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Got the K-45AF. Paid $1100 (NZD) so $327 (USD) to me is a good deal. The key to getting the best out of the K-45 for me, is not to run cable too fast into the blockage at the start - get a feel for how hard the cable is working & if the cable wants to kink back off the power & run the cable back & forth. Once you start working the blockage you can increase speed & keep running the cable back & a little more forward each time to free up the blockage. If you go full power the cable can have a tendency to bend really easily on firm blockages - It took me going though 2 cables to get the feel for the machine. The other thing you MUST do is wipe the cable off when done & oil the cable by spaying or wiping through with an oiled rag. I also get a little OCD & keep a moister absorbing canister in with the unit as the cables rust out really easily. Once you've made your fortune unblocking lots of waste pipes I would recommend getting a K-50 as they are easier to work with & extend your work opportunities.
Too be honest. I've only used cheap, medium & high quality manual versions before buying the K-45AF.
I had an emergency job & needed something that could get into a tight space & run out a little further than the manual augers. For what was available at the time, I went with the K-45AF & got a big pat on the back when I showed up with this awesome looking machine & cleared a 50mm commercial pipe in 15 minutes that 3 plumbers had been running around trying to clear for 1/2 a day.
Most times you will get a waste pipe blockage with a manual or cheaper auger - no argument there, but pulling out a K-45 or similar machine over a manual auger weirdly seems to impress & inspire greater customer confidence (& this goes a long way). If you learn how to use the K-45, I think you'll have faster results, look better equipped, get more jobs done in a day & ultimately make more $$$.
it's a very good machine. but remember it's only as good as the operator and their experience in using it. the dual auto feed makes for a fast way to auto feed cable in and out. but it will not feed 100% of the cable out like a machine with a jacobs style chuck.
my suggestion has always been to remove the cable after use and dry it out and store it outside the drum. this cuts down on 99% of the rust.
327 is cheap to pay for a good commercial quality machine.