When dealing with a clogged drain, homeowners often face the dilemma of choosing between hydro jetting and snaking. Both methods have their own set of advantages and disadvantages, so how can you decide which one is best for your situation? In this article, we'll discuss the differences between hydro jetting vs. snaking, as well as their pros and cons, to help you make an informed decision.

What is Hydro Jetting?

Hydro Jetting benefits

Hydro jetting is a high-pressure cleaning method that uses water to blast away clogs, debris, and buildup in pipes. This process involves inserting a specialized hose with a nozzle into the drain, which then releases water at high pressure, typically ranging from 3,500 to 4,500 psi. The force of the water breaks up and flushes away the blockages, leaving the pipes clean and free-flowing.

Pros of Hydro Jetting

  • Effectiveness. Hydro jetting is highly effective at removing stubborn clogs and blockages. Its powerful water stream can cut through grease, sludge, and even tree roots, making it an excellent option for tough clogs.
  • Environmentally Friendly. Since hydro jetting only uses water, it's an environmentally friendly option that doesn't involve harsh chemicals or toxins. This can be especially beneficial for households with septic systems, as it won't harm the bacteria necessary for proper waste breakdown.
  • Preventative Maintenance. Hydro jetting not only clears clogs but also removes buildup that can cause future issues. This makes it a great option for preventative maintenance, helping to keep your pipes in good condition and reduce the likelihood of future problems.

Read our article about 7 Surprising Benefits Of Hydro Jetting to know more.

Cons of Hydro Jetting

  • Cost. One downside of hydro jetting is that it can be more expensive than snaking. The specialized equipment and expertise required for this method can result in higher hydro jetting costs.
  • Potential for Pipe Damage. While hydro jetting is highly effective, it also has the potential to cause damage to pipes if not done correctly. The high-pressure water stream can weaken or even burst older, more fragile pipes. It's essential to have a professional assess the condition of your pipes before choosing hydro jetting as a solution.
  • Not for All Clogs. Hydro jetting may not be suitable for every type of clog. For instance, it might not be the best option for clearing solid objects, like toys or other foreign items, that have become lodged in the drain.

What is Snaking?

Snaking, also known as drain augering, is a more traditional method of clearing clogs. It involves using a long, flexible metal cable with a coil or blade at the end, which is inserted into the drain. The cable is then manually maneuvered or rotated to break up the clog and remove the debris.

Pros of Snaking

  • Simplicity. Snaking is a more straightforward method that doesn't require specialized equipment or extensive training. It can be an effective option for simple clogs and is often the first line of defense for many plumbers and homeowners.
  • Cost-Effective. Compared to hydro jetting, snaking is usually a more cost-effective solution. It doesn't require expensive equipment and can often be performed by the homeowner, making it an attractive option for those on a budget.
  • Less Risk of Pipe Damage. Since snaking doesn't involve high-pressure water, there's a lower risk of causing damage to pipes. This can make it a more suitable option for older plumbing systems or situations where pipe integrity is a concern.

hydro jetting vs snaking

Cons of Snaking

  • Limited Effectiveness. While snaking can be useful for simple clogs, it may not be as effective for more severe pipe blockages or those caused by grease, sludge, or tree roots. In these cases, hydro jetting may be the better option.
  • Temporary Solution. Snaking often only provides a temporary fix, as it doesn't remove the buildup that can lead to future clogs. Without addressing the root cause, you may find yourself dealing with recurring clogs and ongoing plumbing issues.

How to Choose the Right Method

When deciding between hydro jetting and snaking, consider the following factors:

  1. Severity of the clog: If you're dealing with a simple blockage, snaking may be sufficient. However, for more severe clogs or those caused by grease and sludge, hydro jetting is likely the better option.
  2. Pipe condition: Assess the age and integrity of your pipes before choosing a method. If you're concerned about potential damage, snaking may be a safer choice.
  3. Consider your budget when making your decision. Snaking is typically more cost-effective but may not provide a long-term solution.
  4. Environmental concerns: If you prefer an environmentally friendly option, hydro jetting, which uses only water, may be the better choice.


Both hydro jetting and snaking have their benefits and drawbacks. Ultimately, the best method for clearing a clog depends on the severity of the blockage, the condition of your pipes, your budget, and your personal preferences. By considering these factors and consulting with a professional plumber, you can make an informed decision and keep your drains flowing smoothly.


1. Can hydro jetting damage my pipes?

Hydro jetting can potentially damage fragile or older pipes. It's essential to have a professional plumber assess your pipes' condition before choosing this method.

2. Is snaking a long-term solution for clogs?

Snaking can be effective for simple clogs but may not provide a long-term solution, as it doesn't remove the buildup that can lead to future issues.

3. Can I perform hydro jetting or snaking by myself?

While snaking can often be performed by homeowners, hydro jetting requires specialized equipment and training. It's best to consult with a professional plumber for hydro jetting services.

4. How often should I have my pipes hydro jetted?

The frequency of hydro jetting depends on your plumbing system and usage. For most homes, having the pipes hydro jetted every 1-2 years can be sufficient for preventative maintenance. However, if you have a history of severe clogs or a commercial property, you may need more frequent hydro jetting services.

5. Can snaking remove tree roots from pipes?

Snaking can sometimes remove small tree roots but may not be as effective for larger, more extensive root systems. In these cases, hydro jetting is likely the better option, as its high-pressure water stream can cut through and clear away the roots.