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Upgrade your alarm clock: The best devices to help you rise and shine


Unless you are one of those miraculous people who can wake up at the same time everyday sans-alarm, you most likely have an alarm clock that beeps you awake in the morning or use your smartphone as a bedside alarm. While smartphones work fine for people who don’t have much need for a more complex alarm, a host of features await you in actual alarm clock form. We’ve selected some of our favorite picks for those who want something easy and simple, those who have iOS devices, and those who need some heavy duty help rising and shining.


These alarm clocks are for people who can wake up to a normal alarm clock and don’t want any unnecessary bells or whistles.  The first is an smart way of keeping things minimal on your nightstand. When turned off, the Woodstation Weather Display ($100) only looks like a sleek wooden sculpture. When turned on, the clock has LED lights that display the date, the indoor temperature and humidity, and one of five helpful weather forecast icons. The alarm is a basic one, with a snooze, and can be mounted to a wall.

If you’re a traveler, you’ve probably overslept your alarm thanks to jet lag and inaccurate clocks more than once. The Jet Lag Alarm Clock ($40) uses an extremely simple design (it’s half the size of your passport) to help travelers switch the clock to local time and set an easy alarm. Plus and minus buttons on the left change the hours on the left and the wake time on the right. The tiny little clock has a snooze button and a handy light.

If all you want is a stylish alarm clock to replace your smartphone as an alarm, consider the monochromatic, retro design of the Twin Bell Nude Station Alarm Clock ($25). The old-fashioned alarm clock has a modern face and the classic twin-bell design of eras past. It comes in dark grey and white, and would look good on just about any nightstand.

For iOS devices


These three alarms are our best picks for people who love their Apple products. Each one is compatible with your favorite Apple products and two out of the three let you blast tunes from your best iTunes playlists. 

We cheated a little bit on this first one since it’s not technically a clock in itself, but we think it’s worth it regardless. If you’ve ever had sleeping problems, you’ve probably read that waking up in the middle of a REM sleep cycle will leave you feeling groggy and tired. The Wakemate app and wristband combo ($60) aims to help determine your sleep patterns so that you wake in between cycles, which will leave you feeling more refreshed and awake, no matter how many hours you slept. Users set a ‘latest’ alarm time and Wakemate will use when you fell asleep (the wristband tracks small movements) to determine the best possible time to wake you, up to 20 minutes before your set time. The iOS app also lets users see statistics and patterns in their sleep over time. 

It’s nothing new or innovative, but we still like the classic simplicity of iHome devices as nightstand speakers, iOS docks, and alarm clocks. The iHome iD85 ($140) boasts powerful speakers for your iPod, iPhone, or iPad, programmable snooze time, gradual wake and sleep, and custom weekday and weekend alarms. Users can wake to music from their iOS device, a favorite radio station, or your classic annoying beep. The docking station and alarm clock is also app-enhanced, meaning that it will work with iHome’s iHome+Sleep and iHome+Radio free apps. Did we mention that your iOS device will always be charged?

For those who are still fans of good old mix CDs (we know you’re out there!) we have the Sony CD Clock Radio ($100). The multi-functional device will play music from your iPod or iPhone, a CD, or the radio. Dual alarms ensure that you and your significant other both get up on time, and a docking station keeps your iPod or iPhone charged and ready. Alarms can be set with 2, 5, or 7-day settings and the devices includes a helpful wireless remote. 

Heavy duty alarms

Now, for some of you we know that getting up in the morning is more difficult than it should be. If you’re one of those people who can (or will) sleep through anything, one of these alarms should help you make it to work on time. Some are more kind than others, but all three should do the trick. 

If you’re a fan of waking up naturally but can’t seem to manage in the dark winter months, the Philips Wake-up Light ($110) will help ease you out of sleep with a simulation sunrise. The special lamp gently brightens over a 30-minute period, naturally telling your body to wake up. At the end of the 30-minutes, users can choose from several different natural ambient sounds to signal that it’s time to get up. Your body is designed to wake as the sun rises, and this genius Philips technology makes use of that to help you wake up naturally and easily. The intensity of light can be adjusted and you can add tunes from your charging iPhone or iPod to the mix as well. 

If you are the worst of the worst when it comes to waking up in the morning, you might be interested in submitting yourself to this torturous device. The Sonic Bomb Alarm Clock ($40) employs an extra loud ‘Ninja Alarm’ in combination with a vibrating ‘bed shaker’ (yes, they are serious) to rouse you from your deep slumber. The alarm has an adjustable volume that can go up to 113 decibels, which is 13 decibels louder than a jackhammer. If that doesn’t do the trick, place the bed shaker part of the device under your mattress and you’ll receive a literal jolt (and shake) awake. We wouldn’t be very happy if we had to wake up to this everyday, but it might be better than sleeping through the morning on weekdays. 

For some people, all they need is to actually put two feet on the floor and stand up to feel awake and ready to face the morning. The Clocky ($39) aims to help users do that in a hurry. To help users avoid abusing the snooze button, tiny Clocky will jump three feet from your nightstand after a few minutes of normal alarm beeping and run around your room until you find it and turn it off. By that time, you’ll be on your feet and falling back in bed will seem like a waste. Problem solved. 

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