The 9 Best Alarm Clocks to Prevent You From Oversleeping

Our top pick is the Loftie Clock because it’s sleek, customizable, and easy to use.

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best alarm clocks
Photo: amazon.com

If you're tired of relying on your phone to wake you up in the morning, then you might want to keep an alarm clock on your nightstand instead. But with all the different types out there—like analog, digital, and even sunrise-simulating models—it can be hard to decide which is best for your needs.

To come up with this list of the best alarm clocks, we researched dozens of models and considered factors like volume settings, brightness settings, and other special features. For advice on what to look for when buying alarm clocks, we spoke to three experts: Nancy Behrens, M.D., system medical director at Novant Health Sleep Medicine Programs; Abhinav Singh, M.D., facility director at the Indiana Sleep Center; and Colin Espie, Ph.D., professor of sleep medicine in the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Oxford.

"It's pretty individual," Dr. Behrens says. "Some people prefer to be awakened more gently, like with birds chirping or with music. Some deep sleepers need loud beeping and multiple snoozes."

Our top pick, the Loftie Clock, is the best choice for most people because it has a sleek design and is packed with thoughtful features that make it easier to fall asleep at night and wake up in the morning.

Here are the best alarm clocks.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall Alarm Clock: Loftie Clock

Best Alarm Clocks
amazon.com

Also available at Loftie and Tuft & Needle.

Who it's for: People who want a truly great alarm clock with customizable alarms, a library of sleep-friendly audio programs, and a built-in night light.

Who it isn't for: People who want to save money on a more basic alarm clock.

It's hard to imagine an alarm clock worth raving about. After all, how special can an alarm clock possibly be? But the Loftie Clock is sleek, thoughtfully designed, and easy to use—and that's why it earned the top spot on our list. While most alarm clocks wake you up with abrupt beeping, this one wakes you up in two phases. First, it rings for 30 seconds to gently wake you. Then, it rings again nine minutes later—this time, loud enough to get you out of bed. This approach is supposed to make it easier to wake up in the morning. And since the clock has a bunch of adjustable settings, it's easy to customize your routine. You can change the alarm's sound and volume, and you can even program different settings for specific days of the week.

These features alone make the Loftie Clock stand out from other classic options, but the user-friendly details don't stop there. If you're struggling to fall asleep, you can use the clock as a white noise machine or sift through its library of nature sounds, breathing exercises, and guided meditations. If you want to listen to something else, you can connect your smartphone to the clock's Bluetooth speaker. And if you wake up in the middle of the night, you can turn on the clock's built-in night light (it automatically turns off when it's time to go to bed).

Just keep in mind that this alarm clock needs to be connected to WiFi, and you'll have to use an app during the initial setup process. It also needs to be plugged in with the included USB-C cable and power adapter.

Product Details:

  • Brightness Settings: Two
  • Snooze Button: Yes
  • Special Features: Bluetooth speaker, audio library, and night light
  • Power: USB-C cable and power adapter (included)

Best Budget Alarm Clock: DreamSky Compact Digital Alarm Clock

Best Alarm Clocks
amazon.com

Who it's for: People who want an affordable alarm clock with an easy-to-read display.

Who it isn't for: People who want multiple alarm sounds to choose from.

Not everyone can (or wants to) shell out more than $100 on an alarm clock, which is exactly why this option from DreamSky made our list. It's much more affordable than many of the other alarm clocks we recommend, but it still packs a punch. We were immediately drawn to its large display, which will be easy to read from across the room. Plus, this pick has multiple volume options for the classic beeping alarm (ranging from 30 to 90 decibels) and brightness levels that can be adjusted using the wheel on the back. And even though it's a budget-friendly choice, this model is still equipped with an extra USB port that you can use to charge your phone at night.

The DreamSky alarm clock needs to be plugged in, but you can pop in two AAA batteries as a backup in case your home loses power. But keep in mind that this is simply to preserve the settings—the alarm won't actually go off during a power outage. Plus, there are seven color options to choose from, including classic black and white and bright hues like orange and green.

Product Details:

  • Brightness Settings: Adjustable from 0–100
  • Snooze Button: Yes
  • Special Features: Adjustable volume, USB charging port
  • Power: USB with adapter (included) and two AAA batteries for backup (not included)

Best Sunrise Alarm Clock: Hatch Restore

Best Alarm Clocks
amazon.com

Also available at Nordstrom.

Who it's for: People who have a hard time waking up when it's dark out.

Who it isn't for: People who'd prefer an alarm clock that doesn't light up.

The Hatch Restore is an alarm clock that doubles as your own personal sunrise. Thirty minutes before you're set to wake up, the clock will light up—and it will keep getting brighter until your alarm goes off. This gentle approach is a huge help on days when you need to wake up before the sun rises.

We love that the Hatch Restore does way more than most sunrise alarm clocks. When you use the free Hatch Sleep app, you'll get access to 22 light colors, 31 sound programs, and 10 different sunrises. (Certain features require an optional paid subscription, but the clock comes with a free trial.) Pick your favorite sound program and sunrise simulation to customize your alarm, or take a breather with one of the guided meditations. Even better, you can use your Hatch Restore to create a "wind-down routine" by scheduling a series of light and sound programs that help you relax at night.

Product Details:

  • Brightness Settings: 20
  • Snooze Button: No
  • Special Features: Audio library and night light
  • Power: Custom power cable (included)

RELATED: I've Used This Sunrise Alarm Clock for 2 Years Now, and It's Made Winter Way More Bearable

Best Smart Alarm Clock: Echo Dot With Clock

Best Alarm Clocks
amazon.com

Also available at Bed Bath & Beyond and Target.

Who it's for: People who want a smart home device that doubles as a non-distracting alarm clock.

Who it isn't for: People who prefer a more classic, low-tech alarm clock.

There are smart home devices that can do practically anything—including waking you up in the morning. What makes the Echo Dot With Clock a great alarm clock is its simple design. The device is shaped like a big textured ball, so it won't distract you with an app-covered screen. And unlike similar Echo devices, it always displays the time.

To set an alarm, just ask your Echo to wake you up at a specific time—you can even tell it what kind of music you want to hear when you get up. And if you want to get fancy, you can download the Amazon Alexa app and program a full-blown morning routine. (When it's time to get up, your favorite song will play, your smart lights will turn on, and your smart coffeemaker will brew a pot of fresh coffee.)

This flexibility is one of the things we love most about this alarm clock. You can make your morning routine as simple—or as fancy—as you want it to be. And you can easily switch things up whenever you feel like it. Like any Echo device, this one can tell jokes, answer questions, check the weather, and play the news. You can also use it to control your favorite smart home devices—like light switches, thermostats, locks, and more.

Product Details:

  • Brightness Settings: Yes (slider)
  • Snooze Button: Yes
  • Special Features: Speaker, voice controls, smart home controls, timer, and hands-free calls
  • Power: AC adapter (included)

RELATED: 7 Amazon Devices That Will Make Your Home Smarter

Best Design Alarm Clock: OneClock Alarm Clock

Best Alarm Clocks
moma.com

Also available at OneClock.

Who it's for: People who want a sleek, retro alarm clock that wakes them up with a different sound every morning.

Who it isn't for: People who don't want to splurge on a low-tech alarm clock, even if it's stylish and unique.

The OneClock Alarm Clock might be the coolest alarm clock we've laid our eyes on. The analog clock is lined with genuine oak and vibrant aluminum—a retro combination that will look great on any nightstand. It's packed with little details that make it easy to use, like touch sensitivity that allows it to double as a tap-enabled night light. The clock is analog, so you won't have to fuss with Bluetooth, WiFi, or connected apps. And it also comes equipped with a backup system, so your alarm will sound even if the power goes out.

But what makes this alarm clock truly special is its unique alarm. Whereas other alarm clocks typically wake you up with repetitive beeps or gentle nature noises, this one wakes you up with an original soundtrack designed by Grammy Award-winning musician Jon Natchez. Each morning, the clock plays a randomly chosen song from this soundtrack and remixes it differently each day—meaning you'll be in for a surprise every time you wake up. This feature is especially great for people who get used to their alarm sounds and eventually start to tune them out.

Product Details:

  • Brightness Settings: None
  • Snooze Button: No
  • Special Features: Night light
  • Power: USB-C cord with adapter (included)

Best Alarm Clock for Heavy Sleepers: Clocky Alarm Clock on Wheels

Best Alarm Clocks
amazon.com

Who it's for: Heavy sleepers who need a loud, jarring alarm clock.

Who it isn't for: People who aren't willing to chase their alarm clock around the room.

The Clocky Alarm Clock on Wheels isn't the kind of alarm clock you can snooze repeatedly. When your alarm goes off, the clock rolls off your nightstand—hiding, shaking, and darting around until you get out of bed to turn it off. When you finally catch your Clocky, you can hit snooze exactly once. And if you don't want the temptation of sleeping in, you can completely turn off the snooze feature when you set your alarm.

This rambunctious routine is enough to annoy anyone in the morning. But what we love about the Clocky Alarm Clock is that it isn't just active—it's also incredibly loud. When the clock is sitting on your nightstand, its alarm will sound at 100 decibels. That's about as loud as an approaching subway train or a full-blown sports game. Once the clock hits your floor, the noise will be about 83 decibels, which is comparable to a lawnmower or leaf blower.

With its pesky behavior and intense volume, the Clocky Alarm Clock isn't the kind of thing that will ease you into your morning. But if you're a heavy sleeper, it may be exactly what you need to get up—and stay up—when your alarm goes off.

Product Details:

  • Brightness Settings: One
  • Snooze Button: Yes (optional)
  • Special Features: None
  • Power: Four AAA batteries (not included)

Best Radio Alarm Clock: iHome Alarm Clock

Best Alarm Clocks
amazon.com

Who it's for: People who want to wake up to their favorite radio station, playlist, or podcast.

Who it isn't for: People who don't want to wake up to music.

An iHome may seem like a retro purchase, but we still think this option is the best modern-day radio alarm clock around. This iHome lets you listen to music however you want to, so you won't feel stuck in the past. You can set the alarm clock to play any FM radio station, just like you could with a classic radio alarm clock. But you can also connect it to your phone using Bluetooth or an auxiliary cord, and you can even charge your device with the USB port. Once you've done that, you can wake up to your go-to Spotify playlist, your Apple Music library, or your favorite podcast. And on days when you're craving something traditional, you can always have the clock play a classic alarm tone.

To top things off, this alarm clock lights up like a color-changing lamp, so your wake-up routine can include bright lights, pretty colors, and your favorite music. That's a lot more than you'll get from most radio alarm clocks. And since you can fully customize your wake-up tunes, that's more than you'll get from most standard alarm clocks, too.

Product Details:

  • Brightness Settings: Five
  • Snooze Button: Yes
  • Special Features: FM radio, Bluetooth speaker, night light, voice controls, and USB port
  • Power: AC adaptor with battery backup (included)

Best Analog Alarm Clock: Arne Jacobsen Station Alarm Clock

Best Alarm Clocks
dwr.com

Also available at Amazon and MoMA Design Store.

Who it's for: People who want a sleek analog alarm clock that dims all the way and doesn't tick.

Who it isn't for: People who want an alarm clock with smart features or Bluetooth capabilities.

There are lots of great analog options out there, but the Arne Jacobsen Station Alarm Clock earned a spot on our list for a few reasons: It's sleek, it's easy to use, and it dims all the way. (That last feature may sound obvious, but it's surprisingly hard to find in an analog alarm clock.)

The clock was designed by Arne Jacobsen, a celebrated architect and designer, so it's sleeker than the average alarm clock. It also avoids many of the common pitfalls that plague analog alarm clocks. First of all, this alarm clock is extremely quiet because the hands move silently rather than ticking all night long. And the clock's touch-sensor light turns completely on and off, so the light won't disturb you while you're trying to sleep.

Thanks to its no-frills design, this analog clock is also really easy to use. Just remove the back and you'll find two knobs: one for setting the time and one for setting the alarm. When it's time to wake up, you'll be greeted by a classic bell ding—and you can snooze it by tapping the top of the clock.

Product Details:

  • Brightness Settings: Two
  • Snooze Button: Yes
  • Special Features: Night light
  • Power: Two AA batteries (not included)

Best Alarm Clock for Kids: LittleHippo Mella

Best Alarm Clocks
amazon.com

Also available at Bed Bath & Beyond and Target.

Who it's for: Parents who want a cute alarm clock that will help their young child establish a sleep schedule.

Who it isn't for: Adults and older kids who prefer a traditional alarm clock.

When you look at the LittleHippo Mella, you might think you're looking at a toy. This device lights up, turns different colors, and has a smiley face that changes throughout the day. But what you're looking at is an alarm clock for kids. And these cutesy features aren't just for fun—they're there to help little ones stick to a consistent sleep schedule.

When it's time for bed, the clock glows red and its face grows tired. When it's almost time to wake up, the clock glows yellow and smirks. And when it's time to get up, the clock glows green and smiles while a wake-up alarm goes off. There are three different alarm sounds to choose from, so kids can pick their favorite. There are also sleep programs for kids to listen to as they doze off.

These features make the LittleHippo Mella a great alarm clock for children. We also love that the clock doubles as a kid-friendly night light, and triples as a parent-friendly timer. If kids want to use their clock as a lamp, they can turn it on and choose between five different night light colors. And parents can set countdowns for certain activities, like timeouts, naps, and before-bed playtime.

Product Details:

  • Brightness Settings: Five
  • Snooze Button: Yes
  • Special Features: Audio library, night light, and timer
  • Power: 4-foot USB cable with adapter (included)

Final Verdict

We recommend the Loftie Clock because it's a sleek, feature-packed alarm clock that meets most sleepers' needs. It's customizable, so you can choose the alarm's sound, adjust its volume, and program different settings for different days. The clock is also equipped with features like a night light that automatically shuts off and a library of guided meditations. But if you're looking for something more affordable, then the DreamSky Compact Digital Alarm Clock is worth checking out. We like that it has a large, easy-to-read display and a USB port to charge your phone.

How to Shop for Alarm Clocks Like a Pro

Brightness

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," Dr. Singh says. That's because if your alarm clock doesn't dim all the way, it might end up keeping you awake at night.

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. 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. Espie.

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.

Questions You Might Ask

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

Many 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," Dr. Espie says, adding, "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," Dr. Behrens says.

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.

What did people do before alarm clocks?

Before alarm clocks, people told time using hourglasses, water clocks, and oil lamps—and some even hired other people to wake them up, according to Live Science. But even today, there are ways to consistently wake up without an alarm clock.

"Repetition is key," Dr. Singh says. "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 writing lifestyle content. To create this guide, Lindsey turned to three sleep experts—Nancy Behrens, M.D., Abhinav Singh, M.D., and Colin Espie, Ph.D.—for advice on what to consider when buying alarm clocks. She then spent hours researching the most popular alarm clocks on the market, assessing them for factors like brightness, volume, special features, and ease of use.

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