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Take a Look at the Best Clock Radios in 2021

Clock radios are a classic way to ensure you are on time for work, school, or your other hobbies. Although you can still purchase a classic clock radio with access to a couple of radio channels and a traditional buzzer, there are many more options to choose from these days.

A clock radio doesn’t just need to be functional, but it should contribute to your happiness by matching your style and waking you in the most pleasant way possible. With so many products on the market, you can guarantee your perfect clock radio is available somewhere. However, finding it amongst less compatible products might seem like a daunting task.

To help you find the best clock radio, we will discuss several factors and features you should consider before making a purchase. First, you can read our list of the best clock radios in 2021 below— we are confident you will love our selection.

Here Are the Best Clock Radios of 2021

USCCE Digital Dual Alarm 6 Sounds Adjustable Volume Clock Radio - Best Overall

Nobody likes a jarring wake-up call; this clock, as our top pick, has a variety of customizable settings so you wake up in the best way possible. The brightness of the LCD screen is dimmable via the use of a dial, so you don’t have to worry about a bright light next to you while you sleep. You have the option to use a 12-hour or 24-hour clock, and there are five built-in alarm tones in addition to the radio. The alarm will begin quietly and gradually become louder up to the level you choose, so you don’t get abruptly woken up. If you are not ready to get up, hitting the snooze button will let you sleep for nine more minutes. In addition, you can charge two devices from this clock radio thanks to the two attached USB ports.

  • Dimmable LCD screen
  • 12-hour or 24-hour clock display
  • Alarm begins quietly and grows in volume
  • USB charging ports are slow

Emerson SmartSet Alarm 9" LED Display Clock Radio - Runner Up

This clock radio is the perfect product for anyone who wants a standard, easy-to-use clock radio. It has large buttons on top so you can easily navigate around the controls and has legible numbers on the screen. The clock can have two alarms that can be set to any schedule, which is great for separate weekend wakeup times. You can optimize the light levels by changing the LED dimmer and choose to wake up to your favorite AM or FM radio station or the traditional buzzer sound. An additional plus is that this clock will automatically set itself to the right date and time, even if the power goes out or if the time changes due to Daylight Savings.

  • Easy to set alarms
  • Large, clear LED screen
  • Automatic time setting
  • You cannot adjust the volume of the alarm, only the radio

Sony ICFC-1 Alarm LED Black Clock Radio - Contender

This alarm clock radio has a sleek cube design available in black or white that looks great on any bedside table. The display simply shows the current time and your radio setting — there are no other distracting numbers or bright lights. All of the controls are easy to operate on the top and back of the cube, and the snooze bar is nice and large so you can't miss it on those mornings when you need a bit more rest. Both AM and FM radio stations are available, as well as a standard buzzer. The alarm can be set to a gradual wake up starting quietly and getting louder and can also be used with an adjustable sleep timer if you like to listen to music as you drift off to sleep.

  • Simple controls and display
  • Adjustable screen brightness
  • Choose between buzzer or radio alarm
  • Cannot run on battery power alone

i-box QI Wireless Charging LED Display Clock Radio - Also Consider

This clock is the perfect place to also charge your phone. It features wireless charging capabilities, so you can simply rest your phone on top of the clock so it charges overnight. This product also has a USB port that allows you to charge another device simultaneously. While this clock can use the radio or a normal alarm sound to wake you up, you can also play music from your phone via Bluetooth, turning this clock into a handy speaker. Wake up to the sounds of the radio, and throughout the day, you can play your streamed music through the high-quality speakers. Available in several colors, this clock will suit a wide variety of personalities and styles too.

  • Four colors to choose from
  • Charge a smartphone wirelessly in addition to another device
  • Play music via Bluetooth
  • Speakers are quite loud and the light is bright

Buyer's Guide

Things you should consider before purchasing a clock radio

You know you need an alarm to wake up, so you'll want to make sure you have the best wake-up call. Considering the following factors and features will ensure you buy a clock radio best suited to your needs so you can start your day right.

Volume of alarm

A simple thing like the volume of an alarm can really effect your day. If the alarm is not loud enough to wake you, it is not worth purchasing. Conversely, an alarm that is too loud may be very startling and jarring. You want a device that allows you to adjust the volume of the alarm as well as the volume of the radio station.

Friendly interface

Purchase a device you are confident you can use. If you choose to purchase a clock radio with a complicated interface and loads of buttons, ensure the product comes with a detailed instruction manual or plenty of online information on how to set it up. The last thing you want is to set your alarm for the wrong time or not know how to turn it off.

Set alarm to radio

Clock radios are a clock, alarm, and radio combined into a single unit, making them quite functional. However, not all clock radios use the radio as an alarm. Some only use a buzzer sound. If you want to be woken by the radio instead of a buzzer, ensure the device has the channels you want on AM or FM.

Brightness

Some people struggle to sleep with a bright LED screen next to them. Instead, opt for a clock radio that allows you to adjust the brightness so you can get a good night's sleep. Easy adjustment controls are crucial for customizing the brightness.

Size

Consider where you will place the clock radio, and ensure you purchase a product that will fit in that space. Nightstands can be pretty small spaces, so be sure of the measurements of both your bedside table and the clock you're considering purchasing.

Rotatable

You may want a rotatable screen that you can turn away when you go to sleep. This is a really handy feature that isn't in all clock radio models. Look for a device that may be adjusted both horizontally and vertically.

Color

There are a wide variety of colors and styles of clock radios to choose from. Don’t just choose something solely practical — you will be able to purchase something that is fully practical and also matches your decor.

You should also consider the color of the light coming from the clock radio as well. Some models allow you to change the color of the light, and others will use light as part of the alarm waking process. Some colors are easier on the eyes too, so keep that in mind while you shop.

Stimulates sunrise

As mentioned above, some devices use light to help you wake up. Some clock radios simulate natural light and will get darker and brighter in conjunction with the sun. Many people feel more well-rested and less grumpy when they awake from “natural light” in the morning.

Sounds

You may also want to consider purchasing a clock radio that will wake you with natural sounds. There are models out there that will use bird songs or the sound of other animals to wake you gently from your slumber instead of a loud buzzing sound.

Project image on wall or ceiling

A beautiful feature you may like to pursue is the ability to project the time, date, and colored lights onto your wall or ceiling. This creates a nice ambiance in your bedroom to help you feel relaxed and allows you to see this information without needing to look directly at the clock.

USB ports

Many clock radios can charge other devices like your phone or tablet by using USB ports. Some models allow you to charge a couple of devices at once. If you'd like to also use your clock radio as a charging station, look for USB ports or built-in wireless charging pads.

Power source

Purchase a clock radio with an AC adapter as well as a battery backup — the batteries will ensure your alarm still sounds if you have a power outage.

Bluetooth

Bluetooth capabilities allow you to connect the clock radio speakers to your music-playing devices, like a phone or a tablet. However, if choosing to use your clock radio to listen to music and not just as an alarm, you should also consider the quality of the speakers.

Speakers

To choose good built-in speakers in your clock radios, look for large speakers. As a rule, in clock radios, larger speakers offer better sound quality than small speakers. However, you'll still want to make sure the clock has good volume controls.

Snooze function

The snooze function in a clock radio allows you to get little more time to sleep without setting a new alarm. Clock radios often have a snooze button you can hit that will turn the alarm off for a set amount of time, like five or 10 minutes. However, you might prefer a device that allows you to program the snooze time to something more specific. Also, make sure the snooze button is easy to press.

Motion-sensing clock radio

Motion-sensing clock radios come in different designs but have the same purpose. When the alarm sounds, the device will need to see motion or you will have to do something on it in order to turn it off. Genius, in a frustrating kind of way! It's a great way to get stubborn sleepers out of bed on time.

Clear reception for radio

If you want to listen to a local radio station, you are best buying a radio with an omnidirectional antenna. If you want to listen to stations further away, opt for a radio station with a directional antenna. Digital radios will pick up more stations and sound clearer. Most radios can still function as analog radios if you prefer the old way of going about things.

Warranty

Look for a clock radio with a lengthy warranty of about 12 months or more. A company should have enough faith in its product to offer this deal so you can make a purchase with confidence.

How we choose the best clock radios

To choose the best clock radios, we consider several factors, including:

- Style
- Ease of use
- Radio signal
- Ability to adjust the alarm to suit the individual
- Adjustable lights
- Special features
- USB ports
- Good value for money

Clock radio price range

You could theoretically buy a clock radio for as little as $10. However a clock radio this inexpensive will have very few of the features we discussed and will have poor-quality speakers. You can also purchase a clock radio for as much as $100. We think you will find a decent quality clock radio for between $10 and $50, which is a suitable range for most budgets.

Clock Radio FAQ

Q: What is the difference between an analog and a digital radio?

A: An analog radio radio relies on a receiver to process signals emitted by a transmitter. The transmitter sends radio signals using continuous sine waves to carry Frequency Modulation (FM) and Amplitude Modulation (AM). In an analog radio, the receiver will catch these waves, and remove the sine waves, and leave you with the sound from the FM or AM station.

Digital radio sends bits of information through the air instead of all the information at once. Before sending the information, a digital radio converts the audio into digital information. Your digital radio will catch the information in the same way an analog radio does. However, before playing the audio, a digital radio needs to convert the digital information back into sound.

This technique seems more complicated, but it creates a cleaner transition with less interference and allows you to listen to many more radio stations from the same location.

Q: How do natural light clocks work?

A: Natural light clocks mimic the timing of sunrise and sunset. Many people find that waking up to something that seems like natural light will reset the sleep/wake cycle. As a result, many people find they wake up in a better mood and can sleep more soundly.

Q: What is the best alarm sound?

A: Research shows that those who wake up to a melodic sound feel more well-rested than those who wake up to a beeping alarm. Those who wake up to a beeping alarm are left feeling groggy. An alarm that begins quietly and gets louder is also an effective option.

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