The 8 Best Alarm Clocks of 2021

These top alarm clocks will make sure you never oversleep again

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The Rundown
Best Overall:
Philips HF3520 at Amazon
"Designed to emulate the sunrise in the morning."
"This clever smart clock is loaded with Google Assistant, can control smart home device, and play music."
Best Traditional:
Brandstand CubieTime at Amazon
"Sleek and simple, the CubieTime alarm clock is ideal for the home."
"A perfect budget-friendly, no frills device."
Best with Radio:
iHome iBT29 at Amazon
"The iHome pairs with any Bluetooth-enabled device and also allows you to save six FM radio stations."
"The real highlight is the 1.8-inch LED digits which are vibrant enough to be seen from across a room."
Best for Portability:
hito Atomic Alarm Clock at Amazon
"Powered by two AA batteries, moving the 3.8 x 3.2 x 1-inch clock is simple, as there are no cords to speak of."
Best Projection Clock:
SMARTRO SC91 at Amazon
"The unique SC91 is a projection alarm clock that will put the time up on your ceiling so you don't even need to roll over to check it."

The best alarm clocks should make it easy to tell time and ensure that you can wake up. Alarm clocks can range from very basic analog and digital clocks to more sophisticated wake-up light clocks that simulate a sunrise to get your body's rhythm into gear. Some might feature things like additional USB charging outlets for your smartphone or other devices, too. See below for the best alarm clocks to get.

Best Overall: Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light

Philips HF3520

The idea of a gentle wake-up alarm clock still has many skeptics, but the Philips HF3520 is designed to emulate the sunrise in the morning. The hope behind the Philips design is that the brain is stimulated to the point that it’s telling your body “it’s time to get up," which allows for a much more natural morning experience. Gone are the days of the abrupt wake-up with blaring beeps and snooze buttons. The colored display offers a natural light experience along with five calming wake-up sounds.

If you want to combine the best of both gentle wake-up and old-school function, there’s FM radio capability and a tap-to-snooze alarm clock, just in case. Additionally, the bedside light dims and it sounds gently to help you go to sleep, emulating a more natural way to enter REM sleep. With 20 total brightness settings, the lighting begins to gradually increase 20 to 40 minutes before your selected alarm time.

Best Smart: Lenovo Smart Clock Essential

Lenovo Smart Clock Essential

The Lenovo Smart Clock Essential is a Google Assistant-enabled alarm clock with a built-in speaker and nightlight. Design-wise, the compact wedge-like shape, bright LCD display, and textured fabric covering come together to provide a more contemporary and attractive spin on an old-fashioned digital alarm clock.

One drawback of the design is the limited control over the display brightness. You can request reduced intensity with a voice prompt or by enabling night mode, but our product tester found limited success with both. The nightlight, though, is more straightforward to control with a voice command or manually.

In most respects, the reliance on a smart assistant makes using this alarm clock easier and more desirable than a non-smart device. If you prefer, you’ll never have to manually input an alarm, and preparing for daily routines—by asking for forecast information, changing the thermostat or lights, and getting calendar or traffic updates—is as easy as saying, “Good morning,” or your command of choice.

You can also use this smart clock as a speaker for streaming podcasts or playlists from Spotify, YouTube, and Pandora, and controlling other Google Assistant/Google Home-compatible devices throughout your home within a reliable 16-foot operating range. While it’s not the most advanced smart alarm clock on the market, it’s pretty clever for a very reasonable $25. 

"Compared to a basic digital alarm clock, this device offers a touch of above-average functionality at a budget-friendly price."Yoona Wagener, Product Tester

Best Traditional: Brandstand CubieTime

CubieTime

Sleek and simple, the CubieTime alarm clock is ideal for the home, but also can be found in hotel rooms across the world, thanks to its easy-to-use interface. Powered via an AC adapter cord, the CubieTime includes two AAA batteries for battery backup in the off chance of a power outage. Weighing 1.7 pounds, it measures a relatively small 4.5 x 4.5 x 1.75 inches in footprint, which makes it ideal for even a small nightstand. If what you’re after is an attractive, simplified option that’s reliable, the CubieTime is a fantastic choice.

Best Budget: RCA Digital Alarm Clock

RCA

Featuring a large 1.4-inch display with oversized red numbers against a black LED display, the RCA digital alarm clock is a perfect budget-friendly, no frills device. The large full-length snooze button makes it easy to swat when your head is still properly buried in a pillow, allowing you just a few extra minutes of rest before you face the day. Weighing an ultra-lightweight 0.2 ounces and measuring 5 x 4 x 6 inches, the RCA offers a repeating snooze option and a “no-stress” alarm set function. Additionally, the RCA offers battery backup through a separately purchased 9V battery.

Best with Radio: iHome iBT29 Bluetooth Alarm Clock

 iHome iBT29BC Bluetooth Color Changing Dual Alarm

If you're looking for streaming capabilities and speaker quality, then the iHome iBT29 won't disappoint. You can set your alarm to connect to your favorite music or tune into FM radio. In fact, with the option to set two independent alarms, you don’t even have to choose. The iHome pairs with any Bluetooth-enabled device and also allows you to save six FM radio stations. You even can answer phone calls using the clock’s integrated microphone and voice echo feature.

The iHome’s spherical design and color-changing LED screen make it a perfect mood-setter for a party, or as a design piece for your office or bedroom. The color display isn’t just for show, either; you can set a light-based alarm to wake up more naturally in the morning. The iHome iBT29 includes an AUX input, a USB port, and a CR2460 back-up battery in the event of a power outage.

Best Digital: Travelwey Home LED Alarm Clock

When you need an alarm clock with big red numbers that are easy to read, the no-frills Travelwey D Home LED alarm clock is a great option. Designed with simplicity in mind, this clock is easy to operate. Whether it’s for seniors or toddlers, this is as basic as it gets. Two settings are available for either low or high volume. A snooze function is tappable and offers up to nine extra minutes of sleep. The sliding button on the rear turns the alarm on and off as needed. The snooze button even can be quickly tapped to create a brief night light. The real highlight is the 1.8-inch LED digits which are vibrant enough to be seen from across a room. Fortunately, the display can be dimmed for added comfort, so they aren’t too bright.

While the Travelwey is powered by an AC outlet, two AAA batteries provide limited power backup. If power is out, the display goes blank to conserve battery and maintain existing alarm settings. To see the current time, just tap the snooze button and you'll get 2 seconds of time shown.

Best for Portability: hito 3.8 Inch Digital Battery Atomic Alarm Clock

Don’t let the diminutive size of the hito Digital Battery Atomic Alarm Clock fool you; this portable unit is highly dependable. Powered by two AA batteries, the 3.8 x 3.2 x 1-inch clock is simple to move, since it has no cords. The ultra-portability helps it double as a smart option for frequent travelers who need something that can fit into a suitcase or carry-on.

The front display shows the time, date, temperature, and any set alarms. That’s far more detail than competitive models typically offer. You can even change the time zone to Pacific, Mountain, Central, or Eastern, if necessary.

During the evening hours, a smart auto light kicks in, which adds a glow in the dark display. Setting the alarm is easy, with three basic steps. Daylight savings time is automatically updated without any interference from the user. Hito touts its easy functionality as being so basic, the clock is kid-friendly.

Best Projection Clock: SMARTRO SC91 Projection Alarm Clock

The SMARTRO SC91 is a feature-packed projection alarm clock. In addition to displaying the time on its 4.5-inch full-color LCD screen, it also shows indoor and outdoor temperature, humidity, and projected temperature changes. Essentially, it incorporates all the features of a weather station, providing you with a wireless sensor that you can place anywhere inside or outside your living space.

The clock has a professional-grade thermometer and humidity monitor, and it comes with an adjustable projector so you can project the time and weather onto your ceiling. This is a particularly handy feature for those of us who don't want to grope for our glasses in the middle of the night. Finally, the SC91 functions perfectly well as a standard alarm clock, letting you set dual alarms for weekdays and weekends.

Final Verdict

The best alarm clock is the Philips SmartSleep HF3520 (view on Amazon). It's one of the best wake-up lights on the market, letting your body wake up in a peaceful, natural way withotu needing to blare an alarm. For a more traditional alarm clock, we like the Brandstand CubieTime (view on Amazon). It's not much of a looker, but it has a simple interface, backup batteries, and offers additional charging options.

What to Look for in an Alarm Clock

Display brightness and color - If you have trouble sleeping in a room with a lot of light, look for an alarm clock that has adjustable brightness controls or a dim display by default. Also keep in mind that too much blue light can make your body think that it’s already morning.

Connectivity - If you’re looking for a basic alarm clock, connectivity doesn’t matter. But if you want a little more out of your device, some of them can stream music via Bluetooth and even connect to the Internet.

Alarm method - There’s no reason to settle for a basic buzzer, unless that’s what you really want. For heavy sleepers, some alarm clocks are equipped with flashing lights and loud noises, while others are designed to wake you up gently with simulated sunrises and nature sounds. If you’re guilty of snoozing, you can even find ones that won’t stop until you physically get out of bed.

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