For years, drain cleaning machines have been relied upon by many professionals. As time goes on, more and more technological advancements are being done to improve these devices. This has seen the manufacture of more powerful, lighter, reliable and safer machines which meet the industry standards.
However, all drain cleaning machines are not the same, and for you to successfully unclog plumbing pipes quickly, you will need a powerful device. Choosing the right machine isn’t as easy as before due to the increased number of brands entering the market, leaving professionals wondering what is the best choice to invest in. For this round-up, we have carefully selected and reviewed some of the quality machines on the market to help you choose the best drain cleaning machine for your plumbing needs.
Our Best Pick
RIDGID 58920 K-50 Sectional Machine, Sectional Drain Cleaning Machine is versatile, sturdy and able to run three different cables making it Our Best Pick.
Our Budget Pick
RIDGID 34963 K-30 AUTO-CLEAN Sink Machine with MAXCORE 50 1/4 Inch Inner Core Cable and AUTOFEED Control is affordable, lightweight and keeps your hands and job site clean making it Our Budget Pick.
Table of Contents
- Quick Comparison: Top 7 Best Drain Cleaning Machines
- Benefits of using drain cleaning machines to unclog drain lines
- Things to consider when buying a drain cleaning machine
- Common Drain cleaning machine problems and how to fix them
- Care and maintenance of drain cleaning machines
- What makes a good drain cleaning machine?
- Final Verdict
Quick Comparison: Top 7 Best Drain Cleaning Machines
1. RIDGID 58920 K-50 Sectional Drain Cleaning Machine
This RIDGID machine is a compact and versatile solution for your drain cleaning projects. The device has an instant cable clutch which gives you maximum control over the machine. RIDGID K-50 is designed to clean drain lines between 1-1/4 to 4 inches and can deliver enough power to unclog your drain lines.
The device is fitted with 1/6 inch horsepower reversible motor which has a grounded electrical system that rotates the cleaning cable at a speed of 400 RPM. That amount of power is strong enough to drain most plumbing lines.
One thing we love about this machine is its portability which allows professionals to transport it easily to and from the job site. That’s not all; the machine is easy to operate which makes it ideal for both professionals and less experienced individuals.
We would recommend this machine to anyone in need of a quality and handy drain cleaning machine, for a shower, sink or floor drain, that can deliver great power.
2. RIDGID GIDDS-813341 34963 K-30 AUTO-CLEAN Sink Machine
This RIDGID K-30 drain cleaning tool is handy, compact and lightweight. The device features an auto feed system which goes on and retrieves the cable at the pull of the lever. The internal guide hose and the auto feed system work together to reduce the need for extensive cleaning of work areas, hands, and fixtures; a feature which is not common with most devices in the market.
This machine is designed to clean drain lines 19 mm to 38 mm in tubs, sinks, and showers. One thing we love about this machine is its cable which delivers 450 RPM which is powerful enough to push through most tough blockages.
To increase your cable performance, RIDGID K-30 has specialized paddles that boost the cable up to 20% faster allowing you to spend less time cleaning.
Being one of the leaders in the production of quality drain cleaning machines, RIDGID ensures that all its products have met all the industry standards and the K-30 is no exception. The device has a CSA-approved single phase motor which rotates the MAXCORE cable and the On/Off foot bulb activation.
The package includes the K-30 sink machine with MAXCORE AUTOFEED inner core snake with a bulb head style auger and user manual.
3. RIDGID 66492 K-60SP Compact Sectional Drain Cleaning Machine
This RIDGID 66492 features a small storage footprint and a rear handle for easy transportation. The machine is fitted with a sturdy ½ Horsepower motor which rotates the machine cable at 600RPM, which is powerful enough to unclog tough blockages.
This compact drain snake is ideal for use in commercial, residential, and institutions for septic tank vacuum truck operators. Though the machine is a little bit pricey, the results are great. Customers who used the machine were happy about its performance.
4. Ridgid 26998 TOOL COMPANY GIDDS-813353 K-400 Drum Machine
Are you looking for the best commercial drain cleaning machine for handling tough drain cleaning jobs? Then this RIDGID K-400 may be an ideal choice for you. The machine is compact and features a sleek design.
K-400 drain cleaning machine delivers great power to unclog tough blockages which makes it an ideal choice for service plumbers, drain services, property management companies, facilities and institutional maintenance departments. For smooth movement, the machine has a heavy-duty handle and wheels which allows you to easily transport the drain auger and K-400 drum over stairs, thresholds, and bumps.
This device is not just a drain cleaning tool but also a K-400 drum machine. The machine is equipped with special features which make even the toughest drain cleaning jobs manageable.
The machine’s handles lock in low position to save space when using the electric auger and fold up perfectly well to allow easy transportation. These special features make the K-400 machine stand out.
When you purchase this machine, you will get RIDGID gloves, sturdy and kink resistant C-45 ½” X 75-foot solid core, T-205 “C” cutter, A-13 Pin Key, T-202 bulb auger, T-211 spade cutter, Integral wound cable for 3 to a 4-inch line and a user manual.
5. Hydrostar 1/2 inch by 50 feet Compact Electric Drain Cleaner Drum
This Hydrostar machine boasts a durable steel frame and a ½” x 50-foot wire core cable which is resistant to kinking, tangling and breakage. The machine also has a sealed air-activated foot switch, built-in ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) and a quick-change enclosed drum.
With this easy-to-store and compact drain snake, you can easily clean up to 50ft of pipe. This machine is suitable for use on property maintenance, pipes within the 2” to 4″, institutional maintenance and household plumbing.
The 76 lb machine comes with a 1-1/2″ arrow cutter, a spade cutter, a 1-1/4″ C-cutter, and a boring bulb cutter which collectively work together to make your project a success.
6. RIDGID 52363 K-400 Drain Cleaning Machine
With a drum capacity of 100 feet of a 10 mm diameter cable, the 52363 K-400 drain cleaning tool provides a fast and hassle-free solution to the toughest drain cleaning jobs. The machine has a Pneumatic Foot Switch, incorporated transport cart with a retractable handle, rugged integral wound solid core cable that is kink resistant, and a cable control system.
For easy transportation, the machine has heavy-duty rubber wheels that are over-molded to easily handle stairs and bumps. With this machine, you should never worry about breaking your pipes or cables. The machine torque limiter stops the drum from rotating immediately when the blade gets stuck in the blockage, a feature which is not common with most devices.
Another welcoming feature about this machine is its 3/8 inch Integral Wound solid core cable which defies regular use and has a quick change coupling system that allows you to connect and disconnect tools easily.
52363 K-400 drain cleaning machine is ideal for use by service plumbers, property management companies, facilities’ drain cleaners, and institutional maintenance departments.
7. Speedway COBRA PRODUCTS GIDDS-211332 Drain Cleaning Machine
The Speedway drain cleaning tool can be used on sewer drains, main drains and root blockages. The machine has a heavy duty capacitor motor which delivers enough power to unclog your blockages. The motor has a forward off/reverse switch and a thermal manual overload operator switch that can clean lines of 4” to 10”.
For easy loading and unloading, the Speedway drain cleaning machine has wheels with a 19” molded cable drum stair climbing skid.
Benefits of using drain cleaning machines to unclog drain lines
Drain cleaning machines are economical
It is beyond any reasonable doubt that owning quality drain cleaning equipment can save you money. Once you invest in one, you do not have to call your nearest cleaning company or plumber to unclog your drain lines.
There is no better way to unclog your blocked drain lines than using a drain cleaning machine. These devices deliver enough power to unblock even the toughest blockages within a short time.
Improves your business reputation
If you are a commercial cleaning company or a professional plumber, a quality drain cleaning machine can help build a good reputation for your business.
Drain cleaning machines are versatile
Drain cleaning equipment can be used to unclog different drain lines. This ranges from floor drains, sinks, toilets or residential sewers, among others. This means you do not have to purchase different machines every time you have a different blockage.
If you are having clogged drain lines on a consistent basis and are looking for a long-term solution, a quality drain cleaning solution will help you achieve this much faster.
Things to consider when buying a drain cleaning machine
Clogged drains are inevitable especially if you have stayed in your home for quite some time. To get the water flowing again, you will need the right tool. As versatile as these drain cleaning tools are, it is recommended that you know exactly when and where to use your machine to avoid any disappointments.
Here are our tips for choosing the right machine for your drain cleaning projects.
Where the machine can be used
Drain cleaning machines are versatile, but some will limit you from unclogging certain blockages. Get to know when and where you can use your device, as well as what it isn’t capable of, to determine whether it suits your needs.
There are 2 types of drain cleaning equipment: sectional and drum. Drum type machines are handy, fast and self-contained.
Drum drain cleaning tools have only one cord in one drum, making them easy to transport. Sectional machines, on the other hand, are lightweight and can be transported separately from the machine.
Another welcoming feature regarding sectional drain cleaning machines is the freedom to couple and uncouple sections anytime. This means that any faulty cable will not bring the job to a stop.
Weight is an important feature to consider, especially if you are a professional plumber or cleaning firm. A lightweight machine will allow you to transport it to and from the job site without much hassle.
Take a look at how the machine has been designed to help you determine how the machine will handle potential obstacles. Machines with an upright design are easy to navigate in areas where sled machines cannot.
Size of drain lines
The diameter of your drain pipes is very critical when buying a drain cleaning machine. For home use, you may consider smaller machines with a smaller cable between ¼” to 3/8”. However, unclogging bigger drain lines like floor drains, roof vents, or residential lines will require you to have a bigger machine.
For commercial purposes, large sled machines are highly recommended.
Drain cleaning machines are not the same. A poor quality machine will not only give you poor results, but also consume much of your time. Knowing what you want in a drain cleaning machine helps you to avoid selecting a device that does not deliver up to your expectations.
Sturdy and kink resistant machines can defy the toughest drain cleaning environment and are highly recommended.
Motor-driven drain cleaning machines rotate the machine cable at varied speeds depending on how powerful the motor is. A powerful motor helps you unclog tough blockages faster.
For you to use a drain cleaning machine to its full potential, you will need extra accessories. While some machines come with all the required attachments, others do not.
Take a look at the quality of the machine and the required attachments before investing in one. However, as is true in all things, don’t sacrifice quality to save a buck!
Before buying your preferred machine of choice, ensure its durability with a warranty and if possible a service plan. Read the manufacturers terms carefully and get to know what the warranty covers and for how long.
Drain cleaning machine safety
Knowing how to handle your drain cleaning equipment is critical. Handling wastewater can also expose you to germs, and necessary measures have to be done to prevent the risk of infection. Here are tips for handling your machine properly.
- Read your operator manual and get to know how the machine works before using it
- Use your machine to unblock drain lines that are recommended by the manufacturer
- Ensure your machine is ideal to use the drain line material, size, and length.
- To avoid kinks and other problems, ensure the right cable size has been used
- Avoid wearing loose fitting clothes or jewelry. If you have long hair, tie it
- To prevent infections cover all abrasions and cuts
- Protect your eyes with goggles, wear leather gloves, rubber-soled boots with toe guards and overall
- Ensure the working area has adequate light
- Clean any oily, greasy, and dust on your machine controls and handles to avoid causing accidents
- Never handle a machine when you are fatigued, on medication or under influence of alcohol
- Never touch your eyes, face. Ears, nose or mouth when using the machine. Wash your hands with soap and plenty of water for a minimum of 30 seconds or more
- Inspect your machine always for any visible damage before using it. Inspect cables for kinks
- Ensure your working area is dry to prevent electrocution. Test your ground fault circuit interrupter before using your machine
- Never operate your machine without using a foot switch
- Before powering your machine, always ensure your gloved hand are on the cable
- Keep children, bystanders, and other visitors away when using your machine
- Never operate your machine in an explosive environment with dust, flammable gases or liquids. Machine create sparks and may lead to fire causing serious damages
- Use belt guard to prevent your fingers from getting caught between the pulley and the belt
- To prevent cable from looping, always place your machine two to three feet from the drain opening
- Never turn the machine on unless the cable is inside the pipe
- Never use a machine whose switch is not functioning well.
- Do not attach other accessories or attachments when the machine is on
- Do not operate your machine with oily or greased hands to avoid losing better grip of the machine. Your hands should be clean and dry
- Never use reverse unless your cable has been stuck. The cable can flip out and cause injury
- When you are handling a blockage, let the cutter do the work. Forcing the cable can cause injury or damage
- Do not over-run your cable. This can cause retrieval problems or even damage the cable
- Avoid distractions when using your drain cleaning equipment. Distractions can reduce your concentration hence causing damage or injury
- Keep your hands from contact with moving parts especially when the machine is on. your hands may be caught up causing severe injury
- Once you have unblocked the drain, use running water to wash roots and debris
Common Drain cleaning machine problems and how to fix them
When operating your drain cleaning equipment, you may encounter some problems. Knowing how to fix some of these faults can help you save time and money that you would have spent calling your manufacturer, or paying a professional to repair it.
Here are some of the problems and how to get along with them.
Machine auto-feed does not function properly
One of the causes of auto-feed malfunction is debris accumulation. When auto-feed is not regularly cleaned, dirt and debris may build up causing it not to function correctly. Disassemble the auto-feed and clean it properly every month.
Follow your manufacturer’s instructions on auto-feed dis-assembly and cleaning
When the auto-feed is not well greased, you may encounter problems. Grease your auto-feed fittings weekly to increase its performance
Machine drum turns only on one side
A faulty reverse switch can restrict you from being able to move the drum on both sides. In case you encounter this problem, have your switch replaced. Never operate your machine when any of the switches are faulty.
Cable breaking or kinking
When the motor is switched to reverse, it may cause kinking of your cable. Check if your motor is switched to reverse. Only use reverse when the cable gets caught on the drain pipe
Applying excessive force can cause cable kinking. Allow your machine cutter to do the work
When your cable is exposed to acid, you may encounter problems with your cable. Ensure your cable is cleaned regularly and its oil free before making use of it
Using your cable on wrong diameter pipes can cause kinking. Always get to know the diameter of your drain prior using your cable
Damages or worn out cables can break when using your machine exposing you to a lot of risks. Inspect your cables routinely and get them replaced if any signs of damage are evident
Machine moves or wobbles when cleaning the drain
When the machine kickstand is not engaged, the machine will not be stable causing un-intended movements and shaking. Check if the kickstand is engaged, if yes, try to place the device on a leveled surface.
Drum stops when you depress the pedal and start when pedal is re-pressed
This may be as a result of a hole in your pedal, hose or diaphragm. Inspect your hose and pedal for any of these signs and replace the faulty component.
If the hose and pedal are in proper condition, replace your diaphragm switch
Ground foot interrupter trips when foot pedal is depressed or when the machine is plugged in
When your machine power cord is damaged, the ground power interrupter may trip causing injury. Inspect your power cord for any signs of damage and have it replaced.
A short circuit in the machine motor can also trigger the problem. Visit any near authorized service center with your motor for examination.
If this doesn’t resolve the issue, then your ground fault circuit interrupter may be faulty. Substitute your cord with the included ground fault circuit interrupter to check if the problem is resolved.
If the matter gets out of hand, try contacting your manufacturer for help.
Never use a faulty machine or try to repair it if you do not have experience in the field. Power tools can cause serious injuries.
Care and maintenance of drain cleaning machines
Drain cleaning equipment like any other machine requires proper care and maintenance. Regular maintenance can help boost your machine performance by preventing mechanical problems and headaches each time when using your tool. Below is a general drain cleaning machine maintenance tips.
- Keep your machine away from children or any untrained individuals
- Inspect your machine for any damaged cords, cables, faulty switches, and any missing ground- prongs. Faulty or damaged cables or cords can break leading to serious accidents. If you do not know how to replace them, you can hire a professional to handle the situation
- Lubricate your machine moving parts according to your manufacturer’s instructions
- Lubricate your cable to boost its lifespan and also increase its performance
- Always inspect your cutting edges of your equipment and if possible get them sharpened or replaced before using your machine. Damaged cutting tools can lower the performance of your machine and may cause binding or break the cable
- Flush the machine drum to get rid of any sediment which can corrode the cable. Always drain your drum after every use
- Keep your cables indoors when the machine is not in use to prevent deterioration
- Store the machine in a dry, cool place away from children or any untrained professional
- Store motor driven machines indoors and cover them well during rainy season
What makes a good drain cleaning machine?
- A good drain cleaning machine should be handy and versatile
- A good drain cleaning device should be fast, reliable and efficient
- A great drain cleaning machine should be easy to maintain
- An excellent drain cleaning machine should deliver enough power to unclog even the toughest blockages
There is no better way to unclog your blocked drain lines than using a drain cleaning machine. Due to the convenience and reliability that comes along with these devices, professional plumbers, homeowners, and commercial cleaning companies have for years now relied upon them to clear clogged pipes.
As much as these machines are versatile, they vary in size, performance, design, quality, weight, and cost which can make you overwhelmed by choices. While people have different taste and preferences, the best drain cleaning machine should be handy, portable, fast, easy to maintain, sturdy and above all meet your needs.