Hydro Jetting vs. Snaking: Which Drain Cleaning Option Is Better?

Whether you’re in the middle of cooking dinner, trying to run a hot bath, or just using the bathroom, drain clogs can stop you in your tracks. If you can’t solve the problem yourself with a plunger, it may be time to call in professional plumbers. Most likely, your plumber will use either hydro jetting or snaking to solve your clogged drain problems. So how do they decide which technique to use, and which option is better? 


Hydro jetting, also called “water jetting,” involves a high-pressure hose that connects to a machine that pumps pressurized water through your pipes. If that sounds like a pressure washer to you, you’ve got the right idea. However, hydro jetting isn’t just ordinary pressure washing. It’s a specialized pipe treatment by plumbing services professionals. The long metal tube of the hose is fitted with a special nozzle that can angle powerful water jets into your plumbing systems. Main line jetting can be powerful enough to clean out your entire system, keeping it running smoothly for months or years to come.

Drain Snaking

A plumbing snake is nothing like its reptilian counterpart — except that it’s long and thin, twists around curves and bends with ease, and slithers into the darkest places to find what it’s looking for. (Okay, maybe drain snakes got their name for a reason!) The drain snaking process starts with the plumbing snake itself, also called a “plumbing auger,” which can be manual or motorized. A manual snake involves a hand crank your plumber will manipulate to guide the snake into your sewer lines, finding and pulling out any clogs. A motorized snake is similar, except it’s attached to a machine that will keep turning the crank even when your plumber’s hands are full. 

Hydro Jetting vs. Snaking

How do plumbers pick between jetting and snaking? The hydro jetting vs. snaking decision isn’t one-size-fits-all. It all comes down to the specific situation. Using specialized tools such as drain cameras, your plumber will decide which option is right for you.

You might need hydro jetting services if…

  • You have large obstructions, such as tree roots, in your plumbing system.
  • Your pipes are relatively modern or new and can stand up to high-pressure water jets.
  • You have multiple clogs and want to take care of them all.
  • It’s been a while since you’ve had your pipes cleaned, and you want to make sure they’re clear of any obstructions.

You might need drain snaking services if…

  • Your pipes are old or delicate, and pressurized water jets could cause damage.
  • Your clog is minor or seems to be from only one source.
  • You don’t mind a slower or more involved process from your plumber.
  • You know your pipes are clean already and are experiencing unusual water flow or backup.

Drain Cleaning Chemicals: A Word of Warning

When you’ve been wrestling with the plunger for hours, you might wonder why you can’t just go down to a local big-box or hardware store and pick up a drain cleaning chemical solution. Drain cleaning chemicals may seem to solve a problem short-term, but they’re actually very caustic, with acidic ingredients that are harmful to your pipes and can eat holes in them over time. Contact a plumbing service before heading out to the store and potentially costing yourself thousands. Drain snaking and hydro jetting are much friendlier for your plumbing system. Remember, no one would need a plumber if drain cleaning chemicals really worked.

Give Express Drains a call if you’re looking for drain cleaning in Philadelphia, PA, or the surrounding areas. Our professional team can serve all of your plumbing services needs and will get that clogged drain solved, no matter whether hydro jetting or snaking your drains is the solution that’ll get your plumbing up and running again. Contact us today!

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