The Best Drain Snakes for Clogged Sinks, Showers, and Toilets


Potato is peeling off the sink. Loose hair swirls through the tub drain. The little plastic soldier that your toddler “bathed” in the toilet. Blockages happen. If the water isn’t draining as fast as it should – or worse, not draining at all – then you can reach for a drain snake.

This handy tool is also known as a pipe serpentine or drainage screw and is simply a long, thick, flexible wire that “winds” its way into drains and pipes in order to chew through blockages quickly and efficiently. However, these blockage busters come in different types and sizes depending on the recommended use.

To help you choose and use the right drain coil, whether it be for a clogged toilet or a slow moving sink, we’ve rounded up the 411 to watch out for – and the five best drain coils recommended by plumbers and homeowners are used equally for effectiveness and ease of use.

  1. BEST OVERALL: RIDGID GIDDS-813340 41408 Power Spin Drain Cleaner
  3. BEST FOR HAIR CLOGS: FlexiSnake Drain Weasel Sink Snake Cleaner
  4. BEST UPGRADE: TACKLIFE Automatic Drain Auger Cordless
  5. BEST FOR PROS: Cobra Products pipe screw

Drain the best snakes


Cable length and thickness

Drain snakes come in a number of standard lengths and thicknesses. For the average tenant or homeowner clearing a sink, bathtub, or shower, a 25-foot cable between ¼ to 5/16 inch is sufficient to solve common household problems. If you live in a multi-story home with upstairs bathrooms, look for a line with a 50-foot cable that can reach clogs in longer pipes.

More severe clogging of your home’s main plumbing, clogging further down the sink drain than typical food clogging, or washing machine drainage problems may require a tougher drain coil designed for larger pipes with larger clogs. These powerful tools are sometimes referred to as medium drain machines. They usually have a thicker cable – often ½ inch in diameter – and extend up to 75 feet to go deep into the plumbing.

Drain snake head design

There are two basic types of heads at the top of a drain coil cable: cutter heads and spool heads. Some drain snakes allow you to swap heads, but most have a fixed head.

  • Cutting heads Have some sharp blades or barbs for chewing through solid clogs like lumps of food or fat, roots, larger bars of soap, thick lumps of leaves or mud, or any other type of fairly solid substance blocking a pipe. These heads are most commonly found on large, powerful drainage augers used by professionals.
  • Kitchen sink or toothed heads are the best choices for drain snakes for most of the problems the average homeowner encounters. These heads have a coil of thick wire or a tooth head that clicks into place on obstacles so they can be pulled back out of the drain. They’re the best choice for getting toys or jewelry out of toilets or drains, pulling clumped hair out of a tub drain, tackling bundles of paper or a flushed diaper, or scraping out fruit peels or other blocks of food that aren’t stuck.

Manual vs. electric drain coils

Most drain coils have a small crank that is turned by hand to pull the cable back and forth. These manual drain snakes are ideal for occasional use around the house to clear simple clogs in your kitchen, sink, bathtub, or toilet.

If you expect to be using your drain snake regularly or want to clear major clogs in gutters or washing machines, you may prefer the extra muscle and reduced hand strain of an electric drain snake. These tools push the cable back and forth with the push of a button and propel your way through stubborn clogs. That extra oomph has a bonus; electric plumbing coils tend to cost more than their manual counterparts.

Our top picks

The best drain snake option: RIDGID Power Spin


Regardless of whether the blockage is in your kitchen sink, wash basin, shower drain or bath drain, the RIDGID Power Spin is our first choice to clear it up. The manual crank twists and turns the 25-foot, 1/4-inch cable through your pipes while the helical head chews through semi-solid clogs and also catches and retrieves hair, paper, or other fibrous debris. The RIDGID is a practical and effective tool that can be used alone or in combination with a drill.

The best drain snake option: RIDGID K-3 toilet auger


The RIDGID 6 ft. Toilet auger was specially developed for use on toilets. To prevent damage to the toilet bowl while using the tool, the RIDGID has a protective vinyl cover over the metal cable. Position the 72-inch pipe in the toilet so the rubber foot rests directly on the outlet of the bowl, then crank the three-foot cable down. The kink-resistant, super-flexible cord reaches to the point of clogging, and its bulbous, coiled head easily breaks through soft clogs while catching and retrieving solids such as padded toilet paper, flushed toys, and dropped jewelry.

The best option for Drain Snake: FlexiSnake Drain Weasel Sink Snake


Hair is one of the most common causes of slowly draining sinks and shower or tub drains. The FlexiSnake Drain Weasel Sink Snake is designed to solve this problem. Twist the handle to lower the 18-inch flexible snake down the drain and let its micro-hooked bristle tip grasp tufts of hair. Once the clog is gone, you can throw away the snake’s head (five replacement snake heads are included) – there’s no need to store dirty, clunky tools.

The best option for Drain Snake: TACKLIFE Drain Auger


Robust blockages require tough solutions – exactly what you get with the TACKLIFE Drain Auger. This battery powered drain coil has enough muscle to penetrate all types of blockages in pipes between 3/4 and three inches in diameter. This includes all types of sinks, tubs and showers, as well as gutter downspouts and most garden irrigation systems. The cord is 25 feet long and has a corkscrew shaped head. The lithium-ion battery charges quickly and stays charged until the job is done. There’s even a small LED work light at the base of the handle – no need to look for a flashlight.

The best drainage serpentine option: Cobra Products 50 foot drainage auger


If you’re dealing with a clog that is beyond the reach of the typical drain snake, you need the extra length that this 50 foot auger from Cobra Products offers. The flexible cord is 1/2-inch thick and the corkscrew head plows through most common obstacles. Note, however, that manually starting an extra-long drain line requires a fair amount of muscle and stamina.

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