Falling asleep to noise sounds a little counterintuitive, right? But listening to calming sounds or white noise can actually help mask outside noises and improve your overall sleep, according to a May 2016 study in the Journal of Caring Sciences.
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Considering their ability to improve your rest, it's no surprise white noise machines are so popular. But with so many products out there, finding your perfect pick can be a challenge. With the help of a sleep expert, we've narrowed your search to the top five machines on the market.
The Best White Noise Machines
- Best Overall: Hatch Restore ($129.99, Hatch.co)
- Best Earbuds: Bose Sleepbuds II ($249, Bose.com)
- Best on a Budget: iHome Zenergy Dream Mini ($79.99, Amazon.com)
- Best for Babies and Young Kids: Hatch Rest+ ($89.99, Hatch.co)
- Best for Different Frequencies: Adaptive Sound Technologies High Fidelity Sleep Sound Machine ($108.88, Amazon.com)
- Best With an Alarm: Loftie Clock ($149, ByLoftie.com)
How We Chose
We chatted with sleep specialist Michael Breus, PhD, to get his perspective on the best white noise machines and how to find your perfect product. We chose our top picks based on Breus' personal recommendation and criteria including:
- Adjustable volume
- Sound variety
- Minimal or adjustable lighting
1. Best Overall: Hatch Restore
It's no surprise the Hatch Restore white noise machine is all over TikTok — it pretty much checks all the boxes. This machine is also a sunrise alarm clock, reading lamp (soft light only, of course) and it even connects to your phone, allowing you to choose from a whole library of sleep noises.
Having multiple types of sounds is a big plus, Breus says. After all, not every sound appeals to every person. So, considering this one has so many choices, you're sure to find the perfect white noise for you.
Buy it: Hatch.co; Price: $129.99
2. Best Earbuds: Bose Sleepbuds II
As a big fan of these Bose earbuds, Breus recommends this product especially for those who sleep next to a partner or share a bedroom with others. Unlike most white noise machines, these go directly in your ear, so the people around you stay undisturbed.
The Sleepbuds connect directly to the Bose app on your phone, allowing you to choose from a variety of different sounds. Plus, these also come with a handful of different rubber bud attachments so you can find your most comfortable fit.
Buy it: Bose.com; Price: $249
3. Best on a Budget: iHome Zenergy Dream Mini
The iHome Zenergy is Breus' personal favorite (he even has one in his own home). This machine has 16 different soothing nature sounds and a sunrise-style alarm setting that gradually brightens during your wake-up time.
This one also has 14 different light settings to choose from, from calm red shades to bright blues for the daytime. Plus, this Amazon sound machine doubles as a bluetooth speaker, so you can stream your own favorite wind-down playlist or podcast.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $79.99
4. Best for Babies and Young Kids: Hatch Rest+
Made with little ones in mind, the Hatch Rest+ sound machine has a wide range of soothing sounds (think: rain, clothes dryer) along with a few familiar lullabies. It also serves as a nightlight, with adjustable brightness and several colors to choose from, and it has a wake-up light setting.
You can operate the machine from an app on your smartphone, and it's also compatible with Amazon Echo and Alexa.
The device comes with a 60-night trial period as well as a 1-year manufacturer's warranty.
Buy it: Hatch.co; Price: $89.99
5. Best for Different Frequencies: Adaptive Sound Technologies High Fidelity Sleep Sound Machine
This white noise machine for sleep has more than 5,000 five-star Amazon reviews and it checks Breus' criteria, too. The High Fidelity machine has brown, pink and white noise (more on that below) options to help you find your most calming sound frequency.
If you don't want your machine running all night, you can set a timer for automatic shut-off after you've dozed off. And the light on the front panel dims automatically so you can sleep with no distractions.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $108.88
6. Best With an Alarm: Loftie Clock
For those who want their sound machine for sleep to double as a clock, the Loftie is worth considering. This machine looks like a standard alarm clock but it also plays white noises and nature sounds. The display also has minimal lighting, which is a priority, Breus says, so it doesn't disrupt your slumber.
You can connect your Loftie Clock to the company's app on your phone to set up your alarms. And you can even customize different times for different days, depending on your schedule.
Buy it: ByLoftie.com; Price: $149
3 Factors to Consider Before You Buy
1. Different Volume Settings
Although it may seem like a no-brainer, not all white noise machines have different volume settings. This factor is a non-negotiable, Breus says. When you use a sound machine, the goal is to mask outside noise from interrupting your rest.
"When you wake up during the night, it isn't necessarily a loud sound that jars you awake. The real issue is the sudden change in noise frequency that alerts you," he says. "White noise counters that problem, essentially acting as a mask to cover up any sounds that could disturb you during the night."
But different nights call for different volume settings. On an average night, you may not need your white noise as loud as, for instance, the night of July 4th when fireworks are booming.
2. Multiple Types of Noise and Frequencies
Not everyone sleeps the same. A rain sound machine may be relaxing for some people, but others might not feel as calmed by the same sound. Look for a machine that has several types of noises so you can find your perfect melody, Breus says.
He also recommends you find a machine that has white, brown and pink noise features. Brown and pink noise are a form of white noise but at a lower frequency — these sound more like wind and rain.
Different frequencies appeal to different people, so having several at your disposal to test is a big plus.
3. Minimal or Adjustable Lighting
A sleep machine with too much display lighting kind of defeats the purpose. After all, light keeps you awake. That's why Breus recommends you look for a product that has minimal or adjustable lighting.
These days, many sound machines have built-in reading lamps, which is super convenient. But it's best to read the product info to guarantee these lights can be shut off when you're ready to close your eyes for the night.