Plumbing Snake: Types and Uses

Plumbing Snakes come in different shapes and sizes. In this article, I will discuss what the different varieties of plumbing snakes are and what they can be used for. They range in size and price from a simple hand powered drain auger for occasional use to heavy duty motorized models for use by professionals on the big jobs.

Hand Powered Plumbing Snake

The Hand Auger

A Hand Auger, sometimes known as a Hand Spinner, is a hand powered plumbing snake suitable for clearing obstructions from basin, bathtub and shower drains. They consist of a length or cable (normally 1/4") with a handle to rotate the device and an auger end at the other.

The Toilet Auger

The Toilet Auger or Closet Auger is a special type of plumbing snake designed specifically for use in unclogging toilet fixtures. The cable is short (it's reach is about 3 ft) and is hand powered using a small handle. The a section of the cable is normally coated to prevent damage to delicate porcelain surfaces.

Both the Hand Auger and Toilet Auger are suitable for use around the home by home handymen (or women).

Motorized Plumbing Snakes

Hand Held

Similar to the Hand Auger discussed above is the powered hand held auger. The main difference is that this drain snake is powered by a small electric motor. The motor can be built into the unit, or the unit may come as an attachment to a power drill.

Drum Auger

A Drum Auger is a heavy duty plumber's snake suitable for use by professionals. This electrically powered auger stores it's cable on a drum and normally has removable blades. This type is good for removing large obstructions like tree roots and has much greater cable length and therefore greater reach.

Learn more about what a plumbing snake is.