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Published Sep. 22, 2021

A single visit from a plumber is likely to cost many times the price of a high-quality plunger. Because people often don’t invest in plungers until they really need one, shoppers will often simply purchase the cheapest option from the nearest store. The right plunger, however, can make all the difference when you find yourself with a tough blockage.

With so many options on the market, ranging from the dollar-store variety to heavy-duty models, shoppers can be easily overwhelmed. We’ll break down what to look for when shopping for the best toilet plungers for your bathroom and discuss the key considerations to keep in mind before you make your purchase. Keep reading for tips on choosing the best toilet plungers and explore our picks for the best options on the market.

How We Picked the Best Toilet Plungers

Methodology

While it’s easy to assume that all toilet plungers offer similar performance, a number of factors affect their functionality. Several years of experience covering home goods as well as extensive product research went into choosing our final curated selection. We reviewed more than 20 toilet plungers and weighed a number of practical considerations when making our recommendations.

  • Durability: We prioritized plungers made of strong materials that can withstand the force required to unclog tough blockages.
  • Rod Material: Because of the environment in which it will be used, it’s preferable for the plunger’s rod to be made of a nonporous material; the wood rod found on classic plungers often harbors bacteria.
  • Rod length: A longer rod makes it easier and more comfortable to plunge a toilet but can also make it more difficult to store the plunger discreetly.
  • Drip trays: When you’ve got a wet plunger that was just used in the toilet, you want something to catch the drips and keep the water off the floor.
  • Canisters/Caddies: We know that people like to keep a tidy bathroom, so having a canister that completely envelops the head of the toilet plunger is an effective way to make it less conspicuous.

The Best Toilet Plungers: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: Simplehuman Toilet Plunger and Caddy

Sleek and Efficient

With its modern and innovative design, this stylish plunger incorporates seamlessly into any bathroom without compromising results. simplehuman

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Why It Made The Cut: The Simplehuman Toilet Plunger and Caddy offers a sleek and sturdy rod, tasteful caddy, and excellent performance, making it our top overall pick.

Specs: 

  • Type: Flanged
  • Material: Stainless steel and plastic
  • Product dimensions: 7.1 x 7.9 x 23.1 inches

Pros:

  • Streamlined design
  • Flanged cup for an ideal seal
  • Drip-free magnetic collar
  • High-quality materials

Cons:

  • Too large to be stored under a bathroom sink

Of all the toilet plungers we considered, the simplehuman Toilet Plunger and Caddy was the clear standout. Its long and narrow flanged cup ensures a tight seal in most modern toilets, delivering the power necessary to unclog tough blockages with minimal effort. The plunger and caddy are designed with both aesthetics and functionality in mind, making it a welcome addition to any bathroom.

The plunger’s high-quality stainless steel rod looks great and makes it extremely durable. Because it’s made of a nonporous material, cleanup is a breeze. The rounded top of the rod provides a comfortable grip and helps deliver more force when plunging compared to broom-handle-style rods. 

Showing that there’s still room for innovation in the world of toilet plungers, simplehuman added a magnetic collar to their caddy so that the plunger snaps into place. This also helps reduce dripping from the toilet to the caddy after a plunging session. 

Standing just over 23 inches tall, this plunger is unlikely to fit under your bathroom sink. This is really the product’s only drawback—and is only an issue if you prefer to keep the plunger out of sight. However, given its clean white or black plastic and stainless steel finish, as well as the caddy that hides the rubber cup, the simplehuman plunger actually makes for an attractive addition to a bathroom.

Best Value: JS Jackson Supplies Bellows Accordion Toilet Plunger

Inexpensive and Effective

This lightweight plastic bellows-style plunger delivers optimal pressure on a budget. JS Jackson Supplies

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Why It Made The Cut: JS Jackson Supplies offers an affordable and powerful solution for blocked toilet drains.

Specs: 

  • Dimensions: 6 x 6 x 21 inches
  • Type: Bellows
  • Materials: Plastic

Pros: 

  • Lightweight
  • Multifunctional
  • Disassembles for storage

Cons: 

  • Short rod
  • No drip tray or caddy

If you’re looking for a sturdy plunger at an affordable price, the JS Jackson Supplies Bellows Accordion Toilet Plunger is a great choice. Made entirely of sturdy but flexible plastic, it’s a lightweight option that allows physics to do the heavy lifting thanks to its bellows-style design. Despite its modest price tag, it can eliminate even the toughest clogs. And thanks to a unique no-fold lip design, this plunger allows you to deliver maximum force with minimal splashing.

The accordion’s large diameter helps this plunger achieve a strong seal across a wide variety of modern toilet shapes and sizes. And because the chamber itself is larger than a traditional plunger cup, it delivers a substantial amount of force to dislodge blockages. With its flat-based design, this bellows-style plunger can also be used on a sink or shower drain—though for sanitary reasons, we recommend having separate, dedicated plungers for the toilet and other household drains. 

If you plan to keep this plunger out for easy access rather than tucked away under the sink or in a closet, it’s worth noting that it comes in six colors so you can better match your bathroom’s decor. That being said, the detachable rod also means that it can be broken down to fit in a smaller space for those who would prefer to store it out of sight.

Best Telescoping: Korky Telescoping Universal Plunger

Compact and Powerful

A powerful plunger that telescopes for easy storage and works with all types of toilets. Korky

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Why It Made The Cut: This impressive beehive plunger is designed to work with both new and old toilets, while the telescoping rod offers easy storage and an ergonomic grip.

Specs: 

  • Type: Beehive
  • Materials: Plastic and rubber
  • Dimensions: ‎6 x 6 x 17 inches

Pros:

  • Telescoping rod
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Universal toilet bowl fit

Cons:

  • No caddy
  • Not compatible with most third-party drip trays

Toilets come in many different shapes and sizes. Old-style toilet bowls are round, while modern ones tend to be more oblong in shape. This inconsistency means that certain plungers may not be able to form a proper seal depending on the type of toilet you have. With the Korky Telescoping Universal Plunger, however, you get a perfect seal every time, and the beehive-style cup delivers the optimal pressure to displace blockages quickly. This includes new model high-efficiency toilets. 

Maintaining a solid grip on a toilet plunger can be difficult, especially when pumping with a lot of force. With its ergonomic T-shaped handle, this plunger provides a strong grip for a more comfortable experience. 

The telescoping rod means that you can get enough distance from the toilet to stay clear of any splashing water while plunging and also easily store the plunger under the bathroom vanity or in a closet. Add to that the fact that this plunger is made of extremely durable materials, and it makes an excellent choice for those in need of a compact but powerful solution.

Best Heavy Duty: Luigi’s Bellows Toilet Plunger

Designed for Force

With an extra-long and narrow accordion, this bellows-style plunger is designed for tough clogs. Luigi’s

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Why It Made The Cut: Luigi’s heavy-duty plunger lives up to its name with a design that places the plunger’s opening inside the drain for a more efficient approach to clogged toilets.

Specs: 

  • Type: Bellows
  • Materials: Plastic
  • Dimensions: 1.97 x 3.94 x 23.62 inches

Pros:

  • Universal toilet bowl fit
  • Flexible design
  • Heavy-duty force
  • Comes with a caddy

Cons:

  • Requires getting close to the toilet bowl
  • Not compatible with sink or tub drains

With Luigi’s Bellows Toilet Plunger, you get a unique tool specifically designed for toilets, meaning it can unclog even the toughest blockages. With its long, narrow accordion chamber, it gets right inside the drain rather than just forming a seal at the bottom of the toilet bowl for better access to the clog. Because the accordion is flexible and tapered, it’s compatible with pretty much any toilet bowl—both new and old.

The large bellows design enables it to displace significantly more water than the average plunger, moving up to 1.5 liters in a single stroke. The extra space and compression allow for a much more powerful vacuum effect, resulting in eight times the force of a traditional cup-style plunger. The heavy pull of the plunger dislodges the blockage, while the push sends a significant blast of water to flush it out. 

This plunger has a detachable rod that makes it easy to store out of sight in a closet or under the sink. It also comes with a dedicated base if you prefer to keep it beside the toilet, which is helpful considering the unique design is incompatible with third-party drip trays.

Best Plunger/Brush Combo: ToiletTree Deluxe Toilet Brush and Plunger Combo

Tidy and Tasteful

A powerful plunger and matching high-quality brush cover all your cleaning and plunging needs. ToiletTree Products

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Why It Made The Cut: This pairing of toilet plunger and brush from ToiletTree gives you all the tools you need for maintaining your toilet in a single stylish caddy.

Specs: 

  • Type: Flanged
  • Materials: Stainless steel and rubber
  • Dimensions: 5.5 x 9.5 x 18.5 inches

Pros:

  • Two tools in one caddy
  • Elegant design
  • Sturdy materials
  • Replaceable plunger and brush heads 

Cons: 

  • Short rods

Product Description

The ToiletTree Deluxe Toilet Brush and Plunger Combo is the perfect set for anyone concerned with maintaining their bathroom’s decor. The two-compartment canister-style caddy satisfies multiple needs: containing drips and hiding the plunger and brush heads for a clean look.

Both the caddy and the rods of the plunger and toilet brush have a matte stainless steel finish, giving them an elegant appearance that fits the modern bathroom design. With the open side of the caddy facing the wall, it’s easy to access both tools and return them after use.

Despite featuring two tools in one, this set is remarkably compact, easily sliding in beside the toilet bowl even in small bathrooms. The entire set weighs just over 2.25 pounds, but it’s designed in such a way that it won’t tip over, even when the plunger or brush is being put away in a hurry. The flanged plunger cup delivers consistent results, and because both the plunger and brush heads are replaceable, you won’t need to buy a whole new set when either starts to show its age.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Toilet Plunger

Type and Compatibility

Plunging might seem like a fairly straightforward procedure, but there are physics at work that need to be respected in order to clear a blockage successfully. 

  • While a classic cup plunger can get the job done, it’s most effective when used on flat surfaces such as sink and shower drains. Dedicated toilet plungers are designed to provide the best seal across a variety of toilet shapes and sizes and come in three distinct styles: beehive, bellows, and flanged. 
  • Beehive plungers are named for their oblong shape and open bottom, which are reminiscent of a beehive. This design helps cover a wider range of modern toilet bowl shapes, achieving a tight seal and significantly more force than a cup-style plunger.  
  • Also known as an accordion plunger, a bellows plunger has an opening that actually fits inside the drain rather than covering the bottom of the bowl. The large accordion chamber gives the bellows-style plunger an advantage by creating a more powerful vacuum, resulting in more water displacement and greater overall force. 
  • Flanged plungers are the most common and popular type of toilet plunger. A flanged plunger has a curved flap extending from the cup that helps create a tight seal within the toilet drain. Because the flap is tapered, it can accommodate a reasonable variety of toilet bowl shapes.

Storage Needs

Before purchasing a plunger, it’s important to consider where you plan to keep it. A household can go weeks or even months without needing one, but a plunger needs to live in the bathroom given the type of issues it was designed to solve. If your bathroom is small and has limited storage and you’re concerned with aesthetics, you may want to invest in a plunger with a more stylish design. Alternatively, you may prefer a compact or telescoping plunger that can fit beneath the sink or in your bathroom closet.

FAQs

Q:

How do toilet plungers work?

Plungers clean blockages in plumbing using a physics principle called Boyle’s law. When a plunger is properly placed over the opening at the bottom of a toilet bowl, it forms a seal. Moving the plunger up and down while maintaining this seal, you increase the pressure in the drain, the force of which dislodges the blockage.

Q:

How do you properly clean a plunger after use?

Because toilets contain bacteria, it’s important to properly sanitize a plunger after each use. The quickest and easiest way to do this is actually in the toilet. After clearing the blockage, flush the toilet and allow the bowl to refill. Then, add one or two teaspoons of bleach and submerge the plunger head in the water, moving it around so that it’s fully covered. Flush the toilet to rinse the plunger and then remove it from the toilet to dry.

Q:

What’s the difference between a toilet plunger and a sink plunger?

Sink plungers typically have shallow, flat-bottomed cups that are designed to form a tight seal against a smooth, level surface, such as the bottom of a sink or shower. Toilet plungers come in a variety of different styles, all designed to form a seal against the curved and often gradient drain at the bottom of a toilet bowl.

Q:

How often should you replace your plunger?

You should be able to use a good quality toilet plunger for years before you have to replace it. You need to invest in a new one when your plunger starts to lose its ability to form a seal. For rubber plungers, this typically happens when the rubber begins to harden and crack. For bellows-style plungers, you’ll want to look out for tears in the joints.

Final Thoughts

Our recommendations for the best toilet plungers cover a variety of types and styles to best suit your needs. The simplehuman Toilet Plunger and Caddy is our top pick because of its discreet design, high-quality materials, and innovative magnetic collar used to eliminate dripping. Our recommended choice for those on a budget is the JS Jackson Supplies Bellows Accordion Toilet Plunger for its sturdy construction, versatility, and low price point.

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