Believe it or not, a plunger isn’t always the best toilet unclogger tool. Most standard drain augers for home use are not the first option either because they tend to scratch the bowl or damage toilet plumbing. In this case, you want to choose the best toilet auger. Toilet augers are specifically made to protect porcelain and vitreous china. Additionally, they’re designed to get rid of even the toughest clogs that a plunger fails to release or capture.
Since toilet clogs are commonly due to toilet paper, baby wipes, or foreign objects such as children’s toys, drain cleaners don’t always work either. In this article, we share the top 5 toilet snakes on the market and reviews of each model. For each review, we share the pros & cons according to current info and our thoughts. Plus, we share tips on how to unclog a toilet with an auger without damaging your bowl.
Before you leave here today, you’ll be well on your way to unclogging your toilet without a plumber’s help. Also, you’ll be equipped to get rid of any potential future clogs.
|#1) General Pipe Cleaners Teletube Closet Auger
|#2) Ridgid 6 ft Toilet Auger
|#3) DrainX 6 Foot Toilet Auger
|#4) Ridgid 3 ft Toilet Auger
|#5) Cobra Products Household Toilet Auger
Best Toilet Auger Reviews
Closet augers do range in price, and they also come with different types of heads. The two most common types of heads are drop heads and bulb heads. Drop heads are better for curved and T-junction pipes with sharp turns because they do a better job of latching onto clogs rather than just pushing clogs deeper. Additionally, longer 6′ snakes are better for navigating curved pipes and unclogging deeper clogs that 3′ cables can’t reach.
One advantage of choosing an auger over a plunger is there’s less chance of damaging the wax seal between the toilet and closet flange. Oftentimes, an overly aggressive plumb job causes leaking due to blown-out wax rings. By choosing a quality closet auger for the job, you save yourself time and avoid damaging your wax ring.
Below, I share reviews of each of the closet augers in the chart above along with some helpful tips on how to use them.
#1) General Pipe Cleaners T6FL-DH Teletube Closet Auger
Ridgid and General Pipe Cleaners are generally the first places to look when purchasing drain cleaning equipment. General manufactures both the best drain cleaner machine and the best closet auger. You’ll find that of all the models in this guide, General sells the most heavy-duty snake with the most reliable functionality.
One feature you’ll really like is the Teletube structure that houses the second 3′ of the cable until you need it. This means, you basically get a 3′ and 6′ auger in one with this unit. If the initial 3′ section isn’t enough, simply release the second 3′ of General Flexicore cable to clear stoppages beyond the bowl. The obvious advantage here is that you have all the toilet auger you need in a single purchase because the last thing you want to do is buy a 3′ model only to realize it’s too short.
Additional highlights of the T6FL-DH model are the wide 1 1/8″ outer steel tube, hexagonal guide tube, vinyl bowl guard & grip, and a Grip Clip to secure the cable. Overall, this is the first model to consider if you want a closet auger that’ll last you a lifetime.
- The oversized vinyl guard is great to avoid scratching porcelain and porcelain coatings
- Well-built with heavy-duty materials that stand the test of time
- Costs about the same or less than a single plumber visit
- Better quality & larger head than competing models
- Operates smoothly
- True professional-grade quality
- A good choice for clearing clogs due to children’s toys
- Made in the USA
- Releasing the second 3′ length of cable is a little confusing the first try
- Elderly folks and seniors may have trouble operating it
- Retracting all 6′ of cable can be tricky
#2) Ridgid K-6DH Toilet Auger
Ridgid’s 6-foot closet auger is another popular tool for the job. You’ll find that it functions very similarly to the General Pipe Cleaners model, and the materials are just about on par. One area the General model shines is in the cable department. General’s Flexicore cable is the best on the market.
Having said that, the Ridgid model is certainly worth a look. We love that Ridgid products come backed by a lifetime warranty, and we think you will too. Ridgid definitely offers the best warranty in the biz. On top of the warranty, you also get heavy-duty materials that stand the test of time, and like General Pipe Cleaners, Ridgid augers are also made in the USA.
A couple of reasons you may want to choose the Ridgid K-6DH over the General model are the slightly lower price (at the time of this writing), and you may find that the Ridgid model is easier to operate. In our experience, the General closet auger does have a bit more of a learning curve, but nothing most people can’t handle.
- The sturdy design and premium cable pushes through tough clogs with ease
- Built to last a lifetime
- The drop-head model is great for fishing out foreign objects that you don’t want to flush
- Takes just minutes to clear most clogs
- A release button makes it easy to switch between 3′ and 6′ cable lengths
- More likely to cause scratches due to improper use than the General model (be very careful and patient to avoid this problem)
- The operating instructions could be clearer
- The tip is too large for some toilet models including Toto
#3) DrainX ADX1-1034 Toilet Auger
If you prefer a complete package with gloves and a storage bag, this kit by DrainX is definitely worth a look. Secondly, if you prefer a bulb head over a drop-head, this model has an option to choose the head you prefer. One feature we think you’ll really like in this model is the vinyl guard.
If you look closely, you’ll see that the guard is closer to a 90º angle, and the exit hole goes deeper into the toilet drain to avoid any visible scratches. If you’ve never used a closet auger before, this feature is particularly helpful because first-time users are more likely to rush the process, which can lead to permanent scratches.
One disadvantage of choosing this model is the brand. Compared to General Pipe Cleaners and Ridgid, we’re less trusting of the quality DrainX offers, however, we do believe this is a quality piece of equipment. Also, it’s good to know that DrainX backs its toilet augers with a 1-year warranty should you run into any issues.
#4) Ridgid K-3 Toilet Auger
Ridgid’s K-3 auger features the same heavy-duty design and premium materials as the K-6 model with a few minor differences. The biggest difference is the shorter cable length at 3′ rather than 6′.
Additionally, keep in mind that this model features a bulb head rather than a drop-head. Lastly, you’ll find that the K-3 costs a lot less than the K-6, so if 3′ of cable is all you need, the K-3 model is a better buy.
- Easier to use than the 6′ model
- Easily beats using a plunger
- A lot more affordable than the 6′ model
- Does not damage porcelain or vitreous china
- Recommended for seniors
- It might not be long enough to complete the job
- A bulb head is less ideal for sharp bends than a drop head
- Several rust issues reported
#5) Cobra Products 670398 Household Toilet Auger
If you’re on a tight budget and want a basic toilet auger, this one by Cobra Products is a good option. All it takes is one look at the price to realize that this thing is dirt cheap compared to the other models. However, cheap isn’t always a good thing. Cobra Products clearly states that its auger is made in China, which I respect. If you want to buy American-made augers, stick with Ridgid and General Pipe Cleaners.
Now, if your clogging issues are shallow and minor, this auger might be all you need, and there’s really no reason to spend extra for more tool than you need. For people who are dealing with clogs before or near the trapway entry, a 3′ cable is sufficient, though, for deeper clogs, consider a 6′ model first.
One advantage of this model compared to the models above is the lighter cable that’s more flexible and easier to maneuver. For seniors, the elderly, and petite folks, you may find that this tool is better than the heavier Rigid and General Pipe Cleaners models.
- The cheapest toilet auger on the market that’s worth buying
- Features all the most essential features to get the job done without damaging the bowl
- A great tool to have at your disposal when a plunger fails
- Easy for adults of all ages to use
- Clear instructions and beginner-friendly
- The materials aren’t on par with Ridgid and General (the tube is plastic)
- More likely to rust over time without oiling it
- Broken parts
How to Use a Toilet Auger
Before we wrap up the article, let’s take a look at how to safely use a toilet auger to unclog your toilet without scratching the bowl. The two pieces of safety gear that should be used at all times are work gloves and safety glasses. The form-fitting work gloves that come with the DrainX package are a good choice as well as similar disposable options.
The disposable work gloves below are a good option since you might want to throw the gloves away after unclogging a toilet:
Now that you’ve considered the safety precautions, let’s check out a video that demonstrates how to use a toilet auger the right way:
Notes & Tips
- While we love her demonstration and appreciate that she made such a helpful video, we recommend handling an auger at all times with gloves since the cable does come into contact with toilet plumbing.
- Always retract the cable as far into the tube as possible before inserting the auger into the toilet drain. This step is critical to avoid damaging your porcelain. Additionally, be very careful to ensure the vinyl guard contacts the bowl first before the head.
- While using the auger, do your best not to break contact between the vinyl guard and the toilet bowl.
- Once you’re fully inside the trapway and/or stopped by the clog, it’s time to begin cranking the handle to break up the clog.
- Cranking in both directions helps to ensure that you complete the job on the first run.
- After you finish cranking, fully retract the cable into the tube before removing the auger. Skipping this step is what often leads to scratches.
- With the end of the auger still in the toilet water, flush the toilet to ensure you unclogged the toilet and to clear any loose debris stuck to the auger head.
- It may take a few runs for it to work, so be patient.
- To prevent rusting, clean the cable with a hose and mild soap or detergent before allowing it to air dry. If you have the option to clean it outside with a garden hose, that’s the best option.
Now you know how to choose the best closet auger for your toilet and how to use a toilet auger the right way. If a 6′ auger is within your budget, and you have persistent clogging issues, it’s best to choose a Ridgid or General Pipe Cleaners 6′ model. These American-made tools will stand the test of time and consistently get the job done. If your clogging issues are minor and shallow, a 3′ auger is enough.