The 8 Best Alarm Clocks of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

Out of 21 alarm clocks we tested, these are our very favorites.

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alarm clock on bedside table

Real Simple / Jennifer May

Don’t want to rely on your phone to wake you up every morning? Keep an alarm clock on your nightstand instead. “Phones can be distracting, and they can delay sleep due to light [and] stimulation,” says Abhinav Singh, M.D., Medical Director at the Indiana Sleep Center. “Alarm clocks don’t have those same downsides.” And since there are different kinds of alarm clocks—like analog, digital, and sunrise clocks—you can easily find one that meets your needs.

To find the best alarm clocks, we put 21 popular models to the test. We used each alarm clock to wake up for two straight weeks, assessing each one for volume, reliability, design, ease of use, special features, and overall value. For expert advice on buying and using alarm clocks, we turned to three sleep experts: Singh; Nancy Behrens, M.D., sleep medicine specialist at Novant Health; and Colin Espie, Ph.D., professor of sleep medicine at the University of Oxford.

Best Overall Alarm Clock

DreamSky Compact Digital Alarm Clock

DreamSky Compact Digital Alarm Clock


What Stands Out
  • The compact, basic design makes it quick to set up and easy to use, with features that ensure you don't accidentally turn off the alarm.

What Could Be Improved
  • You can only set one alarm.

DreamSky’s Compact Digital Alarm Clock is a no-frills alarm clock that gets the job done—and we’d recommend it to anyone. The digital alarm clock is small, basic, and easy to use. It took just a few minutes to set up: We pressed one button to set the time and another to set an alarm. And after that, there isn’t much to customize. 

While you can adjust the clock’s volume and brightness, you can only set one alarm. And that alarm always makes the same sound: It starts by beeping softly, and it gets louder and faster until you hit snooze. Throughout our testing period, we never slept through it. And thanks to the user-friendly display, it’s easy to tell when you have an alarm set. We also appreciate that while the snooze button is easy to find in the dark, the on/off button isn’t, making it difficult to turn off the alarm accidentally.

The clock is small enough to fit on even very compact nightstands, and it’s easy to travel with. It’s also one of the most budget-friendly alarm clocks on our list. Sure, it’s not as feature-packed as some of our other favorites, but if you want a simple alarm clock that reliably wakes you up, this one offers the best value around.

Price at time of publish: $26

Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.4 x 2.6 inches | Power Source: USB cable with adapter (included) and two AAA batteries for backup (not included) | Special Features: USB charging port

DreamSky Compact Digital Alarm Clock

Real Simple / Gabrielle Renslow

Best Splurge Alarm Clock

Loftie Clock

Loftie Clock


What Stands Out
  • It boasts more features than most, including customizable alarm sounds and settings, a night light, and soothing sound programs to help you fall asleep.

What Could Be Improved
  • It doesn't have a light-sensitivity mode to offset ambient light, and you can't turn on the alarm while using the Bluetooth speaker.

The Loftie Clock might be pricey, but since it’s packed with features you won’t find on other alarm clocks, we think it’s worth the splurge. First, it’s far more customizable than most. You can pick a custom alarm sound and program different alarms for different days. You can also fall asleep to one of the clock’s soothing sound programs—this clock also functions as a night light, a white noise machine, or a Bluetooth speaker. These standout features set this clock apart, but they do come with a downside: It takes a while to program, and we had to download an app to set it up. 

The alarm goes off when it’s supposed to, and it wakes you up in two phases: First, it gently rings for 30 seconds. Then, nine minutes later, it rings much louder. This gentle approach is great for people who don’t want to be jolted awake. And it’s genuinely effective: It woke up even the heaviest sleepers (when set to the loudest volume).

The clock is also sleek enough to pass as decor, and we think it’d look great on any nightstand. Sure, it’s definitely a lot to spend on an alarm clock, but we think it’s a worthy price for a product as gentle and customizable as this one.

Price at time of publish: $149

Dimensions: 2.75 x 6.5 x 2.75 inches | Power Source: USB-C cable and power adapter (included) | Special Features: Bluetooth speaker, audio library, white noise programs, night light, two-phase alarm

Best Alarm Clock for Heavy Sleepers

Roxicosly Super Loud Alarm Clock with Bed Shaker

Roxicosly Super Loud Alarm Clock


What Stands Out
  • You can program two separate alarms with different wake-up modes, and the vibrating buzzer comes with an extra-long cord.

What Could Be Improved
  • The clock's power cord is on the shorter side, which might be an issue if the outlet isn't close to your bed.

Roxicosly’s Extra Loud Alarm Clock is one of the most effective alarm clocks we tested. In addition to being very loud, the alarm clock comes with a vibrating buzzer you can slide under your pillow. Unsurprisingly, this one-two punch is tough to sleep through—and it certainly got us out of bed.

The alarm clock is simply designed and easy to set up. Once you’ve set the time, you can program two separate alarms, and you can even choose a wake-up mode for each one. Do you want the alarm to make noise, buzz your pillow, or both? We chose the third option—and it worked every time. The alarm was loud, and the under-the-pillow buzzer was reliably jarring. 

Another thing we love about this alarm clock? The vibrating buzzer comes with an extra-long cord, so you can comfortably stick it in the middle of your bed. We also appreciate that the alarm’s snooze button is easy to find, but hard to press—making snoozing more effortful. 

This clock was a little big for our tester’s nightstand, but it’s not much bulkier than our other favorites. And with an affordable price tag, we think it’s a great buy for anyone—especially those who need extra help waking up in the morning.

Price at time of publish: $24

Dimensions: 6.8 x 3.4 x 1.2 inches | Power Source: USB cable (included) and two AAA batteries for backup (not included) | Special Features: USB charging port, under-the-pillow buzzer

Super Loud Alarm Clock with Bed Shaker

Real Simple / Jennifer May

Best Sunrise Alarm Clock

Hatch Restore

Hatch Restore Sound Machine and Smart Light at Amazon


What Stands Out
  • It offers dozens of colors, soundscapes, and sunrise programs to choose from.

What Could Be Improved
  • It doesn't provide an option to control the clock via more than one device.

Sunrise alarm clocks gently awake you by lighting up like a sunrise before making any noise. And while there are lots of great sunrise alarm clocks out there, the Hatch Restore is the most customizable and feature-packed option we tried. 

Before you can set up the clock, you have to pair it with an app. But once you have, you can customize all kinds of settings. You can set custom sunrise alarms, with dozens of colors, soundscapes, and sunrise programs to choose from. You can also build a personalized bedtime routine. For an extra $5 per month, you can access guided meditations, sleep stories, and other fancy features. But even without the subscription, we had plenty to explore.

We loved waking up to this alarm clock every morning—and falling asleep to it at night. We found the sunrise alarm to be gentle but effective, and the wind-down program reminded us to stop reading and go to sleep. Our only qualm? We wish you could control the clock via more than one device. After all, lots of people share a bed, and it’s nice for both bedmates to have control over the alarm.

The Hatch Restore is pricey—but it’s unlike anything else on the market. Plus, it genuinely helped us build better bedtime and wake-up habits, so we think it’s worth every penny. 

Price at time of publish: $130

Dimensions: ‎7.5 x 2.75 x 5.75 inches | Power Source: Custom power cable (included) | Special Features: Custom sunrise alarms, custom wind-down programs, audio library, white noise programs, night light

Best Wooden Alarm Clock

Jall Digital Alarm Clock

Jall Digital Alarm Clock


What Stands Out
  • This incredibly sleek option allows you to set three different alarms, which can also be set to ring only on weekdays.

What Could Be Improved
  • There's a bit of a learning curve when it comes to using some of the controls.

Jall’s Digital Alarm Clock is one of our favorite basic alarm clocks. And since it’s made of wood, it looks sleek on any nightstand. It doesn’t take long to set up, though you might have to refer to the directions quite a bit. You can program three different alarms, which are easy to switch on and off. And while you can’t change what they sound like, you can adjust their volume. These alarms were effective, and woke us up without being irritatingly loud. And we like that you can set them to only ring on weekdays. 

Some buttons on the clock are intuitive: Press once to snooze your alarm, and press twice to turn it off. But others take some getting used to, like the “sound control” button to turn off the clock’s display. Once we got past the learning curve, this clock was easy to use, and we think the tradeoff is worth it. After all, how many basic alarm clocks let you set three alarms?

The clock is also incredibly sleek. Its wooden exterior and streamlined shape make it feel like an on-trend accessory—and it’s a far cry from other basic under-$30 alarm clocks. So if you want a better-than-average basic alarm clock that won’t disrupt your decor scheme, this one’s an excellent pick.

Price at time of publish: $22

Dimensions: 5.9 x 3.2 x 3.2 inches | Power Source: USB cable (included) | Special Features: Three alarms

Best Bluetooth Alarm Clock

iHome iBT29 Bluetooth Color Changing Dual Alarm Clock

iHome iBT29BC Bluetooth Alarm Clock


What Stands Out
  • It can function as a speaker and a night light and is equipped with a USB port so you can use it to charge your phone. 

What Could Be Improved
  • Some might not find it intuitive to operate, and the Bluetooth can take up to 30 seconds to connect.

There are a handful of great Bluetooth alarm clocks on the market, but we think the iHome iBT29BC Bluetooth Alarm Clock gives you the best bang for your buck. This alarm clock gives you a lot of control over how you wake up in the morning. You can set two separate alarms, and customize what those alarms sound like. The alarms can beep like a classic alarm clock or play any FM radio station. And if you connect the clock to your phone (via Bluetooth or aux cord), you can wake up to your favorite song, playlist, or podcast. You can also program your iHome to light up in the morning (you have six colors and five color modes to choose from).

As an alarm clock, the iHome proved effective: We never slept through it, and it was loud enough to hear from across the room. But it’s all the other features that make the iHome a standout find. The alarm clock doubles as a speaker—and triples as a night light. And it’s equipped with a USB port you can use to charge your phone. 

Overall, this iHome is effective, feature-packed, and easy to use. And at well under $100, it feels like an absolute steal.

Price at time of publish: $60

Dimensions: 13 x 10.3 x 6.5 inches | Power Source: AC adaptor with battery backup (included) | Special Features: FM radio, Bluetooth speaker, night light, and USB port

iHome iBT29BC Bluetooth Color Changing Dual Alarm Clock

Real Simple / Tammy Gardini

Best Alarm Clock With Wireless Charger

Mosito Digital Wooden Alarm Clock

Mosito Digital Wooden Alarm Clock


What Stands Out
  • There are handy icons to let you know which alarms you’ve set, and it can fully charge both iOS and Android devices overnight.

What Could Be Improved
  • The alarm isn't very loud.

Mosito’s Digital Wooden Alarm Clock is a solid alarm clock, but our favorite thing about it is its built-in wireless charger.

The alarm clock woke us up every day, and it’s really easy to use. It lets you schedule two alarms, which you can set to on, off, or weekdays-only. It also displays handy icons that let you know which alarms you’ve set. While you can’t customize the sound of your alarms, you can adjust their volume. That said, even when set to the highest volume, the alarms weren’t very loud—so this might not be a good pick for heavy sleepers.

Having an easy-to-use alarm clock is great, but the real selling point of this one is its built-in wireless charger. The charging pad lines the top of the clock, so when you place your phone on it, it should start charging. This might take a while though, as the charger isn’t as fast as a charging cable. But it’s compatible with iOS and Android devices—and strong enough to charge them overnight.

The alarm clock is also made of wood, so it looks pretty sleek. This well-rounded feature set makes the alarm clock easy to recommend: It’s sleek, effective, and wallet-friendly, plus it’ll charge your devices without taking up much space on your nightstand.

Price at time of publish: $35

Dimensions: 2.5 x 2.5 x 5.7 inches | Power Source: Power cable (included) | Special Features: Wireless charger

MOSITO Digital Wooden Alarm Clock

Real Simple / Stacy Horton

Best Alarm Clock Lamp

Winshine Touch Wake Up Night Light with Sunrise Simulation

Winshine Touch Wake Up Night Light with Sunrise Simulation


What Stands Out
  • This affordable option lets you choose between nine soothing sounds, six colors, and three brightness levels. 

What Could Be Improved
  • There are fewer customizable features, like setting multiple alarms.

Winshine’s Touch Wake Up Night Light is a sunrise alarm clock that doubles as a touch lamp, making it especially suited for nurseries or kid’s rooms.

It’s less customizable than our favorite sunrise alarm clock, but it still gives you lots of options. You can only program one alarm at a time, but you can choose between nine soothing sounds, and you can also customize the clock’s color and brightness. The alarm follows a schedule: It lights up 30 minutes before making any noise, and it automatically snoozes if you don’t turn it off, ringing every five minutes until you’re up. 

We found this approach gentle, yet effective. The gradual brightening reliably woke us up before the alarm went off, and we never made use of the snooze feature. We also enjoyed using the alarm clock as a night light: You can tap the clock to turn it on like a lamp, choosing between six different colors and three different brightness levels. 

Since the alarm clock has so many great features, we expected it to be way more expensive than it is. So if you’re looking for a budget-friendly sunrise alarm clock, it’s an excellent pick.

Price at time of publish: $43

Dimensions: 4.3 x 4.3 x 5.9 inches | Power Source: Power cord (included) | Special Features: Custom sunrise alarms, audio library, touch lamp

Winshine Touch Wake Up Night Light with Sunrise Simulation Alarm Clock

Real Simple / Emma Tollefson

Final Verdict

The DreamSky Compact Digital Alarm Clock isn’t a fancy alarm clock—but it gets the job done every time. The clock is simple, easy to use, and effective, as well as very budget-friendly. We also like the Loftie Clock, a splurge-worthy and feature-packed option. This clock is a good option if you’re looking for something customizable, since you can choose an alarm sound and program custom settings for different days. It’s also sure to look nice on your nightstand.

Our Testing Process

We tested 21 alarm clocks in real world settings over a span of two weeks. Our testers included both heavy and light sleepers, as well as those who press snooze a few times and those who get up immediately.

We first evaluated how easy the setup process for each alarm clock was, including both initial setup and alarm programming. We asked testers how intuitive each alarm was to use, and whether the provided instructions were easy or difficult to understand. Then, we evaluated customization features, including audio options and volume range. We considered how loud the alarms were each morning and whether they were easy to sleep through or very startling.  

Next, we evaluated performance, starting with the clock’s ability to keep time accurately. We also considered whether the alarm consistently went off at the correct time throughout the testing period. We additionally evaluated any features, including app or Bluetooth functionality. For sunrise alarm clocks, we considered whether there was an audio alarm in addition to the sunrise alarm. For vibrating clocks, we evaluated how effective the motion was and whether it succeeded in waking us up.

We then took a look at the design elements of each clock, including the convenience and location of any buttons. We considered the placement of the snooze button and how easy it was to activate, as well as how clear the display was. We also considered how bright the display was at night, and whether it could be adjusted or turned off. Finally, we considered the price of each clock, and used that number to determine the overall value of each product.

JALL Wake Up Light Sunrise Alarm Clock

Real Simple / Ciara McCune

How to Shop for Alarm Clocks Like a Pro


Many of the best alarm clocks come with adjustable brightness settings, which is helpful so you can see the time in different light conditions. While it's important to have multiple lighting options, our experts recommended looking for one in particular: "Make sure you can completely dim its screen at night," says Dr. Abhinav Singh, Medical Director at the Indiana Sleep Center. That's because if your alarm clock doesn't dim all the way, it might end up keeping you awake.

Volume and Sound

If you want to prevent yourself from missing your alarm and oversleeping, look for an alarm clock with multiple volume and sound settings. Some models even allow you to wake up to your favorite playlist or radio station, like the iHome iBT29BC Bluetooth Alarm Clock. Heavy sleepers, for example, will probably need an obnoxiously loud alarm to wake them up.

"If the alarm has adjustable volume, then experiment to figure out what level works best to wake you up," says Dr. Colin Espie, professor of sleep medicine at the University of Oxford. If you’re an especially heavy sleeper, we recommend the Roxicosly Extra Loud Alarm Clock, which also vibrates your bed to get you up and moving.

Snooze Button

Not everyone needs an alarm clock with a snooze button. But if you like being able to sleep a few extra minutes in the morning, look for a clock with either a snooze button or a two-phase wake-up alarm.

Special Features

Many alarm clocks come with special features—like built-in night lights, Bluetooth speakers, and USB ports so you can charge your phone. (And some high-tech alarm clocks do even more than that.) But when it comes to special features, our experts say that it's often better to stick to simple alarm clocks. Remember that it's there to wake you up—not to distract you with fancy features. Keep an eye out for the features you want and need, but avoid anything that seems unnecessary for you.

Lenovo Smart Clock Essential

Real Simple / Alicia Dolieslager

More Alarm Clocks to Consider

Jall Wake Up Light Sunrise Alarm Clock: If you want a sunrise alarm clock that’s customizable and inexpensive, this one’s a great pick. The clock lets you choose from seven alarm sounds and seven light colors, but its light is a little dim—even when set to the brightest setting.

Clocky Alarm Clock on Wheels: This alarm clock isn’t just obnoxiously loud—it actually darts around the room, so you have to chase it to turn it off. This approach isn’t ideal for everyone, but it’s great for heavy sleepers. (We had a heavy sleeper test this clock, and it worked every time.)

Questions You Might Ask

Why is it good to have a separate alarm clock that's not on your smartphone?

Most phones come equipped with built-in alarm clocks. But keeping your phone on your nightstand can be a recipe for distraction, preventing you from falling asleep at night or getting up in the morning.

"Cell phone screens produce blue light, which is known to suppress our natural sleep hormones," says Dr. Espie, adding that, "the activities we [do] using these devices—checking email and social media, playing games, watching movies—keep us alert and engaged."

For these reasons, many sleep experts recommend keeping your phone out of the bedroom and instead relying on a traditional alarm clock to wake up.

Why do sunrise alarm clocks work?

Sunrise alarm clocks light up and gradually brighten to mimic a natural sunrise, which signals to your brain that it's time to wake up. "Light helps our brain to know that it's morning and time to awaken," says Dr. Nancy Behrens, sleep medicine specialist at Novant Health.

This makes sunrise alarm clocks particularly helpful when you need to wake up before sunrise. "In months when it is dark outside [in the morning], the light from some clocks may help our circadian rhythms kick into 'wake gear,'" Dr. Singh says.

Is it better to wake up naturally or to an alarm?

Studies show that waking up naturally may be more ideal than waking up to an alarm. But the most important thing is consistency: You should try to fall asleep and wake up at the same time each day. And if an alarm helps you do that, use it. “Most poor sleepers have a very unpredictable sleep pattern,” says Dr. Espie. “An alarm clock can be a very helpful tool to keep a regular schedule.”

Dr. Singh agrees, saying that "repetition is key.” He has a few recommendations: "Keep fixed sleep rhythms, get sunlight in the daytime, [and] avoid caffeine, stimulation, and light in the evening hours. This will help you naturally set a rise time."

Take Our Word for It

This article was written by Lindsey Lanquist, a contributing writer for Real Simple with seven years of experience in the lifestyle space. To find the best alarm clocks, we tested 21 alarm clocks over a span of two weeks, assessing them on volume, reliability, design, ease of use, special features, and overall value. For expert advice on buying and using alarm clocks, we consulted three sleep experts: Abhinav Singh, M.D., Nancy Behrens, M.D., and Colin Espie, Ph.D.

What Is Real Simple Selects?

Next to each product on this list, you may have noticed a Real Simple Selects seal of approval. Any product appearing alongside that seal has been vetted by our team—put through tests and graded on its performance to earn a spot on our list. Although we buy most of the products we test, sometimes we do get samples from companies if purchasing a product ourselves isn’t an option. All products go through the same rigorous process, whether they are purchased or sent by the company.

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