Drano Max Gel
Having a clogged drain is very annoying, whether it is in your kitchen sink, toilet, or shower. By using the best drain cleaner, you can easily unclog your drain so you can go have a huge build-up of garbage, junk, or murky water in your sink, toilet, or shower. A drain cleaner is a chemical product that acts to unblock sewer pipes and usually comes in one of two categories: alkaline or acidic.
To apply, you just spray or apply some of the chemical in your drain, wait a few minutes, and rinse with water. We have gathered up all of the popular drain cleaners in the market and tested them side by side using the same type of clog. We tested and ranked them based on efficacy, odor, and cleaning duration. Please see below for our top recommendations.
Best Drain Cleaner Reviews
- Drano Max Gel Clog Remover (Top Pick)
- CLR Power Plumber Drain Opener Pressurized Can
- ComStar Pure Lye Bead Drain Opener
Drano Max Gel Clog Remover
Drano Max Gel is the best drain cleaner and the most popular online product on the market. It is a liquid chemical cleaner that is alkaline based. We had a quick look at the Material Safety Data Sheet and found that the main active ingredients are bleach (sodium hypochlorite) and lye (sodium hydroxide). There is also some unknown surfactant that is a trade secret, and we believe it is this trade secret that makes the Drano Max Gel work so well.
This liquid gel is formulated thick and pours through standing water. It is safe for all types of pipes, whether it is metal of plastic as well as garbage disposals and septic systems. In terms of using this for the toilet, we say it is safe to use although on the packaging it says a big no. We tried it on a toilet and ended up being alright. However, for toilets we would try using a plunger as a first line of defense anyways.
It takes anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour to unclog your drains with Drano, so be prepared to wait. Another word of caution: this stuff smells pretty bad so you may want to use work gloves and a surgeon’s mask when handling it. Please keep this away from children and pets. It is contains some heavy duty chemicals, so at least you know it works.
CLR Power Plumber Drain Opener Pressurized Can
The CLR Power Plumber is the best drain cleaner if you are looking for a non-invasive way to clean up your drains. It is comprised of 100% 1,1-Difluoroethane or DFE, which is a colorless gas often used as canned air. The reason DFE is used is because it is not extremely flammable as opposed to other gases. The way this drain cleaner works is that it shoots highly pressured air from an aerosol can into your drain.
Each can has about 15 applications, which should last your several years depending on how often your drains get clogged. The best part about the CLR Power Plumber is that it is much safer than any chemical cleaner. Since it only has pressurized air inside the cam, the only risk you have is if the can ignites and blows up if you somehow get it in contact with fire. With chemical drain cleaners, you risk the chance of getting harmful chemicals on your hands or eyes and exposing your children and pets to these chemicals.
In terms of efficacy, the CLR Power Plumber works very well, although we would say chemical drain cleaners work even better. Because it shoots a stream of air into your pipes, sometimes it doesn’t fully dislodge build up and big pieces of garbage. It may take a few applications to dislodge big things and you risk the chance of not removing it at all if it is a hard object. But for most clogs, this drain cleaner works very well and is very safe to have around the house.
ComStar Pure Lye Bead Drain Opener
Comstar Pure Lye is the best drain cleaner if you want an odor free cleaner in solid form. It is made of pure lye, which is a powerful alkaline and dissolves all kinds of proteins and fats. It does not dissolve metal or plastic, so it is totally safe to use in any kind of drainage system including toilets. We really like the fact that you can buy this in solid bead form, because it becomes easy to apply and relatively non-invasive.
The beads don’t really react unless they are dissolved in water, so you just pour some down your drain and then add water if needed. With these lye beads, you no longer have to worry about smearing it on your skin and risking potentially harming yourself or your loved ones. They work just as well as liquid cleaners except they take a bit more time to start working. The Comstar lye beads are industrial grade, biodegradable, and food grade. We like this product because it doesn’t create fumes and is odorless and works just as well as the liquid cleaners.
Different Types of Drain Cleaners
When it comes to cleaning your drain, there is more than one way to do so, despite the fact that most people think about pouring some kind of liquid down your drain. Your first line of defense should just be washing your drain with hot water. Hot water often breaks down food and junk stuck deep in your drain, so it is definitely an easy free solution.
You can also try removing visible hairs and grease manually, which can also be another reason you have a clog. If these methods don’t work, you will need something more powerful, like a chemical drain cleaner, an air burst drain cleaner, sewer jetters, a plunger, a plumber’s snake, a drain auger, or a home remedy.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to unclog your drain, with each method having pros and cons. Using a plunger, a drain auger or a plumber’s snake is probably the most non-invasive way to unclog a drain. You should start with a regular plunger first, which is simply a device that simulates a suction effect. Many drains can be unclogged by using a plunger and hot water. If the plunger doesn’t work, you can use something more powerful like a plumbers snake, also known as a toilet jack. These are all augers that work by extending a flexible metal wire into your pipes and dislodging anything it runs it. They can either be extended through a manual or electric wind up.
You can also use liquid and solid chemical drain cleaners to unclog your pipes. This is what we will focus on in our reviews because they are easy to apply and doesn’t require you to work too hard. The best drain cleaner is either alkaline, acidic, or air/water burst. Alkaline drain cleaners use lye (sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide) to dissolve grease and hair.
Then you have acidic drain cleaners which use a form of sulfuric acid to dissolve protein, hair, fats and grease. Finally, you have air or water burst drain cleaners, which shoot high pressure air or water into the clog, dislodging all hair and grease. They are more powerful than plungers. Air burst drain cleaners and water burst cleaners unclog your drain instantly compared to chemical drain cleaners, which take time to work. Both can be dangerous if you don’t apply them correctly but in general they are considered more safe than chemical cleaners. In terms of efficacy, chemical cleaners are more powerful, but they take longer to see results.
What is the Best Drain Cleaner?
The answer to this question is it depends on your situation. If you have a small clog, maybe some hot water and a plunger will work. If you have a serious clog, you may need a powerful industrial strength chemical drain cleaner along with a plumber’s snake. You recommend always having a plunger around the house and a general purpose chemical cleaner. The chemical cleaner will work for all types of clogs and doesn’t require so much work.
The problem with the chemical cleaner is that it can be dangerous if your pets and children accidentally get a hold of it and ingest it. If you want to prevent that, you can get an air or water flush drain cleaner. Whatever you do, we would not suggest using any kind of homemade solution. If you are not an expert on piping, chances are you could be damaging your pipes by trying to be a chemist and pouring random household chemicals down your drain.