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Best alarm clock 2022: Guaranteed wake-up calls from just £25


Ditch your smartphone alarm for one of our favourite dedicated alarm clocks

Some might argue that we really don't need alarm clocks any more. Since the arrival of the smartphone, which has now become everyone's constant companion, quite a few of us have long since chucked our old-school alarm clock across the bedroom directly into the bin. For anyone who's ever found themselves let down by their mobile phone, however, or for those who want something a little more high-tech, a dedicated alarm clock is a sound investment.

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

No matter what your sleeping habits are, though, there’s an alarm clock out there that’ll do the job for you. And with only one job to do, you can be certain of one thing: these alarm clocks won't let you sleep in when you need to be up and out.

Best alarm clock: At a glance

  • Best Google smart clock: Lenovo Smart Clock | Buy now
  • Best for gentle mornings: Philips Wake-Up Light | Buy now
  • Best wake-up light under £50: Lumie Sunrise Alarm | Buy now
  • Best twin bell alarm clock: Newgate Charlie Bell | Buy now
  • Best stylish alarm clock: Newgate Wideboy | Buy now
  • Best for heavy sleepers: Sonic Bomb | Buy now
  • Best Alexa smart clock: Echo Show 5 2nd gen | Buy now

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 will 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 like an iPod 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 display brightness 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, like Amazon and Lenovo, are building smart speakers or displays that look and 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 to buy

1. Lenovo Smart Clock: The best Google smart clock

Price: £60 | Buy now from Currys

What’s so good about Lenovo’s Smart Clock is the stuff it’s missing: there’s no front-facing camera or photo display mode, and the 4in, 800 x 480 screen isn’t designed for browsing the web or watching video. Instead, it’s focused on telling you the time, checking the weather or viewing calendar events. It has an ambient light sensor that adjusts the brightness according to the light conditions, or you can set a Sunrise Alarm that wakes you up with gradually increasing bright light from the display. If you’ve got smart home kit plugged into Google Home, you can use the Smart Clock to control it, and the built-in Google Assistant is still streets ahead of Alexa when it comes to delivering solid information. The only niggle is that you can’t have a radio station or playlist as your alarm, just one of Lenovo’s preset tones. At least you can snooze or silence with a tap. Compact and surprisingly great sounding, it’s arguably the smartest smart clock.

Key specs – Size: 75 x 114 x 80mm; Power supply: Mains; Alarm time: up to 10 minutes; Snooze time: tap to snooze/stop, ‘Stop!’ command

Buy now from Currys PC World

2. Philips Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock HF3520/01 Coloured Sunrise Simulation: The best for gentle mornings

Price: £120 | Buy now from Amazon

If you like the idea of waking up to the sunrise, but need that wake-up call to come at 7am every morning throughout the entire year, then this is the alarm for you. Philips’ Wake-Up Light uses a gentle glow to simulate the rising sun, waking you gently and naturally. You can choose from five different calming sounds to pair with the gradual light for an all-round sensory experience – so it’s like waking under tent canvas, without the cold and insect bites.

It has an LED bulb, which although not easily replaceable, is manufactured to last around 10,000 hours and has a low power usage. It also looks great on your bedside, as opposed to some of the other alarms on this list. However, there’s no USB port for you to wake to your own music, which is disappointing for an alarm at this price. And although Philips calls this a "coloured sunrise", in fact the "colours" are white – just at different levels of intensity.

Key specsSize: 19.2 x 19.9 x 14.6cm; Power supply: 240V adapter; 20-40 minute adjustable sunrise simulator; Snooze time: 9 minutes

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

Price: £34 | Buy now from John Lewis

At just £32, this wake-up light is an affordable alternative to the Philips alarm clock featured above. It works much in the same way, with a simulated sunrise/sunset effect to gently wake you up in the morning while also easing you back to sleep at night. It also has a choice of alternative alarm noises including birdsong, cat purrs, and even goats. At less than half the price of the Philips alarm, it’s a great choice for those who want to avoid rude awakenings with only a modest outlay.

If you’re taken in by the Sunrise Alarm, it’s also worth checking out Lumie’s Bodyclock range of wake-up lights. These are a bit more sophisticated than the Sunrise Alarm, and also come medically certified for treating symptoms of seasonal affective disorder. We featured the Bodyclock Glow 150 (£99) in our best SAD lamps roundup, as well as a number of other Lumie lights.

Key specs – Size: 18 x 17 x 9cm; Power supply: Mains; Snooze time: Five minutes; Alarm sounds: 6

Buy now from John Lewis

4. Lexon Flip Clock: The easiest alarm clock to turn off when you wake up

Price: £40 | Buy now from Amazon

Designed by British brothers Adrian and Jeremy Wright, this award-winning alarm clock brings an end to having to rummage around with sleepy eyes for the off switch; simply flip the whole thing over to turn it off. And no, the time doesn’t turn upside down with it as that’s cleverly reversible too. For snooze, you just touch it instead of flipping it. We think it ticks lots of boxes – it looks good, is fun, is well made and does what it promises. Plus, it comes in several colour options. Be warned: it’s small – not much bigger than a bank card – and it isn’t all that loud.

Key specs – Size: 10.5 x 3 x 6.5cm Power supply: 2 x AAA batteries

5. Newgate Charlie Bell Alarm Clock: The best twin alarm bell clock

Price: £25 | Buy now from Amazon

This battery-powered alarm clock marries old and new beautifully, so you get the conventional round clock face topped with twin alarm bells, but with a modern aesthetic that feels very much on trend. Available in a range of stylish colours – brass, copper, grey or black, each with a different colour of clock face – it doesn’t take up much space, so there’ll be plenty of room on your nightstand remaining for your books, water and so on. It feels well-made and the alarm is loud; there’s no snooze button, however.

Key specsSize: 14.5 x 9.7x 5.5cm; Power supply: 1 x AAA battery

Buy now from Amara

6. Newgate Wideboy analogue alarm clock: Best stylish alarm clock

Price: £45 | Buy now from Amazon

Newgate offers a range of traditional and modern clocks for any setting, and this retro alarm clock is one of our favourites. It’s elevated on plinth feet and – as the name suggests – it’s rather wide (20.5cm), so it’s worth checking how much space you’ve got on your bedside table.

Silent-sweep movement ensures that there’s no ticking noise to keep you awake at night, while the alarm itself is a simple digital beep. The clock is built with a plastic casing, which might disappoint those hoping for a more traditional wooden construction. But on the whole, it looks good and represents decent value for money.

Key features - Size: 6 x 20.5 x 12cm; Weight: 250g; Power supply: 1 x AA battery

7. Sonic Bomb SBB500SS Loud Alarm Clock with Bed Shaker: The best for the seriously heavy sleeper

Price: £40 | Buy now from Amazon

If you’re a super-heavy sleeper and think you can sleep through anything, then how about a 113-decibel buzzer to get you going in the morning? Warning: this is seriously loud. And if the sheer noise alone isn’t enough to wake you from the land of nod, then this alarm clock also flashes multiple, bright LEDs and comes with a vibrating pad that slips under your mattress to literally shake you out of your stupor.

You can set the alarm to sound only or vibrate only – with both you might suffer a sensory overload – and it also comes with a 9V battery backup if the electricity cuts out in the middle of the night. Overall, this is a great, easy-to-set-up alarm clock, with the only slight niggle being that we wish there was a bigger Alarm Off button.

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

8. Amazon Echo Show 5 2nd Gen (2021): The best Alexa smart clock

Price: £36 | Buy now from Amazon

Amazon no longer makes the round Echo Spot, but the Echo Show 5 is a great replacement. It’s cheap, has a bright 5.5in touchscreen and boasts all the features you’d expect from an Amazon Smart Display. This means it’ll do more than the Lenovo Smart Clock; you can watch TV and movies from Amazon Prime Video, play games and even make video calls with the built-in webcam. Don’t worry – this one has a privacy shield built in, and there’s a button to turn off both the camera and mic. Like the Lenovo, the Echo Show 5 has a ‘Sunrise Effect’ which uses the screen to gently light up your bedroom before the alarm goes off. The backlight adjusts automatically according to the ambient light and you can wake up to your favourite tracks or internet radio station, with impressively full-bodied sound.

Key specs – Size: 73 x 148 x 86mm; Power supply: Mains; Alarm time: up to 59 minutes; Snooze time: tap to snooze/stop, set via command ‘Alexa, snooze for X minutes’

9. Suck UK Clocky – The Runaway Alarm Clock: The best for forcing you out of bed

Price: £40 | Buy now from Amazon

If 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 the alarm that aims to get you up and out of breath before breakfast time. After the first time you hit snooze, the alarm starts moving away, creating enough distance to quite literally force you out of bed. It should be said, though, that Clocky is unbelievably annoying.

Unlike other alarms, it doesn’t just play a loop of music or emit a regular series of beeps that soon become synonymous with your mornings and can often be ignored. Instead, it plays a garbled, arrhythmical set of beeps, buzzes and pings that are simply too awful to ignore. However, if you’re a regular snooze hitter and don’t want to splash out mega money, Clocky may be the early-morning drill sergeant you’ve been looking for.

Key specsSize: 13.3 x 8.9x 8.9cm; Power supply: 4 x AAA batteries; Alarm time: up to 59 minutes; Snooze time: 9 minutes

10. HITO Atomic Radio Controlled Projection Alarm Clock: The best for easy reading

Price: £22 | Buy now from Amazon

How many times have you rolled over to check the time only to be blinded by the bright blue light from your alarm or smartphone? Or perhaps you have to locate your specs to even see the time. The HITO Alarm Clock’s projection feature displays the time on your wall or ceiling for easy viewing, making these issues a thing of the past, and even includes a temperature display, so you can plan your day’s attire before you get out of bed.

Note that the function buttons can be quite confusing initially, and to run the projector permanently, the unit needs to be plugged into the mains; with batteries, the projection lasts only 30 minutes at a time. For all those glasses-wearers who have trouble seeing first thing in the morning, though, the Projection Alarm Clock is a wise buy.

Key specsSize: 21.4 x 10.2 x 5.6cm; Power supply: AC power adapter included; Projector rotates 90 degrees

11. QlockTwo: The best luxury alarm clock

Price: £580 | Buy now from Amara

There are finite ways to display the time, yet these guys have come up with something completely novel. This uber-modern-looking clock cleverly displays the time by lighting up the relevant letters, which change at five-minute intervals and with four dots to represent the minutes in between. There are different finishes available; if you wind up regretting your initial pick, exchangeable new front covers are available in five colourways, which attach via magnets. There’s an automatic dimmer and night touch mode if you prefer no light at all – with a quick tap of the clock telling you the time. The downside – it costs a pretty packet.

Key specs – Size: 13.5 x 13.5cm; Power supply: mains; Alarm time with snooze mode

Buy now from Amara