With those in mind, I bring you my review of the BabySmile Nasal Aspirator S-502! I'll be comparing it to the others we currently use: a bulp aspirator, the BabySmile portable aspirator, and the BabyVac.
The S-502 performs well here as it's fairly quiet for a full-powered plug-in nasal aspirator. It's like a quiet hum / buzz. I wouldn't expect the noise to scare a child, it certainly didn't phase any of my 3. Manual bulbs and NoseFrida would be a better choice for children with sensitivity to minor/ moderate noises, and of course the BabyVac is by far the loudest on the market since it hooks up to your vacuum cleaner, yikes.
The S-502 is very cool because it offers THREE power levels. So, you can crank it up or down depending on what your kid has going on in that itty bitty nose. But don't worry, even the highest level is safe, my husband tried it out on himself and thoroughly enjoyed it finding no discomfort whatsoever. In my opinion, the S-502 performs better than any manual or battery operated devices I've tried. But if I'm being honest, and I always am, it falls just short of BabyVac, which has the best and fastest suction I've come across.
There are a lot of parts to clean on the S-502, which is annoying, but they're pretty easy to clean thoroughly. Bulbs are notorious for breeding mold inside. If you can stomach it, take a looksy at this horrifying picture of a bulb cut in two! YIKES!!! And I've had some major trouble getting the BabyVac nose part and tube clean, as well as various battery operated suckers. But the S-502 comes apart into many pieces, all of which are pretty easy to clean and dry, and you can visually check to make sure it's all clean before putting it back together and storing it or using it again. Some parts are OK in the dishwasher, but not all, so be careful to read the very detailed manual!
This is probably not something I would bother to pack and bring with us on vacation if we were flying (maybe if we were driving...), but it's a great size for at-home-use. It's light weight (less than 3 pounds), and plugs into the outlet with a nice long cord so you're not super restricted about where you have to use it. As far as baby devices go (think humidifer, air purifier, sound machine, etc), it's fairly compact, measuring 9.4" x 3.3" x 6.9", fitting easily onto a shelf or in a drawer in your changing table.
Retailing for $114.70 on BabySmile's website and on Amazon, it's not super cheap. Comparatively, you can get a bulb for under $5, and a BabyVac or battery operated nasal aspirator for around $20. That said, I haven't seen anything else on the market quite like the S-502 - it's redesgned after nasal aspirators used in hospitals, and is available for home-use at a fraction of the price.
Overall, I found the BabySmile Nasal Aspirator S-502 easy to use and performing well at clearing out the nose. It's quiet enough that it shouldn't cause additional fear or trauma for the child (let's face it, putting something in their nose is scary enough), and compact/light enough that it's easy to tote around the house or store away somewhere. While I didn't find it to suction quite as well as the BabyVac, the fact that it is MUCH quieter and doesn't require using with a vacuum (we now have Dyson cordless which doesn't work too well with our BabyVac), made it win out overall. The main drawback for me is the price tag, but you can just suck it up (pun intended) and make the splurge, or add it to your baby registry if you plan ahead! And hey, you can also WIN ONE!!!
NASAL ASPIRATOR S-502!!!