Choosing the Right Drain Cleaning Tool for the Job – Part 3

An industry expert helps you choose the best cutter for your toughest jobs

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Choosing the Right Drain Cleaning Tool for the Job – Part 3
The ClogChopper from General Pipe Cleaners is a good choice when tackling tough root problems.

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Now that we’ve discussed which machine to use for specific drain cleaning applications in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, the next issue is deciding which cutter to use. Everyone has their favorite cutter, just as everyone has their favorite fishing lure. 

Clearing sinks and tubs: Small-diameter drains require smaller, more flexible cutters to negotiate the tight bends and traps in the line. A boring gimlet or an arrowhead are good starting tools for small lines. If you’re having problems getting around a tight bend you can switch to a downhead boring gimlet or flexible arrowhead. You can also adapt any cutter to become a downhead by using a downhead fitting between the connector and cutter. 

Retrieving loose objects: Sometimes you have to be a hero and recover a lost ring, or a child’s toy, or a diaper out of a drain. A retrieving tool (a cone-shaped spring) is designed for just that. Once the open end of the spring hooks onto the object, stop the rotation of your machine and pull the cable out manually so you don’t lose your prized catch. 

Cutting tree roots: Even though you’ll be tempted to go in with a big root cutter first, it’s better to start with a smaller cutter like the spearhead or 2-inch U-Cutter to get the water flowing. Then switch to a larger root cutter like a heavy-duty saw blade, root ripper, or ClogChopper. Don’t be impatient. Guide the cable slowly back and forth to cut through the stoppage thoroughly. If you go too fast, you risk getting caught and damaging the cable. 

Clearing grease and ice clogs: The best tool for these stoppages is a waterjet, not a drain snake. 

To download a free Tool Selection Guide, visit To ask questions, email


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