Best Baby Sound Machines 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 researched and evaluated the most important features of baby sound machines to help you find the right product to aid you in your quest to make your baby fall asleep and stay asleep longer. Based on our research, we believe the Munchkin Nursery Projector and Sound System is the best baby sound machine for most people. It has a good selection of sounds and doubles as a calming visual aid with its projector and nightlight, and the voice activation mode can automatically trigger the sounds or images when your baby starts crying. 

Best Overall
Munchkin Nursery Projector and Sound System
The Munchkin baby sound machine has 10 soothing sounds and can project three dreamy images on a wall or ceiling in your nursery. The voice activation mode is a helpful feature too.
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Best Value
Big Red Rooster BRRC129
The Big Red Rooster BRRC129 is a great value for less than $20. It has six sounds and the compact and durable design make it easy to stow away for travel.
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Most Portable
Baby Shusher
The Baby Shusher only has one sound, a rhythmic shush, but it is compact and battery operated, which are the most important attributes of a portable baby sound machine.
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Product
Price
Overall Rating
Sound Selection
Additional Features
Ease of Use
Help & Support
AC Adapter
Travel Ready
Battery Powered
Adjustable Volume
Auto Shut-Off
Lullaby
Stream
Heartbeat/Womb
Rain/Thunderstorm
Ocean/Whale Sounds
White Noise/Shush
Forest Sounds
Night Light/Image Projector
Continuous Play
Resume Function
Timer
Warranty
Phone
Email/Web Contact
$29.89 Amazon
9.2 9 10 8 10
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1 Year
$19.01 Amazon
7.8 8.3 5 10 10
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1 Year
$13.00 Amazon
7.7 10 5 6 10
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-
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-
1 Year
$19.97 Amazon
7.4 7.3 5 10 10
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-
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-
1 Year
$34.95 Amazon
6 5.5 5 8 7.5
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-
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2 Years
-
$39.99 Amazon
5.6 3.8 5 8 10
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1 Year
$31.49 Amazon
4.1 1.8 2.5 8 10
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1 Year
Best Overall
The Munchkin baby sound machine combines soothing sounds with calming visuals to help your baby fall asleep in a calm environment. It has 10 sounds, including heartbeat, rain, ocean, white noise and six lullaby songs. It also has a soft blue nightlight and three projector images that can be displayed on a wall or ceiling. The rainforest, night sky and sea images are on separate cartridges that can be stored in the back panel of sound machine so you don’t lose them. The sounds and images can be used together or separate from each other.
This baby sound machine can play sounds and project images continuously, or you can set a timer to automatically turn the device off after 15, 30 or 60 minutes. This is one of the few baby sound machines we reviewed that has a voice-activation feature. That feature will turn the device on and start playing sounds or projecting images when your baby wakes and makes noise. Using the timer function will help wean your baby off the need to have noise playing to fall asleep, and the voice activation feature can be used along with it to encourage self-soothing. The Munchkin sound machine has to be plugged in and has no battery backup, which means it won't run out of batteries but you won't be taking it camping or into similar situations.
Pros
  • Good sound selection
  • Has a projector and nightlight
  • Automatic voice activation
Cons
  • Can’t be powered by battery
  • Expensive
  • Not portable
$28.37Amazon
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Best Value
The Big Red Rooster baby sound machine is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and costs less than $20. Although this is one of the most cost-friendly products we reviewed, we didn’t label it as the best value based solely on its price tag. This baby sound machine has sound selections and features comparable to products that cost twice as much.
It has six sound selections, including heartbeat, ocean and white noise along with three lullaby songs. Those songs and sounds can be played continuously, or you can set a timer to turn the sound machine off at 15-, 30-, or 60-minute intervals. Transitioning your baby from a continuous sound to shorter intervals can help wean them off the need for sound masking and prepare them to sleep through environmental noise. This sound machine is a good fit for someone who is interested in a portable sound machine. The compact design makes it easy to stow away in a daypack or diaper bag, and the flush-mounted controls on the top panel are less susceptible to breaking than other models we reviewed. The Big Red Rooster can be powered by the included AC adapter or three AA batteries. The optional battery power adds to this baby sound machine’s portability.
Pros
  • Less than $20
  • Compact and durable design
  • Optional battery power
Cons
  • No nightlight or image projector
  • No voice activation
  • No auxiliary audio input
$19.99Amazon
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Most Portable
The Baby Shusher sound machine is about the size of a baby bottle and is powered by two included AA batteries. The manufacturer offers an app for mobile devices that mimics the calming shush sound just in case your sound machine runs out of batteries or you forget to pack it. The glossy finish is easy to keep clean, which can be helpful if you plan on keeping this sound machine in your travel bag.
This device only creates one sound: white noise in the form of a shushing sound. The manufacturer identified this sound as the most calming because it mimics the atmosphere the baby was accustomed to in the womb. The repetitive and rhythmic shushing sound stops after a set time limit, so you will have to turn it on every 15 or 30 minutes. The Baby Shusher has an adjustable volume, and the manufacturer suggests setting the volume to be a bit louder than your baby’s cry. That volume level helps to distract the baby initially and then calm them down by using the familiar and soothing tone. The Baby Shusher has an industry-standard one-year warranty that covers defects and workmanship, but it doesn’t cover damage caused by normal wear and tear.
Pros
  • Compact and durable design
  • Unique shushing tone
  • Adjustable volume
Cons
  • Only one sound option
  • Can only be battery-powered
  • No continuous play
$31.48Amazon
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Best Visual Aid
The Baby Einstein Seas Dreams Soother has a limited sound selection, but it doubles as a visual aid and crib toy.
You choose between four different operating modes that provide different combinations of music, sounds, underwater lights and sea life in motion. The sounds and lights run for 25 minutes, gradually softening every 10 minutes to put your baby to sleep. Once the time is up, the sound machine turns off, there is no continuous play feature. The Sea Dreams Soother is easy to take on road trips or vacation because it runs on batteries. It has an adjustable clip that fits on any size crib or toddler bed. The volume is adjustable, and the accompanying remote turns the lights and sounds on or off from up to 15 feet away.
Pros
  • Fun visual stimulation
Cons
  • No continuous play feature
Amazon
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Best Stuffed Animal
The Cloud B Sleep Sheep is a plush stuffed animal and a sleep aid.
It has a sensor to detect when you baby wakes up and resumes playing the last sound profile you picked at the previous volume. You can set the timer to turn the sound machine off after 23 or 45 minutes. There are eight sound profiles, including a heartbeat, rain, whale sounds and ocean waves. It attaches to a crib or bedpost with a strap on the back of the stuffed animal. You can remove the sound machine from the stuffed animal if you want to clean it or if your baby enjoys playing with it and doesn’t require a sleep aid. Unfortunately, this sound machine only runs on batteries, but that adds to its portability.
Pros
  • Soft and cuddly
Cons
  • It only runs on batteries
Amazon
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Why Trust Us?
We have been researching and evaluating the features and benefits of sound machines for babies for more than six years. We make sure to dig through all the informational materials and user reviews on popular retail websites to find out which features require in-depth explanation and evaluation. This product category is unique because the person shopping for the device will not be the primary user. We realize you will be dependent on our recommendations and those of other people using the product to help you comfort the most important person in your life. That is why we spent many hours researching and evaluating these products before we make our final recommendations.

Not only do we research and evaluate the product, but we also learn as much as we can about the benefits and potential disadvantages of using sound machines before making a recommendation. For instance, we learned that high-frequency sounds are amplified for babies because their ear canals are narrower than those of adults. That is why we issued higher scores for products that have low-pitch sound options like the repetitive heartbeat.

We also learned that there are baby sound machines capable of volumes up to 85 dB or more, which is loud enough to cause hearing damage to an adult. That is why all the products in our comparison have adjustable volumes, and we suggest erring on the side of caution and using them at a conversational volume level. 

This article outlines the potential advantages and disadvantages of using a sound machine to help your baby fall asleep and stay asleep longer.

How We Evaluated
We used four feature categories to rank baby sound machines and make our final recommendations: sound selection, convenience features, ease of use and product support options. Since low-pitch noises are more soothing to babies than high pitches, we gave higher scores to products that have the heartbeat and whale sound options.

We prefer products that give you the option to play sounds continuously or set a timer to automatically turn the sounds off. The highest scores in our ease of use comparison were awarded to products that can be powered by either a battery or a wall socket.

How Much is a Baby Sound Machine? 

A simple sound machine with white noise and nature sound profiles costs around $20. If you want a projector or other visual features like a night light, expect to pay between $30 and $45. The battery-operated sound machines are great to travel with, but the cost of batteries add up quickly, especially if your baby becomes dependent on the soothing tones to fall asleep and stay asleep.

What Key Features to Look for When Buying a Baby Sound Machine?

Image Projector and Nightlight
Projecting a moving image on a wall or ceiling in your nursery room can help calm your baby down and give them something to look at while they doze off. Image projectors also serve as a nightlight, which can allow you to check on your baby without turning the lights on and disturbing their sleep.

Timer
You can use a sleep timer to slowly wean your baby off the need to have calming noises during sleep. There will be times that you don’t have access to your baby sound machine, and by letting the device turn off after a designated period of time, your baby can be exposed to normal environmental sounds while they sleep and decrease their reliance on the sound machine as they get older.

Power Options
If you plan on adding a sound machine to your travel kit, you should consider a product that can be powered by batteries. Some sound machines come with an AC adapter, and you should use that when possible, but there may be an occasion when you want to use your sound machine in a place that doesn’t have a wall socket, like in the car or on a camping trip. The best sound machines have both power options.

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