The 9 Best Wake-Up Light Therapy Alarm Clocks to Buy in 2018

Never wake up on the wrong side of the bed again

Philips HF3606
Photo from Amazon

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If there's one thing the world can agree on, it's that no one loves waking up to a blaring alarm clock. Surely there’s a better way to peacefully start the day that doesn’t involve enough decibels to wake the neighbors. Enter the wake-up light alarm clock (or sunrise clock as it's commonly called). It's a less stressful wake-up method that will have you skipping the snooze button and avoiding a whole lot of morning grumpiness. Discover our choices for the best wake-up light alarm clocks and find yourself on the path to a better night’s sleep.  


Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Philips HF3520

The Philips HF3520 wake-up light features 20 different colored brightness settings, the HF3520 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, the 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

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

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

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 choice of 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: Circadian Optics Lumos

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 Day Light 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 Value: Vimicy

Vimicy’s wake-up light alarm clock might not have the same name-recognition as Philips, but it’s handily the best value in the space. The Vimicy also has a 30-minute wake-up light window before the pre-set alarm time, as well as a five-minute snooze mode. There’s also a slew of touch controls available that can help adjust the snooze or sunset simulation. You can even switch the natural sounds that power the traditional alarm clock, as well as select channels for the FM radio.

Powering the wake-up light are a handful of different colors (warm white, green, red, blue, purple, yellow, indigo light and warm white LED) with 10 different brightness settings. Additionally, the availability of six different natural sounds can help gradually increase the volume over 15 different levels. The 100-lux light isn’t as powerful or as bright as competitor models, but it’s more than enough to get the job done and help you kick off the day with more energy and a better mood.

Best Design: Electrohome

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 Battery: Tecboss Bedside Lamp

With easy-to-reach touch controls, three levels of bedside lighting perfect for reading, as well as battery backup in case of power failure, the Tecboss Bedside Lamp Wake Up Light is the perfect addition to any nightstand. The three levels of bedside lighting offer a low setting for sleeping with minimal light on, medium lighting for matching normal daytime lighting conditions and a high for reading in bed without causing eye strain. The five-natural alarm sounds gradually begin at 10 percent brightness and works its way to 100 percent brightness 30 minutes prior to your preset alarm time.

 The highlight of the Tecboss isn’t just the more natural way it will help you get up in the morning, it’s the battery backup. The lamp connects to a wall via a 5V wall USB charger and microUSB cable, but offers a re-chargeable battery as a temporary solution in the event power should quit through the night. Capable of lasting up to 10 hours on low, five hours on medium and two hours on high brightness illumination, you won’t have the misfortune of oversleeping because of a power outage.

Best Features: Sharp Sunrise Simulator

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

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.