Toilet Auger vs Snake-Which is Appropriate?

Toilet augers and toilet snakes are some of the common tools used for clearing clogged toilet drains. Though they serve the same purpose, they are different in the way work and how they look.

Toilet auger maneuvers through the toilet drain to remove stubborn clog especially in households with children while drain snake is mainly used to clear clogs in sinks, shower drains and at times light toilet clogs. While almost all augers are operated manually, snakes come in both electric and manual versions.

Following is a detailed discussion on how these two draining tools are different as well as similar.


Inasmuch as these tools are used almost in the same way, they usually work differently. There are situations when you need to use a toilet auger, and there are other situations when the snake will be the ideal tool for you.

Toilet auger is also known as a water closet auger or a plumbing snake while a drain Snake is also known as a top snake or drum snake.

 Following is an overview of the differences.

FeatureToilet AugerDrain Snake
Mechanism of workingGrabs and pulls out. Can also break and push downDrills through debris breaking and pushing it down the drain
OperationMostly ManualBoth manual and electric
Best forToilet DrainsSinks, Showers, Bathtubs, and toilets(multi-purpose)
Type of clogHuge accumulated and hard to removeLight and easy to remove
Cable cord LengthShorterLonger
Size and ShapeUniformVary depending on the task
Comparison table

How to Use a Toilet Auger to Clear Toilet Clogs

How to Use a Toilet Snake for Unclogging

Construction and Design

A basic manual drain snake consists of a metal cable between 25 feet to 50 feet long, a tip with an open coil tip, and a crank. Electric versions come with internal motors or are attached to an external drill that runs them.

Manual Drain Snake
Standard drain snake
Electric drain snake
Electric drain snake

A standard toilet auger is made up of a long shaft, cable cord, a bowl guard, and a manual crank.

Toilet auger working
Toilet auger


One of the main distinguishing features between these two plumbing tools is their uses. Toilet augers are designed explicitly for toilets while snakes are suitable for drains in your sinks, bathtubs, showers, washing machines, and so on.

The toilet snake drills through and breaks apart debris and force it down the drainage system of your home. In case your shower drain is clogged with some catchable materials like hair, a snake can also pull it out.

However, the toilet auger is mainly for the toilet. Depending on the type of clog, it can grab and pull out or simply break up apart and push it down

How to Unclog a Toilet with Auger

How to Use a Toilet Snake for Unclogging


Size is another noticeable difference between these two plumbing tools. If you have a professional toilet auger, you can trust that it will be easy to use it. This is because they are relatively larger. As a result, you can to stand when using it. The cable cord of this tool is thick and robust. That way, it can readily grind away clogs in your big toilet drains.

Since augers come with vinyl porcelain bowl protectors, you can be sure that they will not scratch your bowl when you are working on clogs. Also, they come with a nice plastic housing that helps reduces the chances of getting splashed with dirty toilet bowl water.

Snakes are quite different as they are relatively less strong than the toilet augers but have a longer cable cord. The lengthier cable means you can reach clogs deep down your drains when the auger cannot access. They are available in different shapes and sizes.


If you choose any of these plumbing tools, chances are that you will find snakes more affordable compared to toilet augers. This is because they are essentially the second step to dealing with a clog.

For serious clogs in your home, you should consider using toilet augers as they are more of a heavy-duty solution. However, augers do not allow you to move further into the drainage pipe to get deep-seated clogs.

How they clear clogs

Both the toilet auger and the snake can help break through clogs. However, if you use an auger, you can trust that you can get all the clogs out the first time. This is because augers are constructed using a strong metal. Also, this tool has thick cords which can as well pull out the debris. As a result, augers are more powerful and can work on more challenging clogs compared to toilet snakes.

The snake, on the other hand, will hit your clog and drill through it or pull out whatever it has collected. However, some might still remain within your drain. In this case, you have to put your snake down the drain several times before actually removing the entire clog out.

After that, you have to run hot water down your pipes for about 5 minutes just to ensure that the clog is washed away. Therefore, if you want to get rid of a toilet clog quickly, the best plumbing tool to use here is the toilet auger.


If you are looking for a multi-purpose tool that can be used on numerous drains, the drain snake is the best plumbing tool for you. This is because drain snakes are smaller compared to toilet augers. Therefore, you can readily use the drain snakes for your sink, tubs, and even showers. Apart from this, the drain snake can be used for a toilet that has minor clogs.


Although these tools mentioned above have some differences, as discussed above, they have some similarities. First and foremost, both the toilet auger and the drain snake can help unclog your toilet.

 Apart from serving the same purpose, these tools are designed with some parts that look similar for example the cranks and the cables.

Just like the toilet auger, the snake can also recoil back on you when you are using it.

Which is better for what and why

The toilet auger is better than a snake drain because it can help you save time to unclog a toilet that has heavy clogs. This is because this tool is made using a strong metal. As a result, it can help eliminate a clog within minutes, unlike its counterpart, the drain snake. The only challenge is that its cable is not as long as that of drain snake hence may not reach clogs deep down in the drains

However, if you are looking for a multi-purpose tool, the drain snake is the best plumbing tool to choose. This is because it can be used on numerous drains. These include the toilet drain, sinks, tubs, and even showers. The toilet auger can only be used on a toilet and not on other drains.

The best tool can also depend on the kind of clog you have in your toilet. If it is a minor clog, either of these tools can be used. However, if it is a major clog, you should consider using a toilet auger as it is strong enough and will help eliminate the clog within minutes.

The Toilet auger and snake play a huge role in cleaning clogged drains at home. If you have small kids, they might throw in a massive roll of toilet paper in the toilet, thereby making it clog. Either of these tools can help remove the clog.

However, if the clog is a major one, you might have to rely on a toilet auger. This tool has proved to be very effective for major clogs. Knowing the above differences and similarities will help you know whether to buy a toilet auger or a drain snake.

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