The Best Alarm Clocks

Learn why real alarm clocks are better than using your phone and see our top picks for the best alarm clocks of 2020.

By Katie Dyal

It’s hard to say how many people are still relying on an alarm clock to wake them up rather than just using their phone. But in 2017, Apartment Therapy shared a study that found most young adults, Millennials and those in Generation X, use their smartphone as their alarm clock — this is, 88 and 71 percent, respectively. Although using your smartphone as an alarm clock is convenient, it’s said that checking your phone first thing when you wake up isn’t the best way to start your morning.

So if you don’t use your phone as your alarm, what do you use? There are plenty of great traditional alarm clocks out there and the features keep getting better and better. Before we dive in to the best alarm clocks on the market, let’s take a look at what makes for a great alarm clock.

The Best Alarm Clocks

The RCA Digital Alarm Clock is in first place on the Amazon’s Best Seller List for alarm clocks. If you’re looking for a well-respected, basic alarm clock- this is what experts and customers suggest. It resembles every alarm clock out there with the basic black design and red LED display for time.

The snooze button couldn’t be more easily accessible as it covers the entire width of the top. You have an option of high or low brightness levels and it’s AC powered. A 9V backup battery is offered but not included.

The Philips Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock is the only light alarm clock that is clinically proven to wake you up feeling more refreshed. It wakes you with a colored sunrise simulation that gradually brightens, while a speaker plays your choice of the five wake-up sounds included or FM radio.

Not only does this light therapy clock improve your energy and mindset in the morning, but it also improves your sleep, too! With the sunset fading night light feature, you can drift right to sleep while the lamp dims with a sunset simulation and sounds.

It has a snooze feature but we don’t think you’ll be needing it with this pleasant of an experience! It comes with a 90-day no-hassle, money-back guarantee and outputs 12 watts of power and 100/240 volts.

Last but not least, there are 10 brightness settings on this clock, where the highest brightness setting can serve as a nightstand lamp.


Yes, there’s a such thing as a Smart Alarm. It’s 2019, are you really surprised? The Echo Spot with Alexa is getting all the rave in terms of smart home tech. This alarm clock can do much more than just wake you up in the morning.

It’s WiFi-enabled and can serve as a Bluetooth speaker. You can also sync the Echo Spot with Alexa and she’ll be able to answer just about anything for you. Once you’re up and at’em, ask Alexa what’s on your calendar for the day, what the weather is like, or what type of traffic to expect on your morning commute.

The Echo Spot goes far beyond an alarm clock but that’s why they consider it a “smart” technology. Not only does it work smart and well, but it also looks the part. The sleek design has modern touch that won’t take away from other decor in your bedroom.

Best Portable Alarm Clock: TRAVELWEY

Who else hates hotel alarm clocks? They are a pain to set so why not just bring your own. The Digital Alarm Clock by Travelwey is a practical, highly-recommended alarm clock for on the go.

It’s definitely standard but it sure will wake you up with its loud sound capability no matter where you are. There is a snooze function and it runs on two AAA batteries. Order on Amazon today for less than $10. Plus it comes with a one-year money-back guarantee.

Last but not least, the Sonic Alert, Sonic Bomb Alarm Clock is for the deepest of sleepers. This turbo-charged clock shakes and screams when you need to wake. Most people will hear this alarm clock and want to throw it out the window, but if you are a heavy sleeper, that may be exactly the type of alarm clock you need. It comes complete with a bed shaker, just in case the extra loud alarm isn’t enough to get you up.

The Sonic Bomb alarm clock is a large, loud LED alarm clock that shows an explosive red alarm time, making it very easy to read. There is the option to adjust volume and tone, as well as a snooze button. It also comes with a battery backup and a one-year manufacturer’s warranty.

One customer shares, “I am the heaviest sleeper and was setting four or five alarms on my phone to wake me up. I couldn’t be happier with my purchase … The bed shaker is super important. I put it under my pillow, and it shook me awake; the loud beep helped too. If you can sleep through earthquakes and shouting family members, this is the alarm clock for you.”

Features to Consider in an Alarm Clock

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to what constitutes a good alarm clock. People’s needs are different; therefore, the alarm clock that works great for a light sleeper could do nothing for deep sleepers.

Think about your sleeping habits and personality to decide which alarm clock would be most beneficial to you. After all, you are shopping for a machine whose one job is to get you out of bed.


The key component of a good alarm clock is the sound it makes to gently ease you out of sleep. Consider what sounds would be pleasing to wake up to on a regular basis. You’ll want to choose a sound that isn’t going to annoy you or soothe you back to sleep. Be honest with yourself when deciding which sound will suit you best. After all, some of us need something far more, shall we say, alarming, than a pleasant stimulus like the sound of soft chirping to wake us. Here are some common alarm sounds that most alarm clocks feature:

  • Nature sounds:
    • Beach waves
    • Birds chirping
    • Waterfalls/streams
  • Musical instruments:
    • Violin
    • Flute
    • Harp
    • Guitar
    • Xylophone
  • Music:
    • Radio station
    • Playlist of your choice
    • Smooth Jazz
  • Sounds:
    • Doorbell/ Old School Bell
    • Buzzers
    • Beeps

The Option to Snooze

What’s an alarm clock without the option to snooze? We’re all guilty of slipping into the tempting habit of snoozing. In fact, in a recent study done by Withings, it was reported that nearly 50 percent of people admit to hitting the snooze button at least once before getting out of bed. Fifteen percent reported hitting snooze three times or more before getting up.

Although the snooze button is tempting, it’s suggested to stem away from. Drifting in and out of sleep is not healthy because it escalates your hormone levels, causing you to feel stressed. Nevertheless, you’ll still want to find an alarm clock that gives you the choice to snooze.


Light is the body’s natural alarm clock. Research indicates exposure to natural light is one of the best ways to wake your body up. With this knowledge, alarm clocks that double as a nightlight are becoming more and more popular. When the alarm goes off, it will light up. This function would be especially beneficial to individuals who use blackout curtains or receive a minimal amount of natural light to their sleep space.


Another common feature added to an alarm clock is vibration. For heavy sleepers, it’s normally more powerful when your alarm clock is making a sound and vibrating on your nightstand. However, for people with anxiety, this might cause fright and stress.

Best Free Alarms on iOS and Android

Still planning on using your smartphone but looking for a better app than the default alarms on your? Here are a few of our top picks for both iOS and Android.

For iOS:

  1. Bedtime
  2. UHP Alarm Clock
  3. Sleep Cycle

For Android:

  1. Google Clock
  2. Snap Me Up
  3. Sleep Cycle

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