If the pesky birds outside your window wake you up at the crack of dawn, a sound machine can help to drown out their unwelcome songs. Noise machines are also an ideal solution for loud roommates, bustling traffic, barking dogs—the list goes on. Plus, even if your home doesn’t have a noise problem, you might still enjoy the soothing sounds provided by these gadgets, which can help you fall asleep or focus as you work.
There are a few styles of sound machines available—some only create white noise or nondescript fan sounds, while others allow you to choose from a variety of ambient noises, including rainfall, waves, birds chirping, and so on. Many sound machines also offer additional features, such as built-in clocks or wake-up lights, both of which can be handy if you’re using the unit in your bedroom.
No matter your needs, here are the best sound machines you can buy now.
Hatch Restore Sound Machine and Smart Light
Hatch may be best known for its top-rated sound machines for babies, but the brand offers a model for adults, too. The Restore does triple duty as a light, clock, and sound machine, helping you create a bedtime routine that will lull you off to sleep in no time.
The Hatch Restore offers a selection of soothing sounds and light settings that you can control via its buttons or through its companion app. At night it can display a soft-glow reading light that minimizes eye strain, and in the morning you can set a Sunrise Alarm to help your body wake up naturally. Plus, it offers a digital clock, as well as an alarm function, all in one sleek unit.
Pure Enrichment Wave Sleep Therapy Sound Machine
This sleek sound machine will lend a modern touch to any room, and its lightweight, slim design is perfect for taking on the road. The Pure Enrichment Sound Machine plays six soothing nature sounds—white noise, fan, ocean, rain, stream, and summer night—and there’s an optional shut-off timer, as well as a dial to adjust the volume. Unlike other options out there, this one isn't even a little bulky, and will fit nicely on even tiny nightstands.
Sharper Image Sound Soother White Noise Machine
The popular Sound Soother might look like your average alarm clock, but it does so much more. This unit can play 20 relaxing sounds—including thunderstorm, brook, oceanside, and more—to help you drown out the world outside. You can set it to play sounds continuously or shut off after a set amount of time, and if you use it as an alarm clock it will wake you gradually with soothing sounds, the radio, or traditional beeping.
The Sound Soother has an easy-to-read digital clock with extra-large digits, and its compact design will look nice and modern on your nightstand. You can even set dual alarms for individual wake times, and if you choose to hit snooze, it will sound again in nine-minute increments.
SNOOZ White Noise Sound Machine
A lot of sound machines imitate the sound of a fan, but the SNOOZ literally makes fan noises—because it has a fan inside it! This portable white noise machine delivers a full-spectrum sound to help you fall asleep and stay asleep, and it includes a companion app for additional functionality, such as an automatic scheduler and nightlight mode.
While it doesn’t play any special sounds, the SNOOZ Sound Machine does allow you to adjust its tone by twisting its outer shell, making the noise deeper or lighter depending on your preference. You can also adjust the volume using the two buttons on the top of the unit, or you can control it remotely using your phone.
Adaptive Sound Technologies LectroFan Sound Therapy Machine
If you’re hoping for a minimalist sound machine that you can tuck into any corner of your home, the LectroFan fits the bill just right. It doesn’t have fancy features or a flashy design, but it’s still a favorite for many thanks to its 20 sounds and loud volume.
The LectroFan comes in white and black models, and it offers 10 fan sounds and 10 white noises, all of which can be adjusted using the volume button. The sounds help to block out disruptive environmental noise, making it ideal for sleeping or working, and there’s a button that will automatically set a 60-minute shut-off timer—otherwise, the non-looping sound will play until you shut the machine off.
YogaSleep Travel Mini Sound Machine with Night Light
The YogaSleep Travel Mini Sound Machine allows you to bring your favorite soothing sounds everywhere you go. This compact sound machine can fit in the palm of your hand and features six noise options, including white and brown noise, Dohm sound, as well as surf, stream, and thunderstorm sounds.
Not only is this sound machine helpful for falling asleep, but it can also be used as a nightlight with three dimmable settings. The light gives off a warm amber hue to minimize sleep disruption, and the unit can simply be charged using a USB cord, allowing you to take it on trips if needed.
Brookstone Sleep Sound Mixer
You’ll feel like a DJ with the Brookstone Sleep Sound Mixer, which allows you to mix and match eight soothing sounds to find the perfect noise for you. The modern unit has sliders for fan, rain, ocean, bird, thunder, and other noises, and you can layer the various tones in an infinite number of ways.
In addition to its unique design, this sound machine serves as a nightlight, offering seven colors to choose from. It has a rechargeable battery, so it doesn’t have to stay plugged into the wall, and its automatic timer will shut the sound off after 30, 60, or 90 minutes, if desired.
Big Red Rooster Serene Evolution 6 Sound White Noise Machine
The simple design (and reasonable price) make the Big Red Rooster Noise Machine a favorite among buyers. It has a minimalist boxy form with simple control buttons on top, allowing you to select from six sounds, including white noise, summer night, thunder, ocean, brook, and rain. The machine also has an optional auto-off timer, as well as volume adjustment, and it can be run off an AC adapter or three AA batteries.
Bose Sleepbuds II
These might look like your average earbuds, but they’re actually tiny sound machines! The Sleepbuds II are comfortable enough to wear all night, and they connect to the Bose Sleep app, playing soothing sounds to help you doze off—an ideal solution if a traditional noise machine bothers your partner.
The Sleepbuds have passive noise-blocking technology to minimize nighttime disruptions, and they’re designed to stay in place, even if you move in your sleep. There are more than 40 sounds available via the Bose Sleep app, including specially engineered noise-masking sounds and relaxation content, and you can also use the app to set an alarm to wake you up in the morning. (Just keep in mind that they solely work with the Bose Sleep app, so you can’t use them to play music or listen to podcasts.)
Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen)
Okay, it’s not technically a sound machine, but the Amazon Echo Dot can easily be used to play your favorite ambient noises all night long. Plus, the new 4th generation model even has a digital clock, making it a useful addition to your bedside table.
How can you get it to play noise? There are several ways, including finding a white noise or soothing sounds track on Spotify or enabling a skill such as Sleep and Relaxation, which is free and includes dozens of sound choices. From there, you can simply ask Alexa to play the sound on a loop.
The obvious appeal here is that the Echo Dot comes with a variety of other skills, from helping you plan your day to controlling other smart devices in your home. It’s a great option if you dislike “unitaskers,” and it gives you nearly unlimited sound options to boot.