Three best alarm clocks

Lauren Corona

Whether you want a gentle or startlingly loud alarm sound will depend on how easy you find it to wake up in the morning.

Unless you're one of the lucky few who can wake up naturally and serenely (and are then gently dressed by woodland creatures, Cinderella-style, we can only assume), you're going to need something to get you up in the morning. An alarm clock is the obvious choice.

But which alarm clock should you buy? Don't let the thousands of options out there confuse you. We at BestReviews have done the research, so all you need to do is read this short yet detailed guide to help you find the best alarm clock for you.

Considerations when choosing alarm clocks

Digital vs. analog: The majority of modern alarm clocks are digital. However, if you crave the simplicity and retro style of an analog alarm clock, it's still possible to find them.

Battery vs. outlet: Do you want a battery-powered alarm clock or one you plug into an outlet? Battery-powered options are more portable, and you don't have to worry about them turning off if the power goes out. However, you do have to think about changing or recharging the batteries.

Alarm clock features

Volume: Some alarm clocks are louder than others. You can also find models that allow you to increase or decrease the volume of the alarm depending on your needs.

Alarm tones: Most digital alarm clocks let you select from a range of alarm tones.

Radio: You can find alarm clocks with a built-in AM/FM radio. Choose a radio alarm clock if you'd rather wake up to music than beeps.

Vibration: People who genuinely struggle to wake up may benefit from a vibration feature that goes under the pillow to jolt you awake.

Progressive alarms: A progressive alarm gets gradually louder. This is ideal if you sometimes wake up to a gentle alarm (and would prefer that option where possible) but at other times need a louder, more startling tone to encourage you into consciousness.  

Alarm clock prices: Basic analog and digital alarm clocks start at less than $10, but the cheapest models might not be of the best quality. Some specialty alarm clocks, such as those that simulate sunlight to gently wake you up, can cost as much as $100 to $200. However, most people can expect to pay between $15 and $20 for a fairly simple alarm clock and between $30 and $50 for a more feature-rich model.


Q. Do all alarm clocks have a "snooze" function?

A. Almost all alarm clocks have a "snooze" function, but if you're an avid snoozer, double-check before buying. It's also wise to check the intervals at which the snooze alarm goes off and whether this interval is fixed or adjustable.

Q. What type of alarm clock is best for travel?

A. We'd recommend a battery-powered alarm clock, so you don't have to worry about different types of power outlets if you're traveling abroad. It should also be compact so it won't take up much room in your suitcase.

Q. My cell phone features an alarm, so why do I need an alarm clock?

A. You'll find a range of reasons why people prefer dedicated alarm clocks over the alarm function on a cell phone. If your cell phone battery tends to drain quickly, you might not be able to rely on it holding a charge overnight if you forget to plug it in. Some people prefer not to keep their phone in the bedroom because the blue light can disturb sleep. You might also find the alarm on your phone isn't loud enough to wake you if you're a heavy sleeper.

Alarm clocks we recommend

Best of the best: American Lifetime Day Clock

Our take: If you're looking for a simple alarm clock that's reliable and well made, look no further!

What we like: Extra-large display is ideal for people with visual impairments. Five alarm options.

What we dislike: Pricey.

Best bang for your buck: Sonic Alert Travel Shaking Vibrating Alarm Clock

Our take: Extra loud alarm at 113 decibels -- enough to wake even the most dedicated of snoozers.

What we like: Comes with powerful 12-volt bed shaker and flashing lights you won't sleep through.

What we dislike: Too loud for people who are fairly good at waking up in the morning.

Choice 3: Wireless Portable Alarm Clock 

Our take: Multifunction alarm clock is part wireless speaker, part LED lamp, and part MP3 player.

What we like: Plugs into outlet or runs off built-in battery. LED lamp comes in several cool color options.

What we dislike: Some users prefer a simpler alarm clock.

Lauren Corona is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds. 

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