A drain snake is a plumbing tool that is used to remove obstructions blocking a drainage pipe. Other names used for drain snakes are plumbing snakes and augers.
A plumbing snake has a long cable that can be of varying thicknesses depending on its usage.
At the end of the cable is a head that is used to dislodge or cut through various materials that could be obstructing the flow of water, such as hair, food waste, toilet paper, leaves or tree trunks.
Drain snakes can be used to clear up clogs in different kinds of systems, be it domestic, industrial or commercial. They can clear up simple clogs in drains, toilet pipe clogs or even larger blockages in sewage pipes.
How Do I Choose a Drain Snake?
The first factor you should consider while choosing a drain snake is the purpose you will use it for. This will determine all the other qualities of the drain snake.
The second factor you should consider based on the purpose is the length and thickness of the cable.
The drains of your bathtub or sink might be clogged with smaller objects such as clumps of hair.
A length of between six feet and twenty-five feet will be suitable for these clogs, which are more or less near the surface of the drain.
If your plumbing system has very old pipes which are likely to get clogged further down its length, a drain snake up to 75 feet in length and with a thickness of about half an inch should be suitable to reach inside.
Drain snakes that are too thin for the pipe you are cleaning can get tangled or break while inside.
For instance, a pipe that is around one-fourth of an inch thick should not be used in pipes larger than 2 inches.
The third factor you should consider is the head of the drain snake. Some drain snakes have a coiled wire at the end of the cable, which is suitable for removing small objects from the pipe.
If you are looking for a drain snake for your toilet, you will find particular drain snakes with heads designed to avoid damage to the porcelain of the toilet.
For larger clogs with dense objects such as tree branches, you will need a drain snake with blades meant to cut through the clog.
Finally, the drain snake could be manually operated or motorized. Manually operated drain snakes can be more tedious to use but they are more well suited for beginners to avoid damage to the pipes of the plumbing systems.
Motorized drain snakes are suitable for larger clogs as it can be too strenuous to clean such obstacles manually.
Best Drain Snakes
1. Green Gobbler Hair Grabber
This drain snake from Green Gobbler is convenient and straightforward to use and is the perfect budget snake for regular drain clogs in your shower, sink or bathtub. It comes at a highly affordable price, coming in a pack of five and you’ll find it more than handy to have around.
This drain snake is a simple 22-inch long cable with a spiral head and it is operated manually. It is made of plastic and can be easily cleaned and reused multiple times.
This drain snake is suitable for clogs made of clumps of hair as the cable can go inside the pipe to a reasonable length. All you need to do is twist it around and then pull it up and the drain snake can easily grab all the hair clumped up inside.
2. Ridgid Power Spin
This drain snake from Ridgid is a robust and durable option that will help you clean out stubborn clogs in your bathroom and kitchen drains. This drain snake will come into use for years and the price tag is more than worth the performance.
The cable for this drain snake is ¼-inch thick and 25 feet long, making it well suited for the shower, bathtub, sink and kitchen sink drains.
Though this drain snake is manually powered when you buy it, if you connect it to a power drill, you can use it mechanically as well.
The biggest advantage of this drain snake is that it has a drum auger, meaning that you do not need to hold the cable itself. All you need to do is rotate the lever on the drum and the cable will feed itself down the drain.
This will give you ease of operation without any mess or inconvenience. This drain snake can break through clogs made of hair, paper, vegetable remains and other fibrous wastes quickly and efficiently.
3. Ridgid Toilet Auger
This drain snake from Ridgid is specially designed to clean up clogs in the toilet. This drain snake is fairly affordable for the utility it offers.
The cable length for this drain snake is three feet, while the thickness is about half an inch. It is manually powered and has a bulb head which makes it suitable to clean out toilet clogs.
Toilets can often get damaged by regular drain snakes moving around inside. However, this drain snake is designed for use in the toilet.
Hence, it has a vinyl guard in place to prevent damage to the porcelain of the toilet, especially as the drain snake goes into the S-shaped bend in the toilet.
Drain snakes are essential plumbing tools used to clear up clogs in drain pipes.
While thinner and shorter drain snakes with coiled wire heads are suitable for drain clogs made of hair and other small objects, toilets require special drain snakes sensitive to the porcelain material of the toilet, such as those with a vinyl coating.
Drain snakes can be manually or mechanically powered and while manual drain snakes are tedious, they are most well suited for use by beginners in order to avoid damage to the plumbing system.
Larger drains and clogs made up of dense materials require larger drain snakes with bladed heads to break up the clog.