The 10 Best Plungers

Updated September 13, 2017 by Ezra Glenn

10 Best Plungers
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 35 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. It may not be the most glamorous or hands-off solution to your toilet problems, but before you consider spending money on an expensive visit from a plumber, why not try one of these inexpensive and effective plungers. They can clear stubborn blockages from toilets, sinks, and bathtubs, often in just one go, and are always good to have on hand in case of something unexpected. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best plunger on Amazon.

10. Get Bats Out

The Get Bats Out has a sturdy red plastic handle that unscrews easily from its soft rubber cup for storage or cleaning. It features a long, flexible flange to form a tight seal on most drains, and, bizarrely, comes with a guide to healthy bowel movements.
  • smooth easy-to-clean plastic rod
  • handle could be a bit longer
  • flange tends to flip up inside cup
Brand Get Bats Out
Model SYNCHKG072165
Weight 14.4 ounces
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

9. Blue Donuts Bronze

The Blue Donuts Bronze comes housed in a fashionable aerated metal container that catches any drips when it's freshly used and allows for odors to dissipate. It's capable of clearing a blockage from virtually any angle, regardless of drain type.
  • also available with a chrome finish
  • backed by a 2-year warranty
  • not particularly durable
Brand Blue Donuts
Model SYNCHKG125590
Weight 1.7 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

8. Everflow C28740

The Everflow C28740 is crafted with a rubber cup that's tiered to provide plenty of pushing power and has a long flange for forming tight seals on any size or type of drain. It comes with a drip-catching stand that closes around the cup for aesthetic purposes.
  • attractive white plastic design
  • ribbed handle for a sturdy grip
  • holder construction feels cheap
Brand Everflow Industrial Sup
Model C28740
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

7. InterDesign Kent Capsule

When closed, the InterDesign Kent Capsule may look like a statue inspired by plumbing, but its cover lifts to reveal a sturdy rubber plunger capable of doing what needs to be done. It's made of fairly durable plastic and is available in a variety of metallic finishes.
  • integrated tray catches drips
  • blends in with metallic fixtures
  • cover is a bit awkward to remove
Brand InterDesign
Model 93350
Weight 1.4 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

6. Plumb Craft MaxClean

The simple but effective Plumb Craft MaxClean features a sturdy plastic handle that won't bend or snap under pressure. Its high-quality flanged rubber cup is built for both heavy and repeated use, and works to dislodge clogs at most angles.
  • flared grip for stability
  • cup won't collect water
  • a bit expensive for a basic model
Brand Plumb Craft
Model 7506810
Weight 15.2 ounces
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

5. G.T. Water Products MP100 Master

The G.T. Water Products MP100 Master has an extended bellows design that allows it to create greater downward pressure, so you can get rid of clogs quickly and with minimal effort. It uses 162 cubic inches of volume to displace just about anything stuck in a pipe.
  • textured handle is easy to hold
  • good for sinks and tubs
  • tough to get a good seal
Brand Master Plunger
Model MP100
Weight 10.4 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

4. Simplehuman BT1085

The Simplehuman BT1085 comes with an innovative drip tray that features a magnetic collar designed to secure itself to the unit's steel rod. It allows for seamless and drip-free removal and replacement, and boasts a clean and modern look.
  • narrow flange creates a strong seal
  • very durable construction
  • well-ventilated for drying
Brand simplehuman
Model BT1085
Weight 2.2 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

3. Neiko 60166A

The Neiko 60166A has a patented, industrial-strength rubber cup that allows for effective unclogging from any angle. You'll find this workhorse in the arsenal of plumbers everywhere, and it's a wise and affordable choice for your home.
  • tiered ridges form a strong seal
  • lightweight overall design
  • loop for hanging storage
Brand Neiko
Model 60166A
Weight 12.8 ounces
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

2. Oxo Good Grips Hideaway Set

The Oxo Good Grips Hideaway Set includes a toilet brush and a combination storage base for both tools. It has a small footprint and features canister doors that stay open when either implement is in use and close automatically when they are returned.
  • ideal for placement in tight spaces
  • works on low-flow toilets
  • sleek and attractive when closed
Brand OXO
Model 1373580
Weight 2.7 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

1. Korky 99-4A Beehive

The Korky 99-4A Beehive has a soft rubber bottom section that reaches deep into your toilet to create a secure seal, ideal for dislodging tough blockages. If this unit doesn't work, you may want to consider bringing in a professional.
  • ergonomic t-handled grip
  • stiff upper cup provides stability
  • works on all toilet shapes
Brand Korky
Model GIDDS-288879
Weight 1.4 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

A Brief History Of (And Some Surprising Uses For) the Plunger

If you've ever needed to use the plunger at a friend's house or in the middle of a crowded party, then you know the ice-cold feeling of panic that accompanies it. Now imagine needing to use the plunger, only to realize it hadn't been invented yet.

That was the unfortunate reality for the first 50 years or so of modern indoor plumbing. No one is absolutely certain when the plunger was invented, but we do know that the first ones required an S-trap drainage pipe to work, and those only came along in the 1850s. It's believed that the modern plunger wouldn't hit the scene until later in the 19th century, when rubber became more widely available.

While the tools immediately became a necessity for anyone with indoor plumbing (and the first one was probably sold to someone in a very big hurry), it wasn't long before people started finding other uses for them. Jazz cats used them to mute their trombones and trumpets, with members of Duke Ellington's band popularizing the practice in the 1920s. Hopefully they at least rinsed them off first.

Plungers have even been used to save lives, as on at least 3 different occasions in the 1980s, emergency crews used a plunger to perform CPR. They proved so effective, in fact, that a company in Minnesota has been attempting to patent a plunger-like resuscitation device.

Also, in Oklahoma in 2012, a woman actually fended off burglars by using her plunger to knock the guns out of their hands. Talk about fighting dirty.

Tips For Using Your Plunger Effectively

If you're shopping for a plunger, chances are you're not doing so to fend off armed robbers or re-start Grandpa's heart. However, not everyone who uses a plunger for its more basic purpose knows how to do so effectively.

The first thing you need to do is pick the right tool for the job. There are two basic plunger types: cups and flanges. If you're needing to unclog a sink or bathtub, then a cup plunger (the one that's flat all the way around) is what you want. However, if the toilet is overflowing, then you'll need a flange plunger (the one that has an extra bit of rubber jutting out in the middle) to do the job.

The reason for this relates to exactly how they work. Plungers increase the amount of atmospheric pressure on the clog, forcing it back and forth until ultimately it's dislodged. That's why it's so important to get a tight seal — and that's why the type of plunger matters. Flange plungers use that center piece — the flange — to fit over the hole in your toilet, giving you a much tighter seal. Using a traditional plunger can still work, but it's much less effective. Likewise, the flange would just get in the way when used on a sink or tub.

This also hints at the proper way to use them. Most people just put all of their effort into pushing down, ignoring the latter half of the motion. However, since you'll want to put constant pressure on the clog, you should pull up with an equal amount of force as you push down. Repeat the motion five or six times, being sure to keep a tight seal.

If you see bubbles popping up alongside the rubber, then you don't have it on there properly. Reposition the plunger and try again.

Once the water in the bowl empties, you should flush it again to make sure everything is moving smoothly. If it clogs up, shut the water off and get back to work. If you're getting nowhere despite your best efforts, it may be time to move on to an auger, or to break down and call a professional.

Tips For Keeping Drains Clear

No matter how much of a plunger samurai you may consider yourself, no one wants to be in a situation where using one is necessary. It's vastly preferable to prevent clogs from ever happening in the first place.

One important thing to be aware of is what not to put down the drain. Don't pour grease or coffee grounds down your kitchen sink, and install a hair trap in your bathtub. Likewise, limit the amount of toilet paper you use, or flush as you go to prevent any build-up. You could also consider using a bidet to side-step the issue entirely.

Also, if you live in a home with small children, make sure they don't try to flush anything they shouldn't, like action figures or the cat. The cat will likely be able to teach them their lesson just fine, but the action figure can prove costly if you have to call a plumber to exhume him from his watery grave.

You can also clean out your pipes with hot water, and maybe even a pipe brush if you're feeling especially industrious. Vinegar is excellent for cleaning pipe walls, as all you need to do is pour some down the drain and let it sit for 30 minutes or so before rinsing it out with hot water.

Most store-bought drain cleaners are very harsh on your pipes, but if you must use one, be sure to follow the directions. Don't use more than is absolutely necessary, and set an alarm so that you remember to rinse it out. However, some cleaners (like lye) can be very effective at clearing out soap scum and hair. You can also get natural cleaners that use bacteria to eat away at organic waste.

If you treat your pipes well, they're much less likely to betray you at an inopportune time. If you're hard on them, however, I can guarantee they'll wait until your boss comes over for dinner to get their revenge.

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Last updated on September 13, 2017 by Ezra Glenn

Ezra is a writer, photographer, creative producer, designer, and record label-operator from New York City. He's traveled around the world and ended up back where he started, though he's constantly threatening to leave again.

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