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Top Picks Overview
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.
Who it’s best for:
- People who find beeping alarms too jarring
- Those who enjoy falling asleep to music, white noise, or nature sounds
- Sleepers who need complete darkness to unwind
- Two-phase alarm with white noise and nature sounds
- Equipped with Bluetooth speaker
- Blackout mode blocks LED display to improve your sleep environment
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.
Best Sunrise Alarm Clock
Who it’s best for:
- Sleepers who find conventional alarms too jarring
- Those who enjoy falling asleep to white noise
- Nighttime readers
- Gradually brightening light intended to mimic the sunrise for peaceful waking
- Control settings manually or with a companion app
- Device also functions as a bedside lamp, nightlight, and white noise machine
The Hatch Restore is a multipurpose device with a slew of functions to improve your sleep. As an alarm, the Restore’s LED light gradually shifts to red, orange, and white colors. This effect is designed to mimic natural light that occurs at dawn with the rising sun. Sleepers who don’t like waking up to loud beeps should enjoy this more soothing alarm option.
The light does not include any blue hues and shouldn’t interfere with your sleep cycle, so the Restore can serve as a bedside reading lamp. The device also comes with built-in white noise and meditation programs to help you wind down before bed. You can customize these features using the Hatch companion app, which is compatible with iOS and Android smartphones – though you’ll need a wi-fi connection to access them.
The Hatch Restore may be a bit more expensive than the average alarm clock, but its multifunctional design may be worth the steep price tag. Delivery is available to customers in the contiguous U.S. and Alaska. Each order is backed by a 60-night trial period and a 1-year warranty against manufacturing defects.
Best Analog Alarm Clock
L.L. Bean Moon Beam Clock
Who it’s best for:
- Those who want a clock with a traditional look and modern features
- People who enjoy gentle ticking sounds as they fall asleep
- Sleepers who live in areas prone to blackouts
- Attractive vintage look with classic analog display
- Built-in USB port for charging phones and tablets
- Backup battery powers the clock during power outages
Old meets new with the LL Bean Moon Beam Clock, which features a classic analog face and comes equipped for contemporary functionality. The three-hand face is housed within a durable plastic molded case and convex glass lens. An LED backlight makes the display easy to read in the dark, and can be toggled with an on/off switch. The clock produces a soft ticking sound that people may find soothing as they nod off.
The clock has a built-in USB port for charging smartphones, tablets, and other electronic devices while you sleep. The alarm itself is a gentle bell tone, and you also have the option for a blinking light to help you wake up. A wall cord acts as the main power source, but the clock will also rely on backup batteries in the event you lose power. Two AA batteries are required, and these are not included with your purchase.
The Moon Beam Clock is available in three neutral color palettes. Shipping is free for all orders of $50 or more, which include every available option for the clock. LL Bean allows all customers to test out the clock for up to one year before deciding to keep it or return it for a refund.
Best for Heavy Sleepers
Sharper Image Circadian Rhythm Clock
Who it’s best for:
- People who dislike the noise of traditional alarm clocks
- Those who tend to sleep through their alarm
- Value seekers
- Built-in wake-up light can be programmed for 20 different colors
- Gradual dimming and brightening effects mimic natural sunlight
- Display includes indoor temperature and humidity level
If you have a hard time waking up to bedside clocks with audible alarms, the Sharper Image Circadian Rhythm Clock might better suit your needs. The clock’s display is intended to mimic natural light, dimming as you fall asleep and gradually brightening in the morning. This effect can engage your circadian rhythm and help reduce feelings of grogginess upon waking. You can also set a light audible alarm if you need an extra nudge.
You can choose from 20 different colors for your alarm, as well as three modes for dimming and brightening. The clock also features a built-in guided breathing program to help you relax before bed. In addition to the current time, the clock displays your indoor temperature and bedroom humidity level. You may program the alarm for weekdays, weekends, or every day, and there are multiple snooze options. A USB port allows you to charge devices at night.
The Circadian Rhythm Clock is available in English, Spanish, French, and German. You’ll need an AC outlet, but a backup battery keeps the clock running in the event of sudden power loss. Given its sophisticated design, the clock is very reasonably priced, and Sharper Image offers low-cost shipping to customers in all 50 states. If you want to return the clock, you may do so within 60 days of the original purchase.
Best for Travel
Sharper Image Travel Alarm Clock
Who it’s best for:
- Those who want to invest in a reliable, travel-friendly alarm
- English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish speakers
- Budget-conscious shoppers
- Lightweight and compact for extra convenience on the road
- Automatic sync with U.S. Atomic Clock for accurate display at all times
- Settings include any time zone and five languages
Most alarm clocks are travel-friendly by design, but the Sharper Image Travel Alarm Clock includes a few helpful features for added convenience when you’re on the move. The display automatically syncs the time based on the U.S. Atomic Clock. When you reach your destination, all you’ll need to do to modify the time is adjust the time zone. Wi-Fi is not needed to access this feature. You may also program the display in English, French, German, Italian, or Spanish.
Weighing 0.2 pounds and measuring fewer than 20 cubic inches, the clock is exceptionally light and compact. The display includes the current temperature, which you can adjust to Fahrenheit or Celsius depending on your current location. The alarm consists of a mild beeping, which lasts for 60 seconds before turning off, and a snooze function allows you to catch some extra sleep before getting up for the day. The snooze consists of four escalating alarms to ensure you eventually wake up. An auto-nightlight feature adjusts the display based on light levels in the room where you’re currently staying. Two AA batteries are needed to operate the clock.
Although the Travel Alarm Clock’s sticker price is slightly above-average, the expected lifespan and strong performance make it a solid long-term investment. You can return the clock within 60 days if you aren’t satisfied. Those who keep their clock receive a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty from Sharper Image.
Best Projection Alarm Clock
Brookstone BALDR Projection Alarm Clock
Who it’s best for:
- People who reside in places with extreme climates
- Those who don’t mind beeping alarms in the morning
- Shoppers with limited budgets
- Clock projects the time, date, and temperature on the nearest wall, ceiling, or flat surface
- Three dimming options for the projection display
- Projection angle can be adjusted up to 180 degrees
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.
Best High Tech Features
Who it’s best for:
- Clock emits nine soothing colors meant to promote sleep
- Sleepers may pick from eight relaxing sounds
- Features a breathing exercise function
- Sleepers who benefit from light therapy during sleep
- Shoppers seeking an array of white noise sounds
- People who need an alarm clock with calming wakeup ringtones
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.
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.
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.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions About Alarm Clocks
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.
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