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Best Clock Radios

Updated June 2018
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 7 Models Considered
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 191 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best clock radios

    Last Updated June 2018

    Using your smartphone alarm to wake up might seem convenient, but sleeping with your phone within arm’s reach isn’t the best idea. Nighttime screen use isn’t the best way to relax before getting some shut-eye. But a clock radio can help you wake up in the morning without all the distracting features of a smartphone. And clock radios give you the option of waking to the sound of your favorite radio station rather than a buzzer or bell.

    The BestReviews team strives to provide you with accurate and helpful information. Our shopping guides incorporate hours of research to bring you useful information to help you find the best products for your needs, and as we gather our information, we decline all “free” products from manufacturers in order to avoid bias.

    Below, you’ll discover the various features to look for in a clock radio, along with other informative sections about this particular product. When you’re done perusing the guide, head back up to the top of the page to discover our five top clock radio picks.

    If you want to save space on your bedside table, opt for a clock radio that doubles as a light.

    Who needs a clock radio?

    If you’re thinking about buying a new clock radio for your boudoir, first think about your sleep habits.

    • If you’re a very heavy sleeper, sound quality – and volume – may be more important to you than other features.

    • If you work odd shifts or have to get up early in the winter when it’s still dark out, a sunrise simulator may help with morning grogginess.

    • If you have difficulty sleeping, you might need a clock radio with features that help you drift off peacefully.

    • If you sleep like a rock and constantly ignore your alarm, a more persistent clock radio may be right for you.
       

    When deciding on a clock radio, consider its ease of use. You won’t get any use out of a feature-heavy unit if it’s too hard to program. Make sure setting the alarm is simple enough that you don’t run into problems that leave you racing to work. Programming your favorite radio stations should also be easy. Buttons should be responsive, easy to press, and intuitive.

    Out of everything in your life, your clock radio should be the least of your worries. Set it and forget it!

    DID YOU KNOW?

    Most clock radios have at least five radio station presets. Some allow you to add up to 20 of your favorite radio stations, so it’s easy to select one as your alarm.

    Clock radio features to consider

    A clock radio is a relatively simple device, but there are still loads of features to think about before you buy.

    Size and style

    The size and style of the clock radio you choose depends on the dimensions of your bedside table and the décor in your bedroom. While it’s always nice when a bedside accessory matches the general ambience, try not to prioritize form over function with this essential bedroom piece.

    A dual-alarm setting is useful for two people who need to wake up at different times.

    Staff
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    Alarm sound

    Without an alarm function, a clock radio is just a clock with a built-in AM/FM radio. Unless you have an innate ability to wake up on command, the alarm is the essential feature of a clock radio.

    While you can certainly choose to wake up to the radio station of your choice, some models feature preset sounds (often derived from nature) that you can choose as your morning alarm. Other models have auxiliary input or Bluetooth connectivity so you can select alarm sounds from your phone.

    Don’t want to wake up to the sound of a blaring siren? Some clock radios gradually increase the volume of the chosen alarm sound until it wakes you and you turn it off.

    A blaring alarm can leave you feeling cranky. It’s likely due to the fact that it woke you at the wrong time in your sleep cycle.

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    Sunrise simulators

    Sunrise simulators help you wake up naturally by gradually increasing the light in your room before the alarm sounds. A gradual waking process helps to decrease morning grogginess. This type of clock radio may also simulate sunset to help users fall asleep more naturally. Units of this type are great for shift workers or those who have trouble waking early on dark winter mornings.

    Alarm customization

    Many folks work nine to five, but not everyone needs to wake up at the same time each day. That’s especially true for weekends. Some clock radios allow users to set different alarms for different days of the week. Other clock radios provide a choice of distinct alarms for weekdays and weekends.

    Some clock radios have vibration pods that can be tucked under your pillow for a gentle waking experience.

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    Snooze function

    While most clock radios are outfitted with a snooze button, think carefully about your snooze expectations. It’s easy to hit a large snooze button multiple times and then realize you no longer have time to shower.

    Frequent snoozers might opt for models with a snooze button that’s harder to reach to discourage you from overdoing it. More disciplined risers may want a model that allows them to customize the length of the snooze interval.

    Be careful to avoid snooze buttons that are positioned too close to other alarm functions. You could accidentally turn off your alarm.

    It’s okay to hit snooze if you need a little more shut-eye! Make sure your clock’s snooze button is responsive, so you can get a restful five minutes.

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    Sleep timer

    Do you like to listen to the radio before bed? Many clock radios have a sleep timer function so that you can listen to your favorite radio station (or nature sounds) as you doze off. The radio will shut off automatically after a preset amount of time.

    Sound quality

    Most clock radios have relatively standard speakers. For more control over the sound, look for a clock radio with equalizer settings.

    If you often sleep through your alarm, look for a clock radio with an alarm that sounds for a long time. If it doesn’t wake you up, it might annoy someone else enough to get you out of bed!

    Staff
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    Display light

    Light is bad news for sleep quality, but keeping your bedroom dark enough for optimal sleep can be challenging. Room-darkening window coverings can be pricey, and light pollution is rampant. Smartphones blink in the night, and forgetful spouses innocently leave lights on. However, you do have control over the clock radio you choose.

    Look for models with display lights that won’t disrupt your sleep. The lights on some models dim when not in use or have a control to adjust the brightness.

    Even if you think you’re unbothered by the light emanating from a clock radio, know that any kind of light that filters into your sleeping space can disrupt sleep and have an effect on your sleep quality.

    Orange light is gentler and less likely to interfere with sleep than blue light. Avoid clock radios with bright blue displays because these may affect sleep quality.

    Staff
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    Backup power

    Most clock radios require an outlet for power, but some have batteries for backup power. If the power goes out, you won’t miss that important meeting in the morning. Stay away from battery-only units. There is no fail-safe if the battery runs out in the middle of the night.

    Extra features

    Some high-tech clock radios incorporate additional features like room temperature readings and weather updates for the day ahead. Other units double as charging docks for smartphones. Some models even run away from you, so you’re forced to get out of bed to shut them off!

    EXPERT TIP

    Do you keep hitting the snooze button? Place your alarm clock across the room so you have to get up to turn it off.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Clock radio prices

    Under $50

    At this price, clock radios will have functions such as a radio tuner, a number of presets so you can program your favorite radio stations, and a snooze button. Some models at this price point also have sleep timers and USB charging ports.

    $50 to $75

    Pay a little more and get yourself a clock radio that doubles as a charging dock for your smartphone. Models at this price often allow users to set multiple alarms, and many feature Bluetooth connectivity.

    $75 and Up

    Better sound quality will cost you more, and so will a sunrise simulator. In this price range, you’re looking at models with multiple charging ports for several devices; larger, better-quality speakers; and light therapy functions.

    Choose a clock radio with a solid base. Accidentally knocking it off your nightstand might break or reset it.

    FAQ

    Q. I’m a very heavy sleeper. Are there any features I should look for in a clock radio that will help me wake up on time?

    A. Some clock radios feature dual alarms. You can set two alarms at a preset interval to help you get out of bed. Make sure your selected model is loud enough to wake you, too.

    Q. Loud, buzzing alarm clocks leave me feeling groggy. Is there another option?

    A. If you prefer to wake up more naturally, look for a clock radio that gradually gets louder so that you’re gently nudged out of sleep instead of jarred awake. Sunrise simulators are also helpful for sleepers who want to wake gradually and naturally.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Bronwyn
      Bronwyn
      Editor
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Katie
      Katie
      Editorial Director
    • Samantha
      Samantha
      Writer
    • Steph
      Steph
      Writer