The 10 Best Alarm Clocks

Updated October 16, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

10 Best Alarm Clocks
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Best Inexpensive
We spent 42 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Most studies agree that one of the worst things you can do before bed is get trapped looking at your smartphone. The color of light it puts out inhibits melatonin production and can keep you from having a good night's sleep. Make an effort to keep your devices out of the bedroom with one of these alarm clocks. They'll free you from relying on that bright device of yours. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best alarm clock on Amazon.

10. Sony ICFC1

The Sony ICFC1 has a clean, professional look that's great for a home office, and the jumbo orange numbers are easy to see from any angle. Plus, its square shape allows it to fit between other devices, like a computer or printer.
  • large snooze button
  • good for people with poor vision
  • sometimes makes an annoying hum
Brand Sony
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

9. Zuphat 4.6" Smart Backlight

If you're looking for simplicity in your wake-up, look no further than the Zuphat 4.6" Smart Backlight. The intensity of its backlit display will adjust to the brightness of your room automatically, or you can control it yourself if you prefer.
  • indoor temperature reading
  • progressive alarm volume
  • battery power only
Model HOTJ001
Weight 6.9 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

8. Marathon Night Owl

The Marathon Night Owl is perfect for the traveler, since you can set it to six time zones. It has a slim design that will fit in your carry-on bag, and it also detects when it's in a dark room, and automatically adjusts its light.
  • multiposition kickstand
  • ascending volume alarm
  • instruction manual is confusing
Brand Marathon
Model pending
Weight 5.6 ounces
Rating 3.5 / 5.0

7. Homtime Multi-Function 3456334

The Homtime Multi-Function 3456334 utilizes a large spinning wheel set on top of its frame as your primary means of control, so you don't have to press a minute button 60 times to get your alarm settings dialed into your preference.
  • dual usb ports to charge devices
  • surealarm battery backup
  • limited tone options
Brand Homtime
Model 3456334
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

6. Electrohome EAAC475

The Electrohome EAAC475 projects the time and acts as a charger with a USB port that's compatible with most smartphones and tablets. Plus, it has a radio with phase-locked loop technology, so you always get the best possible reception.
  • projector rotates 180 degrees
  • includes nap timers
  • display is too bright
Brand Electrohome
Model EAAC475
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

5. Sonic SBB500ss

The Sonic SBB500ss is for the heavy sleeper and not for the faint of heart. It reaches an astounding 113 decibels of sound and also has a powerful bed shaker, so ignoring this alarm isn't an option. It's great for a student.
  • has a lights or pulse-only setting
  • vibrant red color display
  • annoys housemates
Brand Sonic Alert
Model SBB500SS
Weight 1.4 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

4. iHome iBT28GC

The iHome iBT28GC connects to most Bluetooth-enabled devices to wirelessly stream your favorite music, and it features a translucent white cabinet that will change colors at the touch of a button, creating a unique ambiance.
  • four display modes
  • sound has a good amount of bass
  • thoughtless button layout
Brand iHome
Model iBT28GC
Weight 2.9 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

3. Sony ICFC1PJ

The Sony ICFC1PJ features a modern cube design and offers five different soothing, natural sounds to wake you up, including ocean waves and birds. It also has a dual alarm feature for programming several different wake-up times.
  • 10 radio station presets
  • up to 60-minute snooze
  • projection display has 4 positions
Brand Sony
Weight 1.8 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

2. Electrohome Projection

The Electrohome Projection features an LCD screen that projects the time and temperature onto the walls or ceilings of your room, so you'll have no excuse to miss a meeting. It also offers a convenient weekend cancellation setting.
  • auto adjusts for daylight savings
  • restores settings after a power loss
  • comes with a backup battery
Brand Electrohome
Model EAAC601
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. Philips HF3500/60 Wake-Up

The Philips HF3500/60 Wake-Up offers the most natural way to be roused from your sleep, with sunrise-type illumination that gradually gets brighter as your alarm sounds, and that is clinically proven to help you function better in the morning.
  • also works as a nightlight
  • gentle beep eases you awake
  • features 10 brightness settings
Brand Philips
Model HF3500/60
Weight 1.4 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

How To Avoid The 5 Most Common Alarm Clock Fails

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.

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.

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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Last updated on October 16, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel is a writer, actor, and director living in Los Angeles, CA. He spent a large portion of his 20s roaming the country in search of new experiences, taking on odd jobs in the strangest places, studying at incredible schools, and making art with empathy and curiosity.

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