Jetter Tutorial: Understanding the Different Options

If you’ve yet to add a jetter to your tool arsenal, here’s a breakdown of the basics to get you started in the purchasing process.

Interested in Industrial?

Get Industrial articles, news and videos right in your inbox! Sign up now.

Industrial + Get Alerts

When deciding how to clean a drainline, a water jetter can be an outstanding option as a simple yet effective way to thoroughly remove a clog. Jetters particularly excel at removing grease and soft blockages. The addition of a powerful nozzle can also help cut through roots quickly when cleaning out a root-infested line.

Selecting the best type of jetter for a job depends on several factors, primarily the type and size of the line being cleaned. Options include:  

  • Electric-powered jetters
    Electric-powered jetters can be operated without ventilation and are generally lightweight. However, using electric power limits the amount of pressure you can generate, making these units best for smaller lines and ideal for sink and tub drains.
  • Portable gas-powered jetters
    The portable gas-powered jetter can operate at high psi and flow rates, but the tradeoff for the added power is that they are heavier and must be operated outdoors because of the exhaust. However, since many drains are accessed from inside a building, detachable hose reels and remotes allow for gas-powered jetters to be kept outside while working on a line indoors. They are ideal for commercial and industrial applications.  
  • Trailer/rack-mounted jetters
    A trailer- or rack-mounted jetter can be used on a wide range of lines at high pressures and high flow rates. They are ideal for mainline city sewer drains. This type of jetter requires water reservoirs as a buffer against outpacing the water supply that can be found on the job site.

While not a standard in the industry yet, a new trend is smaller sink jetters. These generally only work well on small sink lines because of their low psi and flow. However, they are convenient because they are easy to carry in and out of a job, and might be yet another good option for your drain cleaning projects.

As you’re deciding on the best jetting machine for your challenge, there are a couple key things you should consider. 

  • What size is the drain that you need to clean? For small- to medium-sized drainlines (typically 1 1/4 to 4 inches) our RIDGID KJ-1350 or KJ-1750 are good choices, for an example. These machines operate at lower pressures and flow rates, but can navigate the tight bends that you normally encounter with small lines. For larger drainlines you’ll need a jetter that has a pressure of at least 3,000 psi and a flow rate of at least 5 gpm. 
  • Where is the job located? If you are in a building and cannot leave the power unit outside, you will have to use an electric jetter. For outside drains or drains that can be accessed with a detachable hose reel, you could use a portable gas-powered jetter. 

Taking the time up front to think about the best type of jetter for your projects will save you time in the long run, increasing your productivity and efficiency.  

About the author
Brandon Moherman is the global marketing manager for the drain cleaning line at RIDGID, a manufacturer of more than 300 dependable and innovative tools, trusted by professional trades in over 140 countries. Learn more at


Comments on this site are submitted by users and are not endorsed by nor do they reflect the views or opinions of COLE Publishing, Inc. Comments are moderated before being posted.