No matter how careful you are, at some point you’ll need to deal with a clogged drain or toilet. Getting rid of the clog quickly and easily begins by understanding the best drain snakes and augers to use for different types of clogs. Being able to clear clogs can keep everything working smoothly. A clogged drain or toilet is often a problem you can solve yourself. When you have the right drain snake, it’s easier to get your pipes flowing like normal again. You may even be able to avoid calling a plumber.
Read on to learn about the best drain snakes and augers for every type of clog. Plus, find out which tool to use when you have a clogged sink, shower, bathtub or toilet.
Types of Drain Snakes
When clogs happen, drain snakes are a great way to clear out the mess. The terms snake and auger are often interchangeable. Both tools serve the same function. A drain snake device helps move a metal cable through the pipes, clearing any dirt and debris.
Before you can find the best drain snakes for your clog, it helps to know the differences between the four basic models. These models range in price depending on the features.
- Manual drain snakes, or non-powered drain snakes, are more affordable hand-held options that make easy work of clearing clogs. They are designed to be handy and compact.
- Hand-crank augers feature a handle you crank by hand to work the cable down through the drain. Since you operate this auger by hand, you can feel when it hits resistance and then work your way through the pipe. Hand-cranked drain snakes are also compact, which makes them easy to store.
- If you tackle plumbing issues more than a few times a year, investing in a battery-operated drain snake is a great option. These augers use a rechargeable battery that makes them wireless yet powerful. They can range in cost, making it easy to find an entry-level option for inexpensive repairs or a professional-grade design for frequent fixes.
- When you want full power but would rather not have rechargeable batteries, electric drain snakes are a great option. These powerful augers are more of an investment, but they will last for many years. These aren’t the tools you’ll reach for when you have a simple clog in a sink. These heavy-duty machines are designed for clearing deep clogs in main lines or large floor drains.
Best Drain Snakes for Different Clogs
Kitchen sinks, bathroom sinks, toilets and showers are all susceptible to different types of clogs. Before grabbing a tool and clearing the drain, make sure you have the best plumbing snakes for the job.
- The best drain snakes for your bathroom sink will be able to handle daily build-up. Everything from hair and cosmetics to soap and dirt can accumulate in your sink. Because bathroom pipes are smaller, and you don’t want to scratch the inside of the sink basin, start with a hand-crank drain snake.
- The best drain snakes for your shower can deal with the drain backing up. When shower drains back up, they can cause standing water in the shower or bathtub. This can cause damage and create an unpleasant showering experience. A build-up of shower products, hair and dirt accumulates in the pipes, reducing the amount of water that flows through. When a bathtub or shower drain clogs, an electric auto-feed drain snake makes a great choice.
- The best drain snakes for your sink and shower drains need to handle compacted hair. Hair can cause a clog that can be difficult to clear. This mess requires a special type of snake with a head designed to grip onto hair. Look for a head with little hooks that will catch onto the hair and remove it cleanly. Choose one with a flexible design and a comfortable handle so it’s easy to maneuver through the pipes.
Tip: When you have a clogged drain deep in a pipe, choose an extra-long 50-foot cable, as opposed to the 25-foot cables that come with many units. If your house has more than one floor, a drain snake with a longer cable is also a good choice.
Drain Snake Features and Accessories
Drain snakes and augers come with clog-busting features. Or you can add accessories to handle the project better. Here are a few:
- At the end of the drain snake cable, there will be a head that is intended either for pulling or cutting. Drain snakes with a coil head or a toothed head can pull the clog out of the drain. A coil or toothed head is usually enough to clear most household clogs in drains and toilets.
- A cutting head has a blade that can push through thick clogs like grease, food, leaves or mud. More powerful drain snakes and augers have cutting heads, which are not usually needed for small household clogs.
- Many of the hand-crank, battery-operated and electric drain snakes also feature additional accessories and drain cleaning tools. The various shapes of the tools make a single snake suitable for a variety of applications.
What is a Toilet Auger?
You should keep a plunger in each bathroom in your house. Sometimes, though, a plunger isn’t enough. When toilets get clogged, a hand-crank toilet snake or auger is the ideal solution.
The best toilet augers feature a vinyl coating over the cable. The vinyl coating will help protect the bowl against scratches and marks as you work. The manual design of these devices allows you to feel the cable as it unwinds through the pipes.
Tip: If you use a drum auger that’s not vinyl coated, make sure to use a lubricant spray to prevent the cable from rusting prematurely. This will extend the life of the auger cable, so it flows in and out of the auger easier.
Drain snakes come in manual, mechanical and electric options. However, not all styles are right for every clog. Understanding which snakes or augers work best ensures that you’re prepared with the best drain snakes and augers for the project. Every product varies, so read the manufacturer’s instructions before using a snake for plumbing repairs.
Be ready for plumbing issues with a drain snake. Use The Home Depot Mobile App to locate products and check inventory. We'll take you to the exact aisle and bay. Or you can consider a drain snake rental to get your project done. Use once, then bring it back - no maintenance required.