The Best Smart Alarm Clocks to Help You Rise and Shine
Waking up is hard to do, but these smart alarm clocks make it so much easier
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Rest easy with these smart alarm clocks
Early birds who bound out of bed ready to take on the day may view an alarm as a safety net. But for night owls and anyone with insomnia, it’s the only way out of a deep sleep. And while smart alarm clocks can certainly ease the challenge of early mornings, that’s not where their usefulness ends. They can actually improve your sleep.
So important are healthy sleep habits that Harvard Medical School has a dedicated Division of Sleep Medicine. It recommends going to bed and waking up at the same time each day to set your body’s internal clock. That can be a struggle for anyone who sees weekends as a time to catch up on much-needed rest. And then there’s the harmful habit of checking the clock’s progress while you’re trying to fall asleep. Harvard’s Division of Sleep Medicine cautions against this nighttime clock-watching, which can make it much harder to catch some z’s.
Thankfully, you don’t have to shell out tons of money for sleep products on Amazon just to get a few winks. A small tech gift makes for a simple fix: With smart alarm clocks, you can often choose whether or not to display the time, making it easier to fall asleep. And added features can ease you into wakefulness. If you find traditional alarm clocks alarming, perhaps it’s time for a more soothing solution.
What is a smart alarm clock?
Unlike traditional alarm clocks that wake you up in the morning to sharp sounds or music, smart alarm clocks have a host of other features. Some go off to a specific personalized routine (like local weather or traffic reports). Some work through Wi-Fi or with personal assistants—Amazon’s Echo Dot connects to Alexa, for instance. Others even mimic sunrise.
What to consider when buying a smart alarm clock
You’ll do yourself a disservice by basing your selection on brand name alone. Just as you would when purchasing smart doorbells and other smart-home devices, consider your top needs and concerns. “Think about what you need, whether it’s a loud sound or a light that’s similar to sunrise, and choose the right device based on features,” says Jennifer Cohen, a high-performance coach and author of Strong Is the New Skinny. The best smart alarm clock is the one that meets your specific needs, so consider ease of use, accuracy, your lifestyle and your budget.
How we chose the best smart alarm clocks
To help you find the smartest alarm clocks, we did a whole lot of shopping. (It’s a tough gig, but someone’s got to do it.) We considered each item’s price and features, then scoured reviews to learn how each held up to everyday use by people like you. To make your choice easier, we’ve laid out the pros and cons of each. Keep reading to see the top picks!
The best smart alarm clocks
Best overall: Echo Dot (5th Gen)
Best for a sunrise wake-up: Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light
Best color display: iHome Timeboost Glow
Best value: Emerson SmartSet Alarm Clock Radio
Best for frequent travelers: Sonic Alert Portable Vibrating Alarm Clock
Best for minimalists: Oct17 Wooden Alarm Clock
Best for good sleep hygiene: Hatch Restore
Best for small spaces: iHome iBT29
Best for deep sleepers: Clocky Alarm Clock on Wheels
Best for families: Nest Hub
Best overall smart alarm clock
Echo Dot (5th Gen)
It seems almost disingenuous to call the Echo Dot a smart alarm clock when there’s so much else you can use it for. The fifth-generation device, which Amazon released this year, plays music, displays song titles and the weather when asked, includes access to Alexa, connects to other devices and even uses a temperature sensor to keep your home comfortable. With good sound quality, the Echo Dot ranks among other smart speakers. As for the alarm, you can tap the Echo Dot to snooze it if you need a few more minutes of shut-eye. And if you have a smart home synced, you can also set your Echo Dot to turn on your lights so you don’t stub your toe on the way to the bathroom.
- Incredible sound
- Small size perfect for nightstands
- Tap the alarm to snooze
- It can sometimes take a while for Alexa to understand exactly what you want
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Best for a sunrise wake-up
Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light
I have an older version of the Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light, and it’s helped me on mornings when I managed to sleep through loud construction sounds outside. With the latest version, you can set a personalized wake-up using one of 20 brightness settings that gently draw you out of sleep with what feels like a natural sunrise. Pair it with preset music or your favorite radio station for a rise-and-shine that beats the relentless buzz of a traditional alarm clock. Use it seven days a week to maintain a consistent sleep schedule, which will make it easier for you to catch some z’s. You’ll be able to ditch your sleep app in no time.
- Uses light to wake you up with a simulated sunrise
- Personalized wake-up and wind-down
- Tap to snooze
- It’s impossible to change the light bulb inside
Best color display
iHome Timeboost Glow
If you like the idea of gradually waking up, iHome’s Timeboost Glow is a great option that also allows you to choose from one of eight color-changing mode lights. A lot of creativity went into the design and programming: Among other options, you can choose from slow-fading light to light that pulses to the music. Need a little more rest? Hit the center button, and not only will the alarm snooze for nine minutes, but the lights will too.
- Color-changing display
- Speaker-phone function
- Can set a weekday vs. weekend alarm schedule
- The phone-charging function can take a bit of time to master
Emerson SmartSet Alarm Clock Radio
For an affordable and pared-down smart alarm clock without all the bells and whistles, the Emerson SmartSet Alarm Clock Radio gets the job done. If you like to sleep in on weekends (a sin, according to sleep experts, but we won’t tell), you can program the alarm to go off at a different time every day. And talk about a product that’ll make your life easier: This clock will reset to the correct time and date after a power outage.
- Affordable and reliable model
- Time and date reset after power outage
- Charges mobile devices via USB
- The numbers are bright and bold, so it’s almost impossible to avoid checking the time while tossing and turning
Best for frequent travelers
Sonic Alert Portable Vibrating Alarm Clock
Sleeping in a strange bed in a strange city always comes with the risk of slumbering straight through the alarm. For heavy sleepers who are always on the go—and especially those who haven’t yet mastered the art of sleeping on a plane—the Sonic Alert Portable Vibrating Alarm Clock is a smart solution. Instead of relying on your smartphone or a hotel wake-up call, opt for this 90-decibel alarm that makes it nearly impossible to keep snoozing. And just in case you’re nervous that you might miss your flight home, you can clip the Sonic Alert to your pillow for strong vibrations that’ll shake you awake. Get yourself one of these to wake you up, as there is a downside to sleeping in on weekends.
- Small and easy to pack
- Comes in lots of cute colors
- Vibration and extra-loud alarm to wake even the soundest sleepers
- It’s battery operated, so you’ll have to keep testing the batteries
Best for minimalists
Oct17 Wooden Alarm Clock
If style is a must for your smart alarm clock, the Oct17 Wooden Alarm Clock is the device for you. Don’t let the midcentury modern design fool you into thinking this is light on features; it is minimalist in style alone. The sleek and stunning clock features a voice-controlled alarm as well as a time, temperature and date display. (No, it may not be a smart thermostat, but it’ll at least let you know whether you’ll need a sweater when you leave for work in the morning.) It runs on batteries or through a USB plug.
- Modern, minimalist design
- Charges iPhones and Android devices wirelessly
- Make a sound or tap the clock to light up the display
- Size may be clunky on some nightstands
Best for good sleep hygiene
If you’re looking for smart alarm clocks that help you wind down as well as wake up, try the Hatch Restore, which is so committed to a gentle wake-up that it even looks like a sunrise. You can set a routine for unwinding (this is much more effective than zoning out in front of a smart TV all night), sleeping or waking, or use your device as a custom sunrise alarm clock. It works to enhance your sleep with soothing sounds and white noise, and if you sign up for the Hatch Sleep Membership (via an app), you’ll have even more sounds, meditations and restfulness exercises to lull you to sleep and help you wake up rested.
- Curated sleep content helps you establish a wind-down, sleep and wake schedule
- The sunrise alarm doubles as a reading light at night
- 60-day money-back guarantee
- After a free 30-day trial of the Hatch Sleep Membership, you’ll have to pay to use the app and extended sleep content library
Best for small spaces
However packed with special features they may be, many smart alarm clocks are just too large to fit comfortably on smaller nightstands. But if you’re committed to using an alarm clock instead of your phone, you have options. The iHome iBT29 won’t overwhelm a tiny bedside table, leaving you plenty of room for nighttime necessities like a glass of water, some lip balm and a good book. And though it’s small, it’s mighty: It’ll wake you up, play music, make calls and juice up your phone or smartwatch via the USB charging port. And for a bit of fun, you can pick between five hues and six wake-up color modes.
- Size convenient for small spaces
- Bluetooth functionality works with all smartphones
- Speakerphone function
- With small size comes too-small buttons, according to some reviewers
Best for deep sleepers
Clocky Alarm Clock on Wheels
If you sleep like the dead and have managed to snooze straight through other smart alarm clocks, try Clocky, an obnoxiously loud alarm that’ll bang around the room until you give in and wake up. It’s also a great option for sleepers who hit snooze a dozen times before dragging themselves out of bed: This wheeled device is essentially a real-life robot that’ll force you to chase it down to turn it off. It jumps up to three feet, can change direction and even hides from you. By the time you finally turn it off, it’s unlikely you’ll want to go back to bed.
- The loud alarm will rouse even the deepest of sleepers
- Its wheels work on wood and carpet
- It can jump off dressers and nightstands
- The novelty wears off after a while
Best for families
If everyone in your family has a different schedule, you don’t want to rely on a single alarm clock. The Nest Hub allows you to set alarms and reminders while also popping in and waking up your brood. Set a morning routine for some or all of you, and turn on the lights remotely. You can even check the weather or security cameras first thing in the morning or right before snuggling under the covers at night. With plenty of sleep-centric features (it’ll track your slumber and let you listen to the Calm meditation app), you’ll be resting easy in no time.
- Serves as a hub for the entire family’s smart home needs
- Can track your sleep
- Features Google Assistant
- Some reviewers report difficulties with the voice assistant understanding commands
- Jennifer Cohen, high-performance coach and author of Strong Is the New Skinny: How to Eat, Live and Move to Maximize Your Power
- Harvard Medical School: “Twelve Simple Tips to Improve Your Sleep”