Types of Plungers & What They Do (Accordion, Sink, Toilet, Taze)

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Every home needs a good plunger. It’s among the most basic of tools for dealing with clogged drains. But did you know that there is more than one type of plunger? Drain clogs are common in every household, so investing in a good quality plunger can help solve such problems in a heartbeat. The good thing about these tools is that they’re very affordable and easy to use.

The plunger uses simple suction paired with pressure to work. The plunger’s rubber cup creates a seal around the opening of the drain. Moving the handle up and down can force the water pressure up and down, dislodging the clog and returning the drain pipes to their former function.

different types of plungers
Plungers come in different sizes, colors, and materials | Image by Chris Keller

Different Types of Plungers

toilet plunger vs sink
Sink plunger vs toilet plunger: an important difference.

There are different types of plungers. Each type has a specific function, for a specific type of drain. Besides their form and function, there are also varying levels of quality. So it is important for you to choose one based on how well it is made, the materials used, and the brand selling it. Below, we talk about the different types of plungers and feature examples from reputable and user-recommended brands. Even if these are inexpensive, they often last long – so you won’t have to buy new ones all the time.

Sink/Standard Plunger

When you think of a plunger, this type is probably the first image that enters your mind. Most homes have this type, and it performs basic functions. It has a rubber cup at the end, attached to a straight handle. The handle is often made of wood, although there are also metal and plastic counterparts. These may also vary in size, but the form and function are the same.

This type is called sink plunger since it is best used on flat surfaces, such as sinks. Here, the rubber cup can lay flat over the drain, creating the required vacuum to effectively plunge and dislodge the clog in the sink drain.

Luigi's Sink and Drain Plunger for Bathrooms, Kitchens, Sinks, Baths and Showers. Small and Powerful, Commercial Style 'Plumbers Plunger' with Large Bellows
Luigi’s Sink and Drain Plunger for Bathrooms, Kitchens, Sinks, Baths and Showers. (Image: Amazon)

Of course, you can use this in other applications, such as toilets, although it can be quite challenging to position it just right to achieve the right amount of suction. For toilet clogs, we recommend the appropriate type of plunger, which we’ll talk about next.

Toilet Plunger

Like the sink plunger, the toilet plunger also has a rubber cup. However, it comes with a rubber flap that softly folds out from inside the cup. This flap is precisely designed to fit well into the drain opening of the toilet. This makes it easier and convenient to create the needed suction to dislodge the toilet clog.

The flap folds inside the cup, making it a good enough design to work on tubs and sinks with a proper seal and suction. It is often the most used all-around option by homeowners. The fold-out flap makes it flexible enough to be used with any size and shape of drain.

Mr. Clean 440436 Turbo Plunger and Bowl Brush Caddy Set
Mr. Clean 440436 Turbo Plunger and Bowl Brush Caddy Set (Image: Amazon)

Accordion Plunger

This type of plunger is quite interesting because of its unusual design. It is good for clearing clogs in toilets because of the small rubber cup. However, you might not be able to use it properly on other types of drains. The force that it can create is impressive, but it is not that easy to operate. The accordion plunger is made of plastic material, often hard, which is challenging when trying to create a vacuum seal over a drain. It is very strong and powerful but isn’t as user-friendly and versatile as the other types.

VETTA Professional Bellows Accordion Toilet Plunger, High Pressure Thrust Plunge Removes Heavy Duty Clogs from Clogged Bathroom Toilets, All Purpose Commercial Power Plungers for Any Bathrooms, Grey
VETTA Professional Bellows Accordion Toilet Plunger, (Image: Amazon)

Taze Plunger

Finally, we have the taze plunger. This type is best for dislodging clogs in large pipes. It’s not very common with homes. It is used for larger applications in industrial and commercial settings. It has a disc that is sized to fit certain pipe sizes, with a long steel rod that will push the disc into the pipe. Not everyone can handle this, either, as it is meant for use by professionals.

Bonus: Tips When Using Plungers

There aren’t that many types of plungers, so it’s fairly easy to make a choice when purchasing one. Here are some more pointers for using them to reduce the amount of time and energy that you’ll pour into your unclogging efforts.

  • Do an up-and-down motion. Make sure the handle is vertical and keep it straight. Don’t tilt it at an angle, as this will prevent you from getting the right amount of force you need to keep the seal and suction.
  • Release air out of the plunger’s cup. Too much air inside the cup will compress each time you push the plunger down. This absorbs the shock, which reduces the amount of force received by the clog itself. Allow the plunger fill with water to add more power with each plunge.
  • Ensure submersion of the plunger. Make sure that there is enough water in whatever drain you are unclogging so that the plunger is submerged. Otherwise, you can’t get enough power. If the clog is in the toilet drain, do not flush it in an attempt to add water. This will only create a big mess! Instead, manually add water from a bucket to submerge the plunger.
  • Avoid using plungers right after cleaning with toxic chemicals or household products. When you plunge, you could get a significant backsplash. If you do this together with cleaning products with toxic chemicals, you can risk getting the substance on your skin or clothes.
toilet plunger
Every home needs a good toilet plunger. | Photo by Kira Schwarz 

We hope this article has been helpful. Now, you know the different kinds of plungers and where they should be used. If you plan on using one at home, the best ones for you are the toilet plunger and the sink plunger, as these are easy to use and versatile enough for different drains in the home.


Toilet Plunger on the left.