I Don't Got You, Babe
March 14, 2011 5:58 PM   Subscribe

Recommend a kick-ass alarm clock that: doesn't use batteries, has a not-unpleasant alarm sound, looks not-ugly and is under $30.

So, I'm tired with the clock radio route. My big honking digital alarm clock either plays the really unpleasant buzzer sound, or radio - and I'm tired of hearing Morning Edition every morning when I wake up. Plus, it looks ugly. Really ugly. Help me find an alternative that:

  • Is either AC powered or mechanical - I'm paranoid about batteries dying.

  • Has a nice alarm sound that doesn't reek of that digital death noise that most alarm clocks make

  • Is designed nice - I'm a softy for modern design and anything that looks elegant. I don't need a backlight, and I don't need to see it across the room, but I do want it to look better than your average clock

  • Is under $30.

  • Things I don't need: radio, AM/PM, time syncing with a satellite, or anything other than telling me what time it is and an alarm. Bonus points for something that's small.
    posted by l33tpolicywonk to Home & Garden (18 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
    Stephen Fry to the resue
    It exceeds your price criteria, but is nice in other ways.
    posted by -harlequin- at 6:06 PM on March 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

    Wait, I thought it was AC but it's battery. Sorry, my mistake.
    posted by -harlequin- at 6:07 PM on March 14, 2011

    If you have a laptop by your nightstand, you can download the program Alarm Clock by Tarry91. It's free, tiny, just a simple exe file (no installation), you can set multiple alarms, and you can use any mp3 file for the alarm sound!
    posted by carlh at 6:19 PM on March 14, 2011

    I use my iPhone for this, plugged into an outlet and sitting in a stand at night. Don't know if that is an option you can already take advantage of. The (free) alarm app I use is iHome+Sleep.

    I know you said $30, but you can get a refurbished iPod Touch for $149 from Apple and you'd get an $30 alarm clock and a $119 iPod Touch out of the deal.
    posted by qwip at 6:43 PM on March 14, 2011

    Response by poster: To clarify: I'm really suffering from digital clock bloat at the moment, so if it's digital, it's gotta look super-minimalist. The actual clock-only nature of the device is essential. The price I'm a little flexible on, but not much.
    posted by l33tpolicywonk at 6:51 PM on March 14, 2011

    Best answer: I know you don't like batteries, but Casio makes some small analog alarm clocks (TQ-140) that are more reliable than any AC powered clock I've ever had. The AA battery lasted years. If you change it every new year, I don't think it will ever let you down. Extreme reliability, small size, good portability, and non obnoxious but reasonably loud BEEPBEEPBEEPBEEP alarm tone make this the clock that has stayed over the least twenty+ years while the others have died or been relegated to non critical timekeeping roles.
    posted by 2N2222 at 7:17 PM on March 14, 2011

    "By harnessing the electrical conductivity of ions in water for clean energy, this ingenious alarm clock runs on ordinary tap water to keep its system on time for up to eight months or more."

    It's $35, it looks pretty minimalist to me (YMMV), and the premise is pretty cool.
    posted by virago at 7:27 PM on March 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

    Response by poster: non obnoxious but reasonably loud BEEPBEEPBEEPBEEP alarm tone

    Do you, by chance, have the ability to record the sound and upload it? It'd definitely make you the greatest ever. I can't find it anywhere on the Internet.
    posted by l33tpolicywonk at 7:29 PM on March 14, 2011

    Second-hand mobile phone, with charger?
    posted by flabdablet at 7:32 PM on March 14, 2011

    The Moonbeam meets your criteria: corded (with battery backup), non-digital, bell alarm, no radio, under $30.
    posted by amyms at 7:34 PM on March 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

    I loved Virago's water clock! (thanks bud)

    Electronics next to your bed screw with your sleep (too many for some for me it's anything plugged in). Good sleep hygiene you know.

    I think you already have what you need-a cell phone or IPOD. I'm just s simple gal, keep a cell by the .45 and hope you grab the right one in the morning.
    posted by ~Sushma~ at 7:53 PM on March 14, 2011

    I have had this most excellent clock on my amazon wish list for EVER. But it runs on batteries booooo

    (Thank you for reminding me it was on there I may need to just get myself one anyway).
    posted by lilnublet at 8:08 PM on March 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

    Moonbeam Retro
    Geek Clock
    posted by ~Sushma~ at 8:08 PM on March 14, 2011

    Here is a link to an alarm at Target online that has a line in jack so you can attach your mp3 player. Wake up to whatever sound you want for only $19.99. Oh, its a Timex. Large Display.
    posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:09 PM on March 14, 2011

    If that water clock in virago's link is a little too pricey, they've got a very similar one at thinkgeek for only $9.99.
    posted by amyms at 10:09 PM on March 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

    Do you, by chance, have the ability to record the sound and upload it?

    This is the sound the TQ-140 makes. Not my recording. It seems to be a fairly common alarm sound among this class of clock (single AA battery analog).
    posted by 2N2222 at 1:57 AM on March 15, 2011

    I have the Moonbeam clock. It wakes me with a flashing light, and beeps if I don't respond. It looks like a clock. The link above is cheaper.
    posted by theora55 at 10:15 AM on March 15, 2011

    Nthing the Moonbeam, we've been very pleased with ours. paid less than $30.00 through Amazon at the link posted above.
    posted by seventyfour at 1:50 PM on March 15, 2011

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