Going far beyond beeping you awake in the morning, smart alarm clocks are more than just simple alarm clocks. Using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity to power features that help you get better sleep and a more pleasant start to your day, these devices are fully packed with voice commands, soothing sounds, gentle sun-simulating lights, and more.
"Smart alarm clocks offer features that you are able to customize based on your personal needs and preferences," says Dr. Shelby Harris, Director of Sleep Health at Sleepopolis and a board-certified expert in behavioral sleep medicine. She emphasizes light and sound functions that avoid jarring you awake in the middle of a sleep cycle. "Sunrise/sunset alarm clocks are a great alternative that can help to regulate your circadian rhythm,” she says.
Looking through a number of options, we researched displays, audio capabilities, and compatibility and connectivity, including real-world at-home testing of several clock models for two week periods. We looked high and low, and found a number of products that include a variety of functions that excel for different types of sleepers and situations. Take a look at the list we’ve put together!
Highly customizable sunrise alarm and night light
Large catalog of alarm/sleep sounds
Detailed app control for settings and routines
Expensive, with extra subscription for wellness audio
No voice commands
It's not often a small bedside table accessory can embody attractive design, advanced technology, and potentially healthier sleep the way the Hatch Restore does. After separate experiences using the product, both our in-home tester and an editor for The Spruce reported falling asleep better at night and feeling more rested in the morning.
Thanks to the Hatch Restore's gentle glowing light, you can ease into wakefulness in imitation of the rising sun. Plus, it serves as a night light for reading or visibility. Through the mobile app and a Bluetooth connection, you can set which of the light's 22 color options you want and how and when it should dim or brighten. The other aspect you can personalize is sound. Instead of just buzzing, you can wake up to subtle, natural sounds like chirping birds or fall asleep to ocean waves or other calming white noise in the background.
Hatch additionally offers playlists of music, sleep stories, guided exercises, and other restful audio from the Restore, but this requires an optional subscription. While our reviewers found the device's $130 base price worth it for the benefits to their sleep routines, an extra monthly cost may not be necessary for most. (At the time of writing, a new Hatch Restore 2 model was available for pre-order, with upgraded features and a list price around $200.)
Price at time of publish: $130
Dimensions: 2.75 x 7.5 x 5.75 inches | Display Features: Adjustable brightness/color, sunrise/sunset alarm | Power Source: Power cord | Battery Backup: No
Lenovo Smart Clock Essential
Built-in voice commands and virtual assistant
Clear, auto-adjusting adjusting display
Custom alarm sounds and smart speaker functions
USB charging port
No sunrise/sunset alarm
Google Assistant or Alexa only
It's not easy to find a quality alarm clock with true smart features at a bargain price, but Lenovo's Smart Clock Essential is an excellent value—and is often on sale. With no sunrise lamp or collection of sleep-assisting audio, the device is more of a straightforward alarm clock than its more decked-out competitors. A clear and easy-to-read LED display on the front shows the time, temperature, and a weather icon (we would've liked to see the date as well). The display is dimmable and automatically adjusts to the room's brightness. In the back is a night light with adjustable brightness.
What we found most convenient was the built-in virtual assistant; Google Assistant in the model we tested. (A variation with Amazon Alexa is also available, but not both in one.) In addition to having the clock answer questions, set reminders, play your music, and tackle other standard functions of the Google Home smart platform, you can issue voice commands to control the alarm clock itself.
In a true trial of its dependability, our family testing the device used it as an alarm to wake up and feed their newborn every three hours throughout the night. Voice controls, night light, and soothing alarm and white noise helped make a challenging process a little smoother for the family.
Price at time of publish: $71
Dimensions: 3.67 x 4.46 x 2.8 inches | Display Features: Adjustable brightness, temperature display | Power Source: USB power cord | Battery Backup: No
Gentle two-phase alarm
Expansive gallery of sounds, with wellness audio included
Full control through buttons or app
Serves as Bluetooth speaker
No sunrise/sunset alarm
May not work as well for heavy sleepers
The Loftie Clock packs an advanced suite of smart functions within a minimalist, elegant frame. The primary display shows the time in plain white numbers, with the brightness dimmable all the way down to a full "blackout" mode for a completely dark bedroom environment while you sleep. Just three small buttons run across the top, but we found them intuitive and easy to use for navigating and controlling all the settings. You can also control things from the mobile app, but using it is optional.
Not optional, however, is a Wi-Fi connection, and the clock's initial setup includes a lengthy download of previous updates. But once you're connected, the Loftie Clock is loaded with a huge selection of soothing sounds to suit your sleeping and waking preferences.
Unlike the Hatch Restore, Loftie's wellness content—meditation and breathing exercises, sound baths, etc.—comes included for free. The alarm itself is a unique two-phase process designed to wake you in a more gentle, natural way using calming sounds of your choosing. We rated the audio 4.8 stars out of 5, because for heavier sleepers, the alarm may actually be too gentle. There's also no sunrise alarm, just a soft night light at the bottom for some visibility.
As one tester explains, "If you can sleep through a firetruck or ambulance, you will 10,000 percent sleep through this clock. But if you're a fairly light sleeper who likes to wake up with a gentle nudge as opposed to a kick in the butt, this is a great option. It's also just a nice accessory for your bedroom."
Price at time of publish: $149
Dimensions: 2.75 x 6.5 x 2.75 inches | Display Features: Adjustable brightness (with blackout mode) | Power Source: USB power cord | Battery Backup: Yes (rechargeable)
Amazon Halo Rise
Wearable-free sleep tracking
Detailed sleep cycle reports in app
Built for Alexa integration
No built-in smart speaker
Subscription required for full features
Perhaps the most beneficial alarm clock feature in terms of getting more restful sleep is a sunrise and sunset light, emulating nature by gradually brightening with your morning alarm and dimming as you drift to sleep. The Halo Rise from Amazon provides that sunrise/sunset function through the curved light it draws its name from, but it also incorporates other advanced tech like sleep tracking to help improve your sleep health.
Unlike other sleep trackers you have to wear overnight, the Halo Rise faces you from your nightstand and uses radar-based sensors to monitor your overnight movements and breathing. It collects and displays the data for you on the Halo app, giving you a sleep score and visualizations of your sleep stages. You can then use the information to, for example, sync the sunrise alarm with the ideal wake-up time for your sleep cycle, or address potential issues with light or temperature in your room. Unfortunately, the full set of wellness bonuses and features to help improve your habits in practice requires an additional $4 monthly Halo membership. And, even though the device is Alexa-ready and works smoothly with that ecosystem, you'll need a separate microphone-equipped Alexa device like an Echo smart speaker to control the Halo Rise with voice commands.
Price at time of publish: $140
Dimensions: 1.45 x 5.2 x 6.7 inches | Display Features: Adjustable brightness, sunrise/sunset alarm | Power Source: Power cord | Battery Backup: No
Best for Alexa
Amazon Echo Dot 5th Gen with Clock
Integrated LED display
Convenient controls by voice, app, or tap
Speaker quality improved over previous models
Display may still be too bright when dimmed
Audio jack no longer included
The latest iterations of Amazon's Alexa-powered Echo Dot smart speaker entered alarm clock territory, with an LED time display incorporated into the front of the sphere. With the 5th-generation model released in 2022, that display can now also show weather icons, song titles, and other short scrolling bits of text. It lets the device provide more info without becoming a full smart display with a screen next to your bed. The LED area is slightly larger and brighter than previous models and includes adjustable brightness settings, but the dimmest option may still be too bright for some.
Alarm functionality is always available in the Alexa environment, but a clock-displaying Echo Dot serves as a bedside alarm that you can see, tap to snooze, and talk to. You can use voice commands to set alarms and start timers, as well as ask questions, play music, and more. The small speaker size limits the sound quality, but Amazon has improved the audio to be clear and deeper than past versions. By default, the device plugs into a wall outlet with no battery backup, though a separate battery base accessory is available if you prefer to charge the Echo Dot and move it around cord-free.
Price at time of publish: $60
Dimensions: 3.9 x 3.9 x 3.5 inches | Display Features: Adjustable brightness | Power Source: Power cord | Battery Backup: No
Best for Google Assistant
Google Nest Hub
Wearable-free sleep tracking
Sound- and display-based sunrise modes
Lots of utility from touchscreen display
Adds a screen to your bedside
Sleep tracking may require a subscription in the future
Google's Nest Hub smart display may not seem particularly conducive to sleep, putting a 7-inch touchscreen by your bed when you're supposed to be winding down. What makes the second-generation model uniquely equipped as a smart alarm clock is its Sleep Sensing technology, which represents new territory for a bedside display. Without any cameras or anything to wear on your body, it senses your motions and sounds to track how you slept, including snoring and coughs to changes in temperature and light. In the morning, you can ask for a summary and see a detailed breakdown of your sleep patterns on the display, with some insights on your habits and what you might adjust. (Sleep Sensing is currently free, but Google notes they plan to integrate the service into the $10 per month Fitbit Premium subscription.)
Even without a true sunrise lamp, the Nest Hub can help ease you into the day by gradually brightening the display and upping your alarm volume. At night, you can set calming sounds to lull you to sleep. This is all in addition to the product's other functions as a smart hub, including integrated Google Assistant, hands-free music and video playback, and serving as a visual control panel for all the smart home devices you've synced together.
Price at time of publish: $45
Dimensions: 2.7 x 7.0 x 4.7 inches | Display Features: 7-inch touchscreen, adjustable brightness, sunrise alarm | Power Source: Power cord | Battery Backup: No
Philips SmartSleep Connected Sleep and Wake-Up Light
Excellent customizable sunrise/sunset lamp
Environmental sleep sensor
Includes FM radio and audio jack
USB charging port
No Bluetooth connectivity or voice commands
No updatable wellness audio
The SmartSleep Connected from Philips falls into an interesting category among bedside devices. It's the priciest of our picks, yet in some ways, it includes fewer "smart" features than our other smart alarm options. An app connection is essentially the only thing that differentiates it from the cheaper, non-connected version of the product.
But the headlining feature of both varieties is the high-end sunrise light that can be more than worth it for its sleep benefits. Four warm shades and 25 brightness levels combine with soothing sounds to deliver a very personalized wake-up experience. Incorporated into the sunset routine are wind-down programs with guided breathing to help you settle in as the light dims.
The "connected" aspect of the device does add a lot of powerful customization through the SleepMapper app, where you can set the lights, themes, and timing exactly how you want it. An included sensor also tracks the temperature, humidity, noise, and other data from your surroundings and charts it on the app. The unit can serve as a speaker to some extent, with built-in FM radio and an auxiliary port to tap into audio from your phone or other music device. Unfortunately, there's no Bluetooth connectivity or voice commands or other smart speaker functions.
Price at time of publish: $220
Dimensions: 11.1 x 12.05 x 5.43 inches | Display Features: Adjustable brightness, sunrise/sunset alarm | Power Source: Power cord | Battery Backup: Yes
With all of the features it offers, the Hatch Restore Sound Machine and Smart Light tops our smart alarm clock list—we love the benefits of its sunrise/sunset feature and its wide selection of light colors, gentle alarm sounds, and soothing sleep noises. For our favorite budget pick, the Lenovo Smart Clock Essential is a somewhat more basic alternative, but it still connects to the internet to provide the conveniences of voice commands and smart speaker functionality at your bedside.
What to Look for in Smart Alarm Clocks
Adjustable display brightness settings are preferable on even a standard digital alarm clock. On a high-tech smart home device, it should be par for the course. Most smart alarm clocks allow you to not only dim the display and any light features, but also set the intensity precisely how you want it.
"Advanced display features give you the option to choose the level of brightness that you can customize based on your preferences and personal needs," says sleep specialist Dr. Shelby Harris of Sleepopolis. "The displays on some clocks may be too bright and interfere with your sleep, while sunrise alarm clocks need to be bright enough to wake you up."
Sunrise alarms in particular are a feature that smart devices can really help fine-tune to suit your sleep situation. Our top sunrise option, the Amazon Halo Rise, for example, uses sleep tracking to pinpoint the ideal time in your sleep cycle when its gradual glow should kick in.
Having some type of wireless connectivity is typically what defines a household product as a "smart" device. For alarm clocks, this may take the form of a Bluetooth connection that lets you pair your mobile device with the clock (when in range) in order to play your own audio through its speakers or control it with an app.
The alarm clocks in this list rely on a connection to your home's Wi-Fi network, allowing them to take advantage of internet powered features like downloading new content and software updates. Many can also integrate with smart home platforms for voice commands, coordination with compatible gadgets, and other conveniences. The most commonly supported ecosystems are Amazon's Alexa, as featured in the Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (5th Gen), or Google Home, which forms the foundation of the Google Nest Hub (2nd Gen)'s functionality.
To power the always-on, always-connected features included, most smart alarm clocks have a power cable that you need to keep plugged into the wall. Some do include a battery backup system to maintain just the time and potentially other alarm settings in case the main power source fails. These are often small, disposable batteries, but the Loftie Clock, which impressed us with its design, uses a rare rechargeable backup battery.
One convenience found on some alarm clocks—from our budget pick, the Lenovo Smart Clock Essential, to our splurge pick, the Philips SmartSleep Connected Sleep and Wake-Up Light—is a USB charging port that lets you plug in your phone or other gadgets. This can be handy when your clock takes up valuable wall outlet space.
Alarm and Sound Options
Sound is another area where smart alarm clocks can open up nearly endless potential for customization, whether it's the noise you wake up to or play in the background when you sleep. Going beyond personal preferences and novelty, an alarm clock's audio capabilities can play a significant role in your sleep quality.
"Smart clocks that have the options for different sounds are a good feature to have if you prefer to sleep with sound or need to mask any outside noises," Dr. Harris says. "Also, some people may need a louder volume alarm to wake them, while others can wake up to lower or quieter alarms, so an option that lets you customize the volume is a feature to look for."
Some smart alarm clocks offer full libraries of additional audio to help with sleep, including music, soundscapes, and meditations. They might come included with the device, or they may require an ongoing monthly subscription, as is the case with our top overall pick, the Hatch Restore Sound Machine and Smart Light.
Is it better to use an alarm clock or phone alarm?
While the alarms on our phones are capable of getting the job done, there are advantages to using dedicated alarm clocks. Dr. Harris considers natural wake-ups more beneficial for our bodies than any sudden alarms, but certain features and settings—like sunrise alarms, dimmable lights, and white noise—are helpful alternatives that smart alarm clocks often offer with detailed control.
"A phone alarm generally only has a few options," Dr. Harris points out, "and it could lose battery throughout the night, creating a circumstance for you to miss your alarm in the morning."
What can a smart alarm clock do?
By connecting to the internet and/or your other devices, the biggest added benefits of smart alarm clocks tend to relate to how much control they're able to offer. "Non-smart" alarm clocks could still have dimmable displays, multiple sound options, and even sunrise lights, but a more connected clock can personalize your settings to a much greater extent, with a larger, potentially growing catalog of options. It may allow you to make these adjustments through a mobile app or with your voice, and set automated routines based on your schedule or feedback from your other smart gadgets.
Will a smart alarm clock work if the internet goes out?
Depending on the device, you may still be able to use the core time and possibly alarm and light functions even if you lose internet connection (provided it maintains power from the wall or a battery). If you're counting on audio streamed from the cloud or app-based sleep monitoring, you might be out of luck. An alarm clock that's primarily a smart speaker or a smart display may also be more dependent on the internet to work properly.
To take full advantage of a smart alarm clock's capabilities, you'll want to be comfortable with setting it up on your home network and making sure you have a stable Wi-Fi connection for it. Otherwise, you may be better off with a simpler, non-connected alarm clock.
Why Trust The Spruce?
Anton Galang is a freelance contributor for The Spruce specializing in smart devices and other high-tech home products. He started writing about the world of consumer electronics in 2007 for PC Magazine and PCMag.com, and has previously worked for The Spruce's technology-focused sister website Lifewire. He uses a variety of Alexa, Google, and Samsung smart devices in his own home (he enjoys playing around with the different platforms too much to commit to just one).
As a foundation for this article, we had our testers—ranging from light to heavy sleepers, with varying snooze habits—try out a selection of alarm clocks in their homes every day for two weeks. They started with a check of the device's core performance (if the alarm reliably went off when it was supposed to) and tested the effectiveness and usability of its included features. Galang further researched over a dozen additional smart alarm clock options for their audio performance, display and light options, and internet-enabled extras. He also gathered expert context on how alarm clocks fit into our sleep health by consulting with Dr. Shelby Harris, the Director of Sleep Health at Sleepopolis. Dr. Harris is a licensed psychologist who is board certified in behavioral sleep medicine; you can find her as @sleepdocshelby on TikTok and Instagram.