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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.
The Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light simulates sunset and sunrise to help users fall asleep and wake up more naturally.
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With multiple features and settings, the Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light is a versatile option that sleepers can customize to meet their needs and preferences.
This alarm uses a light with 20 personalized brightness settings. It can serve as a reading lamp or night light in addition to being an alarm clock. It offers sunset and sunrise simulation to dim or brighten gradually and mimic natural light variations.
Since the display dims automatically, the light from the time should not be as intrusive during the night. Additionally, owners can enjoy a built-in FM radio.
Five sound options are available for the alarm feature, including natural noises. A tap snooze option allows users to sleep in for a few minutes if needed.
The Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light is eligible for Philips’ 90-day return policy. It is covered by a 2-year warranty.
The RCA Digital Alarm Clock’s simple design and large screen make it easy to read, while a backup battery provides additional peace of mind.
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The RCA Digital Alarm Clock is a budget-friendly option with a simple design. It doesn’t have as many options as some higher-priced alarm clocks, but it has enough features to satisfy most sleepers’ needs.
A large 1.4-inch display makes the time easier to read, while two brightness settings allow users to select the right level of light for their sleep space. The alarm makes a beeping sound, which sleepers can halt by pressing a wide snooze button on the top of the device. If you choose to use the alarm clock’s battery backup, the alarm will still sound if the power goes out. However, the time will not be displayed without continuous AC power.
The RCA Digital Alarm Clock is eligible for Amazon’s 30-day return policy. It also comes with a 1-year limited warranty that protects against defects in materials and workmanship.
Best for the Visually Impaired
The American Lifetime Day Clock shows the date, time, and day of the week on a large, illuminated display to help the elderly and those with visual impairments track time more easily.
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The American Lifetime Day Clock’s prominent display measures 6.3 inches by 4.8 inches, or 8 inches diagonally. The large, high-definition backlit screen may help the visually impaired and those who plan to put the clock farther away tell time more easily.
While the large format may be beneficial for the visually impaired, the detailed information may also help the elderly and those with memory loss. Rather than listing only the time, the American Lifetime Day Clock also displays the day of the week and date. The month and day are spelled out to avoid potential confusion.
The American Lifetime Day Clock is designed for a quick, easy setup. Users can select between a white and a yellow display. The settings include eight language options. An alarm can be set for weekdays, weekends, or every day.
Five alarm options are available. Four of the options include medication reminders, while one is a basic alarm. The alarm is set to ring for one minute, but users can turn it off by pressing any of the clock’s buttons. Four color options are available, and customers can buy select colors in a two-pack.
An optional hourly chime alerts of each passing hour. It can be set to chime 24 hours a day or exclusively between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. The auto-dimming feature reduces the brightness between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. An internal clock allows the American Lifetime Day Clock to reset itself in the event of a power failure.
The American Lifetime Day Clock comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee and a 1-year warranty.
Best Analog Alarm Clock
The Lemnos Riki Wooden Alarm Clock has a beechwood frame with optional light display.
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The Lemnos Riki Wooden Alarm Clock is an analog model with a classic look that suits both traditional and minimalist aesthetics. Made in Japan, it has a streamlined appearance composed of high-quality materials.
This round clock measures 5.16 inches by 5.08 inches by 2.8 inches. The exterior is made of beechwood that has a light, natural color. Large numbers make the clock easier to read. To check the time during the night, owners can press the button on the top to light it up.
A bell-like sound serves as the alarm. If you choose to hit the snooze button, the alarm repeats after five minutes.
The Lemnos Riki Wooden Alarm Clock requires 1 AA battery to operate. When purchased through Amazon, this alarm clock is eligible for a 30-day return policy.
Best Extra-Loud For Deep Sleepers
The Sonic Bomb Alarm Clock with Bed Shaker includes a 113 decibel alarm and 12 volt shaker to help wake deep sleepers.
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Due to its versatile settings, the Sonic Bomb Alarm Clock with Bed Shaker can be exceptionally loud or virtually silent. While it should be able to wake deep sleepers, it can also be subtle enough to wake just one partner sharing a bed.
This digital alarm clock provides multiple options for users. A dimmer feature lets you set the display brightness level you feel is appropriate for your sleep space. The alarm can reach an extra-loud 113 decibels, though volume controls allow you to choose a quieter option if you prefer. When the alarm goes off, lights also flash to get your attention. A backup battery helps ensure you wake up on time.
You can set multiple alarms if you and your partner wake up at different times. The snooze feature is programmable between 1 and 30 minutes, allowing you to select the amount of time between alarm reminders.
In addition to the alarm clock, a 12-volt bed shaker comes with the purchase. This device connects to the alarm clock and is designed to be placed under the pillow or mattress. At the designated time, it shakes. Since you can use the bed shaker without the alarm sounding, it may not disturb your partner as much as an auditory alarm.
Seven color options are available. When you buy the Sonic Bomb Alarm Clock with Bed Shaker from Amazon, a 30-day return policy applies. The alarm clock also comes with a 1-year limited warranty that covers defects in materials and workmanship.
Best Alarm Clock with Ceiling Projection
The PICTEK Projection Digital Clock Radio includes wall or ceiling time projection, a built-in radio, and a USB port for phone charging.
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The PICTEK Projection Digital Clock Radio has many of the features you’d expect from a high-quality digital clock, in addition to projecting the time on the wall or ceiling. The clock’s projection device can be positioned to your preference.
A large curved LED screen also shows the time. Brightness options for both the screen and projection give you more control over the amount of light emitted.
Multiple alarm sound options are available, with three volume settings and a snooze function. Dual alarms allow you to set separate wake up times for you and your partner.
The PICTEK Projection Digital Clock Radio has a built-in FM radio, and you can program up to 15 preset channels. If you want to fall asleep listening, simply set the sleep timer for the radio to turn off automatically. A USB port on the clock can be used to charge your phone.
If the power goes out, a built-in battery allows the clock to remember time and alarm settings so that you don’t have to reset them, but the device must be plugged in to function fully.
The PICTEK Projection Digital Clock Radio is eligible for Amazon’s 30-day return policy.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.