What is a drain snake? We look at what they do and why you might need one

Drain snake being out down white ceramic sink by person wearing blue gloves
(Image credit: Getty Images)

What is a drain snake? If you’ve ever had a blocked sink, toilet, bath, shower or even drain, you’ll want to know. You’ve probably reached for a plunger to work its magic. And if this hasn’t solved the issue, you’ve probably progressed to a thick gooey sink unblocker to clear out the blockage.

If neither of these work it's time to get serious. You can find a plumber to tackle the issue, but if you want a more inexpensive option you can invest in a drain snake and tackle the problem yourself. Here we tell what they are and where you can use one. 

Steve Jenkins

Steve Jenkins is a freelance content creator with over two decades of experience working in digital and print and was previously the DIY content editor for Homebuilding & Renovating. 

He is a keen DIYer with over 20 years of experience in transforming and renovating the many homes he has lived in. He specialises in painting and decorating, but has a wide range of skills gleaned from working in the building trade for around 10 years and spending time at night school learning how to plaster and plumb.

He has fitted kitchens, tiled bathrooms and kitchens, laid many floors, built partition walls, plastered walls, plumbed in bathrooms, worked on loft conversions and much more. And when he's not sure how to tackle a DIY project he has a wide network of friends – including plumbers, gas engineers, tilers, carpenters, painters and decorators, electricians and builders – in the trade to call upon.