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Drain Rods

Drain Rods And Tools Keep Your Drains And Sewers Flowing

Drain rods are plumbing equipment used in attempts to clear blocked sewers and drains. To achieve this, the rods need to be stiff enough to move debris, but flexible enough to travel round bends. Originally, rods were made of flexible willow or bamboo, but nowadays they are most often made from heavy gauge polypropylene tubing. Most rods are one metre long, but other lengths are available. They are joined together, end to end, to make a longer pole as the rods are pushed into the drain. Different tools can be affixed to the business end of the rod to clear different types of blockages.

How To Identify Good Quality Drainage Rods

The polypropylene rods are joined together by metal connectors at each end of the drain rods; and this the main point of potential weakness. If they are pushed, pulled or strained too hard, the metal joints can break away from the tubing, leaving some or all of the rods in the drain. This can make the situation worse rather than better. To guard against this, many better quality rod ends have rivets in them that go at right angles through the metal ends and the tubing of the drainage rods, in order to hold them more firmly in place. Similarly, the metal that is used for the connectors is important. The end connections in drainage rods can suffer from corrosion or rusting because they are employed in wet conditions and may then be stored for long periods of time. Where the end connections in cheap drain rods are made of steel, these will tend to rust relatively quickly. Mid-range rods have steel connections which are cadmium plated for corrosion resistance. These will tend to last longer, but eventually, the cadmium plating can be scratched off during use and corrosion will ultimately result. The best end connections are those made of brass, which will not rust away.

What Is Typically Included In A Drain Rod Set?

There are also different types of rod end connections. Many rods simply screw together, male to female. This has the disadvantage that the user must remember to twist the rods clockwise when using them in clearing a drain; otherwise there is a risk that they will unscrew themselves underground and add to the problem. Better quality rods have various types of locking mechanisms, usually comprising of some form of threaded nut and a locking mechanism which can be tightened with a spanner. This mean that the rods can be rotated in both directions without fear of them coming adrift, making it easier to use and clear blockages. A drain rod set will have a number of drain rods included with a number of different end tool options, usually three or four. The most popular tool tends to be the plunger. This is a rubber disc that fits flush with the inside of the pipe, to force obstructions clear. For UK domestic drains, the disc should be 4 inches wide. A set of drain rods will also often include a double worm screw. This tool looks like a double helix of thick wire and is useful for breaking through stiffer blockages, such as paper or rags.

Tools You Use With Drain Cleaning Rods

Many rod sets will also include a drop scraper. This semi-circular pivoting metal plate covers about half of the drain’s diameter. It is hinged along the straight edge of the semicircle and will fold up when being pushed, but drop down when being pulled. It can be manoeuvred over a partial blockage and used to pull the blockage back out of the pipe. Most sets of drain cleaning rods include rods and the three tools noted above. If you have a drain or sewer system that includes ends or sharp turns, however, then you may well need other fittings that will make it easier to negotiate these bends. One such tool is a clearing wheel, which is a small ‘caster type’ wheel that you attach to the end of the rods. It will guide the rods around difficult bends and can help remove minor blockages by pushing material clear. Where there are really tight corners or even U-bends, many standard rods can be difficult to manoeuvre because they may be too stiff to negotiate round tricky twists and turns in the pipe. In situations where maximum flexibility is necessary, coiled spring rods for drain cleaning are available. These are flexible rods made out of coiled springs, rather than polypropylene.

What To Consider When You Buy Drain Rods

So when you need to buy drain rods, there are a number of factors to take into account. Firstly, remember that the very cheapest rod sets are often made from thinner polypropylene tubing which is weaker and gets brittle with age, so check that the tubing is good quality and of a decent thickness. Then, check that the metal fixings at the end of the pipes are brass, for corrosion resistance, and riveted to the pipe. If you are a professional plumber or anticipate that you will use the rods often, consider whether the extra expense of locking rods rather than screw-in types is justified. Next, think about the type of drain rod fittings you may need. Will you need more than the standard three tools (plunger, double worm screw and drop scraper)? If you anticipate tight bends, would a clearing wheel or coiled spring rod be necessary? More specialist fittings such as crown root cutters or rod end chisels are probably only needed by professionals or for very specific tasks. Here at Bailey Supplies, we supply the widest range of high quality drain tools and rods for both professional plumbers and DIY enthusiasts at competitive prices.

Bailey Supplies Sell Affordable, High Quality Drain Rods

At Bailey Supplies, we sell only genuine Bailey Products such as drain rods and other tools for drain cleaning and testing at affordable prices. Our Bailey Blue rods® are covered by international trademarks and are world renowned for their quality, durability and strength. The same is true of all our tools and other accessories. See and buy from our extensive online range at We offer equipment ranges for both DIY users and professionals and are happy to arrange bulk buying discounts for trade or business customers. Please contact us at or via the ‘contact us’ page on our website for more information.