Choosing the Right Drill for Sewer Cleaning: A Comprehensive Guide

the importance of getting the correct type of drill for flex shaft plumbing:

When it comes to sewer cleaning, having the right tools at your disposal is crucial for efficiency and effectiveness. One such tool that plays a pivotal role in the trade is the drill. However, not all drills are created equal, and selecting the appropriate one requires careful consideration. In this article, we will explore the key factors to keep in mind when choosing a drill for sewer cleaning, with a specific focus on torque and the slip chuck. Additionally, we will quickly discuss the advantages of using a corded drill and highlight the importance of features like a 10mm chuck and easy open-and-close functionality.

Torque and Slip Chuck: Vital Considerations

When it comes to sewer cleaning, the torque and slip chuck of a drill are two of the most crucial factors to consider. Torque determines the rotational force of the drill, and in the context of sewer cleaning, the thicker your shaft diameter, the more torque required to drive it. Torque allows the drill to power through tough obstructions, such as tree roots and compacted debris commonly found in sewer pipes. Therefore, opt for a drill with substantial torque to ensure efficient and effective cleaning.

Equally important is the slip chuck, which should be of high quality. The slip chuck allows the drill to disengage when it encounters a solid obstruction, such as a stubborn clog or a thick layer of scale. Please ensure that your torque limiter is set to the lowest setting so that it engages when your drain cleaning flexible cable hits a solid obstruction. This feature is especially useful during descaling operations, as it prevents damage to the drill or the sewer pipe. Look for a drill with a metal chuck, as it often indicates a sturdy gearbox and slip chuck, enhancing overall durability and performance.

The Versatility of a 10mm Chuck and Easy Open-and-Close Functionality

A 10mm chuck size is ideal for sewer cleaning applications. This chuck size accommodates a wide range of drill bits commonly used in the trade, including those specifically designed for flex shaft plumbing. With a 10mm chuck, you can easily switch between different bits, allowing you to adapt to various cleaning tasks and pipe sizes efficiently.

Furthermore, consider drills with easy open-and-close functionality. Some heavy-duty drills feature a chuck that holds the bit by pulling back the chuck. However, this type of chuck may not securely hold a rotator shaft socket, which is essential for using flex shaft plumbing. Therefore, prioritize drills that offer a simple twist-to-open and close mechanism, ensuring a secure grip on the desired tooling.

The Advantages of Corded Drills in Sewer Cleaning

While cordless drills offer portability and convenience, sewer cleaning professionals often find corded drills to be more suitable for their needs, especially when dealing with larger shafts over long distances. Corded drills provide a constant power source, eliminating the need to worry about battery life or recharging during extended cleaning sessions. This reliability ensures uninterrupted operation, allowing tradesmen to complete their tasks efficiently. If you decide on a cordless drill, please make sure to get EXTRA batteries. It is important to note that most cordless drills stop at 150 NM of torque. The ideal torque range for a cordless drill is between 70 – 150 NM. For cordless drills, my personal preference is DCD 799 or DCD805 Dewalt models as the best drills to use. For corded drills I prefer the Makita DF0300 10mm Drill Driver.

Flex Shaft Plumbing: A Game-Changing Tool

In recent modern times, the flex shaft plumbing technique has revolutionized the industry, made popular by many great brands such as Ridgid tools. This innovative approach involves using a flexible shaft with specialized cleaning attachments to navigate through pipes and remove obstructions. When choosing a drill for sewer cleaning, it is essential to ensure compatibility with flex shaft plumbing equipment. Opt for a drill that supports the use of flex shaft plumbing, as this will enable you to take full advantage of its benefits.

With a flexible shaft you will be using less than 3% of the water you would need to get the same result with a hydro jetting machine. Imagine the amount of water you will save by using a flexible shaft.

The Mighty Sewer Chain Knocker: A Perfect Companion

Another essential tool for sewer cleaning professionals is the sewer chain knocker. This powerful plumbing tool, typically attached to the end of a flex shaft, consists of a series of rotating chains with embedded cutting heads. The sewer chain knocker effectively breaks down tough blockages, such as tree roots and heavy debris, restoring optimal flow within sewer pipes. On our website, you can also find plain chain knockers, that are less aggressive and suitable for descaling and removing blockages in PVC pipes. When selecting a drill, consider its compatibility with the sewer chain knocker attachment, as this combination can greatly enhance your cleaning capabilities.


Choosing the right drill for sewer cleaning is a decision that should not be taken lightly. By considering factors such as torque, slip chuck, chuck size, open-and-close functionality, and compatibility with flex shaft plumbing and the sewer chain knocker, you can ensure that your drilling equipment meets the demands of the trade. Additionally, the use of a reliable corded drill can provide a consistent power source for extended cleaning operations. Ultimately, investing in the appropriate drill will enable sewer cleaning tradesmen to efficiently tackle obstructions and maintain the smooth functioning of sewer systems, benefitting both professionals and the communities they serve.