#parent | #kids | The Best White Noise And Sound Machines For Sleeping Like A Baby

For some people, falling asleep is essentially effortless. So if you toss and turn and are bothered by every background noise, it’s easy to feel jealous. But don’t feel bad about your lost sleep; do something about it. You can get help with your sleep by wearing a sleep tracker or upgrading your mattress, for example. But one of the most powerful tools at your disposal is a white noise machine—otherwise known as a sound machine.

The best sound machines for helping you sleep are designed to generate white noise that’s both soothing and helps mask all the other distracting background sounds that keep you awake. Some of the first sound machines literally used a fan to generate sound, and some still do—though many modern alternatives use digital audio to simulate a wide variety of natural sounds including rain, ocean and jungle sounds. Many sound machines are adjustable so you can fine-tune the sound they make; others have clocks, timers and night lights built in. No matter what you’re looking for, check out our roundup of the best sound machines to help you get a good night’s sleep.

Best Sound Machine with Alarm Clock

A Smart White Noise Machine That Does Everything

The Hatch Restore is an elegant-looking sound machine with an integrated clock display and the ability to wake you in the morning, but that barely scratches the surface of why you should be interested in this sound machine. Its signature feature is its personalized sleep routine; using an app on your phone, you can curate whatever sleep ritual you want.

You can start with some bedtime reading—the Hatch Restore can provide reading light—then switch to meditation and finally some white noise. In the morning, Hatch can gently wake you with a sunrise alarm. You can even choose the color of the Restore’s night light.

The app comes with a small library of sound options including meditations, sleep stories and background sounds, but to get the most out of your Hatch Restore, you can pay for a subscription ($50 per year) to get access to a large library of content. You get six months free with the purchase of the Restore.

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Best Sound Machine for Kids

A Sound Machine That Tells Your Kid When It’s Okay To Get Up

The Hatch Rest+ is like the Hatch Restore, reimagined for young kids. That means you get pretty much everything the Restore can do—programmable bedtime routines with your choice of kid-friendly lullabies, white noise and nature sounds as well as an adjustable-color nightlight, for example—along with a few other features designed for babies and harried parents.

In the morning, parents might appreciate the Rest+’s Okay to Get Up feature, which illuminates when your child is allowed to venture out of their bedroom. That should save you from a thousand “it’s too early, go back to bed” conversations.

You can use the Rest+ to throw some gentle light on middle-of-the-night diaper changes, and you can turn it on hands-free thanks to Alexa integration. If your baby naps in different rooms, the gadget is easily moved. A battery backup retains all your settings when you move it between locations. And the Rest+ also serves as a two-way baby monitor; fire up the app to hear and speak to your child.

Best White Noise Fan-Based Machine

Simple, Reliable and Traditional White Noise

The Marpac Dohm Classic White Noise Machine is notable for being incredibly simple to operate. Just turn it on—choosing either high or low volume—and the spin the cap and side of the device to dial in the quality of white noise you’re looking for. There’s even a Zen quality to adjusting the sound, because it’s reminiscent of turning a radio dial to zero in on a hard-to-reach radio station. Under the hood, you’ll find a true mechanical fan creating an analog soundscape, working the same way it has since it was invented in 1962.

Of course, this means the scope of sounds it can produce is pretty narrow. There are no rainfalls or birds chirping in the Marpac Dohm, nor is there any night light, timer or wake alarm. Nonetheless, many people find the non-looping white noise it generates and overall simplicity to be perfect for their needs.

Best Budget White Noise Machine

20 Non-Looping Sounds Give You a Lot of Options

You don’t have to spend a lot to get a great white noise machine. Magicteam’s white noise generator has 20 different non-looping sounds to choose from—something unusual in a device at this very low price point—with choices including rain, ocean, birds, a brook, and traditional white, brown and pink noise.

It can plug into a standard wall outlet or get its power from USB, making it pretty versatile, and the understated white gadget has a row of simple controls up front to manage the sounds ands volume. It doesn’t have as many features as some of the more robust “smart” models in this list, but what it does, it does well—and the price is hard to beat.

Best Sound Machine with Rain Sounds

Adaptive Volume Varies The Sound Level To Mask Background Noise

The control panel on the Sound+Sleep might feel a little cramped and crowded, but that’s because you get such a wide variety of sound options without the complexity of connecting your phone and using a mobile app. The dial gives you direct access to 16 sounds including rainfall, babbling brook, ocean surf, waterfall, crowd sounds, and more, including white, pink and brown noise—and unlike some electronic sound machines, these are all non-looping for no distracting audio glitches.

This sound machine also has a feature you don’t see often: an adaptive mode that varies the volume of its background sounds in response to ambient noise. If a truck rumbles by outdoors, the Sound+Sleep will ramp up its volume in response, and then return to normal when the distraction is gone. You also get a volume control (naturally) and a sleep timer you can set to 30, 60, 90 or 120 minutes.

Best Portable Sound Machine

One Of The Few White Noise Machines That Can Run On Batteries

If you’re looking for a small sound machine that you can take on the road, the Homedics Portable Sleep Therapy sound machine fits the bill. It’s among the smallest sleep machines around (it measures about 7 inches wide and 6 inches deep) and can be run on AC power or on four AA batteries. And we’d be remiss not to point out that it’s among the cheapest sound machines you can buy, priced at or under $25.

You get a choice of a half-dozen sounds (white noise, thunder, ocean, rain, summer night, and brook) and the sounds are rhythmic, designed to install feeling of comfort that lulls you to sleep. You can trigger the sounds with a 15, 30 or 60-minute sleep timer.

Best Looking Sound Machine

Mix Your Own Sound Symphony

It’s hard not to fall in love with the aesthetics of this model from Brookstone—it’s made largely of plastic but has a woodgrain finish on top and fabric wrap around the body. And the controls are unlike anything in other sound machines; looking sort of like an audio mixing board, you get to blend the device’s eight sounds any way you like. Sounds include a white noise fan, rain, ocean, thunder, campfire, birds, flute and ambient night, all identified with icons above each mixing slider. The real appeal here is the ability to sculpt your own soundscapes for bedtime. By combining some rain, wind, campfire and birds, for example, you can have a sleep sound that’s utterly unique to you.

Enhancing the aesthetics of the Brookstone sound machine is the integrated night light that illuminates the bottom of the mixer, creating a glow on the tabletop with your choice of seven adjustable colors. And the device is fully portable, with an integrated battery you charge via USB.

Best Sound Machine with Alexa

Amazon’s Smart Speaker Is Also Good At White Noise

You might be surprised to learn that you probably already have a sound machine in your home—any Amazon Echo speaker or Echo Show smart display can do double duty as a sound machine. There are a wealth of sounds available in Alexa’s skills library; one of the best sources is Sleep Jar. Just say, “Alexa, open ocean sounds,” or “Alexa, open rain sounds” for a sampling. You can see a complete list of sounds to choose from at Sleep Sounds.

The new 4th generation of the Amazon Echo Dot is a great choice if you don’t already have a smart speaker in your bedroom; the new spherical aesthetic is attractive, and the Dot is small and unobtrusive. In addition to sleep sounds, the Dot can also tell you stories, wake you in the morning, broadcast the news and more.

For some people, an Alexa-powered smart speaker might be the only sound machine they need. But if you want a more powerful sleep machine that can be controlled by Alexa, don’t forget that Hatch sound machines (also in this list) have Alexa support as well.

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