Best Protein Skimmer 2019

 

Protein Skimmer Rankings - We would like to start out by assuring people who are reading this of one major factor. We don't sell products just for the sake of selling them. We aren't going for diversification, we're going for clarification. There are a ton of Protein Skimmers on the market that have 40% profit margins, but profit is completely pointless if you don't believe in the product and company behind the skimmer. If you find a Protein Skimmer on our site it is because we have gone to great lengths in an attempt to ensure whoever buys one will be pleased with whichever choice they make. 

Visit our Protein Skimmers section to see our full inventory.

This section was created because Skimmers are such a vital part of maintaining any successful saltwater aquarium.

We hate those articles that you have to read forever that seem to want to build anticipation only to announce why you even started reading towards the end. So let's get right to it... 

Takes Home the Trophy for #1 Protein Skimmer - Bubble Magus

Because we put so much emphasis on building an informative site and making people aware that we're here as well as the brands that we carry, the majority of our pages automatically rose up the search engines for a lot of different topics. Because of this, we get a ton of people that call, text or email thinking we're the manufacturer of many different brands when we're not. We are a store that will greet them with a friendly voice and point them in the right direction, but not before we usually have the chance to have a discussion about which products they use and the stories they may have about those products. We see this as a huge benefit because it gave us the ability to find out unbiased opinions on many different brands and the experiences other people have had with those brands (both good and bad)

We want to offer as much clarification as we can when it comes to why we put together these rankings...

Most people want to know that they're getting the most "bang for their buck". They don't want to be left high and dry by a manufacturer in the event one of the most important pieces of equipment they have, should all the sudden fail. Over the DECADES that we've been in business, we gathered a great deal of "requirements" from our fellow hobbyists pertaining to what they are looking for in a Skimmer. Quiet pumps, reliable, durable (can the collection cup be taken off without snapping the neck), energy efficient, performance, does the manufacturer respond, how quickly do they get warranty issues rectified, were all the major things we were looking at because it seems like these are the things that most people consider when looking at a Protein Skimmer. 

This was something that was quite expensive to us (so was the light testing). To most people who read this article, they thought it was great that our opinions weren't skewed by any manufacturer hooking us up with a large discount. We did get slightly carried away and began basically collecting the different models of different brands to see how well they performed. We even purchased older models that have been used for years to see how well they were holding up.

We REALLY wanted to dig deep into Protein Skimmers to find out why some of them cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. A lot of the time they were put through tests that would never happen in the real world, but we wanted to find out if the $1500 skimmer was more versatile then the $250 skimmer. Having excess force applied to them or being dropped down a set of stairs were things that became pretty common when it came to both us and Reef2Land. 

There was a reason for doing this though...

We sell and ship a TON of skimmers. Being that they are constructed of almost all acrylic, we did see a number of problems with certain brands. These are things we don't want a customer to find out the hard way if they go to remove the skimmer from under their stand and accidentally bump it or something. Things such as cracked necks or collection cups even when slightly over-tightening, volutes that easily snap off, pumps that rattle if they are taken apart for cleaning and other parts that might easily break when a skimmer is disassembled for maintenance. These are problems our customers should not have to worry about as long as they are following the manufacturers' guidelines.

Keep in mind we never filed an actual warranty claim. Anything that occurred with the skimmer was intentional.

We also needed to find a way to test these companies when it came to customer service. How personal are they, how knowledgeable towards their own products, how they dealt with a customer that might be purchasing their first skimmer, etc. One major factor was how fast they got any warranty issues rectified. We wanted to know for our sake and for the sake of our customers that warranty issues would be handled in a fast and efficient manner. When it came to first-time costumers we would ask some of our newer customers put the skimmers together and see what questions they might come up with. Then we would call or email the manufacturer to see what their responses were and how respectful they were of even beginning reefkeepers. All of this was a great deal of fun and very informative for us at AquariumSumps.om.

If a manufacturer reads this and should disagree with our position on any of the below, keep in mind that this is all completely unbiased and based on our experiences as consumers and not a shop. There were also hundreds of reviews that we collected on each and every skimmer that we tested from customers over nearly 2 years. 

  • One (1) year on Skimmer Body
  • One (1) year on Skimmer Pump Motor
  • Six (6) month on Needle Wheel Impeller
  • No Warranty on Ceramic Shaft
  • Performance Level Rating: 10
  • Bang For Your Buck: 10
  • Construction and Reliability: 9
  • Customer Service and Warranty Issues: 9
  •  Our #1 Recommended Skimmer

Bubble Magus has the cost of most of the low-cost skimmers, with the performance of most of the more expensive brands. That's why they're a skimmer that is nearly impossible to beat and our clear-cut winner. They are distributed by Seaside Aquatics in California. Seaside cares very much about the customers and what they need, which is why the Bubble Magus name has flourished in the aquarium industry. You can even come to us should you have any warranty issues. 

Bubble Magus is one of the best companies around and there are no negatives we have seen when it comes to purchasing one of their skimmers. We may just be lucky, but in 10 years of selling these skimmers, we have had under a 1% complaint rate. When there is an issue it's usually something that is easily rectified like the skimmer might require some adjusting at first to finally tune it in. The only time we see a customer replace a Bubble Magus skimmer is because they are replacing a new Bubble Magus skimmer to replace their old Bubble Magus skimmer. With most other brands we see a good deal of "brand jumping". This is where a good deal of people believe the next miracle skimmer is the next brand they try. Let us save you some time - get a Bubble Magus.

The only downside we've heard from several customers is that they can have a rather long break-in period, which always goes away after a short amount of time. Once the skimmers do get tuned in and properly adjusted, they operate with outstanding efficiency. So, this isn't really a downside as much as it is something we feel customers should be aware of.

They have two websites that can be used to contact them concerning any Warranty Issues. Sea Side Aquatics is the main distributor for the USA. The customer service is pretty friendly and very efficient when it comes to communication. Then you can also use us or www.bubble-magus.com.

#2 Nyos Protein Skimmers

  • One (1) Year Warranty USA
  • Performance Level Rating: 9
  • Bang For Your Buck: 7
  • Construction and Reliability: 10
  • Customer Service and Warranty Issues: 9

Nyos Protein Skimmers are distributed by one of the most recognized names in the industry, Ecotech Marine. It's hard to find any sort of downside other than price for these skimmers. We GET that they're engineered and made in Germany (from what we're told), but that doesn't really justify a price tag that is so much higher in our opinion. These skimmers are an exceptional work of art that offers both performance and a beautiful design in one package.

The only issues we ran into with them is we were informed that sometimes a credit card has to be kept on file for warranty issues, or the customer might have to pay for shipping back based on the discretion of the company. We don't believe either one of these things should be a requirement when it comes to such a high-price skimmer.

We're not actually sure what the warranty is. When we contacted Ecotech 3 people told us that the warranty in the USA is only 1-year, but 2-years in the UK and Germany. 2 people told us the warranty is 2-years no matter where the skimmer is sold. Either way, no one seemed to really know. One thing that we are sure of is these skimmers are a great choice for any saltwater or reef aquarium.

#3 AquaMaxx Protein Skimmers

  • One (1) Year Warranty
  • Performance Level Rating: 10
  • Bang For Your Buck: 8
  • Construction and Reliability: 8
  • Customer Service and Warranty Issues: 7
  •  Best Hang-On Skimmer - AquaMaxx

AquaMaxx Protein Skimmers in our opinion are one of the best performing skimmer on the market because of their unique design. There's no doubt that these perform in the Top 3. If you look closely at the bubble plates you'll notice that they have individual cones. These cones cause an EXTREMELY turbid skimmate that is focused on the neck of the skimmer. With a shorter neck and a more concentrated skimmate you end up with top performance.

Problem with these is we heard a lot of different things when it came to talking to the AquaMaxx as a company. Things such as if there is a warranty issue it can potentially leave you without a skimmer for a short period of time as AquaMaxx might have to inspect the skimmer or parts might have to be ordered.

On the AquaMaxx website, there is no contact number, only a "Contact Us" form field to fill out. When we used personal emails that we set up specifically for product testing responses sometimes took days. AquaMaxx would be tied for first place if they were easier to contact, had better warranties, and we didn't hear that some customers have to wait on parts to get their skimmer fixed.

#4 Your Choice Aquatics Protein Skimmers

  • Two (2) years on Skimmer Body
  • One (1) year on Skimmer Pump
  • Performance Level Rating: 9
  • Bang For Your Buck: 9
  • Construction and Reliability: 8
  • Customer Service and Warranty Issues: 8
  •  Best External Skimmer - YCA

Your Choice Aquatics came in the aquarium industry in 2015. The same distributor that offers YCA skimmers also distributes Bubble Magus. When you have a company that knows quality when they see it, it's usually a safe bet that any other products they distribute will have similar performance and customer service. They handle warranty issues in an extremely fast and friendly manner. You can also contact us directly should you have any warranty issues. The Your Choice Aquatics skimmers performed exceptionally well under all of our load tests. The construction appeared to be similar to more of the high-cost brands, with heavier, sturdy acrylic and solid hardware. The pumps were strong, silent, and efficient. All of these qualities are what earned them a spot in the Top 5.

#5 Reef Octopus Protein Skimmers

  • Two (2) year on Pump Body
  • One (1) year on Pump Rotor
  • One (1) year on Skimmer Body
  • Performance Level Rating: 9
  • Bang For Your Buck: 7
  • Construction and Reliability: 8
  • Customer Service and Warranty Issues: 7
  • Reef Octopus Skimmers can be purchased at Reef2Land.com

    Reef Octopus continues to be a top contender in the aquarium industry, they always will be. All of the parts for their skimmers are manufactured by Reef Octopus. When it comes to warranty concerns the feedback we get is split right down the middle. Some customers have told us they are the best company ever when it comes to handling warranty issues and others have told us it can take some time get any warranty issues rectified. We DO know that every time we have dealt with Reef Octopus (CoralVue) in the past, the company responded extremely fast to even our emails. But, this is about customer reviews and not our personal experience with them.

    We believe the pricing of the skimmers is a little high when it comes to capacity rating. The beginner or intermediate level skimmers are the Classic Line. The next in line is the Regal Skimmers. For these models, Reef Octopus added a DC pump to their skimmers to take performance to the next level. Lastly is the Reef Octopus Elite line of skimmers. This takes the performance of the Regal skimmers one step further by adding Varios pumps to create a tremendous amount of turbulence for amazing efficiency.

    According to numerous sources the Elite line performs as well as many of the higher-end skimmers, such as Royal Exslusiv, at a fraction of the cost. 

    One reason Reef Octopus dropped down further in the standings is we believe all companies should put their best foot forward at a price that most hobbyists can achieve. The bottom of the line models, the Classic line, come at a higher cost than most Bubble Magus or AquaMaxx skimmers. During our testing though we noticed that the AquaMaxx skimmers performed just as well as the Reef Octopus Regal line, and better than the Classic line. Bubble Magus has several models that performed just as well as the Elite line, usually with DC pumps, at half the cost.

    If Reef Octopus could put out a skimmer that was slightly more expensive than the Classic line and performed as well as the Elite line, there's no reason they wouldn't be Top 2. There's no doubt that Reef Octopus is and always will be a top name in the aquarium industry. We just wish that the performance of their Elite line came at a price that wasn't a fantasy to most reef tank owners.

    • One (1) year on Skimmer Body
    • One (1) year on Skimmer Pump
    • Performance Level Rating: 7
    • Bang For Your Buck: 8
    • Construction and Reliability: 7
    • Customer Service and Warranty Issues: 8
    • Mode Protein Skimmers can be purchased at Reef2Land.com

    Mode protein skimmers joined the reef keeping hobby only recently with their PGX line of skimmers. These skimmers are equipped with a pipeless gear controlled outlet which allows for extremely accurate foam level adjustment. We studied and rated Mode because we had so many customers that wanted a more precise way to control the foam level inside of their skimmer. Each skimmer is also equipped with a DC pump and adjustable air silencer. Mode skimmers are very well constructed and perform exceptionally well.

    By now people know one of our top qualities is solid customer service that has numerous ways to get ahold of them. Visiting the Mode site you can call, email, or even reach out to them on social media. They actually respond rather quickly and very efficiently when it comes to taking care of a customer's needs. We see no reason Mode can't be a Top 5 skimmer when they are more established and have more reviews behind them. Well done Mode.

    #7 Simplicity Protein Skimmers

    • Two (2) years on Skimmer Body
    • One (1) year on Skimmer Pump
    • Performance Level Rating: 7
    • Bang For Your Buck: 8
    • Construction and Reliability: 6
    • Customer Service and Warranty Issues: 5
    • Simplicity Protein Skimmers can be purchased at Reef2Land.com

    Simplicity skimmers were rather surprising to us when it came to our "pressure testing". Usually, with a skimmer that's of lower cost, the acrylic is fairly brittle and snaps rather easily. These skimmers though actually held up exceptionally well. One benefit of Simplicity skimmers is they all come with DC pumps standard, which makes them easy to adjust and they can be tuned for numerous stocking situations. The performance level was very good. For a low-cost skimmer they can definitely get the job done on almost any reef tank.

    We did have Simplicity ranked in the Top 3 just two years ago. One reason they fell is we began hearing warranty concerns from a good deal of customers. Some customers informed us they received YouTube videos on how to fix their own skimmer. Simplicity would probably get back into the Top 3 again if we began receiving more positive feedback from customers as we did in 2017.

    #8 Royal Exclusiv Protein Skimmers

    • Two (2) Year Warranty On All Skimmers with the RD3 Pumps and One (1) Year Without
    • Performance Level Rating: 9
    • Bang For Your Buck: 5
    • Construction and Reliability: 8
    • Customer Service and Warranty Issues: 7
    • Royal Exclusiv Protein Skimmers can be purchased at Reef2Land.com

    Royal Exclusiv was somewhat harder for us to rank. We understand that a lot of people cherish these skimmers and believe they're the only brand on the market. One reason they made our Top 10 is that we did give them the benefit of the doubt just based on customer feedback. If it wasn't for 100% positive reviews Royal Exclusiv wouldn't make our Top 5 unless they dropped a significant amount in price. Far as we know these skimmers still only have a 2-year warranty and performed as well as most other skimmers in the Top 3. We were highly impressed with the customer service. The staff knew their products, they were fast, efficient, and extremely polite. 

    Customers searching for the quietest operation, Royal Exclusiv we would consider Top 2. They would also be in the Top 2 for those wanting great performance and even better energy efficiency. Titanium hardware, heavy-duty PVC tubing, and exceptional acrylic construction are a few of the things that set the durability of Royal Exclusiv apart from other skimmers. If you have the money and want to pay for all the bells and whistles then Royal Exclusiv is a great choice for you.

      #9 Skimz Protein Skimmers

      • Two (2) years on Skimmer Body
      • One (1) year on Skimmer Pump
      • Performance Level Rating: 7
      • Bang For Your Buck: 8
      • Construction and Reliability: 5
      • Customer Service and Warranty Issues: 8

      One of the biggest factors of us rating Skimz was their Italian made Sicce pumps. These pumps are known for being exceptionally quiet and durable. When it comes to Skimz customer support they have the backing of one of the nations largest retailers behind them. Even better this retailer is very efficient when it comes to getting replacement parts should you need them.

      The issues we dealt with when it comes to Skimz skimmers, which cause us to drop them in the standings, was nearly half of the Skimz skimmers we sold would end up with a complaint. Either the volutes are snapping off, the air-intake lines aren't working, parts are cracking, pumps are frying or their mounts are breaking, or any number of other things. Skimz makes an amazing skimmer when it comes to performance but they aren't exactly the best choice if you're looking for reliability and construction.

      #10 Aqua Excel Protein Skimmers

      • One (1) Year Warranty
      • Performance Level Rating: 7
      • Bang For Your Buck: 5
      • Construction and Reliability: 4
      • Customer Service and Warranty Issues: 4

      Aqua Excel skimmers have a very appealing design and solid performance. We did at one time sell a fair amount of these skimmers. Both Skimz and Aqua Excel are brands that we no longer carry, but they still warrant a spot in our Top 10 skimmer rankings. Aqua Excel would be rated much higher if they had better reviews and a more established track record. Most customers would come back to us and inform us the customer service was rather difficult to get ahold of. Similar to Skimz almost half of the Aqua Excel skimmers we would sell had construction issues that usually revolved around the pump mounts or controls. If they can correct these problems, we see no reason Aqua Excel couldn't slide into the Top 5. 

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