The 9 Best Toilet Plungers
If you need a toilet plunger, don't buy a sink plunger. Here's a rundown of some the best (and best-looking!) toilet plungers on the market.
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What To Look For in a Toilet Plunger
A toilet plunger is to a bathroom what a screwdriver is to a toolbox: A simple, inexpensive item you’re sure to need at some point. It’s the first thing you should reach for when your toilet clogs. Most of the time, it’s the only tool you’ll need for that purpose.
First, know the difference between a toilet plunger and a sink plunger. A toilet plunger is specifically made to fit inside the toilet opening; a wide, flat-rimmed sink plunger isn’t. The rounded shape of a toilet plunger tapers into a small opening, and a long handle keeps you at a safe distance.
If you’ve been using a sink plunger for your toilet, you probably haven’t had much success. Your should own both, but if you only have room in your bathroom for one, make it a toilet plunger. You have other options for cleaning sink clogs, such as disassembling the P-trap.
Over the years manufacturers introduced innovative design elements to improve plunging power and ease of use. Some models offer the same domed shape as a sink plunger but with a tapered flange. Others resemble beehives, and still others feature bellows. You’ll find a T-handle on some models that makes them easier to handle and pump.
Consider these features when shopping for the best toilet plunger:
- Shape: The beehive shape is the most effective. It features a larger volume than the traditional dome shape and it’s easier to fill with water than a model with bellows. (By the way, you should always fill your toilet plunger with water before pumping. Otherwise, you’re just pumping compressible air that will probably escape through the toilet vent before it gets to an obstruction deep in the pipes.) The third option — the flanged cup — is almost as effective as the beehive, and it’s a more versatile.
- Plunger material: Either rubber or malleable plastic. Rubber is best because it’s flexible, long-lasting and doesn’t leave marks on the toilet bowl. Choose synthetic rubber if you don’t like the smell of natural rubber.
- Handle: Go for the T-handle. A plunger with a straight handle will work just fine, and some models feature plastic handles molded for easy gripping. You’ll develop more plunging pressure, however, if you have a bar to apply vertical force.
Best Toilet Plunger Overall
The Korky Beehive Max gets top marks from almost every reviewer on the web. It fits old toilets with round water outlets as well as new high efficiency ones with oblong-shaped outlets.
The T-handle and flexible rubber plunger make it easy to pump. The manufacturer offers an adjustable handle option for ease of operation when working in close quarters. It doesn’t come with a holder, though. You have to purchase that separately.
Best Accordion Toilet Plunger
A bellows-style accordion plunger can develop more thrust than a beehive plunger, helpful for pushing really stubborn clogs down the pipes and out of your life.
Luigi’s Toilet Plunger overcomes two of the problems common with bellows plungers. It’s flexible enough to fit in the bowl outlet at an angle, and you can bend it in the bowl to fill it with water. It’s so flexible that you can even push it partway into the toilet outlet to shove objects out of the way.
Best Flanged Cup Toilet Plunger
The flange of the Neiko 60166A Toilet Plunger is ribbed and tapered, an improvement over standard flanged cup plungers. This lets it fit securely in any toilet outlet and seal tightly to provide maximum thrust even when you change the angle.
The flange won’t double over on itself when you’re plunging, as sometimes happens with bellows and flanged cup plungers. With its lightweight aluminum handle and compact cup, this plunger will stow easily in a corner of the bathroom.
Best Toilet Plunger/Brush Combo
You’ll need a brush to clean the toilet more often than you’ll need a plunger, so it’s nice to have a matching set. The Mr. Siga Toilet Plunger and Bowl Brush Combo is just that.
The plunger is a flanged cup model with a straight plastic handle that widens at the end for comfortable gripping. It stows in a plastic caddy that holds a matching brush in a separate compartment. More functionality with less bathroom clutter.
Best-Looking Toilet Plunger
A toilet plunger isn’t the most attractive tool. And with its long handle, it’s difficult to store in the sink cabinet. The Oxo Good Grips Toilet Plunger was made for those with an eye for style.
The plunger itself is a black, rubber, flanged cup model with a white handle. When you store it in the white caddy that seals shut, the cup disappears. All you see is the stylish white canister, which looks good in any bathroom.
Best Toilet Plunger Splurge
A good-quality toilet plunger typically won’t set you back more than about $20. But if you don’t mind doubling your investment for an upgrade, go for the Blue Donuts Free Standing Toilet Brush and Plunger set.
The brush and plunger feature interchangeable heads, stored in a full-sized canister with a removable drip tray. The canister fits in the narrow space between the toilet and the wall, or in any other part of a bathroom with limited space.
Best Basic Toilet Plunger
If you need a plunger in a hurry and don’t want to spend a lot, grab a Get Bats Out Toilet Plunger and go to work.
It’s a black rubber, flanged, cup-style plunger attached to a long plastic handle. It’s nothing fancy, but it works on most toilets. Its lack of flexibility may make it unsuitable for small toilet outlets, or the oval ones found on elongated toilet bowls.
Best Sink Plunger
We know: Up top, we told you not to buy a plunger shaped like this. But hundreds of Amazon reviewers swear by this Supply Guru Cup-Style plunger. It can clear toilet clogs in a pinch, and it works on sink, tub, shower and floor drains too.
There’s nothing frilly about this old-fashioned plunger, with its generic brown rubber cup and wooden handle. The price is rock bottom, too. So if you’re looking for a single plunger for all your drain clogs, try this one, although you’ll probably find you need an actual toilet plunger for really stubborn clogs.
Best Toilet Plunger Alternative
The ToiletShroom isn’t a plunger, but it can clear clogs that aren’t too deep in the pipes. The innovative design allows you to push the ribbed head deep into the toilet opening to push obstructions into the drain.
This tool combines a lightweight stainless steel handle with a tapered rubber head that has successively larger ribs. It also cleans the toilet opening. You can pump it like a plunger but it won’t develop the same force. Nevertheless, it’s a popular tool that some people love.