The best alarm clocks: what to look out for (and avoid) with recommendations from a sleep expert
We spoke to a sleep expert to help us pull together our list of the best alarm clocks to buy to ensure you wake up feeling refreshed.
The rise of the smartphone has seen many of our once cherished gadgets become obsolete. The MP3 player, pocket calculator and digital camera have all fallen to the same fate. Yet, the alarm clock, offering an unlikely antidote to endless bedtime scrolling, remains a common sight on many bedside tables.
Whether you want to cut down on time you spend on your phone at bedtime, or you’re looking for a more peaceful way to start your day, buying an alarm clock could be the solution. With a range of styles available to buy online, including digital alarm clocks, radio alarm clocks and sunrise lamps, there’s a device to suit every need.
To help you make the right purchase, The Recommended spoke to a sleep expert to find out what you should look out for (and avoid) when shopping for an alarm clock. In line with this advice, we’ve pulled together a selection of the best alarm clocks to buy online.
Jump to the best alarm clocks:
- Best no-light alarm clock: OCUBE Digital Alarm Clock
- Best for heavy sleepers: Sharp Twin Bell Alarm Clock
- Best smart speaker alarm clock: Amazon Echo Dot
- Best for wireless charging: I-box Radio Alarm Clock
- Best sunrise alarm clock: Lumie Sunrise Alarm
- Best smart sunrise alarm clock: Hatch Restore
- Best functional alarm clock: HOMVILLA Digital Alarm Clock
- Best retro alarm clock: LLOYTRON "Daybreak" Alarm Clock
What to consider when shopping for an alarm clock
If you’ve decided to buy an alarm clock in favour of using your phone’s alarm app, you should make a few considerations before you buy.
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According to Dr Michael J. Breus, a double board-certified Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Sleep Specialist, alarm clocks can impact your sleep more than you might think. From snooze functions to digital displays, he recommends watching out for the following features to ensure that the alarm clock you pick doesn't interfere with your sleep pattern.
- Digital displays: If you opt for a digital alarm clock, Dr Breus recommends choosing a device that allows you to fully turn off the display during the night. This way, you won’t get anxiety when looking at the time during the night and won’t be disturbed by the artificial light.
- Light functions: If you’re looking to buy a wake lamp, Dr Breus says that dawn and sunrise features are the best way to awaken in the morning. He adds that you ideally want a clock that follows the sun in terms of the type of light it emits and having the correct range of light frequencies.
- Snooze buttons: Dr Breus passionately opposes alarm clocks with snooze functions, describing the snooze button as “the worst invention in most of sleep”. He says that you can’t fall into a deep enough sleep in that amount of time, so he advises against relying on the snooze function.
The best alarm clocks
Best no-light alarm clock: OCUBE Digital Alarm Clock
Useful dimmer function
This digital LED alarm clock from OCUBE Store has a 0-100% adjustable dimmer function, which means you won’t be disrupted during the night by bright lights.
Our sleep expert Dr Breus recommends opting for an alarm clock with a no-light feature as it can help prevent anxiety while you sleep. This mains-powered alarm clock also has a USB charging port for charging your phone and features five selectable alarm sounds that gradually increase in volume.
Best for heavy sleepers: Sharp Twin Bell Alarm Clock
No snooze function
With no snooze function, this simple, retro-style alarm clock from Sharp Store features a loud twin metal bell alarm designed specifically for heavy sleepers.
Our sleep expert Dr Breus recommends avoiding snooze functions when shopping for alarm clocks, calling snoozing “the worst invention in sleep”. This alarm clock is AA battery-powered, has a touch-activated backlight feature, is 6.5 inches high by 4.6 inches wide, and is available in a choice of colours. It also has glow-in-the-dark hands for easy viewing during the night.
Best smart speaker alarm clock: Amazon Echo Dot
With Amazon’s intelligent assistant
Control every aspect of your bedtime routine, from alarm sounds to your morning news briefing, with Amazon’s popular Echo Dot smart speaker with clock face and Alexa intelligent assistant.
Voice-activated, the Echo Dot allows you to set alarms, manage compatible smart home devices, play music, check the weather and catch up on the news from the comfort of your bed. The Echo Dot sports a spherical design and comes available in a choice of three colours - charcoal, glacier white and twilight blue. It has a small LED display that shows the time and also features the range’s signature light ring at the base of the speaker, which lights up when you interact with Alexa. The time display can be turned off completely at night either through the associated app or by saying, “Alexa, turn off the display”.
Best for wireless charging: I-box Radio Alarm Clock
With built-in radio
If you’re looking to tidy up your bedside table, this wireless charging alarm clock features a built-in QI wireless charging pad for compatible phones.
While our expert recommends not having your phone in your room while you sleep, we understand that for some people, that’s not an option. This alarm clock also has a fully dimmable display, which is something both our experts said to look out for. This alarm clock also has a dual alarm function that lets you set more than one alarm and a Bluetooth speaker for playing music.
Best sunrise alarm clock: Lumie Sunrise Alarm
Great range of light frequencies
The Lumie Sunrise Alarm features a sunrise setting that starts 30 minutes before your alarm time and slowly brightens to wake you up gently.
Our sleep expert Dr Breus says that sunrise features such as this are “the best way to awaken in the morning”. The Lumie Sunrise Alarm also features a sunset effect for relaxing at bedtime and five authentic nature sounds for waking up. You can also completely turn off the display when you’re ready to sleep.
Best smart sunrise alarm clock: Hatch Restore
Armed with a reading light, sunrise wake-up, sleep sounds and companion app, the Hatch Restore is a multifunctional alarm clock with a range of functions specifically designed to improve your sleep.
The Hatch Restore’s LED wake-up function mimics morning light to help you wake up feeling refreshed - a feature our expert Dr Breus recommends. This device is also designed to help promote deep sleep, with an option to choose between a range of bedtime sounds, including white noise and rain. You can control this device via touch or the Hartch companion app. It also doubles as a bedside lamp.
Best functional alarm clock: HOMVILLA Digital Alarm Clock
This digital alarm clock has a range of useful features, including a temperature display, voice control function, and adjustable brightness and alarm sounds.
Simplistic and stylish, this alarm clock has a 5.6-inch LED display that doubles as a mirror. It has four brightness levels, and auto-dims between 10pm and 6am to help you sleep. There is also a snooze light function which turns on the display for five seconds, which is useful for checking the time at night.
Best retro alarm clock: LLOYTRON "Daybreak" Alarm Clock
Easy to operate
If you’re looking for a retro-style alarm clock that’s easy to operate, this is a great option. It has straightforward buttons, a large, easy-to-read LED display, and comes fitted with an AM/FM radio.
This alarm clock is mains-powered and has a backup battery in the event of power cuts. It has a sleep timer which automatically turns off the radio after a set amount of time, and the display can be set as a 12 or 24-hour clock.
If you would like to read more expert-recommended round-ups, check out our Sleep page, where you’ll find more home recommendations, including the best weighted blankets, the best bed sheets and the best silk pillowcases, recommended by sleep experts.
Luke Chamberlain is a Staff Writer for The Recommended, and interviews some of the world’s most knowledgeable product experts to help readers make smarter decision about the products they buy online.