SNOO Rental vs. Buying, Which is Better?
When we brought my son home from the hospital, he spent his first night in the SNOO Smart Sleeper Bassinet by Happiest Baby, and nearly every night that followed until turning 5.5 months old.
I knew I wanted to try the SNOO out, that much was clear, but how should we best go about it? Should we rent it? Should we buy when it’s so expensive? Was it really worth the hype?
Here’s everything to consider when weighing buying vs. renting the SNOO:
What is the SNOO?
The SNOO is a smart bassinet created by Dr. Harvey Karp that responds to your baby’s cries with soothing motion and sounds. It also has a gentle baseline motion that rocks your baby all night long, operating only once the corresponding swaddle clips are engaged, making it one of the safest baby sleep bassinets on the market. To date, there has never been a SIDS death in the SNOO. On average, it claims to add 1-2 hours per sleep per night.
All of these were my main reasons for wanting it, and after using it for five and a half months with my son, I’m confident it gave us the extra pair of ‘hands’, if you will, that we needed. You can read my full SNOO review here.
So if you’re already sure you want to try it, then what should you consider when deciding to rent vs. buy? Here’s everything I weighed before deciding to go with a third option, which I’ll discuss below.
Benefits of Renting
First, the math:
The SNOO is expensive, and it keeps going up in price each year. Right now, a new one runs $1695 before taxes. If you use it for six months, that works out to roughly $9.40/day.
You can rent the SNOO for $149/month for months 1-4, and $49/month for months 5 and 6 with a 2-month commitment. It works out to about $5/day. If you’d rather not commit to two months upfront, you can pay $149/month with a one-month commitment. You’ll pay $59.50 to ship the SNOO back to Happiest Baby, though it ships to you for free. There is also a $99 cleaning and reconditioning fee.
The rental seems like the cheaper choice here, and there are additional benefits:
Obviously, the outright costs are lower when you rent. For about $854 with the cleaning fee, return shipping, and a full six-month rental, you can rent one instead of buying for $1700.
To get the $854 price, you’ll have to commit to two months upfront. If you decide to only commit to one month but end up keeping it for six, the total will be $1052.50.
What if your baby doesn’t like the SNOO? Some babies don’t like the rocking, or are bothered rather than soothed by the sound and motion response to their cries. Considering that website reviews show about one in five people don’t love it, it would be a pity to end up with a nearly $1700 bassinet that you’re not using.
But if you rent and only commit to one month to begin with, then you’ve given yourself the opportunity to return the bassinet with ease if it doesn’t work out. In this case you’d be out the $149 rental, plus $99 cleaning and $59.50 shipping fees for a total of $307.50.
Personally, when I added that up, it seemed like a lot for a one-month rental. Still, it’s much less than $1700.
Happiest Baby also offers a 30-day worry-free guarantee off of retail SNOOs. It will obviously come out to much more than a rental if you purchase and keep the SNOO, but if you return it, then I assume you’re only out the shipping and cleaning fee (this isn’t clarified on the website, unfortunately).
Apart from buying a used SNOO, which I discuss below, renting one that is already in rotation is certainly greener than buying a new one. Personally, being green is important to me, and became even more important when I had my son. He has to live on this planet, so anything I can do to reduce our impact, I try to do.
Cons of Renting
Adds up quickly
When I added up the cost of renting, although I liked the idea of not having to commit to something that might not work for us, I didn’t like the idea of spending anywhere from $300-$1000 just to use something I’d eventually send back.
The other thing to ask yourself is whether or not you think you’ll be using this for more than one child. If you know for certain that you want more children, then buying might make more sense, although the warranty only lasts for a year, so it’s not as risk-free as a rental. Even two rentals at the current pricing would barely be more than the cost to buy outright.
If you have a friend who might also want to use it soon after you who you could sell it to, that’s another option.
You’re getting a used item
Obviously, the SNOO that you are renting is probably already used. Nine times out of 10 this should not be a big deal, especially since Happiest Baby steam cleans their rentals. Since you get new swaddles and linens with your rental, you can rest assured you are getting a sanitized product.
That said, some of the negative reviews mention product malfunctions during their rental period and a gap in time between getting a new rental and sending the old one in. When you only have six months of usefulness for the rental, any missed weeks are a bummer.
Of course, a new SNOO can malfunction as well, but it’s more likely to happen with a rental that may have already been used many times over.
Benefits of Buying
If you buy brand new, then you can be sure what you’re getting is a new product that hasn’t already been used several times over.
Happiest Baby claims their products are meant to last and can be used for a second child, but keep in mind that the warranty will only last for one year.
Potential long-term savings
Here’s where things get interesting. You have more options than just renting the SNOO and sending it back or buying one and then having it sit in your closet forever when you’re done. There’s an active secondhand market for SNOOs, and just about every other baby item out there, with most of them selling anywhere between $700-$1000.
When you add it up, if you buy new and use the bassinet for the full six months and are able to sell it for $900+ when you’re finished, it would work out to be about the same as a rental. If you’re able to use it for more than one child and then sell it when you’re done, even better.
The SNOO also goes on sale from time to time. It was almost 30% off during Black Friday last year, at which point I would consider it a no-brainer to buy.
Potential earning opportunities
Once you’re done with the SNOO, you can rent it out! If you live in an area that receives tourists, you can become a renter with BabyQuip and rent out your SNOO, and other baby products, to visiting families. I live near Lake Tahoe and seriously considered doing this, and would have if I hadn’t sold my SNOO on the secondhand market so easily.
You’ll have to learn how to clean the items yourself, which is honestly easy – we steam cleaned our SNOO ourselves – and will have to provide delivery for a fee.
I have seen SNOO rentals in my area going for around $30 per night. Since we have lots of tourists in both in the winter and the summer, it could’ve added up big time. There are certainly risks when you rent out your items, but it’s worth looking into BabyQuip if you have a lot of high-end baby items that people would want on their vacation.
Third Option: Buy Used
After weighing the pros and cons of buying and renting, I ultimately decided to buy a used SNOO from a mom in my community off of Facebook Marketplace (here’s more about how I buy and sell on the secondhand market). It worked great for us for the full 5.5 months that we used it (at which point my son got over being swaddled and we transitioned to the crib – more on how to transition here). When I was done, I listed it for slightly more than I paid, negotiated with the buyer, and was ultimately able to sell it within a few days for exactly what I’d bought it for. I essentially rented the SNOO for free.
This does not come without risks. There could have been several owners prior to you – it’s tough to know for sure. You will also not benefit from the warranty. Even if the product is less than a year old, it does not extend to second owners.
I knew that I could end up with a SNOO that stopped working partway through and there would be nothing I could do. I also had to take the cleaning and sanitizing upon myself, which is nerve-wracking since we were using steam on an electronic product. I decided to roll the dice since I didn’t want to throw money away on a rental and didn’t want to buy new, either.
If I were to do it again, I would probably buy a new SNOO, hopefully on sale, and rent it via BabyQuip when I was done. I’d have a good six months left of a warranty to work with during that rental period, and once I got over doing rentals, I could sell it in my community.
If you don’t live in an area tourists visit, both renting and buying make a lot of sense, and it just comes down to what your personal budget is and how much use you think you will get out of it.
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