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A plumbing snake is ideal for minor clogs or when an item such as a toy gets stuck in the drain. If your plunger doesn't remove the material, a snake is usually enough to remove most clogs. Snakes can also alert you to more serious problems. For example, if it can't break through the material, you may have a tree root in the line, and not a buildup of hair. A hydro jet, on the other hand, doesn't just break up clogs, it clears your plumbing lines of material that builds up on pipe walls, such as minerals and grease. Snaking doesn't thoroughly clean your pipes, so it is a temporary solution to many types of clogs. While hydro jetting can clear almost any clog, it's not an option for the do-it-yourselfer. If your pipes are damaged or weak, a hydro jet may cause more damage, so it is a process that should be done by a prefessional plumber to avoid damaging your plumbing.