The 10 Best Alarm Clocks
We spent 42 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Look, we get it. Your alarm clock is your most hated enemy in the whole world, as it's a sleep thief and reminder of the fact that you have to work for a living. Even so, the models on this list will take some of the sting out of getting up in the morning, as they have easy-to-read displays, loud tones, and, most importantly, prominent snooze buttons. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best alarm clock on Amazon.
How To Avoid The 5 Most Common Alarm Clock Fails
Alarms are a necessary sound, but they are rarely a welcome one.
In that spirit, here is a list of the top 5 alarm clock fails, along with some ideas about how to avoid each one:
Alarms are a necessary sound, but they are rarely a welcome one. The very word "alarm" connotes a sense of fear or urgency. In the case of an alarm clock, however, that sense of urgency means that the mechanism is working, and that it has either woken you up or provided you with a reminder to get something done.
This explains why it seems so frustrating to be woken up by an alarm that has been going off for several minutes, or worse yet, to wake up late due to an alarm that never actually went off at all. In that spirit, here is a list of the top 5 alarm clock fails, along with some ideas about how to avoid each one:
1) AM/PM: In the age of digital clocks, this is the most common reason that an alarm will fail to go off. Even if you are exhausted, it is critical to confirm whether you have set an alarm for AM or PM hours, especially when you are in an unfamiliar place, and you are dealing with an unfamiliar alarm.
2) You've Changed The Time: We've all been there - one slip of the finger, and you've jumped ahead anywhere from several minutes to several hours. The best way to avoid this is by checking the time on the clock after you have set the alarm, and then readjusting the time, if it happens to be wrong.
3) The Volume's Turned Down: This is germane to cellphones and clock radios. In both cases, it pays to check the volume on your device after you have set the alarm.
4) The Batteries Are Dead: If you still happen to be using a battery-operated alarm, be sure to check or replace the batteries regularly, especially if you notice the clock beginning to stall.
5) Alarm 1/Alarm 2: Clocks that offer the option of setting two separate alarms aren't necessarily doing you a favor. There's always a chance you'll set the clock to the wrong alarm. The only two ways of getting around this are by confirming which alarm you've set, or by replacing the clock you're using with a model that only offers one alarm.
How Do I Choose A Decent Alarm Clock?
It's a challenge to know whether you're buying a worthwhile alarm clock based on little more than a photo, or a handful of models that are lined up on a shelf. You may want to go a step further to ensure that you're buying the right one.
It's a challenge to know whether you're buying a worthwhile alarm clock based on little more than a photo, or a handful of models that are lined up on a shelf.
First things first, you want to purchase an alarm which features numbers that are bright (but not too bright). This is important not only for when you're waking up, but also for when you just want to see what time it is during the middle of the night.
Next, you want an alarm that you can hear. And while this sounds like a no-brainer, keep in mind that you may have white noise - like a fan, or an air conditioner, or a television - competing for your ear. If you find the phrase adjustable volume in an alarm clock's description, followed by terms like loud or explosive, you're probably in the right place.
Finally, see if you can find any videos of the model that you're interested in online. Videos by consumer advocates are bound to provide some indication of how loud or penetrating an alarm is, while also showing off some of the ancillary features that an alarm clock has to offer.
A Brief History Of The Alarm Clock
Whether you're talking about the 30-second collage of alarm clocks at the beginning of Pink Floyd's "Time," or those old Dunkin' Donuts commercials, one of which began with a wind-up alarm going off before Fred the Baker said, "Time to make the donuts," almost everyone can point to some connection between the modern alarm clock and popular culture.
By the 1930s wind-up clocks - and even early electric clocks - had become a fixture in the American home.
What most people don't realize is that the alarm clock has been around for ages. The philosopher Plato was said to have constructed an archaic alarm for his water clock way back in Ancient Greece. The Ancient Romans constructed "alarm gongs" for the giant clocks that were placed in their public squares. Next came the Chinese, and then the Buddhists. By the 15th Century, alarm clocks were spreading across Europe, where church towers featured ornamental clocks that were hooked up to chimes or bells that would echo throughout the region.
During the early 20th Century, advances allowed for alarm clocks to be produced on a mass level. By the 1930s wind-up clocks - and even early electric clocks - had become a fixture in the American home. Radio alarm clocks became huge during the seventies, and they remained the industry standard for another 25 years.
Today most people rely upon their cell phones for everyday alarms. Despite this the alarm clock industry continues to advance. New technology has allowed for everything from ascending-sound alarms (i.e., an alarm that increases in volume to keep from jarring someone who is in a deep sleep) to radiant-light alarms (i.e., a light that increases in brightness until the person is awake). As long as people have a need to wake up at a certain time every day, it's safe to assume that the alarm clock in some form isn't ever going away.
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