Top Sound Machines Under $25 to Help You Sleep

Choose your sound machine's features wisely

Many sleep specialists suggest buying a sound machine as a drug-free solution for sleep issues. These devices muffle room noise and help soothe you so you can fall asleep.

In a Consumers Reports survey of 2,021 problem sleepers, sound machines offering white noise or nature sounds like ocean waves and rainfall were found to work almost as well as medication in getting respondents to sleep and improving sleep duration. Of course, a consumer survey is not the same as a double-blind, clinical trial. But these sound machines are inexpensive and you may want to see if one works for you.

Sound Machines Have a Variety of Features

All sound machines are not the same. Before you buy, decide on the features you need to get the greatest benefit from your purchase.

Features of sound machines include:

  • The quality of sound
  • The number of different types of sounds
  • Whether it has a timer that can be set to turn on and off
  • The ability to operate cordlessly, powered by replaceable or rechargeable batteries
  • Whether it can play back recorded sounds or produce its own white noise

Which Sound Machine Should I Buy?

The sound machine that's best for you might not be the best for someone else. Here are some of the top sound machines and their features to help you decide.

1

This is a top choice for price and quality of sound. It has several features that make it versatile and more likely to match your needs:

  • Choose between 10 high-quality recordings including white noise, heartbeat, ocean waves, and rainfall.
  • It has an optional 60-minute timer, so it can either play all night or turn itself off after a time you should be asleep.
  • It has separate on/off and volume switches. That means you can set your preferred volume and it will be the same the next time you turn it on, as opposed to a knob that controls both and must be set each time.
  • Works with four AA batteries or with an AC adapter. This is very convenient if you don't have a good place to plug it in.

2

This model offers the convenience of a sound machine and alarm clock in one for your nightstand.

  • Has 10 high-quality sounds including ocean waves, tropical forest, rainfall, and white noise.
  • The digital clock is blue and has a dimmer switch to reduce the light in your bedroom.
  • The sound controls and the alarm work independently so you can sleep with one of the sound settings all night long, and still have either a buzzer or radio set to wake you up.
  • It has dual alarms and a snooze button.
  • It has an AM/FM radio.
  • Operates on four AA batteries or with an AC adapter.

3

This compact model is small enough to tuck in a suitcase for travel.

  • Operates on three AA batteries only, with no AC adapter.
  • Optional timer for 15/30/45 minutes.
  • Four sounds: ocean, rain, dockside, and brook. It doesn't have white noise, but the rain setting is similar.
  • It combines the on/off and volume switch, so you must adjust the volume each time you turn it on.
  • The sound quality somewhat artificial and metallic.

4

This is another good model.

  • It has a timer with six sounds, including rainforest and heartbeat options. However, the ocean waves sound includes intermittent bird chirping, which might be distracting.
  • The volume control and on/off are on the same knob, so you have to adjust the volume each time you turn it on.
  • Uses four AA batteries or an AC adapter.
  • Optional timer for 15/30/60 minutes.
  • Lightweight for travel.

5

This device is has a headphone jack, which is very useful if your bed partner or dorm roommate doesn't want to hear the sound machine, or for a hospital stay.

  • 10 sound options.
  • Uses four AA batteries, USB, or USB/AC adapter. You can recharge it from your computer or with the adapter.
  • Optional 15/30/60-minute timer.

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