Dealing with clogged drains would be so much simpler if you have the best drain auger. Whether it’s in your shower, toilet, or kitchen sink, drain clogs can come out of nowhere.
Instead of manually attempting to pry stuck waste away with your hands, these unique tools make the process much more efficient and sanitary.
With that said, not all augers are created equally; some are manual, and others are powered.
Knowing which is the best and why can help to get you prepared for the next time you have to unclog your drains.
Best Drain Auger Quick Chart
Editor's Choice: Premium Drain Auger
What is the best drain auger? We love the Ridgid AutoClean Sink Machine. It's a versatile tool that can remove clogs in multiple drains in your home. This is an all round great machine and the best drain snake to buy. Its the best for unclogging kitchen sinks, showers, and bathroom sinks.
It will conquer hair clogs in no time flat.
But, does the performance and quality justify the price?
When we tested it, we loved the auto feed feature. It lets you advance and pull back on the cable without touching it. We were able to remove a clog in a sink without getting my hands or clothes dirty.
It works by pressing a rocker switch on the handle. Super simple.
The snake cord is heavy duty, which they guarantee for life. Because it's so durable and kink resistant, it can clear harder and more difficult clogs than the cheaper models out there.
This unit comes with a food pedal similar to a gas pedal or sewing machine pedal. We like it because it freed up our hands to fiddle with the auger itself instead of pressing on a trigger.
This big boy is heavier than most at 9 lbs, BUT, you leave the unit on the counter or ground as you work so it shouldn't be a problem.
We definitely recommend this unit as the best power drain snake.
Runner Up Drain Auger
Ryobi is also well-known for its power tools and its outdoor power equipment.
The Ryobi Hybrid Drain Auger is an excellent tool for home or office purposes. This is a hybrid drain auger that can easily unclog the pipes with the help of the power that is supplied from the tool’s 18V battery packs or through corded electricity.
We love the portability that the battery pack option provides.
This drain auger from Ryobi can be conveniently used in pipes that measure between ¾ inch and two-inch.
While designed to be used in toilets, bathtubs, and sinks, we don't recommend ever using a drain auger on your toilet clogs. Its 25-foot drain snake cable is reinforced to avoid any kinking.
Be on notice that this unit doesn't come with a battery or charger: you'll have to use the ones from your existing Ryobi power tools. Minus half a star for that.
This drain auger comes with feet that help keep its vibrations from scuffing up the floor or the counter.
The Ryobi 18V weighs approx. six pounds and comes with a clamp to keep the cable in its place while you tackle tougher clogs.
To ensure there is minimum fatigue, the company has featured a powered reverse- and forward-feeding mechanism along with a lock that’s auto-feed that retracts or advances the cable so that you do not have to squeeze or press the pommel.
Third Place Power Drain Auger
The TackLife Drain Auger is fit to be used in pipes that are ¾ to two inches in diameter. Its shaft works great with clogged sinks, toilets, and bathtubs.
The flexible shaft is 25 feet long and can easily reach even hard-to-reach places. The stainless-steel shaft can easily make its way through S, L, and other complex pipes.
This automatic drain clog remover has a segmented design. This makes it easily replaceable by simply undoing a steel crew. The shaft can make forward and reverse rotations to clear clogs.
Minus 1 star due to the safety issue that your clothes could get tangled up in the flexible shaft and cause an injury.
It has a variable speed trigger that allows you to select the speed you need each time. Equipped with one 20V MAX lithium-ion battery, the tool is portable and can clear drains that do not have a power source near it.
All TackLife tools come with a two-year-long warranty, and the same is the case with this drain auger.
If you are looking for a no-mess and easy-to-use operation drain auger, then the Ridgid Power Spin is the ideal tool for you.
The Ridgid Power Spin features an Auto Feed technology along with a Maxcore cable that will self-feed down a drain to ensure that your hands don’t get dirty at all. It also retrieves the cable for you, making unclogging drains super easy.
The bulb auger head is quite durable and can easily penetrate even difficult obstructions.
What we liked about the Ridgid Power Spin is that it is adaptable for extra power. This tool can be used with a variable speed drill that will provide it with an extra penetration power of up to 500 RPMs.
It's also equipped with a manual option, so if you don't have a drill you can still unclog your drains. What takes the cake for this power spin is the fact that it comes with a full lifetime warranty.
Most Affordable Drain Auger
During testing we found that this drain auger from Cobra performed beyond our expectations for such a cheap auger. The handles were ergonomically designed and fit perfectly in our hands.
The drum housing is made from high impact polymer and is secured together with screws. This protects the auger against breaking if you drop it.
Even though it can withstand being dropped, it's still lightweight at around 3 pounds.
The snake itself is 25 feet long and 1/4 inch thick; perfect for most small and medium sized drains. We found it clears common clogs easily.
We loved that if the metal snake cord somehow gets damaged you can replace it. This drain auger came equipped with a level style cable lock which secured the cable in place while letting you adjust it easily.
The best part about this budget auger was that you could either use it manually or attach a cordless drill to provide extra power.
What Is a Plumbing Auger?
Plumbing augers are quite versatile. They can be useful for unclogging washing machine drains, bathroom sinks, and even toilets.
Designed specifically to be easy to use, they are highly recommended for homeowners who would prefer not to spend money on a professional plumber.
There are two main types of plumbing augers you’re likely to find: manual and electric or powered. Obviously, electric ones offer a higher level of convenience that the other.
Drain augers and toilet augers are not created equally. You should never use a drain auger on a toilet a vice versa because they are built differently.
One is built with a thicker shorter metal snake that tackles nasty toilet clogs and the other is made with a long thin metal "snake" to get down your smaller sink drains.
Manual augers are quite popular because they are inexpensive and just as useful as a powered plumbing auger.
However, they might not be the first tool of choice for professionals who likely have to clean multiple drains per day. Check out our post on how to use a manual drain auger to get more details on how they can help you.
As a homeowner, they are a fantastic choice. The Cobra Drain Auger is a fully manual drain auger that we rank as #5 on our list. Save your sinks and your budget.
Plumbing augers are designed with an auger bit at the end of a long metal rod. It will also feature a flexible shaft with a crank handle at the opposite end of the auger bit.
When in use, you’ll have to turn the crank with your hand while holding the shaft steady as the cable and auger bit make their way into the drain.
By manually cranking the handle, you’ll be pushing the auger through the blocked material, which breaks it apart before forcing it down the drain.
Check out the dual action Ridgid Power Spin. You get the best of both worlds: manual operation for your shallow non complicated clogs and the option to attach a cordless drill when you need more force to get those clogs out.
If convenience is what you’re looking for, we highly recommend investing in an electric auger.
Priced at usually twice, if not three times, the cost of a manual auger, it excels in user-friendly features and ease of use. You’ll find a powered auger will prove most useful if your drains clog regularly.
The main difference between the two is that powered augers have a motor that propels the cable and auger bit down the drain.
They are also designed to travel farther depths than manual augers, which is why they’ll typically be chosen by professionals.
Once powered on, the reinforced cable will make its way through the drain to where the clog is. Another impressive factor of a powered plumbing auger is that it is designed to clear larger clogs than that of a manual one.
In addition, they’ll have numerous other features such as kink-resistant cables and powered reverse and forward cable feeding. It takes all of the efforts out of clearing clogs in your laundry room, bathroom, and kitchen.
How do You Use a Power Drain Auger
If you’ve made the decision to invest in a power drain auger, you’ll need to learn how to use your power snake to unclog a drain. So how does a plumbing auger work?
Most work generally the same, but if you’ve opted for a more expensive model, you’ll want to refer to the included user instructions.
Otherwise, this guide will make it much easier to make the most out of your power drain auger.
Steps to using Your Drain Auger
- Charge the batteries
All powered augers operate with the help of batteries, which is what makes them ideal for projects around the house.
With that said, it’s important that you take the time to charge the batteries before using the device. A full charge is best, especially if you have to work on multiple drains and want to take advantage of its true power.
- Prepare the Drain
If you find that the clog is larger than expected, you’re going to want to ensure that you use a drain cleaner before using the auger.
This helps to break apart any finer particles prior to them being broken up by the auger itself. In addition, it helps to prevent excessive strain on your auger as well as the drains.
- Feeding the Auger
Once everything has been prepared, and you’ve already got your gloves on, it’s time to turn on the auger.
You likely have an on/off switch somewhere on the unit, likely near the handle. Using the trigger on the auger, you’ll be able to feed the cable towards the blockage, and if you encounter resistance, you may have to use a little bit of extra force.
- Removing Blockages
As soon as you have reached the problem area, you should continue holding onto the trigger, which will engage the spinning action of the auger bit.
After a few minutes, the bit should have worked its way through the entire clog.
- Removing and Cleaning the Power Auger
Switching the auger from the feeding to the retracting setting, begin to feed the cable back into the main body of the unit.
Ensure that you wipe the wire clean as it is retracted. Doing this will help to prevent rusting in the future.
Using a power drain auger is just as simple as using a drill. In fact, you can purchase a few attachments for power drills that have auger bits on them.
Using these steps, you’ll be able to clear any type of blockage with ease.
Before storing your auger, apply General Wire Snake Oil to your cable after you've cleaned it. This stops rust and keeps your cable from getting stiff and kinking while it's in storage.
How to Use the Best Power Drain Auger Video Tutorial
Check out the how to DIY video below where they walk you through how to use your new power drain auger to get those clogs cleared.
The Benefits of Auger Plumbing
There aren’t any disadvantages to auger plumbing, especially as these devices are acquiring new and improved updates over the years.
With an assortment of advantages, you’ll start to wonder why you chose plumbing snakes over auger plumbing in the past. Some of the most notable advantages of using an auger include:
By far, the cost of hiring a plumber far outweighs the time you’ll spend learning how to use an auger. However, there may be some clogs that require professional help, depending on how deep they are.
Opting to spend under $100 on an auger that is reusable and incredibly easy to use once you get the hang of it is far less expensive than paying for emergency plumbing services.
Another advantage auger plumbing has over choosing to hire a plumber is the fact that you can save time by handling the project on your own.
Even with emergency plumbing services, you can wait up to two to three hours for someone to be dispatched to your location.
With the right tools at home, you can tackle the project on your own right then and there in order to prevent flooding and further damage.
It’s very unlikely that you’ll be doing any damage to your pipes and plumbing when you use an auger, especially as they are mostly designed for homeowners with limited experience.
As long as you don’t use excessive force, you’ll be able to remove most clogs in a matter of minutes so your plumbing can return to normal.
Many augers are also designed to protect your sinks and toilets. These have protective vinyl sheaths to prevent the metal from scratching the porcelain.
Drain augers are one of the more popular options for removing clogs, especially when compared to snakes. This is because they are more versatile and efficient.
With an auger, not only do you have the ability to break apart debris and force it down the pipes, but you can also retrieve items from your drain.
You can purchase different cable lengths and use various bit attachments as well, depending on the task.
What to Look for in a Drain Pipe Auger
Best Drain Pipe Auger Features
As someone who may have never purchased a drain pipe auger before, any model seems good enough for the job. However, in truth, not all of them are created equally.
When you start shopping around, it’s important to remember that you’ll need something easy to use but also has a variety of other functional features. Below are a few of the most important things to look for in a drain pipe auger.
The length of the cable in your chosen auger will depend on the amount of pipe you have and the potential for blockages.
Typically, augers with cables up to 25 feet are more than enough for all types of homes, though you can find many models with shorter length. Ideally, knowing how much plumbing you have can help you to find the perfect length.
As a feature you might see in some of the newer power augers, kink-resistant cables will make your clog removal process substantially easier.
When the cable starts twirling itself down your pipes, regular cables have the likelihood of wrapping around themselves. This will cause you to have to constantly feed and retract the cable in order to make sure it goes down straight.
With kink-resistant cables, all you have to do is power on the auger or manually feed the cable without the worry of the cable getting damaged.
Until you use an auger for the first time, you won’t know how useful a cable clamp is, but it’s one of the most sought-after features.
With a cable clamp, once the auger has reached the blockage, it will be held in place. Without this feature, you’d be required to hold onto the cable as it blasts away any blockages.
Versatile Drain Width
Ideally, you’ll want to invest in a tool that you can use for more than one drain in your home. It’s likely your kitchen drain won’t be the same size as your washing machine drain, and you’ll want an all-in-one auger that can tackle both projects.
The auger that you opt for should have multiple bits for you to choose from depending on the width of the drain.
If there aren’t any extra bits available, the built-in auger should at least be able to work with drains that are larger and smaller in width.
This is something that you’ll typically find in a manual plumbing auger, but it is more important than you know.
As the cable you’ll be feeding into your sink is made of metal, you won’t want it to rub against the porcelain and cause a lot of scratches that can be expensive to fix.
Most of the top-tier manual power drain auger models come with some type of protective sheath. This creates a barrier between the auger cable and your sink.
With the help of a drain auger, you can tackle tough clogs with minimal effort and without having to pay for a professional plumber. The next step of the project is to make sure you find the perfect one for your needs.