The best sunrise alarm clocks of 2024

A sunrise alarm clock can help you stop the snoozing and wake up naturally—no loud noises needed.

Best overall

The Philips SmartSleep Wake-up Light on a blue and white background

Philips SmartSleep Wake-up Light

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Best that doubles as a lamp

A Loftie Lamp on a blue and white background

Loftie Lamp

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Best budget

A hOmeLabs Sunrise Alarm Clock on a blue and white background

hOmeLabs Sunrise Alarm Clock

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Using the sunrise as an alarm clock has roots in classical yoga theory and is thought to improve mood. Additionally, waking up with the light can balance your body’s internal clock. However, it’s not always easy to depend on the sun to wake you up, especially on cloudy days, during falls and winter, or if you’re a serial snoozer who needs to be dragged out of bed and thrown into a bucket of cold water in the mornings just to be half-roused. The best sunset alarm clocks help you rise easily for more productive and relaxed mornings.

How we chose the best sunrise alarm clocks

Simulating the sunrise is no easy task. To find the best sunrise alarm clocks, we looked at critical reviews and peer recommendations, compiled our personal experiences and other user impressions, and conducted heavy research. We also looked into factors like budget, additional features, app connectivity, and variety of sounds to find something that fits as many lifestyles and kinds of sleepers as we could account for. You won’t get the best use out of your wake-up light if you don’t like using it. 

I hate to brag, but I am a perfect test subject for this story: I’m a heavy sleeper who is prone to snoozing too much, so I know a thing or two about creative, sometimes aggressive alarms. Getting up out of bed can be challenging, especially when you live in one of the cloudiest cities on the East Coast, as I do. Besides being a very capable and willing human guinea pig wanting to have a cute little morning routine, I’ve also covered gadgets for Gear Patrol and PopSci, among others. 

The best sunrise alarm clocks: Reviews & Recommendations

Camus said we must imagine Sisyphus happy with his Sisyphean tasks, and if you’re going to spend the day doing the same cursed task, the best alarm clocks can help you wake up on the right side of the bed. From ones with relaxing waterfall sounds and built-in mediation practices to ones that blend in with your decor, here are our bright picks.

Best overall: Philips SmartSleep Wake-up Light

Best overall

See the light

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Why it made the cut: With more than 20 brightness options and a no-frills construction, better days are ahead with this customizable, easy-to-use alarm clock.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 6″D x 10″W x 10″H
  • Bluetooth connectivity: No
  • Light options: 20
  • Wake-up sounds: 5

Pros

  • Plenty of brightness settings to choose from 
  • Fall asleep settings
  • Doubles as a lamp

Cons

  • Can only choose from natural wake-up sounds, no regular alarm sounds
  • Might not fit on smaller nightstands

Good morning sunshine, the Earth says hello … when you wake up with the Philips SmartSleep Wake-up Light. Choose from more than 20 brightness settings and five nature-inspired wake-up sounds to customize the kind of light and sound you want to rouse you out of bed. If waking up to music is more your jam, it includes a built-in FM radio. If you must snooze, simply tap the clock, which also doubles as a bedside lamp. The automatic dimmable display—and lack of cellphone connectivity, which can cause scroll temptation—helps you block out extra light to get deep ZZZs. It can also help you fall asleep, thanks to built-in settings that let you know when it’s time to call lights out. If you’re looking for a Philips sunrise alarm clock with more bells and whistles, check out the company’s SmartSleep Connected Sleep and Wake-Up Light, which includes an app that allows you to track your sleeping for data-driven dreams. At 10 inches high and wide, it might take up your entire nightstand. However, you’re guaranteed to see the light with an alarm clock like this. Decorate accordingly.

Best with sound machine: Hatch Restore

Best with sound machine

Rest and Restore

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Why it made the cut: Built-in soundscapes, stories, and mind/body exercises can help calm your racing thoughts. 

Specs

  • Dimensions: 2.75”D x 7.5″W x 5.75″H
  • Bluetooth connectivity: Yes
  • Light options: Yes, number depends on membership
  • Wake-up sounds: Yes, number depends on membership

Pros

  • Thin profile
  • Helps with keeping a nighttime routine
  • Rich with features

Cons

  • Device requires WiFi and Bluetooth

Remember getting a solid night of sleep as a child after nighttime reading? Recreate that deep, luxurious sleep with the Hatch Restore 2. It includes plenty of light options, stories, soundscapes, and can even help you maintain a nighttime routine: you can program up to 10 steps in the app to help you fall asleep. You can adjust the light brightness, color, and sleep sound for each step. This is incredibly useful if you have a hard time winding down, or you accidentally get caught up in yet another episode of Love Island … again. The Hatch Sleep Membership is $9.99 per month, which gives you even more sounds, colors, and stories to choose from. The device requires WiFi and Bluetooth to use—if you don’t have access to either, you might have to skip this clock.

Best that doubles as a lamp: Loftie Lamp

Best that doubles as a lamp

I Love Lamp

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Why it made the cut: Made with aesthetics in mind, you can’t even tell it’s specifically for waking you up. 

Specs

  • Dimensions:  9”D x 11.5”W x 16”H (With shade)
  • Bluetooth connectivity: Yes
  • Light options: Yes
  • Wake-up sounds: No

Pros

  • Adjustable brightness
  • Doubles as a reading light
  • Blends into decor

Cons

  • Wi-Fi connection needed for use
  • Need a separate device for alarm sounds

The Loftie Lamp looks like a regular lamp at first glance. However, when combined with the intuitive Loftie app, it turns into a sunrise alarm clock that blends into your decor. Adjust the brightness in the app or by using the light intensity controls on the back. You can also use the lamp for sunset wind-downs: the light that crawls up the top of the lamp to wake you in the morning fades and recedes back to the base toward nightfall to alert your body that it’s time for sleep. If you’re looking to add breathwork, wind-downs, and light-and-sound wakeups, pair the Loftie Lamp with the Loftie Clock—it’s sleek, stylish, and adds more traditional alarm features compared to the Loftie Lamp alone. 

Best without an app: JALL Wake Up Sunrise Alarm Clock

Best without an app

No Apps Needed

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Why it made the cut: Keep your phone away from your sleeping area with this standalone sunrise alarm clock that doesn’t need an app to operate. 

Specs

  • Dimensions: 3.5”D x 7.2”W x 7.2”H  
  • Bluetooth connectivity: No
  • Light options: Yes, 20 levels of adjustable brightness, 7 colors available
  • Wake-up sounds: Yes, 7 sounds to choose from

Pros

  • Features a traditional alarm clock beep sound
  • Standalone operation
  • Can set two different alarms to go off

Cons

  • Can’t program for certain days of the week

Many sunrise alarm clocks include an app to control alarm settings and brightness. However, if the thought of connecting yet another thing to your phone makes you violently ill, consider the JALL Wake Up Sunrise Alarm Clock, which is solely operated manually. Along with wake-up sounds, it includes a stand alarm beep—perfect for heavy sleepers who need a bigger push to get out of bed. Use it as a reading lamp or nightlight to unwind before bed, or choose between seven color options that allow you to set the vibe. You can also change the brightness of the display to ensure you get a good night’s sleep. 

Best budget: hOmeLabs Sunrise Alarm Clock

Best budget

Cheap Light

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Why it made the cut: You don’t have to break the bank to get up at the crack of dawn with this multipurpose clock. 

Specs

  • Dimensions: 4.1”D x 7.4”W x 7”H  
  • Bluetooth connectivity: No
  • Light options: Yes, 7 color options and 10 brightness settings
  • Wake-up sounds: Yes, 7 options

Pros

  • Great for the price
  • No app (if that’s your jam)

Cons

  • Unable to dim the colored lights
  • No app (if that’s your jam)

The hOmeLabs Sunrise Alarm Clock is probably the cheapest sunrise alarm clock on the market. But don’t let its low price fool you—it’s packed with features similar to more expensive clocks, like a dimmable display and different color options. And, like other choices on our list, you can use it as a reading, night, or mood light. Sound options include a regular alarm beep, bird noises, a lullaby, and ocean waves, making it a great sunrise alarm clock for kids. The snooze button is easy to find, and it doesn’t need app connectivity for use. However, if you were looking for app connectivity, you’ll sadly not have it with this alarm clock. Overall, the hOmeLabs Sunrise Alarm Clock has features seen in pricier alarm clocks at an un-pricey cost.

What to consider when buying the best sunrise alarm clock

Everyone wakes up differently—it’s important to find one that suits your sleep pattern and habits, so you don’t find yourself sleeping through your alarm.

Why a sunrise alarm clock?

Light can affect your circadian rhythm, sleep, and mood. Too much blue light from our phones and computers can keep us up at night, caught up in a scroll that feels like an ouroboros. Too little light from changing seasons can lead to Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. Those affected by SAD use happy lamps to help cure those winter blues.

The sleep-wake cycle is determined by your circadian rhythm—the mental, behavioral, and physical changes that happen throughout a 24-hour cycle. And your circadian rhythm is happiest when it gets lots of natural light. 

So if artificial light is semi-bad and real light is very good … why a sunrise simulator alarm clock? The light coming from the clock is different than the kind you get staring endlessly into your phone or computer. Usually, sunrise alarm clocks include white or yellow LED lightbulb that leans toward the warmer side of the light spectrum, which is around 100-300 lux. By gradually getting brighter over a 15- to 60-minute timespan, the light tricks your body into thinking that you’re experiencing the real sun, making it easier to wake up. Which, as mentioned earlier, makes your circadian rhythm extra happy despite the slight deception. 

App & Bluetooth connectivity

Some smart sunrise alarm clocks have included apps and Bluetooth connectivity to adjust settings and control the alarms from your phone. This feature is especially useful if you forget to turn off your alarm when preparing to sleep over at a paramour’s house. However, if you’d like to stay as far away from your phone as possible when it comes to sleep, consider one that doesn’t have those particular bells and whistles.

Sounds & light

The abrupt shift from dead sleep to awake can be disorienting and make us more prone to hit “snooze” when our alarm goes off. The sounds should be gentle enough to make waking up easier, but loud enough to hear. Similarly, the sunrise part of the sunrise alarm clock should be bright enough to wake you up. 

FAQs

Q: How much do the best sunrise alarm clocks cost?

The best sunrise alarm clocks start at $25 and can reach the $300 range. The more connectivity features it has, the more expensive the alarm clock will be. We think it’s a worthy price for becoming an early riser. Be prepared to spend more when purchasing since they have more features than their beeping cousins.

Q: Are sunrise alarm clocks good for heavy sleepers?

Sunrise alarm clocks are excellent for heavy sleepers. They wake you up gradually and make it less likely to press snooze. Just make sure to choose an option that includes a brighter light, around 300 lux and up, and a wider range of volume controls.

Q: How do I set a sunrise alarm clock?

It depends on the kind of sunrise alarm clock you’re looking for. Smart sunrise alarm clocks that connect via WiFi or Bluetooth and have a coordinating app allow you to customize your alarms from your phones. If your sunrise alarm clock doesn’t come with an app, look to the included instructions to find out how to set it.

Final thoughts on the best sunrise alarm clocks

The best sunrise alarm clocks can help you wake up with the chickens—you might even beat the rooster crowing. Although they are more expensive than their sound-only counterparts, what you get health-wise is worth their price. You can help regulate your circadian rhythm, beat the winter blues, and have more productive mornings with the best sunrise alarm clocks. If you’re not a morning owl, we hope at least one of our choices can help you become one.

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.

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Amanda Reed

Updates Writer

Amanda Reed is a commerce updates writer at Popular Science. She makes sure all product round-ups are up-to-date, shares deals happening all over the internet, and reviews various gizmos and gadgets. She lives in Pittsburgh with JunkJunk, a handsome, sad-looking tuxedo cat who only wants wet food and attention.