Augering vs. Snaking vs. Jetting

Augering vs. Snaking vs. Jetting

When it comes to cleaning your sewer line, there are a few different methods you can use: augering vs. snaking vs. jetting. But which one is the best? And which one should you use for your particular situation? In this blog post, Oak Plumbing will discuss the differences between these three methods and help you decide which one is right for you.

What is augering?

Augering is the process of using a spiral-shaped device to bore through blockages in your sewer line. This method is typically used for smaller blockages, as the auger can only bore through so much material before it becomes stuck.

Benefits of augering

You can use augering for small to medium blockages. The process is inexpensive, and you can do it without damaging your plumbing.

When to auger

You should auger when the blockage is small to medium in size and when the blockage is close to the opening of the pipe.

When not to auger

You shouldn't attempt to auger your pipes if you have:

  • A sewer line with severe grease buildup 
  • A broken drain line with root infestation 
  • The main drain line needs to be cleared from a rooftop
  • A drain line that has had past repairs using epoxy lining.
  • A drain line that is made of cast iron and has many build-ups

What is snaking?

Snaking is the use of a cable that is inserted into the pipe to break up or remove the blockage. The cable is fed through the pipe until it reaches the blockage. Once the blockage has been reached, the cable is used to break up or remove the blockage. Samuel Blanc invented this electric auger in 1933. It consists of rotating blades that expertly cut through tree roots blocking sewer pipes. Many other similar machines have been invented and used by professional plumbers since then. 

Did you know that there are different types of drain snakes for various clogs? A top snake is designed for one application, while a mini-rooter is meant for another. Toilet augers have a third purpose, and large drain snakes are intended specifically for mainline sewers. There are two types of snakes - electric and manual. If you use the wrong type for your drains or pipes, it could make your plumbing problem worse. For example, if you have a mainline that is overflowing and you don't know what the clog is, inserting the snake cable down the clean out may cause injuries or get stuck in the line when retrieved. 

Benefits of snaking vs. jetting

You can use snaking on most types of pipes, and you can use it on drains with varying amounts of blockage. Snaking is relatively inexpensive and easy to use, so as a homeowner, you can easily do it yourself.

When to snake a drain

You should snake your drain when you have a slow drain. You should also snake your drain if you have a drain that is frequently clogged. Finally, if you have tried other methods of clearing the blockage, such as plunging, and they have not worked, then it is a good idea for you to snake the drain.

When not to snake a drain

  • If the blockage is too far down the drain for you to reach it with a snake
  • If your pipe is aged, damaged, or corroded
  • If a tree root is causing the blockage
  • If the blockage is in a sewer line or other mainline

What is jetting?

Jetting is a method of clearing blocked drains using high-pressure water. Jetting is often used on sewer lines and other main lines where a snake cannot reach or where the blockage is too far down the drain. Jetting is also used to clean pipes that are damaged or corroded.

Benefits of jetting vs. snaking

Jetting has many benefits. It can reach blockages that a snake cannot. Jetting can clean pipes that are damaged or corroded. The jetting process is less likely to damage pipes than a snake. Jetting is less likely to damage your drain than a snake. It is less likely to cause sewage backups than a snake. The jetting process is less likely to splash dirty water on you than a snake. Jetting is less likely to leave a mess than a snake. It is less likely to cause environmental damage than a snake. 


Your home's drains are in danger of backing up and overflowing if the sewer lines are blocked. Unfortunately, it is your responsibility to take care of the sewer pipes on your property. The best way to do this is by hydro-jetting clogs away. The pressurized water in hydro-jetting is so powerful that it can cut through wood, dried concrete, and grease clinging to pipes. Plus, it's able wash away tree roots! Not to mention, hydro-jetting cleans pipes thoroughly--leaving the pipes crystal clear. This method is effective and popular because it helps prevent future clogs.

When to hydro-jet your pipes

  • When your drains are slow
  • When you have a clog that a snake cannot clear
  • When your pipes are made of cast iron, PVC, or another material that could be easily damaged by a snake
  • When you want to avoid damaging your pipes
  • When you want to prevent sewage backups
  • When you want to avoid splashing dirty water on yourself
  • When you want to avoid leaving a mess
  • When you want to prevent environmental damage
  • When you want to save money

When not to use hydro-jetting

In some cases, using a drain snake is better than hydro-jetting because the hydro-jetter's force can damage weaker pipes. Drain snakes clear clogs by using a cable machine and are affordable compared to other methods. Hydro-jetting should be used for more serious clogs, such as when there are tree roots in the sewer line or an enormous blockage that won't budge with any other method.

You should not use hydro-jetting when you have a drain line that is clogged with no cleanout. You should also not use it when you have a simple soft clog stoppage. If you have a large build-up inside an old cast iron pipe, you should not use hydro-jetting since you could damage your pipes. Finally, do not use it when the cleanout is stubbed inside a crawl space; you’ll flood it and cause secondary damage.

Is hydro-jetting better than snaking?

There is no easy answer to this. Snaking is good for simple clogs and hydro-jetting is better for stubborn or difficult clogs. It really depends on the situation. If you have a slow drain, it’s probably best to try snaking first. If that doesn’t work, then you can move on to hydro-jetting.

Can hydro-jetting damage pipes?

Hydro-jetting can damage pipes if not done correctly. That’s why it’s important to hire a professional plumber who has experience with this type of equipment.

Can I do my own hydro-jetting?

We don’t recommend it. Hydro-jetting is a complicated process and if not done correctly, can damage your pipes. It’s best to leave it to the professionals.

Be aware of snaking vs. hydro-jetting scams

There are a lot of scams out there when it comes to drain cleaning. Some plumbers will try to upsell you on a more expensive service than you need. Others will snake your drain and then tell you that you need hydro-jetting.


Ask for proof of insurance and certification

Before you hire a plumber, make sure they are properly insured and certified. Ask to see their proof of insurance and check online reviews to see what others have said about their work. It’s also a good idea to get multiple bids so you can compare prices.

Check online reviews and ask for customer testimonials

Before hiring a plumber, check online reviews and read customer testimonials. This will give you a good idea of the quality of their work. It’s also a good idea to ask for referrals from friends or family who have used a particular plumber in the past.

Watch out for fake snaking videos

There are a lot of unscrupulous plumbers who will try to sell you the idea of snaking your drains. They may charge you for snaking and also charge you for jetting on top of it. Knowing what snaking and jetting are and when you should apply them will help you avoid such frauds.

Not sure which method you need? Call Oak Plumbing today!

We created Oak Plumbing to provide outstanding customer service, help our community, and reintroduce expert plumbing. The safety of your family is always our top priority. Our Oak Plumbing team knows it's essential to use the latest plumbing technology while still adhering to our family values. That's why we only hire licensed and background-checked professionals — so you can feel confident that your home is in good hands. Plus, most of our clients leave five-star reviews, so don't hesitate to call us!