One might think that there are some tools so fundamental, so perfectly elegant in design and function, that technology just couldn’t improve upon them. Shovels, for example. Picks and hammers and wrenches. Even the lowly sink or toilet plunger.
Think again. Plunger technology was first invented in the late 18th century, but a patent for a new and improved technology was filed as recently as 1987. The long tentacles of technology have embraced even this common household clog-remover. Prices have risen along with the improvements. But, in the end, which provides more bang for the buck:
A cheap plunger or an expensive one?
Three Plunger Types
There are three basic rubber-plunger types:
- Common Household Plunger. This is the ruddy-red-rubber-capped plunger with the wooden handle that your grandfather used to unclog pipes in every drain in the household. It works by a simple mechanism of pushing a large capful of water into the clogged drain with force.
- Common Toilet Plunger. This plunger is slightly more expensive than the above model, because the rubber cup is molded so that there’s a smaller cylindrical portion that fits closely over the drain for better fit and thus better suction. This can work on all drains in the household, and is an improvement over the previous design for the toilet.
- Accordion Plunger: This plunger works as expected by its name, designed to fit into the drain and compress more water than the others.
A Plunger’s Purpose
The purpose of any plunger is to dislodge a clog by making a good seal with the drain and maximizing the force needed. Fortunately, that doesn’t require a whole lot of technology. One look at this wiki on the top ten best plungers and you’ll see that a top-rated plunger is a variation on the old-fashioned kind and doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
Other review rating sites have listed the Luigi plunger as one of the best accordion-type plungers. It’s priced at less than $15. The Corky Beehive plunger, an evolution of the classic round-bottomed made-in-America toilet plunger, also comes in at around $15. And when it comes to unclogging your sink, shower, tub, or any drain on a flat surface, the classic rubber-cup plunger costs about as much as a large fancy coffee and does the job you need it to do.
The high price of some plungers is due to fancy cases and sleek style, but if it’s just a basic, functional clog-busting plunger you want, it should never cost as much as a visit from your trusted plumber.