The History Of Drain Cleaning At RIDGID

15 November, 2023

The history of drain cleaning dates back to 1936, when Kollmann introduced the world’s first sectional drain cleaning machines. RIDGID added drain cleaning to its product offering in 1967 with the acquisition of the Kollmann Company. This milestone marked the beginning of a long, but exciting, journey of innovations and improvements in drain maintenance technology.

Today we offer the most complete line of drain cleaning machines on the market, ranging from hand tools like spinners and augers, sink machines, and drum/ sectional machines to powerful FlexShaft and water jetting machines.

Most of the RIDGID drain cleaning machines are proudly made in Orange, Virginia, USA.

All RIDGID drain cleaning tools have been delivering durable and reliable performance to the skilled trades for decades. So, let’s have a walk down memory lane to discover the full line of RIDGID drain cleaning tools, but also to learn how the machines and technology evolved over the years.

Hand Tools

Suitable mostly for homeowners, service plumbers and facility maintenance, the RIDGID hand spinners and toilet/urinal augers are a must in every plumber’s toolkit. Model K25 hand spinner is one of the oldest hand tools, being launched in 1968. It is a classic and it is still available today next to model K26 (since 1994), Kwik Spin+ and Power Spin+. (since 2017)

Model K4, the first RIDGID Toilet Auger was launched in 1970 and was discontinued in 1995. In 1995 other 3 models were launched K1, K3 and K6, models still available today.

Sink Tools

All RIDGID sink machines are the professional’s choice for cleaning small line blockages in lavatories, sinks, tubs and showers.

Model K36 is the first RIDGID sink machine and the ancestor of the well-known model K-45. It was successfully launched in 1968 and it was upgraded over the years with Model K37 (1979), Model K37B (Battery Powered - 1988), Model K38, Model K38B (Battery Powered - 1991), Model K39 (1998) and Model K45 (2010).

As part of the RIDGID Sink Machines offering, we also have the RIDGID K-40, ideal for cleaning small secondary drain lines which was launched in 1940 and the RIDGID PowerClear, a drain cleaning machine launched in 2017 which is suitable mostly for occasional use.

Sectional Machines

The drain cleaning legacy began with a Kollmann sectional machine back in the ‘30s. Over the years, RIDGID developed this product line and today we offer a full line of sectional drain cleaners ready to clear everything from 20 mm to 250 mm drain lines.

Some of the classic sectional drain cleaners are still available today: model K50model K1500SP (launched in 1990), model K60 SP (launched in 1996), while others got discontinued over the years: model K75A and model K75B (1991 - 2011), model K1500A and model K1500B (launched in 1984), model K1500G, and model K5208 (launched in 2019).

All sectional drain cleaners are mostly used for professional jobs.

Drum & Rodder Machines  

The rugged and compact RIDGID K1000 was launched in 1972 and it successfully clears blockages until today.

All RIDGID drum machines guarantee professional results. They deliver high torque through cables and cutters and muscle through the toughest blockages. One of the most popular RIDGID drum machines is the K400, a model launched in 2008. It successfully replaced the Kollmann models K100, K200, K300 and K500, but also the RIDGID models K375 (since 1991), K375K (since 2000) and K380 (since 2000). 

Other classics worth mentioning in the drum machines line are model K750, a powerful, self-contained drain cleaning machine ideal for lateral lines; model K3800, launched in 1993 and still available today and model K7500, a powerful machine suitable for the most demanding applications. 

Water Jetting Machines

RIDGID introduced the water jetting drain cleaning machines in 1996. Model KJ-1590 IImodel KJ-2200 and model KJ 3100 are the models available today and they are suitable for professional use in 32 mm to 150 mm lines. All RIDGID water jetting machines feature a flexible hose which goes through drain lines blasting through sludge, soap and grease blockages. As you pull the hose back, it power washes the line, flushing debris away and restoring drain lines to their full, free-flowing capacity.

FlexShaft Machines

The latest and most amazing innovation in drain cleaning technology comes in 2019 with the launch of the RIGID FlexShaft machines. All FlexShaft models are lightweight, compact and highly efficient machines which deliver incredible wall-to-wall cleaning and help busy professionals get the job done in the blink of an eye.

All RIDGID FlexShaft Machines offer fast and effective cleaning in both residential and commercial applications and allow professionals to use an inspection system and see while operating the cleaning. Plus, all FlexShaft models feature a very wide range of accessories, chain knockers and brushes, in different sizes, for more efficiency on the job site.

Model FlexShaft K9-102+ replaces its predecessor K9-102 and it is a smaller version of the FlexShaft Machine, with a lightweight and portable design perfect for 1 1/4"- 2" (32 - 50 mm) pipes.

Model FlexShaft K9-204+ replaces its predecessor K9-204 specializes in larger lines more commonly found on commercial jobs and can be used on 2" - 4" (50 - 100 mm) pipes.

Model FlexShaft K9-306 is purpose-built for professionals and it is meant to clear grease buildup, roots and heavy scale using 125' (38 m) of 3/8" (10 mm) cable for 3" - 6" (75 – 150 mm) pipes with one step of the foot switch.

Model FlexShaft K9-12 is the newest and most compact version of the FlexShaft Drain Cleaning Machines. The fully enclosed housing contains 30' (9.1 m) of FlexShaft cable, encapsulated in a nylon sheath for less mess and easy cleanup. This lightweight, portable design is perfect for 1 1/4" - 2" (32 to 50 mm) pipes.


Now, that we have gone through the history of drain cleaning at RIDGID, remember that when it comes to drain cleaning, knowing the nuances of plumbing and knowing your machine is a must. Always make sure to follow these important steps:

  • Anticipate the nature of the blockage
  • Discover the location of the blockage
  • Choose the drain machine most suitable for the blockage
  • Work your way through the blockage with the cable
  • Leave the line clean, so no future built-ups can occur