Ridgid Drain Snakes: The Ultimate Comparison

Written by
Published on
May 22, 2023 at 3:15:30 PM PDT May 22, 2023 at 3:15:30 PM PDTnd, May 22, 2023 at 3:15:30 PM PDT

Optimal Plumbing with RIDGID: Selecting the Right Drain Snake for the Job

You know that cleaning drain pipes is a common occurrence, and no amount of reminders will help people remember to annually clean their drains to prevent build-up and future problems.

Life distracts us and the customer, which is why you need to be able to quickly and efficiently clean drains, meaning you need tools that can get the job done when the going gets tough.

Depending on the location, size, and possible clog or problem, RIDGID drain snake line of tools is there to help you achieve accurate and fast results.

What sets RIDGID drain cleaners apart is the wide variety of models available to cater to different needs and requirements. From compact handheld units to heavy-duty motorized devices, RIDGID offers a broad range of machines to address diverse drain-cleaning challenges. Each model is designed with specific features, such as varying cable lengths, diameters, water-powered, and specialized attachments, to ensure effective and efficient performance in different situations.

The ridgid drain snake is available in several categories, depending on the size and type of the line being cleaned. These types include Drum machines, hand drain cleaners, sink machines, sectional machines, rodder machines, water jetting machines, and even a new Flexshaft machine line.

Each category has its own set of features that make it suitable for different types of clogs. With the right tools and knowledge, RIDGID Drain Snakes can help restore plumbing systems to optimal working conditions.

First, Decide what Drain Cleaner You Need

Before you start looking to buy a drain-cleaning snake or machine, check out RIDGID’s Drain Cleaning Product Selector. This will allow you to better decide which RIDGID durian cleaner you should buy. It is an easy process; they ask you questions depending on the answers you provide. Here below are some of the questions you may be asked when filling out the RIDGID Drain Cleaning Product Selector:

  1. What type of drains do you need to clear?
  2. How often would you need to clear these drains?
  3. What is the maximum line diameter you would need to clear?
  4. What is the maximum line length you would need to clear?
  5. Do you prefer to use drum machines or sectional machines?

Drum vs. Sectional: The Great Plumbing Debate

The age-old debate on whether Drum or sectional machines are better still continues today. Plumbers and technicians alike will swear by a specific one.

Users’ preferences can even seem regional-based as, according to Cleaner magazine, some technicians in East and Midwest regions favor sectional machines. At the same time, the rest of the country relies upon Drum machines. The main perspective may fall back on if one is often traveling long distances with their machine in dense environments and if one is somewhere with more room to work.

Drain cleaning requires skill and expertise, even with technological advancements, such as line inspection cameras and auto-feed drum machines. It involves understanding the intricacies of plumbing and the equipment being used, predicting the type and location of the obstruction, and systematically removing it using the cable.

Still on the fence about which machine to buy? No worries! Continue reading to discover the differences and similarities between the two.

Drum Machines

When clearing tough obstructions in commercial and residential drain lines, RIDGID drum machines are one of the go-to tools for drain cleaning professionals. These powerful machines deliver high torque for efficient and effective cleaning and are designed to handle a wide range of blockages. A RIDGID drum machine can handle everything from minor household clogs to more significant sewer line issues.

Take, for example, the RIDGID 27013 drum machine.

This machine comes equipped with a range of features designed to make your job easier and save you time and money. When you are on the job site, you need to be able to move around quickly, and that is why this RIDGID 27013 drum machine has an integrated transport cart that allows easy movement to and from where you will be working.

At the same time, the cable control system helps to prevent cable flip over and gives you ample indication when blockages are encountered.

Additionally, the "solid core" cable is rugged and kink-resistant, so you don’t need to worry about the cable becoming locked together, and it also utilizes a variety of RIDGID quick-connect cutters.

If you need a machine that will handle just about anything, the RIDGID 42007 Model K-750 drum machine is an excellent choice. This particular model is used for more extensive lateral drain lines. A durable, self-contained machine that is easy to transport and requires minimal setup, making it ideal for challenging mainline work.

You can provide customers with fixes when you set up, giving you extra time to work through problems, finish, and get to another job.

This drum machine has a powerful 1/2 HP induction motor and versatile AutoFeed that adjusts for 5/8" or 3/4" cable. This machine can clear roots, debris, and foreign objects from main lines, storm drains, house laterals, and leech lines.

And with a tough, corrosion-resistant cable drum that holds up to 125 feet of 5/8" cable or 100 feet of 3/4" cable, this machine is built to withstand harsh treatment and abuse.

Check out RIDGID’s video on properly setting up the RIDGID Model K-750 and workspace for operation. You will see the type of drains you may need to use this machine on and the process that takes place while setting up the machine.

If you are still determining whether a drum machine is for you, check out the sectional machines below. Instead of one entire machine, a sectional machine separates the parts, giving you options to work with.

Sectional Machines

Now, let's look at RIDGID sectional machines. This is another type of drain cleaning machine that many technicians swear by for one solid reason: It separates while the drum machine does not.

RIDGID Sectional Machines are an effective solution for clearing tough blockages in drain lines. These machines are equipped with high-speed cutting to drill through obstructions caused by tree roots, hardened grease, mold, and other tough debris.

Roger Wakefield did a great explainer of the pros, cons, and use cases for sectional machines. He features the K-60 sectional machinein this video, going over how it works, installation, and common mistakes.

A Canadian plumber named Bob Baker was featured in Cleaner magazine, and he talked about a neverending restaurant clog. This clog was so tough that it broke another drain cleaning machine before the RIDGID K-5208. Bob spoke about the incident and admitted that he was leery about using the RIDGID K-5208 sectional machine.

Both the restaurant and the plumber had spent almost 10 hours trying to open up the blockage of grease and charcoal bricks. This blockage was approximately 60 feet in the line and was destroying everything. It had become a monster. Worried about their RIDGID sectional but needing the option to try, they sent it in.

Bob says, “The K-5208 cleared the line in about 20 minutes. I was totally shocked. I’ve been in this business for 30 years and have always used a drum machine, and I’ve never run across a drain we couldn’t get through with our RIDGID K-7500. But I haven’t used a drum machine since that job.”

RIDGID sectional machines are an unstoppable force against any clog or blockage. This is because the unique, instant-acting cable clutch featured in every RIDGID Sectional Machine maximizes technician control. The handle allows the cable to spin at 710 RPM and stops instantly when released, preventing any kinks or damage to the cable.

RIDGID offers a full line of compact, lightweight sectional machines suitable for various drain line cleanings.

The RIDGID 66497 is a powerful yet small machine for institutional, commercial, or residential cleaning, septic tank, and vacuum truck operators. It can fit into cramped spaces and clear, tough blockages with ease. With easy-to-use adjustment knobs allowing the unit to spin 7/8" and 5/8" diameter cables, removing only two bolts provides access to the jaw set for cleaning or replacement. The machine is equipped with a 1/2 HP motor, ensuring maximum power to clear blockages.

But what if you need something more compact?

Check out the RIDGID 61688. It is the most powerful and compact sectional machine available on the market. This machine can clean drain lines from 2" to 8" and up to 200'. The 3/4 HP motor spins 7/8" and 1-1/4" Sectional Cable at 700 RPM, efficiently cleaning even the toughest blockages.

This machine has a 71% smaller footprint and 35% less weight than comparable RIDGID Sectional Machines. This helps alleviate the bulk load of tools you need to carry while also being better for the environment.

It also features an adjustable clutch size to accommodate 7/8" and 1-1/4" Sectional Cables without any tools. The cable carrying system eases the loading and unloading of cables, and the Trident Sectional Cable Decoupler allows for quick separation of couplings.

Even more features in this model include an enclosed Cable Carrying Drum to protect the work environment, an internal machine fluid management system to contain the mess on the job, and a locking pin to ensure the rear guide hose stays in place. Everything you need in your hands at once with this machine.

Check out Chuck Barron below detailing how the K-5208 works. He uses both K-5208 Sectional and RIDGID SeeSnake camera system in tandem to perform a better inspection for the customer, and manages to fix the problem that was causing the clog.

However, drum and sectional machines aren't best suited for every drain blockage. Let us look at other drain cleaner types that can get the job done. These RIDGID tools are used for various issues and in various locations.

Specialized Ridgid Drain Snake Systems

Although drum and sectional machines are perfect for a variety of pipe cleaning issues, sometimes you need a product that is more targeted toward a specific drain or function.

You may need a hand drain snake for a toilet or a Rodder machine for a university door room bathroom.

Maybe you are an expert in bathroom drains, sinks, and bathtubs and need a sink machine instead or something eco-friendly.

You want a Water Jetting machine that uses only water and no harsh chemicals to clear a significant commercial or industrial blockage.

Hand Drain Snakes

RIDGID hand drain cleaners are the go-to solution for professionals looking to quickly clear obstructions in toilets and drain lines. With durable, kink-resistant cables, these tools can easily tackle blockages in lines ranging from 3/4" to 1 1/2" (19 to 38 mm).

Designed to be portable and lightweight, RIDGID hand drain cleaners are perfect for quickly and efficiently cleaning more minor clogs in residential plumbing systems.

One standout feature of RIDGID hand drain cleaners is their ergonomic design, which ensures fast and effective operation that is easy to use.

Another key feature is their ability to negotiate water-conserving toilets, which can be challenging for other drain cleaning tools on the market.

RIDGID ensures these tools can be used almost anywhere.

The K-6P toilet auger, for example, uses a heavy-duty Tri-Wrap cable to power through the toughest blockages. At the same time, the optional drill attachment provides even more torque to clear the most stubborn clogs. With a quick lock adjustment that extends the cable 6' (1.8 m) beyond the toilet and corrosion-resistant zinc-plated steel tubing, the K-6P is a durable and reliable tool for professionals.

NYTimes tested the RIDGID K-6P against two others and found this tool to be the superior option as it “offers great overall build quality, handles in all the right places, and a nice sturdy clip that secures the snake section when it’s not in use.” A tool for the professionals and DIY specialists.

On the other hand, the K-26 hand spinner is an excellent option for smaller drain lines. With a slip-resistant collet chuck that grips the cable with a flick of the wrist and a rotary molded plastic drum that resists rust and dents, this tool is high-performing and easy to use. The open drum design also allows applying RIDGID Cable Rust Inhibitor to extend the tool's life further.

Finally, the Power Spin+ with AUTOFEED is another great option for clearing 3/4" to 1 1/2" (13 to 38 mm) drain lines. With AUTOFEED Trigger Technology that self-feeds kink-resistant MAXCORE cable down the drain and can switch to drill-powered operation for up to 500 RPM of clearing power, this tool is versatile and practical. The cable is also positively retained in the drum to prevent cable whipping and ensure a clean drain and hands.

Not really into hand drain cleaners? Try a Rodder machine.

Rodder Machines

Professionals plumbers rely on RIDGID rodder machines when tackling heavy-duty blockages in commercial and industrial applications. These powerful machines are designed to clean larger-diameter drain lines and easily navigate long runs and tight bends.

RIDGID rodder machines include a powerful performance that makes quick work of even the toughest blockages, ensuring drain lines are cleared efficiently and effectively. This specific design allows you to tackle places that may be less common to fixing.

RIDGID rodder machines come in different models to suit different needs. For instance, the RIDGID 59175 model is a rugged and compact machine well-suited for straight main-line work in municipalities, universities, institutions, and industry. It can drive sectional sewer rods through long, straight runs of larger diameter pipe up to 500 feet.

Worried about the engine? Don’t.

Because this particular machine is equipped with a 6 HP gasoline engine and forward/reverse transmission that ensures the rod rotates at 133 RPM forward and reverses at full throttle. With a hand-operated spring-loaded throttle control, you can vary the rod speed within each speed range. Giving you complete control over how you operate.

Additionally, the machine has an adjustable torque limiter that minimizes kinking of rods and excessive torque through the transmission system, making it easy to use and control while also ensuring it can handle the heavy-duty blockages you would see at well-populated buildings.

Similarly, the RIDGID 84295 model is also a rugged and compact machine that is perfect for straight main-line work in municipalities, universities, institutions, and industry. With all the same features as the RIDGID 59175, the only difference is that you get more optional pieces of equipment included. These other options include 20 Sections of A-2475, a 5/16" Rod, a Total of 100 Feet, a T-300 Spear Head Cutter, a T-317 Auger, and a T-326 Pick-Up Tool.

Are Rodder machines too heavy-duty for your job? Try sink machines instead.

Spoiler: They can be used on more than just sink drains.

Sink Machines

Need something only for sink drain cleaning or the like?

RIDGID has that for you as well. Sometimes you only want to bring what you absolutely need to a job site. Especially if you know you are working with a sink drain or something similar.

RIDGID sink machines are ideal for clearing clogs in sinks, tubs, and shower drains. With their portable, compact, and lightweight design, these machines are perfect for residential and light commercial use. Even DIY professionals can use this handy little device. RIDGID sink machines provide robust performance, ensuring that even the most stubborn clogs are easily removed.

The RIDGID K-40, Dual Feed Sink Machine, is a powerful yet compact machine designed to clean small secondary drain lines from 3/4" to 2-1/2". This sink machine comes equipped with an AutoFeed system that advances and retrieves the cable with the push of a lever.

With the dual feed system, your hands never need to touch the cable, reducing job time by 25% and eliminating any mess. The guide hose completely covers the spinning cable completely, protecting porcelain surfaces and significantly reducing job site clean-up.

Designed for versatility, the K-40 Dual Feed Sink Machine can sit flat on the floor, countertop or tip onto its back for easy access to elevated drains. You can swiftly place this tool without worrying about where to lay the cable. With its 1/8 HP induction motor, the machine delivers enough torque to clear even the toughest blockages.

The premium quality, compression-wound inner core cable resists kinking while offering strength and flexibility. To ensure long-lasting durability, the two-piece "twist-lock" drum housing allows easy access to the inner drum and cable and will not dent or corrode.

Looking for something more eco-friendly? Just not into using cables and chemicals? RIDGID has something for everyone. Introducing Water Jetting Machines.

Water Jetting Machines

RIDGID water jetting machines are a powerful and effective solution for clearing grease, sewage, and soap-clogged lines. Using high-pressure water jets, these machines break up blockages and flush them away without the use of harmful chemicals, making them an eco-friendly option for drain cleaning.

One popular model of RIDGID water jetting machine is the KJ-3100. This portable machine boasts a working pressure of 3000 psi and a flow rate of 5.5 GPM, allowing for fast and efficient cleaning of large commercial and industrial applications. Equipped with a lightweight hose with a nylon braid, this machine is highly maneuverable, making it one of the most versatile and convenient jetters on the market.

Another option is the KJ-1750, designed for smaller lines ranging from 1-1/4" to 4" in diameter. Despite its compact size, this machine still packs a punch with a working pressure of 1750 psi and a flow rate of 1.4 GPM.

The KJ-1750 features two levels of pulse action, making it easy to navigate through tricky bends and traps. Additionally, the machine is portable and can be easily moved to job sites using the H-30 cart.

The KJ-3100 and KJ-1750 feature duplex pumps with corrosion-resistant, forged brass heads, making them highly dependable machines. They also come equipped with various accessories and nozzles for versatile use, including power wash packages and chemical injector systems for cleaning heavily soiled equipment.

With easy-to-use controls and high-quality components, RIDGID water jetting machines are a reliable and efficient choice for drain cleaning needs.

Using a Water Jetting machine is just as helpful and, if not more efficient than your typical drain snakes. It can dislodge clogs up to “4 timesas [much as] it would take when cleaning with a mechanical snake,” and it can also be more consumer friendly.

Choose your RIDGID Drain Snake Cleaner

In conclusion, RIDGID drain snakes and drain cleaner machines offer an unparalleled combination of durability, reliability, and performance for professionals in the plumbing industry. With a wide range of tools and accessories to choose from, plumbers and technicians can confidently face any drain cleaning challenge, knowing they have the best equipment for the job.

Shop Ridgid Drain Cleaners