If you’re having trouble sleeping at night due to ambient noises like cars outside or roommates watching TV in the next room, or maybe you can’t sleep because your bedroom is too quiet, that’s a problem. Sleep provides a lot of benefits to the body and a lack of it can cause a number of health complications. Thankfully, there are gadgets available to help you rest more easily.
If noise (or silence) is shredding your sleep schedule, consider getting a white noise machine. White noise is a sound comprising all frequencies at once, and because it contains every frequency, it can be used to cancel out other sounds. White noise machines generate this noise, masking any sounds that may intrude on one’s sleep. Here are some of the best white noise machines on the market right now.
The LectroFan offers everything you could want in a white noise machine in a tiny, intuitive package. At a mere 4.4 by 2.2 inches, and weighing only 1.2 pounds, the LectroFan is a compact gadget that you can set up anywhere in your room, or easily pack up if you’re going to be traveling.
With only three buttons on the front — for controlling power, volume, and the nature of the sound — the LectroFan is easy to use, even if you’re reaching for it in the dark. The noise controls are especially precise, allowing users to choose from 10 distinct fan sounds and 10 varieties of noise, including pink noise (which ostensibly sounds closer to natural ambient noise, if a gentle oceanic roar is comforting to you) and brown noise, which has a lower sound.
There is also a great degree of volume control on the LectroFan, so whether you only need a gentle whirring or a raging howl, you can have it the way you want it. Given its convenient size, easy controls, and variety of options all in an affordable package, the LectroFan is one of the best white noise machines you can get.
Marpac Dohm-DS All-Natural Noise Sound Machine ($49)
First and foremost, this unit is by far the most customizable white noise machine on the market. While most simply loop repetitive audio tracks, the Dohm DS uses a dual-speed asymmetrical fan to actually create soothing noise.
The adjustable center portion of the device also utilizes a series of slanted vents, which can be shifted to allow more or less air to move through them. This increase or decrease in airflow allows you to choose from an arrange of volumes and tones. The series of small, circular vents along the top of the device work in the same manner, and you can twist the top of the unit to open or close these ports. These two sections work in tandem, allowing you to fine-tune continuous, layered waves of white noise.
The only real drawback with this model is the overall lack of features. Many light sleepers prefer a device to simply help them drift off to sleep, for instance, and find the constant noise to be a nuisance throughout the night. Sadly, this model does not include an auto-timer or even a basic alarm function. Nevertheless, for those looking for an actual organic, wind noise machine and not a looped audio track, this model is the tops.
HoMedics SS-2000G/F-AMZ Sound Spa Relaxation Machine ($20)
For many, a basic machine will do the trick. Thankfully, the HoMedic’s Sound Spa is a great starter option for those who want to test the merits of white noise before upgrading to a higher-end model.
This lightweight unit comes loaded with six audio tracks, including those designed to mimic the sound of summer nights, rain, thunder, babbling brooks, and the ocean. There’s also a standard white noise function for general ambiance, as well as an auto-off timer that can be set for 15-, 30-, or 60-minute operation. The power options are just as flexible, and make use of either four AA batteries or a plug-in adapter.
Ultralight sleepers and white noise purists will certainly prefer a machine with longer, non-looping tracks, but at $20, you really can’t complain. The Sound Spa is the perfect no-frills option for anyone looking for a little help drifting to sleep — just think of it as an upgrade from SimplyNoise or your basic box fan.
Adaptive Sound Technologies – Sound + Sleep ($100)
Again, the biggest gripe most people have with some white noise machines are the looping audio tracks. Once you become cognizant of their ticks and nuances, the sounds can become more aggravating than soothing. Thankfully the Sound + Sleep does not use looping audio tracks.
The unit also comes with more than 10 sound settings to choose from. As an added bonus, each of these can be enhanced using the device’s built-in “richness” feature, which adds more subtleties to the chosen setting. If you press the “richness” option when using the “ocean” mode, for instance, the device will add chirping birds to the base sound of crashing waves.
The device is also as intuitive as it is capable. While most devices simply go through their mechanical motions, the Sound + Sleep actually listens to your environment and counteracts any disruptive sounds. If the machine detects unwanted noise, it’s capable of tweaking sound profiles and increasing volume to help neutralize these protuberances.
If you’re new to white noise machines, you might want to start off with one of the cheaper models before going all in with the Sound + Sleep. Audiophiles and white noise traditionalists might also prefer an organic white noise machine over this model.
Marpac Rohm Portable White Noise Sound Machine ($35)
Everyone has their own sleep specifications — and white noise machines can quickly become part of our ideal sleep regimen. Fortunately for us, there are plenty of portable white noise machines on the market, including Marpac’s budget-based solution.
As the name might suggest, the Rohm Portable Noise Machine is exceedingly travel-friendly. Its compact design and 3.8-ounce build mean it will easily fit into your carry-on luggage or backpack. It also uses internal batteries so there’s no need to sift around an unfamiliar room to find the nearest outlet. The unit is equipped for USB-charging, too, though we don’t necessarily recommend it for daily home use when there are better offerings available. If you’re in need of a travel companion, though, this portable powerhouse is hard to beat.
SoundBub Portable Bluetooth Speaker and Baby Soother ($60)
As any parent knows, the slightest sound will wake a newborn or infant. Just like adults, many babies could also use a little help blocking excess noise around the house. Fortunately, the SoundBub comes with two tracks (beach and rain), which will gently guide your child to sleep and comfort them if they wake in the middle of the night. You can also purchase additional tracks and lullabies online.
This white noise machine comes with four timers as well. Whereas the 30-minute timer is great for quick naps, the 60- and 90-minute settings are ideal for longer sleep times. The continuous play option will even help minimize the risk of your baby waking to randoms sounds throughout the evening (fingers crossed). It’s also made of soft, padded materials — rendering it perfect for your child’s crib — and can be adjusted to stand upright or clipped for added versatility when on the move.
The SoundBub is also a portable Bluetooth speaker; simply download the compatible app to connect the unit to your smartphone. This allows you to send soothing messages to your child, even if you’re not at home.
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