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A toilet plunger needs almost no introduction. But, just so everyone's up to speed, it's essentially a strong suction cup on a stick used to unclog waste from toilets. The suction portion is usually made of a partial egg-shaped piece of rubber—although, there are some plastic models available—and the handle can be crafted with steel, wood, or plastic. While they're a relatively simple concept, you'd be surprised how much plungers vary in terms of design. From large and heavy-duty, to elongated and paired with a caddy, there's a range of styles and types for homeowners to choose from.
The thing about a toilet plunger is that, hopefully, you never have to use one. Having said that, it's still wise to always have one on hand for those unplanned incidents and occasional mishaps. Some households might only use a plunger once a year, while homes with older plumbing systems might find the need arises more often. Either way, it's highly recommended to add at least one plunger to your home, if not to every bathroom, so people can resolve the clog in private.
You can opt for a couple of the same plunger, or picks that are suitable with the size of your toilets' drains. Some models have a particularly long handle, which can make the chore easier to complete, while others force water down the drain instead of putting the surrounding air to use.
Without further ado, here are the best toilet plungers for every home and every budget.
Best Overall: SimpleHuman Toilet Plunger and Caddy
Dimensions: 7.1 x 7.9 x 23.1 inches | Weight: 2.4 pounds | Primary Materials: Rubber, steel, and plastic
Magnetic collar and cover
On the expensive side
When it comes to cleaning gadgets and home essentials, SimpleHuman is a household name. So, it's no surprise the brand makes the best toilet plunger. The very purpose of a plunger makes it hard to pass off as sleek and classy, but this one does an excellent job at looking stylish in a corner of your bathroom. Not to mention, the rubber cup and flange have a long and narrow profile for fast, effective suction on modern toilets, and you can count on the stainless steel handle to hold up under vigorous use.
There's also a freestanding cover with a magnetic collar that attaches to the steel rod. This ensures drip-free closure without you having to touch the rubber piece that just took a dip in your toilet's bowl. What's more, SimpleHuman backs this toilet plunger with a five-year warranty.
Best Budget: Kendik Toilet Plunger with Wood Handle
Dimensions: 5.8 x 5.8 x 23.5 inches | Weight: 1 pound | Primary Materials: Rubber and wood
Can be used to unclog sinks
Made from recycled materials
Rubber head can flip on itself
On a budget? Reach for this simple, lightweight Kendik plunger. It'll only run you a few bucks, but you can bet it's powerful enough to tackle stubborn toilet clogs. The wood handle is easy to grip and the rubber head has a fold-out tip. The tip offers maximum suction with minimum effort from the user, and earns extra points for being made out of recycled tire rubber.
Now, the plunger doesn't come with a caddy, which can make storing it in your space a more difficult feat. However, the overall design of the plunger makes it a good option for unclogging sinks and other drains as well. Just be aware: the rubber head can flip on itself, and require you to set it back by hand.
Best Design: OXO Good Grips Toilet Plunger with Canister
Dimensions: 6 x 6 x 24 inches | Weight: 1.9 pounds | Primary Materials: Rubber and plastic
Works on a majority of toilets
Suction is a bit weak
Rubber isn't very flexible
OXO is another go-to for thoughtfully designed home goods, and the brand's Good Grips Plunger is no exception. Engineered to work on all toilets, including low-flush models, it has a rubber suction cup and a long, flat-top handle for a comfy grip. This plunger also comes with a matching ventilated canister and drip tray that house it in between uses.
The caddy pops open when you lift the handle and conceals the head when you're all done using it. This feature alone makes this stylish pick worth it, even though other models may be more powerful or have a more flexible rubber head.
Best Hidden: Blue Donuts Freestanding Toilet Plunger with Holder
Dimensions: 22.5 x 5.2 x 5.2 inches | Weight: 2 pounds | Primary Materials: Rubber and metal
Good for small spaces
Dark bronze finish
Smaller than average
This beauty from Blue Donuts is ideal for bathrooms without cabinets. It comes with a freestanding metal canister that has a dark bronze finish. The canister has perforated air vents at the top to prevent lingering odors, too. When it comes to the plunger itself, you can make use of a rubber head, as well as a metal handle that doubles as a lid for the caddy.
When it's tucked away, this plunger looks a lot like a decorative toilet brush. It's also so easy to hide, because it's a little smaller than the average toilet plunger. All in all, you'll likely have few complaints about its look or effectiveness.
Best Heavy-Duty: Neiko Heavy-Duty All-Angle Toilet Plunger
Dimensions: 24 x 6 x 1 inches | Weight: 0.9 pounds | Primary Materials: Rubber and aluminum
Doesn't work with all toilets
Thanks to the heavy-duty design of the Neiko All-Angle Plunger, you can get tough jobs done fast, and without using much elbow grease. The plunger has a lightweight design, and a flexible and durable rubber cup. Designed to provide tight suction on toilets of varying sizes and shapes, the cup features a unique graduated opening.
Not only that, but the extra-long aluminum handle allows you to reach further into the drain if needed. While this plunger doesn't come with a caddy, you can hang it from the peg hole on the handle, and easily reach for it whenever you need to handle a bigger mess.
Best Set: Mr. Clean Plunger and Bowl Brush Caddy Set
Dimensions: 18.5 x 10.7 x 7.3 inches | Weight: 0.4 pounds | Primary Materials: Rubber and plastic
Comes with a bowl brush
Handles are short
Only one color option
Looking for a full set for your bathroom? This toilet companion from Mr. Clean comes with a plunger and a round bowl brush, both of which can be stashed in the included caddy. The stationary canister has a non-slip base. You can place it on your bathroom floor or in a cabinet if you have the clearance.
As for the plunger, the rubber head and grippy handle make it easy to battle blockage. The only downsides to this set are: the handles are rather short, and the set comes in one color so it's hard to match it to your bathroom.
Best for Elongated Toilets: Luigi's Toilet Plunger with Caddy
Dimensions: 15.7 x 7.1 x 5.3 inches | Weight: 0.8 pounds | Primary Material: Plastic
Has a caddy
Doesn't work with all toilets
If you have an elongated toilet at home, Luigi's toilet plunger is your best bet. This plunger has a unique graduated head designed to bend down as it reaches into the curved basin (aka the "toilet trap"). Instead of suctioning air, it requires you to push down on its folds to remove any excess air, and then slowly pull the handle back up while it's submerged in water. This motion fills the plunger with water, which it then uses to break up the blockage.
The design aesthetic of this plunger is on point, too. Both the plunger and its included hideaway base have an attractive terrazzo-inspired finish. However, if you don't have an elongated toilet, this pick may not be very helpful.
Best Basic: LavoHome Double Thrust Cup Plunger
Dimensions: 6.5 x 4 x 16 inches | Weight: Not listed | Primary Materials: Rubber and wood
Fits in most toilets
Handle is uncomfortable
Toilet plungers don't have to be fancy. Especially if you plan on tucking your plunger into a closet when it's not in use, it may be in your best interest to opt for something basic and efficient. This no-nonsense option from LavoHome meets the mark with its sturdy wooden handle and a standard rubber head.
The reliably thick cup delivers great suction power and fits in most toilet basins. While it's not decorative and doesn't come with a caddy, it certainly does the trick and won't break the bank either. You'll just want to be aware of the fact that the handle isn't very comfortable, and large blockages may need some extra elbow grease.
Our top pick for a toilet plunger is the SimpleHuman Toilet Plunger and Caddy (view at Amazon). It boasts a narrow profile, stainless steel handle, and an undeniably sleek caddy with a magnetic collar. Plus, it comes with a five-year warranty. If you're on a budget, we recommend the Kendik Toilet Plunger (view at Walmart). While it doesn't come with a caddy, the recycled rubber head and fold-out tip get the job done.
What to Look for in a Toilet Plunger
When browsing toilet plungers, you'll want to consider the overall design of the pick. Most models have a rubber cup at the end with either a graduated head or a fold-out tip. The style of the head may accommodate differently sized toilets and drains, or fit an elongated toilet and an elongated toilet only. If you're planning to place your plunger next to the toilet (opposed to in a cabinet), get one with a freestanding caddy for easy and streamlined storage. Minimize messes and odors, too, by looking for an option with a built-in drip tray and ventilated canister.
As mentioned above, most types of toilet plungers feature a rubber cup at the end. The idea is that it suctions air to force pressure against the blockage, ultimately releasing the clogged waste and pushing it down the drain. However, some plungers work slightly differently. Models with longer, graduated heads that bend into the basin work by forcing water down the drain to break up clogs. This style is best for elongated toilets.
The rubber suction cups on toilet plungers can be anywhere from 4 to 7 inches in diameter and about 5 to 7 inches tall. Most are designed to fit in multiple toilets, but if you have a particularly large or small drain, you might want to size up or down. Toilet plunger handles range from about 16 inches to 24 inches in length. Longer handles are generally more comfortable to use and offer a better grip, plus they allow you to keep your face further away from the bowl of the toilet.
Where's the best place to store a toilet plunger?
If you have a particularly fussy toilet that clogs often, it's probably best to keep a plunger in the bathroom, whether it's right next to the toilet or tucked away in a cabinet. In homes without any plumbing issues to speak of, it's likely OK to store one in the garage, utility room, or laundry room, as plungers don't always fit in cabinets—especially if they're tall. That said, keeping the plunger in the bathroom at all times can save you and any guests the embarrassment of having to retrieve it after clogging the toilet.
How do you clean a toilet plunger?
You can actually clean your plunger right in your toilet, after you've finished using it. To do so, you can apply your household disinfectant to the rubber head—making sure to follow all of the correct instructions for its use and application. You can also mix one tablespoon of bleach with one gallon of water, and swirl the plunger in the mixture. While this can help rid the plunger of bacteria , it also is important to safely disinfect with bleach, as it can be harmful and toxic when mixed with vinegar or ammonia. For more, see our guide on how to use bleach to clean safely.
Can you unclog a toilet without a plunger?
When you're in a pinch and need to unclog a toilet without a plunger, you can use a drain snake or auger tool. An auger often requires you to gently crank a cable into a drain to loosen a blockage. Of course, if you don't have one of these tools on hand, or they don't work as well as you'd hoped, you can also call in a professional plumber for assistance. You can also consider reaching out to a local friend or neighbor who has a plunger. (Just be sure to disinfect the plunger before returning it.)
Why Trust The Spruce?
Theresa Holland is a freelance writer specializing in home improvement and lifestyle. For this story, she considered a wide range of plungers from a myriad of brands and retailers. Before making her selections, she scoured user reviews, checked the product specifications, researched key features, considered various toilet types and bathroom layouts, and ultimately selected well-made models with the most effective designs. Theresa has been writing for The Spruce since 2019, where she covers cleaning supplies, home decor, and bath essentials.