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Cleaning

Best Drain Snake

By  Enda McLarnon

Here we check out the best drain snakes that are currently available in the UK. These are one option for clearing drains. Over time all drains can get blocked by a build up or hair, limescale, toilet paper, fat, grease, small food pieces from washing dishes, soap residue and other such things.

When it comes to clearing a blockage from a sink, bath or shower then a drain snake is worthwhile considering. There are a number of options that include drain unblockers and drain rods

Drain rods are really only needed if you have a larger blockage in a waste pipe. Some people prefer to pour a liquid down a sink, basin, bath or shower as that can help break up any build ups of fat or grease.

The drain snake is best if you suspect that the drain has been blocked up by hair. That is because of the way these are designed to work. They are fine, usually made of sprung steel and as such are flexible but still capable of removing hair that has plugged.

These are also useful for clearing waste pipes on washing machines and dishwashers.

Just below we show you the top 5 drain snakes that are currently available on the UK market. We have listed those below.

Top 5 Drain Snakes

VIPITH 6 Pack Drain Snake Hair Drain Clog Remover

70% buyer satisfaction based on 3,000+ online buyer reviews

These are the best seller on the UK market though we should point out that they do not get the best reviews overall.

They are popular mainly because of the cheap price and they do work for some buyers.

Most hairs will build up in the U-bend under sinks, showers and baths - these are long enough to reach that

There is a steel auger to help remove the clumps and pull those out and the plastic snakes twist around and capture loose hairs

Pros

  • Buyers say these are cheap and worth a try
  • 38% of all buyers gave these a 5 star review for performance
  • Buyers say these can pull out a lot of hair as long as hair is the problem
  • 65% of buyers had some success

Cons

  • 18% of buyers said it didn't work
  • They don't fit into drains with small holes
  • Some buyers say these are too brittle

Topec 6 in 1 Snake Drain Auger

82% buyer satisfaction based on 200+ online buyer reviews

This is classed as a professional drain snake and as you can see a more expensive option but has a wider scope

It can help with hair clogs, paper jams, grease clots, sludge blocks and even old leaves in outdoor drains

This kit comes with a drain auger, 2 hair removers, a metal grabber, a pair of gloves and a storage bag to keep all the bits in

It also comes with a decent set of instructions on how to use the auger to its best capability

Pros

  • The majority of buyers says this is the best that they have used and it is really quick
  • 54% of all buyers gave this a 5 star review for performance
  • Buyers say this is good to have as it has many drain unblocking uses
  • Buyers liked he auger and also liked the long length
  • Buyers say the grabber is very strong
  • 88% of buyers had some type of success

Cons

  • 2% of buyers said it didn't work
  • This should never be used for toilets

Nirox Plumbers Snake

78% buyer satisfaction based on 1,500+ online buyer reviews

This is the type of spiral snake that many plumbers will use

It is suitable for cleaning drains or pipes in the bathroom such as wash basins, bathtubs or a shower (not toilets)

It helps reach dirt and hair in those hard to reach places

You feed the rod manually into the pipe and use the winding handle when it hits the bend, and once round the bend feed it manually again - you then wind it out again to clear the blockage

Pros

  • Buyers say this works really well as long as it is used properly
  • 46% of all buyers gave this a 5 star review for performance
  • The majority of buyers said this was very good value for money
  • Buyers say to follow the tips on YouTube and this will work a treat
  • 85% of buyers had success

Cons

  • 12% of buyers said this didn't work for them
  • Some buyers say the instructions are terrible

Ungfu Mall 45cm Flexible Sink Cleaning Brush Waterpipe Drain

84% buyer satisfaction based on 3,500+ online buyer reviews

There are plenty of UK buyers for this affordable sink cleaning brush

This brush is about 45 cm long (17.7" so also long enough to get around most bends in the sink and shower

It fits down each drain hole and is good at gathering up loose hair and helps remove blockages

It also works well on sink and bath overflow drains for getting into those and giving them a good clean out

Pros

  • Buyers say this works really well as long as it is used properly
  • 57% of all buyers gave this a 5 star review for performance
  • The majority of buyers said this is flexible so good for getting into hard places
  • Buyers say it is really good for removing hair
  • 85% of buyers had success

Cons

  • 7% of buyers said this didn't work for them
  • Some buyers say the bristles fell out too quickly

Rothenberger 72095 - Rospi 8 Manual Drain Snake

90% buyer satisfaction based on 200+ online buyer reviews

This is the type of drain snake that the professionals will use as you can see from the price

However it does get really good reviews so for the professionals would be a good investment if all other options don't work

It is a manual drain snake but it can be attached to an electric drill which greatly speeds things up

This snake can extend up to 7.5 metres so reaches places others can not.

Pros

  • Buyers say this works like a charm and is their go to tool for blockages
  • 71% of all buyers gave this a 5 star review for performance
  • The majority of buyers said this sabed them a lot of money on expensive plumber fees
  • Buyers say it is really well made with extremely good instructions on how to use
  • 89% of buyers had success

Cons

  • 4% of buyers said this didn't work for them
  • Some buyers say it is expensive

Methods for Unblocking Sink, Shower, Bath & Toilet Drains

Hot Water, Baking Soda, Vinegar or Bleach

Some people will try pouring down kettles of boiling water and this can often work. Some people use baking soda or vinegar and hen hot water. Again, this can work as well.

The problem with those simple solutions is that they are almost always short term. The baking soda or the hot water may be able to shift scum or loosen fat but they won't do anything to remove hair or things life small pieces of food.

They will remain there and start to build up again. So while this method may work on a temporary basis, you will need something more to deal with the main problem, which is usually a physical blockage.

Plungers

Believe it or not a plunger uses a scientific method to work. (Boyle's Law). When you seal a drain with a plunger and push it down, you increase the build up of pressure in a pipe. This helps push the water downwards. When you then pull the plunger back up, the suction reduces the pressure allowing the water to rise again.

This creates a sloshing motion and it is this motion that can help unclog a drain. These vary in cost depending on what size and design you prefer but anything between £4-15.

Just remember the plunger that you have to use on a sink, bath or shower is a different shape to one that you have to use in a toilet bowl.

You can read our information on the best plungers to use.

Drain Unblocker/Cleaner

If you have tried a plunger or don't own one, then a drain unblocker or a drain cleaner is a very popular option. This is simply a liquid that you pour down the drain, leave for a period of time, and then rinse through by turning on the cold water.

The unblocker goes about dissolving hairs or whatever is blocking your drain or waste pipes and helps clear any simple blockages. These vary in cost depending on which brand you want to use and anything between £3-12. We have included our top 5 list above based on online buyer reviews.

Click here to read about drain unblockers

Drain Rods

If you have tried a plunger, or an unblocker described above and that hasn't worked, then it is likely the blockage is further down the drain or waste pipe. In that case your best solution is a set of drain rods. These are rods about a metre in length that you screw together and push down the pipe.

They come with a double worm screw and a plunger and cost anything between £20-20 for s et of good quality drain rods.

You can read our information on drain rods by clicking here.

Plumber or Drain Company

If you don't fancy nay of the above or none of them have worked, then your final choice will be to use a professional company. They will get to the root of the problem, but it is never going to be a cheap option. Typical costs for this type of professional service will be anything from £100-250 depending on call out charges and time sent to clear the blockage.

Drain Snake Buying Guide

As you can see there are a number of these available on the UK market. They do get mixed results from buyers. The key reason for this is that they really only work where something simple such as a hair blockage is the problem.

In essence these are usually a flexible piece of plastic, or a flexible metal auger style with hooks that can bend around u-bends and grip anything that may be blocking the sink drain.

They are always going to be a bit of a hit and miss operation. We have had success using these in showers, sinks and baths as almost always the cause of any blockage is simply human hair.

When you are trying to unblock a drain, the reality is that you have no idea what is blocking it as you just can't see. Professional companies use cameras so as they can see what the problem is and then deal with it. Most home owners will not have that expensive equipment so all you can do is try it and see if it works.

Drain Unblockers vs Drain Snakes

Some drain unblockers may contain toxics and as such you do need to be careful when handling them. These can cause pipe corrosion and they may also contaminate the water.

With drain unblockers you should keep the room well ventilated, make sure that you wear gloves and never mix it with any other cleaning liquid as that could cause a bad chemical reaction, and in some cases create toxic gases and even small explosions.

A drain snake has none of those issues to worry about.

Resources used to help write this article

Reporting a blocked drain - Gov.UK

Plumbing & Drainage Companies List - UK Directory

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