The 6 Best Sunrise Alarm Clocks of 2021

Transform your morning routine

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light at Amazon

"The gold standard in sunrise alarm clocks: it features a gradual sunrise alarm option and 20 brightness settings to match your mood."

Best Budget: hOmeLabs Sunrise Alarm Clock with FM Radio at Amazon

"A great starter pick for someone who's testing out the waters with sunrise alarm clocks, it's complete with light and a FM radio."

Best for Travel: Tiyoon Wake Up Light Bluetooth Speaker at Amazon

"Ideal for overnight trips, including camping, the all-in-one device also functions as a nightlight and a lamp for ambience."

Best Option for Kids: Jall Wake Up Light Sunrise Alarm Clock for Kids at Amazon

"Perfect for little ones, this option includes seven different relaxing sounds and gradually wakes little ones up with a soft glow."

Best Sleep Aid Functions: LBell Wake Up Light Sunrise Alarm Clock at Amazon

"The pick offers customizable brightness and duration of the sunset, ranging between 10 minutes and an hour."

Best Splurge: Hatch Restore Sound Machine & Smart Light at Amazon

"The splurge-worthy option is conveniently controllable via an app, where users can create custom morning and night routines."

If you need the assistance of an alarm clock to wake up in the morning, you’re not alone. It’s no secret that modern-day sleep habits and hygiene aren’t the best, but sometimes, even taking steps to improve them may have unintended consequences.

Take, for example, blackout curtains. These thick, dark drapes do a great job at keeping light out of your bedroom while you’re trying to sleep—something that’s especially helpful if you work shifts that require you to sleep during the day, or live in a city with a lot of ambient light at night. (See also: an eye mask for sleeping). But while the darkness can help us sleep, sunlight is the key to maintaining a healthy circadian rhythm, by gently waking us up in the morning—and blackout curtains block those early rays out, too.

Having access to plenty of natural sunlight in the morning would be ideal, but that’s not a reality for everyone: and that’s where sunrise alarm clocks come in. Also known as “dawn simulation,” which has been found effective in treating seasonal depression, these devices provide 30 to 40 minutes of gradually building artificial light that mimics a sunrise, and is programmable like a regular alarm clock.

While most people can benefit from adding a sunrise alarm clock to their morning routine, those dealing with insomnia, jet lag, or seasonal affective disorder—or are teenagers, shift workers, or hearing impaired—may find them to be especially helpful. Sunrise alarm clocks range from basic models (a simple alarm clock with the light component) to ones with multiple features that help you not only wake up in the morning, but also fall asleep at night.

To help make that task easier, these are the best sunrise alarm clocks available right now.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light

What We Like
  • Includes many easy-to-personalize settings

  • Offers sunset simulation

  • Doubles as a nighttime reading lamp

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Can’t replace the lightbulb

The Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light is one of the more expensive options, but that’s for good reason. In short, it’s the ideal combination of having multiple exciting features while still being easy to operate. Of course, there’s the gradual sunrise alarm option, but instead of a harsh hue, the light it produces is soft orange and yellow. In fact, there are 20 different brightness settings that can be used to simulate either sunrise or sunset.

There is also an intuitive dimming function, and the ability to simply tap the light to hit snooze. The light comes with five different wake-up sounds, as well as FM radio. It can double as a reading lamp at night, so even before utilizing the sunset function, you can unwind by reading in bed without the blue light from a phone or device.

Dimensions: 19.9 x 14.6 x 19.2 inches | Smart Features: Tap snooze and automatic dimmable display | Type of Lamp: 300 lux light intensity | Alarm Sound Options: 5 wake-up sounds and FM radio | Brightness Settings: 20

Best Budget: hOmeLabs Sunrise Alarm Clock with FM Radio

What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Snooze function for heavy sleepers

  • Can double as table or bedside lamp


What We Don't Like
  • Only 3 brightness settings


  • Easy to accidentally turn off clock



When it comes to bang-for-your-buck, it’s hard to beat the hOmeLabs Sunrise Alarm Clock. It’s a great starter option for someone who isn’t quite sold on sunrise alarm clocks yet, but still wants to try one. It has all the usual features of a sunrise alarm clock: gradually increasing light, with a variety of relaxing nature sounds, and a FM radio.

Unlike some of the other models on the list, the actual morning wake-up light only comes in one shade (white) and has just three levels of brightness. There are, however, seven other color modes: red, orange, yellow, green, neon green, blue, and pink. These may be fun for a child (or a kid at heart), but aren’t part of the wake-up experience.

Dimensions: 7.4 x 7 x 4.1 inches | Smart Features: Simple snooze function, touchscreen | Type of Lamp: White LED light | Alarm Sound Options: FM radio, plus nature-inspired sound options like birds, lullaby, and ocean waves | Brightness Settings: 3

Best for Travel: Tiyoon Wake Up Light Bluetooth Speaker

What We Like
  • Bluetooth speaker

  • Compact design

  • Includes a rechargeable battery

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn’t come pre-programmed with alarm sounds

  • Buttons may be confusing at first

Its small size, ability to operate using a rechargeable battery, and Bluetooth speaker capability makes this sunrise alarm clock ideal for travel—including camping. The truly all-in-one device also functions as a nightlight and a lamp for ambient lighting, coming equipped with five different color modes and four brightness options.

It might not be as intuitive as other models (meaning, you have to actually read the instructions), but that makes sense given how many features it has. Aside from the sunrise wake-up function, the Bluetooth speaker is the star of the show here. And while it doesn’t come with built-in wake-up or relaxing sounds, you control the sound. You can download your own calming sounds choose to wake up to your favorite song or podcast.

Dimensions: 6 x 5.3 x 3.3 inches | Smart Features: Bluetooth speaker, night mode, functions as nightlight for kids | Type of Lamp: 5-watt LED bulb | Alarm Sound Options: Bluetooth speaker allows user to choose their own alarm music or sounds | Brightness Settings: 4

Best Option for Kids: Jall Wake Up Light Sunrise Alarm Clock for Kids

What We Like
  • Sunrise simulation accompanied by seven natural sounds

  • Can program two different alarm times

  • Looks like a mini sun

What We Don't Like
  • Must be plugged in to use it

  • Doesn't have the ability to create radio station presets

  • Hitting snooze turns the light off completely

If your little one is used to falling asleep with a sound machine, this sunrise alarm clock comes with seven different relaxing sounds—including birdsong, ocean waves, and a babbling brook—in addition to gradually waking them up with the soft glow of artificial sunlight. In fact, the device is designed to look like the sun, which is something kids might enjoy in itself, along with having the option of seven different colors of light.

This model is also highly customizable, in case you know any little ones who are particular about their bedroom at night. Even the LED display of the time has three levels of brightness. And that’s on top of the 20 brightness settings of the light itself. Plus, it comes with a USB charger port, in case the beloved iPad needs some more juice.

Dimensions: 3.5 x 7.2 x 7.2 inches | Smart Features: Snooze function, set two different alarm times | Type of Lamp: Simulated sunrise and sunset; also functions as reading light and nightlight for kids | Alarm Sound Options: 7 natural sounds, FM radio | Brightness Settings: 20

Best Sleep Aid Functions: LBell Wake Up Light Sunrise Alarm Clock

What We Like
  • Advanced simulated sunset options

  • Charges USB devices


  • Can customize sunrise to last for between 10 and 60 minutes

What We Don't Like
  • Sunrise transition between colors and brightness isn’t as smooth as other models

  • FM radio signal can be weak

Even though this product is a sunrise alarm clock—and is comparable to many other models in the same price range currently on the market—this one has more to offer at bedtime. In addition to being able to function as a reading light and a dimmable lamp, this offering from LBell has several features to help lull you to sleep. These include being able to set the brightness and duration of the simulated sunset, and playing soft sleep music which, along with the gradually dimming light, turns off automatically. 

The sunrise part of this alarm clock is pretty standard; however, the transitions between the different colors and brightness during the sunrise aren’t as smooth as they are with higher-end models. But, a definite plus is being able to decide how long the sunrise will last, ranging between 10 and 60 minutes (while many others on the market are set at 30 minutes and don’t come with the ability to adjust that).

Dimensions: 6.3 x 6.3 x 2.56 inches | Smart Features: Snooze button, customizable length of sunrise, sleep aid functions | Type of Lamp: LED wake-up light | Alarm Sound Options: 7 nature sounds, plus FM radio | Brightness Settings: 20

Best Splurge: Hatch Restore Sound Machine & Smart Light

What We Like
  • Sleek design

  • Fully customizable wind-down and wake-up settings

  • Touch controls

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • App costs $49.99/year after the first six months

  • Must be plugged in to use it

For people drawn to products with beautiful design, the Hatch Restore will probably be at the top of their list. It will also appeal to those who prefer controlling everything via an app on their phone. In fact, that’s the only way to access the different settings and functions of this sunrise alarm clock—including light and sound options. 

Where the app comes in handy, though, is by allowing users to create their own nighttime and morning routines, selecting the type and color of light, length that it’s on, and the sounds to go with it. But while the device does connect to its app, it doesn’t allow users to use voice commands or play their own music.

Dimensions: 3.54 x 7.1 x 8.82 inches | Smart Features: Functions primarily via an app, programmed with different nighttime and morning routines, 10 sunrise variations | Type of Lamp: LED | Alarm Sound Options: A revolving library of more than 30 different sounds | Brightness Settings: Doesn’t provide a number, but it’s operated by touch

Final Verdict

While there are more solid budget-friendly sunrise alarm clock options on the market now than ever before, when it comes to dependability, ease of use, and the most useful functions, it’s hard to beat the Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light. Those who aren’t in the position to shell out $100 or more for an alarm clock—and want to get the most bang for their buck—would be happy with the Tiyoon Wake Up Light Bluetooth Speaker. It’s perfect for travel and being able to play your own music through the Bluetooth speaker is a major draw.

What to Look for in a Sunrise Alarm Clock

Despite serving the same function, sunrise alarm clocks can differ significantly when it comes to special features. Whether you’re looking for one with all the bells and whistles, or something more utilitarian, here’s what to consider before making a purchase.

Light Options:

The more, the better. Pay attention to the choice of colors, levels of brightness, and the ability to control the length of time of the artificial sunrise and sunset.

Sounds:

If you only are interested in the light aspect of a sunrise alarm clock, then feel free to ignore the sound options. But if this function is important to you, the offerings can vary significantly, between natural sounds, soft music, FM radio, and the ability to use your own music via a Bluetooth connection.

Power Source:

Do you plan to keep the clock in one place on your nightstand where it can always be plugged in? Or do you want to be able to move it around and use it for traveling? Not all sunrise alarm clocks include rechargeable batteries, which makes them less than ideal for frequent travelers or those who prize portability above all else.

An App:

Some of these sunrise alarm clocks only work using an app on a smartphone. For some, this is a draw, but others may prefer to keep it simple. Pay attention to how the device is controlled before making a purchase.

FAQs

How do sunrise alarm clocks work? 

Sunrise alarm clocks allow your eyes to absorb light through your eyelids, allowing you to wake up gradually. It also provides a dose of light therapy, which is used to treat various forms of depression, as well as sleep disorders. 

“These devices are basically alarm clocks that you set to mimic the sunrise,” according to family medicine practitioner Robert Cain, MD of the Cleveland Clinic. “They don’t emit UV rays and have equal efficacy to sun lamps. For maximum benefit, set the clock to resemble a sunrise in June or July.”

Are sunrise alarm clocks OK for kids? 

While studies on the use of sunrise alarm clocks in young children are scarce, research has taken place demonstrating the safety and effectiveness of the devices used by kids between the ages of seven and 18. Similarly, in a 2014 study, researchers found evidence that young people (between the ages of 15 and 20) who used sunrise alarm clocks were better able to pay attention and remain alert than a control group that didn’t use the dawn simulation. 

Does a sunrise alarm clock help with depression?

Given what we know about seasonal affective disorder (SAD)—namely, that it’s a form of depression that kicks in during the winter when days get shorter and darker—and that light therapy is an effective treatment for SAD, it’s safe to say that a sunrise alarm clock may benefit those with other types of depression. In fact, research has indicated that bright light therapy may be an effective, fast-acting therapy for non-seasonal forms of depression as well, including major depressive disorder (MDD).

Why Trust Verywell Mind? 

As a seasoned health writer and editor with a special focus on mental health and well-being, Elizabeth Yuko understands how powerful stress-relieving activities can be for many people—as well as the fact that they’re not one-size-fits all. With decades of first-hand experience dealing with anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder, she’s always on the lookout for new (and research-backed) products, techniques, and services that can help people cope with stress and other mental health challenges. 

Was this page helpful?
Article Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Danilenko KV, Ivanova IA. Dawn simulation vs. bright light in seasonal affective disorder: Treatment effects and subjective preferenceJ Affect Disord. 2015;180:87-89. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2015.03.055

  2. Will a SAD Sun Lamp Actually Make You Happy? Cleveland Clinic. Updated September 18, 2020.

  3. Fromm E, Horlebein C, Meergans A, Niesner M, Randler C. Evaluation of a dawn simulator in children and adolescentsBiol Rhythm Res. 2011;42(5):417-425. doi:10.1080/09291016.2010.525851

  4. Tonetti L, Fabbri M, Erbacci A, Filardi M, Martoni M, Natale V. Effects of dawn simulation on attentional performance in adolescentsEur J Appl Physiol. 2015;115(3):579-587. doi:10.1007/s00421-014-3033-4