The Best Editor-Tested Sound Machines You Can Buy Right Now
If you spend your nights tossing and turning or if your sleep is disturbed by the smallest noise or disruption, then it’s time to take a look at sound machines. These bedside devices are designed to help you fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up feeling refreshed and recharged. How do they do it? By emitting ambient noises that help block out external sounds and help promote, ahem, sound sleep.
While sound machines are traditionally known for outputting white noise, there are tons of options out there that offer sound options of all kinds. Brown noise, for instance, emits lower frequencies than its white counterpart, prompting deeper relaxation. Or perhaps you prefer to drift off to sleep to the sound of a gurgling creek, a rainstorm, or even a fan. You can find models that can do all of that — and more. Today’s sound machines even offer high-tech features like sunrise alarm clocks, light controls, and smartphone app integration.
Of course, sound machines aren’t just for bedtime, either. At AT, we use them when we’re traveling, when we’re working — especially handy in a home with other people — and even when we just want to drown out the external noises that make their way into our personal space. We tested more than a dozen options to bring you the best, most trustworthy recommendations. Check out the winners below, and keep reading for tips on what to look for before you buy.
The Best Sound Machines
- Best Overall: Hatch Restore
- Best Budget-Friendly: Rohm Travel Sound Machine
- Best Luxury: Snooz White Noise Machine
- Best for Babies and Children: Dohm Classic Sound Machine
- Best White Noise: LectroFanEVO White Noise Machine
- Best Nature Sounds: Serene Evolution White Noise Machine
- Best with an Alarm: Loftie Alarm Clock
- Best Multi-Purpose: Google Nest Mini
What to Consider When Shopping for Sound Machines
Every sound machine is different, so you want to think about what’s important to you before you begin your search. Are you interested in a machine with a lot of different sound options? Do you want to use it for functions other than noise, like as an alarm clock or nightlight, or would you rather have something simple that will fit into your existing design aesthetic? And, of course, what is your budget? Knowing what you’re looking for from the start will speed up your search and save you time.
The sound machines on our list — and on the market in general — are all quite different, with a range of features that vary from model to model. Consider whether you want a robust machine with a wide array of sounds and non-audio functionality or one with as few buttons as possible. Another major factor? Smartphone app integration.
Because sound machines typically sit in full view on your nightstand, what do you want yours to look like? Do you have a specific motif you’re looking to match? Do you want a machine that’s noticeable or one that’s small and easy to move around? Does the color of the machine matter to you?
Typically, simple sound machines are the most affordable, and options with lots of bells and whistles are more expensive. Before you buy, make sure you know exactly what your machine does — there’s no need to pay for features you don’t want or need.
What We Look For in a Sound Machine
We tested a wide range of sound machines and judged them on the following criteria:
- Performance: Does the machine work as promised? Is it easy to set up and use?
- Versatility: What functions does it serve? Is it corded or battery-operated? Is it available in multiple colors and styles?
- Value: Does the price reflect the functionality you’re getting?
The Best Sound Machines
Best Overall: Hatch Restore
For a sound machine that hits all the right notes, Hatch Restore is our top pick. Not only does it boast a wide range of sounds, but it’s also a smart light with 22 color options. Even better, you can use it as a sunrise alarm clock that mimics the progression of light at dawn, prompting your body to wake up naturally. “I’ve completely stopped using my phone as an alarm during the week because the Hatch works so well,” says AT’s Best List editor, Britt. “I love that the alarm is less jarring than my phone alarm and much softer, so I can easily wake up without a jolt.”
This high-tech machine works in conjunction with the Hatch Sleep app, through which you can pre-program your nighttime and morning routines. That’s right, with just a few swipes, you can totally customize your experience. “The app is required to change your sound and light settings,” says Britt. “But once those are programmed, you can turn it on and off with the press of a button directly on the device as well as make adjustments to volume and brightness.” You can also opt to pay for a Hatch Sleep Membership to access additional features like playlists, mind-body exercises, and more ways to put your self-care first.
- 7.5″ x 2.75″ x 5.75″, 19 oz.
- Range of sounds include white noise, meditative flutes, morning birds, and relaxing chimes
- Functions as a smart light (22 colors) and a sunrise alarm clock
- Corded, integrates with a free smartphone app
Who It’s Best For: Those who want to truly customize their nighttime and morning routines.
Good to Know: Because the sound machine works in conjunction with your smartphone, you need to be connected to wifi when using it.
Best Budget-Friendly: Rohm Travel Sound Machine
Simple and easy to transport, the Rohm Travel Sound Machine earns our title for Best Budget-Friendly pick — and not just for its wallet-friendly price. AT’s home projects director, Megan, reports that it works like a champ. “This little sound machine got my husband and me through a visit to my parents’ house, where our room was right off the kitchen.” The affordable Rohm offers just three sounds: bright white noise, deep white noise, and gentle surf. “It’s extremely basic, so if you want a million sounds, it’s not for you,” adds Megan, who prefers the simplicity of the Rohm to other, fancier options. “I was able to operate it out of the box without reading any instructions (the dream).”
Designed specifically for travelers, the Rohm is USB-rechargeable and includes a lanyard to hang the compact, lightweight machine on a doorknob, hook, or backpack. It’s available in only one color (white) and is essential for light sleepers who are often away from home. Comments Megan, “It would be great for anyone who does a lot of business travel and is often stuck in mid-range hotels.”
- 3.4″ x 1.6″ x 3.84″, 3.8 oz.
- Three sounds: bright white noise, deep white noise, and gentle surf
- Portable, includes a lanyard for hanging
- USB-rechargeable, includes charging cable
Who It’s Best For: Those who want something simple, portable, and affordable.
Good to Know: It takes about four hours to fully charge, and each charge lasts eight hours.
Best Luxury: Snooz White Noise Machine
If you easily fall asleep to the sound of a fan or air conditioner, then the Snooz White Noise Machine is the one for you. With just one sound — white noise — it’s another simple option, but its luxe appearance and feel make it anything but ordinary. Not only does it offer optional smartphone app integration, but the knit jacket on the outside of the device is soft to the touch and presents an upscale look. “It really seems to belong in a bedroom or any space that’s meant to provide comfort,” says Britt, who tested and loved this model. And while you only have one sound option, you can adjust the tone for stronger or gentler noise.
The Snooz is ready to use as soon as you plug it into the wall. While a dial on the underside of the machine lets you adjust the tone of the white noise, Britt recommends downloading the T&N White Noise app for further personalization. While technically optional, Britt reports that “the app was absolutely essential to configuring the device to my needs for a hands-free experience. The app is also where you get to name your white noise machine, as well as calibrate it for an accurate reading from the device to the app, which takes roughly two minutes.” Once programmed, you can use the app to turn your Snooz on and off, control the volume and light, and program timers. Says Britt, “The white noise from the Snooz has helped me sleep for much longer periods, and through the night a lot more often than I used to.” You can’t ask for a better testimonial than that.
Read our full review of the Snooz White Noise Machine.
- 5.6″ x 5.6″ x 3.2″, 2 lbs.
- One sound: white noise
- 10 tone levels
- Corded, optional smartphone app integration
Who It’s Best For: Those who want a sound machine that’s simple yet customizable and easy on the eyes.
Good to Know: You can pair an unlimited number of Snooz units to a single smartphone and pair an unlimited number of smartphones to a single unit.
Best for Babies and Children: Dohm Classic Sound Machine
When AT contributor Erin moved into a street-facing apartment on a busy block in Brooklyn, she quickly learned that she needed more than just a tower fan to block out all of the noise. She turned to the Dohm Classic Natural Sound Machine, and it took just one night for the device to turn her sleep space into “a cozy cocoon where the sounds of the outside world are blurred out, nowhere near as intense as they were before.” This model actually uses pink noise, a natural, even-toned sound that’s at once less intrusive and more effective that white noise. And that’s exactly the reason it takes top honors as the sound machine that we recommend for babies and children.
Formerly known as the Sleep-Mate, the Dohm has been around since 1962, lulling generations of babies, kids, and adults into a sound slumber. The internal fan has two speeds that change the output tone, and since the machine only delivers one sound, it’s very easy to operate. “We had one when my first son was born five years ago, and bought another one when my second son was born a year ago,” says AT’s product management VP, Vijay. “When the baby moved to his own room, I missed it so much that we bought a third for our bedroom. The thing I like most about it is that it has a natural, ‘non-digitized’ sound. It literally just sounds like air blowing through a hole. Others I’ve tried sound like a computer, which feels very unnatural and distracting.” It’s even available in six stylish colors, so you can pick one that matches your kids’ rooms.
Read our full review of the Dohm Classic Natural Sound Machine.
- 5.9″ x 5.9″ x 3.46″, 1.6 lbs.
- One sound: pink noise
- Available in 6 colors
Who It’s Best For: Those who want to ensure that their babies and children sleep well.
Good to Know: Chewy even recommends this sound machine for anxious pets.
Best White Noise: LectroFanEVO White Noise Machine
If you’re a fan of white noise but want to try other sounds, too, AT’s senior commerce editor, Alicia, recommends the LectroFanEVO White Noise Machine. She has relied on this baby for years to help her fall asleep, especially since she moved into a loud city apartment. “My boyfriend has always hated sound machines, but lately he’s been requesting that I turn it on to block out all of the street (and bar) noise,” she shares.
The LectroFanEVO features 22 sounds: 10 fan sounds, 10 white noise options (including pink noise and brown noise), and two ocean sounds. Since the machine is completely digital and includes no moving parts, the output is consistent, clear, and precise. This model also offers volume control and an optional timer, and the package includes a 35mm wire to connect it to headphones or a speaker. Versatile and highly effective, the LectroFanEVO is an affordable find that will drown out outside noise and help you sleep better throughout the night.
- 47″ x 4.7″ x 3.3″, 12.8 oz.
- Twenty-two sounds, including white noise, pink noise, brown noise, and ocean sounds
- Features a timer and a precise volume control
- Corded, includes a 3.5mm wire to connect to headphones or a portable speaker
Who It’s Best For: Those who primarily use white noise but want other options as well.
Good to Know: The buttons aren’t the most intuitive, so this machine can be difficult to operate in the dark.
Best Nature Sounds: Serene Evolution White Noise Machine
Ready to fall asleep to the cacophony of nature from the comfort of your bed? Say hello to the Serene Evolution White Noise Machine. This model truly shines when it comes to the variety of sounds you can choose — a whopping 60! — including a standout selection of nature sounds like ocean waves, thunderstorm, waterfall, crickets, and brook.
You can leave the machine on indefinitely, or if you’d rather use a shut-off timer, you can set it for 30, 60, or 120 minutes. While this Serene Evolution model plugs into the wall, it includes a wireless remote control, allowing you to control it from up to 50 feet away. “I wish it was cordless or battery operated, but I was happy with the variety of sounds it offered and that it was pretty neutral in color,” says AT’s associate social media director, Rachel. She chose black, but you can buy it in white or white/gray, too.
- 6.14″ x 4.76″ x 4.69″, 1.32 lbs.
- Sixty sounds, including thunderstorm, crickets, campfire, and train
- Available in 3 colors, optional shut-off timer
- Corded with cordless remote control
Who It’s Best For: Those who want to experience the sounds of nature every night.
Good to Know: This model also offers plenty of non-nature-inspired sounds, like hair dryer, train, vacuum, and helicopter.
Best with an Alarm: Loftie Alarm Clock
As its name implies the Loftie Alarm Clock’s primary function is to keep time, but this all-in-one nightstand essential is so much more. AT’s commerce SEO editor, Sarah, is a big fan of the machine’s sound technology, which landed it a coveted spot on this Best List. Add in a nightlight and pre-programmed breathwork exercises, meditations, and sound baths, and you have a multifunctional masterpiece that will change your nights and mornings for the better.
Using alarms curated especially for the device, the Loftie works in two parts: The initial waking sound gently lulls you out of sleep, while the second, louder sound rings nine minutes later to get you up and going. “As a heavy sleeper, I was initially worried that the tones might not be ‘alarming’ enough to wake me, but what I found was that instead of jolting out of bed in an adrenaline rush each morning, I awoke calmly and, some might even say, correctly,” explains Sarah.
The machine integrates with an app for its initial setup, but after that, you can choose to use the phone or the actual machine to work the device. For Sarah, one of the Loftie’s major benefits is that it empowers her to leave her phone in the other room at night. “To say that I revel in the joy of starting off my day without immediately grabbing my phone and scrolling through the latest news bulletins and must-see memes would be the understatement of the century,” she shares.
Read our full review of the Loftie Alarm Clock.
- 2.75″ x 6.5″ x 2.75″, 1.8 lbs.
- 18 sounds, including white noise, pink noise, tent rain, and wood stove
- Nightlight, alarm clock, breathwork exercise, meditation, and sound bath features
- Corded with rechargeable battery backup, smartphone app integration
Who It’s Best For: Those who don’t want to bring their smartphones to bed.
Good to Know: The Loftie also functions as a bluetooth speaker.
Best Multi-Purpose: Google Nest Mini
An all-around MVP, the Google Nest Mini is so much more than just a sound machine. With a simple “Hey Google,” you can ask the machine to play music, read the news, get traffic updates, set reminders and alarms, change your thermostat, control your other smart devices, and so much more. And when it comes to sleep support, this multifaceted device delivers. You can use it to dim the lights or ask it to play a specific sound to lull you to sleep. “I was surprised that the noise wasn’t metallic-sounding, to be honest,” comments Alicia. “I slept soundly all week.” You can even set a timer so that the noise stops after a designated number of minutes.
Yet with all of this functionality, the Nest Mini is small and compact. The sleek design means it can easily blend into the decor of any room, and since it comes in four colors — gray, charcoal, coral, and sky — it’ll look great everywhere.
- 7″ x 5″ x 2.5″, 1 lb.
- Virtually unlimited sound options
- Available in 4 colors; voice control enables functionality like music, alarm clock, room temperature controls, and news updates
- Corded, optional smartphone app integration
Who It’s Best For: Those whose homes are already equipped with Google devices.
Good to Know: Google Nest Mini won’t work at all without a wifi connection.