Types of Bathtub Drain Stoppers

Quinn Marshall

Bathtub drain stoppers, also referred to as drain plugs, are circular objects made to fit inside a bathtub drain to prevent water from escaping. There are different types of stoppers available from both bathtub manufacturers and independent retail companies.

There are many different types of drain stoppers.

Not all drain stoppers are compatible with every bathtub because of variations in the diameter of different bathtub drains.


Rubber stoppers are small, circular plunger-like devices with a lip slightly larger than the bathtub drain. These stoppers often have a nub on top with a hole in the center, and a chain that runs through the hole and attaches to the spigot or is allowed to float freely in the tub. Rubber stoppers are malleable, and often sized slightly larger than the drain so that they form a tight seal.


A plunger-style drain stopper has a large handle and two sliding mechanisms, one with a gasket and one without. When a plunger stopper is pressed into a drain, the outer sliding mechanism with the gasket extends into the drain, creating a tight seal. When the handle of the plunger stopper is pulled, the other sliding mechanism slides into the drain while the gasket raises, breaking the seal.


Toggle drain stoppers have a stainless steel body and rubber sealing gasket, and are permanently attached to a bathtub’s drain. A toggle switch is mounted on top of the permanent stopper, and can be flipped from left to right to either seal the tub or allow water to drain. These switches are designed to keep hair and other objects from washing down the drain, where they can cause clogging issues.


A threaded drain stopper is constructed of either aluminum or metal, and has a threaded extension that screws into a bathtub’s drain. Threaded stoppers can only be used with bathtub drains that have been specifically designed with the correct threading. Though a threaded drain stopper is equipped with a rubber sealing gasket, many can leak water due to difficulties in screwing the device tightly enough.


A lever stopper is designed for bathtubs with the reciprocal lever mechanism, and are semi-permanent. This type of drain stopper is placed into a bathtub’s drain and twisted or pressed into a lever mechanism that is attached to a handle on the bathtub. When the handle on the bathtub is pulled, the stopper is lowered into the drain; when the handle is pushed, the stopper is raised, allowing the water to drain.