What’s the Best Tub Drain Stopper That Actually Works

A bathtub drain stopper can make your life easy by promoting a nice relaxing bath or can be a source of frustration with a tub that won’t hold water. So what’s the best tub drain stopper that actually works? Bathtub stoppers come in many different styles making it difficult to know which type will work the best in your tub. You need a tub stopper that will hold water when you need it to, will drain easily and will catch hair without needing much cleaning or maintenance.

While tub drain stoppers all serve the same purpose, there are many different types to choose from. We’ve reviewed all the different styles of tub stoppers and here is our recommendation for the best bathtub drain stopper available. First you should identify the type of stopper you currently have and then you can see how easy it is to replace it with one that will provide years of blissful bubble baths.

Identify Your Tub Drain Stopper

Most tub drain stoppers do their job for the most part, although some are more prone to developing problems, needing more cleaning and maintenance. The most common types of tub drain stoppers are the Lift and Turn, the Toe-Touch (foot actuated), Trip Lever and Push Pull. It’s necessary to correctly identify your type of tub stopper before you attempt to fix it or replace it. This is easy when you know what to look for.

Lift and Turn Drain Stopper

The lift and turn drain stopper can be identified by the small knob at the top of the stopper which twists to lift open or twists in the opposite direction to close it shut. A lift and turn tub stopper is installed with a center setscrew threaded into the center crossbar of the drain. The setscrew is located underneath the cap on the top of the stopper. This type of tub stopper is fairly simple to operate and may only need occasional cleaning to remove debris or stuck hair in the drain.

One problem with installing a Lift and Turn stopper is that if your crossbars in the drain are corroded or missing, you won’t be able to install this type of stopper. Read more to learn which is the best tub drain stopper for installation over broken crossbars. If you are wanting to install this type of tub stopper, Watco offers a high quality Lift and Turn model which includes the 3/8” post for screwing into the drain crossbars and typically only requires a flathead screwdriver.

Toe-Touch (Foot Actuated)

The Toe-Touch is the best tub drain stopper for convenience if you don’t want to bend down to lift and turn the stopper every time you want to close or open the drain. This type of tub stopper also screws into the tub drain crossbars and uses a spring-loaded mechanism to pop open or stay closed.

While this type of tub stopper is convenient for many and can be hassle free for quite some time, the spring mechanism can eventually wear out requiring you to replace it. Choose a high quality Toe-Touch stopper to begin with like the Watco Foot Actuated model which is available with both the 3/8-in or the 5/16-in post to screw into nearly any tub drain.

Trip Lever

The trip lever style of tub stopper can be identified by the lever protruding from the overflow plate in the bathtub. This trip lever can control either a plunger style or a pop-up style of tub stopper.

  • Plunger Style - The plunger style is easy to identify as there will not be a visible stopper over your drain, only a drain cover. The lever controls a plunger that moves up or down to plug up the water at the base of the overflow tube.
  • Pop-Up – This type of tub stopper is controlled by the trip lever which is also connected to a rocker arm that controls the pop-up stopper over your drain.

Both of these types of trip lever controlled stoppers may be confusing when it’s time to clean or replace your tub stopper when they begin to fail. In order to repair or replace this type of stopper, you must remove it through the overflow plate. You’ll need to remove the screws holding the overflow plate in place and pull the linkage out of the overflow opening. For a pop-up, you’ll need to jiggle the assembly and remove as much of the linkage and rocker arm as you can get out of the overflow opening and then remove the pop-up stopper from the drain itself.

When you have problems with your trip lever stopper, it may be best to replace it with a simpler type of tub stopper that is easier to clean like the Push Pull® or SimpliQuick® Tub Fix solution from Watco.

Push Pull®

The Push Pull tub stopper resembles a lift and turn model in that you will see a knob on the top of the stopper and also installs with a set screw under the stopper body. This type of tub stopper also screws into the drain crossbars. The simple design requires minimal care and is easy to remove or replace.

The Push Pull® tub stopper from Watco is made of high quality materials, built to last and includes an internal friction ring that keeps the stopper securely in the open position when in place while providing a watertight seal when closed. Install with either a 3/8-in or a 5/16-in pin into the drain crossbars.

SimpliQuick® Tub Fix

The SimpliQuick® Tub Fix is the best tub drain stopper if you have broken crossbars and even if you don’t it provides a simple and quick installation over nearly any size of tub drain. With a universal fit you don’t have to worry about matching your drain size, thread count or depth as there is no need to remove your current tub drain at all.

Backed the Watco name with a 5-year limited warranty, this tub stopper quickly transforms drab and dingy tub drains into a shiny bathtub with a brand new look and highly functioning bathtub stopper. The included mesh grid drain cover prevents hair from entering your drain and the high clearance provides easy cleaning and easy flow draining.

After careful consideration of all the types of tub drain stoppers, we think that the SimpliQuick® Tub Fix provides the greatest value with the best tub drain installation and performance. Watco makes innovative products which are designed for easy installation and backed by high quality materials. Combined with the exceptional customer support you’ll find at FixMyDrain.com, you can’t go wrong with Watco and the SimpliQuick® Tub Fix solution.

FixMyDrain.com is committed to helping you solve your bathtub drain problems with long lasting, reliable tub drain solutions. We offer full trim kits with a matching overflow plate and the same easy installation with very few, simple steps for a quick bathtub upgrade in minutes. Contact us with any questions and to learn more about the best tub drain stopper solutions.