Overflow vs Skimmer Pools

Published Categorized as Building a Pool, Pool Design
Example of an overflow pool. Beautiful landscape in Greece.
Example of an overflow pool. Beautiful landscape in Greece. Photo by Nabih El Boustani.

In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about the differences between overflow and skimmer swimming pools. Including, what both are, what would be the best opinion for you, and much more.

Situations where water in a pool becomes more than the maximum capacity cause an overflow to occur. To combat this, there is a cleansing system referred to as the swimming pool overflow system. 

Overflow pools are particularly eye-catching; they manage any extra water through a separate collection basin or reservoir.

Skimmer pools, on the other hand, are more practical and use a skimmer box that draws out excess liquid from the surface of your pool.

Your budget and design preferences will help you decide which type is best for you; be sure to also incorporate an overflow system into your plan for hygienic and safe swimming, read on to learn the works!

Overflow and Skimmer Pool: What’s the Difference?

Skimmer pool vs Overflow pool principle. Image source: Serge Morana on LinkedIn.

There are differences between pool overflow and skimmer pools. Before building a swimming pool, it is important to be aware of the differences between both.

Structuring of the pool is dependent on the type, price, and even the quality of water in the pool. Let’s look at both in more detail and find out how they differ.

What is a Swimming Pool Overflow?

Swimming pool overflow is a situation where the water in the pool goes beyond the limit of the pool’s capacity. It usually occurs when the water in the pool spills over the top.

Pools with an overflow system are designed in a manner that the water that overflows from the pool gets to the balance tank through channels around the pool. 

The water that accumulates in the balance tank is channeled to the filtration system to be filtered and returned to the swimming pool after cleaning.

This means that the hygiene of the pool has been maintained. 

Overflow pools are used in recreation centers as a means to provide pool service for their customers. They could also be used for therapy purposes.

What are Skimmer Pools 

A skimmer pool is a side drain used for filtration. Skimmer pools are designed mainly to draw water from the pool’s surface and such it through the pool’s filtration system. This is how dirt is filtered out of the pool’s water. 

The skimmer pool filters the pool by pulling water and floating debris from the pool’s surface when the pool pump is running through a pivoting flap called a weir.

The debris passes through the weir and is collected by the skimmer basket. 

A skimmer pool is also used as a vacuum hose connection pool vacuum meant to keep the pool clean.

In this case, the skimmer basket is removed to expose the water inlet to the pool pump. It is important to empty the skimmer basket frequently to make it function better and for longevity. 

The Difference Between Swimming Pool Overflow and Skimmer Pool

Swimming pool overflow and skimmer pools perform the role of filtering dirt from the pool but they have their differences. Here are the most obvious differences:

  • Different Water Levels – In a swimming pool overflow the water is at the same level as the edge of the pool while in the skimmer pool, the water is 20 cm below the edge of the pool.
  • No Water Line Cleansing – A skimmer swimming pool has a floating line that needs to be cleaned to prevent it from being damaged but a swimming pool overflow has no floating line.
  • No Decorative Bands on the Floating Line – It is important that a skimmer pool should apply horizontal decorative bands in the waterline to avoid color differences, however, an overflow pool does not require such. 
  • Cost – The construction of a balance tank in an overflow pool requires time and money, unlike the skimmer pool which doesn’t require it. 
“What is the difference between a skimmer, overflow and infinity pool?” by Silver Fox Group on YouTube.

Swimming Pool Overflow vs Skimmer – Cost 

Swimming pool overflow and skimmer pools operate differently when filtering dirt from the pool. They are necessary tools needed in a swimming pool. However, there is a significant cost difference between the overflow pool and the skimmer pool.

For a swimming pool overflow, the cost varies according to the size of the pool, the design, the materials, and the balance tank to be installed.

A swimming pool overflow costs more than a skimmer swimming pool because it is expensive to get the tools needed for construction in a swimming pool overflow.

Overflow Swimming Pool – Pros and Cons

An overflow swimming pool performs functions that purify the swimming pool. But just as overflow swimming has its advantages, it equally has its disadvantages. 

Pros of an Overflow Swimming Pool 

  • Low Chemical Cost – The maintenance level of the water circulation is at a minimum thereby reducing the cost of weekly chemical products.
  • Clean and Transparent Water – An overflow swimming pool flows on all sides of the pool which gives faster cleansing of the water that leaves the mirror of the water clean and transparent. 
  • No Floating Line – Using an overflow swimming pool does not require the waterline to be cleaned regularly to avoid damage. 
  • Aesthetic –  In an overflow pool, the water flows down the edge of the pool which gives beauty to the pool and makes it different from other types of pools.
  • Easy to maintain – Compared to traditional pools, the overflow pool cleanses itself because of the filtration system that pumps water to the main pool.

Cons of an Overflow Swimming Pool 

  • Expensive  – Having beautiful landscapes is important for an overflow pool and such landscapes are not cheap to get. This makes the overflow pool expensive.
  • Potentially Dangerous – Exposed edges of an overflow pool can result in accidents and falls. 

Skimmer Swimming Pool – Pros and Cons 

Just like the overflow swimming pool, the skimmer swimming pool carries out the filtering of dirt from the pool but it has its advantages and disadvantages. 

Pros of a Skimmer Swimming Pool

  • Affordable – The price of a skimmer swimming pool is not as expensive as that of the overflow pool which makes it less costly.
  • Easy to Clean – A Skimmer pool only requires a skimmer basket to clean. All you need to do is empty the dirt away from the basket. 
  • Simple to Install  – A skimmer swimming pool is not as technical as the overflow pool which makes the installation of the skimmer pool easier.

Cons of a Skimmer Swimming Pool

  • Slow to Clear Dirt – The skimmer pool has small linear feet of water that are drawn at the same time thereby making cleaning slow.
  • Lacks Longevity  – The components of skimmer pools are usually plastic which breaks so replacing it frequently can be tiring. 
  • Can’t Be Used for Competitive Swimming – A skimmer pool has waves that bounce off the wall which creates more turbulence in the water so cannot be used for competitive swimming.

Overflow vs Skimmer Pool – Recap

Swimming pools require two important systems – the overflow pool and the skimmer pool – to filter dirt from the water.

While both perform this task, the cost of an overflow pool is higher than that of a skimmer pool.

To make a decision, consider your needs and how you plan to use the pool.

FAQ – Overflow vs Skimmer Pools

What is the difference between an overflow pool and a skimmer pool?

Overflow pools drain excess water into a separate tank, creating a “disappearing edge” effect, while skimmer pools draw water from the surface with a skimmer box.

What are the benefits of an overflow pool and when should I choose it?

Overflow pools offer a visually stunning effect and require less space, but are more expensive.

What are the benefits of a skimmer pool and when should I choose it?

Skimmer pools are practical, less expensive, and easier to maintain than overflow pools.

What are the maintenance requirements for an overflow pool and a skimmer pool?

Both require regular cleaning and checking of water chemistry, with overflow pools requiring additional maintenance of the collection tank, and skimmer pools requiring maintenance of the skimmer box.

By Michael Walker

I’m the founder and lead developer of YourPool. I love playing volleyball in my pool with my two kids Ella and Nelson. My kids are pretty good at it, but I’m still the king of the pool. I also like to relax in my pool – it’s a great way to escape the Texas heat. I was a failed collage swimmer, but that didn’t stop me from going pro at chillaxing.


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