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What are drain and chimney rods made of?

 What are drain and chimney rods
made of?

Shop for Drain and Chimney Rods

Wonkee Donkee Polypropylene drain rods and Nylon chimney rods Drain and chimney rods are made from differing materials each having individual qualities. The joints on a chimney rod or drain rod can be made from either brass, steel or zinc plated steel.


Wonkee Donkee Drain Rod used in sweeping chimneys and rodding drains


The most popular material used for the shaft of a drain and chimney rod is polypropylene, which is a type of plastic.

Polypropylene is a lightweight material and acts as an excellent insulator, preventing the flow of electricity through it.

Wonkee Donkee Curved polypropylene Rod for sweeping chimneys and rodding drains It is also very strong yet flexible and is resistant to cracking and fracturing.

Polypropylene rods remain unaffected when they come into contact with chemicals such as alkalines, acids and de-greasing agents, all of which could be present in a drain.

The polypropylene rod is the best all round rod you can buy, having all the properties you would want in a drain and chimney rod for both the DIYer and the professional.

Wonkee Donkee Cane chimney rod for sweeping chimneys


Cane rods are still available today, but have largely been replaced by polypropylene. Cane is more environmentally friendly as it is a natural product.

Cane rods are not as flexible as polypropylene, they wear out more quickly and are more susceptible to damage. They should to be wiped dry after use and stored in a dry place.

Cane rods are very much an environmental decision as a polypropylene rod is generally superior in every way.

Wonkee Donkee Nylon Rods used for sweeping chimneys and flues


Nylon rods are typically smaller in diameter than other rods at 13mm (0.5 inches). They also come in shorter lengths of 1m or 1.5m (3ft 3″ or 5ft).

Wonkee Donkee Flexible Nylon Rod used for sweeping chimneys and flues Because they are narrow and flexible, nylon rods are ideal for small diameter flues and for manoeuvring around tight bends.
Wonkee Donkee Power Sweeper using nylon rod and brush for sweeping chimneys and flues Nylon rods are increasingly being used by professional sweeps as power sweepers. Their lightweight construction and flexibility makes them ideal for attaching to power drills.

Nylon rods are most suited for use in chimneys with tight bends that require extreme flexibility and when power sweeping is required.

Wonkee Donkee Coil spring rods used for sweeping chimneys and rodding drains

Coil spring

Coil spring rods are made from spring steel and offer far better flexibility than the standard polypropylene or cane rods. They are made from high quality steel resulting in very robust and flexible rods but at the expense of being heavy, in comparison with other materials.

Wonkee Donkee Coiled Spring Rods for rodding drains and sweeping chimneys Coil spring rods’ main attribute is their flexibility, which allows these rods to negotiate tight turns and ‘U’ bends. Their flexibility is also their weakness as, unlike polypropylene rods, they have a tendency to flex when being pushed down a drain, especially when using the plunger attachment.

Coil spring rods are also difficult to keep clean as the effluent from the drain can become embedded between the coils.

Wonkee Donkee Coiled Spring Leader used to connect drain rod and chimneys rod tools Coiled spring rods consist of two types of rods. A rod with both a male and female end and what is referred to as a leader rod. The leader rod has the coils opened out at one end to act as a worm screw to help break through grease and other obstructions.

Coiled spring rods have generally been used in municipal situations or by professional drain cleaners due to their longevity, although they have now been superseded by power washers.

Wonkee Donkee Steel Rods for rodding draind and sweeping chimneys

Steel rods

Steel rods are manufactured from high tensile carbon steel and are used for heavy duty sewer cleaning applications.

They are not as easy to use as a polypropylene rod as they are narrower and more difficult to grip and twist by hand. They are predominantly used with power tools such as drills or a rotating handle.


Wonkee Donkee Brass joint with rivet to connect chimney and drain rod tools


Brass is the most commonly used metal for drain and chimney rod joints. Brass is used for its strength, corrosion resistance, and ease of working, which is vital as the rods will be used in very demanding environments containing acid, alkaline, and strong chemicals which can attack the metal.

The best joints are riveted to the shaft to prevent the rods coming apart during rigorous use.

Wonkee Donkee Steel joint on drain rods and chimneys rods


Steel joints are generally used on the cheaper rods and although they are strong, they are liable to corrode.

The steel joints on the rods shown are riveted onto the polypropylene shaft which prevents the joints from separating when being used vigorously.

Wonkee Donkee Zinc Plated Joint on drain rods and chimney rods

Zinc plated

Some rods are available with a zinc plated finish on the joints. This provides greater resistance to corrosion than steel and is lighter than brass, but generally brass is regarded as the best material due to its longevity and its superior corrosion resistance.

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