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Waterpik's SinuSense Water Pulsator for Nasal Irrigation

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating


Updated April 15, 2014

Waterpik's SinuSense Water Pulsator for Nasal Irrigation
Sharon Basaraba

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Note from the Longevity Guide: Water Pik is offering updated replacement SinuSense devices free of charge, since some early models leaked fluid into the battery compartment. See below for details.

Water Pik’s SinuSense Water Pulsator is designed as a nasal irrigation system that flushes mucus and allergens out of the sinuses, using saline solution and a battery-operated pump.

Nasal irrigation has been recommended as a drug-free way to help nasal congestion from allergies and sinus infections, which can occur more commonly in older people because of the changing physiology of their noses. In fact, guidelines for physicians issued in 2012 by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) suggest that nasal irrigation is a more effective treatment than antibiotics, since more than 90% of these infections are caused by viruses, rather than bacteria.

How It Works:

The water pulsator is a battery-operated pump that screws onto a water reservoir. When you squeeze the trigger, saline solution is pumped up from the reservoir through a nozzle, into one nostril. The solution rinses your nasal passages and runs out the other nostril.


  • Fill the reservoir with 8 oz (240 ml) of distilled, filtered, or previously-boiled water
  • Add pre-mixed saline packet or use this recipe to mix your own saline solution
  • Microwave reservoir at 5-second intervals to desired temperature (should be lukewarm)
  • Screw battery-operated pulsator onto reservoir (requires 3 AA batteries)
  • Choose desired nozzle according to size of nostril
  • Lean forward over the sink
  • Squeeze the trigger while holding the nozzle into one nostril, allowing the saline solution to run out the other nostril
  • Once half of the solution is used, switch sides
  • Gently blow nose into tissue
  • Clean device by washing with soap and water

When to use it: According to the manufacturer, it can be used to relieve:

  • Sinus pressure
  • Nasal stuffiness
  • Nasal symptoms from flu and cold
  • Helps remove allergens like pollen and dander, as well as debris like dust and smoke particles

Warnings: According to the package instructions, the device should not be used if:

  • Your nasal passages are completely blocked
  • You have an ear infection or feel pressure in one ear
  • Do not use tap water, as microbes may be present
  • Do not use on children under the age of 6

Bottom Line

This is a great nasal irrigation device.

Nasal irrigation can also be performed using the traditional Neti pot, but I find that the passive rinse the Neti pot provides just doesn't seem effective enough to flush out the nasal passages and get rid of persistent congestion. That seems to require some gentle water pressure. One inexpensive ($8-$10) option is the NeilMed Sinus Rinse squeeze bottle, reviewed here by About.com's Cold and Flu guide, Kristina Duda.

While Water Pik's SinuSense pulsator is a little pricier at $20-$40, it does a great job of gently flushing out nasal congestion while giving you control over the pressure and speed with the battery-operated pump and trigger.

Manufacturer's replacement program: Some models manufactured between May, 2010, and July, 2011 leaked water into the device's battery compartment. Water Pik has launched a free exchange program and will send you an updated model at no cost to you. The easiest way to tell which model you have is to check the reservoir: if it has a fill door, you have the newest model. If it doesn't, contact the manufacturer for an exchange.

  • For my review of a similar device, the NeilMed Sinugator, click here


Anthony W. Chow et al. "IDSA Clinical Practice Guideline for Acute Bacterial Rhinosinusitis in Children and Adults."Clin Infect Dis. (2012) doi: 10.1093/cid/cir1043.


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