When the world quiets down at night, any little sound—like a creaky pipe, or a passing car—can seem earsplitting. But the solution to your less-than-silent nights may actually be more noise. “White noise machines decrease distraction by covering up noises that could keep you awake,” explains Carl Bazil, MD, the director of the Division of Sleep at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center. White noise—which is made up of sound waves spanning a wide range of frequencies—actually masks the other noises in your environment. So rather than the drone of a neighbor’s TV, all you hear is a steady whooshing, not unlike the “shushhh”-ing moms and dads use to soothe their newborns. Below, explore the best white noise machines that will help you get a good night’s sleep.
- Best Overall: Sound+Sleep High Fidelity Sleep Sound Machine
- Best for Natural Noises: Yogasleep Dohm Classic Sound Machine
- Best with Dynamic Sound: Adaptive Sound Technologies LectroFan White Noise Machine
- Best for Masking Sound: Big Red Rooster White Noise Machine
- Best App-Controlled: T&N + Snooz White Noise Machine
- Best for All-Night Therapy: Yogasleep Whish White Noise Sound Machine
- Best Portable: Yogasleep Travel Mini Portable White Noise Sound Machine
- Best Budget: HoMedics White Noise Sound Machine
- Best for Babies: HoMedics MyBaby SoundSpa Lullaby
- Best with Alarm Clock: Loftie Smart Alarm Clock
- Best with Night Light: Hatch Restore
Not all white noise machines are made the same, which is why it’s important to pay close attention to the features offered. Light sleepers will want to opt for a model that plays its soothing sounds on a continuous loop, as this will ensure that there are no interruptions when the track restarts. Keeping this in mind, it’s also best to choose one that has multiple timer settings so the white noise will play for as long as you need it to. Customization is also essential when it comes to the machine’s sound library, especially if you’re someone that can’t quite fall asleep to traditional white noises alone, and volume settings.
These days, shoppers will also be delighted to find that most white noise machines come with other exciting features like alarm clocks and nightlights, and are compatible with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. A multipurpose model will help simplify your bedtime routine and eliminate bulk from your nightstand. It’s also not uncommon for these smart, app-controlled picks to include guided meditations and access to other helpful wellness tools.
Ahead, shop our quick guide to help you find a machine that matches your budget and lulls you into a deeper, more restful sleep.
The Sound + Sleep offers a good deal of versatility. It can actually detect other noises in your environment (say, the neighbor’s howling dog, or a snorer down the hall) and adjust to mask them. The gadget also has a unique “richness” feature, which allows you to add more detail to each of the 10 soundscapes (which include various nature settings, as well as options like “fireplace,” “trains,” and “city”). So for example, if you choose “ocean,” you’ll hear breaking waves. Touch the richness button to add in birds and seals. Touch it again and you’ll hear bells and foghorns. Other nifty extras: A headphone jack (in case your bedmate prefers to snooze in silence) and four auto-off timer choices (30, 60, 90, and 120 minutes).
“I love it,” exclaimed one Amazon reviewer. “I am sleeping peacefully now and my children and husband enjoy it as well. There are many sounds here but the fireplace sound was the one I was after and it works like a charm!”
Best for Natural Noises: Yogasleep Dohm Classic Sound Machine
While many sound machines play audio tracks on a loop, this one generates white noise mechanically with a built-in fan. The result: A natural and consistent whir. By twisting the top of the machine, you can open or close air passages until you discover the tone and volume most pleasing to your ears. Don’t expect any fancy features, like an alarm clock or auto-off timer. There is only one button on this machine (the one/off switch). But the Dohm creates such realistic and calming white noise, it’s been dubbed the official sound conditioner of the National Sleep Foundation. Not to mention, it also has more than 11,000 perfect ratings on Amazon.
“I spent a very long time online researching different white noise machines before finally settling on this one, and I am so glad I chose this one,” wrote one shopper. “The Dohm fits all my must-haves in a white noise machine, small, portable, adjustable, [and] powerful. It’s amazingly [customizable] in the amount of noise it produces, it can be just a quiet hum or a full-on roar. It works really well.”
What makes this minimalist machine stand out is software that dynamically generates sound. Translation: No predictable looping clips! Before you go to bed, you choose one of two options—white noise or fan—and select from 10 variations in pitch and volume. For those who only have trouble falling asleep, the LectroFan provides a one-hour timer. But if you need continuous sound to stay asleep, you can run the efficient device all night long for far less energy than it takes to power an actual fan.
“This sound machine has literally changed my life,” shared one customer, who said they were constantly being woken up by their neighbor’s shoveling. “The machine somehow completely covers the noise from the shovel, the toilet flushing next to my room, dogs barking, etc. It is incredible. There are a plethora of choices concerning volume and intensity of sound. Highly recommend.”
Best for Masking Sound: Big Red Rooster White Noise Machine
($20 was $30; amazon.com)
With six sound options, the Big Red Rooster White Noise Machine offers a variety of soothing ways to mask background noise—whether you’re trying to fall asleep, focus on work, or simply just relax after a long day. You have the choice to leave it running uninterrupted, or set it on a 15-, 30-, or 60-minute timer. The top-rated white noise machine, which has more than 8,200 five-star reviews on Amazon, is also battery-operated, so you can enjoy the tranquil sounds of rainfall, running streams, ocean waves, and white noise when you’re traveling, too.
“I got [one] for my son who has sensory needs, but also has a really loud room, that it’s even hard for me to fall asleep in there,” explained one reviewer. “My son likes the ocean sound and has tremendously helped to drown or all that other sounds from the highway out his back window.”
This wireless white noise machine is controlled through the T&N + Snooz app, which allows you to customize the volume, timer, and brightness from your phone. The machine creates a soothing fan noise using an actual interior fan, which produces sound without moving air around. It sits pretty on your nightstand or dresser with its minimalist and compact exterior and even has a night mode feature to better optimize your slumber.
“I have used several white noise machines in the past and was really surprised with how this sounded,” one shopper said in their review. “It’s natural, and doesn’t sound digital in any way. Compared with the noise speakers I’ve used in the past, it’s nice to have a machine that doesn’t sound digitalized. I’m surprised to see that this subtle, but noticeable, change in sound has dramatically improved my sleep.”
Best for All-Night Therapy: Yogasleep Whish White Noise Sound Machine
Those who enjoy sleeping with a white noise machine playing throughout the night will enjoy the lengthy timer settings on the Yogasleep Whish White Noise Sound Machine. Users have their choice of six- or eight-hour-long timers to ensure that their snooze-worthy soundscape will run for the remainder of the night, preventing any unwanted wake-ups and interruptions. This pick offers full volume control and 16 noise options, eight of which are traditional sleep sounds such as rain, stream, and chimes in addition to melodies that can be used for meditation and evoking feelings of calm.
“I can’t sleep without this machine,” one reviewer shared. “My husband snores super loud and since I’ve had this noise machine I’ve gotten better sleep. I can’t hear him when he gets up for work or when he’s getting ready. I can finally sleep peacefully throughout the night. I never want to live without it.”
If you need a machine you can take on the road, this one’s light, compact enough to fit in the palm of your hand, and may just be what you need to relax in a hotel or Airbnb bed. Its USB-rechargeable battery adds convenience, especially if your destination has unreliable outlet access, and comes with a removable lanyard for hanging if your travels bring you somewhere without nightstands (like a camping tent). Pick from six sound options: Dohm sound, gentle surf, stream, thunderstorm, and your choice of standard white noise or brown noise. Plus, it even doubles as a nightlight.
“The pitch of the white noise really agrees with me, and it’s amazingly loud for such a little thing,” wrote one impressed customer. “It’s also a good frequency to cover up barking dogs, etc..” The reviewer also added, “I didn’t care about the night light, but it proved to be a godsend when the power went out here for four nights.”
Best Budget: HoMedics White Noise Sound Machine
At $20 and earning more than 6,700 five-star Amazon customer reviews, the HoMedics White Noise Sound Machine is a budget-friendly pick that doesn’t sacrifice quality for its low price point. It’s equipped with six calming sound options, ranging from classic white noise to the rhythmic soundtracks of rainfall, ocean waves, and running brooks. But unlike other machines, each noise runs on a continuous loop without any breaks to prevent interrupting your sleep. This travel-friendly pick also has three timer settings: 15, 30, and 60 minutes.
“I suffer from insomnia and this has made an incredible difference in the amount of time it takes me to fall asleep,” said one reviewer, who credited the diverse volume levels and “high quality” and not “overly digitized” sound. “I highly recommend this product even if you’re just considering it or if you have doubts. It’s changing my sleep schedule for the better.”
($25 was $30; amazon.com)
Ready to comfort restless babies with its thoughtful collection of sounds and lullabies, this parent-approved white noise machine instantly creates a soothing environment for your little one to drift off in. You have your choice of rainfall, heartbeat, and ocean soundscapes for babies that prefer calming noises, plus classic lullaby melodies for added comfort. There are four timer settings and it also doubles as a projector, filling the nursery with relaxing images to better assist your efforts.
“When my kids were infants, I could not find a sound machine that stayed on longer than 15 to 20 minutes—and I don’t know about you, but my kids didn’t fall asleep that fast when soothing themselves to sleep,” one Amazon customer began. “Both my kids each had one of these in their room and both used from infant to the age of two, so we definitely got our money’s worth! So for the past 10 years, any time someone is having a baby, this is the first thing I stick in their gift bag and I’ve gotten many thanks from the mamas that have received them.”
Best with Alarm Clock: Loftie Smart Alarm Clock
The Loftie Smart Alarm Clock simplifies your bedtime and morning routine with its all-in-one design, which includes a smart alarm clock, white noise machine, and night light. The Wi-Fi compatible pick is stocked with soothing nature sounds to help you fall asleep and also features a night mode so there are no distractions while you catch your Zs. It also gives you access to guided meditations and sound baths for when you need some zen. The Loftie clock is controlled through its smartphone app, where you can set your alarm, customize its wakeup tone and volume, and enable the warm-glow nightlight. Oh, and did we mention it’s also a Bluetooth speaker?
“I live where a neighbor is rather noisy; driving in at all hours, slamming doors, sometimes shouting and mad at 2:00 a.m.,” wrote one shopper. “Loftie helps me tame that person with white noise and other sounds. That alone, a good night’s rest is worth this device. And waking the alarm does not sound like “Reveille” but brings you gently aroused to a waking state. A nice way to begin the day. And you can set what works for you, to make your day the best day.”
This three-in-one pick from Hatch illuminates your room with comforting light, courtesy of its soft-glow reading light. Through the Hatch app, you can control its hue using its curated colors, which are matched to the time of the day for optimal mood and lighting enhancement. Color is also a central element of the Hatch’s alarm clock, which uses sunrise-inspired shades to wake you up naturally. But when it’s time to wind down and hit the hay, you have your choice of soothing white noises in the Hatch’s expansive sound library, which also includes sleep stories and meditation.
“I am an active male in my mid-20s and I’ve struggled with sleep for a few years primarily due to work stress,” one Amazon customer said. “Additionally, I’m a very light sleeper which means that external noises from my apartment complex regularly wake me up and disturb my sleep cycle. The white noise content has been really helpful in reducing external noise and keeping me asleep… The variety of white noises (and other sounds) this device has is extremely helpful in this regard.”