The Best Alarm Clocks of 2019
Alarm clocks are a lot like referees—they have a job to do but can still be incredibly annoying. Yes, you want an alarm clock to reliably wake you up on time, but that doesn't make it any less aggravating when a repeated buzzing sound rouses you from a restful sleep. In pursuit of a more refreshing morning, we tested 10 alarms over a couple of months to find the best alarm clock on the market. Bottom line? Extras and customizability were nice, but we generally preferred those that got the basics right for an affordable price.
This excels at simplicity. It cost a little more than other competent models we tested, but still easily affordable for something you'll use every day. Granted it doesn't have much in terms of features (you can't adjust the snooze time—9 minutes—and you can't set a second alarm). But the basics are solid—a simple indicator shows the alarm is armed and it has a backup battery, if your area is prone to power outages.
Best Smart Alarm
This ones' worth the price tag. You can set multiple alarms and have them repeat on various days of the week. The alarm can wake you up with a customizable tone or your own music. It can also ramp up in volume to ease you out of your sleep and the screen can gradually get brighter starting 15 minutes before the alarm to wake you up with a simulated sunrise.
This has a radio so you can wake up to your favorite station or a more traditional buzzing. Or set the sleep timer so you can fall asleep to the radio as it plays. Even the buzzing alarm gently ramps up to ease you out of your sleep, and the snooze button is easy to find if you need more time. Be warned: you'll want to keep the manual handy when first setting it up.
Shaped a bit like a UFO with a kickstand, the HF3500 has a simple circular orange clock face surrounded by a couple of buttons and a wide light ring. Thirty minutes before the scheduled alarm time, the light gradually starts increasing in brightness until it reaches a customizable max at the scheduled time and starts beeping with increasing intensity to finish the task of waking you up.
This has a lot in common with our favorite of the bunch, the Travelwey. The RCD30 is simple, with only a couple of buttons and has a large red display with two levels of brightness. The snooze button is easy to find, but double-checking your alarm time and resetting it for the next day aren't as easy on the RCD30 as on the Travelwey. It's a good alternative if you want something cheap and simple.
Good For Reminders
This is not our first choice (you can't snooze, the display casts a glow even at its dimmest, and setting alarms is a pain). But we were torn about this one because the large-print design could come in handy if you have impaired vision. The clock even spells out the day and date, and you can program alarms with a reminder message such as, "Take your medicine."
On paper, this offers everything you want in a sunrise alarm at a great price. The light changes colors and you can pick from a variety of wake-up sounds, including waves crashing. But it also proves that you get what you pay for (the touch buttons on the front aren't very responsive for example). If you can get around the tedium, it does offer a lot of features for the price though.