To help you find the best alarm clocks, we spent 20 mornings being woken up by 20 of the top alarm clocks on the market today. We also spent a little over 10 hours testing the usability and measuring feature availability on each model. During this testing, we compared alarms based on their ability to wake us up, as well as their overall customizability in alarm and brightness settings. We also looked for alarm clocks that were designed well without drawing the eye too much so as to become a focal piece in the room.
After all this testing, the American Lifetime Premium Day Clock stepped up and took the top spot. This superb alarm clock features a stunning HD display, tons of customization options, and functionality that works well for everyone, young and old. Keep reading below to learn more about the American Lifetime Day Clock and the other five best alarm clocks that made it onto our list.
Top 6 Best Alarm Clocks Compared
#1 American Lifetime Premium Day Clock – Top Pick
WHY WE LIKE IT: The American Lifetime Premium Day Clock offers the best HD display of any of the clocks on our list, along with lots of customizability and a battery backup. If you have vision impairment or just want something bigger for your alarm clock, the Day Clock is the perfect option.
Read Full Review: American Lifetime Clock
- Best for impaired vision
- 5 different alarm options
- Battery backup
- No snooze option
- No snooze option
The first thing that stands out about the American Lifetime Premium Day Clock is its large, 8” display, which delivers HD resolution and displays much more than just the time. You also get to see the day, whether it’s morning or evening and the full date, all fully spelled out instead of using abbreviations. You can even switch the display text color between white and yellow for easier readability. The display also features automatic dimming capabilities.
When it comes to the alarm clock functionality, you’ll be hard pressed to find something better. With five different alarm tones – all of which are pleasant and non-jarring – and the option for medical reminders, the American Lifetime alarm clock is incredibly versatile, especially when you combine the best alarm clock sound we tested with such a large display. Waking up from a heavy sleep can be disorienting, but the American Lifetime solves that problem for you, which is why it’s one of the best alarm clocks for heavy sleepers. We were disappointed that the clock doesn’t include any snooze functionality or automatic daylight savings adjustment, but these were a small price to pay for everything else this clock offers. The best alarm clock should include that.
#2 LBell LB01 Sunrise Alarm Clock – Honorable Mention
WHY WE LIKE IT: The LBell LB01 Sunrise Alarm Clock offers the most unique design out of all the options on our list, designed to look like and mimic the sunrise, which can provide a more natural and gentle wake up.
Read Full Review: LBell LB01 Sunrise Alarm Clock Review
- Best sunrise
- Dual alarm clock functionality
- Tons of customizable settings
- Larger than other alarm clocks
- Weak FM radio reception
- Buttons aren’t clearly marked
The LBell LB01 alarm clock is the only sunrise alarm clock on our list, even beating out the popular Philips Wake-Up Light alarm clock because of its overall performance and large number of customization options. With 8 different colors and 20 different brightness settings (included no light at all), this sunrise alarm clock can create virtually any kind of wake up scenario for you. You also have 7 different natural sounds to choose from for your alarm tone, along with alarm clock radio functionality – which could use some more signal strength, if we were to nitpick something about this impressive alarm clock. However, this is still the best alarm clock radio on our list, and we were glad to have the feature included.
While the LBell LB01 is a bit larger than the other alarm clocks on our list, its sleek and smooth design makes it less unobtrusive than any other clock of this size would be on your bedside table. Operating the clock is fairly simple, although we wish the buttons were marked a little clearly. The LBell alarm clock also includes stickers for the buttons, but it was more of a hassle to put the stickers on little buttons than to just read the instructions. We were happy to find a dual alarm setting here, as well, which allows you to set two different modes for weekend and weekday alarms. If you want a multi colored sunrise simulator, the LBell LB01 is a superior choice. If you want a watch instead, the best Android smartwatch. Also read about the best watches.
#3 Travelway Home LED Digital Alarm Clock – Best User Friendly
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Travelway Home LED alarm clock is the simplest option on our list, with incredibly user-friendly, intuitive controls. It also displays the time with a large, dimmable display, which ensures you always see the time, no matter where in the room you are.
Read Full Review: Travelway Home LED Digital Alarm Clock Review
- Large LED display
- Backup battery power
- One-touch nightlight
- Snooze time isn’t adjustable
- Only one alarm tone
Travelway targeted simplicity with this LED alarm clock, and they certainly achieved it. This is a no frills clock with one-touch controls that anyone can use without problem. Its jumbo display features red numbers, which are better for better sleep habits and a glow-free light that won’t keep you up at night. You can easily adjust the display’s brightness with the variable dimmer on the back of the unit, so you can easily fall asleep without glaring light from your alarm. Simply slide it back and forth until you find a brightness that fits your preference.
You also get a handy nightlight on the top of the alarm clock. If you find yourself awake at night and need to get up without stumbling around, you can just press the button on top of the clock, which turns on the night light immediately. While you only get one alarm tone with the Travelway, it isn’t as jarring as others we tested and its volume can be adjusted accordingly, as well. If you’re looking for a simple, easy-to-use alarm clock, you can’t go wrong with the Travelway LED digital alarm clock. Even while many of us have the best apple watches today, a clock is still good to have.
#4 Mpow Digital Alarm Clock – Best Display
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Mpow Digital Alarm clock features a clear and bright curved display that’s 5” big and comes in either blue or white light. This is a simple, no-frills alarm clock that does exactly what it’s supposed to.
Read Full Review: Mpow Digital Alarm Clock Review
- Variable brightness with off setting
- 3 different alarm sounds
- Easy to use
- Alarm shut off on back of unit
- Battery backup can’t be changed
The best thing about the Mpow Digital Alarm Clock is by far its crystal clear LED display. It’s a curved display that measures in at 5 inches diagonally. The digit display measures in at 3.75 inches diagonally, as well, making the time super easy to see, even from a distance. You can purchase the Mpow alarm clock with either blue or white digits, depending on your own personal preferences. You can also choose from one of six different brightness settings, including completely off which is incredibly helpful for when you’re sleeping and don’t want a light on in your room.
Operating the clock is super easy, featuring clearly labeled buttons that are easy to press. One frustrating feature we found was that the alarm on/off button is on the back of the clock, which made for some awkward fumbling in the morning while trying to turn off the alarm. Overall, if you’re looking for a simple alarm clock with a great display, the Mpow Digital Alarm Clock is a superb choice. For kids, check out the best kids alarm clock.
#5 USCCE Small LED Digital Alarm Clock – Best Quality
WHY WE LIKE IT: The USCCE Small LED Digital Alarm Clock is our most compact option, hardly making any kind of footprint on your nightstand. If you need something small, functional and out of the way, this the alarm clock for you.
Read Full Review: USCCE Small LED Digital Alarm Clock
- Very compact design
- Variable dimmer wheel
- USB port charges your phone
- Can only set one alarm
- Buttons are on the back
The USCCE small digital alarm clock is the smallest clock on our list, measuring in at just 5.6 x 3.11 x 1.65 inches. This makes it the perfect addition to any bedside table without taking up too much room or being too obstructive. However, its small size doesn’t make too many sacrifices. Yes, this is a simple alarm clock, but it still has a full range dimmer, five different alarm sounds and adjustable volume. These are all impressive features to have in such a compact alarm clock.
Though we wish the buttons were more accessible than they are on the back of the unit, they’re still really easy to use and clearly labeled so you know just what you’re pushing. Fortunately, the snooze button is still on the top of the alarm clock and silences your alarm feature for 9 minutes until you need to push it again. With such easy snooze functionality, the USCCE is the best alarm clock for snoozers on our list. You also get a handy USB charging port for your phone directly from the clock’s power, something we were really pleased to find since there aren’t many clocks with USB chargers out there. This alarm clock with USB is an excellent choice for the technically minded. Great addition to the bedroom.
#6 JALL Digital Alarm Clock – Best Budget
WHY WE LIKE IT: The JALL Digital Alarm Clock features a sleek design, an impressive number of individual alarms and minimal footprint.
Read Full Review: JALL Digital Alarm Clock
- Sleek wooden appearance
- Can set 3 different alarms at once
- Small and compact
- Drains batteries quickly
- No volume adjustment
- Only 3 brightness settings
The JALL Digital Alarm Clock doesn’t look like an alarm clock. Instead, it looks like a block of wood that tells you the time, and we have to say, it looks pretty good. This faux wood appearance makes this alarm clock an easy one to have anywhere in your home. Fortunately, it performs just as well as it looks. You can set three different alarms at a time, including a weekend mode where the alarm is simply just turned off and adjust the brightness to three different levels.
We didn’t think the controls were as intuitive on the back side of this digital clock, but they were still simple and easy to use. The only thing missing here is a volume adjustment. Without it, you’re stuck with a single volume level, which can get frustrating if it’s too loud or too soft for your tastes. For us, the volume setting was sufficient enough to get us up and going without jarring us out of sleep. If you want the appearance of a wooden alarm clock in your home, this is the choice for you. Don’t forget about the best mattress, for a good night’s sleep, along with the best comforter set.
How We Decided
To finalize the list above, we tested 20 different alarm clocks over the course of several nights of sleep and mornings of waking up. We only chose options with alarms that weren’t overly jarring in the morning. The features that contribute to a healthier wake up routine include pleasant alarm tones, dimmable displays and simple snooze or on/off buttons. We were also really impressed by the idea of sunrise alarm clocks, but only found one worth including on our list.
We also favored alarm clocks with unobtrusive designs and a small footprint that didn’t take up a lot of space on our night stand. We don’t think alarm clocks should be central pieces to the design of your room and we chose our top picks accordingly.
Finally, we also considered alarm clocks that are both battery operated and outlet powered. However, after testing, we didn’t think having a battery backup outweigh the other features we discuss below, even though it certainly is a nice feature to have. We favored alarm clocks more for their alarm time settings and customizable features over alarm clocks with dual power sources.
Alarm Clocks Buying Guide
The Most Important Features to Consider
An alarm clock’s display is arguably one of its most important features. The numbers on the display need to be large enough for you to read with or without your glasses on and bright enough to see in the darkness but not too bright as to keep you awake. The color of the display is also surprisingly important when it comes to uninterrupted sleep. Red and orange numbers are actually less likely to cast a bright glow in the darkness of your room. However, what we found more important than color is dimmability. The displays on the best alarm clocks feature some kind of dimming feature, whether manual or automatic. The best analog alarm clock features large, easy to read numbers and clock hands that are clearly visible both during the day and at night, which is made possible with glowing clock hands.
The best alarm clocks are incredibly simple and easy to use, but should offer a good amount of customizable options. Features like alarm times, snooze intervals, alarm volume and display brightness should all be adjustable so you can create the best wake up situation for yourself. Customization should also be easy and able to be accomplished within a few presses of a button. If you find yourself spending more than 10 minutes adjusting settings on your alarm clock, it’s not a user friendly option.
- Battery Life/Power Source
Alarm clocks are powered either by batteries or plugging into a wall outlet, but the best alarm clocks feature both options so you can take the alarm clocks with you, if necessary. Before you decide on one over the other, think about how exactly you’re going to use your alarm clock. If it’s never going to leave your bedside table, then finding an option without a battery option is likely fine for you. However, we still recommend getting an alarm clock that offers both because in the event of a power outage, a battery backup will retain the date and time so you don’t miss your alarm.
- “Extra” Features
Besides a clock and alarm, alarm clocks can offer a ton of bells and whistles, which aren’t always necessary but can be nice to have. Features like Bluetooth speaker, smart functionality, multiple alarm tones and radio can add to your alarm’s clocks overall value, but will never be a requirement. Consider what extra features you would want most and try to find an alarm clock that provides those to you, but we recommend not letting those features make or break your buying decision.
- Can alarm clocks affect your health?
According to recent studies, waking up to an abrupt alarm may be detrimental to your health because it interrupts your natural circadian rhythm (or sleep cycle). However, alarm clocks are a modern necessity in our busy lives and modern alarm clocks have started to trend away from abrupt and loud alarm clocks, instead opting for a gradual increase in volume or sunrise-like light to gently wake you up.
- Are alarm clocks allowed on airplanes?
Yes! Alarm clocks are certainly allowed on airplanes. The only thing you need to worry about is batteries. While any batteries installed in your alarm clock can be included in your carry-on luggage, all spare batteries must be stored in your checked baggage.
- Can you recommend a top of the range smart alarm clock?
- If you’re looking for a smart home compatible clock with quirky features that make the device more than just a basic alarm, there are plenty of high-end products to choose from. But for an affordable option that offers tons of features to play with, the Amazon Echo Dot is a great choice. This Alexa-powered smart alarm can read audiobooks, play your favorite music, order pizzas, and control other smart devices in your home.
Learn More About Alarm Clocks
Our reviews cover the best electronics that you use every day, like the best electric toothbrush and all of the bedroom gadgets and items you need. The best comforter set, for instance, will keep you cozy all night.
The best coffee maker will wake you up after your alarm goes off.