Whether you want to block out noises from outside your bedroom, calm your mind, or both, there’s a white noise machine for you. We’ve rounded up the best of the best, so you can get the rest you deserve.
If you’re wondering why you might need a white noise machine, well, you probably haven’t tried one. They don’t block out all other noise, such as traffic or your neighbors stomping around, but they cover it with a more soothing noise that makes it easier for you to switch off from your surroundings. How often have you found that an intermittent noise is more frustrating than a constant drone? That’s the thinking behind white noise machines.
Essentially, white noise is a consistent sound that’s more soothing than those external sounds that change about too much. Such machines can be great for calming you at the end of the day, or even just for helping you focus while in the office. White noise also works great with helping babies relax and sleep, as well as for those who suffer from tinnitus.
We’ve rounded up the best white noise machines out there, each offering many different sounds to soothe you throughout the day.
Wave Premium Sleep Therapy Sound Machine ($30)
The Wave Premium Sleep Therapy Sound Machine offers 6 different soothing nature sounds that loop seamlessly with little repetition or audible pauses. Sounds include white noise, a fan, the ocean, rain, a stream, and the sounds of a summer night. The idea is that you start playing it just before you go to sleep with an auto off timer switching it off once you’re asleep. The timer offers 15, 30 and 60 minute time slots so it’s energy efficient.
Besides being small and lightweight enough that you can easily fit it into a suitcase on your travels, it also includes a built-in USB charger so you can leave it to charge your phone or other device overnight.
It’s simple yet effective at soothing you to sleep, and covering up those pesky modern noises.
Marpac Connect White Noise Sound Machine ($80)
The Marpac Connect White Noise Sound Machine is a premium priced unit but for good reason—it’s a classic design that generates real mechanical white noise and features Alexa connectivity, as well as app controls. What do we mean by “real mechanical white noise”? Unlike other electronic sound machines that create the white noise using a embedded hardware or just playback a loop of static, Marpac products generate the white noise by spinning layered fan blades inside a container to create an incredibly authentic and soothing white noise experience.
It’s all the soothing sounds of a fan without getting blasted in the face with a constant stream of air or dust getting kicked around your bedroom. With a consistent noise in the background, you can relax into your slumber easily enough. 10 volume options are available, tweaked via the app, Alexa, or a twist-top control. Thanks to the app and Alexa, you can arrange sleep schedules quickly, setting things up to work exactly how you want them to. It’s particularly great if you want to switch it off from a different room, such as to not disturb the baby.
Want the same mechanical white noise without the smart functions? Marpac has been in the white noise machine business for a long time and they still sell their classic all-mechanical Dohm model for $50.
Big Red Rooster 6 Sounds Machine ($20)
Getting straight to the point, the Big Red Rooster 6 Sounds Machine is perfect for the less technology minded. The top of the unit provides six chunky buttons, each representing a different sound. There are options for rain, a babbling brook, thunder, white noise, the ocean, and a summer night, covering all the most popular noise options.
Setting it as simple as using an alarm clock. You can leave the sound on all night or set it for 15, 30 or 60 minute lengths. Conveniently, it has a built-in voltage convertor, and it’s powered by either an AC adaptor or 3 AA batteries, ensuring it’s perfect for travel use. It might not win prizes for style, but it’s great for portability, ease of use, and cost.
Sound+Sleep High Fidelity Sleep Sound Machine ($84)
If money is no object, the Sound+Sleep High Fidelity Sleep Sound Machine is the ultimate in white noise machine technology. It offers 30 different sound environments, so you won’t keep hearing repeated noises. Within that are 10 different sound profiles including a meadow, brook, train, fireplace, city, meditation, rainfall, waterfall, ocean, and white noise. So, if you’re usually a country dweller and used to more serene fare, you can switch to a brook, while city dwellers confused by the silence of the countryside can try out the city sounds.
It’s not just a veritable DJ box of soothing sounds either. It sports adaptive technology and can listen to your environment to compensate for disruptive ambient noises by remixing what’s going on, tweaking the volume, and adjusting the playback to maximize noise masking. It’s clever stuff which explains the popularity of the model. Sleep timer facilities offer up to 120 minutes of sound too, with the option of listening through headphones also available.
AVANTEK White Noise Sound Machine ($38)
Perfect for a mid range budget, the AVANTEK White Noise Sound Machine offers a suitably substantial 20 non-looping sounds. That includes 6 white noise sounds, 6 fan sounds, and 8 other ambient noises. Alongside that are 30 volume levels so you can hear things at just the right level for you.
Picking out the right setting can take time given this so there’s a memory function that ensures the machine remembers your last volume, sound track, and timer, so you don’t have to go through the process every time. Timers can be set from 1 hour to 7 hours so you should always be good to go.
Convenience wise, the machine works via a power adaptor or a USB cable, so it’ll work pretty much anywhere you go. The unit itself is reasonably small so it’s easy enough to pack away or store on your bedside cabinet.