The Turbo Snake is a simple device designed to pull hair and soap scum out of bathroom drains that are partially clogged. The wire tool is coated with soft plastic, about 27 inches long, with hook-type Velcro fastened on the end. The kit comes with two Turbo Snakes, one with a flatter, wider Velcro tip for shower and tub, one with a skinnier, rounded tip intended for sinks. You poke the tip of the Turbo Snake down the drain without removing the stopper, twirling the wire to pick up hair when you meet resistance. When you pull the Turbo Snake out, the hair and gunk come with it.
Most reviewers say the Turbo Snake works, though a few owners report that they couldn't poke it around a bend or that the cap came off inside the pipe, letting the Velcro fall off. In most cases, you have to keep withdrawing the Turbo Snake and pulling the hair off, then poking it down again. Some owners find this amusing, but most say it's quite a messy, unpleasant job that requires a strong stomach.
The Turbo Snake can be cleaned and reused, but reviewers say it's pretty fragile, apt to break apart inside a pipe if used more than a few times. Some reviewers note that there are cheaper, more durable devices available. The Turbo Snake is only advertised for pulling hair out of drains, so if your clog is caused by something else, it won't work. Overall, though, most reviewers say it's a good tool to keep on hand, reasonably priced as long as you don't have to pay extra charges for shipping and handling.
We found video reviews of the Turbo Snake helpful, especially those that show the entire process and note the tool's drawbacks as well as its strengths. Top ranking goes to KFVS (Cape Girardeau, Mo.), where a professional plumber does the testing and rating. The review at WCNC (Charlotte, N.C.) reinforces the same points. Thoughtful single-product text reviews at Agoosa.com and VansHardware.com fill in more details, pro and con. Video reviews at KIMA (Yakima, Wash.) and StarReviews.com mention fewer drawbacks. We also found useful comments and ratings from owners, published at Amazon.com, Walgreens.com, BestBuy.com and JennyReviews.com.
1. KFVS (Cape Girardeau, Mo.)
In this review complete with video, a professional plumber tests the Turbo Snake on a clogged bathroom sink, concluding that it's a useful tool. It loses a few points for its lack of durability, but earns an A-minus overall.
Review: Turbo Snake: Does It Work?, Lauren Keith, Oct. 22, 2009
2. WCNC (Charlotte, N.C.)
This video review concludes that the Turbo Snake does indeed unclog both a bathroom sink and a bathtub drain, both clogged with hair. It's also easy to use. However, the reviewer judges the tool too weak to reuse because the Velcro gets clogged.
Review: Does Turbo Snake Drain Cleaner Work?, Editors of WCNC, Feb. 16, 2010
This thoughtful review includes a tip for cleaning the Turbo Snake: Let the hair dry on the Velcro before pulling it off with tweezers or a seam ripper. The anonymous reviewer says the tool is fun to use and works well if the clog isn't too far down the pipe. However, she finds that it doesn't maneuver around curved pipes well, and may break apart after a few uses. She concludes that it's not worth buying online or by phone because of the steep shipping and handling charge, but is worth buying at a local retail store.
Review: Product Review: Does the Turbo Snake Really Work?, "Katherine", Feb. 16, 2010
This critical reviewer notes that the Turbo Snake works well, but isn't as easy, fast or pleasant as the commercial implies. It took him about five minutes to unclog the bathroom sink, working the Turbo Snake at different depths and at different angles. The hair and gunk has to be pulled off the Velcro tip each time, an unpleasant task. If you've tried a liquid drain cleaner to unclog the drain, it could splash up on you when you pull out the Turbo Snake; hence, the instructions warn to wear goggles. It's a messy job, and gunk can splash on your clothes, too, he says.
Review: Turbo Snake Review: Does It Unclog Drains?, Van Smith, Feb. 21, 2010
5. KIMA (Yakima, Wash.)
This brief, enthusiastic video review shows tests of the Turbo Snake on a bathroom sink and a tub drain, but doesn't show the unpleasant image of the hair and gunk being pulled out. No drawbacks are noted.
Review: Will It Work -- The Turbo Snake, Troy Barrett, Feb. 3, 2010
This 5.5-minute video tests the Turbo Snake on a bathroom sink, where it does a good job of pulling hair out of the clogged drain without any need to remove the stopper. The anonymous reviewer notes that it only works if the drain is clogged with hair, and it's impossible to clean it completely after the first use. However, the Turbo Snake works as advertised, so it earns top rating here.
Review: Turbo Snake Review, "Dan", Sept. 16, 2009
More than 40 owners review the Turbo Snake, with fewer than half really pleased with it. Most complaints are from users who are disappointed to find out that it's designed as a disposable, single-use tool, though it's possible (with a strong stomach and rubber gloves) to clean it off for reuse. Other complaints are about failure to work even the first time.
Review: Turbo Snake, Contributors to Amazon.com
Of the handful of owners reviewing the Turbo Snake here, most give it a thumbs-up, saying it pulls hair out of drains and unclogs them well. One dissatisfied user says it didn't "snake around" as advertised.
Review: Turbo Snake Drain Hair Removal Kit, Contributors to Walgreens.com
The few users who post reviews here seem to agree with users elsewhere: The Turbo Snake works but is awful to try to clean afterward.
Review: As Seen On TV - Turbo Snake (2-Pack), Contributors to BestBuy.com
The editorial review published here is enthusiastic about the Turbo Snake, but the handful of users commenting on the review give it a thumbs-down. One reports that parts of the Turbo Snake broke off in the drain; another recommends the less expensive Zip It instead.
Review: Turbo Snake Reviewed, Editors of and contributors to JennyReviews.com