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If you need something to help you drift off at the end of the day, a white noise machine is a great place to start. Their soothing sounds can help block out pesky background noises that can easily keep you awake (like your upstairs neighbor’s loud stomping or your partner’s never-ending snoring).
There are lots of options out there, but we think the nine in this list are some of the best. Plus, there’s something for everyone — from folks who like the sounds of nature to gentle hums for your little one.
Introducing: The white noise machine winners
- Best overall: LectroFan Classic
- Best features: Sound+Sleep High Fidelity Sleep Sound Machine
- Best rated: HoMedics White Noise Sound Machine
- Most user friendly: Yogasleep Dohm Classic
- Most versatile: Douni Sleep Sound Machine
- Best for babies: Hatch Baby Rest
- Best budget: Big Red Rooster
- Best portable: LectroFan Micro 2
- Best white noise app: White Noise Lite
What’s a white noise machine?
A white noise machine is a sound-producing gadget designed to play sounds on a loop. You might use one for a few reasons, including:
- to drown out your annoying drum-loving neighbor
- to provide chill vibes that can help you relax or get to sleep quicker
- to fill the void of silence, because a) it creeps you out or b) you’re suffering from tinnitus (aka ringing or buzzing in your ears)
A white noise machine can help if you’re struggling to get Zzz’s because your partner snores like a banshee or you have hundreds of cats meowing outside your window every night. But it’s not a miracle solution for everyone.
- Sound selection options. Because sometimes you want to fall asleep to the sound of a gentle rain, and other times you might want some general static.
- Aesthetics. If it’s going to be sitting in your bedroom, you want it to fit your vibe. We looked for smaller, more streamlined machines that don’t take up a ton of space.
- Positive customer reviews. Real-life users are the best judges out there. We took customer reviews and feedback into consideration when searching for reliable machines.
- Special features. Does the machine also act as a night-light? Does it have a timer? We picked machines that are simple but also boast cool add-ons.
- $ = under $25
- $$ = $25–$45
- $$$ = over $45
Best white noise machine overall
- Price: $$
What makes the LectroFan stand out? Simplicity. There are 20 different varieties of white noise, pink noise, or fan sounds (a nice array of options without being overwhelming).
The fact that there are only three main buttons makes it really easy to use in the dark when you’re half asleep. It’s small and sleek, fits easily on your nightstand, and can even be toted around with you when you travel.
It has a built-in timer and can be used from a wall outlet or USB, and there’s no light that might bug you while you’re sleeping.
While the LectroFan doesn’t offer sound machine noises like rain or the ocean, reviewers love how it blocks outside noises (one reviewer called it a “lifesaver” in the midst of New York City construction).
White noise machine with the best features
- Price: $$$
The Sound+Sleep machine has everything you never knew you needed.
For starters, there are 10 sound profiles and 30 listening experiences to choose from, with everything from white, brown, and pink noise to your typical nature noises. The soundscapes are also nonrepeating, so it’s not one recording played on a loop.
Then there are the cool features that make it unique. The noise-reduction timer gradually lowers the volume in 30-, 60-, 90-, and 120-minute increments so that the silence of the machine going off doesn’t disturb you. The buttons glow to make it easy to use in the dark, but they automatically dim so they won’t disrupt you.
It also has a headphone jack so you can listen by yourself if your partner isn’t into the sound.
Best rated white noise machine
- Price: $
With over 35,000 reviews and a nearly 5-star rating on Amazon, HoMedics White Noise Sound Machine is easily one of the most popular options out there. It’s not hard to see why: It has the same features as more expensive machines without the high $$$ price point.
There are six different sound options to keep it simple (one white noise and five nature noises), and an auto-timer that can allow the machine to turn off after 15, 30, or 60 minutes. It’s really easy to use with an adjustable, wide-range volume.
It’s small and light, so it makes for a great travel option and won’t take up a lot of space in your bedroom.
Most user-friendly white noise machine
- Price: $$
The Yogasleep Dohm Classic is our top no-fuss option. With the turn of a nob, you’ve got white noise.
This is a fan-based white noise machine, so you’ll only hear the soothing sounds of rushing air. Once you select the volume, you can twist the knob to adjust the tone of your white noise to make it more personalized to what you want.
There’s no timer feature, but since many prefer to sleep with white noise all night, that might not be a big issue for you.
Most versatile white noise machine
- Price: $$
With the Douni Sleep Sound Machine, it’s super easy to personalize your entire white noise experience. There are 24 sound options including fan sounds, white noise, classic nature sounds, and even lullaby and fetal tones for babies.
But the best feature is the memory function, which remembers your last settings of the timer, sound and volume level so you don’t need to constantly adjust everything every time you switch it on.
It has an automatic timer that turns it off after 30, 60, or 90 minutes, as well as a headphone jack and 32 volume levels. The USB plug also makes it a portable charger for your phone.
We also love that this one is a bit more aesthetically pleasing with its natural wood grain finish. *chef’s kiss*
Best white noise machines for babies
- Price: $$$
Baby having trouble getting to sleep? The Hatch Baby Rest is made with little ones in mind. In fact, it’s designed specifically to establish healthy sleep routines. It produces white noise and acts as a night-light, with multiple light and sound options to choose from. We also liked the alarm feature, which is great for older kids.
It’s also designed to be hella easy for parents to use: It can be controlled entirely through an app on your phone, so you don’t need to disturb your kiddo to turn it off or on.
Best budget white noise machine
- Price: $
This is a high quality white noise machine at a budget-friendly price. It features six different sleep sounds and includes a mix of white noise and nature sounds.
There’s an optional auto-off timer for 15, 30, or 60 minutes, and it can be plugged in or battery operated. The volume range is pretty legit and it really does block out other noises — one review says, “I could honestly compare it to my Bose speaker sound quality.”
It’s also small and compact for those with teeny tiny nightstands.
Best portable white noise machine
- Price: $$
Made specifically with travel in mind, the LectroFan Micro 2 is small enough to be stowed in a carry-on bag or even your purse. It has an internal rechargeable battery with 20 hours of battery life (40 hours on the Bluetooth setting).
There are 11 different sounds ranging from white noise to brown noise to ocean waves, and the speaker is impressive for something so small.
As a bonus, it can also be paired with your device through Bluetooth and can be used as a regular speaker. We love a two-for-one!
Best white noise machine app
Price: Free 💸
Not interested in adding clutter to your bedside table? This free iOS app comes with more than 50 looped white noise sounds to help you fall asleep ASAP. DJ your sleepy time tunes with the help of the app by looping and mixing your fave ambient sounds.
Love the hum of your AC unit? Record, loop it, and enjoy the monotonous, tinnitus-killing earworm all year long.
Here’s what to consider when shopping for your new bedtime buddy:
- Features. There are a lot of basic white noise machines out there that do one thing only: play preset sounds on a loop. But you might want a machine that can replace your alarm clock and play soothing sounds. Opting for a machine with more features can help you avoid a super cluttered nightstand, too.
- Sound variety. Sure, the crashing waves sound nice now. But in 6 months, you might want to mix things up. Choose a machine with at least a couple of sounds to choose from, so your machine doesn’t become more annoying than the thing you’re trying to drown out.
- Volume settings. If you’re looking for a white noise machine that can drown out loud noises, choose a model with high volume settings. Careful, though. Unsafe volume levels can have an effect on your hearing. Above a certain decibel level, white noise can be harmful to infants, too.
A white noise machine might be great for you if you:
In most cases, you’ll just turn the device on, pick a sound, and adjust the volume to your liking. Easy peasy. Most white noise machines aren’t supposed to be used with headphones (take care of your precious ears!).
The WHO and EPA recommend keeping noise levels below 70 decibels during a 24-hour period to prevent hearing loss. So try to avoid blasting your white noise machine unless absolutely necessary for your sanity.
If you’re trying to banish unwanted noises, put the machine close to the source. But if you just want to fall asleep to soothing sounds, it’s fine to keep the device by your bed.
How does white noise help with sleep?
Because white noise combines low, medium, and high frequency sounds, it can help mask sounds that might keep you awake, like traffic and construction.
Are there other kinds of noises that can help with sleep?
Brown and pink noise both sound deeper than white noise to the human ear and may be soothing to some people. Think thunder or crashing waterfalls. There isn’t lots of research on the effects of pink and brown noise on sleep, though.
Can white noise be harmful for sleep or health?
Yep. If it’s too loud, white noise can cause hearing loss. Also, in some people, white noise can even interrupt sleep, so pay close attention to how any noise machine affects your ability to fall and stay asleep.
How else can I use white noise?
Are there any special considerations for picking a white noise machine for a baby?
A white noise machine for a baby shouldn’t be able to reach over 50 decibels. Keeping it below that level will help protect your little one’s hearing.
White noise machines can be a lifesaver if you constantly struggle to fall and stay asleep because of environmental noise. They’re also a soothing way to calm yourself down as you try to fall asleep. The sound of ocean waves can help transport you from your bed to a sunny beach.
However you plan to use it, be sure to look for a machine with plenty of sound options — including plain old white noise. You might love the soothing sound of a babbling brook or crashing waves now, but you might not love it forever.
Thanks for listening! Now go get some sleep. 😴