5 Best Light Alarm Clocks Fully Reviewed

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Light alarm clocks feature cutting-edge technology inspired by none other than Mother Nature herself. The promise of the light alarm clock (also known as a sunrise alarm clock, dawn simulator, or wake-up light) is that you can awaken gradually, gently, and naturally as though the sunrise is sweetly pouring in through your window – no matter what time of day it actually is. This is a huge benefit for people living through short winter days and for folks who work odd hours. Sunrise simulation means your light alarm clock will produce light that gradually increases in intensity over a period of time – before any sound occurs. Whether or not you opt for sound in conjunction with your sunrise simulation, many people report the growing, glowing light filling their bedroom is enough in itself to gently wake them up, even before any sound would go off. This simulation allows your body to gradually adjust from deeper stages to sleep to lighter stages, and eventually to your fully awakened state, without the need for a blaring alarm clock. Wake-up lights offer a healthy alternative to being roused from deep sleep – a causative factor for poor energy levels and sour moods.

Read on to find your own best light alarm clock.

Philips Wake-Up Light HF3520
  • Philips Wake-Up Light HF3520
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • 20 Brightness Settings
  • Price: See Here
Philips Wake-Up Light HF3500/60
  • Philips Wake-Up Light HF3500/60
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • 30 min Sunrise Simulation
  • Price: See Here
Warkit L1 Wake UP Light
  • Warkit L1 Wake UP Light
  • 4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • 256 Color Hues
  • Price: See Here

 

5 Best Light Alarm Clocks

 

Philips Wake-Up Light HF3520

The Philips Wake-Up Light HF3520 is the most up-to-date, deluxe version of the Philips light alarm clock. Thanks to independent studies from science facilities, the Philips Wake-Up Lights are backed by clinical research and are proven to help people wake up with more energy and in better moods. With a Philips product, you get the name brand trust and quality from a company that’s been going strong for more than a century, with expertise in both lighting and healthcare. This light alarm clock boasts exceptional versatility and an abundant array of options for fine-tuning your wake-up sunrise and bedtime sunset simulations.
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Functionality

The sunrise simulation feature on the Philips HF3520 is adjustable from 20 to 40 minutes. Fine tune your personal sunrise with your chosen time-frame and opting for any of 20 brightness settings. Over your selected time period, the light will gradually shift from soft red to warmer orange and finally to bright yellow, maxing out at your chosen level of brightness. The maximum level of brightness is 300 lux.

Choose to wake up to your favorite FM radio station or opt for one of five different pleasant sounds: Bird Song, Birds in the Forest, Zen Garden, Gentle Piano, and Seaside Sounds. Adjust the sound level to your liking. You also have the option to turn the sound off completely and just use the sunrise feature of the alarm. A “smart snooze” feature allows you to tap anywhere on the light and score an extra nine minutes of rest.

With the Philips HF3520, you can create two alarm settings to meet your needs on weekdays and weekends. Just make sure to select your preferred alarm setting before bed each night.

Capture the time easily with large, easily read LED display. The display automatically dims when your room darkens.

With no assembly required, you can simply plug in your Philips Wake-Up Light and get started on experimenting with your preferred settings.

Powering Source

Philips Wake-Up Lights are powered by electricity. Simply plug your unit into the wall and you’re good to go. Additionally, no replacement bulb is needed for the life of the unit.

Versatility

One of the coolest features about this particular light alarm clock is that it doubles as a bedside lamp. You can use this feature with any of the 20 different light intensities, again maxing out at 300 lux. You can also opt to lull yourself into peaceful rest with the sundown simulation feature, which you can adjust to last anywhere from five to 60 minutes. You can add sound, too, which will gradually grow quieter in rhythm with your dimming light.

Value

Though the Philips HF3520 costs four to five times as much as the least expensive wake-up lights on this list, you really can’t beat the versatility and personalization options that come with this clock. With extended options, you truly have the opportunity to experiment in finding what works best for you, and adjusting it should you ever need to. None of the other clocks on this list have the same amount of versatility and personalization. You are also paying for a reputable, high-quality product.
Pros
  • Adjustable sunrise simulation of 20-40 minutes
  • Warm-colored sunrise simulation goes from red to orange to yellow
  • 20 brightness settings with 300 lux max intensity
  • Choose from five alarm sounds or opt for the FM radio on your favorite station - or no sound at all
  • Two alarm settings
  • Adjustable sunset simulation of 5-60 minutes
  • No replacement bulb needed for life of the unit
  • Adjustable display brightness
  • High quality
  • Trusted name brand
Cons
  • More expensive than other light alarm clocks
  • Requires manual selection from your two alarm settings
  • No backup battery means if the power flickers even for a tiny moment, your alarm settings are gone

Philips Wake-Up Light HF3500/60

The Philips Wake-Up Light HF3500/60 is a more budget-friendly and simplified version of the deluxe HF3520 model. You’ll still reap the benefits of a trusted brand and guaranteed quality program, just with slightly less features than the fancier model. The HF3500/60 is a solid choice for someone who is new to sunrise alarm clocks and for whom the expanded options of other clocks may seem overwhelming.
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Functionality

The sunrise simulation of the HF3500/60 runs for a set 30 minutes, though you can of course shut it off at any time. Enjoy a gentle sunrise simulation with your choice of 10 different intensities of warm yellow light, maxing out at 200 lux.

Once the 30 minute cycle is complete, a gentle beeping sound goes off. The sound gradually increases in volume over a period of 90 seconds. Tap anywhere on the light to activate the snooze feature, and enjoy nine more minutes of rest.

Keep time with a large, easy-to-read LED display. The time display can be dimmed to match your nighttime preferences.

Powering Source

Philips Wake-Up Lights are powered by electricity. Simply plug your unit into the wall and you’re good to go. Additionally, no replacement bulb is needed for the life of the unit.

Versatility

The Philips HF3500-60 doubles as a bedside lamp. You can choose from the 10 light intensity options to find the best lighting for your nighttime needs.

Value

The Philips HF3520 is about a third of the cost of the deluxe HF3520. For this much lower price, you receive a more simplified product. You still get the value of a quality name brand product and the gentle sunrise simulation, just with less options for personalizing the experience. For someone with a tighter budget who’s looking for a more basic sunrise alarm clock, this is a solid option.
Pros
  • Less expensive than the deluxe Philips HF3520
  • 30-minute sunrise simulation
  • 200 lux max light intensity
  • 10 light intensity settings
  • Warm yellow light
  • Doubles as a bedside lamp
  • No replacement bulb needed for the life of the unit
  • High quality
  • Trusted name brand
Cons
  • Can’t turn off or adjust the volume of the beeping alarm sound
  • Not as many personalization options as the deluxe version
  • No backup battery means if the power flickers even for a tiny moment, your alarm settings are gone

Warkit L1 Wake UP Light

The Warkit L1 Wake UP Light is a prism-shaped lamp featuring a clock. Enjoy a big, bold light fixture and all the benefits of sunrise simulation. You can opt for choose from a series of pleasant natural sounds, and if you’re up for something a little different, choose from a large range of hue options for your dawn simulation or regular lamp use.
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Functionality

The Warkit’s 30-minute sunrise simulation flows through 20 levels of brightness. The default color is a golden yellow, and this is the choice that best emulates natural sunrise. But for something different, you can opt for any of 256 color hues!

After 30 minutes of gradually increasing light, you will experience a soothing nature sound for your alarm. Choose from Thrush Singing, Kingfisher Singing, Cuckoo Singing, Waves, and Thunderstorm. Your natural sound will cease after five minutes, unless you shut it off sooner.

Powering Source

The L1 Wake UP Light is rechargeable and portable. It comes with a built-in battery and a USB charging cable.

Versatility

This light is shaped like a rectangular prism and can be used effectively and enjoyably as a bedside lamp, table lamp, and decorative fixture in addition to serving as your light alarm clock. The lamp feature offers three levels of brightness and your choice of warm-white light, any of 256 colors, or a fun color-changing mode.

Value

The L1 Wake UP Light boasts exceptional value as it is one of the least expensive options on this list, plus it doubles as a multi-color lamp. It garners extra praise for its color-changing mode option, and the fact that it is rechargeable and portable.
Pros
  • Attractive lamp
  • Sunrise simulation flows through 20 levels of brightness
  • 256 color hues
  • Pleasant natural sounds
  • 3 levels of brightness and color-changing mode option for lamp use
  • Rechargeable & portable
Cons
  • Can’t disable the sound feature of the alarm
  • Can’t adjust maximum light intensity of your dawn simulation

MagicLight Bluetooth Smart Light Bulb

The MagicLight Bluetooth Smart Light Bulb boasts an almost infinite level of versatility. While this is not a traditional clock, it does function as a light alarm clock thanks to app-enabled settings. This light bulb is techy’s dream with the absolute most optimization for color choice in your lighting and fun settings such as music sync. Read on to learn about all the lighting dreams you can realize with this Smart Light Bulb.
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Functionality

An app from your smartphone or tablet allows you to control a single light bulb or group up to five bulbs together. You not only have the option to activate sunrise and sunset simulation, but you can use literally any color you fancy. Imagine waking up to your favorite color! Choose from over 16 million colors and several tones of white. You can even grab colors from your favorite photos. You can also choose to sync music to your lighting settings.

All you have to do is screw in this light bulb, download the free “MagicLight BT” app from the App Store or Google Play Store, and you’re ready to get programming. This bulb is also compatible with Android devices running Android 4.3 or above.

Powering Source

This is a 60-watt equivalent LED bulb that requires screwing into any ordinary socket. The bulb has 7 watts and works with 110 volts. The bulb boasts a lifetime of 20,000 hours.

Versatility

Beyond sunrise and sunset simulation, the MagicLight Smart Light Bulb is fun to use at all times of day and night with essentially endless light color options. Sync music to your favorite color of light and viola - instant ambiance! This is quite an extensive lighting appliance that you can use to create moods and atmosphere any time.

Value

This light is one of the least expensive on the list. And while it boasts an outrageous amount of light color options and music syncing - which is all very nifty - the biggest catch is that you have to own a device that allows you to access Bluetooth technology. If you already own a Bluetooth-compatible device, no big deal. But if you don’t, then this light wouldn’t necessarily be worth the price.
Pros
  • Over 16 million color options, all with adjustable brightness levels
  • Sunrise and sunset simulation
  • Sync music to any light color
  • Long-lasting bulb with a lifetime of 20,000 hours
  • Energy efficient lighting option
Cons
  • Not a standard clock - won’t tell you the time
  • Requires a Bluetooth-compatible device

Mosche Sunrise Alarm Clock

The Mosche Sunrise Alarm Clock is fun and easy to use. This clock features sunrise and sunset simulation, and doubles as a bedside lamp. A rainbow of light color options makes this light alarm clock a favorite for kids. Plus, you can charge this clock to make it portable!
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Functionality

Like the Philips Wake-Up Light HF3520, the Mosche Sunrise Alarm Clock offers sunrise and sunset simulation. One of the big differences with the Mosche vs. Philips models is that you get to choose your light color: warm white, green, red, blue, purple, orange, or indigo. The light brightens over a set period of 30 minutes.

Once the sunrise simulation is complete, your alarm will sound. Choose from six sounds including birds, forest, and waves or opt for the FM radio. Simply adjust the volume to your liking. You also have the option to use the sunrise simulation feature without a sound alarm. This clock features a five minute snooze function.

The time is displayed via LED and can be completely dimmed at night simply by pressing the top button farthest left. Choose from 12 or 24 hour time display.

Powering Source

A power adapter plugs this unit into the wall while AAA batteries backup the time and FM radio functions. You can also charge the Mosche Sunrise via an included USB cable.

Versatility

Doubles as a bedside lamp with 10 brightness settings and seven different colors. The Mosche Sunrise also offers sunset simulation, sending you off to sleep with gradually dimming light.

Value

The Mosche Sunrise Alarm Clock is one of the least expensive choices on this list. For all the options in light color and the added benefit of sunset simulation, you get a pretty great value for what you pay.
Pros
  • 10 brightness settings
  • Sunrise and sunset simulation
  • Choose from 7 light colors
  • Adjustable display brightness
  • 12 and 24 hour time display
  • Chargeable
  • Cost-effective
Cons
  • Clock font is small
  • Some users claim the buttons are not easy to use

 

The Criteria We Used to Find the Best Light Alarm Clocks

Wondering how we determined which light alarm clocks are the best? Read on to see what factors we considered. 

Functionality

We favored light alarm clocks that are ultra-easy to use. We break down how each clock flows through its sunrise simulation, including the extent to which you can personalize the experience. We highlighted maximum light intensity, brightness settings, length of time the simulation goes for, and if these settings are adjustable.

Due to the newness of this technology, a large number of currently available light alarm clocks are not consistently durable. Our list features products with reputable longevity and solid backing from warranties.

Powering Source

The light alarm clocks on our list feature multiple powering sources ranging from plugs to batteries to charging via USB cable, in addition to combinations of sources. We want to ensure that you know your powering options to help you decide which clock will work best for your lifestyle.  

Versatility

Our list features light alarm clocks that have multiple other roles. Most work well as a nighttime reading lamp or night light. Each of these products have unique alternative functions, and we think these are important to mention. If you want sunset simulation, we’ve mentioned this in the versatility section. It’s also helpful to know how many different ways you can use your wake-up light before diving in for the investment.

Value

We chose products that are price effective and worth their investment. These clocks vary in personalization options and versatility, and these factors work in conjunction with pricing to produce valuable investments. Again, each clock on this list had to pass through our durability standards to make it here. We did our best to share with you products that will hold up over time and are backed by solid customer satisfaction policies.

Other Important Factors to Consider

Two further considerations to make when selecting your light alarm clock are personal light sensitivity and aesthetics.

People experience varying levels of light sensitivity. This is an important factor to consider when looking at the range of light intensity and brightness settings for your light alarm clock. Some of these clocks do not allow you to adjust the light intensity. If you are uncertain about your personal light sensitivity, you may wish to opt for a light with more personalization options.

Aesthetics are a factor we really don’t touch on in this list, but that can be very important. Think about if you want a round shaped light clock or an angular one. Some of these are spherical clocks, while the Philips HF3520 looks more like a mini sun with a secondary clock feature. The L1 Wake-UP Light is truly a prism light and makes a big presence in your space. The Smart Light Bulb is going to have a different feel altogether. So consider what excites you the most and what appeals to your senses.

FAQ

Q: What is the best color of light for a light alarm clock?

A: Ideally, you’ll want a color or color range that most resembles natural sunlight. This is best achieved with warm golden hues. However, you may find that a different hue works best for you. Some of these clocks offer a range of color options for your dawn simulation, so you can find your ideal sunrise.

Q: Can light alarm clocks positively impact people who experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD)?

A: This is a popular topic in current research. Thankfully, some of this research shows that sunrise simulation decreases sleep inertia and positively impacts cognition, performance, and mood for people who experience SAD. Some researchers have even found that the impact of dawn simulation resembled that of bright light therapy. To this extent, sunrise simulation could potentially serve as another option for those being treated with bright light therapy.

While the research looks bright, be certain to talk with your care provider before outright replacing your ordinary therapeutic measures with a light alarm clock.

Q: What are the benefits of the sunset simulation feature that some of these clocks have?

A: Sunset simulation offers similar benefits to sunrise simulation. Sunset simulations helps complete the cycle, so to speak, by helping you more fully to get into a better circadian rhythm. This feature is especially beneficial for people who are going to bed at hours that drastically differ from the natural sunrise. You will experience the most benefit from dawn simulation if you also use sunset simulation, or begin going to sleep closer to the time of the setting sun.

Q: Are light alarm clocks a good option for heavy sleepers?

A: They can be! Some people feel that their natural response to lights coming on when they are sleeping is to just roll over and cover their head with the blanket, thus averting the light. But oftentimes the combination of sunrise simulation and a sounding alarm will be enough to wake a heavy sleeper. Some heavy sleepers find themselves arising without the use of a sound alarm.

Your body may need time to adjust to waking up via sunrise simulation. Just experiment with the types of sound and the volume of your backup alarm (the sound portion of the light alarm clock). You may eventually find that you don’t even need it.

Q: What is sleep inertia, and how do light alarm clocks help with this issue?

A: Sleep inertia is a more scientific term to describe morning grogginess. It specifically refers to the phenomenon of the brain not fully activating all at once when you first wake up. So some parts of your brain are functioning well, but other parts can take from 15 minutes to four hours to reach optimal operation. Sleep inertia occurs most severely when you wake up directly from a slow wave or deep sleep state.

The biggest help that the light alarm clocks offer with sunrise simulation is a gradual awakening. The intention here is that you will be lulled from deeper states of sleep into lighter states, and eventually wake up feeling refreshed as opposed to groggy.

Q: What’s wrong with waking up directly from a deep sleep state?

A: The problem with waking from a deep state of sleep is that you essentially experience an adrenaline jolt. Waking up directly from deep sleep throws off our body’s fragile cocktail of hormones that are regulated during sleep. Suddenly awakening from this space often leaves people in awful moods and with less than desirable energy levels.

Sources

  1. Be Right Light, The Science of Wake-Up Lights, Sunrise Alarms, and Their Benefits, Be Right Light,
  2. Regina Patrick, RPSGT, RST, Shedding Light on Dawn Simulation, Sleep Review: The Journal for Sleep Specialists, May 16, 2016
  3. Keith Hillman, How to Get Rid of Sleep Inertia, Psychology, Nov 27, 2014
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