Shower, Bath, & Sink

6 Bathtub Drain Stopper Types

Read Time (
November 10, 2022
Kallista Design

You are likely familiar with the traditional bathtub drain stopper: a simple rubber plug that keeps water from draining. However, there are multiple options for filling your tub for a relaxing soak.

Many modern bathtubs come equipped with a trip lever stopper that easily opens and closes. But did you know that you can replace your bathtub drain stopper to fit your needs and preferences?

Read on to learn about the six common bathtub drain stopper types and discover which one may be right for you.

Choosing the Right Drain Stopper for Your Bathtub

Drains come in different sizes, so you must ensure your chosen stopper fits your drain correctly. Fortunately, some bathtub drain stopper types are similar enough to easily swap out for a replacement or upgrade.

Consider these important factors when choosing a drain stopper for your tub:

• How easy the stopper is to install
• Effort required to clean and maintain the stopper
• Design and size of your drain
• How easy the stopper is to use

If you’re looking for a stopper that you can easily install, you might choose one that only requires basic plumbing skills. However, if you want to make more drastic changes and are willing to enlist the services of a professional, you may have more options.

The 6 Most Common Types of Bathtub Drain Stoppers

Understanding the different types of bathtub drain stoppers can help you make an informed choice when replacing your own. Some are harder to clean, while others are simple to install and maintain. Let’s look at the six most common bathtub drain stopper types and how they differ from one another.

Lift-and-Turn Drain Stopper

lift and turn bathtub drain stopper with chrome finish

 A lift-and-turn bathtub drain stopper is a cost-effective and durable option. The lift-and-turn option works well for most bathtubs and features a small knob on the cap to twist the stopper open and closed. This stopper is easy to install simply by screwing a setscrew into the center of the drain crossbar, making it an ideal DIY option.

Due to its simple design, maintenance is a breeze. All you need to do is remove the plug occasionally to clean debris out of the drain.

Push-and-Pull Drain Stopper

bathtub drain stopper in matte silver finish

Similar in style and appearance to the lift-and-turn stopper, the push-and-pull drain stopper works with most bathtubs and is an inexpensive option. The main difference is that this type of stopper is pushed down to close and pulled up to open instead of twisted.

Another simple DIY solution, the push-and-pull stopper is easy to install using a setscrew that can be found under the stopper’s cap.

Thanks to its practical and simple design, this type of bathtub drain stopper rarely needs repair and will only need to be replaced eventually due to basic wear and tear.

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Toe-Touch Drain Stopper

toe touch drain stopper in bathtub

A toe-touch bathtub drain stopper is perhaps the easiest to use of all the bathtub drain stopper types. As its name implies, the toe-touch stopper uses a spring-loaded design that allows you to open and close it just by pushing down with your toe.

Also called a toe-tap or foot-actuated drain stopper, this stopper is similar in appearance to the lift-and-turn and push-and-pull designs and requires minimal maintenance.

Flip-It Drain Stopper


kohler flip-activated drain stopper in chrome finish

Another easy-to-install and inexpensive option is the flip-it drain stopper, which is best for bathtubs without drain strainers. You don’t even need tools to install a flip-it stopper—all you need to do is push the stopper into the drain.

This type of bathtub drain stopper includes a toggle lever attached to the top that moves from side to side and closed to open. The toggle lever moves O-rings underneath to create and release the seal on the drain.

Trip-Lever Drain Stopper

trip-lever drain stopper in ink bathroom with cross-handle wall-mount faucets

One of the more complex bathtub drain stopper types, the trip-lever stopper does not have a visible pop-up stopper. Instead, all that’s visible is a strainer. This type of stopper uses a plunger in the overflow pipe, which moves up and down to open and close the drainpipe. To clean this stopper, you must pull it up out of the plate.

Pop-Up Drain Stopper

pop-up bathroom drain stopper

The pop-up drain stopper works well for most bathtubs and features the same type of lever as the trip-lever stopper. When the lever is moved, a connecting rod in the overflow drainpipe moves a rocker arm connected to the pop-up arm.

If that sounds complex, that’s because this is the most challenging of the bathtub drain stopper configurations to install and maintain. In addition, the more complex design makes this type of stopper more likely to collect hair and debris—and more challenging to remove for cleaning.

Design Your Bathing Oasis With the Best Fixtures & Fittings

Choosing the right drain stopper for your bathtub can be challenging, but knowing the options available can help you find the best one for your tub. Take time to consider installation, bathtub drain stopper removal, and maintenance when shopping.

Discover the finest quality bathtub drains and overflows from KALLISTA.

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