If you’re a “five snooze alarms” until you finally get up type of person, a good alarm clock is essential for healthy sleep. And because most sleep experts suggest leaving your phone out of the bedroom, a good old-fashioned alarm clock is still the best way to wake up in the morning.
From alarms for those of us who just can’t get out of bed to clocks that help you rise with the sun, we’ve rounded up the best devices to help improve your sleep hygiene and keep you well rested (and of course, get you out of bed in the morning).
01 of 08
Best Overall: Sony AM/FM Dual-Alarm Clock Radio
Sometimes, old dogs really do learn new tricks. This gadget from Sony offers a twist on the time-tested clock radio, giving it a 21st-century facelift and a few fun new features. A projector function allows you to display the time on the wall for easy nighttime viewing, while an extra-large LCD display gives the clock the appearance of a high-end tablet. It allows users to set two separate alarms, with the option of your standard buzzers and rings (or the radio) supplemented by various nature sounds for a more relaxed wakeup call. It also includes a USB port, so you won’t have to reach for a distant outlet to charge your phone or other devices.
Customers say the Sony AM/FM Dual-Alarm Clock Radio matches simple functionality with high-tech style, saying the projection feature is especially nifty. One other perk worth a callout is its gradual wakeup system, where a low-volume alarm slowly grows louder—waking you up gently rather than startling you out of bed.
02 of 08
Best for Heavy Sleepers: Instecho Rug Carpet Alarm Clock
Some people need a little extra motivation to wake up in the morning, and when a standard alarm doesn’t cut it, it’s time to break out the big guns. The Instecho Rug Carpet Alarm Clock requires you to actually get out of bed and step on it for five seconds to turn it off, an extra step that ensures your mornings will be snooze-free (and you’ll be able to stop worrying about missing that early train to work). Designed to resemble a small rug, the Instecho Rug Carpet Alarm Clock lets users upload their MP3s of choice, so you can rise to your favorite tunes. Meanwhile, the clock itself is constructed with a fleece shell and memory foam pad, so it’s the kind of soft, comfortable surface you’ll actually want to keep beside your bed.
Customers say the Instecho Rug Carpet Alarm Clock is easy to use and comfortable to stand on, adding that it makes a great gift for the habitual snoozer in your life.
03 of 08
Best for College Students: Sonic Alert Extra Loud Dual Alarm Clock with Super Shaker
Anyone who’s ever lived with roommates knows the special torture of being woken by your roomie’s alarm clock morning after morning. This clock from Sonic Alert has a smart solve for this common issue, with a vibration feature that wakes you up with a shake rather than a ring. Just slip the “Super Shaker” disk under your mattress, and it’ll vibrate your bed when it’s time to wake up. Problem solved! And don’t worry—if you still want to use the regular alarm, it’s plenty loud.
The Sonic Alert Clock also allows you to set snooze times from 1-30 minutes, and is portable enough to be travel-friendly. Customers say it’s ideal for dorm-dwellers, or any roommate situation where varied sleep schedules need to be accommodated.
04 of 08
Best for Kids: Mirari OK to Wake! Alarm Clock & Night-Light
If you’re looking for a clock for kids that makes bedtime (and wakeup time) fun, the Mirari OK to Wake! Alarm Clock is just the ticket. With a fun, kid-friendly design (the clock can resemble either a cartoon bug or flower), it looks more like a toy than your standard clock—but it’s got a major perk parents will appreciate. The clock glows green when it's okay for your child to get out of bed, teaching them independence and saving Mom and Dad precious sleep. When they’re ready, it can be switched to serve as a regular alarm clock.
The Mirari OK to Wake! Alarm Clock has a friendly, animated face (along with two interchangeable faceplates) and produces a warm yellow glow when it’s time to sleep. Customers highly recommend it for toddlers or preschoolers who struggle with bedtime—parents mention it’s dramatically reduced calls of “Mom, is it still night?” in the wee hours of the morning.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
Best Light Therapy: Philips Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock
Alarm clocks that use light to wake you up are a smart alternative to your typical buzz-based gadgets. Intended to mimic the sensation of rising with the sun, the clock uses a light that grows gradually brighter over the course of 20 or 40 minutes prior to your chosen alarm time. You can adjust the light to a level that’s comfortable for you and your room, and the alarm itself takes the form of one of five nature-inspired sounds rather than a harsh ring. It also includes an FM radio and snooze function.
The clock itself is sleekly designed and cool to the touch, so it’s safe to use around kids. The light is UV-free, and clinical research suggests it could wake you up with increased energy and a better mood. Customers agree, writing that they’ve noted a substantial difference in their sleeping patterns and less grogginess upon waking.
06 of 08
Best Alarm Clock Radio: DreamSky Decent Alarm Clock Radio with FM Radio
You can’t go wrong with a clock radio, and this one from DreamSky checks all the right boxes. The four-inch LCD display is easy to read, and the simple interface lets you program the radio to play for a preset length of time while you fall asleep. In the morning, you can wake up to either a buzzer or the sound of the radio, with the option of eight-minute snooze intervals for up to an hour. It also includes a USB charging port, adjustable brightness control and a gradual wakeup system, gently increasing the volume of the radio or buzzer as you rise.
Customers call the DreamSky a “great little clock,” mentioning the display’s ability to dim when needed for uninterrupted sleep. One note: The radio is FM-only, and buyers suggest purchasing a set of backup batteries in the event of a power failure or hiccup in the electrical current.
07 of 08
Best Charging Clock: Electrohome USB Charging Alarm Clock Radio
If you’re someone who’s constantly searching for a place to charge your tablet or smartphone, this clock radio will ensure you’re never at a loss again. Outfitted with a high-speed USB charging port, it’s ideal for anyone who habitually plugs in their favorite device before sacking out for the night. The clock itself has a handful of cool features too, like a projector that displays the time on your walls or ceiling and a backup battery that guarantees you won’t oversleep in the event of a power outage. The LED display measure 1.2” and can be set to high, medium or low brightness for comfortable sleeping.
Customers call the Electrohome USB Charging Alarm Clock Radio one of the best they’ve seen, saying the projection feature is a major bonus (in addition to its charging abilities). All told, it’s a great clock radio and a guarantee that you won’t spend the minutes before bed searching your home for that missing phone charger.
08 of 08
Best Design: LL Bean Moonbeam Alarm Clock with USB Port
Looking for an alarm clock with a retro twist? LL Bean’s Moonbeam Alarm Clock has loads of midcentury-inspired style, with a design that’s straight out of the ‘50s. Available in six colors (all with a vintage flair), it’s a statement-making marriage of form and function. While it may not look as high-tech as its peers with its analog clock face, it actually includes a USB port for easy device charging—so you don’t need to give up your modern comforts to get that old-school look.
The clock has a bell-tone alarm and option for LED light wakeup, along with a snooze option and backup battery. Customers rave about the period-accurate style and option for soft light-aided wakeup. Just be aware that like any analog clock, it will tick quietly as it keeps time.
Our writers spent 5 hours researching the most popular alarm clocks on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 50 different alarm clocks overall, screened options from 20 different brands and manufacturers, read over 50 user reviews (both positive and negative), and tested 1 of the alarm clocks themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.