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If you have trouble waking up in the morning, you know that your alarm clock choice is absolutely critical. Old-school analog alarm clocks work fine for some people, but if you’re serious about optimizing your sleep schedule and want to feel more well-rested throughout the day then you *need* a smart alarm clock.
Our research team researched all of the most popular brands. After extensive testing, we narrowed our list down to the top five best smart alarm clocks. Each clock has different performance capabilities and technical specifications. Our review team followed a rigorous step-by-step process when analyzing these high-tech alarm clocks. Read on for more details and to find out which one is best for your needs.
Our favorite smart alarm clocks are:
- Amazon Echo Show 5
- Google Nest Hub
- Lenovo Smart Clock
- Erauh Sunrise Alarm Clock
- LaMetric Time WiFi Clock
Amazon Echo Show 5
Amazon Echo Show 5 took first place in our best-of smart-alarm list because it is a great mix of value, affordability, and useful wakeup options.
There are two ways you can set a morning alarm clock – using the regular alarm or by setting routines.
The alarm clock is easy to set up – either over the screen or voice command. You can choose from a variety of sounds to wake up with. To snooze, just tap the device on top.
The Routines option gives you more variety. For example, the Sunrise option will gradually brighten your screen before the alarm. You can choose whether you want this right at the time when the sun rises or some time before/after the actual sunrise. If you have smart lights at home, Alexa can also turn them on at sunrise time. This allows for a calmer, more natural wake-up than an alarm sound. However, if you want to be completely sure you’ll wake up on time, don’t forget to add an alarm.
In the Routines, you can also choose which action you want to take place instead of the alarm sound – like relaxing sounds of nature or music.
The Echo Show won’t cause you trouble over night. With a voice command “Alexa, turn off the display”, your screen will become completely black. Alternatively, you can use the do not disturb mode which dims the display and turns the clock numbers red. This feature is for you if you want to always be able to see the time.
Amazon Echo Show is definitely more than an alarm clock – it shows videos, plays music, interacts with other smart devices, accesses the internet, lets you make calls, and more.
The price of $44.99 makes Echo Show an affordable device. It has the same capabilities as Amazon Echo but also features a 5.5” screen. Similar to Echo Dot, it has no batteries and has to be plugged in for as long as you want to use it.
Buy: Amazon Echo Show 5, $44.99 from Amazon.com
Google Nest Hub
Google Nest Hub is similar to Amazon Echo – it allows you to set an alarm and to make a wakeup routine. You can set them up by tapping the screen or with a voice command.
The alarm option allows you to choose the alarm tone, volume, and duration, but the one which caught our attention is “Gestures to snooze”. Using ultrasound sensing technology, your Google Nest Hub will know if you’re waving at it and the alarm will stop.
Recently Google updated the Hub with a Sunrise option which gradually brightens the screen before the alarm.
You can make a routine which will turn on your lights, start the radio, news, etc. Whatever you want to wake up to.
The Nest Hub automatically adjusts screen brightness to match the ambient. When you dim the lights in the room, the Hub dims its lights, and when you turn off the lights, the Hub screen turns black and only shows the time. The numbers are very faint in the dark and can only be noticed if you directly look into the screen.
One plus for Google Nest Hub compared to Amazon Echo Show is that the Hub accesses YouTube, but one big minus is that it doesn’t have an on-screen keyboard. Also, there’s no camera on the device.
It has a 7” screen and the price is lower than ever at $69.98.
Buy: Google Nest Hub, $69.98 from WalMart.com
Lenovo Smart Clock with Google Assistant
Lenovo Smart Clock operates using Google Assistant. All you have to do is open the Google Home app on your phone or tablet and connect it to your Lenovo device.
With a screen of only 4”, the Lenovo Smart Clock fits well on any nightstand. Just like the Google Nest Hub, it has the normal alarm (with just a few sound choices) and routines, including the sunrise/sunset options.
To snooze the alarm, just tap the clock on top; to turn it off, it’s enough to say “Stop!”, without the “Ok, Google”
Lenovo Smart Clock has an Auto mode which uses a light sensor to adjust the brightness to the light in the room. This mode also dims light with the sunset and brightens it early in the morning.
The tiny Smart Clock has no camera and it doesn’t play YouTube and Netflix videos. It can’t receive calls, but you can use it to call others. The options are quite limited; but unlike the Google Hub or Amazon Echo, this is only a clock, after all. The price of $39.99 is quite fair, although it reaches $80 on some websites. We definitely don’t recommend buying Lenovo Smart Clock for more than $40 – it is a good device, but a higher price just doesn’t justify the value you get.
Buy: Lenovo Smart Clock with Google Assistant, $39.99 from Lenovo.com
Erauh Sunrise Alarm Clock
Best sunrise wake-up | Buy from Amazon | More info coming soon
The Erauh Clock is compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant – you need a special app for this clock – Smart Life. The Erauh clock works as an alarm and as a lamp. In the morning, the light fades in and at sunset, it slowly fades out.
These features work better than those in all the above products because the light emitted from Erauh Sunrise Alarm Clock comes from a bigger surface and therefore affects you more. In the morning, you’ll feel more refreshed when woken up by a gradual light increase, and in the evening, you’ll be more sleepy as a result of a gradual light decrease. This will work best if you use the clock as a lamp, and not as one of several lights in the room.
You can also choose from seven different colors, set up to four alarms, and play the radio. Apart from the radio, you can pick one of seven different sounds to wake up to.
And with the price of $25.99, you’re definitely getting your money’s worth!
Buy: Erauh Sunrise Alarm Clock, $25.99 from Amazon.com
LaMetric Time Wi-Fi Clock
The LaMetric Time is a clock with a face that keeps switching from time, weather, events, to messages or calls you’re receiving. Time can be linked to Alexa or Google Assistant for voice control.
With a sleek rectangular shape of almost 8” in length, it can easily fit on your desk or away from it – the letters and numbers are big enough to see them from a distance.
The LaMetric Time Clock can play radio, music on Spotify, and stream music.
One of the downsides of this clock is the fact that LaMetric requires you to install numerous apps if you want to use different features. Another one is that the plastic on the product gets scratched extremely easily.
With the super-high price of $199 dollars, we recommend this alarm clock only if you need a simple smart clock with a very visible face and elegant look.
Buy: LaMetric Time WiFi Clock, $199 from Amazon.com
What’s a Smart Alarm Clock? Features and Possibilities
Smart alarm clocks are the latest type of alarm clocks in the evolution of technology. They still serve the two basic purposes – showing the time and waking you up. Unlike the old alarm clocks, smart alarm clocks can do much more than just that – they can tell you what’s the weather like, what chores you have to do that day, play music/videos of your choice, make calls and shopping lists, order lights in your room to turn on, and even make you coffee. You can also read new messages and respond to them.
What features a smart alarm clock has depends on the model and the system it uses (the majority of modern alarm clocks today use Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant). Some smart alarm clocks have a camera and they allow you to make video calls – Amazon Echo Show 5 is one of them.
Google Nest Hub, for example, has ultrasound sensing technology so you can just wave at it to stop the alarm. Most new-age alarm clocks have a cute way of stopping the alarm, which is just to tap them on the top, similarly to how it was done decades ago. Just with completely different hardware.
What to Look for In A Smart Alarm Clock
Your perfect smart alarm clock should be able to perform those tasks that you need to be done. For some, it’s just waking them up; for others, it’s carrying out an entire routine which includes playing the sound of birds chirping for five minutes, then reading the forecast and latest news, turning on the radio in the bathroom, and starting the coffee maker in the kitchen.
So, before you start looking at which smart clocks there are, think about what you actually need in the morning. Here are some ideas that we believe you should have in mind when making your choice.
- The size of the smart alarm clock. Check the size and see whether it can fit your nightstand along with other things. Also, if you’re planning to utilize the screen heavily, you may go with a bigger one.
- The night mode. What does the screen look like when you go to sleep? Some screens turn off completely, and some have white or red numbers. In some, the light is so dim at night that you can’t really tell the time unless you really focus to see the actual numbers. See what works best for you.
- Gradual light increasing. Gradually increasing the screen light of the clock or (if connected to smart home lighting) increasing the room lights gradually is one of the best ways to wake up. As you sleep, your eyes will pick up light, and a series of wakeup processes will start in your body. Finally, you’ll wake up from a light sleep stage, already fully prepared to get up. You’ll feel refreshed and energized, so if there’s no natural light coming in from your window at your wakeup time, we highly recommend smart alarm clocks with this option (many call it the Sunrise feature).
- Additional options. If you’re planning to use your smart alarm clock for video calls, double-check that you’re getting a model with a built-in camera. If you can’t live without a radio, see to get one which has a radio. Likewise, check for options like – Bluetooth connectivity, compatibility with your other devices, and whether it supports apps you like such as YouTube and Netflix.
Smart Clocks: The Good and The Bad
There are positive sides to smart alarm clocks as well as negative ones. This is how we see them.
Benefits of a smart clock
Heart healthy. The biggest benefit comes with the Sunrise option. The slow increase in light imitates the sunrise, which helps you wake up naturally and without the stress. Also, allowing the clock to follow the natural sunrise may actually decrease the chances of suffering a heart attack a day after the Daylight Saving Time. Believe it or not, that’s when the most heart attacks occur worldwide, and science links them to the abrupt change in time. Letting the smart clock to follow the actual sunrise time (which always changes) would make the change much more gradual and natural.
Better sleep. Some of these gadgets also have a Sunset option, which does the opposite – gradually dimming the lights around the sunset time. This option allows you to become sleepy at the right time and sleep more soundly.
Get out of the bed. Smart clocks can help you if you make use of its Routines, especially if you’re a morning person. This option ties several actions together, in order that you choose. When you link the smart clock to other home appliances via the IoT (Internet of Things), it can increase the temperature in your apartment, start the coffee maker, turn on the radio, TV, and more. So, if you like slow mornings, you can choose to be woken up by light and after a few minutes, receive a que (whatever sound you prefer) to get up. The clock can read out the list of your daily tasks, or just morning tasks as you’re putting on your clothes. When starting out, you need to give Routines some thought and testing. When you find your ideal routine, you can stick to it.
All the options. Some are made to be a photo frame which also wakes you up, some can make phone and video calls, some are great for playing YouTube with no limits, etc. Just several months ago, our favorite – Sunrise/sunset option wasn’t a part of the Routines. New updates keep coming and smart clocks are becoming more and more integrated into the everyday needs of humans.
Reasons to avoid a smart clock
Technology dependence. In today’s world, more and more people see that something’s wrong with the way they live. There are entire books and courses dedicated to “digital detox”. Studies show that technology can be a major cause for stress for many Americans. When your mental health and personal relationships depend on it, you may want to think about staying away from technology for a while. This is where smart alarm clocks come in – they are more seamless and unnoticeable than mobile phones and computers, so it might seem like they aren’t such a problem. In fact, by helping us form routines, and by keeping us motivated day in and day out, they may be just as addicting as a phone.
Smart clocks depend on the Internet (Wi-Fi) and many of them have no battery so they are completely dependent on the cable/electricity. Once something goes wrong and you don’t get your wonderful routine that you got used to, your day automatically starts rough. Once that extra comfort is taken away from you so abruptly, your addiction will automatically surface. It can come up through annoyance and stress just because, say, you got used to hearing about the weather instead of looking out of the window, and having to make your own coffee instead of having it made for you.
Connectivity issues. We just talked about the situation in which your alarm may not work. One of the frequent complaints about smart alarm clocks is their connectivity. They are sometimes just not able to get the signal from your router. Sometimes their connectivity loss may be totally random. Fixing this can take your time and make you think whether it’s all worth it. We believe that as the development advances, smart clocks will have fewer problems with connectivity.
Privacy concerns. The major companies promise it’s in their policies to keep your privacy safe. Even so, many people don’t feel comfortable with having a device whose mic is always on in their bedrooms, a device which knows exactly when they do all of their activities, and which stores everything on a cloud. This isn’t something new – it is pretty much what your phone or tablet does. However, if you are one of those who care about privacy and prefer not to store their information on a cloud, a smart alarm clock may not be the option for you.
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