Drain Snake or Hydro Jetting – What’s the Best Tool for Drain Cleaning?

Having the right tool for the job is critical for all types of home improvement or repair projects. The sentiment is especially true when it comes to plumbing. If you are dealing with a clogged drain, whether it’s a sink, tub, toilet, or sewer line, using the wrong tool can be a waste of time, money, and energy – not to mention possibly damaging your plumbing.


When it comes to drain clearing, there are many tools and approaches, including plumbing snakes and hydro jetting. A plumbing snake is a traditional method for manually breaking up the clog, while hydro jetting is a newer approach that uses high-pressure water to blast away the blockage. A licensed plumber can recommend which method is best suited for your needs and plumbing system.

Plumber snake

A plumbing snake, also known as an auger, is the old standby of drain-cleaning methods. The “snake” is a thin metal cable coiled into a spool. The end of the snake is inserted into the problematic drain. Using a hand crank or motorized machine, the snake is extended and pushed through the drainpipe until it reaches the clog. The goal is to push or twist the blockage, so it breaks apart and passes through the pipe. Depending on where your clog is located (and for which fixture), there are different types of plumbing snakes that may be appropriate.


Tools available at most home improvement or plumbing supply stores

Gentle on old pipes

Effective for most typical household clogs


May not remove all of the blockage from inside the pipe

Difficult to use for clogs deep in the plumbing system

May not work for all types of blockages

Hydro Jetting

Hydro jetting is a newer, more advanced drain cleaning method. Featuring a thin, high-pressure hose and specialized nozzle, the hydro jet essentially pressure-washes the inside of drain pipes. The nozzle-end of the hose is inserted into the pipe, and the high-pressure blast of water removes debris and cleans the pipe down to the wall.


Good at removing stubborn clogs consisting of grease, oils, hair, mineral deposits, and more

Can be effective for tree roots in underground sewer lines

Often paired with a camera inspection of the drainpipe

Environmentally safe – no harsh chemicals used

Used for residential and commercial buildings


Should only be performed by a professional plumber, not the homeowner

Can damage old, brittle pipes – which is why a camera inspection may be necessary

Which drain clearing method is right for you?

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach for dealing with a clogged drain. When in doubt, call the professionals at Emergency Plumbing & Solar. We have the right tools and know-how to determine the type of blockage you’re dealing with and employ the proper solution. To schedule a drain cleaning appointment, call us today at (808) 691-9309 Oahu, (808) 400-8811 Hawaii Island.


Areas we serve

808-465-4680 808-900-4377