A toilet plunger is a device that you’ve likely never given much thought to — until now.
Maybe your commode started behaving rebelliously, causing you to reconsider. Perhaps you want one of these gadgets as a preventative in case a sudden clog occurs.
There’s more to these clog-breaking tools than meets the eye. Our guide to the best toilet plungers will help you through picking the right product for you and your toilet. Believe us, you don’t want to be in need of a plunger only to find that you’ve bought the wrong one.
Types of Toilet Plungers
There are two types of toilet plungers, categorized according to the design of the cup. You’ll get to pick between an accordion or flange unit.
Accordion plungers have a distinctive cup shape, resembling the musical instrument after which they’re named. The ridges of the accordion contain air, which is then pushed into your toilet by way of a smaller cup at the base.
Accordion plungers are powerful but can be tricky to adapt to. The plastic is typically hard, meaning there’s more strength needed on your behalf to get it working.
- Ridges trap air for stronger pressure.
- Suits toilets prone to stubborn clogs.
- Works with deeper toilet bowls.
- Could be tough to use for physically limited users.
Flange models are the classic sort you’re most likely to picture when you think of toilet plungers. The cup is the standard wide, rounded shape that we’re all familiar with, usually made of flexible rubber.
The difference is that it includes a small flap to allow the cup to form an airtight seal on curves, like that of the average toilet bowl.
- Should be compatible with most toilet bowls.
- Easier to use than accordion plumbers.
- Most common type of plunger.
- Might not be as strong as some accordion plungers.
How to Choose a Toilet Plunger
While shopping for a companion for your toilet, these are things to bear in mind to ensure a successful partnership:
- Handle dimensions: The length of your plunger’s handle is a matter of personal preference. Some may prefer being as far away from the action as possible, whereas others might want a shorter handle for discreet storage.
- Handle material: Traditional wood handles may look nice, but wood is susceptible to moisture and can shrink, swell, or otherwise deform. So if your bathroom tends to be humid, you may want a water-resistant handle made of a material such as plastic. A textured grip or handle material is practical to avoid slippage and the accompanying splash-back.
- Cup material: Plungers have a difficult and dirty job to do. Most cups are rubber, which is both resilient and flexible. If the cup is too stiff or overly elastic, it won’t be able to form an airtight seal for suction as well.
- Cup size: You might have realized that not all toilets are identical in shape and style. The shape and size of your bowl will determine how large your plunger cup should be. If it’s too small and can’t form a seal around the base of the bowl, it won’t be very effective.
- Accessories: Are there any extras you want along with your toilet plunger? A built-in hook to hang it from in your garage, or a case to put it in when it emerges dripping from your toilet? Some models come with accessories, such as toilet brushes, for a two-in-one deal.
The Best Toilet Plungers of 2021
We’ve spent hours comparing and investigating various toilet plungers to save you the time. Combining customer feedback and the advice of industry experts has allowed us to provide you this short list of the best toilet plungers.
Simplehuman Toilet Plunger
This toilet plunger by Simplehuman could intrigue buyers who prefer household tools with a sturdy build.
The company offers a five-year warranty with purchase, meaning you’re covered if your plunger fails to live up to your standards years down the line.
The handle is stainless steel, which is well-known for being resistant to corrosion and hardy overall.
It’s handy that a container for the plunger is included for storage and to protect your floors from toilet-water drips.
Why We Love It
The generous warranty could entice any who dislike switching out products frequently, regardless of price. Although the plunger isn’t a specialized piece of equipment or a fancy accessory, Simplehuman’s guarantee is still nice to have.
The included caddy means you won’t have to set the business end of the plunger on your bathroom floors. As long as you turn the open end to the wall, it should limit the impact on your bathroom aesthetic.
Magnetic Collar for Portability
If you have several toilets prone to clogs, you’ll likely be carrying your plunger to and fro. A potential issue with plunger caddies is that if you pick the device up by the handle, the caddy can fall — splashing accumulated toilet water everywhere.
Simplehuman aims to lower the chances of mess happening with a magnetic collar. When you slide the plunger into the caddy, a magnet holds the stainless steel handle in place.
There’s no reason why you can’t attempt to have your plunger blend in with your bathroom motif. Simplehuman sells this model in two colors — white or black. We like that the stainless steel handle has a grip at the end that matches the caddy.
Keep In Mind
Narrow Cup Might Not Suit All Toilets
The narrow cup size is designed for modern toilets. So if you have an older model with a wider drain, the Simplehuman plunger might be a good choice.
|Total Length||23.1 inches|
|Cup Size||7.1 x 7.9 inches|
|Materials||Stainless steel handle, cup material not advised|
Neiko 60166A Toilet Plunger
If you have more than one model of toilet in your home, this toilet plunger could be suitable. The Neiko 60166A is a flange plunger with a twist — a graduated suction cup.
The cup diameter gradually shrinks from 6 to 4 inches in diameter. In-between sizes are 5 inches and 4.625 inches.
Although the exterior of the cup is ridged, the interior is smooth to prevent water from getting trapped inside it.
Why We Love It
Graduated Suction Cup
If you’re worried about having to buy several plungers for the different builds of toilets in your home, the Neiko 60166A may save you the expense. The varying sizes of the cup mean it should form a secure seal around the majority of toilet drains.
There are two advantages to the aluminum handle. For one, it’s a lightweight metal, which means it shouldn’t weigh you down while you tackle clogs.
Aluminum is also highly rust-resistant — more so than iron or steel (1). That’s ideal for bathrooms prone to humidity.
This Neiko toilet plunger could be appropriate for users unwilling to work up a sweat each time a clog occurs.
The rubber cup is pliable to seal your toilet drain at all angles. You shouldn’t have to struggle much with positioning it in a particular way to get it to work.
If you’re the type that feels more comfortable with a company guarantee, you may feel reassured buying this toilet plunger. Neiko provides buyers with a one-year warranty.
Keep In Mind
No Handle Grips
Some buyers reported the smooth handle is tough to hold onto if you’re dealing with a stubborn blockage. If that’s a dealbreaker for you, you might want a model like the Simplehuman plunger above with a hand-grip, or the Mr. Clean option below.
|Total Length||23.5 inches|
|Cup Size||Graduated suction cup: 6 inches, 5 inches, 4.625 inches, 4 inches|
|Materials||Aluminum handle, rubber cup|
Mr. Clean 440436 Turbo Plunger and Brush
Users who are fans of the Mr. Clean line might be interested in this combination set.
The same applies to any of you searching for both a brush and plunger. You get the added benefit of knowing the two devices are of a matching style and color.
Both items come in a single caddy made to hold them both. Instead of the two toilet maintenance tools being next to each other, the brush is higher up to save on space.
Why We Love It
Rubber Grip Handle
Losing your grasp on your plunger can result in dirty toilet water going where it shouldn’t. The Mr. Clean model has a thick rubber grip at the top of the handle so that you can get a firm hold on it while you work.
Extended Cup for Precision
This flange plumber has an extended cup to get a further reach or a tighter seal around your toilet drain. As the cup is on the smaller end at 4.75 inches, it should be a good fit for smaller or narrower drains.
Useful Extras Included
This kit could be great for buyers who don’t want to shop for toilet essentials separately. The stiff-bristle brush is for handling clean-up, and the plunger will deal with clogs.
A notable feature on the caddy is that it has a non-slip base. You don’t want it to slide across your tiles and spill water.
Compact for Storage
The ergonomic construction of the caddy means it won’t be as prominent as you might expect. This is a relief considering it can store two tools. Since both the brush and plunger are on the shorter side, they should be less noticeable.
Keep In Mind
The length of the handle from the cup is only about 12 inches. If that’s far closer than you want your hands to be to your toilet, the Mr. Clean plunger might be off-putting.
|Total Length||19 inches|
|Cup Size||7 x 4.75 inches|
|Accessories||Caddy and toilet brush|
|Materials||Rubber grip handle, rubber cup|
Korky 95-4A Beehive Plunger
Low-flow toilets conserve water by using as little as 1.28 gallons per flush. This is minimal compared to older commodes that go through as much as 6 gallons (2).
Although you’re helping the environment, you may find that your old standard plunger doesn’t fit anymore. The reduced flow may also mean you’re dealing with clogs more often.
The Korky 95-4A is built to work on modern high-efficiency toilets. That includes models produced by popular brands such as Kohler, American Standard and more. Korky states that its toilet plunger can eradicate clogs in old toilets, too.
Why We Love It
The unique shape of this plunger could make it tricky to find a fitting caddy. At the same time, you wouldn’t want it dribbling all over your pristine floors.
The Korky 95-4A comes with a container made for the beehive cup. The inconspicuous flat-white color should go well with most bathroom color schemes.
The T-shape of the handle will give you leverage for destroying stubborn clogs. Plus, it’s 15 inches long to keep space between you and the bowl.
Whether your commode is brand new or old, you don’t want your plunger to make more work for you by scuffing up your toilet bowl. This Korky plunger has a cup made of non-marking rubber to avoid dirtying up your bowl.
Flexible Beehive Cup
Accordion-shaped plungers can be challenging to use if they’re too stiff. The beehive cup, on the other hand is flexible. Customers report that it isn’t too strenuous to use.
Another pro of the accordion design is that it can hold up to larger, more severe blockages. As these are sometimes an inevitable part of owning a lower-flow toilet, the strength of the Korky 95-4A could come in handy.
Keep In Mind
Won’t Fit Every Toilet Bowl as Advertised
Korky’s claim of this model being a universal-toilet plunger is somewhat misleading. Some customers have reported the plunger doesn’t seal around their toilet drains.
|Total Length||15 inches — handle size only|
|Cup Size||6 inches|
|Materials||Unspecified plastic handle, rubber cup|
Bellows Accordion Plunger
This accordion plunger could interest buyers with commodes that are susceptible to serious clogs.
The total height of the bellows-shaped cup is 7 inches, with seven separate ridges to hold air and force it into the depths of your pipes.
With a height of 18 inches from tip to the rim, this model is among the shortest toilet plungers on our list. Users with smaller bathrooms might appreciate the petite build for storage.
Why We Love It
Works on Formidable Blockages
This toilet plunger is made to combat grave clogs. The bellows lead into a cup-end that’s less than 2.5 inches in diameter. The narrow end can fit into larger drains or seal around smaller ones for targeted clog destruction.
Simple to Sterilize
The entire toilet plunger is hard plastic, so it should do well with standard cleaning products and tactics.
The handle and the bellows come in separate pieces. This means you can soak the cup and head separately in your cleaning solution of choice.
Strength Not Required
It can be aggravating to experience serious clogs regularly and have to exert yourself plunging them out. Despite the reputation of accordion plungers, this model is praised by buyers for the ease of use. The handle also has plenty of texture for a secure hold.
Inconspicuous to Store
The smaller height means you can tuck this plunger behind your toilet, completely hiding it from sight. If you’re determined for it to be invisible, you can remove the handle from the cup.
Keep In Mind
Watch Your Placement
The rigid inflexibility of the bellows means you have to be cautious with positioning. It won’t yield like softer plastics. So if you start plunging and it isn’t sealed over your drain, you could get splashed.
You’ll have to find and purchase a container on your own to protect your bathroom floors. This accordion-style plunger comes by itself without a caddy.
|Total Length||18 inches|
|Cup Size||7 x 2.375 inches|
OXO Hideaway Toilet Plunger
Not everyone can confront toilet clogs without getting nauseous. Similarly, some of you may hate to have your toilet cleaning supplies out and exposed. If you fall into this category, the Hideaway toilet plunger by OXO might be right for you.
The caddy doesn’t have an open end like other models we’ve covered — when the doors close, you won’t be able to see the cup of the plunger. The doors open automatically when you pull the plunger out and close the same way when you drop it back in.
Why We Love It
The handle has a flattened top for you to get a tight hold around. For the wary plunger operators among you, that should feel more reassuring. It beats a smooth handle your hands can slip down.
The caddy keeps the plunger out of your sight and is also constructed with sanitary concerns in mind. It has ventilation slots in the base of the tray, so that toilet water evaporates faster instead of collecting in a stagnant puddle. Mind you; you’ll still have to clean the caddy, but less frequently.
Works on Most Toilet Types
OXO states that this toilet plunger can do the job on most types of toilet, including low-flow commodes. Unless you have a rare or bizarre toilet like a custom Japanese unit, this model should fit properly.
OXO offers buyers a satisfaction guarantee. So if you find yourself disappointed in your plunger, you can contact the manufacturer for a return, refund or replacement.
Keep In Mind
Might Be Odorous at First
Some users complain that the OXO plunger has a powerful chemical stench when it comes out of the box. You may want to reconsider if you have a sensitivity to smells like that.
A couple of buyers experienced their model breaking down shortly after receipt. For instance, broken handles or a rubber cup that collapses and doesn’t form a seal. If you aren’t willing to chance it, check out the Simplehuman plunger we list at number one.
|Total Length||20.5 inches|
|Cup Size||6.5 x 6 inches|
|Materials||Plastic handle, rubber cup|
ToiletTree Stainless Steel Plunger
Appearances have a different priority level on everyone’s checklist.
If you’re unwilling to buy a toilet plunger you can’t stand to look at, this ToiletTree model could be ideal for you. It comes with a rounded stainless steel caddy to match the handle of the device.
The style of the caddy and plunger can work in both futuristic and classic bathrooms. However, if you’re worried about the plunger not matching your current toilet brush, consider the ToiletTree Deluxe Combo.
Why We Love It
Stainless steel isn’t exclusively ornamental. The metal is also rust-resistant and easy to sterilize, as it can withstand high temperatures. If you like to use boiling water or heavy-duty cleaning products to sanitize, you’ll likely appreciate these features.
A pleasant-looking plunger isn’t worth much if the caddy tips over and contaminates your floor with dirty water. The ToiletTree stand is built for security, and shouldn’t slip or tip when you take the plunger out or put it back in.
If and when your plunger cup wears out, you won’t have to buy a new unit. ToiletTree sells replacement cups for their plungers. You can switch yours out when needed without having to toss the handle.
Keep In Mind
May Rust in Steamier Bathrooms
A few users have found rust on the handle or caddy of their ToiletTree plunger after a period. If your bathroom has poor ventilation, you may want to opt for another model. The Korky 95-4A or Bellows Accordion Plunger are both all-plastic and can’t rust.
Plunger Cup Can Pop Out
If you’re dealing with more than mild blockages, the cup of this plunger could reverse itself. For that reason, the ToiletTree model may not be a good pick for users with commodes that suffer from consistently bad clogs. Try the Bellows Accordion Plunger if you want something with more power.
|Total Length||18.5 inches|
|Cup Size||6.5 x inches|
|Accessories||Caddy and toilet brush|
|Materials||Stainless steel handle, rubber cup|
Detailed Comparison Chart
|Simplehuman Toilet Plunger||Durability||Flange||23.1″||7.1 x 7.9″||Caddy||Stainless steel handle, cup material not advised|
|Neiko 60166A Toilet Plunger||Multi-Toilet Homes||Flange||23.5″||6″, 5″, 4.625″, 4″||Caddy||Aluminum handle, rubber cup|
|Mr. Clean Turbo Plunger & Brush||Package Deal||Flange||19″||7 x 4.75″||Caddy & toilet brush||Rubber grip handle, rubber cup|
|Korky 95-4A Beehive Plunger||Low-Flow Toilets||Accordion||15″ — handle size only||6″||Caddy||Plastic handle, rubber cup|
|Bellows Accordion Plunger||Heavy-Duty||Accordion||18″||7 x 2.375″||None||Plastic|
|OXO Hideaway Toilet Plunger||Squeamish Users||Flange||20.5″||6.5 x 6″||Caddy||Plastic handle, rubber cup|
|ToiletTree Stainless Steel Plunger||Nicest Design||Flange||18.5″||6.5 x”||Caddy & toilet brush||Stainless steel handle, rubber cup|
Frequently Asked Questions
How Does a Toilet Plunger Work?
The cup of the plunger works to apply pressure to the unwanted clog in your toilet by forcing air and water down into the pipe.
When you push your plunger down, a seal is formed, trapping air inside the cup. Then when you start plunging, water from the bowl mixes with the air. The combined pressure of the two elements is what breaks down or pushes the blockage away (3).
How to Use a Toilet Plunger Correctly
If you find yourself dreading using your new tool, you shouldn’t — no plumbing background is necessary. Follow these steps:
- Check water level: Make sure the base of your toilet plunger will be submerged in water when you put it in the toilet. Add water with a cup or bucket if needed.
- Position plunger: Place the plunger into the bowl, forming a seal over it.
- Start pumping: Using the handle, pump up and down in quick, firm motions. Try to keep yourself at one angle to ensure the cup stays in place as you work.
- Keep going: You’ll know you’re successful when the water starts to drain out of the bowl. You can also try flushing after each attempt.
How to Keep a Toilet Plunger Sanitary
Place the cup into your toilet bowl, and spray it liberally with your cleaning solution of choice.
Feel free to scrub it out if you want to be meticulous. Otherwise, flush your toilet to rinse it, and you’re done. Aim to do so after every use.
Be Prepared for Anything
A blocked-up toilet is a nightmare for everyone involved. Whether you’re the culprit or a family member is at fault, it’s embarrassing and unpleasant. Not to mention the awkwardness if a guest has to tell you the commode is clogged.
The best toilet plunger for you may be either a flange or accordion. It all depends on the type of blockages you experience and your strength. Ensure the materials are high-quality for durability. You don’t want a rusty, easily-snapped handle or a weak cup that doesn’t seal.
A toilet plunger offers everyone in your household and prospective visitors the chance to save face. A quality model should get the job done without needing to involve anyone else.