The 10 Best Travel Alarm Clocks

Updated November 14, 2017 by Ezra Glenn

10 Best Travel Alarm Clocks
Best High-End
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Next time you go out of town for business or pleasure, make sure you don't miss that important meeting, interesting rendezvous, or your flight home. These travel alarm clocks come in tiny enough packages that you can stick them in your carry-on luggage or even in your pocket, and offer high levels of accuracy, so you'll always know what time it is, wherever you may be. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best travel alarm clock on Amazon.

10. ECVision Classic

The frame of the ECVision Classic is built from classy walnut wood in a compact design that makes it a good choice for trips, the office, or a bedroom. Its hands move silently for undisturbed sleep and it has a manual snooze function.
  • contemporary appearance
  • handcrafted construction
  • not the most durable option
Model 140765115
Weight 6.4 ounces
Rating 3.5 / 5.0

9. Plumeet EM-008

The Plumeet EM-008 glows softly for a few seconds when tapped, serving as a nightlight to help your find your glasses, a cup of water, or simply to help you check the time. Its protective silicone shell keeps it safe from bumps and scratches.
  • displays 12- or 24-hour time
  • comes in a whimsical purple color
  • not loud enough for heavy sleepers
Brand Plumeet
Model EM-008-GR
Weight 6.4 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

8. Pluteck MZX001

The Pluteck MZX001 has a strong plastic casing that protects its interior as it bounces around in your luggage. The digit marks and hands glow in the dark, and it also has a light in its upper right corner that can be activated with the top button.
  • ascending volume for gentle waking
  • five-minute snooze function
  • goes off at both am and pm time set
Brand Pluteck
Model MZX001
Weight 5.9 ounces
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

7. Get Up and Glow

The Get Up and Glow from Seiko comes in an attractive metallic black finish and has a built-in stand that easily converts into a protective carrying case. It sounds its loud alarm for almost a full minute, which should rouse even the heaviest sleepers.
  • 1 aaa battery included
  • onscreen calendar display
  • light makes a quiet grinding sound
Brand Seiko Watches
Model QHL004KLH
Weight 3.2 ounces
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

6. TimeVision ShakeAwake

The TimeVision ShakeAwake vibrates to rouse those who sleep through most sounds. It's also useful if you need to get up without disturbing other sleepers, as its operation is fairly silent, though it is proven to be quite effective in waking those closest to it.
  • also has an audible beep function
  • good choice for the hearing impaired
  • construction feels a bit cheap
Brand TimeVision
Model ATC0833
Weight 1.6 ounces
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

5. Travelwey Digital

The Travelwey Digital's fold-down stand doubles as a protective cover to keep its aquamarine screen from getting damaged in transit. A toggle switch helpfully disables its rear buttons, so you won't arrive at your destination under the impression that it's tomorrow.
  • blue led backlight
  • available in black or white
  • controls are not intuitive
Brand Travelwey
Model pending
Weight 4.3 ounces
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

4. Marathon NightOwl

Designed for versatility and to keep you in-the-know, the Marathon NightOwl comfortably fits inside your carry-on when folded up, while its built-in rotating stand allows it to function as a reliable source of myriad information when it's opened.
  • displays ambient temperature
  • available in three finishes
  • stand doubles as a protective cover
Brand Marathon
Model CL030023
Weight 3.5 ounces
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

3. Ambient Weather RC-8300

The Ambient Weather RC-8300 is designed to communicate via radio signal with the U.S. atomic clock, so you can count on its extreme accuracy. It also has a powerful backlight that automatically activates itself when its surroundings dip into darkness.
  • controls are easy to use
  • shows time zone and signal strength
  • five language settings
Brand Ambient Weather
Model RC-8300-WHITE
Weight 3.2 ounces
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

2. Peakeep Analog

Available in a handsome speckled silver or aquamarine, the Peakeep Analog makes a reliable and tiny timekeeping companion, wherever you may lay your head. Its sweeping, tick-free movement is powered by one AA battery, and it has a built-in nightlight.
  • sturdy toggle controls alarm
  • four volume-ascending beeps
  • includes a six-month warranty
Brand Peakeep
Model pending
Weight 2.4 ounces
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

1. Hito Atomic

The Hito Atomic fits easily into the palm of your hand, and one glance at its high-contrast screen gives you all the info you need to start the day, including what day it is. Its amber LED backlight doubles as an auto-dimming nightlight that won't disturb your slumber.
  • radio controlled accuracy
  • easily togglable temperature units
  • very lightweight
Brand hito
Model pending
Weight 5.6 ounces
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

What Separates a Good Travel Alarm Clock From a Great One?

Any travel alarm clock should be small enough that you can hold it in your hand, and it should weigh less than a pound. The more compact a travel clock is (within reason), the easier it will be for you to carry that clock inside a suitcase, a pocketbook, or the side compartment of an attaché.

Any top-of-the-line travel alarm clock should be backlit, and it should be designed so that you can stand it vertically on any end table or flat surface. In terms of display, you'll want a travel clock to provide the time (including AM/PM), date, and day of the week. Certain clocks will also provide the temperature, and perhaps even the barometric pressure. Time-zone management (i.e. automatically changing the hour based on location) is a tremendous feature to have on a travel clock, especially if you're constantly moving in among time zones.

Travel alarm clocks don't require a great deal of power, which is why the majority of them can run on batteries. This is a good thing, in that outlet clocks need to be reset every time you unplug them.

In the final analysis, a travel alarm clock should feel like an asset. When you wake up disoriented, that clock's display should provide you with an immediate reminder of where you are. Of course, the key to any alarm clock is its ability to wake you up. Just to be safe, confirm any model that you might be considering offers adjustable volume so that you can turn the alarm clock up, or even down.

Why To Use a Travel Alarm Clock Instead of Your Phone

Most people who are on the road assume that they can rely on their cellphones in the event they need to set an alarm. While cellphones may get you by in the short term, they're not as reliable as a specialized alarm, especially for people whose jobs are incumbent upon maintaining a tight schedule on the go.

The most common problem people experience with a cellphone alarm is that they don't hear it. This is usually the result of forgetting they've put the phone on vibrate. Worse yet, a vibrating alarm that goes off every five minutes has the potential for draining a cellphone's battery. That could present a major problem assuming you either don't have a charger, or you don't have ample time to charge your phone.

A lot of touchscreen phones are set up in such a way that it's easy to tap "Dismiss" when you actually intend to hit "Snooze." Worse yet, it could be more than an hour before you realize your mistake. We're all familiar with the shock of oversleeping by an hour, only to conclude that we've erroneously disabled the alarm.

Perhaps the biggest advantage to a travel alarm clock is that it is backlit (or frontlit), and it stands upright on any end table, thereby allowing you to see the exact date and time, and perhaps even the day of the week. Cellphones are illuminated but they rest flat, where you cannot see them. You need to reach over, grab a cellphone, and then turn it on in order to check the time in the middle of the night.

A Brief History of The Alarm Clock

The alarm clock, conceptually speaking, has been around for ages. The philosopher Plato was rumored to have created an alarm for his homemade water clock. The Ancient Romans were known for placing alarm gongs inside the giant clocks that housed their public squares, and the Ancient Chinese were known for manually striking gongs to mark the time.

By the 15th century, alarm clocks were spreading across Europe, where church towers were being hooked up to chimes or bells that would echo at the stroke of every hour. For the next 200 years, alarm clocks continued to be associated with grandiosity (and, very often, extravagance). Things began to change, however, during the early 20th century, as manufacturers commenced producing alarm clocks that could be used within the home.

By the 1930s, wind-up clocks, and even early electric clocks, were becoming a fixture in the American household. Shortly after 1970, radio alarm clocks became the norm. During the 1980s, manufacturers began marketing handheld travel clocks that combined the traditional benefits of an analog alarm with the digital display - and backlighting - of a digital wristwatch.

Over the past 15 years, the alarm clock has continued to evolve. 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 a person is awake). While certain aspects of an alarm clock have been replicated via smartphone, the traditional alarm clock is still considered more reliable. Unlike a smartphone, a traditional alarm clock stands upright, and it provides an illuminated display that stands out like a beacon.

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Last updated on November 14, 2017 by Ezra Glenn

Ezra is a writer, photographer, creative producer, designer, and record label-operator from New York City. He's traveled around the world and ended up back where he started, though he's constantly threatening to leave again.

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