I’ll admit that most of what I know about chimney sweeping I learned from Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins. Dick wielded a series of flexible rods and brushes, the basic tools of the chimneysweep’s trade. Though these basic tools are still in use today, they can’t always handle modern fireplaces, with their smaller chimneys and sharper bends. Tools like the Viper GFX exist to deal with these modern chimneys.
The name hints at how much the Viper looks like a plumbing snake. The design offers a big advantage: instead of attaching rods to lengthen the brush, you just reel out as much as you need. The solid construction also increases your ability to sneak around offsets.
The stainless steel reel assembly holds 65 feet of flexible 9mm rod. The rod can accept different types of brushes for different types of chimneys. The whole setup only weighs 12 pounds, and you can store the different brushes on the reel itself.
If you want to do some extreme sweeping, the Viper GFX runs $520, but it probably won’t increase your chances of singing a duet with Julie Andrews.