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Garden & Outdoors

Best Drain Rods 2022

UPDATED JUNE 2022

Here we explain and review the best drain rods for clearing blockages in drainage pipes. Let's face it, these are not something any of us ever want to be buying. For many people they are a purchase of last resort.

If you have the annoying water slowly draining from a sink problem, or the horrible stink of sewage or a blocked toilet in their home, then drain rods may be the answer.

It is a good idea to start with a drain unblocker as it might be able to help. In reality though, unless the blockage is close to the surface and relatively loose, then these unblockers  simply will not work. Neither will using baking soda, vinegar or any other helpful tips you may find online.

However, these are worth trying first. You buy them in liquid form, put them down where the blockage is suspected to be, leave them for a few hours, and then try running hot water or flushing if it is a loo.

If there is a blockage, that has built up over time sitting somewhere in a pipe, then using drain rods is likely the only way to dislodge that and cure the problem. Now you can of course pay a plumber or a specialist to get them to do this for you, but that is going to cost quite a bit of money. The price will vary on how bad the blockage is and how long it takes them to clear it. Expect to pay around £150-200 though, as their time does not come cheap.

A good set of rods will cost anything between £20-30 and you then also own them if they are ever needed again for your own home or a family member. You will of course have to do the work yourself but they could save you a lot of money.

Faithfull DRSET12 10 x Rods

92% buyer satisfaction based on 1,600+ online buyer reviews

These are the biggest seller online with a £28 price tag. The buyer rating sits around 92% so 92 out of 100 buyers happy with their purchase.

When joined together these can reach up to 9 metres in length and there are 10 rods in total which screw together. Each rod is made from polypropylene and the end fittings are made of brass, so well made.

These then need to be twisted by hand and they are stiff with a little flexibility

These also come with a rubber plunger and a double worm screw, two attachments that help break up and remove the blockage.

Pros

  • Best seller in the UK by quite a distance and a good quality set of rods
  • 71% of all buyers gave these a 5 star review for performance
  • Buyers said these work so much better than any foams or chemical treatments
  • Buyers said these worked really well especially in straight pipes

Cons

  • A few buyers said just are not flexible enough
  • A few buyers said not any good at sharp bends

Silverline 273193 Drain Rod Set

84% buyer satisfaction based on 3,000+ online buyer reviews

These are a more affordable option for many UK buyers with an average £20-22 price tag. The buyer rating sits around 84% so 84 out of 100 buyers happy with their purchase. 

This is a set of 10 x 920mm rods and comes with a 100mm rubber plunger and a 50mm double worm screw.

Each rod is made from polypropylene and the end fittings are made of brass and come in a drawstring storage bag

These then need to be twisted by hand and they are stiff with good flexibility

Pros

  • The majority of buyers says these rods are quite flexible and very good at moving blockages
  • 61% of all buyers gave this a 5 star review for performance
  • Buyers said this is a good complete set with good accessories
  • Buyers liked the overall quality of this kit

Cons

  • A few buyers said these were low quality
  • A few buyers said that the accessories were missing on arrival

Bailey 5431 Universal Drain Rod Set

92% buyer satisfaction based on 1,000+ online buyer reviews

These drain rods get the highest ratings and are also one of the more expensive options with an average £30 price tag.

This is a set of 10 x 3ft x 3/4in blue rods and you also get a 4in plunger, a 4in drop scraper and a double worm screw.

They come in a heavy duty waterproof bag which is handy for storing them

Of all the rods on our list, these are probably the highest quality, but also at the expensive range

Pros

  • Buyers say these are really good quality and a nice solid set of rods
  • 75% of all buyers gave this a 5 star review for performance
  • Some buyers said compared to other sets they had used these are very good
  • Buyers really liked the useful attachment

Cons

  • A few buyers said some of the rods had loose rivets at the fixings
  • A few buyers said these are too heavy

Nirox Plumbers Snake

78% buyer satisfaction based on 1,200+ online buyer reviews

This is also a very popular choice but with a £8-9 price tag. The buyer rating sits around 78% so 78 out of 100 buyers happy with their purchase.

This is not a set of rods but we wanted to include them on our list because for some people this tool can be really useful

This is a better tool for cleaning drains or pipes in basins, baths and showers for the quick removal of hairs which is the main problem

This uses an extendable wire with a rotary handle which is good at getting at troublesome hair or dirt

Pros

  • Buyers say this works really well but needs a bit of patience
  • 46% of all buyers gave this a 5 star review for performance
  • Buyers said this can save you a lot of money on plumbers
  • Buyers used this for sinks, baths, and showers

Cons

  • A few buyers said it can be hard to recoil
  • A few buyers said this product is over hyped

Rolson 60967 Drain Rod Set

86% buyer satisfaction based on 300+ online buyer reviews

Some buyers like the Rolson brand and these are an affordable option with an average £20 price tag.

The buyer rating sits at 86% so 86 out of 100 buyers happy with their purchase.

This is a 12 piece rod set that comes with 10x 920mm rods, a 100mm rubber plunger and a 50mm double worm screw

 These get good enough buyer ratings and are one of the more affordable sets of rods.

Pros

  • Buyers say these work fast and with the minimum amount of effort
  • 85% of all buyers gave these a 5 star review for performance
  • Buyers said they did the job nicely and were good value for money
  • Most buyers said these helped save them money on plumber's costs

Cons

  • A few buyers said they are cheap and not good quality
  • A few buyers thought other products were better

Drain Rod Buying Guide

As we mentioned at the beginning, drain rods are something you will probably buy as a last resort to deal with problems that will just not go away. Most of these drain rod sets compromise of a set of rods that screw together and you can then push into the pipe to help clear away or break up any blockage.

You typically also get a couple of attachments, usually a plunger and/or a double worm screw. Each rod has a length of just under a metre, and as you screw them together, clockwise, they form a longer rod. You keep adding rods until you hit the blockage, and then attempt to break it up or push it through the pipe.

The rods therefore need to be sturdy and strong. Many buyers complain that this type of rod is very inflexible. The reality is they have to have a little flex but not too much otherwise they would not work. That is why drain rods are not that useful if you encounter a bend. They may go around a gentle bend but not something like a 45 degree angled bend.

Please be aware of this and don't buy rods if you suspect the blockage is at a sharp bend.

We also think it is important to point out that these may not work for you. The reason we say that is that you will have no idea where the blockage actually is. You are really working in the dark. Essentially all you are doing is pushing in a set of rods and hoping that they find the blockage.

If you do, then they can certainly break it down and get rid of it. However if the blockage is at a bend, then most likely the rods will not be able to get round that and your journey is at and end. Sometimes in really long pipes the rods are just not long enough and we have read of people having to buy two sets to get the right length.

Because you don't have special cameras. like the professionals, the rods can be a bit of a hit or a miss solution.

Drainage Experts

There are a number of drain unblocking companies in the United Kingdom and a quick search online will bring you to one in your area. They do have all the expensive equipment required to locate a blockage and then to clear it.

The better companies will use cameras to find the blockage and an array of rods and washing equipment to deal with the problem. That means you don't have to worry about doing any work. The clear downside will be the bill that you receive at the end of the job. It can get very expensive. Many of these companies have a minimum fee which you will have to pay to get them to come out.

In addition to that, there will also be a time and labour charge and that can get expensive.

General Drainage Advice

As a general rule of thumb, you are responsible for any drains inside the boundary of your property, and the water company or sewerage company is responsible for some lateral drains and all sewers. Here is the key differences in these:

  • Drain - this is a pipe that drains water and waste from a building
  • Lateral Drain - this is a a pipe that takes waste water away from your property to a sewer. It may be located under your property or usually outside your property
  • Sewer - collects the waste water from a number of buildings. In some cases your property may also be connected to a septic tank, a treatment plant or a cesspool

Resources used to help write this article

Connecting your home to the right drains - Myplumber.co.uk

Who is responsible for repairing drains and sewers - Citizens Advice

UK Water Regulator - Ofwat

Water Company Supplies UK - Consumer Council for Water

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