Buying a Drain Snake

What You Need to Know to Make an Informed Purchase

Buying a drain snake can sometimes save you from calling a plumber and save you money. Depending on which type of stoppage you have it might not be as expensive as you think to buy a drain snake. Drain snakes can be bought at most of your local home improvement and hardware stores. You can also find tons of sellers of drain snakes online where you can read the reviews to make an informed decisions. I recommend doing a little research before going out and just buying a drain snake no matter how...MORE affordable it might be. Another option is to keep an eye out for used drain snakes. 

Here is a list of some of the drain snakes you might need and some tips before buying.

  • 01 of 04

    Toilet augers are the only snake you will want to put down the toilet because they are designed to clear the toilet without tearing into and scratching the porcelain. An auger is a great tool and every homeowner should really have one for when a plunger just is not enough to clear a toilet clog. Toilet augers are so inexpensive to buy that you can buy a professional toilet auger for less money than it would cost to call a plumber.

    Buying tips: Toilet augers are cheap already so do not buy the...MORE cheapest one you see for sale. The least expensive toilet augers that I have seen actually work cost somewhere between $30 to $50. They come in all price ranges as cheap as $10 and the professional one I use is just less than $80. Please spend a little more because it will make a difference.

  • 02 of 04

    A small hand snake (also called top snake) is used for clearing small household drains and usually the most common stoppages. Hand snakes can often clear local kitchen stoppages, local washing machine stoppages, bathroom sink stoppages, tub stoppages, and shower stoppages. This makes it a very versatile machine and I think every homeowner should have one. Once again, like the toilet auger, these usually cost less than calling a plumber.

    Buying tips: A good length of cable to have ​for a small...MORE hand snake is 25’ but often 15’ is sufficient to clear common stoppages. Here it also pays to spend a little more money. The power drill snakes are my favorite, but I have seen hand crank snakes work decently as well. There are also some that you can hook to your own drill, saving you money. You can get nice power hand snake for under $100 and much cheaper yet for the manual snakes.

  • 03 of 04

    Medium power drain machines are where drain machines can get pricey. You can get a decent medium drain machine from about $250 and up. Most cables for this drain machine size will go between 50’ and 100’. These are really handy to have for kitchen and wash machine lines with cleanouts where the stoppage is not local or if it is more than a hand snake can handle. This type of power machine can come with some great features like self-feeding, wheels, multiple drain heads, and a long dolly handle...MORE for easy transportation.

    Buying tips: Unless you have a situation where you can use this drain machine a lot it might be more cost effective to call a plumber. Handymen, people who own a lot of rental property, and plumbers buy this type of drain snake because they will use it often and re-coop the costs of buying it. Before you buy a medium drain machine make sure that the cable is long enough and can handle what you will be using it for. Read the instructions so you will know the capabilities and limitations of the machine you are buying. For medium size machines, I do not recommend running it in drains larger than 2”. The cables are not usually powerful enough to deal with the kind of stoppages you can get in a 3” or bigger main line pipe.

    Multiple cutting heads and a closed drum are also good features to have.

  • 04 of 04

    This type of drain machine is built for 3” and 4” drain lines that connect from your house to the sewer or septic. If you have a main line stoppage then it could be something major clogging up the pipes. Calling a plumber is often much, much, cheaper than buying a main line machine.

    Buying tips: If you have multiple rental properties or you have a handyman or plumbing business then it may be worth buying one of these drain snakes. Here is what I am using for a main line machine.

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