You come home from work, tired and hungry, only to be hit at the door by a totally unwelcome odor. The kids are beside themselves with worry and freaking out over how best to give you the bad situation report. Then, suddenly one of them scrounges up enough courage to tell you that the toilet is blocked. You try to console them, and then march bravely towards the source of the offending odor. You get there only to discover that it wasn’t just a no-biggie blockage, but a messy blocked toilet that has overflowed, ruining your expensive bathroom rug
and threatening to run over to the rest of the house. And then, you just feel like having a good cry yourself. What to do?
In such a situation, the first thing you need is a toilet plunger. The plunger is a tool much like the toilet brush
, but with a suction cup at the end of the handle instead of a brush. It’s the most common equipment used to unclog a blocked toilet and get things flushing and back to normal in no time. If the plunger cannot unclog the blockage, you’ll have to resort to heavy chemicals to get the job done.
Now, we do not encourage the use of heavy chemicals, and that is the reason we’re taking the business of plungers quite serious. They're a must-have for every home, and more so for public places like schools and restaurants. We all know how messy public restrooms can be, where people can drop all sorts of things into the toilet bowl and sink drain without a care about the convenience of the next users.
If there’s a plunger at hand, and you notice that the toilet isn't flushing properly, you can solve the situation immediately by using the plunger. It’s extremely easy to use and almost mess-free. You don’t even have to worry about it looking out of place in your well-appointed bathroom, as plungers come in different designs and colors to match every bathroom décor.
A plunger can be used for other household fixtures, such as the kitchen sink
, shower, and bathroom drainage systems, and just about any drainpipe in the house.
Plungers aren't complicated, but nevertheless, you’ll still have to be careful before picking one so you won’t waste your money on a plunger that doesn’t work. Some features that will help point you in the right direction include the material of the plunger, the size, where it will be used, other accessories, and the price.
Plungers are quite inexpensive items. Considering the important and catastrophe-preventing or disaster-arresting role they play in the home and public restrooms, you’d think they'd cost an arm and a leg. Knowing now that they are budget friendly, you’ll want to be especially careful about the material of the suction cup, so you don’t end up with a plunger that can’t plunge.
Great plungers range from $13 to around $30, which is quite affordable for most people. Now you don’t have any excuse not to have a plunger in your house, as we featured quality plungers from reputable brands. Although there are cheap plungers out there, we didn’t include them, because we don’t want you getting disappointed by a plunger when you most need it to clean up a mess.
Shopping for the right plunger may not be as easy as it sounds, but having some idea what to look for or consider in a good plunger will go a long way in narrowing the search for you.
The features to consider include:
- Size of the plunger
- Manufacturing material
- Where it will be used
Construction and Design
The two major components of a plunger are the handle and the suction cup. The cup can be in flange shape or cup shape, with the cup shape being more popular and widely used.
For the traditional plunger, the handle is usually made from wood, while the cup is made from industrial grade, no-tear rubber. In fact, rubber is universally accepted as the material for a plunger cup, but it should be real industrial grade, no-mark, and no-tear rubber for the best suctioning and longevity.
Nowadays, most plungers have ABS plastic handles, which are more durable and aesthetically appealing than wooden-handled plungers. If you’re not a great fan of plastic, you can still get plungers with metal handles. These types are exceptionally well-made, with a sturdy metal such as steel underneath and a shiny powdered finish or coating. Metal plungers add a touch of style to your bathroom and also improve the ambience. Metal-handled plungers do tend to cost more than the plastic or wooden handle types.
There are different sizes of plungers, from small to medium to large. The handle length differs from plunger to plunger, and from one brand to another. Usually, the suction cup is designed to fit snugly into different types and shapes of toilets and drainages, so there’s really not too much issue about whether a plunger is the right fit. Except for some few specially shaped toilet seats, most toilets can be unclogged by any plunger. For specially designed toilets, get a flange plunger to ensure you get the debris clear out of the toilet bowl.
Performance and Ease of Use
Generally, plungers are easy to use. All you need to do is hold down the handle and apply force to the cup, to either push whatever is blocking the way down and flush it away, or suck the obstruction out. Either way, the toilet or drain gets cleared, water gets to flow normally, and everyone is happy. Once you finish using the plunger, rinse it off thoroughly with running water and store it in its stand or cover to avoid spreading germs all over the place.
Usually, plungers have a landing container to hold the suction cup, but some brands provide their plungers with stands that can contain the plunger’s handle as well. Others have a magnetic collar for the holding container, so the plunger is held securely without dripping.
Plungers are not used only for unclogging toilet bowls. They are also used to clear kitchen sinks, bathroom sinks, shower and bath drains, and other drainage pipes. The size of the plunger may determine its intended use. If the clogged fixture is a kitchen or bathroom sink, shower, or bath drain, you’ll most likely need a short plunger, as it's a lot easier to handle and get the job done in no time at all. Medium or large plungers, on the other hand, are good for toilet bowls.
If you’re really particular about having your bathroom all clean and sterilized, there are plungers that come as a set in combination with some mild disinfectants. Some brands even use a unique Germ Guard Technology to protect you and yours from germs.
You might also want to consider a plunger with a rotating head or suction cup so that you can set the suction cup at any angle that best fits into the toilet bowl, especially for special-design toilets with long and low flush systems.
When choosing a plunger, many factors have to be considered. Get them wrong, and you’ll buy a tool that isn’t well-suited to your needs. Since you’ve taken the time to go through our buying guide, we believe you now know what to look for in a plunger. Now let’s head over to our product reviews section to pick the one for you.
Now that you have read our review, we hope you have enough information to pick the best plunger for your home.