Relying on your mobile phone as an alarm clock can be a risky business. What if it runs out of charge during the night? What if you set the alarm for 7 pm instead of 7 am? These are the minefields we have to tread when we don’t have a dedicated alarm clock to make use of. However, in this article, we’re going to give you an alternative. We’ll show you some of the best clock radios you can buy today that will wake you up exactly when you need them to.
Although a clock radio might sound old fashioned, they really are convenient pieces of kit that should be a staple in any bedroom. However, picking the one that is best for you can be pretty difficult. In this article, we’re going to help you wade through all the options that are available, and only show you the best clock radios on the market.
Read on to find out more about the features to look out for and how to find the best clock radio for you.
The Best Clock Radios of 2021
Our first recommendation on this list of the best clock and alarm radio is the Sony ICF-C1PJ. This affordable device has everything you need from a bedside alarm clock radio. The dual alarm clock setting has two presets, which you can set to different times during the day. This is perfect if you and your partner have to get up at different times in the morning.
The radio function is also well designed and nice to use. You can save 10 different AM or FM radio stations that can be accessed with the click of a button. The sound is crystal clear and the tuner works well at picking up the signal. You can even set one of the radio stations to come on as your morning alarm if you don’t like the classic alarm sound.
A cool feature of this particular alarm clock radio is a built in clock projector. This projects the time onto the ceiling of your bedroom so that you don’t have to turn over in the middle of the night to look at the clock. The projector doesn’t illuminate your room at all, and the nice red light is gentle on your eyes.
- 10 radio presets
- Clock projector
- Only one color option
The iHome Bluetooth alarm clock is a unique and interesting take on the classic alarm clock radio design. It is a sphere-shaped clock that has color changing at the touch of a button. The colors can be set to cycle through your favorite tones, or you can leave it on a single color. This iHome device is an easy way to brighten up your bedroom and add some excitement.
This device isn’t just about the looks though. The built-in Bluetooth function allows you to connect a device to the speaker and play your favorite tunes. Having a speaker like this included in your clock radio is a great way to save space and means you don’t have to buy a dedicated speaker to listen to your music out loud.
The iHome has a digital alarm clock that is super easy to read thanks to its large numbers and clearly backlit clock face. The display screen also lets you know how many alarms you’ve set and whether there is a device connected to the Bluetooth speaker.
- Built-in Bluetooth playback
- Easy to read face
- Bright colors might not be for everyone
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This DreamSky alarm clock radio brings some retro style to this collection of the best alarm clocks. The device undoubtedly has a high-quality feel, built out of great materials, and designed to look attractive on your bedside table. The 4 inches wide LCD screen makes it very easy to read the time and all of the other information that is displayed on the clock face. This includes the temperature, alarm settings, and radio tunings.
This device has clearly been designed to be super intuitive and easy to use. The large snooze button on top of the alarm clock is a great addition and is big enough so that you don’t accidentally press any of the other buttons when you use it. The alarm sound itself can be set as a buzzer or your favorite radio station.
An interesting extra feature is a USB charging port that is built into the rear of the device. This is a nice addition and turns the clock radio into a hub for your technology. Everyone is always searching for a free plug to charge their phone, so having one available right on the back of your alarm clock radio is great.
- USB charging port
- Big snooze button
- Quite hard to find in stock due to its popularity
This FM radio alarm clock from JALL is another great option if you’re looking for a no-nonsense and simple device that still offers some useful features. The best part about this alarm clock is probably its great design. It is extremely easy to use and has a huge snooze button on the top so that there is no chance of accidentally turning the alarm off when you don’t want to.
The screen is also clear and easy to use and even displays the temperature. The clock actually has a dual alarm set up so you can set two different alarms for you and your partner, and you can choose whether you want to be woken up by your favorite radio station or by a classic buzzer sound.
The big snooze button on top doubles as a twistable volume control which feels nice to use and is very accurate.
- One of the best snooze button designs
- Dual alarm clock set up
- Not many color options
Philips is well known as one of the best manufacturers of alarm clocks and electronics in the world. This alarm clock and FM radio lives up to their reputation with a simple yet effective design that has some really useful features built-in. Firstly, the alarm clock has a gentle wake feature, which wakes you up slowly by increasing the volume of the alarm over a long period. There’s nothing worse than being brought out of sleep by a blaring alarm and with gentle wake you’ll never feel rough when you wake up again.
The clock face is one of the best we’ve seen with a crisp LED display and large numbers. The color of the display can also be changed to be less harsh to your eyes. This device has a dual alarm for setting multiple wake up times, and you can preset different FM stations to come on at the touch of a button.
This device is definitely a good option if you want a stress-free and easy to use FM clock. radio
- Color changing display
- Easy snooze feature
- The instruction manual has very small writing
JBL is another brand that is very popular in the audio scene, particularly in the Bluetooth niche. Their speakers are known for having incredible audio fidelity, and to have these speakers built into an alarm clock radio is definitely a treat. Connecting a device to the Bluetooth is an easy process and you can have your favorite songs playing in seconds.
The JBL Horizon has been designed to act as the center of your bedroom. It has a super-fast USB port to charge your devices which is a very useful feature. This means you can charge up your phone whilst you sleep and don’t have to worry about finding a plug for your phone charger. The slow wake up light alarm is also a fantastic idea.
This is a dual alarm clock with the option for two different alarm presets and you can also save up to 5 different FM radio broadcasters to come back to later. This compact digital alarm clock has had great customer reviews and we can definitely see why.
- Great JBL sound
- Fast USB port for charging
- Only one color option
This classy alarm clock radio with built-in Bluetooth playback is the ideal choice for a music lover. It has a classic boombox-like shape with a large speaker grill and a clock face on the front. The ace is really easy to read thanks to its big numbers and nicely backlit LED display.
The radio has Bluetooth 4.1 to connect to your devices, which is one of the newest and best Bluetooth versions around. You can also use NFC pairing to connect, where you simply tap your cell phone against the connection point on the alarm clock radio. Everything about this device is intuitive and easy to use.
You can preset up to 18 AM or FM radio stations, which is a pretty impressive number for a bedside alarm clock radio. The device also has a built-in USB port for charging a cell phone or device while you sleep.
- 18 Radio station presets
- USB charging port
- The instruction manual is a little confusing
The next product on our journey to find the best alarm clock radio around is this Wake Up alarm clock radio from JALL. This device is designed to be a sunrise alarm clock, which means it wakes you up slowly so that you feel fresh when you’re finally fully awake.
The JALL Wake Up aims to recreate an actual sunrise by slowly increasing the brightness of its built-in light for half an hour before you need to wake up. If the light doesn’t wake you up by then, the soothing sounds that play near the end of the cycle will. This is a great way to wake up in the morning, and anyone who hates being rudely awoken by a blaring buzzer will definitely appreciate it.
The alarm clock radio also has a built-in FM tuner so you can playback your favorite stations whenever you feel like it.
- Sunrise wake up feature
- USB for charging
- Can be hard to find in stock
This Emerson clock radio is one of the coolest alarm clocks on our list thanks to the fact that it has wireless phone charging built-in. This means you can place your phone on top of the alarm clock, and it will recharge without having to plug in any cables. Obviously, this only works if your cell phone supports wireless charging itself, but if it does then this is a big plus for the Emerson.
This device also has a Bluetooth receiver so you can play your own music through the speakers. Alternatively, the FM radio works well if you feel like letting someone else pick the tunes for a while. The dual alarm clock setup is also useful if you and your partner need to get up at different times in the morning.
As far as alarm clock radios go, this Emerson FM radio clock has some of the best features we’ve seen. Having this many ways to use an alarm clock is truly impressive.
- Very versatile alarm clock
- Dual alarm feature
- The popularity of this clock means it is often sold out
This digital alarm clock radio from AmazonBasics is another great option if you’re looking for a new alarm clock at a competitive price point. Although it is from Amazon’s “Basics” range, it actually has a few great features that are far from basic. For example, the clock has a built-in Bluetooth receiver so that you can connect up your phone and playback your favorite music.
Additionally, the alarm clock function is a dual alarm clock, meaning you can set two different alarms for different times during the day. This is ideal if you and your partner have to get up at different times for work. There is also a large snooze button on top of the alarm clock, which is nice and easy to press if you feel like you need that extra bit of time in bed.
The built-in USB charging port is also a great addition that is perfect for charging up your devices during the night.
- A great FM clock radio at a sensible price point
- Dual alarm clock
- USB charging port
- Only available in the black color
For all of you out there who love your futuristic technology, the Wellbox Projecting digital alarm clock radio is a fun and unique option that has a load of great features. The main selling point of this device is the fact that the time can be projected onto the roof of your bedroom. This means you don’t have to turn over to read the time and hurt your eyes in the light.
As well as the projector, this digital alarm clock also has an FM radio receiver to pick up your favorite stations. Music plays back clearly through the speakers with a rich and warm tone. Setting a radio station as your alarm is a good alternative to a harsh buzzer that you might be used to.
The curved screen makes the device easier to read from any angle and you can adjust the brightness to however you like it. Overall, the design of this digital alarm clock radio has clearly been well thought through and executed.
- Clock projector
- The curved screen can be seen from more angles
- The futuristic design might not suit everyone
Check it out on Amazon
This Jelly Comb clock radio has a really nice and classy design and is the perfect choice for anyone who’s looking for an FM radio clock to fit in with their stylish bedroom. The device has a beautiful wood finish that sits around a nice LED display. The display is easy to read and there’s no harsh blue light that might stop you from sleeping.
The FM radio can store up to 15 different stations that you can tune in to at the touch of a button. 15 stations is a pretty impressive number, and you’d struggle to find a compact digital alarm clock with more options. The device also has a wake up light feature so that you aren’t blinded by the display in the morning.
This alarm radio also has a dual alarm set up which is designed for couples who have to get up at different times during the day. The USB port in the back is also useful for charging up a device during the night.
- Dual alarm feature
- One of the most stylish alarm clock radios around
- Only one color option
Here we have another one of the alarm clocks with a built-in projector. These projectors are fantastic for the person who doesn’t like to look at any bright lights during the night and they can read the time just by looking up at the ceiling. If this is you, having a projector light alarm clock is definitely a great idea.
This perhaps the best alarm clock if you find that you’re always accidentally turning the alarm off instead of snoozing it. This is because the device has a big snooze button on the top that is almost impossible to miss. This is perfect for those sleepers who just need a little bit longer in bed in the morning.
The built-in FM radio works well and you can even store up to 15 of your favorite stations. USB ports in the back are also very useful for charging up your devices at night.
- USB ports for charging
- Gentle LED display
- Some people might not want the projector function
This Bluetooth clock radio from Memorex is another great option if you are after a device that can serve lots of different purposes in your bedroom. Not only is this a radio and alarm, but it can charge up two devices at once via the USB ports and you can play music through it via an AUX cable.
A cool feature of this device is that it has a battery backup function. If you ever have a power cut during the night, you don’t need to worry about your alarm turning off. Instead, the Memorex will draw power from the AAA batteries that come included.
- Battery backup feature
- Easy to read LED display
- Not many color choices
The final product on our list of the best alarm clocks is this FM radio alarm from GPX. This is a super simple design that is made for the person who just wants something that gets the job done without any fuss. The included FM radio is one of the best parts of this device and the audio it produces is clear and detailed.
There are a few different alarm settings available and you can alternate between playing the radio when you wake up or a classic alarm sound.
- Simple yet very effective design
- Can choose your alarm sound
- The instruction manual isn’t very useful
Buyers’ Guide: Considerations for Buying Clock Radios
Since there are so many radio clocks available on the market these days, trying to choose the best one for you can be pretty confusing. Furthermore, a clock that is perfect for one person might be the worst for another – it all depends on which features you prioritize.
To simplify the process slightly, we’ve put together this buyer’s guide. This is a great place to start if you find yourself struggling for inspiration and can’t decide what to buy. We’d recommend going through each of these categories and thinking about what is most important to you in each one.
Once you’ve done this you should be in a much better place to be able to go and buy a clock radio that is ideal for you and you’ll be able to use for years to come. If you still don’t know where to look, be sure to read through our top 15 list above. Every clock radio on there is a fantastic choice and will undoubtedly serve you well.
Many people forget that the design of a clock radio is one of the most important factors when it comes to choosing which is your favorite. There is no point getting hung up on extra features if you find the device completely unattractive to look at. Remember that this is something you’re going to be suing every single day, and it will most likely be the first thing you look at when you wake up each morning.
A clock radio is basically another piece of furniture, so you want to get something that fits into the overall design of your room. You’ll be able to find retro and classic designs, as well as modern and futuristic takes. All that really matters is that you find it pleasing to the eye and can imagine it sitting on your bedside table for years to come.
Seeing as we’re talking about clock radios, it makes sense to talk about the sound quality of the radio itself. Sound quality is usually what makes or breaks a great radio. However, the quality of the sound that comes out of the radio doesn’t just depend on the speakers it uses. It also is influenced by the radio receiver and how well it can pick up signals of your local stations.
You’ll also have noticed in the top 15 list that lots of modern clock radios have a built-in Bluetooth receiver. This means you can hook up your phone or tablet and play your favorite tunes through them. If you’re using your clock radio as a Bluetooth speaker then this makes sound quality even more important.
When you’re shopping online, obviously you can’t test out the sound quality of anything you want to buy. You can however look into the quality of speakers that have been used. A good way to quickly assess a speaker’s quality is to look at its power output. If it has a high wattage, then this usually implies that the sound quality is going to be loud and really good.
When you’re buying any kind of new product, the budget that you have available should always be one of your main considerations. We always recommend thinking about your budget before you start searching for a new device. This means you can massively narrow down your search to just what you can afford, which makes the buying process way easier.
There are alarm radios available for literally any budget from a few dollars up to hundreds. Luckily for us, there are great products at all price points and some of the best clock radios available won’t be the ones that break the bank. Having said that, more expensive products will usually have a higher build quality and maybe have some nicer materials on them.
In summary, definitely work out how much you want to spend on a clock radio before you start your search. Not doing so will make everything more complicated and confusing.
Ah, the snooze function, everyone’s favorite part of an alarm clock. The snooze function is probably going to be the button you’ll be pressing on the most, so it’s important that it is simple to use and effective. If you don’t know already, the snooze function lets you turn off the alarm for a short amount of time to let you get that extra little bit of rest before it goes off again.
Everyone has made the mistake of accidentally turning off your phone alarm instead of snoozing it and then waking up 3 hours later. To stop this from happening you should always choose an alarm clock that can be put into snooze mode without the chance of accidentally turning the alarm off fully.
In our opinion the best snooze functions are the ones that are accessed by a big snooze button on top of the radio, that can’t be mistaken for any other button. Bear in mind though that as you add more and more features to a clock radio, more buttons start to appear all over it, which can make things quite confusing.
If you’re looking for a digital alarm clock, then the clock face is yet another thing to consider. Clock faces vary dramatically between different products, and everyone has their preference when it comes to what they like best. Generally, you’ll want a digital clock that is very easy to read, even in the middle of the night.
You’ll also want to look out for a clock face that is backlit or glow in the dark. This means you’ll be able to read the time even when the lights are turned off. Some clocks are permanently backlit whilst others require a button to be pressed to light up. Obviously, it’s annoying to have to press the button during the night, but if you like absolute darkness whilst you sleep then this is definitely the way to go.
Number of alarms
Lots of modern alarm clocks will allow you to store multiple alarms at different times. This is perfect for people who have to get up at a different time each day, and means they don’t have to keep resetting the alarm clock every single night.
However, you should make sure that the interface is still easy to use even when more alarms are added. You don’t want everything to get too complicated and start setting the wrong alarm on the wrong day. The best alarm clock will have lots of features and options but still be super simple and easy to use.
Many modern clock radios have a number of smart features built-in that are designed to give the user experience an extra level of depth. These include things like Bluetooth, USB charging ports, smart sleep timer, or battery backup. All these features help make your clock radio more of an all-in-one technology station than just a simple timepiece.
One of our favorite smart features is a sunrise alarm clock setting. This setting wakes you up much more slowly than a regular alarm, which means you will probably feel less tired when you wake up. Being rudely awoken by a pounding alarm can be pretty jarring, but a sunrise alarm will make you want to jump out of bed as soon as you wake up. The alarm’s soothing music starts at a very quiet volume, before building up and up until you turn it off.
Another popular smart feature to look out for is DAB radio. Digital radio has taken the world by storm since its introduction thanks to its superior sound quality and greater choice of stations. Listening to a DAB station is always a grat experience – the sound is crystal clear and you never struggle to pick up a signal. If you’re into your music, then DAB is probably the way to go.
Extra features are those bonus settings that make a clock radio stand out from the crowd. You can expect every good clock radio to be able to set an alarm and play some radio stations, so when it comes down to choosing which one is for you, it’ll probably be the extra features that swing it.
If you end up having to choose between two devices, make sure to look into the extra features that they offer. One of them might have the perfect setting for you that the other one doesn’t have. This could be a pretty easy way to decide if you’re struggling.
We get asked a lot of questions about clock radios and there are some common ones that come up all the time. We’ll give you some quick answers to them below, so have a look here first if you have a clock radio related question on your mind.
What is the best AM FM clock radio?
Since there are so many AM FM clock radios on the market today, it’s pretty hard to say which one is the absolute best. The truth is that there are great options at nearly every price point you can imagine, all with their unique features and benefits. We’d always recommend thinking about how much you want to spend before starting your search for the best AM FM clock radio, that way you can narrow down your search massively.
Having said that, all the products on our top 15 list are excellent choices that are guaranteed to not let you down. They cover a variety of price points and all are well built with great features. Definitely have a read through our list if you’re struggling for ideas and need some inspiration.
What is the best sounding clock radio?
When it comes to the sound of the actual radio itself, we’d always recommend DAB radio as the best sounding option. DAB stands for Digital Audio Broadcasting which means it doesn’t rely on a traditional radio transmission to playback a station. However, there are some excellent AM FM radio options out there that also sound great and have high-quality receivers for smooth playback.
Many people also use their clock radios as Bluetooth speakers. The quality of sound from Bluetooth speakers can vary quite dramatically, but generally the ones that are built into clock radios are pretty good. A good Bluetooth speaker will connect easily to your devices and will reproduce music with a warm and pleasing tone. Be sure to read through some customer product reviews before you buy any Bluetooth speaker to see what people have to say about the sound.
What color alarm clock is best for sleeping?
The color of the clock face is completely down to personal opinion. Many people like their alarm clock to go completely dark during the night since they don’t like any light in their bedroom whilst they sleep. Others prefer a backlit clock face or one that glows in the dark so they can read the time if they wake up early.
Red light is also a popular option since it can be easily read in the night, but it isn’t bright enough to be blinding and hurt your eyes. Basically, there are lots of different choices when it comes to alarm clock color, so be sure to choose one that you’re going to like.
What smart features can you get?
Our favorite smart feature is probably a sunrise alarm clock. Quite a lot of modern alarm clocks have this feature built-in, which wakes you up slowly in the morning. Instead of ripping you out of a dream with a blaring siren, a sunrise alarm clock slowly gets louder and louder over a long period of time. By the time you wake up, you feel fresh and like you’ve been awake for hours!
Another cool smart feature that we are a fan of is voice command. Voice controls allow you to speak commands to the clock radio so that you don’t have to always be fiddling with all the small buttons. Some alarm clock radios even allow you to shout “Stop!” to put the alarm on snooze in the morning. The voice controls can be very useful and add quite a lot to the user experience.