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Sleepers often depend on alarm clocks to wake them at the correct time so that they aren’t late for work, school, or other commitments. Some use the alarm feature on their phones in place of standalone alarm clocks, but separate alarm clocks are a popular option with distinct benefits. In addition to telling time and waking you up, modern alarm clocks have other functions, like interacting with your mobile device or projecting the time on the wall.

A standalone alarm clock may have an edge over alarm apps on smartphones for a number of reasons. The blue light emitted by smartphones is thought to make it more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. For this reason, experts often recommend keeping electronics away from the sleep space. Additionally, having your smartphone near the bed may make you more likely to check it rather than resting.

We’ll break down our picks for the best standalone alarm clocks before examining key factors to consider when shopping.

In-Depth Reviews



Wake Up Options

White noise and ambient sounds

The innovative Loftie Clock builds on the classic alarm clock design with cutting-edge touches to enhance your sleep experience. Rather than waking you up with beeps or bell tones, the clock utilizes a two-phase system with a gentle initial alarm to rouse you from sleep and a slightly louder second alarm to help you get out of bed. The clock comes loaded with 30 different alarm options, including white noise and nature sounds, for a more soothing transition from sleep to wakefulness in the morning.

For added variety, the clock can be programmed for separate alarms for different days throughout the week. You can opt for blackout mode if you prefer to fall asleep in total darkness. Simply hold down the snooze button for 2 seconds to darken the LED display, then press any button to reactivate it. Alternatively, the clock has a nightlight mode. The clock also features a Bluetooth speaker and is Wi-Fi-compatible. To switch to a different network, simply use the “Forget Wi-Fi” mode to erase the current setting.

Although the clock’s above-average sticker price is reflective of its high-tech design, ground shipping is free for all U.S. customers. Loftie accepts returns of clocks in pristine condition within 30 days of the delivery date.



Wake Up Options

Ambient sounds and white noise

The Restore 2 is the latest incarnation of Hatch’s popular alarm clock. Built-in lights gradually dim when you get into bed, mimicking the natural colors of sunset for a relaxing visual display as you fall asleep. In the morning, the same lights gradually brighten for a sunrise effect intended to wake you up without the blaring and beeping of a traditional alarm clock. The device’s audio library also offers white noise and a selection of soothing ambient programs such as a waterfall and crackling campfire. Three speakers enhance your listening experience.

The Restore 2 is remarkably easy to operate. One large button activates and turns off the alarm, while a second button accesses the audio content. Soft natural linen covers the clock’s face to dim the display for sleeping. In addition to the preloaded programs, you can access more audio options by purchasing a monthly or yearly subscription. Subscribers can also customize the clock using the free Hatch companion app, which is compatible with Android and iOS devices. Annual subscribers receive 30 nights of exclusive content, while monthly subscribers qualify for a seven-night trial. You do not need a membership to enjoy the Restore 2’s built-in programs, but the app is needed to set the alarm.

This multipurpose device also functions as a bedside lamp and nightlight. Although the Restore 2 is on the expensive side, the device may be beneficial if you’re struggling to sleep soundly and wake up feeling refreshed with a traditional alarm. Standard ground delivery is free of charge, or you can pay extra for expedited shipping if you reside in the contiguous U.S. All orders include 60-night trial periods and one-year warranties against manufacturing defects.



Wake Up Options

Vibrating alarm

An alarm clock that produces gentle sounds may be appealing to some, but others need extra help getting out of bed in the morning. The aptly named Super Loud Alarm Clock from Roxicosly is ideal for those who fall in the latter category. You can program the alarm for a noise level up to 110 decibels, which is comparable to the whirr of a lawnmower. A 9-minute snooze function also ensures you won’t sleep in for too long.

The clock also comes with a “shaker” attachment, consisting of a small disc attached to a 71-inch cord. You’ll place the disc on top of your mattress near your side of the bed. When it’s time to get up, the shaker produces strong vibrations to rouse you without emitting any noise. Alternatively, you can program the clock for audible and physical alarms. After testing the clock, all of our team members — even those who consider themselves heavy sleepers — agreed the combination of noise and vibration would easily awaken them.

A crisp LCD display with adjustable lighting makes the interface easy to read, and the controls are intuitive when you make adjustments. You can set the clock to standard or military time, and adjust the display to five brightness levels depending on your preferences. A USB port also allows you to charge your smartphone and other devices while you sleep.

The Super Loud Alarm Clock is sold through various retailers, but typically carries an approachable sticker price. If you purchase the clock through Amazon.com and are an Amazon Prime member, your order qualifies for free expedited shipping.



Wake Up Options


If you constantly wake up during the night wondering what time it is, a projection clock can come in handy. The Brookstone BALDR Projection Alarm Clock is a cut above the competition for a few reasons. Not only can you cast the time, date, and temperature on any flat surface in your bedroom, but also change the angle of projection up to 180 degrees. Even from 11 feet away, the projected information should be crystal clear thanks to state-of-the-art LED lighting.

The display’s backlight and projection can be adjusted for dimness, depending on your personal preferences. An icon in the bottom left corner indicates the current “comfort” level based on weather conditions. On pleasant mornings, a smiley face will appear, whereas harsher conditions requiring extra or fewer layers produce a frown. You can also refer to the chance of rain to decide whether to bring your umbrella and galoshes when you leave the house. The alarm consists of mellow beeps, which you can turn on and off as needed.

The clock is fairly lightweight and compact, making it perfect for travel. Batteries are needed and not included with your purchase. An affordable sticker price and low-cost shipping make the BALDR Projection Alarm Clock a good option for shoppers on a budget. Returns are allowed within 30 days of purchase.



Wake Up Options

7 ringtones, 9 colors

The Dekala Arches alarm clock is equipped with an impressive array of high-tech features designed to help you sleep and wake up in a peaceful manner. The innovative design relies on light therapy and white noise to improve the quality of your sleep.

The clock offers nine different colors that can be programmed to emit at different points in your sleep cycle. Some colors are intended to promote calmness while others are more stimulating. The clock also features eight sounds to lull you to sleep: waves, frog, light music, lullaby, flowing creek, white noise, brown noise, and fan. You may choose from seven calming ringtone options as your alarm, including birds, sea, and wind chime. If you prefer waking up to gradual light, you can program the clock to emit two different colors before your alarm goes off.

For sleepers who enjoy breathing exercise at bedtime, the clock offers a feature that coordinates breathing rhythms via a pulsating red light. A Sleep Aid Mode helps you sleep by pairing the sound of insects with an orange glow meant to mimic a campfire. If you wake up at a different time on the weekends, you can program in two different wakeup times – one for weekdays and one for weekends.

Dekala offers free shipping anywhere in the U.S., and the clock comes with a 30-day return policy.



Wake Up Options


There are many high-tech alarms on the market, but Kikkerland’s Vintage BedSide Alarm Clock should appeal to anyone seeking a wake-up device with old school charm. This analog-style timepiece features an easy-to-read display with crisp numbers and minute markers, and the face glows in the dark when your bedroom lights are out. Quartz movement ensures accurate timekeeping.

Keeping with its traditional aesthetic, the clock emits a loud beep at the preset time. You can silence the alarm by tapping the large top button. There is not a snooze option. Additionally, there is no differentiation between AM and PM — you’ll need to turn off the alarm to prevent beeping in the evening. Since the clock is wireless, you don’t need to fuss with any cords or wires. A single AA battery powers the device. The clock is compact and equipped with a flat base to rest on any bedside surface.

You can choose from blue, green, or red color schemes. The Vintage Bedside Alarm Clock is available through a wide range of retailers. Those who purchase the clock through Amazon.com qualify for free expedited shipping with a Prime membership.

How to Choose an Alarm Clock

While an alarm clock may seem like a relatively simple purchase, you’ll need to take several factors into account in order to find the ideal alarm clock for you. There are different types of alarm clocks to consider, and certain features may be more important to you than others. We’ll break down the different types of alarm clocks and what to keep in mind as you shop.

What to Consider When Purchasing an Alarm Clock

Based on your personal needs, some of the following factors will likely be important in determining which alarm clock option is right for you.

Wake Up Styles
While most shoppers immediately think of alarm clocks that make noise to wake you, there are other options, including ones that vibrate or light up. Even between alarm clocks that rely on sound, there is a wide selection. Sound choices could include beeping, nature sounds, or music, and the volume may or may not be adjustable.

Battery Backup
Some alarm clocks have a battery backup, which could come in handy if your power goes out. Typically, the battery backup ensures that the alarm still sounds even if the clock is not connected to a power source. Some battery backups enable clocks to automatically maintain the correct time when power is restored so that you don’t have to reset them.

Value is determined by more than price. The features, convenience, accessibility, quality, and your personal needs and preferences may all contribute. When you take these factors into account, a low-priced alarm clock that just tells the time and wakes you could provide less value than a higher-priced model with more useful features. However, if you only want or need the basics, additional features could add expense without increasing the product’s value to you.

Smart Features
New alarm clocks often have smart features that allow integration with Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, or smartphone apps. Smart features may be convenient for tech-savvy users, and many of these features allow for hands-free control. You may be able to place a call, turn on lights, or change the room temperature via your alarm clock, if it is integrated with other smart technology.

The appearance of the display may impact how easy it is to read and whether or not it interferes with your sleep. Large, bright displays may make it easier to tell the time at a glance, but bright lights could also disrupt sleep. Because of this, some alarm clocks are dimmable. The display light may also be a concern since blue light is thought to negatively affect sleep.

Other Features
Alarm clocks can have other features, like radios, USB ports, lights, and adjustability. Available features will depend on the model you are considering. If there is a particular feature you are interested in, the product description should let you know if it is included. Comparing features between options may also help you narrow down your choice.

Which Type of Alarm Clock Should I Choose?

The type of alarm clock that’s right for you depends on your needs, preferences, sleep style, and budget. Each type of alarm clock has distinct advantages that might give it an edge, but no single variety is ideal for all sleepers.

Digital Alarm Clocks: Digital alarm clocks display the time through a lit screen. They typically make it easy to tell the time, but they emit light that some sleepers may find disruptive.

Analog Alarm Clocks: Analog alarm clocks typically contain gears that move the minute and hour hand around the clock face. While these have a traditional look some individuals enjoy and they usually don’t emit light, telling the time may require a little more effort.

Sunrise Wake Up Lights: A sunrise wake up light usually brightens gradually to simulate the sunrise and wake you more gently and naturally. Many also have alarms to ensure you wake up at the intended time.

Projection Alarm Clocks: Projection alarm clocks project the time onto the ceiling or wall to make it easier to see without rolling over in bed. Most have traditional alarm sounds.

Vibration/Shaking Alarm Clocks: Alarm clocks designed to vibrate or shake rely on physical movement rather than sound, though some also have auditory alarms. An alarm clock that shakes may be a suitable option for deep sleepers who are able to ignore even the loudest sounds. It may also be beneficial for couples with different wake times since it could be placed to target just one individual.

With so many options to choose from, deciding on a new alarm clock can be difficult. We break down more considerations for shoppers to help them make an informed decision.

Frequently Asked Questions About Alarm Clocks

How Do I Set My Alarm Clock?

Each alarm clock has its own procedure you must follow to set your wake up time. The instructions that come with your device will explain this process. Typically, you’ll need to press a series of buttons to set the time and alarm preferences.

How Do Sunrise Alarm Lights Work?

Sunrise alarm lights gradually increase in brightness, simulating the natural sunrise. While the light alone may wake sleepers, many also have alarm sounds as an extra layer of protection against oversleeping.

Is an Alarm Clock Better Than a Smartphone Alarm?

Alarm clocks and smartphone alarms each have distinct advantages, and which one is better will depend on your needs and preferences.

Many experts believe it is best to keep devices like smartphones away from the sleep space since they could light up or prove distracting, so alarm clocks are a logical solution. Alarm clocks frequently have additional features sleepers may benefit from, like time projection, vibration, or sunrise simulation.

That said, smartphone alarms are usually easy to set, which may be important if your wake time varies from day to day. Additionally, you don’t have to worry about a power outage resetting your clock and erasing your alarm settings. As long as your phone is charged, the alarm should work during a power outage.

Can the Light from Alarm Clocks Disrupt Sleep?

Some sleepers find the light from alarm clocks disruptive, which is why many clocks have dimmable displays. Reducing the brightness setting limits the light output, so you might notice it less. However, you may still prefer to avoid alarm clocks with blue light, since it is more directly linked to sleep disruption.

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