Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Philips Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock at Amazon
"Intended to mimic the sensation of rising with the sun."
Best for Kids: Mirari OK to Wake! Alarm Clock & Night-Light at Amazon
"With a fun, kid-friendly design looks more like a toy than your standard clock."
Best Features: Sony AM/FM Dual-Alarm Clock Radio at Best Buy
"This gadget from Sony offers a twist on the time-tested clock radio."
Best Alarm Clock Radio: DreamSky Decent Alarm Clock Radio with FM Radio at Amazon
"Lets you program the radio to play for a preset length of time."
Best for College: Sonic Alert Extra Loud Dual Alarm Clock with Super Shaker at Amazon
"Has a vibration feature that wakes you up with a shake rather than a ring."
Best Charging Clock: Electrohome USB Charging Alarm Clock Radio at Walmart
"Outfitted with a high-speed USB charging port."
"Has loads of mid century-inspired style, with a design that mimics the ‘50s."
01 of 07
Best Overall: 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.
02 of 07
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 that 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.
03 of 07
Best Features: 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 wakeup system, where a low-volume alarm slowly grows louder—waking you up gently rather than startling you out of bed.
04 of 07
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 wake-up 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.Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07
Best for College: 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.
06 of 07
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.
07 of 07
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.
Products Tested by The Spruce
How We Tested
We bought two top-rated alarm clocks and our reviewers tested them daily for weeks on end. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using these alarm clocks, from their design and footprint to their selection of noises. We’ve outlined the key takeaways here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.
What to Look for in an Alarm Clock
Noise The key to an alarm clock’s success is its ability to get you up and out of bed. The types of noises produced by a clock can vary widely, and some may be or more less effective for you. Standard buzzer variations are common, but you might also prefer nature noises or the ability to use the radio as a morning wake-up call. Keep your preferences in mind as you search.
Battery backup Nothing is worse than waking up to a blinking alarm clock that needs to be reset, only to realize that you overslept. If you live in an area prone to power outages, make sure that any alarm clock you buy is equipped with a battery backup. The battery will keep the clock running, even if the power supply is interrupted — which means your alarm will still go off at the set time, saving you stress and frustration.
USB charging USB charging is popping up on alarm clocks more and more frequently. This might be a must-have item if you like to keep your phone handy at your bedside but need a convenient power source to charge it. If you don’t opt for an alarm clock with a USB port, keep in mind that your clock will likely be taking over the electrical outlet next to your bed — perhaps requiring you to plug your phone in somewhere farther away.
Test Results: Philips Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock (Best Overall)
What We Like
What We Don't Like
Setup instructions are hard to follow
Poor audio quality with FM radio
One of our testers reported that this alarm clock was very effective at getting her out of bed: “It has a really bright light that’s especially perfect if you need to get up when it’s still dark,” she explained. Our reviewers also thought that its interface was bright and easy to read. On the other hand, one of our testers felt that its setup instructions are hard to follow. Additionally, its audio quality (when using the FM radio) was lacking, according to one reviewer.
Test Results: Mirari OK to Wake! Alarm Clock & Nightlight (Best for Kids)
What We Like
Simple design allows toddlers to use it on their own
Soft green light visually indicates it’s time to get up
Nap timer allows you to set numerous green-light-go alarms
What We Don't Like
Can’t change light color
Could crack or break if thrown hard by an angry toddler
Alarm is a little muted
“For the price point and ease of use, I would totally buy this product,” raved our tester. “My kid took right to it and it’s also a snap to clean.” Although our tester didn’t have many negative things to say about this alarm clock, she wished that it came in more colors besides green. She also felt it was slightly inconvenient that it was just battery-powered and had some reservations about its durability: “I fear that the plastic will crack if my toddler throws it too hard,” she said.