When the inevitable disaster of a clogged toilet strikes, you have to be able to deal with the problem quickly and efficiently. It is also important to have the right tools to cope with the situation: in other words, a powerful, fast-acting, simple plunger that can clear up your pipes before any real damage is done. To understand what makes for a good plunger, first we cover how it works and what factors we considered when looking at plungers before diving into our list of top plungers.

How Does A Plunger Work?

Plungers are designed to clear clogged pipes, and they so by utilizing the power of hydraulics. The idea is that If you can build up enough pressure in the pipe then that will push anything clogging your toilet through and clear the pipe. By design, plungers create a seal when they are placed at the bottom of the toilet bowl. It is then powered by you pressing on the handle of the plunger down to the bottom of the toilet bowl, forcing water through the pipe and pushing the clog through.

While you might think that the air in the plunger will clear your pipe, a plunger is actually much more effective when it is used to push water. You should "burp" your plunger by pushing the air out and letting it fill with water before attempting to actually clear the clog. If you try to push a clog out with air, instead of forcing the clog out the air will just compress. You can see a fun example of the compression of air versus water in this video. This is the same reason why construction equipment uses the power of hydraulics (compressed water) instead of pneumatics (compressed air).

So What Makes for a Good Plunger?

Based on how a plunger works, a good plunger should have the following:

  • It should be easy to "burp" and fill with water
  • It should form a good seal so that all of the pressure goes through the pipe and pushes on the clog. If the seal breaks easily, you'll just push a bunch of water around in the bowl and the clog wont go anywhere.
  • It should be powerful and efficient at using your strength to push enough water through the pipe so that the clog gets completely dislodged.
  • It should be ergonomic to use so you don't hurt yourself while trying to save your bathroom from a huge mess!

With these factors in mind, here are some of the best plungers we found on the market for a good price:

Mr. Clean Toilet Plunger

Mr. Clean Toilet Plunger

The Mr. Clean Toilet Plunger is designed to be easy to use, but effective in clearing even the biggest clogs. The caddy holds not only a plunger, but a toilet brush for cleaning the bowl as well. Both tools have rubber handles that make them easy to grip and maneuver. This item is a bestseller on Amazon, with a 4.5 star average rating and over 1,000 reviews.

Buy it on Amazon for $17.48.

Korky 99-4A Beehive Max Plunger

Korky 99-4A Beehive Max Plunger

When it comes to plungers that can adapt to any style of toilet and are powerful and easy to use, this Kory beehive-shaped plunger is the one to turn to. It be used effectively on any type of toilet, and the large, rubber chamber of the plunger ensures maximum force when pushing water through the pipes and it is capable of knocking nearly any amount of matter lose. Toilets can be high flow or low flow, referring to how much water is used during flushing. Low flow toilets can be challenging for plungers to clear, but the Korky plunger unclogs these toilets with ease without sloshing water over the bowl like many other types tend to do. The handle of this plunger is also super simple to grasp and pump, meaning that little effort has to be used to efficiently clear your pipes.

Buy it on Amazon for $13.98.

SurePlunge Automatic Toilet Plunger

SurePlunge Automatic Toilet Plunger

This isn't the traditional plunger -- instead of relying on manual power, this plunger is more high-tech. SurePlunge doesn't use the traditional rubber dome to pump out water into your drain. Instead, it has only a simple seal and blasts compressed CO2 into the pipe, and requires only one burst to knock away any blockage. Though you may eventually have to purchase more cartridges of CO2 to power this futuristic plunger (which are between $0.50 and $2), the cheap refills are worth the simple, effective method. Consumers love this product for its ability to shake loose the most difficult clogs -- even those that have been around for longer than a few hours or would generally require a plumber's assistance to handle. It's also helpful for those who can't use conventional plungers, such as the elderly, anyone with a physical disability or anyone else who is unable to physically compress a plunger. While it may take a try or two to get used to using this unique plunger, you won't regret the long-term impact that this plunger will have on keeping your pipes clean and clear.

A fair warning, though, if your pipes are fragile using this kind of pressure could cause a burst or create a leak in a weak seal! But that shouldn't be a worry for most people.

Buy it on Amazon for $49.88.

Kleen Freak Antibacterial Toilet Plunger

Kleen Freak Antibacterial Toilet Plunger

This plunger not only knocks out any blockages from your toilet pipes, but it actively fights against bacteria and harmful germs. It's equipped with "Germ Guard," which subdues any odor-causing mildew, mold or bacteria as it plunges and stops the germs from spreading. The Germ Guard kills up to 99.9 percent of bacteria each time it's used, and its storage tray prevents bacteria from accumulating around the rubber base.

Buy it on Amazon for $19.99.

OXO Good Grips Toilet Plunger And Canister

OXO Good Grips Toilet Plunger And Canister

The Good Grips toilet plunger has a lot more to offer than just its grip. Using this plunger is simple, doesn't cause a mess, and its strong rubber dome adapts to practically any drain shape. It is designed to be highly powerful on low-flush toilets as well as high flow. It is accompanied by a sleek canister for storage that opens and closes by simply lifting or lowering the plunger. The storage canister has a drip tray with ventilation that allows excess water on the plunger to evaporate in a sanitary, mess-free way.

Buy it on Amazon for $22.99.

When All Else Fails...

If you can't get yourself a plunger in time to save the day this time, there are other ways to unclog a toilet without a plunger so check those out!

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