Toilet plungers are one of the most important tools in any plumber’s kit.
Plungers are also something you should keep near every home or business bathroom. The plunger is cheap, but also one of the fastest ways to fix a blocked toilet or sink.
Blocked toilets are a common problem. Toilet blockages account for as much as 80% of calls to plumbers,
Without a plunger, you might have to switch off the water and remove the toilet from its base by bringing up the floor to fix a leaking toilet. Chemicals can unblock certain types of toilet blockages, but not all blockages can be dissolved (and that is where a plunger is still going to come in good use).
There’s a right and wrong way to use a plunger, and there are also different types of plungers you can buy.
Improper plunger use can cause damage to your plumbing system, and if you use the wrong type of plunger, you can’t create a proper seal where the pipe meets the flange. That almost guarantees a mess. Plungers have also injured people, especially cheap plungers with weak handles that can break off.
Sure, nobody likes having to plunge their toilet, but buying the best plunger can make the job a lot quicker and easier. The purchase of a proper plunger can even save you the cost of having to pay a plumber for two or three hours to do what you could do at home for lesser blockages.
Should you buy a plunger?
Almost always, yes.
Should you at least read one guide (like this article!) about how to use a plunger correctly?
We’ll walk you through everything there is to know about plungers, how to use a plunger the right way and the best 5 plungers you can buy on Amazon.
- The Toilet Plunger: A Short History
- More About Toilet Plungers
- Tips for Toilet Plunger Use
- How to Use a Toilet Plunger
- Where to Buy a Toilet Plunger
- The 5 Best-Rated Toilet Plungers on Amazon
- The Plunger FAQ
The Toilet Plunger: A Short History
The traditional toilet plunger as we know it today was first invented by John Hawley in 1874.
Flushing toilets were invented in 1596. We had to go a long time without the use of plungers, and had to use other ways to clean toilet blockages until much later. If you think that cleaning a toilet is bad now, think about what it must have been like hundreds of years ago before the invention of plungers.
The plunger was first advertised as a vent cleaner, though later changed shape and became the regular flange-ended toilet plunger that most people know. Hawley would make his fortune from another investment, the candy company called Hawley & Hoops.
Other alternatives, like electric plungers, were invented later. The majority of professional plumbers still prefer the old-fashioned flange-ended toilet plunger because it’s easier, quicker and less likely to cause a mess around the bathroom.
More About Toilet Plungers
The first thing you should know about a toilet plunger is what to do with one. Most plungers are not difficult to use, and require only the edge of the plunger to seal along the pipe of the toilet – with a sturdy, strong grip on the side you will have to hold.
Tips for Toilet Plunger Use
• Always wear gloves when plunging your toilet.
• Clean up before and after, even if you don’t visibly see a mess anywhere.
• Grip and push firmly, but not with too much pressure.
• Buy the best toilet plunger you can afford. Cheaper is never better.
How to Use a Toilet Plunger
The key to correct toilet plunger use is the right amount of force together with a proper seal around the pipe and plunger flange.
If you don’t press hard enough, that blockage won’t go anywhere. If you press down on the plunger too hard, the water can splash back – or you could cause damage to the pipe. Sudden pressure on the handle can also cause cheaper plungers to snap.
Press the plunger into the bowl. Make sure that there is a proper connection and seal at the pipe. Then, apply pressure – much like heart compressions, but holding the plunger handle. Remember: firm compressions, though not harsh ones.
If this worked, you will see the toilet’s water level go down the moment the plunger is lifted.
If it didn’t work, sometimes all you need to do is repeat the process and try again.
This is enough to fix all but the most severe toilet blockages.
Where to Buy a Toilet Plunger
“Where can I buy a toilet plunger?” is one of the most common questions about bathroom hardware and toilet DIY that people need to know.
The first answer is your local hardware store, but the best answer is to visit Amazon. Amazon offers direct shipping, returns and a much larger range of products than your hardware store could hope to – and physical stores don’t have reviews written next to each shelf, while Amazon does!
Most Amazon products are affordable and direct from suppliers. Hardware stores usually add their own extra mark-up to products, which just means you pay more than you should.
Amazon is the best place to buy a toilet plunger near you.
There’s one more thing we should tell you about toilet plungers before we move on with the rest of the article (and the Amazon top 5 results in the plunger category)…
There are different types of plungers: toilet plungers, and sink plungers.
Sink plungers are meant to fit down flat, where the plug meets. Toilet plungers fit the curved pipe of a toilet, and has a wider reach as a result – or what’s called a flange at the end of it.
If you need to fix a blocked toilet, make sure that you buy the right type of plunger before anything else. Sink plungers will not seal properly where a toilet plunger does, and sink plungers are how you create a splash or mess in the bathroom.
The next section recommends 5 of the best-rated toilet plungers you can buy on Amazon.
The 5 Best-Rated Toilet Plungers on Amazon
Amazon has more than 500 different items for sale in the plunger category.
If you just came to the page for a simple plunger, then it’s no surprise that you might not have an idea what to buy. Nobody needs to go through five hundred different plungers to find something that will effectively unblock their toilet or sink.
The best toilet plunger is one that:
• Has a strong handle,
• Seals to the toilet,
• Is made from biodegradable plastic material,
• Has the advantage of length.
Terrible toilet plungers exist. These are weak or cheap, and usually contain plastic handles that can break when in use. We’ve featured the 5 best toilet plungers on Amazon so that you can find the best one to buy without going through 500 different ones.
Here’s how to make sure you buy the best toilet plunger for your budget:
MR SIGA Toilet Plunger and Bowl Brush Combo
The MR Siga Toilet Plunger and Bowl Brush Combo is the best-selling option in the Amazon plunger and toilet plunger categories. Affordable and effective, this great plunger stores in a discreet and clean way once you’re done with it – and it seals just as well as you would need the best plunger to do.
Most toilet plungers don’t come with a brush. Since cleaning up after a plunging job is inevitable, it helps that this comes with a brush that you don’t have to go out and buy separately.
It’s one of the best plungers you can buy on Amazon, but also pretty cheap and available for just under $22.
Why pay more than double for a fancy electric plunger when this will do just what you need?
Clorox Toilet Plunger with Hideaway Storage
The Clorox toilet plunger is one of the best cheap toilet plunger options, available for sale with a base that is guaranteed to stand sturdy when not in use.
More than 5, 500 reviews on Amazon have called this a great plunger, and we’ll agree with this.
The advantage is easy storage, but that’s not all that makes this cheap $15 plunger perfect for your bathroom. It also gives you the advantage of further reach, which is something that many other plungers in this price range won’t.
Hideaway storage means that people don’t even have to know where you keep your plunger.
Yanxus Toilet Plunger Hideaway with Caddy
The Yanxus Toilet Plunger is the #3 option in Amazon’s plunger and toilet plunger categories, with more than 4, 400 positive reviews that say this is one of the best toilet plungers you can buy for cheap.
Advertised as heavy duty, this is great for those more stubborn blockages that would put any other plungers to sheer shame. It’s got a longer handle, and has the advantage of being stronger than most: hence the heavy duty label which is worth it.
While it’s not the top ranked option, it could be one of the best options for plumbers who require a stronger tool in their arsenal.
OXO Good Grips Toilet Plunger
The OXO Good Grips Toilet Plunger is the #4 toilet plunger for sale on Amazon, but they also rank the same model of the same manufacturer as the official #5 spot. This simple plunger has more than 3, 300 good reviews for it on Amazon, and while it’s a little more expensive at up to $44, it can be worth it as a discreet useful option.
One of the best things about the OXO is that it contains a sturdy base, and a strong handle that is guaranteed not to break while in use.
Tiasablu Plunger with Concealed Holder
The Tiasablu Plunger with Concealed Holder is the first entry you’ll see after the duplicate OXO plunger models. The Tiasablu is another great heavy-duty plunger that will cost you between $20 and $30 on Amazon.
What’s great about this model is the fact that it doesn’t look like a plunger at all when in storage. When you aren’t using it, you can just put it away – and there’s no unsightly plunger to look at in the cupboard.
This great plunger model is backed by around 700 great reviews, and it gets the #7 spot on Amazon – but the #5 spot overall for a great, affordable plunger.
The Plunger FAQ
New to plungers or just have something else you want to know?
Here’s a short FAQ that covers some of the other most common plunger-related questions that people ask.
Are there different types of plungers?
First, there are toilet and sink plungers.
Then, there are toilet plungers that are electric or manual. Manual toilet plungers can have either a cup, or a more rounded flange at the end.
For toilets, you want a flange plunger.
What’s the best type of toilet plunger to buy?
Manual, flange-type toilet plungers are the best if you want to remove most types of toilet blockages fast.
Can plungers do damage to a toilet or pipe?
Sometimes with incorrect use, yes. Never force a plunger down too hard, as it can push too much water through the narrow pipe – and either backfire, or pop a leak.
Does a plunger actually work to fix a blocked toilet?
With correct use, a plunger is one of the best ways to unblock a toilet.
What if a plunger doesn’t fix a blocked toilet?
Sometimes, once isn’t enough to have the intended effect. A second try does it.
If not, you might have to resort to another method, like chemicals to dissolve the blockage.
Can you break a plunger?
Cheaper, plastic-handle plungers break easily when they are subjected to too much force.
There are different plungers on the market, but if you want to get the best, we’ve recommended the Amazon best-selling top 5 plungers you can buy near you. Quality plungers don’t have to cost a fortune either – but you can find most of these plungers available for under $30.
What are you waiting for? Get a plunger!