The 10 Best Wake-Up Light Therapy Alarm Clocks of 2019

Never wake up on the wrong side of the bed again

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The Rundown

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Philips HF3520

4.9

The Philips HF3520 is the best wake-up light therapy alarm clock, featuring 20 different colored brightness settings and offers a steadily increasing light beginning at 20 to 30 minutes prior to your scheduled alarm time. Additionally, the HF3520 offers 200 lux maximum light intensity and no replacement bulb is needed for the life of the unit, which provides years of value and better mornings.

Beyond the colored sunrise simulation, Philips does offer a more traditional alarm style with an FM radio and tap snooze function that allows for an extra nine minutes of sleep. The non-slip rubber feet provide easy placement anywhere on a nightstand where the HF3520 can pull dual-duty as a bedside lamp for reading or relaxing. While there’s bound to be a transition period from a traditional alarm to a wake-up light, the chance to have more energy and better concentration right from the get-go make the HF3520 a must-own.

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Philips HF3505

3.3

Utilizing a unique combination of light and sound, the Philips HF3505 offers a gradually increasing light over a 30-minute period prior to your pre-set alarm time. The light simulation has 10 separate intensities at 200 lux of maximum light, so buyers can find the appropriate brightness for their morning wake up. 

Beyond the wake-up light, the HF3605 also has two gradually increasing natural sounds for a more traditional wake-up or an FM radio that gradually increases in volume over a 90-second period. Additionally, the HF3505 offers a snooze button that provides an extra nine minutes of sleep before it attempts to jump-start your day all over again. If there’s any notable omission to the HF3505, it’s the lack of a bedside reading lamp function.

Best Multifunctional: Philips Somneo

4.6

Philips has sort of become the industry standard for light therapy, colored mood lighting, and, of course, wake-up lights. Their top-of-the-line option, the Somneo, is also one of the latest in their wakeup light lineup. And while it sports a high price tag, it gives you a lot of features built-in. First, the wakeup feature: by setting the sunrise option, the clock will begin a gradual sunrise where the light gets brighter and colder as it gets closer to your actual wakeup time. But outside that core feature, it also offers a variety of wake-up sounds from a beachscape to a peaceful forest.

There are also a number of wind-down modes that do the reverse of the wake-up — also with different accompanying soundscapes. If you are going for more of a meditative wind-down, you can also turn on the breathing mode that pulses the light and sounds to help you breathe more regularly. There’s a built-in radio, an aux input for your own music, a USB charging input, and even a light-temperature-adjustable reading light. Plus, with a halo-like design, it looks really nice on your bedside table. 

Best Budget: totobay

4.4

If you’re looking for sunrise simulation on the cheap, the totobay wake-up light sunrise simulation alarm clock is an ideal choice. The totobay features a wake-up light that will help you gently wake from a deep sleep by gradually increasing light from 10 percent to 100 percent over a 30-minute period. On the flip side, the sunset simulation will begin at 100 percent light intensity and gradually decrease to help you fall asleep in a more natural way. With 10 adjustable brightness settings, the totobay offers touch control for changing the various settings or choosing from one of the six natural music sounds or seven different colors (warm-white, green, red, blue, purple, orange and indigo).

Beyond the natural music sounds that can serve as a more traditional alarm, the totobay includes an FM radio with your favorite radio station. Additionally, the snooze function offers a gentle touch of the lamp and provides five more minutes of sleep before playing again. One bonus is the multiple charging methods (USB, AC adapter or AAA batteries) for ensuring that even in the event of a power loss, the alarm will still go off as needed. 

Best Light Therapy: Aura Daylight Therapy Lamp

4

The sudden popularity of wake-up light alarm clocks has been great for achieving a more peaceful way of getting up in the morning. For some people, sometimes you need a little help throughout the day as well and that’s where the Aura Daylight Therapy Lamp comes in with 10,000 Lux of bright light that can help naturally power you through the day.

The dual tilt angles (85 and 70 degrees) offer comfortable positioning, but it’s also able to be mounted to the wall. The 10,000 lux UV-free light perfectly mimics sunlight, which allows for a natural boost in mood without the caffeine kick. The extra benefits of increased energy, focus and concentration are all aided by three levels of output, including 3,500 Lux for the Aura’s lowest setting. Lighting can last as long as 60 minutes or as short as 10 minutes (it’s manufactured with 10-minute intervals for treatment and an automatic shutoff once treatment is complete).

Best Design: Electrohome

3.9

Stylish design aside, the Electrohome has a gentle alarm that can keep you energized in the morning with a gradually increasing light as your alarm time gets closer. Unfortunately, it doesn’t offer the same varying levels of brightness as a dedicated wake-up light, but what it lacks in options it more than makes up for in style and looks.

If you’re in desperate need of a few more minutes of sleep, the Electrohome offers a sensor-activated snooze function that lets you wave your hand in front of it. Assisting the more natural sleep function are the four separate dimming options for the clock display, including a screen-off option for eliminating any extra light during the night.

Best for Kids: Mirari OK to Wake! Alarm Clock

5

The Mirari OK to Wake! functions more as a sleep aid than an alarm clock, soothing your children by emitting a soft yellow glow and switching over to green with the morning alarm.

Once the clock turns green, then they know it's okay to get up. If you have a little one who likes to wake up on their own (very early) schedule, then the clock color signals them to stay in bed until a more appropriate hour, giving parents a little more much-needed sleep. Plus, it helps children build healthy sleep and wake habits from a young age. The Mirari’s fun, animated interface invites kids to engage with the device, making it seem more like a bedside companion than an average alarm clock.

The back of the device contains customizable parental controls, allowing users to set the alarms, night-light timers, and brightness. It even features a separate “nap-timer,” which lets users schedule afternoon naps without overriding the morning and evening settings.

Best Value: iHome Zenergy Bedside Sleep Therapy Machine

The iHome Zenergy clock works like a typical light therapy alarm clock: ten minutes before your alarm is supposed to go off, the clock will emit simulated sunlight. Natural sounds (or the radio) will then gently wake you up at your specified time. But the iHome Zenergy Bedside Sleep Therapy machine also has a bevy of other features beyond just the alarm setting. And while it isn’t the cheapest clock on this list, these extra features mean you get great value for your money.

The iHome Zenergy comes with 20 different light and sound patterns, including four different white noise settings. These are meant for more than simply waking up — there are patterns for stress relief, getting energized, going to sleep, and more. Everything, including the alarm, can be controlled on the clock itself or by connecting it to your phone via Bluetooth or aux cable and downloading the iHome app. The app, which is iOS and Android compatible, has full descriptions of each sound and light program and what time of day they’re best for. The clock’s phone connectivity also means it can double as a Bluetooth speaker.

Considering all the extra features beyond the light therapy alarm settings, the iHome Zenergy Bedside Sleep Therapy Machine is a multi-purpose device worth the price.

Runner-Up, Best Value: PETBROO Sunrise Alarm Clock

Prices vary when it comes to the best wake-up light therapy alarm clock, depending on the number of customizable features you want. For a high-quality, no-frills alarm clock, the PETBROO Sunrise Alarm offers a great value. The 98.6-lumen lamp uses a gradual wake-up light that steadily brightens over a 30 minute period. The device also offers six soundtracks including a mix of soothing nature sounds and more typical alarm beeps. It even contains an FM radio so you can wake up with your favorite morning show.

For those who also have difficulty falling asleep, the PETBROO can help. Use the sunset simulator to produce a gentle warm glow that encourages sleepiness. The lamp’s color and brightness are also adjustable, allowing you to set the mood with six vibrant shades (or cycle between them).

Best Features: Sharp Sunrise Simulator

Sunrise Simulator Alarm Clock with Blue Tooth Or USB ports White - Sharp
Courtesy of Target.com

If you’re in the market for a speaker/sunrise light combo, and you don’t want to break the bank, then the Sharp Sunrise Simulator might be your best bet. For starters, the sunrise functionality acts with up to 40 minutes of pre-alarm, gradual wake-up lighting to help trick your body into gradually waking up before the alarm jolts you from sleep. The clock display is pretty basic, showing only the time and a few key LED status indicators.

There’s a USB output that will charge your smartphone or tablet, and it gives you the added benefit of offering two amps of power, meaning that it’s a faster charge than the standard USB brick. The real kicker with this clock is its added Bluetooth connectivity. What’s cool here is that you can connect it with your phone and use it as a Bluetooth speaker, so not only can you quickly play music, you can also use your own music as your alarm clock.

Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best alarm clocks on the market today.

Tested by

How We Tested

We bought six top-rated light therapy alarm clocks and our reviewers tested them for more than 50 hours. They used them before work, tested the snooze function, and slept later on weekends to see if these models really left them feeling more rested. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using these light therapy alarm clocks, from their design to their brightness settings. We've outlined them here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.

What to Look for in a Light Therapy Alarm Clock

Brightness settings - The more brightness settings an alarm clock has, the more gradually the light will increase. Most have a minimum of 10 settings, but some premium options have 20 or more.

Light intensity - Light intensity, measured in lux, indicates how bright the light gets at its peak. A light with a 200 lux maximum is a solid bet, although some models have lights up to 10,000 lux; the difference isn’t as big as it sounds.

Design - Functionality aside, design is a matter of personal preference. Some people like the look of a round alarm clock that mimics the sun, while others prefer a more traditional design. Compact travel models make it easy to take your gadget on the go, and still others can be mounted on the wall.

Test Results: Philips HF3520 (Best Overall)

4.9

What We Like

  • Very customizable

  • Relaxing to wake up to

  • Great design

What We Don't Like

  • Setup instructions are hard to follow

  • Big footprint

There’s a reason the Philips HF3520 continues to be our top pick: It offers gradual lighting that turns on 20 to 40 minutes before your alarm and has a lot of customizable options. “Having the option to choose among a list of soothing sounds is great,” one reviewer said, “because you can customize this light to play whatever suits your specific personality.” That tester preferred the sound of the ocean, but you can select from among four other choices. Our testers thought that the setup instructions could be a lot clearer — they are shown just as pictures — but, nonetheless, they would recommend this alarm clock.

Test Results: Philips HF3505 (Runner-Up, Best Overall)

3.3

What We Like

  • Easy to set up

  • Simple interface

  • Lightweight

What We Don't Like

  • Limited alarm sound options

  • Expensive for its functionality

Our reviewers liked this product's easy setup process, simple interface, and lightweight build. The negatives, on the other hand, were that its sound options were "limited" and that, overall, it was slightly expensive given its capabilities. "If you’re looking for a Philips light therapy alarm clock that isn't quite as pricey as their most premium options, the HF3505 is worth considering," explained one of our testers. "You won’t get all the features and brightness/alarm options of some of the higher-end choices, and functionality-wise, it's on par with much less expensive alternatives."

Test Results: Philips Somneo (Best Multifunctional)

4.6

What We Like

  • Sleek design

  • USB port

  • Can also be used as night light

What We Don't Like

  • Pricey

  • Almost too relaxing

Philips Somneo
Philips Somneo wake-up light therapy alarm clock
Philips Somneo therapy alarm clock
Philips Somneo alarm clock
Philips Somneo wake-up light alarm clock

“This alarm clock is a really pleasant way to wake up in the morning,” declared one of our testers. In particular, our reviewers loved its modern design and the fact that it has a USB port so you can charge your phone. Another plus was its versatility; you can also use it as a nightlight. The downsides? One tester felt like it made her almost too relaxed: “I often slept through it or turned it off and went back to sleep,” she noted. “I now set backup alarms on my phone to make sure I wake up.” Our reviewers also thought it was fairly pricey for an alarm clock.

Test Results: totobay (Best Budget)

4.4

What We Like

  • Attractive design

  • Variety of light settings

  • Seven different audio options

What We Don't Like

  • Poor audio quality

  • Light too bright before alarm goes off

This alarm clock was a hit with one of our testers because it was small, light, and looked “sleek and modern” on a table. Other pluses, according to one reviewer, were its seven different audio options and its various brightness settings: “The light it emits can be really bright or really dim,” she said. “It's perfect for a night light.” In terms of negatives, one tester thought its audio quality was “very blurry with a lot of static” and that its light came on too abruptly: “The alarm lightbulb doesn't gradually fade in,” she explained. “It pops on at 10 percent and brightens to the desired level. It's easier to wake up earlier than the alarm time thanks to this.”

Test Results: Circadian Optics Lumos (Best Light Therapy)

4

What We Like

  • Nice compact size

  • Great brightness

  • Adjustable lights and timer

What We Don't Like

  • Timer but no alarm

  • Ineffective stand

Lifewire testers loved the compact size and great light output of the Circadian Optics Lumos. Since it’s not actually an alarm clock, one tester thought that it would be even better with wake-up functionality because it only has a timer that turns the light off. You can also dim and angle the light to adjust the effect you get.

One of our reviewers questioned the design of the light’s stand, commenting that she thought the placement of the power cord is “awkward” and she had to use more force than expected to angle the light. The stand aside, our testers praised this lamp, with one reviewer saying, “It's a lot slimmer, less bulky, and more visually appealing than the sun lamp I already have.”

Test Results: Electrohome (Best Design)

3.9

What We Like

  • Features including AM/FM radio and snooze button

  • Great progressive wake-up light

  • Backup battery

What We Don't Like

  • Poor speaker quality

  • Cluttered design

Even though one of our reviewers wished there were more wake-up sound options and said the sound quality was “tinny,” he liked the progressive wake-up lighting feature, the inclusion of a radio, and the motion-activated night light and snooze. He added, “The retro alarm clock radio is packed with more features at this price point that any other light therapy clocks I’ve used.” Additionally, the alarm can be preprogrammed with “weekend cancelation” to allow you a few more hours of precious sleep on your days off.

Test Results: Mirari OK to Wake! Alarm Clock & Nightlight (Best for Kids)

5

What We Like

  • Simple design allows toddlers to use it on their own

  • Soft green light visually indicates it’s time to get up

  • Nap timer allows you to set numerous green-light-go alarms

What We Don't Like

  • Can’t change light color

  • Could crack or break if thrown hard by an angry toddler

  • Alarm is a little muted

Mirari OK to Wake! Alarm Clock & Nightlight
Lifewire / Linnea Covington
Mirari OK to Wake! Alarm Clock & Nightlight
Lifewire / Linnea Covington 
Mirari OK to Wake! Alarm Clock & Nightlight
Lifewire / Linnea Covington 

“Everything about this device proved straightforward,” said our tester. “It simple to explain to my child how to use it—plus, the large and simple buttons make it especially easy for toddlers.” Although our tester didn’t have many negative things to say about this alarm clock, she wished that it came in more colors besides green. She also wished it wasn’t just battery-powered. Overall, though, she felt it was a great purchase: “For the price point and ease of use, I would totally buy this product,” she said.