Lighting up gradually, increasing brightness over time, a light alarm clock usually begins to slowly awaken you approximately 30 minutes before your alarm time. The alarm tones on light alarm clocks are also usually nature-inspired. This means you will break your sleep cycle in a more natural manner, avoiding phone screens and irritating standard alarm noises.
Light alarm clocks can also be used at nighttime, with a sunset setting to help you unwind pre-sleep and doze off hassle and stress-free. This makes them a great option for regulating your body clocks. They can often also double as useful bedside lamps with adjustable brightness features and can also have radio functionality.
The Recommended has done some research into the best light alarm clocks to help you in your search quest. Read on for our round-up, plus we answer some of your frequently asked questions at the bottom of this page.
The best light alarm clocks at-a-glance:
- Best wake-up light alarm clock: Lumie Sunrise Alarm
- Best personalised alarm clock: Hatch Restore Alarm Clock
- Best alarm clock for couples: FiTFORT Sunrise Alarm Clock
- Best multi-use alarm clock: Philips SmartSleep Alarm Clock
- Best day and night alarm clock: COULAX Sunrise Alarm Clock
- Best kids alarm clock: Mella Ready to Rise Children’s Alarm Clock
- Best touch control alarm clock: hOmeLabs Sunrise Alarm Clock
- Best sophisticated alarm clock: AFEXOA Sunrise Alarm Clock
- Best colourful alarm clock: Totofac Wake Up Light Alarm Clock
The best light alarm clocks
Best wake-up light alarm clock: Lumie Sunrise Alarm Clock
British brand Lumie has worked for over 30 years to help improve people’s sleep by reconnecting them with their natural rhythms. Their light alarm clock does not disappoint.
Starting 30 minutes before your alarm time and gradually brightening, this light has a sunrise effect to bring a natural awakening glow to your bedroom. There are five alarm sounds to choose from, including a standard beep, purring kitten, or blackbird, and it features a snooze option, repeating the sunrise and wake sound after five minutes. You can also wind down at bedtime with this light, dimming like a sunset, or simply use it for mood lighting or a bedside lamp.
Best personalised alarm clock: Hatch Restore Alarm Clock
Wake up screen-free
Customise your sleep and wake routine specifically for you with this smart light and alarm clock, controllable via the Hatch app or using the soft-touch buttons on the device.
Create a programme using soothing sleep sounds (including white noise) and a range of light colours and brightnesses to help you drift off to sleep and wake up feeling refreshed. This device will slowly light up in the mornings and has a selection of alarm noises, such as cooing birds and relaxing chimes. The app also features meditations, sleep stories, and soundscapes.
Best alarm clock for couples: FiTFORT Sunrise Alarm Clock
With dual alarm capacity
Two sets of alarms can be set on this device without interfering with each other, ideal for you and your partner. Set the night before and wake up to natural lighting and sounds.
This alarm clock light will increase from 10-100% brightness over 10-60 minutes (you choose) in the mornings, moving from a gentle red to bright sunlight. There are seven natural alarm sounds to pick from, such as a piano, bird or waves, or alternatively set to wake up to your favourite music or the news thanks to its built-in FM radio. It has a snooze function and also a handy USB jack port at the back to power-charge your phone.
More like this
Best multi-use alarm clock: Philips SmartSleep Alarm Clock
A beside essential
Fall asleep faster and wake up more refreshed with this alarm clock, using smart lights and sounds to assist your sleeping habits. Sit it by your bedside and customise using the app on your smartphone.
With something for everyone, you can pick from 25 brightness settings, 13 alarm sounds, and five sunrise colours on this light alarm clock. It also functions as an FM radio, speaker and phone charging dock, making it a super versatile device, and can be paired up with the SleepMapper app to track your sleep and provide useful insight.
Best day and night alarm clock: COULAX Sunrise Alarm Clock
Add some ambience
Let yourself wake up to natural lighting with this sunrise alarm clock, designed to brighten your bedroom naturally in 10-60 minutes. It also functions at night time with its sunset stimulation.
Choose from seven different wake-up sounds, from stream and ocean noises to birds and pianos, and set your alarm for the morning to help you rise as naturally as possible. This alarm clock features a dual alarm option and snooze function and has a built-in FM radio. You can also bring some atmosphere to your bedroom with its seven-colour mood lighting.
Best kids alarm clock: Mella Ready to Rise Children’s Alarm Clock
Start the day right
This all-in-one sleep gadget is ideal for training your little ones to sleep well, functioning as an alarm clock, nap timer, night light and sleep sound machine. Made from child-safe ABS and silicone.
Using colour and facial expressions, it will assist kids with their sleep cycles, teaching them when it's bedtime and when it's time to get up. There are three alarm sounds to choose from and 30 minutes before wake-up the light will glow yellow, then turn green when getting up time hits! It also features three sleep sound options and five-night light colours to soothe them off to sleep.
Best touch control alarm clock: hOmeLabs Sunrise Alarm Clock
Easy to use
Gradually wake up to natural light with this sunrise alarm clock slowly brightening up your bedroom with its warm LED lighting, accompanied by a nature-inspired sound, such as birds or lullaby.
This device has a 12-hour or 24-hour clock display and simple-to-use buttons to alter the settings, including volume, alarm tone, FM radio and screen brightness. It also features an easy-hit snooze button to give you five extra minutes and a sleep timer with sunset stimulation to wind you down to sleep at night. There are eight colourful light options to double it up as a bedroom lamp when not asleep.
Best sophisticated alarm clock: AFEXOA Sunrise Alarm Clock
Stylish and functional
Fit your bedroom with this modern light alarm clock, designed with a semi-circular LED screen on a wooden frame and featuring three alarm time modes to wake you up on weekdays and weekends.
This clock will start to glow 5-60 minutes before your alarm, ranging from a red to bright yellow colour to create a natural dawn effect. It has six alarm tones of soft music and natural sounds, plus a snooze function for a little extra shut-eye when needed. It also features a temperature display and power bank to charge your electrical devices. Use for bedtime, too, with its sunset imitation and 10 soothing sleepy sounds.
Best colourful alarm clock: Totofac Wake Up Light Alarm Clock
For cooling and warming light
Slimlined and multifunctional, equip your bedroom with this smart device and use it as a reading lamp, sleeping bedlight or sunrise alarm clock (it has both sunrise and sunset stimulation).
The alarm clock will alert you at your desired time with a natural sound, whether birdsong or crashing waves, after a 30-minute sunrise effect from the light, gradually bringing warm light to your room. Two different alarm times can be set, and there is a snooze function to give you another 5 minutes. Add a touch of atmosphere with a vast variety of ambient colours and use it in the evening to slowly dim your surroundings with a sunset effect.
Light Alarm Clock Buyer's Guide
What is a light alarm clock?
A light alarm clock will mimic natural light, waking you up less dramatically and more naturally. Over approximately 30 minutes, the light will gradually brighten, creating a sunrise effect, and then the alarm tone will sound at the time set. The alarm tones on light alarm clocks tend to be nature-inspired, whether that be the sound of the ocean and waves crashing or birds tweeting and sheep baaing. Light alarm clocks are ideal for dark mornings when natural light takes much longer to appear. Clinical Psychologist and Sleep Specialist, Dr Michael J. Breus, recommends dawn and sunrise features in an alarm clock as the best way to awaken in the morning. He is a Fellow of The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and has worked for more than 14 years as the sleep expert on WedMD.
What features to look for in a light alarm clock?
Multifunctionality: Most light alarm clocks have multiple other uses, which they can be used for as well as waking you up, including helping you get to sleep with their sunset effect. They can also be doubled up as bed lamps, mood lighting, and FM radios, and some have features such as phone charging docks and temperature displays.
Alarm tones: Check out what sounds are available on each alarm clock device. As mentioned before, most tend to have nature-inspired tones such as birdsong.
Snooze function: A snooze function is always useful for those who need an extra couple of minutes of dozing! Most light alarm clocks will have this feature.
Dual-alarm function: Look out for dual-alarm functionality if you need to set more than one alarm - this is a super useful feature for couples with different wake-up times.
Lighting options: As well as a light alarm clock, these devices can be used as bedside lamps or mood lighting to create a touch of ambience. Check out the lighting options, including brightness levels and colour options, if this is something you are looking for.
What are the benefits of light alarm clocks?
Natural setting: Creating a natural setting for the start of your day - rising to natural light and sound - is beneficial. Light alarm clocks can also keep you screen-free first thing.
Improve the quality of sleep: Using the sunset and sunrise stimulation, your body can enter and end its sleep cycle more naturally, and therefore your sleep quality can be improved.
Helping SAD sufferers: Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), sometimes known as “winter depression”, is a ‘type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern’. The NHS describes that it’s ‘often linked to reduced exposure to sunlight during the shorter autumn and winter days’. One of the main treatments for this is light therapy to stimulate light exposure, and this is where light alarm clocks can come in and help.
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.
Cordelia Aspinall is a Digital Writer for Immediate Media, working across brands including The Recommended, RadioTimes.com, MadeForMums and BBC Gardeners’ World. She has previously worked and written for digital publications including Condé Nast Traveller, The Evening Standard, Cosmopolitan, and several other lifestyle brands.