Types of Plungers: A Beginner’s Guide


Most people don’t give much thought to plungers until they need one. But when a toilet won’t flush, a sink is backed up, or a drain is slow, a plunger can be a lifesaver. Plungers come in many different sizes and styles. Choosing the right one can make the difference between an easy fix and a major plumbing disaster.

Types of plungers

There are 6 main types of plungers, and each one is designed differently. Some are great for toilets, and some are better for sinks.

Type of PlungerCup StylePurpose
Cup Plunger (Sink Plunger)Simple rubber cupUnclogging sink and shower drains
Flange Plunger (Toilet Plunger)A rubber cup with an attached flangeUnclogging toilets
Accordion Plunger (Bellows Accordion)A series of flexible chambers  made from plasticUnclogging difficult toilet drains
Taze PlungerA disc made from rubberUnclogging drain pipes
Automatic Toilet PlungerNozzleUnclogging toilet drains without manual effort
Beehive PlungerA short, compact, accordion-like designUnclogging both older and newer toilet designs

Cup Plunger (Sink Plunger)

A cup plunger is a type of plunger that is used to unclog both sink and bathtub drains. The cup plunger has a flat rubber suction cup on one end that is placed over the drain opening. On the other end is a long wooden handle that is used to push and pull the plunger up and down. Due to their design, cup plungers are not as effective on toilets as they are on sink and shower drains.

Flange Plunger (Toilet Plunger)

A flange plunger is a type of plunger that has a rubber suction cup with an attached rubber flange. The flange is a ring-shaped piece of rubber that extends outward from the suction cup. The flange is placed over the drain opening and the suction cup is pressed down, creating a seal.

The flange plunger is then pushed and pulled up and down to generate enough suction to remove the blockage. Flange plungers are the type of plunger to use for a toilet because the flange can effectively create a seal around the curved rim of the toilet bowl.

Are sink and toilet plungers the same?

No, sink and toilet plungers are not the same. A toilet plunger has a rubber suction cup with an attached rubber flange, while a sink plunger has a flat rubber suction cup.

Accordion Plunger (Bellows Accordion)

An accordion plunger is a type of plunger that uses a series of connected chambers to create a powerful suction. This plunger can be considered heavy-duty when compared to a cup plunger. This is because of its ability to generate more suction power.

The design of the accordion plunger is like that of a pair of bellows. Each chamber on the plunger is connected to the next by a flexible flap. As the plunger is pushed and pulled, the chambers fill and empty, creating a vacuum that can remove blockages from drains and pipes.

Taze Plunger

A Taze plunger is a specialized plunger primarily used by plumbers to clear blockages in pipes. This plunger has a long, cylindrical body with a small disc on one end and a metal rod on the other. Most homeowners won’t need a Taze plunger because they aren’t designed for use in toilets or sinks.

Automatic Toilet Plunger

An automatic toilet plunger is a plunger that uses pressurized air or c02 to unclog toilet drains. This plunger is placed over the toilet bowl and a trigger is pulled to release the air or c02. The pressure from the air or c02 will push through the clog and clear the drain. Automatic toilet plungers aren’t as common as flange toilet plungers. But, they can be useful in situations where a standard plunger isn’t strong enough. Sureplunge is an example of an automatic toilet plunger.

Beehive Plunger

A beehive plunger is a type of plunger that uses a series of chambers to create suction. This plunger is like an accordion plunger, but it has a shorter, more compact design. The design of the beehive plunger allows you to use this plunge on both old and new high-efficiency toilets. Korky is an example of a brand that sells beehive plungers.

Steps for choosing a plunger

1. Determine a budget

The first step is to determine how much you’re willing to spend on a plunger. Plungers will typically cost between $5 and $50. Basic plungers will be on the cheaper end of that range since they are inexpensive to make. But expect to pay $50 or more for automatic plungers since they’re generally more expensive. For example, CO2 plungers have replaceable cartridges that you will have to buy often. Most people will not need a fancy automatic plunger, so a budget of $5 to $20 should be enough.

2. Consider the size

The next step is to determine what size plunger you will need. For example, a small plunger won’t work well on a large toilet bowl. This is because a seal can’t be created between the plunger and the bowl. The same is true for a large plunger and a small toilet bowl. Another factor to consider is the shape of the drain as well. Some plungers are designed for specific types of drains such as sinks, showers, and tubs. Others can be used on all types of drains. Most sellers will display information about what types of drains a plunger can be used on.

3. Determine the plunger type

The type of clog you’re dealing with will help determine what plunger to use. For example, if you’re toilet is clogged, you will want a flange plunger or an automatic plunger. Be sure to choose a plunger that comes with either a plunger holder or a drip tray. Plunger holders are great because they allow you to store flange plungers effectively. You won’t have to worry about the plunger falling over or any excess water dripping on the floor.

4. Read online reviews

Before buying a plunger, make sure you read some reviews. This will give you an idea of how well the plunger works and if there are any common issues. Reviews will mention plunger quality, ease of use, and how well it worked on different types of clogs.

5. Ask a plumber

If you are unsure of what plunger to buy, you can always ask a plumber. They will be able to recommend a plunger based on your needs. This step is really only necessary if you have an unusual drain or clog, or are still unsure.

Once you have determined what plunger you need, then you are ready to purchase it.

Where to buy a plunger?

Plungers are available at hardware stores, home improvement stores, and some grocery stores. Many online retailers also offer a wide selection of plungers. If you are looking to buy a plunger right away, then a local store is the best option. But if you have time to wait for shipping, then an online retailer might have a better selection and price.

What to do if you bought a plunger that doesn’t work on your drain?

If you bought a plunger and it doesn’t work on your drain, then you can return it and get a refund. Most stores will have a return policy that allows you to return unused items within a certain time frame. Be sure to keep your receipt and the packaging the plunger came in. This will make it easier to return the plunger if necessary.

However, if you did end up using the plunger and still want to return it, then you can try to clean it. This will generally void the return policy, but it’s worth a try if the plunger isn’t working. To clean a plunger, simply soak it in hot water and dish soap. Then, use a brush to scrub away any dirt or grime. Rinse the plunger off and let it dry completely before using it again.

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