The Best White Noise Machines (Reviews And Buyer's Guide 2018)

Best White Noise Machine Reviews

​Have you ever found yourself drifting off to sleep to the sounds of a running desk fan or crackling fireplace? Would you like to recapture that sense of calm and relaxation every time you climb into bed? White noise machines are designed to help you do just that. In this post, you'll discover the benefits of white noise machines and cap off the discussion with the best white noise machine reviews.

Ranking

Product

Our Rating

Price

Number 1

Adaptive Sound Technologies

2

Marpac Dohm-DS

3

Sound Oasis S-550-05

4

HoMedics SS-2000G

5

Sleep Easy Sound Conditioner

What Is a White Noise Machine?

A white noise machine is a portable electronic device that plays a variety of looped, soothing sounds to help prepare you for a restful night of sleep.

Moreover, these constant, relaxing sounds help keep you asleep through the night by helping prevent 'micro-awakenings' — the experience of waking up repeatedly due to abrupt auditory changes in the environment, from a quiet setting to noticeable sounds such as blaring car horns, construction, or snoring partners (source). As a result, you're able to reach restorative sleep phases quicker, more often, and for longer periods of time.

White noise machines also have several other benefits to speak of:

  • Unlike some prescription sleep aids, there's no risk of side effects or developing physical dependence
  • Easy to use with no extra equipment required
  • Runs on little electricity (actual cost depends on your area)
  • Useful for office settings like doctors' waiting rooms and massage centers to help create serene atmospheres
  • Can help mask tinnitus, especially when combined with pillow speakers
  • Can help relieve anxiety and bedtime stress

Disadvantages of Using a White Noise Machine

Like any machine with moving parts, white noise machines can wear and tear over time like LED lights fading or units overheating. Fortunately, most white noise machines feature similar sounds, making them relatively easy to replace when there's a sound you want to continue using.

There's also the possibility your preferred sounds or volume settings may not be the same as those sleeping in the same room as you. For this reason, you may want to select a white noise machine that also includes a headphone jack.

Caution: When using a white noise machine to help lull babies to sleep, keep the volume low to avoid eardrum damage!

How to Choose a White Noise Machine

The first step to selecting a white noise machine is to decide whether you'd prefer a mechanical or digital device:

Mechanical white noise machine – These devices make the sound of moving air in real-time without actually creating any air movement — a natural sound quality preferred by some sleepers.

Digital white noise machine – These devices use a variety of pre-recorded sounds like moving air, along with other sounds like rain, crickets, and crackling fireplaces.

Next, consider sound quality. A well-constructed digital white noise machine should include built-in speakers designed to fill sleep spaces with ambient sounds, not only from the device itself.

You'll also want to think about other features you'd like in a white noise machine, such as:

  • Headphone jack (as mentioned earlier)
  • Personalized sound mixes
  • Adjustable pitch and tone
  • Auto-off timers
  • Battery power for portability
  • Sleep timer

Finally, pick a white noise machine backed by a strong customer service policy to help put your mind at ease in case any problems arise.

Note: While white noise machines do a great job at preparing you for a restful night of sleep, they're even more effective when combined with other bedtime rituals like turning down the thermostat, drinking nighttime tea, dimming bedroom lights, wearing blue light blocking glasses, and staying away from caffeine, television and other electronics in the hours leading to bed.

What Is the Best Way to Use a White Noise Machine?

Getting the most out of a white noise machine depends on your sleep environment and current quality of sleep. But generally speaking, a white noise machine should be kept near your bed and running all night. Moreover, its volume should be loud enough to neutralize background noise without letting the sound of the device itself become disruptive.

If you already sleep in a quiet environment and only need help falling asleep, you may prefer using a machine with a timer setting (many devices include 30, 60, and 90-minute auto-off timers).

Best White Noise Machine Reviews

1

Quality

Price

Our Rating

Type: Digital white noise machine

This white noise machine features ten real-world sounds including rainfall, meadow, fireplace, city and train. Each of these basic sounds can be layered with one or two extra sounds to create unique "sound stories," including purring cats, tea kettles, birds, thunder, and bells. In total, up to 30 different personalized white noise profiles are possible.

The volume and sounds adjust and remix automatically depending on the level of background noise to avoid disturbing you.

The Adaptive Sound Technologies white noise machine has a chock-full of features, including:

  • An optional lighted display
  • Output port to play sounds on an external sound system
  • Separate woofer and tweeter for high-quality sound
  • Headphone jack
  • Sleep timer

Above all, the standout feature of this device is its sound loop, which plays for 30 straight minutes before repeating. Thus, unlike the sounds of most other machines, you probably won't tire of Adaptive Sound Technologies' loops easily.

PROS

  • Great realistic sounds
  • 30 minute sound recordings make the sound loop imperceptible
  • Hassle-free customer service

CONS

  • Overly noisy-sounding buttons
  • Can't easily see volume when it self-adjusts
  • Not battery powered
  • Higher end of the price scale
2

Quality

Price

Our Rating

Type: Mechanical white noise machine

Recognized as the official white noise machine of the National Sleep Foundation, the Marpac Dohm is often regarded as the 'gold standard' against which the quality of other white noise machines is measured. This device has been on the market for over 50 years and still going strong in its fourth generation.

As a mechanical white noise machine, it doesn't feature all the bells and whistles of a digital device but what it does, it does well. It includes two volume settings, loud and louder, which suffice for most people.

The Marpac can be used for any setting including bedrooms and offices and works well for both children and adults.

PROS

  • Great track record and reputation
  • Compact, sturdy, and easy-to-use design
  • Low energy consumption
  • Hassle-free customer service

CONS

  • Only two volume settings
  • Often copied (look for 'Made in the USA' label for authenticity)
  • Not battery powered
3

Quality

Price

Our Rating

Type: Digital white noise machine

What sets the Sound Oasis white noise machine apart from its competitors is its sound card slot, which gives you the option to buy additional sounds apart from its six built-in ones — a great personalization feature!

Another nice addition is its "gradual off" volume reduction, which prevents sounds from ending too abruptly and possibility startling you out of your slumber.

While this device is far from flawless (as our list of cons points out), it's still a decent option for those looking for a white noise machine that won't break the bank.

PROS

  • Great realistic sounds
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Runs on batteries or AC adapter
  • Hassle-free customer service

CONS

  • Small print on knobs can be hard to see
  • Sound cards can be difficult to insert
  • Position of speaker doesn't create sense of all-around sound
  • Volume and on/off button are the same, making the volume level sometimes frustrating to set
4

Quality

Price

Our Rating

Type: Digital white noise machine

As the most affordable white noise machine on our list, the HoMedics SS-2000G is a smart choice if you're planning to buy devices for many rooms in a home or office. Its light weight also makes it the perfect machine for travel. Unlike the Adaptive Sound Technologies device which only uses an AC adapter, the HoMedics also runs on batteries for extra convenience.

The HoMedics features six sounds, suitable for both adults and children, and has an optional auto-timer. While it doesn't include a lighted display or an extended sound loop, it's fine for basic purposes.

PROS

  • Great realistic sounds
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Runs on batteries or AC adapter

CONS

  • Short sound loop may disrupt some users
  • Sound may distort at higher volumes
  • Sound doesn't fill out room as well as other devices
  • Volume and on/off button are the same, making the volume level sometimes frustrating to set
5

Quality

Price

Our Rating

Type: Mechanical white noise machine

The Sleep Easy Sound Condition is something of a budget version of the Marpac Dohm reviewed above. But while the moving air sound is mechanically generated like the Marpac, it doesn't get quite as loud, which defeats the purpose in particularly noisy environments.

If this doesn't apply to you, a low-priced option like the Sleep Easy Sound Condition is an attractive way for first-time users to try a mechanical white noise machine in any setting, including offices and adult and children's bedrooms.

PROS

  • Compact, sturdy, and easy-to-use design
  • Low energy consumption
  • Sound can be adjusted to higher or lower pitch

CONS

  • Fan blades may need adjusting if they become noisy
  • May not be loud enough for noisy environments
  • Not battery powered

What Is the Best White Noise Machine for You?

While all devices reviewed above are good options, the best white noise machine to satisfy most sleepers is the Adaptive Sound Technologies unit for a number of reasons:

  • Combines the benefits of a realistic sound experience with the versatility of a digital white noise machine
  • Adjusts to the noise level of the environment in real-time
  • Long sound loop means sounds continue to sound "fresh" even after many listens
  • Automatically changes both volume and mix of sounds to prevent unexpected sounds from disrupting your sleep
  • Full surround-sound experience (not limited to one small area)
  • Ability to listen through headphones or built-in speakers, thus very accommodating
  • While it only runs on an AC adapter, Adaptive Sound Technologies also offers a battery-powered mini version for travel and other purposes

When researching this device, one consumer story resonated with us in particular… An urban dweller living in a thin-walled apartment in the middle of a construction zone was still able to get a good night's sleep, thanks to this product. Proven effective in even the noisiest of environments, the Adaptive Sound Technologies​ white noise machine is a sure win with every sleeper.

Now Over to You!

What are your thoughts about using white noise machines? Leave your comments below!

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