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The Complete Guide to Essential Drain Maintenance Tools: Snakes, Augers, and More

unclogging a drain with a drain snake

When it comes to keeping your drainage system in top shape in Ogden, UT having the right equipment can make all the difference. From unclogging shower drains to tackling stubborn blockages, this guide will walk you through the use of snakes, augers, and more.

What Is a Plumber Snake or a Drain Snake?

A plumber snake, also known as a plumbing snake, or drain snake, is a versatile tool used by plumbers and homeowners to clear clogged pipes and fix blockage in drains. It consists of a flexible, coiled wire with a handle on one end. The opposite end typically has a corkscrew-like auger or blade designed to break up and remove obstructions within pipes. Plumbing snakes come in various lengths to accommodate different pipe sizes and reach clogs located deep within plumbing systems.

What Is a Drain Auger?

A drain auger, often referred to as a plumbing auger, plumber’s auger or toilet auger, is a specialized tool designed to address one of the most common drainage woes – toilet clogs. Whether it’s a stubborn blockage caused by excessive toilet paper, foreign objects, or other materials, the drain auger is up to the task.

How Do Drain Snakes Work?

Drain snakes operate on a simple yet effective principle. When inserted into a blocked or clogged drain, the auger or blade at the tip of the snake rotates, allowing it to break apart and entangle the clog. As the plumbing snake is manually or mechanically turned, it either pushes the clog further down the drain, allowing it to flow freely, or it retrieves the clog, pulling it out of the drain. This mechanical action effectively clears blockages, restoring proper water flow in the drainage system.

Using a drain snake for unclogging drains

Which Types of Clogs Require Drain Snakes?

Drain snakes are particularly useful for addressing the buildup of various types of clogs, including:

  • Hair Clogs: Hair can easily accumulate in shower and bathroom drains, leading to blockages. A drain snake excels at removing hair clogs.
  • Grease Buildup: In kitchen sinks, grease and food particles can congeal and cause clogs. A plumbing snake helps break down and remove these obstructions.
  • Solid Objects: Occasionally, foreign objects like toys or jewelry may accidentally go down the drain, causing blockages. A drain snake is effective at retrieving such items.
  • Stubborn Debris: Tree roots and other tough obstructions can infiltrate sewer lines. Professional-grade drain snakes are designed to tackle these challenging clogs.

Understanding the type of clog or obstruction you’re dealing with is crucial in determining whether a drain snake is the appropriate tool for the job.

When Should You Not Use a Drain Snake?

While drain snakes are versatile tools, there are situations when they should not be used:

  • Fragile Pipes: Avoid using a drain snake in old or fragile pipes, as it can cause damage.
  • Chemical Drain Cleaners: Never use a drain snake after using drain cleaning chemicals, as the chemicals can be hazardous when mixed with mechanical action.
  • Inexperienced Users: If you’re unfamiliar with using a drain snake, it’s best to consult a professional drain cleaners to avoid potential damage or injury.

How Do Drain Augers Work?

A typical drain auger comprises several key components:

  • Handle: The handle provides a firm grip and control during operation.
  • Cable: A long, flexible cable extends from the handle. It’s this cable that allows the auger to reach deep into toilet drains.
  • Auger Head: At the end of the cable, you’ll find the auger head. This head is equipped with a corkscrew-like auger or coiled wire designed to engage and dislodge toilet clogs effectively.

When should you consider using a drain auger for drain cleaning?

Here are some scenarios:

  • Toilet Clogs: Drain augers are the go-to solution for stubborn toilet clogs that standard plungers can’t handle, offering effective drain cleaning.
  • Preventing Damage: Unlike rigid tools, drain augers are designed to minimize the risk of damaging your porcelain toilet bowl while effectively addressing clogs.

How To Safely Clear Blockages with a Toilet Auger

A toilet auger is a specialized tool for clogged toilets. Here’s how to use it to unclog a clogged toilet safely:

  1. Insert the Auger: Carefully insert the toilet auger into the toilet bowl drain until you feel resistance.
  2. Rotate and Push: Begin turning the auger handle clockwise while gently pushing it through the clog.
  3. Retrieve the Clog: If successful, the auger will break through the clogged material. Slowly retract the auger, pulling out the obstruction.
  4. Test to confirm proper drainage: Flush the toilet to check if the clogged material has been successfully removed. Repeat if necessary.

Toilet augers are designed to handle toilet-specific clogs effectively and prevent damage to porcelain bowls.

Comparing Drain Cleaning Tools: Drain Augers and Drain Snakes, Which Tool for Which Clog?

Drain augers and drain snakes are both valuable tools for drain cleaning and clearing clogs, but they have some key differences:


A drain snake is a flexible, coiled wire with an auger or blade at the end. It is designed for general-purpose drain cleaning and is typically used for small to medium-sized clogs.

A drain auger, also known as a plumbing auger or plumber’s auger, features a more rigid and elongated design. It often has a handle, a long cable, and a corkscrew-like auger at the end. Drain augers are suitable for larger and more stubborn blockage.

Intended Use

Drain snakes are versatile and can be used in various drain types, including sinks, bathtubs, and shower drain. They are ideal for addressing common clogs like hair, soap scum, and grease.

Drain augers are specifically designed for toilet drain cleaning. They are tailored to handle toilet and drainage clogs effectively without damaging the porcelain bowl.


Drain snakes are more flexible, making them suitable for navigating bends and curves in drainpipes. They are less likely to cause damage to pipes.

Drain augers are less flexible due to their rigid design. They are designed for straight, vertical insertion into toilet drains.


Drain snakes come in various lengths to accommodate different drain sizes and depths.

Drain augers tend to be longer to reach deeper into toilet drains.


Drain snakes are relatively easy to clean after use. Wiping them down and ensuring they are dry is usually sufficient.

Drain augers may require more thorough cleaning, especially if they come into contact with toilet waste. Proper disinfection is essential.

Safety Considerations

Drain snakes are generally considered safer for DIY drain cleaning use due to the quality of their flexibility and versatility.

Drain augers require careful handling, especially when used in toilets, to avoid damaging the porcelain and plumbing.


Drain snakes are suitable for routine drain maintenance and addressing common clogs.

Drain augers are specialized tools primarily intended for clearing toilet clogs.


In summary, drain snakes are versatile and flexible tools for various drain types and common clogs, while drain augers are specifically designed for toilets and handle larger, more stubborn clogs in a straight, vertical manner. The choice between them depends on the type of clog and the specific plumbing fixture being addressed.

When Should You Call Professional Drain Cleaning Experts for Clearing Clogged Drains?

While DIY methods can often resolve drain clogs, certain situations warrant calling the help of professionals:

  • Persistent Clogs: If clogs persist despite your efforts, it may indicate a more significant issue in the drainage system.
  • Multiple Clogs: If multiple drains in your home are simultaneously clogged, it could signal a larger problem.
  • Foul Odors: Strong, unpleasant odors coming from drains can indicate a more serious issue.
  • Slow Draining: When water continues to drain slowly, professional assessment may be needed.

In these cases, contacting professional drain cleaning service experts in Ogden, UT, like Rhino Rooter ensures a thorough diagnosis and appropriate solutions for your drain maintenance woes.


In tackling drain maintenance, having the right tools can make all the difference and help you save time when it comes to tackling clogs in sink drains, and maintaining a smoothly functioning drainage system. Plumber snakes, toilet augers, and drain augers are indispensable members of any plumber’s arsenal and can also be valuable assets for homeowners looking to address drain issues on their own.

Contact Rhino Rooter for Expert Drain Cleaning and Maintenance in Ogden, UT

At Rhino Rooter, we understand that clogged drain issues can vary in complexity, and sometimes, DIY efforts may not suffice to fix them. That’s where our drain cleaning services in Ogden, UT, comes in.

If you encounter persistent pipe clogs, multiple drain issues, or suspect more significant drainage concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Your drainage system plays a vital role in the comfort and functionality of your home. Trust Rhino Rooter to service it and ensure it runs smoothly.


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When you work with the professionals at Rhino Rooter, you know that you are getting quality. In addition, you can expect some of these great benefits from Rhino Rooter.


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