The Best White Noise Machines To Help You Drift Off To Sleep (2023)

Table of Contents
Best White Noise Machine Overall A Smart Sound Machine That Does Everything Hatch Restore Sound Machine Best Budget White Noise Machine 20 Non-Looping Sounds Give You A Lot Of Options Magicteam Sound Machine Best White Noise Fan Simple, Reliable And Traditional White Noise Marpac Dohm Classic White Noise Machine Best White Noise Machine With Fan Sounds A Sleek Unit That Lets You Customize The Whirr Tuft & Needle + Snooz White Noise Machine Best White Noise Machine For Babies An Affordable Pick That Plugs Directly Into Your Wall LectroFan Kinder Baby Sleep Machine Best White Noise Machine For Toddlers An Adorable Option That Gives Off Light Projections Skip Hop Baby Soother Best White Noise Machine For Kids A Gadget That Tells Kids When It’s Okay To Get Up Hatch Rest+ Baby Sound Machine Best White Noise Machine To Mask Background Noise The Volume Automatically Adapts To Cover Background Noise Sound+Sleep Sleep Sound Machine Best Portable White Noise Machine Its Small Size And Battery Power Make It Travel-Friendly Homedics Portable Sleep Therapy Best Machine For Customizing White Noise A Machine That Lets You Mix Your Own Soundscape Brookstone Sleep Sound Mixer What To Consider When Shopping For A White Noise Machine Sound Selection Customization Light Options Age Of User Do White Noise Machines Really Work? Is It OK To Play White Noise All Night? Can White Noise Damage Your Hearing? Is It Better To Sleep In Silence Or With Noise? Are White Noise Machines Safe For Babies?

Yoga before bed, progressive muscle relaxation and the old standby of counting sheep—if none of the “natural” sleep aids are working for you, it might be time to invest in one of the best white noise machines. Also known as sound machines, these bedside devices play soothing ambient noise to help you drift off without difficulty. And they don’t simply guide you to sleep, but they help you keep snoozing, too. Right now, the best you can buy is the Hatch Restore, a smart model that lets you create personalized sleep routines. In other words, this white noise machine also helps you wake up.

There are plenty of other top-notch options out there, though, the best of which we’ve included on this list. Some machines let you layer ocean, campfire and rain sounds to customize your soundscape; others double as nightlights and baby monitors. If you’ve already added a supportive mattress, plush pillows and a few luxury sleep items to your bedroom setup, the final piece of the bedtime puzzle might be some sleep-inducing noise from a sound machine. Below, here are the 11 best white noise machines to help you and your family get a good night’s rest.

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Best White Noise Machine Overall

A Smart Sound Machine That Does Everything

Hatch Restore Sound Machine

Key features: Personalized sleep routine, companion app, sunrise alarm | Nightlight: Yes

The Hatch Restore is an elegant-looking sound machine with an integrated clock display and the ability to wake you in the morning, but as far as features go, that barely scratches the surface. Its signature feature is its personalized sleep routine; using an app on your phone, you can curate your sleep ritual by customizing sounds, lighting and time frames.

For instance, you can start with some bedtime reading—yes, the Hatch Restore can provide reading light—then switch to meditation and finally drift off to some white noise. In the morning, Hatch can gently wake you with a sunrise alarm. You can even choose the color of the Restore’s nightlight.

The app comes with a small library of sound options including meditations, sleep stories and background sounds, but to get the most out of your Hatch Restore, you can pay for a premium subscription ($50 per year) to get access to a large library of content.

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Best Budget White Noise Machine

20 Non-Looping Sounds Give You A Lot Of Options

Magicteam Sound Machine

Key features: 20 sound options, USB compatible | Nightlight: No

You don’t have to spend a lot to get a great white noise machine. Magicteam’s white noise generator has 20 different non-looping sounds to choose from—something unusual in a device at this price point—with choices including rain, ocean, birds, a brook and traditional white, brown and pink noise.

It can plug into a standard wall outlet or get its power from USB, making it pretty versatile, and the understated white gadget has a row of simple controls up front to manage the sounds ands volume. It doesn’t have as many features as some of the more robust “smart” models in this list, but what it does, it does well, and at a price that’s hard to beat.

Best White Noise Fan

Simple, Reliable And Traditional White Noise

Marpac Dohm Classic White Noise Machine

Key features: Easy to use, real fan noise | Nightlight: No

The Marpac Dohm Classic White Noise Machine is notable for being incredibly simple to operate. Just turn it on choosing either high or low volume and spin the cap and side of the device to dial in the quality of white noise you’re looking for. Under the hood, you’ll find a true mechanical fan creating an analog soundscape, working the same way it has since it was invented in 1962.

Of course, this means the scope of sounds it can produce is pretty narrow. There are no rainfalls or birds chirping in the Marpac Dohm, nor is there any nightlight, timer or wake alarm. Nonetheless, many people find the non-looping white noise it generates and overall simplicity to be perfect for their needs.

Best White Noise Machine With Fan Sounds

A Sleek Unit That Lets You Customize The Whirr

MOST POPULAR

Tuft & Needle + Snooz White Noise Machine

Key features: Real fan noise, dark/light modes, companion app | Nightlight: No

It makes sense that a sound machine company and a mattress brand decided to team up to develop their own sound machine—and this is the impressive result of their collaboration. Like the original Snooz White Noise Machine, the Tuft & Needle + Snooz White Noise Machine boasts a sleek, simple design that means it’ll be inconspicuous among your bedroom decor.

While this sound machine uses real fan noise (without moving air) to help lull you to sleep, it’s 98% more energy efficient than a typical box fan—and of course, it’s a lot smaller, too. Designed for adults and babies (and even pets), it offers adjustable tone and volume and both dark and light modes. The T&N White Noise app offers additional features for extra convenience and comfort, including the ability to set timer schedules and select fade in/out.

Best White Noise Machine For Babies

An Affordable Pick That Plugs Directly Into Your Wall

LectroFan Kinder Baby Sleep Machine

Key features: Cordless, 70 sound options including lullabies | Nightlight: Yes

If you’re looking for a white noise machine designed specifically for babies, the LectroFan Kinder is the best option you can buy. For starters, this machine plugs directly into an outlet, meaning there’s no cord for babies to grab and yank. You can also control the device via phone app, allowing you to lower the volume, change the sounds or turn it off entirely from your couch. Speaking of sounds, this noise machine comes with a whopping 70 options, including lullabies, ambient noises and nature sounds. Meanwhile, a built-in nightlight offers up a wide selection of colors.

Best White Noise Machine For Toddlers

An Adorable Option That Gives Off Light Projections

Skip Hop Baby Soother

Key features: Music, lights, projector | Nightlight: Yes

Let’s be honest: Toddlers can be tough critics. But even the pickiest is sure to fall in love with the owl-themed Skip Hop Baby Soother, which couldn’t be more adorable. Once you turn the machine on using an easy switch, pick from four melodies and four nature sounds. While the machine plays music for approximately 15, 30 and 60 minutes, an adjustable pivot lens projects a starry night scape onto any surface. And that’s not all this little machine can do. The sweet owl’s belly doubles as a nightlight with a built-in dimmer option.

Best White Noise Machine For Kids

A Gadget That Tells Kids When It’s Okay To Get Up

Hatch Rest+ Baby Sound Machine

Key features: Lullaby options, two-way baby monitor, companion app | Nightlight: Yes

The Hatch Rest+ is like the kids’ version of the Hatch Restore. That means you get pretty much everything the Restore can do—programmable bedtime routines with your choice of kid-friendly lullabies, white noise and nature sounds, as well as an adjustable-color nightlight, for example—along with a few other features designed for babies and harried parents.

In the morning, parents might appreciate the Rest+’s Okay to Get Up feature, which illuminates when your child is allowed to venture out of their bedroom. That should save you from a thousand “it’s too early, go back to bed” conversations.

You can use the Rest+ to throw some gentle light on middle-of-the-night diaper changes, and you can turn it on hands-free thanks to Alexa integration. If your baby naps in different rooms, the gadget is easily moved and a battery backup retains all your settings. The Rest+ also serves as a two-way baby monitor; fire up the app to hear and speak to your child.

Best White Noise Machine To Mask Background Noise

The Volume Automatically Adapts To Cover Background Noise

Sound+Sleep Sleep Sound Machine

Key features: 16 non-looping sound options, adapts volume to ambient noise, companion app | Nightlight: No

The control panel on the Sound+Sleep might feel a little cramped and crowded, but that’s because you get such a wide variety of sound options without the complexity of connecting your phone and using a mobile app. The dial gives you direct access to 16 sounds including rainfall, babbling brook, ocean surf, waterfall, crowd sounds and more, including white, pink and brown noise. Unlike some electronic sound machines, these are all non-looping for no distracting audio glitches.

This sound machine also has a feature you don’t see often: an adaptive mode that varies the volume of its background sounds in response to ambient noise. If a truck rumbles by outdoors, the Sound+Sleep will ramp up its volume in response and then return to normal when the distraction is gone. You also get a volume control (naturally) and a sleep timer you can set to 30, 60, 90 or 120 minutes.

Best Portable White Noise Machine

Its Small Size And Battery Power Make It Travel-Friendly

Homedics Portable Sleep Therapy

Key features: Small size, low price, 6 sound options | Nightlight: No

If you’re looking for a small sound machine that you can take on the road, the Homedics Portable Sleep Therapy sound machine fits the bill. It’s among the smallest sleep machines around (it measures about 7 inches wide and 6 inches deep) and can be run on AC power or on four AA batteries. And we’d be remiss not to point out that it’s among the cheapest sound machines you can buy, priced at or under $25.

You get a choice of a half-dozen sounds (white noise, thunder, ocean, rain, summer night and brook) and the sounds are rhythmic, designed to install feeling of comfort that lulls you to sleep. You can trigger the sounds with a 15, 30 or 60-minute sleep timer.

Best Machine For Customizing White Noise

A Machine That Lets You Mix Your Own Soundscape

Brookstone Sleep Sound Mixer

Key features: Woodgrain finish, 7 nightlight color choices, ability to mix your own soundscape | Nightlight: Yes

It’s hard not to fall in love with the aesthetics of this model from Brookstone with its handsome woodgrain finish and fabric wrapping. But good looks aside, the true art it offers is all in the sound.

You’ll notice that the controls are unlike anything you’ll find in other sound machines: similar to an audio mixing board, you get to blend the device’s eight sounds. These include a white noise fan, rain, ocean, thunder, campfire, birds, flute and ambient night, all identified with icons above each mixing slider. With them, you can sculpt your own soundscape; for instance, you might combine some wind, campfire and ocean waves to imagine you’re sleeping under the stars.

The Brookstone sound machine includes an integrated nightlight that illuminates the bottom of the mixer, creating a glow on the tabletop in your choice of seven adjustable colors. The device is fully portable with an integrated battery you charge via USB.

What To Consider When Shopping For A White Noise Machine

Aside from considering factors like sound selection and light options, you’ll want to keep in mind the age of the user as well as the option to create a personalized sleep routine when picking out a white noise machine. Below, we highlight some factors to keep in mind.

Sound Selection

In this category, personal preference rules. Fortunately, the wide variety of white noise machines on the market offer sounds to match anyone’s needs, from whirring fans to soothing nature sounds.

Beyond straightforward, consistent noises, some sound machines include special content such as meditations, sleep stories and lullabies for when you’re not in the singing mood.

Customization

Most people will probably be perfectly happy with a selection of a few types of sounds. However, if you’re seeking more versatility, consider the Brookstone Sleep Sound Mixer, which (as the name indicates) lets you blend various sound options, or the Hatch Restore Sound Machine, which lets you create personalized sleep routines with sounds and lights.

Light Options

Whether or not you want a nightlight should be one of your first considerations when shopping for a white noise machine because that option isn’t standard. Some models offer several color options to help set the mood.

Age Of User

Many sound machines can work for all ages (whether or not they’re marketed that way), but pay attention to these features before you buy. For an infant, for instance, you may want a model that offers hushed sounds, lullabies and a nightlight. Adults may prefer a machine that offers nature noises, meditations or a glow that mimics the sunset versus a rainbow of sherbet colors.

Do White Noise Machines Really Work?

It depends on what you’re using it for, says board-certified sleep medicine doctor and neurologist W. Christopher Winter, who also hosts the podcast Sleep Unplugged. “If there’s traffic noise outside or your partner snores, white noise can really help create an environment that creates consistency and drowns out other noises that can be distracting,” he says. “That can be very helpful for people to sleep.”

Is It OK To Play White Noise All Night?

“I would not recommend it,” says Rebecca Lewis, Au.D., audiologist and audiology director of the Adult & Pediatric Cochlear Implant Program at Pacific Neuroscience Institute at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California. “There’s no reason to give your ears a noise dose while you sleep.” If you prefer to leave your white noise machine running, Lewis recommends keeping it at a lower volume and/or setting a timer to turn it off during the night. Also, keep tabs on the volume. “It’s unsafe to be listening at a loud level all night long,” she says.

Can White Noise Damage Your Hearing?

If your white noise machine is cranked up loudly, it could impact your hearing. Occupational noise exposure recommendations set by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) limit exposure time to eight hours for a noise at or above 85 dBA. To be fair, 85 dBA is loud—it’s on par with lawn mowers and heavy traffic noises. “Just be mindful about the level,” Lewis says. (If you’re unsure if your machine is at a safe noise level, she says you can download a sound meter app to your phone to check.)

Is It Better To Sleep In Silence Or With Noise?

It’s really up to you. Dr. Winter says there’s no evidence that using a white noise machine will help you sleep longer or more deeply. “If you’re sleeping great, I don’t think you need a white noise machine,” he says. “But if you’re struggling to sleep or your bedroom gets noisy at night, it may help.”

Are White Noise Machines Safe For Babies?

White noise machines are considered safe for babies, provided you use them properly, says Cher Zhao, MD, a pediatric otolaryngologist at Massachusetts Eye and Ear. “In infants, it is recommended to limit the duration of use of sound machines, due to the risk that prolonged noise exposure at a high volume could have detrimental effects during a crucial period of their auditory development,” she says. To ensure you’re using your white noise machine safely, Zhao recommends the following best practices:

  • Place the white noise machine as far away as possible from your baby—at least 6.5 feet away
  • Set the volume as low as possible
  • Use a timer or shut off the sound once your baby falls asleep
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