What Tools Do Plumbers Use to Unclog Drains?


Did you know that plumbers have a variety of tools at their disposal to help them unclog drains? In this blog post, we will take a look at some of the most common tools plumbers use and how they work. We will also discuss the benefits of each tool and why it is important for plumbers to have them in their arsenal. So, if you are curious about what tools plumbers use to unclog drains, keep reading!

9 Tools to Unclog Drains


The first plumbing tool to consider using on your drain is a plunger. A plunger works by creating a vacuum seal, which helps to dislodge the clog. Even though plungers are more commonly used for toilets, they can be used for unclogging sink and shower drains as well. Simply fill the sink/shower with water, place the suction end of the plunger into the drain, and plunge up and down quickly several times. If the clog is not dislodged, you may need to try a different tool.

Drain Auger

A drain auger is a long flexible metal coil that attaches to a handle and helps you get the clog out of your drain. A drain auger works by inserting the coil down your drain and pulling it back up to help break up or dislodge the clog. Drain augers can be manually powered or electric-powered. The only real difference between the two is that an electric drain auger has a small motor that helps feed the coil down your drain.

Hair Snake

A hair snake is a tool that is typically made from plastic and is used in bathrooms and kitchens to clear hair blockages in waste lines like toilets, sinks, tubs, and showers. Hair snakes have a saw-like appearance with the “teeth” being specifically designed to pull out the hair from the drain. Hair snakes are very inexpensive and can be found at any local hardware store.

Wet Vac

A wet vacuum (usually referred to as a “shop-vac”) is a type of industrial-strength vacuum cleaner that is commonly used by homeowners and professional maintenance personnel for cleaning up everything from broken glass or spilled food to large amounts of water. These portable units are designed so you can clean up big messes in a hurry. They typically consist of a large drum or barrel with the motor and fan in the bottom, a drain valve to empty the tank when it’s full, and casters so you can move it around.

When dealing with a clogged pipe, a method you can do is to pour boiling water down the drain and then use the wet vac. You must be careful with this though as the heat from the water can loosen the pipe connections.

Drain Cleaner

A liquid drain cleaner is a chemical cleaning agent that you pour down your drain to help loosen clogs. The chemicals in these cleaners can be decent enough to break up many common clogs. That being said, most plumbers will advise against drain cleaners since it can disrupt the bacterial balance of your septic tank. If you’re connected to the city sewer system instead, this becomes less of an issue.


A hydro jet is a small pump that is connected to a water hose. You attach it to your sink, faucet or tub drain, and it sprays the water out at a very powerful rate, pushing anything in the water out the other end. Due to how powerful a hydro-jet, it should only be considered in situations where a plunger, drain cleaner, or auger wouldn’t suffice.

Drain Cleaning Machine

A drain cleaning machine is a large, heavy-duty auger that is inserted into drains to clear them of obstructions. Often used by plumbers and drain cleaners, the machines are commonly used to remove clogs that cannot be removed by hand tools. The operating end (auger head) of the machine varies along with the arrangement of the machine.

Channel Locks

Channel locks, also known as “water pump pliers” are used by plumbers and HVAC professionals for gripping round objects such as nuts, screwdriver handles, metal pipes, etc. If your drain is clogged, a common method plumbers use is removing the p-trap. A P-trap, or P trap, is the U-shaped pipe found below your bathroom and kitchen sink drains. It’s used to hold water, creating a barrier that seals the drain pipe and prevents sewer gasses from coming up into the room. By removing the P-trap, you’ll be able to remove most clogs without little to no issue.

Drain Inspection Camera

A drain inspection camera is a video or electric cable that you feed down your drain to see if there’s a clog. It’s perfect for checking to see if the drain is blocked all the way down, or if there’s a foreign object stuck inside it. Plumbers will often gauge what tool is needed to unclog a drain by first using a drain inspection camera.

What is the best tool for unclogging drains?

This is a question we get frequently and the answer isn’t so simple. There are many different types of tools available to help unclog drains, and each has its advantages and disadvantages when it comes to effectiveness, cost, ease of use, etc. For example, a plunger is one of the most common solutions to unclog a drain, but it can take some time for the clog to break free.

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