Drain Snake Vs. Hydro Jet: Comparing 2 Common Drain Cleaning Methods

Posted on: 14 June 2023

When you call a plumber to clear a stopped drain, they will likely use one of two methods: drain snaking or hydro jetting. Both of these techniques are valuable tools in a plumber's belt, but they have different strengths and applications. Here is a comparison between the two common professional drain cleaning options.

Drain Snaking: The First Response to Drain Clogs

A drain snake is a hand tool with a flexible metal or plastic tube on one end. There are blades on the end of the tube and sometimes along the length of the tube. The tube is inserted into a clogged drain, and the tool can be used to rotate or maneuver the tube until the blades clear the clog.

In a majority of cases, snaking the drain is the first solution that plumbers will turn to. Most common drain clogs can be cleared with the proper use of a drain snake. Snaking a drain is a very quick process to complete, so it's one of the most affordable services a plumber can provide.

Drain snakes are only suited for clogs made of solid materials. Clogs made of food particles, hair, scale buildup, paper products, or foreign objects are easy to remove with a drain snake. On the other hand, drain snaking may not be an option for less solid clogs, such as those caused by grease or body oils. This also means that drain snakes are less effective at discouraging future clogs, as they tend to leave residue on the inner walls of your pipes.

Hydro Jetting: For More Stubborn Clogs

Hydro jetting is a more advanced technique reserved for serious drain clogs or clogs deeper in your home's plumbing. A hydro jet is a hose-like tool with a nozzle that releases a highly pressurized stream of water. Some hydro jets also feature a built-in camera so that the operator can observe a video feed of the inside of the pipe.

Hydro jets can produce extreme levels of water pressure that no clog can stand up to. Hydro jetting scrubs away all dirt and grime on the inside of your pipes without using cleaners that could be harmful to the environment. You'll save money in the long term with less frequent drain cleaning.

As a downside, the high water pressure from a hydro jet can potentially be dangerous for your plumbing. Using the wrong pressure setting or directing the water jet at the wrong angle can scour or even puncture your pipes. Because of this, hydro jetting is not a recommended option for homes with older plumbing. You should always leave hydro jetting to a professional to avoid pipe damage.

Whatever type of drain clog you're faced with, a plumbing contractor will have the training and equipment to handle it. Talk to a local plumber to learn more about professional drain cleaning options.