Toilet Auger vs Snake: Which One Should You Use?


Most of you believe that a plunger is the only unclogging tool you need in your house. The truth is, a day will come when no amount of plunging opens up the drains. That is when you realize you also need a toilet auger.

Besides the toilet auger, you can also try the snaking method as it works pretty nicely in unblocking toilet drains. If these few methods fail to work, you are probably dealing with a crisis where tough materials like toys, toothbrushes, and other solid stuff are logged in your trapway or drain line. In this case, you may need to call in a plumber or personally unbolt the toilet from the floor for inspection.

Toilet Auger vs. Snake: Which One is Better?

It can be a little confusing to tell apart an auger from a toilet snake. They both have a handle, metallic cable, and wind up in the same manner. The best way to identify them is through size. A toilet auger is much bigger because it’s meant for trapways. Drain snakes, on the other hand, are smaller as they are designed for shower drains, sinks, and bathtubs.

Toilet auger, also known as plumbing snake is the best when dealing with toilet clogs. As it winds down the toilet, it breaks down waste while pushing it out of the drain. Like a drain snake, this device too can grab non-dissolving items and pluck them out. Check out our recommended toilet papers for septic systems to avoid dealing with frequent blockages.

One of the downsides of a toilet auger is that a lot of leg work is involved. You might need to twist, push or pull harder to achieve your objectives. Conveniently, drake snakes can be operated both manually or plugged on power. Try and check out Youtube videos to see just how much energy those guys are expending. But hey, it’s way better to spend some energy rather than the big bucks some plumbers demand.

Just to be clear, a drain auger might be great because of its versatility. However, if you are so finicky about hygiene, then you won’t like the idea of a drain auger working both the toilet and sink drain. This means you are left with one move to make; getting both augers. This way, you can maintain the best hygiene standards in your home.

Types of Augers and Snakes

Closet auger– Has a slightly bigger and longer cable compared to a urinal auger. Before use, grab the handle and pull it all the way up so the cable can retract and retain only a smaller extension that nicely slides into the trapway. If it’s longer, it’s going to scratch your toilet bowl and you don’t want that to happen.

Cable snake– like a closet auger, this too composes of a cable connected to a handle. It may feature a protective sleeve or not.

Power augers-these have motor ends that allow them to be connected to powered motors or drills.

Rocket nozzle auger-this is a special auger that leverages the pressure of water. It’s normally reserved for professional plumbers.

How Drain Snakes and Augers Work

It’s pretty simple. For a toilet auger, you need to pull the metallic cable upwards until it’s close to the protective plastic. Then insert it into the toilet and start twisting the handle so the cable can slide down the drain. The same principle applies to snake drains as they can come with or without the protective sleeve. 

Once you are done breaking down or pulling out waste, flush the toilet or run the faucet to see if the blockage has been addressed. If not, pour warm water down the toilet/ drain and let it work up the waste before trying again with your preferable auger.

When you are done using any auger, pull the whole chain back out and lock it to the shaft. It should be dripping by now and the best thing to do is sanitize it and take it outdoors to dry.

Dealing with Toilet Bowl Scuff Marks

Error is to humans, right? If by any chance you forgot to lower the protective plastic sleeve all the way into the trapway, the auger or snaking metallic end probably scratched your toilet. That’s definitely not how you want your bowl to look.

The bad news is, you may not be able to get rid of bowl scuffs entirely. The good news is, you can use a toilet brush and normal toilet bowl cleaners to get the bowl looking glamorous again.

How much do they cost?

Because of their smaller size and less powerful function, snake drains are less expensive compared to augers. The latter deal with complex clogs and they are also heavy duty. 

Tips to remember when using a toilet auger

  • Be ready to shut off the water valve before the bowl fills to the edges
  • Put some towels on the floor in case the toilet bowl overflows
  • Make sure the plastic protector sleeve is inside the trapway to avoid metallic scratch marks on your bowl
  • Wear protective gloves to protect yourself against germs and bacteria
  • Get the auger cleaned and sanitized after the job

Wrap up

Toilet Auger vs Snake, which one should you use? The answer is simple-it depends on the purpose. If you are dealing with toilet drains or any other area with stubborn waste, you need a toilet auger. It’s pretty heavy-duty and well-enabled to deal with anything.

On the flip side, if you are looking for a universal tool that can serve on any type of drain, you will be better off with drain snakes. Their smaller size allows them to slide practically anywhere. Just don’t forget that they are ideal for minor clogs. If your bathroom could use better-looking toilets, check out our blog for some top-grade selections.

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