The 8 Best Alarm Clocks of 2020

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."
Best Traditional:
Brandstand CubieTime at Amazon
"Sleek and simple, the CubieTime alarm clock is ideal for the home."
"The hands-free, stylish device responds to thousands of voice requests — beyond just that of setting a morning alarm."
"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 HF3520 Wake-Up Light

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 Traditional: Brandstand CubieTime

Sleek and simple, the CubieTime alarm clock is ideal for the home, but can also 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 Splurge: Amazon Echo Spot

If it’s an alarm clock with all the bells and whistles you’re after, the Wi-Fi-enabled Amazon Echo Dot is the best choice around. The hands-free, stylish device responds to thousands of voice requests—beyond just that of setting a morning alarm.

After waking up to Alexa’s alarm, you can request a flash briefing of the daily news, check the weather, see what your work calendar looks like, play music, listen to an audiobook, turn on your bedroom lights and more—all without having to lift a finger. Best of all, the more you use your Echo Spot, the smarter it gets. Over time, it’ll begin to recognize and adapt to your voice, speech patterns, and personal preferences.

With four microphones, beam-forming technology, and enhanced noise cancellation, you won’t have to worry about Alexa not hearing your requests — even over music or nearby chit-chat. Though it’s considerably pricier than your basic alarm clock, for all the features, it’s a worthy one-time expense that’ll have well you on your way to curating a full-blown smart home.

Best Budget: RCA Digital Alarm Clock

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 .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

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 can even 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 letters that are easy to read, the no-frills Travelwey D Home LED alarm clock is a great option. Designed with simplicity in mind, there’s nothing difficult about operating this clock. 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 can even 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 two 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, moving the 3.8 x 3.2 x 1-inch clock is simple as there are no cords to speak of. 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 lasses 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.