The SNOOZ sound machine uses a real fan neatly tucked away inside a stylish external casing. It produces the authentic and calming sound of rushing air in a compact little unit.
With a good volume range, the option to change the tone, and fading sleep timers, this is an excellent device for blocking out disruptive external noise and relaxing at night.
- Uses a real fan instead of recordings, so the sound is natural.
- 10 volume/speed settings for the fan.
- Very loud max. volume for a fan-based device.
- Buttons on the device for the main settings, and an app to control it from a distance.
- You can adjust the tone by twisting the side cap.
- Portable and stylish design.
- Daily timers to turn on and off.
- Fade in and out option.
- Nursery calibration keeps the volume at a safer level.
- 100 day trial period.
- One of the most expensive white noise machines ($79.99 when I bought it).
- The nightlight doesn’t impress.
- Needs to be plugged in to work – no internal battery.
- You need to use a phone app to access some of the advanced features (fade in and out, timers, nightlight dimming, and nursery calibration).
In the photo below, you can see the SNOOZ, the simple box it comes in, the sleep mask they include, and the instructions:
And here you can see the SNOOZ from above, with the 6 foot cable and the three buttons the device has:
The good points
1. It uses a real fan, not recordings
The core concept of the SNOOZ is relatively simple. Stick a real fan inside a stylish external casing and give people a way to listen to a fan sound at night without having a much larger real fan blowing air around the room.
Using a normal fan isn’t a problem in the summer, but you end up pointing it at a wall in the winter to avoid an unwanted draft. A normal fan also takes up more space. And in my case, can lead to toe-stubbing moments in the middle of the night if you have it next to the bed!
Most white noise machines use recordings so that they can give you a wider range of white noise, fan and nature sounds. And although the best models sound pretty convincing, it’s never as authentic as a real fan.
There are a couple of other devices that use real fans, most notably the Marpac Dohm line, which ruled the white noise roost for many years. But I’ve been won over by the SNOOZ. As you’ll see below, not only does it sound really good, but it has more features than you usually find in mechanical white noise machines.
2. You can adjust the tone
I don’t want to make this review a running comparison of the Marpac Dohm and SNOOZ, but it will be helpful for a couple of points since Marpac pioneered this style of sound machine.
The SNOOZ has a similar mechanism to change the tone – just twist the side cap. I imagine they were inspired by Marpac when coming up with that design!
I really like the way you can adjust the tone as it lets you pinpoint a fan sound that you enjoy listening to. The instruction manual says it ranges from a normal room fan to the sound you’d hear in an airplane cabin. I’m not convinced by the latter, but in any case it sounds great across the full range.
3. It has incremental volume controls
I’ve long criticized Marpac devices for the lack of a volume control. Yes, you can choose between two speed settings with the DS, which also changes the volume. And as you turn the cap, the volume changes somewhat with the tone.
But the SNOOZ actually has volume control buttons that let you specifically adjust the volume in 10 incremental steps, from fairly quiet to surprisingly loud.
Marpacs are notoriously quiet and not that good for masking external sound at night. The SNOOZ on higher volumes is much louder, and I find it blocks out most noise coming from outside my bedroom window – especially the air conditioning unit and distant sirens, which is great.
4. Nursery calibration setting keeps the volume at a safe level
When you use the App (more on that below), you can set it to nursery calibration. That keeps the volume at a level that’s apparently been found in research to be safer for infants. They reference the research on the App, which shows how important they felt this feature is.
5. Lightweight, compact and stylish design
At less than 2 pounds, and measuring 5.6 x 5.6 x 3.2 inches, the SNOOZ looks smaller and feels lighter than I was expecting. I think the Marpac fan models have taught me over the years that they tend to be bulkier and heavier than most other brands.
Not so with the SNOOZ though. Although there are smaller devices out there, you could squeeze it into a suitcase if you’re traveling, and it won’t take much space on a nightstand. And that’s always a good thing.
Where the aesthetic appeal is concerned, I like the SNOOZ personally. The round design is pleasing to the eye, the fabric cover for the side neatly hides the plastic casing, and the white and grey color scheme has a modern feel to it.
So I think this is one you can have on a nightstand, shelf or office desk without feeling like you have an ugly lump of plastic standing out (believe me, that is the case with some sound machines!).
In this photo you can see that the SNOOZ isn’t much bigger than a standard small glass:
6. An accompanying App with more features
The SNOOZ has an accompanying smartphone App (for iPhones and Android). And if you use that, you can access more features.
It’s one of my criticisms that you can only access some with the App. Nevertheless, they are good features, so let’s take a look.
Bluetooth control of the device
First of all, I do like that you can control it with Bluetooth. So if you put it my the window or door, for example, you can turn it on or off, and adjust the volume, without getting out of bed (assuming you didn’t leave your phone on the window ledge too…).
You can’t adjust the tone on the App though – you need to manually twist the cap.
You can set it to turn on and off at any time of the day, which is great. Weirdly, you have to set the off timer for the next day, so it doesn’t work for daytime naps.
But I like that you can set a different start time and auto-off for each day of the week if you like. Or you can just have it on continuous play if you prefer.
The timers can also be programmed to turn on and off abruptly, or with a fade from 30 seconds up to five minutes.
Night light brightness settings
You can choose to have no light at all (dark mode), which will benefit those who really dislike even the tiniest slither of light in their bedroom at night.
Alternatively, you can set the nightlight to one of three brightness levels. As you’ll see in the criticisms below, I’m not a fan of the nightlight feature. But I do like that you can adjust the brightness.
The SNOOZ is one of the more expensive white noise machines available. I assume it’s because they managed to combine a real fan with an App that allows more control over the device than other brands give you.
2. The nightlight feature isn’t really a nightlight
Instead of adding a traditional light with a pleasing soft glow, they simply boosted the maximum possible brightness of the three buttons.
The light is white, which isn’t very pleasing for starters. And the design of the device means that light escapes from the side and casts an uneven line across any nearby vertical surface like a wall or shelving unit.
So in my opinion, if this is a feature that really matters to you, the SNOOZ will give you a small amount of light which might help you see a little if the room is pitch black. But it’s not a light that will make an infant feel reassured. And it’s not a light that you can use to read in bed.
I think it’s a little bit cheeky to call it a nightlight, if I’m honest. ‘Bright buttons that you can dim’ is a more accurate description.
3. You need the App to access all the features
Maybe I’m showing my age here. Although I like being able to control a device with an App on my phone, I kind of dislike it when I don’t also have the option to control it manually.
Sure, I would never expect my TV to give me full control with endless buttons on the side – I can accept that.
But if a device only has a handful of features, why not make them available both physically and on the App? Not everyone wants to have their phone switched on and on their nightstand. Some people don’t have a smartphone that is compatible with the App.
So just be aware that you can control the volume and tone without the App. But timers and brightness of the buttons are only available on the App.
4. Needs to be plugged in to work
This is only a minor complaint as other sound machines with a real fan also need to be plugged in to work. But it’s worth remembering that it doesn’t have a battery option.
The SNOOZ was designed with one main aim – to let you listen to a real and calming fan sound in a portable device. And I think it very capably achieves that.
I definitely prefer it to all the other mechanical white noise machines I’ve tried. It has a better volume range, good tone control, and useful timer features. It also looks neat and weighs less than you’d expect.
If you can forgive the fact that some features are only available via the App, then this is a device that will please those who love the natural sound of rushing air, but who don’t want a normal fan in the bedroom all year round.