What Size Drain Snake Do I Need?


Are you facing a clogged drain? If so, you may be wondering what size drain snake you need to clear the blockage. This can be a tricky question to answer, as there are a few factors to consider. In this blog post, we’ll go over everything you need to know about choosing the right-sized drain snake for the job. Keep reading to learn more!

Before you buy a drain snake, measure the diameter of your drainpipe

Knowing the exact diameter of your drainpipe prior to purchasing a drain snake is essential for having optimal results with unclogging a stubborn drain. Most snakes come in standard varieties, meant to fit most typical-sized pipes, but measuring beforehand helps to ensure that you are buying the right tool for the job. Without being able to assess the size, you might end up with a too-wide or too-narrow snake that isn’t going to be effective.

How do you measure the diameter of a drain pipe?

To determine the size of your drainpipe, you will need to measure its circumference. First, use a cloth measuring tape or string to wrap around the pipe. Remember that it is important to go slightly above and below where the clog is located (if possible) in order to get an accurate measurement. Next, note this number down on your paper and then divide it by pi (3.14). This will tell you the diameter of your drain pipe.

What drain snake sizes are available?

Snake sizeLengthAuger diameterRecommended use
Hand-held snakes3-10 ft1/4 inchSmall clogs in sinks, showers, and tubs
Mid-sized snakes20-50 ft3/8 inchMid-sized drains (e.g. bathroom sinks, laundry drains)
Large snakes>50 ft1/2 inchLarge drains (e.g. main sewer lines, commercial buildings)
Heavy-duty snakes>50 ft5/8 inchVery stubborn clogs or large commercial drains
Industrial snakes>50 ft3/4 inchVery large clogs or extremely large commercial drains
Specialized snakes>50 ft1 inchVery large clogs or extremely large commercial or industrial drains

This table includes 6 common sizes of drain snakes, with the size, length, and diameter listed in separate columns.

Ultimately, choosing the right-sized drain snake will depend on a number of factors, including the type of plumbing involved and your own personal preferences and comfort level. If possible, it is always best to consult with a professional in order to get expert advice on the matter.

Be mindful of the length of your drain snake

There are many considerations to take into account when using a drain snake. The length of the machine is an important factor that can help ensure success in your job. If the snake is too long, it can be difficult to maneuver and can even cause damage to your pipes if you aren’t careful. Most small and medium-sized snakes range from about 10 to 25 feet in length, so try to find one that matches your needs.

Too short, on the other hand, limits its reach and may not help if there is a large obstruction or deep clogging issue. When purchasing or renting a drain snake, pay close attention to the length so you know it’s right for the task you need.

Other factors to consider

Here are some other factors you should consider when deciding on a drain snake:

  • Cable Thickness: When choosing a drain snake, the thickness of its cable should be considered. Thicker cables can exert more force on stubborn clogs, while thinner ones are suitable for smaller clogs.
  • Power Source: Electric motors and gasoline engines are two power sources that are used in drain snakes. Electric motors tend to be easier to use but may not be as powerful, while gasoline-powered devices offer higher power levels but may require more maintenance.
  • Cable Material: Steel and fiberglass cables both have their advantages when used with a drain snake. Steel is generally durable and able to exert more force, but it is prone to kinking or breaking. Fiberglass offers increased flexibility and is less likely to kink, but it may not last as long as steel does.
  • Auger Material: Different materials like steel or plastic can make up an auger’s blade on a drain snake tool. Steel blades provide additional durability and clear tougher clogs effectively whereas plastic blades are better suited for avoiding damage to pipes inside drains yet might lack the strength needed for tough clogs.

Considering these factors when choosing a drain snake can help you pick the right one for your needs.​

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