Alarm clocks have been around for decades. In recent years, the trend has moved toward using smartphones to get us out of bed. But there are many times when a smartphone just doesn't cut it. Maybe you like to turn your phone off at night. Perhaps you prefer the convenience of a projection alarm clock. Maybe you're a heavy sleeper who requires more than what an app or cheap alarm clock can offer. Or possibly, you just want something to make you stop hitting the snooze button.
Because people have such varied sleep and wake habits, you can expect the alarm clock market to be just as diverse. Some alarm clocks in our lineup target specific sleepers: smartphone owners, heavy sleepers or those who wake up before the sun rises. The best alarm clocks, like the iHome iDN38, the Electrohome USB Clock Radio and the Sony Nature Sounds Clock Radio, will have a balance of features aimed at effectiveness and convenience. Our reviews and articles on alarm clocks will help sort through those features and guide you toward the best alarm clock for your daily routine.
Newer alarm clocks generally focus on features like projections and customization options. However, a unit that's several years old can easily be as effective as or more so than a newer product. Here are some criteria to help you decide what alarm clock would fit best into your daily schedule:
Ease of Use
Most people aren't very alert first thing in the morning. Aiming for a tiny snooze button is a lot more difficult than when you're wide awake. And if an alarm has an annoyingly bright backlight that makes you restless all night, your awareness level is worse. A good alarm clock will have features that are easy to use and won't interrupt sleep or cause you unneeded frustration at the start of the day.
There is more to an alarm clock than the alarm. The features that come with the products we reviewed include temperature readings, nature sounds and volume that slowly increases over time. Also, don’t assume that an alarm clock will have features like a radio. Not all the products we reviewed are radio alarm clocks. Overall, you want something that provides the simple comfort of waking you up well and on time.
How you sleep and want to wake up will determine what sort of alarms you use. If you're a heavy sleeper, you might need a vibrating alarm clock that shakes your whole bed to get you up. If you're the type to hit the snooze button until you've overslept, then an alarm clock that runs away before you can turn it off will get you up and going. Dual alarms, meanwhile, are great if you want a backup alarm or have a partner with a separate schedule. Look for alarm types that will complement your routine.
Help & Support
Things break. When they do, it can cause you a lot of unneeded hassle. Find a product sold by a trusted source that will offer customer support, warranties and help if the product malfunctions.
When deciding on the best alarm clock for your schedule, there's more to consider than just the alarm. Everyone has different sleep and wake habits. The best alarm clock for you might not be the most effective – or pleasant – for someone else.