reviews: Savio Skimmers

March 2005
We take a look at one of the top selling pond skimmers on the market produced by Savio. more info on skimmers
Revisions Made Jan 31 2006 Jan 29 2007, Dec 23 2012

Savio Pond Skimmers Key Features

A full sized and mini skimmer are available with 2 weir door size options for each unit. I won't include the small 6" door that is available for the large skimmer. There is a foam filtration/debris screening and a rigid plastic net/basket which is the first line of defence. They are also UV capable with optional Bulb[s] purchases. the mini taking 1 bulb, the full size skimmer 2

I was new to savio skimmers this year [2004] and have installed 3 so far. However, I don't think you need to install a plethora of units to spot the obvious deficiencies with this unit. Don't get me wrong, it may be the best skimmer on the market but it is not without is shortcomings
  • This is a large, strong skimmer
  • The basket is robust and catches a lot of debris. The filter wool gets easily clogged - bypass holes recommended
  • High flow rates are capable from skimmers - this one feeds jets
The Positives
I never understood why anyone would build a thin walled flimsy skimmer. But that's all that was initially available on the market a few years ago - and at an exorbitant price to boot. Savio has addressed this issue in spades. This unit is solid and extremely strong - I'm over 200 lbs. and when standing on it it will not budge.

The body is also rounded which provides the most structural strength - you will not see any of these units deform out of shape after a Winter freeze

The plastic collection basket is solid enough, although I'm dubious as to the ultimate life span of it, and am not familiar with the replacement cost. It is often difficult to get out smoothly requiring some maneuvering. The capacity of the skimmer is ample enough, and the UV bulbs work well. There is a foam insert for some extra water polishing. This is easily removed for cleaning but I find it most ponds, it clogs too quickly. Cut our a few bypass holes with an exacto and you are fine

The Negatives
The biggest negatives I can see is are a weak skimming action and a lack of skimmer adjustability. Other models seem to be more adept in terms of flow and skimming action with varying flows. On one particular install, the savio did not perform well in skimming some surface foam. As a matter of fact, the bulk of it went right past the mouth of the skimmer. The weir door does not seem to be buoyant enough to float just below the surface. It is this key reduction of area which increases the celerity of water and therefore the skimming draw

Other weir doors have foam to float their doors properly. The Savio does not. [I suspect the door is hollow and filled with air], it simply does not perform as is should. This can be rectified by gluing some foam to the weir door and/or by using a more powerful pump

I would also suggest that savio put out a default unit that just uses the largest weir door. Snap-on plastic sections could be fabricated that would reduce the size of the opening, thereby increasing the flow rate into the skimmer. You could then start off with a smaller pump and if you required more skimming, you would not have to re-install the unit - snap off the sections and install a more powerful pump and your done.

Ultimately I will say the skimmer does work, it could work better and I think the option to be able to easily use it with a large variance in flow rates is important. Even though the regular unit is sizable, their is still not a lot of space for a submersible pump. I recommend an external pump be used. On one unit I installed a 1.5" bulkhead for an external pump and from what I could eyeball, the template for the 2 inch bulkhead would cause me to saw into part of the internal framing. This would be a no-no

If possible, the best bulkhead location would be at the bottom of the unit in the pump cavity. Placed here, water will be better filtered because it will pass through the filter screening and there is more space to install a larger bulkhead

Another issue I have is the lid of the unit. It is way too tight. You should be able to fit the lid into to place easily, instead the tolerance is low and the aggravation high. Not sure if the reasoning here, I don't think the lid is going to blow away, it's so heavy duty. I also have a real problem with the fact that there is no or or is savio doing ??? Errr.. It took awhile to discover their website is actually

The cost of the UV kit is high considering the parts involved, a marketing mistake in my opinion

the verdict
Build Quality: The unit is very solid and strong. Lid does not fit easily which is really not acceptable and sometimes the debris basket catches when being removed

Functionality: This skimmer works, I just think it could work a little better with a door that is more buoyant and a design that would allow for a wide variance of flow rates to be used

Expandability: The ability to ad UV lamps at a reasonable price is a definite plus

I give this unit a 7/10, with a few tweaks it could be great