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Best alarm clock 2024

Ditch your smartphone alarm for the best alarm clock suited to your needs

Some people might argue that the humble clock has been made redundant with the arrival of the smartphone. But buying yourself the best alarm clock is still a solid investment, particularly if you’re trying to reduce screen time first thing in the morning.

In order to survive the smartphone revolution, alarm clocks have had to evolve. No longer is it good enough for them just to make a loud noise. Some of them are designed to rouse heavy sleepers with the kind of racket that even the most loud-mouthed of smartphones would struggle to imitate, and others even claim to help us get a better night’s sleep.

No matter what your sleeping habits are, there’s an alarm clock out there that’s perfect for you. You can be certain of one thing: these alarm clocks won’t let you sleep in when you need to be up and out.

How to choose the best alarm clock for you

What kind of alarm clock should I buy?

This is all down to personal preference. Do you want to wake up to your favourite breakfast radio station or would a traditional bell get you out of bed quicker? Some alarm clocks have come into the 21st century with “humane waking systems” – that’s where buzzers start off at a low volume and get louder. Meanwhile, more expensive alarms will illuminate your bedroom with a calming light to simulate the feeling of waking up under canvas at sunrise.

Do I want a mains-powered or battery-powered alarm clock?

An alarm clock’s key power source is definitely something you need to consider. Obviously, if you’re on your travels you’ll want long-lasting battery models that make it clear when the batteries need changing, while those looking for a clock to put on a bedroom table will prefer ones that run off mains power. It’s also worth bearing in mind that a power outage can disrupt a mains-powered alarm clock, so ones equipped with a battery backup are well worth paying a little extra for.

Can I use my own music to wake me up?

In addition to the standard radio and buzzer options, some alarm clocks allow users to dock a media player such as a smartphone to play content from the device, or connect a USB stick, for a customised way to start the day.

What kind of display do I go for?

You can easily find digital alarm clocks with LCD and LED displays these days, as well as retro designs with the traditional clock face and analogue quartz technology. For those of you who opt for a digital display, you’ll want to look for a display that’s easy on the eyes and has an acceptable brightness level, which will vary from device to device – bear in mind, though, that those with automatic brightness levels will stop your alarm clock lighting up your bedroom at night.

Some alarm clocks move beyond standard displays and project the time onto the wall or ceiling for a larger, more easily readable display. If you want to be able to check the time without leaning over the bedside table, these are a great choice.

What about a smart clock?

With smart TV sticks, smart speakers and smart lighting everywhere you look, it’s no surprise that even alarm clocks are getting smart these days. Some manufacturers, such as Amazon and Lenovo, are building smart speakers or displays that double up as alarm clocks, waking you up while giving you all the usual info, music, radio and smart home controls. Of course, you might not be comfortable with Alexa listening to you in the bedroom, let alone catching your early-morning hair with a built-in camera.

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The best alarm clocks you can buy in 2024

1. Lumie Sunrise Alarm: Best wake-up light under £50

Price when reviewed: £42 | Check price at AmazonThis wake-up light simulates a sunrise effect to gently wake you up in the morning and, similarly, a sunset effect to ease you to sleep at night. It also has a nice choice of alternative alarm noises, including birdsong, cats purring and even goats bleating. It’s a great choice for those who want to avoid rude awakenings for only a modest outlay.

If you’re taken by the Sunrise Alarm, it might also be worth checking out Lumie’s Bodyclock range of wake-up lights. These are a bit more sophisticated than the Sunrise Alarm, but they’re backed up by years of research into treating the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). We featured the Bodyclock Glow 150 in our best SAD lamps roundup, as well as several other Lumie lights.

Key specs – Size: 17 x 9 x 18cm (WDH); Power supply: Mains; Snooze time: 5mins; Alarm sounds: 6

2. Lexon Flip+: Best compact alarm clock

Price when reviewed: £30 | Check price at Amazon

This lightweight and minimalist clock is unique in that, to turn the alarm off in the morning, you simply need to flip the whole thing over (or just give the top a tap to snooze). The display will orient itself so that everything is the right way up whether the alarm is switched on or off, but there’s no mistaking which is which, thanks to the bold ‘on’ and ‘off’ lettering on either side.

The clock on the Flip+ uses radio technology to automatically set the time itself, though you do still have the option to set the time manually, which is easy enough. For the automatic setup to work, you only need to ensure the switch in the battery compartment is set to ‘on’, but you should note that, according to the manual, it can take up to seven minutes for the clock to receive a signal. During our testing, this took around four minutes and we still had to manually fiddle with time zone settings, but it’s a useful feature.

Another major benefit of the Flip+ is that its dinky size – just a little larger than your palm – and its light weight make it a great alarm clock for travelling.

Key specs Size: 10.4 x 6.5 x 3cm (WDH) Power supply: 2 x AAA batteries

3. Newgate Charlie Bell: Best-value twin bell alarm clock

Price when reviewed: £25 | Check price at John Lewisbest alarm clock Newgate

If you’re after that classic alarm clock look (and sound), then Newgate’s compact Charlie Bell clock is a good option. The matte metal casing comes in a variety of colours and the clock face – which has a more modern, minimalist design – is clear and easy to read.

The build quality might feel a little bit on the cheap side but, then again, this becomes a minor complaint when you take into account the clock’s relatively low price.

The alarm itself is easy to set: simply adjust the hand to point to the time you want it to ring. That said, it’s worth pointing out that it can be rather tricky to set the alarm with to-the-minute precision.

Inevitably, the rather harsh ringing sound of an alarm clock such as this won’t suit everyone, but heavy sleepers can rest assured knowing that they’ll be waking up on time in the morning.

Key features – Size: 9.7 x 5.5 x 14.5cm (WDH); Power supply: 1 x AA battery

4. Newgate Wideboy: Best alarm clock for vintage style

Price when reviewed: £45 | Check price at John Lewis 

Another entry from Newgate, the Art Deco-style Wideboy (yes, that’s really its name) looks as nice as a desk clock as it does on a bedside table. Its bold face is very stylish and the smooth, silent movement of the second hand is lovely.

You set the alarm in the same way as the Charlie Bell alarm clock, above, which means that if you want to wake up at a time that isn’t on the hour then you’re faced with the same lack of precision. But when you consider this is how many traditional alarm clocks have always been set, it’s a little unfair to make a big deal of it.

What’s more troubling is the feel of the Wideboy – its lightweight casing is made of a plastic that seems cheap and flimsy. If this was reflected in the price of the clock, it wouldn’t be too much of an issue but it’s a bit harder to justify how much more expensive it is over the Charlie Bell.

Nevertheless, the Wideboy doesn’t look quite as cheap as it feels – as we’ve already said, it looks great – and in our testing, the alarm worked very well, unleashing a beeping that isn’t quite as loud as the metallic racket of the Charlie Bell, but should suffice for most people.

Key features – Size: 20.5 x 12 x 6cm (WDH); Power supply: 1 x AA battery

5. Geemarc Sonic Bomb with Bed Shaker: Best alarm clock for heavy sleepers

Price when reviewed: £49 | Check price at AmazonIf you’re a heavy sleeper and can sleep through just about anything, then how about a 113-decibel buzzer to get you up in the morning? Be warned: this thing is seriously loud. And if sheer noise alone isn’t enough to rouse you from the Land of Nod then this alarm clock also flashes multiple bright LEDs at you and comes with a vibrating pad that you can slip under your pillow to quite literally shake you out of bed.

You can set the alarm to sound only or vibrate only – with both, you might suffer sensory overload – and it features a 9V battery backup should the electricity cut out in the middle of the night. It also gives you the option to set the alarm duration, from turning off after just a minute to sounding for almost a solid hour – try sleeping through that – and you can set the snooze between one minute and half an hour.

Overall, this is a great, easy-to-set-up alarm clock, with our only niggle being that we wish there was a slightly bigger button to turn the alarm off.

Key specs – Size: 14 x 7 x 14cm (WDH); Power supply: 230V adapter (included) or battery (optional); Alarm time: 1-59mins; Snooze time: 1-30 minutes; 113dB alarm

6. Amazon Echo Show 5 (3rd gen, 2023): Best Alexa smart clock

Price when reviewed: £90 |  Check price at Amazonbest alarm clock Amazon Echo Show 5 3rd gen

The Amazon Echo Show 5 is many things. This smart device with built-in Alexa lets you display photos, take video calls, control compatible smart home devices and stream (limited) content. Of course, it wouldn’t be included in this roundup if it couldn’t be used as an alarm clock too, and the Echo Show’s “Sunrise Effect” brightens the screen gently before your alarm goes off, to help ease you into the day.

Though the 3rd generation Echo Show 5 is only a relatively small improvement from the previous 2021 model, it still received a price hike. So, if you’d rather opt for something cheaper, you can still find a refurbished 2nd generation Echo Show 5 for significantly less.

Read our full Amazon Echo Show 5 (2023) review

Key specs – Size: 14.7 x 9.1 x 8.2cm (WDH); Power supply: Mains; Display: 5.5in touchscreen; WiFi connectivity? Yes

7. Clocky – The Runaway Alarm Clock: Best alarm clock to force you out of bed

Price when reviewed: £38 | Check price at AmazonIf you need a little extra incentive to get you out of bed in the morning, then we may have the alarm for you: Clocky is an alarm that aims to get you up and out of breath before breakfast. After the first time you hit the snooze (which is adjustable between one and nine minutes), the alarm starts moving away, until there’s enough distance between you that you’re left with no choice but to get out of bed in order to turn it off. It should almost go without saying that Clocky is unbelievably annoying.

Unlike other alarms, it doesn’t play a loop of music or emit a regular series of beeps that you can quickly learn to sleep through. Instead, it plays a garbled, arrhythmic set of beeps, buzzes and pings that are simply too awful to ignore.

If you’re a regular snooze hitter, Clocky may be the early-morning drill sergeant you’ve been looking for.

Key specs Size: 13.3 x 8.9 x 8.9cm (WDH); Power supply: 4 x AAA batteries; Alarm time: Up to 59 minutes; Snooze time: 9 minutes

8. QlockTwo Touch: Best luxury alarm clock

Price when reviewed: £555 | Check price at Goldsmiths

There are only a finite number of ways to display the time, yet these guys have come up with something quite novel: this uber modern-looking clock cleverly shows you the time by lighting up letters to write out the time for you in words. This then changes at five-minute intervals, and there are four dots to represent the minutes in between.

There are different finishes available, which attach via magnets. So, if you wind up regretting your initial pick, you can purchase a new front cover in a new colour. There’s an alarm with a snooze function, an automatic dimmer and a night touch mode if you prefer no light at all – just a quick tap lights up the clock for two seconds to tell you the time.

The downside? It costs a pretty penny.

Key specs – Size: 13.5 x 13.5cm (HW); Power supply: Mains

Check price at Goldsmiths