In the plumbing world, there is a tool for every job. And if you try and use the wrong tool, you may wind up with a bigger mess than before.

When you have a clogged drain, one of the best ways to remove the clog is with a drain snake. However, drain snakes come in many shapes and sizes; it can be quite confusing when you start looking at your options.

There’s A Drain Snake For The Job

Toilet Auger
A toilet auger is a drain snake specifically made for clogged toilets. If you’ve tried plunging your toilet to no avail, the clog may be deeper or larger than anticipated. The toilet auger should be placed into the toilet with the head of the cable inserted into the drain; you should not be able to see the cable, only the housing, if inserted properly. Crank the auger to push the cable deeper into the drain, then switch directions and repeat until it can go no further. Pull the snake out and flush. The clog should be removed.

Top Snake
A top snake is the smallest of all the snakes, and is typically used for tubs, showers or bathroom sink clogs. Most have around 25 feet of cable. They come in many shapes and sizes, and also come in both manual and electric formats. The electric snakes are easier to use, and can be used by simply pushing a button. These are great workhorses on small clogs that don’t have a lot of buildup.

Medium Drain Cleaning Machine
This drain cleaning machine is used with a 3/8 inch cable and works best if it has 50 to 75 feet in cable length. These systems are great when you are clearing a washing machine or kitchen clog that may wind deep down into the drain. You can use this snake from under the kitchen or bathroom sink once you take the trap off. They can also be used to clear kitchen or washing machine lines from the roof vents. These are not intended for tub or shower clogs because the cable can easily break the trap under the tub or shower.

Large or Heavy Duty Drain Cleaning Machine
A heavy duty drain cleaning machine will come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Because of the nature of the clog they usually work on, the cable should be no smaller than 5/8 inch in size, and at a minimum use 75 to 100 feet in length. Sometimes even more cable is necessary, depending on how deep the clog. This machine is used for drains that are 3 inches in size or larger. They can be used for clean outs to the street, which in many cases are caused by roots – the strong cable and machine give you the power to get the job done.

While each snake is similar in nature, they each have their own specific nuances. Its best to play it safe and be well acquainted with the particular model before you put it to use.