#childsafety | Snoo Smart Sleeper Bassinet review: convenient but has its downsides

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Bradley Hasemeyer/INSIDER

  • The Snoo Smart Sleeper Bassinet can help parents and babies sleep better with rocking motors and speakers that work to calm and soothe a fussy baby.
  • It’s pricey at $1,300 (or $118 per month to rent), but with a convenient app, custom settings, and mics that sense when the baby wakes, it can be an asset for exhausted parents in desperate need of sleep.
  • In the last two and a half months, we’ve found the bassinet takes some getting used to and the swaddle design leaves a bit to be desired.
  • In April, researchers reported security flaws with the bassinet’s firmware, but Happiest Baby, the company behind the Snoo, said the holes have since been patched.
  • This article was reviewed by Dipesh Navsaria, MPH, MSLIS, MD, FAAP, who is an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, and president of the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

On March 1, my wife and I learned that our two-year adoption journey had come to an end. We’d finally been matched with a birth mom and had less than 21 hours to get to the hospital — in another state. 

We’d only been a “waiting family” on the agency website for about three weeks and had none of the gear you normally pull together pre-baby: clothes, diapers, a carrier, and of course, a crib. 

When my wife brought up the idea of the Snoo, a $1,300 smart bassinet, I kindly asked if she’d forgotten we had to raise every single dollar for our adoption and had all but given up things like going out to eat for personal budget reasons. She reasoned we could rent it for $118 a month and that it’s only intended for five to six months before weaning an infant off. Still, we’d be dropping more than $600. 

But it didn’t take long before memories of the first few difficult months with our now 6 1/2-year-old daughter returned to me — how the irregular wakings for feedings left us in a stressed-out zombie-like state of being. I caved. Nearly seven weeks ago, we signed up for the Snoo rental program and took delivery about five days later. 

The design and specs for the Snoo

The Snoo is billed as a technologically advanced bassinet that soothes babies and boosts sleep. By extension, it should also alleviate the zombie phase for parents like myself.

It was created by pediatrician Harvey Karp who is known for his book “The Happiest Baby on the Block” and his “fourth-trimester” theory, which asserts babies are born three months too early. In order to calm them and help them sleep, Karp recommends swaddling and shushing to replicate the womb life they had for nearly nine months.

In partnership with MIT Media Lab engineers and well-known Swiss designer Yves Béhard, Karp put his theory into practice with the Snoo. The smart bassinet has two rocking motors — tested for quiet and durability up to 15 million cycles — that rotate the mattress, clips on either side of the mattress to anchor the included swaddle’s wings, built-in speakers for various levels of white-noise shushing, and three microphones to detect an infant’s sounds and movements.

It’s more like a robot than a crib, really.

Using the microphones, the Snoo interprets your child’s crying to adjust the bed’s speed of rotation and shushing volume, from a casual “Baseline” similar to a gentle rocking in a caregiver’s arms up to a fairly intense “Level 4” comparable to driving a car on a bumpy road or a jiggly subway ride. All of this information is available in the well-designed Snoo app that allows you manual control over the various levels, provides daily tips, and tracks your baby’s sleep patterns.

The Snoo isn’t just a smart bassinet with a modern, high-end design aesthetic though. It also keeps an infant safely secured in a swaddle clipped into the bassinet. This prevents them from rolling over while sleeping — a common concern for parents and something that woke me and my wife up many times with our first child. 

Colleen Kraft, MD, former president of the American Academy of Pediatrics understands this concern well. “My families who use [the] Snoo are happy knowing that as they are able to sleep, their babies are staying on their backs and sleeping safely,” she told Insider Reviews.  

The assembly and setup

The Snoo rental box

Bradley Hasemeyer/INSIDER

The Snoo arrived in a massive box but was surprisingly easy to set up. Fully assembled, it weighs about 40 pounds and measures 30 inches (length), 20 inches (width), and 32 inches (height). You can buy leg extenders ($20) to raise one side of the bassinet, which can help with babies who might spit up more frequently. 

Within about 10 minutes, it was fully set up and connected. The app is simple to download, and there is a button underneath the bassinet that allows it to connect to the WiFi, so no matter where you are in the house, you have motion control. 

I’ll admit at this price point, I thought it would be a set-it-and-forget-it experience, but like other technology-heavy products, the Snoo took a little time to dial in.

At first, it would misinterpret my son’s random noises while sleeping as fussing and raise the level of rocking and shushing. This actually woke him. We used the app to manually lower him back to Baseline and he was fine. 

Eventually, we made adjustments in the app settings to limit how high the rotating speed would go. We stopped it at Level 2 because at the highest level his little head was bouncing back and forth too much for our comfort, but the shushing still goes up to the highest level, which we like. It’s important to note that no safety issues have been reported regarding this, but as a parent, it’s important to stick with what you’re most comfortable.

We also adjusted the mic sensitivity so the next level isn’t triggered so quickly. The app is also helpful for tracking baby’s sleep patterns. We use it to remember when he most recently woke to calculate feeding times, too.

The Snoo App

Bradley Hasemeyer/The Snoo

The Snoo comes with a crib cover and its proprietary swaddle, both of which you keep even if renting. The bassinet is designed for your baby to sleep on their back, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The swaddle has loops for the bassinet clips to hold the baby in place. Pro tip: Our little cross-fit baby was able to work his arms free from the swaddle and wake himself up. We double-swaddled him using the recommended method from the Snoo website and that fixed the problem.

What makes the Snoo stand out

The Snoo stands out because it’s simple to use, easy to set up, and actually works. Having the ability to keep tabs on your baby’s sleep experience and knowing the Snoo will help you rock or shush them is invaluable. Of course, its design team consisting of a famous Swiss designer and engineers at the MIT Media Lab set it apart from the rest of the field too.  

Like other technology connected to WiFi, the Snoo is not immune to security flaws. In April, security firm Red Balloon uncovered vulnerabilities that allowed its researchers to take control of the Snoo’s motor and speaker systems. They found they could shake the bassinet significantly harder than intended by its design. Happiest Baby said they have since patched these vulnerabilities. However, if parents want full security assurance, they can opt to disconnect the Snoo from WiFi.

Security concerns aside, the biggest problem is that, at $1,300, the Snoo costs so much you’ll be embarrassed to name drop it at dinner parties. Unless you plan to have multiple kids in close succession, renting it makes the most sense.

Another major pain point is that the elastic bands on the wings of the swaddle have to be slid onto the plastic clips on either side of the mattress. Those openings are difficult to find, especially in the dark while putting my son to sleep. I was also surprised that at this price point there isn’t a camera to view the baby in the bassinet.

Snoo Smart Sleeper Bassinet review: convenient but has its downsides

Bradley Hasemeyer/INSIDER

Because the swaddle is specific to the Snoo, if you have a baby who spits up frequently, you’ll need to wash it before the next use or buy multiple swaddles. We forgot it in the wash one time and had to wear him in a carrier until it dried. 

It would be nice if it was equipped with some type of caddy or shelf to hold burp cloths, blankets, pacifiers, and other odds and ends, too.

The Snoo is great, but it’s worth noting that every baby is different. There are some Reddit threads where people share their disappointment. Admittedly, we’ve had second-guesses like, “Will our baby be able to sleep without constantly rocking?” According to the Snoo FAQ page, you use the “wean” feature in the app to slowly transition your baby to a crib after about five to six months. 

Of course, Happiest Baby doesn’t have the market cornered on this type of bassinet. You can also opt for other motion-enabled bassinets like tech-focused baby brand 4Moms’ Mamaroo Sleep Bassinet ($350), Chicco’s Close to You Bassinet ($300), or even the extra affordable Fisher-Price Soothing Motions ($139). Only the 4Moms bassinet has an app, and none of them can function on their own to soothe your child like the Snoo.

If you can spring for $130 per month, you should give this thing a try. If it doesn’t work for you after one month, you haven’t dropped $1,300 on a pretty piece of furniture.

Pros: Helps teach your child to self-soothe, easy to set up and use, modern design, useful app, website with educational resources, option to buy or rent

Cons: Pricey, large and heavy, proprietary swaddle means you have to buy their version, no camera, recommended to use the Snoo for five to six months before weaning off


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