The best alarm clocks

Whether they’re mimicking sunrise or jolting you into wakefulness with a bang, our pick of the best bedside clocks all have something to offer when it comes to waking you up on the right side of the bed

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There are lots of different types of people. There are the up with the lark, out for a run ones; the jump out of bed and clean the whole house ones; and even the 6am spin class ones. But for every springy, singy, enthusiastic morning person, there are at least five other people groaning at them to shut up. For those people, we have the trusty alarm clock. They’ve come on leaps and bounds since the first mechanical, programmable alarm clock came into being (although to be fair, that was in 1847). Today, we have all manner of creative ways to kickstart your day.

Can’t stand the ring of the alarm? Go for a clock radio that’ll wake you with your favourite station, or an iPod dock that’ll play your carefully curated Good Morning playlist. Suffer from hearing loss, or have to be shaken out of deep sleep by your other half? Try an alarm clock with a shaker pad to startle you from under the covers. Short sighted or can’t reach the clock at night to check the time? Look for a projector clock that shine the time on any surface of your choosing. Finally, if you detest being shocked awake more than most, give a gentle wake-up light alarm a try, perfect for those dark mornings that make it extra-hard to get up.

1. Sonic Bomb SBB500SS Loud Alarm Clock with Bed Shaker

Tick, tick, boom! This ultra-loud alarm clock with light and shaker pad is one for the deep sleepers.

Specifications
Best for: Deep sleepers and hearing loss
Back-up battery: 9V (not included)
Alarms: 2
Reasons to buy
+EXTREMELY LOUD+Shaker and lights for all-round sensory assault
Reasons to avoid
-Lead for shaker pad could be longer 

That the Sonic Bomb alarm clock is described by its manufacturers as “ballistically loud” says it all. With its combination of ultra-loud ring, shaker pad for placing under your pillow or mattress, and bright flashing LED lights, this is the alarm clock to end all alarm clocks for deep sleepers, shocking three of your senses into wakefulness at once. You can set two alarms at once with variable volume and pitch, which is a nice touch for partners with different rising times. 

2. Acctim Zeno Double Bell

If you picture an alarm clock, chances are you’re thinking of this classic beauty

Specifications
Best for: Traditional look
Back-up battery: 1x AA
Alarms: 1
Reasons to buy
+Traditional double-bell style+Clear and easy-to-read face
Reasons to avoid
-Analogue isn’t for everyone 

For vintage homes and classic tastes, this traditional double-bell alarm clock from Acctim is just the ticket. The clear, minimal face lights up with the push of a button for easy reading in low light, although if you’re used to a digital clock, you might find that analogue takes a bit of deciphering in the wee small hours. The loud bell is great for heavy sleepers, too — and did we mention how good it looks on the bedside table? 

3. AZATOM HOME HUB

This smart charging and streaming dock needn’t be limited to the bedside

Specifications
Best for: Best value iPod dock
Back-up battery: None
Alarms: 2
Reasons to buy
+Bluetooth compatible+Pulls time and date info from device
Reasons to avoid
-Only charges Apple products 

Less an alarm clock and more a multi-functional hub, this smart docking station keeps your iPhone or iPad Mini charged up while allowing you to stream your media through the reasonably sized speakers. Use your own music, radio, or the simple buzzer to wake up — the display automatically takes the time and date from your device, so there’s no need to adjust when the clocks change. Very clever indeed. 

4. Philips Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock HF3500/01

Just like a sunrise, this light clock gradually brightens for a very good morning

Specifications
Best for: A gentle wake-up
Back-up battery: None
Alarms:
Reasons to buy
+Gradual, gentle wake-up+Doubles as bedside lamp
Reasons to avoid
-Constant display 

In stark contrast to the borderline-violent Sonic Bomb, the Philips Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock goes the gentle route to getting your day started. Over 30 minutes, the brightness of the warm white light gradually increases to mimic a natural sunrise, and follows up with a sound alarm for stubborn sleepers. The brightness is fully adjustable, and it doubles up as a bedside lamp, making it an ideal buddy for before-bed reading or getting ready on dark winter mornings, however some won’t like that you can’t turn off the display. Check out more of the best wake up lights rounded up by our team over at t3.com. 

5. iLuv SmartShaker

Shake things up with this vibrating alarm that only wakes you, not your sleeping partner

Specifications
Best for: Different schedules
Back-up battery: Internal Li-ion
Alarms: 4
Reasons to buy
+Tactile wake-up doesn’t disturb sleeping partners+Alarm and vibration options
Reasons to avoid
-Accompanying app isn’t amazing 

If you’re an early riser with a spouse who sleeps in (or vice versa), this silent alarm is a great option that’ll keep the peace and avoid morning grumpiness. And, with its insistent vibrations, it’s great for those with hearing loss, or just people who despise regular sound alarms. Simply download the accompanying app, choose from three levels of vibration, and place the small disc under your pillow ready for a tactile wake-up call. And if you ever do fancy a change, there’s an alarm function, too.

6. iHome iBT29BC

Feel right at home with this mood-making, colour-changing, phone-charging clock

Specifications
Best for: Colourful option
Back-up battery: None
Alarms: 1
Reasons to buy
+Choice of cheerful colours +USB port for charging devices
Reasons to avoid
-No battery backup 

The translucent casing and curvy shape of this colourful alarm clock makes it look decidedly high-end, and it has the functionality to back it up, too. With options for Bluetooth audio and FM radio, as well as a USB port for charging devices, it’s a smart little hub for keeping by the bed, and the choice of colours sets any mood you like for day or night.

7. WITTI Design BEDDI Glow

Features gentle lights and sounds to send you off to sleep and wake you up again

Specifications
Best for: Features
Back-up battery: None
Alarms: 4
Reasons to buy
+White noise generator and wake-up light+USB charging ports
Reasons to avoid
-Relies heavily on mobile 

This clever little alarm clock meets wake-up light is our best all-round pick for better sleep. It has an inbuilt white noise generator to lull you to sleep at night, and a sunrise-simulating light to gently wake you up again. Use the weather and traffic forecasts to plan your day, and the two USB charging ports to juice up your devices, then when you’re home again, use it to set the mood with a choice of colours and brightness levels. One of the less gimmicky clocks on our list, and still with some surprising features. 

8. Pictek Projection Clock

This alarm clock creates a big, bright projection for middle-of-the-night time checks

Specifications
Best for: Large LED display
Back-up battery: CR2032 (not included)
Alarms: 2
Reasons to buy
+Large projection; great for glasses-wearers+Adjustable projection range and angle
Reasons to avoid
-FM radio only 

If you’re sick of twisting and turning and squinting at a tiny LED display during the night, especially if you’re short-sighted, go for this smart projection clock. It shines the time continually on the wall or ceiling (the projection can be turned 90 degrees and flipped 180 to achieve the optimum viewing angle) throughout the night, and when the time comes to greet the day, you can be woken with a buzzer or the FM radio station of your choice.