Water Jets vs. Cable Machines: What’s the Difference?

Breaking down the pros and cons and the best applications for both water jetters and cable drain cleaners

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Water Jets vs. Cable Machines: What’s the Difference?
Water jets are ideal for clearing grease, as well as flushing sand and melting ice. Jets use a stream of high-pressure water that cuts the grease off the walls of the pipe and flushes it away.

Since the introduction of water jets more than 25 years ago, drain cleaning professionals have pondered this question: do high pressure water jets replace cable drain cleaners?

The answer is yes and no. Traditional cable drain cleaners do a great job of cutting up tree roots and retrieving objects. But when it comes to grease clogs, cables have a difficult time.

Water jets, on the other hand, are ideal for clearing grease-choked lines, as well as flushing sand from bellied lines and melting ice clogs. Jets use a stream of high-pressure water that cuts the grease off the walls of the pipe and flushes it away. The thrust of the nozzle drives the hose down the line for wall-to-wall cleaning action.

Electric jets typically offer a maximum of 1,500 psi at about 2 gpm. Trying to get more pressure from an electric motor runs the risk of pulling too many amps and popping breakers. Better to use a gas-powered jet. You get twice the pressure and flow rate than that of electric jets. It gives you the power to cut through tough stoppages and pull the hose down longer lines, and the flow to flush larger lines clean. Gas jets can also be used to clear indoor drainlines with a portable reel. It lets you use the power of gas jets in buildings and confined spaces where exhaust fumes could be hazardous, while the jets stay safely outside.

Beware of trying to convert your pressure washer into a water jet. Jets use vibration to overcome the friction in the pipe and help the hose glide around bends and further down the line. If you don’t have pulse, the hose could get stuck in the pipe.

For more information on what water jets can do for you, watch this video.



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