries of the Aquamoto Skimbot run for around 3-4 hours – less than what the Instapark Betta offers.
While the battery life of the Aquamoto Skimbot solar pool cleaner battery is not very high, it is still a reliable product. At least, it should be able to last through the night following a full charge.
Solar Cell Efficiency
The PV panel of the Aquamoto Skimbot is made from the same type of solar cells as the Instapark Betta. But the efficiency of the solar cells of the Aquamoto Skimbot falls slightly short of that of the Instapark Betta.
The solar cell efficiency of the Aquamoto Skimbot stands at around 20-21% – more than average solar panels. So, the solar power production of this pool cleaner should be relatively more than you will get with an average pool cleaner.
The solar cell efficiency of the Aquamoto Skimbot is an advantage in regions that do not get extended periods of sunlight. This holds because, in such places, the Aquamoto Skimbot can maximize more of the solar energy it gets within a short period.
As with the Instapark Betta, the Aquamoto Skimbot is made with plastic that resists UV degradation. It is also water-resistant to a high degree – you may even leave it outdoors when it rains.
The manufacturer of the Aquamoto Skimbot offers a 1-year limited warranty and a 30-day full refund period. The get the warranty, you must register the product on the company’s official website within 30 days of buying it.
Weighing just 8.58 pounds, the Aquamoto Skimbot is relatively lighter than the Instapark Betta. Being as light as it is, you should have no problem getting this automatic skimmer out of the pool to empty it.
The operation of the Aquamoto Skimbot is mainly automatic. It is designed with anti-collision sensors, which help pick out barriers and serve as a navigation system.
The Aquamoto Skimbot is Bluetooth-enabled. This feature allows you to connect it to your smartphone through the Skimbot App on iOS and Android. When connected to the Aquamoto Skimbot, you can monitor its operation, control it remotely, and toggle between the various operation modes.
The Aquamoto Skimbot reduces pump time by up to 60% – more than the Instapark Betta.
While the manufacturer did not really specify if it can be used in saltwater, the Aquamoto Skimbot has been used in saltwater pools without issues. But we recommend restricting its use to pools with a salt concentration below 4000 ppm.
- Battery life is more than decent. But the Instapark Betta offers the longest battery life of the two solar-powered pool skimmers in our review.
- The solar panel cells are highly efficient – more so than other solar panels with a similar type of cells.
- Highly durable – resistant to UV, heat, and water.
- It can reduce pump time by up to 60%.
- Navigation is largely automated. But you can control the skimmer from your smartphone using the official app.
- Lightweight – emptying the skimmer basket is relatively easy because of this.
- Comes with a 30-day full refund period.
- The 1-year warranty on this product is limited.
- No specification on the pool type this product is suitable for.
Solar-Powered Pool Skimmers – Buying Guide
What to Look Out for in a Solar-Powered Pool Skimmer
Without a battery, your solar pool skimmer would be functionless at night because of the absence of the sun. However, with a battery, it will work.
How long your solar pool skimmer will long in the absence of the sun depends on its battery capacity. With a higher battery capacity, your solar pool skimmer should work for longer periods without the sun. But with a low capacity, it will only work for a brief period.
If your solar pool skimmer only works for a brief period without the sun, then it is almost as good as not working at all.
So, before choosing a solar pool skimmer from the pack, verify that it has a high battery capacity or battery life. Battery capacity is measured in mAh, while battery life is measured in hours. So, look for values indicating any of these on the pack of the product.
Solar Panel/Cell Efficiency
A high solar panel efficiency makes for a relatively higher supply of solar power to your pool skimmer. Of course, the more power your pool skimmer gets, the faster your battery charges.
If you do not get a lot of sunlight where you live, PV panel/cell efficiency is a vital feature to look out for. Higher panel efficiency will help mitigate some of the shortfalls of low sunlight duration.
Except your swimming pool is indoors, your pool skimmer will be exposed to the sun’s UV rays. Extended exposure to UV rays will most likely damage any object, except such an object is UV-resistant or made with UV-resistant materials. So, when choosing a pool skimmer, ensure it is designed to be UV-resistant.
Besides UV resistance, a pool skimmer must be highly water-resistant for obvious reasons. You would not have to worry about the water in your pool damaging the skimmer if the skimmer is water-resistant. You also wouldn’t have to worry about the rain if your pool skimmer is water-resistant.
Ordinarily, your skimmer may not be heavy. But when it gets filled with leaves and debris, it may become significantly heavier. If this happens, getting it out of the pool to empty it may become difficult. So, whenever you are getting a solar pool skimmer, ensure you opt for a lightweight product.
If you are not always available to program and control the cleaning process of your pool skimmer, you should look out for products with automated controls. This way, you are sure that the skimmer will keep the surface of your pool clean in your absence.
Supported Pool Type
The chances are your pool contains freshwater. But there is no telling that your pool does not receive some salt from the sea around your region.
With heightened salt content, some solar-powered pool skimmers may not function in your pool. So, before choosing a solar pool skimmer, you should verify that it can handle the salt concentration of your pool.
Is There a Floating Pool Skimmer?
Yes, there are floating pool skimmers. Unlike fixed skimmer boxes, floating pool skimmers clean out leaves from all angles. This reduces the chances of the formation of a dead spot where leaves accumulate.
Then again, floating pool skimmers remove leaves before they sink to the bottom of the pool. It is more convenient for pool owners to clean the pool when the rubble is still afloat.
Just like any other type of skimmer, a floating pool skimmer may not remove all the leaves from your pool’s surface.
Are Skimmers Good for Above Ground Pools?
Pool skimmers offer about the same benefits to above-ground pools as they do to in-ground pools. Pool skimmers get leaves and other debris out of the pool before they can sink to the bottom, where they accumulate.
What Are Solar Pool Ionizers?
Solar pool ionizers are a type of solar pool cleaners that release zinc and copper ions to inhibit the growth of green algae and bacteria. Through their action, they reduce the use of chlorine and chemicals in the pool.
So, how do solar pool ionizers work? Well, a solar pool ionizer comes with a PV panel connected to an anode immersed in the pool water. As the panel converts the sunlight into power, it travels to the said anode and triggers it to release ions into the pool. The released ions, in turn, inhibit or retard the growth of bacteria and algae.
If you heat your pool with solar covers, using a blue solar pool cover alongside a solar pool ionizer will greatly reduce your expenditure on pool chemicals. This is an option to consider if you are trying to bring down your expenses on chlorine significantly.
Investing in a solar pool cleaner with a high battery capacity will ensure that pool maintenance lasts for extended periods. But besides looking out for battery capacity, you should only opt for solar-powered pool cleaners whose solar panels are highly efficient. This way, you can ensure that the device gets a lot more power for every exposure to the sun.
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