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How you start your day matters. That's why we've rounded up the six best alarm clocks, to help you wake up easier.
Taylor LeameySenior Writer
Taylor Leamey writes about all things wellness, specializing in mental health, sleep and nutrition coverage. She has invested hundreds of hours into studying and researching sleep and holds a Certified Sleep Science Coach certification from the Spencer Institute. Not to mention the years she spent studying mental health fundamentals while earning her bachelor's degrees in both Psychology and Sociology. She is also a Certified Stress Management Coach.
ExpertiseBachelor of Science, Psychology and SociologyCredentials
It's often recommended that you avoid using your cell phone before bedtime to improve your sleep cycle. But if your phone is your main alarm, that might be tricky. If you're looking for a small but significant change you can implement to give yourself the gift of better sleep then consider getting a new alarm setup. That doesn't mean you have to replace your phone with a clunky and jarring old-school alarm clock. These days, there are tons of more-advanced bedside companions that can help you ease into your day with ramp-up lighting or pleasing nature sounds. And the very best alarm clocks even come equipped with additional features like voice assistants and interactive displays for convenience.
Finding the right alarm clock can be tough, especially with so many features, price points and brands. We did the testing for you, so you can rest easy knowing you have your ideal fit. Here are our picks for the top six alarm clocks you can buy right now. As well as some others we still recommend.
If you're looking for a simple, straightforward alarm clock, you'll like the Travelwey Home LED alarm clock. You'll like its reasonable price tag even more. There are only a few easy-to-use buttons and a prominent classic red time display. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles that some of the other best alarm clocks on the list have, but if you're looking for a simple alarm clock to get the job done, Travelwey Home LED is a solid pick.
You can adjust the Travelwey alarm clock's brightness, but during testing, we found that it doesn't cast a glow that would disrupt your sleep at the highest setting. It also has a night-light feature if you're into that. It has a standard 9-minute snooze time, and you can switch between a soft or loud sound setting.
Travelwey Home LED alarm clock's best features:
Travelwey is the best overall alarm clock because it's basic but dependable. All the classic features are well implemented.
Travelwey Home's alarm clock also features a backup battery if you lose power at night.
Things to consider:
You can't change the tone or sound of this alarm clock. It only features two volume options.
The digital alarm clock industry has changed a lot. No longer is your alarm clock just something that wakes you up. Many smart alarm clock options function as an interactive hub where you can access your alarms, weather and music. The Amazon Echo Show 5 is one of the best smart alarm clocks, thanks to its varied features and voice assistant connectivity.
This smart alarm clock allows you to use your music or a customizable tone as your alarm. If that's not enough, it also has a sound ramp-up feature designed to gracefully bring you out of sleep instead of scaring you awake. The screen also gradually gets brighter, starting fifteen minutes before your alarm sounds.
You can use voice commands to access the Alexa voice assistant. This smart alarm clock's touchscreen allows you to check the weather, make video calls or control your smart home. It's more than an alarm clock. If you want to use your alarm clock for everything, consider the Amazon Echo Show 5.
Amazon Echo Show 5's best features:
Amazon Echo Show 5 is a highly customizable smart alarm clock that allows you to use your music or sound. The ramp-up screen and sound feature are less jarring than traditional alarms.
Things to consider:
The screen does cast a glow at night, even with the adaptive brightness feature.
Sunrise alarms are designed to gradually wake sleepers up with light rather than a blaring alarm. We found that the Philips HF3500 is one of the best sunrise alarms you can get thanks to its orange display, light function and price tag.
Visually, it's unique -- it looks like a UFO with a kickstand. There are simple buttons at the center, under the time display. But the majority of the surface area of this alarm clock is devoted to the light feature. Thirty minutes before your alarm time, this Philips sunrise alarm clock will gradually increase its brightness level until it reaches the maximum you set. To ensure you wake up, it also starts beeping with increasing intensity.
Philips HF3500's best features:
This sunrise alarm clock has 10 brightness levels that you can choose from.
Philips HF3500 is a simple yet effective sunrise alarm clock worth the money.
Things to consider:
Snoozing the Philips HF3500 sunrise alarm clock is a little weird initially. There's no button. Instead, you press the top half of the light.
Not everyone wants to spend a lot of money on their alarm clock, especially if you don't want all the added features. That's where the RCA RCD30 alarm clock comes in. Similar to the Travelwey, the RCA RCD30 is our pick for the best budget alarm clock because of its simple design.
It features the classic red number display that offers two brightness levels. During testing, we found that neither level glows to the point where it would interrupt your sleep. It has an easy-to-find snooze button. It doesn't have any added features like a night light or lights. It is a straight-to-the-point classic alarm clock that will get the job done.
RCA RCD30's best features:
RCA RCD30 is one of the best budget alarm clocks you can get. It's great for people who don't want anything special.
It's cheap and small enough that most people would find this to be one of the best travel alarm clocks as well.
Things to consider:
Since it's so basic, resetting or adjusting alarms will take longer.
Heavy sleepers can be almost impossible to get up. If you're someone who sleeps through their alarm and needs something more heavy-duty, we recommend the Sonic Alert Sonic Bomb alarm. It's one of the best alarm clocks for heavy sleepers.
The Sonic Alert Sonic Bomb alarm comes with two parts -- the classic display and incredibly loud buzzer and the vibrating attachment that you can slip under your pillow. You can customize the alarm with controls our team thought were easy to figure out.
Sonic Alert Sonic Bomb's best features:
It's the best alarm clock for heavy sleepers thanks to its loud buzzer and shaker attachment.
The Sonic Alert alarm clock is customizable with easy controls.
Things to consider:
It's a great alarm clock for heavy sleepers, but if you're not a heavy sleeper, it could be an unpleasant experience.
Finding a kids' alarm clock that meets all your child's needs can be hard. The Hatch Restore alarm clock is a sound machine and smart light in one. This alarm clock for kids has many features that other options can't compete with. Not only do you get white noise sounds, but there's a digital alarm clock display and soft control buttons.
The Hatch Restore Sound Machine and Smart Light can grow up with your child. It has an app you can access on your phone, which allows you to personalize the clock to suit your growing child. You can create sleep and wake routines with light dimming or brightening for your child.
Hatch Restore Sound Machine's best features:
Hatch Restore Sound Machine is one of the best alarm clocks for kids because it's packed with helpful features and allows for personalization.
There's an easy-to-use app you can access from anywhere.
Things to consider:
This isn't the most budget-friendly option. It's on the more expensive side, but it's the type of alarm clock that will last.
We've tested a lot of alarm clocks, not all of which made this best alarm clock list. But they're still worth mentioning and might be the right fit for you.
Lenovo Smart Clock 2
The Lenovo Smart Clock 2 has a 4-inch touchscreen which can show you the weather, your commute and even your calendar. It's connected to Google Assistant, so you can use voice commands to schedule your alarms. It's not the most robust smart display out there -- you won't be watching videos or playing your music -- but it's still pretty handy.
The Lenovo Smart Clock also has a sunrise feature, meaning the screen gets brighter 30 minutes before your scheduled wake-up time. One drawback of the Lenovo Smart Clock 2 is the display always glows, no matter which clock face you choose. At the moment, you can only find it availble as part of a bundle with a Lenovo smart bulb. Read our Lenovo Smart Clock 2 review for more details on this clock.
Lenovo Smart Clock Essential is a basic smart alarm clock with Google Assistant, but not an interactive screen. You can see the time, set alarms and see the weather. The physical buttons do the basics of muting the microphone or controlling the volume. But that's about it. Still, the $30 price makes it an appealing option even if it doesn't have all the extra features. It's comparable to the Nest Mini or the Echo Dot with Clock. Read our Lenovo Smart Clock Essential review for more details.
The Amazon Echo Dot with Clock displays the time, alarms and weather, with the display's brightness adapting to the room. It's still a smart speaker first, responding to voice commands through Alexa, but it works well as a basic smart alarm clock. Read our hands-on breakdown of Amazon's latest Echo Dot for everything you need to know.
If you're someone with impaired vision, you'll like the large-print design of the American Lifetime Day Clock. You can program your alarms to include reminders that will be displayed on the screen, like "time to take your medications." That said, it isn't the best alarm clock we've tested. There is no snooze button. The display is bright, even in the dimmest setting. You must scroll through a menu to schedule alarms, which can get confusing.
If you're someone who values all the bells and whistles, consider the $50-ish iHome iBT29BC. It has a built-in radio and two alarms; it doubles as a Bluetooth speaker and even has an auxiliary cable. The iHome IBT29BC allows you to customize it by adjusting the colors and sounds it uses to wake you up. The light doesn't adjust, but it does come on when your alarm sounds. This alarm clock is a jack of all trades but doesn't shine in any category.
The HomeLabs Home Sunrise Alarm Clock has many features -- the light changes colors and fades up. There's a radio with various wake-up sounds, including classical music and nature sounds. With this Alarm, you get what you pay for, the buttons aren't the most responsive and it is more difficult to set alarms. The brightness ramp-up isn't as seamless as other options, but for less than $25, it's a good option.
There are a lot of features that go into alarm clocks, and we tested them all. When testing the best alarm clocks, we assessed each option on their display, sound and ease of use. We considered how long the snooze button was set for, how customizable the alarm is and additional light features you need to know about.
Once we had the data of each alarm clock compiled, we made sure to compare each alarm clock to each other to ensure this best alarm clock list is the best reflection of the current market.
What to consider when buying an alarm clock
When shopping for the best alarm clock for your needs, it's easy to get overwhelmed with hundreds of options. It's understandable. A wide variety of alarm clocks are available that differ by features and price. Keep these things in mind when looking for ideal fit:
Price: The alarm clock market is wide -- with both budget and luxury options. Defining your budget early will help you narrow down your options and keep you from getting wowed by features you may or may not need.
Features: First and foremost, you must decide if you want to stick to the basics or dive into the ocean of alarm clock features. Do you want your alarm clock to charge your phone? Play music? Or would you rather just have a basic alarm clock with a clearly labeled snooze button? The good news is that there are so many combinations of features that you're sure to get an alarm clock that fits your needs.
Display: Deciding how elaborate the display of your alarm clock is also important. Some have super bright screens, while others have simple red or orange numbers that don't cast as much glow.
How it wakes you up: No longer are you limited to a loud blaring screech to wake you up. Alarm clocks have come a long way and now offer gentle wake-up with sound or light that progressively gets louder or brighter. But if you're a heavy sleeper, you may want something louder.
How "smart" you want it to be: Many of the best alarm clocks are compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple's Siri, making scheduling alarms easy.
Best alarm clock FAQ
What's the best alarm clock for heavy sleepers?
Alarm clocks for heavy sleepers tend to be much louder than the average alarm clock; some even vibrate your bed. Our testing found that the Sonic Alert Sonic Bomb is the best alarm clock for heavy sleepers. It's loud and it has a vibrating attachment that you can slip under your pillow. Not to mention, it's budget-friendly.
What type of alarm clock is best for light sleepers?
Light sleepers have the flexibility to choose just about any alarm clock out there. The best alarm clock for light sleepers will come down to preference. If you want one that plays your music to wake you up, consider a smart alarm like the Amazon Echo Show 5. If you want a sunrise alarm that uses light to gently wake you up, try the Philips HF3500.
Should I use my phone as my alarm clock?
You can use your phone as your alarm clock as long as you remember to keep it charged enough to last a night. Alarm clocks ultimately make for better options, though, because they're plugged in with backup batteries, so you never oversleep. Additionally, using your phone as your alarm keeps it close to the bed, which may tempt you to use it late at night. If you prioritize your sleep quality, go with an alarm clock.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.