The 9 Best Alarm Clocks of 2021

Shop for the top-rated alarm clocks for your bedroom

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The right alarm clock not only helps you stay on schedule, but it can also help you avoid missing important meetings and other events. And fortunately, the new generation of clocks includes options that are stylish and include many wellness features to help you sleep more efficiently and effectively.

We rounded up the best alarm clocks on the market today.

Our Top Picks
This sunrise alarm clock has four alarm settings, seven colored LED time lights, and many soothing wake sounds to choose from.
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With a loud buzzer and bed shaker, this alarm can wake up heavy sleepers, and has two alarms you in case you miss the first one.
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This wake-up light allows you to fall asleep and wake up gradually, with 20 brightness settings and five natural wake up sounds.
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With a color indicator and cute design, this is a fun and helpful way to teach your kids when it is the right time to get out of bed.
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This clock is loaded with features including an indoor temperature sensor, projector to display the time, and a phone holder.
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Best Health And Fitness:
Withings Hybrid Smartwatch at Amazon
This smartwatch wakes you up with a gentle vibration and has an app you can download on your phone to track your sleep patterns.
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Simple, yet stylish, this analog alarm clock has a Mid-Century modern look and features an acrylic case with a matte black finish.
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Gradually fall asleep and wake up with this alarm clock that features a sound library and 22 light colors to choose from.
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Small enough to fit in your hand, this rechargeable alarm clock comes in a variety of fun colors, and has two alarms.
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Best Overall: HeimVision Sunrise Alarm Clock A80S

HeimVision Sunrise Alarm Clock A80S
What We Like
  • Price

  • 7 alarm sounds

  • 4 alarms

  • FM radio

  • Adjustable brightness

  • Snooze function

  • 7 colored lights

  • App control

What We Don't Like
  • No wireless speaker

  • No music atmosphere light

If you want an alarm clock that does everything, consider the HoMedics Recharged Alarm Clock & Sound Machine. It’s a projection clock, so you can display the time on the ceiling or most convenient wall to see the time while lying flat on your back. The clock also has an indoor temperature sensor, so you’ll know if you need to adjust your home’s thermostat, or grab a jacket before you leave the house. In addition, you’ll never have to wonder where you phone is because it can rest out of the way in the integrated smartphone holder on the back of the clock.

In addition, the HoMedics includes 8 soothing sounds that can be set to turn off in 15 minutes, 30 minutes,  60 minutes, or you can listen to them all night. The sounds include a fan, ocean, rainforest, gentle rain, thunderstorm, white noise, brook, and campfire. You can choose to wake up to these sounds, the digital FM radio, or a regular beeping alarm. There’s also a snooze button in case you want to sleep a little longer. The clock plugs into an outlet and uses battery backup. In addition, there’s a USB port on the back of the clock for charging your smartphone.

Best for Heavy Sleepers: Roxicosly Extra Loud Alarm Clock

Extra Loud Alarm Clock with Bed Shaker
What We Like
  • Vibrating alarm

  • USB charger port

  • Large display

What We Don't Like
  • Snooze button can be mistaken for other buttons

If you tend to sleep through alarms, consider the Roxicosly Extra Loud Alarm Clock with Bed Shaker. For starters, you can adjust the alarm button until it reaches the extra loud buzzer level. But that’s not all. You can also set two alarms – so if you don’t hear the first one, you’ll hear the second one. But what makes the Roxicosly really good for heavy sleepers is the attached “bed shaker” device that vibrates in your bed. That makes this a good choice for not only heavy sleepers, but also people who are hearing impaired.

You can choose to use either the loud buzzer or bed shaker, or you can use them together. The LED display has large numbers so it is easy to read even when your eyes are barely open or you haven’t put on your glasses yet. But you can dim the screen’s brightness if you find it provides too much light. Other features include a snooze button, AC power with battery backup, and a USB charger port for charging your phone while you sleep.

Best Sunrise: Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light

Philips SmartSleep Wake-up Light
What We Like
  • Unique shape

  • 5 natural wake-up sounds

  • Simulated sunrise/sunset

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • No green, magenta, blue color choices

The Philips HF3520/60 SmartSleep Wake-up Light is a peaceful way to go to sleep and wake up. Using a sunset simulation to create the perfect mood for sleeping, and then a sunrise simulation to wake you up, it’s a more serene way to drift off and wake up. There are 20 brightness settings, so it’s easy to find the right one for your needs. Just in case you don’t think the sunrise light is enough to wake you up, you can also choose between 5 natural wake-up sounds: birds, Buddha, yoga, ocean waves and Nepal bowls, or wake up to your favorite FM radio station. Whichever sound you select will gradually get louder over the period of a minute and a half until it reaches the selected volume level.

You can also set 2 alarms, and use the 9-minute snooze button to sleep a little longer. From the front, the SmartSleep Wake-up Light looks like a flood light waiting to be plugged into a fixture. However, the unique shape of the digital clock is also part of its charm. The anti-slip rubber feet help to keep the device in place and ensure that it doesn’t scratch your furniture. In addition, the light can be used as a reading lamp.

Best for Kids: Mirari Ok to Wake! Alarm Clock & Night-Light

Mirari OK to Wake! Alarm Clock & Night-Light

 

What We Like
  • Educational

  • Colorful

  • Inexpensive

What We Don't Like
  • No Bluetooth capability

If you have small children, the Mirari OK to Wake! Alarm Clock & Night Light serves multiple purposes. The clock’s face turns green when it’s time to wake up. As a result, kids learn not to get up and disturb the rest of the family if the clock isn’t the correct color. The clock is also useful for nap time, quiet time, and can even be used for other events (for example, letting them know when dinner will be ready, or when it’s time for their favorite TV show). 

If green isn’t your kid’s favorite color, don’t worry since the clock also comes with a second interface, which is purple – and surely, they’ll like one of the two color options.  In addition to the color indicator, the clock – which also has a digital interface which can help them learn numbers – features an audible alarm. Instead of a large, jarring sound, it produces a series of beeps, which kids can turn off themselves by depressing the large feet on the clock. The clock is charged using a USB cable and uses 2 AA batteries for backup.

"While littles ones will all respond differently to the clock, it did prove helpful in keeping our toddler from popping out of his room 20 times an hour to see if quiet time was over."—Linnea Covington, Product Tester

Best Multipurpose Clock: Homedics Recharged Alarm Clock & Sound Machine

Homedics Recharged Alarm Clock & Sound Machine
What We Like
  • Projects time on ceiling or wall

  • Temperature sensor

  • FM clock

  • Smartphone holder

  • 8 nature sounds

What We Don't Like
  • No sunrise option

If you want an alarm clock that does everything, consider the HoMedics Recharged Alarm Clock & Sound Machine. It’s a projection clock, so you can display the time on the ceiling or most convenient wall to see the time while lying flat on your back. The clock also has an indoor temperature sensor, so you’ll know if you need to adjust your home’s thermostat, or grab a jacket before you leave the house. In addition, you’ll never have to wonder where you phone is because it can rest out of the way in the integrated smartphone holder on the back of the clock.

In addition, the HoMedics includes 8 soothing sounds that can be set to turn off in 15 minutes, 30 minutes,  60 minutes, or you can listen to them all night. The sounds include a fan, ocean, rainforest, gentle rain, thunderstorm, white noise, brook, and campfire. You can choose to wake up to these sounds, the digital FM radio, or a regular beeping alarm. There’s also a snooze button in case you want to sleep a little longer. The clock plugs into an outlet and uses battery backup. In addition, there’s a USB port on the back of the clock for charging your smartphone.

Best Health And Fitness: Withings Steel HR Hybrid Smartwatch

Withings Steel HR Hybrid Smartwatch
What We Like
  • Vibrating alarm

  • Ability to track sleep habits

  • Ability to monitor heart rate while asleep

  • Sleep score

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

If you wear the Withins Steel HR Hybrid Smartwatch while you sleep, it does more than just wake you up with a gentle vibration. The Steel HR automatically tracks your light and deep sleep cycles, in addition to monitoring how long you sleep – and when your sleep is interrupted. So, by using the Withins app on your smartphone, the smartwatch can tell you, for example, that you went to sleep at 11:49pm and woke up at 7:45am, for a total of 7 hours and 54 minutes. The app can also tell you that from the time you got in the bed to lie down, it took you 8 minutes to fall asleep, and from the time you woke up the next morning, it took you five minutes to actually get up. The app also records your sleeping heart rate.

All of this information is sent to your smartphone to show the specific times you slept lightly, deeply, or were awake. It even provides a sleep score. The Withins Steel HR tracks this data by day, week, and month to help you understand what’s going on when you go to bed, and the watch learns to gently vibrate to wake you at the optimal point in your sleep cycle. The waterproof watch has a rechargeable battery life that lasts for up to 25 days. In addition to having an alarm function and tracking your sleep, it also monitors your awake activities, such as how many steps you take, and how many calories you burn.

Best Analog: Newgate Wideboy Analog Alarm Clock - Black

Wideboy Analog Alarm Clock
What We Like
  • Retro design

  • Doesn’t rely on power

  • Silent hands

What We Don't Like
  • No bells and whistles (not even one!)

If you don’t care for fancy, schmancy digital clocks that project the time on the ceiling, change colors, and provide nature sounds, you might like the Newgate Wideboy Analog Alarm Clock. It’s basic, yet beautiful. The Mid-Century design includes an acrylic dial with metal hands in an acrylic case with a matte black finish. The retro alarm clock uses silent-sleep hands so you won’t be staring at the ceiling all night listening to it tick incessantly. The clock uses one AA battery.

Best Smart: Hatch Restore Sound Machine and Smart Light

Hatch Restore
What We Like
  • Sound library

  • 22 light colors

  • Hatch app

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

The Hatch Restore Smart Sleep Assistant is the top of the line in alarm clocks. It combines smart lights, sound machines, sleep apps – and more. While most clocks with nature sounds have 5 to 7 choices, the Hatch Restore Smart Sleep Assistant has an entire sound library with several dozen sounds, including sunny beach, light rain, river creek, white noise, and meditative flute. The clock also has 22 light colors to choose from. For example, just the daytime colors include light turquoise, aqua, turquoise, light blue, sky, and blue. There is also a nighttime color palette, pastel palette, basic palette, etc.

The sunrise palette mimics a natural dawn with gradual light exposure that changes from red to orange hues and then to white in the span of 30 minutes. Just some of these hues include Malibu Sunrise, Portland Lighthouse, Morning in Prague, Hiking in the Dawn, and Tropical Morning.

The Hatch Restore smart light can also serve as a reading lamp, allowing you to remove your regular lamp and save space on your nightstand. You can choose to operate the clock by using touch controls or download the app to use your smartphone. Subscribers to Hatch premium also have unlimited access to such content as meditations and sleep stories. The clock requires a Wi-Fi connection.

Best Design: Gingko Edge Light Alarm Clock

Gingko Edge Light Alarm Clock
What We Like
  • Variety of colors

  • Shake to snooze

  • Flip over to turn off

  • Option to use 12 or 24 hour format

What We Don't Like
  • Needs to be recharged

One of the coolest-looking alarm clock options is the Gingko Edge Light Alarm Clock. It comes in a variety of colors, including matte black, mint green, smart grey, soft pink, lucky red, and cream white. If you hate alarm clocks and are always tempted to throw one at the wall when it goes off, you’ll be glad to know that you can shake this one to activate the snooze function, and flip it over to turn the alarm completely off. The clock actually has two alarms and it can be used in either 24 or 12 hour formats.

It’s small enough to fit in your hand and operates on a rechargeable battery (and has a USB charging cable).  There’s even a screen battery life indicator on the LED screen.  One charge lasts 5 to 6 months if you’re only using the alarm clock. A single charge lasts 17.5 hours when the dimmable light is in its brightest mode, and 160 hours when it’s in the darkest light mode. This makes it convenient to also use the clock in your office, or even pack it in your suitcase when traveling.

Final Verdict

The best overall alarm clock is the Heimvision A80S Sunrise Alarm Clock (view at HeimVision), which provides many of the same features as more expensive alarm clocks, including numerous alarm sounds, a variety of hues, adjustable brightness, a snooze function, several alarms, and an FM radio. If you don’t want a sunrise alarm clock, the Homedics Recharged Alarm Clock & Sound Machine (view at Amazon) is the most versatile clock we found. With a projection clock, indoor temperature sensor, smartphone holder, FM clock, and 8 nature sounds, it offers more than most people even expect to get in an alarm clock.

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.

Why Trust The Spruce?

Terri Williams is a professional writer who has tested hundreds of products. She has product review bylines at Tom’s Guide, and both home improvement advice and product review bylines at Realtor.com, Bob Vila, Apartment Therapy, and Heavy.com.

FAQ
  • How do you set an alarm clock?

    This depends on the format of your clock. Wind-up alarm clocks generally have knobs on the back to set the time and alarm wake-up time, plus a knob on top or on the back to set or turn off the alarm. Electrical alarm clocks use button technology to set the time and set an alarm. Usually you have to hold one button that says "alarm set" while you press other buttons to set the time of the alarm.

  • When were alarm clocks invented?

    The practice of using an alarm clock has been traced back to Plato in the 4th century BCE, who engineered a whistling water clock to help him wake at 4am. But the first mechanical clocks were a Medieval-era invention that allowed town belfries and churches to ring out the hours for the whole community. In the U.S., the first known personal mechanical alarm clock was invented in 1787 by Levi Hutchins, and by the 1930s or '40s alarm clocks had become a household staple. The evolution of alarm clocks to the present day includes the progression from wind-up alarm clocks to electronic versions, the advent of the snooze button, and of course the move to digital time-keeping that is prevalent in the age of the smartphone. 

  • How did people wake up before alarm clocks?

    Early humans slept when it was dark, and woke up with the light. Throughout history, and before personal mechanical alarm clocks became household items in the 20th century, people have woken up with the help of everything from church bells and other religious calls to worship to crowing roosters, factory whistles, household servants, and the dedicated “knocker-uppers” in 19th-century Britain who were hired to go around town knocking on designated windows and doors.

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