Plumber’s Snake Buying Guide


There will be days when something gets our drain clogged and using a plunger just doesn’t seem to cut it. The next best thing to use is a plumber’s snake. There’s quite a few of these on the market and choosing one can be a daunting task. This article will give you insights on the different features that these different plumber’s snakes have in order to help you choose the right one for you. A few of the better brands will also be featured for your convenience.

Manual Or Automatic?

A manual, hand-powered plumber’s snake may be good enough for most clogs and it is also easier to push through the pipe. A drawback of the hand-powered is that it is short and is more appropriate for smaller bore pipes.

A powered plumber’s snake on the other hand is quite convenient to use because it takes the tiring job of cracking out of the equation. It is advised though that you take extra care when using this to avoid damaging the pipe by cranking too fast because one can sometimes forget when he is having fun. This can also help clean the sides of the pipe along its length as it is cranked. It is also ideal for any size of pipe making it more versatile.

Type Of Head

There are a few types of heads with some being more effective than the others. A plumber’s snake with a simple piston type head may not always be as effective as other types because it only pushes the blockage to wider parts of the pipe which would be useless if the pipe is consistently of the same size and is long. It will only drive the blockage deeper but to no avail.

A screw or coil head can try to screw itself to whatever it is that is blocking your pipe so you can pull it out after. Usually effective when the blockage is made up of accumulated paper towels or similar products.

A cutting head will try to cut the blockage away. If the blockage is cause by a tree root, it is advised that special care should be taken to avoid damaging the pipe. This kind of head is usually left to the professionals to use as it can cause serious damage to the pipes if used in the wrong manner.

When buying a plumber’s snake, make sure that it fits the size of your pipe correctly because a smaller plumbers snake can move around and cause damage to the pipe. Below are a few of the better kinds of plumber’s snakes in the market.

Cobra Products 83250 1/4-Inch-by-25-Foot Metal Drain Clearing Drum Auger

Great for small and medium household drains, it has an effective 25ft carbon spring wire. It also has a self-storing metal canister where the spring wire can be stored safely and conveniently.

Pro-Grade Electric Drain Snake Auger

Professional quality electric snake drain with an amateur friendly price. It has a powerful ½ horsepower motor with a variable 0-500RPM speed as well as a reverse option. It’s 26ft spring-steel flex cable makes it easy to get to the source of the clog easily. The mess won’t be bothering you as well, thanks to its built-in self-storing drum.

Yellow Drain Snake

This product is ideal for small drains. It can go as deep as 48 inches deep and is quite easy to use. All you have to do is put the snake in the drain and squeeze the trigger.

10 Responses to Plumber’s Snake Buying Guide
  1. Tom Plumbing
    September 14, 2010 | 6:12 am

    Great information, I had to call out a plumber about a month ago as my kitchen drain was blocked and the plumber was able to put a rod down the drain and clear the blockage. Thank you.

  2. bill
    May 22, 2011 | 6:15 am

    how to get a snake unstuck from bathroom sink drain

  3. Dmitry, Toronto Plumber
    September 28, 2011 | 2:07 pm

    Many people seem to think that plumbers aim to fix small issue and charge a lot. I, personally, teach my clients over the phone what to do to avoid an unnecessary service call. It doesn’t benefit me to spend time in traffic and drive as far as 50 km just to fix a small problem my client could have fixed himself. I won’t like the look on my client’s face when I tell him the price. They know and know now that it was an easy problem. But I spent time and need to charge for this.

    So I appreciate sites like yours that educate consumers about ways to diagnose and fix their small plumbing issues.

  4. Plumber Marietta
    November 16, 2011 | 4:40 am

    I think manual is the better choice of the two but I agree automatic still comes handy in some cases.

  5. Bo
    November 16, 2011 | 11:50 am

    I have little or no water coming from one of my sinks in the bathroom and in another bathroom the clod water is running fine, the hot is not running, kitchen sink is slow running barley no pressure. Both showers are running great!!

  6. Tom
    December 6, 2011 | 7:37 am

    Bath room sink will not drain. Using plunger I get what looks like sand or dirt no hair or other items. I have a slab foundation, how can I tell if the plumbing pipes are ok and only clogged.

  7. Ralph
    January 10, 2012 | 9:33 am

    I, have a bathtub drainage problem, I’ tried to snake it with a drum snake 1/4″x20′ I, only got like 10″- 12″ of snake it seem like somethink is blocking the drain up I, also used drain clogging liquick, maxgel, and crytals I, still have overflow.

  8. plumber fullerton
    June 28, 2012 | 5:55 pm

    A manual plumbing snake can usually take care of the average drained clogs. With an easy-to-use manual crank, you can push through or break apart most debris with very little force.

  9. plumber fullerton
    July 19, 2012 | 5:37 pm

    Last week I had a custom snake (i have a friend that makes them himself) snap in a customer’s drainage pipe… rough deal man…

  10. Sylvan Tieger
    September 6, 2012 | 7:38 am

    One of the best is the General Super 90 series as it will allow quick changes from 1/2″ x 100′ to a quick drum change from 3/4″ -100′

    As a professional I would never use any drum machine without an automatic feed as it allows for much better control and much less change of cables breaking or kinking inside a drum

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