Best Toilet Plunger

Toilet Plunger Review

We spent over 28 hours reading, researching, and testing plungers to see which worked best.  We even consulted with Hotel Maintenance personnel at a top-notch hotel to learn what design they like best.  After much deliberation, and after much pulling and pushing, we found the Korky Beehive-style Plunger to be the best plunger on the market.

Table of Contents

 


Best Toilet Plunger

Korky Beehive Style Plunger

There is so much we like about this plunger that we’re not even sure to begin…

Let’s start with the redesigned handle that is much more ergonomic than the straight-handle designs of other models.  Why didn’t someone think of this earlier??

The t-shaped handle makes it feasible to get a solid, even push against the clog which is then easier to dislodge.

In addition to the fantastically-designed handle, the beehive-shaped cup is revolutionary, and the designfits snugly into every toilet bowl we tested, including both old and new, High-Efficiency Toilets (HET).

In 1994, this plunger design made it to This Old House’s Top 100 Best New Home Products and can we also add that it’s made in the USA.  This plunger is an all-around winner!


Runner Up

Neiko Heavy-Duty Toilet Plunger

With well over 1,000 positive reviews, we anticipated the Neiko working well, and we weren’t disappointed.

In fact, it worked equally as well as any of the other straight-handle designs. But what we loved most about this plunger is its tiered plunger cup.

The cup design made it easy to fit the Neiko into any toilet bowl we put to the test. The tiered “layers” created a tight seal that got the job done.

We also liked the aluminum handle design which was lightweight and stylish which was a plus for us since we store our plunger in the corner next to the toilet.

The only downfall to this model is that the tiered cup (that we loved for making a good seal) was harder to clean than competing models.  We found that toilet paper tended to stick more to this design than to the smooth rubber cup design plunger.

History of Toilets

According to the Smithsonian Magazine, flush toilets were invented in 1569, although they didn’t become widely used until 1851.   However, archaeological excavations in northern India have revealed 4,000-year-old drainage systems that are thought to have been used as flush toilets, thus making the actual history and timeline of their development a bit vague.
Top Toilet Plunger

Roman Times

Amazingly, humans have long understood the basic aspects of sanitation.  Even as far back as the Romans, Roman engineers designed outdoor latrines that fed directly into the sewer system, thus keeping waste out of the drinking water.  In fact, in 315 A.D., the city of Rome had 144 public toilets. Yes, that’s right:  Public.  Strangely enough, the Romans looked at going to the toilet as a social event.  Often, their toilet seats were cut out along the same piece of stone – right next to one another – without any dividing walls.  This was a great way for citizens to catch up on local news and events.  Truth.

Medieval England

It is also widely known that castles in medieval England were the first architectural structures ever designed with integrated toilets.  These first toilets were basically just a hole that angled out of the castle walls and ran vertically to the ground, thus ridding the castle of human waste, and keeping it far from living quarters.Interestingly, these holes were referred to as “potties.”

These “potties” eventually transformed into small rooms that protruded from castle walls with an open hole towards the ground.  They were known as “garderobes” which literally translates into “guarding one’s robes.”

An interesting fact about garderobes is that people often hung their clothing inside the small room hoping that the strong smell of ammonia would chase fleas and other insects out of their clothing.

Unfortunately, the waste often wound up on the streets below where it posed a health risk to commoners.  Can you say Cholera outbreak?

Victorian and Edwardian Times

Although the population of Britain grew during exponentially during the 19th century, the number of toilets did not.  In some overcrowded cities such as Manchester and London, some toilets were shared by over 100 people, and subsequently, the sewage often spilled out into the streets and the rivers.

In the 1830s and 1850s, leaking sewage was a leading cause of cholera outbreaks that resulted in tens of thousands of deaths.

From this, the government made a decree that every new household needed to be built with its own Water Closet (WC) to maintain public health. Also, they commissioned the construction of sewer systems in central London.  The project was completed in 1858 and greatly reduced the number of deaths from cholera, typhoid, and other waterborne diseases.

In 1861, a Mr. Thomas Crapper was hired by the British monarchy to design and build lavatories in several of the royal palaces.  To this day, he is thought of as the inventor of the modern flush toilet.
Toilet Plunger Basics

Modern Day

Today, the design of the toilet has advanced to where it is now a central design element in our homes and offices.  Many an architect can tell you stories of designing bathrooms around window views as well as what can be seen within the house from the toilet.

The biggest development in toilets in recent years is the requirement that all new toilets sold must be High-Efficiency Toilets – meaning that they only use 1.6 gallons of water per flush.  Originally, these didn’t work as well as manufacturers had hoped, but the kinks have been worked out and toilets on the market today work well.

As Winston Churchill, a master orator, once said, “We shaped our toilets, and then our toilets shaped us.”

How We Selected

We headed to the internet to begin researching our selections.  We wanted to be sure that the five plungers we tested were already popular with consumers.  We didn’t want to waste our time testing products that didn’t already have good reviews.

Despite filtering out the unpopular models, we still found over 200 products that were well-liked, and we needed to get that number down considerably if we wanted to end up with only five.

We made the executive decision to keep the price of the plungers we tested below $25.  Spending any more money than that just seemed crazy to us and we couldn’t imagine getting any better result than you could from a model that costs less than $25.
Toilet Plunger Benefits
There were a few different styles within this price range, and we decided to test a variety of them. We figured it was best to know which worked best, whether it be the traditional design or a newly designed model.

Lastly, we consulted with the housekeeping manager at a local hotel as well as a master plumber to see what insight they could offer regarding which plunger style is best.

After pulling together the many pages of information we compiled from the above steps, we finally were able to choose our top five contenders for this guide.

How We Tested

At its most basic level, a toilet plunger needs to make a tight seal against a toilet bowl andbe able to push air into that sealed area to unclog a toilet.

Toilet plungers are designed with a rubber cup at the end of a long, straight (typically wooden) handle, but what we found is that not all rubber cups are made the same, nor will they give you the same results.

We simulated a toilet drain by attaching flexible piping to a sample (uninstalled) toilet. Then, with a bit of help from a plumber-friend, we got to work testing our top five contenders.

Naturally, the first type of clog we tackled was one made from a mass of wadded-up toilet paper – the most common culprit of a clogged toilet.

Another test we wanted to administer was the “seal” test.  Of course, a good seal is paramount in freeing a clogged drain. We found that it took a few tries to get a good seal using one or two of the plungers we tested, but in the end, we managed to get it and unclog the drain.
Toilet Plunger Types

What We Liked

  • We liked that the OXO plunger uses a natural rubber product for their cup. Natural rubber is a safer product to have in your house and safer to have around the family.
  • We liked that the Korky Beehive Style plunger is made in the USA and that it fits into both the old style as well as the new High Efficiently Toilets (HET).

What We Didn’t Like

  • Although it worked wonders on our clogs, we didn’t like the blue color of the LDR Bellows-Style Plunger. We felt we needed to store it away when not in use because the brightness of the color looked out of place in our bathroom.
  • Although the Neiko plunger created a tight seal with the ridges on its graduated cup, we didn’t like that those ridges were harder to clean than the smoother rubber cups.

Reviews

InterDesign Plunger and Holder

InterDesign Plunger and Holder
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Not only did the plunger from this set work wonders on our clogs, but it also came with a stylish holder that discreetly conceals the plunger when it’s not in use.

It is made of durable plastic and comes in your choice of five colors:  Black, Bronze, Brown, Silver, and White which means you’re sure to find a finish that fits your décor.

At only 1.3 pounds, it’s a cinch to pick up and use without issue.

The quality of the plastic is wonderful, and in fact, you can barely tell that it’s plastic because it has a metallic finish that makes it look like it’s made of metal.  The only giveaway is that when you pick it up, and it’s lighter than you expect.

LDR Bellows-style Plunger

LDR Bellows-style Plunger
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This bellow-style plunger packs a real punch when it comes to unclogging your toilet drain.

It has a much greater capacity than traditionally-designed plungers and provides a high-powered push to help break up the blockage.

The accordion style design allows you the flexibility to plunge the toilet at an angle which pushes the air directly at the clog for a more effective result.

This plunger comes as a two-pack which is great for multiple-toilet houses.  Also, if you prefer to store it away when not in use, the handle can conveniently be unscrewed from the base, making it more compact.

Neiko Heavy-Duty Toilet Plunger

Neiko Heavy-Duty Toilet Plunger
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The patented design of this plunger makes it an all-around winner in our book.

Its secret lies in the 4-step, heavy duty, graduated suction cup which fits security into toilet bowls of all shapes and sizes.

The cup is made of a pliable and durable rubber which helps this plunger create a tight seal, and the patented design also keeps it from folding back and getting stuck “inside out” like comparative plungers.

The handle is made of a lightweight, rust-proof aluminum which makes it easy to use with no need to worry about putting it away wet.

We found it easy to store behind the closet door because of the peg hole at the end of the handle.

OXO Hideaway Toilet Plunger

OXO Hideaway Toilet Plunger
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When we noticed the hundreds of positive reviews on this product, we knew we had to include it in our test group.

The OXO Hideaway plunger set is unobtrusive and stylish, and most importantly, packs a wallop on clogged toilet drains.

The plastic canister keeps the plunger head from soiling any other household objects and easily opens when you pull up on the handle of the plunger.

The cup is made of a pliable rubber that easily fits into all toilet bowls – including low-flush styles, and the ridge-free design of the cup keeps it cleaner than competing models.

The canister offers a drip tray with ventilation holes that speed up drying time and helps water to evaporate quickly.

Korky Beehive Style Plunger

Korky Beehive Style Plunger
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Although the Korky Toilet Plunger works in much the same way as other plungers, we tested, its uniquely shaped cup, and unrivaled handle design, worked wonders in our bathroom!

This plunger’s beehive shape is great at creating a tight seal against the toilet bowl, and it is guaranteed to fit toilets from all manufacturers including Kohler, TOTO, American Standard, and others.

This is the model that is recommended by toilet manufacturers, and we were happy to discover that it is made in the USA.

The rubber is specifically designed to be non-marking, and the beehive design is so effective that it requires less effort than other brands.

Additionally, we loved the t-shaped handle design which made this plunger much easier to use than the straight-handle plungers.

Conclusion

After hours of research and testing, we feel confident in our results and are happy to be able to save you the time and energy you would have spent looking into all of this yourself. For example, did you know that wooden handles are a no-no?  Yep.  Wood is a porous material that can hold onto bacteria – which is definitely not something you want to have hanging around in the corner of your bathroom.

Be sure to read through the above guide to see what we liked and what we didn’t like when it came to five top models of toilet plungers.  Save your energy for things on which it will be better spent…like getting your toilet unclogged!

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Author: Cheryl C.

Cheryl is a Senior Editor for ReadPlease and a contributor to several other leading consumer review sites. When Cheryl isn't researching, testing and writing, you'll find her enjoying a yoga class.

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