Best Alarm Clocks of 2018

Billy Bommer ·
Audio & Travel Writer
Updated
We maintain strict editorial integrity when we evaluate products and services; however, Top Ten Reviews may earn money when you click on links.

We tested 10 alarm clocks that cost less than $60 to help you find the best one to replace the alarm app on your phone. While it isn’t the most durable alarm clock we tested, we believe the iHome iBT29 is the best option for most people because of its impressive alarm options and convenience features. It is loud enough to wake deep sleepers and can charge your phone and play music from any Bluetooth-capable device.    

Best Overall
iHome iBT29BC Alarm Clock
The iHome iBT29 can wake you up and lull you to sleep with songs, podcasts or radio stations on your Bluetooth-capable devices. It can also charge those devices through its USB port.
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Best Value
Timex XBBU Dual Alarm
Timex’s XBBU Dual Alarm has a several of the alarm and convenience features we looked for, including a USB charging port and nightlight, and it costs less than most of the clocks we reviewed.
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Best for Travelers
Oregon Scientific RM313PNFA
The RM313PNFA is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and automatically adjusts the time when you travel to a different time zone.
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Product
Price
Overall Rating
Usability
Power
Convenience Features
Alarm Options
Help & Support
Maximum Volume (decibels)
Durability
Daylight Savings Time
Brightness Control
Automatic Sync Time
Backlight
Weekday or Weekend Mode
Battery Backup
Power Failure Alarm
USB Charger
Adjustable Snooze Time
Bluetooth Compatible
Projection
Auxiliary Input (3.5mm)
Sleep Timer
Date
Temperature
Dual Alarms
Progressive Alarm
Radio Alarm
Bluetooth Alarm
Sunrise Simulation
Vibration
Warranty
Phone
Email
Live Chat
$74.22 Amazon
9.6 9.8 10 10 10 6.8
85.6
C-
Auto
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Lithium Button Cell
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-
-
-
1 Year
-
$19.96 Amazon
7.7 10 2.5 8.3 5 10
73.4
B-
Auto
Lithium Button Cell
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
1 Year
$29.75 Amazon
6.9 6.5 7 9.5 5 4.5
86.5
A-
Manual
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-
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2 AA
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
1 Year
-
-
$20.68 Amazon
5.9 5.3 10 5 2.5 5.5
57.3
B-
Manual
-
-
-
Lithium Button Cell
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
90 Days
-
$18.00 Amazon
5.8 6.5 5 3.3 5 10
64.1
A-
Auto
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-
-
Lithium Button Cell
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
1 Year
$39.99 Amazon
5.5 7.3 2 5 2.5 9
59.2
B
Auto
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2 AA
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
90 Days
$30.62 Amazon
5.5 8.3 1.5 5 2.5 6.8
57.8
B-
Auto
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3 AAA
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
1 Year
-
$34.95 Amazon
4.9 6.3 1.3 3.8 7.5 6.8
89.4
B
Manual
-
-
-
9 Volt
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
1 Year
-
$47.95 Amazon
5.4 7 7 1.3 2.5 6.8
67.7
A+
Auto
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2 AAA
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
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1 Year
-
$49.99 Amazon
4.4 6.5 1.3 7.5 7.8
67.5
C+
Manual
-
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No Battery Backup
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-
-
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1 Year
-
Best Overall
The iHome iBT29 is the best alarm clock if you want to untether yourself from your phone at night. It has all the newest features, including Bluetooth connectivity and a USB charging port.
It also has one of the loudest alarms of the clocks we tested, which is important for deep sleepers. The loud alarm is progressive, so you can snooze or turn it off before it gets too loud. This iHome model has the best feature set of the alarm clocks we reviewed, but it isn’t very durable. We tested its durability by pushing it off a nightstand onto carpet, hardwood and tile floors. The first time it fell onto the hardwood floor, the outer case broke into two pieces. We were able to put it back together, but there was some temporary functional damage to the display, so this is a concern if you have wood or tile flooring in your bedroom. It also has a lithium button cell backup battery that saves your time and alarm settings in the event of a power outage. In addition, this is one of the few clocks we tested that has a power failure alarm – even without AC power, your alarm will go off as scheduled.
Pros
  • Bluetooth capable
  • Loud alarm
  • USB charging port
Cons
  • Not durable
  • Doesn’t display temperature information
  • Expensive
$59.95Amazon
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Best Value
If you don’t want to spend much on an alarm clock, the Timex XBBU Dual Alarm is the most-cost effective model we tested.
It has some important convenience features, including a USB charging port, nightlight, and dual alarms to wake you and your bedmate at different times. If you’re looking for an alarm clock that costs less than $25, this is your best bet. The XBBU Dual Alarm is one of the few clocks we tested that has a power failure alarm. This means that the lithium button cell battery not only saves your time and alarm settings during a power outage, but it also powers the alarm so it goes off as scheduled. We tested how durable each clock’s snooze button is by pressing it hundreds of times with varying amounts of force. The XBBU Dual Alarm’s button showed no signs of functional damage in this test; however, it was noticeably depressed into the case at the end, which could lead to problems in the future. It is also one of the lightest alarm clocks we reviewed, which makes it more susceptible to being knocked off your nightstand. Its dual alarm feature is perfect for couples who want to use the same alarm clock because you can set the alarm to go off at two different times. Also, although the alarm isn’t very loud, the buzzer is progressive, so you can turn it off before it wakes your bedmate.
Pros
  • Inexpensive
  • Backup battery powers the alarm
  • Has a dual alarm feature
Cons
  • Buzzer is the only alarm option
  • Alarm is quiet
  • Durability concerns
$20.73Amazon
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Best for Travelers
The Oregon Scientific RM313PNFA is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, and it automatically adjust the time when you travel to a different time zone. These features make it a good alarm clock to stow away in your luggage so you can wake up to a familiar tone in an unfamiliar place.
However, its maximum volume is only 59.2 dB, which is about as loud as a normal speaking voice, so it’s not the best alarm clock for deep sleepers. This alarm clock can project the time onto a wall or the ceiling in your bedroom, which can serve as a familiar sight in a hotel room. It’s also helpful if you often wake up in the middle of the night and wonder what time it is because you don’t have to roll over to look at the clock or your phone. The RM313PNFA’s display shows the date and indoor temperature, but the projector only displays the current time. The Oregon Scientific RM313PNFA’s compact design and large rubber feet make it one of the more durable alarm clocks we tested, and it is less susceptible to being accidentally knocked off your nightstand. Durability, familiarity and size are important factors when choosing an alarm clock to travel with.
Pros
  • Compact design
  • Can project the time on a wall
  • Displays date and temperature information
Cons
  • Quiet alarm
  • Can’t adjust display brightness
  • Buzzer is the only alarm option
$27.99Amazon
Read the full review
Best Projection Alarm
A projector is a handy feature if you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night wondering what time it is.
This Electrohome alarm clock has an adjustable projector that displays the current time on a wall or ceiling, and you can turn the projector off if it disrupts your sleep. This alarm clock has a sleep timer that works in conjunction with the 3.5 mm auxiliary input. Play music or podcasts from your phone and the timer turns the sound off after 15, 30, 60 or 90 minutes. This alarm clock has a large display that shows the time, day of the week and indoor temperature. It has three dimmer options: high, low and off. The clock automatically adjusts for daylight savings time and the battery backup saves your alarm settings in the event of a power outage.
Pros
  • Easy-to-read display
Cons
  • Difficult setup process
Amazon
Read the full review
Best Wake-Up Light
This device functions as both an alarm clock and a light therapy lamp. If you prefer to wake up gradually rather than to a loud, startling tone, this is a great option.
The sunrise simulation starts 30 minutes before your wake up time and gradually gets brighter. At the end of the sunrise simulation, a progressive buzzer increases in volume for 90 seconds. You can adjust the final brightness level and turn the alarm sound off if you prefer to wake up without an alarm tone. To activate the snooze function, tap on the front panel of the alarm clock. This is one of the lightest alarm clocks we tested, and its vertical design makes it prone to tipping over. There are rubber feet on the bottom of the clock to help keep it in place, but we tipped the clock over multiple times during testing.
Pros
  • Soothing sunrise simulation
Cons
  • Accident prone
Amazon
Read the full review

Why Trust Us? 

We spent 40 hours researching and testing well-known and lesser-known alarm clock features. Our goal in the testing and research phases was to identify the products’ essential and bonus features not commonly discussed in traditional marketing material or bullet-point descriptions on retail websites. For instance, almost every alarm clock we tested has a backup battery, but it is hard to tell what it powers just by reading surface-level marketing materials. Some clocks’ backup batteries only save time and alarm settings, but a few we tested power the alarm as well, so you still wake up on time during a power outage.

Alarm clocks spend most of their lives sitting quietly on your bedside table. You usually only interact with yours early in the morning when you may not be fully awake or functional. As such we thought it was important to test how durable each alarm clock is by simulating what would happen if you accidentally knocked it off your nightstand while haphazardly feeling around for the snooze button. We also tested how durable the buttons are by pressing them hundreds of times with varying amounts of force to make sure they will last for years to come. Our recommendations are based on our impression of each product after using it and abusing it just like you will. 

How We Tested 

Our first step in testing alarm clocks was to survey each model’s available features and see how easy it is to set the time, alarm time, and date and temperature when available. After we set the clock, we triggered the alarm and measured how loud the speaker is from 2 feet away.

We then tested how durable the buttons are by pressing them hundreds of times with varying amounts of force. In our final durability test, we pushed the alarm clocks off a nightstand onto a variety of flooring surfaces, including carpet, hardwood and tile, to see if they are susceptible to breaking in that real-world situation.

How Much Does an Alarm Clock Cost? 

A wide range of alarm features determine the cost of an alarm clock. The simple clocks we tested start around $20 and have all the traditional features. Sunrise clocks and Bluetooth compatible alarms range from $40 to $90, and some of the quirky products that run away from your bed and require advanced motor functions to stop the annoying tone can run well over $100.

Important Alarm Clock Features to Consider

Alarm Options
If you use an alarm clock to wake up every day, you want to choose one that emits sound at a volume that is loud enough to wake you up under any circumstance. Some clocks only have a buzzer tone, which may be sufficient if you need an annoying sound to force you out of bed. If you prefer to wake up to music or talk radio, you want to choose a clock that has a radio alarm or a Bluetooth alarm that allows you to broadcast content from your phone or tablet.

Date, Temperature & Projection
A few of the alarm clocks we tested can project the time, and in some cases the date and temperature, on a wall or the ceiling in your bedroom. We decided that the projection feature is most important for someone who often wakes up in the middle of the night wondering what time it is. One of the clocks we tested can project the outside temperature as well as the time. That valuable information can help you wake up on the right side of the bed and prepare you for the day.


Why You Should Ditch Your Phone App for an Alarm Clock 


Most people would agree that there are too many distractions on smartphones. To get to bed and fall asleep in a timely manner, you need to eliminate as many distractions as possible. News alerts, social media content and games on your phone can keep you informed and provide an escape from the day-to-day doldrum, but they won’t help you wind down at night or get out of bed in the morning. In addition, there are plenty of alarm clocks with features not found in alarm apps. A good alarm clock allows you to keep your phone out of arms’ reach so you fall asleep and wake up free of distraction.

Here’s a helpful article we found that outlines Carley’s sleeping experience after trading her alarm app for an “old-school” alarm clock.

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