What are the benefits of a flexible shaft over an auger?

Flexible shaft versus an auger for drain cleaning


When it comes to pipe cleaning, choosing the right tool is essential for efficient and safe operations. Two commonly used tools for this purpose are the flexible shaft and the auger cable. The biggest advantages of a flexible shaft are the ability to clean the entire pipe diameter with reduced strain on pipes and enhanced safety features.

Advantages of a Flexible Shaft Compared with an Auger Cable

Using a flexible shaft for pipe cleaning offers several advantages over an auger cable. Let’s explore these benefits in detail:

  1. Cleaning the Entire Pipe Diameter

As you may know, an auger pierces a hole in a blockage of around 1 inch in diameter. However, the rest of the blockage can remain untouched and still attached to the pipe wall, and even the smallest amount of debris can block the pipe again. In contrast, a flexible shaft and drain cleaning chains utilize centrifugal force to centralize themselves in the pipe and clean its entire diameter. 

Cleaning the entire inner circumference of the pipe also significantly reduces the number of ‘callbacks,’ which are simply a waste of your valuable time and money.

  1. Reduced Strain on Pipes 

One significant advantage of a flexible shaft is its ability to put less strain on the inside of the pipe being cleaned. Unlike an auger cable, which can be abrasive and cause damage to the pipe walls, a flexible shaft is designed to navigate smoothly through the pipe, reducing the risk of damage. The flexible nature of the shaft allows it to follow the natural curves and bends of the pipe, ensuring thorough cleaning without compromising the integrity of the pipework.

  1.  Enhanced Safety Features

When compared to an auger cable, a flexible shaft offers improved safety features. The design of a flexible shaft incorporates a protective sleeve, which acts as a barrier between the rotating shaft and the operator’s hands. This protective sleeve helps prevent accidental injuries during the cleaning process, providing a safer working environment for technicians. Our flexible shaft is housed in a chemical and heat-resistant sleeve that protects the user from coming into contact with the spinning shaft inside. This means that ordinary latex gloves can be worn as protection from bacteria as opposed to protection from a coil. Additionally, the controlled and steady motion of a flexible shaft reduces the likelihood of the shaft becoming entangled or causing damage to surrounding objects.

  1. Compatibility with Drain Inspection Cameras

The use of a drain inspection camera can be important for effective pipe cleaning, as it allows technicians to visually inspect the inside of the pipes and identify areas that require extra attention. A flexible shaft is highly compatible with drain inspection cameras, as it can accommodate the insertion of camera devices on the protective sleeve. This combination enables real-time visual feedback, aiding in accurate assessment and precise cleaning.

  1. Efficient Cleaning in Complex Pipe Systems

The flexibility of the shaft enables it to navigate through complex pipe systems with ease, including pipe bends and junctions. Unlike an auger cable, which may encounter difficulties in reaching and cleaning hard-to-reach areas, a flexible shaft can maneuver through complicated layouts, ensuring a thorough and successful cleaning process. The ability to access and clean every nook and cranny of the pipe system results in improved flow and reduced risk of blockages.

  1. Cleaning the Pipes Without Removing the Toilet Bowl

With a flexible shaft and sleeve, you do not need to remove the toilet bowl when cleaning from the toilet into the sewer because the protective sleeve is made to protect not only your hands, but whatever it comes into contact with as well. With its gentle and controlled motion, a flexible shaft significantly reduces the risk of damage to the inside of the pipes. The smooth and flexible nature of the shaft and sleeve allows it to glide through the pipe, minimizing the chance of causing cracks, fractures, or dislodging pipe joints. This factor is particularly crucial when dealing with delicate pipe materials, such as PVC or older pipes with weakened structural integrity. By reducing the risk of damage, a flexible shaft contributes to the longevity and reliability of the plumbing system.

Most of our clients report that they use this kit on day-to-day toilet blockages:

We have also created this useful video on how to remove a blockage from your toilet without removing the toilet bowl:


The advantages of using a flexible shaft over an auger cable for pipe cleaning are numerous. From cleaning the entire pipe diameter and reducing strain on the inside of the pipe to enhancing safety features, the flexible shaft proves to be a superior tool. Its compatibility with drain inspection cameras adds an extra layer of effectiveness and precision to the cleaning process.

By utilizing a flexible shaft, you can achieve optimal cleaning results while ensuring the longevity and reliability of your plumbing system.