If you’re having trouble falling asleep, a white noise machine might provide the soothing and relaxing vibes your brain needs to wind down after a long day. These machines can override distracting noises, like traffic or barking dogs, and make it easier to tune the world out and finally drift off.
Although anyone can buy a white noise machine if they feel it’ll benefit them, only those who have trouble falling—or staying—asleep at night really need them. Whether it’s something you struggle with every night or just on occasion when your surroundings are loud (think: loud neighbors, barking dogs, or heavy traffic), white noise machines can cancel out these noises and play random-generated sounds that help your brain let go and relax.
These machines are typically purchased for use at night, but some can be used in other settings to help you focus on work or studying for school, especially if they can playor other . Pink noise has more energy in the lower sound registers (read: it’s louder and more powerful on the lower end), with more bass rumbles, like thunderstorms, wind, or flowing rivers. It’s relaxing, too, like white noise, but is better for focusing and sharpening your memory, making it ideal for working and studying.
You can also use most white noise machines for babies to help them sleep more soundly. If this is what you’re wanting to do, though, be sure to turn that volume down! Most machines can put out sound as loud as 80dB, which is the maximum your ears can sustain for long periods of time without. Babies, however, and especially newborns, have ears that are more sensitive than adults, so noise for them 45dB during the day and 35dB at night. Also consider purchasing a machine with a built-in timer so it’ll shut off after an hour or so to protect their hearing even more.
We love the, as it produces electronically generated non-repeating sound. Its wide volume range should easily cover all kinds of distracting noises, plus it provides you with 10 fan sounds and 10 ambient noise variations (including both white noise and pink noise). The machine even has a 60-minute timer that’ll give you plenty of time to fall asleep if you don’t want to leave it running all night
The LectroFan has a small footprint, measuring just 4.4 x 4.4 x 2.2 inches, so it won’t take up much space on your nightstand. Its clearly labeled buttons give you straightforward access to its myriad power, volume, and noise controls. Plus, it’s all electronic, which means you won’t hear any mechanical moving parts. USB or AC power means you won’t have to rely on draining batteries, either, though it would be nice to have the option in case of a power outage.
Thecosts more than our other picks, but we think it’s absolutely worthwhile, which is why it’s our premium pick. In addition to having 30 immersive and non-repeating sound environments for you to relax with, it also boasts 10 unique sound profiles, including rainfall, city, train, waterfall, meadows, ocean, fireplace, meditation, brook, and (of course) plain old white noise. It measures 7.5 x 5.5 x 4.5 inches, so it’s a little bigger than the other machines on our list, but it’ll still leave plenty of room on a nightstand.
The machine has another impressive feature as well: adaptive sound. This means it listens to your environment and actively compensates for disruptive ambient noises by remixing the sounds it plays, adjusting the volume, and tweaking playback to maximize noise masking. Plus, it has built-in sleep timer options to reduce volume after 30, 60, 90, or 120 minutes to help you drift off to sleep in a gentle manner. The front panel light automatically dims, so it won’t keep you awake, and it also has a 3.5mm jack for those who don’t want to wake their partner.
For those on a budget, or who don’t want to deal with a full array of complicated options, theis the one to beat. With large, clearly labeled buttons on the top of the device, the machine is easy enough for anyone to use. It measures 4 x 4.4 x 2.6 inches, so it’s one of the smallest options available.
You’ve got six dedicated buttons for different sounds—with options like rain, thunder, ocean, and summer night. There are additional buttons for power and volume, along with a timer (with 15-, 30-, and 60-minute increments) for those who don’t want it to run all night. The machine can be powered by either an AC adapter or three AA batteries, so it’s great for taking on vacations.
Out of all the sound machines we’re recommending, thehas the simplest interface. A short strip at the bottom of the machine has a volume knob, a timer button, and six buttons for different soundscapes—like ocean, fan, and rain—all labeled by a picture symbol. It does have a little bit of repetition, however, but there’s no audible break.
It features an optional timer that’ll shut off the machine after 15, 30, or 60 minutes if you don’t want it to run all night long. The included chrome stand also features a built-in USB port, which you can use to charge your devices overnight. It measures 5.5 x 5.5 x 3.3 and is tilted upright, so it has a really small footprint.