Low-flow toilets may be great for the environment, but they don’t always get the job done. Sometimes, they need a little help from an auger, a rubber plunger, or one of the new-fangled devices that promise to clear away your toilet clog in a jiffy.
To help you get ready for your Super Bowl crowd, we hosted our own HouseLogic Super (Toilet) Bowl Championship.
We pitted perennial favorite powerhouses against newer clog-busting gadgets to see which would walk away with the HouseLogic.com Super (Toilet) Bowl Championship Trophy.
1st quarter: Big rubber plunger vs. OXO Stainless Steel Plunger
The big rubber toilet plunger ($6) brings to the game a storied history of winning toilet bowl battles. This yellow-handled competitor has stood the test of time, but it takes a good amount of strength to be able to pump it up and down.
If this were a beauty contest, the OXO Stainless Steel Plunger and Caddy Set ($40) would be wearing a crown. It’s a bantam-weight competitor that comes with a hide-away caddy to house its business end, but it may not have enough oomph to get the job done. The OXO is a special favorite among the fashion-conscious teenage fans in the stands, who don’t have the muscles to power the big rubber plunger.
After winning the coin toss, the OXO goes into the bowl looking good, but turns inside out in the face of a serious backup, forcing a turnover to the big rubber plunger. With its larger bulb, the big rubber plunger clears the clog.
- Big Rubber Plunger: 1
- OXO Stainless Steel Plunger and Caddy Set: 0
2nd quarter: Big rubber plunger vs. Rigid Drop Head Auger
In this round, we have a tough clog left sitting overnight in the hopes that whatever is down there will dissolve. But in the early morning hours, it’s clear this backup isn’t going away.
So we call two competitors to the toilet bowl: the big rubber plunger and the Rigid Drop Head auger ($51)
It may have won the last battle, but in this morning’s challenge the big rubber plunger can’t push the clog down the field and retires to the hall closet in defeat. The Rigid auger heads into the bowl, but the quarterback (me) doesn’t have the strength to crank the handle and has to call in the second string (the hubby) to run the auger and clear the clog.
- Rigid auger: 1
- Big rubber plunger: 0
3rd quarter: PlungeMAX vs. Rigid auger
PlungeMAX ($12) takes the Super (Toilet) Bowl to a whole new level, with its ability to unclog a toilet without going into the water.
Shaped like a fireplace bellows, the PlungeMAX sits jauntily atop the rim of the bowl and rises up to the underside of the upraised toilet seat. When I slam the seat down, it compresses, which sends pressurized air to push the water through the pipes, theoretically clearing the clog.
After repeating the process a few times, there’s very little water in the bowl, but instant replay (a follow-up flush) shows the clog remains. I use the PlungeMAX again to lower the water level in the bowl before calling in the second string to run the Rigid auger down the drain again.
- Rigid auger: 1
- PlungeMAX: 0
4th quarter: Rigid vs. Plung-It, the air powered plunger
Plung-It: The Air Powered Plunger ($10) comes out of the locker room looking more like something you’d use to inflate a bicycle tire than bust a clog.
After its toilet-bowl rubber tip is screwed on, Plung-It dives into the bowl and forms a good seal. I push the handle down and the air whooshes out. I pull up on the pump handle and I can feel the Plung-It sucking water back up out of the toilet (I hope it’s just water). A few pumps later and the toilet is flowing freely. The auger returns to the garage without getting a chance to tackle this clog.
- Plung-It: 1
- Rigid Auger: 0
Overtime: OXO attempts a field goal
In overtime, the OXO Stainless Steel Plunger and Caddy took to the field wielded by a special teams player (the aforementioned teenage daughter) who says the big rubber plunger is ugly and too heavy.
With the fierce determination to prove that beauty can win battles, she clears the clog after a few seconds of vigorous pumping.
Final score: It’s a draw
Each competitor brought something to the toilet bowl playing field:
- The big rubber toilet plunger is ugly and heavy, but its successful track record makes it a good value.
- The OXO Stainless Steel Plunger and Caddy is a great choice for those with limited plunging strength. Bonus: its hidden-in-plain-sight caddy works well if you have limited storage space.
- The Rigid auger is a powerhouse clog-buster, but requires some muscle to work best.
- The PlungeMAX does lower the water level, eliminating splash and mess in your bathroom.
- The Plung-It’s compact size makes it easy to tuck away in the under sink cabinet.
What’s your go-to toilet clog buster?