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Buying Guide

Best Drain Snakes and Augers

What is a Drain Snake?
A drain snake sitting atop a kitchen sink

When clogs happen, drain snakes are a great way to clear out the mess. The terms snake and auger are often interchangeable, and they serve the same function. This device helps move a metal cable through the pipes, clearing any dirt and debris. 


Drain snakes come in manual, mechanical and electric options, but not all styles are right for every clog. Learning the best drain snakes for every occasion is essential.

Types of Drain Snakes
A drain snake sitting atop a wooden surface

Before you can find the best drain snakes for your clog, you must first understand the differences between the four basic models. These models range in price depending on the features.


Manual Drain Snake:

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 Drain Augers:

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 are able to feel when you hit resistance and work your way through pipes. These are also compact, making them easy to store when they aren’t in use.


Battery-Operated Drain Snakes:

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. 


Electric Drain Snakes:

When you want full power but don’t want to mess around with 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. 


Tip: If you don’t want to purchase one, electric drain snakes are available for rent at The Home Depot for a small fraction of the purchase price.


Additional Accessories:

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.

The Right Drain Snake for Every Clog
A person using a drain snake in a drain in the wall

Bathroom sinks, kitchen 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. Every product varies, so read the manufacturer’s instructions before using a snake for plumbing repairs.


Best Drain Snakes for Sinks

Your bathroom sink is prone to build-up. Everything from hair and cosmetics to soap and dirt can accumulate in the sink every time you wash your hands or get ready for the day. Because these pipes are smaller, and you don’t want to scratch the inside of the sink basin, start with a hand-crank drain snake.


Best Drain Snakes for Showers

When shower drains back up, it 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 accumulate 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.


Best Drain Snake for Hair

Sink and shower drains see a build-up of hair over time. As the hair compacts, it causes 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. 


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. 

What is a Toilet Auger?
A person using an auger in a toilet

Every bathroom should be outfitted with a plunger, but sometimes 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 winds through the pipes. 

Tackle your next plumbing issue with authority. When you have the right snake for plumbing mishaps available, it’s easy to get your pipes flowing like normal again. Additionally, a drain snake rental from The Home Depot can help keep extra cash in your pocket instead of paying for a professional plumber.