10 Best White Noise Machine Fully Reviewed

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Imagine lying in your bed, comfortably snuggled up under your covers, and suddenly realizing for whatever reason you’re absolutely incapable of sleeping.  If you’re experiencing symptoms of insomnia (or if you just want to make sure that you stay well-rested and at peak physical performance for those marathons),  science may have a great solution.

White noise (you know, that static-y sound that comes out of your television?) and other soothing tones may not only help you fall asleep faster, but may help you sleep more deeply. As a runner, that means faster muscle gain, less fatigue, and overall better workout execution.

If you are looking for a white noise machine to help you achieve better sleep, check out our list of the 10 Best White Noise Machines and see which one is best for you!

Dreamegg
  • Dreamegg
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Sleek Design
  • Price: See Here
Pictek
  • Pictek
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Portable
  • Price: See Here
LIFEON
  • LIFEON
  • 4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Built-In Alarm
  • Price: See Here

 

10 Best White Noise Machines

 

Dreamegg

This is the most stylish white noise machine available on the market for less than $30. With its sleek, modern design, the Dreamegg easily surpasses its competitors in looks. This white noise machine also has lots of special features including six different sounds, a phone charger. Plus, the Dreamegg has one of the largest and loudest speakers allowing for maximum sound masking.
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Tone customization
Dreamegg's White Noise Machine comes with 6 modes to choose from: Fan, White Noise, Ocean, Rain, Summer Night and Lullaby.

Non-looping audio
Dreamegg's White Noise Machine features 15 minute looping audio files and also generates white noise.

Timer
This white noise machine is equipped with a variable 15, 30, and 60-minute auto-off timer. Plus, it has a memory function that conveniently stores your last sound and volume selection.

Portability for Travel
Measuring 6.8 inches x 1.1 inches x 4.9 inches, the Dreamegg White Noise Machine about the same size as a tablet. This makes the device fairly portable, but it must always be plugged in via USB or corded adapter.
Pros
  • High volume limit
  • Sleek design
  • Bonus features like USB ports
Cons
  • A little too large to be highly portable

Pictek

The Pictek white noise machine produces incredible, multi-dimensional sound with a budget price tag. We were especially impressed with the Pictek because it's one of the few machines on the market that offers different types of both white noise and ambient sounds. Moreover, there are audio settings that play more than one ambient tone at a time. That's pretty high-tech for a portable product under 20 bucks!
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Tone customization
Pictek's White Noise Machine features 8 modes: White noise, New York Morning, Home Appliance, Hawaii Waves, Zoo Sounds, Tokyo Temple Rain, Matrix, and London Storm.

Non-looping audio
Each one of these aforementioned modes represents a 30 minute audio stack of three high-fidelity noises. For example, the "Home Appliance" selection plays a total of three sounds: Vaccum cleaner, Blower, and Electric Fan.

Timer
Pictek white noise machine can be used to generate sound all night. It also has an optional timer that can be set for 30 or 60 minutes.

Portability for Travel
Pictek's White Noise Machine can be used with any international USB adapter, USB power outlet, computer/laptop USB port, or USB auto adapter. It can also be powered with 4 AA batteries (not included with the device).
Pros
  • Portable
  • Multi-dimensional sound
  • 24 tracks to choose from
Cons
  • Not very stylish

LIFEON

Lifeon sound machines look pretty archaic, but that also means that they don’t have a crazy bright screen blinding you at night. They come equipped with built-in alarm clocks that display the time and offer a wide range of white noise tones (e.g, pink noise, brown noise, etc) as well as the standard nature sounds. We were especially impressed that Lifeon offers a specialty tinnitus therapy feature.
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Tone customization
The Lifeon sound machine offers 10 audio options: white noise, brown noise, thunder, rain, typhoon, bird, ocean, brook, lullaby1, and lullaby2.

Non-looping audio
Lifeon sound machines feature looping audio tracks that cycle every 15 min and variable white noise tones.

Timer
Lifeon sound machines have a timer that can be set for 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 60 minutes, 90 minutes. They are also capable of running all night without setting the timer.

Portability for Travel
Lifeon sound machines can be powered by 4 AA batteries (not included with device) or a 4 foot USB power adapter. Their ability to run on batteries and nearly 6-inch diameter make them fairly portable even when going on backpacking or off-trail adventures.
Pros
  • No bright display
  • Different white noise tones
  • Built-in alarm
Cons
  • Not very stylish

NURSAL

The Nursal white noise machine comes with an alarm clock feature that also displays the date and plays lullabies for kids. This Nursal white noise machine offers both functionality and minimalism. It might be a little more difficult to initially set up than the Dreamegg, but overall, the design is very straightforward. Plus, at under 30 dollars, it's a great deal if you're looking to get seriously committed to a routine sleep schedule.
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Tone customization
The Nursal white noise machine comes with 8 sound selections including: rain sounds, bird sounds, brook sounds, oceans ounds, thunderstorm sounds, two lullabies, and a white noise setting. However, it doesn't have a setting to specifically play white, pink, or brown noise.

Non-looping audio
The Nursal white noise machine has audio loops every 5 minutes in addition to a set white noise tone.

Timer
The Nursal white noise machine's auto-off timer can be set to 5 minutes, 15 minutes or 30 minutes. However, if you don't set the timer, it will play on continuously until the power runs out.

Portability for Travel
The Nursal white noise machine is quite portable. It comes with both a USB charging cable and an AC/DC adapter. Plus, it can be powered with 3 AA batteries (not included with device). With a diameter of just about 6 inches, it fits fairly well into a carry-on or backpack.
Pros
  • Efficient and functional
  • Includes alarm that displays date
Cons
  • Backlit display may affect those with light sensitivities

Three Sheep

This is what could easily be considered to be the Cadillac of white noise machines on the market. Instead of creating a machine that plays sounds that you might otherwise be able to look up on the internet - Japanese company Three Sheep makes their product invaluable by connecting itself to your already existing devices and using those to assist in both your sleep and wake up routine. It's on the expensive side at over a 60 dollars so it doesn't quite meet our expectations for value, but the Three Sheep alarm clock is still vey impressive. Not only is it capable of playing any tone on your phone, it generates a sunrise simulation to accompany your alarm clock!
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Tone customization
The Three Sheep Wake Up Light Alarm Clock has 5 soothing music tracks from Japan's "sleep music master" Masya Uechi that are available to loop through the Three Sheep App (available on Google Play and Apple iOS). This device also comes with a micro SD card. Simply download your favorite audio files to the SD card, insert into the three sheep device, and enjoy.

Non-looping audio
Audio tracks can be set to loop. If you'd prefer non-looping audio, simply download a track that appeals to you and play it via the Three Sheep app.

Timer
Using your Three Sheep app, you can set your timer for any specific length of time. You can also set recurring times for audio playback.

Portability for Travel
Three Sheep's Wake Up Light Alarm Clock is surprisingly small for the number of features it offers, measuring less than 10 inches high and 4 inches wide. It can be charged by USB or wall adapter, but must always be plugged in to a power source (aka: laptop, battery pack, etc.). Because of this, it isn't quite as portable as it is customizable.
Pros
  • IOS app
  • color-changing feature
  • alarm clock
  • sunrise simulation
Cons
  • overpriced at nearly twice the cost of standard whitenoise machines
  • only 5 pre-programmed audio tracks

JAVONTEC

The Javontec white noise machine is a reasonably priced white noise machine capable of playing 6 different tones - including white noise. However, it cannot play other white noise tones like pink or brown noise. Still, this sound machine is a great choice for people who want portability and clean lines (we see you, Apple users). This is also a fairly tech-oriented white noise machine that comes with a corded adapter, USB port, and battery slot. It also includes a headphone jack if you're looking to use this white noise machine in your office or want to drown out your partner's snoring. However, at nearly double the cost of the Dreamegg it doesn't quite meet our requirements for value.
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Tone customization
Javontec's Portable White Noise Sound Machine features 6 sounds profiles, including: White Noise sounds, Fan sounds, Summer Night sounds, Brook sounds, Ocean Wave sounds, and Rain sounds.

Non-looping audio
Javontec's Portable White Noise Sound Machine uses looping audio every 15 minutes and offers a single white noise frequency.

Timer
The Javontec Portable White Noise Sound Machine also has a "Smart Timer" feature that allows for 15, 30, 60 minutes preset playback. Although, continuous playback is also supported. Javontec's audio files are set to fade out in the last 5 minutes of each timer program.

Portability for Travel
At about 5 inches by 3 inches, Javontec's sound machine is only slightly larger than a cell phone. What makes it especially portable and a great choice for travelers is that it's able to be powered by an adaptor or 3 AA batteries (already included in the device).
Pros
  • USB charging
  • Headphone jack
  • Portable
Cons
  • More expensive than other similar white noise machines

AVANTEK

The Avantek white noise machine is an adorably portable ambient device that claims to play up to 20 different tones. Unfortunately, only 8 of those tones are listed in their product information and so not include a standard white noise setting. This machine is so small (about a 4-inch cube). However, it has a maximum timer (and likely battery life) that only lasts 7 hours. When you consider it's nearly double what the Dreamegg costs, it doesn't really seem like a value. In addition, if you have poor eyesight (like some of our staff does) you might not be able to see its tiny buttons at night or when you wake up.
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Tone customization
This sound machine comes with a single white noise frequency and ambient sounds including stream sounds, wave sounds, wind sounds, rain sounds, bird sounds, cricket sounds, campfire sounds, fan sounds and clock sounds.

Non-looping audio
The Avantek white noise machine loops audio every hour. However, Avantek also claims these sounds are "crisp, natural, realistic, and without any scratching noises".

Timer
The Avantek white noise machine has several preset timer settings displayed in 1 hour, 2 hour, 4 hour, and 7 hour increments.

Portability for Travel
Since Avantek's white noise machine is has only about a 4 inch diameter, it's one of the smallest and most efficiently packaged white noise machines we've reviewed on our list.
Pros
  • Stylish
  • 20 programmed sounds
  • highly portable
Cons
  • small buttons without backlights

LectroFan

This is a really highly rated white noise machine in general, but even though it claims to be portable, it always has to be plugged in via a USB charger connected to another device. Because of that, LetroFan's high fidelity white noise machine tends to be more popular in professional settings like offices and workplaces, which might also explain its high price tag. But for shelling out that extra cash, you do get the widest array of white noises on the market consisting of ten specialty tones. In addition, there are ten other more industrial ambient sounds. Lastly, it boasts that its noises are non-repeating.
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Tone customization
The LectroFan High Fidelity White Noise Machine offers 10 fan sounds and 10 ambient noise sounds. Letrofan also claims their product can be adjusted in volume to offer tones "many times louder than mechanical fan based conditioners".

Non-looping audio
LectroFan's High Fidelity White Noise Machine is one of the only products on this list that specifically features non-looping audio and variable white noise frequencies.

Timer
The LectroFan White Noise Machine comes with a single 60 minute timer and can also support continuous playback overnight.

Portability for Travel
LectroFan's sound machine might be considered portable if it were used with a USB-connected device or battery pack. However, it must remain plugged in at all times and cannot be powered by batteries.
Pros
  • 20 non-looping audio tracks
  • offers a choice between fan sounds and white noise tones
Cons
  • powered by AC or USB chargers only
  • not portable

Pure Enrichment's Wave Premium

This is one of the consistently high rated sound machines. That’s because, like the Dreamegg, it comes with a phone charger and fairly sleek design. The Wave Premium Sleep Therapy Sound Machine comes with a functional USB port and a removable stand to help keep your bedside cables organized. At around 30 dollars it's a little overpriced since it only is able to play six tracks and only has a single design to choose from. Though, it does come with a certified 5-year warranty, so if durability is your primary consideration, it might be worth taking a look at.
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Tone customization
The Wave Premium Sleep Therapy Sound Machine features 6 audio track selections including: white noise, fan sounds, ocean sounds, rain sounds, stream sounds, and summer night sounds. This sound machine also claims these tracks are minimally repetative and seamless.

Non-looping audio
The Wave Premium Sleep Therapy Sound Machine contains "seamless" looping audio every 15 minutes and a single frequency of white noise.

Timer
The Wave Premium Sleep Therapy Sound Machine has 15 minute, 30 minute, and 60 minute auto-off timer features. It also allows for continuous playback for overnight operation.

Portability for Travel
Thanks to Pure Enrichment's sleek, compact design (about 5.5 inches by 5.5 inches), the Wave sound machine fits easily into most backpacks, purses, and luggage.
Pros
  • 6 sounds
  • USB charging
Cons
  • users report LED button display can disturb sleep
  • must be plugged in to an outlet

WTONG

Even though it looks a little inexpensive, many users appreciated the clip this sound machine comes with. Plus, it records your voice! If you travel internationally that’s a huge plus. You can have your friends record phrases you might not be able to pronounce or directions for a cab driver. Extra bonus: noise cancellation for when you’re staying in hostels. Even though it's marketed as a white noise machine for babies, this product gets a mention for its extreme portability and versatility. WTONG Sound Machine's Portable White Noise Machine is one of the most inexpensive white noise machines coming in at just over 20 dollars. It's also made with eco-friendly materials and comes with a 30-day warranty. Although this product might not last for years, if your a dedicated backpacker or international traveler it could prove to be well worth the tradeoff.
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Tone customization
The WTONG Sound Machine offers 8 options for tone customization: 4 types of lullaby music, rain sounds, ocean wave sounds, bird sounds, and white noise. This white noise machine also features sound sensor for middle-of-the-night disruptions like nightmares, snoring, car alarms, and so on. Lastly, it has a recorder feature which can be used to record a tone of your choosing for up to 30 minutes.

Non-looping audio
This sound machine has a 15 minute looping audio selection that includes a single white noise frequency.

Timer
It comes with a timer that features three settings: 15 minutes, 30 minutes, and 45 minutes.

Portability for Travel
This white noise machine is highly portable since it's only powered by AA batteries and features a convenient clip attachment.
Pros
  • highly portable and suited for travel
  • 5 audio tracks
  • voice record and detect feature
Cons
  • childish design
  • maximum 45 minute timer

 

The Criteria Used When Choosing the 10 Best White Noise Machines

Sound Masking

Sound masking refers to the ability of a white noise machine to mask or block out sounds in your surrounding environment. Unfortunately, sleep machines can’t throw a magic bubble around your personal space and fully eliminate all irritating noises. In order to do that, it would be more prudent to invest in a pair of high-quality earplugs or a set of noise-canceling headphones. What white noise machines can do, however, is reduce the amount of environmental noise in your home. They do this by playing a specific tone, music, or ambient sounds of your choice. When selecting the best white noise machine, we took into consideration not only what sounds each device was capable of playing, but also the volume settings available on each device.

Tone Customization

When considering the best white noise machine, we also took into consideration how many sounds each device was capable of producing. This is an important factor because what each person considers to be familiar or soothing is really very diverse. One person might find white noise appealing, but the sound of rivers and streams might cause them to wake earlier than normal in their sleep cycle to visit the restroom. Others, however, might find that nature sounds are perfect to help them fall asleep. Still, others can only successfully fall asleep to ambient household noises. We’ve carefully chosen the items on this list to reflect the broadest range of sounds currently available to the market.

Non-Looping Audio

The presence of non-looping audio is another important factor to take into consideration when selecting the best white noise machine for you and your family. Non-looping white noise machines are capable of producing unique soothing sounds without repeating themselves. On the other hand, looping audio tracks play the same audio file over and over again. There are many people who are unable to discern the difference between looping and non-looping audio, but for those who can – having a white noise machine that produces repeat sounds can quickly become an annoyance.  In order to best help those runners who have trouble sleeping deeply, we’ve placed most of the non-looping machines higher on our list.

Timer

Many runners benefit from taking quick naps to help them rest and recharge throughout the day. Having a timer function on your white noise machine can help you get more REM sleep during your naps and can help you create a more soothing environment while you rest. In addition, the timer function is a great way to measure time and relax while taking quick breaks from work, do yoga, or work out. In addition, if you have a partner who’s extremely sensitive to noise, it could be beneficial to their sleep to have these sounds stop soon after you fall asleep.

Portability for Travel

As we all know, runners travel all over their own countries and the world to attend race events. Having a white noise machine that’s small enough to take with you during travel helps ensure you create a soothing, familiar environment – even when you’re not settling down in your own bed. For that reason, we’ve tried to include as many highly portable devices on this list as possible.

Other Factors to Consider

Is it important that your white noise machine doubles-down as an alarm clock?

If versatility, minimalism, and functionality are  important to you, you might be interested in scrapping your old alarm clock for an inexpensive new edition that has a white noise machine already built into it. This, again, also adds to its value while traveling since as we all know baggage weight limits are often a high priority while flying. Lastly, the additional feature of an alarm clock isn’t much of a burden for those who already have one or two scattered around the house. That’s why dual alarm clocks and white noise machines rank fairly high on the list we’ve curated for you here.

What sounds do you find most soothing?

This is quite possibly the most important consideration to make while selecting your personal white noise machine. In order for a white noise machine to truly benefit you, you should think carefully about what sounds you have a positive association with or fond memories of. When you were a child, did you used to fall asleep to the sound of the washing machine? Select a white noise machine capable of playing ambient household noises. Did you grow up on the coast? Select a white noise machine with the ability to play ocean sounds. In love with nature? Get a white noise machine loaded with forest tracks. This process selecting specific, targeted, sounds that make you feel good can help foster a feeling of safety and comfort as you prepare to sleep.

If portability is important to you, where are you going?

Many sound machines on the market are currently designed for “portability” but that term is highly relative. If you’re going backpacking on the Pacific Crest Trail or along the Great Wall, you might want to opt for a white noise machine that’s not only small but able to clip to your backpack. If you’re staying in a hotel, however, you might simply need a white noise machine small enough to fit in your carry-on bag. For our list here, we’ve placed some of the most highly portable sound machines near the top of our list.

Do you have any power/connectivity preferences?

White noise machines can be powered by battery, Bluetooth and iOS/Android apps, remotes or by corded design. We recommend taking a quick assessment of your current household devices and selecting a white noise machine that will be compatible with your lifestyle. Since, again, portability is widely important for many sound machine users, we’ve placed products that use batteries or are able to be charged in advance at the top of our best of list.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do white noise machines work?

A: White noise machines are actually very simple devices. They’re typically divided into two categories: white noise fans and white noise machines. White noise fans are typically bubble or box-shaped and contain a fan that produces a steady whirring or humming sound. Some of them have an outer casing covered with small holes or slits that can be twisted to produce different tone frequencies. White noise machines, on the other hand, produce audio digitally either by looping tracks or by playing non-repeating audio. These machines are also capable of replicating ambient sounds of forests, household objects, natural landscapes, heartbeats, and more. Generally speaking, white noise machines produce a greater variety of tones, so we’ve placed that style of product higher up on our best of list.

Q: How does a white noise machine help you sleep?

A: “The simple version is that hearing still works while you’re asleep,” says Seth S. Horowitz, a neuroscientist and author of The Universal Sense: How Hearing Shapes the Mind.  That’s right, runners. As much as we might try, human beings aren’t designed to fully drown out sounds while they’re sleeping. That’s probably because thousands of years ago, we needed to be able to wake rapidly to flee predators or alert others to danger. Today, most of us don’t have to worry about hungry tigers creeping up on us when we least suspect it. But, we might still find ourselves waking in the middle of the night because of small, insignificant noises like a child getting up to get water, a neighbor’s door closing, or a car passing outside. That’s where white noise machines come in. They provide a more consistent, safer-feeling, sound environment for us while we try to rest.

Q: What’s the difference between white, pink, and brown noise?

A: Sound therapists often divide different types of noises into specific sonic hues like white, pink, brown and so on.  It’s helpful to think of these different type of noise in the same way we think about light. White noise is really just a combination of all of the basic tones that our ears are able to hear. It’s the same when we talk about white light – it’s the combination of all the colors of the rainbow. As you might have already guessed, it sounds exactly like what you’d expect– like flipping on an old-school television or radio that has no signal. White noise is special because our brains make us believe this sound is louder than anything else in the room. Pink noise does the same thing, except the higher frequencies are more muted. In general, people describe pink noise as sounding pretty natural – like rain or a fast-moving stream. Fun fact: numerous studies have also shown that listening to pink noise can help improve your memory the next day. Brown noise is sort of like a bass-boosted version of white noise. It heavily decreases the sound of higher frequencies. In general, it sounds a bit like super strong wind or as if someone looped the exact moment a wave crashed. Like pink noise, it’s also been reported that brown noise can help improve memory and relaxation. Overall, however, it doesn’t really matter which color of noise you choose – as long as it helps you to fall asleep.

Q: I have Tinnitus. Can I still use a white noise machine to help me sleep?

A: Yes! In fact, white noise machines are often used as a form of Tinnitus therapy. The fluctuating sound of white, pink or brown noises, in particular, can be effective for masking the slight ringing that might otherwise distract you from sleeping.

Q: Do I have to use a timer, or can I let my white noise machine run all night?

A: Many white noise machines with timers are still capable of producing sound throughout the night. Only a handful play for a set duration of time (usually divided by 30, 75, and 90 minutes). We’ve included sound machines that can be played for the longest duration of time in the highest rankings on our list.

Q: Will a white noise machine drown snoring?

A: Unfortunately, no. A white noise machine won’t be able to fully drown out the dulcet tones of your partner sawing logs. However, as Clete A. Kushida, director of the Stanford Center for Human Sleep Research, recently told Popular Science Magazine: “the majority of bedpartners prefer the constant white noise of a CPAP machine rather than their spouse’s crescendo-decrescendo snoring sounds”. This likely means that if you have a constant white noise source, your brain will perceive it as louder than other sounds that might typically disturb your sleep. If you’re dead-set on eliminating that snore from your life (without getting rid of your beloved partner), we’ve also included white noise machines that have Bluetooth capabilities (for wireless headphones) and audio jacks (for traditional headphones).

Sources

  1. Colin Letcher, Why Does White Noise Help People Sleep?, Article, Feb 17, 2014
  2. William R. Klemm Ph.D. , Does White Noise Help You Learn?, Article, Jun 13, 2017
  3. Julia Halewicz, ​Can White Noise Help You Sleep Better?, Article, Nov 17, 2017
  4. Sound of Sleep, White, Pink, and Brown Noise: What’s the difference?, Blog post, Apr 18, 2017
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